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Magic's Immortal

Chapter Text

And the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is….

 

When Harry entered the kitchen at Grimmauld Place with Tonks and saw a number of people waiting for them, including Dumbledore, he was fairly certain the interrogation about Adam was about to begin.

“Harry!” Mrs. Weasley began as soon as Harry and Tonks cleared the doorway. “How could you be so foolish as to leave the Ministry with a total stranger? Anything could have happened to you while you were with this unknown wizard.”

“Mr. Bronson is not a stranger to me, Mrs Weasley.” Harry interrupted her before she could really get going. “He was the one who helped me save my cousin’s life from the Dementors, after the supposed protector put at my relative’s home by the Order decided that it was far more important for him to desert his assigned post to go make an illegal galleon off a load of stolen cauldrons. There is no telling what would have happened to either Dudley or me, if Mr. Bronson had not been there, especially after Dudley knocked my wand out of my hand. Mr. Bronson also was responsible for helping me to get cleared of the charges for under-aged magic today.”

“Harry, how did you meet this… Mr. Bronson?” Arthur asked, before his wife could say anything else. They needed information and not the silent treatment they had been getting from Harry since they had brought him to Grimmauld Place. He had refused to listen when they told him they were trying to protect him and they did not need him refusing to answer their questions now because he was angry with them. “And why did you not mention that he had helped you before?”

“I would have thought the Headmaster’s spy, Arabella Figg, would have already told you about him and how he helped me with the Dementors, not to mention what he did to Fletcher.” Harry told them, then went on with the tale that Adam had drilled him on until he could recite it in his sleep, in case he was ever asked about their first meeting. “As for how I met him, you can thank the goblins. They sent him to speak to me since he was familiar with the muggle world, to see if I wanted to assume my duties as Regent for the House of Black, since I am now of age, and Sirius had named me as his Heir shortly after I was born.”

“Harry,” Hermione interrupted, “you are not of age, so you can not take on the duties of a Regent in the Magical world, yet.”

“Miss. Granger is quite correct, Harry. Magical law states you must be seventeen years of age and you are not… yet.” Dumbledore put in solemnly. He could not afford for Harry to realise that he now had control over his own life.

“You know that is not true, Headmaster,” Harry countered a disappointed expression on his face. “While I may not be seventeen, yet, the Triwizard Tournament and today’s Wizengamot Hearing insured that as far as the magical government is concerned… I am… and not even Fudge can reverse it, because of the old laws that are still active.”

Harry then turned his attention to Sirius. “I was kind of surprised to find out that you had named me as your heir a few months after I was born.”

Even though Harry had not asked, Sirius knew he wanted to know why and told him. “The Head of House Black is always male and despite my mothers insistence, my Grandfather never removed me as his named heir after my father died. And while I still hope to live long enough to have a family of my own, given the times we were living in then, I wanted to make sure that if something happened to me, that the Black family would have someone honourable leading it. You are related to me through your grandmother, Dorea Potter. I thought you would be a better choice than someone like Draco Malfoy. He would have been the only other choice given his mother is my cousin Narcissa.”

Harry nodded his head in understanding. He would not want Draco to be in charge of the Black Family either, if it could be avoided.

"Harry, you are too young to act as Regent for House Black, no matter what anyone says." Mrs. Weasley glared at Sirius. "You do not have the knowledge or experience to know what to do or say. Who knows what could happen if you said the wrong thing unintentionally, or if you accidentally allied yourself with someone like Malfoy. You need to appoint someone to act for you until you have been properly trained."

"And whose fault is it that I do not know the responsibilities involved in being a Regent or a Lord, Mrs. Weasley?" Harry countered. "Perhaps we should ask my supposed magical guardian why he neglected to teach me the things I needed to know to be able to assume my duties as the Head of my family or as Regent for the House of Black once I came of age." Harry looked over at Dumbledore. "Would you care to tell her why you neglected those duties Headmaster?"

Dumbledore said nothing.

After several minutes of silence, Harry spoke again. "I am not really surprised that you have nothing to say, Headmaster. You should also be aware that thanks to the Wizengamot's actions today, I was finally able to see my parent's will. And as a result, Headmaster, once the Dark Lord has been dealt with, you and I will be having a long discussion about what I learned their real intentions were … assuming nothing happens to you before then."

"Harry James Potter!" Molly screeched. "How dare you threaten Dumbledore after all he has done for you!"

"Mrs. Weasley, I have made no threats." Harry's green eyes met hers calmly. "I merely stated facts. Everyone in the magical community knows that Dumbledore and I are at the top of Lord Runs-From-Death's list of people to be killed. Given that fact and given that Dumbledore is considered a bigger threat than I am, at the moment, the odds are very good that he will die before the Dark Lord is finally dealt with."

"Harry, now is not the time to make jokes about the Dark Lord." Hermione chided him. "Nor, should you be treating the Headmaster with such disrespect."

"Calling the Dark Lord by that name is better than watching everyone flinch any time his made up name is said," Harry told her, "and I was not treating Dumbledore with disrespect. I was simply explaining to the Headmaster that he is going to have to face the consequences of his actions, once Lord Runs-From-Death has been dealt with, assuming he is not killed by Death Eaters... or someone else, first."

"Lord Runs-From-Death?" Sirius spoke up before Molly or Hermione could come up with a suitable reply. "How did you come up with that name for him?"

"Adam.... Mr. Bronson did." Harry told his godfather. "He was the one who told me that is what Riddle's made up name translates into. He also said he saw no reason not to use the English translation of his name."

"Runs from death..." Sirius chuckled. "It makes it sound like the Dark Lord has a bad case of diarrhoea.... Speaking of diarrhoea... I would love to see your Mr. Bronson in action against Fudge, given how he made a fool of the idiot Minister and I have no doubt he gave Fudge a bad case of the runs at your trial today. Do you think that he would be willing to defend me at my trial, once it has been set up?"

Harry handed him a piece of parchment. "Adam gave me a way for you to contact him if you were interested in having him do so."

"Harry!" Hermione sounded shocked. "How could you do something so foolish? What if that man placed some kind of tracking charm on it?"

"Hermione, while I may not be as smart as you, please credit me with some common sense," Harry requested. "I wrote the contact information down, not Mr Bronson. That piece of parchment was supplied by the goblin in charge of the Black accounts and I used a quill provided by that same goblin. And before you go saying that the goblins can not be trusted, I would suggest you consider one thing... The goblins of Gringotts are in business to make a profit for themselves. There is very little they would not do if there was some kind of profit in it for them. That being the case, if the assessment the account managers at Gringotts gave me is accurate regarding the worth of both the Potter and Black accounts, then Sirius and I control a lot of galleons. So I would think that would put us... at least for now... in the category of those that the goblins do not want to annoy."

Hermione looked surprised. Why would Harry think she was calling him stupid? She was trying to protect him. Did he not realise that? Without her help he always managed to get into trouble because he acted without thinking things out.

Before Hermione could respond Harry turned his attention back to his godfather and requested. "Sirius, when you get your meeting with Mr. Bronson set up, I would like to go with you. Adam offered to loan me some of his father's Defence books, so I could study them. He said they were really good because they helped him earn his Mastery in Defence Against the Dark Arts. He also told me that since I was able to cast the Patronus charm at thirteen, I should be able to make good use of his father's books. I figured I might as well take him up on his offer, given that other than Remus and Crouch Jr, who pretended to be Moody last year, most of the Defence instructors we have had were not worth the time we spent in their classes."

Dumbledore listened with interest to the news that Adam Bronson had a Mastery in Defence Against the Dark Arts. He wondered where the man had gotten it since there was no record of him attending Hogwarts. He made a mental note to confirm the Mastery with the Dept of Magical Education. If Bronson did indeed have a Defence Mastery then he would try and see if the man could be persuaded to take the open Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching position at Hogwarts.

Dumbledore knew he only had a little over week to find a teacher or the newly passed edict from the Ministry would insure that someone Fudge chose would be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. He could not afford to have someone from the Ministry interfering with his plans for Potter. He also needed to try and see if he could get this Mr. Bronson under his control, since it was quite evident that Harry respected Bronson more right now than he did Dumbledore and at this stage of his plans, Dumbledore could not afford to lose control of the boy.

+++++

Adam just shook his head as he read a few of the stories in the most recent edition of the Daily Prophet. He could not help wondering if the Prophet was borrowing some of its journalists from the non-magical newspaper the Daily Sport. The articles contained in the Daily Prophet were about as believable as the one he had once seen in the Daily Sport about a London bus having been found on the moon.

After the past two weeks, Adam had to agree with Garrick's assessment of most of the British magical community. They seemed to lack basic common sense, which was probably why they seemed to treat the drivel that was printed in the Daily Prophet as if it were holy writ.

Minister Fudge was a prime example of someone who had no common sense. The man definitely had not learned his lesson from Harry's trial a few days ago.

The Minister of Magic was still doing his best to try and remove Harry as a threat to his position and he was using the time-honoured tradition of slandering the young man in the press to try and do it. Apparently the Minister was under the impression that Harry could not or would not fight back against the accusations being made against him. And that if he did, those attempts would be slanted by the Daily Prophet to make Harry appear as even more of a threat to the stability of Magical Britain than he had been presented as so far.

As Harry's solicitor of record, Adam knew that he was going to have to take steps soon to show Minister Fudge and the Daily Prophet just how wrong they were. He decided he would start by requesting a meeting with the Senior Editor of the Daily Prophet. Adam was curious to see just how much the Editor was willing to endanger his or her career by continuing the slanderous attacks against one of the owners of the Daily Prophet, given none of the things they had printed regarding Harry were provable. He had a feeling the Senior Editor was gong to be in for a bit of a shock when they found out that the paper had been trying to destroy the reputation of one of their majority shareholders.

Per the goblins a company named Dwyn Mabon Enterprises currently held sixty percent ownership in the Daily Prophet, while the Ministry held thirty, and the executives at the Daily Prophet held ten. The goblins had also advised him that Dwyn Mabon Enterprises had been created by James Potter and Sirius Black, a few months before the Potters went into hiding and that per the instructions in the Potter's will a man named Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were also supposed to have at least one quarter ownership in the company. However given that Remus Lupin was barely making a living, from what Adam had been able to learn, the man was apparently unaware of the fact that he owned part of a business that the goblins had made quite successful.

Harry had inherited his adoptive father’s share of the company as well as part of what would have gone to Pettigrew given the terms of the Potter’s will, because Potter and Black had been the ones to supply the money for the business to be started. Under the terms of the Potter’s will, given that Pettigrew had betrayed the Potters, anything he was to inherit from their will or Dwyn Mabon, were to be divided equally among the remaining shareholders or their heirs. Adam had a feeling that Harry's godfather and this Remus Lupin fellow just might be willing to use their shares if necessary to shut down the Daily Prophet if they refused to stop their attacks on Harry.

Adam was mentally working out the wording he was going to use on the letter he intended to send to the editor, when he heard the rustling sound of wings. Looking up, he saw a barn owl, wearing the harness that indicated it was from Gringotts, settling on to the owl perch near the open window. Putting down the copy of the Daily Prophet he had been reading, Adam walked over to remove the letters that were secured to the owl's leg.

Instead of taking off, once the letters had been removed, the owl settled down on the perch, which told Adam a reply was expected to at least one of the letters.

One of the envelopes had the Hogwarts seal on it and Adam was willing to bet that was from Dumbledore trying to recruit him to be the Defence teacher.

The other envelope was sealed with magical version of scotch tape and had no house seal on it. Adam did a couple of wandless detection spells to make sure there were no compulsion spells on or in it, before opening the envelope addressed: Adam Bronson.

 

Mr. Bronson,

 

I would first like to thank you for your successful defence of my godson, Harry Potter, at his hearing. I have heard from various sources that you made Fudge look like a fool, not that takes much effort,

 

Adam smirked in agreement with that and went on reading,

 

while protecting my godson's rights and for that you have earned the gratitude of the Head of the House of Black.

 

I have also heard from several sources that you managed at that same hearing to get me the trial I have been denied for so long. That is the main reason I am contacting you today. I would like to retain your services to defend me at my trial. I am currently making arrangements through Gringotts to turn myself over to the Head of the DMLE Amelia Bones, if she will provide a magical oath guaranteeing my safety through the end of my trial and hope to have that taken care of by the 18th of August. I am also hoping that the trial can be completed before September 1st so that my godson will know I have been freed and can finally take custody of him the way his parents intended.

 

If you are willing to represent me, please send me a message via Ripgut the account manager for House Black and he will insure that it reaches me.

 

I thank you for your time.

 

Sirius Orion Black

 

Head of the House of Black

 

Adam wrote a short note, agreeing to represent Black at his trial. He also requested in the note that Black contact him as soon as arrangements had been made with Madame. Bones regarding Black turning himself in, so Adam could be there to insure nothing went wrong. Adam also made a mental note to arrange with Madame Bones that Harry, and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as well as Remus Lupin were placed on the witness list, for the hearing, once Black was taken into custody. They would be able to via a magical oath confirm that they had seen Pettigrew alive. The Magical oath would insure that not even Fudge could continue to deliberately ignore information that did not fit in with his view that Black was guilty.

Once that was done he turned his attention to the letter he suspected was from Dumbledore. And it was. Dumbledore was offering him the Defence Against the Dark Arts position.

Adam made a mental note to send something to Myles to thank the Unspeakables for their speed and efficiency. It had only been three days since he had spoken with the man and asked for a record indicating he held a Defence Mastery to be placed in the DME files for Dumbledore to find and the man had taken the bait.

Adam had no doubt that given Dumbledore's ego, the man expected him to be so surprised that the great Albus Dumbledore wanted him as Defence teacher for Hogwarts that he thought that Adam would fall all over himself to get the job and not realise that Dumbledore was only doing it to try and get control over someone he knew that Harry currently trusted more than him. Adam knew based on what Harry had told him about his previous Defence teachers that most had been a waste of time and space. Adam also knew from Harry about the supposed curse on the Defence position and he needed to get into the castle to find out if that were true, given that prior to the 1970's from what he had been able to learn from Myles, the Defence teacher's were much better and had lasted much longer, usually retiring, instead of having unusual accidents happen to them, like Lockhart accidentally oblivating himself after he had been found out to be a fraud.

The note that Adam wrote to Dumbledore was not a fawning one. In it he indicated that he would be available to meet with him at the Leaky Cauldron this Friday at noon and for one hour only as he had meetings scheduled with clients for the remainder of the week and that was the only time he had available.

Once he had both replies written, Adam sent them back to Gringotts via the waiting owl.

+++++++++++

As Adam entered the crowded main area of the Leaky Cauldron, he heard a surprised sounding voice off to his left call out his name. “Adam, over here!”

Myles Keegan who was waving to attract his attention already had food on the table in front of him. Adam mentally gave the Knight points for his acting skills. If anyone around him were asked later, they would be able to say he had arrived a while ago and had just started eating his lunch when he saw a friend arrive unexpectedly.

Adam walked up to the table and held out his hand, saying, “Myles, it has been a while.”

“Yes, it has,” Myles lied with a smile, as he gestured to the other side of the table. “They have been keeping us pretty busy at the Ministry.”

As Adam sat down opposite him, Myles continued on as if he were meeting up with a friend he had not seen in a while. “How have you been?”

“I have been keeping pretty busy myself thanks to that fool Fudge.” Adam told him, acting the role of a long time friend. “I spent most of this morning at Gringotts arranging for Lord Black to be placed in Ministry custody for his trial next week and insuring that he makes it to that trial… alive.”

Adam placed his order and while they were waiting for his food to arrive, even though the Leaky Cauldron was very noisy, Myles told him, in a low voice, “Since you did not ask me to keep this meeting confidential, I mentioned it to the Cennaire. He told me to tell you that depending on his schedule, he may stop by to arrange a meeting with you. We need to begin preparation to deal with that matter you came to the Ministry to take care of about a week or so ago.”

Adam nodded. “I had hoped you might. I have some information that we will definitely need his help to deal with, if we are to have a chance of eliminating that problem Fudge is trying to ignore.”

Myles was a little worried about the serious look on the Sword Master’s face, but quickly changed the subject realising that it was something that should not be discussed in a public setting like the Leaky Cauldron. He decided to give the Sword Master an update on what had been happening in the Ministry, since his last visit by interspersing regular comments with sentences in Gaelic. They both shared a hearty laugh when Myles told him about how the Rune Masters in the Dept of Mysteries were spending nearly every moment they could studying the runes he had placed around Cthulhu’s gate.

Once his food arrived Adam picked up his fork intending to start eating when he was interrupted by a shadow covering the table. Looking up he saw a slender, slightly elderly man who in the non-magical world could pass for being in his early sixties. Just looking at the man there was nothing remarkable about him, not even his thinning grey hair.

“Mr. Bronson,” the stranger’s voice was also pleasantly non-descript, sounding like one of those automated menu greeters on the phone when you called places like the phone company. “I am surprised to see you. I was planning on sending you a message letting you know I was done with the book on Ancient Runes you had lent me and to see if you wanted to come by and pick it up at my office or if you wanted me to return it by owl post.”

“Mr. Croaker, have you had lunch yet?” Myles spoke up before Adam could say anything.

“No, I have not,” the man identified as Mr. Croaker told him.

“Then would you like to join us for lunch?” Adam asked, remembering that the current head of the Unspeakables was Algernon Croaker. “I doubt you would be able to find a free seat right now as the place appears to be very full.”

“Thank you for your kind offer.” Croaker nodded once in acceptance.

Myles slid out of the booth and gestured for his boss to slide in to the semi-circular seat of booth he had chosen for this meeting. Once Croaker was against the back wall, he slid back in, placing himself between Croaker and any possible threats. Myles was not worried about anyone sneaking up from the side Adam was watching, because it would take a very cunning and powerful individual to get past the Sword Master.

Once Croaker’s order was taken, he got straight to business. “I am guessing that your presence here means that Fudge is basically doing his impression of ostrich and pretending that if he wishes hard enough, it will turn into the truth.” Croaker then switched to Pict. While to most of the citizens of magical Britain it was dead language, Croaker knew that both Knight Galahad and the Sword Master would have no trouble understanding him. “How did he survive? And since he has not been heard from in a long while I take it he had to use some ritual to regain a physical body. Do you know what the ritual was?”

Adam’s face took on a solemn expression, “According to a source of mine he made soul vessels. My source also advised me that two have been destroyed and five of them are still remaining that need to be destroyed.”

“He made seven!” Croaker could not believe what he was hearing.

“That is what I was told.” Adam confirmed. “We are lucky that he does not know that two of them have been destroyed. According to my source he spread the vessels around to various location and my source is going to see if he can get me the locations, but I was told it will take him some time, since a lot of them are under heavy duty wards. I was also told he has a major obsession regarding the Founders of Hogwarts and that some of their treasures were used as holders, so that may help us locate them, if he can not. I will send you more information as I get it. We need those damn things destroyed. As for the ritual, I was told by Mr. Potter he used the Flesh, Blood, and Bone ritual, with Mr. Potter being the source of the blood, his non-magical father Thomas Riddle’s grave was the source of the bone, and his servant Pettigrew was the source of the flesh.”

“Riddle?” Croaker had heard that name before, though he could not place it.

“Yes,” Adam told him. “It would seem this Dark Lord is a hypocrite as well as a fool. The name tied to the Taboo is an Anagram of his True Name – Tom Marvolo Riddle and he was a half-blood as far as things are concerned these days.”

“And how did you find this out, since it seems no one else knows.” Croaker asked.

“I found out from Mr. Potter,” Adam told him. “And there is at least one other person who knows…. Albus Dumbledore and I think he knew long before Mr. Potter told him.”

“I would be willing to bet that is true.” Croaker agreed then added, “I have noticed that manipulating old fool likes to keep things secret that he really should not, claiming it is for the ‘Greater Good’ and by the time someone finds out he knew the damage has already been done.” Then Croaker asked. “And does anyone else know about the soul vessels, besides the three of us and their maker?”

“Dumbledore does.” Adam told him bluntly. “I am not certain if he knew about the soul vessels before Mr. Potter’s second year at Hogwarts, but I suspect he did, but I am certain he did afterwards based on some things Mr. Potter told me. It seems that in Potter’s second year at Hogwarts, a journal made its way into the school, that Dumbledore chose to ignore.”

“What makes you so sure he ignored it?” While Myles had no love for Dumbledore, he had trouble believing that the Headmaster would violate his oath to the school and endanger the children by allowing a truly dark and evil artefact into Hogwarts with children.

“I helped the Founders set up the wards and unless they failed completely, which they have not or Hogwarts would be visible to Normals and it is not,” Adam told them, “the wards we put up to detect dark objects coming into the castle were then and still are some of the strongest available. For the Headmaster, until the dark object was dealt with, it would be as if a fire alarm were going off in his head all the time. I do not know how Dumbledore is not either insane or dead for violating his oath so badly.”

Adam went on to explain what had happened. “The journal containing a chunk of Riddle’s soul had been controlling a young girl all year and she almost died due to it draining her life force. He told me that a fairly solid spirit who identified himself as Riddle and also confessed to being the Dork Lord later in life appeared to him in the Chamber of Secrets and spent a bit of time bragging about what he had done and what he was going to do once he was free of the journal. Mr. Potter saved not only the girl’s life, but everyone else’s that day. He managed to stop Riddle by stabbing the journal with the basilisk fang that had been lodged in his arm when he killed the basilisk.”

“There was a basilisk at Hogwarts and Dumbledore never notified the Ministry abut it?” Croaker almost sounded like he was growling.

“There was, though to be fair, none of the Headmasters after the Founders knew about it. Salazar placed below Hogwarts as a source of protection against goblins or any other Dark creatures who might try and get into the school by coming in from underneath the castle.” Adam told them earning a surprised look from the pair then returned to the tale of Potter’s second year at Hogwarts. “Mr. Potter advised me that Dumbledore has the journal in his possession because Potter delivered it back to him after using it to free a House Elf of Lucius Malfoy’s. He also got a full report on everything that happened in the Chamber, so if he did not know for certain before that that Riddle had created soul vessels, he did after Potter’s second year.”

Myles looked over at his boss when the Sword Master had finished giving them a brief overview of what had happened in Potter’s second year, and finally understood what Jacob Croft had told him once. Jacob had warned that if their boss’ face ever looked like he had just seen a Medusa but his eyes held the fire of a hellhound in full and furious hunt, to find a hole, jump in it and pull the hole in after him, because someone was about to die and it would be very messy. Croaker’s face was an expressionless almost corpselike mask and his normally calm eyes looked as though the fires of hell were burning there. He almost felt sorry for Dumbledore…. almost.

++++++++

When Dumbledore stepped out of the fireplace at the Leaky Cauldron, he was surprised at how crowded it was. He had deliberately arrived early because he wanted to get an idea of who Bronson’s friends were, to see if there were any he could use to influence Bronson to coming around to his way of thinking.

He finally located the man sitting in a semi-circular booth near the door into the yard that let people gain access to Diagon Alley and the expression on his face was very intent as he talked to a man whose back was facing toward Dumbledore. He decided to do a little eavesdropping and see what they discussing that had them both looking so serious.

When Dumbledore reached the table he was glad that he had remembered to wear the ring he had enchanted with a permanent translation spell for any language, when he had became the Supreme Mugwump of the ICW, otherwise he would not have understood a word they were saying. The ring had helped him keep one step ahead of the ICW delegates when they did not really want to him to know what they were planning.

“The worst part is that idiot Fudge does not realise the danger he is placing the magical community in by denying Riddle’s return, not just here in Britain but every other magical community in the world. And this is aside from the fact that his inaction is insuring that the Aurors among others will not be prepared to deal with the Deatheaters, or the other Dark creatures Riddle will no doubt be recruiting before he comes out of hiding.” Was what Dumbledore heard when the translation spell kicked in a few seconds after Bronson finished speaking.

“How so, Adam?” he heard a voice ask.

“The Charter, giving the British magical community the right of self rule, is only good as long as the King or Queen of non-magical Britain does not declare it null and void. The current ruler of non-magical Britain, Queen Elizabeth the II, is not a fool. Given that the majority of Britain uses electricity to power and heat their homes… not gas, the gas leak causing an explosion story is not going to work too many times. She will start demanding answers. Also, from what I have observed, she is not one to suffer fools gladly. If Fudge tries to dodge or lie to her, she will declare the magical community in violation of the charter and declare it null and void so fast, it will make Fudge’s head spin like a top. And that is not even including the fact that Magical Britain is not following the laws of Britain, which according to the terms of the charter we have to or we all risk losing our magic.”

“What do you mean?” another voice asked that sounded very familiar to Dumbledore.

Dumbledore decided now would be a good time interrupt the conversation. The last thing he needed were the citizens of magical Britain finding out that their magic might be at risk, not to mention their sovereignty, if the issue with Voldemort attracted the attention of the ruler of non-magical Britain. There would be mass riots at the very least if they heard that the ruler of the non-magical world held that much power over them. He also made a mental note to have a talk with Harry about discussing Voldemort with others and telling them things they did not need to know, because that was the only way that Mr. Bronson could have learned Voldemort’s real name.

"Mr. Bronson," Dumbledore spoke up before Bronson could say another word. "I am here for our interview."

Adam took a look at his watch. "You are early. Our appointment is for noon, not eleven forty-five."

"What are you being interviewed for, Adam?" Dumbledore got his first good look at the speaker whose voice had sounded so familiar and froze…. It was one of the last people he ever expected to see in the Leaky Cauldron… Algernon Croaker Head of the Unspeakables.

"Defence Against Dark Arts Teacher." Adam told him. "The position is apparently open... again."

"Ah yes," Croaker nodded, "that curse on the DADA position is still active. Well, maybe you will be the one to break its hold on Hogwarts."

"I am a hard man to get rid of." Adam agreed. "People have been trying for years. Of course, this may also be Dumbledore’s attempt to remove me, since I seem to be in a position of influence with Mr. Potter, even though I have not known the young man that long."

"Albus," Croaker pulled Dumbledore’s attention away from Bronson, before he had a chance to deny that he was trying remove Bronson as a source of influence over Harry.

"Algernon," Dumbledore could not help wondering what connection the solicitor had with the Head of the Unspeakables.

Croaker leaned back against the wall of the booth with his hands folded together on the table in front of him. "We need to talk about things you have been keeping from my Department, Albus, that are within our area of responsibility."

While the Head of the Unspeakables appeared calm on the outside, Dumbledore could tell that he was hiding his anger. "I have no idea what you are talking about, Algernon. I have not encountered anything recently that should involve your Department."

"My department should have been notified when you received Riddle’s journal, two years ago." Croaker pointed out and though his voice sounded calm there was a definite bite to his words.

"I fail to see where my being given the journal of a former Hogwarts student is any of your department’s business." Dumbledore tried to make it sound as though Voldemort's journal was an innocent book.

Croaker leaned forward, his gaze fastened on Dumbledore. "Let’s quit the word games, Dumbledore, you and I both know what that book was and why that makes it my department's business. Next Monday after Mr. Black's trial is concluded, I expect to see you in my office and you will bring Riddle’s journal with you. I would also strongly advise that you do not make me come looking for you. Let us just say if you do, the results will not be pleasant."

Adam mentally applauded Croaker's approach in dealing with Dumbledore.

While sounding calm and collected the Cennaire of the Unspeakables never the less made it very clear that disobeying his instructions would result in a penalty Dumbledore would not want to pay. Adam could tell that Croaker was furious because Dumbledore had kept the knowledge of Riddle's soul vessels a secret for at least two years, possibly longer, in defiance of magical law. Most of those who went to the trouble of creating a soul vessel rarely made more than one, but a few like Riddle were just crazy enough to make more, not realising or maybe not caring about the damage it did to their soul and their sanity. Riddle's soul vessels needed to be found as soon as possible so he could be dealt with once and for all.

The laws in magical Britain and other countries were very clear regarding soul vessels. By law, as Chief Warlock, Dumbledore should have alerted the Department of Mysteries to the fact that one had been found even though that one had been destroyed by Harry, so that any traces of the magic used to create it, that were left behind, could be used to track any others that might have been made. It was one of the few laws that even the Darkest of families followed.

Adam also had no doubt that Croaker would use the information that the Headmaster had deliberately violated a law that ranked even above using an Unforgivable curse, by keeping information about a soul vessel from the magical government a secret, against Dumbledore one day. It was one of the things he had drilled into the Unspeakables when he first set the group up; never take anything or anyone on faith and always collect information no matter from what source, because you never knew when that information would come in handy.

"And on that note, I think we should get our business taken care of Dumbledore, before someone says something that might attract a lot of unwanted attention." Adam was looking at the Headmaster as he spoke, as if implying the man might stick his foot in it. "I reserved a private room for our meeting."

As Adam got to his feet, he told Croaker, "Mr. Croaker, it was a pleasure to see you. I will come by on Monday, as well to pick up my book, since I will be there as Mr. Black’s solicitor. Pleasure seeing you again as well, Myles."

While Croaker did not take his eyes off of the Headmaster, he nodded once, saying. "I will look forward to it."

"You as well, Adam." Myle told him.

Adam led Dumbledore to the room he had reserved, and once the door was closed behind the Headmaster, the man commented. “I am surprised that you are acquainted with Mr. Croaker. He is usually a very private individual and does not go out in public much.”

Having expected Dumbledore to ask how he knew Croaker in some fashion, Adam gave him the answer he had prepared. “He knew my father, Robert Bronson, who died in the attack on Grindelwald’s fortress. I have seen him periodically over the years. After my father's death he started to come over, usually to borrow some of my father's books but I think it was more of a way to watch over my mother and I for my father. After my mother passed on, he still came by occasionally and I continued the practice of loaning him books when he asked to borrow them.”

Dumbledore seemed surprised by this bit of news and also looked a little worried by it, which was what Adam had intended. He had no doubt that Dumbledore was wondering if Robert Bronson had been an Unspeakable sent along on the raid to make sure that his former lover had been dealt with… permanently. He also had no doubt that Dumbledore was also wondering just how close a friend Croaker had been to Bronson, given he had not been Cennaire of the Unspeakables during World War II, only a member given the information Adam had access to.

“I am surprised he did not recruit you for his department, given he knew you well.” Dumbledore commented. “Not to mention that you seem to be quite a capable wizard.”

“Your compliments are not going to win you any points with me, Dumbledore.” Adam told him. “If I agree to take the job as Defence teacher, all you will be gaining is a temporary employee. I am not one that you can con into being a blind follower of your Greater Good philosophy. In fact, from what I have heard about your so-called ‘Greater Good’ philosophy, it reminds me a lot of what my father wrote in his journals about Gellert Grindelwald’s beliefs.”

Dumbledore stood there silently, before commenting. “I can not recall a time when anyone has compared my desire to help magical Britain become the best it can be to the beliefs of the Dark Lord Grindelwald and his followers.”

“The truth hurts,” was all Bronson said.

“If you believe I am little better than Grindelwald, why are you even considering taking the Defence position, especially since you know about the potential curse?” Dumbledore could not help being curious.

“It is certainly not for the honour of teaching at Hogwarts under the “Great and all Powerful” Dumbldore.” Bronson told him bluntly. “I am considering the position for one reason only, so that the next generation of witches and wizards will have a better chance at surviving, than their parents do now because of what you have done to them. Unlike that fool Fudge, I know Voldemort is back and that he must be stopped, by whatever means necessary and so must his followers. To paraphrase a mundane movie that I am very fond of, if you hire me as the Defence teacher, then by the time I am done with teaching my students, they will know when to bring a gun to a knife fight metaphorically speaking. They will not die because they will know when to fight fire with fire and not with tickling charms.”

“Using violence solves nothing. It just creates more anger and hatred.” Dumbledore countered, not used to someone being so blunt with him. “I refuse to allow you to teach the children to fight violence with violence.”

Bronson folded his arms across his chest and smirked. “Then you will have to deal with whoever Fudge appoints. I know about the law he recently got passed. If you do not have a teacher to fill that position by next Monday, then the Defence teacher will be appointed by the Minister and will most likely the one with best the best suck-up skills, or the one he felt he could get the most of what he wanted out of, which is you and Potter marginalized and your reputations destroyed.”

Dumbledore stood there, the expression on his face looking to Adam as if he had just been pushed face first into a pit of dragon dung and did not know how to get out of it. It was very apparent to Adam that Dumbledore clearly not used to being the one who had no power or authority.

Resisting the urge to grin as the silence stretched, Adam finally asked. “So do you still wish to hire me to be the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, this year, even knowing full well that I will not be teaching them how to be pacifists? If not, then I have things I need to take care of.”

Dumbledore nodded. He would not have to worry about Bronson being a teacher at Hogwarts for more than a year because of Tom’s Curse. And he was confident the next teacher could undo the more violent things this man chose to teach.

Pulling an envelope out of his pocket, Bronson handed it to Dumbledore as he headed for the door. “That is the book list for my classes.”

Bronson was out the door before Dumbledore could tell him the booklists had already been sent out.