Gone

Chapter 6

J K Rowling owns all the rights to the books and the amazing characters she created. I write only to satisfy my imagination and use my creativity and make no money from my writings.

Chapter 6 – A Determined Hermione

The day after the execution things went back to normal, or as normal as Hogwarts got under the current circumstances. Hermione Granger was angry – at everybody. She was gleefully told by the Twins that before the event started Ron had dared to go up to "He-who-claims-to-be-Salazar-Slytherin" (his new nickname) and, without asking permission, confronted the wizard in question and boldly stated "I don't care if Granger thought up the worse possible horror, she won't last once it starts and will either faint, throw up, or run for her life, but probably all three. Therefore, since I am a true Gryffindor, as well as a Pure-blood I demand to witness the execution on her behalf – and get the reward."

Sal just looked at the typical Gryffindor – all talk, rushing into danger without thinking, and the fool was in very great danger going up to Sal to begin with let alone stating his insulting demands, and then fool just stood there expecting Sal to say yes.

Instead Sal laughed, a rather evil laugh that sent chills down the spines of others and then said "You are NOT brave Ronald Bile Weasley – stupid yes, but not brave. Let's see how Miss Granger, you and others handle things. Also, I was too busy to chastise you about your lack of table manners this morning, but if you do it again, you will be denied food for 24 hours."

Naturally Ron began to complain until Sal's wand jumped into his hand and then he gave the boy a look that would petrify a basilisk. The idiot still didn't move, nor had he apparently noticed that Sal changed Ron's middle name from Bilius to Bile. He probably didn't know the meaning of the word bile. Sal was obliged to hit Ron with a stinging hex – twice – before the boy took the hint and joined the other students. Sal smiled when he saw Ron vomiting, turning pale and eventually running to the back of the crowd when the execution started.

The only thing that saved Ron from a 24 fast was because Sal and several members of the staff were not present at breakfast. Sal and some of the staff did not appear for lunch and when they didn't show for dinner…Hermione Granger had had enough of this nonsense and was going to get some answers if, if, if – if it was the last thing she ever did!

Leaving the Great Hall she marched down to the kitchens, entered to see the poor elf slaves toiling away. Although she was against house elf enslavement, this was an emergency. "I need the help of an elf or two" she stated. After that, she thought she would be deluged like Harry was whenever he entered the kitchen and even the Twins received immediate service. However, Hermione was known as the "Girl-who-wants-to-give-elves-clothes" and the majority of elves all but stampeded in the opposite direction. She was highly insulted!

"Dobby" she finally called out – twice – before the elf dragged himself over to the girl.

"What does Harry Potter's Grangy need from Dobby?"

"I need you to take me directly to 'Salazar Slytherin' then seal the doors until I call for you."

Dobby's eyes widen to their full extent and for a moment Hermione thought the green orbs might pop out of his head like a cartoon character. The kitchen had gone completely silent not only at the order but to see what Dobby would do.

"Dobby is a free elf" he said pulling on his ears "So Dobby does not have to obey Missy Hermione BUT Dobby does have to obey the Great Salazar Slytherin and only he summons students to him. It has already been announced several times that students do not demand to see him."

"I think that Harry would want you to help me in my quest" she stated smugly.

It was then that Oscar, the Head Elf, entered the kitchen and asked "Does Missy Clothes-Giver now speak for Harry Potter? If Harry Potter wants Dobby to do something, he would ask Dobby himself to do it. Why would Harry Potter want Dobby to help you break the rules?"

An elf that talked back – that was something Hermione never expected. No matter she just ordered Dobby to fetch Harry Potter and he would agree with Hermione. Dobby exchanged glances with Oscar who shrugged (another new for a house elf) and off Dobby popped. Everyone waited for Dobby to return and no work was done because the elves knew many things that Hermione didn't know nor had the right to know.

Finally Dobby popped back and asked Hermione "Does Missy know where Harry Potter is?"

"Well…not at the exact moment, but you should be able to find him" she replied.

Oscar now spoke "Harry Potter is not in the school and has not been here for three days."

A shocked Hermione asked "What, did he get a detention and is outside?"

"Harry Potter did not get a detention and he would be dead if he was outside for three days" Oscar said. "Did Missy Clothes-Giver even notice that Harry Potter and a few other students have not been in classes or, apparently, even missed…by their friends?"

Hermione had no reply to that as yes, she had been so busy with the contest and other things that she didn't notice that Harry was gone. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't seen Neville either.

"Then where is he? Has he, and Neville, been expelled or are in the Infirmary?" she demanded.

"The whereabouts of Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom is none of Missy's business. If she wants to know then ask them."

"But they are missing, so how can I ask them" she reasoned.

"That is not Oscar's or Dobby's problem" Oscar stated. "We elves obey Headmaster Slytherin and some of the staff members secondly. If Missy cannot respect and follow the rules of this school, then she should…be expelled…or at least leave."

Hermione was shocked that a house elf, even the Head one, would talk to her like that. However, he did make some sense. She would ask to leave and then get back to Britain, alert Professor Dumbledore about the theft and kidnappings, they would all be rescued and she would be a hero and a shoe-in for Head Girl and a top job at the Ministry.

However, her musing was interrupted when the kitchen door was opened and in walked Sal himself. The elves all bowed and then went back to work at Oscar's order. Sal turned to the girl and asked "I hear you want to leave the school."

"Yes – but only if I don't get my questions answered" she bluffed.

"Well then" he said with a small smile on his face, "It looks as if you have chosen to leave. However, once you leave and pass through the main gate, you will not be allowed back in the school as a student or a guest. Also, did you know that there are very strong wards, anti-apparation and anti-portkey charms for a 50 miles area? Good luck getting home."

"Then how will I get home" she wailed. "We don't even know where we are except that it is below freezing cold, snowy and there are rumored to be polar bears outside."

"That is not my problem" Sal said. "You and any others may leave but under the circumstances stated. If you decide to stay, you will adhere to the rules. Eventually, when all plans are completed you will be told the reasons why MY school was rescued."

"But.…"

"But nothing. Once again you have disobeyed orders, questioned my authority, and tried to blame Harry Potter for having Dobby take you to me and who knows what else. I have more important things to do besides following a spoiled, snobby, demanding and over-bearing chit of a girl to see what mischief she is up to. You have two pieces of gossip to reveal to your classmates and thus enhance your humongous ego, so consider yourself extremely fortunate that you are not now trudging through the snow to your doom. Also, you have detention with Oscar to begin…."

"But Oscar is a house elf" Hermione whined.

Sal's patience was growing thin, but Hermione didn't notice. "Oscar is the HEAD HOUSE ELF and since the elves are busy with other things as well as the staff he will be monitoring all detentions until further notice. Ah – you have a third piece of gossip to spread. NOW LEAVE BEFORE I LOSE ALL PATIENCE WITH YOU!"

Hermione didn't have to be told twice and she fled for her life. However, although she didn't get answers to the questions she had, she had gotten three pieces of information out of the "Headmaster-Who-Wasn't" – her nickname for Sal - so she hurried off to tell everybody, totally forgetting to find out when her detention was. Since she had interrupted Sal and forgot to ask, it would earn her another detention for missing the first one.

While all this drama was going on at Hogwarts, Magical Britain was in deep mourning. They had lost an entire generation and only those children too young to attend Hogwarts survived. Dumbledore had been moving heaven and earth to:

Blame Voldemort for this unforgiveable crime against Magic;

Establish a new school for those children who would be 11 by next September 1st (with him as the Headmaster);

Encouraging the passage of a propagation law forcing every witch capable of bearing a child (no matter what her age) to do so whether married, widowed or single. If single, the offspring wouldn't suffer from any "shame" of being illegitimate, receive free tuition at the new school and the witch would receive G500 if she birthed a magical child.

Since the situation was so dire, any wizard who volunteered to mate with a (shudder) Muggle and had a magical child would receive the same benefits as the witch (who had to mate only with a wizard). Also, known Squibs should be sought out and matched with another Squib just in case they were able to produce a magical child.

Although the book of names listing those eligible for Hogwarts had been destroyed with the school, the Ministry would have to appoint a special force to seek out Muggleborns early, do a heritage test to see if they were a descendant of a Squib, be removed from their parents for "instruction" while their parents would be under a monitoring spell to see if they produced another magical child (after being spelled to have another child).

Dumbledore didn't think the fifth one would survive the Pure-blood vote but the fourth might get some support if only from some randy old wizard who couldn't get a witch of his own, such as Mundungus Fletcher. The payment for services rendered would probably have some wizards exhausting themselves for the Greater Good.

Dumbledore had petitioned the International Confederation of Wizards (the "ICW") for assistance in tracking down Voldemort for this horrendous crime. However, despite being Supreme Mugwump of that international organization, since Voldemort had given no proof of his resurrection, the ICW was loathe to use their assets to look for someone who the Ministry had declared dead and was staying that way.

Meanwhile, the wizard in question had sworn on his life and magic to his followers that he had NOT done such a thing. He blamed Dumbledore. It seemed that the world was blaming one another and the mystery could not be solved.

As usual, Dumbledore needed money to carry on with his plans. He had suggested to the Wizengamot that the vaults of orphans who were the last of their line such as Harry Potter, be confiscated for the "Great Cause" as it was being called or, failing that, that those who had lost their children/relatives in the disaster, should donate the child(ren)'s trust vault.

Harry's vaults had closed down upon his death and according to his Grandfather's Will, his trust vault was absorbed by the main Potter vaults and would stay there unless a person having Potter blood (and Potter blood ONLY) would claim it. Certain people such as Amelia Bones, would save Susan's trust vault for the child that Amelia would be forced to bear as did other families who would be trying to produce a child.

In other words, hardy anyone was able or willing to fund the Great Cause – except one person. Walter Wallingham had lost both grandchildren in the disaster. His son and daughter-in-law were both dead and the Wallingham cousins were either impecunious or were trying to produce a child and were saving their trust vaults. Besides, he didn't like any of his other relatives, especially those who were trying to get the grandchildren's money. He didn't like Dumbledore either but…if the trust vaults could aid in producing a new generation, then why not?

So he went to Gringotts to see about turning over the vaults to Dumbledore's Great Cause. It was then when the Goblin in charge of the vaults asked him "Why close the vaults and transfer the money to Dumbledore when both children are alive?"

Damn! Apparently the person in charge of "seeing to the vaults that Dumbledore would try to seize" such as Harry's, Neville's, Susan's, etc. had done so. He had even destroyed the Weasley clock which showed the whereabouts of each Weasley, such as at school, work, travelling, mortal peril up to and including death. However, given the time frame he had to adhere to, "lesser people" fell through the cracks.

Walter immediately contacted some of his close friends who had lost children/grandchildren and begged them to come ASAP to Gringotts. Five came, checked the vaults and found to their delight that the vaults listed the children as still being alive.

Now the question was whether or not to tell the Ministry and Dumbledore as this all might be another plot of both of them to grab control for their nefarious schemes.

Walter and the five friends decided to make an appointment with Ragnok, the Head Goblin of Gringotts Britain, to discuss things and ask whether or not the Goblins could trace the children's whereabouts. Until then, the information would remain only with the six wizards.