Chapter 1: Going Back
Rated t for teen
Disclaimer: all you recognize belongs to JKR.
Notes: spoilers for DH.
Harry Potter glared at Voldemort, refusing to curl up and surrender despite the fact that he was surrounded by Death Eaters, the fact that he was exhausted, injured, half starved, and had already fought a running battle. He didn’t have a plan, didn’t even have the faintest spark of a plan, but that was no reason to give up. Gryffindor bravery, or perhaps foolishness.
“You stand before me, captured, defeated,” Voldemort bared his teeth in what wasn’t quite a smile. “I shall not play games this time, Harry Potter. You will die.”
Harry forced himself to smirk and taunt his enemy. “Because you’ve had such spectacular success with that so far…”
“Avada Kedavra,” His red eyes seemed to glow as the curse left his wand.
There was nobody to sacrifice themselves for him this time. Held fast between two Death Eaters, Harry couldn’t dodge. He couldn’t attempt to invoke the priori incantatem effect again.
The green light struck him, the flaring and dazzling along tiny cracks in his spectacles.
With that, Harry Potter collapsed, dead.
* * * * * * * *
Blinking, Harry tried to figure out how in the world he had gone from about to die in front of Voldemort to standing in the middle of King’s Cross station. For that matter, the station had never been empty, but now… The ceiling seemed much higher. There were no people bustling from train to entrance. He stepped towards the train, and his footsteps didn’t echo. In the distance, he could hear a baby wail.
Looking towards the wail, harry saw something like a baby, but it was looked raw and ugly, as if it had no skin over muscles, and it was gaunt, with over-long arms and legs.
“Do not concern yourself with Tom,” the voice reminded him of Professor Dumbledore, but it wasn’t quite.
Harry faced the speaker, his hand twitching with the desire to pull his wand, despite his exhaustion. Just as the voice had been very much like Professor Dumbledore’s but not quite, the person’s appearance was not quite like that of Professor Dumbledore. The eyes were a different blue, the long beard more like the pale gleam of moonstone than the white beard of a very old wizard. “Why? This place… it’s not really King’s Cross, is it? What’s happening?”
“Ahhh, Harry, you do go right for the heart of the matter,” the not-Dumbledore smiled. “You see a familiar place, one that you associate with changing worlds. For you, the place you see is where you would pass between the magical world and the mundane world. You are here because it is a place between.”
“Not between the magical and the mundane though,” Harry murmured. While he was facing the not-Dumbledore, the wailing from the small shape that wasn’t a baby had stopped. He wasn’t quite certain if it would still be there if he looked. “If I get on that train, it won’t take me to Hogwarts, and it won’t take me to London.”
Harry felt himself shiver, and he remembered the fractured flare of green, Voldemort’s horrible final words. “Am I… dead? Is that how people go to the afterlife?”
“Perhaps. Events have twisted from the way fate intended. You have a choice to make, Harry. If you board the train, it will take you to the afterlife, to a place of peace and rest, where you will be reunited with those who have gone ahead of you. Or, you could go back, try to finish the tasks set before you,” the man smiled. “Most people don’t get to make that choice, Harry.”
Harry considered the choices. He could see Sirius again, see his parents. No more fickle wizarding world, no more rumors and battles and demands. No more horrible teachers or corrupt ministry. All he’d have to do would be accept death.
Let Voldemort win.
If he did that, he would see the rest of his friends again, very soon. They would all be killed. Probably in horribly painful ways.
“How do I go back?” The bones of a plan was starting to take shape for Harry. He had a wild idea of a way that he just might be able to manage the impossible task set before him.
“Focus on yourself, on your body. Remember where you were, and wake up,” the being that wasn’t Dumbledore smiled. ”I’m glad you aren’t ready to give up yet, Harry Potter.”
Harry gave a weak smile, and focused. He didn’t know if this plan would work. It was dangerous, risky… but if it did, he could save them. He could save the students trapped at Hogwarts, save the muggle-borns the Ministry held, save Sirius.
Harry had a long history of not asking adults questions. The Dursleys’ had tried to beat that out of him, with better luck than their efforts to bat out the magic. He seldom asked his teachers questions unless it was over his course material, and rarely then. Had he asked, he would have been told his plan was impossible. But he didn’t ask.
And that was why he succeeded.
* * * * * * * * *
His head throbbed in time with his heartbeat, and thick incense left him feeling smothered. Blinking, Harry realized that it had worked. Sparkles of candlelight reflected from the crystal ball on the table, and revealed a much younger looking Ron Weasley almost asleep across the tiny table from him.
Sibyl Trelawney was droning on about signs and portents, and how they must all learn to clear their inner eyes. Glancing that way, Harry could see a very young looking Hermione sitting across from a girl that he could almost remember, someone who had been killed before his fifth year.
“Yesss…” Harry could feel himself smiling. There was still time. Time to make everything better.
Chapter 2: 3 Ways Dumbledore's Plans Could Fail from Day 1
just a couple fragments.
How Dumbledore's plans could have collapsed from day 1.
Albus Dumbledore held the tiny form of Harry Potter in his arms, wrapped in a blanket that carried the scents of smoke and baby powder, a rather odd combination. This was the child that had defeated Voldemort, the child who had saved them all from a terrible fate.
"He must stay here, with his last living relatives. He will be protected by the ties of blood, and by the oldest of magics," the old wizard declared.
"You can't simply leave him on the doorstep, Albus!" Minerva's sharp voice was laden with disapproval.
"Of course I can, Minerva! He's sound asleep."
It took some doing, but Albus Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump and Headmaster of Hogwarts, convinced Minerva and Hagrid of his plan, and watched as Minerva vanished with a disapproving pop! and Hagrid climbed back on the motorcycle and drove away, this time remaining on the ground.
Depositing the sleeping baby on the doorstep with a note, Albus Dumbledore finished setting the wards, and vanished with his own soft pop, reminiscent of the sound of a bag of lemon sherberts opening.
Harry Potter awoke just after three in the morning, his diaper sodden and his belly empty. A few sniffles and whimpers failed to bring his mother, but his flailing arms unwound the blanket, leaving the child unfettered save by his tiny pajamas.
At fifteen months of age, Harry Potter walked quite well, thank you.
He set off to find his mother, or his father, or one of his uncles - Pa'foo, Mooey, and Pe'er. Toddling away from number 4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter was never seen again.
end Wrong 1.
Depositing the sleeping baby on the doorstep with a note, Albus Dumbledore finished setting the wards, keyed to protect the child as long as his mother's blood dwelled within. Remembering that children of this size could often walk, he cast a spell to keep the boy asleep for another eight hours and tucked a note into the blanket. Smiling with no small degree of satisfaction, he vanished with a faint pop.
Unfortunately, the blanket that was wrapped around Harry was chosen for the child's peace of mind, to sooth him for a brief trip to his Godfather's house. It was rather thin and provided little protection. The night was cold, leaving a layer of frost on the ground.
It also covered the tiny child, frozen to death on the doorstep of Number 4 Privet Drive.
end Wrong 2.
Vernon Dursley was not an imaginative man. He disliked imagination and dreams on principle, and it was best not to even start on his opinions of magic, let alone of most witches and wizards that he'd encountered. They were far from his idea of normal, upstanding people.
He should know, his wife's sister had turned out to be a witch, and she'd then gone and married one of those wizards. Dreadful people, filled up to their ears with dreams and fanciful imaginings, and waving sticks and muttering words and making things change to suit them. Probably not a single one appreciated the value of hard work and money.
Worse than that, there had been plenty of those senseless freaks wandering about all day. Not only that, but muttering about 'the Potters', and how this was a joyous occasion. Absurd, that was the term people used for weddings and babies, not early November afternoons.
Potter was the name of that wretched wizard that Petunia's sister had married.
The whole thing gave Vernon Dursley a bad feeling, one similar to indigestion. That was why when he returned home from one of his stranger days at work - owls flying about in the daytime, and strange wizards hugging him! He had given Petunia a hug and persuaded her to pack up Dudley and drive off for a weekend get-away. Somewhere nice and enjoyable, and far from those demented wizards.
So it happened that when the milkman was making his deliveries along Privet Drive, he heard a soft sniffly wail from Number 4, he knew something was not right. The couple who lived there had rang him to let him know they were popping out for the weekend and not to bother delivering any milk, so it couldn't be their son crying at this early hour.
He had no idea who had left a small child tangled up in a blanket and tucked into a basket, dropped on the doorstep of Number 4. The poor child must have been outside for hours! He couldn't imagine what the Dursley's would have said, but he doubted that such irresponsibility would have pleased them any more than it did himself. After all, his wife had just given birth to their own tiny son, and he couldn't imagine ever leaving little Colin outside in a blanket during November.
Nathan Creevey picked up the baby along with the empty bottles from Numbers 2 and 6 and made a detour, heading over to the police station. It just wasn't right someone leaving a baby on the front stoop like an empty bottle of milk.
He didn't notice the envelope falling from the basket to the ground.
Children's Services would not be any more amused than he was by this discovery. Especially since nobody along Privet Drive had any small black haired boys in their homes. To make things worse, the boy had an awful gash over his eye, one that was sure to leave a scar even if it didn't get infected from staying open however long he'd been on the step. The boy would probably end up in an orphanage, and if he was lucky, someone might adopt him.
Sighing, Nathan Creevey wondered what was wrong with some people.
end Wrong 3.
Chapter 3: Greengrass
does not conform with HP7 epilogue.
Harry Potter walked along Typick Alley, trying to sort out if it was worth buying a new pair of boots here or it there would be less hassles from people if he went somewhere else, a muggle shop or maybe a less accessible cobbler.
After Voldemort had been killed in the final battle, along with a great many of the Death Eaters that had been present, the Wizarding public's opinion of him had shifted firmly to 'brave hero suffering trials and steep odds to triumph and save them all.' Thankfully, it hadn't come with any new hyphenated monikers that he would have to suffer through.
He'd spent the last two years in a fairly quiet manner, avoiding press conferences, avoiding most of the big parties and events. Instead, he'd quietly taken the time to study for his NEWTs, adding OWLs in Arithmancy and Runes while he was at it. In addition to his actual formal schooling, he'd hired a tutor to teach him about the wizarding world, the traditions, the holidays, some of the beliefs and explanations for little things that Hogwarts hadn't covered. Oh, he knew that wizards didn't seem to ever mix tomatoes and lamb, but he had no idea why. Or why wizards held such a deep fear of muggles and mixed blood - not wizarding muggle, but part giant, part veela, part goblin.
Harry was pleased to say that he now knew almost as much about those simple things that ever wizarding raised person knew as a child ready to start Hogwarts. He'd long since lost count of the number of times he'd cursed Dumbledore's meddling for preventing him from growing up in the wizarding world and knowing this, for inflicting him with the Dursleys instead. Not that insulting Dumbledore or calling him a manipulating, self-important control freak who wouldn't tell anybody what the bloody hell was going on actually fixed anything, but it did make him feel a little better.
"P... Harry, can I have a word with you?" the voice came from a young woman with dark red hair.
Harry looked at her, part of him thinking that she looked very attractive, and that the deep blue color was very good for her. Another part analyzed that she had a wand tucked in her sleeve, he was fairly certain that she wasn't in a good position to attack, and he knew her from school. A few moments and he placed her as Daphne Greengrass, though he supposed she could have married since they'd been in school. "Daphne... of course. Would this word or two be better off the middle of the street?"
"I think so. There's a small plaza just down this way, we could sit on one of the benches for these words," she had a small smile, one that suggested either she was amused by something, or whatever she wanted was important enough to fake amusement and good cheer. There was also a hint of worry beneath the apparent humor.
Harry followed her, deciding that if she was willing to talk in the little plaza, then whatever she had to say, at least for the moment, couldn't be anything too embarrassing or sensitive. Either that or it was on public record anyhow... The view was nice too.
They settled on a small bench, each to one end, facing each other, the bench long enough that their knees didn't touch. She took a moment and then asked, "How much do you know about the ways the old families do things?"
"Not as much as I should, not as much as I'd like," Harry sighed, running one hand through his hair, "But a good deal more than I ever did in school. I did grow up among muggles, and there seemed to be a concerted effort to keep me from learning much about my family, the wizarding government, or wizarding history."
"But what possible benefit... never mind, I suppose that's something for another time. It just means that I'll need to explain a bit more," Daphne sighed. "My family needs help, and I think you can provide it."
"In what manner might I be able to assist you, and what is the problem?" Harry asked. He didn't recall hearing about any rampaging creatures or up and coming dark wizards.
"There were a few stories in the Daily Prophet that claimed your godfather was Sirius Black, is that true? Was he your godfather?" Daphne's expression was serious.
Harry nodded, though he had no idea how the identity of his now deceased godfather could have any bearing on whatever was bothering Daphne. "He was. I assume that this connects somehow?"
"There is an old agreement between the Black and the Greengrass families concerning the marriages of daughters. In short, there's due to be a wedding between the families within a generation or two, assuming a son of Black and a daughter of Greengrass and no other promises. I'm engaged to Theo, which means that I'm safe, but..." Daphne paused, taking a slow breath before she whispered, "I have a younger sister."
"I don't think there are any males left carrying the Black name..." Harry winced as he remembered the Black family tree. Narcissa Black had married Lucius Malfoy, and the pair of them had produced... "The ferrety git."
"Exactly," Daphne's expression suggested that her own opinion of Draco Malfoy might be quite close to Harry's. "I spent seven years in the same House at Hogwarts with him, he's not the sort that I want my little sister anywhere near."
"I thought there was something between him and Pansy?" Harry frowned.
"Pansy's father was marked and died at Hogwarts, just like Lucius Malfoy. My father isn't marked, isn't dead, and didn't have to pay the reprisals that the Death Eater families were stuck with. So my sister's a pureblood, five years younger than he is, and has a dowry..." Daphne let her words trail off.
"Five years... so she's taking her OWLs this year?" Harry offered. He had learned that dowries were still quite common in the wizarding world, and part of the reason why muggle-born and halfblood witches often had trouble marrying into older wizard families.
"Yes, and she's actually looking forward to them, the studious little Ravenclaw that she is," Daphne paused to shake her head. "Of course, Astoria's met the ferret, and would rather not marry him."
Harry blinked, trying to wrap his mind around someone actually looking forward to the OWLs, and sighed. "I can see the problem. What I don't see - and this is probably my limited awareness of wizarding tradition kicking in again - is how I could be of assistance. Kindly spell it out for me?"
Daphne chuckled, and then smirked, "Fine, I'll spell things out for you Potter. Your paternal grandmother was Dorea Black, who was the daughter of a Head of the Black Family, combined with the fact that your godfather was the last Head of the Family. I'm not sure if the courts have finished sorting out who should be the next Head or if the family's going under, but still... Those two combine to give you as strong a claim as the ferret, who's mother was a cousin to the last couple Heads. To be blunt, you qualify as much as a Black to marry a Greengrass daughter as the ferret, and are a far more appealing choice."
"You want me to marry your sister, to save her from Malfoy?" Harry blinked. This was definitely not how he'd expected today to go... "How do you know I'd be... okay, I'd probably be a lot safer than the ferret, but how do we know that I wouldn't make her miserable too?"
"You don't plan on passing her around to your pals, forbidding her from her books or a career, or practicing your dark spells on her when something annoys you. That makes you a substantial improvement," Daphne's voice suggested that she'd learned far more about the ferret at Hogwarts than she ever wanted, and she didn't like any of it. "You aren't bad looking, you bathe regularly, you have a brain even if you didn't use it as much as you could have at school, and you aren't a bad guy. At worst, you'd be polite and tolerate each other. At best... you seemed fond of smart girls in school, she's pretty, and she knows the traditions and such that you weren't taught. The two of you could work out quite well."
"I suppose that there isn't anybody at school that she'd rather marry?" Harry had a half smile, one that said that even he could see that if Astoria already had a sweetheart, Daphne might not be talking to him.
Daphne shook her head, "No. If you would... put a claim in, so to speak, there would ordinarily be a bit of a question of who had the stronger claim, but in this situation... a might have been marked Death Eater who was the son of a high ranking Death eater compared to Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, defeater of Voldemort... no question. You could get to know her a little, say that you are willing to let her finish Hogwarts, and... hopefully decide that you like each other enough to marry. If you had a sweetheart, you could probably marry Astoria for the Black family and someone else for the Potters."
"Two wives?" Harry blinked, thinking back to some of the things he'd heard in dorms and locker rooms. That was the sort of thing that many guys dreamed about... "If that's legal - and I'm not challenging your knowledge of wizarding tradition - why don't more wizards have two wives?"
"First, two wives means two sets of in-laws, it means you either have to have enough money and properties to keep them in separate houses or manage to convince them to get along, and there's been a bit of a wizard heavy slant the last few decades, there are... were more wizards than witches."
"Huh. Well, why don't I meet Astoria first. There should be a Hogsmeade weekend coming up soon, we could see if she's okay with this idea..." Harry offered.
"Potter, to avoid being married and essentially a glorified toy for Malfoy, Astoria would probably consider marrying one of the goblins that stands by the doors of Gringott's."
"Having known Hermione, Ginny Weasley, and Luna, I am firmly convinced that surprising a smart witch with something like plans for her marriage is a bad idea. Smart witches know lots of spells. I'd think anyone related to you would be quite willing to use those spells. I like being unhexed and attached to all my limbs," Harry gave a grin.
Daphne giggled. "I see your point. This saturday, noon at the Three Broomsticks?"
"I'll be there," Harry agreed.
As Daphne apparated away, Harry reflected that this was certainly not how he'd expected his day to go. It looked like the Potter factor of strange things happening to him had kicked in again, though it looked to be an improvement over trolls in the loo, giant snakes, illegal entries into tournaments, or Snape.
Chapter 4: Unfogging the Future
Rated t for teen
Disclaimer: all you recognize belongs to JKR.
Notes: spoilers for DH. a fragment that wouldn't stop pestering me.
Harry Potter followed his friend Ron up the narrow… he wasn’t certain if he was climbing a tilted ladder or a very steep set of stairs. Stairs or ladder, he went upwards into darkness and into a room filled with hazy bluish gray smoke that had a strange scent. Partly fuzzy, partly like rotting flowers, and partly like the funny cigarettes that one of Dudley’s friends had stolen once. It felt like the smoke was pressing down on him, smothering him. He coughed, fighting the urge to clean his glasses.
“So this is Divination…” Ron was looking around, moving towards the little round tables with puffy chairs and elaborate table cloths. Each one held a crystal ball in the center, with a pot of tea and two or three pale cups.
“Welcome all of you,” the woman was tall and thin, draped in scarves and strings of beads, with huge thick glasses over her eyes. “It is so good to see all of you in the flesh, though I’ve seen you all with my Inner Eye before. All of you settle at a chair, there should be a cup for each of you. We will begin with the wonderful art of reading tea leaves, though they often hide their messages in symbols.”
Ron moved to the table that seemed to be the closest to in a corner as you could get in a round tower, and Harry trailed along. Lavender and Parvati claimed a table near the Professor, and he could see other third years finding seats. Harry blinked when he realized that Hermione was there, sitting at a table with Neville Longbottom. He blinked again when he realized that while there were empty chairs, each student had a teacup in front of them. Not only that, but there were no teacups in front of empty chairs.
Maybe she did have some sort of Inner Eye… or maybe she’ d just been given a class roster.
He could hear her making small talk as people settled into their seats, tucking book-bags out of the walkways and pouring cups of tea. She had a distracted sound to her voice, as if she was thinking of other things, or other places. At the same moment that Neville’s cup slipped from his fingers to the floor, she commented, “Extra cups are in the cupboard by the mirror, do take one of the ones with the blue pattern.”
“Blimey…” Ron whispered.
Harry blinked, feeling a bit impressed. Then again, this was the wizarding world. He had a teacher who could turn into a cat, and another who was a ghost, was it so hard to believe that another could glimpse the future? “She wanted us to start with reading tea leaves. I guess for that to happen, we need to drink some tea.”
“Right,” Ron nodded, pouring some of the greenish brew into his cup and some into Harry’s cup. “D’you reckon there’s something special in this tea?”
“No idea,” Harry whispered. He took a sip, trying to sort out if the tea had a similar flavor to the smoke or if the haze was just making things taste funny. As he pondered that, he felt his eyes relaxing as light sparkled and danced in the crystal ball. Candles gave a completely different feel than electric lighting…
Ron lay sprawled on the floor of a dirty room, his leg bent at a funny angle. Professor Lupin was hugging a gaunt man in tattered robes with tangled dark hair and a scraggly beard. Hermione had backed into a corner, her wand in a white-knuckled grip.
Walking into the great hall for lunch, seeing half the school glaring at him, wearing badges that flashed between ‘Potter Stinks” and “Support Cedric Diggory: the Real Hogwarts Champion.” Ron was already at the table, his back turned to him as he talked to Seamus, gesturing with a chicken leg.
Watching a stunning blond girl in a swimsuit struggling to get out of the grasp of three robed wizards, her long hair dripping water as she reached towards the lake. Harry felt himself blushing as he noticed just how pretty the girl was, and how little her swimsuit covered.
He was in his bed back on Privet Drive. A woman in strange, leathery robes was smiling at him, her violet hair falling to her shoulders. A frightful old man with a peg leg was stomping around his room, muttering about ‘constant vigilance’ and ‘blasted dark wizards’.
He was in a stone room the size of the Transfiguration classroom, watching as a crazy looking woman in black robes traded spells with the gaunt man that he’d seen Professor Lupin hugging, though he wasn’t quite as thin and he’d had a haircut. The woman cast a stunner and he fell against a tattered curtain fluttering from a stone arch. He touched the curtain and vanished.
He stood in a tiny boat with Professor Dumbledore, looking over the side into an underground lake. The sight of a swollen hand floating under the water convinced him it wasn’t the Hogwarts Lake. As the boat moved forward, he saw another body, this one with milky eyes facing them, jaws parted to show broken teeth and a tongue with water swollen ridges, as if it had been bitten.
He was following Professor Dumbledore down a spiral staircase. At the landing, Dumbledore stopped, his eyes somber s he cast the petrificus totalis on Harry and covered him with his invisibility cloak. Professor Snape and an older Draco Malfoy came around the corner, with Malfoy looking pale and nervous. Professor Dumbledore stared at them, his lips moving. Harry could make out ‘Severus’ and ‘please’ before Professor Snape cast a green curse at Professor Dumbledore, a nasty smile on his face as the Headmaster toppled to the floor. It reminded him of the green flash that was always accompanied by a high, cold laugh in his oldest nightmares.
He stood in the Forbidden Forest, a large wizard in black robes with a skull-like mask holding each arm. A tall, inhuman figure with loose robes glided towards him, somehow reminding Harry of both the Dementors and the Basilisk, but worse. He’d seen the face once before, in the back of Professor Quirrell’s head. Voldemort. The evil wizard raised his wand towards Harry, a cruel smirk on his face.
Pain stabbed at Harry, much worse than the time he’d fought Professor Quirrell for the Philosopher’s Stone. It felt as if his skull was being divided, and he gasped for air. He felt like he was choking on the smoke, he couldn’t breathe...
“Harry!” Ron was pounding on his back, teacup dropped on the tabletop.
He managed to suck in a little air, and tried to wave Ron back. “It’s… I’m not choking.”
“Are you okay?”Ron asked. “Did the tea go down wrong?”
Harry tried not to move his head, which still hurt. He didn’t understand the flashes of things that he’d seen, and he wasn’t sure he’d want to. “It wasn’t the tea.”
What was in this smoke anyhow? He blinked, deciding not to shake his head for fear that it would fall apart. “I’m… What does your cup say?”
Ron just gave him an odd look, as if he’d said something completely absurd. “Harry?”
end fragment: Unfogging the Future
Chapter 5: Quidditch Conversations
fandom: Harry Potter set post bk 7 (no specific knowledge needed, could be canon)
if you recognize them, they were created by JK Rowling (I did create a few of the other Quidditch players and the reporter).
no pairings present in this fragment.
rated T due to a few bad words.
The breeze felt wonderful against his face, and Harry Potter smiled. There were streams of sunlight, broken up by soft clouds, the sort that had no interest in raining on you, and a gentle breeze that didn’t sting the eyes, didn’t cause your broom to drift to the side, and couldn’t blind the referee. In short, it was perfect Quidditch weather.
A blessing, considering that Puddlemere United was scrimmaging against the Holyhead Harpies today.
Harry spun and dropped about seventy feet, the sudden change disrupting the Holyhead chasers, causing Katie to shriek uncomplimentary things towards him, “You scrawny, hippogriff buggering bastard! Do you have any idea how many bones someone’d break falling from this height?! You don’t fly that close to another player you demented...”
It warmed his heart to know that Katie Bell had found a professional job doing what she loved, and she did a wonderful job of it. Granted, the words that she was shouting at him also warmed his cheeks - the girl… no, Katie was a woman now – Katie had quite the mouth on her. He wondered how much of that was all Katie and how much had been Gwenog Jones and Morgana Bulstrode’s influence on her. Not that it mattered.
With a grin, he called back, “Demented what? How about demented Gryffindor? Try looking in the mirror, Katie!”
“Have you lost your touch, Katie? Harry’s been doing things like that for years now,” Oliver taunted from the hoops.
Harry did wonder if it felt as strange to Oliver to be obstructing Katie instead of clearing her way. But Katie had signed with the Holyhead Harpies, a team that neither Oliver Wood or Harry Potter qualified for. Oliver had talked Harry into signing with Puddlemere United, and it was… well, parts of it were great, and parts of it made Harry very aware that Oliver Wood was still a Quidditch-obsessed fiend who believed in practicing at the crack of dawn. He did occasionally wonder if he’d ever get used to the blue robes, or if perhaps he should have tried to sign with the Wigtown Wanderers so that he’d still be playing Quidditch in red robes. Though that would be a silly reason to pick what team you played for in the professionals.
Being a professional Quidditch player was wonderful. He got to travel, was expected to fly almost every day, and nobody was supposed to be shooting spells at him! He wasn’t expected to hunt down dark wizards or evil dark artifacts that carried bits of souls, or fight monsters. Just fly the broom and catch the snitch… Today he was supposed to catch it before Glynnis could catch it.
“Reporter on the field!” Con’s shout had much the same effect as if he’d knocked a Bludger towards them – a sinking feeling, a spiraling sense of dismay, and a sudden drop in everyone’s mood.
“Oh blast, he’s from the Prophet,” Katie snarled.
“Does that mean we go see what he wants to try to keep him from making up his own story?” Harry asked, flying closer to Katie.
“We might as well give him a chance, though not everyone treats reporting as creatively as Skeeter,” Katie replied.
Slowly, the various Quidditch players descended towards the grass, with Jess holding the Quaffle and only the beaters still actively watching for any of the balls, and that just because the Bludgers wouldn’t know or care that the rest of the players were trying to see what in the world an reporter was doing on the pitch. Ignoring Bludgers could be disastrous though, and nobody wanted to get things broken in favor of paying attention to a reporter.
“So what brings a reporter from the Prophet to our scrimmage? It’s really just an elaborate practice, and you’d be safer in the stands,” Morgana called.
“There’s been some interesting proposals under discussion among some Wizengamot committees, and I wanted to see if the public could get your opinions on some of those topics,” the reporter began.
“One little problem with that,” Harry raised his voice just enough to be heard. “We don’t actually know what these committees were discussing. Only idiots comment on what they don’t know. We’d like to think that we aren’t idiots, just athletes. The two aren’t the same.”
“Fair enough,” the reporter spoke. He paused, and then added, “I’m Eth Bleigh, from the Daily Prophet, for those of you who didn’t know or might possibly care.”
“What’s the first thing they’re discussing?” Morgana asked.
“The Ministry’s taking about placing someone in Hogwarts to…”
Katie’s shout of “The hell they will!” interrupted his words.
“From what I heard about the last time they pulled that shit, they sent a pack of Death Eaters sanctioned by a puppet Ministry to turn Hogwarts into a combination Death Eater training grounds and muggleborn torture center,” Morgana growled. She sounded remarkably like her cousin Millicent at that moment.
“Before that was Umbridge,” Harry commented. “The woman who passed rules to allow her to search students mail, banned all periodicals from being received at Hogwarts, passed laws to forbid dissenting opinions, relationships, dating, fun… Made laws to permit her to do whatever she wanted, and tortured students after class. Class that she refused to teach on the grounds of we would never need to defend ourselves. Because Voldemort wasn’t back and there was no danger. If there was anything, we should call an auror and let the Ministry handle everything.”
“Because that worked so well for the Talbots, the McKinnons, the Richleaus, and the Chesneys,” grumbled Hesson, one of Puddlemere’s reserve Beaters.
“Right, a complete lack of confidence in the Ministry’s ability to protect the public, and less than that for their ability to improve Hogwarts,” Eth Bleigh scrawled some notes on a parchment with a small brown quill.
“Discussion about changing some of the Quidditch regulations?” he asked, glancing hopefully at Glynnis and Oliver Wood.
“If they’re doing that then they’d best keep them in line with the rest of the world. Hard to participate in a World Tournament if the rest of the world laughs at your rulebook,” Glynnis observed.
“Moldova tried to regulate Quidditch differently than the rest of the world, back in the fifteen hundreds. The Turks invaded them and it was over a century before the rest of the world took their teams seriously,” Oliver was gesturing as he spoke, and then admitted, “Though I suppose the Turkish invasion and the following vampire uprising may have hurt their Quidditch chances too.”
“As players, we’d rather be able to keep hoping that if our teams are at the top of our game, we might play against the top teams of other nations, which means our regulations have to remain compatible with the rest of the world,” Gwenog Jones explained before slamming away the Bludger that had been heading towards the group.
“That makes sense to me,” agreed Eth Bleigh.
Harry glanced over towards Katie, “Bet he’s saving the worst for last. He looks like he’s trying not to mention something.”
“That’s a sucker bet,” Katie agreed.
Making it clear that they weren’t the only ones to hold that opinion, Morgana demanded, “What else are they talking about?”
“There’s concern about the smaller population figures on the census as compared to before the War. Between that and a rising number of sqibs…” Eth trailed off, clearly trying to find the right words. “Some of them are debating some sort of marriage laws.”
“The bloody hell?!?” Katie demanded. “Who the hell do they think they are trying to tell us anything about our marriages?”
“This from the same people who insisted that there was no dark lord, no cause for alarm? The idiots who tried to say that it couldn’t happen? The ones who said if anything happened, all we’d need to do would be wait for the aurors?” Oliver scowled. “I don’t trust the Ministry to have any more say in my life than they have right now, maybe less.”
“Maybe if the fools out there would be willing to have more than one child if the first one’s a son, the numbers of pure-bloods wouldn’t be falling. Some of those idiots need to be reminded that it takes a two to make a baby, and they can’t both be pureblooded wizards,” Glynnis snarled. “We all know that they’re more worried about how many pure-bloods are there than mixed bloods or muggle-born. What about those population figures?”
“Bet there’s something in there about demanding children,” Gwenog growled. “That sort of thing can play hell on a witch’s career, especially those of us who play Quidditch. There are some witches who don’t want to get married, or to have children.”
“What about those couples who’d love to have a whole team’s worth of children, but can’t? Sometimes it isn’t a matter of willingness or effort, it just doesn’t happen,” observed Delin Marchbanks, the Harpies’ Keeper.
Harry thought back to what he’d learned of Tom Riddle’s mother, and of some of the ragged looking people lurking in the smaller allies. Some of them looked barely able to take care of themselves, how could they afford children? Since the man had asked for opinions, he’d best say something. “What about those witches and wizards who aren’t very prosperous? The ones who work as hard as they can just to keep themselves fed and clothed? It’s all well and good to say that more children would be nice, but what happens if some of those couples out there can’t afford children?”
“What about people who were married and lost their spouse to the war? Is the Ministry trying to demand that they remarry just to pop out a few sprogs?” Con demanded before smacking a bludger.
“In the muggle world, there are healers who specialize in helping couples conceive, and in caring for pregnant women. It’s a big area for medical research,” Offered one of the other Holyhead chasers. “Maybe St. Mungo’s or some of the researchers should look into helping witches conceive before the Ministry starts making their demands.”
“Good points,” Eth stammered, backing away from the glaring Glynnis and Gwenog. “I can get those questions published, and maybe the Wizengamot will address them…”
With that Eth Bleigh retreated from the pitch.
Harry just shook his head. “I hope they aren’t going to push through something stupid.”
While there were quite a few voices that echoed Harry’s hope, none of them tried to insist that the Ministry wouldn’t do such a thing. They’d already learned the hard way that sometimes, when you thought that the Ministry couldn’t do anything more appalling and stupid than they’d managed, they surprised you by digging a little deeper and producing something even more spectacularly awful.
End Quidditch Conversations fragment.
Chapter 6: Conversations with Malfoy
Rated t for teen just for general principles
Disclaimer: I own nothing that you read in the Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling. I do not own the concept of a Marriage Law either.
Notes: a story fragment that may or may not grow into anything larger, diverges from canon after HP&OotP.
When he thought about it, Harry Potter would admit that really only the first fifteen months of his life had been ‘normal’. He’d spent those first five seasons as the beloved firstborn child of his parents, not quite spoiled but lovingly guarded. He’d then been imprisoned at the Dursleys, where he’d been the Freak, the unwanted vermin forced upon them by other freaks, hated, abused, and forced to do far more work than all three Dursleys combined. The Dursleys had tried to make him no more than dirt beneath their feet, and he’d vowed to prove them wrong, to make something amazing of himself, and to never associate with them again. When he’d been eleven, he’d been brought back into the wizarding world, where he’d been the Great Hero, expected to be perfect and flawless, brave, courageous and perfectly Gryffindor, with occasional bouts of being the horrible scapegoat, the vile parselmouth, the crazed liar claiming that Voldemort had returned. He’d spent most of the seven years at Hogwarts hoping to find a way to be ‘just Harry’, a wizard among other wizards, not a hero, not a scapegoat, just… just a wizard.
He’d finally stopped deluding himself that the wizarding world would let him be ‘just Harry’, though he was well on his way to being, if not amazing, then at least quite capable, and most of it for things that he’d done. He was a very good Quidditch player, now playing professionally and hoping to be picked for the nationals. He’d gotten decent grades on his OWLs and NEWTs, though not phenomenal. He had a very nice inheritance, and was considering finding someone that could make him happy, someone who’d be happy to be Mrs. Potter, and live in a modest sized family home, and not go to too many parties, and maybe have a large number of children who’d probably have dark messy hair.
But seven years of having something try to kill him every year at school, the fickleness of the press, five attempted marital entrapments, three alleged illegitimate children – all of them with witches that he’d never even had sex with – and at least twelve non-school related assassination attempts had left Harry Potter just a little paranoid. Maybe more than a little. He had stayed in contact with more than a handful of people that he’d gone to school with, people who kept him informed of things.
He really didn’t like some of the things that Susan Bones had heard under discussion at the Wizengamot. Or how some of those Wizengamot members had been looking into census records and having closed discussions with Healers from St Mungo’s.
All of which led to this very unwelcome conversation that he was going to be having. Not in his home, and not in the other one’s home either… and certainly nowhere public. No, Gringott’s had a few meeting rooms, and they were willing to allow him to borrow one for a while. It was perfect – private, comfortable enough to talk in without being luxurious, neutral ground, and enough spells in place to enforce both the privacy and the neutrality.
“Potter. I must admit that of all the people who might ask for a bit of my time, you aren’t someone I expected to schedule in,” the familiar drawl could only of have come from one person, at least, now only from one person. Lucius Malfoy had not survived the final confrontation with Voldemort, though there was still debate about who had fired the spell that had killed him. But Draco Malfoy was still very much alive.
“Draco Malfoy,” Harry sighed. He hadn’t liked Draco during their years at Hogwarts, and he still didn’t like him. Draco didn’t carry the Dark Mark, and nobody had been able to prove he’d done anything more than hold prejudiced views, but… which was why he was still alive, out of Azkaban, and held a hefty measure of political influence. “You’re looking in good health.”
“Mmmm, so we’re trying civility, are we?” that drawl could have easily belonged to his father.
Harry poured two cups of tea, taking one for himself. “As you may or may not know, I hear things going on in our world. I assume that you also have ways to keep track of some things.”
“Of course I do, I’m not a fool,” Malfoy moved closer, settling into one of the chairs and taking the tea. “I also know that we rarely agree on issues under discussion at the Wizengamot.”
Harry nodded, biting back the sarcastic commentary. Harry’s efforts were for promoting equality, integrating people on the edges, and attempting to drag the wizarding world out of the nineteenth century. Malfoy generally supported the old families with their traditional pureblood agenda. ‘Rarely agree’ was an understatement. “I certainly have to agree on that point. There’s something under discussion now, in one of the Wizengamot subcommittees. I don’t like it and I think that…”
Harry paused. He didn’t want to ask for Malfoy to help. He thought that the Malfoy influence could be of a benefit, but he didn’t want to beg. Or ask. Or owe any favors. “I don’t think that you’d like the ideas that they’re proposing any more than I do.”
“Not quite proposals yet that neither one of us would like?” one pale eyebrow raised, and there was a bit of a smirk as Malfoy sipped his tea. “Now you’ve made me curious.”
Harry sipped at his own cup, and decided to give Malfoy a little background information. “It seems some of the members of the Wizengamot are concerned at the population numbers. Apparently, there are fewer wizards and witches alive right now than there were a century ago.”
“The War caused the deaths of many old families,” Malfoy began.
“No,” Harry raised one hand. “You aren’t getting it. The figures aren’t separated out into pure bloods, mixed heritage, and muggle born. It’s the sensors that detect a magical ability strong enough to train. The raw total of magicals in Britain – of all heritages and all ages – is only about three fourths as much as a century ago. If you compare the figures of the old families the number is even smaller. Closer to half, and that’s even taking into effect all the Weasleys.”
Malfoy’s jaw dropped for a moment, and he whispered, “Only half as many pure-bloods? Only three quarters as many magicals at all? But… but…”
“I said old families, not pure bloods. I’m counted as a member of an old family. There’s been more squibs and stillbirths. A lot of families only have one or two children, though some of that was from people getting killed,” Harry spoke again.
“That is… awful. Wait,” he frowned at Harry, “What does this have to do with a Wizengamot committee?”
“There are a lot of members of the Wizengamot who think something must be done, and that passing a law will help. The idea, as of right now, is to encourage the preservation of the old families, even if it means diluting the purity of blood. They were talking about mandating marriages, according to Ministry regulations.”
The few words that Malfoy said in response to that were clear and appallingly rude.
“That’s rather what I thought about the matter. I’m not going to tell you what you should look for in a wife, and I’m not asking you what I should look for. But I think that you’d rather not have the Ministry or the Wizengamot tell you who you’re marrying,” Harry paused, “Though I do suggest that when you marry, more than one child might be a good idea.”
“It is rather difficult to be a powerful Family with only one member,” Malfoy allowed.
“Part of the reason that when I get married, I plan to have a large family. I don’t want to stay the last Potter,” Harry sipped at his tea again, “Between my influence and yours, we can make certain a law like that doesn’t get slipped past without notice.”
“Yes, on that point I agree. I don’t want the Ministry to tell me who I should marry. I’d probably end up saddled with some middle aged awful pure blood…” Malfoy paused, and his expression changed to one of frightened horror, “You don’t suppose… please tell me that Umbridge is married… or dead…”
“They’d be more likely to marry you off to a mixed blood or a muggle born,” Harry countered, fighting nausea at the idea of anyone forced to marry Umbridge.
For a few moments, Malfoy was silent before admitting, “I think I’d rather marry a muggle born than Umbridge. Especially if the woman I marry is supposed to be the mother of my children.”
Harry nodded, once again in disturbing agreement with Malfoy. “It might help to find someone and marry soon, but I’d rather prevent them from passing any sort of laws telling me who I have to marry. There are some things that the Ministry and Wizengamot should stay out of.”
“True, very true,” Malfoy nodded.
Harry poured a bit more tea into his cup, and considered the fact that he and Draco Malfoy were in full agreement on something… two somethings. First, that the Ministry and Wizengamot shouldn’t tell them who to marry. Second, that Dolores Umbridge should never reproduce. “More tea?”
Malfoy nodded, and then glanced at the family ring that he wore on his right hand. “I wanted to talk to you about something. You seem to have inherited one of the old Black Family properties. A house on Grimmauld, I believe.”
Harry nodded. He had pulled a lot of the possibly useful things out of the wretched place, but he did still own it, and it was a family property. It was also something that held limited sentimental value to Harry. “Would I be wrong in thinking that you might want to buy it, or perhaps trade something for it?”
“If we can agree on terms that aren’t unreasonable,” Malfoy answered.
Harry settled into the negotiation, pleased that the important thing was out of the way. With Malfoy and his connections, galleons, and old secrets, the possible Marriage Law was sure to be shot down. If it meant selling Grimmauld Place… best not to let Malfoy know how little the property meant to Harry.
End Conversation with Malfoy.
Chapter 7: 5th Year, with Nargles
au 5th year - HP et all belong to JK Rowling.
Harry Potter did not feel confident about his fifth year at Hogwarts. Part of it was that things had started off with Dementors attacking him in Surrey. Then he'd been put on trial, apparently for having the audacity to not only not be Kissed but to have defended himself. He wasn't sure what to think about Ron being made Prefect... actually, he was quite certain that Ron hadn't done anything to deserve it and suspected that Ron would stuff it up somehow, but he wasn't about to say that out loud!
This year's Defense Professor was Dolores Umbridge, a short, round woman clad in pink with a sticky sweet voice. She'd been at his trial, making little snide remarks, doubting that he could cast a patronus, doubting that Dementors could have been in Surrey, doubting... well, doubting him in general. While he really, really hoped he was wrong, he didn't think she'd do very good at teaching students how to defend themselves.
Maybe she'd surprise him? After all, Remus Lupin hadn't looked like much, but he'd been quite capable, both with Defense and teaching. Professors McGonagall and Flitwick were capable in both. As for Snape... Snape was... well, Snape knew his potions, and was apparently very, very good with them. Potions Mastery aside, he couldn't teach a rock how to roll downhill.
By Wednesday, Harry was disgusted with Umbridge. He had been right - she didn't seem capable of teaching anything other than how to yell for help - and also surprised at just how useless she would be. Useless and insulting.
"Because if a dangerous beast is attacking you, of course it's going to wait for you to send an owl or make a floo call for help, and patiently wait for them to arrive before attacking you. If you have time to make a floo call for help, just get the bloody hell out of there and send someone else to find the beast," Harry snarled, fresh from his first class with Umbridge.
He couldn't even call it a Defense class. She was infuriating... and her voice reminded him of ant baits - something sweet to draw them in and also poisonous to kill them.
He hoped that this might turn out like History class - useless teacher, but a tolerable textbook. Skimming over the book, he'd been equally disgusted by the book. Students should 'be careful and cautious, lest they injure themselves with difficult and dangerous magics' and 'always remember to summon aurors or the Ministry to handle dangerous beasts or dark wizards'. He'd been so annoyed that he'd thrown the book against the wall, where it landed with a loud thud that drew offended looks from several paintings.
For a moment, he wondered if he might be able to salvage something by going through the previous Defense texts... the real ones, not the Lockehart books. The Lockehart books were making themselves useful back at Privit Hell propping up the furniture - one under the left side of the low shelves, three propping two of the legs of the desk, and one under the bed. It was perhaps the most useful thing that they could do.
Looking over them, he concluded the one from last year, which might have been picked by Moody, or possibly the Death Eater Crouch Jr, was still a pretty useful text. Which still left him needing new material...
"I can't believe I almost forgot," Harry shook his head, hoping to clear out the cobwebs and stupid. "This is a school, with a great big library on the third floor. There must be something there that I can use."
Harry headed towards the library, relieved that he was finished with classes for today. There only homework was reading the first chapter for the Pink horror, and that could wait. He wondered if she would actually test them on it... It didn't matter. The library, with its hope of useful Defense texts, beckoned, and the House Elves in the kitchen would be delighted to feed him if he missed dinner.
"Mr. Potter, what brings you to the library this early in the year?" Madam Pince's voice suggested that she was thinking of his father's penchant for pranks.
Harry stood straight and looked at her, considering just what her job entailed. "Madam Pince, can you direct me towards some good Defense texts? This year's seems to be about three inches thick on how to call for the Ministry for help rather than saving ourselves."
"The shelves in front of the window with the Welsh flag. Look on the third book case in front the window, perhaps the fourth shelf from the floor. The third and second shelves might be a bit above what you're ready for now, and the ones above might be better for a year or two behind you."
"Thank you, Madam Pince," Harry replied.
It didn't take long before he'd gathered a stack of books and laid claim to the use of a small table. He decided to try something that he'd heard as a way to test fiction books - check a section at the front, in the middle, and towards the back.
When he opened the third book to the middle, there was an odd diagram, with mistletoe and little things crawling over it. Further down the page were larger things, things with wings.
"Whaaaa?" Harry leaned closer to the book, curious. The writing was odd, with strange spelling and a few weird words, but he could make out a warning about Nargles in the mistletoe. There was also something about Biting Fairies nesting.
Considering that while the book might be wonderful, he wasn't very good at deciphering this sort of older writing, Harry wondered just what a Nargle was and why it was featured in a Defense text.
This was a school, with more than a few eccentric people, and Hagrid knew all sorts of things about strange animals. Someone would be able to tell him about Nargles.
end fragment - 5th year with nargles
Chapter 8: the Truth About the Grangers
I am not JK Rowling, I hold no legal rights to anything other than a couple copies of some books…
Rated T for teen
A tiny alteration of the beginning of book 6.
Voldemort’s return and the resurgence of Death Eater attacks was awful. Fear, death, destruction, ruined lives… These were the reasons why they had to be stopped. Why Harry’s quest to find the horcruxes and destroy them had to succeed.
It made no sense to Hermione why Harry hadn’t been trained more, given more information and spells to prepare him for this task. Why Dumbledore had just sat back and offered lemon drops and smiled instead of telling them what they’d need to know. Instead of helping the common people prepare themselves.
She’d decided that it would be too dangerous for her parents. They were muggles, how would they fight Death Eaters? How could they fight cowards who’d attack in overwhelming numbers under cover of darkness, cowards who wouldn’t give them a chance? She’d spent the last week preparing her arguments, ready to persuade them to hide when they returned from their Dental Convention at Hastings.
The train that they’d been traveling on had been attacked. Just as it had been crossing a river, Death Eaters had attacked, casting killing curses at the driver, exploding the railing and the support to send the passenger cars crashing into the river. Anybody who’d managed to swim up in the first minute had been hit with awful curses that left them either detonated or slowly bleeding out in the current. There had been a very few survivors.
Those survivors hadn’t included her parents.
She’d stood alone at the small funeral the Thursday before she’d gone to the Burrow. The dull grey tombstone with her parents reduced to a pair of names and two sets of dates lurked behind her eyelids. Robin and Juliet Granger. There had been so many things that she’d wanted to talk to them about. So many plans – they’d been making arrangements to visit her dad’s former partner at the dental practice this summer. Wendell and his wife Monica had moved to Australia, and they’d been asking for the Grangers to visit for ages…
Few people had noticed how quiet she was when she met the Weasleys. Ginny had thought she was mooning over Ron – as if! One twin had asked if she was that worried about the upcoming school year. The other had tried to offer her some sort of little pastry with purple filling. Harry hadn’t asked anything, only watched her with haunted eyes.
It almost didn’t surprise her when Bill’s wedding was attacked.
She insisted that she would go with Harry to search for the Horcruxes.
Ron was the one who asked, “But Hermione… What about your parents?”
She looked at them, Ron with his earnest clueless concern and Harry with his somber eyes. Tears threatened as she remembered the funeral, sorting the paperwork. Crying herself to sleep. For a moment, she closed her eyes, fighting another round of tears.
Opening her eyes again, she gave a trembling smile and lied to her best friends.
“I’ve memory charmed them and sent them to Australia. They think their names are Wendell and Monica Wilkins, and… and they don’t have a daughter…”
End The Truth About the Grangers.
Chapter 9: Fenrir
I do not own anybody that you recognize from the Harry Potter novels - my name isn't JK Rowling.
just a few thoughts on what could have created Fenrir Greyback, one of the boogey-monsters of the wizarding world...
Einar Erikson was the product of a long line of Nordic magicals. Most but not all of his ancestors had possessed some degree of magic, but once you got back beyond the mid sixteen hundreds, they’d cared more about their strength of arms than strength at wands. In his father’s native Iceland, he was considered both a pureblood and a member of an old and respected family.
Too bad that his father had been irritated at the long days hunting and trapping, at the long winters with mounds of snow, and the bitter cold. In what his father claimed was a reversion to the old Viking tradition, he’d crafted a boat, simple enough for a wizard, and sailed off seeking more welcoming areas. He’d made it to Scotland, where he’d taken up with a hot tempered and buxom local lass who was also from a long line of magicals, and settled into a halfway comfortable life with a bit of fishing, crafting little enchanted toys and trinkets, and using plenty of household and farming magics to ensure that he and his wife could raise their family comfortably.
They’d raised a large brood, with seven children living to adulthood, with two lost to winter and fevers, and one to the ocean. Most had been content to take up lives similar to their parents.
Not Einar. He wanted to do more with is life, to accomplish things, to find a way to regain some of the great battle-magics of his ancestors. To learn how the warrior-mages of old had made themselves resistant to battle, to shrug off poisons and hexes while slicing through their enemies with axes and swords. To be the one who unraveled the secrets of the berserkers and made parts of those abilities useful without the battle-rage. To find ways to enable wizards to rule over the pitiful muggles as things were in the days of old, when mighty chieftains fought and won their lands by defeating brave champions and deadly beasts.
Instead he found himself shuttled off to study werewolves. His father’s centuries-old magical heritage in Iceland counted for much less in Britain, and while his mother’s family was centuries of magical Scottish, that counted for less than wealthy and puny British wizards. Half-beasts and all bloodthirsty by the full moon, there were few things in Britain as reviled as the werewolves. Being set to study werewolves was often compared to being sent to the Centaur Liaison Office.
But as he studied them, Einar began to appreciate the sheer strength and resilience of a transformed werewolf. They could shrug off poisons, unless made with silver or aconite, and it took a powerful hex to do more than catch their attention. And their jaws could bite through the leg bone of an ox! Such power, such ferocity…
Thinking back to the old stories, Einar remembered that the ancient berserkers had worn the pelts of wolves as often as bears. He might be able to learn a few things with this… Perhaps some sort of old ritual, with runes and the sacrifice of the animal? Blood, sacrifice and runes had been important in the old Nordic traditions.
Einar began to appreciate his work more than he’d ever expected when he’d been given the project. Due to his frequent requests for older studies about the effects of various poisons and hexes, he’d made the acquaintance of Scylla Westmarch, a woman who bore more than a passing resemblance to the Malfoy family. Perhaps not surprising, as there had been rumors that her mother had been the previous Malfoy family head’s mistress. These rumors were never officially confirmed, but more telling was the fact that they were never officially denied.
She was attractive in the same way as new-fallen snow, and just as cool. Always calm, as calculating and precise as anybody could ask, and slotted into a tedious job minding records lest her abilities or cool demeanor offend someone with more money. Several people had whispered that the current Malfoy and his sister, now married to one of the Rookwood Family, both disliked Scylla Westmarch, while a few others whispered that such dislike seemed mutual.
He’d never forget the fifth of June in 1903, when she joined him for lunch. He was unwrapping his lunch from waxed paper when she gave a cool smile and spoke, “Einar, I think you and I should marry. You’re not unattractive, not related to me as closely as most of the British wizards, and my calculations suggest that we could produce healthy children with strong magical abilities.”
When a lovely witch that could easily fill in for the snow-fairies of lore suggested marriage and children, it would take a far, far better reason than not expecting such a proposal to say no. They had a small wedding at the fall equinox, and she confirmed that she was expecting their first child by spring.
Now Einar had a more specific goal. He would unravel the secrets of the ancient berserkers for the sake of his sons, who would become powerful battle-mages. He became even more brutal in his testing. Many in the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Beasts thought that this was a good way to reduce the numbers of werewolves – they could even contribute something to the world.
One of the things that he learned was that unlike the rare animagi, who kept their own minds regardless of wearing the shape of man or beast, the werewolves developed a wolf-mind. When the moon changed them, the wolf-mind took over from the mind of the witch or wizard.
A combination of strong poisons, unbreakable ropes and a legilimancer gave him the depressing news that most wolves were followers. The reason that they were so dangerous was that they would only follow a stronger predator, and wizards and witches smelled like prey. The stronger wolf-minds seemed to belong to those who had been bitten younger. He wondered if it was a reflection of the wolf growing stronger over time, or a matter of the wolf growing with the body. If the second, then a child could grow to become a powerful, strong willed wolf. A leader among wolves… and among men.
To Einar’s frustration, he could not seem to find a way to test this theory. The Ministry kept denying his request, even when he promised to only use muggles as his test subjects. Scylla was quite sympathetic to his troubles. The fact that they already had two healthy sons and a daughter, with another child on the way while her maybe-half brother had been married for ten years and had no child at all made him feel even better.
He had no idea how much that same fact burned at Bellerophon Malfoy. How he seethed and raged that his bastard half sister had produced three children, when he hadn’t, to the best of his knowledge, fathered any children, and his only surviving sister had struggled to bear one sickly daughter. Had he known how Scylla’s growing family burned at her brother, in addition to being smug about it, he would have realized that Bellerophon Malfoy wasn’t the sort to be honest enough to make a direct move.
Instead, Bellerophon Malfoy sent a werewolf to attack Scylla and the children on the full moon in March.
He would never know just how close his plan had come to success. Their daughter would have nightmares about wolves and teeth, and Scylla would bear scars over her left arm from the werewolf’s claws. The werewolf had bit their oldest son, and Fenrir would carry scars over his shoulder – had the wolf bit just a little more towards his neck, he would likely have bled to death.
Scylla sent the werewolf’s head to her brother in a basket. She’d cast some preserving spells on it and wrapped it in a red cloak with a hood, a cold smirk on her face the whole time.
Einar and Scylla didn’t need any words at all to agree that this was on one hand, a tremendous opportunity and at the same time, far too costly. They had no intention of letting the Ministry know what had happened, not about the werewolf attacking them, or Scylla’s enraged defense of her children that had permitted her to slay the beast. While it would serve as a potent reminder not to threaten a witch’s children, the danger of exposing Fenrir’s probable new condition when he was too young to defend himself was too great.
They made sure that Fenrir knew why he had to keep his condition a secret from the cowardly weak wizards. And that he wasn’t old enough to rule over the weak willed werewolves. He would grow up knowing that many of the wizards of Britain were weak, soft and lazy from their wealth and magic, unwilling to work hard for what they wanted.
Studying Fenrir in secret had permitted Einar to learn that his son’s wolfen half was far stronger, far bolder than that of most werewolves. He suspected that it was from having his nature changed while he was still so young, and had told his son as much.
Fenrir’s thoughtful expression would have given other men nightmares.
The year that he turned sixteen, Fenrir left home, a cold, predatory smile on his face. He intended to make his own place in the world, a place won by his efforts. As much as he looked like his father, his words showed that he was truly his mother’s son .
“I will be a king among wolves, Father. I will bring terror to the hearts of the lazy wizards, my mother. I will teach them all why the moon and the night are feared.”
It wasn’t long before a name started being whispered among the werewolves. Fenrir. Whispers that Fenrir was strong, brutal and cunning. Rumors that he had gathered himself a pack.
For his twentieth birthday, Fenrir led his pack against the home of Bartholomew Umbridge. The weak wizard and his pitiful wife had screamed and tried to run, forgetting that they were magical. Forgetting that they should have learned to apparate. Or that if they had barred the door, they might have been able to escape by the Floo. The older daughter and the younger son had been caught and bitten, though not killed. At fifteen and twelve they might be young enough to become powerful wolves.
The younger daughter, little Dolores, had shut herself in a closet, refusing to let her brother in to hide in the maybe-safety. Such a cowardly little worm didn’t deserve the power of a wolf. Though being torn to pieces might be fitting for trying to trap her siblings outside to perish…
Fenrir ordered his wolves to take the bitten children with them. If they survived, they would become part of his pack. If they died… If they died before moonset, the pack would dine on them as they had dined on the parents.
Fenrir, now called Greyback, was becoming a name to be feared. His pack held only wolves of strong will, or the young and recently turned, and they all obeyed him. His father’s words of the strength of his ancestors still echoed in his ears, along with tales of heroes winning power by battle and killing monsters, such as sea serpents and the dragon Fafnir. From his mother he had learned cunning and the value of a good plan. He wondered if his parents would be proud of what he’d become…
Chapter 10: Witches Meeting
Au-ish set approximately around OotP or HBP and ignores those books entirely.
Let’s call this one rated t for teen
I hold no legal rights to anything you recognize from the Harry Potter books – I am NOT JKR.
Several of the witches in the room were looking around in puzzlement, with one dressed in green trimmed robes murmuring spells that would let her scan for concealed passages. A pair in red trimmed robes were glaring about, muttering ‘someone had best let them out before they were very, very sorry’.
Luna looked around, trying to figure out where they were and why they were gathered here. There were almost two dozen witches in the room… Witches. Only witches had been brought here, wherever ‘here’ was.
“My father will not stand for this sort of behavior!” snarled Pansy Parkinson, a Slytherin from the year ahead of Luna.
Luna sighed, used to hearing girls who didn’t want to fight on their own behalf threatening people with their fathers or brothers… Often a sign of those who weren’t brave, cunning, or skilled enough to take revenge without depending on brute power. Why, just the other day, Marietta was threatening someone with her family connections…
“You aren’t the only one who’s family will be furious!” snapped a Gryffindor girl with short hair. Luna thought that maybe she was one of the Quidditch players.
None of them were very young. Nobody had been brought here from the first few years. Luna recognized Miho, a quiet Ravenclaw the year below her, now Fourth year. She didn’t think anybody here was younger than Miho, not by school year, though there might be several months age difference… Miho had been celebrating her birthday in the spring last year, with gifts of pretty scarves and painted fans. Most of the girls here were from the years ahead of Luna, either in their Sixth or Seventh year.
Old enough to be planning out their futures. Of course, their families would want to help with those plans… their families… she was getting a suspicion.
“Do any of you have brothers?” Luna asked.
“I.. what?” one of the Slytherin girls was frowning at Luna. “What are you going on about?”
“I’m a Ravenclaw, there must be a reason why all of us have been brought here, since I didn’t walk into this room, and it doesn’t sound like some of the others wanted to be here either,” Luna replied. “We were brought here. The obvious questions are who did this, why did they bring us here, and what do they intend to do?”
“There’s nothing in common! She’s… she’s a blood-traitor, and I’m…”
“A treacherous, backstabbing…” one of the other girls started to snarl, before someone clapped a hand over her mouth.
“There are people here from all four Houses, and from at Fourth year up. People of varying levels of political power and a vast assortment of political leanings,” Luna tried to put things tactfully.
“The common factor can’t be our sorting, the political leanings of our families, or the coins in our family’s vaults, though….” For a moment, Luna wondered how many of these girls had ridden the Gringott’s carts, and of those, how many had seen the dancing Heliopaths hidden in the lower tunnels.
“While there are some people here with friends, most of us don’t know each other well enough to call someone our good friend,” offered a Hufflepuff girl.
“I had a brother.” One Slytherin girl mused. “He was killed when I was a child.”
“Lovegood might be on to something there. I know Parkinson doesn’t have a brother. Bulstrode and Davis both do, and they aren’t here with us,” the girl wore the green trimmed robes of a Slytherin. “I also know that Bones doesn’t have a brother and she’s here, but her friend Abbot has two and is elsewhere, probably still asleep in the Hufflepuff dorms.”
“I have one, but he’s only three and he might not have magic at all,” offered one of the Gryffindors. At some of the looks she was given, she shrugged, “I’m a half-blood. Dad’s a muggle.”
“None of you have magical brothers to pass on your family heritages,” whispered a voice.
Luna blinked, thinking that the voice had done exactly what Professor Snape tried to do when he started the terms. It hadn’t been loud, but everyone had heard, had paid careful attention. She wasn’t certain it was at all human either.
“Is that why we’ve been brought here?” demanded one of the Gryffindor girls.
“Aye, you need to take account for that in your plans for the future,” the voice came again.
Luna blinked, wondering where this ghost had been for the last five years. She was slender, and carried herself as if she were tall, though she was actually only a few inches taller than Luna. Her hair looked to have been dark, streaking with grey that was woven through her braid. Despite the imperious way that the ghost woman carried herself, she was dressed in a simple dark gown. Something about her looked a bit familiar…
“There are some families that pass their lore and trace their line from mother to daughter. Those of you from such families may already know some of these things. Others are from families that would prefer sons. All of you are daughters and heirs to familial magics.”
“Is that supposed to help us?” asked a Hufflepuff. “When I marry, my children will have my husband’s name, not the name of my family.”
“In my day, there were ways to wed and bring the man into the woman’s family instead of the other way around,” the ghost replied. “Though this was normally easier to persuade them into doing if they were younger sons, or had no family inheritance to worry about.”
“I think those ways may have fallen out of favor,” suggested a Seventh year Ravenclaw named Berridge.
“I also knew of more than a few stubborn witches who did not actually wed. They decided not to give any man that much hold over them, instead just taking lovers to father their children.”
Luna frowned at the confidence in the woman’s voice as she mentioned that idea. “Were you one of those women?”
“But… but why not?” stammered someone in the back.
“When I was young, none of my suitors were charming enough to pull me from my studies. When I was older, none of them could offer me anything enticing enough to stay with them.”
Luna could feel herself blushing even as she wondered what sort of offers had been made. Had they offered luxurious homes, with beds of furs and velvet? Libraries full of rare texts and scrolls? Heaps of silver, gold and gems? Goblin-wrought ornaments? Passion and skills in the bedroom? Had any of them offered true passion and love?
“On the other hand, Enna just wanted the variety of taking a new lover whenever she felt like it,” the ghost mused. “It was a habit she kept up almost until her hundredth birthday.”
“Without a husband, any children would carry our name.” This was from the same Gryffindor girl who had announced that she was a half blood.
“Or without an actual marriage, several of us could share a good man instead of having to settle for a pillock like Mum did,” mused one of the Hufflepuffs.
“By ancient tradition, a witch who can support herself and her family need not even name a father for her children. Or fathers. Many witches used their charms… and their potions, mind you, to keep local rulers pleased with them or fearful of their skills. With enough power and influence, nobody will act against such a witch. “I have been assured that none have dared to set laws against such a thing.”
“Of course, if you don’t name a father for your children, they can only inherit from your own holdings.”
“Exactly what are you suggesting we do, madam ghost?” asked the Slytherin who had pointed out the absence of Bulstrode and Davis… Her name was something about Green.
“I am attempting to make certain that you ladies are aware of your situations and your options. Once you know your choices, you can research them, apply your choices with courage or cunning, and decide exactly what sort of future you want. You can pick your future instead of letting someone else choose for you.”
The ghost smiled, and drifted through a wall, which resolved itself into a door.
Luna smiled and nodded, already letting her mind spin out various possibilities. She didn’t speak the words, but she decided that she should really find a way to thank Lady Ravenclaw for this. It could be just the way to spend a little quality time with a certain wizard… And she should really make a point to live up to her family name. Lovegood meant she should hold herself to a higher standard – it wasn’t as if she was Luna Loveacceptably or Luna Likewell, or even Luna Loveswithenthusuasmbutnoskill.
End Witches Meeting.
Chapter 11: Do Over Life
The mandatory re-set for life idea. Goes from Deathly Hallows.
I don’t own anything from the pages of any Harry Potter book.
His miserable life flickered before his eyes. Suffering, abuse from his perfectly wretched family, outcast at school… Imperiled at the so-called safest place in Britain by monsters, and then watching as the insufferable brat who’d tried to kill him was sent away with a wink and a feeble ‘now don’t do that again’. Thinking that he had a couple close friends that he could count on, a few people willing to at least listen when things were blatantly awful and unfair. His single most selfless and selfish act of stupidity, when in a desperate, foolish gamble to try to keep his beloved redhead safe from awful wizards he’d pushed her away… how telling himself that it was for her own good hadn’t made it hurt less to see the pain in her eyes, to see her in someone else’s arms…
The suffering, misery and curses after, when he’d thought he could achieve his dreams.
Betrayal from those that he’d thought were his friends.
Dying alone and in pain, having failed at his task, failed to ensure the death of the most evil wizard in Britain’s recent history. Failed to ensure Voldemort’s demise.
His life had been pain, suffering, wretched isolation, and failure.
Looking down at his body, he could recall everything. He could remember his every mistake, every opportunity that he’d bungled, his every wretched attempt to make things better, and see the way that most of those had gone wrong.
And he could see the way that those who’d been in a position to help had failed him.
“I don’t know if I could have buggered things up more if I’d been trying,” he muttered. Furious, he kicked out, his foot going right through his own head without the slightest hesitation.
“You’ll have to do better than that, m’boy.”
Turning, he glared at the figure who had spoken, someone who bore more than a passing resemblance to Albus bloody Dumbledore. Dumbledore who’d been so focused on giving another chance and another to those who’d gone beyond reason and who’d been so fixated of keeping things secret that he’d never told half the people what they needed to know to accomplish anything beyond their blasted schoolwork…
Dumbledore who was dead.
“Who the blazes are you?” he glared at the man? Being? Glared at the not-Dumbledore, wondering how he’d managed to bugger up dying, of all things.
“I am an agent of Fate and Destiny,” the not-Dumbledore spoke in the same grandly mysterious tones that had been so infuriating from the real Dumbledore.
“And you’re here taunting me beside my still-warm corpse because?” he growled.
“This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. There was a grand plan, a glorious final confrontation… A desperate fight against impossible odds and then true love… It would have been perfect. Except that you didn’t follow your cues right,” the not-Dumbledore glared at him.
“Are you sure that you’re babbling at the right person?”
“Black haired wizard?”
“Miserable childhood with awful people who happened to be related?” The not-Dumbledore was squinting at a sheaf of parchment, moving it closer and then farther away.
“Yes…” he wondered if agents of Fate and Destiny needed glasses, and where this one had misplaced his.
“Died attempting to get rid of Tom Marvolo Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, You-Know-Who, and the Great Dark Snakey?”
“I’m not familiar with that last name,” he shuddered, attempting to purge his memory of the merest thought of that nick-name and how it might have come into being.
“Look, you have no idea how much of a mess this is going to make if he doesn’t get killed. I’m going to send you back. You’ll keep your memories, and for the love of Order, try to do a better job of things this time!”
“Back? Back to when?” he blinked, thinking that this seemed too strange to be real. Perhaps this was all some sort of nightmare? What had he eaten last night?
“Maybe to the start of the year… That might be enough time to fix this.”
“Bloody hell no! Not if you seriously expect me to be able to make anything better!” He shuddered, remembering exactly how his life had been going at the start of the year.
“If you think you can offer a better way for me to get my job done and make sure that Destiny is happy, I’d love to hear it,” snapped the not-Dumbledore.
“I’ll need to keep my memories, but if you want me to be able to fix things, I need to go back farther. Too many things were already bollixed up beyond salvaging by the beginning of the year,” He hoped that he could persuade this likely-mistaken being.
“Farther? How far back do you mean?”
“Send me back to my first trip on the Hogwarts Express, on my way to start my education at the school. Before I was sorted. Maybe right about when I arrived at the station. That should give me enough time to fix things,” he tried to persuade the agent of Fate, going under the assumption that if this was a dream, no harm was done, and if this wasn’t a nightmare, how could things be worse if he had to start over at age eleven?
“That might work,” murmured the agent of Fate, who was looking less like Dumbledore and more like a haze of light.
There was a gesture, and everything was too bright, the light tearing at him, smothering him…
Then he was surrounded by people, hundreds of conversations blurring together. Footsteps, squeaking trolley wheels, whistling trains. The chaos and crowds of King’s Cross Station. More noticeable, he felt so short, dressed in his hand me down raggedy clothing, with his heavy trunk, left at the station to get himself the rest of the way. It had been terribly confusing for him the first time around.
“Perfect,” he smiled. There were so many things that he could do better this time. A different House at the Sorting, nothing to do with those awful people that he’d been desperate and deluded enough to think were his friends… And he wouldn’t push her away this time. It hadn’t saved her.
He could remember all those awful people that had grown up to be Death Eaters. Remember those missed opportunities that he’d been too caught up in his own suffering to see. He could arrange a few accidents for those future Death Eaters before they were marked, before they started killing and ruining lives. He could have a better life... have a life.
A flash of red caught his eye, and he smiled. She was there, still so young. Alive, whole and healthy. Smiling and happy and with her whole future ahead of her. He’d make certain that it was a longer, happier future this time.
He waved at her, feeling warm inside as she bounced over, her eyes bright with enthusiasm.
“I can’t believe this is all real! That I’m going… that I’ll have a chance to learn…” Her words faltered as she tried to figure out what she could say in the station.
“I know,” he smiled at her. “Why don’t we board the train?”
As he helped Lily Evans load her trunk onto the luggage rack, Severus Snape vowed that this time, things would be better.
End Do-Over life fragment.
Chapter 12: Ambassador Potter fragment
I want to make this one into a longer story. But after the plot bunny got Harry into one other country, the bunny traded off with two other bunnies, and the Ambassador Potter idea stalled. Maybe the bunny will come back after I finish a few things.
rated T, similar to the novels.
NOT compliant with book 7. Contains mention of original characters in monor roles - all recognizable characters belong to JK Rowling. No profit is being made.
Harry clenched his hand, hoping to avoid pulling his wand. The war was supposed to be over, he shouldn't stir things up again by attacking half the Wizengamot when they'd lured him in here. Even if they'd used the despicable trick of claiming that it would be nothing more than a simple and most importantly private awards ceremony for some of the survivors of the Battles. It was supposed to be a recognition of the sacrifices that so many people had made to make things better, safer.
Truth was that they were trying to find a way to use his renewed fame to make themselves look better. To look like they hadn't been cowering in their homes while children had fought, bled and died. While some of their number had stalked around in masks and black robes.
Malfoy the elder was dead, caught in the back by a blasting hex when he'd tried to run away. Malfoy the younger was still alive, his fortune drastically reduced by a hush-hush deal that had let him avoid Azkaban in return for half the family fortune and having several magical bindings placed on him. Harry thought that someone had been too kind to the ferret, but such was the power of money. Snape was dead. There were only a few of the most well known Death Eaters who had survived, and most of those wished they hadn't. One of the Lestrange brothers had survived, but something had gone wrong with a spell that he'd tried, and his wand had exploded, taking with it his right hand and arm to the elbow, though the flame had cauterized the wound, and leaving him unable to cast any magic at all. The Healer from St. Mungo's said that he was unlikely to regain his spell-casting abilities, though he might be able to father magical children. Fluffy had used MacNair as a chew-toy.
Snape was dead – Harry felt that it bore repeating. Bellatrix and the other LeStrange brother had perished at Hogwarts, having chased Neville into Greenhouse Seven. Only Professor Sprout had asked, and she'd looked a bit shaken yet proud after Neville had whispered something into her ear. Rookwood had been snatched by the Department of Mysteries, who had claimed there were a few experiments that they had wanted to try for decades… Rookwood's look of terror had been worse than many people faced with Voldemort.
Those who had fought for a safer tomorrow were trying to use their abilities to make things better, in a variety of places and ways, depending on their abilities and interests. The survivors, at least. Some were able to put in more effort than others – Remus Lupin had only survived due to the enhanced healing of a werewolf, and Tonks was still in treatment at St. Mungo's. The Weasleys had been devastated by the deaths of Molly, fighting Yaxley, and Percy, along with the grave injuries of both twins, and Ron and Ginny. The twins had only just been released from St. Mungo's and Ron would have a permanent limp. Ginny flat-out refused to talk about the after-effects of her injuries, which had left parts of her exposed to their horrified view that were never intended to be exposed to anything, let alone on the trampled ground outside the Three Broomsticks. Hermione had thrown herself into fighting for house elf rights, and equal treatment for those who carried creature heritage, like Hagrid who had fallen fighting Voldemort, Flitwick, who had perished defending students from Fenrir Greyback, and Fleur, who had lost the baby that she and Bill hadn't even told their parents they were expecting. Fleur was fighting depression, caused by the loss of their baby and the scars the wounds had left on her.
Harry had died. Oh, he'd come back, and he hadn't had any relatives to lose to the battle, not like so many others had lost family. He hadn't lost any of his limbs or extremities, hadn't suffered any irreparable damage to his internal organs, or lost the use of his magic. He'd refused to talk to the Ministry's people or the mind-healers at St. Mungo's about his injuries or what lingering effects they might have.
He hadn't told anyone that he'd actually died, letting them think that it was just a heavy stunning, or that the Death Eaters had been overly hopeful. He hadn't told them of the horrible nightmares he still suffered, from the things that he'd seen Voldemort do through that awful link. Hadn't told anyone that now, after everything he'd suffered and learned, he hated Dumbledore as much as Voldemort. Couldn't tell anyone that he envied those who had lost their beloved relatives to the war… because they'd had time with them first.
There had been a small ceremony, with awards and Orders of Merlin and Stars of Valor and Commendations. He'd seen some old friends, and some people that he could only vaguely recall seeing. Nothing too surprising.
Then one of the old men in purple robes had stood up and started talking. Harry had winced when he'd realized that they'd lured them into an ambush to talk about political plans. Measures to restore public confidence. To make people feel better. To bring things back the way they were… as if that was even possible!
"… that if you would marry someone from an old family, we feel that"
"Stop right there," Harry demanded, feeling the air grow tense and staticky around him. "I am not ready to marry anybody at this point in time. If and when I feel ready, it will be to a woman of my choice, not to someone picked out by a group of politicians based on her pedigree. Focusing more on someone's pedigree than their abilities is half of what got the magical world into that damned mess with Voldemort to begin with, and I'm not going to support it!"
"Mister Potter, we are talking about a young lady of good family, not someone's pet Krup!" yelped a man with a bushy mustache and a bald head.
"You are talking about choosing someone based entirely on ancestry, not on the merits of her education, her accomplishments, or even the appeal of personal beauty. That's a breeding program, however you want to dress it up, and I'm not having that," he scowled at them.
"Mister Potter," this came from an old witch that looked familiar – Madam Marchbanks, perhaps? "While some of us feel that your willingness to marry and begin a family would show that you feel the country has entered a more peaceful state, I can certainly support your desire to choose your own bride."
"Thank you, Madam. Do you have any sensible suggestions for helping get magical Britain back on her feet, a suggestion that doesn't include me tying myself to a stranger chosen by her ancestry?"
"I do have such a suggestion, Mister Potter. First, while I do not mean to point you towards any particular witch, I suggest that you at least consider the idea of finding yourself a bride and having a family. As such a decision shouldn't be made lightly or in isolation, perhaps you could accept a position as an ambassador, and help renew diplomatic ties between Britain and other nations? In such a position, being unmarried might even be an asset," she replied, leaving understood but unspoken the idea that an unmarried ambassador might find a foreign bride.
"Umm…" Harry blinked, not expecting someone from the Wizengamot to have such a sensible suggestion. "The only problem that I can think of with that plan is that an ambassador should speak the language of the country they're trying to be diplomatic with, and I only speak English. Well, English and Parsel-tongue."
"Mister Potter, there are spells for that," this speaker was a very lean, very pale man who somehow reminded him of a bleached and worn-out male version of Luna Lovegood. "We can give you any language that you want, with only a little bit of a headache. We are wizards after all."
"I guess that's good…" Harry couldn't help but wonder if that would really be better than marrying some stranger. Some pure-blood maybe stranger… Probably. But it did look like he knew how he'd be in trouble and danger this time.
"Then we shall appoint you as an ambassador at large, and you and Mr. Lovegood can speak with the appropriate people to acquire new languages," Madam Marchbanks declared. "Between that and asking if you would at least try to be friendly and polite to the ladies and give thought to the idea of a family, we shall thank you once again for your efforts in saving Britain, and the Wizengamot shall move on to other matters."
"Just remember that I vote to maintain creature habitats and all their protections, and that there is a motion to add the Lesser Tyranolagomorpha to the class four dangerous magical beasts listing," insisted the man who resembled Luna.
He was smiling as he walked towards Harry. "Now, shall we go find someone about languages, Mr. Potter?"
"Sure. She called you Mr. Lovegood. I'm guessing that means that you're related to Luna and her dad?" Harry offered. Luna had always been a bit unusual, but he had trusted her with his life on several occasions.
"Oh yes. She's one of my favorite nieces. Her father is my nephew, or perhaps half-nephew. Gran remarried after Grandfather's death and to many people's shock, she had the audacity to have more children. One of them was Tantalus Lovegood, who eventually became the father of Xeno and Scylla Lovegood. And then Xeno got together with Fayetta, and they had Luna… sweet girl, Luna. But she does have a bit of a temper. She also credits you for teaching her to cast the patronus," he glanced at Harry, his slightly large eyes a much more ordinary pale blue than Luna's silver.
"I thought it might be very useful, what with the Dementors," Harry explained.
"Oh yes, a very useful spell indeed. It was an absolute pleasure watching her Tyranolagomorpha patronus shred those Dementors… and please, call me Lewis," Mr. Lovegood gestured with his hands as he talked, leading Harry out of the Wizengamot hall and towards the elevators.
"I thought her patronus looked like a rabbit," Harry mused.
"A frequent mistake when dealing with Tyranolagomorphas. They are related, but far, far more vicious and predatory than any rabbit," Lewis explained.
"So it's like a killer rabbit?" Harry asked.
"Yes, exactly!" Lewis beamed. "You have no idea how frustrating it is when most just dismiss the Tyranolagomorpha as something that doesn't exist."
Lewis led them up the elevator and down a hall, tapping on a door. When it opened, it revealed an older woman who had once been of an impressively amazonian physique, who was still rather striking even though her hair was almost solidly grey and she had crinkles at the corners of her eyes. "Oh beautiful Temis, may young Mr. Potter request your professional skills?"
"What languages would you like, Mr. Potter?" she asked.
"All of them for Europe other than English?" Harry asked.
"Mr. Potter, giving one language will hurt. Giving you all of them for Europe… the pain would be excruciating," she cautioned.
"Would it be worse than the cruciatus, ma'am?" Harry asked. "If I'm supposed to be an ambassador, I should be able to talk to people in their own languages."
For a long moment, she looked at him without speaking. After a few moments, she murmured, "No, it wouldn't be worse than the cruciatus."
"Well then… how do we start?"
"We start by you sitting down, with your wand anywhere but your hand while I start feeding languages into you head. Lewis, if you could renew the silencing charms on my office, please? I apologize in advance for the headache this will give you, Mr. Potter, and I suggest that you give the new languages a few days to settle before you start using them…"
Chapter 13: Veela Concubine fragment
one of the bunnies that replaced the Ambassador Potter bunny. This one also wants to be part of a much, much longer story. It must wait until I can finish a few other things first.
True divergence during year 5, ignores HBP and DH.
Halloween had brought a new mess to Hogwarts. Malfoy had tried to kill Dumbledore again, there had been a werewolf that had tried to eat some third years before getting trapped in greenhouse five, and someone had smacked Harry with a fish that had turned out to be a portkey.
One stomach turning trip later, he'd been in a dark and gloomy forest instead of the second floor corridor.
It had been a horrible, confusing night. He'd been chased by another werewolf before getting rescued by a group of veela. Said group of veela had almost toasted him along with the werewolf for interrupting one of their hunts for thefavor of Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt. The fact that they did this running hunt clad only in sandals had made it Harry's favorite near-death experience by far.
The veela had insisted that he stay near their village while they sorted out what to do with him. Tradition forbid wizards from joining their hunts, though the occasional witch might be allowed. The facts that Harry hadn't created or deliberately taken the portkey, that he hadn't tried to assault any of the veela, and had in fact only encountered them while fleeing from the werewolf had kept them from killing him right away. It had helped that one of the voices in his favor had been Gabrielle Delacour, who was starting to look a good deal older and more interesting than she had the year before during the Tournament. Still too young, but she was definitely going to be stunning when she was adult. The other veela had teased Gabrielle about having a crush.
The next full moon had led to their hunt getting another portkey interruption. This time it was Voldemort and a pack of Death Eaters, seeking Harry Potter to kill him. Why they hadn't assumed him dead from the werewolf, the forest, or the month away from known civilization escaped Harry's understanding.
Veela fireballs were not good for Death Eaters. Especially not when the Death Eaters were too busy staring at naked veela to block fireballs or remember the flame freezing charm. The still screaming scorched husk of Voldemort had been dragged back.
After the second hour of debating still hadn't given any explanation why he wasn't dead or how to fix it, Harry had walked up and cast a silencing charm followed by a reducto to the skull and a second to the torso. He'd then asked Gabrielle, as the closest veela, if she could incinerate the remains. The whole thing had given Harry an awful headache. After watching the remains burn to ashes, Harry had retreated to the small cottage where he'd been staying and went to bed.
Harry Potter woke up to see Gabrielle's smiling face. She was sitting on the edge of his bed, barely clad in a white gown clasped over one shoulder, her fingers playing with the cord she was using as a belt.
"Good morning, Gabrielle. What are you doing here, in my cottage?" Harry blinked. Not that waking up to the sight of a veela of any age was bad, but it was certainly unexpected.
"You killed the evil wizard that was attacking a group of veela. By ancient law, that means you get a hero's reward!" She smiled brightly at him. "I promise to be a good concubine and bear you plenty of little Potters."
Harry Potter was speechless.
Gabrielle chattered on about how she would become his concubine as Harry staggered out of bed and gathered his clothing. She kept smiling at him and talking about how she would be delighted to help rebuild the Noble House of Potter.
Harry ducked into the bathroom, and after a moment's thought, locked and reinforced the door and wall before starting his shower. Gabrielle gave all the signs of being willing to start on those little Potters right now, and Harry just didn't think that would be a good idea. Especially since he knew she had plenty of fireball throwing relatives in the village.
Before he stepped out of the bathroom, he was wearing everything but shoes.
Gabrielle pouted at him, "Does this mean we won't be working on little Potters just yet?"
"I think we need breakfast before anything too strenuous, and perhaps I should talk to your grandmother first? Just to make certain that everyone knows what's going on " Harry countered.
With a heavy sigh, Gabrielle agreed "If you think that is best."
While Harry was certain that the breakfast was lovely, he couldn't have described it to anyone. Afterwards, he reminded Gabrielle about needing to make certain everything was in order, and she reluctantly led him to the large open structure that provided a roof for the leaders of the village. He had fully expected the pair of veela that were waiting, recognizing Gabrielle's grandmother and seeing another veela beside there that he suspected was Gabrielle's mother. Meanwhile, Gabrielle was pulled away by some other younger veela, squealing about nice muscles and messy hair and handsome faces.
Harry swallowed and offered, "Morning ladies. Ummm Gabrielle was saying something about old traditions."
"She spoke about the traditional rewards due to heroes by ancient laws. One of the things that she insisted on was that it was only proper that she become your bound concubine, as she is the veela here that knows you the best," Gabrielle's grandmother spoke in soft tones, her lips twitching as she fought not to smile.
Harry frowned, certain that he'd read something more recent about that ancient law. Something about it causing trouble with a couple families and then being brought up for debates in many countries every country that had a native veela population, if he remembered correctly. Now, what had been the result of those talks? History class really needed more questions concerning veela. The memory of the page was just at the edge of his mind .
"She's been trying to find a way to do this for the past two years, Harry. And finishing off that wizard-construct was the perfect excuse," the other veela spoke.
"What about the fact that those laws have been overturned, repealed and generally no longer hold power in any known European nation and haven't for about two hundred years?" Harry countered. "She can't be forced into becoming my concubine, no matter what heroic deeds I perform."
"You know about that?" the second veela asked, her eyebrow arching.
"When my best friend's brother started dating a veela, I made a point of looking for information. Those laws that she's talking about held true during the Norman invasion, but they haven't held power in England for almost three hundred years."
"But many people find the idea tempting," Gabrielle's grandmother countered.
"Tempting isn't the same as legal or even the same as `good idea.' I think Gabrielle's a bit young to be having anybody's babies, I'm not even sure I'm old enough or responsible enough to be a father. And I certainly don't want someone tossing a fireball at me because the young veela's bouncing around talking about being my concubine and having lots of little Potters!" Harry insisted.
They laughed at him.
Chapter 14: A Favor?
Notes: set just after the death of James & Lily. Could (Should) have been canon.
If you recognize them, they belong to JK Rowling.
"Do you really think you did him a favor?"
The older man looked at his friend, faded blue eyes peering over glasses, and one wrinkled hand rested on the stack of paper in front of him. "What do you mean, Severus? Of course I did him a favor. He won't need to worry about..."
"Knowing who he really is? Knowing about his heritage, about his family? He won't need to worry about fulfilling his responsibilities?" The younger man shook his head. "Hardly what most would call a favor."
"His family will be able to teach him..." the old man began.
"Nothing. They know only the barest hints, certainly not enough to prepare him even if they tried. You forget, I had the experience of meeting them once, and I have never seen anyone less suited to raising a magical child."
"He's only a child, he doesn't need to worry about everything yet," the protest was immediate.
"Today? No, he doesn't need to worry about them today. But it takes time and study to be ready to fulfill responsibilities like those. You did not learn of what would be expected of you as a member of an Old and Honored family and begin handling those responsibilities the next day, or even the next year. You were brought up knowing what you were, and gradually learning what that meant. Who will teach the boy?"
"We will have plenty of time to instruct him when he's older," a wave of one wrinkled hand was intended to soothe all the worries away.
With a snort, Severus countered, "You are old, Albus. To be blunt, how can you be sure you will survive long enough to see him come to the school? I know the general responsibilities of an old family, but none of the specifics of his family, and his father and I loathed each other. I would be a poor choice to teach him anything, even if I knew what he would need to know."
"He needs time to be young, to enjoy life," Albus tried to defend his decision again.
"Of course he will be young, everyone starts out that way. But being young does not mean that you enjoy life, that depends much on what sort of life one has. If they are still as bad as they were when Lily married Potter, he may not live to be old, or even come to the school."
"They could not be so terrible. He is their own blood, their family. Surely they will be able to put aside any lingering frustrations..."
"Albus, are you not the one who kept telling me that the only difference between wizards and muggles was that we have magic and they do not? That they have the same range of emotions, the same capabilities for passion and joy and fear as we do?" Severus tried a different strategy.
"Of course! That is just one of the reasons why Voldemort and his followers were so terrible, to do such things to fellow thinking creatures." Albus was looking at him now, no longer fooling with the papers on his desk.
The dark haired wizard's voice was harsh, "How many wizards have cast out their squib relatives, hated and scorned them for those differences? How many wizards have you known who caused pain, and suffering to their family, their wives and children? Who slaughtered their family in the name of obedience to the Dark Lord? What makes you think that muggles are any less capable of malice, jealousy, hatred, and violence? What makes you think he won't be in danger from the very people who should be watching over him?"
"I would hope that any of her family would share her gentleness, her noble spirit," Albus tried to look wise and confident.
"You are risking a helpless boy's life on that hope."
For several long moments, there was silence in the office.
"Maybe it would be wise to place a few safe guards in effect, just to make certain..."
"Another safeguard would be to determine a second choice of guardian. For when they prove themselves unsuitable."
"Don't worry, I'll handle everything."
end fragment - a favor?
Chapter 15: Tonks & Azkaban
okay, this one feels more like a first draft. I just don't know if I want to mess with it more or just leave it as it is.
Another fragment – this one feels more like the bones of a story than a random plot bunny or scene. Not beta’d.
I do not own any person, occupation, or place recognizable from the Harry Potter series – they were written by JK Rowling.
This fragment/sketchy story is rated T.
Starts in the summer after Prisoner of Azkaban.
Nymphadora Tonks – who hated her first name very much, thank you for not using it – was an auror. Aurors were supposed to keep the people of the wizarding world safe from a variety of dangers, some of which the common wizards didn’t even need to know were menacing them. It wasn’t just being sent along with the Magical Law Enforcement when they suspected something dangerous, like bad drugs, or criminals who’d holed up behind traps, or magical assassins. It wasn’t just dealing with escaped dangerous magical beasts. It certainly wasn’t just dealing with heavily cursed items. All of those were part of what an auror did, though frequently working with other departments.
She looked at the twinkling blue eyes of Headmaster Dumbledore, holder of many titles, few of which had a bearing on any given situation. It had sounded remarkably like he was harboring, or at least ignoring the probable whereabouts of, a known fugitive. A Death Eater, a traitor…
Taking a slow breath and reminding herself not to hex the Headmaster, she held herself in a stern, disapproving posture that she’d copied from Professor McGonagall and asked, “Did you just tell me that you are in contact with Sirius Black and that the situation is under control? What do you mean by ‘under control’ and why have you not attempted to recapture him?”
“My dear N…” He began with a wave of his hand.
“In this situation, it is Auror Tonks, and you will need to give me a much better explanation than trust me, I’m Albus Dumbledore.” She snarled, shifting her face to look like his, complete with the long white beard and the half moon glasses, as she finished her words.
“I meant that Sirius Black can not be an escaped convict as he was never given a trial, and thus was never convicted of anything,” Dumbledore folded his hands together, attempting to look wise and calm and solemn. His robes, a slightly greyish blue with white and grey clouds sweeping over them foiled any attempt at solemn.
Tonks blinked, her mind hanging up on the part about no trial. “But why wouldn’t he have had a trial? There were a flurry of them, and even if a lot of them got rushed through in ways that make the DMLE cringe now, they were trials, Veritaserum was used, and evidence was presented. The only people that I can think of who didn’t get trials are people who bought their way out and pled the Imperius.”
“Alas, there were a number of irregular occurrences in those dark days,” Dumbledore intoned, his eyes fixed to a point just above and to the left of her head.
Tonks bit the inside of her cheek to keep from snarling at him again. Dumbledore had been the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot then, which meant that there were only two possibilities. First, he had some reason of his own for letting Sirius be sent to Azkaban without a trial, in which case he was unlikely to share it. Second, Sirus’s imprisonment had been part of some wretched compromise that must have seemed necessary at the time, and she hoped to all that was dear had been worth something. “Can you be absolutely certain that Sirius Black did not betray the Potters to the Dark Bastard, and that he is not a threat to Harry Potter’s life and well-being?”
“Yes. In fact, he was rather misguidedly attempting to save Harry from a perceived threat when he escaped and came to Hogwarts this past year,” the Headmaster replied. “Such a determined young man. He always was rather headstrong and impulsive.”
Thus Tonks found herself meeting her cousin again for the first time in twelve years. They’d both changed a lot – she was no longer a clumsy tomboy with a wobbly tooth refusing to fall out and he was no longer the sleekly dashing Quidditch Beater who’d gloated about playing for the Scarlet Lions rather than the Green Snakes.
She’d waited until Dumbledore had turned his back to catch Sirius’s eyes with her own, and she hadn’t been satisfied until he’d sworn on his life, magic and very soul that he had no intention of causing Harry Potter harm, or teaching him the ancestral Black family prejudices.
It was only the next morning, after hours of talking with her cousin the night before, that Tonks figured out that Sirius had no idea that Dumbledore had left him in Azkaban. Dumbledore who’d gotten Severus Snape, who had been a Death Eater and spy, out on his say-so as the Chief Warlock and Headmaster Dumbledore, had done nothing for Sirius Black. The whole situation was rotten.
Naturally, she’d taken the chance to have an off-the-record word with her direct commander, Amelia Bones the Head of the DMLE, and also with the Unspeakable known as Munin. Amelia had the authority to verify if Sirius had a trial – Tonks believed that he didn’t remember one, but Azkaban had done worse things than leave gaps in a memory before. The idea that someone could just be chucked into Azkaban for over a decade should have been unthinkable, and certainly fell under the auspices of Magical Law Enforcement. Munin was the Unspeakable who dealt with history, historical patterns and precedents. If something like this had happened before, the explanation might help make sense of what was happening now.
Besides that, her instincts were telling her that this was a tiny piece of a very ugly puzzle. The sort of ugly that got people Obliviated if they were lucky, dead if they weren’t, and Cruciated into uselessness like the Longbottoms if their enemies were sadists. It would be best to get what she knew into the hands of people who could act while she still could, before she didn’t have the chance.
Over the next year, her suspicion that things were not right only grew stronger. Madam Bones had reported that there was no record of a trial for Sirius Black, and the record of his arrest had been buried, perhaps to hide some of the irregularities. Death Eaters had attacked during the World Cup. Harry Potter’s name emerged from the Goblet of Fire, and the group running the Tournament said that it meant he would be forced to take part in the tri-Wizard Tournament on penalty of death or losing his magic. Really, anybody who thought about it should have realized that something was dreadfully wrong when four names came out for a three school event. She’d mentioned that feeling as well, to both Madam Bones and to Unspeakable Munin.
Madam Bones was certain that there must have been tampering, and her words on the matter had been, “If a fourth year can do that to an old, powerful magical artifact, why the hell aren’t I getting more talented new people? No, I don’t think it was the Potter boy who caused his name to pop out, and I doubt it was meant as a favor for him. Someone wants to do something crooked, and they’re trying to bury it in glitter and distraction.”
Despite his authority as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Dumbledore did nothing to get a trial for Sirius. He did nothing to resolve Harry Potter being entered into the Tournament.
He did nothing other than try to look wise and powerful and vaguely unhappy during the whole year.
Meanwhile, Unspeakable Munin had Tonks trying to learn more about magical forms of coercion and compulsion. If the Imperius was the all-powerful tool of domination that the War with Voldemort had left wealthy wizards swearing that it was, then there needed to be better ways to detect and dispel that curse. Other magical ways to bend someone’s will should also be investigated. Ways that would fool artifacts as well had a very high priority.
In between assignments, tedious research into things that would have left her hair white if not for her shifting, and nerve-wracking reports from Hogwarts, Tonks managed to sneak her cousin Sirius into the Ministry to speak to Munin. Part of her was hoping that Sirius might have some more clues to whatever was rotten in Great Britain.
Munin had started with a runic array to ensure privacy, and a second array to compel that every word spoken within the area of effect while the array was up would be truthful to the best of one’s knowledge. He’d then followed that by demanding to know if Sirius had been the Potter’s Secret Keeper, if he had ever served the dark wizard Voldemort, and if he meant to cause harm to Harry Potter in particular, and the general wizarding community as a whole.
Sirius had denied being the Secret Keeper, denied serving ‘Vol-vol… that evil blasted wanking bastard that mother had been so impressed by’, and insisted that he wanted Harry Potter safe from dark wizards ‘so that he could spend his time playing Quidditch and pranks like his father did, and chasing pretty girls.’ He’d had to think a bit about the general public, finally offering that while there were a few people that he thought would look better in pieces, he didn’t want the whole world to suffer. He’d then demanded to know what he was doing here, in the Ministry that wanted to have him Kissed before he’d even had a bloody trial. He was rather rude about it as well.
Munin had chuckled, before he gave his reply, which approached the matter sideways. “You must know about what is going on with the Tournament. Someone is attempting to manipulate events, and I suspect foul motives. Dumbledore, despite the power given to him, is not countering the movements made, nor is he gathering allies to counter what he can not. Instead, he’s playing silly games, and I don’t know if the cause is ignorance, not measuring up to his impressive reputation, or senility. My best guess varies by the day.”
“What do you mean, silly games?” Sirius had blinked.
“You. As the Chief Warlock, he could have arranged a trial for you at any time. He didn’t. Instead he has you scuttling around, half convinced that only his good will protects you, when he could have put an end to all this nonsense years ago. Then there’s this Tournament mess. Games are being played that have nothing to do with encouraging excellence from students. Among other things, never before did the Tournament cause the cancelation of Quidditch, something that can only cause ill-will and excessive focus on the tasks, Champions, and rumors. He’s also been down to the Hall of Prophecies twice. History is filled with ugly results from paying too much heed to prophecy and not enough to what’s happening,” Munin shook his head.
“There’s also a Fideleous Charm on the place where I’m staying…” Sirius paused. “He really seems to like that spell. It was his idea that James and Lily use that to hide, and he suggested it to the Longbottoms as well.”
Munin had only nodded, “It is a powerful spell, and with the right sort for a Secret keeper, it gives a most effective disappearance. I will not ask where you have been, but are you the Secret Keeper for your hiding place?”
“no,” the word was very soft. For a few moments, Sirius had been silent before growling out, “That twinkle-eyed bastard. With him as the Secret Keeper, I’ve lost control of that damned house. I couldn’t do anything with it if I wanted to. And with the Ministry still looking for me and very, very few willing to help me… I’m in prison again. This one’s just got a bit more space and less Dementors.”
“That rather disturbingly parallels several historic events. Considering that you are the godfather of Harry Potter, and that Dumbledore had the Potter Wills buried, it points to an unusual degree of interest in the boy. I have spoken to some of the goblins at Gringotts, and while they would not tell me any details, they did assure me that the Potter holdings were safe and being properly maintained, and are awaiting the majority of Harry Potter. Nobody has stolen from the boy, though they would not tell me anything else about his accounts. The Wizengamot is under the impression that Dumbledore is guiding and protecting young Potter. Potter himself has been removed from easy communication – ordinary owls sent to him wander about before returning to their homes, letters unopened. Previously, people brought up in such conditions were being prepared as pawns and avengers, often set at tasks that nobody sane and secure would be willing to attempt. Combined with his recent interest in prophecies, and we have suspicions that Dumbledore is trying to prepare the Potter boy for some sort of final manipulations,” Munin sighed, rubbing at something under his hood.
“But!” Sirius leapt to his feet, eyes wild and angry, “How can we stop him?”
“We do not have enough information to know what he’s planning, let alone how to stop it. We were certain that you were being deliberately kept out of the way for a purpose. I can not tell you at this point if he has anything else in mind for you. Contingency plans might be wise in case you have outlived your usefulness,” Munin’s words were harsh.
After much swearing and ranting, Sirius accepted a specially made port-key from Munin, and a ring with a very thorough disguise programmed in, so that Sirius could leave the hidden place on occasion. Tonks watched in fascination as Sirius tested the ring. When activated, the clear quartz set in the ring turned a milky white, sending a faint ripple over the ring and then his whole body. Using the ring turned him into a grey eyed strawberry blond with freckles that Tonks thought looked almost like a Malfoy-Weasley child – something that she decided to never, ever mention.
The end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament should have brought relief. Instead, Cedric Diggory was murdered, claims were made that the dark wizard Voldemort was back – reborn, or resurrected, or walking around in some Frankenstein-like creation, Fudge had someone that may have been Barty Crouch Junior Kissed by a Dementor before he could be questioned, and Igor Karkaroff disappeared. While Tonks wasn’t certain if it was really Voldemort, there had definitely been someone, some evil wizard, in the place where the port-key had taken Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory. An evil wizard that was being ignored by the Ministry because the very idea scared them, especially if this was really Voldemort.
More ugly pieces to an ugly puzzle. Bits of it were starting to take shape.
Dementors attacking Harry Potter in Surrey, where he was supposed to be safe and protected by some sort of obscure protections that Dumbledore had established was an unexpected shock. She was so relived and impressed that he’d been able to cast a Patronus to repel them. Even more impressed when she learned that his spell was a fully formed corporal Patronus, the likes of which most adults couldn’t cast. Surrey was hardly the best place for such a visible spell as that, but the Tournament had declared Harry Potter as an adult wizard, and self defense had always been acceptable. Nobody had even needed obliviated to conceal the magic.
Except that someone decide to put him on trial for under-aged sorcery and violating the Statutes of Secrecy. And Dumbledore’s response was to send a Howler to someone named Petunia and arrange a group to go fetch Harry Potter to Grimmauld Place.
Panicking, Tonks had talked to Amelia Bones and to Munin about the situation, hoping that one of them would have some way to help. Both had said that they’d see what could be done. Tonks had much more faith in their efforts than she did in whatever Dumbledore was planning.
Tonks had no idea what sort of illegal or underhanded dealing had changed the time of Harry Potter’s trial, or why he’d only barely made it to the courtroom in time. Or what malarkey Dumbledore was up to standing aside the way he was and doing nothing to help Harry. Some ‘leader of the light’, some great wizard…
Despite the best efforts of Amelia Bones, the assembly found Harry Potter guilty of using magic in a muggle territory, violating the Statutes of Secrecy, and being a better wizard than most of them combined. Well, the last wasn’t an official charge, but she couldn’t find a better explanation for their outright refusal to believe that the winner of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, the Boy-Who-Lived, could cast a spell that they couldn’t.
Fudge’s Undersecretary was bubbling with fiendish glee as she pronounced Harry Potter as Guilty and sentenced him to Azkaban. Oh, the sentence was only supposed to be for six months, but that would be more than enough to wreck his life. Especially right before his OWL’s year. If it didn’t kill him.
A shocked Harry Potter was led away by a very old wizard in DMLE robes. The man looked fragile, more wrinkled than Madam Marchbanks, and stood no taller than Harry Potter himself.
It wasn’t until Tonks was reminding herself not to cry that she realized that the ancient wizard had taken Harry the wrong way for the outgoing port-keys. Something was not as it seemed with the situation.
On Monday, the Ministry was quiet, with a rumor that the Undersecretary was up to something, and had not come to the Ministry today in preparation for her next big project. Fudge was in a horribly good mood. And a report had been filed that Harry Potter had been placed in cell 193-B in the South wing of Azkaban, with only mild delays in processing.
Her vision was blurry as Tonks barged into the office used by Unspeakable Munin. With the enchanted hood of his robes down, he looked like a rather harmless, very old man. A wrinkled, fragile looking old man. One that she’d seen just Saturday leading Harry Potter away. There was only one response possible – “Whhaaaaa?”
“The sentencing was rather public, Tonks. Everyone will assume that he’s in Azkaban, and nobody will be desperate enough to visit him to see how he’s doing. They’ll just forget until whatever plan that Dumbledore’s setting up is ready, and then try to pull him out like a trump card. Of course, Azkaban is a terrible place to keep a person that you want halfway sane,” he looked far too calm for the situation.
“So you just let a fifteen year old boy go to Azkaban?” She frowned, and then whispered, “No, you’re far too calm to have done that. What did you do, Munin?”
Instead of answering her question, Munin slid a pair of thin folders across his desk.
The first was the Azkaban processing and admittance record for Harry James Potter. In the picture, the still shocky looking boy was blinking and rubbing at his eyes behind the black plastic frames. One hand had a ring with a milky quartz stone. A ring just like the disguise ring that Munin had given Sirius Back.
The second folder held a copy of orders dispatching a pair of Dementors to Little Whinging Surrey, with orders to Kiss Harry Potter and anyone with him. Orders signed by Delores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to Minister Fudge.
“No…” Tonks whispered.
“A rather illegal order, no matter who’s secretary she is,” Munin took a sip from a mug of tea.
“Wait a minute…” Tonks looked at the picture again. “If the stone is only white when the ring is active, then that isn’t really Harry Potter in Azkaban. You’ve switched him with someone else. But who? And how?”
“As to how, the Unspeakables have some tricks. Who is simple – the person who arranged for him to go there. I doubt that Delores Umbridge will enjoy her stay on the unforgettable island,” Munin smiled.
“Then Harry is somewhere safe? Does Sirius know?” Tonks rubbed at her head, the hair turning short and dark blue.
“Sirius has gone to join Harry. My wife Nelle is determined to get them both into a much healthier condition, and it’s been such a long time since our boys left home. We’ll take over his education, since it seems that Hogwarts is no longer even tolerable for him,” the old man sighed, before looking at her, “It is very important that you do not give the slightest sign that Harry Potter isn’t slowly going mad in Azkaban.”
“What will he be learning?”
“Anything that we think he may need, anything that he shows an interest in,” the old wizard shrugged. “We’ll probably need to start at the beginning for a few things. In some ways, the quality of a Hogwarts education had gone down over the last few centuries.”
“And does he call you Munin at home, wherever that is?” Tonks asked.
“No, he calls me Grandpa Nic. He agrees that I certainly look old enough to be someone’s grandfather, and I thought that Uncle might have more than a few unwelcome memories for him He’ll enjoy staying with Grandpa Nic and Aunt Nelle a good deal more than he enjoyed Hogwarts or the Dursleys,” the old wizard snorted. “My Nelle insisted that calling her grandmother would make her feel old.”
“You are old,” Tonks commented.
“Ah, but it’s quite rude to point that out to a lady, and my wife is a lady. She also knows quite a few hexes and curses,” Munin countered.
“If Voldemort is really back, instead of it being some ambitious Death Eater pretending, then he’ll be looking for Harry eventually,” Tonks fretted.
“Nelle and I will make certain that Harry is ready when that day comes,” Munin promised. “Why, we have centuries of information to teach him.”
Considering how old Munin looked, Tonks didn’t doubt that for a second.
“In fact, he’ll probably be begging for that pretentious idiot to attack once Nelle and I get his training going,” Munin mused.
Tonks nodded, remembering her own grueling training. She just hoped that it would be enough.
End Tonks & Azkaban fragment.
Chapter 16: Magic Weasel
Disclaimer: any character, spell or setting that originates in the Harry Potter stories is the intellectual property of JK Rowling – I am merely borrowing them at no profit.
Rated t for teen, similar to the novels and movies.
Set – hmm, could be during book 4? This could be set in the same world as ‘Vince’s Ambition’, but it is not necessary to have read that to follow this.
The past few years had permitted more than a few hallway encounters between Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley. There were normally insults and sneers, perhaps a few threats, and once in a while there were spells in an effort to harm or humiliate the other. Both boys would insist that only the other one started things, usually by the simple fact that they were a ‘slimy snake’ or a ‘stupid Griff’, sometimes by virtue of being ‘rotten Death-Eater spawn’ or ‘a disgrace to wizarding heritage’.
Despite the boasting and gloating that either of them would share with their friends later, the truth was that the spats generally ended in favor of Malfoy, due to the fact that was he almost always accompanied by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. Crabbe and Goyle were both big, solid boys with more muscle than brains, widely considered to be smarter than trolls, but definitely not as smart as the average kneazle, and kept around for a combination of intimidation and brute strength. Malfoy would have fared much worse if he fought alone, and he knew it – which was why he didn’t look for Ron Weasley when he was alone.
Ron Weasley was muttering about the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team, and something about the Griffyndor team play-book. His robe was old, the fabric faded to something closer to charcoal than the crisp black that was preferred, and there were several frayed spots along the hems and over his elbows. One hand made gestures that might have been representing individual Quidditch players as he walked and muttered.
Malfoy, with Crabbe and Goyle following him, sneered at Weasley down the hallway. “Some people have no taste. Not in family, not in houses, not in Quidditch teams.”
“Right, imagine being related to a Death Eater, or someone weak-minded enough to be held under the Imperious for years,” Ron Weasley glared at Malfoy, seeming to ignore the larger boys. “And at least I haven’t been banished to the dungeons of Hogwarts like a slimy snake.”
“You babbling buffoon! How dare you insult my father like that!” Malfoy’s cheeks turned a bright red, though the rest of his face stayed pale. “The Slytherin dorms are luxurious and comfortable, far beyond anything that you’ve experienced in that hovel that your family shares.”
“You live in a damp, dark hole in the ground, perfect for a stinking snake.” One of Weasley’s hands had slipped into his pocket, undoubtedly for his wand.
“They talk too much,” Crabbe grumbled. “Both of ‘em.”
Goyle just nodded.
“At least my family can afford to each have our own room, for that matter, we could each have our own house,” Malfoy taunted.
The wand emerged from Weasley’s pocket, and with a practiced half-twirl and point, the redhead hissed, “Silencio.”
Malfoy’s lips moved in a series of insults before he realized that there were no sounds. Several increasingly frantic waves of his own wand – eleven and a half inch birch with a dragon heartstring, thank you very much – later, Weasley’s spell was broken. Hearing the sound of footsteps echoing through the corridor, Malfoy stuffed his wand back into the holster, determined not to be caught casting spells in the hallways.
Of course, he had no objections to the idea of Wesley being caught casting spells in the hallway. That usually merited either fifteen points or a detention, probably with Filch. Fixing his expression into his third best sneer, Malfoy drawled, “Is that really the best you can do? My father taught me a much better way to make people be quiet.”
“There isn’t a better silencing spell,” Weasley countered.
“Of course there is, you ignorant fool. But your family must have been too poor to buy the book. The incantation goes ‘reducto’ – I suggest you try it the next time those monsters you call brothers are up to trouble.”
“My brothers aren’t monsters,” Ron Weasley’s ears and neck had flushed a bright red that clashed with his hair, a red that was starting to spread over the rest of his face. The overall effect would have been feverish except for the narrowed, angry eyes and the way that his hair was sticking up wildly.
“Well they certainly aren’t proper wizards,” Malfoy scoffed.
“You… you…” Weasley’s whole face was red and his eyes had narrowed to thin slits. His knuckles were clenched white as he brought the wand up with the correct jab and he growled out a single, awful word – “Reducto.”
The spell hit Malfoy in the chest, with a spray of blood and a disturbing cracking sound. With no more than a shocked sound, Malfoy collapsed to the floor. Crabbe and Goyle stared as Malfoy fell to the floor, blood starting to spread across the robes and stone.
The bright flush drained from Weasley’s face and he whispered, “Oh no… I’m going to be in so much trouble for this…”
Ron Weasley spun on his foot and bolted down the hall.
“Uhhhmmmm… Malfoy?” Goyle nudged the bleeding blond’s foot with his toe. “You scared him good.”
“He isn’t faking, that’s real blood,” Crabbe was frowning now. “You’d best take him to the hospital.”
Gregory Goyle scooped Malfoy up from the floor, and then frowned. “I got turned around again. Which way?”
“Follow me,” Vincent sighed. He’d known for years that Greg had a terrible sense of direction, and that the real reason Greg always followed people was to keep from getting lost. Hogwarts, where things just didn’t have the good manners to hold still, only made things worse.
Malfoy had kept bleeding, moaning a few times on the trip to the hospital wing. Crabbe thought that Malfoy was unconscious, which was a lot easier to deal with than an awake Malfoy. But dead Malfoy might be a bit too much trouble.
“Good heavens! What happened to Mister Malfoy?” Madam Pomfrey pointed her wand at a bed, the covers obligingly moving out of the way for Draco Malfoy to be placed on the mattress. She bustled over, one hand clutching a bottle of something dark red, her wand in the other.
“He’s bleeding,” Goyle offered.
“But what caused this?” she cast a few charms over the unconscious blond before lifting his head and pouring some of the red potion down his throat. This revealed that the potion was thick, like honey, though probably far more unpleasant tasting.
“Uhhh…” Gregory stammered, “It was… there was…”
“A magic weasel got him,” Vincent Crabbe finished.
“Goodness,” Madam Pomfrey shook her head. “You’d think after a few years taking Care of Magical Creatures that he’d have the sense not to taunt dangerous beasts. And I do think that’s the most I’ve heard you say at once time in years, Mister Crabbe.”
Vince shrugged, and caught Goyle’s sleeve, pulling the other boy out of the hospital. Now that Draco Malfoy was in the care of the school nurse, there was no further need for them to stay.
Halfway to the dungeon, Greg looked over at him, his brows lowered as he thought about things. “A magic weasel? But that wasn’t -”
Vince interrupted, “Magic. No non-magic people can be here. Weasle ‘cause if it was a fight with a person, we get in trouble for not stopping him, or keeping him from getting himself hurt.”
“His own fault,” Goyle muttered, shoving his hands into his pockets. A rattling noise suggested that there might still be a few beans in the Bertie Bott’s box that he had in this robe.
Vince snorted, “Doesn’t matter to Snape. Malfoys have money and power, so they get out of trouble. We don’t have money or power, so it’s our fault.”
“Even when it isn’t,” Goyle grumbled. “Does that make sense to smart people? ‘Cause is doesn’t make sense to me.”
“They throw money at problems, and the problems go away. People who need the money make it happen. Big problems take big money to go away. Malfoys have big money, so it’s never their fault. If the rich guys think you’re a smart poor guy, then they want you to solve their problems. It’s easier to be big and dumb,” Vince explained.
Greg nodded, and ate a Bertie Botts bean. “Yeah. Magic weasel – a vicious one.”
Falling quiet again, the boys went into the Slytherin Common room. They had homework to finish. Homework that unfortunately included several chapters of reading.
Professor Snape swept into the room a few hours later, robes flaring around him. Glaring, he made his usual check to see who was still in the common room and to verify who had gone to their dorms. If any Slytherin was not here, unless it was their Astronomy night, he’d glare and demand explanations from the missing student’s friends or year-mates.
His eyes skipped over them twice before returning with a larger than normal frown. Misters Crabbe and Goyle, where is Mister Malfoy?”
Crabbe made a mumble that could be determined to have an s and an l sound in it, but was entirely incomprehensible. He didn’t look at Professor Snape as he mumbled, instead staring at the ink blotches on his fingers.
Goyle glanced at the Professor, his gaze going no higher than the shiny black buttons on his chest before he blurted, “A magic weasel got him. He’s in the hospital.”
“A… magic weasel?” Professor Snape’s voice rose a little, before dropping to a soft murmur, “What… a Jarvey? Charms gone awry? Hagrid?”
Crabbe and Goyle focused on looking very big and very dumb and very confused at their little table.
“Never mind, asking the two of you is an exercise in frustration. I’ll go speak with madam Pomfrey myself,” Professor Snape snarled and stalked away, his robes flaring as he crossed the room.
“a magic weasel,” Greg snorted, and half grinned at Vince.
Vince just nodded. Once in a while, even lots of money couldn’t make all the effects of what someone did go away. Maybe this would help Malfoy learn to think before he taunted? Considering the years that he’d known Malfoy, Vince decided that it probably wouldn’t change anything. Malfoys were very stubborn, and for smart people, they sure learned slow.
He wondered if this would be the only time the ‘magic weasel’ got Malfoy.
End fragment – Magic Weasel.
Chapter 17: Albus - OotP
set at the end of HP&OotP.
Point of View of Albus Dumbledore.
anybody that you recognize as well as the Wizarding world belong to JK Rowling.
rated about T.
a personal challenge - to try to write Dumbledore as the well-meaning good wizard that JKR insists that he is/was.
Albus Dumbledore sighed, looking at the quiet boy standing in his office. Harry Potter had been fighting at the Ministry of Magic, some sort of running battle with Death Eaters, aided at first only by some other students. Albus wasn't even certain how the students had managed to get to the Ministry to begin with, but he'd Port-key'd Harry to his office after Voldemort had fled the Ministry, having been seen by Aurors and Fudge, having failed his attempt to steal the prophecy, having failed to possess Harry. Harry had scrapes and bruises, his clothing had been torn and scorched, and the boy looked dreadfully pale.
If someone had told him that the boy was only twelve or thirteen instead of the fifteen that he knew to be the truth, he could have believed it. He looked young, so very young... Too young to know. But the time when ignorance could keep him safe had slipped away.
"I think it is time for you to have some answers, Harry. Answers about why..." Albus began, explaining to the boy about a prophecy unexpectedly given during an interview during dark times. About how those words gave hope that a terrible wizard could be defeated. He even showed Harry the memory of the Prophecy in his Pensieve.
Harry's mouth opened a few times, closing before speaking as he tried to offer something. What finally emerged was, "People have been risking their lives to keep secret something that Trelawney said a couple decades ago? Why?"
"Voldemort is a terrible wizard," Albus paused as Harry flinched. Surely Harry was not afraid of the name, not Harry. "A terrible wizard, one who relished in doing unspeakable, terrible deeds. Nobody survived when he wanted them to die. And the prophecy was given fourteen years ago, not a couple decades."
"Apart from the fact that she's a fraud, the prophecy's worthless. There had to have been a lot of people who defied him, even if a lot of them were killed. Others weren't, and they probably had families too. Lots of people are born in the end of July. What makes you so certain that it's me?"
"Ahh, Harry, but Voldemort marked you. When he gave you that scar," Albus nodded, his eyes falling to Harry's scar, which looked rather red, almost fresh.
"And by attacking my parents that night, he set things into motion. If he'd never heard it, never attacked us, then he wouldn't have been defeated. Maybe that was the 'vanquish' that it talked about. I have no idea what this weird power is, and it doesn't even say that I'll win - if I'm the one that it means - only that I might be able to. Might." Harry snorted, sinking into a chair.
"I believe the Power is Love," Albus smiled at Harry, expecting to see the boy smile back, even if he was confused.
"Why?" Harry looked at him, but he wasn't smiling. His eyes looked dull, darker than usual.
"I believe that your mother's sacrifice caused his downfall fourteen years ago. Because of that, I was able to construct protections for you, based on the shared blood, that will keep you safe so long as you call your aunt's house 'home.' It was for that reason that I gave you into their keeping. Perhaps you have not been quite as happy as you might have been elsewhere," Albus paused, remembering his carefree youth. Back when he was only a young lad, chasing frogs and butterflies, exploring the woods around his home, laughing and playing tag and Aurors and other nonsensical games with Aberforth and Ector and Gawain Weasley from down the lane. He remembered the tiny treats that the old witch near the stream used to make, cookies with fruit, miniature pies with birds that flew away. He'd been a rather spoiled child, as were most wizarding children. How much more would a hero have been spoiled?
"Not as happy?" Harry snorted, his expression hurt and almost mocking. "And that place isn't home. I've never thought of it as home."
"But my dear boy..." Albus reached towards Harry, wondering what youthful frustrations could cause such words. "They are your family."
Harry looked at him, green eyes catching his own. The memories - Harry's memories - battered at him. Closed into a small, dark space, stomach aching with hunger, back hot and sore from his uncle's belt, pushing at the cupboard door softly, lest he make noise and get another five stripes. Starting Primary School and waiting for the teacher to call for Freak or perhaps Boy. Preparing a fine ham dinner and being sent back to his cupboard with only a few pieces of bread that had been rubbed in the ham grease for his supper. "Your miserable drunken parents didn't work, they were too lazy to have real jobs." Peeking at the neighbor boy's birthday party through the fence as he struggled to push the heavy lawn mower, knowing that freaks like him didn't get birthdays, didn't get presents. "That ugly scar is from the car crash that killed your parents when your father took it into his drunken head to go for a drive." Puzzlement at a parchment letter with green ink, addressed to Harry Potter, the Cupboard under the Stairs.
The words were almost unnecessary after those awful memories. "I was far from happy. That isn't a home, that isn't what family should mean. How will that help me against Voldemort?"
"But... I wanted you to have time to enjoy your youth before you needed to worry about fighting Voldemort," Albus protested. Those memories... how could the Dursleys have acted in such a manner? Harry was their kin, had been a helpless child. To lie about his parents, lie about their deaths? To have told him nothing? While he hadn't wanted Harry to be given his every whim, he should have enjoyed his birthdays, spent time playing and running and enjoying just being alive and young and in good health. Those memories... had his time with the Dursleys been nothing but various forms of misery? "I didn't want to spoil your childhood with such grim thoughts."
"So, I'm supposed to die getting rid of him? I haven't been taught..." Harry paused, perhaps thinking back to earlier that night. When he continued, Harry's words were low, resigned. "I haven't been taught how to fight an evil wizard. A Dementor I could handle, and I could run from a dragon. But a dark wizard? Am I just supposed to hope that I can take him with me when he kills me?"
Albus flinched. This wasn't how things were supposed to go, not how Harry should be reacting. No fifteen year old boy should be speaking about when a dark wizard would kill him. Not how he should have spent his younger years either... "Harry, I am not asking you to handle everything yourself."
"They will be soon. People will want me to make him go away, never mind that I don't have the first idea how. They'll want me to make it all right in their world again, no matter that it isn't just Voldemort, it's the MacNairs and the Malfoys and the Greybacks who help him become so terrible to begin with," Harry shuddered, and his hand rubbed at his arm as if there was an old ache.
Harry was too young to have old aches.
But those green eyes that stared out of the boy's face looked ancient, weighed down by pain and ugly memories. "Even if it kills me, they'll want me to make them safe again."
"Nobody is asking such a thing of you..." Albus watched Harry, feeling as if his bones were turning to ice and his stomach to a stone, or perhaps one of Hagrid's rock cakes.
"Yet," the single word wasn't angry, wasn't fearful. If anything, Harry sounded tired. "They'll want me to die for them, to save them. Like my parents did."
"Harry," Albus tried to find the words, to find some way to make Harry understand that there had to be another solution. That he wasn't supposed to die, that it wouldn't be him against the whole of Voldemort's forces.
"I think I can manage that," the words were a faint whisper.
"What?!?" Albus yelped.
"Dying will be easy. The tricky part will be making sure he goes with me," Harry paused, his ancient eyes loosing focus on anything that Albus could see. "I almost did a few years ago, though Fawkes brought me back. I suspect that the grown up not dead anymore version of Tom Riddle will have something nastier than a great big basilisk."
"You can't mean that," Albus protested.
"Why not?" Harry's expression changed to a bitter, mocking smile, the sort of expression that he would have expected from Severus. "What do I have to live for?"
"My dear boy..." Albus didn't know where to begin. How had things become such an awful, tangled mess? This was a nightmare! Yes, perhaps he'd just wake up oh, perhaps now, and discover that the whole students out of the castle, battle at the Ministry, broken Harry was just a nightmare brought on by trying some of that Haggais that Minerva had offered him after dinner... "What about your friends? Miss Weasley? Miss Chang? Quidditch? What about your family..."
"Everyone says that Ron and Hermione have been dancing around getting together since at least the Yule Ball last year. Since I never had the chance to learn about how real people think and feel, I'll take their word for it. I can't be that important to them if they forget about me over the summer. Ginny wants the Boy-Who-Lived, the hero, the Quidditch star. She doesn't know Harry, the confused boy who didn't know about magic, the one who was the freak. Cho wants someone to replace Cedric. Umbridge banned me from Quidditch for the rest of my life. The only family I had was... was Sirius..." Harry closed his eyes, his shoulders shaking as he sat there.
"Banned from Quidditch?" Albus blinked, wondering just what Harry meant. The Undersecretary to the Minister couldn't ban someone from Quidditch! While the woman had taken over as Headmistress, even the Headmaster or Headmistress could only ban someone from Quidditch at Hogwarts.
One of Harry's hands waved, as if dismissing the matter as unimportant. For a moment, it looked as if the boy had a scar over the back of his hand. "The Ministry doesn't care about fair. That point's been made painfully clear to me. They don't seem to care that much about truth either. The Boy-Who-Lived-To-Save-Them will die heroically, and nobody'll miss Harry."
Questions fought with each other, demanding to be asked now. About the maybe scar on Harry's hand. About the Quidditch banning. Why he thought that Miss Weasley didn't know the real Harry. About what else that toad-woman had been doing in his school.
"I'll try to take Voldemort with me when he kills me," Harry spoke softly, as if attempting to reassure him of his sincerity. "It isn't as if I have anything to live for now anyways."
With those words, Harry turned and walked out of the office. Albus could hear the staircase grating against the walls as it turned.
Albus put his hands over his face, feeling tears covering his cheeks.
"This isn't how it was supposed to be..."
end Albus OotP fragment.
Chapter 18: Unspeakable Daisy
set during the end of HP & OotP.
JKRowling owns all recognizable people, places & spells of the Harry Potter books. Unspeakable Daisy is... my twist on someone else who sadly isn't mine.
Unspeakable Daisy waited, hidden in a corner of a room near the middle of the first level of the Department of Mysteries. This was one of only two areas that the general public was ever permitted to access, and even then, the so-called Execution Chamber hadn't served its official purpose for almost a century. Some of the Unspeakables were pleased that the Veil in the public room hadn't been used, not that it was the directly fatal trip that most believed. Instead of somewhere like the land of the dead, an active volcano, or whatever distant and mysterious place people thought it went, the Veil in the public Execution Chamber took someone directly to the deepest Unspeakable laboratories. A deal with the Wizengamot some eight hundred years ago was to thank for that one, stating that those condemned might be 'made to serve the cause of knowledge by being of use to the Researchers and Druids of the Most Hidden Circle’, which in modern times were often simply called Unspeakables. The only other portion of the Department that the rest of the magical world was permitted to access was the Hall of Prophecies, and then they normally had a guide. Public access, while permitted, was only under certain, controlled circumstances.
Nothing like that was happening tonight.
One of the Department's Seers had identified tonight as a critical moment in the near future, pivotal in the start of the Second Rise of Voldemort. Most of the Department had been quite dismayed - while there had been rumors and warped comments about something happening back in June, that Harry Potter may or may not have been involved with, the first Rise had been dreadful enough. The Seers had identified several separate components of what should be happening tonight, and most had exhausted themselves looking ahead to see what could be avoided entirely and what could be changed.
The last two months had kept their Potions' Brewers very busy. Some seers needed delicate potions to help focus their Sight, and others experienced something close to trauma and shock if they pushed too hard for their Visions. There were even a pair of Seers that manifested fainter copies of injuries that they Saw in their visions, who were most displeased with the flavors and sensations of a slew of healing potions for damages to bones and organs, as well as treatments for malnutrition and torture curses. Most of the Seers were now on medical rest, ordered by the Department's Healers, and the others had gifts that were either minimal in strength or of limited control and direction.
Harry Potter would be lured to the Hall of Prophecies tonight, and attacked by the minions of Voldemort. Their efforts had concluded that avoiding this, which would be difficult but possible, would prove disastrous for Magical Britain. Instead, the best route would be to ensure that Harry Potter did not come alone. Fortunately, her partner's niece was at Hogwarts, and was passably close to the Potter boy, close enough to follow him when the attempted trap was sprung.
The fight that would result would be unavoidably horrendous. Not only would the time and expense of repairing everything that would be damaged be appalling, research would be set back months, perhaps even years in some cases! There was also the possibility that some of those who accompanied the Potter boy might be maimed or killed, with higher odds being placed on the Longbottom boy for his clumsiness, the muggle-born girl for her probable lack of familiarity with the more unusual lethal spells, or the Weasley girl who seemed to want to prove herself brave enough to date Potter. Most importantly for the Department, the fight would be interrupted by aurors arriving at the fight, and the Death Eaters would be seen. There was even a forty percent chance that Voldemort would be seen at the Ministry tonight as well. Unspeakable Daisy rather hoped that she wouldn't see Voldemort if he did show up.
They were not yet aware of just why the sixty-three percent likely death of Sirius Black would be a devastatingly traumatic blow to Harry Potter, though they had sorted out that after the death of Black, Dumbledore would be revealing very necessary information to the Potter boy.
Debate over which bit of information was ongoing. Some favored the idea that Dumbledore would reveal the Prophecy, in an attempt to bind Harry to its service - without all parties, or at least most of them, acting to complete it, many a prophecy had been robbed of strength. Others speculated about some aspect of the Potter heritage and family connections. Considering the way Dumbledore had stalked and caged the boy, a few had suggested that Dumbledore might have sexual inclinations towards the boy, with a less disturbing theory that he was grooming the boy to become the mate or toy of someone of his own choosing, and perhaps intended to spring that on the boy, perhaps draped in some babble about soul-mates, magical complements, or nonsense about old betrothals and contracts.
It had been concluded that there was a ninety percent chance that an operative placed in this room tonight could meddle in a way that would benefit the future - increase the magical population, smooth over some of the political snags and chaos, lessen the impact of Dark Lords and their minions. The Unspeakable code-named Daisy normally would not have been chosen for such a delicate placement. However, all the Seers with the ability to focus their Sight when, where and on whom they chose were still recovering from the last few months of planning. The top three infiltration experts were all on detached assignments in places too sensitive and important to meddle. One of their most skilled generalists had run afoul of a particularly nasty set of magical traps and enchanted items near a muggle village named for a hanging man, and had both injured and exhausted himself destroying a dark Soul-Anchor, though the Healers were fairly certain that he'd regain the use of his hand in a few months. Their second best generalist was due to deliver her child, which she swore would be a son, any day now.
She was not the most skilled spellcaster among the Unspeakables. While she did have a bit of the Sight, it was not under focused control, and she could rarely direct it to focus on what she wanted. It gave her just enough advantage in a fight that she was seldom taken by surprise, and rarely injured. She had a gift for personal concealments, though her passions were Runes and Potions research. Her own family, though considered Dark, Unstable, and highly eccentric, had given her an excellent grounding in poisons, curses, creatures and traps, and she could easily and safely consume poisons that would lay others in the Department in a Healer's bed for a week, if they were lucky. The cyanide gave her tea a pleasant flavour, though she had learned early on not to share unless she was with her family or trying to kill someone. She'd dispatched several unwelcome suitors in that manner...
She didn't need the sounds of spellfire and screaming to know that they were approaching. She wasn't certain who 'they' were, or just what they were doing, but they were getting closer. They would be in the room within five minutes...
Frantic footsteps and gasped breathing as well as shrieked spells and the sizzle of magic through the air punctuated the arrival of tonight’s players. Students in Hogwarts robes, faces pale with fear and wands clenched in their hands dodged spells fired from black-robed Death Eaters. The students were clearly fighting to not be killed, but oddly enough, the Death Eaters seemed to be focusing on trying to wound the students. They also seemed to be focusing on two students with short dark hair – the Potter and Longbottom boys. They didn’t want to kill those two, they wanted to capture them.
“Capture could be worse than death,” Unspeakable Daisy whispered to herself. “That mustn’t happen.”
Also running in the mess were two adult men, both rather worn and bedraggled looking and clearly not Death Eaters. Those two seemed to be trying to fight the Death Eaters and defend the students. Daisy matched the one with the longer, darker hair to the images of Sirius Black, though it seemed that his two years out of Azkaban had been good for his health, if not his wardrobe. The other… the other was a werewolf, she could feel the wolf in his magic. There was also a woman, dressed for a concert, with short hair in turquoise and pink spikes, casting vicious, barely legal spells at the Death Eaters.
Sirius Black was fighting against the Death Eaters.
That didn’t fit the rumors and allegations about him at all. He wasn’t clad in the black robes and skull-mask of a Death Eater – masks which Daisy had been a little disappointed to learn were made of magic-shaped porcelain or metal, rather than actual bone. The more that she’d looked into the research on the Death Eaters, the more they sounded like a pretentious boys’ club rather than the pack of the most vile and evil wizards that the general public considered them to be. No study of exotic and ancient curses, no word or cleanup of ritual sacrifices under the New Moon, and a rather uncreative approach to torturing their enemies. She’d been hoping for something more interesting from Black, considering the reputation of his family and the general fear and loathing the average wizard held for the man. He wasn’t trying to kill the Potter or Longbottom boys. In fact, most of the students seemed to consider his presence quite the relief.
“Clearly, we don’t have a few important facts…” she murmured to herself.
Unspeakable Daisy didn’t let her confusion prevent her from casting subtle spells against the Death Eaters. Spells to slow them, to blur their vision, to make the floor slippery beneath their feet. She also cast spells to subtly deflect the attacks against the students, to help speed the replenishment of blood, to help knit together broken bones. Nothing that would betray her location.
Though she did use a combination of disillusionment and a directed summoning charm to send one of the Death Eaters through the Veil to the deepest Research Rooms. She knew that he would barely have time to land before being stunned, searched, stripped, and taken to a room to be questioned. Thoroughly. About everything – what he’d done for Voldemort, what other crimes he may have committed, his banking records, voting history, his vices and who he had blackmail to use against. If he’d been one of those who’d bribed their way out of a trial years ago, they’d discover just what he’d done, when, what had happened to the bodies, and he’d be appropriately dealt with. If he’d escaped from Azkaban with Voldemort’s help, then he’d soon be wishing for the familiar presence of Dementors. Some of the Unspeakable Researchers had nasty theories and habits.
Between the students, the werewolf, Black and the witch with the spiky hair, five of the Death Eaters were in variations of fallen. Most were down from something nastier than a simple, easily reversed Stunner. She had managed to send three more Death Eaters slid through the Veil before a combination of a misjudged leap and a stunner sent Sirius Black through the tattered curtain and stone arch.
Potter’s reaction was unexpected and impressive. The air crackled with raw magic, and he screamed out a single word – “Sirius!”
The werewolf was struggling to hold Potter back from leaping after Black. Even with the advantage of strength that all werewolf had, it looked as if the Potter boy might break free and follow. Until the Death Eater that had cast the stunner let out a thin giggle, “I killed Sirius Bla-ack. I killed him.”
Giggles alternated with “I killed Sirius Bla-ack” as the Death Eater that could only be Bellatrix LeStrange, formerly Black, ran from the room.
Harry Potter chased after Bellatrix, his expression full of pain and anger.
Bellatrix was every bit as insane as the reports from Azkaban claimed. She wondered what was going through the woman’s mind in accompaniment of her presumption that she’d killed her cousin, the unclaimed Head of the Family. Was she sad, angry, pleased? Was she in shock, or denial? Planning a family coup?
Harry Potter looked as if he might be joining the ranks of the insane. The Unspeakable’s Sight and instincts insisted that she should follow Harry Potter – what would happen around him would be far more interesting and important than the remaining fight in the Execution Chamber. Pivotal, even.
Letting her instincts guide her, the Unspeakable found herself in the Atrium. Mad giggles warned of the approach of Bellatrix, and the sizzle of spellfire made it clear that Potter was close behind. A spell charged with rage obliterated one of the Floo Fireplaces, sending ashes and rubble all over the floor. Bellatrix slid through the rubble, much of it no bigger than gravel, with a startled squawk, most likely scraping her elbows.
“Does little Potter miss his godfather?” Bellatrix was looking at the boy, her mask having fallen aside. “Bet you want to make me hurt for it.”
The single word that Harry Potter hissed was almost but not quite Parseltongue, “Crucio.”
“Aaaah!” Bellatrix gasped in shock more than pain. “That’s not the right way! You have to mean it. I killed Sirius, and you can’t mean it!”
Other fireplaces flared green, and several aurors stepped into the Atrium. They immediately had to dodge spells fired from Bellatrix. Several began firing back, and a few even sent spells towards Harry Potter. Frowning, Unspeakable Daisy tried to remember their faces, to match suspicions of allegiance or sympathy to Voldemort, to Death Eater relatives. Across the Atrium, more fireplaces spat out people. She recognized several of the janitorial staff, and two of the emergency repair wizards. And former Chief Warlock and Headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
At the same time, someone apparated into the Atrium, landing near the gaudy, inaccurate statue in the fountain. Someone who felt strikingly inhuman and reeked of power and dark magic. Someone clad in wispy dark robes that reminded her of a Dementor. The majority of Wizarding Britain would never accept someone like that… Someone that could only be the Dark wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort, that most of the wizarding country called He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or simply You-Know-Who.
He reminded her of some of her family, and some of her sister’s in-laws, now that she considered him.
Dumbledore of the many titles leapt into action, casting an impressive assortment of spells against Voldemort. Not that Voldemort stood there passively – no, the Dark wizard was casting an assortment of spells of his own, some directed against the Potter boy and others against Dumbledore.
She had to admit that it was an impressive display of magic.
Not even Ostrich Fudge could deny that Voldemort was here, was real. Spells blasted fireplaces. The individual figures of the grossly inaccurate and poorly named Statue of Magical Brethren first became animated for combat and were then blasted into metallic scrap, some of which melted. Water was sprayed across the floor, frozen, steamed, animated and scattered again. While the Potter boy was making a very impressive showing for a boy his age, he was quite obviously not yet in the same league as Dumbledore or Voldemort in control and spell variety.
Daisy felt her breath catch as Voldemort attempted a physical possession of the Potter boy, wisping into a shadowy mass and enveloping the boy. She regretted not being close enough to hear what Voldemort said to Dumbledore, if he was taunting, threatening… But the Potter boy threw off the possession, collapsing to the floor gasping for breath and twitching like a landed fish. Reforming into the no-longer human wizard, Voldemort called Bellatrix LeStrange to his side with a gesture and the pair disappeared.
“That was really… he’s really back…”
Fudge’s pathetic whining drowned out what Dumbledore said to Harry Potter. However, when he handed Harry Potter a scrap of metal and the boy vanished – Dumbledore’s plan was clear. Portkey the student out of the Ministry.
Soon, Potter would be hearing whatever critical information Dumbledore would finally be revealing. She wondered if the man would also see to the swift removal of the other students or if they’d be left to fend for themselves in tonight’s chaos.
“Black’s questioning should prove quite interesting. He may be more useful in ways other than a test subject,” she mused to herself, slipping out of the Atrium.
A quick gesture flipped the Unspeakable hood down from her robes, de-activating the woven in charms that disguised her appearance and voice. She was now revealed to be a young looking woman with dark eyes and long blonde hair, several pale daisies growing among the locks, most of them like a daisy crown on her head. In only a few hours, the Ministry would be open for business – she had no doubts about that. And Ophelia Frump, secretary for the Chairman of the Department of Magical Flora, would be well placed to hear all the rumors and official explanations.
Hubert, one of the Ministry’s ghosts signaled to her, signing that the children had left, with only minor injuries. Ophelia nodded, thinking once again that she was very glad that she hadn’t signed a blank hundred year contract like Hubert Humdinger. Perhaps the man wouldn’t have minded remaining on as a ghost in the Department of Mysteries, but that contract hadn’t given him a choice – he’d agreed to a hundred years, and a hundred years he would serve. He still had another twenty-some to go, if she had her facts correct.
Settling into the chair behind her desk, Ophelia started a kettle to brew up some tea. This blend didn’t have the cyanide, but there were a few things that she found rather stimulating… Best to have this pot all drank before any of her co-workers arrived. It might not be quite good for their delicate systems. She sent a few coded messages to the lower labs, and cast a few privacy charms before scrying to look around the Department for the damages.
As big a mess as predicted.
“I just hope that we’ve made enough changes, bent enough that we can make things better. Not have the same losses, smooth away some of the bumps,” Ophelia sighed, waiting for her water to heat for tea. She wondered if the Department as a whole would take a more active role this time around or if the Ministry would try to hamper them with a blind, stubborn refusal to use lethal force against the rabid maniacs willing to cripple and kill. Though if the Ministry officially reused permission, she could think of several ways to make a difference that they would never be able to prove…
Unspeakable Daisy jotted down a quick note that her observations of Sirius Black suggested that he was not currently aligned with the Death Eaters and that clearly, some of the rumors were either incorrect or lacking crucial information. She suggested a thorough questioning about the deaths of James and Lily Potter, and that they remember to take the chance to finally figure out how he managed to escape from Azkaban. While she didn’t mind the place so much, travel to and from the island was supposed to be strictly regulated.
Sending the memo to the deeper labs, she sighed. “I really want to read that transcript when it’s finished.”
End Unspeakable Daisy fragment.
Chapter 19: Hagrid's Bunny
Rated T, similar to the books
Set during the year of the Tri-Wizard, err, Quad-Wizard Tournament.
I do not own anything or anyone from Harry Potter. I don’t own the Creature either.
“Good t’ see all of you this morning,” Professor Hagrid called to the class that combined the sixth and seventh year N.E.W.T. preparatory Care of Magical Creatures class. It had been decided that combining those years would let him have the dangerous creatures in and out more quickly than if he had to keep them for two separate groups, and he would just use an alternating two year plan for the advanced level. The rest of the faculty hoped that this lesson plan would reduce the numbers of students injured by Hagrid’s beasties.
A general mumble emerged in response as the students looked around. They were assembled for class, with books, and scrolls and quills for taking notes, and several people had their dragon-hide gloves just in case. Several of the students thought that Hagrid was trying to kill them with his creatures. Others just thought that he had a shaky idea about what was ‘dangerous’ and what was ‘cuddly.’
“Maybe we could have a class on flying horses, like the ones that the Beauxbatons students had pulling their carriage?” asked one of the girls, glancing at her boyfriend.
“He had hippogryffs out for the third years, Sarah. Big, pretty, palominos with wings probably aren’t lethal enough for him,” mumbled the seventh year carrying the girl’s books.
Marcus Flint glanced across the clearing at Oliver Wood, his favorite Quidditch rival, the only one who took the game as seriously as he did, though Oliver was generally better liked by the rest of the school. Both of them were giving suspicious looks to the boxy shape covered with a sheet, standing as high as Hagrid’s waist and slightly longer than a regulation racing broom. On Hagrid’s other side was a similarly sized box-cage, holding a Blast-Ended Skrewt, in size taller than the girls’ knees but not to their hips, currently nudging half a head of cabbage. The box holding the Skrewt wasn’t covered.
“Now today, I’ve got somethin’ special for all of ya t’ see,” Hagrid’s voice sounded quite pleased. “Of course, Carrie is dangerous and a mite temperamental, so none of you ought ta be handlin’ her. I’ve only got her here for the one day, on account of the information might be on your written N.E.W.T. exams.”
The class froze as Hagrid described today’s creature as ‘dangerous and a mite temperamental’. This was the man who showed hippogryffs around thirteen year olds, the person who wanted a pet dragon, the person that rumors alleged might have had any number of terrible beasts from chimera to giant bears to sea serpents to mutated spiders to griffons as pets.
“What does Hagrid call dangerous?” someone murmured.
“A b-basilisk?” a boy’s voice stammered.
“No, that’d be too big for the covered cage.” The suggestion was countered quickly.
“Same with any adult dragon then – too big for the cage.” One of the boys mused.
“Do you think he brought in a Nundu? One of those might fit in that cage,” Nyota Clagg offered, fidgeting with her blue tie. “It takes a hundred wizards to subdue one in the wild, you know.”
“That sounds like something Hagrid would like,” grumbled a student.
“What about an Acromantula?” offered Igraine Talbot. “Okay, a young one, not a full grown, big as Hagrid sized Acromantula. Just a half grown giant, carnivorous spider.”
“Aren’t those tropical creatures? The book says they live in Borneo,” Countered Tertius Veii.
“Maybe it’s a Cerebrus?” Sarah offered.
“He’s got to be the person who found that one back three years ago,” Marcus Flint paused, looking at the covered box. “But that box isn’t big enough for that dog.”
“I present t’ all of you the Tyrannolagomorpha. Her name is Carrie,” Hagrid beamed as he pulled the cover from the cage, revealing the dangerous beast within.
It was a fluffy white bunny, with dark reddish eyes. Its pink nose wiggled as it peered at them from between the inch thick metal bars.
Reactions were instantaneous. Most of the girls made a noise best described as ‘awwwww’ as another sound emerged from most of the boys, best described as ‘huuhh??’ From the back of the class, a voice rose up, “But it’s just a rabbit!”
“Just a rabbit? Carrie here is a Tyrannolagomorpha, rated as a level four or five magical threat in most European nations. They’ve been known t’ kill trained wizards, though with great caution they can be domesticated. It happens that they aren’t too forgiving of rough handling and they tend to bite.” Hagrid looked at the assembled and now confused students.
“..but it’s a fluffy bunny.”
“I can see that I’m goin’ t’ have to show you a bit more. I hope that this doesn’t upset those of you who have delicate sensibilities,” Hagrid produced a pair massive dragon-hide gloves and put them on his hands while looking at the students. “Flint, can you open up the top o’ the cage with the Skrewt, while I get Carrie here out of her cage?”
Marcus Flint opened the other cage, glaring at the Blast-Ended Skrewt. Those wretched things had been terrorizing the various Care of Magical Creatures classes for a while, with hard shells, pointy claw feet, nasty bites that only got worse as they grew, and venomous stinging tails. “Sir?”
Hagrid reached into the cage, lifting the fluffy white creature. As he lifted the Tyrannolagomorpha, it became apparent that she was larger than a normal rabbit, neatly filling Hagrid’s large hand. With one gloved hand, he petted along the bunny’s spine, causing it to make a soft noise. “Don’t frighten this lethal lady.”
The class watched in confusion and growing dismay as Hagrid carried the fluffy creature towards the cage with the vicious Blast-Ended Skrewt. “Observe carefully when I put these two into the same cage.”
“Nooo….” Several girls protested as Hagrid gently placed the fluffy bunny-like creature into the cage with the Skrewt, closing the lid and bolting it shut.
The class expected, with varying levels of fear and dread and perhaps a few with glee, to see blood, violence, mayhem and flying bits of fur as the Skrewt attacked and destroyed the poor, fluffy bunny.
“Ummm… is that Skrewt trying to back away from the bunny?” emerged in a puzzled voice from one of the students.
To the bafflement of the students, the vicious Skrewt was indeed attempting to back away from the bunny that was barely half as tall, and perhaps a quarter of its body mass. The Skrewt was also making a high-pitched whimpering noise.
The Tyrannolagomorpha raised onto her back legs, pink nose wiggling as she sniffed the interior of the new cage. The ears twitched around, for a few moments both focused towards the now cowering Skrewt. The bunny made a soft cooing noise. After a few moments of balance, the ears folded back, and the jaw parted revealing a vast number of very sharp teeth, and she pounced on the Skrewt.
There was violence. There were an assortment of loud squeals and thumping noises from inside the cage. Several loud cracking noises were heard. Bodily fluids splashed the walls of the cage. A few wisps of white fluff drifted through the air.
When the noise had settled, the Tyrranolagomorpha could be seen gnawing on the thorax of the still-twitching Skrewt, with a few minor scrapes and missing a couple patches of fur. Another Skrewt leg was in the corner of the cage, and several seemed to have vanished completely.
“As you can see, the Tyrrannolagomorpha differ from their cousins in that they are omnivores. Most will eat just about anything, though they might hesitate by the time the anything gets to be my size or bigger. Unless they’re very angry, very hungry, or protecting a litter of babies,” Hagrid’s words couldn’t cause them to look away from the horrific spectacle in the cage as the fluffy bunny continued to gnaw on the remains of the Skrewt.
“As you can see, Carrie has a liking for seafood.”
“…the bunny’s eating the Skrewt…”
“It’s a killer rabbit. Like from Monty Python,” insisted muggle-born Nigel Wilkins.
“There was a feral Tyrannolagomorpha that got loose in Wales about thirty years ago. It caused more than a few problems before a large group of Beast Handlers and Hit Wizards managed to get it back under control. There’s a good chance that the Obliviators missed a few witnesses,” Hagrid replied, ignoring the fact that Nigel didn’t actually seem to be talking to anyone in specific.
“Scary bunny,” Sarah whispered. “It doesn’t look as cute now.”
“Based purely on their abilities, they should be rated as a level four dangerous beast. But because they look so cute and fluffy, most people think that they’re just a harmless little bunny. By the time they realize that the bunny’s not so harmless, they’ve already lost an arm or a leg. That’s why some people are arguing for the level five threat rating for them,” Hagrid paused for a few moments to watch the fluffy creature crack open the Skrewt leg and devour the insides. “They are an endangered species, though few laws have been passed to offer them additional protections.”
“It’s eating a Skrewt. How much protection does it actually need?” Marcus asked.
Nobody wanted to pet the bunny anymore.
End Pottery Shard: Hagrid’s Bunny.
Chapter 20: Date for the Ball
Rated t for teen – similar to the books, makes use of cliché’d ideas.
Set during book 4, approaching the Yule Ball – a blend of a few rather over-used ideas that won’t get out of the way and let me work on my other projects.
The approaching Yule Ball had been the cause of much commotion and all sorts of emotions over the last few weeks. Some were excited over the chance to dress up and show off for a special someone or just to show off in general. There were many who felt mixtures of fear, nervousness and dread about finding a date, either that the one they wanted wouldn’t ask, would already have a date, or that nobody would ask at all. Many third years were out of sorts that they wouldn’t be permitted to attend at all unless an older student asked them as their date.
Unexpectedly, Hermione Granger had been asked to the Ball by several of her fellow Gryffindors, as well as Ravenclaw Terry Boot and an ambitious third year Slytherin named Julian Tirabetti. She had given all of them the same answer – “I am flattered that you asked, but I already have a date to the Yule Ball, so I must refuse your offer.”
Ron Weasley had asked twice, with nowhere near the politeness or interest that the others had used. More frustratingly, he hadn’t believed her when she’d claimed to already have a date. His exact annoyed words, were “Who else’d ask Hermione to the Ball?”
Harry Potter had only shrugged and commented, “I guess she turned down Terry Boot, you know, the Ravenclaw in our year? The one who supports Puddlemere?”
“Puddlemere? Why would she want to go out with someone who supports them?” Ron had scoffed.
Harry had just sighed, unwilling to argue that Hermione, of all people, wouldn’t be rejecting a possible date or boyfriend because of their favorite Quidditch team.
More than a few of the fourth years were in the Common Room when people returned from an Arithmancy study session. Hermione, of course, had gone to the study group, murmuring about proofs and theorums that had gone completely over the heads of those not taking the class. On her return from the study group, she looked a bit rumpled, with her hair having fallen out of the loose braid into wild tendrils. Her pages of notes were sticking out of the Arithmancy book in a way that suggested something had completely disrupted the study session, or perhaps her notes had spilled on the way back to the Common Room. Hermione herself was muttering about idiot boys chasing French Veela and obsessed fangirls stalking visiting Bulgarians.
Her irritation was as obvious as the wild mane of bushy hair that wreathed her head. Pausing at one of the little tables, Hermione started to shuffle the books and papers in her satchel, neatening them up to something closer to her preferred obsessive level of order. Most Gryffindors were content to let her fuss with her papers while avoiding any sort of eye contact that might cause her to blather at them about revision schedules and assignment dates.
Unfortunately, not only did Ron Weasley have the tact and subtlety of a troll, he was a slow learner. As Hermione fussed with her papers and books, he made his way over to her. Ron’s entire appearance, from his rumpled clothing to his hair looking almost as wild as Harry’s, suggested that he’d been enjoying a carefree afternoon. Things got worse when he opened his mouth, “Hey Hermione, you’re a girl, right?”
Several students shuffled further away, turning their attention to the conversation that was certain to end badly.
Hermione looked up from her papers and books, ink splotching over her fingertips and a few drops on the back of her left hand. Her eyes narrowed and she slowly spoke, “As a matter of fact, I am a girl. I have been for my whole life. Have you only now noticed that?”
Ron continued on, either ignoring or completely missing the warning signs. “Since no one else will take you to the Ball, I thought I could let you go with me. What do you say?”
Gryffindors were treated to the sight of Hermione Granger stunned speechless, her jaw dropping open in shock at the sheer brazen rudeness of Ron’s words. Her face paled, and after a few tense heartbeats, the pallor changed to an angry flush, the vein at her temple throbbing as her jaw snapped shut with a click.
Hermione’s fingers twitched a few moments, looking rather claw-like before they closed around her Arithmancy text. Seemingly without conscious thought, her arms lifted the Arithmancy text, and she glared at the boy in front of her.
“Come on, it isn’t like you’ve got that many options,” Ron prattled.
The two inch thick Arithmancy text connected to Ron Weasley’s cheek with a loud ‘Whuuuump!’ before anyone save Harry with his Quidditch reflexes had even realized that Hermione had moved. Ron Weasley spun in a half circle and dropped to the floor in a gangly heap.
Hermione grabbed the rest of her papers and shoved them into her bag, a twitching series of movements that wasn’t quite stalking taking her to the base of the stairs to the Girls’ Dormitories before she paused. The words were sharply measured, “When he regains what passes for sense, tell him that means no.”
Nobody moved to stop her from leaving the Common Room.
A few moments later, a door slammed closed upstairs.
“She‘s got quite a temper, hasn’t she?” One of the Weasley twins commented, staring at the stairs where Hermione had stood.
The other twin was looking at the unmoving form of their younger brother. “Too right.”
End Pottery Shard: Date for the Ball.
Chapter 21: Snape's Freedom
why, yes, Snape IS a biased, unreliable narrator.
Rated T for teen
Main character: Severus Snape
Disclaimer: Snape (and anyone else you recognize) belongs to JK Rowling. I am NOT JK Rowling.
Notes: set during book 7 (sigh), could be canon.
Voldemort thought that he'd forgotten about the snake. That wretched, malicious, evil snake. An evil snake that happened to be almost thirty feet long and quite venomous. How in the bloody hell could anyone forget about such a creature? Especially not when, in order to keep Dumbledore happy and convinced that he was the Headmaster's loyal, repentant follower, he'd spent hours devising potions to treat the bite received by Arthur Weasley in yet another of Dumbledore's ridiculous plots.
The final anti-venin took almost three hours to brew, and was exceedingly tricky. Quite impressive to have devised and accomplished the brewing in time to save Weasley's life. Few could have managed. He took no small pride in the fact that he had accomplished the task.
As another consequence, he would never forget Nagini.
Severus Snape was many things. He was a Potions Master - something far more than someone who brewed medicines, poisons and excellent mead. He could create new potions, generally without disastrous accidents. He had achieved a Mastery in Defense. He'd received Exceeds Expectations in both Ancient Runes and Arithmancy, and more importantly, had found ways to make use of those skills in his potions work. Runes for safety in his own working areas, and arithmancy as a far neater, safer, and less expensive way to determine probable combinations for specific effects. He spoke four languages, all learned the hard way, though perhaps using legilimancy to help had been just a little bit of magical assistance. He was a terrible teacher, in large part because he loathed children. He was an angry, bitter man who hoarded grudges the way goblins hoarded gold.
But he was not a complete dunderheaded idiot.
Ever since he was eleven, one powerful wizard had meddled and controlled things in ways that, intentional or not, had impacted his life. That wizard had been Albus Dumbledore, a man of many names and titles. When he was seventeen and quite arrogant and foolish, he had shown a dreadful lapse in judgment and pledged himself to the service of Lord Voldemort. He'd spent three years loyally serving Voldemort, though with an increasing level of dismay. The man had promised reform, had promised a new era without the corrosive muggle ways destroying old wizarding traditions, a new era where muggles could no longer torment young wizards, an era where wizards no longer hid from muggles. Protection from his enemies in the forms of Potter and Black had been an added bonus. Except... this reform seemed awfully bloody, an awful lot like terrorism and not very much like helping the frightened young wizards forced to live near muggles. Then he'd learned that MacNair intended to destroy Lily Evans - who would always be Lily Evans to him, no matter that Potter had married her. He'd done something that he'd never expected, seeking out Dumbledore to try to protect Lily. Hoping that someday, when things were better, when magicals no longer needed to fear jealous, fearful, hateful muggles, that Lily might forgive him for his fit of temper after their O.W.L.'s and that unfortunate name that he'd called her. Dumbledore had agreed to try to save Lily, but only if he would become Dumbledore's spy among the Death Eaters.
The meddling old fool. Afterwards, the old man had blackmailed him into teaching at Hogwarts, a place that he'd never wanted to return to after he'd graduated. A place filled with bad memories and resentments, a place that had failed to protect him. An old man that had wheedled and cajoled Snape into doing absurd things, resorting to blackmail when politer persuasion failed. But subtly - it wouldn't do for others to see the Headmaster do something like that, something so... grey. So far from the paragon of Light and Virtue and Sugar that he presented himself as to the foolish masses.
It had grown worse when Potter's spawn had arrived at Hogwarts. To himself, he could admit that he'd handled things poorly. He'd berated and sabotaged the boy as if he had been James Potter, and as if he himself had still been the bullied, unwanted poor Slytherin of his youth, coupled with an abuse of the rules and authority of a Professor. On rare occasions, he had even felt a twinge of guilt about it - attacking James Potter through the proxy of his son. Or perhaps that twinge and churning sensation had been indigestion. He'd been vindictive, spiteful, angry and petty.
Too late he'd learned that Harry Potter - not James back from the dead, but Harry who was not his father - would be the one to stop Voldemort. That the only chance for Voldemort's defeat was Harry Potter. If Harry Potter failed, then Voldemort would remain in charge, and he'd found that having the Cruciatus cast on him was not to his taste. If Harry Potter, against the odds and sense won, then his future would be in the hands of a young man that he'd spent the last six years ensuring hated him. In short, regardless of who won, Severus Snape was doomed.
Then had come Voldemort's plan involving the death of Dumbledore. He'd had mixed feelings about that - while it would change things so that instead of two powerful old wizards making irrational demands on him there would only be one, the one remaining would be the one who was fond of using painful magic. Being forced into the presence of children was, while unpleasant, less agonizing than torture spells.
And then the obsessive pursuit of the fabled Elder Wand. The wand that had been in Dumbledore's possession. The one that had not become bound to Draco Malfoy. When they determined that Malfoy was not the Master of the Elder Wand, Severus had known that his days were numbered, and the number was small. Voldemort had never had much patience with his minions.
Voldemort had two favorite ways to kill. Firstly, he took fiendish delight in casting the Imperius on those nearest and dearest to his intended victim, watching their horror and anguish as their lover, their children, their most trusted turned and killed them. Secondly, he enjoyed setting his snake on people, either a rapid death from blood loss or dying slowly from the venom. Severus Snape had nobody near and dear to him that could be imperius'd and set to kill him. That meant it would likely be the snake.
Nagini's venom was potent, and caused agonizing pain as well as delayed clotting while the wound suffered damage rather similar to acid. Untreated, death could take up to an hour. It took at least three hours to brew the anti-venin, assuming one was in a location with all the ingredients and equipment.
What he hadn't explicitly told anyone was that there was another solution. One that he'd mentioned to his first year students every year that he'd been forced to teach the dunderheads Potions. A bezoar will save you from most poisons. Secretive testing years ago had determined that Nagini's venom was not one of the few exceptions.
What sort of Potions' Master would he be to die from poison? He always carried one, normally two, bezoars at all times.
As he'd expected, Nagini had attacked him, not far from the walls of Hogwarts. The strike, while agonizing and quite messy, was not fatal in and of itself - it would be the venom that killed. Harry Potter's presence was almost as painful as the snake venom.
His vision had been graying by the time he'd managed to swallow the bezoar, half choking on the stone. As he'd leaned against the wall of the Shrieking Shack, his head spinning, body burning, clothing wet with his own blood, he'd tried to regain control of his spinning thoughts. A calming potion and a blood replenisher had helped. Slowly, as the burning ebbed, Severus realized that Harry Potter now thought him dead.
Which meant that if Harry Potter defeated Voldemort, then everyone would think he was dead. Both of the wizards who had bound him to their wills would be dead and he... He could be free.
Free to leave the country, as he'd wanted to do over a decade ago. Free to shut himself away somewhere and do Potions research. Free from teaching children. Almost free from encountering children. And while some might consider him to have done a few things worth remembering, nobody would miss him at all. A dead Severus Snape could be praised for a few valiant acts, but a live one was an unwanted, prickly nuisance. He was neither wanted by or wanting to belong to wizarding Britain any longer.
He could finally leave the country. Start over. As soon as he could manage to stand up.
End Snape's Freedom.
Chapter 22: His Moods
this chapter rated T, similar to the later books.
A little Point of View piece.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sometimes it was easy to see why she had gone to his side. When he caressed her face with his slender fingers, when he gazed into her eyes and called her beautiful. When things were going well and there was plentiful food, and whichever place that they were staying was warm and comfortable and made her feel safe, made her start to dream of having her own little ones. When he was in a good mood, laughing and smiling at her dry jokes and clever observations.
Those were the times that she still loved him.
Sometimes, when he screamed at the darkness and cursed the names of his enemies, she worried for his sanity. Wondered if the accident, that 'minor setback' that had taken him from her side for so many long years had damaged his mind. He'd had a brilliant mind, sharp and cunning, tangled as you could ever imagine, and filled with devious, delightful plans. A man of ambition, driven to achieve great things.
She was the only one that knew of the dreams that tormented him in his sleep. Wicked, awful things that made him writhe and weep. Him, weeping! He would not speak to anyone of those dreams, not even willing to share the details with her. She'd gathered that he dreamed of how things could have been, that he dreamed of that awful night that had taken him away from her. That he still had awful dreams of his childhood. Dreams where he begged someone to stop, promising not to tell, that he wouldn't touch those things - though she had no idea what the things might be. Those dreams made her want to find the one that had caused them and make that miserable wretch scream and plead like her darling did, before she crushed the life from their eyes.
But she could not save him from his past. Or from the enemies of his youth - he'd sworn to her that all of them besides the bearded meddler were already dead. That he'd taken care of them himself just as soon as he'd figured out how to not be caught. And he would not share any of the details of his youth.
Sometimes, he stalked the rooms or halls of their current home, hissing threats and curses upon those who were his current enemies, or those who troubled him. Those who failed him, broke their promises. Those who had betrayed him, repudiating his name and their association when he'd suffered.
She took note of those names, especially those who had abandoned him, those who had betrayed him. When she thought she could get away with it, she would kill them for him. When he no longer felt that their use outweighed the annoyance that they caused. She'd already managed to claim one, the disgusting louse who had reeked of cheap alcohol and foul smoke. She'd hypnotized him with her beautiful eyes, edging towards him as he stared at her grace, at her sleek body. By the time she was close enough, he'd been standing there with an even stupider than usual look. Killing him could only improve the wizarding stock.
There were enemies that she could not reach, enemies that she longed to remove from his life. People who thwarted his work, opposed his ways of making the world better. People who called him horrible names and cursed at him - both with cruel words and with spells.
"I wish that I could make it better for you, my darling one," she watched him as he sat in the chair, his fingers tapping along the wood.
She moved closer, leaning her jaw against his shoulder, hoping that her support would improve his mood. That he would know that he had her at his side.
He ignored her.
Oh, it was going to be one of those evenings. The evenings where she wondered what she had been thinking to go with him. To abandon a comfortable future and a familiar life for his sweet promises and passionate dreams. When she felt like she'd been a fool, charmed and dazzled and led on a merry path for the amusement and convenience of another. For his amusement. A night when she didn't feel like he meant it when he called her his sweet, his precious angel. A night when she felt like he was laughing at her as much as he laughed at those groveling idiots.
A night when he sulked and brooded in his chair.
"How could you fail? Did you not say that it would be so simple that a child could manage the task? Did you not promise me success, promise me the book?" He was glaring at the rounded figure in front of him. His fingers had stopped tapping on the chair, and one hand was clenched around his wand while the other gripped the chair as if he feared it would run away.
"But..." the man snivelled.
"You are no use to me." There was a flatness to these words.
"Give me another chance! I can get it for you, I swear!" the man begged, falling to his knees.
The word that he hissed was filled with magic, with anger, with hate. It made the begging fool scream, his limbs flailing about in irregular arcs. Still screaming, the man's body twisted, the veins in his neck and along his face bulging. The screaming man's eyes started to take on a reddish color, and he had collapsed to the floor, still writhing and twisting. Soon he began to claw at his face and chest, though his blunt nails did little damage. A small chunk of meat fell from his mouth to the floor even as a red froth began to emerge from his lips - the man had bitten off his own tongue.
Then the man went still, dropping fully to the floor instead of having his middle raising upwards as only his head and his feet touched the ground, perhaps accompanied by a hand. He wasn't even gasping for breath any more. A thin trickle of blood emerged from his nose, overwhelmed by the large pool forming near his mouth.
"He's yours, my sweet." The words should have been soft, filled with the concern and understanding that had lured her to his side. Instead they were dull, as if the whole matter bored him.
Approaching the still form, she felt her jaws part in what was almost a smile. Even if he was being a broody bastard tonight, there was plenty to eat.
As she began to swallow the corpse that had only minutes before been one of the cowardly Death Eaters, Nagini decided that she would stay with him a little longer. His mood would pass - they always did.
End Pottery Shard: His Moods.
Chapter 23: Luna's Future Children
Rated T for teen.
Disclaimer: I own nobody from the Harry Potter series.
Distribution: with the other Pottery Shards.
Notes: possible sequel to Witches Meeting Pottery Shard. Set in what would be Luna’s 5th year and Harry’s 6th.
“So, Harry, will you be the father of my children? I think I’d like six or seven,” Luna leaned on the table near one of the few students that had never teased her with anything less than friendly intentions.
Harry Potter blinked, his green eyes open very wide as his jaw moved without a single coherent word emerging.
“Luna! How could you? You know that I…” Ginny Weasley’s voice was loud before she suddenly clapped her hand over her mouth, her face turning a bright red.
Near Harry, other Gryffindors were now staring at her, some of them making similar surprised expressions. Ronald Weasley’s face was almost as red as his sister's, and his expression was angry. Many of them looked confused, suggesting to Luna that they were not following her reasoning at all. This was a situation that Luna was quite familiar with, though that made it no less awkward.
“Did you just… did you just ask Harry to marry you?” demanded one of the other girls in Harry’s year. She was pretty, with bright, chunky jewelry and a pretty scarf of shiny gold shot through with crimson threads.
“It isn’t traditional for a witch to ask a wizard to marry her,” mumbled the young Longbottom.
“Goodness, I didn’t ask him to marry me!” Luna insisted, looking at the young Longbottom . “Harry, have I ever spoken to you about marital plans?”
“… I’m pretty sure that I haven’t spoken to anyone about wedding plans, or intent to marry.” Harry was still looking a bit confused. “Is this a good place for the conversation that you’re trying to have with me, Luna?”
Luna considered this for a moment, and decided that the Great Hall was sure to have a lot of interruptions, especially when the Weasleys started talking. Reaching over to capture Harry’s wrist in her hand, she pulled him to his feet. “Probably not. We’ll find somewhere quieter.”
“Why on earth would you ask Harry something like that? To… marry you and start a family and… and everything!” Hermione of the bushy hair demanded.
Luna considered the girl, absently wondering if there were kerlingers nesting in that wild mane of hair. The girl had enormous faith in books, appalling trust in teachers, and wrote too much for all her essays. Not particularly willing to listen to other perspectives or philosophies either. And muggle-born. “Hermione, I didn’t ask him to marry me. I asked him to father my children. As for why… I was certain that muggles were just as aware as magicals that it takes a male and a female to conceive. I’m female, and unless there’s something that Harry’s been hiding from everybody, he’s male.”
“But…!” The girl’s face was turning red and she made a half smothered squeak.
Luna decided to interpret that as ‘Luna Lovegood, your actions do not fit with my view of acceptable behavior – stop that this instant!’ Shaking her head, she towed Harry from the Great Hall. He wasn’t protesting, and seemed quite willing to follow her, though she suspected that he might need a bit of an explanation. Hopefully not one that started with the basic biology…
Harry tugged her into an empty room remarkably near the main entrance. While smaller than the normal classrooms, it had several benches along a wall. Instead of looking quite so stunned and confused, he was looking curious. “Luna…”
“Do I need to explain the biology to you?” Luna winked at Harry.
“Not the biology parts,” he was blushing. “Why was Ginny so angry? And while I understand that you need a guy to be the father, why do you want that guy to be me? I mean… I’m an undersized runt with messy hair and bad eyes. And… I mean, if you don’t mind explaining… why are you asking someone to father your children if you weren’t planning on getting married?”
“Not ‘someone’, I asked you,” Luna corrected. “In order, Ginny wants to marry you and become Mrs. the Boy-Who-Lived. I want someone nice that isn’t from a Death Eater family, who doesn’t pick on me, and with a strong ability at magic, because if both parents have at least a reasonable amount of magic, it makes the chances of magical children much better. Talk to Madam Pomfrey about correcting the underfed and runty aspects, she’s very good with potions. I can live with messy hair, and I like your eyes. If I do not marry, then my children will carry the Lovegood name and family magics, not the name of whoever fathers them. You will be expected to marry someone who will take the Potter name and bear Potter heirs. I need to bear Lovegood heirs – my father is the only other person of the family physically capable of having anything to do with creating little Lovegoods, and he’s too caught up mourning my Mum to even try. Did I miss anything?”
“Is this something that I would have known about if I’d been brought up in the magical community, instead of in a muggle cupboard?” Harry murmured.
“Most of it,” Luna agreed.
“I’ve got to talk to Madam Pomfrey,” Harry sounded a bit dazed.
“She might be a bit old for bearing Pomfrey heirs,” Luna teased.
“She… ack! Not like that!” Harry blushed.
“Sorry,” Luna giggled.
Harry’s expression suggested that he didn’t believe that she was sorry, but he wasn’t angry at her for laughing.
“Will you father my children for me?” Luna asked again. “You didn’t really give me an answer yet.”
“I…” Harry sighed, running his hand through his hair. “Aren’t we a little young for that right now?”
Luna considered his question, while noting that he still hadn’t answered hers. “I suppose that I am a little young to start working on those Lovegood heirs right away. So, let me rephrase. In a few more years, when I’m at a good age for becoming pregnant, will you father my children for me?”
“You’re in your fifth year, so two more years of Hogwarts, and then…” Harry mumbled, obviously thinking.
Luna leaned closer, hoping that he’d be willing to help her.
Harry nodded, having reached a consensus with the voices in his head. “Luna, in four years, when you’ve finished Hogwarts and have had a little time to consider if this is what you really want and if I’m who you really want, and if Voldemort and his minions and the various monsters and what-not haven’t killed me, I’d be delighted to help you have as many children as you want. But I may need you to help explain things to a wife, if I have a Mrs. Potter by then.”
“Oh goody!” Luna clapped her hands.
Harry just smiled at her, “D’you think you could point me towards something that would help me learn more of the sort of things I should know, being part of the magical world? In a way that I won’t keep you from your learning.”
“Absolutely,” Luna beamed at him. Part of her mind was trying to figure out exactly how to thank the ghost of Lady Ravenclaw. Another part was trying to determine which resources to point Harry towards. “And I think that you should pick the future Mrs. Potter carefully.”
End Luna’s Future Children.
Chapter 24: DoOver Life part 2
Severus Snape could feel his cheeks starting to hurt as he sat in the coach, smiling as Lily Evans rambled on about how excited she was about going to a school to learn real magic. He'd never been much for smiling, not even in his youth, which while not happy had been a good deal better than some of his later years. But now...
Now he had a chance to do things over. To do them better. He had the chance to actually try what people had said for centuries - 'if I could go back to then with what I know now...' He was back at 'then' with the knowledge of seven miserable years at Hogwarts and another miserable twenty years after graduating. Why wouldn't he be smiling?
Forget every caution books had ever mentioned about not disrupting the time-lines, he wanted to shatter them past-future or was that future-past... whatever the appropriate tense for the years that he remembered that his body suggested had not taken place yet might be, he wanted to utterly change them. To the point where it would be impossible to yank things back to how it had gone before.
Some of it would be simple - he would argue with that ancient hat and try to get sorted into Ravenclaw. Despite the fact that many of his prime targets were in Slytherin, he didn't want to be stuck in there with them again. There would be other ways to strike at them, with blows both blatant and subtle. Other things would be more difficult - who knew if he could break the careless, unthinking pranks that had made Potter and Black the bane of his schooling? To him, they had been cruel bullies, as well as to several other Slytherins. The Gryffindors had seen them as irresponsible pranksters. If he could convince more people to judge by actions and words rather than the color of a House tie... Ahh, who was he deluding? That was as likely as the Chudley Cannons winning the British Cup.
He'd loathed them the first time through school, and loathed them as an adult. As tempting as it was to try to arrange a fatal accident for them both - surely he knew a few ways that could get past their knowledge and the defenses of Hogwarts? He would settle for neutralizing them and save the more permanent methods for the future Death Eaters. Them and Caon Alderwood, who had not taken the Mark to the best of Snape's knowledge, but instead had a thoroughly nasty set of hobbies. During school, it had run to hurting the younger students, with rape joining in somewhere along the line - certainly by the time Snape had reached his third year, but he wasn't certain just when. By the time the man was twenty, he'd moved to muggles, and taken to killing them after he'd played. By thirty, he'd started eating the bodies. Now that he thought about it, Caon Alderwood had a resemblance to Fenrir Greyback... But Greyback must have been older. Enough so that Greyback had been the werewolf to infect Lupin...
Regardless, Caon Alderwood had to die. He had a list of others that needed to die or wind up permanently crippled. And as much as he disliked Potter and Black on a personal level, they were an irritation and a problem to him, not the same sort of evil as Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Big problems before annoyances...
While Lily had left the cabin to search for the loo, someone else slipped inside. Someone taller, with pale hair and Hogwarts robes.
Severus looked up, blinking in surprise at just how young Lucius Malfoy looked. He couldn't have been much more than... a third year. "Eehhh?"
There had been sneering insults that sounded vaguely familiar. Slights against his obvious poverty, against his looks, against his obviously inferior family...
Yes, he thought this had happened the first time. And Lucius had tried to steal his lunch, not because the Slytherin was hungry, but because it would upset the little poor half-blood. The slightly dry peanut-butter sandwich had been destroyed the first time around... And something that he hadn't learned until years later and a fragment of an American folk-story floated up into his mind.
Severus tried to look thin, and hungry, and pathetic. "Please don't take that sandwich! It's all I have to eat until I get to school, and I don't have any money for the snack-trolley. I'll starve..."
Lucius seized the sandwich, holding it above his head and sneering at the boy that reached after it, "Pathetic poor little mongrel!"
Severus tried to look pitiful, his mind filled with images of briar-patches, absurd drawings of rabbits, and a chance discovery. "But you don't look like you need to take my lunch."
Lucius ripped the cellophane wrapping from the sandwich, letting it drop onto the face of the dark haired boy. "Of course not, you little urchin. But mongrels like you aren't welcome in the magical world."
As Malfoy crammed a mouthful of sandwich into his mouth, Severus dragged the cellophane from his face with as much of a distraught child's expression as he could manage. Obviously his meager acting skills were sufficient to fool Malfoy... though showing him exactly what he wanted to see undoubtedly made that deception easier.
Malfoy swallowed a lump of the sandwich, then sneered, "You pathetic mongrel, you can't even find decent food!"
"But that's my lunch..." he whimpered, thinking to himself that it shouldn't take much longer now. So long as it wasn't a reaction that had developed later... Think of briar-patches and rabbits.
Malfoy's face started to go red, and he made a soft coughing noise. One hand raise to clutch at his throat, and he dropped the sandwich to the ground.
Severus raised his wand and cast his own silencing spell on the door, reinforcing the one that Malfoy must have cast to prevent any prefects from learning of his habit of bullying the unsorted firsties. He let the pitiful, frightened facade drop and watched as Malfoy kept clutching at his throat, his eyes watering as he made strange whistling gasps.
As Malfoy dropped to his knees, face turning bluish, Severus cast a 'notice-me-not' charm at the door. It wouldn't do for Lily to walk back before this was finished. Returning his gaze to Lucius Malfoy, who was still making little pitiful wheezes, Severus permitted himself to smirk. "Stealing lunches from little children... how proud your ancestors must be of you now, Lucius Malfoy. I wonder what they'll have to say to you for such behavior? You'll find out very soon."
Malfoy had reacted poorly to a rare potion, about eight years later, at a point in time when Severus had felt it beneficial to keep Malfoy alive. It had taken him weeks to figure out just what had caused that reaction. It turned out that Lucius Malfoy was highly allergic to the peanut plant - and there were almost a dozen potions that used it. Including one that aided in male potency and encouraged fertility.
It didn't take much longer before Malfoy stopped wheezing. The blue-purple color faded from his face. His eyes still bulged open, his hands had been tearing at his throat. "Quick, but not entirely painless. I suppose that would be the throat swelling shut and preventing him from breathing..."
There was only one course of action for it now. Double check that Malfoy had no pulse and wasn't breathing - check. Then rifle through his pockets.
A chocolate frog, two licorice wands, and a broken sugar quill. A grey velvet pouch that jingled. A shrunken book that looked to have been bound in some sort of dark leather. A second wand stuffed down the side of his boot - that could be useful.
He disillusioned the corpse and floated it up and onto the luggage rack across from where he'd been sitting. He'd leave him there, with Malfoy's official wand, and the body would be found... much later. Perhaps over the weekend. And as he knew full well just how incompetent wizards could be when it came to investigating, they would declare it to be some untraceable poison or foul dark spell. They would assume either a sixth or seventh year, if not an adult rival of the family or professional assassin.
Nobody would suspect an unsorted eleven year old. Nobody would suspect that it had been a fatal allergic reaction to a common muggle food.
"You see? One person can make a difference, if they have the right knowledge and tools. If they dare." he smirked, thinking 'take that, meddling Headmaster. So much for your protests that one person could do nothing, that a boy would be helpless.'
"I can make a difference." Severus Snape grinned, though there was nothing of humor in the expression. He was already thinking about his next difference.
end Do-Over life part 2.
Chapter 25: Ask the Nargles
Rated t for teen
Main character: Luna Lovegood
Disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to anyone that you've seen in the pages of a Harry Potter book. Even if I might be gentler to them than JKR.
Notes: a Pottery Shard - not connected to any other story fragment. One possible explanation for 'nargles'.
The worn leather pouch sat with long cords tangled around it, slumping to the side. N. Argyle had been dyed into the side, though the letters were faded from years of handling. A frail looking girl with long blonde hair sat beside the pouch, with a newspaper article spread in front of her. The article had pictures of a blond boy in robes, some of them showing him beside a blond man with a striking family resemblance, at the boy's birthday celebration this past spring.
Draco and Lucius Malfoy.
"I do know that cousin Lucius is far from my reach right now. He's also likely far more dangerous than I can handle. But what about Draco? He's just fifteen - not everyone's path is set by that age." Luna Lovegood frowned at the picture.
She weighed what she knew about her cousin Draco. Apart from the details of exactly how they were related, he was a year older than her and entering his fifth year at Hogwarts to her fourth. They'd rarely talked. He'd been sorted into Slytherin, known for their cunning and ambition, as well as for having the most Death Eaters of any Hogwarts House. His father... "No, what do I know about Draco, not Lucius."
Draco Malfoy had become the Slytherin Seeker when his father had bought the whole team Nimbus 2001 broomsticks. He boasted a great deal about his skill on a broom, the purity of his family's ancestry, his family's wealth, his grades in potions, his family's money, his superiority over... well, over everyone, and his family's influence. He made muggle-born firsties cry.
"I'll let the nargles decide his fate," Luna decided
Luna picked up the old leather pouch and gently closed the oft-knotted cords. She shook it, hearing the rune tiles rattle against each other. Luna counted out each month that Draco Malfoy had been alive as she shook the runes. She opened the mouth of the pouch and let the rune tiles spill over the article. It was almost funny the way the pictures tried to dodge the falling tiles.
Her fingers didn't shake as she looked at the tiles. Some had fallen face down, their runes hidden from her sight. Others had fallen with the runes facing upwards and correctly oriented, while the rest had fallen with the runes facing the wrong ways - the wrong paths of life. Luna began to count out how many tiles were in each position.
"Seven face down, that's seven nargles abstaining from the vote. Four upright and virtuous. And a great many that speak of crooked and mistaken paths." Luna double-checked her counting, just to be certain. This was a very important matter, after all. "Four that speak for you, seven that say nothing, and three times seven that speak against you. I guess that's that."
She carefully put each N Argyle tile back into the pouch that was all she had left of her beloved grandmother who had been a very old seer, whom Luna remembered best for her large fluffy pet rabbit with the gleaming red eyes and sharp, sharp teeth. Edmund had even purred, almost like a cat.
"The nargles have spoke, cousin Draco. You have to die."
End Pottery Shard: Ask the NArgles.
Chapter 26: Open Chess Challenge
Disclaimer: anyone you recognize from Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I have borrowed a few of the notable names from other sources.
Notes: utter silliness. Maybe third year?
Breakfast on that Wednesday started much like any other breakfast, with half asleep students staring at their food, tea and coffee and pumpkin juice being drank along with water and milk. Assorted foods were devoured with varying levels of manners and neatness.
And then there was Ron Weasley. With his plate heaped with food, he gestured wildly as he ranted. "... slimy snakes, the whole lot of them. From the dawn of time to right now, there's not a single dark wizard..."
Hermione glared and hissed, "Ronald!"
Undaunted, Ron continued his tirade, "or dark witch that wasn't a Slytherin. They're all villains, the whole lot of them!"
"Wait a minute," an older student tried to interrupt.
"Not like us, we're Gryffindors, we're the heroes! And everyone knows that the heroes always win in the end, that's why we're called heroes. And the slimy snakes are the villains, so they'll always loose!" Ron stuffed a pancake into his mouth, chewing loudly.
Harry was frowning, thinking over some of the problems with what Ron had said. He knew that Hermione, or some of the other students could probably explain those problems with specific terms and examples of what was wrong, but he'd leave that level to them. "But Ron, every evil witch or wizard in history couldn't have been a Slytherin..."
"What about Maleficent?" the same older student from before insisted.
"Who?" Harry asked, hoping to prevent Ron from doing the same while still chewing.
"The only known dragon animagus! She may have been slain by the wizard-knight Charmont, who married a princess that had been being held prisoner in one of Maleficent's strongholds. There's a bit of doubt about that, but it made a really impressive story," the student explained.
"I take it she wasn't a Slytherin?" Hermione offered.
"No, she was..." the student glanced around before hissing, "She was French!"
Ron made a noise that nobody could decipher, but it caused a spray of pancake crumbs to fly forth.
"What about Yzma?" Suggested another student.
Ron made a questioning noise.
The answer came from Neville - "Yzma was a Potions Mistress in the Incan Empire, and an advisor to several emperors. She also seemed to be able to make them die off and leave the throne to the possible heir she felt most convenient. Last anyone can be certain of, she disappeared during the Demon-Llama attack early in the reign of Emperor Kuzcu. The Incan empires were in South America, nowhere near Hogwarts."
Ron made a dismissive gesture while taking a huge bite of sausage.
"Morgana le Fay! Circe! Gundul and Geirskogul!" shouted an older Gryffindor.
"Evil Slytherins, the lot of them!" Ron insisted.
"Ron, all four of those witches predate Hogwarts even being built!" Hermione scowled.
"All of the evil Slytherins are villains! And the villains always loose!" Ron insisted, his face turning an unflattering red.
"Where are you going with this?" Ginny glared at her brother.
"I'm a Gryffindor, and that makes me the hero. Slytherins are the villains, and they have to loose. Therefore, I could beat any Slytherin at chess!" Ron concluded.
"I think you could drive a lorrie through the holes in that logic," mumbled Colin Creevey.
"A what?" Ron blinked.
"or you could send a herd of hippogriffs through it," murmured Lavender Brown.
"Hey!" Ron glared at the blonde girl.
Ron Weasley being the quiet, tactful soul that he was, his musings on good, evil, and his prospects for the future were heard by the entire Great hall.
Which was why, on the other side of the room, a spirited discussion about the youngest Weasley boy's stupidity was taking place at the Slytherin table. Examples of dark witches and wizards from the other three houses were being mentioned. Notable dark witches and wizards from other nations - who therefore had not been sorted into any Hogwarts house - were brought up.
"Did he say any Slytherin?" asked Greg Goyle.
"Of course that's what the red-headed dolt said," snapped Theo Nott.
"Not any student?" added Vincent Crabbe.
"Clean out your ears, you dunces," snapped one of the sixth years. "He said any Slytherin."
The two boys, not noted for their brilliant minds, considered this over breakfast, as well as the Weasley boy's noted dislike of their house. They didn't like him much either, and agreed with Malfoy's desire to see that particular Griff embarrassed. A plan emerged from their minds, and sent the pair of them scurrying off to the dungeons.
Greg Goyle pounded on the office door of their Head of House, "Professor Snape!"
Glaring at them, Professor Snape demanded, "What do you want?"
"Weasley's making dumb claims," Vincent began.
"I fail to see how that merits you pounding on my door," Snape muttered.
"He said... he said all Slytherins were evil villains, an' that Slytherins would always loose. That the Gryffs were the heroes, an' that meant they'd always win," Goyle began.
"Obnoxious as one would expect from him, but hardly a surprise," Snape drawled.
"He said he could beat any Slytherin at chess," Vincent Crabbe added.
"I fail to see why you are blathering at me about the arrogant boasting of a dunder-headed Gryffindor," Snape glared at them.
"I got a plan," Goyle beamed. "It could make him be humb... humil... look real dumb in front of everyone."
"You have a plan," Snape repeated. "Merlin help us..."
"He said any Slytherin, not any student," Crabbe began.
"And you're a Slytherin!" Goyle took over, his thick face looking unexpectedly serious as he looked up at his Head of House. "You take him up on his challenge, beat him in front of everyone, he looks dumb, you win, and nobody can do anything because it's his own dumb fault!"
Snape blinked, his mouth moving several times before words emerged, "That... that's not a bad plan. It should work..."
Snape waited until lunch to say anything further on the matter. Glaring at the Weasley brat, he drawled, "You claim that you can beat any Slytherin at chess?"
"Of course! Because I'm the hero," the brat grinned.
"Be prepared to test that boast tonight," Snape swept away, no longer feeling the slightest hesitation or guilt over his students' plan. The arrogant dunderhead clearly needed a few lessons in reality.
The rest of Hogwarts was full of rumors and questions about how Ron Weasley would be expected to prove his claim, and all sorts of speculation about who he would face. How the chess game would go. Weasley's morning boasting was also much discussed. All sorts of people were sought out and questioned about the upcoming chess match where Ron would face an as-yet unnamed Slytherin.
Harry Potter's response was a careful, "Well, I've never seen anyone beat Ron in the Gryffindor Common Room..."
Hermione Granger glared and snapped, "Why am I not surprised that Ron's mouth has led him into trouble again!"
Professor McGonagall's only response was a disapproving, "Well, Gryffindor is the house of the bold, and he did make some bold claims..."
It seemed that every person at Hogwarts made a point to be in the Great Hall for dinner. Many people were whispering, speculating about who might accept the challenge, or what might have been going through the mind of the youngest Weasley boy. Regardless of the favored theory, everyone wanted to know what would happen. A brand new, never opened Wizarding Chess set had been brought for the occasion, and Professors Flitwick and Vector had been requested to ensure that if there was a match, it was honest and contained no cheating or outside interference.
Lee Jordan was tapped to announce the challenge and the competitors, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with Quidditch. He blinked at the paper, and cast the sonorous charm before beginning, "Today Hogwarts is in for a special display! Ronald Bilious Weasley - Bilious? Really? Anyhow, Ronald Weasley of Gryffindor has made the claim that he can beat any Slytherin at chess. He is being challenged to defend this claim by... am I allowed to read this?"
Professor McGonagall gave a single, stiff nod.
Lee Jordan swallowed before continuing, "By Severus Snape of the Slytherin House!"
The Great Hall fell silent.
Someone's question, despite being a whisper, carried through the whole room - "is that legal?"
A rapid conference among the Staff table resulted in the conclusion that since Ronald Weasley had claimed that he could beat any Slytherin - not any Slytherin student, but any Slytherin - that Professor Snape was in fact a valid challenger. One didn't cease to be a Slytherin simply because one had completed Hogwarts, after all.
The match was short and brutal. Ten minutes after they'd sat down, Ronald Weasley was blinking at the chessboard. "But... but... I'm the Gryffindor! I'm supposed to win!"
"And yet you have lost, Mister Weasley," the Potion's Master mused, folding his arms across his chest. "Do recall that one's House lasts more than the seven years of our schooling."
"But I'm supposed to be the hero... the hero is supposed to win..." the boy repeated.
As Professor Snape left the red-haired boy staring at the chessboard, Professor McGonagall approached him. "Just what was that supposed to prove, Severus?"
"That he should think before speaking," Snape replied. "A lesson I fear has not yet made it through his skull."
Professor McGonagall could only sigh.
end Pottery Shard: Open Chess Challenge
Chapter 27: Why Are There So Many Weasleys?
Rated t for teen
Main characters: Arthur Weasley and Alistair Moody
Contains mention of assorted adult-generation HP canon pairings, mostly Arthur/Molly.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they do not belong to me. All recognizable HP characters belong to JK Rowling.
Distribution: as with other Pottery Shards.
Notes: set BEFORE the first defeat of Voldemort. Harry Potter has not yet been born. Prompted by a few things - canon fact: Arthur and Molly have produced an exceptionally large brood of children. Canon fact: Arthur works with and is fascinated by muggle things. Fact: there has been vast amounts of fan speculation about wizarding Britain's sexual mores and habits, often in less than complimentary fashions.
Arthur Weasley looked up from his desk when he felt the magic wash over him. Someone was casting spells in his office! The intended protest died as he found himself blinking at Auror Alistair Moody, in full, official robes, casting another privacy spell over the office. After that spell, a gesture with his wand caused the door to close with the particular squishing noise of a locking spell.
Trying to remain calm, Arthur hoped that his voice didn't quaver as he asked, "Is there something I can help you with, Auror Moody?"
"Have you heard the rumors about the recent arrests?" Moody's original eye was focused on Arthur as the other spun around, trying to watch everything at one. His wand was twitching, flicking between aiming at Arthur and back at the door.
"There have been quite a few rumors," Arthur hedged. "It can be difficult to sort out the truth from the half truths, embellishments, and fabrications."
"That's true enough. What have you gathered from them?" Moody still hadn't settled into the single chair for visitors, or put his wand away.
Arthur found himself wondering just what the Auror called Mad-Eye Moody was doing in his office. He was certain that he hadn't done anything... well, nothing that serious. The car was a bit of harmless tinkering. "Something about illegal potions, and allegations of wealthy and influential people using them. But I'm really not certain what sort of potions, or why, or just who was supposed to be using them or not..."
"Dark fertility potions." Moody's voice was a bit of a growl.
"Oh." Arthur didn't know what to say. The idea that the illegal potions were fertility potions gave him a very clear and unhappy idea why Moody was in his office. After all, few magical couples had more than two children, once in a while three. He and Molly had been married for fourteen years and Molly had delivered twin boys this spring, giving them five adorable little red-headed children. "I'm not certain I want to know how a fertility potion could be considered dark."
"Partly because it can damage the witch's magic if she conceives because of it, and partly because of the muggle ingredients. There has been questioning, and follow up investigations on all of the names uncovered, but another avenue being followed is the magical census. You having five magical sons..." Moody shook his head. "Damn right a few people want to take a look."
"Having non-magical ingredients makes a potion dark?" Arthur's eyebrows tried to become one with his hairline.
"Having parts of muggles as ingredients makes a potion dark," Moody corrected.
Arthur took a breath and mentally counted to twenty before saying, "I offer you my oath of honor as a Weasley, as a wizard that I have not used any dark potions, spells or rituals to affect the fertility of myself or Molly. I am not aware of anyone else affecting either of our fertility since our wedding."
"Since?" Moody's eyebrow lifted.
"Her father was in the habit of casting chastity charms on her during our courtship. To the best of my knowledge, anything Molly may have done is also completely legal," Arthur sighed.
"Then how do you explain such a large family?" Moody demanded.
"Proprietary family spells?" the words came out sounding hopeful rather than certain, and Arthur winced.
"I don't believe that," Moody frowned.
"Would you believe that I want people to believe that?" Arthur offered.
"That much, yes." Moody scowled, then shook his head. "Explain it to me, Weasley."
"I assume that you are aware of the traditional instructions and views towards sex, as practiced by most old magical families?" Arthur began.
"Where the wizard goes to his wife, performs his duty to the family while she lays back and reminds herself of duty and the family name, and they try to do that at least once a month until he gets a son?" Moody shook his head, following that with a muttered, "Bunch of stupid, nonsense from idiots who'd be helpless without wands and instructions..."
Moody's mutter was quiet, but not quiet enough to escape the ears of a worried father of three mobile and mischievous boys, with two infants in the house as well. Arthur nodded, "That would be the commonly held practices. Practices that the Malfoys, the Yaxleys, the Lestranges, the Blacks and the Ranmoores have used for generations and see no reason to change."
"My wife cured me of any adherence to those traditions that I would ever have been considering," Moody muttered.
"I wasn't aware that you were married," Arthur blinked.
"That's deliberate. I have enemies, her family has enemies, and there are too many people who'd strike at her or the children to let them be publicly known as Moodys." Moody then scowled, "And if anyone finds out because of you..."
"Auror Moody, I have no intention of ever discussing your personal life." Arthur promised.
"Fair enough. Now, explain your family." Moody's wand was twitching again.
"You know what this department does," Arthur began. "And I assume you also know that it isn't uncommon for certain muggle-crafted items of negligible value to be taken into magical keeping instead of being disenchanted."
"Regulations permit it if the value is less than two galleons, or if appropriate compensation is arranged," Moody nodded. "How does that explain anything?"
"In my first year out repairing problems, I kept a charmed book. A senile wizard had wandered into a muggle bookstore and started charming all the books so that their illustrations moved, like in wizarding books. I removed the spells on most of them, repaired the broken shelves, and gave the carpet several thorough cleaning spells, so I felt that keeping one still-charmed book was minor enough," Arthur explained.
"You kept a muggle book? How in the name of magic does one muggle book, even one that's had the illustrations animated explain your large family?" Moody demanded.
Arthur could feel himself turning red as he opened the drawer, "I don't leave it at home anymore. Bill has a gift for unlocking charms, and he's much too young to find this book. I plan to give all my boys a similar copy when they get married."
He looked at the corner of his desk as he settled the book on the top, beside his cup of ever-full quills. The naked woman on the cover of 'the Illustrated Joy of Sex' waved at Moody.
Both of Moody's eyes focused on the book. There were several long moments of silence.
"Molly didn't mind me bringing my work home with me on that occasion." Arthur mumbled.
"That... that would explain it." Moody shook his head, a rusty, rattling noise emerging.
Arthur realized that Moody was laughing. "There are certain families that I don't think need this sort of information. And my boys are much too young."
"I'll agree to both parts of that," Moody was still chuckling. "Now, put your book away. Offer me that promise from earlier while holding a truth-stone, and we'll both call this investigation finished."
"Fair enough," Arthur held out his hand.
Moody pulled a truth-stone form his pocket. The small stone looked like a walnut-sized cloudy river-quartz, but it had been enchanted to glow different colors for truthful or lying statements. He handed the stone to Arthur, "Your statements, if you please."
Arthur nodded, familiar with this part of the proceedings. It was, after all, a standard Ministry procedure. "To establish the baseline - I do know that some enchanters use different colors than the normal blue and red. My grandfather has a truth-stone that glows yellow or truth and black for lies."
Arthur picked up the stone, letting it sit in the palm of his hand.
"My name is Arthur Weasley. I work in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department of the British Ministry of Magic." Arthur nodded as the stone glowed blue. "And now for the deliberate lie..."
"I have a Veela girlfriend." The stone flashed red.
"Amusing," Moody shook his head. "You have no idea how often that one gets used to establish the baseline."
Arthur chuckled. "I can guess it would be popular. Right," he paused, watching as the red glow faded and the stone returned to the neutral milky color. "I have never used any dark potions, rituals or spells to affect my fertility, the fertility of my wife Molly, or anyone else. To the best of my knowledge, my wife Molly has not used any dark potions, rituals, or spells to affect anyone's fertility." As he began to speak again, the stone glowed blue.
"Good," Moody held out his hand for the truth-stone.
"And I have no intention of ever telling anyone anything about the personal life of Auror Alistair Moody," Arthur finished. The stone remained a pleasant blue.
"And thank you," Moody took the truth-stone.
Arthur tucked his book back into the drawer, using both a locking spell and a disillusionment spell on the drawer itself.
Auror Moody removed his spells with a wave of his wand, and stomped his way out of the office.
Arthur Weasley sighed, "The day can only get better..."
End Pottery Shard: Why Are There So Many Weasleys?
Chapter 28: Two Sybils
rated t for teen
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any characters, locations or setting from the Harry Potter novels.
distribution: with other Pottery Shards.
notes: not necessarily connected to any other Pottery Shard. Just playing with some possibilities for Sybil Trelawney.
The neighbors thought that Cleo and Jason Trelawney had two boys off in the world, and their one daughter, the surprise of their not-quite youth. The neighbors would have been a good deal more surprised by the late appearance of the Trelawney’s daughter if they had known that as magical, Cleo and Jason had dropped a few decades from their ages. Rather than the close to forty that the neighbors thought Cleo had been when they had their daughter, the truth was that Cleo was not only a witch, but close to seventy when she gave birth to her daughter.
The neighbors knew something closer to the truth about the older boys. Gerry lived in Wales and worked on a wildlife reserve, though they’d never tell the muggle neighbors that their eldest boy worked on a dragon reserve, tending the Welsh Green dragons. Homer had moved to Dover with his wife, who was a primary school teacher, and he was an aspiring poet. Jason did confess to a strong fascination with Greek history, mythology, and to having named their second son after the Greek poet.
Their daughter Sybil was a curious girl, a bit odd and prone to asking questions. At nine, she had found herself receiving a pair of glasses to help her pale eyes focus correctly, and keep her from bumping into small rocks, and misjudging doorways and curbsides. Sybil tended to blushed and tried to hide behind her hair. Being a clumsy girl of gangly legs and bony elbows, Sybil hid behind her hair frequently, especially when the neighborhood girls would talk about their hopes and dreams.
Vickie down the street didn’t like Sybil, and called her a weird little freak. She said that her glasses made her eyes look like bug-eyes, or maybe some sort of frog. And that with a mess of hair like that, Sybil would never, ever get a boyfriend.
Most of the time, Sybil just mumbled things, and looked hurt, and tried to hide behind her hair. Sybil would retreat to her books, or the strange, thick tomes from her family library written by people like B. Bagshot and Elphias Hufflepuff.
But sometimes, Sybil didn’t react like that at all. She would take off the glasses, and move with a slow grace that she never, ever displayed at any other time, glasses or no. This other Sybil would twist her hair and pin it up in a wispy bun on her head, and seemed to watch the girls with a superior, almost pitying smile.
It was this strange other Sybil that went to go speak with the creepy man in the yellow house, the one who was always watching the children with a strange and scary look on his face. The one who’d done something that left little Dianna Jackson hysterical. Sybil had a different sort of scary look on her face. Archie Throckmorten had seen her when she came back out of the house, and whispered that she’d spilled something red on the hem of her dress.
When they’d seen normal Sybil the next day, she hadn’t known how she’d managed to black her eye. She hadn’t seemed to know anything about speaking to Mr. Dunstan at all, and in fact had paled and insisted that he scared her, and she would never, ever want to be inside his house.
None of the adults would ever explain why the police had gone to the yellow house later in the week. They wouldn’t even answer if Mrs. Haggerd had ever sorted out what was causing the funny smell that she’d mentioned coming from the yellow house. The only thing that the adults would tell them was that ‘Mr. Dunstan had gone away’.
Perhaps the thing that baffled the children the most was the fact that the Trelawney parents didn’t seem to realize that there were two Sybils. There was the normal Sybil, a shy, clumsy girl who needed her glasses and always toted around her books. Then there was the other Sybil, who only rarely showed herself. The one who’d seen a big, loutish teenager trying to scare the Bennet girls into giving him their lunch money. The other Sybil had promptly kicked him in the head ‘to get his attention’, kicked him in the guts to make him listen, and proceeded to give the most blistering lecture on why a proper young man didn’t need to torment little girls for their pocket money. Everyone agreed that they’d probably never see Sidney Dursley around their part of town again, not that anyone felt it would be a loss.
The children of the neighborhood didn’t talk about the second Sybil very much. She was a scary, and strange in a completely different way than the normal, bookish Sybil.
It was a brilliantly sunny, if windy afternoon when Jason Trelawney brought his almost eleven year old daughter into Ollivander’s shop in search of her first wand. Her Hogwarts acceptance letter had arrived earlier in the week, and he and Cleo had been so very pleased. While the Trelawneys were a pure-blood family of modest means, they had a long and respectable tradition as Seers – and they would be quick to tell anyone who suggested otherwise that they were quite a respectable family, thank you. Not wealthy, or particularly known for having vast power or dangerous skills like the Bones, Blacks, or even the Potters, but quite respectable. After all, go back a few centuries, and the Bones family had been Britain’s premier family for necromancy and magic involving spirits, though of course the family claimed to have stopped when the Ministry declared necromancy as a forbidden art in 1873. The Blacks were known for being powerful, as well as heavily involved with dark magics of all sorts, though the family claimed to keep things within the bounds of legality – and their power, reputation, and money ensured that any questions or doubts were only murmured very quietly. The Potters were just flat out powerful, magically speaking, and fairly wealthy as well.
Jason didn’t want to admit that while he suspected Sybil had at least a hint of the family Sight, she hadn’t shown herself to be a very strong witch. He’d been afraid that they’d have to send her to a smaller, less demanding school than Hogwarts.
Sybil had swallowed and stayed close as they stepped into the shop. “Papa? Do you feel it? The air… it’s… different.”
“Here for a wand, young miss?” Ollivander with his pale eyes and wispy flyaway hair stepped out of the back, smiling at them. “Ahh, Jason Trelawney. Eleven inch hazel with unicorn hair, if I recall correctly.”
“Yes,” her Papa nodded, his hand tapping at his pocket where he’d placed his wand. “This is my daughter Sybil. We’re here for her first wand.”
Sybil took a step away from her papa, looking at Ollivander, suddenly wondering if that was his family name, or his first name, like the restaurant that Mama met her friends at being named Antonio’s. She could hear Yvonne in her mind, assuring her that this man, though a bit off normal, wouldn’t hurt them.
“Your mother has a very different wand, vinewood with a dragon heartstring. I wonder if you favor one of your parents for your wand, or if we need something completely different for you…” Ollivander mused.
The first wand, vinewood with dragon heartstings like her mother, gave no more reaction than waving around a pencil. The second, hazel and unicorn like her father, felt cold and Sybil couldn’t see that it did anything, but Ollivander tugged it from her hands with a frown. She started to wonder that Yvonne might be complicating things when the tenth still wasn’t right. By the thirtieth wand, her father was fidgeting and frowning, though Ollivander had started to hum.
“Jason Trelawney, stop fidgeting before you break the chair. I happen to recall that we didn’t find your wand until the seventeenth try. Since you seem incapable of waiting quietly in your no longer young age, go pick up some fresh potions ingredients for your daughter. Perhaps I will have found her match by the time you return,” Ollivander spoke sternly to her Papa.
Her Papa fled with a mumble about herbs and needing a word with Mr. Jiggs.
“Sir? Is this… are you sure that this isn’t taking too long?” Sybil whispered. “Is there something wrong?”
“Miss Trelawney, I have been matching wands to wizards and witches for a very long time. While you are a bit trickier to match than your father was, this does not mean that there is anything wrong with you or your magic,” Ollivander gave a thin smile. “You would be willing to take a while to find the right shoes, or the right coat, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes,” Sybil nodded.
The fiftieth wand was made from oak, and he’d mentioned it having a griffon feather. It produced a sad looking spark, and Ollivander plucked it from her hand, frowning as he looked at her from behind his silver-framed glasses. “Miss Trelawney… While I have no doubt that I can and will find a wand for you, is there anything unusual about your magic, any unusual abilities that you may have noticed? This would help me look in the right place, rather than needing to go through every wand in the store until we find the right one. Not that I wouldn’t keep looking until we find it, mind you, but this shop has almost thirty thousand wands, and I think the both of us would rather find your wand a bit sooner than that.”
“The Trelawney family is known for producing Seers, and having some degree of the Sight. That’s part of why mother insisted on naming me the way she did – my initials are S for Sybil, a Y, and then T for Trelawney. It sounds like sight – mother thought it was a clever play on language. But…” Sybil paused, wondering if it would be a good idea to tell him about Yvonne. She’d never dream of telling anyone in any position of authority among the muggles, but this was someone magical. Though even among magical…
Yvonne took the question out of her hands and slid into dominance. Their posture changed as Yvonne looked at Ollivander, and gave a polite curtsey. “Hello, I’m Yvonne. Sybil frets and has trouble making up her mind sometimes.”
Ollivander blinked a moment before murmuring, “Does it get crowded with both of you in there?”
“Sometimes. Does my being here make it harder to find us a wand?” Yvonne looked at him, and then took off Sybil’s glasses, permitting the world to focus properly. “I don’t know how she sees through these things.”
“Mmmmm, it does change the way the magic flows inside you. A twin-mind, and from a family with the sight…” Ollivander turned back to his shelves, “I have a few ideas.”
The next wand was better, a deep red wood that felt warm, though it only gave a soft humming sound.
“No, not quite. Try this one.” Ollivander handed her another pale wand.
A chirping noise and a fall of dead flower petals that vanished before hitting the floor.
“No, not quite, though you did have a reaction to the oak, and the feather in the other wand showed promise…” Ollivander plucked another box from a shelf, handing her a slightly twisting wand. “Try this one.”
Yvonne held the wand, and it sent a flurry of tiny golden sparkles when she waved it. Stepping back, she let Sybil blink at the world, putting the glasses back on before waving the wand and releasing a shower of pale blue sparks. “I don’t think any of the others had that much of a reaction, sir.”
“This would be the wand for you,” Ollivander smiled. “Oak with the hair of a kelpie and a unicorn hair. We needed to find the right wood for both of you, and the unicorn is compatible with you, Miss Sybil, while the kelpie hair is compatible with Miss Yvonne. I do look forward to seeing what the pair of you do in the world.”
“You’ve encountered others like me… like us?” Sybil breathed.
“Yes, and very few of them are ever willing to talk about the way their minds work. Since you seem to be in a bit of communication with Yvonne, remember to consult her about your classes, and any major life decisions,” Ollivander advised.
Sybil didn’t think she’d ever tell anybody about Yvonne.
Hogwarts was wonderful. The surrounding country side was breathtaking, Sybil thinking it was beautiful if intimidating, and Yvonne thinking that it would be the perfect inspiration for poetry – unfortunately, writing poetry wasn’t a talent that either of them possessed. The castle was amazing, and Sybil waited nervously among the sixty other first years waiting to be sorted… somehow.
Turned out they were sorted by a singing hat.
The hat in question had decided that they were both well suited for Ravenclaw, though for slightly different reasons. It had also reassured them that the magics of its creation wouldn’t let it discuss anything that it learned from her sorting unless it was a matter of her own life or death.
Sybil adored charms class from the very beginning, though Yvonne had a fondness for potions and astronomy. They were both fascinated by transfiguration, though neither of them seemed to be well suited for that particular magical discipline. After the first history class with the ghost of Professor Binns, Sybil decided that they would read the book out of class, and use the actual class time to meditate and permit her and Yvonne to have a bit of a chat without people thinking she was talking to herself. She wasn’t, not quite; she was talking to her other self.
They made a few friends, and had some rivals, though nobody as close enough to make things fabulous or awful enough to make her days horrible. She had a group of people that she studied with, and she could talk to Gwendolyn Prewitt or Victoria Townsend about fashion and cosmetics, and the various small spells that could be used for maintaining clothing and hair. She also found herself listening quite often as Violet Yaxley, Bert Norton, Stacy – never Anastasia – Bellefluer, an older boy that only answered to Timmons, and Mellie and Penny Corbins - a smirking set of identical twins that only Yvonne could tell apart – argued about music.
By the Yule Break, Sybil had joined the school choir, Yvonne had them in the chess club, and they were still uncertain just how they’d been talked into joining the language club, but they’d decided to blame Victoria for it. Between the pair of them, Sybil and Yvonne had found seven hidden doors, three hidden rooms, a secret stair that somehow took them from the sixth floor of the Ravenclaw tower down to the second level of the dungeons, and four out of the way study nooks in the library.
Nobody knew about Yvonne. That was just how Sybil wanted it to remain. Even in the magical world, it wasn’t normal to hear voices. It was especially not normal to have another voice in your head with you. If anyone ever found out… she’d heard awful things about what happened to mad wizards and witches. Sybil considered herself as sane as the next witch, and part of that sanity was the desire to avoid an awful fate of being imprisoned, and potioned, maybe used as a plaything while potioned, her mind poked and prodded and reshaped until someone else was pleased with the result.
For their third year, Sybil insisted that as a Trelawney, divination was a must. How could she turn her back on generations of the Sight in their family? Yvonne had sighed, suspecting that most of the class would be more concerned with a possible easy grade than the mysteries of the sight. They’d argued for a while, and in the end reached a compromise – they would take divination for Sybil, and arithmancy for Yvonne. And if they found anybody mocking the class for an easy grade, they would make them suffer.
Sybil despised arithmancy. The numbers made her head spin, and she quickly gave up any interest in paying attention during that class. Which Yvonne was fine with, it let her take full control of their body for a while. They didn’t think anyone noticed. For magical people, for all that the class was mostly the intellectual Ravenclaws and advantage seeking Slytherins, they could be quite inobservant.
Yvonne was surprised that they both enjoyed divination class. Interpreting tea leaves, reading palms and cards… Granted, much of it was a matter of technique and referring to lists of symbolism, and that most of the time it took applying those symbolic references to what you knew about a person’s life. But it was fascinating! And it seemed that many of the little impulses and feelings that they - mostly Sybil – would get were a rather weak form of the Sight. For that class, they took turns, but both paid close attention.
Yvonne was the one in charge one afternoon, as they stared into crystal balls. The ball had some cracks deep inside, and they seemed to catch the light and flare…
“Serpents twist and Badgers dig. The serpent is swift, and claims the shining prize.”
Sybil took control of their body, blinking and thinking frantically to Yvonne – ‘what in Merlin and Morganna’s name was that about?’
“Trelawney, what did you just say?” Demanded Madam Theroux.
“I… I don’t think I said anything…” Sybil blinked. On the one hand, it was true enough – she hadn’t said those words, Yvonne had. And how had Yvonne made her voice drop so deep? “What did I say?”
She was still trying to figure it out as they left class. It wasn’t until she retreated into one of the girl’s bathrooms that she had a chance to ask Yvonne. “What was that? Why were you talking about serpents and badgers?”
“I don’t remember it, but apparently you do,” Yvonne paused and Sybil could feel her other self remembering the experience.
“I think that was a prophecy.”
Sybil blinked, her knees feeling weak. She remembered reading that those who spoke prophecies almost never remembered what they’d said. But with a twinned mind… if she didn’t remember, Yvonne would, and if Yvonne didn’t remember, then she would. “You think that we made a prophecy. What could we make a prophecy about?”
There was the feeling of a shrug, and Yvonne offered, “You do remember that prophecy is often symbolic, and hard to identify until after it’s been completed. And there’s the whole self-fulfilling aspects.”
“We aren’t a serpent or a badger,” countered Sybil.
“Then I suggest that we wait and see what happens,” Yvonne replied.
As it turned out, that weekend was a Quidditch game, Slytherin versus Hufflepuff. Sybil hadn’t wanted to go, but her housemates dragged her out to the match. As she blinked at the various pennants supporting the teams, she whispered, “Serpents and badgers…”
The Slytherin Chasers seemed to favor spiraling and twisting around the other players in ways that left the Hufflepuffs and many observers confused and unsure just who had the quaffle. The Hufflepuff seeker kept feinting and plowed the first Slytherin Seeker into the ground, resulting in the reserve needing to swap into the game. About an hour into the game, as Sybil was starting to feel distinctly queasy trying to sort out the Slytherin chasers and just where the quaffle was, the Slytherin reserve seeker caught the snitch.
Yvonne tapped for her attention, whispering ‘serpents twist – haven’t the Slytherin chasers been doing an awful lot of that this game? And the serpent caught the prize… the snitch.’
Sybil blinked, considering Yvonne’s suggestion. The idea that they had made a true prophecy… and it had been about a quidditch game? She sighed, feeling as if that had been a waste of the Sight.
Except that it meant that she… they had the Sight.
Life was definitely looking up.
It was their fourth year before anyone discovered firm proof about there being anything memorably odd about the Trelawney girl. Antares Penross, a seventh year Slytherin, muggle-hating all around arse, had decided that young Sybil was starting to look pretty, had no powerful friends, no family wealth, and was only maintaining an Acceptable average in defense. Traits that he thought added up to being a perfect plaything. He decided to inform her of her new status in one of the corridors one evening, as she was making her way back from Astronomy.
Sybil was terrified.
Yvonne was furious.
Pushing Sybil out of the forefront of their mind was easy – Sybil had no desire to see what would happen next. As Penross leaned towards her, one arm to either side and with his hands pressed against the wall, Yvonne struck. A knee forcefully between his legs and one fist just beneath his ribcage. As he stumbled back, gasping for air and curling inwards, she smiled at him.
“I don’t think so, snake-boy.” Yvonne’s wand was spitting golden sparks as she brought it up. “Now, let me see if I can make it undeniably clear to you that such behavior is unacceptable…”
Walking away later, Yvonne concluded that they’d probably be able to identify the body when it was found. Yes, she’d melted his eyeballs, and force-fed him his genitals. Yes, she’d reversed all of his joints and tightened his ligaments and tendons until he resembled a crushed pretzel. Then she’d set him on fire. By the end of it, her efforts had been quite fatal.
“What did you do, Yvonne?” Sybil’s frightened whisper reminded Yvonne that she wasn’t the only one here.
“I fixed him,” Yvonne smiled.
“He’ll be very angry… he has friends.” Sybil paused, and shuddered. “Maybe not friends, but people that will help him. He’ll hurt us even worse the next time he finds us.”
“He didn’t hurt us this time,” Yvonne paused. “He scared us, but we weren’t injured.”
“And who knows what he’ll do to us when he gets the chance?” Sybil whimpered.
“I told you, Sybil dear, I fixed him. Just like that nasty man down the street. He won’t get anybody again,” Yvonne promised.
Sybil suspected that Yvonne would do much better in Defense than she did. She was just afraid to ask.
Yvonne didn’t say anything until they’d retreated to their dorm room for the night. After casting spells to keep their bed curtains closed and to prevent any sound from escaping, she asked, the first question. “So, what do you want to do when we’re done with Hogwarts?”
Sybil considered the question. “I’d thought about becoming the next Divinations Professor.”
“Divination is a lot of fun, but…” Yvonne paused and continued, “But would you want to grade all those papers? Be stuck for the next fifty, sixty… a hundred years in a place surrounded by hundred of teenagers?”
Sybil considered the idea, imagining herself as the Divination Professor. Imagined classes… “Gahhhh! No, no, a hundred times no!”
Their discussion continued for several hours.
end Pottery Shard: Two Sybils.
Chapter 29: Hufflepuff Essay
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any recognized Harry Potter character, I am placing my own interpretation on the Historical Personage, as JKR's books only told us name, gender and house affiliation. I am borrowing the concept of the Translating Charm from the fanfic 'Make A Wish' written by Rorschach's Blot.
notes: A Pottery Shard, set in a non-Umbridge 5th year.
Harry Potter sighed as he arranged the books on his desk for History of Magic. One of the things that they did was hide the dicta-quill he had set to write down everything audible from his desk. Granted, he'd have to sort out a lot of unneeded things about gobstones, quidditch, fashion and the written indication of snoring, but it beat trying to stay awake himself, and it had only been three galleons. If he managed to get the books just right, neither Professor Binns or Hermione would be able to tell that he was reading Luna's copy of the Quibbler instead of listening to Binns. Luna was an odd girl, but she seemed nice enough. While he had no idea about some of the things in the Quibbler - what were Heliopaths, who was Stubby Boardman, and why did they need to know the mating season of the Tyranolagomorpha, whatever that was - it was an interesting magazine. He'd even been able to start matching some names to titles for the Wizarding World, and picked up an idea what a couple runes meant.
"Last week, we discussed the Goblin Rebellion of fifteen seventy, led by Graknab the Ferocious. Before I begin today's lecture, I am telling you all that there will be a thirty inch essay due on a historical personage. Each student will take a slip of paper from the basket, and the name on the paper is who you will write about. We will begin with you, Anna Abbot," here Binns gestured at Hannah Abbot as a small wicker basket floated to the Hufflepuff.
"I don't know why he gets so many names wrong," Ron grumbled. "Why are we drawing names from a basket anyhow? That doesn't make any sense."
"Unless you intend to give the lecture on the Troll-Goblin Conflict of sixteen twelve, be quiet Rannulf Weasley," Binns didn't look towards the redhead as the basket continued to float. "You are all drawing names so that I am not forced to read another thirty essays on Merlin, twelve on Dumbledore, and thirty on assorted Quidditch players, five of whom will be on Josef Wronski. The names Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore and Merlin Emrys are not in the basket. Anyone turning in an essay on either of those individuals will receive a failing grade for the project."
Harry blinked, sitting up straighter in his seat, the Quibbler still in his book-bag. It sounded like Binns was remarkably alert to the class for once, even if he was getting the names wrong. A thirty inch essay though... Maybe better than more goblin wars, probably better than more Wizengamot debates. Much better than anything to do with people being terrified of He-Who-Hated-His-Name-And-Couldn't-Kill-A-Baby and then getting killed.
"I want each essay to include the basic biographical data - where and when the individual was born and may have died to the best of your accessible information - as well as why they are considered a person of Historical Interest. Some of the individuals are currently alive or otherwise still active on the mortal plane. As my ego is fairly small, the basket of names does not include Cuthbert Binns. You must present thirty inches, but no more than fifty, Ravenclaws and Miss Granger. I assure you all that there is sufficient available information on each name for the required length," Binns waggled a translucent finger at them.
Murmurs began circulating in reaction to the slips, some pleased and others considerably less so.
"Who's Ignotus Peverell and why should we care?" grumbled a boy in the dark corner farthest from the door.
"I know I've heard of Daisy Dodderidge before, but I can't remember where," whined someone else.
"Isn't Newt Scamander mentioned in the Books of Monsters?" the low tones of Goyle were unmistakable.
"Devlin Whitehorn? This'll be the best assignment ever!" Ron sounded positively gleeful.
"Artemisia Lufkin? Oh, this will be fun, I'll have to take a closer look into her political stances and reforms," Hermione started scribbling notes on a scrap of paper, the tip of her quill brushing her chin.
Harry took a slip of paper from the basket, letting the basket move on to the next student before carefully opening it just enough to read the name. He was hoping for someone interesting, someone that he could find things on without spending all his free time turning the library upside down. Maybe he'd just settle for recognizing the name.
With a sigh, Harry wondered just what he'd find. Did they even know when the Founders were born, or where? Her date of death should be easy enough to learn, and at least one thing she'd done to be considered of Historical Interest was obvious - helped found Hogwarts, of course. But Helga Hufflepuff... the founder of the house that most of Hogwarts considered duffers and losers? What had she been, some sort of ancient times Professor Sprout?
Though what did he really know about her, other than she'd helped found Hogwarts a thousand some odd years ago and that she had to be long dead by now? Had she chosen the badger as a mascot or had that been determined later? How did she die? Did she leave children after her?
Harry was just glad that they didn't have another class until Astronomy that night. As Ron and Hermione started arguing or discussing or ranting in the general direction of the other about the assignment, Harry stepped away from the rest of the Gryffindors. Instead of retreating to the common room, he headed towards the library, still carrying all his books. It might be best to start looking now, even if all he did was get an idea how much information he'd have to work with and how hard it would be to find more.
Madam Pince gave him her usual suspicious look.
Attempting to look studious and safe for the books, Harry asked, "Can you direct me to the oldest history books, or at least touchable copies of them? There's a History essay..."
"If you're actually taking this essay seriously, what time-frame do you need materials referencing?" One eyebrow raised, as if she doubted that he was really here for a history paper.
"Founders era, and probably some stuff covering a few decades before. I need to do a report on Helga Hufflepuff, and it has to have a lot more than one of the four founders of Hogwarts, lived and died a long time ago. Since that's all I can think of right now, I guess I need some history books," Harry shrugged.
"I see..." the librarian pursed her lips, and let her gaze focus on a point somewhere above and behind Harry's left ear. "Have the fifth years covered the translation charm yet?"
"According to the syllabus, we're supposed to start on that charm next month," Harry offered. He hoped that did what it sounded like, instead of something weird, like Pepper-Up potion curing the cold instead of being some sort of energy drink.
"I will teach you the translation charm, optical version. You will cast it on your glasses, and then you will be extremely careful with the books. I will show you the books written in the first century of Hogwarts History, which should help you. You will be more careful of those books than you are of your own hide, Mr. Potter. If you damage them, I will be the next reason why you are resting in your usual bed under Madam Pomfrey's care, not monsters, Quidditch, or outdoor detentions. Do you understand me, Mr. Potter?" the witch was giving him a look that threatened specific, excruciating horrible pain that would somehow manage to be legal.
Reminding himself that he'd faced trolls, a giant snake, a dragon, acromantulas, and dementors, Harry couldn't quite manage to convince himself that the librarian wasn't a near-lethal potential danger. He hoped he'd learn this translating charm quickly. "Crystal clear, Ma'am."
As it turned out, the optical version of the translation charm was something cast on a piece of glass or crystal, which visually translated written words into something understood by whoever looked through the charmed glass or crystal. Apparently there was a version for spoken languages that would be covered for the N.E.W.T.'s, and crystal held the charm better than glass. It took Harry three tries under the disapproving glare of the librarian to get the charm right, and then he was permitted to look at the books but not take them from the room. In fact, the huge books with beautifully illustrated pages and fancy lettering were chained to the tables and even the smallest looked to weigh a good forty pounds.
He turned the pages as carefully as he would have handled expensive blown glass ornaments. Glass ornaments would just be money that he might not have, but damaging the books protected by Madam Pince? Finally, he found a reference to the Founders. Scottish Rowena Ravenclaw, who's picture reminded him a little bit of Professor McGonagall, and her maybe-friend maybe-bodyguard, a Norse warrior-witch named Helga.
"Helga Hufflepuff was a Viking?" Harry blinked, looking at the pages again. He double checked his translation charm, then looked at the pages again. Norse, that meant Vikings. The picture showed a tall figure dressed in a fur cloak, with hair that looked to be a faded orange, and the text claimed she was visiting relatives that had scattered to Wales and Scotland, and a very frightening witch... "The picture makes her look so tall."
"This was before Hogwarts was built. How did they know each other?" harry carefully scrawled his notes, thinking that this Nordic Helga was nothing like Professor Sprout, and didn't sound like someone that anyone wanting to live would call a duffer or a loser.
According to this book, the Viking Helga, notable for being a witch and a warrior with a keen-edged axe, had been consulting Rowena of the Raven's Claws about the divinatory arts. Rowena was rumored to not only be able to predict the future, but to have been able to force events to match her predictions. Helga was knowledgeable about 'the Northern Runes', which apparently meant the Ogham and Futhark runic alphabets.
"I've got to pick up some more knowledge about runes, that doesn't tell me anything useful at all," Harry murmured, jotting notes with one hand. "Maybe Rowena was scary organized at causing those effects? Some careful potions, really good timing with some charms..."
Another book claimed that Rowena of the Raven's Claws had many suitors, among them the northern warrior Heingst, brother of the witch-warrior Helga.
A third book suggested that Helga, sometimes called Blood-Axe, had met Rowena while banished from her home after killing an unwanted suitor. That book claimed that the women had met a pair of powerful wizards when they had gone to negotiate with goblin craftsmen for the purchase of finely wrought items. It continued that the witch Rowena had acquired an elegant silver diadem, the warrior-wizard Godric of the Griffons had a goblin-wrought sword encrusted with rubies, and they had also met a wise and cunning wizard scholar named Salazar. That somehow after emerging from negotiating with the goblins - and the book was annoyingly vague about why they'd been talking with them at the same time - the four powerful magicals had gone to start a school, later known as Hogwarts.
Harry found the part where Helga was later seen with a remarkably elegant axe that was not crafted of iron or steel quite interesting. Especially the illustration of her using it to dismember a troll.
The same book later described Helga as having the temper of an angry badger, and defending herself and the healer Rowena from something called seilu varkaita... Renewing the translation charm made that part read soul thieves, and that she'd chopped them to dry bones and tatters with her axe before setting the bones on fire. Frowning, Harry continued to read. Apparently these 'Soul-Thieves' were some sort of wraith-things, shrouded in cold and shadow and despair. "That sounds like a Dementor..."
The realization tried to dawn, and Harry looked back over the passage. If that had said what he thought it said... "Helga fought off what might have been Dementors with an axe?!?"
Definitely not a duffer or loser. Definitely not someone to cross. And definitely nothing like Professor Sprout.
Harry found himself with a new respect for the Hufflepuff founder. Especially when the books seemed to indicate that she was all about just getting the job done instead of making big speeches about it like Godric, or arranging the maximum effect like Slytherin, or debating the possible after-effects like Rowena.
"I think I've found a new hero..."
end Pottery Shard: Hufflepuff Essay.
Chapter 30: History of Wands
poking into possible history.
Harry and Ron made their way towards History of Magic, still trying to figure out what to think about this morning’s first Divination lesson. The fumes had left their heads spinning, the teacher had been creepy, and… Harry had a bad feeling about the whole year. The teacher was going to drive him crazy, especially if she kept seeing death omens everywhere. Even having Transfiguration class wasn’t enough to put the matter completely out of his mind.
Nobody expected the note on the History of Magic door. It was a half sheet of parchment, with spidery letters in green ink, reading ‘If you want to actually learn something historical today, report to the classroom behind you. The ghost will be droning on about goblins as usual behind this door.’
“I wonder what we might learn?” Hermione’s voice was an excited whisper. “Maybe about the development of a medical potion? Certain legal traditions and processes? The passing of the Statute of Secrecy?”
Knowing that there would be no living with Hermione if they denied her the chance to learn things, especially in History of Magic, Harry sighed, “There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?”
Hermione grabbed hold of their wrists and practically dragged them into the room across from their regular History of Magic class. It was a very similar looking room, with rows of desks, several tall, cloudy windows that let in light without permitting a good view, and a pair of chalkboards on the front wall. They settled into some desks at the front, and Hermione was still muttering possibilities as they pulled out parchments and quills in case of notes. Other students filtered in, also murmuring questions about what they might be learning, speculating on who might teach them something, and what was going on.
Susan Bones speculated, “Maybe it’s an Auror, trying to help us learn something in case of danger. The escape of Sirius Black has raised a lot of concerns.”
Neville muttered something about a rare plant.
Blaise Zabini absently murmured, “Perhaps something about the recent political climate?”
“Actually, I plan on telling you an abbreviated version of the history of magical staves and wands as used by European magicals,” a voice drawled from the corner. There was a slight hissing accent to the words, and a bit of something that suggested English wasn’t the man’s first language. He was of average height, though he carried himself with the utter confidence and grace of a predator, and had a light brown complexion with dark brown curls falling to his collarbones. His eyes were hidden behind smoky sunglasses, set in golden wire frames. The brown outer robe had a broad irregular diamond like pattern in browns that set off warning signs in Harry’s mind. It reminded him a little too much of a snake.
“Abbreviated?” traces of indignation colored Hermione’s voice.
“You don’t expect me to be able to give the full version of something close to forty thousand years of history in one afternoon, do you? Thus, abbreviated. There are very substantial volumes that delve into more details that you may look up if you are so inclined.” His expression was a smirk, the sort that suggested he knew all sorts of useful secrets.
Everyone settled into their seats, quiet and ready to take notes. Barely over a quarter of the third years had made their way into this classroom, suggesting that most preferred the tedium of Binns’ lectures or at least the lack of supervision the ghost placed on them.
“Excellent. The earliest magical history is rather sketchy, as all human history of that time was likewise sketchy. Humans of forty thousand years ago lived in small groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers, with a small number of these individuals possessing a measure of magical ability. There were no magical schools similar to Hogwarts, Beauxbatons or Durmstrang in that time period, so magical instruction and tradition back then was radically different from the way things are done now. Every individual believed in powers beyond those of their muscles, in spirits and energies affecting the world. It was believed that these powers could bring good or ill fortune to their tribes. Certain individuals studied secrets that were believed to make things happen. Some of these secrets were what would now be called astronomy and herb-lore, to tell the changing seasons and the effects of certain plants as medicines or poisons,” the man paused, and gestured at the board, where a few things jotted themselves down in the same spidery handwriting as the note.
“There were a few things that you would call real magic. One was the ability to start fires. The other is perhaps one of the few surviving wandless magical practices in your culture; the animagus transformation. The ability to change oneself into a different shape was believed to be a sign of great power and communication with the animal spirits. I do believe it has changed considerably over the many, many generations, but the result is substantially similar,” He gestured again, and ‘animagus = wandless magic = ancient magic’ scrawled onto the board. “Needless to say, these tricks were not easily learned.”
“But… I thought this was going to be the history of staves and wands?” asked Susan Bones.
“Indeed. Over the next several generations, those early magical humans began to carry big sticks, often separated from trees by lightning strikes. They would adorn them with bits of powerful creatures, distinctive crystals or shells, and other things that they felt were signs of power or the spiritual world. By carrying these things, they believed that they would be able to work their magic faster, with more effectiveness, and greater power,” he gestured and a staff reaching a little over a foot taller than himself formed into being. It was strung with feathers and strings of dangling shells and teeth, set with a chunk of gleaming black stone at the top, and wrapped with several bits of leather. The whole thing was big, and dramatic.
Another gesture caused five more examples of the early magic staves, each drastically different in adornment. One looked to have a griffon claw set at the top, while another had dangling tufts of fur and feathers as well as many strips of leather wound around the length of the stick. A third had many heavy bulges along the length, and was set with an assortment of claws and teeth. “As an added benefit, in addition to looking quite impressive, the early staves could also be used to hit a problem over the head.”
The class giggled a bit at that comment. Harry couldn’t help imagining hitting Malfoy upside the head with that big stick. Malfoy, or Snape, or even the red-eyed face of Voldemort that had been in the back of Quirrell’s head in his first year.
“Various cultures over the following thousands of years kept the basic size and heft, but refined the staves a bit. The rough edges would be smoothed out, some carved shapes along the length of the staff, and the bits of feathers, leather, stone and shell would be placed with more artistry,” the man gestured again, and a row of long staves appeared. There were some that were elaborately carved and set with gems, others with feathers, some wrapped in leather or scales that must have been dragon-hide. One had a top set with very large claws. Several had curves at the top that suggested shepherd’s crooks, others bore large stones. “You will notice that they are still very obvious, very impressive, and still place what would be classed as magical cores on the outside of the stick.”
“They aren’t very subtle,” offered Blaise Zabini.
“No, they weren’t subtle. Traditionally, they were also crafted by the individual who used them, using bits and pieces that they gathered themselves. Though in later times, some would buy the items that they added to their staves. At this point, while very elaborate, they could be used just as equally as magic sticks as whapping sticks. Problems that defied magic were still often beaten about the head and shoulders until it went away,” the smirk was still there.
“I want a magic whapping stick,” Ron muttered.
“Three thousand years ago, magical in this area started running into frequent problems caused by their arrogance. Because a magical could do things that their non-magical neighbors could not, many proceeded to do whatever they wanted. They would take their non-magical neighbors possessions, seduce their wives and daughters, and generally behave irresponsibly and made a great nuisance of theirselves. After all, if the neighbors objected, they could simply set them on fire, launch them over the river, or turn them into a chicken. They felt no need to be cautious,” disapproval was obvious in the man’s words.
“Aren’t magicals capable of far more than their muggle neighbors? Why would any skilled magical need to worry about their muggle neighbors?” asked Blaise.
“Mmmm, you are capable of a decent bit of magic already, child. Tell me, do you still need to sleep?” the man looked at the class. “I suspect that you all need to sleep. That your parents also need to sleep. The most powerful spell or technique is useless when your angry neighbors, tired of you taking their crops and livestock and seducing their wives, sneak in while you sleep and express their anger upon your person. When you sleep, your magical stick, regardless of the length, can be taken from you. A great many magicals made their neighbors so angry that they formed angry mobs and killed the magical tyrants.”
The students were silent, eyes wide and frightened.
“Unfortunately, many magicals are very slow learners. Sometimes they also learn the wrong lessons. Instead of deciding to behave responsibly and not enrage their neighbors, the result over the next few centuries was to make magic sticks smaller and less obvious,” the man sounded irritated.
He gestured again, and the next group that formed were elaborate wooden or metal shapes, ranging up to two feet in length, set with gems, or shells at the ends. They were covered in elaborate carvings, but no longer sported fur or feathers or scales wrapped around the outside. “As the magic sticks became smaller, bits of magical beasts were placed inside instead of outside. This was a trend that began in multiple places and spread over the next thousand years. By the spread of the Roman Empire, most magicals carried small magic sticks for their daily lives, though some groups had larger staves for specific ceremonial occasions. This was also when it began to become a widespread practice to have someone else make the magical stick. The rise of the wand-maker began in this time-frame.”
“Is something wrong with that?” Hermione’s quill was brushing against her chin. “I would suspect that not everybody would have the skill to properly shape a wand…”
“Whether it is better to craft your own magical focus or to let someone else do so is a question of philosophy and tradition that I am not going to address today. I will point out that many of the more secretive magicals or those focusing on very demanding or delicate work will still create their own magic stick,” he smiled at her. “I will also say that many magicals have believed that knowing what a magic stick is made from, knowing the wood and the cores, can tell you many things about that person’s magic, their skills, and their personality.”
“Those still don’t look like the average wand of today,” commented Justin Finch-Fletchley from the back of the room.
“No, it doesn’t,” the man agreed. “The Roman Empire did more than simply spread a common language and try to blend together the diverse magical traditions and cultures. The Roman technologies, simple though you might consider them, allowed an increase in local food production. Increased food means increasing populations. Increasing populations in general mean a larger number of magical people. However, wand-crafting was becoming a less common skill in proportion to the population. This meant a greater demand was placed on each wand-maker. The wands for those who were not of the wealthy and elite became simpler objects, something that could be made in less time. Mind you, these wands were of a simpler appearance, but they were no less effective as tools.”
Another gesture created a row of wands. Some were elaborate, with highly carved wood threaded with gold or silver accenting bits of carving, set with gems at the base or tip. Others were only wood, though carved from base to tip, sometimes set with a small gem on the base. The last of this row were very similar to the wands they had now, though there would still be a bit of elaborate carving, sometimes only over the area where the witch or wizard would grip, and sometimes with threads of carving going all the way to the wand tip.
“As the populations of magical humans became larger, and the populations in general also grew, there were a variety of clashes, conflicts, and political maneuverings as people and groups sorted out who would be in charge, what roles magic held in various societies, and the rules for magical and non-magicals interacting. These were hardly bloodless, civil changes, and they brought about traditions of secrecy regarding just what was and wasn’t possible with the magic of the time and a flurry of magical research to extend the bounds of what could be done. While runes became less commonly used by the skilled magical, all the wanded branches and potions experienced considerable research. Magical espionage and sabotage between groups and nations became quite common as political struggles continued. Magical advances were made, lost and sometimes rediscovered,” The man smiled, an oddly sinister expression. “This is the era which produced the founders of Hogwarts. Hogwarts was not the only magical school, though it is the oldest surviving school in the British Isles, and it has generally been the largest on those same isles. A few centuries after Hogwarts was founded, Nicolas Flamel was born. He later became a renowned wizard, an expert spell crafter and alchemist.”
Various murmurs could be heard.
“There have been whole books written on individual magical schools and on notable magical individuals. It isn’t my intention to cover them in vast detail today,” he shook his head.
Hermione was biting her lip, no doubt full of questions. She was also scratching a furious listing of things along the edge of her paper. Possibly a series of things to look up later.
“In the fifteen hundreds, as European nations started to explore the wider world around them, magical families started to withdraw from the broader community. The development of a widespread version of the apparition and port-key spells helped fuel this rapid separation. They began trading more and more with other magical individuals and less with their non-magical neighbors. Advances in home defense and secrecy spells enabled the creation of magically secluded communities, that nobody without magic would even be able to locate. This increasing separation was also encouraged by yet another wave of witch-hunts. Multiple factors combined to persuade the magical leadership of the time to pass an early version of what would later become the Statute of Secrecy. This version strongly discouraged magical and non-magical people from interacting, and made it a crime to reveal another’s magical nature to a non-magical. It was also decided to hide several magical species from the non-magicals, such as dragons, unicorns and griffons. As a side note, I do not believe this plan was discussed with the dragons, unicorns, or griffons before the wizards and witches put things into motion,” his tone here suggested that there was some sort of joke that nobody else knew.
“How would you talk about things with a griffon anyhow?” Ron muttered. “Or a dragon, they’re likely to try to eat you.”
“A side effect of this was a greater disconnect between magical and non-magical humans,” the man shook his head, pacing along behind the row of wands and staves. “The non-magicals no longer had regular contact with the magical, and began to forget that magic was real. The magical became more afraid of what the non-magicals might do to them if they were discovered. This fear prompted the development of the memory modification and obliviation spells.”
“You sound like you disapprove of that course of action,” Blaise Zabini glanced at the man, quill pausing over his notes.
“I believe that entirely ignoring such a substantial portion of the population is unwise. While there were legitimate concerns, I do not believe the leaders of the time chose the best methods to address those concerns. As I was not one of the leaders of the time, my opinion was neither sought nor welcome. Now, of course, it is much too late for my opinion to make any difference at all,” His hands were clasped behind his back as he paced.
Harry frowned, wondering where the man’s wand had been concealed. A pocket? A wand-holster under his sleeve? Come to think of it, he didn’t recall actually seeing a wand, despite the conjuration of the floating examples of earlier staves and wands or the continuing scrawl of references on the chalk-board. And the way he’d just answered that suggested that he had been around back then, watching society separate itself into magical and muggle. But that couldn’t be right; he’d have to be over three hundred years old…
“The increasingly insular – that means avoiding outsiders – nature of the magical communities led to several changes. Any trades that involved actual muscle use or years of training in anything besides magic became less respected. This included many magical architects, magical artists, as for a proper result the majority of the work needs to be done by hand instead of by spell-craft, and the construction of magical artifacts, as opposed to a simple enchantment placed on something crafted by another person. Magical artifacts include flying carpets and brooms, enchanted mirrors of all sorts, portal-doors, healing stones, anti-poison drinking vessels, and magic wands. As a result to this, the number of wand-makers dropped even further, forcing a higher level of simplification in the wands sold. Very few of you will have any complex carvings along your wands, and no student is provided with a wand set with gems in modern times. Some of you from long-established magical families may have seen the more elaborate wands used by some of your ancestors. Few of today’s wand-crafters are capable of making those wands,” he shook his head.
“Are you saying that Ollivander isn’t as good as a wand-crafter as the guys from seven hundred years ago?” asked Justin Finch-Fletchley
“I make no judgments on the skills of specific individuals until and unless I have had a chance to evaluate their performance myself, young wizard,” the man’s voice was sharp. “Ollivander is not the only wand-maker in the British Isles. Having seen a good number of currently used wands, I speak of the level of intricacy and ornamentation falling, and that the materials used have narrowed in range. The effectiveness of the tool is seldom connected to the level of embellishment.”
“But…” someone from the back attempted to protest.
“For those of you who doubt my words, or just wonder how complicated making a wand could be, find some pieces of wood. Try to shape them into something like a wand. Longer than your hand, shorter than your forearm, not much bigger around than your finger. Smooth it out so there won’t be splinters. See how easy that is. Then consider adding elaborate carvings to that piece of wood,” the man’s explanation made quite a few people suddenly raise their ideas of the difficulty of wand-making.
“Sir?” Harry raised his hand. “You said that early wizards and witches used their staves to make magic easier. Does that mean that they didn’t need them?”
Hermione was signaling to him, but Harry ignored her hand waving.
“The magic is in you, not in the stick. The stick and the bits of magical things on or within the stick are supposed to make it easier. Magic sticks help focus and amplify. Without the ability to do magic within you, it doesn’t matter what sort of stick you have, nothing will happen. If you have magic, magic sticks can make things easier. But for a strong enough magical being, any magic stick or even just a random stick to help aim will do. The stick helps you focus and concentrate. It looks… not as impressive as they used to, but more impressive than just waving your hand. But it is your magic and your will that makes things happen, not the fancy magic stick,” he was shaking his head.
Harry still didn’t see this man’s wand.
“But they used to have really fancy magic whapping sticks,” Ron muttered, eying the fancy replicas of older wands and staves with envy.
“Each of you may take and keep one, if you want. They are imperfect replicas – the feathers look and feel feathery, but lack any magical properties derived from the specific creature. There is no inherent magic in the scales or stored power in the crystals, and I suspect you would get in trouble for trying to sell the metal. However, the wood is wooden, the weight is there, and they will look impressive and give a hefty knock on the head of any problem at close range,” he gestured at the various examples.
As the third years swarmed up to examine the replicas up close, Harry paused, looking at the strange man. He still hadn’t introduced himself. “Sir? Why are you telling us these things?”
“I take a bit of amusement from the looks of bafflement wizards and witches express when I dismiss their precious wands as magic sticks. The way some of them bristle at the idea of ancient magicals dealing with problems by just hitting it with a fancy stick,” that amused smirk was back, and he leaned forward just a little. His eyes, barely visible behind the sunglasses, were solid yellow with a single line down the center, just like a snake.
Harry felt himself freeze.
That hissing accent was even thicker in his next words. “And I keep hoping that someone will realize that the sticks aren’t needed at all. They make things easier, not possible.”
Harry blinked, wondering if the man had just spoken in parsel-tongue. He reached out, his hand resting against one of the very first replicas, a long twisting branch with a few bumps. Bits of dark green snakeskin had been wound about several places, and several brilliant red feathers dangled near the top, next to what looked like large wolf teeth and a chunk of amber. He was reminded of Fawkes, and the basilisk, and maybe a bit of Fluffy.
“There’s a lot to think about,” Harry whispered.
“I’m sure that all of you have other places to go. Why don’t you collect your things, pick a replica, and move along?” the man’s words carried well.
With no objections at all, students started out of the classroom, most clutching a replica. Some had two replicas with them. Harry glanced back, only to see that the strange man had vanished. And he still didn’t know who he was, or possibly what he was. But he would keep the replica of the ancient staff, partly for the resemblances and partly to help him think about what the man had said. Magic sticks make magic easier, not possible… and the idea of hitting Voldemort upside the head with a fancy stick made the idea of facing him again just a little less frightening.
End Pottery Shard: History of Wands
Chapter 31: Hot Babes!
Harry Potter was nervous. Maybe it was normal to be nervous, he’d only been at Hogwarts for a few days, and he still took a deep breath of relief every morning that it hadn’t all been a dream. That magic was real. That he was a wizard. Granted, the whole larger than life reputation and everybody whispering at him about a scar and the fact that he was alive was seriously strange and more than a bit creepy. Even with that, things were so much better than life with the Dursleys that Harry just didn’t have the words for the difference.
He was going to learn magic. Real magic. He would learn how to change things into other things, make things appear and disappear, maybe even turn invisible and fly! Maybe he would be able to throw fireballs and call lightning bolts, though he doubted he’d learn to do either one for quite a while. Despite only being eleven himself, Harry doubted giving a bunch of eleven year olds the ability to throw fireballs would be anywhere near wise.
Though the castle was made of stone…
Yesterday he’d had his first lesson in Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall had changed her desk into a pig and back, but they had started much smaller. They’d spent the class trying to change a matchstick – the old fashioned wooden kind, no less – into a needle. Only the bushy haired girl, Hermione Granger, had managed a complete change, though several of the rest of them had made some changes to their matches. And then there had been Herbology, which seemed an awful lot like gardening, though the plants were different.
Today they would have their first Potions lesson. The potions supply store – he thought the proper term was apothecary – had been fascinating, if rather full of strange smells. The book was just amazing, full of ways to combine things and make them do marvelous things. There were potions for spotty skin, or to heal burns. A potion that could even mend shattered bones, though that one looked horribly complicated to brew. Potions for every sort of health issue he had imagined, and for strange illnesses that he’d never heard of before. Potions to turn people into animals, or stone, or make them sleep for a hundred years. Amazing!
Potions turned out to be located in the dungeons. Harry still wasn’t sure if the fact that Hogwarts had dungeons was creepy or awesome, probably a bit of both. They were colder, and gloomy, and he kept feeling like there were things moving in the shadows and just out of the corner of his eye, though there was never anything other than other students when he turned and looked. Well, other students, three different cats, a barrel, and a two sets of armor, though Harry wasn’t entirely certain it wasn’t the same set of armor following him. Which sounded crazy, and arrogant, and creepy – why would a magic set of armor be following one small boy?
Once the first years, some in red ties and some in green, managed to find the door marked Potions Lab C, they had stood there for a few moments, just looking around and fidgeting. In the end, one of the Gryffindors, Seamus with the Irish accent, pushed the door open and everybody shuffled inside. Some of them were still glaring, Crabbe and Goyle at the whole dungeon, Malfoy at Ron and Ron right back at Malfoy. It took a bit of time before everybody managed to find a work station.
Potions was the domain of Professor Snape, who seemed to appear out of nowhere. He seemed a towering figure of shadows and flowing black cloth, sneering at the whole lot of them. “This is Potions, where I shall attempt to convey to you some pitiful measure of understanding of the subtle art of potions making. Some of you may doubt the power of potions, preferring the immediate results from waving your wands and blathering. There will be no silly wand waving in this classroom, as you are all years away from any potions that would require such things. Perhaps some of you will learn to appreciate the beauty and potential in a simmering cauldron, to appreciate the power of the fumes. With the right potions, you can bottle luck, pour fame, and even attract hot babes. Now, turn to page fourteen in your books and begin preparing your work stations according to the diagrams.”
Every boy in the classroom was now staring at the Potions Master. Granted, none of them had started puberty yet, so the true appeal of babes, hot or otherwise, wasn’t quite certain for their minds. But they knew that older boys and young men were always trying to get hot babes. Some sort of assistance or shortcut sounded absolutely magical.
A potion to attract hot babes… Harry wasn’t sure how they’d manage to brew such a thing, and kept listening for the slightest hint. Surely that would be very useful in a few years.
Page fourteen did not have a recipe for a potion to attract hot babes. Instead, it had a diagram of a prepared work station, with the pewter cauldron over the fire, a collection of bowls, bottles, vials, and small plates for ingredients lined up to the right, an area for a marble cutting block with a mortar and pestle set just above, and a row of various sized little knives and picks.
Harry couldn’t help but noticing that there were some differences in the supplies. Ron’s cauldron looked like it had a dent in the bottom, and the blades of his knives looked thinner than the ones Harry owned. Malfoy’s knives had fancy ivory handles. The Indian girl in Harry’s class had knives that looked to be bronze instead of steel. Lavender’s cutting board, mortar and pestle were some sort of pink stone, while most of the class had sets in grey, and one of the Slytherins had a set in green.
By the end of class, they had filled out a worksheet with the proper locations and names of each item on their workstation. Professor Snape had told them on Thursday they would be brewing a simple potion to treat boils, and that they should read up on the potion on pages thirty four to thirty eight. He’d also suggested further reading about the various ingredients, though his tone suggested his doubts as to their ability to manage the task.
They’d also brewed what Professor Snape called ‘standard potions base number three.’ It was mostly spring water, brought to a simmer before the other ingredients had been slowly stirred in clockwise. The other ingredients had been blended in the mortar, a mixture of a white sandstone, ginger root, water cress, and powdered willow bark that made his wrists ache. It was apparently very important that the stirring be clockwise, though Harry wasn’t quite sure why. He’d have to check the book later, maybe it was in there.
By the end of class, there had been no further mention of potions to attract hot babes from the Potions Master. Every boy in the class had been listening very carefully. Reluctantly, Harry admitted to himself that it was probably too complicated to attempt during his first real experience in a potion’s class.
Halfway back to the Gryffindor dorm, Harry remembered something. Ron Weasley had three older brothers at the school, and he’d mentioned two older brothers already graduated. Harry raised his voice just a little, “Ron? Hey, Ron!”
“Yeah, Harry?” Ron looked towards him, absently rubbing at his cheek.
“Do you think you could ask your brothers when Professor Snape covers the potions to attract hot babes?” Harry figured that if a potion like that had been covered for any of them, they’d remember.
Ron nodded, and then they reached the dorm. The twins were in the common room, bent over a heap of something that looked like coiled silly string, though it couldn’t quite make up its mind if it was green or blue or pink. “Fred, George? When does Professor Snape cover the potion to attract hot babes?”
“We’re just starting our third year” one twin offered. He had a bit of the string clinging to his cheek and dangling from his ear.
The other added, “And he hasn’t covered it yet.”
Ron made a sad noise, and glanced around the room. “Percy! Hey, Percy! When does Professor Snape cover the potion to attract hot babes?”
“While the fifth year Gryffindors haven’t had our first Potions class yet, it isn’t anything we’ve covered so far, nor is it within the first third of the text for this year,” Percy sighed before taking his glasses off and rubbing at them with a handkerchief. “I suspect that most of us have been paying attention for just such a potion…”
“Fifth year and you still haven’t covered it?” Ron looked horrified.
“I think a letter to Bill,” the twin with the silly string on his ear offered.
“Might be just the thing, twin of mine!” the other finished.
“How do you tell them apart?” Harry whispered to Ron.
“Mostly I just guess,” Ron admitted. “Ginny goes with whichever one she sees first as Fred and the other as George. Something about it being alphabetical.”
Quiet Neville Longbottom whispered an awful possibility, “What if it’s never covered in Hogwarts?”
One of the seventh years smacked a pillow and admitted, “Not though sixth year. Maybe this year? I mean, it sounds like something complicated, and I am taking the potion’s NEWT at the end of the year…”
Harry had no idea what taking newts had to do with potions. He’d seen newt eyes and newt tails as ingredients, but he didn’t think that was what the older boy meant.
Several of the girls were muttering about potions to attract girls being cheating, and quite out of line. Then one of the older ones asked if there were potions to attract cute guys, and there was more glaring and a lot of giggling. Harry wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Though it might be a good thing to know about, even if only to see if there were ways to not be potioned into wanting somebody…
With that discussion, Snape’s reputation as an evil man spread to the first years. And Percy composed a letter for Bill Weasley in Egypt and one for Charlie Weasley in Romania. Other letters were composed to big brothers and cousins who had graduated. One brave fourth year even volunteered to send a letter to his cousin in France, muttering about maybe Beauxbatons covered things sooner. Most of the boys hoped that one of the older relatives would know.
It might not have been the best of motivation, but every boy in Gryffindor was keenly hoping for an answer to the matter of potions for hot babes.
Within days, return letters were arriving. Wails of dismay might be heard echoing through the castle.
“No! Ethan says Hogwarts never covers it!”
“Not needed to become a hippogriff trainer!?!”
“No such potion covered in the Potion’s NEWT? Aaughhhhh”
Ron shuffled into the dorm room, his ears flushed red and a pair of letters in his hands. “Charlie says the only thing he knows is that standard burn cream number five should never be used by redheads near dragons. Something about it makes us smell tasty and those aren’t the smoking hot ladies we’re looking for.”
Everybody in earshot winced.
“What about Bill?” asked one of the twins.
“He said we might want to try the Restricted Section, but if we did then to be really careful not to get caught,” Ron sighed.
“Snape is an evil, evil man,” someone muttered.
Boys throughout the school privately vowed to pay careful attention to their potion’s texts. If the Professor mentioned such a potion, then that meant it had to exist, right? And if they looked carefully, then they’d find it, sooner or later. And then… hot babes!
In the dungeons, Potions Master Severus Snape laughed. The echoes of despairing teen-aged boys when they learned that he had no intention of teaching them a shortcut to romance always warmed his shriveled heart. And their predictable determination to find it despite his refusal to point them in the right direction kept their efforts strong. Since he’d started mentioning that concept in his fourth year of teaching, potions grades had raised by an average of thirty points, passing OWLS had doubled, and there had been half again as many students in NEWT level Potions, with two out of three of them passing. A bit of cunning and deception could be so very useful, especially when dealing with hormone-crazed dunderheads.
In reality, there were a whole host of potions that could assist with such efforts, if properly utilized. Most of them were even legal, though they didn’t assure a young man of success. But potions for improving health, for whiter teeth, clearer skin or various hair treatments could adjust one’s appearance. Anything that compelled attraction against choice was illegal, but there were still a variety of things that were both legal and beneficial. If only they would figure that out…
Ah well, let the dunderheads remain oblivious. If they weren’t willing to use a bit of careful thought, they didn’t deserve the hot babes.
End Pottery Shard: Hot Babes!
Chapter 32: Lupin's Secret
set when Remus Lupin was still a fourth year student.
Rated y/y-14, safe if you read the earlier books.
Main character: Remus Lupin, no solid ‘ships in the story.
Set in Remus Lupin’s 4th year
I hold no legal rights to the Harry Potter series or any specific characters from the series.
Remus Lupin was in the library, trying to find a good reference for his report on Sigvart the Bold for History of Magic. Unlike most of the students at Hogwarts, Remus actually liked history, though he did admit that Professor Binns might not have the most engaging lecture style. He blamed it on his father being a Ravenclaw, unlike most of the Lupins, a traditionally Hufflepuff family.
As he looked over the books, he could hear voices from behind the shelf, from other students in the library. They were talking, though trying to keep it low enough Madam Pince wouldn’t throw them out for being disruptive.
“… know Lupin’s secret. I don’t know why it took me this long to figure it out,” hissed Malcom Macmillan.
Remus froze, eyes widening as his muscles tensed. His breath felt tight in his chest, only shallow wheezes in or out as he tried to keep from panicking. Nobody could find out, the fuss, the legal problems… he’d probably be killed if anyone knew he was an unregistered werewolf. And then they’d move on to taking actions against his family, and Professor McGonagall, and Headmaster Dumbledore.
“Are you quite sure?” Julianna Talbot’s voice was unmistakable, especially since Remus had been trying to bury a small crush on her for the last year.
“One of the first things to come to mind for anyone when you mention Remus Lupin is the chocolate. Lupin’s not only a chocolate addict to the point where even my older sister thinks it’s a bit much, but Lupin apparently has good taste in chocolate. All the sixth and seventh years of the House say so,” Malcom continued.
Remus blinked, wondering what chocolate had to do with anything. Not that chocolate wasn’t amazing, but where was Macmillan going with this?
“So Lupin’s an expert on chocolate. Big deal,” Patrick Derrington snorted, almost certainly waving one hand in a lazy dismissal. The boy should have been on a stage somewhere, his every motion looking a little exaggerated, as if to be sure someone in the back row could tell what he meant.
“You noticed Lupin missed a couple days this month, days for being ‘ill’, right? Out for two days, with no explanation other than sick and don’t pester? What can’t Madame Pomphrey fix up like that?” Malcom snapped his fingers, voice filled with suspicion.
“I’m sure there are plenty of things. She’s good, but nobody can fix everything,” drawled Hannah Trancy, Malcom’s girlfriend.
“Lupin was ‘ill’ a few days last month too,” Malcom insisted.
Remus was certain there should be quotes around ill the way Malcom was saying it. Like he didn’t believe that Remus was really ill. Of course, he hadn’t been ill in the same way as most. No, he’d not spent a few days in the Hospital wing with cramps and vomiting. That would have been so much better, actually…
Instead he’d slipped out to the Shrieking Shack and transformed into a large, hairy, homicidal beast that would have ripped anybody to shreds. Even his dorm mates, even his parents. With nobody close enough to be in danger, his wolf had attacked the only living thing in the shack – himself. He’d picked up a few new scars from that, as always.
“So?” Hannah demanded.
“Lupin’s mysteriously ill with something nobody talks about every month!” Malcom hissed.
Remus was sure he was going to be sick. Malcom Macmillan knew, and he was going to tell, and then everyone would know and then…. And then the Department for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures would come along and chop off his head. Considering how many Lupins were in the Department, it would probably be one of his relatives. Not that some of them didn’t already know. Not that some of them hadn’t shown every sign of being perfectly willing to kill him and remove the shame of his lycanthropy from the family.
“Get to the point already, Macmillan,” demanded Anastasia Peabody.
Sweet Merlin, how many people were going to be told his secret shame? Remus could feel his knees going weak already, and one hand clutched at the shelf to steady himself.
“Remus Lupin is a girl!” Malcom Macmillan declared.
Whaaaaaa…? Remus felt his mind jerk to a confused halt. He blinked, looking towards where Macmillan’s voice came, as if he could see the Hufflepuff through the shelves and books. Where in the world had that come from? He could feel his jaw dropping from the sheer confusion.
From the confused and incoherent sounds behind the shelf, Anastasia, Hannah and Patrick were almost as confused as Remus. After several moments, Hannah managed to demand an explanation.
“No boy is that obsessed over chocolate! Lupin broke two bones in Leonard Nott’s hand when Nott tried to swipe one of Lupin’s chocolate frogs the other day. Lupin’s judgment on chocolate is taken as golden by quite a few people, even some of the Slytherins. Lupin was even having a discussion about chocolate ingredients and preparations with a pair of Ravenclaws the other day. Who does that, honestly,” Malcom paused.
“I admit the chocolate obsession is a bit much, but that doesn’t make Lupin a girl,” Anastasia insisted.
“Wouldn’t the other fourth year Gryffindors know? I mean, dorm rooms! I’ve got a cousin in Gryffindor, and Tim swears Lupin goes to the boy’s side,” Patrick insisted.
“Obviously they know. They must be in on the secret, must have agreed to help her keep it from the rest of the school,” Malcom hissed, his voice lowering.
“Malcom, you’re being silly,” Hannah insisted.
“But she can’t hide everything. Her chocolate obsession is a big give away. And then there’s the way she gets sick every month,” Malcom paused. “My aunt does the same. Her monthlies… she gets these horrible cramps and can’t do much of anything for a few days each month.”
“Wait… you’re saying Lupin missed class because of…” Patrick stammered.
“Because she’s got a horrible case of cramps with her woman’s cycle every month,” Malcom finished.
“But why would the Gryffindor boys hide something like that?” Anastasia insisted.
“Obviously Lupin’s dating one of them,” Malcom countered. “Maybe more than one.”
Remus decided the book could wait. He had to leave before this conversation became too much. Not that he was sure if he’d pass out or burst into laughter… As he bit into a chocolate bar, he wondered just what was wrong with his appreciation for chocolate anyhow. Didn’t everyone know chocolate made everything better?
End PS Lupin's Secret
Chapter 33: Aftermath of a Tournament
Rated safe for anyone reading the early Harry Potter books.
Main character: Harry Potter
Set after the Third Task of the TriWizard Tournament in Harryï¿½s 4th year.
Anything recognizable from the world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.
PS..AoT..PS..AoT.. PS..AoT.. PS..AoT.. PS..AoT.. PS..AoT.. PS..AoT..
Harry Potter was many things, but he wasn't, despite the many times Petunia and Vernon tried to tell people otherwise, an idiot. It had been close to a minor miracle he'd managed to get back to Hogwarts after the nightmare at the graveyard, especially with fairly minor injuries - a nasty cut on his arm, an assortment of scrapes and bruises, cruciatus exposure... He certainly didn't feel good, but he was alive, still had all his bits and pieces, and would recover. He knew just how bad things could get with Voldemort in a body again, or at least enough to be very worried. And there was no way he could fix everything alone, and even less reason why he should have to fix it all by himself.
He had no intention of trying.
Mr. Potter, I must know what happened!" Minister Fudge demanded, his lime green hat crumpled in his hands.
Harry looked at Fudge, remembering when they'd tried to explain about Sirius. Fudge didn't really want to know what happened, the truth would frighten him far too much. He'd become even more useless than he already was. No, the truth would never do for this.
"It was pretty awful, Minister," Harry's words were soft as he prepared his story. "Someone tampered with the trophy. I'm not sure who, but when Cedric and I touched it, we found ourselves in a graveyard. That couldn't have been what it was intended to do for the tournament, could it?"
No, the winner was supposed to appear before the judges. Who would have done such a thing?" Fudge's face paled a little. "This tournament had proved to be quite the mess."
"Someone was waiting for us. He killed Cedric, and knocked me out. I woke up tied to a headstone," Harry paused, debating if Fudge would listen if he identified Pettigrew. He rather doubted it. No, best avoid that particular awkward truth for now. "I think he was crazy."
"How much do we need to fear a crazy man then?" Fudge seemed to perk up a bit.
"Minister, this wizard may be crazy, but he's dangerous. He cast the killing curse at Cedric. He'd set up this weird circle and a giant cauldron, and he did something awful with it. He did this awful..." Harry decided to play up his muggle-raised ignorance. "I don't think it was like any potion or spell I know. I'd almost call it some sort of ritual... are there ritual magics? There's so much I don't know, and I can't really study beyond classes over the summer, what with being sent back to the muggles every year."
"Terrible shame, the Boy-Who-Lived being stuck with muggles. Maybe we can do something about that... What were you saying about a ritual?" Fudge shook his head, hands trembling.
" He took some bone dust from one of the graves, some blood from my arm, and cut off his hand and they all went into the huge cauldron. Something came out... it looked sort of like a man, but horribly wrong," Harry shuddered, remembering the re-fleshed Voldemort. "I can't imagine anything like that to be legal, Minister Fudge. The thing from the cauldron, it talked, and it did magic. It called for followers, and people in robes and masks showed up."
"Robes and masks? Like... like..." Fudge was trembling now.
" Like people willing to use the fear of law abiding citizens against them, Minister Fudge. Everyone knows Voldemort is dead, right? That's why people follow what I do so much? Because he didn't kill me?" Harry wanted to try to control the reaction. He wanted Fudge worried enough to act, but not so terrified he panicked. Trying to claim Voldemort was back - even if he was - would be too much for Fudge to deal with properly.
"Of course he's dead. You killed him," Fudge insisted.
"I'm not entirely sure what happened that night, but I know he didn't do too well," Harry murmured. "I also know a lot of people are still afraid of him and his followers. A clever and nasty minded person could use that against people. All they'd have to do would be dress up in the robes and people would think the Death Eaters were back, even if they really weren't. Why, if a person was awful enough, they might even try to make people think Voldemort was back. Which he can't be, because magic can't bring back the dead. But..."
"You can't bring back the dead. And only a horrible person would want You-Know-Who back." Fudge leaned forward, his face desperate for someone to give him a direction. "But?"
" But all it would take would be someone looking scary and borrowing the name, with nasty robed people looking like they're obeying, and someone awful and clever could use the reputation of someone else to scare people into not fighting them. You said it yourself, Voldemort," Harry paused to allow the Minister to shudder at the name. "He's dead. And I've been told a lot of his followers were under some sort of mind control. Maybe someone's been at the mind control again."
"Of course, I know Lucius would never do such things of his own free will," Fudge murmured.
" Someone's been planning what happened out for quite a while. If they could gather what they needed for that ritual, then they could slip out and place people under mind control as well. They're a danger to the whole magical world," Harry insisted.
"We need to do something, figure out a way to..." Fudge paused, his hands mauling the hat.
"Maybe the Aurors or someone can figure out if people are under mind control? Start by checking the people who were controlled last time, and either fix them or keep them safe from our real villain?" Harry suggested. He hoped the Death Eaters would wind up thrown into Azkaban, or killed resisting investigation. He'd settle for bankrupted with reputations in tatters. "And have someone who knows what to look for check out the graveyard. Maybe there are things to tell what happened, and how to get rid of the scary thing that came out of the cauldron?"
"What about the Diggory boy?" Fudge mused, clearly already thinking about what he planned to do.
Harry suspected Fudge's plans involved other people doing the work and preventing Fudge from looking bad. He took a breath and answered, hoping to use the trick Hermione and some of the Professors had of audible capitalization. "The truth. He was killed by a Dark Wizard who was interfering with the Tournament for some currently unknown Foul Purpose. His death is tragic, and should be taken as a sign that this Unknown Criminal must be stopped for the Good of All Law-Abiding Citizens. Once the criminals are found and Brought to Justice - you might want to recruit a few more Aurors to make that go faster - maybe his family should get some sort of compensation, out of the assets of the criminals. Everyone will appreciate you getting things moving to find and stop this criminal before he can set off a new wave of fear and tragedy."
" Will they?" Fudge perked up.
" Oh yes, a pro-active leader making sure things get done to make us safer will be a big hit," Harry assured him. "I'm sure you have faith in all your department heads, that they know their jobs and can get them done properly, right? Just let them get things done, maybe give the law enforcement and investigation - is that the same department, or are those jobs separated? I'm not really sure how a lot of things work outside of Hogwarts in the magical community. In the muggle world, if there's a really scary criminal, the people start talking about how the law enforcement should have more people and a bigger budget to use to get the criminal before they can be hurt. I'm sure it will be the same for the magical world."
"Yes, yes... and then I can just tell Amelia to make it happen. Recruit and train some more Aurors, more investigators, get this taken care of promptly..." Fudge sounded almost like he was talking to himself.
"I'd be happy to talk to law enforcement and investigation about what happened if it would help," Harry offered.
" I'll pass that on. Let Amelia take care of all the details," Fudge was nodding now. He held out a lumpy looking small bag. "This is your winnings, from the Tournament. I'm sure Amelia or someone will be wanting to talk to you soon. Terrible, some upstart criminal trying to scare everyone by using that name... using those robes..."
Harry watched as Minister Fudge left. The man was a coward, and seemed quite easily manipulated. Maybe, just maybe this would get things moving in a helpful direction. Especially if he didn't try to convince the man about the truth - that Pettigrew had somehow given Voldemort back a body, and all the not even a little mind controlled Death Eaters were eager to get back to their horrible ways of torture and killing. He wondered if the law-enforcement were more competent than Fudge, and if things would at least try to get done.
He also wondered about alternate schools. He'd nearly died several times this year, making it four out of four years his life had been in deadly peril at this supposedly safe school. Someone should be able to answer at least a few questions - after all, for Hogwarts to be considered 'the best magical school in Britain', which couldn't quite be accurate what with it being in Scotland, it couldn't be the only magical school.
Harry didn't want to have to solve everything himself. And he shouldn't have to anyhow.
End Pottery Shards: Aftermath of a Tournament
Chapter 34: a follow-up snippet for Hot Babes!
Snippet to follow PS: Hot Babes!
I still have no legal ownership rights to the Harry Potter series, except for having purchased some physical copies of books & movies. JKR, Scholastic, and a bunch of other people who aren’t me own them.
Severus Snape lurked at the edge of Hogsmeade, having purchased an assortment of ingredients and intending to return to the castle to place them in his store-rooms as quickly as possible. Preferably before one of the little dunderheads could do something to ruin them.
“I don’t know how you manage, Severus. Dealing with so many children every day,” Lucius gave a slightly exaggerated shudder.
“Practice, perhaps?” Severus Snape arched an eyebrow as he looked at his… friend wasn’t the right word. Few Slytherin alumni, which he and Lucius Malfoy both were, had actual friends. Especially not from the Slytherin House, and even less so when there was a three year age gap. Severus still hadn’t figured out if he’d forgiven Lucius for introducing him to some of the Death Eaters, years ago.
Regardless, he would always be grateful the older Slytherin had introduced him to the one who eventually became his Potions’ Master, enabling his studies of the art and his own eventual Mastery. He would also always be grateful for the assistance with dueling and other defensive spells, though he felt that had been more than adequately repaid by helping the older student pass his OWLs in Potions.
“Odd, I never took you for the sort to enjoy the company of children,” Lucius raised one pale brow. The expression made him look like a prissy brat trying to look regal, regardless of the fact that he was a grown man, a dangerous wizard, and had personally killed dozens of muggles.
He’d even killed two with a knife. Lucius never talked about those when he reminisced about the ‘good old days’.
“Fine, it’s because I had neither the political clout or the golden pardon you possess, and many people wanted to throw me into Azkaban ten years ago. Dumbledore vouched for me, and only later did I learn what form of gratitude he expected,” Snape glared at Hogwarts, visible over the trees.
“Your choices were teach children to ruin potions or go to Azkaban?” Lucius’ face revealed shock.
“I concluded that the food would be better here,” Severus spoke in a solemn tone. “And perhaps I would eventually find a reprieve.”
He took a few moments before adding, “And I try to teach the dunderheads to brew potions, they can ruin them just fine on their own.”
“Draco had written several interesting things about your classroom demeanor, and your behavior as Head of House,” Lucius mused.
“As Head of House it is my duty to keep the dunderheads out of some trouble, and to give them a little supervision, not to… be their friend.” The last words were hissed with so much venom for a moment Severus could have been mistaken for a viper.
“You apparently dish out a combination of insults, challenges, the occasional threat to turn parts of someone into potion ingredients, and tantalizing words about potions you don’t intend to teach them,” Lucius smiled.
“What potion would that be?” Snape arched his own eyebrow.
“Draco didn’t mention specifics, but he did seem quite vexed,” Lucius offered.
“I mention that the correct potions can even draw the interest of attractive females. Then I don’t tell the dunderheads which potion or hold their hand through brewing a magical short cut to dating and lust,” Snape smirked.
“Is that wise?” Lucius clearly fought his own smirk at the explanation.
Snape laughed, something more than a few students would have sworn was impossible. “Since I’ve started that sly hinting, potions grades have risen by an average of thirty points, passing OWLS have doubled, and there have been half again as many students infesting my NEWT level Potions classes, with two out of three of them passing. In their frustration, the dunderheads actually put in a bit of effort and study.”
“So much of a change?” Lucius looked impressed. “I’m not certain that isn’t a more impressive accomplishment than earning your Potions Mastery at such a young age.”
“Amazing what people will do in obedience to their lusts and passions,” he sniffed. “But you wouldn’t have come to Hogsmeade to question my teaching methods.”
“No, I was hoping you would have time to brew up a few potions for Narcissa and myself. Unfortunately they are rather beyond my own skills, and I still recall your rather scathing rant about fools overestimating their skill and causing massive amounts of destruction or simply killing themselves. Narcissa could make the one if it were just a question of skill, but she’s been having some odd dizzy moments of late, and…” Lucius reached into his robe and produced a small roll of parchment.
“Brewing with the chance of dizziness is most unwise,” Severus nodded. “I assume you will cover the costs of any materials I may need to procure for these potions?”
“Of course,” Lucius smiled, an expression he was far more familiar with than his associate.
In the distance, a couple students observed their terrifying Potions Professor talking with a cloaked figure. Occasional glimpses of long pale blond hair could be seen, and a few gestures revealed one hand bore a jeweled ring.
Obviously a woman of money. Who else but a woman or a girl would wear a jeweled ring?
Maybe even an attractive woman of money.
Maybe even a veela.
“Did you see…” Barnabus Matthews hissed, one hand gesturing towards the distant pair.
“I guess potions really can get you hot babes,” Douglas Witherspoon murmured, eyes wide. “Do you think she might be a veela?”
“How would Snape of all people get a veela?” snorted Micheal Atwood.
“Potions. Lots of powerful, awesome potions that he won’t tell us about,” Douglas retorted.
Howarts being what it was, and with the level of secrecy and respect for privacy that British schoolchildren were renowned for, the rumors of Snape and his potions gaining a veela girlfriend, or at least a hot affair, were all over the school, among all four houses before class on Monday. The facts that he hadn’t been seen over the rest of the weekend and in fact seemed less angry at the world than usual were taken as confirmation.
Draco Malfoy would have been horribly offended to know his father – who would hear about this – had been mistaken for a woman. Perhaps even a woman who wasn’t fully human.
Lucius would have sneered before retreating to try to determine what about his appearance had caused such confusion and begin plotting revenge at the embarrassment.
Narcissa would have been quite amused.
Awe at the power of potions would cause an increase in studying, and record numbers of OWLs and NEWTs from the classes that year. After all, if potions could get Snape a hot blonde who might be a veela, then they could help anyone.
End follow-up snippet for PS: Hot Babes.
Chapter 35: Preparing for the Yule Ball
set in Harry's 4th Year, before the Yule Ball.
Harry Potter had nearly driven himself into fits worrying about the Yule Ball. He had managed the dragon, but what did he know about dancing, or asking girls on dates, or wearing fancy clothing? It did explain the fancy robes Mrs. Weasley had picked up for him, but… asking girls out, dancing, romance? He had no idea. Thank goodness Professor McGonagall was holding dance lessons, even if they were embarrassing.
He was still a bit fuzzy on how he’d wound up with Parvati agreeing to be his date to the ball as he made his way to lunch. Then something clicked into place in his head. He had no idea how to do a date, especially not something big and fancy like a ball. Which meant he’d be a terrible date. So Parvati would be angry at him, and want to make him as miserable as she’d been at the ball-he’d-ruin. Which would be awful.
That would never do.
After lunch, he spent some time trying to track down Parvati. He found her sitting with her sister Padma and her friend Lavender Brown. The Patil sisters were, as they frequently did, dressed in matching saris. Knowing that Parvati wore her braid draped to the left while Padma draped hers behind her, he looked at his date-to-be and stammered, “Parvati? There’s… about the Ball. We… we need to talk.”
“Here to tell her you’ve found someone better? Planning to ruin her day already? I told her she shouldn’t have agreed to go with a cheat like you in the first place,” Lavender hissed.
“I…” Harry blinked, startled by the accusations.
“Because it was bad enough you cheated your way into the tournament in the first place,” Lavender was now glaring at him.
“I never wanted to be in it at all!” Harry glared back. “And I wanted to talk to Parvati, not you. Let her talk.”
Parvati and Padma glanced at each other and smiled. “What is it, Harry?”
“About the Ball…” Harry ran his hand though his hair, pushing the irritation at Lavender back to focus on his problem. “I don’t know…”
“She can do so much better than the Boy-Who-Cheated!” Lavender glared at him
“I’ve never been on a date and have no idea what to do,” Harry blurted.
All three girls blinked at him in silence.
“I know Balls are supposed to be fancy, and I don’t want to ruin it for you, but… but I don’t even know what’s expected,” Harry admitted.
“But you grew up in a magical castle taught ancient lore by the finest tutors in between great adventures and playing with your bonded unicorn!” Lavender insisted.
“I grew up in a muggle neighborhood not knowing about magic at all, and Hogwarts is the first castle I ever remember seeing in person. I’d never seen a real unicorn before, and the closest to a bonded anything I’ve ever had is Hedwig. She’s amazing and fabulous, but certainly not a unicorn!” Harry glared at Lavender. “I don’t know where you heard any of that rubbish, but it isn’t true.”
“What do you want, Harry?” Padma asked in a low voice.
“Parvati’s been nice, even if we haven’t been that close. I want her to enjoy the Yule Ball, and not regret that she agreed to be my date. I want the chance to figure out if I’d like to ask her to be my girlfriend, because right now I don’t really know her well enough to have more than she’s pretty and likes Divination. And you are pretty, but that isn’t all someone should look for.” Harry sank onto a chair before muttering, “I’m saying this all wrong.”
“What do you mean then?” Parvati asked.
“Tell me what I need to know, please. What should a good date do? What do I expect other than fancy clothing and dancing? You know people, have a better idea how to be social and what’s good and bad on occasions. Nobody’s taught me anything, but I don’t want to ruin your evening. So… help me not make your night awful,” Harry wondered if it sounded like he was begging to the girls.
“What did whoever raised you tell you about dating?” Padma asked, her eyes glancing to Parvati.
“They said – ‘Boy, just… no. Not you, not ever. The world doesn’t need any more freaks.’ But I know they hate me, so that doesn’t help me any. Should there be flowers? Probably compliments, and not stepping on your toes when we dance, but… Are there special date etiquette rules? Something about chairs? I just don’t know. There’s so much I don’t know,” Harry sighed while rubbing at his forehead.
“You’re right, that was unhelpful,” Padma agreed. “Offering your date a corsage is nice, and beneficial for something as formal as a Ball, but not needed for something more casual, like a Hogsmeade weekend.”
“Compliments are always good… no bonded unicorn? No growing up in a castle?” Lavender murmured, eyes wide and not at all focused on Harry.
“No castles, no unicorns, no special tutors,” Harry frowned. “I’m lucky I managed to learn basic reading and maths when I lived there, and I certainly wouldn’t take bets on knowing any sort of proper behavior, magical or muggle.”
Lavender scurried off about the time the talk transitioned from proper greetings and corsages – and the news that Parvati intended to wear an Indian-style gown in two shades of pink. Harry was trying to sort out what kind of flowers would be a good choice, since he was apparently expected to offer Parvati flowers. Maybe it would be good to ask Neville’s advice on that – something with a polite and nice meaning without offering more than he was ready for now.
Both twins seemed more amused than anything else to know that Harry didn’t want to rush regarding relationships. He didn’t want to ruin things, but he didn’t know how long or how much there would be. After all, wasn’t that what going on a date was supposed to help you figure out?
Eventually, Harry left the twins, clutching a page of notes he’d wound up taking regarding dates and Balls and how to act like a gentleman. Lavender would probably be spreading the idea that he had no more idea about dating than a dragon had about ballet across the castle, but he would survive. At least this time it would be a truth and not just a shocking rumor.
And since he did want to eventually get married and have a family, knowing how to not ruin a date would be a good thing.
End part 1.
He’d been right about the rumors spreading. Between speculation on how his name had popped out of the Goblet of Fire – and Harry had been delighted to hear some people wondering how someone could make somebody else’s name emerge – complaints about the cancellation of Quidditch, talk of formal wear, dances, and feasting, Harry had heard whispers of the Harry Potter novels being lies. Being no more truthful than Lockhart’s tomes of travel, fashion and daring, impossible deeds. He’d assured a Hufflepuff that he’d never even seen a manticore, and suggested not mentioning one near Hagrid lest that change. He’d had to insist to seven different Ravenclaws that he’d never even left the British Isles, let alone spent seasons training in the secretly-not-destroyed Library of Alexandria, though he did agree that it should have fascinating books. He’d never been to the Kremlin, Berlin, or Durmstrang, and he’d heard twelve different ideas about where that particular school might be found. He hadn’t grown up in a castle before starting Hogwarts.
He’d fought back tears when he’d admitted that he’d never been to his parents’ graves, and didn’t know where they were. Had never been to see what was left of their home. Hadn’t even known their names until Hagrid had brought him his letter for Hogwarts.
Somehow, Rita Skeeter wrote up an article about that, despite the fact that Harry didn’t remember seeing her lurking about. It was rather creepy.
The letters from strangers changed from rants about cheating his way into the tournament and stealing Cedric’s glory to outpourings of sympathy for the tragically orphaned boy, denied any connection to his parents. There were little stories about his parents when they were young – about his Dad playing Quidditch, his Mum being part of Charms and Potions Clubs, and spending three years in the choir despite not being terribly good at singing. Stories about a bold, confident boy who thought he was smarter and more talented that he was getting into trouble with a misbehaving broom, getting tangled in one of the carriages, getting trapped in the sliding stairs leading to the girls’ dorms. Stories of his mother trying to introduce other students to muggle music like the Beatles and Queen and David Bowie, with amusing results ranging from students needing calming potions to a disco ball in the Badgers’ Den and someone playing muggle rock at midnight in the Snake Pit.
Harry thought it was wonderful to learn more about his parents. To learn about their hobbies, to learn that they weren’t perfect and made mistakes. The letters with their fragments about his parents made James and Lily real people, rather than just names and faces from some pictures, people who looked happy.
Lavender was still avoiding him, but she wasn’t glaring as much. Harry considered that an improvement.
He found himself often sitting at a table in the library, working on his essays while Padma and Parvati talked about all sorts of things. Parvati talked about what people were up to, and Padma talked about magical theory and how the British views differed from the Indian while Parvati just shook her head and said they would only be tested on the British ones, so why worry so much? It made all of it seem more enjoyable, even writing about sliced shrivelfig and drops of armadillo bile and how they reacted to various potion bases.
Harry wasn’t sure if Parvati would be the right sort of girl to date and maybe marry due to differing interests, but he thought they might end up friends after this. Maybe even friends with Padma. He rather liked the idea of making more friends, not that he didn’t have some good ones. Neville was fantastic, and Ron… Ron had come around after the dragon. He tried to push back the whisper that Ron should have believed him without the dragon nearly roasting him. Hermione meant well, even if she was usually bossy and demanding and often acted like they needed a minder rather than a friend. Having more than three friends might be nice. Maybe, with the help at talking to people from Parvati, he could become friends with the rest of the Quidditch team as well. That would give him more friends than he could count on his fingers.
Harry hoped it would work out.
Maybe if he had more friends, had a better idea of how to talk to people without sounding like an arrogant prat or an ignorant fool, he’d have more allies. More people who would believe him when he said he didn’t try to find these events, that things just happened to him. Maybe he’d even have people who’d try to help deal with the next problem. Because unless this Tournament killed him, Harry was certain there would be a Next Problem. He just didn’t know what it would be, probably wouldn’t until it tried to bite him.
End part 2.
End Preparing for the Yule Ball with Parvati.
Chapter 36: Snape for Public Relations
this one ignores books 6 & 7, and has no mention of a boy named Harry Potter.
“Severus Snape?” the voice was gravely, as if the speaker had spent years upon years screaming into the wind.
Severus turned to face the voice, a scowl firmly in place after a day spent attempting to drum some shred of potions understanding into the thick skulls of students, followed by the pathetic whining of brats with thwarted ambitions and topped off by supervising a detention for fumble-fingered idiots. “Should I know who you are?”
The one who’d called his name was almost as tall as Snape himself, with hollowed cheeks, sunken pale eyes and almost waxen skin. Hair the shade of cobwebs had been pulled back at the nape of his neck, making the man’s large ears look rather pointed. An old fashioned dark grey robe with hood thrown back draped over lean shoulders and dark clothing. Snape thought the man looked rather practical, clad in durable things that would offer protection from the elements rather than flights of fashion and fancy. This man would win no awards for best smiles or charming looks, but he thought there was a gleam of intelligence in the pale eyes.
“We’ve not met before,” there was a small grimace that attempted to imitate a smile. “The Elders have sent me to give you a recruitment pitch.”
Memories of Mulcibar and Rookwood and the sweet-faced deceiver Brunswick flickered through Snape’s mind, promising the power to force things to change; chased by Dumbeldore and his whispers of Greater Good and standing against evil, ramblings of hope and opportunity and equality. Two different lies, wrapped in pretty pictures. Talk of the power to change the world for the better from men who had no interest in helping anyone but themselves.
The words emerged in a near hiss, “What makes you think I have any interest in another set of promises? Why would I be of interest to your elders?”
“You sound remarkably like a man convinced others find him to be of little value,” the still nameless man rumbled.
“I am aware of my faults. I am neither attractive nor charming in nature. I am impatient, sarcastic, and have a low tolerance for dunderheads, which seems to describe the majority of the human race. Most likely other species as well, though I have had neither the exposure nor inclination to verify such an assumption. I am prickly, inclined to insult, and hold grudges long past when others have forgotten the entire incident. While many find my skills with a cauldron useful, they would far rather those skills be available without the man. A fair exchange, since I loathe most people and have little use for them,” Snape glowered.
“Fear not, if you accept our offer, you’ll love people,” he snickered, amused at some hidden joke.
Words failed Severus, and he blinked at the pale man for a few moments before demanding, “Explain yourself now!”
“And that attitude is why the Elders think you’re the perfect choice for correcting our public image,” the man nodded. “Call me Owain.”
“While your elders may have sent you to recruit me for some unknown purpose, I am not part of whatever delusional world that considers me perfect, or in any way beneficial to public image.” He folded his arms across his chest, focusing his best ‘Frighten the Hufflepuffs’ glower. “An explanation would be appreciated. Now, Mr. Owain.”
Owain smiled, baring a set of fangs that wouldn’t have been out of place on a wolf. “People are delicious, and it isn’t their brains we’re after.”
Severus Snape was many things, but he wasn’t a dunderhead. He now knew what his unexpected visitor was, even if the why was still rather murky. “Precisely why would a vampire, much less a group of vampires, want me to join their number? Further, what effect would I have on the public image of vampires?”
“Have you heard of the Twilight book series?” Owain asked.
“No,” Snape paused to consider, and then added, “I suspect it to be a batch of nonsensical twaddle, both from your expression and the name.”
“Yes….” This time Owain hissed, his eyes flickering like coals for a moment before returning to ice. “A series of foolish books written to appeal to lonely teenage girls. The books are written like a diary, and the main character is so thinly written as to give no obstruction to it being the reader experiencing the events. Going to a new school, being considered interesting, beautiful, courted by an assortment of pretty boys… But that isn’t the worst insult.”
“I suspect, from the way you seem to be offended by the books existence, there is something to do with vampires?” One of Snape’s eyebrows raised.
Each word was spat out like a profanity. “Sparkling pretty boy vampires. Who don’t even drink human blood.”
Snape grimaced, “How revolting.”
“Precisely. We are not pretty boys. We do not sparkle. And humans are delicious.” Each sentence sounded like an oft-repeated chant.
Then Owain looked at him, expression twisting into something close to a smile. “You are the perfect antidote to such intellectual poison. You will never be a sparkling pretty boy. Better still, you make a compelling speaker now, with a few of our advantages, you can be a powerful force to return our image to what we are, what we should be. We are vampires, we drink blood, we should be feared.”
It was certainly an idea to ponder. And if that pondering included some particular images of where he might acquire blood and in what quantities… Hadn’t he already admitted that he wasn’t a nice man?
“My love of potions is stronger than my disdain for the idea of sparkling pretty boys,” Snape admitted after some thought.
“You would not be the first among us to have such a devotion. Some have ways to diminish our vulnerabilities. Smoking cauldrons of foul tasting things that permit a brief time in the sun. A paste to speed the healing of certain wounds. Something to ease the blood thirst when clear thought is required.” One hand was raised, the gesture forbidding questions. “I do not know how. I can point you towards some of them, if you were one of us. Then you can discuss potions and alchemy to your heart’s content. Leon Borgia, Nikoli Zhukovsky, Emilia Leuckart. Imagine having centuries to pursue this reaction or that goal…”
“Would this offer of yours enable me to leave the service of the two who already hold power over me?” Snape’s glower had faded to a mere thoughtful frown.
“The magic in the mark from the one who would rule the world would fade with the cessation of your heartbeat. Taking our offer means that wouldn’t be the end of you. The stilling of your heart for longer than five minutes would also break your contract to Hogwarts. We’ve approached professors here before, we looked into it then.”
“Binns.” Snape countered the claim of how easily he could leave Hogwarts with a mention of the ghostly History deterrent.
“Chooses to remain. Something about his wife waiting for him, and he’d rather not rush. I didn’t ask,” Owain shrugged.
For a moment, Snape wondered what could possibly be unsettling enough to choose to remain in a festering pit of adolescent hormones and drama. Then he decided he didn’t care about Binns’ problems enough to worry. “You have caught my interest, though I have questions…”
End Pottery Shard: Snape for Public Relations.
Chapter 37: HoW2: Heir of Slytherin
Rated safe if you could read the earlier Harry Potter books.
General/non-ship story -There is no significant romance for any character of student age, or any significant mention of romance for any current Hogwarts faculty.
I hold no legal rights to the characters, specific names, quidditch or locations from the Harry Potter novels and/or movies.
Follows History of Wands, set in Harry’s 3rd year.
Things at Hogwarts had continued much as they tended to do. Quiddith had inspired a flurry of House spirit as well as inflaming the competitive desires of the Quidditch team captains. Couples had started dating, fought, and split up, often moving on to date others. Rumors spread about who was dating whom, this Ravenclaw would overdose on potions to calm nerves or go without sleep or clear one’s thoughts, that one was supposed to be cheating, this person or that one could cut a deal to purchase essays guaranteed to get a passing or even impressive grade, this Quidditch player was being scouted… Someone had broken a lock on Professor Snape’s potion ingredient cabinet. Someone had left blood when traps on a student’s trunk to prevent theft proved quite effective – no, blood and a severed finger – blood and finger bones – a whole severed hand. This student was trading chocolate frog cards. That one was selling potions for sleeping, for nerves, for alertness, for better skin, softer hair…
After the problem of hippogriffs not mixing well with Malfoys in Care of magical Creatures – and Harry kept wondering why Malfoy was even in that class, it wasn’t as if he liked animals – they’d studied flobberworms. Then they’d moved to the more interesting kneazles – slightly larger cats that didn’t make those allergic to normal cats sneeze, and were supposed to be very intelligent. Harry suspected Crookshanks had some kneazle in his ancestry. After a week on kneazles, they’d moved to krups, which looked remarkably like bouncy little terriers, and Hagrid had even arranged for a litter of puppies who still had their forked tails to be brought in for the class to examine. Several people had nearly been licked into adopting a puppy during that week, cooing and fussing over the energetic pups. Hagrid promised there were no mind-altering properties to krup slobber, just the normal reaction of kids to cute and friendly little critters.
There was another note in the same spidery green ink on the History of Magic classroom door. Yet again, it was vague, promising only things of history and interest instead of naptime to those who wished to go to the room across the hall from the regular classroom.
This time Harry didn’t need Hermione to drag him across the hall. Last time it had been interesting, even if the stranger had been mysterious and ominous and maybe not human. Harry still had his replica magic whapping staff, and had started working on making his own. He’d gathered several of Hedwig’s feathers, as well as one from Buckbeak. A few thin strips of the shed basilisk skin from the entry hall to the Chamber of Secrets, which he’d explored a little before asking if Dobby could clean the place any. Dobby had looked so delighted that it had given Harry goose-bumps. A smaller room off the main hall of the Chamber, hidden behind the first shed skin, held the crumbling remains of a small bed, a desk, and what might have been a shelf or a rack. There had also been a small area, more of an alcove than a room, with a basin of remarkably fresh water and a dark hole with no visible bottom. He’d also found a solid length of oak to make the base of his whapping staff. Maybe he could carve some things on it – owls and lightning and snakes, perhaps. If nothing else, it would be his very own solid stick to hit problems about the head with until they went away.
He still didn’t know who or what the strange person who’d dropped in to talk about magic sticks was, or if he could be trusted. Harry was just sure whatever he had to say would be interesting. If it went like last time, there would be several new topics for research.
This time, Harry spotted the lean brown man lurking in the corner. Once again, the stranger was clad in the brown robe with the large diamond pattern, which reminded Harry of the scales of a very large snake. Again, he had on the sunglasses, causing Harry to wonder if he’d really seen snake-eyes or if he’d imagined them with the help of the robe and his own nerves. No wand was visible, though he hadn’t seemed to need one before. Harry hadn’t been able to forget his words about magic sticks making it easier to do magic, not making it possible. He’d been trying to do magic without a wand, and had managed on various days to light a candle – though not extinguish it, change his grey shirt to faded blue, mend a small rip in a pair of trousers, and twice prevent an inkwell from spilling when it toppled from the table. He’d also given himself a dozen headaches trying to do wandless magic. It seemed easier when he visualized what he wanted to happen instead of focusing on the words and gestures he learned in his other classes.
Nobody else seemed to notice the brown man, though everyone found a desk and took out parchment and quills.
“A pleasant afternoon to you, young students,” the man’s voice still held traces of a hiss and an accent Harry couldn’t identify. “I am pleased some of you wish to learn.”
Harry wondered if there was a bit of sarcasm – only some of the students at the magic school wanted to learn. Maybe he was over-thinking things. Several others jumped, including Ron and Hermione.
“Do you intend to teach us more about the history of magic sticks today, sir?” one of the Slytherins asked, with only a slight hint of distress at the term ‘magic sticks’ being applied to wands. Harry had wanted a chance to see what his name looked like on paper, it always sounded like ‘knot’ – but was that like a knot in thread, or as in ‘not in my house’? Or maybe something completely different.
“Perhaps the history of some laws?” suggested Susan Bones.
“How to make Dementors go away,” muttered Su Li of Ravenclaw.
“I fear today’s topic is a bit less immediately useful and more about social structures and interactions,” he shook his head. “Though Professors Lupin or Flitwick can teach you a spell to force back Dementors. Ask one of them about the Patronus charm.”
Several students made curious noises.
“Today I shall talk about magical lineage, and the fascination with tracing ancestry. I feel it necessary to observe that not all nations place quite the same emphasis on heritage as many European nations. Many Asian nations focus more on accomplishment and honor than unbroken possession of magic. And many nations consider what Britain calls magical creature heritage to be a sign of good fortune or divine favor,” he was definitely smirking.
Harry suspected that if this man had ever been a Hogwarts student, he’d have been a Slytherin. He could tell there would be research into foreign lineages and what they considered important as well as a flurry of looking into what benefits might be from not wholly human ancestry. And this man in the robes that reminded Harry of snake-skin wanted them to do that research. He wanted… Harry wondered if he had a specific direction he wanted them to go or if he just wanted to shake them from their comfortable familiar ways of accepting without question. Hermione would probably know a fancier way to say that, and he suspected he’d hear about it later.
“For those of you who may not have heard the terminology, lineage and ancestry both refer to your family. Your parents, and their parents, and their parents back many generations. A relative in your preceding lineage – such as your father, grandfather, or great grandmother – become ancestors upon their death, and may also be called forefathers, progenitors, precursors, or antecedents. You are already their descendants, as a result of being born. While your aunt or uncle appears on a detailed family tree, they are not counted as a precursor unless your family tree bears more of a resemblance to a vine. Your parents become your ancestors, not their siblings or cousins unless they are also your antecedents,” that trace of a smirk widened at some of the dismayed faces students made at the idea of their parents also being their aunts or uncles.
“The ability to trace one’s family through generations of magical predecessors had been valued as long as magical Britain had been magical Britain. Closely related has been value on being able to claim descent from someone impressive. There were always fads, trends, or crazes in what was considered impressive. Well, there were fads regarding many things, fashion and the languages preferred by the wealthy and powerful among them. There was a time when corsetry enhanced by illusions were quite popular – all the slimming without the loss of breathing! Certain foods fall in and out of popularity, colors come in and out of style, jousting was replaced by steeple-chasing and aerial races which were replaced by quidditch.” The man began a slow pace across the room, hands clasped behind his back.
“During what later came to be known as the Founder’s Era, named for the founding of Hogwarts School, many considered it fashionable and impressive to be able to trace one’s heritage back to Imperial Rome while others sought to trace to the magical druids of the native Celtic peoples. For some, the divide between ‘light’ and ‘dark’ families was explained by whether they felt Roman or Celtic ancestry was better, and the less said about the savage Viking ancestry - the fur clad newcomers! - of some houses the better.” He paused, and offered, “Several of the influential advisors and war-wizards of the time were of Viking, or Nordic, origin. Their abilities were respected, even if their ancestry did not impress.”
“In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it was fashionable to be able to claim descent from the royal mages of the court of Charlemagne, or the mages who had led the Norman Invasion. Many families ‘uncovered proof’ of such heritage, while others accused the new proof of being fabricated. Sometimes it was, and often proof was vouched for by the golden handshake more than registries of birth and marriage. The Lupin clan, a collection of families who had been among the front of the Norman Invasion, snorted at the idea of such ancestry becoming impressive. They knew full well that their own ancestors had led the charge not out of national pride or superior bloodlines but out of the desire to gain property and wealth and influence in a new country. After all, gaining property and power in newly conquered lands was an old tradition, used by the Romans, the Saxons, and the Vikings by that time.” He paused a moment before adding, “Yes, your current Defense professor is descended from those Lupins, thought you’d have to ask him how much of his heritage he’s studied. They had quite the reputation as battle-mages a few centuries ago.”
He turned and waved a finger at them as he continued, “It wasn’t until the fifteenth century that it first became widely fashionable to claim descent from one of the four founders of Hogwarts, and when those four began to be referred to as Founders with a capital letter. Claims of descent cropped up all over magical Britain, with a few claiming not only to be descended from, but also to be the rightful heir of a Founder. Among those were the Gaunt family, claiming to be the rightful and true heirs of Salazar Slytherin; the Clearwaters, the Ogdens and the Harringtons each claiming to be the proper heirs of Rowena Ravenclaw; the Diggorys, the Prewitts, the Crawmonts and the Yaxleys claiming to be heirs of Helga Hufflepuff; and Potter, Glenwood, and Bell all claiming a close connection to Gryffindor. There were actually two locations where families named Gryffindor dwelled – Dover and a small town called Godric’s Hollow, which was rumored to be the final resting place of Godric Gryffindor himself. Factual documentation from a thousand years ago is difficult to find, and the languages used have changed enough that not everyone can properly decipher what writings have been preserved.”
“Others claimed to be not heirs by blood but by chains of tradition. Among those was the Head of the Hufflepuff dorm at Hogwarts, also traditionally named the Captain of the Castle Militia. Their duties used to include training every member of the House of Badgers in the ways of archery and axes, and maintaining custody of an impressive silvery battle-axe said to have belonged to Helga Hufflepuff herself. The axes used by the Regiment for the Dispatch of Dangerous Creatures were patterned after that noteworthy axe, though they could not match the runework or the variety of magical abilities credited to the weapon. Some began whispering that the Order of Mysteries were the heirs of Ravenclaw by virtue of research and apprenticeship, though those individuals didn’t offer many words on the matter. Members of what was once the Order of Mysteries and is now the Department of Mysteries are often referred to as Unspeakables, and rumors linking them to the research of Ravenclaw persist to this very day,” his tone hinted at laughter.
“Excuse me, sir, but isn’t it the Department for the Disposal of Dangerous Magical Creatures?” Hermione asked, the capitals audible in her voice.
“Miss Granger,” he began, voice taking on an almost silky hiss that kept anyone from asking when or how he’d learned her name. “When the group responsible for eliminating creatures deemed to be dangerous to magical humans began, it was not in quite the same format or title as the group holds now. There have been many administrative and organizational changes as well as adjustments to the scope of their responsibilities. At the time, it was considered an option for young wizards to give service to their monarch through this duty, even if it was also one of the leading causes of injuries, scars, and death for young wizards. Sometimes the dispatch in question would be called relocation today, in that the dangerous creature was moved away from magical dwellings rather than being killed. Some were bound into service, expanding traditions of security trolls, bound House Elves, and starting a brief trend towards using souls to empower enchanted objects. The use for empowering by souls was banned as too dark nearly a century later. The name has been changed dozens of times, the structure and chain of command almost as many. Regardless of the changes in name, those individuals continue using special axes, and many are drawn from the extended Lupin clan. There are also now more than a few Weasleys, as that family is quite numerous.”
Several people chuckled at that, as everyone knew there were a lot of Weasleys. There were probably Weasleys in every magical trade. Unless it was a trade for women only – no Weasley daughter for generations. Harry wondered why, it didn’t make sense from what he remembered in primary school about inheritance.
“In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as Europe became more aware of and interested in the Americas, also referred to as the New World, or sometimes as the Colonies, interest in the Founders waned. Being able to claim a connection to the great explorers and innovators became the next new trend. Claims of descent from great alchemists were quite popular, and many noble families produced documents claiming a kinship to Nicholas Flamel. More foolish individuals then followed a claim of kinship by pressing for possession of his goods and research. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Nicholas Flamel is famous for being the only alchemist to present plausible proof of possessing a Philosophers Stone, and at that time was not only still alive but in excellent health. Shortly after the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Nicolas and his wife Perenelle left the public eye, claiming they wished to retire to the countryside for their remaining years.” He paused before once again offering the sly comment, “Once again there were many accusations of false documents and golden handshakes to make some of those questions go away.”
“You make it sound like bribery and corruption are the normal way of things working,” frowned Susan Bones. “But we are a nation of laws, right?”
“Miss Bones, this nation is supposed to work by law, rather than the belief in a king with divine empowerment, ancestry, or blessing. Justice, protection, and opportunity are supposed to be available to all, with as much equality as differing levels of skill, knowledge and effort will permit. But we all know that isn’t quite true, don’t we?” His voice had taken on more of the hissing tone. “Who hasn’t heard rumors of people bribing their way out of trouble, or buying a bit of legislation into existence? People gain positions in the ministry by family connections rather than skill, and gold discreetly passed to the authoritative hands can make so many awkward questions fade away into whispers and rumors. Judgments made by favors owed or old grudges rather than evidence…”
Harry shivered, remembering the whispers about Draco’s father being a Death Eater who’d pled the Imperius. Hearing how a lot of Death Eaters from wealthy families pled the Imperius curse, various favored causes of political figures received generous donations, or there were private conferences, and then they were released without questioning. How Lucius Malfoy managed to convince Fudge to throw Hagrid in Azkaban to be seen doing something – never mind no evidence, no trial, not even a proper arrest. The way the Dursleys talked to their good friends on the school board and Dudley’s bad grades weren’t obstacles, and nobody was willing to help little delinquent Potter.
He wasn’t the only student who shivered or looked dismayed at these words.
“Does that mean interest in being descended from one of the Founders went away?” asked a Hufflepuff.
Harry frowned, trying to remember more about the boy. Ernie McMill-something. Harry remembered he’d been quite pleased to be sorted into Hufflepuff, something about family and tradition and… Oh. There’d been something about being a true-born Hufflepuff. Did that mean Ernie was kin to Helga Hufflepuff, perhaps a descendant? Or that his family believed they were, at any rate. Harry had picked up on the way the man who hadn’t introduced himself had explained people in the past buying an officially accepted kinship to the fashionably important dead people. Say one man buys the acceptance of fiction, his son suspects it was bought but doesn’t say anything, the first man’s grandson has no idea, and by the time the next generation is born, they can’t imagine the claim not being there. And maybe a few more generations and it’s forgotten.
“Such interest in historical personages never completely vanishes. It faded, becoming a mild interest to those who were not certain of their own descent from the Founders or those who were particularly interested in what secrets and abilities the Founders’ Blood might carry. Rumors have painted Ravenclaw as a True Seer, Slytherin as a Parseltongue, and Godric as either a griffin or phoenix animagus or perhaps having a bonded phoenix. In the early centuries of Hogwarts, Hufflepuff was rumored to have been a berserker, now she’s widely believed to have been a great gardener or healer.”
The smirk returned, and the man added, “After the attacks fifty years ago with rumors of the Chamber of Secrets being opened and the connected idea that it could only be done by the true heir of Slytherin, a group of people were tasked to track the Founders’ bloodlines. Efforts were made to determine where they really came from, and if they left kin behind them in their travels. More efforts with more enthusiasm were made to identify their descendants. But with all the time and falsification of records, destruction of records, and allegations of fraud, it has been slow going. I also suspect identifying the individuals with the closest line of inheritance will be a good deal harder than merely identifying distant kinship.”
“Is there an inheritance?” Blaise Zabini asked, his tone surprised. “I would have thought any valuables to be long gone.”
“Mmmm, at the very least is the prestige of being able to claim with Ministry support to be the rightful and legal heir. Each had personal signet rings which are kept in the Hogwarts Headmaster’s office. There are supposed to be some remaining personal effects, and it has been accepted as a fact for centuries that Godric had a very impressive sword while Ravenclaw and Slytherin had substantial research material.”
Harry decided that he really needed to learn more about the other people in his year. He was sure he’d heard something or other about Zabini’s mother being widowed multiple times. He should learn more than last names and what color their ties were. They couldn’t all be as easy to mentally sort as Malfoy. After the basilisk, Dumbledore had claimed the sword was the one once belonging to Godric Gryffindor, a sword Dumbledore also insisted only a true Gryffindor could summon. He wondered if the Headmaster had been speaking of the ideals of the Hogwarts House Gryffindor, or if he meant blood descent. Potter had been one of the families named as claiming a connection to Gryffindor, after all…
Why had nobody spoken to him about his family’s past before? Not even something as simple as where his parents had grown up?
Harry didn’t bother to identify who asked the next question. “So you’re saying there are living heirs, living relatives of the Founders?”
“They were humans, not mushrooms. They had parents, siblings, cousins… and yes, quite a few children. There are many people now living who could trace back to a point of intersection with the lineages of at least one of the Founders. Perhaps as direct descendants, perhaps as mutual descendants of a common ancestor further back. Given the time between now and then, there could be quite a few who trace kinship to more than one magical person of historical interest,” the man shook his head, a soft hiss about family lines and branches and silly wizards mating within a family.
“Sir, where did the four Founders come from?” Hermione asked.
“Helga Hufflepuff was Nordic, from a small settlement in what is now Norway. She was a younger and rather willful daughter of a large family, and after yet another argument with her family she left home to find her own place, by force if need be. We know little more than claims Rowena was of Roman-descent near the Scottish border, with a reputation as a gifted Seer and healer, and a rather protective raven as a familiar. Godric Gryffindor was of British-Saxon heritage, from near Cornwall, trained as a battle-mage. His earlier time is fairly well documented for someone who wasn’t nobility, and the closest modern comparison would be a duelist for hire. Salazar Slytherin was from an extensive family meandering in and out of Wales. Why he parted ways from his family and ended up joining together with the others is rather poorly documented, and has been attributed in various sources to seeking money, avoiding an enemy, avoiding a woman, seeking a woman, insatiable curiosity, a spell gone wrong, and in one source, the words of a seer. There are those who hope the committee researching the Founders will produce more information on their current living kin,” he sounded quite amused.
“Shouldn’t that sort of thing be recorded somewhere?” Ernie the Hufflepuff sounded quite offended.
“It likely was, once upon a time,” their temporary Professor agreed. “But if it hasn’t survived, is currently lost, or can no longer be read, then writing it down doesn’t help much. Oral histories can easily be altered or lost.”
“How big are these alterations?” asked Susan Bones.
“Did you know that the Bones family used to be known for their powerful necromancers?” he asked, a grin on his face as he looked at Susan. “They also created and sold skeletal guardians for a number of families. The branch of necromancy fell out of favor and then the Ministry decided to outlaw it, and the Bones family stopped being known for their necromancers. Has your family told you about that part, or was it altered out of the official version?”
“Necromancy? That… would be quite the alteration in family history…” Susan whispered.
“The Lovegood family used to be very determined about dispensing ritual magic to cause multi generational effects on certain individuals or family lines. A Lovegood spell was cast concerning the Potter hair, resulting in the recognizable bird’s nests they now sport. At least Potter men don’t tend towards baldness. Another Lovegood spell was cast on a young Entwhistle, and now every one of his descendants can whistle as well as a bird,” he gave a small shrug, arms going wide. “I leave it to all of you to decide if those were blessings or curses. Another gave the descendants of Oloptyr protection from the winter, and while they may take on a bluish tone in winter, they feel no chill and suffer no ill effects. They did gain a reputation of being jotun-kin.”
Harry found himself wondering if someone had asked for a blessing on the Potter heir as in next in line for family holdings and received one for the growth of their scalp such that they’d never go bald. Then he wondered if the Weasley family had been spelled to have many strong sons…
“But then what about muggle-born?” Hermione’s frustration was evident.
“Most muggle-born believe they have no magical heritage. Most are wrong,” the man turned to look at her. “Some of the magical families feel that a child born without sufficient and noticeable magic is not worthy of their family name. Historically, the more generous of them arranged either a new name or a marriage into one of the magically weak families, those who would either attend a magical trade school or the hedge-witches who learn by apprenticeship and family tradition. Some simply cast them out to find their own place, in later centuries often obliviating them as well as sending them away, and not always waiting until they were eleven or so. How many of those who are called muggle-borns can find someone in their ancestry who was a foundling? Perhaps the result of a night made fuzzy by alcohol?”
Harry mentally added ‘or compulsion charms, or attacks obliviated with surprise reminders months later.’ He’d heard enough about what sort of things Death Eaters thought ‘fun’ and others dismissed as ‘mere muggle-baiting’ to suspect that more than a few muggle-born were really half-bloods. Not that he thought it mattered much.
“Does the magic come back then?” asked Zabini.
“It is actually quite common for the descendants of someone declared a squib show magic strong enough for training in the so-called proper schools. Sometimes their children, sometimes their grandchildren, and other times so many generations down that all knowledge of their heritage, if any remained in the squib, have been lost.” The man shrugged before adding, “The earliest times only asked if a person had magic, not how many of their forefathers had it as well.”
“So the old families are better? They have a gift for certain types of magic?” asked Ernie.
“The old families have a good deal of information already on hand, and can start training their children earlier,” he countered. “As for an aptitude, sometimes yes. In the same way musicians who marry other musicians tend to produce musical children, if someone good with transfiguration produces a child with another person good with transfiguration, their child is also likely to be good at transfiguring. They’ll likely do poorly at something else in compensation.”
Harry was left with a long list of questions. He also wanted to learn more about the Potters and Evans lines. Where did they live, what did they do for careers? Did he have living relatives, even if they were distant, on the Evans side other than aunt Petunia and Dudley? Had James Potter been good at transfiguration as his own gift, or part of a family tradition of excellence in transfiguration?
Maybe some of those dry records could be useful for these questions…
The Daily Prophet arrived at breakfast four days after the strange lesson on family histories, a shocking headline proclaiming “Heir of Slytherin Identified!” Below the headline was a picture of Rubeus Hagrid.
For several moments, the only sounds were the barest traces of owls’ wings through the air, with the soft sounds of hoots and coughs and the occasional bark from the birds themselves. Then sounds everywhere, with sputters and gasps and choking sounds from people who’d been eating or drinking. Shouts and denials were heard, and at least one shout of ‘suck it, Death Eaters!’
Harry caught up a copy of the Prophet before it could land on the platter of eggs. He had to read this article, even if he didn’t trust the Prophet. The combination of heir of Slytherin and Hagrid’s picture seemed too weird. He wondered how they’d found proof, and just what sort of ‘proof’ had been used.
The article described documents concerning two marriages for Salazar Slytherin, one before the founding of Hogwarts which had produced a son and a daughter, and a second which had produced three daughters. There had also been two children widely believed – even by Godric Gryffindor – to have been Salazar’s illegitimate children, despite Salazar’s denials. The illegitimate children had been called Jacob and Mariel the Gaunt, and had eventually settled near Sussex, having been educated at Hogwarts. The eventual Gaunt family – and Tom Marvolo Riddle - had been descended from them. There had been two branches of the family for at least the first two centuries, before they had merged into a single line of descent. Ick.
But legal inheritance went predominantly through the male line. Salazar’s son had only had a single surviving son, with several following generations each with only one son surviving to marry, though there were often daughters. In the late fourteen hundreds, there had been a second son living to adulthood, though he’d been held prisoner by enemies for some time. Claudius was ever after known as ‘Claudius the Haggard’, a name which had followed Claudius’ descendants, morphing eventually into the family name Hagrid. This made it easier to separate his line from his brother Marcus of Slytherin, and the last of Marcus’ known male-line descendants had perished in a round of smallpox a few centuries later. The Hagrids had been a magical family of decent standing, warriors and trainers of beasts, handlers of magical hounds and horses and birds, as well as the occasional dragon-tamer. By the coronation of Queen Victoria, the Hagrid family had also dwindled, leaving an uncle serving in the Welsh Dragon reserve who never married, a sister who moved to the Caribbean, and one who married and gave Britain the next generation in the form of two children, a daughter named Livia who later married Jonathan Potter, and a son named Alerio. Alerio later chose an incredibly unconventional bride, the giantess Fridwulfa, who gave birth to a son named Rubeus…
So while there might be quite a few descendants of Slytherin, the legal heir was Rubeus Hagrid, a half giant. If the Gaunts even traced to Salazar, they were descended from bastards – a fitting ancestry for Tom who became Voldemort who became the boogie-man who’s name must never be used.
Harry was sure that somewhere, the insubstantial wraith of Voldemort was having an insubstantial hissy fit. More substantial Death Eaters were probably reacting in a very similar way, especially considering that it was obvious Hagrid wasn’t entirely human. Even if nobody was willing to flat out admit it, perhaps because of his giant crossbow, one easily wider than most students were tall. Hermione had said she’d seen one like it in a museum once, labeled as a ballista. She’d then added that ballista’s were normally mounted on walls to repel besieging enemy forces.
Harry wondered if he was related to this Jonathan Potter, which would make Hagrid some sort of cousin, though he felt more like either a vastly bigger brother or maybe a sort of fun uncle. It would be nice to have a few more magical relatives, especially if he could stay with Hagrid over the summer instead of going to the Dursley home.
Then Harry saw the best part of the article and started laughing. According to one old book, Salazar Slytherin had once kept a little green snake he’d called Blinkin. Once Blinkin had grown a bit older, Slytherin had moved the snake somewhere safer from careless students, a secret place where his poor little snake wouldn’t be trampled.
Blinkin was an old way of calling something Blinky.
Salazar’s little green snake had been a basilisk.
Salazar’s basilisk had been named Blinkin.
Hagrid’s love of ‘poor little critters’ was a natural part of his Slytherin heritage. He really was the heir to Slytherin, and Salazar would probably have wanted a pet dragon, or pet man-eating spiders. Or maybe a giant three headed dog… named Fluffy…
Some of the closer students edged further away from Harry. Nobody asked what was so funny, though apparently there were vastly entertaining expressions on quite a few people.
End Pottery Shard: Heir of Slytherin.
Chapter 38: Sirius Black and the Unbreakable Quill
Main character: Sirius Black
Disclaimer: I hold no ownership of Sirius Black, any other HP-named members of House Black, or unbreakable quills. They belong to JK Rowling and her assorted publishers.
This is not deliberately connected to any other Pottery Shard, though I suppose it is compatible.
SBUQ..SBUQ.. SBUQ..SBUQ.. SBUQ..SBUQ.. SBUQ..SBUQ.. SBUQ..SBUQ..
Sirius Black had enjoyed his breakfast quite thoroughly, and now felt energized for his day. Yes, there would be boring lessons on reading and numbers, and a bit on learning French, but that could wait a while. For the moment, he was having an adventure. After all, five was old enough for adventure, wasn’t it?
He stalked through the hallways, imagining they were abandoned mine shafts tunneled into the mountains of a far away place. No doubt giant spiders and blood sucking bats lurked just around a corner, and perhaps he might find forgotten goblin treasure! There was a soft noise, fabric rustling, or maybe the swish of hair… Sirius groaned, reminded of what he’d forgotten. After all, every great treasure had fearsome guardians, right? This one must be fabulous, guarded as it was by his cousins. No, they were the three dreaded dragons, Romea, Beltrix, and Narci!
He would insist he was not giggling as he ran through the halls. And he certainly wasn’t making swooshy noises and he pretended to blast aside obstacles with the training wand, a shaped stick which would produce sparks in a variety of colors. Any rumors that he gave a shriek at the sudden appearance of a fist sized spider were certainly lies, no doubt spread by agents of the dragon Beltrix.
Eventually, he was found and taken for his lessons. He managed to read the whole story of Babbity Rabbit and the crooked Stump, and did a page of number problems. He even managed the tricky new ones that had words – if Aloysius Abbot had three apples and Betelgeuse Black took one away, how many apples does Aloysius have left? Two apples of course, except that uncle Betelgeuse would have put a curse on the last two, so zero safe apples. French was frustrating, the words were said completely different even though they had the same letters, and he didn’t understand why people in France – which his mother said was where French was spoken – couldn’t speak English.
Once his lessons were over, Sirius returned to his adventures in the Lost Mines of Wizzenblahgahmo He was sure that was where ancient wizards had lived before founding the city of Min Estree where his father had to go all the time to sort matters out. The dragons were elsewhere, the giant spider of doom was gone, and the whole mines were open to him! Why, he could even… the door down the hall from the library was ajar, gaping almost three inches from the doorframe.
Sirius blinked, staring at the parted door. His father’s office… no, the lost library of Wizzenblahgamo! Nothing could stop him from entering and beholding the treasures within! He wasn’t certain quite what that meant, but all the stories said that’s what great explorers did. It was probably similar to picking something up to look at it up close. Several moments passed as Sirius stared at the door, trying to work up the nerve to open it all the way, or at least enough he could step inside.
The door opened easily, with no scary creaking or claps of thunder. Tall shelves filled with books and folders of paper flanked the single, narrow window, which was alternating squares of milky pale glass and similarly clouded glass in a shade closer to caramel. Several small objects were there as well, small metal or stone shapes of wolves, a cat with carved spots, and even a giant snake wrapped around a tiny person, and a pair of small iron bottles, stoppered and sealed with dark green wax. His father’s big chair sat in front of an enormous desk that had rows of little drawers and a row of cubby holes over a ribby looking curve that must have covered the area where a person would actually work. All that was left exposed was a small bit of wood pulled out with an inkpot carved from dark grey stone and a silvery stand with a narrow white feather quill that looked almost as long as his arm. The quill seemed rather stiff.
“That’s uncle Orion’s unbreakable quill.” Beltrix’s voice came from the doorway. “Are you even supposed to be in here?”
“Unbreakable?” Sirius glanced at his older cousin Beltrix. Oh, her name was really Bellatrix, but he couldn’t say that when he first started to talk, and even she admitted that Beltrix was an improvement from Betick, which sounded like some sort of horrible bug that would sting and suck your blood. Her hair was escaping from the braid, leaving curls around her face and trying to get into her eyes and mouth. “What’s that mean?”
“It means the feather won’t break, that’s what. Are you supposed to be here? Do I need to get Aunt Walburga?” Beltrix frowned at him.
Sirius looked at the quill, frowning. Unbreakable? It looked like a normal feather to him. He raised his left hand, palm down and fingers out. With a loud ‘Ha!’ he slapped his hand towards the desk, expecting the feather to crumple and tickle his palm.
For a moment, all he could do was stare and try to figure out how and why his hand had sprouted a red feather on the back. Then the pain hit and he screamed, jumping from the chair and running past Beltrix. Droplets of blood were falling on the floor as he ran down the hall, still shrieking.
“Sirius! Come back here!” Beltrix shouted.
“Ahhhhhh!” Sirius ran down the hall, his hand pulled towards his chest. The red feather still stuck there, the portion intended to be held right through his hand. He was leaving blood scattered along the floor behind him. There was a feather stuck in his hand, and he wasn’t sure what to do!
A red beam hit the wall near Sirius. Now Beltrix was sending spells at him! He kept running, his hand now starting to throb. Someone had to know what to do about this.
“Sirius!” Beltrix shouted again. “Nobody can do anything about the quill if you keep running like that!”
He might have stopped running if she hadn’t fired another spell at him. Instead, he charged down the staircase, still screaming as if he was dying. More blood scattered over the stairs, some droplets spreading over the grey carpet, patterned with silver lines and green snakes. He darted around the corner and ran smack into his mother, the imposing Walburga Black.
They both fell down, with blood everywhere. Sirius was stunned before he could get up and run again, and then Walburga carried him with her to St Mungo’s.
St Mungo’s kept Sirius for five hours. The quill had been removed from his hand, and he’d been made to drink a nasty tasting red potion called a Blood-Replenisher. An old man in green robes had cast some spells at his hand, and the wounds had closed over. Sirius kept looking as the tender red lines where the quill had gone through his hand. It didn’t hurt anymore, but his whole hand felt rather numb, and a bit tingly. His mother was quite cross with him as well – Sirius wasn’t sure what a kidney was, but apparently the unbreakable quill in his hand had poked into his mother and stabbed her in her right kidney. With how mad she was, it must be something important.
He was lectured for almost two hours on not bothering other people’s belongings, not mucking about in his father’s office, and not running through the halls. Then he was sent to his room, and he was given no sweets after supper!
Obviously the lost library of Wizzenblahgahmo was filled with dangerous traps.
He was still sulking and in his mother’s bad books – which meant she was still mad – when the family went to Italy for vacation. The weather was warm and sunny, making his skin turn pink and a little tender. The food was different, and Sirius liked it, though Mum still had Kreacher make ‘proper English breakfasts’ for them each day. The local people here didn’t speak English like at home, or French which Mum was making him learn, but yet another language called Italian, which reminded him of the names for spells.
The most amazing thing was the volcano. It was called Mt. Etna, and it had a really big opening at the top, like a giant hole. Inside there was red stuff, not red like blood or flowers, but hot and bright. Mum said it was called lava, and was melted rock. Sirius hadn’t known rocks could melt. He was told stories about the volcano, and how a bunch of people called Greeks believed that a mighty king or maybe a wizard named Zeus had imprisoned an enormous monster inside the volcano. It sounded like something not quite a dragon and not quite a snake and made much bigger than either.
The next morning, he wandered through the house. His little brother Reggie was asleep, his parents hadn’t left their room, and he was bored. Kitchen with gleaming pots and pans… he’d wait until he was hungry and then maybe Kreacher would fix him a snack. Empty bedroom. Dining room with places set for breakfast. Closet with six flying broomsticks – that had potential. Office, with shelves and a desk… with a stone ink pot and a silvery stand with a narrow rusty not quite red feather standing straight up.
Sirius knew that feather. Seeing it made his left hand ache all over again. The feather was evil and had to be destroyed. He took it to the kitchen and found a knife. Maybe he could chop it apart?
No, but the knife was ruined. He stomped on it a few times, but that just made his foot hurt. He considered bashing the feather with a heavy pan, but the pans were heavy and the noise would draw too much attention.
Then he remembered the brooms.
And the volcano with bubbling lava.
In mere moments, Sirius was slipping out the door. In his right hand he held one of the brooms, and the quill was held carefully in his left. It seemed soft, but he didn’t trust it. It was evil, he was sure of it. Once outside, he mounted the broom and flew towards the top of the volcano. As he did, Sirius wonderd if destroying an ancient evil trap from the lost ruins of Wizzenblagahmo was supposed to be easy? Though if he counted his time injured and imprisoned even thought Mum called it grounded, then this was taking several weeks. And Dad had owned that quill for almost a year, that was ancient, right?
Sirius could feel the heat from the volcano as he hovered the broom over the lava. It stung at his eyes. With a grin, he dropped the quill. As it plummeted, it seemed to shrink until he couldn’t see it anymore. Then there was a little flare of yellow fire.
Triumphant, he returned to the vacation house and slipped back inside. He had the broom back into the closet before he heard Mum calling, “Boys! Come down for breakfast.”
If he was lucky, Mum would never know about his adventure.
End Pottery Shard: Sirius Black and the Unbreakable Quill.
Chapter 39: Arthr's Tragedy
Rated Y, similar to about book 5.
Main character: Arthur Weasley, mention of Arthur/Molly
Disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any characters, places or details from JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. I have created several shops and given names to non-canon characters.
Set several years before the opening of Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone.
Author's Note: Not connected to any other Pottery Shard. Inspired by a bit of thinking and a few facts. Fact: Cedrella Black married Septimus Weasley, according to JKR's Black Family Tapestry. Fact: Potterwiki shows a four year age gap before the twins. Fact: the conflict with Voldemort & his Death Eaters was supposed to be very nasty, resulting in many people dying or injured. Fact: Molly Weasley is shown to be very, very protective of her children (words like overbearing and smothering have been used by some).
Arthur Weasley was normally quite content with most of his life. As the fifth son, there hadn't been much of an inheritance for him, but his father, Septimus Weasley, had made certain to raise his children with a keen understanding of the many things that money couldn't buy, and how important some of those things were. Old inheritance laws being what they were, his parents had made certain to gift their younger sons â€“ all six of them â€“ with a few things to ensure they received something from their parents. Arthur had been given a nice plot of land with an orchard, neighboring a forest. It was close enough to a muggle town for a bit of shopping and far enough not to need to worry about the neighbors seeing things they shouldn't. There had also been a decent amount of money, some of which was in an account he and his then-pledged could both access, and some in an account only he could access. His mother had insisted, hoping it was just paranoia learned from her family, and certain a bit of unneeded caution would be better than the alternatives if her fears were right.
She hadn't elaborated on those fears, but she had made him keep practicing some of the spells from her family. Spells intended to conceal, to deceive and mislead eyes away from his home, to conceal value. Others were spells for combat, to shatter and destroy the enemy â€“ and only the enemy, none of Mother's family spells were anything to use in a friendly duel. Some would be quite illegal if they were better known. She'd also made all her sons learn a bit of sword work and how to throw knives, as well as five easy to brew poisons (three even had specific antidotes!) and twenty spells to detect poisons. All part of having Cedrella Black as a mother.
Nobody thought about who his mother had been. Not since the birth of her third child. She was viewed as â€˜just another Weasley wife â€“ probably a good cook, lots of red haired sons, poor woman probably gets no time to herself.' Arthur himself was viewed as just another Weasley â€“ red haired, alumni of Gryffindor House at Hogwarts, probably mad about Quidditch, and likely as not without much money.
He felt that what he had was better. He had a comfortable home with room enough for all his family, a lovely view of the stars, and fresh, garden grown food. He had a beautiful wife who adored him, even if not everyone would find her generous figure as amazing as he did. Arthur was convinced motherhood had only improved Molly's figure. They had six wonderful, healthy sons, the oldest two already showing magic. He had an enjoyable job, even if it wasn't the most lucrative. Unlike many, he didn't feel like he had to compromise his ethics to accomplish his job.
Yes, Molly kept hoping for a daughter each time she conceived. They were unlikely to get one, there hadn't been a Weasley daughter born for centuries. Hundreds of Weasleys had tried for daughters, resulting in the average Weasley family being five children, with some having more and a rare few less.
It might be nice if some of the laws were changed to be more fair. To be more rule of law and less rule of galleons. To move away from rights determined by blood purity and ancestry and more to rights by behavior. A law abiding British adult should have equal rights, no matter if wizard or witch, pureblood, half blood, mixed heritage or muggle-born, wealthy, comfortable or poor. He even thought muggles should have more rights according to magical law.
Arthur wasn't holding his breath for that to happen. Especially not with those masked â€˜Death Eaters' causing problems. Especially since the problems were getting worse not better. When he thought about it, things traced back to a man named Riddle who'd tried to make a political career among the Traditionalists. The Traditionalists had been losing ground the last few decades, but still had a strong voice, aided by their many galleons. Riddle had spoken of the erosion of the old traditions by â€˜various elements', with the alleged goal being to ease the introduction of new blood in the form of muggle-born magical and the occasional European immigrant. He'd then followed that the real goal had nothing to do with muggle-borns, but was the destruction of the old magical traditions.
While Arthur didn't hold with some of the old traditions, he saw no reason why individual families shouldn't be able to make those choices for themselves. He'd wondered a few times how the muggle-born were supposed to learn of the old ways without a class on magical traditions at Hogwarts. There had been one, but the Professor had retired in Arthur's second year and not been replaced.
Some of the earliest attacks had been on muggle-style shops and restaurants. Only later had they started going after homes or people. This more than the masks or the creepy symbol told Arthur the Death Eaters had emerged from the more violent minded Traditionalists. He wasn't sure how far they would go, or if they were even still linked to the Traditionalist movement anymore. Not when they'd started attacking half bloods and even some that had been from magical families for centuries.
Molly didn't know how bad things were. She spent most of her time at home, watching the children. Or sometimes her brothers Fabien and Gideon dropped by, fussing over the boys and competing for â€˜Favorite Uncle' status. In fact, they'd promised to buy the children kittens if they met up in Diagon Alley at the Magical Menagerie this afternoon.
Bill was speculating about trying to talk Uncles Fiddy and Gabe into buying him an owl instead of a kitten. Charlie really wanted a dragon, but was hoping to negotiate for a lizard, since he was sure a snake would be too much for his Mum to accept. Percy was hoping for a fluffy orange kitty, little Gawain wanted a stripy kitty, and the twins weren't quite up for real words yet, though they were babbling up a storm. They whole lot of them were quite a handful, and tricky to keep track of.
The cluster of Weasleys began moving down the street towards the Menagerie. Molly had just asked Gawain if he wanted a boy kitty or a girl kitty when the screaming started. Bright colored lights flickered, people began rushing about in screaming panic. Carts were overturned and bags fell to the ground, purchased items of all sorts spilling out over the street. Parchment and ink and potions ingredients made areas slippery, which only slowed people down.
Then a cutting curse hit someone who'd just staggered up against the wall of Patrick's Parchments. Blood sprayed everywhere and the screaming intensified as the man's arm fell back to the ground. It was only a few moments before he fell as well, screaming incoherently in shock. No doubt he'd bleed out and die before anyone even tried to help him.
He could see several people dressed in dull black robes, with masks like skulls concealing their identity. One aimed a pale wand upwards, shouting "Morsmorde!" before cloudy image of a skull with a snake crawling out of the mouth appeared overhead.
Several people tried to apparate away, stumbling and shouting about anti-apparation jinxes and how they were all doomed and all going to die.
Arthur wished he'd insisted all the children have portkeys to take them home in times of trouble. This was exactly when such a thing would be useful. He tried to herd all his children into a bit of shelter formed from steps down into the cellar of Ella's Illuminations, a shop specializing in scented candles and enchanted lights.
Arthur was teasing the stairwell up into something a little more defensive, having to coax it into changing despite the enchantments on the building. "Everyone into the stairwell, it isn't much but it's the best cover we have."
"We can talk about a lizard later Charlie, now stay put," Molly pushed Charlie back into the stairwell, but missed Gawain, who peeked around his mother to see the pretty lights.
A flash of purple sizzled past them, every hair on Arthur's body standing as the magic passed. Gawain made an odd sound â€“ it should have been too soft to hear in the cacophony around. But then Gawain fell to the ground, his body making a soft whump-crack against the ground.
He wasn't moving. Wasn't breathing.
Molly began to wail, the other boys pressed against the deepest part of the stairwell. Bill was messing with the lock on the cellar door. The twins had fallen silent, tears making their big eyes glisten.
Gawain Augustus Weasley was dead. A random spell had hit his son and he was dead.
His son who had only just turned three was dead. A strange whooshing roar filled Arthur's head, and he could hear something grinding. A glowing wand was in one hand, and in the other he could feel one of the slender, sharp blades his mother had insisted he learn to use, the blades Molly called unnecessary and dangerous. Those wretched Death Eaters had killed his son.
He was a child of Cedrella Black, of House Black who never fought fair if it would keep them from winning. A descendant of the Red Knights of Cornwall, who fought with a fury as bright as their hair. He was an enraged father who could only think of one way to make certain his wife and remaining sons stayed safe from the Death Eaters.
He would kill them all.
His first knife caught the one who'd cast the image in the left eye, sinking up to the handle. The robed figure dropped like a stone to the ground, blood leaking out around the knife.
At the same time, Arthur was casting spells at two more, a series of spells intended to contain, to paralyze the limbs and deaden the senses. After all, if your eyes couldn't see, your knees refused to bend, and your tendons were tying themselves into knots, you couldn't very well run away. Nor could most continue attacking people. And if he caught a not-a-Death-Eater, they were reversible. A wrong target could be restored to their normal condition and full health.
Eventually. Or at least the spells weren't fatal.
And then he'd managed to get three of those robed bastards on the ground in front of him and the other shoppers had gone away and he could make them sufferâ€¦ Mother had taught him a family spell that ripped the bones out of the toes â€“ right through the flesh. She'd told him strong emotions or pushing more magic in could get the bones of the feet as well, maybe even leg bones.
He'd managed to cast it strong enough to expel all the way up to both kneecaps from the wretch who'd tried to cast a purple spell at him. Then he'd used another of Mum's family spells to melt the man's eyeballs in their sockets. A simple petrificus totalis to ensure this one would wait until Arthur came back to him and he'd moved to the next. They would pay for his son.
And then the alley was empty.
There were no shoppers left. If there had been more Death Eaters, they were gone. Their smoky skull was gone. No Aurors had arrived. A mess of blood, meat and viscera, as well as tatters of cloth, were on the cobblestones in front of him, the blood slowly seeping down into the street between the stones.
Molly and the boys. Oh dear, Molly and the boysâ€¦. Arthur scrambled up from the stones, unsure just when he'd wound up kneeling by the bloody viscera. He absently cast a couple cleaning spells on his robes as he made his way back to where he thought he remembered telling the children and Molly to take cover. The blood might scare the children, would make Molly fussâ€¦ There was no need to give Molly any more reason to be upset.
To his relief, Molly and the rest of the boys were safe, tucked in the cellar. Molly peeked into the stairwell, trying to smile through her tears when she saw it was only him and not more danger.
He was a bit fuzzy on the trip back to the Burrow. Arthur tucked the twins into their crib for a nap, fearing they would have bad dreams. Percy was curled against Charlie, his cheeks streaked with tears and his thumb having found its way into his mouth again. Charlie had just pulled an afghan over them both, though he was still shivering. In the other room, he could hear Molly on the floo, though he wasn't sure who she was talking to.
He didn't want to let the boys out of his sight. Molly didn't want them to be alone either.
Molly's protective habits ratcheted to a newfound level after that day. Neither of them would let the children be away from where one of them could see them. The older boys always had a portkey to the Burrow, and one to St. Mungos. Molly had talked her Great Aunt Muriel out of a few books from back when Muriel Dempsey had been a young healer, before she'd married Darius Prewett. There wasn't always time to fetch a healer and you couldn't always take someone to St Mungos, so Molly was going to try to learn a few basics herself.
And Arthur Weasley replaced his knives. He had plans, and those knives would be needed to carry out his plans, plans that would mean he wouldn't need to bury another son.
Gawain was given a small funeral, and almost every attendee had Weasley red hair, though a few were going grey. Arthur had explained what happened several times, and the family had been murmuring ever since. Some Weasleys liked the old traditions and wanted them to stay strong. But after Gawain's death, no Weasley would become a Death Eater.
There were better ways to preserve tradition. Ways that wouldn't kill small boys for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The family quietly decided those who liked the traditions would teach their children, and encourage their children to teach their friends. Hogwarts wasn't the only way to learn things.
Arthur started telling Molly had had some extra hours on some nights. Once in a while, he would go home from those late extra hours' injured, perhaps some bruises, maybe a cut or two. Twice he was burned, though a bit of salve put that to rights soon enough. Each late night â€˜at work' meant another lone Death Eater, or those who spoke in support of their ideas and methods, would be spoken to, fed some of the death they wanted in the form of six inches of sharpened steel, or spells cast from an almost legal wand Arthur had in his possession. Their deaths didn't keep him awake from guilt, though he did wonder â€“ if he'd acted sooner, if more people hunted the Death Eaters, would Gawain still be alive?
Some people, among them Chief Warlock Dumbledore, spoke against the recent surge of vigilantes. Dumbledore spoke of the sacredness of life, of the opportunity for repentance and forgiveness, how every good man or woman should seek to help their fellow magical, how they should seek the goodness in the hearts of others and nurture that good. How wrongs should be forgiven and bonds of brotherhood held sacred.
Arthur supposed he wasn't quite good enough to forgive what they had done or seek the repentance from the Death Eaters. He'd rather kill the Death Eaters and protect the children. Maybe it was his mother's blood, House Black wasn't known for their good natures and love of their fellow man.
Life for Arthur and Molly would never be the same. Bill and Charlie would remember the death of their little brother, and blame the Death Eaters. Percy could remember that he'd once played with a little Weasley boy, bigger than the twins but smaller than himself. He'd just assume it must have been a cousin on the Weasley side â€“ there were so many Weasleys, after all. None of them had the nerve to ask if the twins remembered anything about Gawain at all.
Worse for Arthur and Molly was the way Gawain's death was forgotten. Outside of the Weasley and Prewett families, nobody seemed to care. Perhaps because he wasn't the only one to die in the conflict. Or because that hadn't been the only fight with bystanders killed. But they could never forget, and nothing would be the same.
End Pottery Shards: Arthur's Tragedy.
Chapter 40: One Strike
Rated safe for anyone reading the early Harry Potter books.
Main character: Harry Potter.
Set in a divergent fifth year. May be considered to follow â€˜Aftermath of a Tournament', or not.
Anything recognizable from the world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.
PS-OS..PS-OS.. PS-OS..PS-OS.. PS-OS..PS-OS.. PS-OS..PS-OS..
Harry Potter sat in a chair, positioned in a darker corner of the Gryffindor common room. Last year had been a mess, with the Tournament and everything. Summer hadn't been much better, between the nightmares, the Dursleys, the nightmares, the awful articles in the Prophet, sneaking in his summer homework â€“ and wasn't that as far from a normal school boy as he could imagine! â€“ and the Dementors dropping by, almost eating him and his cousin, and being put on trial for daring to defend himself. This year was supposed to be better.
He wasn't really sure school was better this year. As arguments for â€˜better', quidditch was back after being suspended last year for the tournament, and they'd managed to fix the pitch. As a result of winning their first game, against Hufflepuff, Harry had started dating Ginny Weasley, who had replaced Angelina as a Chaser. Another plus, he'd had a number of people from all four houses actually ask him what had happened, and had at least given him a chance to talk before they left.
He'd told them most of the truth. Told them the Professor Moody at the third task was an imposter, had managed to kidnap him and Cedric, and they had been sent to a graveyard. How an accomplice there had killed Cedric and used him in something awful, what he in all his limited understanding could only assume had to be a Dark Ritual. Harry had clarified that by saying anything involving desecrating a grave, the accomplice cutting off his own hand, and taking blood from someone chained up and objecting HAD to be Dark as far as he was concerned. Quite a few people had looked pale and disturbed, one Hufflepuff had even turned rather green and nearly thrown up on the spot. How this Dark Ritual had changed something looking like a skinless baby-thing into a tall not-quite human thing which cast magic. Which called itself Lord Voldemort and had summoned masked figured it had called â€˜my loyal Death Eaters' and none of them had argued.
As an aside, he'd generally made a point to mention he wasn't quite sure as to what Voldemort had looked like before Halloween of '81, but wasn't it more important that the group of criminally inclined wizards were agreeing with the self-identification than determining how accurate it was? His listeners generally agreed, though some were too distressed to manage much coherence. One particularly timid Hufflepuff had actually fainted.
Harry didn't know if they believed him. Several had come back and asked for more details, most of which he was willing to answer. No, he wasn't sure where the graveyard had been. No, he had no idea what had already been in the giant cauldron, and refused to guess, besides that, considering his potions grades, he'd not be the best candidate for any sort of potions analysis. Yes, the accomplice had cast the Killing Curse at Cedric, who hadn't deserved such a fate. The thing which had emerged from the cauldron had used family names for the minions, but not first names, and Harry was quite willing to share the family names used. He also made a point of saying there was no time for any sort of Imperious to be applied after the nasty ritual.
Cho had even given him a quick kiss on the cheek and thanked him for bringing Cedric back to her before she'd started crying again. She'd spent about five minutes crying on his shoulder and had walked away with his handkerchief.
On the â€˜not better' side, he'd added a few more classes. His reason was the hope it would better prepare him for surviving to be an adult, and a few might help him with life on his own, if he lived that long. He'd signed up for quite a few â€˜quarter classes', which would be only about three months long, had no OWL or NEWT evaluation, and might not be required for many jobs. But he'd thought some sounded good â€“ especially the course on household magic, which he hoped meant cleaning, mending, and some of the kitchen magic he'd seen Mrs. Weasley using. One was called Foreign Languages, and each week the basics of two non-English languages would be put into his mind and given time to soak in and stick â€“ there were stacks of worksheets to be completed and turned in and would be a written and spoken test on all his new languages at the end of November. There was another he would take after the winter holidays called Minor Magical Healing, which sounded comparable to a muggle first aide course. And he'd added the condensed classes on Runes and Arithmancy for those who didn't plan on going into careers focusing on the skills, but wanted to gain at least a rough understanding. Which meant he had lots of homework.
Also on the â€˜not better' side was Defense. Or the class formerly known as Defense, now known as watch Umbridge treat them all like idiots. There would be no actual spell-casting in class, because there would never be an occasion where they would need to cast spells. Except their exams, of course, and Umbridge insisted a sufficient understanding of the theory would be enough. Any contact with a real threat meant they should call the Aurors and allow the professionals to handle everything. He'd been so stunned he hadn't been able to manage words, Dean had asked just how the future Aurors would learn to handle these things if they never actually used magic. She'd given him a detention â€˜for impertinence'. Another year of self-study for Defense.
The Daily Prophet was still slinging muck and insinuations at him. Nothing quite legally liable, but reading between the lines, they'd been insulting him all summer and were still at it now. His story was too unbelievable, too ominous, too unwelcome. He'd presented no proof to the paper. They thought he was caught up in some need for attention. And Harry knew it was unwelcome words, though he'd never had a chance to show proof or even give a more thorough talk to anyone in authority other than a few dazed words aimed at Fudge after the Third Task.
After a bit of thought, he'd decided that while this year's rumors were much better than last year's or second years, he didn't like them either. He'd been having quiet conversations with quite a few students in out of the way rooms and alcoves. Talks he didn't want to go into details about when asked over dinner. Mainly because Harry didn't want to bring up the Graveyard and Voldemort and Cedric dying and ruin his appetite or anyone else's. Except that somehow had become rumors about him having a variety of dates and quick liaisons all over the castle with a variety of people from differing houses and years. The fact some of those talks had been with boys hadn't slowed the rumors, and had finally made it clear to Harry the magical world had no large objection to same-sex couples as long as a child was still produced to inherit if there was anything significant to inherit. Malfoy would need an heir regardless of his preferred partners; Ron could be with anyone who would have him and nobody would bat an eye except perhaps his Mum. Not that Harry had any idea or desire to know what sort of partner Malfoy would want, and he'd heard far too much about what sort of woman Ron wanted. Some combination of amazing housewife, short order cook and big-breasted sex-pot. Harry could live the rest of his life without learning more about Ron Weasley's personal life.
Harry wasn't quite sure how he felt about the Wizarding World's acceptance of same-sex couples yet. On the one hand, the part of him that rebelled against anything which would fit the Dursley view wanted to laugh and dance. Some of the most vicious rants from Uncle Vernon had been on the subject of queers and dykes, which he'd eventually figured out were very rude terms for men who preferred other men or women who preferred women. And as long as everything was voluntary and not too much of an age gap, he thought there were far better things to fuss over than how someone's chosen partner was put together. But he rather doubted he was so inclined, even if his dating experience was rather limited. He didn't find himself staring at boys the way he sometimes stared at pretty girls. He'd heard a lot of discussion on the idea of what boys were cute â€“ thanks, Katie and Alicia â€“ but he'd not really been impressed.
But he didn't like being implied to be having all these encounters which rumor suggested were filled with snogging and maybe more when he wasn't having any such encounters! His reputation was having all sorts of fun that he was missing out on, and he was a bit annoyed. It didn't help that he was feeling jealous of his reputation instead of a real person.
"Harry Potter! How could you!" Ginny's furious shriek showed that clearly, Mrs. Molly Weasley's howler voice wasn't as magically enhanced as some had hoped.
Harry blinked, looking at his angry girlfriend who had just stormed into the common room. Strong emotions made her eyes sparkle, and her cheeks flush, and she looked beautiful. "How could I what?"
"How could you snog that Ravenclaw waterfall Chang?" Ginny demanded.
Harry's jaw dropped, and he could only assume the rumors had struck again. "I neverâ€¦"
Ginny's hand impacted his cheek with a loud crack. "Liar."
Something seemed to shatter inside Harry. Granted, he'd been hit harder. He might have a bruise but doubted the bone was broken or any teeth loosened. But that wasn't the point. It wasn't about the degree of physical damage she'd done to his face.
Ginny had slapped him because she'd heard a rumor. Slapped his face and called him a liar.
"We're done." Harry's voice was cold, and he felt as cold as when a Dementor stalked the area.
"What?" Ginny blinked at him, brows dipping in confusion. "Harry, you aren't making sense."
"My aunt is abusive, and more than once has hit me. Her husband is abusive and has frequently hit me and thrown me around. I don't know if he's hit my aunt or not. One of the things I've been clear on for a long time is that when I date, I never want to be abusive to my partner. No hitting them, no insulting them and what they do, no sniping little comments. And for even longer, I've been certain I never wanted to deal with that from any partner of mine. You hit me." Harry paused, trying to gather together his temper. It was trying to go from frozen shards of disbelief and pain to flames of outrage and anger. "You. Hit. Me. Because of a rumor you heard. Without asking me about what happened."
"Harry, I -" Ginny started to speak.
A motion of his hand, wand clutched in white knuckled grip, silenced Ginny. It was one of a very small number he could do silently. "No. You hit me, Ginny. Because of a rumor. I won't have that from someone I'm dating. Getting angry is one thing, hitting me is another. I won't date someone who would do that to me. We're done. You are no longer my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley."
With that said, Harry left the common room and retreated to his dorm.
He spent what felt like a long time sitting on his bed, trying to wrap his head around what had happened and wrestle his temper back under control. He hadn't been sure if he and Ginny would get married, or have a long future, but he'd been hoping to find out. Now he knew the answer was no. It didn't so much kill fully developed plans, but it tarnished his image of Ginny considerably.
"Are you sure you wanted to do that?" Hermione's voice came from the doorway.
ean, Ron and Seamus were there as well, now slipping around Hermione to come into the room. None of them would quite look Harry in the eye.
Harry sighed, and then looked at them. "I can't accept someone acting like that Hermione. Let's try this the other way around. If Dean had hit Ginny when they were dating, Ron and the twins would be in favor of hexing him into a whimpering heap. Nobody would think that was okay for Dean to do to Ginny."
Ron and Hermione nodded while Dean insisted he would never hit his girlfriend.
"Ron's asked Lavender to go to Hogsmeade with him. If he got mad about something he heard, started to yell at Lavender and hit her, would anyone think that was okay?" Harry raised an eyebrow and leaned forward.
Dean and Seamus offered Ron congratulations as Ron turned a flustered red. Hermione immediately shook her head, "Ron might get angry and yell, but I don't think he'd hit her, and nobody would think it was okay. Not anybody decent at least.
"Would it be okay if Lavender got mad and slapped him?" Harry pressed.
Hermione's teeth were worrying at her lip. Seamus snorted, "No. Why would that ever be a good thing? Let someone hit you once and they start thinking they can do it any time."
"I don't want anyone hitting me anytime or at any time. I'd be delighted to live the rest of my life without anyone trying to hit me," Harry sighed, fingertips touching his cheek where Ginny had slapped him. "I refuse to have someone I date thinking it's okay to hit me. Even if she is pretty, and good at quidditch. Even if I like her family. I won't date someone who hits me." Harry looked at the rest of them, "Not to mention she called me a liar. I don't like that either."
They were quite willing to admit none of them would like to be called a liar either.
Harry continued, "My aunt thinks she can get away with it because nobody has ever stopped her. Which is part of why I refuse to ever go back there again. And I refuse to let someone I date, someone who claims to like me if not love me try to do the same."
"But you have to, don't you? You're not an adult," Dean spoke slowly. "And I never hit Ginny when we dated, and I wouldn't hit Hannah."
"The one good thing about being forced into that Tournament last year is that the heads of three magical schools and officials from England and France have declared me of age. Which means I'm an adult and can choose where I live. It won't be Privit Drive. That isn't home, it's a nightmare. And now that I have another option I refuse to set foot in it again." Harry insisted.
"But how will you take care of yourself?" Seamus asked.
"Household Magic class this quarter, Minor Magical Healing next one," Harry countered.
They considered that for a few moments before deciding it would probably work. He still had close to three years of school left, so it would really only be over the summers anyhow. It wasn't like Harry was asking for anything unreasonable, just a place he felt safe, where his things would be safe, where he could eat and learn and not have anyone hurting him. For the person he was dating not to hit him, or the next person when he tried dating again.
Who wouldn't want those things for their life?
End Pottery Shard: One Strike.
Chapter 41: Aberforth's Last Stand
Rated: T for teen, some bad words and violence.
No current pairings. Viewpoint character is Aberforth Dumbledore
Disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any characters, settings or content of the Harry Potter series. Aberforth, Hogsmeade, the Hog's Head, Hogwarts, dementors and the Death Eaters belong to JK Rowling.
Set during the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Death Eaters were marching on Hogsmeade, accompanied by a dozen giants, dementors and what he suspected were crowds of inferi. The last year had worn down people's spirits, their courage and will to resist. Worn away their hope. Maybe more than the last year. Come to think of it, it had been worse the last fifteen months, but more like taking something from a simmer to a boil, rather than a completely new dish.
This was going to be ugly. People would die. More might wish they had died, and he doubted it would be mostly the right ones dying. He suspected it would mostly be the students at the castle and the villagers dying, and the Death Eaters laughing at them come morning.
Little use as Aberforth had for most muggles, he had less use for Death Eaters. Most were a bunch of stuck-up fools too busy prancing around mocking those who hadn't inherited heaps of gold from their ancestors. They didn't bother doing anything useful or productive themselves, caught up in showmanship, politics and rivalries. How many of your ancestors had magic didn't matter so much as how they'd treated each other, and more than a few of the most pure families had health problems because of it.
Breeding livestock too close for too many generations caused health problems. The same could be said for humans, it just took longer to show. Some of the pureblood families had long since reached the point where it showed. Others were reaching that point at more of a meander, but it still showed if you looked. He hadn't met a pureblood yet who didn't have something odd, either in mind or body. Extra toes, odd shaping to the body, fussy guts or weak lungs, whole families with allergies to this or that, and then their headsâ€¦ Don't even get him started about how messed up some purebloods were in the head! As a bartender, Aberforth saw quite a bit, much more than most of his clientele suspected.
He'd learned a long, long time ago that blood purity didn't do anything for magical ability. Oh, there were advantages for purebloods, because of their ancestry, but not magic. Because their family had been magical for generations, they knew how things worked, they knew where to go, who to talk to. They knew the laws, often having been involved in writing them, and how to twist them. They had relatives who knew people in useful places, or were people in useful places. They might have generations worth of collected journals and hints and tricks for a certain area, like the Ogden's and their brewing, or the Woolsey's and Malkin's with their tailoring. They'd had generations to work on gaining money and holdings, with far fewer taxes than the muggles. Those things added up to a better starting point in the magical community.
They didn't give someone stronger magic, or more intelligence. Or ethics and honor, blood purity did nothing for honor or ethics.
His brother had forgotten that, if Albus had ever learned. But then Albus had flung himself into the ivory tower of academics and dabbled in the hazy fantasy world of politics instead of spending time in the real world. Focusing on those with the useful political connections â€“ mostly purebloods with the occasional half-blood of impressive skill â€“ and the rare new blood of breathtaking potential. Trying to nudge and meddle and guilt everyone into moving towards some nebulous plan â€˜for the Greater Good', a plan and good which he didn't think Albus ever took the time to explain. From what he'd gathered, his older and definitely not wiser brother didn't even bother to explain why people should do certain things in certain ways, they were just supposed to trust Albus. And remember to give those who oppose you chance after chance, because they might change their ways andâ€¦ how did he put it, â€˜come to the light'.
Bugger that, and bugger Albus' greater good.
Aberforth believed people needed to understand consequences, regardless of how far back they could trace their family, regardless of how often their great grandpa and great grandma had been cousins, and regardless of how much gold they had at Gringotts. They needed to understand some things weren't acceptable, and some things carried a price beyond gold or a little bit of ache from quidditch. They should have a sense of what should or shouldn't be done that traced back to honor and ethics instead of prestige and legal definitions.
Not that he considered himself a great man. He was a wizard of average power, limited ambition and probably average intellect. He'd never moved past his OWLs due to family crisis, and had started working in a pub at sixteen. He'd managed to save enough coin to go from working in someone's pub to owning his own, butâ€¦ he'd never married, never had a family. Never been a great or highly respected wizard.
There had been a scandal concerning goatsâ€¦ and that had been the end of Aberforth's attempted self study in further Transfiguration. Never sneeze in the middle of a casting, it wasâ€¦ it was a very bad idea. Assuming you survive what magical surprises result, and the embarrassing rescue by snickering aurors, then you have to endure all the whispers and rumors.
Now Death Eaters and their allies were intending to attack the village and school. He had no doubts his brother had left his own plans firmly stuck in the heads of as many of the remaining staff and students as possible, and most of the villagers were stuffed with Albus' ideas about being the better men and giving forgiveness and second chances. To people who would kill them, or toy with them before killing them, or perhaps keep their pretty daughters or pretty sons, depending on the scum's tastes, alive to play with longer term.
As he'd said, bugger that.
Aberforth looked at the sad gathering of aging wizards in his pub. Most of them were old, none of them had impressive families or fortunes or fancy ancestries. They were considered the wretched dregs by those who had those things, and aging, has-beens and never-weres by those with less fortune. Few had more than OWLs, and he doubted most had even consideredâ€¦ No, old Fabby Tanner had once had big dreams. Before she'd been seduced by a Weasley and cast out of her family for the resulting pregnancy. Before she'd found herself a â€˜fallen woman', a single mother who'd been cast aside for someone with a dower and a fiercely protective father.
"All right, you sorry lot. Death Eaters are marching on Hogsmeade, no doubt figuring to step right over us and on to the school. They expect us to either scatter like mice or be cut down like wheat, and then to move on to the students. To destroy anyone who won't follow their way." Aberforth pulled out a box of sobering potions, placing it on the counter.
"I say to hell with them and their master. I say we do what we can to take as many of those fancy bastards out as possible." Aberforth then pulled out the boxes he'd gathered over the years of weapons and wands he'd taken from rowdy drunks.
"What can we do? We're just a bunch of useless drunks," old John grumbled.
"Sobering potions?" Fabby asked, taking a few steps closer. "Do you think any of us have much of a chance?"
"I figure if the good folk think so little of us," Aberforth began.
"We know they do," called Stubby Jones.
"What will those dark bastards think? Do any of us think they'll consider us worth living?" Aberforth finished.
There were a variety of comments and grumbles. Most of the people seemed quite aware the Death Eaters wouldn't be impressed by them. They would see nothing of even minimal value to their precious Dark Lord or his cause. Just a bunch of old and drunk people of little status, questionable talent, and no money.
"They'll kill us as a warm up," grumbled Conk. Rumor was Conk had once been a quidditch player, though nobody knew for what team, what position, or even what year. For that matter, nobody was even sure if Conk came from his first name or his family.
"What are you planning, Aberforth?" asked old Mundy. The man was more used to moving stolen goods than fighting, something of a family profession. Despite most of them knowing what old Mundy did, he'd never been caught by the aurors, unlike his grandson.
"They're planning to kill us, if they notice us at all. We're all as good as dead," hissed Patch, a former auror who never revealed his name, or if he had a family. They rather doubted he did, or maybe his family had just decided to pretend he was dead. He'd lost one eye, parts of his ears, two fingers from his left hand, had bad knees, and more scars than unmarked skin. He also had an abundance of colorful tattoos over his arms and chest, perhaps more of his body. He'd once admitted to thinking he could hide scars under tattoos when he was younger.
"So if we're dead anyhow, why not go down fighting?" Aberforth countered.
"Not like we have anything left to lose," grumbled Fabby.
"I got sobering potions. I got wands and knives and every other thing I've taken away from rowdy bastards over the years. I might have some potions to numb pain," Aberforth ducked down to check under his bar before pulling up a few bottles. "Ahh, here they are."
Several of his patrons were moving closer. The boxes of knives and weapons was being sorted through, things being passed about with appreciative murmurs.
"How well do they go together?" asked Patch.
"For a few hours, no problems. After that there starts being ingredient interactions. Take them both and you'll be able to move like you were at twenty, but you might be dead by sunrise." Aberforth admitted. "Either's fine on their own."
"We're already dead by sunrise," someone muttered. "Might as well make it count."
His regulars, all of them rejected and counted as nobodys by the wizarding world, with an average age nearing eighty, made various sounds of agreement. First the box of sobering potions was removed from the bar, passing from cluster to cluster until every single vial was gone, the empties left on the table, often dropped into empty mugs. Once sober, they began clustering the boxes of wands and weapons, discovering with surprise and delight that the boxes were enchanted to hold more than they appeared. Much, much more.
Aberforth had collected thirty nine wands over the years. He'd stopped counting the knives at a hundred, and that had been decades ago. There were also a few swords, some axes, dozens of brass knuckles, and more than a few clubs. He wouldn't swear to the edges on any of themâ€¦
"Bring that over, if there's one spell I can do in me sleep it's the knife sharpener," called Stubby Jones. Stubby, who'd spend over sixty years working as a butcherâ€¦ Yes, he'd know how to make and keep knives sharp. A new knife was expensive, but sharpening an old one just a matter of a few moments or a couple words.
"What else have you got under the bar, Abe?" Fabby asked, a wand in one hand and a freshly sharpened ax in the other.
"Pull out those special box I left you, Abe. The smugglers won't need â€˜em and we might." Mundy offered.
Abe pulled out his own box, with blood replenishers and burn paste. He doubted they'd be useful in the fighting, but if anyone survived to tend to wound they might be a good thing to have. Then he pulled out Mundy's box, the one he'd begged not to let any legal authorities see.
Mundy pulled out a small amulet, which Abe recognized as a signature based magical key. Opening the box, Mundy revealed a collection of restricted potions. Potions for strength, for speed and reflexes. Potions that might let a wizard fight toe to toe with a troll for a while. Not that said wizard wouldn't feel it and pay later, butâ€¦
"Dunno how they'll interact with anything else," Mundy began.
"Nothing that won't give us at least a few hours," old Milly Treacle insisted. She'd made money brewing potions for a long time, and Aberforth couldn't remember her being young enough not to have grey hair. "Bugger your chances for seeing sunrise if you take either of â€˜em and the pain blocker, but none of us can expect that anyhow."
With that, old Milly pulled out a vial of the strength potion, and one of the speed and reflex potion. Then she grabbed a clean shot glass from behind the bar and found an empty area. First she poured the strength potion into the shot glass, then added two drops of something dark purple she pulled from her sleeve. After a moment, she muttered something and put in three more drops and called, "two drops to drop about forty years. It lasts four hours and you may as well get back double after that, but that only matters if you live â€˜till then."
Her little flask soon vanished making the rounds of the bar. She turned back to her shot glass and added the speed potion. The whole mix turned a brilliant fuchsia, glowing softly. Milly raised the glass for a moment before slugging it back in a single swallow.
When she turned around the woman didn't look more than thirty, and her eyes had taken on the same brilliant fuchsia color. "I'll see all of you tomorrow in Valhalla."
She took up a pair of axes, now sharpened to a fine edge thanks to Stubby. "I never did learn much combat magic. Gran always swore by a swift blade over spells. Guess it's too late now."
Not a single one of them was about to have old Milly Treacle show them up when it came to courage. While not everyone had taken some of her purple elixir, everybody had a weapon, and most had wands as well. They moved out of the Hog's Head, determined to make a difference. While they could try to stop it, not a single Death Eater, or any of their minions would get by to hurt the students.
Aberforth felt like his bones were humming, hopped up on a mixture of pain blocker, speed potion, and Milly's purple elixir. He doubted he'd make it to midnight, but he was already old, and he'd rather go down fighting than cowering in his bar.
At the least, they could take some of those bastards with them to judgment.
The Death Eaters didn't notice the bar patrons slipping out of the hog's Head and spreading around Hogsmeade. Not until a destructive crossfire of cutting and blasting spells along with a few incendios demolished their inferi shock-troops. Not until old Milly launched herself at one of the werewolves with axes flying and a blood-curdling shriek.
Meanwhile, Stubby and old John had taken one of the giants down, knife flashing as he carved at tendons, removing flesh from bone with all the skill his decades of butchery had taught him. Patch and young John had turned to another giant after the inferi were dropped. Mundy was setting every twitching piece of inferi on fire, figuring that while they might not be able to do much when chopped apart, he didn't reach old by counting on â€˜might'.
Fabby was launching spells at a Death Eater with long blond hair while hacking at another werewolf with an ax.
Conk had taken the club dropped by the giant Stubby and old John had dropped, a club nearly as big as he was, and launching himself at the enemy. Everything suggested he'd once been a world-caliber beater and was picturing every Death Eater and werewolf as an offending bludger. Turns out giant's clubs were decent shields as well as weapons.
The lot of them were fighting like top-notch aurors in the prime of health. They were still outnumbered four to one, but they were making an impact. A rather brutal impact with broken bones and ruined limbs.
For a few moments, Aberforth wondered if they might have a chance. If the no-doubt illegal combinations of potions running through them would let them take down all of the enemy, even if it killed them â€“ and those potions mingled in such a way that it surely would.
Then one of the giants managed to hit old John with his club. Fabby and Patch took that giant out, but a trio of werewolves dragged Patch down. The amount of blood suggested he wouldn't be getting back up, though they might not either. A Death Eater caught Fabby with a spell that left most of her midsection a dripping empty hole, though she managed to bury her axe in the coward's skull before she collapsed, a plum colored spell dropping another werewolf screaming to the ground.
A cluster of Death Eaters had old Mundy on the ground, circling around him while taking turns with the Cruciatus. He didn't know what caused the blinding-white fireball, but Mundy managed to take seven of the bastards with him.
A pair of werewolves had managed to separate Conk from the club, though he was doing his best to fight them with fists and fury. Abe could see a pair of Death Eaters raising wands. No, Conk wouldn't live long enough to worry about werewolf bites.
He flung himself towards the nearest knot of Death Eaters, raw magic flowing from his wand. The wood felt warm, humming to match his bones. Spells, whispered and screamed for years as the only way to safely harness magic were ignored in favor of wrestling the magic into accordance to his will. His will that these wretches be stopped. His wand spat lightning and fire, stones flung themselves into Death Eater bones.
He could feel the spells approaching him, and with all the boosts from the potions running through his system, Aberforth even managed to dodge some. He even managed to twist some of the spells around and send them at his assailants. The air around him glowed with the sheer quantity of magic.
He could feel his death approaching from every direction. He gasped, the air burning from the many spells, from the fire.
But I haven't done enough! Someone needs to protect the children! It can't end like thisâ€¦ not with so many of them still approaching the school.
Seventeen different hostile spells, one of them the Killing Curse and another Fiendfyre intersected Aberforth Dumbledore. A man with four different potions running through him, with incompatibilities and lethal side effects. In a place near enough to the intersection of five magical lines of power converges that the raw magical power available was so high nobody born within thirty miles of Hogwarts could be anything less than a squib.
Reality tore, and the resulting explosion leveled Hogsmeade. It killed three more giants and every dementor within twenty miles. The entire left flank of Dark forces were vaporized. Battle plans of the opposing leaders were thrown into disarray.
And the essence of Aberforth was flung through energies such that time and space were no more meaningful than red and yellow.
End Pottery Shard: Aberforth's Last Stand.
Chapter 42: Marriage Contracts? What?!?
Rated y/t, safe for all readers of the earlier Harry Potter novels.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them from the books or movies, I hold no legal rights to them.
Set in the summer after Book 3.
No pairings for Harry, mentions of canon adult pairings.
..PS..MCW.. ..PS..MCW.. ..PS..MCW.. ..PS..MCW.. ..PS..MCW..
Harry Potter hated staying with the Dursleys, whom he had been told were related to him. Multiple people had claimed Petunia Dursley had been his mother's sister, making her his aunt and therefore making her precious Duddykins Harry's cousin. Technically her husband Vernon Dursley and Vernon's sister Marge weren't related to him at all, though he was forced to call them Uncle Vernon and Aunt Marge. There was nothing enjoyable about Dursley-land. A boring house that Harry had to do a great deal of chores in that looked almost like every other house on the street. Number 4 was pale grey, with a darker grey roof and white shutters, like a dozen other houses in the neighborhood. Other options were white, a darker grey, a color called beige when it was drapes or carpets, and a pale yellow. The couple at Number 7 Chestnut had caused a short-lived scandal when they had painted their house blue, with darker blue shutters. It had been forgotten when Vicky Long from Number 14 ran away with her boyfriend, to her parents' dismay.
Harry had determined there were exactly three different floor plans, the four bedroom used in Number 4, a three bedroom with an open area like Mrs. Kessler in Number twenty had â€“ Petunia Dursley had lent him out to help the Kesslers re-paper their house â€“ and a slightly smaller house with two bedrooms and a home office â€“ identifiable by the lack of closet â€“ such as Number 3 Wisteria, where Harry had been lent by Petunia to help the Darbys replace their old brown carpets with newer grey carpets a couple years ago. The Darbys had since moved away. It looked just a little more varied because half of the houses had the plans mirrored, with the kitchen and laundry room on the left instead of the right.
The small yards and gardens could have brought more variety, but they were also very similar. Number 4 had a slight deviation from normal in that a snowy owl had been roosting in the large tree in the back yard for the last few weeks. The Dursleys hated that, of course. The cars were almost as similar.
The Dursleys themselves were quite wretched, each in their own particular ways. Harry loathed them all, not feeling them worth hating, but closer to the sense of disgust one often felt when viewing cockroaches or scrawny rats glaring about back alley rubbish bins.
So when they left him locked in his room one late June day to take â€˜wee Duddykins' to an amusement park with his â€˜little friends', Harry took the chance. Fred and George had taught him to pick locks, so he let himself out of his room. He retrieved the majority of his school things from the cupboard under the stairs, and packed everything inside his trunk. Nobody seemed to pay him any mind, though he was sure people were watching through their blinds, as Harry trudged down the sidewalk towing a trunk. Once he was fairly sure nobody could get a good view â€“ which took almost eight blocks and a detour into what had been intended to develop into a small shopping center before getting abandoned, Harry stopped. He had a plan, involving something he'd learned about by accident last summer. He looked around on the slight chance of being observed before summoning the Knight Bus.
The resulting rather indirect trip to Diagon Alley of London was every bit as rough and bouncing and nerve-wracking as he remembered. Though Harry concluded he might like to take a relaxing day to meander through Bath, there was a rather pretty tea shop with massive gardens somewhere near a giant wicker rabbit â€“ he suspected magicals were responsible â€“ and there was a remarkable cottage looking like an over sized top had with a dozen peacocks and at least as many peahens meandering about where the Bus had collected a small woman who looked about a hundred wearing a shawl made from peacock tail feathers. Magicals were weird, but they didn't seem to try to make all their houses look like matching rolled biscuits.
He didn't kiss the cobblestones of Diagon Alley, though the idea did cross his mind. Instead, he stumbled a little on his way to the Leakey Cauldron and quietly asked Tom if he could rent a room for the rest of the summer. Tom had been quite agreeable, though he'd warned Harry to not let any personal mess sprawl out of the room, between the idea of people talking and the suspicion there might be one or two people who'd swipe them for souvenirs. He'd also agreed to put all Harry's meals on a tab to be settled at the end of his stay so long as Harry promised to work a little on his homework each day in order to get it finished before he had to leave for school. Later, Harry had realized putting meals on a room tab was likely quite ordinary for any place which let rooms for people, but it felt nice to have someone fuss a little over his health and education.
He'd spent a little of each morning on his homework, when he first woke up and there was nothing else to do, but he couldn't get back to sleep. He'd learned the afternoon of his second day there, from an absent minded witch with rumpled ash brown curls, the Ministry's Trace didn't really track who did the magic, just the location. So if he did magic here, the Ministry couldn't tell who, just what, and they'd assume anything in the Leakey Cauldron or Diagon Alley was nothing to worry about unless it was an unusual spell.
He planned on never telling Ron he'd been picking up housekeeping spells from Tom and that absent-minded woman, who'd said to call her Annie. He'd stopped in at Madam Malkin's on a few occasions, and now owned a nice selection of new and gently used magical clothing, and had ordered his school robes. He didn't plan to let on that he'd picked up a couple magical spells for mending and removing small stains from fabric either. It wasn't anywhere near enough to make his own clothing, or to keep a job at a clothing shop, but it should be enough to keep his things looking tidy while off at school. Between a few rumors he'd heard and Madam Malkin's whispers of the Ministry being up to things, he'd let her talk him into ordering a set of formal robes. They'd negotiated, and he was going to let her second daughter design the robes, and they would teach him a few charms to make sure the folds were pressed, the other areas didn't wrinkle, and anything supposed to stand up where a muggle would use starch would stand without the starchy scratchy feeling.
He only told Hermione he'd found a magical second hand book store after he'd bought the things which caught his fancy. He'd found a set of magical literary classics, two magical encyclopedia sets, volume two of a series of magical children's stories, and a leather bound copy of the Hobbit by Tolkien. He'd also bought a packet claiming to be muggle-born orientation, old school books for charms, potions, runes, arithmancy, warding, healing, spell-analysis, and older books for divination and magical creatures. It might be easier to refer to a book which didn't try to bite or hide, after all. He didn't even think a few of those classes were taught anymore, but they sounded interesting. He'd also found a book published in 1946 claiming to detail all the possible careers in magical Britain, and thought it might help him figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up. He figured he could give Hermione one of the magical encyclopedia sets for her birthday.
Best of all, he'd gone to Gringott's and learned a few useful things. There was a goblin called FlintShard who was in charge of the Potter holdings, though those weren't his only responsibilities. The vault Harry had seen was his trust vault, set up to ensure he had something and for him to eventually start learning to manage his own money. He was allowed to start making decisions involving more than ten galleons and not connected to school supplies after his thirteenth birthday, and there had been a long talk about proper communication and tracking his account statements. They still didn't know where they were going, but FlintShard had accepted Harry had not been receiving them, didn't know why, and FlintShard had sworn the matter Would Be Investigated. Harry didn't know why he was so certain there were ominous capitals, but there had been.
An alternate arrangement had been made for future statements and tested, and while Harry didn't pretend to understand it, the test message had appeared in a small wooden box charmed to remain near Harry and only open for Harry or FlintShard. The family home, where Potters had lived for generations, was currently sealed under plague wards after the Dragon Pox which had killed his grandparents, and should be released in another year or two. At the time of their demise, his parents had been leasing a cottage from a Mr. Deadelus Diggle, and their possessions from there had been placed in the Main Potter vault after the events of Halloween.
Harry couldn't remove any coins, jewelry, artifacts, active legal documents, or â€˜assorted miscellaneous valuables' from the vault, but he could go inside and look at things. He could read family journals and legal documents, both of which helped him learn about his family history. He'd since learned a spell to make a temporary copy so he could take the copy somewhere he could consult a dictionary and encyclopedia to figure out what some of the things meant. The chance to learn so much about his family was priceless to Harry. The Potters had lived near Wales, and yes, some of them had made pottery, but they'd also dabbled in marketing goods, broomstick development and manufacture, potions, and law enforcement. One great-great uncle had been a professional duelist, another had been a stage actor.
Then he found some documents which turned everything upside down for him. In honesty, he hadn't realized what they were at first. They'd looked like some sort of business contract, or maybe sales of real estate. But there had been a woman's name and a male Potter name on most of them, and a few with a female Potter's name and some man's name. A few of the family names were familiar â€“ Abbott, Bones, Greengrass, Vector. Some were less so â€“ Black, Glenwoods, Marchbanks, Tofty. But then it had seeped in for him that they all contained a few common words. Bonded. Announcement. Nuptials. A few mentioned Betrothal or Consummation.
Harry had no idea what to think about the realization he'd found a stack of contracts involving marriages. Marriages for his ancestors. He wasn't sure if it meant what it sounded like â€“ magical families arranging marriages like a business deal. Or maybe it was yet another example of things being different for magical than muggles. But one thing was clear â€“ he needed an adult familiar with both magical and muggle culture to explain just what he'd found and what they meant.
Tom from the Leakey Cauldron was close enough to pure-blood for generations, with what he counted as the main line of his heritage all magical for almost six hundred years, and all of them taking magical spouses, though some of those spouses were half bloods or muggle-born. Tom had enough familiarity with muggle culture and behavior to double check if clothing was muggle-acceptable, change muggle money, and give directions to a few shops. He wouldn't stick out nearly as much as some magicals, but he would admit he wouldn't know how to live full-muggle. Madam Malkin's family had been magical â€˜as long as they'd been British', which turned out to be a few centuries, and they'd come over from France and Germany before then. Harry wasn't quite willing to talk about his family matters with the other shopkeepers enough to ask.
So he wrote a letter to former Professor Remus Lupin. They'd talked more than a few times about things when Harry was resting during the patronus lessons. Professor Lupin was a half-blood, and familiar with both sides of his heritage, though he didn't get along too well with his father's side. He was quite familiar with the muggle world, and seemed like the best of Harry's rather limited options. He simply wrote that he'd found something odd and suspected it was the magical-muggle language gap confusing him, and asked if Professor Lupin could drop by to hopefully translate.
The first part of the response told Harry that as he no longer worked at Hogwarts, there was no need to continue calling him Professor. He could call him Mr. Lupin if he wanted to be formal, or Remus, or Uncle Remus, or even Uncle Moony, which he had called him as a toddler, after a fashion. There had been a few comments which Harry summed up as please be working on your summer assignments, even the Defense, which likely won't be collected by whoever takes the job for next year. Best, he agreed to meet Harry at Florian Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor on Thursday afternoon, with the further comment that he'd aim for sometime around one.
Harry prepared for Uncle Remus as best he could, though he still wasn't quite sure the name felt comfortable. He made temporary copies of several of the contracts, including the one reading James Charlus Potter and Liliwen Grace Evans. He hadn't actually known his mother's name hadn't been Lily, which was what everyone had called her when talking to him. Then again, Ron was short for Ronald, and his brother Fred was officially Frederick, so maybe it wasn't such a shock. A bit of research had found the name Liliwen was Welsh, which since he'd known the Evans family came from Wales, made sense. He knew Petunia had a Welsh middle name she never used because it was unusual â€“ Ebrill, for the month she was born.
The contracts elaborated on property, speaking of accounts at Gringott's and Barclay's, and discussing plots of land and a summer cottage near the coast of Devon. The one for Pedr William Potter and Victoria Rose Abbott stated Victoria would not pursue a Potions Apprenticeship until their first child was at least five years of age. One for Arthur Siams Potter and Mariel Ivy Prewett declared she would retire from the active roster of the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team, with the option to rejoin after the birth of a second healthy child.
Harry was seated at one of the little tables, working his way through a Banana Bend, something similar to a banana split but with only two scoops of ice cream between the banana halves. He'd chosen walnut and chocolate, with a bit of whipped cream and chopped nuts over the top. He had his History of Magic textbook covering the copies of the contracts, which he'd refreshed this morning just to be sure they wouldn't fade away while he was asking questions.
"Good afternoon, Harry," Remus Lupin had his own ice cream, a large bowl with several scoops of chocolate ice cream thick with chocolate chips and ripples of fudge, drizzled over with hot fudge and then covered in more chocolate chips. Over all of that was a layer of whipped cream, which had been drizzled with chocolate syrup.
"Good afterâ€¦ chocolate addict. You're a chocolate addictâ€¦ I mean, good afternoon, Uncle Remus," Harry could feel himself flushing.
"Yes, I am rather fond of chocolate. It helped cause a rather interesting rumor during school, but I think that's a story for some other time," Remus was smiling. "What did you find which has you feeling confused?"
Harry pulled the copies of the contracts out from under his book. "To muggle-raised me, this looks like families deciding on a business alliance by way of marrying their children off. Is this a normal thing in magical circles, or am I misinterpreting?"
Remus pulled the contracts over, looking at them with a half smile. "Ahhhhh. Yes, these would be confusing for someone who grew up in the muggle world."
"What do they mean? Socially, and for the people, I know it's talking about assets and weddings and career restrictionsâ€¦ are those common?" Harry hoped Remus would have some explanation which didn't sound crazy.
"Arranged marriages are not common in magical Britain any longer. The wealthy families used them in the middle ages and up to the early eighteen hundreds, but so did many wealthy muggle families. No, these areâ€¦ they aren't people getting married because of a contract, they're contracts because people are getting married." Remus paused and took a bite of his ice cream.
"Some families still unofficially arrange courtships, by way of controlling the social interactions other than school and introducing their children to who they consider the right sort. Not all families use these, justâ€¦. I suppose the middle class and up. Those with assets to protect. The couple decide they really like each other and want to make a future, and so they have a document drawn up clarifying what they have, what conditions will be in place to make things go more smoothly, and if there are conditions which will end their union. Since children and the continuation of the family line are traditionally a big part of why people get married, there are sometimes clauses to restrict the couple from occupations which would leave a high risk of death, injury or exposure to things which could cause problems conceiving or carrying. Like quidditch, experimental potions or spells, curse breaking, or serving as an auror or hit wizard or witch. Not just restricting her, restricting whichever of them or both who is inclined in those directions. My grandfather had to transfer out of his job in the department for the disposal of dangerous creatures when he married my grandmother, he became the Care of magical Creatures professor at Hogwarts instead."
"So they got together because they wanted to?" Harry dragged his spoon through his mostly finished ice cream.
"Of course. These are more like theâ€¦ what's the word? Ah, yes, the prenuptial agreements muggle celebrities use than anything else. It means if something happens, the family properties don't get contested in a messy separation, and it keeps meddling in-laws from causing trouble about someone giving up a bright quidditch career. The discussion of a contract is one sign a relationship is committed. Having a contract for your marriage is considered a sign of success and prosperity," Remus explained.
"Because not everyone has enough stuff to need to have it legally sorted out?" Harry's mind had gone to the Weasleys.
"Exactly," Remus nodded, taking another bite of his chocolate ice cream. "In your parents' case, it was partly to silence some of the nasty whispers about Lily. Some people thought at since she was from a non magical family that sheâ€¦ I meanâ€¦."
"They thought she was a penny-less gold-digger, possibly with a few other insults?" Harry arched an eyebrow.
"Afraid so," Remus admitted. "When you finally have someone you're serious about, you'll need a contract. The Potter family had some holdings, your mother left you a few things, and with your reputationâ€¦ Definitely a contract."
Harry turned pink, sputtering incoherently about being much too young to be even thinking about marriages and contracts, though yes, girls were interesting and he'd like to have a date with one of them some day.
He could deal with a magical prenuptial agreement, and it even made sense. It also meant he wasn't stuck marrying someone because his grandfather or so on made a business deal.
"Uncle Remus?" Harry looked at his father's friend, someone who should have been there for him all his life. The past was gone, but there was still a chance to improve the future. "Thanks for explaining. Maybe you can help me learn more about how magical society works over the rest of the summer."
"I'd be delighted," Remus Lupin smiled. The expression seemed to drop twenty years from his face.
End Pottery Shard: Marriage Contracts? What?!?