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Two Shall Be As One

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A Few Home Truths

 

The few witches and wizards who had business to conduct with Gringotts in the early morning hours, received an unexpected bonus for being willing to get up so early on a Saturday… something that others would probably have a hard time believing. These early risers were given the opportunity to witness several goblins bowing in respect to a wizard with golden brown hair and dressed in strange blue robes. Those who saw the goblins actions were confused about why they would give this unremarkable looking wizard the respect and courtesy they wouldn’t even grant to Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of the age.

The next to be given a bit of a surprise was a red headed cursebreaker who was passing close enough to hear the golden haired wizard make a request of a nearby guard, in gobbledegook that while slow was better than he could manage. While Bill couldn’t understand all of it, he did catch that the man’s name was Daniel Jackson and he was apparently there for a meeting with senior account manager Glaive and was asking the guard to let him know that he was here. Bill was about to intervene and refer the man to one of the occupied tellers so they could let Glaive know he was there, when the guard bowed slightly and apparently headed off to do as he was asked.

Bill stared after the guard surprised. They had never done that for any wizard before. They usually just stood there without saying a word, staring at the witch or wizard in question as if they were dragon dung waiting to be removed. If it was one of Gringotts most important clients then the guard would summon another goblin to carry the message, but they normally would never leave their post for any witch or wizard.

Bill stared at the wizard dressed in what he recognized as casual desert robes, though they were not in a colour one would see in the desert, not even among the magical community, wondering what was so special about this Daniel Jackson? Since he started working for Gringotts a few years before, the goblins had been very thorough in letting their human employees know which witches and wizards they were likely to encounter that were to be treated with the utmost respect, so that they avoided giving offence, and he couldn’t remember the name Jackson being mentioned at all. He made a mental note to see if his father had ever heard of this wizard. Jackson must be someone of importance if the Goblins reactions were anything to go by, because even the Minister and Dumbledore didn’t rate the reception that Jackson had received.

A few moments later the guard returned with another goblin who Bill recognised at Glaive’s personal assistant and Bill watched as Jackson bowed to the guard and thanked him in gobbledgook telling him that he brought much honour to his clan by being willing to help a stranger.

######

As Daniel stepped through the doorway into Glaive’s office he bowed respectfully to the goblin on the other side of the desk and said in slow careful gobbledegook. “May our business together be profitable and may your family be prosperous in all its dealings so that they bring honour to your clan.”

“May your business always be profitable and your vaults full of gold honourably won.” Glaive returned without pause then added. “Your familiarity with our tongue is much better, Advisor Jackson. Amazing considering you only started learning it a few months ago. From what I have heard our human employees say ours is not the easiest of languages to learn.”

“I’ve always had a gift for languages, and those books you provided that allowed me to see and hear the pronunciation of the words were a great aid.” Daniel told him modestly.

“Shall we get down to business then,” Glaive asked. “I have the paperwork you will need to be legally recognized as a citizen of both magical and non-magical America. The name on all the documentation as you requested is Daniel J. Jackson and you are in all American systems as Daniel Jonathan Jackson.”

Daniel studied the passport, driver’s licence, social security card, American Express gold card, and other paperwork with an expert eye. He was used to having to spot forged old documents and sometimes to having to do the same with more recent documentation for the SGC, and had to admit that whoever worked for the goblins was good… very good.

Sliding the documentation into the bag slung over his shoulder, Daniel told him, “Thank you. Also please thank your people for their excellent work.”

Glaive nodded, “I will pass on your thanks. That credit card will act for you like a Head of House’s signet ring and is tied to Merlin’s vault so any charges will be drawn against it for purchases you make in either the magical or non-magical world. It will cause less questions than if the funds were taken from the Potter vaults, since those are still supposed to be locked down because Mr. Potter is still considered a minor by those outside of Gringotts. The wallet works the same way, it is keyed to your combined magical signature and when you need it the correct type of currency will appear within the wallet.”

Daniel nodded his understanding then asked. “Given that access to Merlin's vault is so tightly controlled, do we need to move the gold and gems from that vault into to one more accessible to your people?”

“That is not necessary.” Glaive assured him. “The magic within the walls of all our vaults insure that the required amount can be taken out without a goblin having to move it. Rest assured that the magic we use to transfer funds will not touch the other items he left for you in there.”

Daniel nodded. “I was not worried about that in the least. Even among those who do not like you, it is well known that Goblins have a reputation for living up to the letter of their agreements. I have no doubt that even if a goblin were foolish enough to sell his or her honour to try and gain something from that vault that they had no right to, the security measures Myrrdin put in place would prevent them from taking it.”

“Merlin was the greatest of the Old Ones.” Glaive agreed. “Dumbledore even though, many compare him to Merlin, is not even a close competitor for the title Greatest Wizard of the Ages.”

“I have to agree with that,” Daniel told him, earning a toothy smile. “From my observations of the man he is one of the greatest puppeteers around with how he uses people’s perception of how he is infallible, his political position’s and magic to manipulate others into following his direction. With Riddle, I sometimes wonder if perhaps he manoeuvred the young man into becoming a danger to the magical world, into becoming the next Dark Lord after Grindelwald because Dumbledore perceived that he was a threat to the power that he had. I mean until recently, no one even knew that Voldemort and Riddle were the same person, except for Dumbledore.”

"I would not disagree with that," Glaive replied. "I know of many who have stood in Dumbledore's way only to meet unfortunate ends, and up until recently that usually meant death at the hands of Deatheaters or Voldemort."

And he may have had a hand in getting Black sent to prison. Daniel privately thought and felt Harry murmur his own agreement. “Glaive, have you had any luck in trying to get the trial records for Sirius Black?”

“Our sources state there are no records to be found,” Glaive reported. “Which means that Sirius Black the current Lord of House Black never received a trial. If the records had been sealed by the Unspeakables for any reason there still would have been a record of the trial, we just would not have been allowed to see it.”

Daniel had expected that. “I thought that might be the case based on what someone at the Leaky Cauldron told Harry, but I needed to be sure. Did you manage to arrange a meeting with a representative the US Department of Magic for me for today?”

“It took a little effort to convince the head of the office for the Department of Magic at the American Embassy here in London to do so, but McBride finally agreed to meet you here at 10 in one of our secure meeting rooms.” Glaive informed him.

“And what is the Department of Magic office called?” Daniel asked curious.

“In Britain the Department of Magic is called the Department of Weights and Measures. It goes by other names in the Consulates and Embassies of other countries, but it will always be the one that should get the least amount of muggle traffic.” Glaive told him.

Daniel thought about it for a minute and decided it made sense. They would be able to hide in plain sight that way always the best option if you had a choice. “Glaive, I know you probably have a busy day ahead of you, but would you have time to take me down to Merlin’s vault before my meeting? I need to retrieve something he left for Harry and I.”

#####

At a little before 10am, Sam McBride arrived outside the London branch of Gringotts bank in Diagon Alley. As he walked up the white marble steps two emotions were vying for dominance in his mind: Curiosity and Worry.

He was curious about why any normal American magical citizen would feel the need to have the Goblins arrange a meeting for them. This “Jackson” should’ve had no reason to go to such an extreme if he/she had legitimate business with the magical offices of the US Government. Before going abroad, every magical citizen of the US was given a list of the magical embassy and consulate offices for the countries they would be travelling to, in case they needed help. If this Jackson person was indeed a magical US citizen then he/she should’ve had no reason to go to Gringotts, or even the British Ministry of Magic to get in contact with them.

There was only one possible reason that McBride could come up with for someone to arrange a meeting under what was the closest to Class 10 security outside the underground meeting rooms in the Department of Magic in DC and he desperately hoped it was not that.

What worried him the most was that Jackson might be one of the few magical citizens working in Covert Ops. People working in undercover operations normally had established lines of contact that were very rarely if ever gone around and then only in the case of an extreme risk to the US or her allies. If Jackson were a deep cover operative who was going outside the normal channels to pass on information without breaking his/her cover then whatever information Jackson had would be bad and something that would have to be passed on immediately. Or it could be even worse. Jackson found out about a pending attack and had to break cover to get the warning out and as a result he/she couldn’t use their regular contact channels out of fear of blowing that person’s cover as well which also meant the bad guys were probably hot on this agent’s trail and he was going to have to render any and all assistance if that were the case.

Sighing and preparing himself for the worse case scenario, McBride walked up to the nearest available goblin teller and told him. “My name is Samuel McBride. I have an meeting at 10am with Account Manager Glaive.”

The Goblin looked up at him briefly and then gestured to one of the waiting messenger goblins. “Let Account Manager Glaive know that his 10 o’clock appointment is here.”

The messenger goblin nodded and left returning a few minutes later and gesturing to McBride to follow him.

McBride followed the goblin down several hallways until they stopped at a door with a pair of goblins standing guard.

“Go in,” the goblin told him. “Manager Glaive and the other party are waiting for you.”

McBride nodded his thanks before opening the door.

Inside the room seated off to one side was a goblin that McBride assumed was Glaive, but it was the person on the far side of the room leaning up against the wall that held McBride’s attention. He didn’t look like one would expect a covert operative to look like. Jackson, at least McBride assumed this was Jackson, had golden brown hair and was dressed in jeans and a fleece jacket over what looked like a white pullover sweater.

McBride couldn’t help noticing that even though the man was studying him intently, as if expecting and preparing for the worst, there was still an air of trusting innocence about him that one usually only found in children.

Glaive broke the silence between the two men by performing introductions. “Advisor Jackson, this is Mr. Samuel McBride Head of the London office of the US Department of Magic. Mr. McBride this is Advisor Jackson.”

Advisor? McBride had never heard that title given to anyone in Magical Britain before. It didn’t tell him anything about who or what the man standing on the other side of the room was. Nor did it tell him what he did. “Advisor?”

“It is a title the Goblins have given me because of a job I do.” Jackson told him with a slightly embarrassed smile as he stepped away from the wall. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Mr. McBride. I know this is not a place you would normally come to meet a stranger, but I am very grateful that you did.”

There was something was off about this meeting, only McBride couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Jackson was way too calm to be either a Magical American who had gotten caught up in something illegal and who now had criminals after him. Nor was he acting like a covert operative that had a warning he had to make sure was delivered or whose cover had been blown because he found out something he shouldn’t have. “What is it you needed to see me about?”

Gesturing to one of the seats at the small table, Jackson told him. “That is going to take a while to explain but before I can go into it, I need to ask you to take a magically binding oath, that what we will discuss will remain between us unless I give you permission to involve others. It is to protect all those involved, including yourself… if you chose to give me that oath. In return for your oath, I will be swearing a magically binding oath that as far as I know what we are going to talk about is in no way a threat to the United States or her interests either magical or non-magical.”

“Nothing was said about me having to swear a magical oath as a condition of this meeting.” McBride didn’t take a seat or move from his position near the door.

“Would you have come if you had known?” Jackson countered calmly.

McBride crossed his arms over his chest. “What kind of a fool do you take me for? For all I know it is something very illegal that you want to get me involved in.”

Jackson ‘s face softened into a smile again. “From what the goblins have told me about you, Mr. McBride, you are a man who will do his job to the best of his ability and right now I need your help. I promise you that it does not involve anything illegal. I'm under a time constraint and it will take a lot longer than I think I have to do it on my own since I don’t know the key players they way you do.”

McBride gave him a dry look that reminded Daniel a lot of Jack when he thought he was being conned into something. “You need to practice your suck up skills, Jackson. My five year old son can do better.”

“I'm not trying to suck up to you.” Daniel told him honestly. “I was speaking the truth. I am a stranger here and I need help with several things that the Goblins are unable to help me with.”

That surprised McBride. There wasn’t much the goblins couldn’t do or arrange to have done for the right price, since they had contacts just about everywhere. He glanced at Glaive. “I take it Account Manager Glaive that you are aware of Mr. Jackson’s secrets?”

“Of course,” Glaive confirmed. “We willingly swore the oath during our first meeting. We agreed it was best for all if the information remained confidential.”

McBride nodded his head in understanding then turned back to face Jackson, “I can not and will not in good conscience swear a blanket oath like the one you want without some idea of what I am going to be swearing to be silent about.”

Jackson looked thoughtful for several minutes before saying two words. “Time travel.”

McBride blinked. That was the last thing he’d expected to hear the man say. He took a few moments to consider that. It would go a long way toward explaining Jackson’s actions in arranging for this meeting through Gringotts. It was probably one of the few quasi-permanent institutions that a magical person could expect to find in either the past or the future.

“I take it that you are talking about coming back more than the couple of days or week at most you could get from a time turner.” McBride commented.

Jackson nodded but gave him no indication of just how much time he was talking about.

McBride swore softly to himself. He did not need this today. As a matter of fact he didn’t need or want this any day. This was worse than a covert operative whose cover had been blown. He couldn’t help wondering just what god it was he had pissed off to get handed this clusterfuck!

For decades humans both mundane and magical had dreamt of travelling in time but only those in the magical world had managed it, even if only a few knew it had been done. Time travel back a few hours or even a few days was very tightly controlled by every magical government in the world, including when and why someone was allowed to travel back in time and more importantly who was allowed to do it. Partly out of fear over the amount of damage a person could do by either accidentally or deliberately travelling back in time more than a few hours or a few days and partly out of fear of the chaos an accidental traveller might do. While it was not yet possible to travel forward in time some of the greatest minds had concerns about what would happen if a time traveller could go forward in time and then return to the present with the knowledge they’d collected from their trip. A person with that kind of foreknowledge could control or destroy any government or country they chose. And now the greatest fear of every magical government, other than a very powerful Dark Lord bent on world domination, was standing in front of him in an office at Gringotts in the form of one Daniel Jackson claiming he had done what many of the greatest minds had hoped to one day do and yet feared to because of the possible consequences.

Time travel was the magical equivalent of the chicken and the egg argument only on a nuclear scale among those who knew that it was real and not just a fantasy dreamt up by the mundanes.

While the mundanes had yet to figure out how to travel in time, even they knew of the dangers involved in it. Mundanes called it the Grandfather paradox. The mundanes basically summed it up as: A person goes back in time and accidentally killed their grandfather before their father was born and with that being the case they were never born so how could they have gone back and killed their grandfather?

Wizards on the other hand knew that paradox could very easily become reality if the traveler was not very very careful. All it would take was someone getting their hands on a time turner and going back in time a few days to try and undo some wrong committed either against them, someone they knew, or the magical world in general. Or even worse if some idealistic wizard or witch figured out how to go back more than a few days and deliberately did so to remove someone like Voldemort or Harry Potter thereby instigating the Grandfather paradox on a massive scale causing history to go in a different direction.

What no one had been able to determine was just how much history would be changed, by removing such a pivotal figure. Would humanity be destroyed or would it cause what mundanes called an alternate dimension to be created.

Now all McBride had to do was figure out how he was going to get someone outside Gringotts quickly enough to pick Jackson up… without making him suspicious or angering the goblins. The rules were very clear: It didn’t matter if the trip through time had been deliberate or accidental, any time traveler, who traveled more than the few days a time turner was capable of, when found, had to be captured and contained before they could cause any harm.

As if he’d been reading McBride’s mind, Jackson gave him a knowing smile and said, “I’m fairly certain you are trying to figure out how to get someone in here to make sure I am properly contained before I can accidentally cause a paradox, but you have to understand that there is more going on here than you know and some of it I'm not allowed to tell you, even after I have your oath. I realize I’m asking a lot, but you have to trust me when I tell you that trying to have me placed in ‘protective custody’ or whatever you want to call it, could be much worse for the world than anything I could ever do, since you might be causing the very paradox you are trying to prevent."

/You are making it sound like you had permission to come back and you were sent back for a reason./ Harry couldn’t resist commenting.

Daniel mentally shrugged. /I didn’t plan this trip, but if Myriddin’s prophecy is accurate, then some power higher than the Ancients brought me to you in that cellar, so it technically must have./

McBride looked at him skeptically. “If you were sent here from the future by the US Department of Magic why didn’t you come to the Embassy immediately? Why go through the goblins to set up this meeting?"

Jackson shrugged and told him. “I can’t say anything more until I have your oath.”

McBride's nostrils flared. "Will you give me an oath that you mean no harm to the mundane or magical worlds and that you will not use your foreknowledge to benefit yourself before I take the oath you are demanding from me?”

“Then we would get into the field of semantics.” Daniel countered. “"Because what I might consider helping another person might view as me causing harm."

McBride mentally conceded that Jackson had a point. What one person viewed as helping, another might view as harming. “Well then will you swear that your foreknowledge won’t be used to control the mundane or magical worlds. Also, that you will not use it to influence the economies of the world? Or share it with others who might use it for that purpose?”

Jackson nodded. “If you swear the oath I have asked for, I would be willing to do that. As I said earlier I will be swearing an oath that what we are to discuss as far as I know is in no way a threat to the sentient races in either the magical or non-magical parts of the world. The only others who know what I am are the goblins and as you know they’ve already taken an oath to keep it confidential.”

“You really expect me to swear an oath that leaves me no way to alert others to what you are if you suddenly become a threat?” McBride persisted.

Jackson looked thoughtful. “Your concern is justifiable, but I hope you understand that I can not take the risk that your oath gives you an unspecified out so that if you decide I am a threat to the world, based solely on your perception of my actions, you can tell anyone you think should know. Not to mention that if someone else knew you had spoken to a time traveler, they might wonder what you had been told that might be useful... to them. Foreknowledge that I might have accidentally let slip to you would be just as dangerous as if I had told someone directly.”

McBride had to concede that that was a valid point, so remembering that the goblins knew what Jackson was, he suggested. "What if we let a neutral third party decide?”

“Who?” Jackson wanted to know.

McBride turned to Glaive. “Account Manager Glaive, if Mr. Jackson is agreeable would you be willing to act as the final judges of whether or not my concerns are enough to release me from my oath of silence if I believe his actions are a serious enough threat to either the magical or non-magical world?”

Daniel looked over at Glaive and shrugged. “Account Manager Glaive, the choice would be up to you and your people. I have no objection to you acting as the final arbiters over whether or not Mr. McBride should be released from his oath if he has proof that I am a threat to either the magical or non-magical world.”

Glaive was silent for several minutes before nodding. “I will stand surety for his oath and release him if needed. And if I am not available, I will arrange for another to make the decision. Is that acceptable, Mr. McBride?”

McBride nodded.

Jackson thought about it and realized that McBride had missed something very obvious. If he did ever decide to go in for global domination like the Goa’uld or Ori wanted to, then McBride would be the first person he would have to take out because the man knew he was a time traveler.

/You wouldn’t really do that would you?/ Harry asked a little worried.

/No,/ Daniel assured him. /I know a few people who wouldn’t hesitate for a second if he was viewed as a threat, but fortunately for McBride, I value life and will fight to defend it even at the cost of my own life./

When Harry said nothing more, Daniel picked up a quill and quickly wrote out something on two separate pieces of parchment then handed them to McBride. “Assuming we are in agreement these will be the oaths we will be swearing.”

McBride read both oaths over a few times before nodding in agreement.

######

Once the oaths had been given on both sides and they were seated at the table, McBride asked his first question. “How far back have you come?”

Jackson shrugged. “A decade give or take a bit.”

McBride winced. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been if he’d come from further in the future. “And why are you here?”

“I have no clue, other than it seems my presence here saved a life.”

Jackson’s reply stunned McBride into several moments of silence. "You don't know why you were sent back?"

“My trip wasn’t planned. One moment I was in my own time and the next I was here. I believe I was sent back at least partly to save a life." Jackson then shrugged his shoulders. “Other than that I’ve just been winging it and trying to keep a low profile.”

“Whose life?” McBride interrupted him feeling his gut tighten. If it was someone who should’ve died things might already be fubar’d.

“Harry Potter’s.”

"Harry Potter? The boy who survived the Avada Kedavra curse? That Harry Potter?" McBride was surprised by the claim.

According to his sources the boy was currently at Hogwarts in his third year of schooling there and there had been no reports of any attacks on him. Like the magical part of most country’s, that didn’t have the seemingly undying adoration of all things Dumbledore that Britain’s magical community had, America monitored Potter as much as they could which wasn’t much given the level of security that Dumbledore had placed around the boy. Most of their information was second or third hand. Even their shared contacts in the Department of Mysteries that had been built up during World War II, couldn’t get much information on the boy’s status, which McBride knew stung their sense of pride. It also worried everyone in a position of power who wasn’t in Britain because up until this past summer, seers around the world, many of them in government service, had been asking about Potter, claiming that the boy was in danger. However when their concerns and warnings had been brought to the attention of Dumbledore or the other British representative at the ICW, they would say the same thing over and over; that the boy was fine, that he was safe and well protected.

Mc Bride's assistant Cordelia Chase, who had sporadic visions, some of which had been about young Potter, had come to him at the end of July saying that Potter was no longer in danger. When other seers in the US and other government services had been consulted, they had quickly confirmed her claim. It had been very odd considering that Black had escaped from Azkaban around that time and was supposedly after the boy. Was that when Jackson had arrived? Had he saved Potter from Black? Was that why Black couldn’t be found by anyone?

“Yes,” Jackson confirmed. “Someone had beaten him to death or rather he would have died if I hadn’t interfered.”

Wanting to know why word of the attack hadn’t spread throughout the wizarding world given the attention paid to young Potter McBride played skeptic. “That’s impossible. You couldn’t have hidden an attack on Harry Potter. It would’ve made the front page of the Daily Prophet at the very least, given the level of security Dumbledore and the Ministry claim to have surrounding Potter.”

“Not if the attack was covered up by Albus Dumbledore with the help of the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge,” There was a brittle smile on Jackson’s face. “They couldn’t afford to have the supposed protection around Potter called into question. It would’ve also exposed a skeleton that Dumbledore wanted to keep well hidden behind a curtain of lies. I personally doubt that even Fudge knows the whole truth. He strikes me as a man who looks out for number one and to hell with anyone else. If he thought anything about Dumbledore’s arrangements for Harry would come back to bite him in the ass, he would sell Dumbledore out so fast it wouldn’t be funny.”

McBride looked at the other man thoughtfully. It sounded like Jackson was implying that Black hadn’t been the attacker. In fact from the way he was talking it sounded as it he’d seen a side of Dumbledore that a few suspected existed, but no one could ever remember seeing. McBride also didn’t know whether to feel shocked or pleased that the government of wizarding Britain not to mention Dumbledore now had egg on their faces figuratively speaking and that it had been put there by an American.

Wanting to confirm his suspicions about why Black hadn’t been seen since his escape, Mc Bride asked. “Was it Black who attacked the boy? Did you deal with him? Is that why no one has seen him since he escaped from Azkaban?”

“No,” Jackson told him sadly. “While Black is one of the things I want to talk to you about, Harry was nearly beaten to death by his uncle.”

“His uncle?” Remembering how often the seers had mentioned their concerns about Potter, McBride was willing to bet that it hadn’t been the first time the boy’s uncle had beaten him. “How bad was it?”

Jackson was silent for several minutes before saying, “He almost killed him and that was the culmination of almost twelve years in hell. Prior to going to Hogwarts Harry was treated as a combination of slave and whipping boy. And I am willing to bet that they carried their beatings too far a number of times.”

“How was it hidden?” McBride wanted to know. “The non-magical police should’ve become involved even if no one else did.”

“I think Dumbledore altered the memories of anyone in a position of authority who knew and could get Harry removed from his relative’s home. After I’d healed the worst of his injuries from that last assault, I took Harry to St. Bart’s but no one at St. Bart’s remembers him being there thanks to Dumbledore and the Ministry.” Daniel told him. “The only reason Harry and I both remember is because Dumbledore didn’t know I was there when he attempted to remove Harry’s memories of his uncle’s attack on him.”

“Are you trying to tell me that Dumbledore tried to oblivate a thirteen year old boy?” McBride growled. “Why?”

“Yes.” Jackson confirmed. “As for why, I think he is trying to condition Harry like one of Pavlov’s dogs to do something, but I don’t know for sure what that is. I have my suspicions though, given that Dumbledore needed to get Harry to willingly return to his relative’s home, which wouldn’t have happened if Harry remembered his Uncle had almost killed him. I personally think that given the other things that have happened to him while he was at Hogwarts, Dumbledore is trying to condition Harry into being a willing martyr for the British magical people.”

Dumbledore no matter what he claimed was first and foremost a politician and McBride knew that politicians were very skilled at manipulating people into to doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, so he didn’t doubt Jackson’s assessment of what Dumbledore was grooming the Potter boy for. The problem was that he couldn’t do anything to change that… at least not yet, but he could do something about Potter’s mundane relatives. A word in the right ear would see them suddenly having lots of problems in their lives “And who are his relatives?”

“They aren’t your concern. I have already taken steps to remove Harry from their custody.” Jackson told him.

“They need to be punished for what they tried to do!” McBride growled in protest.

“And given that no one remembers the harm they have done to Harry, how are charges going to be brought in non-magical court?” Daniel reminded him. “Don’t forget that Dumbledore will do everything he can to insure that never happens. Besides given the way they act, Harry’s relatives will get into major trouble sooner or later and without Dumbledore to protect them this time, they will finally get what’s coming to them.”

With some grumbling McBride reluctantly had to agree that Jackson was right. It was a well-known fact that if someone thought they would never get in trouble for their behavior they wouldn’t change it. He also had to admit that Jackson was also right about one other thing, Potter’s relatives would soon be caught once their protector no longer had a reason to keep them safe. And given the oath he’d sworn, he couldn’t tell anyone about the attack on Potter, no matter how much he wanted to give those people some payback. He hated those who abused children with an almost holy passion. He made a mental note though to have a watch placed on Dumbledore’s activities and have Cordelia do some research into the man’s past actions. Dumbledore had to have some skeletons hidden in his closet. The trick was going to be finding them and that girl was very good at ferreting out secrets. Dumbledore had gone to a lot of trouble to cultivate that kindly grandfather image of his. The kind who was only interested in helping everyone and it would be a tough nut to crack but it had to be done. That man had knowingly aided and abetted child abusers. He was going to do his best to put roadblocks in Dumbledore’s way. He probably wouldn’t be able to do much but even a little irritation could sometimes cause a big change.

“So what is it you needed from me since you claim to have everything with regards to Mr. Potter under control?” McBride wanted to know.

Daniel took a deep breath. They were now at the main reason he’d wanted this meeting. “I need to get papers for Harry that show he has American citizenship and all the back up documentation a native born citizen would have. I’ll be his guardian of record in the magical and non-magical Britain by the beginning of the New Year, but I need this paperwork pushed through without Dumbledore or the Ministry of Magic finding out until it is too late to stop it.”

A thoughtful look appeared on McBride's face. "Getting the passport and other paperwork needed for the mundane world will be easy but I have no contacts who could get similar paperwork done for Magical Britain.”

“I’ve already gotten that taken care of thanks to Glaive and his people.” Daniel assured him. “Besides if Harry and I have to leave we won’t be using magical means. I’ve noticed that the magical people of Britain know next to nothing about how things in the non-magical part works and I intend to use that against them.”

McBride smirked. “Yes they are a bit behind… by about a century.”

“A century?” Daniel snorted. “Actually I think its closer to two.”

McBride returned to business. “I will get the paperwork taken care of for you, but I don’t think it should be under the name Potter. The Ministry of Magic has a few latents working among the mundanes who alert them to things they need to be aware of. What name do you want on the paperwork?”

/Do you have another name you want to go by, Harry?/ Daniel asked.

/I don’t know,/ Harry told him. /I’ve never given it much thought. I’ve always been Harry Potter./

/Well it will need to be something totally different from your birth name./ Daniel gave it some thought then suggested. /How about William Alexander O’Neill?/

/I wonder what Jack would say about your choice of a last name?/ Harry couldn’t resist commenting.

/Not much,/ Daniel countered. /Jack is a man of few words. Do you want to use it?/

/Sure,/ Harry mentally shrugged. /It is not like I will be using it for long./

“Have his paperwork set up under the name William Alexander O’Neill.” Daniel requested. “And once they are ready let Account Manager Glaive know. He has already said he will contact me when they are ready to be picked up and I will get in contact with you to make arrangements to get them.”

“All right,” McBride agreed. “It there anything else?”

“There’s just one more thing,” Daniel told him. “Would it be possible through the ICW to force the British Ministry of Magic to give Sirius Black a trial?”

#####

“Hermione, given all the books in the library why do you want to waste your time in a bookstore on one of the few days you have free from school.” Ron protested. “Do you not know what it means to relax? It means to do something for fun. It does not mean that we should visit the bookstore in Hogsmeade just so you can get more books, that I will most likely wind up having to carry back for you.”

As she opened the door to the Bell, Book, and Candle, Hermione just gave him a look of exasperation. “I am not looking for a book for me. I am looking for a present for Harry.”

“Are you getting Harry his own copy of Quidditch through the Ages?” Ron wanted to know as he followed her in.

“There is more to life than Quidditch, Ron. “ Hermione told him loftily and then ignored the glare he sent her way for daring to utter such a blasphemy. “I want to see if they have an advanced book on Runes. Harry has taken to it like a duck to water and I thought he might appreciate a more advanced book on them.”

“I would think he would appreciate a book on Defence Against the Dark Arts more.” Ron commented.

Hermione said nothing as she scanned the titles looking for the books on Runes.

After a few minutes of watching Hermione pull this book or that off the shelves and mutter to herself, Ron started to get really bored. And decided to wander around. As he wandered the aisles he noticed that some older witches were pointing at someone at the back of the store and he heard the oldest witch mutter.

“Disgraceful! Dressing like a ragbag. Surely he could have dressed in proper fashion before coming out in public, no matter how he dresses at home. There are impressionable young minds in town today. Last thing they need to think is that that is considered fashionable.” She huffed.

The older woman’s words piqued Ron’s curiosity so he went looking for the man who had incensed the elderly witch so much. In the back of the store he found a man dressed in strange robes studying a thick book. His robes looked like ones he had seen the curse breakers in Egypt wear only theirs had never been blue. Then he remembered Harry’s comment at breakfast about his cousin being easy for him to spot because he would be wearing desert robes.

Hurrying back over to Hermione, he hissed, “Hermione, I think I may have just seen Harry’s cousin.”

“Where?” Hermione demanded wanting to get a look at the man who thought he could take Harry from his friends.

“Over there,” Ron pointed toward the back of the store.

Hermione quickly stalked off in the direction Ron had indicated.

As she came upon a man with golden brown hair wearing a set of blue desert robes, she came to an abrupt stop as she heard him mutter. “Why is it even magical rune books reference Budge? That man was an idiot.”

Hermione’s eyes widened in shock and everything she intended to say to him about how he was not going to take Harry away from his home and his friends, flew out of her head as she listened to this man's... this American's words as he insulted a man her Ancient Rune’s teacher thought very highly of. It didn’t matter that this man might be Harry’s cousin she wasn’t about to let him insult a very well known scholar. Professor Babbling respected Mr. Budge’s work and that was enough for Hermione.

"I will have you know, sir, that Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge while a Squib was not an idiot. He was the greatest linguist of his day, speaking at least five languages. His work on Egyptian Hieroglyphs is considered the definitive work for Egyptologists. His translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead provided us with unique insights into the world of the ancient Egyptians and their runic system. And he also wrote one of the earliest and most well known books on the paranormal."

Daniel could hear Harry snickering at her totally predictable response to someone insulting a book and the person who wrote it as he looked at Hermione, pretending not to recognise her. “Ah yes the Golden Bough. Who are you? You look a little young to be an accredited Egyptologist, Cursebreaker, or even a Rune Mistress.”

“Hermione Granger. Currently a student of Hogwarts, studying under Professor Bathsheba Babbling, our Ancient Runes teacher," Hermione said snidely. "I have been studying Egyptian Hieroglyphs under Professor Babbling in addition to other ancient runes. Professor Babbling has great hopes of me following in her footsteps and becoming a Runes Mistress. And for your information Sir Ernest Budge’s work is the mainstay of that section of not only our class, but any Ancient Rune work that deals with Egyptian Hieroglyphs. And just who are you?”

“I am Daniel Jackson holder of three non-magical doctorates in Archaeology, Anthropology, and Linguistics and I hold a mastery in Ancient Runes. I currently speak and read over thirty languages fluently and have more than enough skill with at least five others to get by. And my current occupation is acting as a negotiator for both the Magical and non-magical governments of the United States.” The man told her. “As for your claim that Budge is the mainstay of Ancient Rune work or even Egyptology, I hate to tell you this, Miss Granger, but apparently your Professor Babbling is the one of the few who thinks that. Budge’s work is only briefly mentioned in any school I have ever visited because further research has proved that his translations were wrong, especially with regards to his translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. When the Hieroglyphs are correctly translated, a good many magical spells and runes that had been categorised originally as failures because of the incorrect translation that occurred because of Budge’s work have given us incredible advances in the area of magic.”

"You are wrong!" Hermione sputtered. "Professor Babbling is a Rune’s Mistress. If Budge’s work was no longer valid she would not be teaching it. Teachers especially those who have their Mastery would not teach something that was false!"

“Are you sure about that?” Jackson countered. “Hogwarts has a Board of Governors that has some say in what is taught as does the Ministry of Magic. They do not want the magical citizens of Britain thinking they have been passed by and are now considered backward by other countries outside of Europe. I did some research on Hogwarts since my cousin is going there and am well aware that once he graduates if he chooses to leave Britain he will have to take at least another five years of schooling if he is to have a hope of fitting into any magical community outside of Europe.”

“You are wrong!” Hermione clenched her fists. She really wanted to hit him because of the lies he was telling. “Hogwarts is the premiere school of magic. I did my research before deciding to go here.”

“And did you research all the magical schools in the world, or just the ones in Europe?” Jackson asked with a gentle smile. “If you only researched the ones in Europe; Durmstrang and Beauxbatons then you would be right, but if you had been able to get hold of information about schools in the Americas or Asia… oh sorry, I forgot the Ministry doesn’t want anyone in Magical Britain to know there are other choices outside of Europe, if they don’t already know. Didn’t you ever wonder why if there were only three schools of magic in the world they are not filled with students from other countries in addition to those from their own countries? I mean they would have to go to Hogwarts, Durmstrang or Beauxbatons wouldn’t they if those were the only schools of magic in existence.”

“The Americans go to school at Salem Witches' Institute,” Ron put in as he stepped up to stand beside Hermione. He was trying to help since she seemed to be stumped.

“Among others,” Jackson agreed. "And you are?"

"Ron Weasley," Ron said as he held out his hand. Anyone who could out argue Hermione without sounding condescending or like a know-it-all was all right in his book.

"Daniel Jackson," Daniel replied as he shook Ron's hand. "I was explaining to Miss Granger that Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are not the only magical schools in the world."

"Of course not," Ron said in surprise. "It would be a bloody nightmare if they were. I mean could you imagine trying to get everyone from around the world to the proper school on time? And not everyone speaks the same language so it would make it a nightmare trying to learn if you could not understand your teacher.”

“Or slow the teachers down because they have to repeat the same course material in several different languages.” Daniel agreed. “The big problem with a translation spell is if there is not a corresponding word in the other language you could accidentally wind up insulting someone without meaning to. And that’s not even taking into account the cultural and religious differences of the various countries. It is not really a good idea to trample on someone’s cultural or religious beliefs.”

“Tell me about it.” Ron agreed. He’d encountered some of that in Egypt and it was about the only part of their trip this past summer that he hadn’t liked.

"Would you say that people in the magical Britain know about the schools in other countries?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah, of course, you have to be have born under a rock or muggleborn not to know that," Ron replied.

"Can you think of some reason why the teachers who go to talk to the Muggleborns don’t tell them about the other schools?" Daniel asked

Ron scratched his head. "Well... for one thing why would they want to go anywhere else? I mean I would not want to go to a school in a place like Egypt if I did not have to. When we were in Egypt this past summer we couldn’t find anywhere to get bacon and I like bacon. Bill told me there was none in Egypt because it was part of the religion of the magical and muggle parts of Egypt that you couldn’t eat any pork. I would hate to live there ten months out of the year. You should go to school in the area where you were born and live. The area you know best and are comfortable in. But aside from that if a person did not ask why would you tell them?"

“But I did ask.” Hermione finally protested.

“And just how did you phrase your question?” Daniel wanted to know.

“I asked Professor McGonagall to tell me about the schools that were equal in quality to the education she said I would be receiving if I went to Hogwarts?” Hermione told him.

Daniel nodded. “And since the only schools that are equal to Hogwarts in terms of education are the European ones, she only told you about Durmstrang and Beauxbatons.”

“No, Professor McGonagall did not lie to me.” Hermione countered.

“I did not say she did.” Jackson told her. “She told you the truth, but based on how your question was worded it allowed her to omit the options she didn’t want you to know about because she only provided the information you asked about. Harry has told me about the blind trust you seem to have in the written word and those in a position of authority. That is not always a good thing because it stops you from questioning them about those things you see that are wrong. Everyone, even someone like Mother Teresa, has an agenda of some kind, even if it is only to make it through their job every day and get paid for it.”

“And what was Professor McGonagall’s agenda.” Hermione demanded snidely.

“To get your parent’s money,” Jackson told her as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Hogwarts is not a school everyone can go to freely. The tuition is two thousand galleons a year just for the core classes and housing, which at the current rate of exchange of Five Pounds to the Galleon is about ten thousand Pounds a year. Once a student is in their third year, Hogwarts collects an extra five hundred pounds a year per elective class taken which is usually no more than three for an extra fifteen hundred Pounds a year for the next four years. That means that Hogwarts makes at least fourteen to twenty thousand galleons for your whole seven years of schooling at Hogwarts. Why would they want to tell you here were schools in America or elsewhere that might be better than Hogwarts and risk losing your tuition fees? Not to mention risk losing a new or maybe I should say a recovered bloodline for magical Britain...”

“Hermione is taking way more than three electives,” Ron interrupted. “Though Harry and I have not figured out how she is managing to do it.”

“I wonder how she is getting enough time.”

Noticing the emphasis Jackson put on that last word and the look he was giving her, Hermione quickly set out to distract both Harry’s cousin and Ron before the man figured out her secret. Someone who worked for a magical ministry just might know about time turners. “Recovered bloodline? What are you talking about? What is a recovered bloodline?”

Jackson smiled as if he knew what she was trying to do but answered her question anyway. “I doubt you are the first in your family to ever wield magic. I’m sure if you had a magical genealogy check done, you would find that like Harry’s mother, you are merely the first from a long line of latents to have enough magic to be able to use it. Most who think they are the first ever really aren’t they are just the first in their family after a very long time.”

“You are lying.” Hermione ground out. “If that were such a well known fact then Professor McGonagall would’ve made sure I got tested.”

“What makes you think she knew?” Jackson seemed unperturbed by her anger. “It’s something known only to a handful of people and I doubt they would want it spread around to upset the balance of power.

“Professor Dumbledore would have told us.” Hermione countered. “He’s in a position of authority to know such things.”

“Exactly and why would he want the balance disturbed?” Jackson went on. “By keeping silent and acting as if he is on the side of what Magical Britain calls the Muggle born, he gains their devotion and trust. They believe him and are willing to do things for him because they think he has their best interests at heart. I realise you probably are going to deny this even to yourself, but this is a hard lesson that you need to learn. Those in a position of authority will always do things that are in their best interests but the things they do may not necessarily be in your best interest. And I will give you a second piece of advice. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: History is written by the Victors before. Remember it. No book written about a period in history or a person is ever unbiased. They are always written by someone with an agenda, either to gloss over something ugly and make you forget it ever happened or to convince you a course of action taken was right or justified by listing it as being for the greater good.”

“You are wrong.” Hermione growled. “Professor Dumbledore is not some kind of Machiavelli.”

“Oh, then tell me where is my cousin? Given how Harry spoke of you Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley in his letters, I would’ve thought the three of you would be together as you explored Hogsmeade.”

“Harry got detention from the Headmaster.” Ron put in before Hermione could stop him.

“Hmm,” Jackson looked at Hermione, “and you still want to insist that Dumbledore doesn’t have an agenda? He seems to have with my cousin and at least part of it seems to be keeping him from meeting me.”

#####

Daniel Jackson’s return to the tower room he had just left a few moments before surprised Fawkes.

§Is something wrong, White Lord?§ The phoenix asked concerned. §I had thought you would be gone most of the day.§

“No I have completed the business I needed to do and I was gone all day.” Daniel extended his wrist so that Fawkes could see the watch adorning his wrist. Fawkes didn’t remember seeing it before. “Merlin left a watch in his vault for our use that will allow one to travel in time. I picked it up when I went to Gringotts for the meeting this morning. It allowed me to conduct my business without Dumbledore even being aware that Harry was gone.”

§Merlin was truly the greatest wizard of all time.§ Fawkes trilled.

“Yes he was. He planned for just about every thing.” Daniel vanished from Fawkes’ sight to be replaced by Harry Potter.

§Have a good day, Harry, Daniel,§ Fawkes trilled as Harry removed and pocketed the watch to avoid awkward questions before heading out of the door of the tower room to join Harry’s friends at breakfast and serve his detention.