Morning, not exactly the best time, given the fact that the people who were at Number 4 Privet drive arrived at three in the morning, and had basically collapsed onto the beds. They were too tired to do much else, even having traveled by military transport with priority arrangements to prevent normal customs procedures. That didn't prevent them from being awakened by loud noises, however.
As was normal, the neighborhood was up at about 6 am, getting ready for tourists, builders, and assorted food services as well as numerous actors and extras that were working at the castle or in the area. These people were awaiting the return of the King, and that was worth all the effort of 14 hour days, aside from the fact that they could afford vacations two or three times a year to where ever they wished to go. The Privet Drive Consortium had a gold mine on their hands, and they were not about to give it up easily if it meant a little hard work.
Giving up trying to sleep, Max, still slightly sleep drunk, went to get the newspaper, and was unprepared for what happened next. As soon as he opened the door, there was a gasp, and people who were in front of the house started taking pictures, with a lot of flashes. Naturally, he fell backwards, and almost fired on the civilians. He was able to hold himself back at the last moment, get up and hold a hand up to lessen the effects of the flashes on his eyes, “What the hell is going on around here?”
These words had an immediate effect on the crowd when, as one, the went to one knee. One person, who was the representative for the Privet Drive Consortium said, “Lord Stanton, father of the Reborn King, we welcome you back.”
“Eh...Thanks?” Max said, having forgotten that he had used the Stanton name when he was here last. “Err...Would you mind giving us a few hours of sleep, we just arrived back, and we're certainly not worth photographs.”
“Of course My Lord.” came the immediate reply, “We shall have someone ready to brief you this afternoon.”
“Err...Yes. Would you mind making it about two this afternoon?”
“As My Lord wishes.”
Totally weird-ed out, Max just closed the door. He went up the stairs sat for a moment, and then woke his wife. “99, we may have a little problem.”
All around Great Britain, alarms were sounding in various magical communities and offices.
When Albus Dumbledore arrived in his office and took one look at the indicator that he had been watching almost every waking moment for weeks since the letters went out, he rushed right back out the door to find Minerva and Hagrid. Although Harry's name wasn't on any of the envelopes, he was sure that the boy had come back. He had to come back. The world depended on the boy being able to vanquish Voldemort.
The spells that he had layered on the house since then to tell of young Harry's return had finally indicated that the boy was back, and he was going to be able to correct his mistake. And what a mistake it was. Not only had he left young Harry in the middle of the night with only a letter, he had failed to confirm that the Dursleys had lived at that address. It had taken five years before he had found out about that, and it was only because of the DMLE that it had been found out at all. The Wizarding World had kept a hands off arrangement on that area because he didn't know about muggle recording devices.
He had been fortunate last time, in that he had only been censured, fined, and lost two of his titles. While the ICW title wasn't good for much, and he found himself glad to be rid of it only after the fact since he did not have to read so much paperwork, and the numerous smaller titles, he still had the titles that were most important. Head of the Wizengamot and Headmaster of Hogwarts.
Now he had a chance to correct that mistake, and to do so, he had to have both Minerva and Hagrid with him since they had been quite...dismayed, to learn of his mistake. If he left without them, well, even his wand wouldn't be able to save his skin. No, it was easier, or at least more peaceful, to head there with them.
If he got them out of the castle immediately, then a mass exodus of people in the wizarding world would not occur, as Minerva was likely to call Sirius, who would in turn call his family members and Remus, which would, in turn, have the Longbottoms, which would cause a large amount of people to gather as word continued to get out.
No, a quiet little talk with the boy and his family would do. Although he would have to find some muggle wear, somewhere.
Well, he did still have those clothes, a suit he believed it was called, he had bought as a young man. He had been told that it was the height of fashion in the muggle world, although he would never get used to the flaps hitting him on his legs. Well, best get that first and charm it to fit him now before getting his two, well, watchers.
This time, because their were actual wizards in robes in the area as part of the New Camelot community, Amelia Bones was on top of the situation before anyone else.
Realising that she had to get there, and talk with Mr. Potter and his family before anybody else could, she apparated to the area at once and rushed up to the back of the house under a disillusionment charm. Too many things could go wrong with the situation as it was, and she had become suspicious of several members of both the Wizengamot and the Ministry in recent years, as well as learning a lot about how the world really was. Unlike Cornelius Fudge, she had a true working relationship with the Prime Minister and his advisers.
In talking with them, she had learned a lot that she didn't previously know about the war with Voldemort, or the fact that if the Ministry had asked, the Muggle government would not only have provided proper aid, but helped to ensure that surveillance would have prevented numerous calls about the imperious curse to be put aside. It was amazing how much she had learned, and had many of her less prejudiced aurors learn about modern police techniques. Just the information they had since the war ended and she had been in contact was humbling.
She knocked at the door and a woman answered, “Can I help you?”
Amelia coughed slightly as she had not taken down the disillusionment charm as of yet, “Yes. Can I come in and talk with you for a while? It concerns the Wizarding world and Hogwarts.”
99 smiled, “Come in and drop the charm. I take it that something happened with the castle being built in the background?”
Amelia blushed, “Yes. Harry is considered to be the Once and Future King of Britain.”
99 sighed, “Let me get my husband and the children.”
There was one woman in the world, or rather Britain, who went out of her way to cause trouble, just so that she could be paid a lot.
As a newspaper 'reporter' she had more scoops than virtually anyone else in the British Wizarding World, and she didn't care that most of her stories were 'enhanced' with details that outright lied about situations, or exaggerated it so much as to be unrecognizable from the original tale. Then again, the only reason that she wasn't dead so far was the fact that she had a lot of notes and papers hidden away that would be released upon her death revealing bribes, kickbacks, blackmail, and numerous crimes of individuals in 'True High British Society'
And right now, she had a chance for the biggest news story she would ever have.
The return of Harry Potter.
She was the first reporter on scene, and now it would be a matter of listening in to the visitors, and then find out where he was hidden, what he had done, and how the parents were able to hide for so long.
And a little enhancement here or there, like say a floating mansion in the sky, if she couldn't find where they were living, would go over well with her readers.
Then again, getting a ride into the house by riding in on Madame Bone's clothes was something she hadn't expected.
Everyone was gathered in the kitchen, and Mrs. Smart started the conversation once a light breakfast was on the table. “If I may ask what this is about, Ms....”
“Madam Bones, Mrs. Stanton, head of the DMLE, or the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. It's the equivalent the head of all the police in Britain with the Mugg...Normal police force. What I am here to do is brief you on several things that have happened over the past few years, and involves that great big building made of stone that's outside the window.”
Max leaned back in his chair as he sipped his coffee. “How did rumours of Harry being a King come about?”
Amelia rolled her eyes, “You can thank Albus Dumbledore for that. He's committed the worst violation of the Statue of Secrecy that is known of.”
“Ah yes. The Statute of Secrecy. Quite the statute, isn't it?” Max said nervously.
Amelia looked at the man, “You have no idea what that is, do you?”
“Ehhh...No, but then again, why would it matter?” Max asked puzzled.
The head of the DMLE sighed and rubbed her forehead, “It means that you can't tell anyone about magic. It's kept a secret, right up to erasing memories, from most of the non-magical world.”
99 raised an eyebrow, “How far is that supposed to extend?”
“Throughout the world.”
Harry laughed nervously, “Well...I take it you don't need to travel anywhere do you?”
That alerted Amelia to the fact that something was wrong. “What happened?”
“Ehh..Well..” Harry delayed until he saw the glint in the woman's eye, “Magic is well known in Japan by the public, and it is also known in quite a few areas of the US and Canada, and....”
“How many people?” Amelia groaned.
99 looked at the woman with some pity, “While it's not talked about, at least not often, magic is well known in Asia, and given immigration to North America, well, it's also well known there, without erasing memories. It just considered a rare ability.”
Amelia got up and started to pace, “You mean to say that a large part of my department can be used for other purposes?”
The elder Smarts looked at each other, and Max decided to answer, “Well, yes. Since you'll have to know, we both work for a Greeting Card Company, and a lot of people we sell to, including government services, know about the magical world. They were not pleased with Britain when they failed to inform the government of the insurgents in the country. I believe they were called 'Death Eaters.'”
Amelia looked at the two in front of her, “What could they have done? His magic would have prevented him from being harmed.”
The entire family laughed at the woman, “They would have been dead within hours if the truth was told to the government of Britain.”
Amelia was about to protest when she thought of all the people she knew in the government, and all that she was still learning. “You're right. If the Wizengamot and the Minister weren't so stupid, and the statute followed, He Who Must Not Be Named would have been dealt with in the first few days.”
“You don't need to worry about us telling anyone here about magic, by the way, if you want to keep it quiet. We'll be careful when we use our wands.” 99 said.
Max pulled out his wand, started to wave it, and then thought better of it, “Well we'll be careful when out of the house.”
Amelia collapsed into the chair, “Well, with the castle, magic may just well make a big comeback into the normal world soon. It all started when your new headmaster, Albus Dumbledore dropped Harry on your doorstep when he was a baby.”
Rita knew that she was in for a bonus, an award, and fame. She had the first part of the story, and she could always come back for more later. Right now, it was time to get this to the Prophet.
A beetle was winging it's way out of a crack and started to fly away when it was lit up with a bright electric flash thanks to the mosquito elimination spell that Max had accidentally cast.
Rita Skeeter never showed up for work that day. Or any other day after that.
After Amelia had left, advising them to go along with the 'Once and Future King' story, at least for the time being, Max took off his slipper and made a call to the Chief. “Hello Chief? Agent 86 here. We may have a bit of a problem.
“Do you know that they built us a new home while we were away from England?
“Well, It's a modest place.
“How about a rather large manor house?
“Would you believe a large mansion?
“Yes, well. Chief, it seems they built us a castle.”
Max had to pull the slipper away from his ear as everyone could hear the Chief shouting. When that was over, he replaced the slipper to his ear and said, “Well, it seems we actually have a cover Chief, just not the one you, or we, were expecting.”
Max really wanted a cigarette at the moment. “Well, it turns out the castles name is New Camelot.”
Max frowned at the phone, “No, they don't think I'm King Arthur.”
Max sighed, “Well, as it turns out, when we got Harry, everybody thought the person dropping him off was Merlin, with the help of a giant and either Morgana le Fey or Niviane depending on who you ask. They think he's the Once and Future King.”
Max could hear the chief banging something on his desk. “Eh...I could call you back later Chief, it sounds like you're busy.”
Max winced at the shout coming from the phone, “Eh...Right Chief. I'll expect you in the next few days.”
Max hung up and looked at his family. “Well, I have good news, bad news, and worse news.”
The kids looked at each other and silently they elected their eldest brother as the spokesperson, “Ah...What the good news?”
“Well, with this happening, we have an unbeatable cover.” Max stated.
“The bad news, Dad?” Zachery asked.
“Well, we can expect news agencies around, so we need to be a little more careful in what we do, in both magic and in our jobs.”
Anna, who took after her mother in many ways, unlike her brothers sighed and decided to complete the procedure. “And the worse news?”
Max gulped, “Well, the chief is very concerned about this, so he's going to be coming over to see us, determine what is going on, enhance the house and castle for safety purposes, and, well. We can expect Thirteen and Forty-four to be popping out of all sorts of places in things other than on the job.”
99 frowned, “That doesn't sound so bad. They do that anyway.”
“Ehh...Well.” Max said while slapping his hands together and rubbing them, “I guess that's all, we should get dressed now.”
99 and Anna frowned. Whenever Max got like that, it meant that there was something he wasn't mentioning. “Dad?”
Max looked at his daughter, a slight bit of sweat breaking out on his forehead, “Well...”
“Dad!” came Anna's forceful reply.
Max hung his head, “Twelve will be coming here as well, and he's been assigned to the three of you, and is supposed to go with Harry to Hogwarts, despite him not having magic.”
Harry frowned. If there was one person he really didn't get along with was Twelve. Just because he was a year older, he thought he knew better than everyone else. Arrogant bastard.
Albus Dumbledore and friends chose that moment to appear via portkey, and Max and Harry's reflexes went into overdrive due to the mental stress they were under. This caused confusion and a frozen solid magic trio as the rather unexpected reaction of the family got to them.
99 looked at them with a raised eyebrow, “Guest should appear outside and knock, not just invite themselves in. If Max and Harry didn't have such good control, you would already be dead.”
Zachery and Anna just shrugged and continued on with their breakfast.
Hagrid was stuttering, Minerva had a hand over her heart and Albus was trying to slowly wave his hand to get some feeling back, but all of them were being very careful of the family they were in front of.
Harry wasn't supposed to be able to use weapons, he wasn't supposed to be as paranoid as Moody, nor was his family supposed to be so immune to violence. He was supposed to have a nice, normal, and quiet childhood, not this. They would have been dead if either of them had decided it was in their best interest. No, this was not something he expected at all.
As it turned out, Max's bullet had smashed into the portkey, which had been in between the three of them and smashed the poor bottle into pieces. Dumbledore's hand was still stinging because of this, and it wasn't a pleasant feeling. Nobody bothered to say he and the others were lucky that the bottle, or the ricochet of the bullet hadn't hit any of them.
Harry's bullet took out Minerva's cane, and she was trying not to fall. Except, he wasn't aiming for that at all, and was instead trying to get Hagrid's umbrella. He had only missed by millimetres, but missing by that around was missing by too much.
“Missed it by that much.” he said as he held his fingers about a centimetre apart.