Title: Book Six
Series: What Happened To Harry Potter?
Category: AU, Drama, Angst,
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Ron/Hermione, Sirius/Remus, Molly/Arthur, mentions of Severus/Lily, Lily/James,
Spoilers: Up through book six
Summary: Harry still reels from the changes that happened over the summer and at the end of the school year. He and his friends are being trained to protect themselves. No matter what the decree for underage wizardry says. With most of Harry’s secrets bared to the world, how will he survive his sixth year at school?
Notes: Unless stated in the story, please think that it happened the same way it did in the book. Of course, I wouldn’t want to get into plagiarism and I really didn’t want to change everything about the story so I assume that you can all fill in the blanks.
Warnings: I am twisting things. Also there may be some lines from the movies but that is mainly because I found them absolutely hilarious. Graphic Depictions of Violence & Major Character Death
Chapter Eighty One-Freedom
Two men sat and looked at their arms. Harry could see them but they could not see him. Their faces were shrouded in black. He could not make out the features.
“It’s done. It’s destroyed.”
“And we almost destroyed ourselves.” The second man snarled as he spoke.
“It was worth it. The taint is gone,” the first said.
“It was worth leaving our families.”
“Do you think that anyone in the world would have trusted us with that mark on our arm? We are better off without it.”
“You don’t have a son like mine.”
“We must head home. Before they find we are gone.” The first man was the first to move and he disappeared with a crack. The second looked around before he disappeared as well. Harry felt the pull of sleep draw him back to the world of the waking.
Harry awoke to the sound of tapping on his window. He looked over to see a nondescript owl sitting on a perch, waiting impatiently. Shaking his head to clear the dream he had, Harry got up from his bed and quickly went to the window. He opened the window and the bird dropped the letter inside but didn’t enter. Harry reached out and petted the bird and it took off. Harry frowned but then remembered that Severus had spoken about upping the wards on the house. Nearly the entire group that was separate from Dumbledore but was fighting Voldemort was living inside the house. Hermione’s parents were safely ignorant and lived in their house, tucked away under heavy wards and alerts. If anyone who has magic in their blood or even working on them gets close to the house, it alerts Severus, Remus, and Lucius to the intrusion and one of them would get to them as soon as they could Apparate there.
A soft knock had Harry stooping to pick up the letter. It was Draco’s knock and it wasn’t upon the main door of the room. Draco was in a room one floor down. It was in a suite of rooms that the entire Malfoy family now lived in. Harry lived in the suite of rooms that had been the Potter suite for many hundreds of years. Sirius and Remus had the master suite even though Sirius was still sleeping on the couch. Severus and Harry had rooms on either side of the master suite. Draco’s room it seemed connected to Harry’s by a hidden passage. It hadn’t taken long for the Slytherin to find the passage. Weeks ago, he had surprised Harry but arriving in the middle of the night.
Draco didn’t wait for Harry to open the door; instead he entered the room on his own with a small package in his hands. “Happy Birthday, Harry.”
“Draco…” Harry frowned at the package; he had asked Draco not to get him anything.
“It’s not a gift that you get to keep.” Draco shoved the package at Harry and then draped himself on the bed waiting for Harry to open it. Harry glared at Draco for a few seconds and then started to open the package. He looked at a small box of shrunken books. He could barely make out the titles.
“Grey magic, blood magic, and all the books that I thought might have information for us to look at for ways to fight Voldemort. They are from the Malfoy library but are books that the Potter library doesn’t have. This box will hold them and only those who the Malfoy’s allow can open it. Once we have finished with a book,” Draco paused and pulled Harry down onto the bed, flipping the lid open more. He pointed at a small runic circle on the inside lid. “We touch it here and it returns to its correct place inside the library.”
“This is great. I hope we can find something in here.” Harry leaned over and kissed his boyfriend. Harry closed the box and set it aside. He pulled Draco into his lap and started to kiss him back. Harry stopped trying to think of anything except Draco. It was the only time that he was able to relax and let his mind go blank anymore. At least twenty minutes passed and Draco had just shifted on top of him when his bedroom door opened. Harry shifted Draco off and behind him before drawing his wand. It was Lucius.
“I lost the toss on coming up and separating the both of you from each other. Severus is waiting for us in the library. I suggest you both come at once, I will not be happy if I have to come back.” Lucius spun around and left, leaving the door open. Harry sighed and stood up. He pulled Draco up to him and kept a hold of his hand as he made his way out of the room and down two floors to the library. As he entered, he remembered his dream. He dropped Draco’s hand. At first he had put it up to the late meal he had eaten the night before but now, seeing his father and Lucius. He looked at the painting of his mother and father and then back to his father.
“Harry,” Severus started but Harry racing across the room and shoving his shirt sleeve up and staring at the bare arm. Harry heard the gasps around him and then the sound of clothes rustling. He turned slightly around and saw Draco pulling at his father’s arm as well.
“Yes, mine is gone as well, Draco.”
“What did you do?” Harry hissed. He dropped his father’s arm and stepped back. He grabbed his father’s head and touched his own head to it. His father tried to pull away.
“Harry!?” Draco and Lucius called out. Harry felt a hand on his shoulder but he shoved back at them with his magic. He was angry and he knew it wasn’t safe. He pulled at his father’s memories. He had known that he could rip memories from minds since he had been taught Occlumency and Legilimency years before. He had only done it once and that was when Severus first taught him the mind arts. Then it had been on accident but now…he blasted through his father’s shields. He found regret and truth in his father’s mind. He found the searching that he and Lucius had done to find a way to safely remove the Dark Mark from their arm. There were reasons that Severus had removed from his mind on why he had done it so recklessly. Harry moved back out of his mind and Severus slumped down into the chair that he been sitting in until Harry and Draco had entered the room.
“What was that?” Lucius asked, grabbing Harry’s arm and throwing him away from his friend. Lucius knelt beside his friend and pulled the other man’s face to look into his own.
“Something that magic gave him,” Severus whispered barely loud enough to be heard. He looked up at Harry and nodded at him. Harry nodded back. “It’s why he trusted me so well. He ripped my mind apart and left it shattered on the floor. He saw me as I saw, broken and dark and he didn’t care.”
“It was an accident the first time and I told him if I ever thought he was downright lying to me, I would do it against. It’s instinctive but I can control it.” Harry sat down in a chair, plopping so hard the sound echoed across the room. Draco moved to stand beside him.
“You both glowed green while you were touching,” Draco said, his voice full of awe. He reached out and touched the back of Harry’s neck. Harry relaxed into the touch.
“What’s done is done,” Severus said as he straightened in his chair. He looked at Harry before looking to the ground where the letter had fallen when Harry had moved to enter his mind. Harry picked it up and opened it. It was the Seal of the Greater Courts. “This is the reason that I called you in. Today you are sixteen. Today you could be considered an adult since you are the last of your line. The Greater Courts are a group of Lords and Ladies who vote on other things that even the Wizengamot are not allowed to vote on. You are Lord Potter and today you are fully an adult. Inside that letter is the same thing that will be printed inside of the Daily Prophet. You received an early copy of today’s issue. There is word of the spreading of the influence of our Ministry of Magic. They have tried to squash all things worldwide that speak of the Dark Lord.”
“I’ve received word from Cedric Diggory. He states that the other countries are battening down the hatches. There are also fighting troops that will invade Britain if the Dark Lord is able to take control. There has been talk of Canada and America joining forces and those two Prime Ministers hate each other.”
“They want to give us a chance before they invade.” Draco’s voice was soft. Harry was sure that only he heard him.
“What about refugees?”
“All schools worldwide are taking students with no questions asked. Muggle-borns are being courted to go to school in other countries and if at all possible, some are even trying to get the whole family to move. The faith of the people in our Ministry had been broken. I’ve already received word that this year’s student count will be down.”
“How are you taking that?” Harry asked with a smile. Severus turned to give him a glare. Harry gave him an even bigger smile in response. “You’ll take to the job well. I think that while some students will be worried, the majority will not. While you are not a liked teacher, you are a formidable teacher. You will make them feel safe.”
“They would feel safer with Dumbledore,” Lucius stated. “If he had not been as bad as he was. The paper has been running a small series of stories from the Governors on why Dumbledore was replaced, chief among them was what he allowed Umbridge to attempt to do and that we had to step in for the safety of the students. Last year we received more letters from parents than we had since the first war.”
“What news of deaths?” Harry asked.
“Emmeline Vance was murdered but we were able to get to Amelia Bones in time to save her life. Her family is under heavy protection while we can manage it. They have refused to leave Britain.”
“Voldemort will not gain the footing that he wants to in his country.” Harry stood up. He had recovered from his use of magic and started to look around the room. He found several interesting books. He hadn’t had as much time to look around as he would have liked. “We are safe here but there are others who are not.”
“The Dark Lord has already lost my money and he will be hard pressed to find quick money without resorting to robbing, an idea that is too Muggle for him. He will tell his remaining Death Eaters to get money by whatever means. He will not tell them to steal but he will expect money. I’ve had Arthur warn the Ministry about a rise in deaths of wealthy but low-key families. They will be the best bet. The goblins have already upped with own security. I do not see anyone making it into the bank.”
“I read about the Hufflepuff Cup and what you did to it,” Harry said looking at Severus. “How did they like that they had something like that inside of their walls?”
“They set up a search for others inside of their walls. They will take all manners of dark objects, family heirlooms and the like but a Horcrux. Their dragon will take care of any remaining from other families. There are contracts that are signed when accounts are opened and those contracts states that no Horcruxes are allowed inside the walls.”
“Let’s get onto better subjects. We are going to be spending the next few weeks before the start of term teaching all of the children inside of this house Apparition. The grounds are warded that no magic is transmittable outside of the grounds. The Ministry will not be able to detect the Apparition.” Lucius moved over to a stack of very small books. He picked up the stack and handed them over to his son. Harry peaked at the titles. The books were on Apparition. It was many copies of the same book. “The twins are already of age to Apparate of course but they will help with the class. We start tomorrow after lunch.”
“Longbottom, Lovegood, Zabini, and Parkinson will be joining us until they have learned it. A mini vacation as it were. They will be staying in the same wing as Granger.”
“This house is going to be crazy.” Harry said as he moved to open the door for Draco to walk out in front of him.
“The twins have started up their mailing business for the extendable ears and many of their jokes and other things they are working on. This house is already crazy,” Severus said with a dry laugh.
Chapter Eighty Two-Apparition
Harry looked at the paper in his lap. He was worried about the article in the paper. He was sure that Draco would be reading the article some time that day while he was on vacation. Harry missed his boyfriend and wished that he would come back early.
Harry Potter: Still the Chosen One?
Given the new surrounding the last of the Potter line. Every single person in the country should be wondering whether Harry Potter is still the Chosen One spoken of in the prophecy. His past is clouded in darkness and we know more about the death of his parents even though he was the only witness than we know of his life from that night onward. Rumors have sprung up like weeds each day, each getting more outlandish as the days pass.
The Daily Prophet has spent months trying to find the truth of Harry Potter’s life but has come up empty. Every single person that has been approached has kept their lips shut tight. Even former Headmaster Albus Dumbledore speaks of not having the truth of Potter’s life.
There is still Potter’s destiny that is in question. He has proven that he is not weak, facing off in the Triwizard Tournament and coming out shining even though he was years younger than the other contestants. If the rumors of what has happened at the school are to be believed, Potter has faced off against dark forces every single year at the school. This is also the reason that Dumbledore was replaced. (For More Information on the Removal of Dumbledore please see tomorrow edition.)
Harry Potter’s life has been full of turmoil and trials. He has risen to the top and given what we have seen of the boy in the past years, it’s the opinion of the Daily Prophet that Harry Potter is still the Chosen One spoke of in the prophecies.
Harry sighed as he threw the paper to the floor. He leaned back in bed and covered his head with his pillow. He wanted to scream but he had been forbidden about placing silencing charms on the rooms and the sound of the scream would draw all in the house to him. He sat up in the bed and leaned over to place his elbows on his knees.
“Dobby!” Harry called out. Dobby appeared seconds later with Zook on his heels. Harry smiled at them both. “Dobby, can you go to my father and tell him that I would like to visit him.
Dobby disappeared while Zook stayed there.
“How is Rook doing?” Harry had barely seen the older elf since they had arrived to live at Devon at the end of the school year.
“He is catching up on years of neglect to the manor, Mister Harry.” Zook started to worry at his shirt; Harry leaned over and grabbed his hands to stop him. “I is sorry. Mister Weasley is very unhappy about the article in the paper.
“I knows not. He is just very angry about the Minister, he says.”
Harry stood up to find where he had thrown his paper. He had forgotten to look at the front of the page to see who had been placed in as Minister in the elections. He opened the paper back up to front page and there was a picture of Rufus Scrimgeour. Harry’s stomach turned at the thought of that man having control of the British Wizarding World. He would almost rather have Fudge back in. Scrimgeour was an unknown. He had a good track record at all of his jobs and Harry was sure that he won because he was the former Head of the Aurors, that was going to build trust and a hope in the people but Scrimgeour had not proved to have Harry’s best interests at heart.
“I can see why he is upset. Don’t worry about him. Arthur would never do anything…”
“Is not be I’s be worried about. I is worried about the dishes. He broke a plate and cup. Kitchen staff very upset.”
“Tell them that when this whole mess is over and Voldemort is dead they can go out and buy new dishes, whatever would make their little elf hearts happy. It would be no use to buy new now; there will be plenty of dishes broke over the next few years. Have them not serve anything they don’t want broke.” Zook gave Harry a small smile and nodded before he too disappeared.
Dobby popped back in several seconds later and he held up his hand. Harry took it and seconds later he was looking up at the school. Severus was waiting for him at the gate. Harry stepped across the wards and into his father’s arms. Severus gave him a quick hug and then he was pulling Harry in the direction of the Quidditch pitch. Harry said nothing as they trekked across the grass. When the opening for the stands became visible, Harry could see that all the teachers were there. Harry frowned but Severus just pulled him along.
“Severus, should this student be here?” Flitwick asked as he looked at Harry. Harry gave him a small smile.
“I think that Severus has his reasons,” McGonagall spoke as she smiled at Harry.
“There is no need for that now. Harry and is discussed this, it won’t be long until someone leaks the information and it’s best that the staff at the school is not blindsided by a news article. I am the one that took Harry in when his aunt, uncle, and cousin were killed. I have been raising him since then and I have cared for him to the best of my ability.”
A murmur rose in the teachers but there was silence from those that knew.
“We can discuss this more when Harry and I have had a few minutes. I’ll meet you all in the staff room.”
Harry waited until all the professors were out of ear shot.
“I didn’t even see the article about Scrimgeour until after I sent Dobby here. What will this mean?”
“We have to be careful. Your fellow students could take this one of two ways; those who are trying to garner the attention of the Dark Lord may try and take you out. Given your status as an adult, you will need to be on guard.”
“I am always on guard.”
“I am making sure this school is as tight as it can be. I have Bill and Charlie helping with it. Charlie is checking over the forest and warding that part of the school while Bill taking care of the school. Flitwick is happy to have the help.”
“Have you found a new Defense teacher?” Harry asked.
“He should be approved by the Governors at any moment. I see no reason he would not be approved.”
Severus just smiled and nodded at someone behind Harry. Harry turned to see Dobby there.
“That is better saved for another day. Dobby will take you back. Do you feel better having talked to me?”
“Yes,” Harry said as he reached out for Dobby’s hand.
“The wards are attuned to Dobby and you now. You will not be able to come into the school but you will be able to leave. Once the students arrive and the wards are attuned to them, all of them can leave if they can Apparate.”
“It’s a good measure.” Harry kept his eyes locked with his father’s and when they disappeared and his bedroom was again in his sight, Harry dropped Dobby’s hand. Ron was waiting on his bed, with the paper spread out in his hands.
“Mom was worried but Zook told her that you were visiting Snape.” Ron closed the paper and set it on the bed. He stood up and moved to the door. “Ready for lessons?”
Harry nodded and followed Ron out the door. He wanted to learn to Apparate but he was worried about it as well. His anger was barely under control and he had trouble sometimes with even the easiest of spells when he was upset. He hoped that Remus and Sirius had taken all the precautions that they could to make sure all of them were safe. He was sure but he would calm down when he saw them.
Severus was standing in his office looking at a book about warding when he felt the wards on his office alert him that there was someone approaching. He turned to find Lucius standing there. His face was red and he was mad. Severus had rarely ever seen his friend mad but when he was it was glorious.
“What was the meaning of calling a Governor’s meeting and asking for me to not be there?” Lucius asked. He kept walking until he was just inches from Severus. “I have been dismissed from the Governors!”
“I know,” Severus replied calmly. He waved for Lucius to sit and he himself sat down in a chair. It was a small area he had set up where he and Harry could sit and be comfortable. He handed Lucius and tumbler of Fire Whiskey and smiled before sipping his own. “I remembered our conversation about needing a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher many months ago. I remembered you talking about how there were very few that could do the job and do it correctly. I was the best choice that we had but that is untenable now. Instead, I thought that you would be a good teacher. The Governors agreed and you will be starting. All the professors are under a gag order and it will be published in the Daily Prophet on September 2nd.”
“What about…” Lucius stopped talking and laid his open palm over his arm where the Mark used to be.
“That is up to you. All the Professors here have seen where my Mark used to be and that it is no longer there.”
Lucius drained the tumbler of whiskey and sat it back down.
“You did it on purpose…”
“Yes. I need some enjoyment and its months until I am allowed to lord myself over the students.”
“Are you sure this is wise?”
“The Governors think it best after the debacle of Umbridge and the fact that those new pesky laws are stopping Remus from doing it. He was their first choice.”
“Draco liked him as a teacher.”
Severus relaxed in his chair. He has expected to be punched. Lucius had calmed down greatly in his older years.
“Why?” Harry asked.
“We knew that you were powerful,” his mother spoke as she smiled at him from her frame. His father was in the same frame as her. Both had sad smiles on their faces. “It rolled off you in the hospital. Neville was born just a few rooms down and he had cried so hard but you…you were quiet.”
“The nurse had to double check to make sure that you were breathing. Your mother knew that you were not dead because she could feel the magic in you.”
“You would wake me with the power of your magic at night when you were hungry for the first month. You only cried when people you didn’t like were around you. Sirius got you to laugh for the first time and Remus got to see you Accio a toy. It was hard times but they were worth it. When the news of Voldemort coming for you was relayed to us…we didn’t know what to do. Sirius, Remus, and Albus were our strength. I wanted to confront Voldemort. Albus pushed us to hide; I wonder now what would have come of you if we had done what I wanted.”
Harry looked at the house that Severus had Apparated him to. It was very Muggle looking but Harry could feel the magic of the house.
“Who is here?”
“You want to bring him in?” Harry was shocked. Slughorn had been keeping a low profile for years to keep out of the eye of the Death Eaters and Voldemort.
“Dumbledore did before he was booted. I see the reason behind it. It had always been his plan but given that the Horcruxes that we can get a hold of have been destroyed, he will be a good potions master to teach the students.”
Harry nodded at the words. He took a few steps and passed his father in entering the house. It didn’t take long and then Harry found Slughorn hiding. It looked like someone had ransacked the house. He smiled at the lengths that Slughorn had gone to make it seem like he wasn’t there. He figured that the coming year was going to be interesting.
Chapter Eighty Three-Scorned
Harry looked at the letter that had arrived for him. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. He set it aside and looked out on the grounds below him. He was on his balcony that was outside his room. It looked out onto the back grounds of the manor where the gardens were. It was seven in the morning and Arthur had already left for work. Severus and Lucius had never returned from Hogwarts the night before. Both men had been so busy preparing for the new school year. Lucius had arrived back from the vacation early after only a week away. He had given no reason; just that he wasn’t in a vacationing mood. Severus had already told him that now he was adult, he need not get approval from him on everything that he does. He was welcome to come get advice but Severus trusted him. Harry picked the letter up again. It had been in his room that morning in the place where Dobby or Zook would usually place the Daily Prophet for him to read. He still hadn’t seen that day’s edition of the paper but maybe something had come up.
I that this letter finds you well. I know that we have been on separate ideas on the coming back of You-Know-Who but I hope that now that you were proved to be correct, you will forgive a man who wished that the world was not as dark as it had been.
I know that by now you have read the articles about me being made the Minister. I hope that you will forgive the office for what its previous leader has done to you and meet with me with a look to a brighter future. I expect no reply. Meet me at Diagon Alley at Fortesue’s Ice Cream Parlour, today at half past eleven. I hope that you will meet me there.
Harry heard movement and saw Molly and Zook walking down the pathway farther into the garden. The balcony was charmed so that no one could see him. He had wanted privacy. Draco was due to Floo call later that day and Harry was excited to speak to him for the first time in a few weeks. Molly sat down in the garden and Zook moved in beside her. Harry knew that she had been working on the gardens but this was the first time that he had seen her actually in them. He knew why. Usually mornings were spent camped in his room, working on his homework and any other things that came up. He had finished his homework yesterday, so he actually felt that he could have a little fun in the morning. Afternoons were spent at Apparition lessons. He was the closest to the certification and once he was ready, he would be taking the test. Since the courts had declared him adult, he was now allowed to Apparate as soon as he passed the test.
“Does Master Harry wish for breakfast?” Dobby asked. Harry jumped and turned to look at Dobby who was in the door way. Dobby looked a little ashamed.
“Mrs. Weasley made Master Harry’s breakfast for him again. I was not ables to do it.”
“It’s fine, Dobby. She is used to it. I know that she beats you most mornings. Why don’t you let her do it all the time? There is surely something else you can be doing?” Dobby nodded and Harry smiled at him. “Good. Go ahead and bring mine up. I’d also like the paper.”
“Yes,” Dobby said and in a rush disappeared. Harry stared at where he had been for a few seconds before he turned back to watch Molly and Zook. It wasn’t long before Zook was covered in dirt from pulling up weeds. Zook always got covered in dirt when he was weeding. Severus had always made sure the little House Elf was cleaned thoroughly before allowing him into whatever place they were staying. He was a good weed puller. He hated weeds, turning pretty flowers ugly was his excuse. Harry figured that his mother had instilled a hatred of weeds in him.
Dobby arrived with a plate of breakfast but there was no paper on the tray. “It’s not arrived. Mr. Weasley was going to figure out why. He said the owl may have been attack by a Thestral. There be’s a small group that moved near here.”
Harry nodded and waited for Dobby to leave. Dobby was much like Zook; neither of them could lie to Harry to save their lives. At least in things like this. Harry wondered what was in the paper that someone in the house didn’t want him to see. He ate quickly and threw on his cloak. He had never had to use it inside the manor but he wanted to sneak up on whoever it was. The use of an extendable ear was essential in finding those responsible. He snuck up on the library door, finding it cracked. The voices stopped and Harry watched as Sirius walked up to the door and peeked out.
“It’s nothing. Might have been Molly coming back for something.” Still Sirius walked out into the hall and Harry slipped past him. He entered the room to find Charlie the only other living occupant.
“Must have been. Dobby says that Harry asked for the paper and Dobby told him none was delivered,” James said from his painting.
“We can’t keep this from him forever,” Charlie said as he threw the paper on the table in front of him. “Severus has stated that he can’t leave the school yet. He won’t be able to leave until the afternoon. He also states that Harry needs to know before he leaves the house and before someone else tells him.”
“I know what he will do,” Sirius said glaring at Charlie. “Why did Severus send you?”
“Because I’ve been there for Harry for years. I am Severus’s second choice to protect him after himself. I was one of Severus’s best students and learned a lot from him during and after school. Harry trusts me.” Charlie stood up and moved to the window and Harry used that time to move from the door to a chair on the other side of the room. He moved behind it, not risking sitting in it and someone seeing the imprint from his weight.
“Please read the article to us?” Lily asked from where she was in her own painting. It was rare that when anyone was in the room that they were not both in the same painting.
Harry Potter Raised by Death Eater
Sources inside the Ministry of Magic have given the Daily Prophet an exclusive. Harry Potter, the Chosen One, was raised by a Death Eater after the death of his aunt and uncle at another Death Eater’s hand.
The source states that the Death Eater is close to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and has been raising the boy to take down You-Know-Who using inside information. While the Daily Prophet has not been able to confirm or deny this, the proof we have been given is air tight. The name of the Death Eater was also supplied and it makes great sense. Severus Snape, Potions Master and professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the man named as Harry Potter’s ‘father.’
More news to come as it is made available.
Charlie sighed and closed his eyes. He had stated the article by memory, it seemed to Harry. Harry barely kept himself on his feet. The wind was rushing around him and he couldn’t believe it. There was only one person who could have given that information away. Harry dropped the cloak, letting Sirius and Charlie get a good look at him before he Apparated away.
Appearing in Diagon Alley, Harry moved to Gringotts bank and found a Goblin waiting for him on the stairs. The Goblin bowed and Harry bowed back at him. “Come Mister Potter. We have much to discuss and Mister Bromley is already waiting on you.”
“Thank you…” Harry trailed off. He had never met this Goblin before.
“Thank you, Stoneacid. I have a meeting that is to take place at Fortesue’s later this day at half past eleven with Minister Scrimgeour. Could word be sent to him that I will meet him at his office as my earliest convenience given the events of this morning?”
Stoneacid gave him a grim smile and nodded before leading him silently to a small room where Bromley was indeed waiting. There was a copy of the front page article on the desk in front of him while he was furiously scribbling away on a piece of paper.
“I have already received many letters from citizens who are demanding that you be removed from Severus’s care and placed under Ministry protection. I have prepared a letter to send back to all of them as well as one to send to the Daily Prophet for them to publish.” Bromley didn’t even look up instead he just thrust a paper at Harry and started writing again. Harry read over the letter. It had within it a missive about sticking their noses where it didn’t belong. Why were all suspected Death Eaters children not removed as well and about Harry being an adult and allowed to live where he wanted and with whom he wanted.
“I like it. Send it.”
“Actually, the Goblins are taking care of that. Your standupedness had gained you an ally in them. All I need to do is forward the names of those that need it sent to them and they will do it. I will be hand delivering the letter to the Daily Prophet myself. Your father will be home tonight. Once Stoneacid got a hold of you, I sent a Patronus to Arthur, who once seeing the paper at work rushed back to the manor where you had already left. He will be arriving with Charlie soon. They will escort you where ever you wish to go, including the meeting with Scrimgeour if you still wish to go.”
“Why did Fudge do this?”
“He is scorned. You publicly shamed him. He wanted to publicly shame him. This was his only way.” Bromley stopped writing and looked up at him. “Severus was made aware of your departure and he warned the Goblins that you could be coming to withdraw money or to sue Fudge.”
“I was thinking of suing him. I want to destroy him.”
“Revealing something as secret as what he did. The Goblins might very well decide to help you destroy Cornelius Fudge at no cost to you. He is a man without honor. There is so much that with this revealed, it could allow Voldemort to win,” Stoneacid said from where he was now sitting at his desk. He looked at a paper on the desk that wasn’t Bromley’s. He smiled and looked back at Harry. “The same man who reported the story arrived at Hogwarts just under an hour ago. Severus met him and took him to Hogsmeade to do an interview in the open air. He answered no questions about you but did show the reporter that he no longer wore a Dark Mark on his arm. He states that he had not been a willing Death Eater since a good while before the death of Voldemort the first time. He also stated that since the courts had granted you an adult status, something all professors had been made aware of, you were allowed to live and consort with who you wished. It seems that there will be a night paper for the first time in many years. This interview will be the headline.”
“Severus will not play their game. I will though, just not with their rules. Please Bromley write up a new letter will all the same information but with an added bit about him being my father. I want this part word for word.” Harry moved to stare at a painting on the wall. It was of a field with animals playing it. As if sensing that Harry was watching, the animals looked at him for a few seconds before going back to playing. “I was raised by an aunt and uncle who saw me as a slave. I was treated worse than some treat their House Elves. I was awaked at dawn and spent the day cleaning and doing anything that my aunt and uncle wanted. My aunt was a stay at home mother and spent the day gossiping because I did all her work. My uncle hated me because of my magic. I got a small dinner at night before being locked in a cupboard. My clothes were the ones that my cousin no longer wanted. He was rather larger than me.
“When I started school, I was made fun of and any friend that I might have tried to make, my cousin scared away. Because I was fed breakfast and lunch at school, I was allowed no dinner. At first, I was given no chance to do my homework and when I started to get bad enough grades, a home tutor was discussed but my aunt and uncle wouldn’t allow that. They would see my home life and they couldn’t have that. So when I came home I was allowed to finish my homework and my cousin was not allowed to take and destroy it, even though he tried. When Severus pulled me from my cupboard, where I was locked in, I was so thankful. I couldn’t image a life harder than the one I was leaving.
“When he bought me new clothes and started to teach me about my world that I had been born into and cast from, I got angry. Why had no one cared about me then? Those same people who didn’t care about me are now trying to tell me how to live my life. I won’t have it.”
“They won’t like it but they need to hear it.” Bromley finished writing it out and started to draft a new letter. Harry nodded. “On a good note, I was made aware of the results for your OWLs. Would you like me to tell you?”
“No. I’ll wait for the letter. I want to hold onto my anger right now.”
Bromley nodded and went back to writing.
“I will be in touch with you in a few days about what we have decided about raging war on Fudge.
Harry came back from his meeting with Scrimgeour in a worse mood. The man wanted Harry’s support and was not trying to earn it. He thought that he could bully it from Harry. Charlie escorted him to his bedroom and told him to stay for a while. Harry looked at his room where his copy of the paper was lying on his desk. He laughed. He was sure that Dobby had put it there.
Anger welled inside of him. He was so done with every single adult in his life hiding things from him. He was blindsided more by things that were kept from him than things that were truly a secret from everyone. He felt his hand start to shake and stepped up to balcony. The door was still open but thankfully the charm that didn’t allow the heat in was still active. Harry passed through the charms and wards and looked down into the garden. Zook was still working in the garden. Harry jumped and used a cushioning charm to stop himself from getting hurt. He moved quickly through the gardens and the woods on the outskirts of the property. He was sure that Zook was going to tell everyone that he had left his room.
Once he was sure that he was far enough inside the woods, he turned his head to the sky and started to scream. He let his anger flow out from him. He felt his skin start to tingle but he didn’t care. He screamed and screamed. He let all his anger from the day release into the trees. He didn’t know when his eyes had closed but he opened them to see nothing but bright sky above him. He was surprised. There had been trees up there when he had started. Drawing his eyes down, Harry saw that all the trees that had been above him were now in pieces on the forest floor around him. He stared at the destruction he had wrought on the forest around him.
Magic was in the air all around. It was so thick around him that he swore he could see it move. He hadn’t let go like that in so long. Severus had taught him how to control his emotions so that things like that didn’t happen. Zook was standing at the edge of the disaster area, looking at the damage.
“Mrs. Weasley wanted to take down these trees and expand the gardens anyway. This just helps.”
“When are the others coming?”
“Others?” Zook looked completely confused.
“You didn’t tell anyone that I came out here?”
“Master Harry, what yous do in yous home is up to you. Master Severus doesn’t want me spying on yous for anyones. Dobby wasn’t given the paper and yous woke before he could go and get another for you.”
Harry smiled. Things were starting to look up for him.
Chapter Eighty Four-Arrival
Over a week later, Harry opened a letter addressed to him. It was the same envelope as always and the same handwriting, even though Harry knew it shouldn’t be different, he had hoped with Severus as the Headmaster it would have been. It would have taken on his handwriting or something like that. Harry wasn’t worried about his grades, except for Divination. He really didn’t care about the class not anymore.
O r d i n a r y W i z a r d i n g L e v e l R e s u l t s
Pass Grades Fail Grades
Outstanding (O) Poor (P)
Exceeds Expectations (E) Dreadful (D)
Acceptable (A) Troll (T)
Harry James Potter has achieved:
Ancient Runes O
Care of Magical Creatures E
Defense Against the Dark Arts O
History of Magic E
His grades were even better than he expected. Severus would have seen them first of course; he was surprised his father hadn’t sent him a letter telling him he did well, and while not telling him what his grades were. Severus was busy, Harry knew that, but he had been hoping for something from him.
A sheet of parchment was laid out in front of him with all the classes he had taken over the past five years. Now that it was onto NEWT classes, there were several classes he didn’t have to take anymore and others that he wouldn’t have the time for. He had lines through his classes he didn’t want to take. Six classes. It seemed like a low amount but there would be so much work that he would have to do. There were also other things that he would need the time for. He looked down at his list.
Care of Magical Creatures
Defense Against the Dark Arts
History of Magic
He wasn’t unhappy to see History of Magic go. He’d had enough of Professor Binns to last him a lifetime and even though he knew that Binns would not be back, he wasn’t sure he could stand a teacher and not think of Binns. Harry stopped at those thoughts. Severus had to find a new Defense professor as well as a new one for Potions and History of Magic. He knew that Slughorn was going to be taking over Potions but he had not mentioned who was taking over the other two classes. A knock at his door had Harry setting down his quill.
“Come in!” Harry yelled. He turned to the door as Hermione and Ron entered. “How many?”
“Seven,” Ron said with a smile.
“Ten,” Hermione said with a smile.
“Ten here as well.” Harry handed over his parchment and let Hermione look it over. “These are the classes I am going to be doing NEWT studies in.”
“You are keeping Ancient Runes?” Hermione asked.
Harry shrugged. He leaned back in his chair and let his eyes focus on a small speck of black on the ceiling. “I do enjoy it and without it, I’ll have too much free time.” Harry didn’t tell them that Severus had always stated that he wanted Harry to carry one elective through NEWTs. At first, he had figured it would be Care of Magical Creatures but with Hagrid, the class was too much of a hot mess that he didn’t want the worry of. “I want to write a letter to Hagrid and explain to him why I am not taking Care of Magical Creatures. He’ll be hurt but at least with word from us, he won’t be mad. I hope.”
“That’s a great idea, Harry.” Hermione handed over the list to Ron.
“Me, I’ll need that extra time.” Ron smiled as he set the list down on the desk. “We came in because Mum wants us to meet her in the kitchen. Bill is arriving and he has a guest.”
“A guest?” Harry asked. His eyebrow rose. Bill bringing home anyone and not calling them a surprise.
“Yes, Mum would like you to meet them at the gates and drop the wards. She told me to tell you that it is your house and only you can decide if the guest is allowed in the house. Fred thinks he’s got hitched. George thinks he’s bringing home a man. Sirius thinks it’s both.”
Harry laughed at Ron’s face. Imagining his older brother bringing home a wife or a boyfriend…Molly would go crazy. Standing, Harry showed his OWLs paper and the list of classes into a drawer and started out of the room. Hermione moved up to stand on his left while Ron went to his right. Everyone was in the foyer, waiting. Molly looked apprehensive and Charlie looked down right scared. Harry waited for Charlie to look him in the eye before he nodded his head towards the door, asking Charlie to follow him. Charlie did so, gulping as he did.
“What’s up?” Harry asked as he exited the front door. Charlie shook his head and nodded backwards, letting Harry know that the others were too close. Everyone stopped just outside the doors while Harry and Charlie moved towards the front gates. The gates were far enough away that Harry could only make out the shape of Bill, just this side of the gate while there was someone in a pale blue cloak on the other side of the wards. There was something familiar about them.
“Charlie, I see that you couldn’t keep a straight face.” Bill was light hearted. He reached out for a hug from his brother and that is when Harry saw the ring on his finger. He had gotten married.
“Dobby!” Harry called out softly. “Zook.”
Both House Elves appeared quickly in front of Harry. Harry crouched down and smiled at them. “Prepare for a feast. A great and grand feast. Make sure that Arthur leaves work in time and keep Molly out of the kitchens. Also, make sure that if Molly faints when I bring Bill and his guest up, she does not fall to the ground.” Standing Harry looked at Bill’s guest before he leaned over to Charlie. “Draco is going to be so pissed he missed this. He lives for drama.”
Charlie laughed and Harry stepped forward and past the wards. He heard the small sound of protest that came from Charlie but he ignored it. Harry’s magic was reaching out to whoever it was. His magic only did that with people that he knew. He reached out and lifted the hood of the cloak off the person’s head and when he was greeted with a familiar smiling face, Harry almost wolf whistled. He lowered the hood again as he kissed her on the cheek. He linked his arm with hers and walked with her through the wards. The second that she passed, Harry felt the wards changing. He was sure that she had felt it as well. They continued to walk to where the rest of the household was waiting. Dobby was standing there beside Molly, waiting. He gave Harry a grin and thumbs up.
“And how did your parents take the news?” Harry asked her. She giggled and sighed.
“They are happy for me.” Her English was much better than he had last heard her speak. “I just hope that Bill’s parents are happy as well.”
“It will take time but it will be fine. You are always welcome in my house,” Harry stated solemnly. He stopped them just in front of Molly and unlinked his arm from hers. He felt her act like she wanted to grab them again but he patted her hand instead. “Mrs. Weasley, I present to you, your new daughter in law, Fleur Delacour-Weasley.”
Fleur removed her hood and she gave a small curtsy to Molly. The whispers started up and Ron groaned. He handed something over to Fred. He was sure that bets were made among the three of them. George also handed something over both Fred and Ginny.
Molly was dumbstruck. Harry was getting worried but Molly composed herself and leaned over to give Fleur a hug. Bill smiled but he still looked worried.
“My elves are making sure that he arrives in time for the feast in a few hours. We are celebrating the union. Harry smiled as Bill stepped up to Fleur and carefully helped her up into the house through the path made by the others. There was something in the way that Bill helped her that Harry was sure there would be more news announced at the dinner when both Molly and Arthur were there.
The time for the feast arrived and Harry started down the stairs when he felt someone watching him. He turned around but found no one there. Instead he just felt the eyes. Harry started back up the stairs and just before he reached his bedroom door again, he heard movement. Someone was concealed. He spun back around and faced where he had come from. He pulled his wand from his pocket and just before he cast a spell, he felt a pinch on his arse. Sighing, Harry turned to the side and reached out, pulling his own damn cloak off of Draco. Draco had a large grin on his face.
“Father asked us to come home early a few days ago. I arrived to a find a feast being held for us!” Draco looked smug.
“Actually, that is for Bill and his wife…” Harry trailed off waiting for Draco’s response. The smirk fell off of Draco’s face.
“You expect me to believe that?” Draco asked. Harry reached out and cupped Draco’s face before pulling him into a kiss. Eyes closing, Harry let Draco know just how much he had missed the other boy. It wasn’t a rushed kiss, just a slow rediscovery of the boy who had been gone for three weeks.
A small cough pulled Draco back from him and the both looked around until they spotted Hermione.
“Molly sent me to get you Harry. Draco I wasn’t aware you were back.”
“Mother dropped me off before going to Hogwarts to see Father. I hid in my room with the cloak to surprise Harry.” Draco smirked at him. Hermione was looking back and forth between the two. Harry could tell that she wanted to ask something. Draco beat him to asking her. “Yes?”
“I…You two are much more relaxed around each other. It’s something I see with older…more deep couples.” Hermione looked uncomfortable asking the question.
Both boys knew what she was asking. Neither boy had really discussed telling others about their relationship and how far it had really gone. Harry knew that he wasn’t going to tell Ron because he could barely keep other secrets much less ones like that. Draco detached himself from Harry’s side and moved over to her. He leaned over and whispered something in her ear, as he did her face got redder and redder. She broke eye contact with Harry and started to giggle.
“You…” Hermione slapped his arm and moved past him. “Molly is expecting you downstairs as soon as you can pry yourself from your boyfriend. Draco I’ll make sure that there is a place set beside Harry for you.” Hermione practically ran down the stairs like she couldn’t get away fast enough. Harry wasn’t even going to ask what Draco had told her. Instead he opened his bedroom down and threw the cloak onto his bed. He closed the door, locking it and turned back to Draco.
“Let’s go before she thinks we are…”
Draco cut him off. “Doing the horizontal bed mambo?” Draco asked with a leer on his face. Harry just laughed and started away from him. Draco huffed and quickly caught up. They entered the formal dining room to find Bill and Fleur already seated at the table right beside the end that Harry usually sat at. Bill was on the outer part while Fleur was seated right next to him. The others were already seated around the table as well. Molly and Arthur were seated beside Fleur with Charlie and Remus on their other side. Sirius was seated at the other end of the table. There was an empty spot next to Harry’s other side which Harry was sure was for Draco. Narcissa was beside Draco’s spot and Ginny, Ron, and Hermione lined up the rest of that side of the table with the twins seated together in between Hermione and Sirius. It was lopsided seating arraignment but Harry didn’t care. Draco sat down and when Harry sat down, Narcissa rang a soft bell and the first course appeared in front of all of them.
The first six courses were delivered and eaten with soft talk all over the table, while the food was formal, Harry enjoyed that no one was treating it like a formal meal. They were yelling over each other and calling out down the table. The final course, dessert didn’t appear on the plates and Harry looked up to find Bill standing up. Harry was sure that it was the time.
“I know that you are all shocked at the wedding. I know that no one has asked so I will go ahead and tell you. Fleur and I met months before for Gringotts and after just two months together, we married. I told no one of us dating because she didn’t want it. She was afraid after the happenings at the graveyard that she and therefore I would be a target. When we got married, her sister Gabrielle stood for her and Charlie for I. The day before we were married, I got wonderful news…” Bill paused and turned to his parents. “You will grandparents by the end of the year.”
Molly looked at both of them in shock before she fainted. Dobby appeared in seconds to help hold her in the chair. Zook appeared with a bottle and handed it to Arthur who waved it under her nose. She jolted up in her seat and looked around. She had confusion all over her face before her eyes settled on Fleur who had a hand draped over her stomach.
“I need to go lie down.” Molly stood on shaky legs but she let Dobby escort her from the room. Harry looked over at Charlie who looked shocked. He at least hadn’t known that.
“I’ll…” Arthur moved to follow her but Bill’s hand on his arm stopped him.
“There is more.” Bill turned to Harry and his face was grim. “We were going to wait until school started in almost a month to come and deliver this news but word has reached the fringes and I had to come now. Within the week, and please Harry forgive for doing this without your permission. I invited Cedric and Viktor to come to Devon. They do not know where the house is but…there is a hit out for the survivors of the Triwizard Tournament. Given that word reached them, whoever kills both Fleur and I will get triple the reward for Fleur. It’s millions of galleons, to be paid when You-Know-Who had control of the Wizarding World.”
“Lucius has not spoken of this.”
“From what I am to understand, Harry is not in the bounty. Gringotts here in Britain has not received word either; it’s just the international branches. We made plans to come back and then word of who raised Harry started spread. It was the best time.”
“How are they arriving?” Harry asked as he stood up. Draco stood with him and both moved to where Bill was. Fleur wasn’t looking at Harry, who placed a knuckle under her chin and raised her eyes to his. “You should have got word to me immediately.”
“Bill thought it would be better to tell you in person.”
Harry kissed her cheek. “Why don’t you go lie down? Hermione, Ginny, please so with her and keep an eye on her. Bill, Draco, come with me. Arthur, please check on your wife. Sirius, up the wards and alert the House Elves. Remus, can you please make Severus and Lucius aware of what we have been told.”
Everyone nodded. Harry linked his hand with Draco’s and pulled the Slytherin with him into a side room. Bill followed both of them and shut the door behind them.
“Harry, I am sorry.”
“I am not worried. You did what you had to. We need to speak of how they are arriving and what we plan to do to keep them safe. There is a house on the edge of the property, hidden in the woods. My father just told me about it yesterday. It’s a five bedroom house. You and Fleur are welcome to stay there if you wish. I’ll show you the passage that leads from the dungeon to it. Viktor and Cedric and either live here or there.”
“We were never going to have an easy year were we?” Draco asked with a sarcastic laugh. Harry patted his hand before dropping it.
“They are arriving by plane at Heathrow. I plan to go and get them.”
“Let Lucius handle that. He’ll take Charlie. I don’t want to make the target that good.”
“You’ve grown up a lot, haven’t you?” Bill asked.
“I’ve had to.”
Chapter Eighty Five-Cupboards
Harry looked around his room and smiled. He was sixteen today. There was going to be a small dinner for him later that day. Nothing like the feast that garnered the wedding of Bill and Fleur. Harry only wanted the Weasley’s, the Malfoy’s, Sirius, Remus, Hermione, and Severus at the party. He wanted just finger foods and simple fare. Viktor and Cedric were to arrive later that day and if they did, Harry wouldn’t mind having them there. Neville, Pansy, Luna, and Blaise had gone home for a few days so would be missing the party. They had also missed the arrival of Bill and Fleur. He knew that even though he had told everyone he didn’t need presents, everyone was going to give him one anyway.
Shifting beside him alerted to the fact that Draco had to be waking up. Harry rolled over to pull Draco back against him. Draco sighed and shifted to look up at Harry, a smile on his face.
“Good morning, Harry.”
“Morning,” Harry said as he leaned over to kiss Draco. The other boy pulled him close.
“What that a good present?” Draco asked as he pulled his face back from Harry’s. Harry chuckled and sat up. He knew that Dobby or Zook would be arriving with breakfast soon. He wanted to be dressed before they arrived. He found a small pile of clothes on the desk. He wondered if one of the Elves had been in the room without him knowing but as soon as he saw the green silk shirt hanging on the way, he knew whose clothes they were. Draco had slipped into bed naked just after midnight. He wondered if he had walked that way up the connecting tunnel.
“You know it was.” Harry was offhanded with his comment. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to wear. Draco had brought him back several shirts from South America. He picked out the shirt that matched Draco’s in style. The only difference was that it was red. Draco hummed in appreciation as Harry picked out the clothes. “I need to shower. Are you going to join me? The House Elves will probably bring breakfast for me shortly after that. I can ring them to bring you some as well.”
“I best head back to my room at some point.”
“Really?” Harry asked with a smirk on his face. Harry entered the bathroom and turned to look at Draco as he shut the door. The Slytherin was up and heading his way before Harry had even turned to look at him.
When Harry exited the shower twenty minutes later he found his mail along with breakfast for the both of them waiting for him on the small desk. Draco’s clothes were now sitting on the bed, along with Harry’s. Harry laughed. Draco stepped up behind him and wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist, letting them rest on the top of the towel.
“Well that cat is free now.” Draco’s voice was low and Harry shivered at the sound of it. He could feel Draco’s smirk and he wanted to do something about that. He dropped the towel and quickly turned around, grabbing Draco and lifting him to settle his legs around his hips. As he walked backwards to the bed, Draco levitated the clothes to a small table at the side of the room.
“For being a snarky arse, you are gonna get it,” Harry said as he silently flung a locking charm on the door and prayed that no one broke it to enter.
It wasn’t until Harry went to have lunch with Severus that he looked at his mail. There was a letter form Hogwarts. It looked like the listing of items needed for the year. He was looking through the list of items when another letter fell out. He read it over. He was Quidditch Captain. He figured that it was coming but still seeing it in writing was nice. The chair across from him scraped as it was pulled out for Severus to sit.
“Interesting mail?” Severus asked as he draped the napkin across his lap.
Harry looked up at Severus with a glare on his face. “You know that it is.”
“Oh, just wait. Draco received a similar letter. The Heads of House thought that it might be a very interesting year for Quidditch. It will at least make for entertaining games.”
“The Heads of House are sadistic bastards.”
“I am sure that Professors Flitwick, Slughorn, McGonagall, and Sprout will love to hear that.” Severus had a smile on his face. The lunch was small. Harry knew that while dinner was going to be simple, there would be a lot of food and desserts. “Molly asked me to tell you she will be going within the week with the kids to get their school things. You are welcome to join them.”
“I probably will. When are you and Lucius going back to the school?”
“Tonight after the party. There will still a lot to be done before school starts in a month.”
“I know that you have been busy. Have you heard any more about the bounties?”
Severus took a few bites of his sandwich before he spoke.
“After the announcement of me going global, the bounty on you has raised and there is now one for me. Given that there are only a few students who took advantage of being able to stay at the school, there are very few to spread the word about me. Of course, even if the wanted to, they wouldn’t be able to. The Daily Prophet has been trying to figure out who is the new Headmaster or Mistress but have come up empty. The Board of Governors has been delighting in telling them that the news will be made public as soon as they wish it and that they have full confidence in the new head of the school.”
“I am sure that very few like that.” Harry was almost done with his sandwich.
Severus just shrugged and finished his sandwich. There was a bowl of fruit sitting there in front of them, Severus spooned some out onto the bowl that the Elves had set out for them to use. “There is actually something that Sirius brought up to me. I have been made aware about your and Draco’s time spent together. I have no issue and neither does Draco. You both have been wrapped in each other since the first time you met. If I had not been so paranoid, you would probably be married by now. Lucius knows that you are entirely in love with Draco. I have cautioned you both on proper preparation and I care not for what you do as long as you do not get caught in public.”
Harry wasn’t sure what to say to that. He reached over a plucked a strawberry from the bowl to eat it. Severus smiled at him and set about eating his own fruit. The silence was comforting and not strained. When Severus was done eating, he stood up.
“I wanted to see if you would like to have dinner with me in my office on Fridays, when you don’t have other plans.”
“That would be wonderful.”
Severus nodded and started down the garden path before he Apparated away.
The motley group of teens and adult arrived in Diagon Alley. It was Molly, Arthur, Ginny, Ron, Fred, and George as well as Narcissa, Lucius, and Draco. Harry and Hermione were alone. Severus was at the school. Bill and Charlie were there but in hiding, silent guards. Sirius hadn’t liked being left at the Manor any more than Remus had but both men understood why. It was the first time that Harry had really been out since that last time he had visited Gringotts. Bill had offered to get gold from his vault but Harry had declined. He wanted to do it himself.
Stoneacid was waiting for them at the entrance to the bank. He had a smile on his face and took Harry straight down to his vault while the Weasley’s and Malfoy’s went to their own under the help of other Goblins.
Fred and George were excited and Harry wasn’t sure why. They were going to their own new vault. Harry knew that their business was doing well but he hadn’t known they had been doing well enough to have a vault of their own yet. George had told Harry just the week before that they were dropping twenty galleons in their parents account a week to help with their costs. Arthur wasn’t able to get as much overtime as normal, Scrimgeour was cutting back their department even though attacks against Muggles were getting more and more frequent. Aurors were handling all suspected Death Eater attacks in all forms.
By the time they left the bank, Fred had started away from the group and George was on his heels, both were beckoning everyone over. In front of them was a shop named WWW. Harry knew that it was their joke shop. Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Still to see it in a shop form and not a mail order. He wondered who was going to run it. George unlocked the store and then all of them were ushered inside. It was half stocked.
“We are set to open at the first of October. It’s going to take a while to get everything ready. We have so much and we are only two but now that has changed.”
“I’ll be running the shop while they are in school,” Narcissa said stepping up. “It gives me something to do. I’ve also been helping to develop their Dark Art Repellers as they are calling them.”
“We were convinced to stay another year and finish our schooling,” Fred started.
“It was a good idea. We’ve heard whispers of who the new Potions professor is and we are intrigued.”
Harry laughed as they were shown around the shop but the excited young men. It wasn’t until Narcissa was explaining that Harry noticed that Lucius was no longer with them. He slipped out and started to look and found him slipping down Knockturn Alley. It wasn’t long until Harry was caught up enough to catch him slipping inside of Borgin and Burkes. Harry quickly entered, going straight to the back of the store where he could hear them but hopefully Lucius wouldn’t see him.
“Do you have it ready?” Lucius asked.
“Yes, Sir,” the owner stated. He pointed at something and Harry turned to look at it. It was up against the counter. “I will deliver it tomorrow. It won’t work without the mate to it though.”
“I am aware and I know where the mate is.”
“Really? I had a feller interested it in a few weeks back. He didn’t seem keen on buying it without knowing where the mate was.”
“Who?” Lucius asked. His voice was like ice. The owner straightened up and Harry saw that he was scared. Recently reformed Death Eater or not, Lucius Malfoy was a scary man. It wasn’t until Harry heard the door open again that he looked and saw Draco enter.
“He didn’t give me his name, Lord Malfoy. When would you like delivery?”
“Noon. For every second you are late or early, there will be a galleon off the price.”
“Noon on the dot. Thank you for the business, Lords Malfoy.” The owner bowed as Lucius and Draco left the shop. Harry cursed that he hadn’t put on his cloak before entering. He kept his head turned as he left so that hopefully the owner would not see him. As he stepped out of the store, he ran into Draco. He looked up at both of them who were smiling.
“I had hoped I could slip off but when Draco entered the store, I knew that you had followed me Harry. Come and we will discuss what you are both going to be doing with the cabinet I just bought.”
They stopped at a small coffee shop in Knockturn Alley and when Lucius ordered them all three a coffee, the waitress dropped it off and left them alone. Harry had never been inside of the shop before. He’d never spent much time in Knockturn Alley before.
“There exists a cabinet like this in the Room of Requirement that is the mate to this one. The Dark Lord had a plan to use it to sneak Death Eaters into the castle and take it. He shared it with me in passing. I jumped ahead and bought the cabinet before he could. The one in Hogwarts needs repaired. Severus has very little success in getting the room to do what he wants. He also wants you both to have control of the cabinet so that if the Death Eaters attack, it can be used to get the students to Potter Manor. The mate is being delivered to Malfoy Manor tomorrow and then I will be taking it to Potter Manor.”
“Why hasn’t he…?”
“We were unsure if the cabinet would still be here. It took me a while to track it down. If it wasn’t there, then the mate would have to be destroyed.”
“The one in the school is broke? You are sure of that?” Harry asked.
“Of course, who do you think broke it many years before? When it stopped working, father sold the mate he had to a friend. It’s taken me nearly six months to track down the loose one.”
Chapter Eighty Six-Arriving at School
September First dawned quickly for Harry and the rest of the students. It was a morning of activity and hurry. Harry wasn’t sure where the vehicles were that were going to take them to King’s Cross. For the first time ever, Molly wasn’t rushing them completely around. Ron and Ginny were allowed to sleep in past the departure time of the train. Harry was worried about how they were going to get to school. He had watched as Arthur left for work from his balcony.
Not able to wait any longer, Harry dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a shirt. He didn’t really pay attention to what he threw on or he would have known that it was Draco’s shirt. He found Fred and George sitting at the breakfast table but Molly was nowhere to be found.
“Where’s your mother?”
“We don’t know…”
“Breakfast was waiting for us down here.”
Harry nodded and left the kitchen. He went to the library and there he found just his parents paintings. He was on his way out when his father clearing his throat made Harry turn back around.
“This house was to be our stronghold. A place to live in peace but it wasn’t ready to live in yet when Voldemort’s plans were made. When I created all the wards on the house and shored them up, I created something else. I’ve shared this with no one. You mother doesn’t want me to share it with you.”
“It’s not right to spy on people, no matter if they are living inside of your house. You created for if we were invaded,” Lily glared at her husband as he spoke. That’s when Harry noticed for the first time that his mother wasn’t in his father’s painting nor was he in hers. In fact, she had her back turned to him. “I didn’t like that map in school.”
“You have a Marauder’s Map for the Manor?” Harry asked as he moved closer to the painting of his father. His father smiled at him with fatherly pride while his mother huffed in annoyance.
“You know of it?” James asked as he leaned forward in the painting.
“You think that Sirius would have let me escape his clutches without knowing about it? In fact, the twins are the ones that found it. The copy left at the school. We don’t know what happened to Wormtail’s copy but Sirius and Remus have a copy as well as Draco and I. We have one each.” James’s smile got wider.
“Yes. There are two hidden here in the library, copies for your mother and me and there is in one in the safe room off of the dungeon.”
“Severus mentioned the safe room. He hadn’t shown me where it was yet.”
“He will, if you ever need it.” James moved from his painting to a painting of trees on the far wall. Harry followed him over and looked down, where his father was pointing. “Third shelf down and dead center. Purple colored book.”
Harry grabbed the book and opened it. It was hollow. He looked at the spine. There was no writing on the spine at all. Inside were two pieces of paper. He opened up one and it was blank. “What are the passwords?”
“Home.” Lily uttered.
Touching the paper with his wand, Harry uttered the word. A drop of ink formed on the center of the page and it spread out like veins across the page to form the walls of the Manor. It went as far as the edge of the wards; he could even see the small house on the far side of property where Bill and Fleur were now living. Viktor and Cedric preferred to stay in the Manor itself. He could see little figures of every moving about, even the House Elves. Their dots were smaller and a different color but were still on there. Harry was surprised at that but then again he wasn’t. His parents hadn’t let any of the House Elves go with them to Godric’s Hollow for their own safety.
“Thank you,” Harry said as he replaced the book with the second map on the shelf. “Make sure to get that to Sirius and Remus.”
James nodded as Harry left the room. Harry found Molly’s dot in one of the bedrooms that wasn’t in use. She was in there cleaning up and getting it ready for something. He folded up the map before entering the room. He didn’t want Molly to see it.
“When are we going to school?”
“As soon as you are allowed.”
“How are we getting there?” Harry asked. Molly finally turned to look at him. She gave him a smile.
“I was sure that Severus would tell you. Remus, Bill, Charlie, and I will be taking you by Apparition. Fred and George will take themselves. It’s a new security measure. I have our departure times and where we need to stop on the way. We are one of the last groups to arrive.”
“Because the Governors didn’t think the train would be safe to get to school. Instead the kids will all be staggered to arrive throughout the day. We should arrive at Hogsmeade around four. There few stops on the way are resting spots and we will be eating lunch around one at the first stop. All of your things will be dropped off at stop two and House Elves will take them to the school. A few of the farther away students will be arriving by Portkey. Now, I’ve told the House Elves to stay away from this room. I want to set it up as a nursery for the baby. So that he or she will have a room to stay in inside of the Manor.”
Harry nodded and backed out of the room. He opened the map again. He found Hermione and Draco out in the gardens on the southeast corner of the back yard. He smiled as he saw Luna, Pansy, Blaise, and Ron were on their way there as well.
Their group arrived at Hogsmeade village and found Severus waiting on them. They were not the only ones who arrived. There were about ten other students who Apparated in just seconds after they did. The path to the school was marked by other students who had arrived just before them.
“Welcome!” Severus said. He stepped up to them and gave them a small welcoming smile. Harry heard a few gasps from the kids around him. “If you will follow the other students up to the castle. We will be starting dinner in just over an hour.”
The group started walking forward and Harry stayed back a few seconds to give Severus a big smile. When he joined back up with the group, Harry found that many of the other students were staring at him. He was sure that over the next few weeks he would be stared at a great deal.
“He must be the new McGonagall. I heard that she was Headmistress,” one of the female second years at the front of the group said. Harry laughed a little at what she said. He was sure that there were many who thought that McGonagall was going to be Headmistress. It wasn’t going to until tomorrow’s paper that the new teachers and the new leader of the school. “I heard that there is no History of Magic this year.”
“How stupid can you be?” Fred asked. Harry laughed out loud at what he said. “There is History of Magic, it’s a care class, you idiot. Fifth years and under have to take it. There couldn’t be a school year without History of Magic, as much as you hate it. Just because you don’t know who the professor is, doesn’t mean that there is no class.”
“Let’s go a little quicker, guys. I don’t want to be seen entering the school with these,” George said as he picked up the pace. Draco matched speed with his easy and they set a grueling pace for the rest of them but they all kept up. The ones they were leaving behind were loud in their displeasure at being made fun of but Harry really didn’t care. That one second year really was an idiot. Instead of being lead to the Great Hall or the room outside of it, instead they were heading to another room. As Harry passed through it, he felt a tingle all over his body. He wasn’t sure what the wards were checking for but Harry wasn’t that surprised when one of the second years from the group behind them was stopped. Harry had seen the boy a lot when he had been a first year. Stan Adamthwaite was the boy’s name and Draco talked all the time about how he was going to take the Dark Mark as soon as he was old enough. The whole family was dark but had stayed out of the last war.
The wards turned green when he tried to pass them and a bubble extended to envelop the boy whole. He was trapped and his pockets on his school robe started to glow red. McGonagall arrived seconds later. The students were behind the Slytherin were directed to another room and Harry seen a door open past the wards and the rest of the students started to enter that room instead. McGonagall waved her wand and the wards fell away. She used magic to shred the robe the boy was wearing without touching him and as she did, several things landed at the boys’ feet. She gave him a frown and there was an Auror to grab the things that had fallen.
“Your trunk will be searched and all of your mail for the entire year. You will not be playing Quidditch or any other free activity. Detention two days a week for the entire year as well. Your parents will be notified when the Aurors show up at their house to search it. The Aurors will find out how you got such dark things and when they do, you will face their wrath as well. It’s best if you go now and tell them everything,” McGonagall said. The boy paled but nodded and went with the Auror who laid a hand on his shoulder and led him from the room. Once he was out of sight, McGonagall turned to the rest of them. Let that be a lesson to you all. No dark items will be tolerated at this school. Any that are found will be turned over to the Aurors and your parents notified. If they had no idea you had them, then well only you will get in trouble. If they knew, they could face jail time.”
McGonagall looked all of them in the eye before she waved for them to follow her. They all did quickly and quietly. They were lead into the Great Hall. The first thing that Harry did was look at the top table. Hagrid was in his normal spot and he smiled at them and waved. Harry waved back and he was sure that the others did as well. There were three empty seats at the table. The Headmaster spot, McGonagall’s spot and the spot for the Defense teacher. Harry was surprised to see it empty. He looked and found the new face. It was a woman that Harry had never seen before.
“That’s Cynthia Carter!” Hermione whispered in his ear. She moved to stand beside him. “She is one of the best young historians about magic the world over. She just published her third novel two weeks ago. I am surprised that the school was able to get her.
Harry knew that name. Cynthia Carter. It was a name that Severus spoke of rarely. She was an American who traveled the world. When Severus had come clean about the Horcrux and thinking that one was inside of him, he had told Harry that he had asked her to find a way to remove it from him. So far, even she had come up empty. She turned to look at the new group of students to enter and found Harry and smiled at him. Harry knew that she was five years younger than Severus and met him not long after she had graduated from her school in America. He wondered why Severus had chosen her to teach.
All of the students sat down at their tables and Harry noticed that the first years were already seated. They must have been sorted before coming into the Great Hall. McGonagall cleared her throat and she and Severus stepped up to stand behind their chairs. Harry could hear the entire room gasp and then go silent when Severus stood behind the Headmaster’s seat.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My name is Severus Snape and I will be your Headmaster. Your Deputy Headmistress is Minerva McGonagall. I hope that everyone has a wonderful year. I’ve been made aware that all students have arrived. I know that this year’s arrival was a little jarring for all of you but it was for your own protection. We received word just a week ago that the Hogwarts Express was being targeted by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He wanted to kidnap students and ransom them back.
“I think you all noticed that the security has been tightened. Your Head Boy and Girl will go over it with you. I know that today has been stressful and I will let you all tuck in after I introduce our three new professors. First up we have Professor Horace Slughorn who will be taking over as Head of Slytherin as well as Potions. Cynthia Carter will be taking over for Professor Binns in History of Magic.” Severus went silent for a few seconds before he locked his eyes at the back of the room. All of the students turned to see Lucius Malfoy standing there. “Lord Lucius Malfoy will be taking over as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I expect all students to treat their professors with respect, no matter your dislike for them or the fact that they are related to you.”
Harry looked up to see Severus staring at him and when Harry locked eyes with him, the older man then turned to stare at Draco. Harry turned to look at his boyfriend and found Draco looking shocked. So Draco hadn’t known either. That calmed Harry down a little. He should have guessed it. Lucius had spent too much time at the school to just be helping with the wards. This was going to be a very interesting school year for the both of them.
Chapter Eighty Seven-Captains
The first week of sixth year was very uneventful as far as the students knew. Harry and Draco had both expected there to be a huge outcry from the students and parents. The first day of classes showed the release of the article that posted the name of Severus and Lucius as the new Headmaster and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor respectively. There was no flurry of owls that arrived with mail for Severus or Lucius. Harry himself wouldn’t be receiving his mail until lunch. Hedwig collected all of his mail and then took it to Bromley for him to sort and take care of the nasty letters as Draco put it.
Instead there was just one letter that arrived for Severus. It was in the claw of a pitch black owl and it landed in front of Severus who just stared at it. Lucius looked up from the small bundle of letters that had arrived for him and Harry watched as all the color from Lucius face disappeared. The owl ruffled its feathers and then dropped the letter without Severus reaching to take it at all. Harry knew who the letter was from. Voldemort.
The bell was ringing for class before Harry could figure out what was being said in the letter. Draco met up with him at the entrance to the hall. Draco was worried that there was no letter for his father. Ancient Runes and Defense Against the Dark Arts flew by for Harry. He heard every single word that the Professors said and was the perfect model student. His mind raced though. He could tell that Lucius was worried about the letter as well.
Five minutes before the final bell, a second year arrived. Lucius looked at the student for a few second before the student approached him and gave him the note pressed in her hand. As soon as Lucius took it, she took off at a near run. Lucius gave a tight smile at her antics but he opened the note all the same and read it. As soon as he was done, he looked and found Harry and Draco’s table. He didn’t need to say a word. They both nodded and when the bell rang a few minutes later, Harry and Draco put their books, wands, paper, and quills up but they didn’t move. Ron and Hermione waited a few seconds but Harry waved them on.
“He wants to see the three of us. Professor Vector has already been made aware that you may be late to your class. She understands.”
The trek to the Headmaster’s Office was silent. Lucius had a hand on Draco’s shoulder nearly the entire time. Draco had fared worse than Harry in the classes. He knew that the other boy would need his notes and Harry didn’t mind sharing at all. The door was already open for them and the three stepped inside. Lucius shut the door while Harry moved closer to his own father. Severus was standing with his back to them, looking out a window. The room was so different than Harry remembered seeing in when he was last in there with Dumbledore. It wasn’t darker. It was just different. There was a small potions lab in a corner where something was brewing. There was a large table covered in books. It looked just like Severus’s office at every single house they had ever lived in together.
Lucius stepped around Harry and picked up a sheet of paper and handed it to him. Harry took it and moved so that he and Draco could read.
My Dear Severus,
I see that you have raised yourself in station. I treated you well over the years and you have spat that back in my face. These long years you have been sheltering the Potter boy in your care and protecting him from me. You should have turned him over as soon as I came back. Instead you made sure that the boy would withstand anything that I cast at him. He killed Bellatrix. I am sure that you know this but just in case.
I will be coming for you, Severus. I will come for you and you will die by my hand after I have killed your ‘son’ in front of you. He will die a horrible death and only then will I send you to where you belong, in Hell with the other traitors.
Your Dark Lord
Do not think that I have forgotten about Lucius. I will be coming for him as well.
Harry closed his eyes to take a few breathes and calm down. He didn’t want to blow up and get angry. He needed to stay in control. It wasn’t until he felt the room start to shake that he figured out it wasn’t working. He opened his eyes and found Draco now standing in front of him. He grabbed Draco’s face and kissed him. He held the other boy’s face firm in his hands and didn’t let him go. Draco’s skin on his own calmed him better than anything else. He held onto Draco until he felt his own body relax. When he opened his eyes and released Draco, he found the blond looking at him with worry.
“Harry?” Severus asked form behind Harry. Harry spun. The last time that he had seen Severus, the other man had been standing at the window. He was now over at his potions table, with a protective bubble surrounding it. Harry looked around the room and saw that books were now on the floor where they had fallen.
“I’m fine now. I just…”
“He won’t get us that easy,” Lucius said as he sat down in a chair. “This place is very protected and unlike most others, we know a Death Eater when we see one. The only thing we have to worry about is Obviated people and while at the school, there are limited visitors.”
“We will be safe. He is trying to scare any of us four into doing something stupid. We are above that. He is scared. Look how long is has taken for him to send anything to us. I was expecting something the night we removed our marks,” Severus stated as he dropped the bubble and stepped closer to Harry and Draco. “He bided his time. He didn’t want to sound scared. If the others find out that we no longer have them…”
“There are many who would flee his ranks. There is no safe place for a Death Eater to hide once he has left the ranks. That mark links us to that foul man.” Lucius conjured a cup and within seconds, a House Elf from the kitchens brought a pot of tea. She bowed to Lucius and then disappeared again.
“The school kids surprised me. I figured that many would not like the change in Headmaster,” Draco said trying to change the subject.
“With the Triwizard Tournament and Umbridge last year, Minerva thinks part of the trust that all the students had in Dumbledore was broken. With having several weeks to come to terms with the fact that I kept you alive and protected over the years. I think that they feel safe with me here. You are a beacon of light for all of them Harry. You have proven time and time again that you are going to come out on top. You pushed and you helped them through last year. Making sure that no one went without a good understanding of Defense Against the Dark Arts. You give yourself to them and I raised you. I can’t be that bad to them.”
“It also doesn’t hurt that in this morning’s paper, there was an article about the fact that both Severus and I removed our Dark Marks. It was. We are now completely former Death Eaters who were only spying for the Light side. The Daily Prophet is spinning it that we were both in there for the good of the light and the only reason that the Dark Lord was defeated all those years ago was because of us. I love that they are spinning lies of the past to make themselves feel safe. Back during the first war, I would have killed Harry as easy as breathing. It wasn’t until Draco was born and the war over that I saw what I had done. Seeing how much my son loved Harry as a friend was the shock of it all. Then I started to watch Harry grow up and saw what Severus saw in him. He was our salvation.”
“Salvation?” Harry asked looking at both adults.
“If you saved the world, those who are with you will have their own taints removed, Harry.” Draco laughed after he finished speaking. “Blaise and Pansy know this as well. They truly believe what they have told you and would rather align themselves with you than Dumbledore or even the Ministry. You burn so bright that all darkness is cast from those who stand behind you.”
Harry stood up and nodded before leaving. He needed time to think.
The day of Quidditch trials dawned bright and early. Slytherin had the first slot and many of them waited around after to watch the Gryffindor tryouts. Draco himself sat at the perfect spot. Harry was only using one side of the pitch for the tryouts. Blaise and Pansy had joined him just moments before.
“That is a lot of Gryffindors.”
“No,” Draco said with laugh.
“That is a lot of screaming fan girls. I see at least two Slytherins and a menagerie of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Harry will figure it out.” Just as if Harry heard the words, his arms started to fly and several girls took off from the line and Harry turned to the others and over half of the students on the pitch left. “No matter how public we are, there are those that can’t see that they can’t just bat their eyes and make him come running.”
“That brings up a subject, where did Astoria go?” Pansy asked.
“Her father took her and Daphne abroad to France. She stills writes Harry and I. She is still in love with him.”
“Harry doesn’t even know that she does. He just counts her as a very close friend but I can see it. She knows that he has chosen me. She wants him to be happy. It’s part of why her father took her away.”
“Poor thing,” Pansy said as she slip an arm under Draco’s and cuddled into his side. Draco smiled reached over to pat her hand.
“Let’s watch the show; it looks like Potter is trying out the beaters first. Don’t know who is stupid enough to actually think that they could beat out the Weasley twins.” Blaise scoffed as one of the Gryffindors beat back a bludger and it went wild and landed in the midst of the waiting Gryffindors who wanted to try out. Harry pulled him from the field and then the twins went out. It wasn’t long before the whistle was blown.
“Potter is doing the tryouts like this so that no one can say favoritism.”
“They had what two Chasers graduate?” Pansy asked. Draco nodded absently. Next up was the Chasers. Draco watched and when Ginny took the field, he started to laugh.
“What?” Blaise and Pansy asked.
“Seven members and I do believe that four of them are going to be Weasley’s.”
All in all the tryouts took over two hours and in the end Harry chose his team as well as backups. Draco was right in that there were four Weasley’s on the team. He looked at it and then his own team and knew that it was going to be a good year. Harry joined the three of them and not long after Ron and Hermione joined them. The Ravenclaw tryouts were next. Those didn’t take nearly as long and then it was onto Hufflepuff.
When the tryouts were over, everyone left Harry and Draco to sit in the bleachers. Ron and Blaise where hungry.
“We have very interesting teams this year,” Draco said once he was sure that the others were out of ear shot. “My father brought up some…security issues.”
“Practices?” Harry asked. He had thought about that. Practices and games were when Harry and Draco were going to be more vulnerable. The professors had done a good job at weeding out most of the dark things to enter the school but there were still the students who Voldemort would send to kill them. “I know. My team won’t like it if you sit in on all the practices nor would yours like it if I did the same.”
“I am sure that we can think of something.” Draco leaned over and gave Harry a kiss before he stood up. He was getting hungry. He needed to eat something.
In the end, talking with Ron, Hermione, Blaise, Luna, and Pansy, Harry and Draco decided to take their practices at the same time, each taking an end of the pitch. If the whole pitch was needed the teams would take turns using the whole pitch. It would give each of the teams an excuse to do their best during the games. When asked, both boys would state wanting to show House unity. No one outside their close friends knew the truth.
When Harry watched the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw teams move to the pitch at the same time he decided to follow. He found that they were doing what Gryffindor and Slytherin were doing and using the pitch at the same time. He smiled as he turned to walk away from them. Those first matches were going to be interesting.
Chapter Eighty Eight-Horrid Revelations
Harry was surprised when he showed up for their weekly dinners that Severus was seated at his desk instead of in the small area where they usually ate and talked. Instead he was sitting at the desk, staring at something. Harry stepped up to him and saw that it was a letter. He expected it to be another one from Voldemort but the handwriting was all wrong. Instead it was from Dumbledore. Severus seemed startled when Harry moved around behind the desk to read the letter.
“Sorry. I thought you knew that I was here.”
“No. You need to read this.” Severus picked up the letter and handed it to him before grabbing the tumbler that was sitting on the edge of the desk. He took a sip and set it back down. It was the first time that Harry had seen him drink since he had been at the castle for the school year. He was sure that Lucius had seen him drink but Severus didn’t like to drink around Harry, even now. Harry took his eyes from the tumbler and looked at the letter.
There are some things that I need to tell you and Harry. There are things that I have done that will affect anything that you do in the future. I know that I have given you no reason to trust me but I have wrongs that need righted. If it pleases you, I will come Saturday after dinner to the castle. If I cannot get through the wards I will understand that you still cannot trust me that much. If I am allowed though, I will meet you outside your office at eight.
Harry’s hands clenched and the letter was crumbled. He brought one hand up to rub at his eyes. It was going to be a long day. The teams all had practice tomorrow. It was the first of what was going to be a monthly joint practice. Mock games were going to be played by what Draco was calling joint teams. Each of the House teams were going to put their names in a hat and then each position was going to be drawn until there were four teams with members mixed from the Houses. He would have to finish his homework in the morning. He didn’t know what tomorrow night would bring but he wanted to be ready.
The shifting of robes brought Harry back. He looked to see Severus standing and removing his robe. Underneath was a suit. Harry was used to seeing him in the suits now. He always wore them under his robes anymore. Something about looking the part of Headmaster.
“Let’s eat before Dobby comes and tells us that we are going to waste away.”
Laughing, Harry sat down and tucked into the food that appeared on the plate in front of him. He wasn’t that hungry but he ate anyway, knowing he wouldn’t be able to escape without it.
Harry had just finished practice; he had been on the last game of the game. Draco had been lucky enough to be on the second team chosen which meant that he played first. Harry had been on the last team chosen. He wanted a shower but the showers at the pitch had been rather full. He dropped his broom in his room and then showered there. It was already seven. The game had run really later. The teams had been just that good. He had to eat and then be at Severus’s office before eight. He wanted to be there before Dumbledore arrived. He was sure that Draco figured out that something was up. He just hoped Draco would wait to confront him.
Dinner was quick for Harry. The game had taken a lot out of him. The others around him were talking but he wasn’t paying attention. Hermione had a book opened up reading it. It was Arthimancy. Draco was beside her, reading it as well. Harry let himself smile at that. Draco had one class with just Hermione and given that he and Draco were so close, that meant that they were partners for the class. Draco and Ron also had a free period together while he and Draco would do homework together. Draco fit into the group like he had been there the whole time. That made him happy.
Movement caught his eye and he found that Severus was walking up the isle to where he was. Harry stuffed a final roll in his mouth and chewed quickly and then took a final drink of water to wash it down and he stood up. He matched pace with Severus and they made their way up to the Headmaster’s office. Harry took a chair by the window and grabbed a book form the pile there. It was a pile of books that he had set there for him to read on Friday nights when dinner was done. He liked just sitting there and reading with no care in the world for a little bit. It reminded him of his childhood. Before he had found out all that he had about the world around him.
“He’ll be there in moments,” Severus said as he moved to the window. Harry closed his book after reading a few pages and set it aside. He stripped from his robes. He had worn a t-shirt and a pair of jeans when he had dressed after his shower. Severus stayed in his Headmaster robes and Harry was sure that it was a snub at Dumbledore.
“Who will be?” Draco asked. Harry turned to find his boyfriend standing in the doorway, leaning against with a smirk on his face. “You both are very occupied, I would have expected one of you to sense me or hear me. I wasn’t being quiet.”
“Dumbledore is on his way. He passed the wards several minutes ago. He has some wrong that he needs to right with Harry. Why don’t you go ahead and go back down to dinner?”
“No,” Draco stepped up to Harry and spun him around to face Severus. “He is …I will be staying.”
Severus gave a grim smile and nodded, turning his face to the door and there standing was Dumbledore. Harry felt his magic and turned around to face him. Dumbledore was in a pale purple robe with very little adornment on it. It was strange to see him in it. Dumbledore looked at Harry and then Draco.
“This is best discussed just between us three, Harry.”
“I asked Draco to be here. Whatever you have to discuss will affect him as well.”
Dumbledore just stared at them but he nodded after a few seconds. “Then why don’t we sit…”
“We will all stand. Thank you,” Severus said stepping up to stand behind Harry and Draco.
“Of course. I want to congratulate you on removing your mark.”
“Just get on with it, Dumbledore.” Harry didn’t want to stand there forever and listen to him prattle. The other man nodded. He shifted and settled back down.
“First, I need to tell you all a story before I get to what I have done.”
Harry, Draco, and Severus said nothing, just waited for him to start talking.
“This story starts on the night of your parents’ death Harry. As much as I tell people, I was not the first to arrive in the house in Godric’s Hollow following the death of your parents and Tom Riddle. I came into the house and found that you were not in your crib anymore. I would have hoped that you were in your crib when Riddle attacked. I found evidence of someone being in there but I cared not about that in that moment. I cared about you. You were crying clutching your mother’s shirt on the floor where she was lying. Her body was positioned odd, I thought but again. I cared not. I wanted to get you to safety. I found the damage around the house and thought it odd. I figured it was a backlash of the death of Riddle. I put you back into the crib and left. There were those that could follow me there. I sent Hagrid after you. It wasn’t until later that I found out who went there first. It took me a year to figure it all out. When you were saved by your mother’s love, the destruction of Voldemort didn’t destroy the house.”
Severus cleared his throat and he patted Harry’s shoulder. “I arrived to find Potter’s body lying in the hall. I held hope until I entered the nursery and found Harry crying in the crib and Lily’s body on the floor. I don’t remember much after that. I know that the house was standing and I held Lily’s body as I cried. When I no longer felt safe there, someone would be coming for Harry, I pulled him from the crib and laid him beside his mother. She had died for him and I wanted him to be able to touch her and in his own way tell her goodbye.”
“Severus was the first to arrive. He found a perfect house and when I arrived, I found a destroyed house. If it had been a Death Eater, he would have found Harry and killed him.”
“What happened to the house?” Harry asked. He had a feeling he knew the answer. He stepped around Severus to move to a chair and sit down. Draco was torn between staying where he was and giving Harry space. Harry waved him over. Having Draco close would help. Whatever Dumbledore had done, he hadn’t done it right.
“I went to Privet Drive one night and snuck in. I opened your cupboard and examined your memories. When you tried to wake your mother and found you couldn’t, your magic reached out for her and found her magic gone. When that happened, you started to cry. You couldn’t control your magic and you destroyed the house. I bound your magic to your core and trapped it there. You had so much power. Your mother’s magic lived in you now. It’s what protected you from Voldemort for all those years.”
“You locked his magic from him?” Draco asked. He took a step towards Dumbledore but when Harry reached out and grabbed him arm to keep him close, Draco moved back.
“I did. I also took most of his memories of that night. I couldn’t have him remember most of it. It would lead him to remember what he had done.”
“That’s why I only remember the flash of green and my mother’s screams, isn’t it? I always wondered why that was so clear in my nightmares but nothing else was.”
“Yes. I have the memories here.” Dumbledore reached into his robe and pulled out a vial. He set it down on the table beside him and left it there. “The binding was meant to be released upon my death or when I released it.”
“It didn’t work,” Severus said. His voice was barely above a whisper. Dumbledore looked at Severus with a shocked look on his face.
“What do you mean?” Dumbledore asked as the room started to shake.
“Good gods. Draco, secure my potion.” Severus pointed at the table where a potion was brewing. Draco cast a few spells at it just as a book almost fell into it. Draco looked back at Harry. “You hid the binding so well, I was unable to find it. I thought that whatever the backlash of the Dark Lords death was what was causing the problem. Anytime that he gets angry at all or sometimes just an extreme emotion, he loses control. He blew up a cottage just days after I took him in.”
“I can feel the binding break and the cracks release so much power before the binding fixes itself. I just figured I was breaking my power shield on my powers. I didn’t know that some fucker had played with me when I was a child and had done things to me and broke me.”
“I didn’t break you!” Dumbledore said as he watched the room stop shaking.
“I think that when you did what you did, you trapped anger inside of it. I think that between it and the Horcrux inside of me, anger fuels and feeds it. It expands and breaks when I am angry.”
“Harry…” Dumbledore started but Draco stopped him.
“You…You will undo what you have done to him and you will do it now. If you do not, I will not stop until you are in jail. Binding the magic of a child that is not blood related is punishable by death, Albus Dumbledore. You have played God with Harry for long enough. If you don’t fix him right now, I might just kill you, screw the repercussions.”
“Calm down and I will. It was the reason I came there. The rest I could have done in a letter.”
Dumbledore stepped closer to Harry and dropped to one knee to touch Harry’s head. Harry cleared his mind and let Dumbledore inside but away from all the things in his life. Dumbledore was allowed in a small black room and that was it. He felt the surge of magic in his body and the breaking of his binding. His magic surged outward and he heard the shattering of glass in the room and the exclamation of surprise from both Draco and Severus. Dumbledore dropped his hands from Harry’s head and quickly stood and took a few steps back. Harry opened his eyes and looked at the other man.
“If I see you at any point in the next few years, I will make you pay in some way for all you have done. Leave and never come back,” Harry said his voice low and like ice. He saw fear on Dumbledore’s face. He was happy to see it there. The older man had done so much to Harry.
“I, Minerva McGonagall, banish you, Albus Dumbledore, from the grounds of Hogwarts now and forever.” Minerva stepped around the doorway and all the men looked at her in shock, none of them had noticed her there. “You are oath-breaker and false friend. You will never be able to set foot on the grounds again. This banishment cannot be broken as you know.”
“Minerva…” Dumbledore’s voice broke and then he was gone. A crack signaled that magic had removed him. Minerva stood there, looking at where her once friend had been.
“I told him what kind of Muggles they were. I hoped that he knew something that I didn’t. Over the years, I believed that he was doing everything for the greater good. He knew that they kept you in a cupboard. He bound your magic when you could have used it over the years. He is no friend to Hogwarts.”
“I didn’t know that anyone could be banished from Hogwarts.” Draco looked at the older woman shocked.
“It’s not done lightly. Only the Head and deputy Head can do it. There is a reason it’s not done too much. None of Albus’s family if he ever has any, can step foot on this property. It won’t affect his brother and his brother’s line.” Minerva turned back to the door. “I’ll send Lucius up. I am sure that you have a lot to talk about.”
“How do you feel?” Severus stepped up to Harry as soon as Minerva was completely gone.
“Tired. I just want to go to bed.” Harry grabbed the vial as he passed it and left the room, leaving Draco and Severus standing there.
Draco woke in the middle of the night when a hand brushed his. He found Zook standing there. Zook said nothing, just held out a hand. Draco quickly took it and then he was inside of Harry’s dorm. Harry was curled in a ball on the bed, his arms holding his knees to his face. He could hear the sobs. Taking a step towards Harry, Draco kicked something. It was glass and rolled across the floor. The vial of memories.
Crawling into the bed, Draco pulled the curtain closed and warded it. Harry felt him and let go of his knees and latched onto Draco instead. Draco cradled him in his arms. He cursed Dumbledore again. Harry should have dealt with those memories years ago, instead here he was trying to control more power and the visual death of his mother and what happened after.
“Draco,” Harry’s voice was raw and Draco barely heard it.
“I love you.”
Draco swallowed past the lump in his throat and spoke. “I love you, too.”
Chapter Eighty Nine-Overheard
Harry was sitting outside underneath a tree when he felt the shadow over top of him. He looked up to see Draco smiling down on him. Draco dropped his backpack on the other side of Harry and then sat down beside him. In his hand was his Arthimancy book. It was Friday and break had just started, the nice thing was that for Harry, Draco, Ron, and Hermione there were no classes left for the day which meant that they would be finishing off most of their homework before the day was over.
“Professor Vector is trying to kill us, I swear,” Draco said as he opened his book. Ron and Hermione would be joining them soon. They had all four just finished Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry had come straight out while the other three had wanted to drop off anything they didn’t need back at the dorms. Harry had brought it all with him. “You’ve been saying that since Wednesday.”
“It’s still true.”
“Hermione doesn’t believe that.” Harry laughed as Draco used the book to hit him. When he was done, Draco shifted so that he was leaning against Harry and not the tree. Harry smiled as he went back to his own reading. When Ron and Hermione joined them not too long after, it stayed silent. Everyone had a great deal of reading to do and it was best to do it outside while they still could. The common room was so noisy just from sheer number of kids. The study group had started up again but right now the main focus was getting the First Years to understand the world around them, especially the Muggle-borns. Harry’s night for working with them was Thursdays as was the rest of the Gryffindor team. The Ravenclaw team had Wednesdays, the Slytherins had Tuesdays, and the Hufflepuffs had Mondays.
“So who gave the most homework?” Draco asked, looking at Hermione. She was the only one who was taking all the classes. Hermione sighed and looked down at a piece of paper she had just pulled out. It listed her homework and other things that she needed to do.
“Your father.” Hermione glared at him for a few seconds before she looked back down at the paper.
“He’s trying to make up for last year. You should have seen him the first week. He knew that there had been study halls and things like it but he hadn’t known that so much had been covered during them. He had to change the entire year’s curriculum for Second Year and up. Seventh year was the worst. He took the first part of the year ahead and stuck it at the end of the year before for all but for Seventh year he had to actually go in and create more lessons. He cursed us quite a bit until he got over it.” Draco started to laugh a little and the others chimed in after that.
When the final bell for release of classes rang, Hermione and Ron stood up, going to do Prefect duties. Draco closed his Transfiguration book and sighed. Potions was the only reading that Harry had left and he was almost done with it. Draco’s sigh meant though that he was not going to get anymore reading done right then. Harry closed his book and set it aside. Draco turned his head up to look at Harry. He had moved down to where his head was in Harry’s lap over an hour before.
Raking his hands through Draco’s hair, Harry smiled at him. “What’s on your mind?”
“I was thinking about Slughorn and his club.” Draco let his eyes wander around, not really focusing on Harry at all. “He’s tried to talk me into it several times but I keep rebuffing him. I have too much to do and I don’t need to worry about kissing ass to those who used to hate me but now are perfectly fine with me.”
“I know what you mean. I don’t know but I think that I scare him. He’s not asked me once. He’s tried to talk Hermione into it and Neville. Hermione keeps putting him off but Neville goes to them. It’s good for him. Since he’s started to become surer of himself, he’s really bloomed.”
Draco leaned up to catch Harry’s mouth in a kiss. “That’s all because of you.”
“And Luna. I’ve seen them sneaking around.” Harry gave him another kiss then he leaned back up. Looking around to see who might have seen them. There was no one around. He was sure that many were heading to either get a snack or to crack the books. There was a chill in the air now that night was on the way. Harry enjoyed this though. If he cleared his mind enough, he could forget all but what he was seeing. The beauty of the landscape around him and the feel of Draco touching him.
“That relationship is breaking a few hearts. Neville slimming down has made a few girls look at him, finally. He’s also tempered Luna a little. She’s a little less…crazy.” Harry started to laugh. He ruffled Draco’s hair a little and the Slytherin glared at him before sticking his tongue out. Harry shoved him and Draco rolled out of his lap and since they were on a small incline, he rolled a little down the hill. Draco summoned his bag to him and stood up, walking away. “I was getting ready to leave anyway.”
“I’ll see you after dinner with Severus,” Harry called out. Draco just waved a hand back at him, dismissing him. Harry laughed to himself. He gathered up his things and quickly made his way to the library. There were a few books that he wanted to look at for his Potions essay. He couldn’t remember enough about them since he had read them when he had been at the cottage several summers before. He wondered if Severus had placed them in Spinner’s End where many of Severus’s things ended up if he didn’t need them most of the time. The library looked empty. He picked a table and quickly set his bag down and made his way through the stacks to the Potions section.
“I know the other reason, Snape. The real reason that you wanted me here. It’s the reason that Albus wanted me as well,” Slughorn said from somewhere near. Harry slowed down and tried to figure out where they were. “It’s gone.”
“I know that. The memory is not needed.”
“Wh…what do you mean?” Slughorn’s voice was unsure and it was the first time that Harry had ever heard it that way. Slughorn was always sure of himself.
“That which your memory holds is destroyed. There only stands two left and this winter, one of those will be destroyed. There will only be one to stand in the way.” Severus’s voice was so hard and so sure. It was different. He hadn’t been told of any plans to kill Nagini, not this early. Maybe it was something that he and Lucius had created over the summer. Of it could have been because of the letter that Voldemort had sent to Severus at the start of the school year. “You were brought to the school for you own protection and that of the students. The centaurs are calling this year the turning point. I am a great Potions master but you…”
“Thank you, Snape. I…” Slughorn stopped talking. Harry finally found where they were. It was a little used place where really boring and unused books were kept. The only students who used it were those wanting to get away to make out. Harry knew several students who used it on a near daily basis on breaks. He’d caught Ron and Hermione once there already this year. That had been fun. Harry and Draco didn’t make out that much out unless they were outside. Less chance of anyone finding them.
“I kept a close eye on all the news since You-Know-Who came back. I was surprised to find that you had taken in the Potter boy. That is not something that the Severus Snape I had known would have done.”
“A lot changed over the years.”
“Not many years. Albus spoke of you having your reasons but reason could turn you from the dark path you had been on.”
There was silence and Harry was sure that he would soon hear Severus’s robes walking away. There was nothing though. “It’s what will be the downfall of the Dark Lord. It’s was the downfall the first time. Love. He knows nothing of it and therefore he will never be able to plan for it.”
“He’s a precious child, is he not? To have survived all of that. You love him do you not?”
“He’s all I could have ever wanted in a child. I never dreamed of having a child. Not since Lily had taken up with Potter. It wasn’t in my future without her. Especially with the Dark Mark on my arm. There were few women who followed the Dark Lord and many of them were too extreme for my tastes. Then there was the fact that I was sure that I would not last long in the Dark Lord’s service. Until his other Potions Master blew himself up. The Dark Lord kept a good eye on those in his group that could brew good potions. When I was elevated, there were those who wanted me then but always my heart was with Lily.”
“To take in her child with another man though? To know that if something had been different, he could have been your child.”
“I try not to dwell on what might have been.”
“Yet, here you are with no Dark Mark any longer and a whole school to run. Without him…”
“I would be in the Dark Lord’s service and in Dumbledore’s. I would be a spy for the light and probably die by the bite of his snake. Without him there would have been no place for me in society. As much as I raised him from a child, he’ll raise me in society’s eyes.”
“I can see his love for you in his eyes when he thinks that no one is looking. I’ve heard the stories of his childhood before you.” Slughorn snorted. “Those Muggles. They are the reason that You-Know-Who hates them.”
“No. He hates them because his father was one and left his mother while she was with child. There are few things that will cure kind of hurt. He had none of them as a child. The orphanage was not a good place.”
“It’s why Dumbledore placed him with the Muggles isn’t it. Their lives are too close in many aspects. He didn’t want another Dark Lord on his hands.”
Severus laughed. It wasn’t a nice laugh and even though Harry was used to it, it still sent shivers up his spine. “He wanted a sacrifice. If he had grown up in even a magical orphanage, he would have known who he was. He would have had something to hold onto. Dumbledore wanted magic to give him everything and then he wanted Harry to give it all up for magic and its people as well.”
“Yes. That is part of why I asked you here. If a Horcrux was inside of a living object, a person or an animal. All one would need to do is kill the animal correct”
“You know that I hate talking about such things, Snape but yes. Why?”
“The last two Horcruxes are inside of living objects. I wanted to make sure that was all that was needed.”
“If one of them is human, I would be careful, Snape. If you kill that person and create a Horcrux for yourself, his Horcrux could merge with your own.”
“They are tricky, I know. I don’t think that I will have to worry about the one that is inside of the living person. That will be taken care of another way.”
“It’s in Potter isn’t it? It was created when You-Know-Who killed his mother.”
Harry didn’t wait around to hear the answer. He instead turned away and blocked out all sound from his ears. They had still not found a way to get rid of the Horcrux inside of him. He was still going to have to die to save the world. He wasn’t sure that he wanted to.
Chapter Ninety-Half-Blood Prince
Harry’s favorite class had always been Potions. It was a class he understood and did rather well in. He got top marks in it but his score in Defense Against the Dark Arts was always higher. With every other class, there was a push to remember it all. Hermione once told him that he made their lessons look easy. The truth was that he had a good memory for things but he still had to study and learn like the others. Severus had just prepped him really well for the first few years of school. Defense Against the Dark Arts though, it came easy to him. He never had to push to remember things. He could read something once and everything to do with that spell was there, locked in his head. That he blames entirely on Severus. He had been pushed to remember so much of the Dark Arts as a child to save his own life if need be that his mind still latches onto the lessons and never lets go.
Slughorn was teaching them good potions. They were sometimes harder than what Severus would have taught but sometimes easier. None of them so far that year though Harry has known how to do ahead of time. He hadn’t spent the summer reading ahead in all of his books like he used to. He’d had other things to do. Still though, he had made notes about things in his book. Neville was pants at potions but with the help of all of them over the years, he had gotten the grade needed to do NEWT level Potions. Something that Harry was regretting ever so slightly as he looked down at the smoking heap that used to be his Potions book.
“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Neville said as he reached out to start cleaning up. Harry grabbed his hand and used his wand to clean up the mess, including the book. “I’ll buy you a new one.”
“It’s fine Neville. It was an accident. There is no harm, no foul. I’ll just use one of the ones in the stores until a new one can be sent to me.”
“Neville its fine.”
“Luna was sick last night. She went to the infirmary and she won’t be back for a few days.”
“Why don’t you work with someone else?” Draco asked as he moved his own book over so that Harry could look at it. Harry grabbed the next ingredient and dropped it in slowly.
“Is the mess taken care of?” Slughorn asked as he arrived at the table with a very old book. He set it down. “You can use this until you get a new one, Harry.”
“Thanks Professor!” Harry said with a smile not looking up from the potion. Neville moved away to join Ron and Hermione. Hermione set him out a few ingredients for him to cut. There was still an hour of class left and there was plenty that Neville could help him do. Slughorn wandered away from the small group and back over to help the rest of the class. The hour passed quickly and Draco and Harry turned in a perfect potion at the end of the class. It was the last class of the day and Harry was looking forward to having the rest of the day off. He was all caught up on work and for once only had a little reading to do. The others had work to do. It was decided at lunch that they would work in the library today. Harry would use the time to find some books. He could do the reading over the weekend and with only Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts tomorrow there would not be too much homework to where he can’t do the reading over the weekend. Harry was the first out of the class and headed to the library. Once the others had gathered what they needed for homework, they would join him. He found that their normal table was full. In fact most of the tables in the central section were full. Instead he moved to one of the farther back tables.
It was so far back that the sound of slipping pages and shifting robes didn’t carry. The others would find him. Harry sat down and pulled out this Potions book. He opened it and flipped to the pages needed. He found that there was writing in the margins. He started to flip through and look at the writing. It was familiar but he couldn’t place it. The others arrived and Harry ignored them. There were so many notes on what to do instead to make a potion better or there were notes about spells. Some of them Harry had never heard of and it wasn’t until he found one that he knew for certain whose book is was.
Until she cleared her throat, Harry hadn’t even known that Hermione had been looking over his shoulder. “Those don’t exactly seem nice.”
“They aren’t.” Harry looked up to find other others at the table looking at him. He hadn’t even noticed when Neville, Blaise, Luna, and Pansy had joined them. Draco held his hand out and Harry handed it over. “It’s old. Ten to fifteen years old.”
“You should ask for another copy,” Hermione said.
Draco snorted but he didn’t look up from the book. Harry was sure that he found the same spell that he had. Draco now knew whose book it was.
“I am not an idiot, Hermione. I won’t use the spells on someone without trying them on something not alive first. Besides there are few spells that have been wrote in those margins that I don’t already know.”
“That one that raises people up by their ankle. It sounds like the spell the Death Eaters used at the World Cup.”
“And in a memory I have seen of James Potter’s, I’ve seen him use it. It rose to popularity around then. No spell is inherently evil. All were created to defend. Even Avada Kedavra was created as a simple way to kill beasts and animals that were attacking. It wasn’t until the two Unforgivables were found and created that it became what it is today.”
“Yes,” Draco interjected as he handed the book back to Harry. “The Killing Curse was around for centuries. It was used to kill animals and even those who were true deviants and those who were ill. The ability to let them pass without pain. Children who have been mauled by a creature. Anyone who had fallen and was beyond help. The elderly who caught a sickness and would die in excruciating pain. With the rise in Dark Lords and those who used it to kill, Potions had to be created to help their passing.”
“I never knew that.”
“There is a lot of spell history that is never explained in school. I only know it because of the research into spells to help fight Voldemort.” Harry closed the book and set it aside. He pulled out the list of non-restricted books he had compiled to start searching. The restricted books would come later. He stood from the table and moved over to the first section of books. This was going to take a long time, even with Draco’s help.
Severus stopped what he was doing when he heard a faint knock on his door. He set down his quill and called for the person to enter. He was surprised to find Hermione standing there. She looked a little lost. “What can I do for you Miss Granger?”
“I am worried.”
“About Harry?” Severus stood up and moved to sit in a chair at the front of the desk. Hermione sat in the chair beside him. “What has he done this time?”
“Neville had an accident in Potions and it destroyed Harry’s book.”
“Professor Slughorn told me and I ordered Harry a new book. It should arrive at the end of next week. Flourish and Blotts was out and hadn’t reordered them yet.”
“The thing in the book he was given by Professor Slughorn was a used one. It’s fifteen or so years old.”
“And?” Severus was unsure what was wrong with the book. Unless…
“It’s got a lot of writing in the margins and some of the spells are rather dark and very disturbing. I got a hold of it once and saw that it belonged to someone called the Half-Blood Prince.”
“I see.” Severus stood up and moved over to the wall and pulled down a book. It was an advanced Potions book. He handed it over and Hermione opened it up. It was the same writing, Severus was sure.
“The Half-Blood Prince’s tale is a very sad one. Yes, he was a very mean child. I could tell you of the abuse he suffered and horrible childhood that he had but it all boils down to that he had no one to show him love and no one to give him the chance to do right.”
“It wasn’t until the woman that he loved was taken from him that he turned to what you would call dark. He gave up hope of ever finding someone that would love him back. He became such a horrible person. It wasn’t until he found that the woman that he still loved, even though he didn’t want to was put in danger that he found that no matter what, he wasn’t evil at heart.”
“What did he do?”
“He went to a trusted ally and begged for help for her. She was put into hiding but it wasn’t enough. She and her husband were killed. The only one who survived was her young son.” As he uttered those words, Hermione gasped. “There is nothing in those books that I have not taught him already. Your worry is something that I am happy you have but I am sure he knows that it is my book. He would never cast any spell in there without knowing what it was first. Go back to your dorm and sleep. You look worn out, Miss Granger.”
“Thank you, Headmaster. I do feel better.” Hermione stood and left without looking back. Severus smiled. He always wondered what had happened to that book. He had never been able to find it at the end of the year. Harry was the best recipient of the book.
The next morning, Severus entered the Great Hall to find everything wrong. He was used to select few students that chose to sit with at other House tables but this was different. He found a small group of those who had NEWT Potions sitting together, books spread out and food being passed. The Quidditch team members, no matter the house, were all sitting together. Even Draco, Ron, Harry, and Ginny were sitting there. Hermione was with a group of Arthimancy students which spanned all grades. He smiled and he was sure that if any of the students saw him, they would be scared. He smiled so rarely inside of the school. This was the way the school should have been. He hated the splitting of the students into Houses. He wondered what would have happened to him and others had they not been split at such a young age.
“Inspiring isn’t it?” Lucius asked coming up behind him. Severus just nodded as they started up to the table. Even the teachers were not in their normal spots. They took a spot at the end of the table where no one was sitting. Their breakfast arrived in seconds and Severus was ever proud of the House Elves. The students couldn’t be making it easy on them. “I’ve seen the way that our children are with each other. Do they really think that we wouldn’t know?”
“We’ve had other things to think about and they do believe that they are sneaky. Harry’s House Elves keep his secrets but the other House Elves, they don’t. Many a morning Dobby or Zook was taking two breakfasts to Harry’s room very early.”
Lucius snorted and tucked into his breakfast. “They have been wrapped in each other since the moment they met. We are lucky that neither of them know the old spells to get married. Draco is of legal age for most of them now and with Harry being considered an adult…”
“I would hope that they haven’t decided to get married at such a young age. We have a war on I know but…”
“We want more for them.”
Severus turned his eye to see Harry and Draco attempting to sneak out. The rest of the students were no seeing them but Severus and Lucius could. He was sure what they were trying to sneak off and do. As long as that was as far as it went, everything would be fine.
Chapter Ninety One-Secrets
Harry looked at the book in front of him. There was nothing in it that could help him. He closed it with a sigh and stood up. Draco’s eyes followed him.
“I’ve got a letter from the Headmaster giving me access to the restricted section for further studies. I’ll get a few books and be back.”
Harry nodded and then was gone. The trip to the section took no time at all. He found several books that look promising. He even found one that caught his eye. He had heard that it was love that had saved him that night. He thought for a few seconds why a book about a love would be in the restricted section but he didn’t think about it too long. Instead he just grabbed it and took it with him. Setting his stack of books down, Harry grabbed the top on and started to flip through it page by page. Draco finished the other book he was using and grabbed the next book in the stack. Hours and hours spent over books on Sundays and so far they had nothing to show for it. It was two weeks before Christmas break and there was nothing.
Dinner time came and it was the only break they were going to get until later that night. Harry put up the books he had got out and finished. He left the one on love sticking out so that he could find it again quickly. Draco was waiting for him at the door and he bumped his shoulder against Harry’s.
“We have the rest of the year. He’s not going to attack at any point soon. He won’t have the man power. With the announcement of the removal of our father’s Dark Marks, he will have to look at his ranks and make sure no more traitors are in there. He’s going to be cautious.”
“I know but he is still a threat. I don’t like him looming on the edge of my sight. There where he could attack at any point in time. I don’t like not having a plan. I have plans for everything. I’m always prepared. I don’t want to not be prepared.”
“I know.” Draco laid his head on Harry’s shoulder for a second before standing up straight. They were nearing the Great Hall. It was near the end of dinner time and the room wasn’t that full. There were a lot of Sixth and Seventh years. Some were so tired that they were falling asleep in their plates. Harry and Draco sat at the seat closest to the doorway. Food appeared as soon as they sat down. Today was some kind of chicken. Harry didn’t care what he was eating as long as he was eating it. Draco was much the same. They had worked through lunch and hadn’t noticed it until close to dinner.
“What books are left of the one from Malfoy library?”
“None.” Draco sighed and sipped his pumpkin juice. “We finished those a few weeks into school. Mother went through and double checked.”
“So all we have is the library here?”
“There is going to be nothing here.”
“We still need to go through all the books. You might be surprised what we could find.”
“It’s rare that I am the pessimist and you are the optimist.” Harry cleaned his plate and took a last sip of his drink. Draco was only half done. He always ate slower. Harry still had a few habits left from when he ate with the Dursleys. That was one of them. He wasn’t nearly as quick as Ron but he came from a family where if you didn’t get what you wanted in the first few minutes, you didn’t get any food. “I’ll meet you in the library. I want to stop and get a few things.”
Draco gave him a small smile. Harry traced a hand over Draco’s jaw as he walked away. Harry hurried to the library. There wasn’t going to be much time before the library was going to close and Madame Pinch was going to kick them out. Harry grabbed the book on love and started to flip through it. It was mainly things that one could do to make one love you. Harry briefly thought about that. It was something that Voldemort was never going to see coming. He pushed it out of his mind. That showed that he shouldn’t be looking for things, if he was willing to make Voldemort love him to try and kill him.
The end of the book was fast approaching and Harry was staring at a poem. It was over three sentences long and the description was in very old Latin. Harry couldn’t read it. The poem itself had a few words that Harry knew but the rest he didn’t.
The touch of Draco’s hand on his shoulder and the soft tone of his voice washed over Harry. It didn’t take but a sentence for Harry to join in. Draco trailed off and Harry finished the poem.
“It was a beautiful poem. I wonder how long it’s been since anyone has uttered it.” Draco leaned over and kissed Harry. It was an odd kiss as they were kissing each other upside down. The second that Harry reached up to cup Draco’s face, he felt a build of magic and before he could pull back, it unleashed itself.
Lucius felt the magic wash over the entire castle. Someone was doing a spell that they shouldn’t have. He turned to look at Minerva and when she didn’t react, Lucius reached out with his own magic. It was from Draco. The bond that all parents had with their children was fading. That only ever happened when they turned into an adult or they got married before they were an adult. Draco was not an adult and wouldn’t be for over half a year. There was no way that Draco was getting married. He was in the library of the castle and there was no one there that would marry them.
The thought about Severus giving Harry access to the restricted section flashed in his mind. There were books in there that held the spells needed to bond people. It was a Seventh Year discussion held for those who wished to see marriage and traditional bonding.
The second rush of magic disturbed Minerva this time. She looked up.
“A Seventh Year must have just done a rather powerful spell.”
“No. Minerva please fetch Horace and meet me in the Headmaster’s office. We have a small problem.”
“Harry and Draco?” Minerva asked with a smile.
“I think that they are now married,” Lucius said with a growl as he stood up and placed his papers on the table in front of him. Minerva practically jumped up and ran from the room. Lucius moved at a slower pace. He wondered if Severus felt it. He was Harry’s father as much as anyone else but that didn’t mean that magic considered him Harry’s father. He considered stopping to find him but he didn’t. He would deal with that when the time came.
Severus was on the grounds, checking the wards when he felt it. The wards that protected the students from spells that would harm them didn’t flare. Severus closed his eyes to trace the emergence of the magic. It was two powerful individuals. They were trained so thankfully he wasn’t dealing with any younger children. It still spoke of a small amount of uncontrolled magic. That they were casting something that they didn’t know what they were doing. It was faint and he almost missed it but he didn’t. The small connection that he had with Harry was cut. He wasn’t dead, Severus could still feel him. No, the bond had been cut and replaced with another.
“I…” Severus turned and started at a run to the castle. He knew where they were. The boys were always in the library on Sundays. He wanted to know why the boys had done it. He saw that Lucius was behind him but he didn’t stop to let him catch up. He entered the library to find it empty. Draco and Harry were the only students in there. He passed Pinch as she fled the library.
He expected to find the boys making our or doing something but not just sitting there looking at a few books. That’s when he dawned on him. They didn’t know. They had got themselves bonded and they didn’t know that they had done it. He started to laugh and it was several seconds before he took in the look of the face of the boys. Both of them were looking at him like he was crazy. He felt Lucius walk up behind him. He was sure that the look on Draco’s face matched the ones on Lucius’s. Severus sat down because if he stood much longer he was going to fall down. He looked up at Lucius’s face as he sat down. There was anger there. Severus thought that he would be angry but he wasn’t.
“Lucius, you might as well sit down and put up some charms.” Severus pulled the books from the boys’ hands and closed them. He waited until Lucius was done placing the wards and charms before he started to speak again. “We find ourselves at a crossroads boys. I know that both of you know what to do and not to do when it comes to spells but still you both just cast one.”
“No, we didn’t,” both said at the same time.
“Yes, actually you did,” Lucius said. He sat down and started to laugh as well. Harry looked like he was ready to fight to get away. Severus knew that neither of them were acting normal. He wouldn’t be surprised is Harry did hex them.
“There is an ancient bonding right that bypasses all prior claims, all prior magic, and doesn’t take age into affect. It’s written in a very old form of spell language that only a few words are even known about today. I think that this is the first I have heard of two bumbling idiots getting themselves hitched and not knowing.”
The look that Harry and Draco shared was one that Severus would love to have a photo of. It was pure astonishment. It was hard to surprise Draco and even harder to surprise Harry. Severus had been very surprised when he had pulled off the fake death of Sirius. He had spent nights, waiting for the shoe to drop.
“Are we…” Harry stopped and swallowed before speaking again. “Are we actually married?”
“Bonded but yes married. It would take nothing for the Counselor of Marriage to find the bond. All you would have to do it go to him or her, whenever you decide to let the world know. She would check for the bond and there you go.”
“I thought there were papers and other things,” Draco stated.
“There normally are. There are not many who would take this route. You are both bound for life and it means that.” Severus stopped speaking for a few seconds. “If one of you dies, so does the other.”
The twin looks of horror on Harry and Draco’s face almost made Severus’s heart break. He knew what both of them were thinking of. Killing Draco was the best way to punish Lucius for desertion and Harry was already marked for death. He was sure that both boys would want to keep this silent. It would not do for the Dark Lord to get wind of this. The color drained from Harry’s face and Severus was not surprised when he got up from the table and sprinted from the room. Draco looked ready to follow but Severus’s hand on his own stopped him. Draco laid his head on the table and just seemed to deflate.
“I can feel him.” Draco’s voice was ragged and just broken sounding. “I can feel the horror he feels.”
“It will take time for the bond to finish and you will always be able to feel his emotions if they are extreme. Give him time, Draco.” Severus patted the top of his Godson’s head. “He will calm down. I know that he just feels horrible because he does not see himself living through his war, no matter what. He sees no outcome where he lives. For the Horcrux to be destroyed, he has to be destroyed as well.
“I’ll find a way to save him. I will find a way to save him.” Draco stood up and left the room.
“I don’t think that the Dark Lord is going to like what has been wrought on him.” Lucius stood up and sighed. “I need to write to Narcissa. She is probably sitting at the Manor going nuts.”
“You have fun with that. I have to go to the Manor so I will deliver the letter. I need to tell Lily and Potter that they son is married.”
Chapter Ninety Two-Finally Free
Christmas break dawned just in time for Harry. The push of the students on him was getting to be too much. He spent much of his time in his dorm room reading. Draco spent a great deal of time in there as well, feeling the same press. They had asked their father’s about it and both of them said it was the bond. Harry was finding that due to the bond, he was sleeping better and had better control of his emotions and powers since Dumbledore removed the bindings.
The only homework that any of them had was what they had been given on the final day. Harry’s plans were to finish it as soon as possible so that it wasn’t hanging over his head the whole break. He wanted to enjoy his break. It was probably going to be his last real break he was going to have. The Easter holidays were going to be full of studying for exams. Thankfully the homework was easy. It was just an essay on Transfiguration that he could write in his sleep.
“What plans do you have over the holidays Harry?” Ron asked rolling over in his bed to face Harry.
“I have a meeting at Gringotts tomorrow. Severus wants me to go over the accounts. It will be very boring. I expect to be there most of the day.” Harry started to change into his clothes for the day. Draco had left in the middle of the night and Harry had showered then. When Harry finished changing he turned to find Ron leering at him.
“I see that Draco was here last night. You have a wonderful hickey there on the side of your neck that wasn’t there last night when we went to bed.”
“Oh.” Harry moved to the mirror on the wall. He didn’t remember Draco making that but both of them had been pretty rough last night. Harry had been restless and unable to sleep when Draco had entered the room. As if feeding off of Harry’s own restlessness, Draco had been just as rough as Harry was. He was surprised that this was the only leftover from the very enthusiastic sex they’d had the night before. With a quick mutter, Harry got rid of the hickey. He turned back to find Ron also ready for the day. It was early, barely seven. An odd time for Ron to wake on a day he didn’t have to.
“Hermione wants to get homework over with and I agreed. I work on my homework as much as I can throughout the day and wake at this early time and she will let me do as I want the rest of the break.” Ron blushed as little as he spoke and Harry figured that there was more to it than that. Hermione probably promised him more than that. Harry wasn’t going to ask and he would make sure that Draco wouldn’t as well.
“I’ll join you. Working in the Great Hall?” Harry grabbed his pack that had his book and parchment.
“Yea. She’ll probably already be there.” Ron grabbed a book that had a few pieces of parchment stuffed in it. There was already a quill behind his ear. Harry laughed and slung an arm around Ron to lead him from the room. It was a quick trip to the Great Hall where a few students were in there. There were actually a larger amount of kids staying over break at the castle than normal. It was a great deal of Muggle-borns and Half-bloods. They felt safer at the school. Harry found Hermione and Draco sitting at the Slytherin table and there were two others there as well. It took Harry a few seconds to recognize Severus and Lucius. When Harry got close he saw that they were eating. It was rare for any professor to eat at the tables with the students but then it was the first time that any professors had children of their own at the school.
“Good morning,” Lucius spoke as soon as Harry and Ron were in range.
“Morning,” Ron spoke back. He looked at the two adults for a few seconds before going around to sit beside Hermione. Harry sat beside Draco.
“We were just discussing the plans. All the students who stay at the castle have the chance to have their parents join them Christmas day. The professors will bring the parents here on Christmas morning. Hermione’s parents just sent word back that they would love to join us. The House Elves will like it; they get a little depressed over the holidays. They have very little they can do.” Severus smiled as he spoke. Harry pulled out his parchment and book and started to work on his essay. His breakfast appeared on the plate and he set about eating bite for every few sentences he wrote. The others at the table talked and Harry let the words rush over him. It wasn’t until nearly an hour later and he was almost done with his essay that he noticed that Severus and Lucius were still there. That was odd. They were both acting a little weird and Harry was starting to get worried.
“Harry, are you ready to head to Gringotts. The Goblins have moved up the time of the meeting,” Severus said just as Harry wrote the last sentence. He looked up to find the two just staring at him. He nodded and rolled up his parchment.
“I’ll take care of that, Harry,” Draco said leaning over to kiss Harry goodbye. Harry pulled him back for a more proper kiss and then stood up himself. Draco would make sure his homework was safe. Harry followed Severus and Lucius from the castle and the second that they exited the castle. Harry waited for one of them to grab him to pull him into Side Along Apparition. Severus was the one to do it. It wasn’t widely known that Apparition out of the castle was possible. That was a last ditch effort to protect the students.
“Why this meeting so sudden?”
“Some things with your account has come up that the Goblins want to speak to you about.”
Harry could read the lie on Severus’s lips so easy. He wanted to be angry about the lie but he was going to wait. Severus didn’t like to him on a regular basis and only when it was necessary. He would wait to jump him until he saw what he was lying about. Harry was led from the main room of the bank down into the depths. There Stoneacid was waiting on them beside a sword. Harry looked at the sword. It was goblin made and Harry was unsure what this was about.
“Welcome, Lord Potter.”
“Thank you, Stoneacid.”
“Lord Potter, the Goblins have requested you be brought here because we have the best facilities for what is being undertaken today.”
“Yes. Cynthia Carter contacted us on behalf of you about a month before. We did not know that it was you of course but she wanted to rent a space where she could help in the removal of a very dark object from a living host. We agreed for a modest fee and…”
“Professor Carter carried out all the plans and it was not brought up to the Goblins who they were doing it on.” Lucius’s voice was hollow. Harry was sure that he knew why. If this worked…If they removed his Horcrux from him, this was one step closer to being won but there was the chance that he would die in the process. If he died, Draco died. There was so much on the line. There would be no waiting though. Dumbledore’s plan to let him sacrifice himself wouldn’t work, no matter what he thought. Draco would die and there would be no resurrection for him. Harry had to survive this. He had to.
The reasons about Severus lying were now known. Hope. Secrecy. There was the chance that if anyone knew about this, they could spill the secret and Voldemort would find out. There was also the fact that Draco would demand to be there. Harry didn’t want Draco seeing this. He wasn’t even sure that he wanted Severus or Lucius to see this. He didn’t know what it entailed but he was sure it was going to be gruesome.
A door opened and Harry was lead through alone into a room. There an old woman sat in a chair. There was a table with straps on it. After a few minutes the door behind him opened and three Goblins stepped through. He could see Severus standing outside the door. Severus nodded at him as the door shut.
“Please, Lord Potter, can you lie down on the table.” One of the Goblins said. Harry nodded and did as he was bid. He felt the straps being wrapped around his ankles and then his knees. His hips and stomach were next. His chest and head were last. He could feel the magic on the straps. The magic she was casting was bleeding all over his own. Suppressing it and building it at the same time. The shuffle of robes alerted Harry that the old woman was standing up. He tried to relax. The woman started to mutter and within seconds, Harry felt the room start to spin and closed his eyes to try and not to throw up. The magic the woman was laying on his was intoxicating. He felt the magic in his core thrash out and he tried to rein it in only to find he couldn’t. He wasn’t in control of his own magic anymore. His magic was ebbing and flowing on its own.
The woman paused and started to utter louder. All the hair on Harry’s body started to stand up. A spark of electricity started at the tip of his toes and ran to the top of his head. The world went black and Harry was left staring at avoid of white light. When the blinding light was gone, he was left staring at a hallway. He could see his father’s dead body lying there. A hand reached out and Harry knew the hand. This was Voldemort’s memory.
The want to escape raced through Harry’s body. He didn’t want to see this. He didn’t want to do this. Voldemort walked down the hall with Harry watching from his eyes. Voldemort stopped for a few seconds before opening the door to the nursery. He watched as his mother spoke but her words didn’t travel to Harry’s ears. He could only watch. It felt like years but it was just over a minute and Harry was watching as she fell to the ground. His vision blurred slightly and he felt a jolt of something.
Voldemort moved to the crib that Harry was in. It was the first time Harry remembered seeing himself on that night. He was crying. His face was red from the forces of the cries. Voldemort reach out and ran a fingernail down Harry’s cheek before taking a step back. Voldemort’s wand came back into sight and Harry tried to scream out as he watched the jet of green fly from the wand but it didn’t stop. Instead it flew at him and hit a shield of purple before flying back. He watched as Voldemort’s body fell to the ground in front of him. He stayed up where he was. It was seconds and then he was on the move. Going towards his own child self and Harry felt the Horcrux blend with himself.
Jerking awake, Harry found himself sitting up. The straps that had been holding him down were burnt to a crisp and lying on the floor. Harry over at the old woman. She was inside a shield of blue. Looking over at the Goblins, Harry found them inside a shield of the same. A whisper had Harry looking to a far side of the room. The room was lit up white and there in the corner was a mass of wispy black. Harry stared at it as it tried to fly at him.
As the mass neared him it slowed. Harry looked at the old woman quickly. She was looking in horror at the mass. His gaze went next to the Goblins who were also looking in horror at the mass. Harry turned back to the mass and stared at it. He knew the idea behind the Horcrux. It would not survive outside of host or an object that was made to handle it. The mass flew at the Goblins first and then the woman. When their shields flared a brighter blue, the mass flew straight at Harry but as soon as it got close the door to the room burst open and there Draco stood. As soon as the mass got inches from him face, a shield of green flared around Harry and Draco. The mass started to vibrate and then disappeared into thin air.
“Draco!” Lucius yelled as he ran into the room. Severus was on his heels.
“It’s fine,” the old woman said as she stepped up to Severus. “The evil inside is gone. The boy’s own magical protection repelled the spirit as soon as I freed it from his soul. His protection…It’s very powerful.”
“The protection of love always is,” Severus stated as he stepped up to Harry and pulled his son’s eyes to look into his own. Harry never knew what he was looking for but Severus had told him that he had seen the shadow on his soul in his eyes. It would never be there again.
Draco moved over to stand by Harry.
“I felt it. I felt it try and kill you. I Apparated to the front steps and the Goblins rushed me in here. It seems that Severus thought I might feel it.”
“I’m glad. It’s gone, Draco. It’s completely gone and I’ll never have to deal with it again.”
Chapter Ninety Three-Nonverbal
Harry spent Christmas break thinking about what he was going to do now. His life wasn’t as cut and dry at it seemed. He had a life he could have now. His life didn’t have to end when Voldemort’s ended now. As much as he searched, he couldn’t find the shadow in his mind or his magic anymore. The anger that he had kept in check for his whole life was just gone. He had always figured that it was his own anger. Anger for what had happened to him that caused him to have to be sent to live with family that didn’t love him to losing the only blood he had left in a horrible fire. He hadn’t loved his aunt, uncle, or cousin but no matter what he hadn’t wanted to see them killed for just having him living with them.
Finding out that the anger that had always been there was not his own had been liberating in a way that he never knew possible. He was for the first time ever carefree for a few days. His homework was done and there was so much of Christmas break left that he could really enjoy himself. He knew that Voldemort wasn’t going to attack. He was nowhere near powerful enough with Death Eaters to attack. He was down two of his most powerful and if the rumors were to be believed, there were others who were leaving his ranks as well. The Lestrange brothers would stay just to get a shot at Harry for killing Bellatrix.
Sleep didn’t evade him anymore. There was no need to wander around and no need to do other things to tire his body. Draco had been put out a few days after Harry’s return to the school to find Harry asleep like a baby instead of awake and waiting for him.
Christmas day came and went in a flurry of presents and family. The only family members missing were that of Remus and Sirius. Remus was still playing the grieving widower and so he chose to stay behind on his first Christmas without his husband. Only those who lived at the manor knew that it was not the truth. Remus had sent his gifts to everyone with Narcissa.
The first day of term dawned very early for Harry who had not got much sleep the night before thanks to his now husband. Draco was still asleep in the bed beside him. Harry leaned over and kissed Draco’s forehead before crawling from the bed. He quickly made his way to the bathroom to clean up. He looked in the mirror before noticing that the scar had faded. The scar that had defined him for so long was nearly gone. If one was looking for it, it could be spotted.
“Morning,” Dean said as he entered the room looking very much like death warmed over.
“Late night?” Harry asked as he set about spelling off the stubble that was growing on his chin. It was faint but there. Draco had talked to him about going to a cosmetician and seeing about getting it removed but Harry didn’t want to. It would be a good disguise if he ever needed it. With the scar faded, it would be easier for him to hide now.
“It’s what I get for not doing my homework before the night before it’s due.” Dean gave him a weak smile before disappearing into the showers. “Unlike others who have very good reasons for staying up all night.”
“You’ve never mentioned it. Does it bother you?”
“Nope. As long as you both keep warding it so that we don’t have to hear it, have fun with him all night if you want. Might give the rest of us a chance with the girls. Two of the hottest boys of our age are out of the running. It might also give some of us a chance to try and beat you in grades too.”
“Fat chance,” Harry laughed as he entered a shower a few down from Dean’s. He quickly showered. He was hungry and wanted a good choice on breakfast before many others got there. He was not looking forward to the start of this part of the school year. The first part had been focused on spells and proper rules with a little of nonverbal thrown in. Severus had let the group of them know that many of the classes this half of the year would require nonverbal spells for many of its lessons. There were some spells that Harry could do nonverbally but so many of them were hard even for him to do. He had Defense Against the Dark Arts for his second class and that was the one that he was more worried about. Charms was going to be easy and Transfiguration hard but Defense was going to be the worst.
The sound of more feet entering the showers pulled Harry from his thoughts; he started to rush through his showering so that he could get out of there. With towel wrapped around his waist, Harry left the bathroom and grabbed the clothes he wanted to wear for the day under his robes.
“Bloody hell!” Seamus’s voice rang out from the bathroom and Harry ran quickly to see what was wrong. He looked inside to see Seamus looking at a stall that was closed. There were five shower stalls so that all five boys could shower at the same time. The stalls were small but big enough for them to do what they needed to do. Ron and Dean were staring as well. “Neville showered last night and he’s already down at breakfast.”
“Then that would be Draco,” Harry sighed. Ron started to laugh. Dean cracked a smile. “Thought there was a ghost, Seamus?”
“Wasn’t sure what it was, just knew that you were done.” Seamus stepped into his stall and started to shower. Draco had used the one that Harry had finished using. Harry was surprised that he hadn’t seen him enter the bathroom. Harry just shrugged it off and stuck his head inside the curtain.
“Going to breakfast.” Harry popped his head out before Draco could spray him. Harry rushed down to the Great Hall to find that he was one of only ten that were sitting down and eating. Harry sat down beside Neville at the Ravenclaw table. He was sure that Neville was waiting on Luna. The Ravenclaw table was where the group of them sat more often. It was the least full table of the four of them. Many of the upper year Ravenclaws ate quickly and were spending all their free time in the library studying.
“Good morning, Harry. Coffee?” Neville offered Harry a carafe of it. Harry looked at it in shock. It was the first time that he had ever seen coffee being offered. Strong, black tea yes, coffee no. “The carafe disappears if a student under sixth year tries to grab it, that made my morning. A third year was so tired that she couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t grabbing it. She just figured she was that tried. Headmaster came around and told her that she needed to stick to tea, milk, or juice.”
Harry laughed as he poured himself a small cup. He didn’t want much but it would help wake him up. A hand on the back of his head and his cup being snatched from his hand alerted him to the fact that Draco was there. The cup was replaced in his hand and he heard a small sigh of relief. Draco seemed to live on coffee on the days he didn’t get much sleep and over the summer, that had been a great deal of them.
“Bloody well finally. I am sure this is father’s doing. I wonder what they had to do to get the House Elves to brew it right. Proper little Elves that think that only tea exists.”
Neville started to laugh and when Draco turned to give him a glare with an eyebrow raised, Neville couldn’t control himself anymore and hunch over laughing, trying to catch his breath. Draco just smiled and filled his plate with food. Harry ate a few pieces of meat and little eggs but ate more toast and fruit.
“Ready for nonverbals, Neville?” Ron asked as he sat down. He looked at the carafe with a funny eye before he looked at Draco who was filling his third cup of the stuff. Ron’s eyes lit up and when Draco sat the carafe down, he grabbed it up quickly to fill his own cup. Harry had finished his and switched to grape juice. Classes were due to start in just under an hour and Harry wanted to look over his homework for Ancient Runes and Defense Against the Dark Arts before they were due. When he was finished eating, he stacked his plates up and then set out his homework, the plates would disappear on their own in a few minutes but Harry wanted to start to work then.
Ancient Runes was easy. Professor Vector took up the homework and then started on the new lesson. Harry paid attention with fervor. He found it easy to pay attention. There nothing that distracted him, even when Hermione would sit in her seat and bounce when she knew the answer to a question. Class passed quickly.
Ron and Draco were still in the Great Hall; Harry passed them on their way to Defense. Ron was laughing at something that Draco was saying. Those two got on a lot better than Harry had even hoped. Ron had grown stronger because of the friendship. So many of the traits that Ron had exhibited over the years were gone. He wasn’t fickle anymore and he was strong enough to see that Harry got the brunt of negative attention and it no better than no attention. Draco shone from the friendships he had outside of his house. The Malfoy name was growing to be a name for good. Harry knew that was because of him.
The group arrived outside of Defense and found Lucius not there. Lucius was always in the classroom before even the first student could arrive. Just as the bell rang, Severus entered the room. Harry reached under the table and held Draco’s hand. That didn’t mean that something was wrong.
“Good morning, students. Professor Malfoy is taking a break today. He will be back at your next class to torment you but for today, I get that pleasure. One class a week until the end of term I will be taking over as your professor. The only thing that Professor Malfoy lacks is a great grasp on nonverbal spells. That is where I come in. I am rather great at them.”
Harry snorted and Severus turned to stare at him. Harry knew that the majority of his spells that he cast were nonverbal. It was part of why Voldemort had wanted him as a Death Eater; he was great at Potions and a great dueler. The class that followed was brutal and Harry was happy that he didn’t have a class until afternoon. He was so wore out and looking at the classmates he found them looking much the same. Poor Ron and Neville looked like they could barely walk. Neville would perk up quickly. The magic that had marked him as a possible enemy of Voldemort wouldn’t allow him to stay down and out for long. Ron though would take a little longer. Thankfully he had no classes until Potions as well. Hermione and Draco had just the break and then it was on to Arthimancy.
“He’s offering remedial classes,” Neville stated as he caught up with the group.
“Really?” Harry asked. He knew that Severus didn’t hate teaching as much as he acted like but still offering remedial classes to any student was a step out of the shell he had created for himself.
“Every Wednesday night after dinner and every Sunday afternoon before dinner. I saw the post in the common room this morning. I hadn’t linked it to him teaching it until just now. I think I’ll sign up.”
“Me, too,” Ron said as he dropped into a seat in the Great Hall. A plate of biscuits appeared on the table and Harry grabbed one before Ron could. A carafe of coffee and a pitcher of juice appeared along with a plate of scones. A pot of hot tea was next. The group of them scarfed down the food and another appeared. The more magic they expelled, the more hungry they got. After a brutal lesson like they had just had, all of them were ravenous. It was like they hadn’t eaten breakfast. That was part of the reason that many Potions masters were on the plump side. They rarely expelled magic out and didn’t burn as much food as others. It’s why Aurors were rarely on the large side while they were active in the field. More biscuits and scones appeared as more students arrived. Harry smiled at a group of seventh years that all dropped at a table across from them.
“Here’s to nonverbal magic!” one of the Seventh years called out as he picked up a scone and raised it up before stuffing the whole thing into his mouth. They must have had Severus right before them. He wondered how they fared in their class that had followed.
Harry sighed and pulled out his homework from Ancient Runes and started to work on it. The only homework they had for Defense had been to practice nonverbal spells. That would come later in one of the ground floor class rooms that had been set up for spell practice.
After the break and the third class of the day, with the arrival of Hermione and Draco back to the group, a group of Fifth years also came into the Hall. They looked beat. The food and drinks arrived for them just as they did the Sixth and Seventh years.
“He’s a sadist,” one of them muttered. The boy looked up and he found Harry. “Was he this bad with you growing up?”
“Worse. He expected perfection from me,” Harry called back just as Severus entered the room. He smirked and walked up to the main table where a cup of something appeared and a plate of scones. He watched over the groups of students that arrived as their classes finished and they arrived for lunch as well as those who were using the Great Hall to study in. Harry could tell that he was enjoying what he did. Severus loved Potions but teaching spells to people was what he loved to do. Harry was great at Defense and good at Potions for a reason. It was part of why he wanted the Defense teacher post. Unlucky for him the year that he could have gotten it was the year he was made Headmaster. Harry wondered how Defense would have gone with him teaching it all.
Chapter Ninety Four-Open Door
Harry arrived a little early to the weekly dinner he was to have with Severus. He was hoping that he would be able to eat early and then go out for a final spin on his broom. There was a faux match tomorrow between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. He wanted to be at his best for it. It wasn’t a real game but it was a game nonetheless. He hated under performing at anything. It didn’t help that Draco bet that Hufflepuff was going to win. That had ruffled Harry’s feathers but he was sure that was what Draco was going for. Draco had taunted him that if Gryffindor won, Harry could top for a week but if Hufflepuff won there was no sex for a week. Harry was sure that not having sex for week would be fine under normal circumstances but being told he wasn’t going to have any…that was something completely different.
The door to the Headmaster office was open. Not the inner doors but the ones that were guarded. The guards looked put out but Harry didn’t pay them any mind, they always looked put out. It was still odd though. When Dumbledore had been Headmaster the doors were never just open like that. Dumbledore valued his privacy as much as most dark wizards did. Harry walked up the stairs slowly, wanting time to think about it. Severus has always valued privacy. He had his reasons and Harry understood all of them. It had taken a very long time for Severus to show Harry the Dark Mark. Harry knew what one looked like. Severus had shown him images within days of coming to live with him. He needed to know who to fear and run from. That he was keeping his door open.
The sound of Severus talking low surprised Harry as much as the open door at the bottom of the stairs. Harry found the inner door open as well. It wasn’t standing wide open but instead was just open a crack. Enough for the sound to travel out but leaving those outside the room unable to hear what was being said. Harry peeked inside to find a First or Second year sitting in a chair and Severus was crouched in front of her. His hand was on her knee and in his other hand was a handkerchief. She took it from her and blew her nose. Harry tried to move back but he hit the wall with his foot in the process. Severus looked up and the girl spun around to look behind her. Harry opened the door and entered. The girl looked at him in shock before she tried to scramble from the chair. She was a Hufflepuff, Harry could tell from the patch on her robes.
“I have a standing dinner with Harry but we can talk tomorrow morning about this. A good night’s sleep might help. If you have trouble falling to sleep, go see Madame Pomfrey. She will give you something to help. She aware of what has happened.”
“Yes, Headmaster. Thank you.” The girl reached forward and gave Severus a quick hug before she bolted from the room. Severus was looking at her retreating form in shock. Severus was used to hugs from him and sometimes from Draco but no others ever dared to hug him.
“Keep it up and all the girls will be hugging you and some of the boys as well,” Harry said with a smirk. Severus glared at him before sitting down at the table they ate at. It was cleared of most of the books that usually adorned it as Severus used it for a work station in the days before and after their weekly dinners.
“Tensions inside the castle are rising as more and more deaths are happening at the hand of Death Eaters and more of the Dark Lord’s followers. Poppy has had more First through Forth years coming to her for potions to help them sleep than there are Fifth through Seventh. McGonagall mentioned that it might be nice if some of the professors had open office hours where students could come to them to talk about whatever they wish. It started after we resumed classes after break. I’ve had more Slytherins come to me than any other student. Many wanting ways to break from their family and not have to serve the Dark Lord. Others just coming I think to find out information to pass to their parents Master.”
Severus rung a small bell and their dinner arrived on their plates. “And her?”
“She is the first non Slytherin and Gryffindor that has come to me.”
“I’ve had a few of them as well. Mainly the boys. They don’t feel right going to McGonagall about some things. I assume that the male Hufflepuffs go to Flitwick about any questions like that or one of the other teachers. I have my door open most of the time but few dare to cross the threshold. When young Miss Meriwether entered, I was afraid that something else was wrong. Her father left her mother when she was young He’s had no contact with her since she was four. Word arrived this morning that her father and his new wife and three of their children were murdered two nights before by the Dark Lord.”
“Bugger.” Harry set his fork down and focused on Severus.
“Yes, well. She is unsure how she should feel about. She barely remembers him and yet those around her are acting like she doesn’t have feelings because she is not grieving for the father she lost. There are also those who are whispering because she is not grieving her siblings that she had never met. She was not even invited to the wedding.”
“You said three of…”
“Yes well it seems that the oldest was out of the house. He was born just three months after her father left her mother, which was only three months after she was born. He’s eleven and will be transferring here from France. His only blood family is his grandparents on the father’s side and they live in London.”
“So a half-brother that she never knew about and he’ll be here?”
“There is a good chance he will be in Hufflepuff with her.”
“Poor child. When does he arrive?”
“In the morning. I’ve spoken with young Evan and it seems that he knew about her and hates her because it was the reason that he was born a bastard and his mother and father only married after he was born. He thinks that his father only married her mother because she had got pregnant first. There was no mention of the fact that his father got two women pregnant at the same time.”
“I see. Don’t worry. I’ll help keep an eye on her.”
“Good. If your group takes a shine to her, her brother will find it hard to be able to do much.” Severus started to eat again and so did Harry. The rest of the meal was quiet and it wasn’t until dessert that Harry broached the subject again.
“So why the change of heart for Professor McGonagall?”
“The board was made aware of why so many students refused to come back to Hogwarts this year.”
“Yes?” Harry asked as he settled back in his chair with his cup of chamomile tea. His pie could wait.
“It was the coldness of the teachers and the fact that Dumbledore was never here. The Governors feel that if they had made the public aware that Dumbledore was being replaced with me earlier and that I was the one who had raised you….so many of Britain’s children would not be across the pond, or in Beauxbatons or even Durmstrang.”
“Many went to America?”
“Actually about half but many of them were because of wanting to get away from the war. Already many that stayed on the continent are applying to come back next year.”
“That’s good. The school had seemed a little empty this year.” Harry leaned up to finish the last few bites of his pie. “I want to try and get an hour of flying in before bed.”
“Draco will be out there.”
Just as Harry got to the door of the room, Severus cleared his throat. Harry turned back.
“I was having trouble in the beginning talking to them. I stumbled on words and I had trouble just consoling those in pain. Especially when I was the one to tell them that someone in their family was dead. It wasn’t long before I was talking to them like I learned to talk to you. Then the words came easily.”
Harry smiled at Severus as he turned to face his father fully. “You are taking to your job with more grace than anyone would have thought you could.”
“Something that Lucius loves to remind me on a near daily basis. Go now so that you have a little bit of light left to fly on.”
Harry nodded and left the room. He thought about the changes he had seen in Severus as the school year had gone on. The changes for him were small but he had dealt with Severus in a different way than almost all the people in the world had. He had seen a Severus that was worried about him. He had seen a Severus that was so angry at what Voldemort had made him do. He had seen all the emotions that Severus was willing to let him see. The rest of the world was now seeing Severus for the first time.
The Severus the world was seeing was still not even the real Severus. Before Harry he had hated most Gryffindors. He hated them because all of them were painted with a James Potter and Sirius Black brush. Gryffindors were the ones who made his life a living hell. It wasn’t until he took Harry in and started to see all the kids in the school for who they really were that Severus’s attitude towards teaching changed. He was the one who warned Filch about children out of bed hoping they would learn a lesson. He was one who steered the twins into places where they could do the most damage but yet not harm anyone, especially himself. He protected those around him as much as he could without being seen as protecting them. Now he could show the world.
Severus Snape was a man with a dark past but he was coming into the light. Harry would never consider him a light wizard. He had too much ruthlessness in him for that but he was a gray wizard. The world needed more gray wizards. Many light wizards hated to get their hands dirty with dark things. They screamed and hollered that things needed to be done but would never think about doing it themselves. Gray wizards would do what was needed. There were even some dark wizards that were not evil. There were some light that were. The world was filled with shades of gray and Harry had never seen them until he had been taken in by Severus.
The world that Severus had shown him had been a world of wonder but also one of heartbreak. This world was going to save him but it had taken his mother and father from him and was promising to take him own life. Severus had offered him the chance once when he had been nine. To walk away, leave England and go to South America, Australia, or even Africa to live. Where he could live his life to the fullest. Marry have children and never have to worry about becoming Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. For a day that’s all they had talked about. Harry had chosen Australia to go and plans had been made. Harry Potter had become Harry Ingram. Severus had made all the identification needed. All the things they wanted to do were discussed and wrote on paper.
Then one morning, Harry woke up and looked at the world outside his window. As much as he wanted to what he and Severus had talked about. He knew there had been no way for him to do it. He was rooted in Britain and that’s where he had to stay. He got up early and went down and packed up all the things. He wanted to burn them so that he would never have to think about the life he could have had. Instead, he packaged them up and hid them in a book. One day he might want to go and do it. Just take a year of his life and live for him. Instead of taking Severus though, now he would be taking Draco. It was a future he could live with.
Chapter Ninety Five-Just a Normal Day
Harry looked up at the sky, trying to spot Draco in the sunlight. It was only a few minutes into the match between Slytherin and Ravenclaw. He could see Cho but Draco was nowhere to be seen. Slytherin was already up by two goals and it didn’t seem that the Ravenclaw Chasers could keep their hands on the Quaffle. The Ravenclaw team was a great team but it didn’t seem that they could keep their hands on the Quaffle. It would all come down to Cho and the Snitch to see who would win. So far Gryffindor was in the lead but not by much. Each team had only played once. This match would determine how much Gryffindor would have to beat Hufflepuff by to get the led for the final stretch of games. The good thing was that they played the final game of the season. So far the Ravenclaws were the weak team of the year and since Gryffindor played them last, Harry didn’t think it too much of a challenge but the Ravenclaws could surprise the entire school.
A streak of green caught Harry’s eye and he followed Draco’s line of sight. There was nothing there. Harry smirked when Cho took off after him and as soon as she was close to catching up, Draco stopped flying. That was something that Harry and Draco had discussed. Cho rarely went after the Snitch on her own, rarely looked for it because she figured that when the other Seeker sighted it, she could go after it and get there first.
So intent on watching Draco, Harry didn’t notice until the Ravenclaws cheered loud that they had scored. He listened for the announcement and found that they had scored fifty points. The teams were now tied. Draco looked pissed. Harry waved at him, not even thinking that Draco would see him but the Slytherin waved back and blew a kiss at him. Harry stuck his tongue out. Draco was playing with him at the same time that he was messing with Cho.
Harry saw it before Draco or Cho. The Snitch was flitting around underneath the Ravenclaw middle goal post. Harry tried not to telegraph that he was seeing it. He heard the cheers go up at the Slytherin stands along with Pansy and Blaise making satisfied sounds. Slytherin was now up ten. It didn’t really matter. Both Keepers were good enough that they were stopping most of the goals. This game would come down to the Snitch. Harry tried to find it again but it was gone from his sight. He watched as Slytherin made another goal putting them at seventy. He smiled and let Pansy take a hold of his arm and link it with hers. Pansy was grabby and touchy but he knew that about her. He pitied the husband she landed in the future. The man would feel like a prized dog. Always having to stay in touching range when out in public. Draco told him once that it was a byproduct of her upbringing. Her parents never touched her if they didn’t have to. Even as a baby, a House Elf changed and played with her.
The sound of cheering drew Harry’s gaze fully onto the field where he saw Cho heading after the Snitch. Draco was on her heels but he wasn’t going as fast as he could. The Snitch was playful. It was darting left and right. The Snitch was predictable in its unpredictability. Just as Cho got really close, it moved to the left and back where Draco was waiting, catching it in a barely outstretched hand. The put Slytherin at four hundred and twenty points. Gryffindor had two hundred and ten but still had two matches to go. Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff was just two weeks away. Hufflepuff had two hundred points so it still was any teams’ game.
Tracking Draco’s descent as he handed the Snitch to Madame Hooch. She took the Snitch and placed it in its box. Harry knew that Draco wouldn’t take to his team that much. Draco wasn’t much for pep talks or yelling at them. He let practice speak for how well the team was doing. It was a good way of doing things and Harry himself had adopted a pattern like it. He was bullocks at giving pep talks. After the rest of the crowds left the stands, Harry and his group made his way to the Slytherin exit from their rooms and waited. Draco was the last out and surprised to see everyone there. Everyone but Harry gave their congratulations and then left, leaving Harry and Draco there alone.
“Still up for it?” Harry asked as he leaned back from the kiss that Draco had given him.
“Always,” Draco said with a purr. Harry laughed and shoved at his shoulder.
“I meant the date.”
“I know what you meant and I know what I meant.” Draco started up towards the school, leaving Harry to catch up with him. Draco had sent his broom with one of the other team members to be taken back to his dorm. Harry caught up with him easily and looped his hand around his waist. Draco looped arm around Harry’s waist as well. Harry just enjoyed the feel of Draco against his body as they walked, silent up to school. Harry let Draco lead the way to the room they were going to use. After the fiasco of last year, Harry decided that all dates were going to be held anywhere but Hogsmeade. Draco had agreed.
After a few weeks of looking for a place in their spare time, Draco found a room in the dungeons that was unused and was perfect for them. It was completely empty. Draco had their dinner already in there, waiting on them. It was just meat and cheese sandwiches, crisps, and some sweet iced tea but it was still nice. Harry sat down on the blanket after Draco spread it out. Draco sat and spread out all the food before he lay down and put his head in Harry’s lap. Harry smiled down at him and ruffled his hair. Draco stuck his tongue out. Harry filled a plate with sandwiches and crisps before setting it down on Draco’s chest so they could both reach it.
In silence they sat for a long while, just enjoying being alone. There was a subject that both of them needed to talk about but neither wanted to start the conversation. They had been dancing around it since the Horcrux had been removed. The future. The immediate future of what they were going to do come summer and the far future of what they were going to do after Voldemort was dead. That was the one subject that the boys never wanted to talk about. The future was taboo. Before the break Harry had never thought that he was going to have a future. The removal of the Horcrux was what gave him a future. Draco was who made him want to have a future. The bond was a plus but he hated that they did it on accident. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be bonded to Draco but there was still the chance that Harry would die when he faced Voldemort.
“What are you thinking about?” Draco asked. Harry looked down into his face and cupped his cheek.
“I guess this is the time, isn’t it?” Draco’s face fell a little and he sat up, his face jerking from Harry’s hand. Harry swallowed at the sight of Draco looking so forlorn. When Draco was fully seated, Harry pulled at him until he was curled against his chest. Draco let himself be pulled in. Draco settled against his chest, taking refuge in it. “It’s getting closer. March is a week away. We have so little time.”
“Severus thinks that if Voldemort is going to attack it will be during next school year. He wants all of us to get complacent. Voldemort will want us to get comfortable.”
“Does he know about the Horcruxes?”
“I don’t know. Severus never got word of him looking for the ones that he destroyed a few years ago. Who knows if destruction of the one he didn’t know he made would affect him. There is only the snake left.”
“What are you going to do if he doesn’t bring the snake to the confrontation?”
“Severus and Lucius have that figured out. They have plans for that. They won’t share them with me. I’ve asked all the time.”
“They like their secrets and now that the whole world knows most of them, they are playing tight with the ones that they have left.”
Harry nodded and dropped a kiss on Draco’s head. Draco snuggled back farther into Harry. The plate of food lay mostly eaten on the blanket, forgotten by both of them. Draco quickly grabbed one of Harry’s hands and wrapped it around his neck, like a scarf, tucking his head so that he his chin was resting on it. Harry wrapped his other hand around Draco’s stomach, holding the Slytherin to him, tightly.
“We have a little over a year left here at Hogwarts. I know that everyone wants me to be an Auror but that’s not what I want. When I am done with this messy business with Voldemort, I don’t want to look at another dark wizard or witch until the day that I die.”
“I can’t blame you for that. What do you want to do?”
“Sit back and get rich and blow ridiculous amounts of money on myself and my husband?”
“You’d be bored in a week.”
“I don’t know.” Harry sighed. He’d never thought about what job he wanted after the war. He wouldn’t have to get a job. He had enough money right now to live off of it and be as spendy as he wanted without running out. As the years went by he was just going to make more. The Goblins would make sure of that. The Goblins love money and the more that he made, the more that they made. “We don’t have much time left to be ourselves.”
“No. I can feel the world tighten around us. The days grow longer but our time shortens.”
“The removal of the Horcrux sped things up. Before that it was just a possibility but Severus didn’t want to force a confrontation until it was gone. Now…”
“Now you have a larger chance of surviving the coming war. There is also the chance that Voldemort will force a confrontation if he figures out that his Horcruxes are destroyed, leaving Nagini somewhere safe.”
“I don’t think that he will create more. Severus told me that even he feared splitting his soul too many times.”
“Voldemort has seen what you will do.” Draco said nothing else; just let the words hang in the air. Harry knew what he was talking about. Bellatrix’s death at his hands at the end of last year. He still felt no sorrow for the death just that he had to be the one to do it. It was Bellatrix or risk that she would kill or torture someone else. Harry couldn’t take that chance. She had been the horror of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. The wild card that no one knew what she was going to do.
Draco turned around in his arms and leaned up to kiss him, sitting down on his legs and knees, straddling Harry. Harry looped his hands around Draco’s waist, cupping Draco’s ass and pulling him to him. Draco moaned into the kiss and deepened it. Harry knew that Draco was trying to distract him from where his thoughts were going and it was working.
Summoning a pillow, Harry leaned back, lying on his back and bringing Draco with him. He wasn’t in the mood for sex but comfort in the mouth of Draco, which was what he needed. To just feel and not think but not have a rush or a care in the world. It would be an hour before anyone really noticed that they hadn’t come back. Draco and Harry spent a great deal of time flying over the past month. It cleared their heads and helped them. Of course there was only a few that knew that Draco’s broom hadn’t been left with him and the Slytherins didn’t care much what the two of them did. They had an hour and Harry knew how to use it.
Chapter Ninety Six-The Final Blow
Harry was alone in the library. Slytherin was practicing on the pitch because Harry and Draco’s teams were tied and Slytherin’s game versus Hufflepuff was just two weeks away. Now that it was so close, the teams were practicing separately. Harry and Draco would watch over each other’s matches and none of the teams minded. Today though, Lucius was watching the practice. Harry had grabbed some books on a visit to Gringotts stuck in the back of the Black Family Vault. Sirius had found that his mother had placed a great deal of books there before her death. She had hoped it would keep them from Sirius’s hands but she never imagined him getting out of jail and being able to access them. Remus had sent him word and just yesterday Harry had gone to Gringotts to get them.
The first three books had nothing that Harry could use and there were only two left. Harry was nearly done looking through the fourth. It was full of wonderful spells used to make ones enemies suffer but not die but that was no quite what he was looking for. There were diseases that were troublesome, some that were debilitating and other that were just disgusting. All of them Harry had never heard of. He was sure that they were treated by Healers and those Healers were paid good money to never speak of them again. It was all disgusting but Harry wrote a few down on his notepad to use on Death Eaters and others. Draco would love the book so Harry set it on its own on the edge of the table. Sirius had told him he could have whatever books he wanted.
Sighing and sitting back, Harry rubbed the bridge of his nose under his glasses and relaxed for a few seconds. He was at wits end. It was the beginning of May and there was nothing. He had found nothing to fight Voldemort. Voldemort had a leg up. He had secrets and spies, Harry had no spies anymore. Lucius and Severus were no longer Death Eaters of his ranks. Voldemort though had spies everywhere.
Harry had spent the first part of the school year searching about their twin cores, his own wand would cast no killing spell at Voldemort and win. The wands were brothers and have no want to destroy each other. One of the two of them would have to get a new wand. Voldemort was searching for one, Harry was sure of that. All his dreams that he had glimpse of had him searching. Ollivander had been under protection and those Aurors protecting him had stopped the Death Eaters from taking him. The only rumors that Harry had heard was that Voldemort was searching for the Elder Wand.
All the research into the Elder wand had been done just weeks before. One Sunday all of Harry’s friends had helped him. Hermione had to be caught up on what the Deathly Hallows were but in the end, it was all just fairy tales. The cloak, the stone, and the wand were just myths. Harry had liked having something not dark to look for. It had been a welcomes break. Luna of course knew the most about the objects. Her father was an avid believer in them.
Knowing that he was stalling, Harry picked up the last book and settled down to start working on the final book. After he finished this one, there was no more. There was no spell out there that could destroy Voldemort without killing him. There would be nothing. Harry opened the cover on the book and started to flip through it. It was full of spells that Harry had never heard of, which wasn’t odd. All the really dark books were like that. What caught Harry’s eye was that all of them were not dark. This was a book of gray spells. Harry flipped back to the outside cover and found no words on it. There were no words on the title page either. In the bottom corner of the title page was a set of initials. Harry couldn’t make them out. This book was not what he was expecting at all. To be found in the Black Family Vault, a book of gray spells that wouldn’t kill a person but would stop them…
Flipping back the page he had been on. He looked at the spell and broke out into a smile. This would work perfectly. He read the following seventeen pages on the spell. It had lasting consequences. It was a horrible spell to someone like Voldemort. To Voldemort it would be death.
Harry reread the pages and quickly gathered up all his things. He shrunk the books that he didn’t need; making a mental note to mail them back to Remus for cataloging in the Potter library. He grabbed the book for Draco and made his way from the library. He stopped in the dungeons and dropped the book off with Blaise with a message for Draco to join him in the Headmaster’s off as soon as he could. When he was done, he stopped in Gryffindor tower and dropped off all of his things except for the book.
Severus was seated at his desk, looking over papers when Harry entered. Lucius was sitting at a chair with a book in his hand. He knew that the two of them were always together. It was their own method of protecting each other.
“You look triumphant,” Lucius drawled as he closed his book and stood up to move to stand beside Severus. Harry stepped up the desk and set down the book. Harry was expecting some kind of reaction but just to have Severus and Lucius look between each other and Severus to stand was not it. Severus moved to the window and looked out it.
“What?” Harry asked.
“I was hoping this day would come later. Closer to the end of the school year. When I could…take you away.”
“Take me away?”
“I know what that book has inside of it.” Severus turned and moved to touch the book. His hand ghosted over it like he was scared to touch it. “What Sirius never knew was that this book…it’s your legacy.”
“My legacy?” Harry asked. He looked in Severus’s eyes to see happiness there.
“This was created by three brothers, Antioch, Cadmus, and Ignotus Peverell. When the first two died, Ignotus left this with his sons and it passed down the family line to come to Charlus Potter who gave it to his wife Dorea Black. There it came to rest in Grimmauld Place where it was forgotten. Somewhere along the way the sons of Peverell had a daughter and she married a Potter and thus the Potter line was created.”
“You knew about it?”
“I knew it existed. Who do you think planted the idea for Sirius to send Remus to the vaults to find it?” Severus opened the book to the back and pointed at writing. There were the names of the three Peverell brothers. “There exists only one copy and its only rumor. I knew since it was not in the Potter library it had to be somewhere in the Black holdings. I knew there existed only one spell that could do what you want to do to the Dark Lord. There has only been whispers of the spell over the years. It was only used once and when it did…the thing the Americans call the Bermuda Triangle was created.”
“I…” Harry stopped talking. Lucius rounded the desk and placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“Once this spell is started, it can’t be stopped. If you stop it, it will destroy you.”
“I read that. I’ve read what needs to be done to start it up.”
“It’s a simple spell with such devastating consequences for both the victim and the caster,” Severus’s voice was soft but Harry heard him still. “Then there is the fallout.”
“The entire family line…does that mean…?”
“The Death Eaters? Yes, they have his magic on their arm. All the Death Eaters will be caught up in the storm. All Death Eater will be found out before the spell is finished what it will do to the Dark Lord.”
“Why had no one else ever used it?” Harry asked his voice barely above a whisper.
“Because the world has never been as bad off as it is now. There has never been someone who would risk the personal risk to them.”
“Yes. To risk their death to not kill their target. To risk the backlash to all their blood relatives. To risk so much. You…you have no blood children and no blood family left that would be hurt by this spell,” Lucius said as he shoved at Harry’s shoulder to have him sit in a chair. Harry went willingly.
“I don’t have enough magic power to do it though,” Harry stated.
“That is where the castle comes into play. The castle will have enough power. If the battle takes place here as we want it to. You will be able to do the spell, if it doesn’t. There will have to be other measures. We can manipulate things a little but it all comes down to the Dark Lord. He is the one making the decisions about this all. We have to make him think that attacking us here at the castle is the best option. That is what Lucius and I have been doing.”
“You knew…you removed your Marks because I would never do this with those Marks attached to the two of you. I wouldn’t sacrifice the two of you for him.”
“That’s what sets you apart from him.” Lucius was there crouched beside him and he felt like a child. The sound of the door opening stopped Lucius from saying anymore. Draco was standing there with the book that Harry had left for him in his hand and a look of tiredness in his eyes.
“You needed me?”
“I need to discuss something with you…” Harry stood and picked up the book from Severus’s desk. He handed it over, opening it the first page. “Read it. All the way to the end of the section. Don’t stop until you do. Don’t ask questions.”
Draco nodded and moved to the chair that Harry had just vacated. He sat and he read. Harry knew where he got to the important points. The look of happiness on his face followed by the look of outrage and then sadness then determination. When Draco had read the last page he closed the book and set it on the desk. He turned to Harry.
“It’s the only way, isn’t it?” The only thing that Harry could do was nod. Draco leaned forward and kissed Harry. It was a simple kiss and held such love in it. When Draco pulled back. “We have a lot to do.”
“You aren’t afraid?”
“You won’t die. You can’t die. We have a life together to live.”
“I have to put my foot down and tell you Harry that if you die because you attempt this outside of this castle, you won’t like it. I’ll resurrect you and make you suffer for it.”
“Go and tell you friends. You have an hour until dinner and I expect to not have the other student over hear this. You are a Sixth Year and you shouldn’t be scaring the younger students. Keep the discussions where no one can over hear them. I don’t want the Dark Lord finding out about this.”
“I’ll use the Room of Requirement. We haven’t had to use it at all this year and I am sure that it misses us.” Harry smiled as he spoke. He reached forward for the book and picked it up.
“What’s that other book?” Lucius asked as he looked at his son’s hand. Draco turned and smiled as he held it up. He watched Lucius go a little pale as he swallowed. “I’ll kill the mutt for this.”
“What is it?” Severus asked.
“The book of spells that the Black Family has been keeping for years. Spells that are used on enemies to make them squirm and not always because of a short term effect. Narcissa is disgusted by that book and has sworn on several occasions that she would never use them on Death Eaters. Black gave it to Harry, who gave it to my son.”
Harry laughed as he left the room with Draco on his arm.
Chapter Ninety Seven-Pity
Harry looked at the group of people seated at the table in front of him. It was a round table and every one was seated where they wanted to be. Draco was on Harry’s left, where he should be. Luna was on Draco’s left with Neville beside her. The twins were next. Blaise and Pansy were next with Hermione beside Pansy and Ron was seated on Harry’s right. When it was all of them together, this was the order they seated themselves in. Draco and Luna got along splendidly despite how crazy Luna acted. Neville enjoyed talking to the twins and so did Blaise. Pansy and Hermione got along like long lost sisters. It was a group that on the outside, anyone would think would never work. They did though. All had been tested and all came out on top. Harry trusted all of them to stand beside him and back him up for the rest of his life, no matter how long that was.
Ron was the first friend that Harry had made after Ron. The first person to see him as a person and not gawk at who he was.
Hermione had been a challenge to understand but in the end, even when he thought Severus was mad for saying that he needed to make friends with her, he was happy that he had.
Neville had been meek and timid and not at all sure of himself at all. After just a year of being around Harry, Neville had stood up to the only friends he had.
Fred and George had been the balm to Harry’s soul that not all the humor could be worked out of every single situation. They proved over and over that just because it was funny didn’t mean it wasn’t useful. Their joke shop was going to be the only thing protecting some out there.
Luna had been the surprise to the group. She had snuck in on her own and made a place for herself before anyone had noticed that she wasn’t really supposed to be there.
Blaise and Pansy had been the proof that not all Slytherins were evil. That not all the friends that Draco surrounded himself with were dark. They had pushed themselves into a tight knit group of friends and proved that those who were of Slytherin stock could be true and honest.
Then there was Draco who was the only one that was keeping Harry sane through it all. He was Harry’s first friend and Harry’s love. That Draco was now his husband was something that Harry still marveled at. Draco had been there for the darkest times in Harry’s life and hadn’t questioned anything Harry had done. He would support Harry in everything that he wanted to do.
This was Harry’s group of followers. He was sure that the literature about him and them after the war was ended would call them his followers and equate them to Death Eaters. They were each better than ten Death Eaters because they chose to be with him and swore no loyalty oaths but would still walk with him into a burning building. They believed in him and didn’t fear him. They were as far from Death Eaters as anyone could get.
“Harry?” Luna’s soft voice called across the table.
Harry raised his head to see everyone looking at him. He smiled at them and nodded his head at each of them. “Sorry. I was lost in thought.”
“Draco said you found something…” Pansy let the words trail off as she looked at Draco.
“I found a spell that when done correctly, will strip Voldemort of all magic.”
“Turn him into a Squib?” Ron asked.
“It’s worse than that. Anyone who shares a magic with him will lose theirs as well. Voldemort will become a Muggle. He won’t even be able to see into the Magical World when the spell is done with him. He’ll know it exists and he will know that he won’t be able to touch it. His Death Eaters will face the same treatment. In one swift movement, all Death Eaters will be known by their sudden loss of magic.”
“There exists no such spell,” Blaise stated, firmly believing what he was saying.
“It was used once and the caster had not the magic to sustain it. He failed in the destruction of his foe and the backlash that ripped him apart spread his magic over the land. Or sea as the case may be. He failed and the Bermuda Triangle was created.”
“What if you fail?” Hermione asked her voice a whisper.
“I don’t know. The spell is simple and easy to do. All that is needed is for me to cast it. There are protections that are suggested but not required.”
“What kind of magic goes it require?” Luna asked.
“A lot of it. Only one can cast the spell and the only thing that person can draw on the magic of is something not alive but full of magic.”
“Like Hogwarts,” Hermione said. Harry just nodded. “How?”
“There are ways. Severus has demanded that I not do the spell at all unless I am here at the castle. They are going to try and force Voldemort here at the end of next year to have this out. I don’t know if Voldemort will wait that long. He’s not as patient as he would have people believe. With the loss of his two greatest Death Eaters, the only thing that he has on him is surprise. The rank amounts that we know of are not large and his last two greatest Death Eaters want my blood and they don’t care how they get it.” Harry heard Draco’s intake of breath. He hadn’t planned on telling anyone his secret. He wasn’t planning of any of it at all but with the Lestranges gunning for him and from the last reports willing to kill him no matter what their master wanted, every one of his group needed to know.
“The Lestranges, Rabastan and Rodolphus.”
“Why would they be after your blood?” Pansy queried. Harry knew that Pansy and Blaise would see it. Wizards were only out for blood when blood was spilled. He watched as the light dawned in Blaise’s eyes. He knew. It wouldn’t be long before Pansy figured it out. Pansy turned to Draco to look at him for confirmation. Draco nodded his head but kept it down afterward. Draco knew what was going to come. The twins and Luna would have no issue with it. Neville well he was who Harry was unsure about. Hermione and Ron though…they would not understand.
“What?” Hermione asked looking between the three Slytherins and Harry.
“At the Department of Mysteries at the end of last year, it wasn’t Voldemort who killed Bellatrix for failing him. Voldemort is a mean, vindictive, and hard bastard but he cared for Bellatrix, there was little that she could do wrong. She had just supposedly killed Sirius. She hat taunted Neville with had she and her husband, brother, and Crouch had done to his parents. She was a wild card and she needed to be taken from the fight. As long as she lived, there was no one who was safe. Fudge would have never had the kiss given to her. He would have locked her up again and Voldemort would have broken her out.”
“Harry…” Neville’s voice was trembling. Luna stood up and moved to pull Harry into a hug. Harry let himself be pulled into it. Draco had gotten him used to affection and where once it wasn’t welcome, now it was. It was perfectly welcome and Harry gripped Luna tight, not letting her back away.
“You killed her?” Hermione asked, her voice dripping with disgust. “You’ve actually killed someone?” Hermione stood up and tried to leave the room but Ron jumped up and grabbed her.
“What would you have him do? Let her go and let her kill and rape the minds of more innocent and virtuous people?” Ron asked.
Harry was shocked, he expected Ron to be on Hermione’s side. Hermione stopped struggling in Ron’s arms. She slumped into his body and he held her up.
“I’ve seen it since then, he’s becoming more and more a gray wizard which I think is what we need. I could never do half of what he does because I am a light wizard, my entire family is. The last Wizarding War was full of light and dark wizards but the gray wizards were pushed to the side.”
“Yes, I killed her,” Harry interrupted Ron but Ron didn’t say a thing. “I would do it again. I don’t feel sorry for what I did. I hate that I was the one to do it but no one else would have. Lucius and Severus have enough blood on their hands. Dealing with what I did, I would rather not kill again but I will if I have to. The other side would kill us without a thought and while we need to stay separate from them, when it comes down to it being them or us, I will always want us to win.”
“But that makes us no better than them!” Hermione yelled.
“No, we feel remorse.” Draco stood up. He moved over to Ron and Hermione and made her look up at him. “At the end of the First Wizarding War when all of their fates were being decided, the death penalty was brought up but since there had been so much death, it was thrown out. My father called it weakness. And it was. Look at who would not be here now if that would have happened. Yes, my father and Severus might not have been here but neither would anyone who could have helped Voldemort. He would have had to have created a whole new group of followers, if he had even been able to regain his body without followers. Crouch would have been dead. The courts are biased and stupid. Look at what happened to Sirius.” Draco stopped talking and looked at Harry. Harry stepped up to Hermione and she threw herself into his arms.
“Through no conscious effort of mine, I killed Voldemort when I was one, Hermione. I killed Quirrell in our first year here. My touch killed him because he was housing Voldemort in his body. I killed a basilisk in my second year, a beautiful creature that if it hadn’t been perversed by Voldemort it would have protected the school, given the right direction. My life was always going to be filled with death. You are a wonderful witch but this world is not perfect, it’s not even near close to perfect and it needs a lot of fixing. Death Penalties are horrible but they are needed. The Dementor’s Kiss is a good thing, to an extent. All those who are given the Kiss still need cared for. It’s better for all those around them to just kill them. It sounds horrible but we have proven that Azkaban will not hold them. It didn’t hold Sirius and he was there illegally. What hope would the world have if we stuck Voldemort there?”
“None,” Hermione whispered.
“I know this was a shock but Voldemort knows that I killed her. He saw it. He won’t keep that a secret. I know it will come out at the worst moment and I couldn’t wait for you all to find out that way. This group of people will be the ones that the world focuses on when the world starts to look at me. Nothing that you do will hurt me, I won’t let it. Now is the time to make your decisions. Right now is the turning point. If you decide you would rather be in the shadows, go with my friendship. I will not turn from you but some are not made for the spotlight.”
“You know that we are behind you, Harry,” Luna said as she settled in at Neville’s side, standing. The twins were smiling. Harry knew that those two would never turn against him. Pansy and Blaise were right behind Draco now, standing at his wings as it were. They had looks of determination on their faces.
“We could never leave you, mate,” Ron’s voice came from behind him. Hermione gripped his tighter, telling him that she was with him.
“This is why I pity Voldemort. He was so obsessed with blood purity and having people who were scared of him, he never got loyalty. Not like this. He was never happy with what he had; he always wanted and needed more.
Chapter Ninety Eight-Marked for Death
Harry was alone when he noticed Katie Bell for the first time. She was staring at him blankly from across the library. He closed up his book and stuffed it inside of his bag alone with the notes he had been taking. He had a paper to finish that night and he had wanted a little quiet time to finish his notes before finishing his paper. He never took his eyes off of her though. He didn’t know why she was just staring at him like that. He stood up and she traced him with her eyes. That’s when he noticed the package that was in her hand at her side.
There was no one else inside of the library. Harry listened hard but found no noise at all. There should be the sound of breathing or even the rustle of paper but there was nothing. He didn’t even think that Madam Pince was in the giant library at all. Harry started to worry then.
Shouldering his bag, Harry moved away from the table and then moved towards Katie, giving her a smile as she did.
“Harry, I go this for you,” Katie said as he neared her. She held out the package. Harry started to reach for it but stopped. Instead he quickly cast a few charms and felt his magic surge out. He felt it react in a way that it hadn’t in quite a long time. He dropped his hand and took a few steps back.
“Why don’t you set it down on the table and I’ll get it after I check out my books?” Harry asked. Katie jerked like she wanted to set it down but also like she didn’t want to as well. Harry started to fear for her. There was one spell that he knew that he could cast and not have to worry about using a wand. He waved his hand and pictured Draco with him, smiling as he thought about the words to the spell. A small wisp of silver launched from his hand and then travelled off out of the library. Harry started to move backwards away from Katie but she followed him.
“Harry, you need to take this.” Katie’s eyes were filling with tears. “Please Harry. It hurts that you won’t take this from me.”
“My father is on his way. I want him to see my face when I open it. You are so wonderful, Katie. So much a wonderful person for giving me this gift. I just need you to hold onto it for a few minutes longer while I wait for my father. If I take it from you I will open it and then he won’t see my face.”
That seemed to work. Katie stopped moving towards him. Harry had directed her to a littler used area of the library. He wasn’t as afraid of something coming around and spooking them from there. Katie stopped with the package held out. Harry hoped that Severus came quickly. He didn’t want to have to knock Katie out. He was sure that she had either been on the bad end of a compulsion potion or she was Imperiused. Either way it wasn’t good at all. As soon as a noise sounded from behind her, Katie jumped and she started towards Harry.
A tripping hex had Katie falling down and the package fell from her hands as she also fell. Harry jumped back as the package bounced a little before coming to a rest just at Harry’s feet. He used his hand to float the package to a table at the same time that Katie started to move towards him. He put her in a body bind and then quickly put himself between her and the package. He kept his back to the package. He wasn’t that scared of it. He was more scared of her. She was the wild card. She was the one that could harm him. The package was safe as long as no one opened it.
Severus and Lucius rounded the stacks and focused on his immediately. Severus moved towards her while Lucius moved towards Harry.
“What happened here?”
“She came to give me the package there behind me. I cast a few spells on it and felt something really dark in it. She’s been Imperiused or at least given a compulsion potion. I don’t know which. I didn’t feel safe taking the Imperius off of her. I’ve never done it before and I feared how much I could damage her.”
“You did the right thing, Harry,” Severus said as he moved towards the package after checking to make sure that Katie was okay. Severus was quiet and he moved his hands all around the package without touching it. There was silence inside of the library as he tried to figure out anything about the package. “There are no spells on the package itself.”
“How did it get passed the wards?” Lucius asked.
“That is a good question. We also need to figure out who did it.” Harry moved towards Katie and touched her face. She couldn’t move and Harry was happy about that. He quickly touched her forehead to his and he thrust out with his magic. Legilimency might have worked but Harry wanted to make sure that there were no secrets hiding in her head.
He started when she woke up that morning. She was worried about getting all her studying done before having to go to classes and such for the day. She was worried about a lot of things and all of them had driven her out to the gates. The memory started to fade but Harry pushed past the fading and standing there was a Death Eater. He was in robes and Harry couldn’t tell who it was. It wasn’t until the Death Eater moved that Harry figured out it was Voldemort.
Voldemort had done something to get the package pasted the wards. He had done something to Katie and had turned her into this. Harry pulled back from her mind and as he did he ended up taking her curse with him. He could feel it right then and there. He blocked the memories so that she would never have to remember it. He didn’t want her to feel guilt for what she didn’t do. He released the body bind curse as soon as he was fully from her mind.
“Harry?” Katie asked as soon as she came out of it. She looked around at Severus and Lucius. Her eyes went right to the package and then back to Harry. “Harry what happened?”
“Nothing. I stopped it. You’ll be fine. I need you to go to Professor McGonagall and she’ll make sure that there is nothing else wrong with you.” Dobby appeared at Harry’s side and held his hand out for Katie to take it. “Dobby will protect you.”
Katie nodded and took the House Elf’s hand and in a second they were gone. After they disappeared, Harry moved to the package. He took the lid off and there nested was a necklace. The only spell on the package was one that muted the darkness of the necklace.
“This spell is unnatural. It’s an abomination against nature. Hagrid needs to go to the forest and see if there is a unicorn dead and drained of its blood. I recognize the magical signature from the books I’ve been reading. The only way to destroy this necklace is Fiendfyre. We need to get rid of it as soon as possible.”
Harry capped the box again and it disappeared.
“Who would do that?” Severus asked.
“If I had touched it, it would have taken a chunk of the castle with it. I suppressed Katie’s memories of today. It wouldn’t do for her to remember that Voldemort was the one who had charmed her and almost broke her mind.”
“Here?” Lucius asked as he looked at Harry. “Why did you send her off?”
“When I was in her mind, the second that I got there the curse started to fade. When I suppressed the memories the rest of the curse broke. I didn’t need to worry about hurting her. Her mind wanted the spell gone. I think that if it had been someone other than a Death Eater or Voldemort, she would have been able to throw it off but it was and she was trapped.”
“So he doesn’t need you alive anymore?” Severus asked. His voice was so hollow. Harry had never heard that tone from him. He knew the issue though. If Voldemort was willing to kill him from a distance and not face to face then that meant that Harry wasn’t safe at all. Every single child in the castle was a threat. Harry turned to Lucius to see the other man as pale as Harry had ever seen him. If Harry died, Draco died. This was not good. Not good at all. “We need to alert the other Professors. This entire school is under the chance of being treated like Miss Bell. Every single person in the world is a pawn to him.”
“It would be best for me to leave the castle.”
“End of term is days away. Take your exams. Don’t wander around the castle alone. I’ll have Dobby start to prepare your food on his own, both yours and Draco’s. Don’t eat any food that Dobby doesn’t give you.” Severus pulled out a piece of paper and started to write on it. Harry let him finish. He rolled up the paper and tossed it in the air. As soon as it hit its apex, it disappeared. Harry knew the spell but he hadn’t mastered the use of it like his father had. “We have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.”
“When term is over, I am going to stay here. Let Voldemort come here and face me. Let Tom Riddle think he is trapping me. I’m ready for the spell.”
Both men turned to look at him. Harry didn’t care about the looks they were giving him. The only thing that he was missing was a new wand. He wanted to keep him Holly wand but he needed a second wand. He had yet to find one that would work for him on a reliable basis. Nearly all the wizards in the world never needed a second wand much less a second wand while he still had his first. He turned and quickly left the library. He grabbed the package on the way out and moved to the basement. He found one of the completely empty classrooms and started to ward the room. He knew that he could control the Fiendfyre but he wanted to make sure that no matter what no one could enter the room.
He set a cushioning charm on the floor and ripped the top off the box and tossed the necklace onto it. The necklace bounced but stayed on the charm. He cast a ward around the necklace and it would hold it still while Harry cast the Fiendfyre. He could feel the badness even as he closed the ward. Fiendfyre was easy to cast and control when one had power. Harry knew that he had power. Fiendfyre had come to him easy before. Now that his magical core was expanded to its extent. He was sure that he would have no issue with the casting.
Fiendfyre would stay small if the caster wanted it small. Harry shoved at the fyre until it surrounded the ward around the necklace. He knew it wouldn’t take long for the fyre to consume the ward and then the necklace. He could feel it all and it was so strong that he could almost see it as well. The fyre wanted the necklace. It wanted to eat the power that it had. When the fyre touched the necklace, Harry felt the small dark part of himself flare up. The death of the curse and the boiling of the unicorn blood it had been soaked in excited him.
As soon as the necklace was gone, Harry shoved at the fyre until it was gone. It had fought him, strong on the blood and the curse but Harry won in the end, as he knew that he would. He felt tired. He felt drained. He needed to eat and get a good night’s sleep and he would be back to normal.
There was still a lot that he needed to do. He needed to tell Draco of what they had learned that day. That was going to be hard.
Chapter Ninety Nine-Broken Hearted
Harry was used to seeing the castle as empty as it was. The rest of the students had been gone for a week now. The professors were still there and Harry’s friends came and went. Voldemort had made no more attacks on Harry. In fact, he had been quiet and Harry didn’t like it.
Hedwig brought his mail to him every single afternoon. His solicitor still went through all of his mail but the hate letters and other such things were decreasing since the school year was out. He was keeping out of the public eye and while the world still hadn’t fully accepted the fact that he was raised by a former Death Eater the fact that the students had been safer at the school that year than they had in all the years before meant that the public was tolerating Severus as the Headmaster. Of course the deal with Katie Bell at the end of the school year hadn’t been made public but it didn’t need to be. It could have been anyone. Voldemort could have done it to professor and no one would have known.
The stack of mail he had in front of him was higher it usually was. He looked at the mail and sighed. He wasn’t sure he wanted to go through all of it. He smiled at Hedwig as she hopped around on the table trying to get his attention. Harry broke off a piece of his bacon from his sandwich and fed it to her. She hooted at him and then took off to rest for the rest of the day.
Pulling the first letter from the stack, Harry felt the charm on the envelope. It was fading but it was there. He cast a few spells and knew what the charm was. It was invisible ink. There was been two letters wrote upon the same page. As soon as the letter was opened by his solicitor, he active the charm and after a given amount of time, the hidden words were taking the place of the visible words.
Harry grabbed the rest of the letters in the stack and felt over each and every single one of them. There were six more. He pulled the letters from their envelopes and spread all seven of them out in front of him. He started to read the first one.
You may not care about the people being hurt in your little feud with You-Know-Who but there are people who you have deemed beneath you to care about getting hurt. You need to hurry up in the business of killing him and getting it done. You are now out of school for a few months and now would be a perfect time to take up the sword and do what you should have done years ago. I am sure that your Death Eater of a father would have given you all you needed to kill him years ago. Why you haven’t before now is a mystery.
War wracked this county for years before and it wouldn’t do to have it happen again. In the war between you and him when you were a child, there were too many that died. You are the only one that can stop him and you need to do that now before things get out of hand. Good people, innocent people die every single day that you are toiling around and no doing what you need to do.
A Concerned Citizen
Harry sighed and moved his eyes to the second later. It said much the same as did the next four. It was the last one, letter number seven that held more information.
In the battles between the Gods, it’s the little people that lose. In the fight between good and evil, it’s the innocent that lose their lives. How many innocents are going to lose their life before you decide that it’s time for you to do something about the evil in our world?
You need to step up to the plate and take care of evil. It’s your destiny to take on the evil of our world. If you have forsaken that destiny, then you need to just disappear. You give us all false hope by staying in the world.
If you do nothing then we will know the truth. That Death Eater who raised you has turned you evil and you are just putting up a front.
Harry piled the letters into a stack and turned to the small fire that was burning in the grate. The morning had been chilled and he had lit it. He tossed the papers in one at a time and watched them burn. He grabbed his traveling cloak and made his way out of the castle. No one noticed him leaving. He could have talked to Draco or even Severus about this but there were two others that he wanted to talk to.
The apparition point came up on him too quickly. He needed to stop losing himself in his thoughts. He wasn’t on guard and now was not the time. There was one point on the grounds of the Devon house that he was the only one alive to know about. His father had told him about it. The wards in the house would let him through if he thought of that point and only that point. He thought about that point and in seconds, he was there.
He opened his eyes to the sight of the forest all around him. Zook was right there. The House Elf smiled and took his hand. Harry knew that he would have been able to find the house but having Zook lead him would be quicker. It was just minutes later and Harry was looking upon the side of the house. He frowned at Zook as the elf dropped his hand and moved to the outer wall of the house. He watched as Zook’s hand passed through the wall and then the whole elf did. Harry followed and found that there was a door it was just open.
“I’s opens it as soon as I felt you pass through the wards. Severus not tells me or Dobby that youse be arriving today.”
“What is this?”
“Master Potter tells I and Dobby about it. It’s a quick way in and out of the house for the Potters.”
Following the elf, Harry appeared up in the wing of the house that his room was in. He made his way to the library and as soon as he entered, he made sure that no one could enter. He was sure that Remus and Sirius knew that he was there but unless he sent for them, he hoped they wouldn’t try and find him.
“Harry?” his mother was in a painting that was nearer to the door. Her hand was stretched out like she wanted to touch him.
“How did you deal with knowing about the prophecy about me?” Harry asked as he moved to the edge of the library. There was a giant window that had a pillowed bench stretching across it. He sat down and looked out. It looked out into forest. There were no people or elves in his sight.
“What have they done?” his father asked as he moved to the closest painting to Harry. His mother was right behind him.
“Does the whole of the Wizarding world think that they can just do what they want and then when things get so bad, they have a savior to fall back on? Do they take no blame on themselves?” Harry turned to look at both of them. “They create a world that births Voldemort and his followers and then they look for others to fix it.”
“Harry, what is going on?” his mother’s voice was soft and Harry almost didn’t hear it. If he hadn’t seen her lips moving he never would have understood her.
“I receive letters on a daily basis. Anything that is angry or just stupid never makes it past my solicitor. The wizards of the world have gotten smart. They charmed their letters so that what he read was not what I was going to read. I received seven letters like that today. Six of them were the same. Blaming me for the deaths and telling me to handle it before the school year starts up again. It was the seventh letter though that really got me. The writer akined me to Voldemort if I do nothing to stop him. That I am dark and much like the battles of the gods before it’s the innocents that get caught up. Basically, if I am not going to take care of all evil in the world, I will need to leave because I give them false hope. The world at large needs to grow a pair.”
“Harry, it’s the way it’s been. We don’t like it but there is little we can do.”
Harry turned to stare only at his father for the words he spoke. “So I need to take care of everything that pops up because they can’t do it for themselves?”
“It’s the foundation of Wizarding Europe. Look at Merlin and King Arthur. The rest of the world won’t look at you to wipe their runny noses if they have broken arms but Wizarding Europe is different. The Ministry for Magic has bred the peoples to always look to others to do what they can’t or what they think is too hard.”
“I won’t take it. The Wizarding World as a whole has broken my heart in so many pieces.”
“It’s what we never wanted for you. We did our level best to remove Voldemort from the world up until it became known that he was after you. Then it fell to Remus and Sirius and they tried so hard.”
“You know pup,” Sirius’s voice came from the edge of the room. Harry turned to find him and Remus standing there. “That was all of our goals as we heard the prophecy. We never wanted you to have to face him. Especially without our parents there. We did what we could and we are sorry that it was enough.”
“I mourned you when it made it around that the Dursley’s had been killed and you were believed to be in there.” Remus stepped closer and sat down in the window with Harry, at his feet. “I was kept under guard because the Ministry didn’t want me to find the Death Eater who killed you. They feared I would become another Fenrir. You were the child of my heart.”
“I bided my time until I could escape and get the Death Eater and the person who placed you there. Dumbledore sent you to a place where only he knew where you were with a Squib and a little bit of warding as your only protection. He knew what kind of humans they were and he wanted that. He thought that you love of your dead parents would be enough to keep you there, that you would be so thankful to have a little bit of family that you wouldn’t even think about leaving.” Sirius moved to his shoulder and stood there. “When I the news made it to me that you were alive and at Hogwarts and that no one knew anything about who raised you and who was protecting you, I was happy. Someone was taking your life seriously. It took me two years to build up enough to actually leave the prison.”
Harry smiled at the both of them.
“I need to respond to these letters. I am going to do it on a global scale so that the world will be looking here.”
Harry Potter Responds to Those Who Doubt Him
In an attempt to force me to fight Lord Voldemort, there has been a recent string of letters telling me to fight him already and get it over with since it was interfering with the lives of lesser beings. I was alluded to be a God and that my battle was laying waste to the innocents of the world.
The only reason that I haven’t fought Lord Voldemort is because of the backlash from the fight and what it will mean to the ‘innocents.’ I could fight him right now and every single person who goes with me would probably die and countless others.
If the world wants him taken care of before I am ready to, the world can step up and take care of him on their own. I am still in school and haven’t been taught everything I need to take him down. I don’t know what the world thinks but I am still a child. I may be an adult by the matters of the court but I have a lot of learning to do before I can be considered a full adult.
If you want a child to take care of your problems, you will get what you get. Step up and take care of yourself and quit looking at others to do what you need to do.
This appeared in all world news outlets including Witch Weekly and countless other personal interest magazines. There was only one place it never appeared, The Daily Prophet.
Harry told his parents of his plans to disappear and let the world fend for itself for a few years. He will need a few years to get his head around it. He just didn’t know how to break it to Draco.
Chapter One Hundred-Sacrifice
Percy Weasley entered the school like he owned the place. With only the staff and a few students being there, no one really noticed him. He watched as everyone moved about the castle for three days before he made him move.
Harry and Draco were spending the day in Hogsmeade getting things they needed and wanted when they saw Percy for the first time. Harry waved his hand and Percy waved back. Draco knew how strained that relationship was and had took a few steps back hoping that Harry could convince the wayward Weasley to at least talk to his family. Draco kept an eye on the crowd. There was a larger crowd than normal because it was summer and there were a great many travelers to the area. There were so many faces that he didn’t know and a great deal of them would pause when they figured out who the both of them were.
Staring was such a large part of Draco’s life now that he barely noticed it at all unless it lasted a long time. He focused his eyes everywhere but at Percy Weasley. He didn’t want his staring to be the reason of Percy leaving before he and Harry had a chance to talk. Moving a few steps away, Draco noticed there was a man who had been staring at Percy and looking at nothing else. Draco subtly drew his wand and the man saw the movement turned his gaze elsewhere. Draco kept his eye on the man.
He was so focused on the man that he didn’t notice Harry and Percy moving away from the crowded streets and into a back alley. When Draco scanned the crowd again, that’s when he saw Harry disappear around a corner. He quickly moved after him. As Draco turned the corner, he saw Harry on his knees. Draco was raising his wand when he felt the spell hit him.
Percy had been waiting on him, knew that he was going to round the corner. Draco watched as Percy kicked at Harry’s chest. He fell backwards and Draco wanted to wince when he heard Harry’s head hit the ground with a crack.
A rustle of fabric alerted Draco to the fact that they were not alone. The man who had been watching Percy appeared in front of Draco. He knew now that it was all a trap. The man had been waiting for Percy to make his move before he appeared. It was probably some Death Eater.
“And now, Harry, you die. I have been asked to kill you and leave your body for the traitors to find at the gates of the castle.” Percy raised his wand and a flash of green appeared at the tip. Draco heard nothing, no words only the sound of his world ending. He knew what that spell was and Harry couldn’t dodge it. Harry couldn’t even turn to look at him. This was not how it was supposed to end.
Draco watched the flash leave the wand and jet towards Harry only to be stopped by the man jumping in front of it. Percy looked at the man in shock as the man fell to the ground dead. The only indication of the death was the fact that his face was changing. What had looked like a man of like fifty years turned into the face of Albus Dumbledore. Draco was so shocked. He stared at the face of the dead man as the features fully settled.
“Incarcerous!” a voice yelled and Draco looked up to see Harry standing with his wand pointed at Percy who was standing there looking on in shock. It was a few seconds later when Draco felt a new spell wash over him. He felt his body free itself and he rushed to Harry to touch his face. Harry pulled him close and Draco just let himself hold him. Draco pulled back after a few seconds and looked at Harry’s face.
The cry of Fawkes had both boys turning to look as Fawkes appeared with Lucius and Severus in tow. Both men looked at the dead body and then at Percy.
“We got a message from Dumbledore brought by Fawkes that Voldemort was making a move today. Then we were being taken by Fawkes.” Severus leaned down and checked Dumbledore’s pulse. “What happened?”
“Percy wanted to talk to me about his family and what he could do. Then he said that there were too many ears and he was afraid of the Ministry finding out he wanted to leave and he asked me to go with him into the alley. I turned when I heard a noise and I was hit with a Cruciatus curse. When I was on my knees, he put me in a body bind. He cast some spell at Draco next as he rounded the corner and then he cast Avada Kedavra. I knew I was going to die then and then a man was jumping in front of me. Percy hadn’t seen him at all. As he felt down, dead, he turned to look like Dumbledore. He sacrificed himself for me.”
Severus looked at Lucius and then down at Dumbledore’s body. Draco wasn’t sure what the look was that passed through them. It was almost like Severus was asking Draco’s father a question. He had no idea what the question was though.
Draco felt the rush of magic before he could even look away from the adults. Percy was jumping after his wand where it had fallen. As soon as he had it in hand, it was flying away into Harry’s hand. Percy looked up in shock and before he could think to run, a stunner hit him from Harry.
A crack was heard in the alley and all faces turned to see Scrimgeour there at the mouth of the alley with a letter in his hand.
“The DMLE is on its way. I have Aurors in the area taking all parties away from here.” He turned to look at Harry as Draco stepped in front of him. Harry though barely paid attention. He was bending down taking Dumbledore’s wand from his robes. There was a look on Harry’s face that Draco couldn’t describe. Scrimgeour took a few steps towards them and held out the letter. Harry took the letter and started to read it. Draco could feel the emotional bleed from him and knew that whatever was in the letter was making his partner mad.
“Where did you get this?” Harry asked as he closed the distance between himself and the other man. He raised Dumbledore’s wand up and held it up at Scrimgeour’s throat. Draco tried to take a step up but found an invisible wall stopping him. His father and Severus were right there with him. Draco saw the letter at his feet and leaned down to grab it. Draco read it over, aloud.
“’I, Albus Dumbledore, of sound mind and body do so write this so that I may make the world know what I have done. I leave all of my possessions to be given out as seen fit by Minerva McGonagall. Upon my death, a great many things will be become known. I have kept Rufus Scrimgeour under the Imperious curse since he helped Harry Potter years back on matters of his wand and the rights to be kept in school. I have used him to try and force Harry Potter to come to me for help and this has caused a chasm between the teenager and the government with which he lives in…’” The letter went on but Draco stopped there. He looked up at Harry in shock. No one had understood why the man had changed his path so suddenly not long after Harry had about been taken from school but now they understood.
“I appeared on my desk as well as a note to arrive here at this time. Fawkes dropped it off before disappearing as sudden. I am so sorry for what I have done. I tried so hard but I never won.”
“Dumbledore was just a touch away from dark but no one ever saw it,” Harry stepped back and put away Dumbledore’s wand up his sleeve. Draco knew that was where his other wand was and that the holder could hold two but Harry had never felt the need to carry a second wand. Lucius and Severus hadn’t noticed that it hadn’t been Harry’s wand that he had been using. Draco would wait to ask him about it.
“I’ll take custody of Weasley and you can go back to the castle. I will make it known that Weasley was after Dumbledore and got him. I’ll leave your names out of it. Go now before anyone arrives.”
The wall dropped and Severus grabbed Harry’s hand and Lucius grabbed Draco’s. In a flash they were gone. When Draco could see again, they were in the Forbidden Forest. Right at the edge farthest from the castle. As soon as Severus dropped Harry’s hand the teen took off. Severus went right after him. Draco took a step to follow but Lucius cleared his throat. Draco turned to his father.
“This is something that Severus needs to do.”
Draco nodded and stayed with his father. He wanted to go after Harry but knew that he was right. This was something that Harry needed to talk to Severus about. Harry had been different since the day that he had disappeared from the school and had been found in Devon just a week before. He had tried to talk to Harry about it but the teen just brushed him off. He would talk about it when he felt like it.
Severus watched as Harry paced around the room. He had read the article that he been published just the day before. Harry hadn’t even warned him about it. He had just found it when Sirius had brought it to his attention. He had told Harry that he was allowed to make his own choices when it came to his life and he had to agree to what the boy did.
Settling down at the chair in the corner of Harry’s room, Severus waited. Harry would talk when he had his thoughts all put together. The portraits of his parents had been tight lipped about what the boy had talked to them about the week before. He figured that it had to do with the article was about. A cup of tea appeared at his elbow on the small table and Severus took it.
“He thinks that I will forgive him.”
“Obviously.” Severus’s voice was dry. He knew who Harry was talking about. The old man had fixed a few things but had broken many more. The backlash from Scrimgeour hadn’t even started. The whole of the Ministry was going to be checked over, he was sure. There was also the issue that Percy Weasley had been sent to kill Harry. The death of Albus Dumbledore was convenient in so many ways. Harry wasn’t going to have to watch over his back for that betrayal but the fact that someone sent Weasley was troublesome. Was it Voldemort trying to kill the boy or was it someone else.
“He thinks that his death will wipe the slate clean as far as him meddling in my life and trying to get me killed over and over again.” Harry stopped moving around and sat down on the edge of the couch. “You and Draco haven’t asked much about last week.”
“We both feel you will talk to us about it when you feel you can.”
“I’ve been making plans. You and Draco are my closest family. There are other like Sirius and Remus and my friend but you two make up the core of it.” Harry started to pick at an invisible spot on his robe. Severus wasn’t sure what to make of that.
“And?” Severus tried to sound calm but he was anything but. He was worried about his son.
“When this is over. Before the dust settles, I will be leaving. The Wizarding World broke my heart and I need time. I don’t know how long but I won’t be in contact at all. I’ve talked to the elves about it and they will not come and find me unless someone is dead or dying. I need you to agree to this.”
“Lucius thought that you would want to do something like this. I agree that it’s needed but you know that I don’t like it.” Severus kept his eyes away from his son’s form. He didn’t want the sadness to show to him.
“He always understood me in ways that you sometimes couldn’t.”
“Make sure that we know you are fine when you leave. Don’t just disappear disappear on us at the final battle. I couldn’t live with not knowing if you are alive or not.”
“You have my word.”
“Does Draco know?”
Harry shook his head and it was the only answer that Severus got. He knew given Harry’s body language that the time for talk was over. He left the room with a pat to Harry’s shoulder.
Chapter One Hundred and One-Consequences
Lord Voldemort had been expecting word from his little spy before now. He had figured it would be simple to do as he asked. No one would expect the Weasley boy of trying to kill Harry Potter. The Potter boy had outlived what he could help him with. The boy was becoming an even bigger thorn in his side than his parents had but he wasn’t stupid like his parents. He trusted no one that Voldemort could turn against him. The boy was protecting himself better than anyone that Voldemort had ever seen.
“My Lord?” a small voice spoke from the edge of the room. Voldemort looked at one of his newer Death Eaters. Lowest on the food chain. It must be bad news if he was the one being sent to give him the news of Weasley. Voldemort waved a hand and the boy entered the room and behind him was Weasley. Voldemort stood from his chair and moved over to get the news when he fully looked at Weasley. The boy had been kissed. Pinned to his chest was a picture of a dead body but it wasn’t the one that Voldemort wanted. No this was Dumbledore’s dead body. Underneath that was a simple sentence. Your assassin missed.
“Kill him and burn the body. Leave!” Voldemort only raised his voice a little but the Death Eater looked like he was going to piss his pants. He pulled the kissed Weasley out of the room and shut the door. Voldemort felt like killing someone but he had be restrained. He had few Death Eaters and little money. When Potter had pulled the Malfoy’s from him not only did he take a Death Eater and a potential Death Eater from him he took most of the money he needed to enact his plan. When Snape left his group, Voldemort lost a quick and easy way of making money with potions. The boy had spoiled so many of his plans.
Even the hunt for the Elder wand as going slowly. He had lost track of it long ago and hadn’t been able to pick up the trail. The Resurrection stone was long gone from his grasp but someone unknown and the Cloak as in the hands of Potter with Voldemort having no way to get a hold of it. He was only interested in the wand though. The Deathly Hallows were important only to those who believed in the tales. Voldemort wanted the unbeatable wand. He needed it to face Potter again.
“My LORD!” It was Gainsly, a Death Eater who had newer to the ranks but had proven to be intelligent and resourceful. Voldemort used his wand to open the door to admit the man. In his hand was a picture. It was of Dumbledore. It was a special edition of the news. It was Dumbledore laid to rest in a tomb of some kind. It was a quick burial if he was already there. “I have found it…”
“It?” Voldemort asked. He had Gainsly looking for so many things.
“The wand. The Elder Wand.” Gainsly shoved the paper at him and Voldemort looked into the picture and there laid a wand. It looked unremarkable. It was the wand the old man had always had. “Grindelwald had it. When Dumbledore defeated him years ago he became the master of it.”
“Stop them from killing Weasley. I need him alive.”
Gainsly ran from the room and Voldemort followed at a sedate pace. As soon as he was in the room with the kissed man, he raised his wand and killed him. The Elder Wand was now his to control. He just had to get the one from Dumbledore’s body and use it. Potter had no chance now of stopping him. He would have to move up his plan of attack. He had spent the year trying to figure out where Potter and his group were hiding but had found nothing. What Weasley had sent back to him though was that the group for the most part was staying at the castle at the moment. No one would expect him to attack the school. He had his opening. He needed to get the wand and then he would be all set.
“I’ll be out. I need no help and please make sure that his body is disposed of.”
The place of the funeral for Dumbledore was very low on security. It wasn’t being held at the school like Voldemort would have thought. It was in a small hall at the edge of London. He slipped in and took the wand with little fanfare. If anyone noticed it being gone, they would figure that someone who loved Dumbledore had taken it. No one would suspect the truth behind it all.
The wand felt no different than his other wand but he didn’t figure that it would until it bonded with him. It would give him edge and the ability to do what he needed to do to rid himself of Potter.
With a cloak and a notice me not charm, Voldemort made his way around town looking at everything. He would have all of the people of Europe under his control soon enough. From there it was the world. No amount of words from Potter would make people stand up to him. He had made the world fear him. Fear was better than guilt.
He heard a high pitched squeal and turned around to see who it was. He found a little boy who was being picked up into the air high by his father’s arms. Voldemort drew his wand, ready to attack but he stopped. He could see the love in the boy’s eyes. There was sadness in the eyes though. He pulled thoughts from the man’s mind. The boy’s mother had died a few months back in a car crash. There was a small darkness in the boy, Voldemort could see that. He could take that darkness and turn it a full darkness. This boy could be twisted.
That was when what he needed to do hit him. Apparating to his new hideaway, Voldemort moved to his room and started to work on his new plan.
It was genius. Voldemort laid his plan out to kill Severus Snape. The man was already a thorn in his side. He would start off his incursion into the school by killing the Headmaster. The school would fall soon after. The plan was perfect.
Potter had lost his godfather that he had just started to know at a wrong time in his life. He had watched the boy kill Bellatrix Lestrange in anger. There was darkness in the boy that Voldemort could use. He didn’t have to kill the boy. He could see what he could do to the boy before he made the decision. By the end of the battle at the school, he would know whether he could turn the boy to dark.
It would be perfect. To destroy how the world thinks of Potter. The world was already worried about him since it had found out that he had been raised by a Death Eater.
Ripping Severus from the boy would either turn the boy dark or send him on a vengeance spree that would turn the world against him.
He had plans and he was going to see them to the end. He had to make sure that his Death Eaters did exactly what he wanted. There were none that he didn’t trust. All of the followers of Malfoy and Snape had been removed from the group, Voldemort was sure of that. There were none left that would betray him in the group.
Voldemort looked out on his followers. All were looking up at him like he was God. He couldn’t wait to have the rest of the world looking at him like that. He needed the world to bow down at his feet.
Gainsly left his normal package of information in the normal spot for Lucius. It was getting harder and harder to hide what he was doing since Lucius and Severus had left but Gainsly knew that there was no way that he would ever be able to leave the service of Voldemort alive. He was dead no matter what. The decisions of his father had given him the life that he had to take. Voldemort protected him from the supposed good people of the world.
There would come the day that his control slipped and he would be revealed to Voldemort but he had plans in place for all of that. He would never reveal what he had told to Lucius. He would take his death if it meant that he could help Harry Potter live and take Voldemort down.
He was leaving the area to head to the hideout when he felt the spell take hold of him. He found himself face to face with two Aurors. He closed his eyes and chomped down. He was a historian. He was learned. He felt his tooth break and the cyanide started to dissolve in the saliva in his mouth. He reached out and touched the mark on his arm sending a death call to the other Death Eaters and to his lord and master. He never thought this was how he was going to die but he took it. Now Voldemort would never have the inkling that he was a traitor.
The news of several raids told Voldemort that he needed to close ranks. He had lost seven Death Eaters at the same time just hours before. Seven Death Eaters that he was sore to lose at a time like this. The worst though was Gainsly. He had lost his procurer of information. He had lost the man who had gotten him this far. He was thankful that Gainsly had found the Elder Wand and it was now in his possession.
He wasn’t going to let his Death Eater ranks fall even farther. He needed more but he couldn’t risk losing more than he was gaining. Of those lost, he had lost three that were trying to get more followers. He had lost three to gain only two.
He needed to change something before he went and attacked the school. He had to find some way to get himself a great deal of cannon fodder to rush the school and take down the wards.
The death of Dumbledore had been something unexpected but it wasn’t something that he hadn’t wanted, it just hadn’t been a priority. Potter had to pay the consequences though of escaping death over and again. His father and his close family would pay. He would force Potter to see all of his friends and family die before he turned him or killed him. Potter would have to make that choice before Voldemort took over the world.
Chapter One Hundred and Two-Forewarned
Severus Snape had never thought that he would survive Voldemort coming back the second time. The mark on his arm was going to guarantee his death at either Voldemort’s hand for betraying him or at the Light’s hand for serving the dark. He had never thought that Dumbledore would be able to protect him if the second war started.
Dumbledore hadn’t been his savior this time. This time it had been a young boy who had been so scared of him when he had opened up the cupboard and stared down at him. He had been in a black robe that wasn’t unlike his Death Eater robe but there had been no mask.
Touching the Pensieve in front of him with his hand, he prepared to enter his own memory.
Privet Drive looked the same as it had the other times he had gone there to check on the boy. It was late at night. Severus landed feet away from where the him from the memory was. He looked around the street, looking for signs of the Death Eater who had set the fire. There was no sign.
The first signs of the fire were now showing in the windows of play room of Harry’s cousin. The flames were leaping around and smoke was rolling inside the room. The other him saw it. He ran at full speed over to house and Severus followed him. At the same time that the both of them entered the yard, the windows in the play room shattered.
The other him was up the stairs and trying to put out the flames but Severus stayed on the ground floor. He reached out like he was going to touch the door to the cupboard but he knew he wouldn’t be able to. He couldn’t pull Harry from there.
Sounds of running on the stairs had Severus stepping back. The other him threw open the door with a burst of magic that ripped the door from the hinges. Harry was curled on his mat in clothes that were way too large for him. He was in a ball so tight that it took nearly a minute to pull Harry from it. The second the boy had rolled onto his back, his eyes had popped open and he had screamed. He was out of the other him’s hands as quick as a cat. He was in the back corner of the cupboard and staring at Severus with no other words.
“Who are you?”
A crash above them had Harry jumping and hitting his head. The other Severus turned and looked out. Smoke was starting to roll in the downstairs. The fire was getting closer. He could hear it. It was all he could hear.
“I need you to come with me. Please, Harry. Please come with me.”
Harry stared at him for a long time. It wasn’t until a beam fell from above into the kitchen and fire started to spread in Harry’s sight that the boy jump up and into Severus’s arms. Severus was gone, out the back. The front had to have people all around by then. Severus followed himself as he ran in-between houses and nearly a quarter of a mile away, he apparated away with a pop.
The memory followed until Severus was at Spinner’s End.
Harry was placed on a chair and the other Severus cast a few spells at him to clean him up. There was soot all over the both of them. Harry watched with wide eyes but didn’t ask a question. The then Severus didn’t think of it as odd. Not until the boy hadn’t said anything to answer even pointedly asked questions. All Severus got was shrugs of shoulders, shakes and nods of his head.
Severus had had every intention of returning the boy to Dumbledore to send him somewhere else safe to stay. Severus thought then that he had no business trying to raise a boy. It wasn’t until Harry had shifted to look around after being there twenty minutes that Severus had seen the bruise on his neck. Children were active. Children got bruises all the time but bruises on the neck…those were rare.
The other Severus reached out and pulled down the collar of Harry’s too large shirt. There was a bruise on his neck and shoulder from a hand. An adult sized hand. Harry looked up at him with Lily’s wide eyes. He was scared. So scared of Severus and the thought of getting hurt.
“Who did this?”
Harry just stared at the other Severus but never answered. Harry never answered him on anything that night.
“Severus?” Lucius called.
Severus jerked his head around to look. Lucius, the current aged Lucius, was standing at the doorway to Spinner’s End.
“I need to talk to you. Gainsly reported in before Aurors killed him. I think that you will want to know what he has to say.”
Severus pulled himself from the memory at the same time that Lucius did. There was a box sitting on Severus’s desk, right beside the penseive. There were papers strewn everywhere. Lucius had been there a while before coming into the memory and taking him out.
“Attacking?” Severus grabbed the first paper he could get his hand on. It wasn’t the one he needed but it was something that was very important.
“He has the Elder Wand?” Severus felt the wind rush from his body and he dropped into his chair at the desk. This was going to change things. This was going to change things greatly. All of their plans would need to change.
“Gainsly says that he does. He has no clue how he got the wand but the Dark Lord is quite sure that he has it. He plans to attack the school as soon as he gets enough Death Eaters. This is only what Gainsly thinks his plans might be. He wasn’t in on the last meeting due to a prior task given to him but by what he had heard the Dark Lord thinks that killing Harry’s friends and family will break the boy. He wants to either turn him or kill him. He’s figured that it’s gotten too risky to keep the boy alive for whatever his plans had been for.”
“How did we not know he was going after the Elder Wand?”
“He’s kept it too close to the vest. No one knew, Gainsly said. None of the Death Eaters were aware that Voldemort even believed about the Deathly Hallows.”
“It’s children stories. No one is supposed to believe them except the devote few. We are still no closer to finding the cloak. The resurrection stone was in Dumbledore’s possession. I was the one that found it and destroyed the Horcrux attached to it but I left it with him for safe keeping. It was better. He was less tempted to use it.” Severus moved over to a book in the shelves next to the desk. It was all he had on the Deathly Hallows. The wand, the ring, and the cloak were all valuable, magically or monetarily. “Dumbledore never told me what he did with it.”
“It would be here in the castle or he gave it to someone for safe keeping.”
“There was no one he considered safe at the moment other than those inside the castle.”
“His brother?” Lucius queried.
Severus just shrugged, that was something better handled by Harry and not either one of them. “Harry knows of the story but I don’t know if he believes in it. He’s not on for stories of fancy. Even I don’t half believe the story and I have seen the resurrection stone used.”
“We need to speak with them. Harry needs to know that Voldemort is planning to attack. We need to figure out when and we need to figure out how.”
Harry and Draco were sitting on the sofa that the Room of Requirement had provided. There were two chairs, one for Severus and one for Lucius. Lucius at the moment was standing behind his own chair while Severus was sitting in his.
The plans for Voldemort attacking had been told to the both of them. Draco was sitting in silence but Harry was talking.
“He will have trouble getting past the wards. We are going to know he is coming. If we flee, he’ll take the fight somewhere else and that could have Muggles and other innocent wizards there. I won’t leave. We will make the stand here like we have always planned and talked.”
“Are you ready?” Severus asked, staring at him point blank.
“I’ve been ready.” Harry was relaxed in a way that Severus had never seen him before. He wasn’t sure if it was ego or Harry was just that ready for the fight that was to come.
This meeting had gone well. Next was the Governors. Lucius was waiting on the owl to tell him when they would be able to meet.
The Governors were calm as Lucius outlaid all he knew of the attack to come.
“I agree with Potter. The castle has stood for over a thousand years; it will stand for a thousand more. If we empty the castle, all that would happen is that Voldemort would take it and then attack from there. He would find Potter and who knows who will lose their lives in the crossfire.”
“Recall all the professors and prepare for an attack. We shall send all the support we can. The majority of us would be no good in a fight. We tend toward the scholarly and not the physical.”
“Thank you,” Severus stood up from his chair and bowed at the Governors. He knew te strengths and weaknesses of all of them. Lucius was the most adapt at warfare. He was the only Governor that Severus would even want in the school.
“We are also signing into effect this night, a code for the school. All House Elves employed by the school are allowed to do as they see fit to defend a student from enemies breaching the school. The wards on the school and grounds will have to be updated but I think it’s for the best.”
“This is uncertain time,” Severus said and the Governors all turned to each other. He was being dismissed. It was best to let them take care of what they could take care of.
Every single professor was seated at their table in the Great Hall. All the students that were staying there were seated in front of the table. The facts as he knew them were laid out.
“Right now, in this moment, if you feel you will not fight for Hogwarts. Leave. If Hogwarts is still standing at the end of this, your job will be held for you.”
Scoffs filled the air from in front and behind him.
“Those who would leave this school defenseless will find themselves unwelcome here even if you allow them back,” Minerva stated as she stood up. “We fight for our school. We fight for our way of life. Harry Potter is a student here and he will find shelter here. We will not abandon him.”
Assent rang from the ceiling as the other professors stood up. The loudest was Hagrid. He was clapping and shouting.
“Then we prepare for war. We prepare to fight a fight that Hogwarts has never seen before. Blood will run on the stone and wash all the walls. Sink every single spell we can into the wards!” Severus’s voice grew and the last word was a yell. He turned to look at the students. All were now standing behind Harry. Fists raised in the air.
There was so much to do and Severus knew not when the Dark Lord was going to attack. It could be in an hour and it could be in a month. They needed to be ready yesterday.
The magic inside the castle swelled in a way that Severus had never felt before. He looked harder at Harry and saw that Harry’s hair was standing on end more than normal. He was feeding the castle magic and Severus didn’t know why.
Chapter One Hundred and Three-Preparations
“There is no stopping them, Molly,” Remus said as he watched Molly try and chase after Ginny and Hermione as they moved after the other who had already entered the Room of Requirement.
“They are children, Lupin!” Molly said as she turned to him. The door to the room had shut and she couldn’t enter. “They need to be back in Devon and safe!”
“I would have followed James to the ends of the Earth,” Sirius said as he crested the stairs. He smiled at Lupin and then looked at Molly. “I would have died for him. I tried to die taking out the man who had betrayed them. If I would have been kept back from the final right and not allowed to fight…I don’t know what I would have done. You have to understand that nothing is going to keep Harry’s friends from him.”
Molly looked at him with a determined look in her eye. “I will find a way to protect my children.”
“Then you will lose them. They may or may not die but they will not love you anymore.” Severus’s voice was startling to all because he wasn’t even supposed to be in the castle at that moment. He was supposed to be with the Goblins in London. “You have no control over your older children. There is no legal recourse available to you to stop them but there is for the youngest but you have to understand one thing, if Harry were to die or get injured, they would carry that burden for the rest of their life. Not being there to save someone you love, even if it is just friendship love, that is the worst burden to carry in your heart. Ginny is just getting over her crush of Harry. She wants to show that she can help. Even Astoria is in there with her parents agreeing to the fight.”
“How can they let their babies go to war?” Molly asked. She stared at each of the three men for several seconds each. “How can you let Harry do this? He’s an adult by the courts standards but he’s not yet seventeen.”
“He will be soon enough. That has to be enough because a monster is coming for him. He had the choice of leaving. I could have taken him away from this and probably hidden until we were sure that he could take Voldemort out but there was no way to hide all of his friends. How many of his friends would gladly give their life for him if it meant that he got to live? Wouldn’t you?”
Molly turned away from the men and started to walk away. None of the men moved to stop her.
Harry entered the healer’s office. The secretary just looked up at him and then right back down to whatever she was reading.
“Sign in here. Take a seat. You’ll get called back.” She handed him a clipboard without looking back up at him.
Taking the clipboard, Harry felt the pull of the ward on it to write his real name. There was a very strong compulsion ward on it. Harry ignored it and wrote down the name he had taken from the man on the street that he had taken the face from. Setting the clipboard back down, Harry moved to a chair that afforded him a view of the door. He sat and waited patiently for his name to be called.
Over an hour later, Harry was walking back to the room a junior healer leading him. General diagnostic spells were cast over him and a quill on the other side of the room wrote down the results. The junior healer looked at the notes and then up at Harry.
“You seem to be in wonderful health. Why are you here today?”
“I made the appointment to have my eyes corrected. I was raised in the Muggle World and I have just got sick of having the glasses on now.”
The junior healer smiled at him and made a notation on the chart and then left the room. Harry was left alone for nearly twenty minutes and then the healer entered the room. She had in her hand the chart the junior healer had made notes on earlier.
“Mr. Wright. I’m Healer Rose. I see you are here to have your eyes corrected. It’s a simple spell that shouldn’t take any time at all.”
“That’s where it get interesting.” Harry pulled at his magic and burned the Polyjuice potion from his body a few minutes early. He had taken two doses and still had nearly half an hour before the second does would have worn off. Healer Rose just stared at him. Harry could tell the second she figured out who he was.
“Lord Potter! I…”
“Don’t worry. I didn’t want the waiting room to become a fuss. I have another dose so that I can leave. I want this off the record as well. Can I trust you to do that?” Harry pulled his glasses out of his pocket and handed them over to Rose.
“As if you need to ask. You know that I will. How is Sirius doing?” Rose smiled down at him as she took his glasses from his hand. She started to cast spells at the glasses and nodded when words appeared in the air above the glasses.
“He’s liking being at Hogwarts.”
“Close your eyes.”
Harry closed his eyes and let the spells wash over his face and eyes. He’d looked up the procedure and knew what to expect but knowing what to expect and the truth of the matter are two different things.
“A slight burn will start and when it’s gone, you can open your eyes. I’ll be placing a board in front of your face. Focus on that and nothing else. The spell will adjust to what you need.”
When the burn passed, Harry focused on the board in front of him. The board had all kinds of writing all over it and none of it made sense but as he looked, his eyes adjusted to where he could make out every single letter on the board.
“I’ll need to adjust it every few years. It depends on the person. There is some self-correcting but it can’t go much past where it started.”
“Would it be better I come back to you?”
“Why wouldn’t you?”
“I don’t know.” Harry dodged the question and looked down at his hands. He was fidgeting. He knew it. “I guess I just wanted to make sure.”
“Any healer can do the fixing spell. It’s not necessary to come back to me but I would be easier as the magic will accept me better. There is no other spell in the world that can take this spell from you unless a healer does it. It’s used in dire times where a wizard’s magic is rejecting all spell work done on them.”
“I’ve done the research. I plan to wear my glasses for a while. I don’t what it known that I have done this.”
“Sirius told me you like to keep secrets.” Rose made a few notations in the chart and then it disappeared. “Stephen Wright. Use the same name if you want to come here for anything. I’ll have the Goblins forward the money.”
“Thank you for this and everything.” Harry shook her hand and then he took a sip from the small flask that he had hidden in his pocket. He gave it a few minutes and then he was striding out the door, looking like Stephen Wright. A Muggle who had no idea that his face had been stolen.
Harry entered the castle to find Sirius, Severus, Remus, and Arthur standing there, waiting on him.
“Word has spread out from the Governors. It’s quiet and they are making sure that Voldemort doesn’t hear of the defense that is being mounted but…” Severus motioned for Harry to walk in front of him towards the Great Hall doors. Sirius and Remus shoved the doors open and Harry entered.
The entire hall was filled with people.
There were former students from the past few years mixed in with their parents and other adults that Harry didn’t know. All of his friends were there as well as a few others who were underage. Nearly the entire Seventh year was seated at the Slytherin table. There were a few Slytherins missing.
The Hufflepuff table was full of witches and wizards that couldn’t place at all. It wasn’t until Krum stood up that Harry figured out who all of them were. It was wizards that Krum, Cedric, and Fleur had cobbled together. Fleur was at the house in Devon under protection with her child. Bill had been adamant that she stay to protect the child. Fleur hadn’t been happy but she had acquiesced.
Turning away, Harry didn’t want everyone to see the tears on his face. Severus clapped him on the shoulder and everyone turned away from him. He looked up into his father’s sad eyes.
“They are here to help you.”
“They are here because they think that I will save them.”
“No, Harry. They are here because they want to help you take Voldemort out. Gringott’s sent their best ward breakers to help build wards on the castle. There are healers from three nations who are helping Poppy prepare the infirmary for injured. The rest of the country is sticking their heads in the sand but all of us here are bracing for war.
“I could very well have stepped back and let the country born if it hadn’t been for my friends.”
“Molly is still upset but she knows now that she can’t stop anyone from helping you.”
“Children aren’t spared in war. Ginny has a target on her back just because she is a Weasley and a friend of mine. Luna has been a staunch supporter of me since day one. There is no way that the Death Eaters would spare them if I fell, even if they didn’t fight with us.”
Severus nodded and Harry turned back to the people in the Great Hall.
“Let’s eat!” Harry called out and food started to appear in front of everyone. Harry looked around the room, trying to find Draco. He found the Slytherin at the Slytherin table with the other incoming seventh years and the rest of Harry’s friends. There was a space saved for him right in-between Draco and Hermione. He pasted a smile on his face and put on a happy attitude. He could do it for all of them.
“What does all of these people mean for your spell?” Severus asked as he entered Harry and Draco’s room in the bottom of the castle. Draco was in the bedroom asleep but Harry had papers scattered around. Severus could see the ritual space depicted on several of the pages. He reached out and the pages slipped away from his fingers. He frowned and stared at the pages. The words started to blur and disappeared.
“I have spells on all my papers. No one but Draco and I can read or touch them. With the newer people in the castle, I felt it necessary.”
“I’ve taught you well. Sometimes I think that no matter how much I have raised you, the stupid Gryffindor in your blood still holds more sway over you.”
“I am a mash up off all of the people who raised me.”
“Are you including the Dursley’s in that?” Severus asked as he hitched a leg over the corner of the desk and relaxed down onto the top.”
“I had a horrible first few years of my life. If it hadn’t been for that, I could have very well turned out like you thought that I would have with my parents raising me. I would have been pompous and stupid. I would have let the fame go to my head.”
“I don’t know. The sacrifice that your parents made would have stuck with you. You are the child that most parents want but would never actually want come the time you are as old as you are. Will you be ready when the time comes?”
Harry looked at him and just shrugged his shoulders.
Chapter One Hundred and Four-Deathly
Harry sat down in the Room of Requirement. He had finally been given what Dumbledore had left for him in his will. It was the Snitch from the first game that Harry had played. He sat staring at it.
I open at the close.
It was etched in the side of the Snitch. Scrimgeour had admitted to keeping it from him to try and figure out why Dumbledore had left it for him. He had finally seen it as a reason that Harry didn’t trust him. There was much to be fixed there and he hadn’t wanted to strain it any further. Ron had been left his deluminator and Hermione had been left his personal copy of the Tales of Beedle the Bard. Harry understood none of it. He had Ron and Hermione’s things sitting beside him, he was going to give them to them in the morning. It was after midnight.
Grabbing the book, Harry sat back and started to read. He had the Snitch in his hand and sat there playing with it. Shifting on the couch, Harry felt fabric at his legs and looked to see that his cloak had shifted on the couch and had fallen. He grabbed the cloak and set it back on the back of the couch. He had wanted time to himself and he had used it to slip away from the masses in the castle. Draco had been left a note for when he woke as he usually did if Harry wasn’t there.
He picked the Snitch back up and started tapping against his chin while he read. Tilting his head down, Harry forgot to change the angle of the Snitch and he pressed it against his lips on accident. A soft click echoed around the room and Harry looked around.
The Snitch was open there in his hand. He turned it so that the opening was facing him. He quickly opened it all the way and started inside at it. Inside was a red stone.
Something clicked at his mind while he sat staring at the stone. There was a story that Severus had told him as a child about a stone, cloak, and a wand…what has the story? He looked at his book and then he knew it.
The Deathly Hallows. He flipped to the back of the book and there the story was. The Resurrection Stone, the Elder Wand, and the Cloak. He looked at the stone in fascination and then put it back inside the Snitch. If it was the Stone…nothing good could come of him holding it.
The Cloak had been a matter of fascination for Harry over the past few years. Many cloaks of invisibility had to be spelled every few years but Harry’s had never needed to do it. Severus had commented that the cloak had been James’s way of getting into and out of a lot of trouble over the years.
Holding out his hand, Harry pulled Dumbledore’s wand from his holster. He had quickly started to carry it around. There were none that knew he had save Draco. Draco had his own secondary wand hidden on his body. Harry started at the wand and he knew the truth.
Magic had called out to him that day in the alley. He had felt like the wand was his. Now he knew why. He had bested Percy who had bested Dumbledore. A fake wand had been buried with Dumbledore in his tomb. He had known that it had been broken into but he had never thought that the wand had been the whole target. He had figured that Voldemort had wanted to deface the tomb and the wand had been a trophy to show what he had done. The wand had been the target the entire time. He set the wand down on the table where he set the Snitch and then followed the cloak.
“The Deathly Hallows.”
Pulling out his own holly wand, Harry stared at it. He had never seen Dumbledore carry and other wand than the Elder Wand. He had no clue where to even start to look for the original wand nor any real reason to. He set the holly wand down and picked up the Elder. Quickly, he cast a few spells before ending them. The holly wand had been acting up over the past few weeks. Spells were acting weird and he had thought it was his own magic but no, the holly wand knew that it wasn’t his stronger wand anymore.
“ZOOK!” Harry yelled and the sound echoed through the room. The House Elf appeared quickly and silently in front of Harry. He handed the elf the Snitch. “This needs to go to the house in Spinner’s End. Tell no one that I have asked you to place it there. Hide it there and never tell me where you have put it unless I ask. Return to me when you are done.”
Zook disappeared quickly and Harry waited. He looked at the cloak. It would be odd to not have with him. It would be out of place for him to not have something as innocent as the cloak of his father with him in the final battle. He looked down at the wand and smiled. He cast a spell that he had found in his looking for a way to defeat Voldemort. The wand fought him for a few seconds and then gave up. The Elder Wand now looked like his holly wand.
The real holly wand went with Zook as soon as the House Elf appeared. Zook looked at him like he was crazy but he say anything.
“Hide this in the house in Devon. The location of these two items needs to be kept a secret that you take to your grave, Zook.”
“As Master Harry commands.” Zook bowed but stopped halfway down. He looked at the cloak and then at the wand in Harry’s hand and down to the wand in his own.
“Master James told me of the cloak and the history attached to it. He spoke of never wanting to find the other two Hallows.”
“Zook, that is dangerous knowledge for you to know.”
“I promises to protect the stone, the wand, and the cloak if something should befall you, Master Harry. I’ll take the wand and run with it. Voldemort wills never know about it.”
Harry stared at Zook before he nods. The elf disappeared and Harry knew that he wouldn’t come back.
The sound of the door opening drew Harry’s gaze to the doorway where Draco was entering the room. Draco looked at him and then at the wand.
“Why do you have your wand out?”
“I was practicing a few things. What’s wrong?” Harry could see that Draco hadn’t slept well for the few hours he had been sleeping.
“Nerves. Worried about what is coming. I can feel you slipping away from me Harry.” Draco stayed in the doorway but Harry didn’t call him over either. “I see the plans you make for when you are gone and you think I don’t notice. Dobby worries about me too much. He’s worried about what will happen when you are gone and I am left alone.”
“The Wizarding World broke my heart Draco. If it wasn’t for leaving my friends and family defenseless, I would have left before now. Severus sheltered me from the brunt of it as a child but I can’t stay, Draco.”
“I know.” Draco moved over to him and pulled his head to rest on his stomach. He shuddered as Harry’s magic brushed his own. Pulling back, Draco stared at Harry’s eyes. “There is something different about your magic…what is it?”
Harry stared at Draco for what felt like nearly ten minutes before he pulled he wand up and handed it to Draco.
“That’s not your wand. Harry what happened to your real holly wand?” Draco felt the magic of the wand try and push itself out of his hand. He dropped the wand as the magic tried to burn him.
“You have to promise me, Draco that if I fall, before the magic takes you, you have to defeat whoever defeats me.”
“Harry,” Draco stopped and looked Harry in the eye. It wouldn’t matter to a wand who killed its owner unless the wand was the…. “That’s a story Harry. The Deathly Hallows are a story.”
“And yet I have the Elder Wand, Death’s Cloak, and the Resurrection Stone.”
Draco looked down at the cloak and then back at Harry’s face. Harry believed what he was saying. Harry wouldn’t believe it unless there was something substantial to it. He reached out for the wand again and it felt the same. No one else’s wand had ever felt like that to him. Never.
Moving to sit beside Harry, Draco stared at the cloak on the table.
“I promise. If you are bested in battle, I’ll kill whoever did it and take the wand back before I die.”
“Voldemort thinks he had the wand. He thinks that since he killed Percy and Percy killed Dumbledore that the wand is his. I made sure a wand that looked like Dumbledore’s was buried with him. I never knew why just that magic was telling me to do it. My real holly wand is at the house in Devon. Zook knows to take the wand if you can’t get it and run with it.”
“At least you have a plan. It seems that Dumbledore didn’t. To have the Elder wand and never try and protect it. It’s the height of his arrogance.” Draco scoffed and settled back on the couch. “I found the letter and on the way here, Severus stopped me. He knows where he are. He told me to tell you to get some sleep.”
“I don’t think that I can sleep. Too keyed from finding out about the Hallows.”
Draco smirked and straddled Harry’s lap. “Why don’t we go flying?”
Severus watched from a window in the castle as Draco and Harry snuck out to go flying. He laughed as the two of them acted like children. Neither of them had a childhood to speak of. Harry’s had been ripped from him the second that Voldemort had targeted his parents. Draco had never had a chance of one with his father as a Death Eater.
“Master Severus?” Zook asked from behind. Severus turned to look at the elf. “Master Harry has…”
“He found them?” Severus asked.
Zook nodded and gulped as he did.
“Thank you, Zook. The Peverell family curse has followed him. He asked you to hide them?” The gulp the elf took told him everything. “I am sure that he gave you orders. Follow them but if I can help, just ask it of me.”
“If yous survives the coming war.”
“He gets more restless. He sleeps rarely but the magic he is drawing into himself sustains him.”
“Master Draco knows of his plans.”
“I can understand what my son wants to do and I agree with it. Many will see him a coward but he’s no coward. He wants to experience life as someone other than Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. The bond he shares with Draco helps him but I wish that it had never happened. He will always have that link back to here.”
“If you love something…”
“…let it go,” Severus finished as he turned away from the window and moved to his desk inside the room. He pulled out parchment and started to write. He wrote letters until the sun came up and when he was done, well after breakfast, he put them all in a safe hidden in the wall. Zook stayed in the room and kept his cup full of tea and biscuits on the plate on the desk.
Harry knew when the war was going to happen. He just didn’t know it. First, though, there was a birthday to get through and Harry was so focused on other things that a surprise party hadn’t even entered his thoughts.
Chapter One Hundred and Five-Birthday
The dawn of Harry’s birthday came quicker than he wanted. He woke alone in bed because Draco had slipped away in the night to go back to his own room. He rolled to lay his head on the pillow that Draco had been using up until a few hours ago. It held the smell of the shampoo that the other teen used.
He didn’t want to face the party that was being planned for him. He knew that his friends and the Weasley’s had thought they had kept it hidden from him but Harry had known about it for weeks. Still Harry knew that it would make all of them happy to be throwing the party. He would gladly give them a few hours of happiness with what was coming. War had few places to be happy in and when they came along, it was best to grab them and not let go.
The card from his father, given to him the night before was sitting on the beside table. Harry recalled the words his father had wrote inside them.
I never thought when I took you in that you would live this long. You were too much like your father when I took you in. You are still too much like him for my liking but you have enough of your mother and me in you to temper him. Your parents would be proud of the man you have become.
He had nearly teared up when he had read the card. Severus wasn’t free with emotion, even after years of raising Harry but Harry knew that he older man loved him. He wasn’t sure how he was going to do with not seeing him on a nearly daily basis.
It was just after the cake had been cut that Harry noticed it. He turned to look out and saw the darkness of the sky. It was coming. He turned back to look at everyone. It was a party and it was the last one. The last one before the world changed forever. The war was coming. He wasn’t going to ruin the fun they were having.
Draco smiled as Harry shut the door on his room. He warded it to the largest extent that he could. Harry knew the wards better and the magic would accept him better.
“Was the party too much?” Draco asked as he moved to stand in front of Harry. He didn’t reach out and touch. Harry seemed to be vibrating with energy.
“No,” Harry said as he smiled. Sitting down on the bed, Harry pulled Draco close. Harry leaned his head to where it rested on Draco’s stomach and he inhaled.
Lifting Harry’s head up to where he could look in his eyes, Draco started to worry about Harry. His husband was lonely but he had so many around him. Draco was sure that it was what was coming but he wasn’t sure why Harry was so melancholy about it.
“Fuck me, Draco.”
Draco gasped as he looked into Harry’s serious eyes. Harry and he had talked a great deal back right after the two of them had sex the first time. Draco loved taking Harry inside of him. He loved the feeling of Harry moving inside of him. Harry would on occasion want Draco fuck him but it was rare and Draco didn’t mind.
“Let me feel you stretching me and filling me up.”
Draco smiled and nodded. He leaned forward and kissed his husband. The bond they shared flared and he let himself get lost in the feel of Harry’s mouth that he was surprised when he leaned back and Harry had vanished his own clothing. He leaned back on the bed and bared his ass to Draco.
Breath hitching, Draco stepped back to toe off his shoes. As soon as they were gone, his pants fell to his ankles. Harry had wandlessly undone them and shoved them down. Draco laugh and quickly stripped the rest of his clothing off. He quickly got up onto the bed, covering Harry’s body with his own.
Harry sighed as Draco’s weight settled on his fully. He quickly shifted to where his legs were up and Draco was cradled between his knees and legs. Slowly he pulled Draco up to kiss him as he reveled in the feel of Draco’s cock sliding up balls and penis as he settled the blonde where he wanted him.
Draco knew from the past that Harry loved Draco cradled around him and as much skin to skin contact as he could manage. Harry started to pump his hips up but Draco stilled the dark haired man with a hand on his chest.
“We are going slow, not like two teenagers.”
“But we are teenagers,” Harry said with a small laugh. He tried to shove up again and Draco stilled him with a quick thrust of his own hips.
“I will not have your birthday sex be a quick romp in the bed now settle down before I tie you to the bed and leave you.”
“I’ll take the tying but please, don’t leave. I’ll be good.” Harry looked ashamed as he relaxed underneath of Draco.
Taking Harry’s head in one of his hands, he tilted it to the side so that he could get to the side of Harry’s neck. There was a spot there that drove Harry wild. He quickly licked at the spot and Harry’s moan was loud.
“Did you ward for sounds?”
“We can hear what goes on outside the room but no one can hear us.”
“Good.” Draco smiled and he went back to Harry’s neck. Normally they tried not to leave hickeys but Draco figured that he could deal with it just this once.
When he pulled back from Harry’s neck, the other man was squirming and trying to thrust up again. Draco shifted so that he could settle down Harry by pushing his hips down onto the bed. Harry’s cock was stiff and leaking.
One lick and Harry nearly came off the bed. Draco had to shove down hard to keep him on the bed. He swallowed Harry’s cock in one swift movement and he was sure that Harry was seeing stars.
The sounds coming from Harry’s mouth meant that he was nearing coming so Draco shift again, keeping Harry’s cock in his mouth and started to prepare Harry’s entrance. The first finger went in fine. Harry like his prostate massaged when he was getting his cock sucked. Draco liked it as well and it was something they did to each other often. The lube was on the nightstand and Draco accioed it over.
The second and third fingers went in smoother than what Draco figured they would unless Harry was pleasuring himself using his own fingers in the shower.
“Eager are we?” Draco asked as he let go of Harry’s cock with a pop. Harry was so far gone that he didn’t even hear him.
Picking up Harry’s hips, Draco settled a pillow under his hips and picked up the lube to slick up his own cock. Inching forward, he settled cock at Harry’s entrance. He leaned over and took Harry’s mouth in a kiss as he slowly entered the other man. He slid in an inch or so and let Harry relax as he slowly sunk the rest of the way in.
Harry moaned in pleasure as Draco hit his prostate. He surged up and claimed Draco’s mouth in a searing kiss. He shoved himself down on Draco’s prick and ground down. Draco laughed but let Harry have a few thrusts before he pulled back and thrust into him harder.
“Draco!” Harry screamed and came.
Draco lasted a few more thrusts before he came as well. Draco shifted off of Harry and collapsed beside his husband. He threw an arm over Harry as he settled. Harry turned and found Draco’s mouth in a passionate kiss. He settled his head on Draco’s shoulders and with a casual wave of his hand, cleaned the both of them up. Draco grabbed the blanket and covered the both of them up. He adored sleeping with Harry and given that Harry was fully seventeen years old, Draco wasn’t going to leave in the middle of the night again. Never again.
Harry was his and he was Harry’s.
Waking up just as the sun started to rise up, Harry inched himself out of bed and away from Draco. The pull was there again. The blonde just grumbled and rolled over, pulling Harry’s pillow close. Harry smiled as he quickly grabbed his cloak and draped it over his shoulders and pinned it. He easily shrugged it off the shoulders. He had found that if he wore it like that, it looked like a normal cloak and didn’t make anything invisible.
The kiss on Draco’s brow was the last thing that he wanted to remember about this. It would be the last thing that he would have to keep him happy for a long time.
The school was silent. Harry had never seen it so quiet. He moved to the doors that led out of the school and turned to look back.
“Going somewhere Lord Potter?” a voice asked.
Harry spun and saw the Bloody Baron and the Grey Lady floating there above him. He sighed and his shoulders slumped.
“Please. I need.”
“I know that he is out there,” the Grey Lady said as she looked at the doors but Harry knew she was talking about who was waiting behind the doors. “All us ghosts do. We were on our way to alert the Headmaster.”
“One wonders why you haven’t alerted him,” the Baron stated as he hovered closer to Harry. “We know of the plans but what would be gained by going to face him alone?”
“To give him the chance to save the lives of his Death Eaters.” Harry stated as he threw open the doors and started down the path to the entrance to the school grounds. He could hear the two ghosts talking to each other. He pushed them out of his mind. What he wanted to do would be done before the ghosts alerted his father.
“Harry Potter. Come to die?” Voldemort asked from the other side of the gate. The wand held in the monster’s hand was the same wand that Harry had hidden on his body.
Harry let himself chuckle on the inside about the fact that he had fooled the Dark Lord as his people called him.
“No, Tom. I have come to save the lives of your Death Eaters.”
Voldemort didn’t know what to do given the look on his face. He stared at Harry with just a shocked look on his face.
“Let me through and say that again.”
“Go away, Tom and never return. I will destroy you and there will be nothing you can do stop me. Go away and save the lives of your Death Eaters.” Harry moved a step closer to the gate and leaned closer. “Go away before the world sees me beat.”
“I’ll gladly teach you what Severus had never taught you.”
“And I’ll gladly bathe in your blood, Tom Riddle. I’ll bath it and reveal in the feel of it all over my body.” Harry nearly gagged at the image but he wanted Voldemort on his guard against an attack. He didn’t even want a ritual to go through the man’s mind.
“I see that the castle is waking. I’ll see you soon.” Voldemort took a step back and disappeared. Harry sighed as he turned to face those who were coming at him.
“Prepare for war!” Harry yelled as they got closer. Severus and Draco were the only two not shocked. Arthur and Minerva were floored.
Harry turned back to the gate and looked at it. He wasn’t sure how much time they had but he had to get the ritual up. The others quickly turned and started back up to the castle. Harry pulled his cloak around him and disappeared.
Chapter One Hundred and Six-Defending the School
Harry was standing in the middle of the ritual circle when he felt the wards on the school go down. The ritual was mostly set up and he needed just a little more time. Dropping the Elder Wand in the middle of the circle, Harry spread his arms wide and started to pull magic from Hogwarts.
A vision of a man appeared in front of him. He started at it for several seconds before another man and two women appeared. He had no clue who they were and he was sure that they had appeared and hadn’t walked or even Apparated. He tried to pull his want to him with wandless magic but it didn’t move.
“Harry Potter, son of Severus Snape, James Potter, and Lily Evans. Welcome to Hogwarts.” The first man said. He had grey hair and seemed to stare into Harry’s soul. One of the women had black hair while the final woman and man both had red hair.
Harry looked at them in shock. Whoever they were, they were crazy. He’d been at Hogwarts for six years now. He called on the Elder Wand again and this time it rose to his hand. He held it out against the four interlopers.
“What kind of game is Riddle playing?” Harry asked.
None of the four looked scared at the wand that was facing them. They looked disinterested at best. There was no fear in their eyes. Harry wasn’t used to that. It almost made him lower his wand.
“My whatever removed grandson is not the cause of this. You are,” The grey haired man said. Harry just stared at the four of them. It was then that he really looked at the red haired man. The other man was next and then the two women in turn. His knees gave out and he hit the floor. He was able to stay upright but just barely.
“I told you he had intelligence, Salazar,” Godric Gryffindor said to the man beside him as he clapped him on the back. The man moved closer and helped Harry up off his feet. “The school was always going to be a target for spells like the one you are a going to do, Harry.”
“We set up a safe guard on the school. The price you have to pay? The one listed in the book?” Rowena Ravenclaw moved up to stand beside Godric. “It’s the price set down by us. You had a feeling that if would be bad. We’ve been watching you for a while now.”
“The price is seven years of your life,” Salazar said as he moved closer. He shifted to stand behind Harry where Helga Hufflepuff moved.
Harry had the founders of the school around him; one of them was touching him. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say to them. There was so much he knew that he should ask them but no words could form in his mouth.
“Seven years of solitude and seven years of not being allowed in England. Can you do that, Potter?” Salazar asked.
Could he do seven years? He had planned on several years yes but seven? Seven years of never seeing Draco? Never seeing Ron? Hermione? Luna? All of his friends? Seven years of never seeing Severus?
“There is more,” Helga said behind him. Harry turned to face her.
“It’s not going to be seven years of living the high life hidden in a cabin in the woods somewhere. It’s going to be seven years of learning to live your life again, in a new way.”
“You’ll be stuck in your Animagus form, Harry,” Rowena said as she placed a hand on his shoulder. Visions of him running in the woods came to mind as well as the feeling of cold as he slept on the ground in the woods. “You’ll have time to say goodbye but the curse of the spell will take you if it starts to get impatient. When the casting of the spell is over a vial will appear in your pants pocket. Once you are ready for your sacrifice, you just need to smash it on the ground.”
Harry took in that information. He looked at the Founders as they all looked back at him. He already knew that the spell could kill him. What is the price of the freedom of the world from Voldemort compared to the loss of seven years of his life? It was nothing.
“There is one last thing.” Godric moved close and whispered something in his ear. He listened as the old man told him what he had to do to break the curse.
“Start the spell. Then go collect your blood.”
The Founders moved out of the casting circle and took up positions at the cardinal directions. The entire spell would take an hour to set up and once he started casting it, he and the circle would turn invisible to all eyes. The spell was wandless and wordless but he had to have a wand with him.
Harry sat down and crossed his legs, getting comfortable. If he moved, he would have to start the spell again. He started to chant the first words in his mind and the rest came to him like a remembered, cherished story. As he spoke the words, the landscape in front of him started to turn hazy. The invisibility spell was starting to work. He could see Salazar and small parts of the two women but he dared no turn his head to get a look at all of them. Salazar was concentrating it was then that then Harry wondered why he was doing this.
Salazar Slytherin hated the Muggleborns, the half-bloods, and everything in-between. He wanted them gone from the school and the world. Why would he help with a spell that would rid the world of the monster that fought in his name? He would have to ask when he finished.
Harry also wondered what would have happened had he done the spell somewhere else. Stonehenge or somewhere fully magical. What would the price have been then? Who would have helped him then? Merlin or Arthur?
The hour ticked by as Harry let the worlds flow in his mind. The ability to speak the spell while thinking of other things didn’t bother him. He never stopped and he never messed up. He could feel the magic around the school fill him up and shore up his reserves. He would leave the circle to collect the blood with more magic then he had before he had entered it. He wasn’t sure he knew what he was going to do with so much magic.
“It is done,” all four Founders spoke as a wave of magic flowed out from the circle and onto the ground for a ways out from the circle.
“Your father has called that all leave Voldemort for you or him. The students are faring well but there is death on both sides. Go out and get what magic requires.”
Harry stood up from his spot, taking the Elder Wand with him. He should have been sore from sitting like that for an hour but magic was making sure that he wasn’t stiff. Stiffness would mean death and death would mean that Voldemort wouldn’t be destroyed.
Harry found the first dead body twenty feet from the circle. He reached out and flipped the body over. There were no wounds that Harry could see. He knelt down and pulled his athame from his holder and quickly made a cut on the man’s hand. He squeezed a single drop of blood from the man’s hand. He pulled a vial out of a pocket and used it to collect the blood. It slide down the vial and landed in the bottom.
Twenty feet farther was another Death Eater. The athame made the cut and the squeeze and he had the blood he needed. He found two more Death Eaters before he found his first causality from their side. He could tell from the distance that it was a Ministry employee. Harry rolled the man over gently before he found what killed him. A dagger to the heart. He used his own finger to collect the blood from the wound, wiping it into the vial.
Knowing the Death Eaters as he did, Harry used a spell to send the body to St. Mungo’s. He cared little for what happened to the Death Eaters but he didn’t want the others who died being mistreated in any way.
Fifty feet away was another Ministry employee. This area was where the first attack happened, Harry could tell by the age of the wounds on the bodies and their temperature. He found it slightly funny that it was adults who were dying first and not the younger people. It showed him that he had done well at the school over the years. His training was saving lives and being proactive in face of the Ministry butting in where they didn’t belong.
A circle of four Death Eaters were at the edge of the castle at a door. They were disfigured, covered in boils and welts so he figured it was a potion of some kind that killed them. He made the cuts on the only patches of clear skin he could find and used his athame to gather the blood.
Justin Finch-Fletchley was inside the doorway. Harry could tell he died by the Killing Curse. He sat by the body for several seconds before gathering what he needed. He sent the body to St. Mungo’s as well. He had no clue what they were going to think with bodies appearing like they were in the hospital. He had no clue who had figured out that a battle was going on here.
Three more Death Eaters were next. He wondered who had killed them. They looked like victims of motorcycle crashes. Blood collected, Harry left them behind.
Cho Chang was around the next corner and Harry stopped in his tracks. Tears were welling up in his eyes. She thankfully looked like she died by the Killing Curse. He wasn’t sure that he could handle her if she was mangled. He collected her blood and sent her to St. Mungo’s as well. He would kill the Death Eater if one had disfigured her. With his bare hands and brutally. Death Eaters didn’t even stop to care who they killed.
In the Great Hall there was no one fighting anymore. Instead there was only five dead bodies. Four Death Eaters all disfigured so bad that if not for the robes and the masks, he would have never known they were human. Viktor Krum was laid out on a table. His wand in his hand and positioned like he would have been in a funeral. Whoever had found him had given his respect. Harry wondered what he had done, other than kill the four Death Eaters in the room.
Collecting from the Death Eaters first, Harry closed his eyes and thought about the fifteen he had found. He thought about them and that he would love to see them drop on top of Voldemort, wherever he was. When Harry opened his eyes again, the four were gone. He stifled a laugh as he thought about what was sure to be happening in that second.
Moving to Krum, Harry found cuts all over his body, his clothing was ripped and torn and looking horrible. He mended the clothes as he went, making Krum look his best. He gathered the final drop of blood and stoppered the vial. As Krum’s drop of blood drew its path and joined the other’s, Harry could feel the pull of the magic to complete the first part of the spell.
Harry left Krum’s body on the table and moved to the main doors, shutting them behind him. He touched the door and pushed his will into it. It would only open for those who were on his side and injured. Let it be the infirmary for those who needed it. He watched the door glow and then turned.
The circle was just as he had left it. Harry opened the vial and raised it to his face, letting it catch the single tear tracking down his face. Next he cut his own hand and dropped his own blood inside the vial. It started to bubble a little and Harry closed it again.
The vial flew through the air and landed in the direct center of the circle after Harry threw it. It crashed down with a musical sound and the glass disappeared as soon as it touched the ground. The mixture of blood and a single tear grew to cover the entire circle before disappearing.
“Now we need to get the monster here,” Godric said as he started to fade from sight.
Harry turned to join the fray that was now happening inside the halls of the school and not on the outside. He was ready for war.
Chapter One Hundred and Seven-Utter Desolation
Harry moved to the front doors of the school. If any force made it onto the grounds from the Ministry, they would move up that way so it was sure that Voldemort had a force there to repel them. He slipped his cloak around himself and watched as the Carrows stood at the doorway. There was no coming back from this.
Harry knew his soul would be saved from becoming anything like Voldemort. The Death of Voldemort’s Death Eaters was freeing them from one of the most horrific deaths in the world. What they would consider death.
The silent stunner that hit the both of them dropped them quickly before they could even look around. He would not spare them. The Carrow’s were depraved and horrible and he felt no sorrow for sparing them from what was to come.
The howl from inside the castle had Harry running, making sure to keep his cloak tight about him. He could come back to deal with the rest of the Death Eaters at the front doors. He threw open the doors, waited for the Death Eaters to look for whoever had done it and see the Carrow’s before he ran inside. The Death Eaters looked scared. It was the younger of the group. Those who Voldemort didn’t mind losing.
This was why he knew that he would never be tainted for what he was going to do Voldemort. Voldemort was a coward who hide behind the deaths of all of his followers before he would step out and face the light.
A whisper in his mind drew him to the second floor. He wasn’t sure why but he trusted the voice. He felt connected to the castle in a way he had never been connected to anything and he was sure that it was the castle it’s telling him what he needed to do. Across the hall, on the landing for the third floor, Harry watched a Death Eater pull out his wand but he wasn’t watching what he was doing and stepped onto what he thought was going to be a stair but the staircase had moved while he had been staring at Harry so instead of stepping onto a step. The Death Eater landed someone where several floors below. Harry looked over the railing and found that the Death Eater wasn’t in sight. The stairs had all moved out of the way.
Allowing a chuckle, Harry moved back to go onto the second floor and found a site that would haunt him for years to come. Fleur was crouched on the floor with Bill’s head in her lap. Harry threw the hood of his cloak off and stuffed in a pocket before he slid to land on his knees crouched over Bill and Fleur.
“Greyback is here,” Fleur said as a way of greeting.
“I know. I heard his howl.”
“Even in his human form he is a disgusting creature.”
Harry pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and turned it into a portkey. “This will activate in a minute. It’ll take him to a healer inside St. Mungo’s who might be able to help him.”
Fleur shook her head no. She looked up and into Harry’s face. There was such fire in her eyes. She wanted revenge for what the werewolf had done to her husband and father of her child. There was no mistaking it. She placed the portkey in Bill’s hand and curled his fingers over it. He was gone in seconds. Harry cast a Patronus that would alert the Healer to what was coming.
“I’ll help you find him,” Harry said as he stood up, putting out a hand to pull her up as well.
“He has a lackey of some kind with him. Some punk little Death Eater. We were so focused on Greyback that we never noticed him. He killed Krum. I never saw the spell coming until I was shoved out of the way.”
“I saw his body. The Great Hall is set up so that those with injuries and no intent to harm are allowed inside. Go there after you kill Greyback. Make sure it’s safe.”
Fleur kissed Harry on the cheek and moved away from him, following the sounds of howling as she went. Harry moved to an alcove and closed his eyes.
The castle was his eyes and ears. He knew all that was going on but he hadn’t expected her to round the corner and find the werewolf fighting…Remus. Sirius was there was well, shoved to the back as Remus tried to protect him. The snarl that ripped from Remus’s throat had made Harry jump a little. He had never heard that from the man when he was in human form.
Greyback never saw Fleur coming. Remus and Sirius did but they did nothing. Fleur reached out with her hand and Harry saw that her fingers were talons. Her Veela side was coming out and he wasn’t sure it was a bad thing. She reached around, slicing at Greyback’s throat so hard that he spun to look at her.
Greyback’s eyes were as wide as saucers as he took her in as he died. He collapsed in a heap at her feet and all she did was use her shirt to wipe the blood from her hands. She never once looked down at the dead body at her feet.
Harry pulled his mind back to himself and looked around and saw that no one was around. He turned to go back the way he came. He had Death Eaters at the front doors to handle. He left the cloak inside his pocket and marched with his wand out to the front doors and stood staring at the Death Eaters.
It took nearly three whole minutes for them to notice that someone was there and they turned, all at once with wands drawn, Harry threw up a shield charm without his wand and watched as two of the Death Eaters cast the killing curse at him only to have it fail before it even reached him. There was one Death Eater though that cast it and its aim was true but Harry quickly moved behind a pillar as it flew at him.
“That’s how you cast a curse,” Harry called out from behind the pillar. Closing his eyes, he used the paintings to tell him where they were. There was one on the way up the stairs, the one who had caste the killing curse that could have killed him.
Summoning snakes was easy. A giant mass of them that slithered down the stairs. The screams of the Death Eaters was just what Harry needed. He quickly killed the most powerful of the Death Eaters and saw that the other three were cowering in a corner, up on a table trying to shoo the snakes away. Harry took care of the snakes and then looked at the Death Eaters. The Carrows were in a corner, still knocked out. Harry bound them quickly and then turned his wand to the other three. He bound them, awake and then gagged them. The three looked up at him.
“Think long and hard about what you want out of your life,” Harry said as he leaned over the group of Death Eaters.”
Harry closed his eyes again to try and figure out where he needed to go but found nothing. Opening his eyes, he saw that the Death Eaters looked shocked but they were not looking at him. They were looking behind him. He turned and saw emptiness. There literally was nothing but stone walls.
“HARRY!” Hermione yelled as she and Ron and Luna lit the top of the stairs. “Everything is gone. Desks, chairs, paintings, statues, hell even the Ghosts are gone.”
Harry took in their shocked faces and then he closed his eyes again. He pulled at the magic the castle was giving him and felt it. He felt the pull of the magic as everything was pulled out of the castle. There was nothing left inside except for people. He found what he wanted though. He found where Voldemort was. His magic was telling him that Voldemort was in the Headmaster’s office but his father wasn’t there.
“Come,” Harry said as he started towards the Headmaster’s office. He now knew the effects of his spell and he wasn’t sure anymore if he wanted to do it.
Lord Voldemort looked at the boy who was kneeling in front of him. Neville Longbottom, the other boy who could have had the power to defeat him. He was kneeling where his Death Eaters had forced him to. The office of the Headmaster held neither the Headmaster or anything at all. He had figured that Snape had pulled all his things so that he couldn’t get his hands on them. The word was though that all the objects inside the castle were disappearing. Turn around and what was in front of you would no longer be there.
“What is Potter’s plan, Longbottom? Tell me and I will kill you quick.”
Nagini moved to wrap herself around the boy that her Master was planning to kill. If he spoke, her Master killed him, if he didn’t, she got to. She wanted to kill so bad.
“I don’t know. He’s shared little of his plan with anyone that is not Draco.”
“And where is the Malfoy whelp?” Voldemort had looked the castle over for Malfoy or Snape and found neither one of them. Death Eaters were dropping like flies but there were so many people in the castle. He needed one of them to get Potter to do what he wanted. “Or Black?”
The boy jumped at the name. So he did know that Black had survived the attack in the Ministry. Black and his husband were wreaking havoc all over the castle and word had finally gotten back to him. He looked at his Death Eaters for a few seconds before he heard the cry of a Phoenix. Turning to look behind, he took his eyes off of the boy and then he felt something to what was left of his soul and turned back. The boy was no longer kneeling at his feet. Instead the boy was standing with the Sword of Gryffindor in his hand and Nagini’s headless body was at his feet. Her head was in his hand.
Voldemort reached out but in that second, Dumbledore’s Phoenix grabbed the boy and then they were gone.
“I WANT HIM DEAD!” Voldemort screamed and all of his Death Eaters jumped to run from the room. There was only a single reason that he would have felt that. He moved to the window at the back of the office. Drawing blood from his hand, he speared seven drops of blood on the glass and cast a spell. He felt the magic of the castle fight him for a second and then it gave in. The blood started to boil and then all seven drops turned black. There was no way. He still had part of his soul inside himself.
Quickly cutting his hand again, he smeared eight drops of blood on the glass and cast the spell again. This time seven of them boiled. The final one removed itself from the glass and went back inside of him. He had created a seventh Horcrux and had never known it. He turned to the body of his snake and banished the remains.
That’s when he noticed the door was open. His Death Eaters had closed the door when they had left. Turning to look inside the room. He found Potter sitting in a chair that hadn’t been there moments before.
“Tom. I come to ask for your surrender. I have killed or captured most of your Death Eaters. There is no hope of winning.”
“I possess the Elder Wand, Potter. You can’t defeat me!” Voldemort whipped out his and showed it to Potter. Potter just chuckled where he was sitting and then raised up his own wand. It was the same wand he had always used. The same wand that Voldemort could never beat but now he could. He raised his wand but Potter turned nearly invisible. It had been a spell.
“Come and find me. I’m waiting for you on the grounds,” Potter said as he disappeared.
Voldemort turned back to the window and he saw Potter walking away from the lower edge of the castle. He turned back to look at Voldemort before he turned around a corner of the castle and was out of sight.
Pressing his finger to the Dark Mark, he called all the Death Eaters back to him that were alive and able to free themselves. Only ten appeared inside the Headmaster’s office. It was enough. It had to be enough.
Harry pulled the first apparition back to himself and then the second as soon as it was out of sight of Voldemort. He had gone to the Headmaster’s office but heard Neville kill Nagini and Fawkes remove him to safety and decided against a confrontation inside the castle. There was nothing stopping him now. He could remove Voldemort from the equation once and for all.
Standing up, Harry moved to the spot that he needed to be for the spell. Voldemort and his Death Eaters appeared in seconds. Voldemort stepped closer to him and as soon as he entered the circle, the magic of the castle flared and Voldemort looked around in shock.
“What is this?” Voldemort tried to back up but found he was trapped. His Death Eaters moved to attack but Harry took a step inside the circle and then it closed, shooting up an arc of magic that protected them both from outside magic.
“Exutus,” Harry whispered as he dropped his wand to the ground. Voldemort’s wand ripped itself from its master’s grasp and fell to the ground as well. The spells surrounding the wands dropped and Voldemort looked on as his wand quickly started to look like a plain wand as Harry’s started to look like the Elder Wand.
“How?” Voldemort asked.
Harry kept his mouth silent as he waited for the spell to start. The crack of thunder above them had him looking up. There was nothing that Voldemort could do to him. Harry was stuck to his spot and so was Voldemort.
The sky above was black with the storm. He looked around and saw that everyone was outside of the castle. The knocked unconscious Death Eaters. Fleur and others that he knew were inside of the Great Hall.
A spectral woman appeared in front of Voldemort and Harry could see through her.
“Thomas Marvolo Riddle, I am here to judge you,” she said as she moved closer to Voldemort. Seconds later a male appeared and moved closer to Harry. “Harry James Potter, I am here to judge you.”
Harry dropped to his knees and bowed his head, letting the man’s hand touch his head. The flow of magic through him made all of Harry’s nerves burn. He screamed out at the same time that he heard Voldemort scream as well. He turned to look at Draco and found him right at the edge of the spell circle. His hands were pressed against the ward dropping him from entering and Harry knew that he would stay right there through it all. It was why he loved the boy as much as he did. He dreaded when he disappeared.
“We,” the male and the female started to speak together. “Find that Thomas Marvolo Riddle is found lacking what deems him necessary to carry on with magic like he does. We find that Harry James Potter embodies all that magic needs to survive the coming war.”
The male disappeared and the female moved back to the center of the circle. She raised her hand and Voldemort rose from the ground with her. Blue magic surrounded him and at the same time all the Death Eaters outside the circle rose up as well.
“As you have bound yourself to those men and women outside here, they shall be stripped of their magic as well. You shall know of magic as will they but you will never be able to touch it or see it ever again. Remember this, Riddle and remember for your next life.”
She slammed him to the ground and the storm outside raged more. A huge bolt of lightning stuck the upper spire of the castle and Harry felt the magic of the area jump up and then he knew nothing else. The backlash of the magic knocked him out.
Magic turned to look at all those who were around them. She reached out and pulled all of them into her magic as the school shattered. The resulting earthquake would reach for a hundred miles while the magical quake was felt throughout all of Europe. She smiled as the Death Eater’s magic and Riddle’s magic joined back into the fountain that all magic came from. Every single drop of magic they had would go to Muggleborns. There would be surge of Muggleborns not seen in a thousand years in the coming years.
She turned to look at Harry and smiled as she leaned down and kissed his head, waiting for him to wake up.
Chapter One Hundred and Eight-Aftermath
When Jerimiah Oster arrived at Hogwarts, he wasn’t sure what he was going to find. He had been told of the magical backlash that originated there but the Ministry was going to do nothing about it. Hogwarts was now Harry Potter’s domain and they could care less. He knew that knew as breaking his oaths as an Auror, going to Hogwarts without permission but he felt he had to.
Hogwarts had stood proud for so many years but now it was in a pile of rubble. There were stones littered all over the ground and Jerimiah could see bodies strewn through the rubble. For three seconds he thought about calling the Ministry and getting them and Aurors there but had second thoughts about it.
Stopping to check pulses he found that all were alive. The Death Eaters, the adults, the children. Everyone was alive but there was no sign of Harry Potter. If a fight went down that was large enough to destroy the castle, Harry Potter would have been there.
The outcry of anguish sets Jerimiah running around the side of what used to be the castle. He found Harry Potter standing above Voldemort. Voldemort was on his knees, his wand in his hand and he was viciously moving it around.
Harry Potter turned to look at Jerimiah and then leaned down to grab the wand from Voldemort’s hands. He slid what Jerimiah figured was his own wand into a pocket and reached down to pull Voldemort to his feet.
“Auror Oster?” Potter asked as he neared Jerimiah.
Jerimiah could only nod. He had no clue how Potter knew who and what he was.
“Lady Magic told me that you would be coming. If you will kindly take custody of Tom Riddle, I will prepare the Death Eaters to travel to the Ministry. Minister Scrimgeour is expecting your arrival with all of them, if he got the letter that I sent just twenty minutes before.”
“What happened here?” Jerimiah asked when he got his voice back.
“Hogwarts gave up its ancient magic to rip the magic from Tom Riddle and his followers. As soon as they are removed from magical lands, they will lose the ability to see magic.”
Jerimiah looked at Potter as if he was crazy. There was no way that the Ministry would allow them to live. They would all be kissed.
“I made an agreement with magic. They will live so that they are tortured throughout all their life with the knowledge that magic exists but they can’t see it or use it. Many will take their lives but Tom Riddle, he will be unable to. Magic will sustain him. He will go on hunger strikes and he will jump from buildings but magic will keep him alive. He will be one of the Muggles that he so hates.”
Potter looked at Voldemort with a pitying look but he transferred the man’s hand over.
“He won’t fight you. Not yet.” Potter moved over and started to rouse the Death Eaters with his wand that he had pulled from his pocket.
As if they were under a spell of some kind, every single one of them moved over to where Jerimiah was standing. When it was all said and done and thirty minutes later, Potter was coming around the castle from the other side, escorting a pair of Death Eaters, there were nearly fifty Death Eaters.
“These are the ones that were not killed. Those had to have arrived at the Ministry sometime last night. If you wish to Apparate, I can send them all to you. Take Tom Riddle by side along.”
“I’ll need to…” Jerimiah pointed at the gated entrance to the castle.
“Those wards have dropped. You’ll find that a lot of what made this school safe is gone. Sacrificed to strip all of these of their magic and the ability to see it.”
“Have a good day, Harry Potter.” It was the only thing that Jerimiah could think of. He had no clue what to say.
“You as well Auror Oster. The Minister will give me and mine the time to get away before he dispatches more Aurors here.”
Jerimiah gripped Voldemort’s arm tight and Apparated away. He arrived in the safe Apparition area inside the Ministry that was used for bringing in those who were in trouble. Seconds later, the Death Eaters filled up the cells around him. Minister was sitting in a chair in the middle of a cell that had no Death Eaters inside of it.
“Auror Oster, please escort Tom Riddle into his cell. As soon as we figure out a place to put him, you will escort him to his new home.”
“Then Potter was correct?”
“I was woke from a dead sleep, Auror but the vision of a woman standing over me. I jumped from my bed and drew my wand but it did nothing. My wand had stopped working. She handed me the letter from Potter and it was then that I knew her. She felt like my own magical core. She was magic. Magic asked me to do this and I will.”
“Will be told what Magic wants them to know.”
Jerimiah moved inside the cell and pushed Voldemort into the chair that Scrimgeour left. Scrimgeour left the cell and Jerimiah moved after him. The door slammed shut and it was then that Voldemort looked up and saw where he was. The Death Eaters all seemed to snap back to attention then. Whatever Potter had done to them seemed to be wearing off.
Scrimgeour left the room, ignoring all the calls of the Death Eaters. Voldemort was silent.
Harry looked around at the people who were around him. He had found the survivors when he had been escorting the Death Eaters. There were more than he thought but there was less than he hoped. The dead from their side, Magic had told him, were all in the Quidditch pitch, the only part other than Hagrid’s hut to survive.
There was going to be time to slip away before Magic wakes them all and Harry thinks about it but Draco was there, curled up in a magical bubble still as a rock as hovering over him. Harry reached out with his magic and pulled if off his husband. Draco deserved better than that. His friends and family didn’t need to think there was even a small chance that he died. Scrimgeour was going to keep silent and Oster wouldn’t say a word.
Hermione, Ron, Luna, Neville, Pansy, and Blaise were all scattered out from there. Fred and George were scattered around the side of the castle where Fleur was. It’s where the Weasley’s other than Ron were.
The Quidditch Pitch was calling to him. He knew of the deaths that he used the blood of. Krum, Justin, Cho, and the two Ministry employees. Those bodies would not be here though. Those bodies were safe.
Entering the Pitch, Harry fell to his knees. There were eight bodies lying near the entrance to the Pitch. The names of the dead pushed across his mind.
Every single face was frozen in a peacefulness that Harry knew would haunt him forever. Eight people that could have been saved if he had been quicker or had not allowed them to stay. Pansy, Ginny, and Daphne hadn’t been ready.
“Their deaths are not you on,” Magic said from in front of him. Harry looked up and saw that the male was back again. In his hands was a glowing blue orb. It was the roughly the size of a human basketball. “Fate needs her sacrifices as much as I do. If not them, others could have died.”
“Hogwarts’s time has come and gone. A new school is needed. A better school is needed.” The man handed the orb over with a sigh as he did. Harry watched as the man started to fade. “I am the essence of the school. The sentience of the school. I am tired and you have given me an out that is the best in the world. I get to die taking out the Darkest Lord that has risen in over a thousand years. Inside this orb are the ghosts of Hogwarts, those that stand alive still.”
“Still alive?” Harry looked at him and then back at magic.
“The Grey Lady, Sir Nick, the Bloody Baron, and the Fat Friar all gave their lives getting the people out of the castle and all the items inside. Do you know how much magic is stored in the body of a ghost? More than a witch or wizard can summon on their own. Ghosts hold so much magic inside of them. They gave what they could to protect the school.”
“I don’t know…”
“Your friends and family will worry about the new school,” Magic said as he moved over to where he was still on his knees and pulled him up. Hogwarts moved over to Harry and stared in him the eye.
“You are the greatest wizard that has been born in many generations. I am sorry that I didn’t get to protect you longer than I did. I watched you grow up. The visits with Severus when he couldn’t get out of bringing with him. I boosted his magic on you so that no one would see you or feel your magic. You were the child of Severus’s heart and you were the child of my magic. I knew who you were the second that you passed my wards.”
“What?” Harry asked, he could feel the tears streaming down his face. Hot and wet and he knew that no matter what, he would never be able to stop them.
“My death,” Hogwarts leaned over and kissed Harry on the forehead before he stepped back and disappeared.
Harry felt him leaving. All the extra magic that had shored him up was gone. He wasn’t left without magic; he still had nearly all of his. He had burned through all the extra magic and not his own. He was tired but he knew that he would be tired for days.
Scrimgeour appeared with Oster at the edge of the far side of the Pitch. Harry looked up at them and wiped at his eyes. Scrimgeour bowed low before he started to move closer.
“I can give you a few more hours. The dead bodies had peaked interest and I have Aurors and Unspeakables who will be here as soon as I turn my back.”
“The others should be waking up within a few minutes.” Harry looked at Magic who nodded. It was then that Scrimgeour noticed her. He bowed deeply at her.
“Potter, who was that?” Oster was looking where Hogwarts had been.
“The essence of Hogwarts.”
“Essence of Hogwarts?” Scrimgeour asked.
“You have a task that goes beyond what you need to do with the government.” Harry turned his entire gaze to Scrimgeour. “You will do this or there will be hell to pay.”
“Anything, Lord Potter.”
“A new school. Magic will never be something that can be done here. I will abandon this place here as soon as we leave here. No Wizard or Witch will ever be able to cast a spell here again. This place will stand here forsaken for the rest of time.”
“You are the one that allowed this to happen,” Scrimgeour said as he turned to face the apparition in front of him.
“You allowed this to happen. From the second that Tom Riddle was set to be back, you all waited for Harry to step up. A CHILD! This monument is not for the children who have died for this, who stepped up and did what those above them wouldn’t do. This monument is for everyone who ever stood back and let those who they were supposed to protect take on a Dark Wizard.”
“I see.” Scrimgeour couldn’t meet Magic’s eyes.
“I have things that I need to do. I need two hours, Minister before this area can be seen by others. I would like Oster to stay and watch over the grounds. I don’t want him on the grounds but at Hogsmeade. I have left instructions with my lawyer about the school and other things. The Governors will be notified and things will be settled with them. They hold all the power in this.”
“Then what do I need to do?”
“School starts up again soon. I want the school ready by September 1st. That is what you need to do.”
Scrimgeour was gone in seconds and Harry nodded at Oster before he moved back towards the school. Draco was awake and just sitting up when Harry arrived. Draco launched himself into Harry’s arm and Harry just held on tight.
Chapter One Hundred and Nine-Devastation
Draco wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He had gone to bed with Harry and had awoken the next morning to find him gone. It was predawn and the Devon house was dead silent. Draco ran from the house and tried to find him. The grounds were silent. There was no whisper of wind, no echo of steps. A slight rustling and a burst of magic had Draco running to the gardens behind the house but all he found was a small bottle that had been shattered and nothing else.
The forest behind the garden was dead empty as well. Draco had left his wand up in the room but it was easy to cast a lumos to light the area. There was nothing. No clue that Harry had been through the area at all. It was easy to get lost but it was bright enough that Draco didn’t fear that.
Harry’s side of the bed had still been warm so he hadn’t left much before Draco had woke up. Five days of peace were all that they had.
Five days of not worrying about Death Eaters.
Five days of mourning but knowing that there would be no more losses for a while.
Five days of Harry slipping slowly away from him.
Draco felt it every single morning. Harry would work on letters that were supposed to be from well-wishers after the death of Voldemort but Draco had felt that the letters were not.
Turning back towards the house, Draco gave up. Harry hadn’t come back. He wasn’t going to come back for a while. He knew the reasons of why Harry was leaving and he understood them. Draco was the only reason that Harry would stay. The world at large was too interested in Harry’s life and so would butt in so much. Draco didn’t want Harry to resent him.
Harry needed time.
As Draco approached the stairs to the back entrance to the house, a lone wolf howl sounded from the woods. Draco turned back. There were few wolves in the area. It must have got separated from its pack while hunting. Slamming the door shut behind him, Draco shoved the thoughts of the wolf from his mind.
On the breakfast table in the house were a pile of letter. Severus looked at the letters and knew who they were from.
There were seven letters. One each for Draco, Severus, Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Remus, and Astoria. There was also a letter to everyone else. That’s what the outer envelope said. Everyone.
Severus picked up his letter and placed the others in his pocket. He opened it carefully and felt the burst of magic that jumped off of it and shot from the house. Harry had keyed the letters so that he knew if they were opened or not. It was a piece of magic that Most Witches and Wizards never thought was something that was needed. Harry wasn’t expecting an answer or a way to get an answer to him.
I know that we have talked about this but I find that I still can’t leave without a letter. You were the best father for me. I don’t know what I would have done had I not been raised by you. I probably would have been a weakling who let the machinations of the Government and the factions around me to push to be what they wanted and not what I needed. The closest you came was making sure that I would survive and that was the best you could have ever done.
I became a man long before I should have but that was a given with the world around me but you have me a childhood. Playing in the woods, getting hurt from playing and so many other memories that will sustain me while I am out in the world.
Do not look for me. Lady Magic has assured me that no one would be able to find me. She agrees that I need time away. I do not know how long it will take but I promise I won’t be gone a moment longer than I think I need to be.
You have lived for me for so long, please live for yourself now.
Severus closed up his letter and stuck it in an inside pocket on his robe. Every single letter could be delivered that morning except for the one for Astoria Greengrass. The letter was unexpected but he wasn’t all that surprised either. The young girl was in love with Harry and to a certain extent Draco as well. She would never harm their relationship but she watched them from afar. He could discuss with Draco what he wanted to do with the letter. Whether he wanted to deliver it or have it delivered by owl.
The close howl of a wolf sent a shiver up Severus’s spine. He knew what that meant.
“Good morning, Severus.”
Draco watched Severus’s face as he turned around to face him. He knew from the look that Severus knew that Harry was gone. Severus reached into the outer pocket of his robe and handed over a letter.
It was from Harry. The script was one that Draco would know until the day he died.
Turning from Severus, Draco opened the letter.
This letter confirms what you have figured out. I am gone.
I will not stay away from you for a moment longer than I need to. I give you my promise on that.
Do not search for me. Lady Magic has told me that no one will be able to find me, no matter what. If something happens that she thinks I need to know, she will let me know. I will see what is happening but you will not be able to see me.
You are the light of my world, Draco. My husband and my love. I hate the distance that I need to put between us but I need it.
One day you will know all and understand.
I fear what I will write if I keep going on much longer. Do not hate magic for what has been done. Revel in the fact that magic saved us. Magic is the reason we are alive. Magic gave you to me and I could adore her for that every single day.
Be as happy as you can be, love.
Draco tossed the letter into the small fire burning and then turned to Severus. The older man was staring in shock at what the younger man had done. The words were committed to memory and there was no way that Draco wanted that letter to be found by anybody.
“We have much to do, Severus. There is a school to get ready and a life to get on with.”
“There is one other thing.” Severus pulled another letter out of his pocket and handed it over to Draco. The name on it was like a kick in the throat. Draco pulled it up to his heart.
“I’ll take care of this now. I am sure there are other letters. Please make sure they are given out.”
Draco spun on the spot and was gone. Apparition was easier than it ever had been. It was then that he knew. The Devon house was his.
Ron and Hermione were in the same room when Severus handed over the letters. It was like they had known. Severus handed over the letter and let the grief on their face force him from the room.
Ron was the first to read his letter.
Take care of Hermione. She will try and find me and that will end badly for her. I don’t want her harming herself to find me.
You were a brother to me and a family when I only had my father.
Your family will not understand but I can’t make them understand. I need me time and I can never get that being in the public eye. When I am ready, I will come back to all of you.
Protect Draco from all that is it come. Don’t let him slip away.
Hermione read her’s next.
You are the sister of my heart and the strength of my mind. You will do great in the future but you need to let me go. I am not a riddle for you to figure out. Finding me will not bring me back. It will only hurt you when I turn away from you. Trust in me and love me from afar.
Ron will need you now more than ever. Love him and guide him. He is going into his Seventh year into a new school with his best friend gone. Be his best friend. Help his grow up but don’t push him to grow up. This last year has seen him grow, don’t stagnate that.
Draco will be alone as well. He will be lost in his grief, don’t let him slip away. You, Ron, Neville, Blaise, Luna, and the Twins are going to have to push him to be a part of your lives.
I trust all of your with making sure he is still himself when I come back.
Do what you need to make England a place I can come back to. I am counting on you.
Hermione let the letter drop to her feet and she turned to Ron and gripped him tight.
Remus knew that something was up when he heard the howl of the wolf. He was curled around Sirius in their bed.
The howl sounded lonesome and there was no secondary call from another wolf which was odd. Wolves were pack animals.
“Sirius.” Remus shook his husband awake.
Sirius rolled over and looked up into the face of his husband.
“He’s gone. He left the house.”
“What?” Sirius sat up in the bed and turned to face the window before he jumped up and ran to it.
“He left as the wolf. He is seeking solace as his Animagus form.”
The knock on the door came only seconds before it opened. Severus was standing there with a letter in his hand.
Remus was the one that was able to take it from Severus’s hand. He patted Severus on the shoulder and the man gave him a small pained smile.
“Draco is going to the Greengrass estate. I don’t know when he will be back. I need some time…”
“We will take care of the house.” Remus gave him a smile and then turned away.
Sitting on the bed, Remus opened the letter as Sirius shifted closer to him.
Dear Sirius and Remus,
I know that Remus had probably heard my call by now so you both should know that I am gone. Severus will act like he is taking my leaving all right but we know that he will not. He has not lived alone since he took me in. He will not adapt well to living alone now. Please care for him.
Care for each other and be the rocks that you each need. I will be back some day and I will be staying when I do get back.
The grief inside the Devon house was able to be cut with a knife. Molly Weasley read the letter that was address to the rest of Harry’s family.
To My Family,
It should be known now that I have left. I will be back. All of you are the people I am leaving behind to protect that which I cannot protect while I am gone. Support each other and shape the world to what it needs to be.
When I come back, I’ll rejoice at coming back and I hope all of you will as well.
The Greengrass estate was the picture of mourning. Draco passed through the wards with ease. He was still keyed to them from his childhood.
Astoria met him halfway up the walk to the house and leapt into his arms. She buried her face into his neck and Draco just gripped her tight. There were no words for her grief at losing her sister and him coming to tell her of Harry’s disappearance. She was a child in some ways and the grief of a family member passing would compound that.
The letter was forgotten and he held her tight while he carried her up into the house.
It wasn’t until later that night that Astoria found the letter peeking out from Draco’s pocket while he napped, holding her tight. She opened it read it
Protect him, Astoria. You are the only one left who loves him like I do. I will never begrudge you the love you have for the both of us. I cherish that love and it will keep me strong while I am gone and your are there to protect him.
It wasn’t signed but Astoria knew who it was from. She placed it inside the desk in her room and moved back to the bed with Draco.
Plans started to form in her mind.
Chapter One Hundred and Ten-A New School
Draco was alone in the Devon house for the first time ever. The war was over and many had gone home. The Weasley’s leaving was the main bit of silence in the entire house. Ron had gone with them for a short time but would be coming back. Hermione had gone to check on her parents but would be back. Neville had gone home and had said he would visit. The same with Luna and Blaise.
Sirius and Remus, even though Draco told them to stay, had gone to clean out and worry about Grimmauld Place. Even Draco’s own parents had gone home. The only people left were the elves and Draco didn’t count them as unless he called one, they stayed hidden inside the house.
James and Lily were in the library and Draco had gone to them the day that Harry had left but they had known that he was leaving and he had stopped to say goodbye with tears in his eyes. Leaving without saying goodbye to them was the only thing that Harry had ever down that was cowardly. Draco thought he understood why he had done it but that didn’t make him less mad.
Astoria had been the picture of grief about her sister but when Draco had told her that Harry was gone and he had no clue when he would be back, she shattered. Draco had stayed with her because around her, he could show his grief without fear. He adored the friends and family that he had gained because of Harry but they were not his. They were Harry’s and they had so much grief of their own that Draco didn’t want to burden them with his own but with Astoria he could act like himself.
There were many plans that needed done and it was why Severus was not in the house. He had gone out into the British Isles to find a place to set a school. Draco was doing his part and looking through older maps and Severus was going to the sites with the help of McGonagall.
“Draco!” a voice yelled and then Luna was barreling into the library. She looked like she had been running for miles given the state of her clothes and hair. She looked like a wild child. She reached out her hand and grabbed his, pulling him. Draco followed her, trusting her. As soon as they were past the Apparition wards, she was side alonging him and they were in Hogsmeade. Draco looked at her with a look of shock. She had gone back to the site where the school had been so quickly. There were other there and Draco wasn’t surprised.
Every single day there was an article about the final battle, detailing some aspect of it. Luna pulled him on the grounds and Draco tried to think about why he didn’t want to see the castle when the castle loomed in front of him. Draco felt his world shift at the sight. Then the castle faded and what was visible was the debris that had been left. The Ministry had tried to clean it up but the magic had faded from the area. It was a void that no magic could be created in.
“I had a dream and I knew that I had to visit here. I arrived just a group from France arrived. The ground shook and then this blue light surrounded the castle and then this was visible. I…”
Draco pulled Luna into his arms. “It’s fine. I am glad you brought me.”
“You haven’t…” the ground shook and Luna didn’t move at all while Draco jumped a little. She knew it was coming. The castle was bathed in a red light and blood seemed to pour from the cracks in the shattered stone.
A woman crying could be heard from inside the castle, it was loud, louder than it should be given the distance they were from the castle but softer than it shoulder have been given how well they could hear it. Draco turned and saw the horrified looks on the faces of those behind him. This was for them. To show them what the wrought. To show them what happens when good people do nothing.
“Let’s go home.”
“There is something else, Draco.” Luna pointed and Draco followed the sight. The lake. The lake was empty. The squid…he’d never even thought about it.
“The forest is still standing but no one can enter it. I tried to…check on the unicorns.”
“I think that we will find that Lady Magic is protecting those who need it the most. The school keep most people from entering the Forbidden Forest but now without it here. She is protecting them.”
“You are correct, Lord Malfoy,” a female voice said from behind him. Draco spun, pushing Luna behind him. Standing there was a woman who stood about six and a half feet tall with long flowing silver hair and vibrant purple eyes. She was dressed in jeans and a flowing black shirt. She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.
“Who are you?” Draco asked. He didn’t draw his wand.
“I am Lady Magic. I can feel your heartbreak from here, Draco but there is naught that I can do for it. I will take the blame though.”
“Blame?” Luna asked as she crept from behind Draco, not scared at all.
“I am the reason that Harry is gone. He probably would have left on his own for a small trip but this won’t be short. It will be long and a burden on him but he needs to do it.”
“What did you do to him?” Draco asked as he took a step towards her. Instead of getting angry, Magic just smiled at him.
“I did nothing. The spell he cast had a price on it. He had two options and the first, well that was death and never entertained that option so we never brought it up. It’s what most who cast this take. The price is being separated from those he loves. He’ll return when I allow him and he will be changed.”
“As noble as young Potter is, there is darkness in his heart. It’s small and it’s something that would have never touched him except for the fact that those around him, not his friends and family but his peers would blame him for the deaths that never were stopped. Every death eats on those who read about it and did nothing to stop it. They feel that they should never have to step up and help those around them; it should be saved for the saviors. If I had my way, a great deal more of them would have died. But Harry didn’t want innocent death. I’ll judge them when they get to me and I have to be happy with that.”
“He sacrificed his life for theirs?” Draco asked.
“Yes. These years without him are going to be hard but the years will tick by and he will return. I will allow none to harm him, Draco you have my word on that.” Magic leaned forward and kissed his forehead. “My young Lord Malfoy.”
“I am not Lord Malfoy, not yet.”
Magic giggled and it was a sound that Draco was sure he never wanted to hear again.
“When you and Harry married, Draco, did you take his name?”
Draco looked at her and saw the look in her eye. He dropped his hold on Luna and stepped up to Magic. “You did that?”
“I merely pushed the two of you in the direction, you two are the ones who read a ritual without care on what it was. Did you call yourself Draco Potter after that?” Magic was looking at him odd.
“With Harry gone, you are the Lord of Potter estate. You are the husband of Lord Potter and therefore you are Lord Malfoy of the Potter Estate. Which is a mouthful so most will just call you Lord Malfoy. You will sit his seat on Wizengamot. You have been left his things already and you will be the face of the Potters.”
“What have you done?” Draco could finally place the look on her face. It was a look that he saw most often on the faces of the twins. Seeing on Magic was something that he never thought he would see.
Magic laughed and then disappeared. Her laugh though hung in the heir for several seconds after she was gone from sight.
Hogsmeade was already dead. The most of the shops were closed for the while and were waiting to hear about where the new school would be. Draco looked for a paper when he ran onto the street but found nothing. He held out his hand for Luna and pulled them both inside of Gringotts into the Apparition point inside.
Griphook was standing there, waiting on them. He held out a newspaper and Draco grabbed it.
There was an article there from a regular reporter who said that she was there for the small and intimate ceremony of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy before Harry Potter left the Wizarding World. It was there in black and white that he was married to Harry. The details were full and Draco would have to commit them to memory.
“We have much to do, Lord Malfoy, much to do. You like Miss Lovegood to accompany you today?”
All Draco could do was nod.
The new site for the school was wonderful. Surrounded by forest all the way around but with a small mountain at their back and a river on the left. Severus and Minerva stood at where the center of the school would be.
“Will we be ready for school on the first?” Minerva asked as she looked around. The forest was old and would give up the land but not without a fight.
“Watch!” Severus smiled as he placed a small crystal on the ground and used his magic to shove it down into the ground. When it reached fifty feet down, he pushed his magic into the crystal. It was a present from magic. Before the shockwave could hit them, Severus grabbed Minerva’s arm and held her close so she did nothing.
The shockwave burst from the ground but harmed neither of them. It moved out and the trees it touched disappeared. What had been a nice forest was now a land with just grass on it. The trees were gone like they had never been there before.
“All the trees were taken somewhere else in the forest that remains. The new land for the school and the village was cleared. Lady Magic left it for me so that we could get the school up in time. I’ll have the House Elves and volunteers start as soon as possible. We will be ready for classes on the first but there is on remaining issue.”
“You don’t want it anymore?” Minerva looked at Severus with a knowing look on her face.
“I’ll gladly retake the Potions posting.”
Minerva was shocked at the words that came from his mouth.
“What about Defense?” She gripped his arm so that he couldn’t turn away from her.
“I think that there are too many memories there. I would want every child to be…Harry and that wouldn’t be good. I will be happy with the Potions posting besides I think there is a person more qualified to take the position.”
“We have a few things to do and I will have you as my Deputy.”
“I agree.” Severus looked at the grounds that would be filled with children come September 1st. It was a wonderful thought and he actually looked forward to the school year starting. There were a great many changes that were going to be done to the school. Tradition no longer was needed. The Governors were behind all the changes that had been brought up in the destruction of the school. The new school would be a safe haven for all who need it. There would be no more of what created Lord Voldemort.
School letters arrived as usual with lists of what children needed as well as the time of the departure of the Haven Express. It left from the same platform at the same time as always. There was a Head Boy and a Head Girl. There were Prefects. The same trolley lady served them food.
When the train slowed down at the edge of a forest, the students who had gone before expected to hear a booming voice calling out first years but there was no voice. The students got off the train and stood on the platform that was large enough for all of them plus many more to stand. There was only trees all around them. The train took off and the students were all alone.
Head Girl, Hermione Granger and Head Boy Draco Malfoy moved off the platform first and beckoned for everyone to follow. There was a trail that once Hermione and Draco stepped onto it lit up.
The students all followed. There was whispering and there was fear but the students followed until the new castle could be seen. There was no gate around the grounds and there was no visible way to keep people out.
On the highest step into the castle stood the Headmistress Minerva McGonagall with the Deputy Headmaster Severus Snape. In front of them both was a wolf. Many of the children couldn’t take their eyes off the wolf.
“Welcome to a new school year at a new school,” McGonagall said as she waved up to the castle. “We the professors here at the school welcome you and hope that you enjoy your time here. There have been a few changes to the staff at the school. After the Sorting, you will be introduced to your new professors but first, please follow Professor Snape into the preparatory room.”
“And a word for the wise, Lunar here is the guard for the grounds. He takes his job seriously and if you are caught out of bounds when you are not supposed to be, he will find you and he will drag you to a Professor. His former job was keeping Harry Potter in line, learn well, Lunar did good at his job.
With a swirl of her cloak, Headmistress McGonagall was gone and the students were left with Professor Snape. They followed him into a room that was just off the main hallway. It was a room that was just large enough for all them with a little room to spare.
“Sorting here at Haven is going to be different than at Hogwarts. The First through Fourth years will be sorted into dormitories based on a list of criteria that the Sorting Hat has been given that has been complied based on what we here at school feels gives the students a good foot forward. Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh years will all be housed together but in separate dorms based on gender and what job paths you have chosen.”
Professor Snape conjured an image and it was the castle. “The top quarter of the school is the dorms. The lower two floors are the dorms for the younger students while the upper turrets are for the older students. The floor directly under the lower dorm is the training floor. There are twenty three rooms that can be used for various training whether it’s physical, mental, spells, jinxes, you name it the rooms can do it for you.”
“Like the Room of Requirement?” a brave soul piped up from the back of the mass of students. His only response was a nod of his head.
“The Head Boy and Girl as well as the prefects know where all the classes are located and will direct all students to where they need to be tomorrow so please be early to breakfast so that you won’t be late for classes. Tardiness is not going to be tolerated. There are no staircases that are going to trip you up. In a few seconds we will be entering the Great Hall and you will be sorted. Please stand quietly. The time to talk will be while you are eating.”
Professor Snape opened the door and waved for the students to go before him into the room. The Second Years and up knew what the other Great Hall had looked like and other than the enchanted ceiling, there was nothing the same. Instead of four long tables there were many smaller tables that were circles. It looked like each table could fit about ten people, a few more if the students were first years and maybe eight or nine of the upper years.
The sorting was quick, it didn’t take long for the hat to place the First through Fourth years. A shining ball of light would appear over the table that they were expected to sit at. Five girls and boys of each year spread on each table. But there were four tables grouped to a section in the room and each table held one year of students.
A roar of a dragon echoed across the room and all the students turned to look at where it came from. There was a small grouping of three tables at the edge of the room up near where the table of professors was. Each table had a dragon carved on it, each a different color. A Griffin roared from the next grouping of tables directly behind that one and then a phoenix cried from behind the tiger and the last set of tables a Pegasus neighed.
The Fifth Years were first. All of them were called and they moved about to their tables and sat quietly at the tables that were red. The Sixth Years were next and they moved to the same groupings of tables as the Fifth Years except that they sat at the blue tables. All except for one Sixth Year. Luna Lovegood stood at the edge of the Seventh Years with her friends and waited for her name to be called but the L’s were passed and still her name wasn’t called. Then Professor Snape closed the scroll with the names of the Sixth Years.
“Excuse me, Professor,” Hermione spoke up as she stepped forward in the group of Seventh Years. Professor Snape looked at her with a sharp eye. “Miss Lovegood is a Sixth Year.”
“We are well aware of that, Miss Granger and it was decided that with the knowledge that she carries and the hardships of what she has gone through with the Seventh Years, she was going to be given a choice. Her father had her tested over the summer and she has all of the knowledge needed to be in with the Seventh Years. He father is leaving that up to her.”
“Yes,” Luna said as she moved closer to Hermione in happiness.
The seventh year students were separated into the groups and it was when there was a group of six left Professor Snape stopped reading from the scroll. There was only six students left unsorted. There was only one table that wasn’t full.
“If this was a perfect world, there would be three more to sit at the green dragon table. Harry Potter and Pansy Parkinson and possibly Daphne Greengrass. Those three are not with us anymore. You six won’t need sorted. Take your seats.”
Draco Malfoy was the first to sit down at the table with Hermione and Ron Weasley flanking him. Luna sat beside Hermione with Blaise Zabini and Neville Longbottom filling in between Luna and Ron.
“Welcome to the first year of school at Haven School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I want to introduce all the staff we currently have. Charity Babbling teaches Ancient Runes. Septima Vector teaches Arthimancy. Aurora Sinistra teaches Astronomy. Charlie Weasley teaches Care of Magical Creatures. Filius Flitwick teaches Charms. Remus Lupin teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts with Head of Security Lucius Malfoy taking over the class when needed. Divination will be taught by Sibyl Trelawney. Herbology is still being taught by Pomona Sprout. Cynthia Carter will teach History of Magic. Muggle Studies will be taught by Charity Burbage. Potions by Severus Snape and finally Transfiguration will be taken over by Sirius Black. Flying will still be coached by Madam Hooch. Our nurse is still Poppy Pomfrey. Taking over as librarian will be Narcissa Malfoy. As I mentioned our security will be over seen by Lucius Malfoy. Ours grounds keeper will be Rubeus Hagrid and as we have not found a Caretaker for the castle, we will have none. I expect all staff to be treated with respect, disrespect will not be tolerated. Now I know that you are hungry so, let’s eat!”
Headmistress McGonagall clapped her hands and food appeared on the tables all around the room. Everyone dug into the plates with gusto. The only table that was silent for the most part during the meal was the green dragon table.
The first year of Haven School would be a year filled with ghosts. Ghosts that walked down the hall and brought silence where laughter should be. The silence of missing friends and family and the silence of heartache.
The first year of Haven School would also be grand. The grades of the students would shoot up and for the first time in many years would rival those of the schools around the world. Stagnation was not the name of England anymore and it was grand.
Author’s Note-I want to thank all of you for staying with me on the long ride this story turned out to be. At times I am sure that you thought that I wasn’t ever going to finish it but here it is. I will be doing a sequel that deals with Harry’s return to the Wizarding World and his return to Draco.