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Magnus Chase and a Plotless Hogwarts Fanfiction

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When Magnus reached the gates he had to stop to take a big breath. Hogwarts was much bigger than he thought it would be. The castle loomed over him like a mountain. He was starting to second guess himself. When the headmaster Samirah al-Abas, his long-time friend had offered him the position he thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal. The old care of magical creatures teacher had retired she had been left in a pickle since term started tomorrow. She had sent him and owl begging him to come and teach. He had always been good with magical creatures and nature. He had even once befriended a unicorn. But looking across the vast grounds Magnus was worried he might be in too deep. What if he sucked at teaching? What if the students didn't like him? What if he made a fool of himself? Magnus knew only the smarter most talented wizards taught at Hogwarts and he knew he definitely wasn't in that category. He was about to change his mind and turn around and head back to the train when he heard a voice call at him. Striding across the lawn was a young man calling his name.

"Professor Chase. So glad to meet you" the stranger said as he approached. He wore a regular white button down shirt and black slacks. Over his shoulder was a dark blue cloak with military badges pinned to it. He sweated slightly in the afternoon sun. His skin was dark and warm and his hair was cut to military perfection. He smiled broadly at Magnus and extended his arm.

"I'm Professor Jefferson, but you can call me T.J. I teach history of magic. The headmaster has sent me down to greet you and help you to your office. She would have come down herself except there's been an incident with peeves breaking into an office. Professor Fierro is livid."

Magnus shook his hand back.

"Nice to meet you T.J. You can call me Magnus. I don't really like going by my last name that much."

"No problem” T.J said helping Magnus carry his trucks. "This way to the castle"

T.J. led Magnus into a vast entrance hall and up a flight of stairs. The castle was magnificent. Magnus had never seen anything quite like it. His mother had taught him form home therefore he never had a chance to attend Hogwarts. The place was jaw dropping.

"Exactly how many student go here?" Magnus asked nervously.

"Around 1000, but don't worry care of magical creatures is an elective. You will have only around 30 students or less per class"

T.J probably meant this as a comforting fact but it made Magnus' stomach turn.

The reached a small wooden door at the end of a narrow hall. T.J. opened the door then
handed Magnus the keys.

"Well it was nice meeting you Magnus. I’m looking forward to working with you. Your office is up the stairs at the back of the classroom. Dinner is at 6 in the Great Hall which is down the flight we came up and to the right."

Magnus shook the man's hand one more time and walked into the classroom. The class room was a decent size. One wall was made up of tall windows that overlooked to the grounds and the lake. Magnus huffed and walked to the back if the room. He climbed the stairs clumsily trying to avoid doing 2 trips with his trunks and opened the office door. The room was circular with a large wood desk in the middle. The window behind the desk had a breathtaking view of the lake. The wall of the room were lined with empty bookshelves and picture hooks. Magnus dropped his trunks and opened the side door of the office. It opened into a small living space. A small bathroom and sitting room/bedroom. A large 4 poster bed was tucked away around a corner. A tall window with a sitting bench was beside the bed. Magnus thought it was so beautiful he might cry. He had been living on the streets of London for 4 years. This place was a miracle. He quickly shook his head before he became too overwhelmed and began unpacking.
Soon the shelves were filled with books, tiny skeletons, and stuffed creatures he had collected over the years. He hung his sketches of interesting beasts he had encounter in his travels and a photograph of his mother and him hiking. The only thing of her he hand left.

By the time he had finished he noticed he still had 2 hours until dinner. A note on the desk from Samirah informed him that as care of magical creature’s teacher he had full access and responsibility for the hippogriff paddock located just inside the forest. Along with some other responsibility to other school creatures like the thestrals. The cabin beside the forest was equipped with everything he would need.

Magnus decided to go and check out the cabin and forest before dinner. So he picked up his ratty cloak threw it over his shoulder and headed out the door.

******

When he got to the entrance hall he ran into Samirah. She was in the middle of a conversation with a person with bright green hair and brightly coloured pink and green robes. They were waving their hands and talking in a slightly raised voice obviously ranting. When Samirah saw Magnus she waved him over.

"Magnus. I'm so glad you accepted my offer. I'm really excited to have you here to teach. This is professor Fierro. She teaches transfiguration and is my head of Slytherin house." Sam introduced.

"Call me Alex.” the stranger said extending their first for a fist bump instead of a hand shake. Magnus happily compiled.

"So I’m assuming you’re the professor Fierro of the recently vandalized office."

Alex grumbled and nodded.

"I thought I locked it but apparently I didn't. Now I need to find 50 guinea pigs before class starts."

"Regardless Alex it could have been worse. Peeves hasn't really stared the worst if his beginning of the year shenanigans." Sam said.

Magnus took this all I guessing it was important info. A poltergeist that haunted the school named Peeves. Check.

"Anyway I must go. I need to talk to the school governors before dinner. I might be a bit late. They received some more complaints about hearthstone from the usual families but this time they have apparently sent there complaint to the ministry as well."

Alex faced knotted in displeasure.

"You can tell them to shove their complaints up their..." Alex street but Sam but in.

"Alex maybe you could take Magnus up to the staff room. Blitzen is up there trying to comfort Hearth. Also introduce him to some more people before he is overwhelmed at supper"

Alex nodded and lead up the entrance was while Sam strode up the opposite end of the entrance way.

“So Magnus where you from?" Alex asked.

"Well I was born I Boston but came to Europe when I was 14. My mom wanted to travel and explore the world with me. I guess that how I learned so much about magical creatures."

“Oh that's cool. I'm from Boston too. Moved here when I started teaching 3 years ago. Don't worry you'll love it here. All the professors are close and supportive. Plus like 99.99% of students are well behaved. Well behaved by teenager standards."

I smiled at her. Then I noticed something.

"Hey your hair is pink now!" I exclaimed.

"Well ya. I'm a metamorphmagus. It’s only of the few perks of being me. I'm also gender fluid just so
you know."

She looked me dead in the eye as sing how I would react. Honestly that didn't surprise me. I knew lots of homeless transgender and gender Louis persons. Most kicked out by their families at young ages because of it. I didn't see any problem with Alex being gender fluid.

"So what would you like me to call you by?" I asked.

"she/her until I tell you otherwise" Alex answered.

"Ok no problem"

We reached the main staircase and my jaw dropped 100 of staircases zigzagged across the area swinging into different positions. They went up at least 40 floors probably more. Looking up at the ever chaining stairs made me dizzy.

"Oh ya keep an eye on the staircases they too like too" she grinned.

We climbed a dozen flights of stairs before we reached the right floor. I was slightly out of breath. Man I was glad my office was on the first floor. Alex didn't seem to be gazed. Maybe doing these stairs multiple times a day had increased her tolerance for excruciating physical activity.

She led me through some winding corridors until we reached a set of door that were flanked by 2 gargoyles. Alex opened the doors and I followed her in. The room was large with long panels running along the walls. It was outfitted with mismatched, dark wooden chairs and cuff looking couches. By the fire I saw two people sitting on a puffy floral print couch.

The first man was slightly older than me. Probably in his late 20's. He was short and built with a dark mocha complexion. His hair was neatly combed back and he was sporting the most handsome set of robes I had ever seen. Deep purple with gold embroidery around the collar. Underneath he sported a blinding white dress shirt with a lilac tie. His black dress pants were held up his leather suspenders. His dress shoes were shiny and immaculately clean. His arm was around a taller man that was bent over with his head in his hands.

The second man was very tall and very pale. If he was standing in the snow the only thing of him that would be visible was his completely black set of clothes. His hair was so blonde it was white. His eyes shined grey and his skin was so white it was almost translucent. Around his neck loosely hung a red and white candy cane stipend scarf. The rest of his clothes were very causal compared to the man beside him. He was dressed like a muggle. He was very thin and gangly in an anemic hasn’t eaten in months sort of way. He simply wore a black long sleeved t-shirt dark jeans and high-tops. When they entered the darker man looked up.

"You must be Professor Chase?" he reached over to shake my hand.

"Actually it's just Magnus." I said as in shook his hand. I then went to sit in the chair across from them on the couch.

Alex sat down beside the tall pale man and started patting his shoulder.

"Well it’s nice to meet you Magnus. I'm Blitzen but you can call me Blitz. I teach charms here and am head of Hufflepuff house and this is Hearthstone, you can all him Hearth. He teaches ancient runes and his head of Ravenclaw."

Hearth had raised his head by now and was watching Blitz talk. When he was done he made some gestures with his hands towards Blitz.

I watched confused. As Blitz answered Hearth's gestures with more gestures.

"Don't say 'was'. You’re not getting fired. Sam would rather close the school down before firing you. You’re a great teacher." Blitz said as he moved his hands.

"Ya Hearth. You’re the best runes teacher this school has ever had. You know more about reading runes than every the ancient wizards who used them. Plus your students love you." Alex said softly also gesturing with her hands.

By this point I was smart enough to catch on. I may be clueless but I wasn’t that clueless. Hearthstone was deaf. And I was pretty sure I knew what the complaints Sam had revived were about. I frowned. I had no faith in humanity anymore, which probably had a lot to do with living on the streets. Stupid wizards. I didn't know the guy but I knew some deaf guys from the street. They were just regular old guys and girls that were shunned because people are too obsessed with their ideas of perfect.
Hearth made some more gestures and this time I picked up the most of it.

"Only matter of time. ‘S’ can't help. Ministry involved. I'm unfit and useless."

Blitz went to grab Hearth's hands but Hearth stood up and quickly signed something. Then practically ran out of the room. Blitz went to go follow but Alex grabbed his arms and pulled him back.

"Give him some time to calm down. I know you want to be by him right now but he needs some time to calm down."

Blitz didn't look happy with that but sat down anyway. He slumped back into the couch let out a long drawn out sigh.

"I don't know the whole story here but why don't parents want Hearthstone teaching?"

Blitz grumbled and then answered.

"They say that it's because he can't speak and he will confuse their children and not be able to teach them properly. Which is complete nonsense since almost all of Hearth's student finish his classes being completely fluent in runes. It's a little more complicated than that though"

"How so?" I asked.

"Well it has a lot to do with pure blood prejudice. Hearth’s deaf so they don't agree with that. Also Hearth's family is well known for having elf blood in them. Where he's from it’s not such a big deal. But the purebloods here hate it. They think half breeds shouldn't be able to teach."

I frowned at that.

"That's horrible"

"Your telling me." Blitz said. "I'm part dwarf myself. But thankfully it's so distant I'm able to hide it. It also helps my parents were nobodies so it's not out on the open. But Hearth, well it's a little harder"

Alex was flicking her wand in her lap and angrily tapping her foot.

"It’s always the same group of parents too. These kids are in my house. Worst bunch of snotty brats I have ever met." She said. "Anyway we will find a way to cheer Hearth up tonight. Sam always comes through with the yearly round of complaints about how she runs things."

"So I don't want to sound stupid but what are these houses you guys are taking about?" I ask.

Alex grinned and answered me as she took off her cloak to get comfier on the couch.

"Hogwarts students are separated into one of 4 hours based on who they are. There’s Slytherin which is my house. For those who are cunning and ambitious. Then there Gryffindor for those who are brave and bold. T.J is the head of Gryffidor. Then there Ravenclaw which is Hearth's house. Students there are clever and wise. And finally there's Blitz’s house Hufflepuff. Where they pick flowers and hold hands." Alex said.

"Hey!” Blitz protested. "Hufflepuffs are kind and loyal. Also we are great finders. And way better than those sly Slytherin bunch. At least my students behave themselves"
Alex frowned. "Most of my students are good kids there just a handful of bad apples"

"Anyway Magnus. The four houses correspond to the 4 founders anyway at Hogwarts. They use to sort students based of those qualities so we still sort the students for tradition.” Blitz finished.

I nodded.

"Sounds cool. I wonder what house I would be in." I said.

"Hmmm" Alex pondered. "I wonder if we could sort you? I mean usually we only sort 1st years, but I wonder what would happen if we tried. That would be fun."

Just then the staff room door opened and T.J came in with 2 other people. A fiery red head wearing a tartan skirt a Wired Sisters t-shirt, and a blurry guy the size of a mountain. His face was oddly disfigured and his hair and beard grew wildly. He grinned down at us.

"Magnus this is Mallory and Half born. Mallory is our flying instructor and quidditch coach. Half born here teaches arthimancy. "

Mallory waved and crashed across a two person couch herself. Half born walked over and gave me a bone crushing hand shake. I massaged my bones back into place as he went to occupy a large arm chair.

"So Magnus what's your story. How did Al-abas find you?" Half born asked.

"Umm I ran into her in the mountains. I was put there watching Ukrainian Iron Bellies. Trying to figure out what they eat in the winter when Sam ran into me. I guess she was up there looking for some giant. She stayed for a bit so she could see the dragons. Then she kept in contact with me. Sometimes asking me advice on some of the creatures in your forest. I guess when your last professor retired she thought I would fit in."

"Sounds pretty similar to most of our stories. I'm sure you'll fit in just fine. We are all close. It's like a big family here." T.J said.

One big family. Sitting in that arm chair surrounding by all these people I only just met I got a warm sensation in my stomach. I had no doubt that these people would become my family.

Chapter Text

At dinner time we all headed down to the hall. The hall was the most impressive part of the castle I had seen so far. Long oak tables extended the length of the ginormous hall. The ceiling arched into the dark night sky giving a wonderful view of the heavens above. Hundreds or candles floated bathing the room is bright happy yellow light.
We all went to sit at the table set up facing the 4 long oak tables at the end of the hall. The table was filled with an assortment of mouth-watering meal options. I miss dally dug in. I hadn't eaten this well since my mom was still alive. Living on the streets meant I usually didn't eat very well or often.

Hearthstone seemed to have calmed down. He was sitting beside Blitzen and refused to look at Blitzen who was trying to talk to him. Instead he just pushed some peas around his plate.

Mallory, Halfborn, and T.J were having an argument about this year's quidditch trials. Something I didn't follow therefore couldn't participate. Instead I listened to Alex explain how things works at school. I had a hard time focusing as her two different coloured eyes and now green hair shone in the candlelight. Now that I had an excuse to look at her he couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was once you got over the shock of her brightly coloured red appearance.

Halfway through dessert Sam came striding down the hall. Her face was knotted in irritation. Her head scarf had fallen down around her neck. Which released her beautiful flowing hair. Somehow the look made her look fiercer. She sat down beside me in the middle of the table and began pouring herself some hot chocolate. She sighed exasperated.
Hearthstone had looked up at her to see what had happened. He didn't ask her anything. This was probably a smart move as Sam looked ready to burst. Unfortunately Alex didn't seem to care.

"So what happened?" She blurt out.

Sam's mouth twitched but she put down her goblet and answered making sure Hearth could see her talk.

"Everything is sorted out. The governors agreed with me that Hearthstone is a perfect teacher and wouldn't want him to leave us. The ministry was a nuisance but professor McGonagall the old headmaster showed up and gave her two sense which seemed to shut them up" Sam went on dryly.

Blitz and Hearth were listening. When she finished Blitz clapped Hearth on the back and said "Told you so" and shoved a butter tart in his hand making him eat something now.
Alex smiled at this. Then she turned to me.

"The old headmaster retired a couple years ago along with a lot of the teachers. When she hired Sam to replace her and let Sam hire all of us there was some issues. But Sam has been doing a great job and McGonagall says she proud of the diversity that Sam hired. Says it's good for the students. The most backlash came when Sam hired her husband Amir to teach mugged studies."

“Why would they be upset about her husband teaching muggle studies?" I asked

"Because he's a muggle" Sam said.

From across the table a very and attractive brown man waved at me. His arms had tats down his arm sleeve and his smile was blinding white. I'm guessing this was Amir.

"I think that's brilliant" I said.

Sam smiled at me.

"Thanks Magnus. The students who take his class think so too. He’s a great teacher, plus he taught the house elves how to make falafel. Which is a bonus"

After desert Alex suggested (more like bullied) all of us to come to the three broomstick for a drink before the students arrived tomorrow. The only 2 people managed to get out of it, Sam and Amir. Alex bought us all a rounds of Ogden’s matured mead and everyone sat and laughed and joked. I was content sitting there just listening. Mallory and Half born were in a very competitive game of darts that looked super dangerous since the dart were flying so hard the points went through the board into the wall. T.J. watched taking score and making sure the two didn't start fighting or kissing. I wasn't sure. But here was definitely some tension.

Alex was engrossed in a conversation with old the barmaid. Who she seemed to know pretty well. Hearth and Blitz sat beside me conversing in asl. Blitz translated so I could get it easier. By the end of the night Hearth was teaching me some asl. I knew quite a bit already but the refresher and new sign were fun to learn. Once we had had too many mugs of mead and fire whiskey we all trod back down to the castle. Half born carried Mallory of his back while T.J. Led the way. They were followed by Blitz who supported Hearth across his shoulder. Alex had probably pushed Hearth to have too many fire whiskeys since he couldn’t seem to stand up on his own. He kept making random signs in front of Blitz face as he tried to walk like snail.

Alex skipped beside me looking pleased with herself. She put on arm around my shoulders and said.

"I think you’re going to be a great addition to our family of misfits" she then punched my arm playfully but honestly a little too hard.

When we got back to the castle everyone split to their respective offices. Blitz said he would make sure Hearth got to the east tower safely and started lugging the guy to get up the stairs. Alex got off at my floor but went down the other side. I went to my office. When I got to my bed to crash. I fell asleep on top of the cover still fully dressed. Yet that was my first warm comfy night of sleep.

Chapter Text

The next morning I woke up to someone knocking on my door. When I answers I saw that it was Blitzen and Hearthstone. He was dressed in a black cloak with very delicate constellations embroidered in silver thread with dark blue robes underneath. He looked just as spiffy as yesterday. Hearth had decided to wear wizard clothes today. He was sporting simple black robes, but still sported the candy cane striped scarf loosely around his neck.

He looked like he was run over by a train. He had bags under his eyes and his hair stuck out a little more wildly than yesterday. His face was tinged slightly green. He still waved at me kindly.

"Get dressed sleepy head and we'll take you down to the hut. Sam wants us to help you get ready for your lessons. Says you might need help finding things."

“Uh ya sure. Give me a second to get dressed." I invited them in and grabbed some clean robes. They were still pretty ratty compared to Blitz but they were decent.

I took a quick shower and got dressed. I quickly combed my hair and brushed my teeth than began searching my office for my lesson plans. Once I found them the three of us headed down to the grounds.

I took quick notes on what was in the hut and wrote down things I might need. We checked out the hippogriffs and the other animals as well. The hippogriffs were gorgeous. I felt envious of Hogwarts students. By the afternoon we started to get the thestrals strapped ready for the carriages. Blitz summoned some rotting meat to lure them out of the forest. I wasn't surprised to see the thestrals, I was however surprised that Hearth could. He patted the nose of a particularly large female and helped her into her harness. Blitz kept accidentally bumping into them and decided to just watch us gear up the leathery horses.

When the sun stated to sink we went back up to the castle to get ready for the start of term feast. Everyone was already in the hall waiting for the students to arrive. I took up a spot between Alex and Blitz on the left side of the staff table. When the students started arriving I felt my stomach churn uneasily. There were a lot of students. Once they were all seated Sam stood up.

"Welcome back students. Now before the first years arrive I would like do so thing a little different." when Sam started talking the student feel silent but at her mention of something different they started murmuring.

They silenced again when she spoke.

"This year we are pleased to welcome a new member of staff Professor Chase." Sam said. Blitz nudged me to stand but I just raised my hand feeling self-conscious, all eyes were on me.

"Professor Chase is from Boston Mass. therefore to welcome him to the school Professor Fierro has suggested we great him like every other new student. Magnus if you would please come up here.”

I got up and walked around to table to Sam. She waved her wand and produced a rickety old stool and a dusty wizards hat out of thin air.

"Now Professor Chase lets sort you into your house".

She sat me down on the stool and placed the hat on my head it was much too big and fell over my ears and down my eyes. I couldn’t see the hall.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a voice start talking in my head.

"Interesting interesting" the voice said. "This should be easy. Loyal and trustworthy. A gentle spirit. A friend to everyone. Yes."

HUFFLEPUFF!

The hat shouted around the hall. The middle right table burst into loud cheers as the other tables politely clapped.

Sam removed the hat and Blitzen came over carrying a yellow striped scarf. He draped it over my shoulder and gave me a hug. He smelled like rose scented cologne.

"Welcome to Hufflepuff friend" he said.

When we sat back down Alex punched me in my arm again

"Of course you would be in Hufflepuff" she chided good naturedly.

The sorting if the 1st year students was just as fun to watch. By the time the feast was over and Sam had given her start if term notices I was ready for bed.

When I got back to my office I took the scarf off my neck and examined it. It was knitted wool and extremely soft. it too smelt like Blitz’s cologne. I smiled down at it. It was the most beautiful thing ever owned. Not just because of how perfect the tight knitting was or the brightness of the colour in the wool. No it was beautiful because it represent where I belonged in my new family.

Chapter Text

For my first day of teaching I only had 2 classes. Both 3rd year classes. I decided that first days of all classes would be introductions and something easy. For something easy I picked bowtruckles. I had found a cluster of them living by some tress not far into the forest. I lead the student there and made them takes notes on their natural behaviours as the bowtruckles climbed up and down their trees interacting with one another. I would explain things about bowtruckles as they watched.

The first class went smoothly. Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. The Gryffindor’s were rowdy and loud but they did what they were told and listened to my notes. The Hufflepuffs had taken to me eagerly. Probably since my sorting last night.

The second group after lunch wasn’t so fun. Slytherin and Ravenclaw. It started out fine but halfway through 2 Ravenclaw student had launched at 2 Slytherin students and had started fist fighting.

I quickly froze the 4 of them and forced them apart. Apparently according to the 2 Slytherins they had done nothing to provoke such an attack. According to the 2 Ravenclaw the students had been taunting about how their parents were going to get professor Hearthstone sacked.

"And the they called professor Hearthstone a freak and a half breed" the Ravenclaw girl complained.

"Ok ok. That’s enough. I will be speaking to the heads of houses for all of you and you will both receive dentition." I did trying to sound as treachery as possible.

That afternoon I headed to the staff room and just my luck found Hearth and Alex sitting in there. Hearth was reading a dusty old book by the fire and Alex was starring in the mirror concentrating hard on testing the limits of her face changing. When in walked in Hearth looked up and waved. Alex went back to his regular look of bright green hair and semitoned eyes.

Don’t ask me how I knew Alex was a guy. I just knew. He looked slightly different today. More guyish I guess. I mean everything about him was the same. His hair was slightly longer but there was just something that gave me the impression it was he/him today.

“I need to talk two both of you about some of your students" I said making sure I signed for Hearth’s behalf.

Alex sat down in an armchair beside me in front of hearth. I went into the story about the fight that broke out in my class and what the students claimed happened.
When I was done Hearth’s expression hadn’t wavered although his eyes looked a little crestfallen. Alex however was an open book. Her scowl said it all.

"Of course it would be Crabbe and Parkinson. If you don’t mind Magnus I think I’ll take over their detentions. I know Sam had some frog guts she needs pickled for her 3 years potions class. As for hearth students I don’t think they should get detentions.”

Hearth shook his head.

"No fighting is not acceptable. I have some paperwork they could organize. Shouldn’t take long but I would like to talk to them about learning to use their words and their heads instead of their fists." He signed

Alex frowned at this but didn’t say anything.

"So how did your first day go Magnus?" Hearth asked.

"Well besides the fight it went well. I think I got the hang of it. This is the best job I have ever had." I answered signing my best as I talked.

Alex and Hearth smiled. The bell went off signalling the end of the school day. Hearth got up and stretched then signed.

“Going to see Blitzen about some levitating books I have stuck in my office. See you at dinner"

Hearth turned to go out the door.
Once he was gone Alex let out a derisive snort and muttered

"Ya right levitating books"

"What?" I asked confused.

He raised her eyebrows at me but then said.

"Nevermind. Anyway I’m glad you enjoy teaching here. That means we will get to have you around for awhile. Living on the streets isn’t the place for someone like you" he grinned.

"Wait a minute. How did you know about that?" I said suddenly self conscious and defensive.

"It takes one homeless person to know one" she said simply." when Sam hired me I was living on the street in Boston. Parents kicked me out once I decided I wasn’t going to hide who I was anymore. It also didn’t help I decided to ditch marrying some spoil bratty girl from some pureblood family to become an expert in transfiguration."

I found myself staring at Alex as he spoke then nodded. I felt honoured that after only knowing her for 2 days he felt comfortable enough with me to share her story. Suddenly I trusted him.

"My mother died in an apartment fire when I was 16. Ever since then I’ve been travelling across the world camping out wherever I can and learning as much as I can on creatures. Without my mom I was left with nothing. No other family to go to not a penny to my name. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about her. I would give up everything just to have her back for a day."

I felt a tear fall down my cheek. Alex walked over and hugged me. He smelled like damp earth and clay. He was warm and his hug was comforting. When he broke apart from me he did softly.

“Don’t worry Magnus. Were all family now. And were not going anywhere."

Chapter Text

Blitz's was sitting in his office when he heard someone knocking in the door. He was so engrossed in his sketch that he didn’t look up. Instead he just said "Come in" under his breath.

After a few seconds he heard the knocking again. Blitz looked up to see Hearth peering through the half open door.
Blitz dropped his pencil.

"Hearth. Awesome come here I want to show you something" Blitz said as he signed.
Hearth came into the office and started walking over behind the desk to see what Blitz wanted to show him.
"I thought you had class this period?" said Hearth who had noticed the lack of students leaving Blitz’s classroom.
"Oh I let the go early. It’s the first day so I didn’t want to push them too hard" Blitz signed. He was too focused on putting away his sketches he didn’t notice Hearth roll his eyes and sign “Professor push over”

He got up from his sketches and grabbed Hearth by the hand and excitedly dragged him over to the giant wardrobe at the back of his office.
Blitz office was filled with fabric and sketches. He had trunks full of other fashion items. It might be very packed but everything was in order. Even his buttons were organized by style, colour, and size in one of the trunks.
Blitz was so excited he didn’t even notice Hearth blush deeply when Blitz grabbed his hand.
Blitz opened the wardrobe and pulled something off the hook on the door.

"It’s a new scarf. Yours is too Christmassy for the fall. Plus this one I enchanted. Here try it on" Blitz said reaching up and pulling off Hearths candy cane scarf to put on the new one.
Hearth focused very hard to not blush or pull back when Blitz’s arms went around his neck to wrap the scarf perfectly. Blitz leaned back and stroked the front of the scarf on Hearths chest to straighten it out. He took a step back and examined the effect the sky blue scarf had on Hearth. Blitz had spent all summer stitching an eagle to the edge of the scarf. He had found a way to turn bronze sheets into soft delicate thread. The bronze eagle stood out in the sunlight streaking through the window.
"So the two best things about this scarf are that I enchanted it to always be warm. Like it has been sitting by the fire. I know you get cold easily so I thought you could use it" signed Blitz as Hearth started stroking the scarf around his neck. Blitz couldn’t read his expression which made him nervous so he kept talking and signing.
"The eagle is embroidered with actual bronze threads and it flaps its wings in the wind. Adds a little imagination and whimsy don’t you think?"

Hearth looked down at the stitching or the eagle and touched it gently with his fingers. His face was still straight and unreadable like it usually was. Hearth looked over at the candy cane striped scarf Blitz had put down on the desk. Blitz frowned.
"You don’t like it. I’m so stupid." Blitz started saying when Hearth looked up.
Hearth waved his hands to cut blitz off.
“I love it. Can’t accept it. Too beautiful.” Hearth signed rapidly
Blitz stared at hearth for a few moments. Then shook his head.
“But I want you to have it” Blitz signed.
Hearth began to shake his head vigorously looking down his shoes. Without looking up he signed.
“Can’t give you anything back”
Blitz put both his hands on hearths shoulders. Since he was significantly shorter it forced Hearth to look up at him.
“Hearth I made it for you. I want you to have it. It’s a gift you don’t owe me anything. Also if you don’t take the scarf I will come up there and strangle you with it” Blitz said slowly but firmly.
Hearth pursed his lips and averted his eyes. Blitz let go of him. Hearth started stroking his new scarf again.
Blitz went over to the desk and picked up the candy cane striped scarf and examined it. Hearth had worn it so much since Blitz first gave it to him 2 years ago when they started teaching that the knit was starting to unravel on one end. It also now had a small burn hole. Hearth watched as Blitz ran his hands over his candy cane scarf.
“You have completely wore this to death.” Blitz said rolling his eyes.
Hearth reached forward and yanked the scarf out of Blitz’s hands.
“It’s my favourite” Hearth signed.
Blitz rolled his eyes.
“Well I can fix it for you. But you have to promise to wear the blue one until then” Blitz said a sly smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Hearth gave him a false annoyed look but then handed over the scarf. Blitz went to wrap it around a mannequin. He would get to work on it tonight before bed.
Blitz pulled out his pocket watch and looked at the time.
“Ready for dinner?” he signed to Hearth. Hearth nodded and they both existed the office.

*

At dinner Blitz couldn’t help but feel full of himself. Magnus, Alex, T.J, Mallory Sam, Amir and even Ale complimented Hearths new scarf. Every time someone said anything about it to Hearth he would just point to Blitz and sign “Blitz made it. He’s a genius”

*

Every time Blitz saw Hearth that week he was always wearing the scarf. It made Blitz smile like an idiot. Something about knowing Hearth treasured the scarf Blitz had spent so long making just for him made him feel warm inside.

*

Both Blitz and Hearth were completely oblivious to the gossiping of their students. When Hearth started wearing the new scarf all the students knew immediately where it had come from. Only Blitzen would have the skill to make a scarf like that. Every time Blitz and Hearth would walk with each other down the halls, or sit down together at meals everyday students would hide their spying trying to confirm their suspicions and gossip.

*

Blitz was up late Saturday night reading in his arm chair when he heard knocking at his office door. Blitz thought it was odd or someone to be calling so late at night so he got up to answer the door. There standing in his socks, black muggle sweatpants and baggy t-shirt with his cloak around his shoulders was Hearth.
“Hi” he signed.
“Hey” Blitz said back. “What are you doing here its 2 in the morning” Blitz started to sign as he talked.
Hearth moved his head back and forth looking uncomfortable.
“Wondering if you had finished fixing my scarf?” hearth signed lightly. The ASL equivalent of whispering.
“Hearth its 2 am. Why do you need to all of a sudden?” Blitz signed.
Hearth paused for a long time his hands suspended like he was debating how to answer. Then he signed.
“Can’t sleep. Wanted my scarf because it helps sometimes” Hearth signed looking embarrassed.
Blitz blinked a couple of times as his brain processed what hearth had signed. Then he waved his hand and stepped out of the doorway inviting Hearth inside. Hearth strode over to the arm chair in the corner of the office and pulled a book off the shelf to read. Pretty much Hearth’s usual spot for hanging out with Blitzen. Blitzen went to take up a spot on the small love seat. He opened his book he was halfway through. They sat like that for quite a bit. They didn’t talk but they had grown so use to being in each other’s company. The only difference this time was that the light shining through the window was from a crescent moon. Blitz enjoyed having Hearth around. Hearth didn’t say much but his presence was always comforting. Blitz was happy to know Hearth felt the same way. It honoured Blitz to know that when Hearth was feeling scared or lonely that the person he wanted to be near was him.
Blitz finished his book and put it down on the coffee table. He looked over to see Hearth fast asleep snoring slightly. The book had fallen out of his hands and laid in his lap. Blitz stood up and picked up the quilt that was folded on the couch. He waved it open and gently laid it over Hearth. He grabbed the book and put it down on the coffee table making sure to leave it where Hearth had left off. He quietly turned off the lamp, although it didn’t matter how quiet he was since Hearth couldn’t hear. And then walked over to his bedroom. He crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep.

*

Blitz was awoken to a loud piercing sounds. Startled he practically feel out of bed. His heart was beating out of his chest. He ran out to the sitting room only to discover Hearth measuring out coffee grinds into a press. Hearth looked up as Blitz ran into the room. His hair was dishevelled from sleeping in the chair, but he looked happy and well rested. On the fire a kettle whistled like a banshee having come to a boil. Blitz must have still looked like he had been awoken by an air raid siren because Hearth signed.
“Are you ok?”
Blitz face relaxed as he took in what was happening. He wasn’t being attacked and that it was just Hearth making coffee.
“Your kettle” Blitz said as he signed “I think it’s done”
Hearth looked over and noticed the steam pouring from the lid of the kettle spluttering into the fire. Hearth ran over to the fire and removed the kettle. He walked it over to the press and poured in the boiling water. When he put it down he signed.
“Sorry, forgot kettles whistled. Didn’t know it was so loud”
“It’s ok” Blitz said sitting down on the couch and running his hands through his hair to try and fix it slightly. Hearth finished making the coffee and slowly walked over balancing the mugs so they didn’t spill on Blitzes white carpet. Hearth passed Blitz a black coffee, just how he always drank it, while hearth stirred his 3 creams 3 sugars cup of diabetes.
Halfway through his coffee Hearth put his mug down and turned so that Blitz could see his hands.
“Thanks for letting me stay last night.” Hearth signed.
“No problem bud. Your always welcome here you know” Blitz said making sure not to mumble since his hands were busy being warmed by his mug. The corner of Hearth’s mouth twitched up which Blitz knew was Hearth smiling.
Blitz finished his coffee and then put his mug down as well. He turned back to Hearth.
“May I ask what was wrong? Why you wanted to stay last night” Blitz asked signing as he did so.
Hearths corner mouth smile disappeared and he resumed his unusual head facing downward to avoid eye contact position. Blitz waited for a few seconds before putting his hand on Hearth’s shoulder.
Hearth looked up. His eyes were tinged green and he looked like he was trying to hold back tears. Blitz gave him a few seconds before signing.
“It’s ok bud. I’m here for you”
Hearth nodded and raised his hands slowly.
“My father sent me an owl last night. My mother is dead” Hearth signed. He didn’t seem to upset at this fact. His facial expression didn’t’ waver. But he shifted uncomfortably. “My father said it was my fault. Said some things. I couldn’t sleep after. Brought back memories.”
Hearth turned his head away from Blitz so that Blitz couldn’t see a tear fall down his face. Unfortunately for Hearth Blitz was too observant. Blitz put his arm around Hearth’s shoulders and rubbed his knee hoping to comfort his friend. Hearth breathed in deep trying to hid a sob and then wiped his face on his robe sleeve.
He then reached into his pocket and handed Blitz a folded crumbled piece of paper. It looked as if Hearth had balled it into his fist before shoving it into his pocket. Blitz uncrumpled the letter and read it.

 

Hearthstone,

It is my duty to inform you that because of your actions you have caused the death of another family member .I am writing to inform you of the passing of your mother Greta. Although I am sure you couldn’t care less about your family. Your mother passed away early last week when she was hit by a muggle vehicle on her way home from the country club. She was so distraught from the terrible things her friends had informed her about your activities during tea she did not see the vehicles coming.
It has taken me some time to figure out where you were to send this letter. I was even more disheartened when my staff informed me that you had taken up a job as a simple public servant to the disgraceful institution that is Hogwarts. When I thought you could not embarrass the family more you seem to find new ways to disgrace the name Alderman. If your abnormality and slack of intelligence couldn’t be worse you have found yourself in the service of a muggle born teaching the mud blood offspring of muggles, ancient runes of all things.

For your transgressions against me and my family with both your ineptitude and fault in causing the death of my son and wife I promise you I will get my revenge. Such actions shall not go unpunished.

From the desk of Mr. A Alderman

 

Blitz felt his hands shaking as he read the letter. His face flashed red with anger. He wanted to say something rude about Hearth’s father but no words were strong enough. Hearth had assumed a curled position with his head practically burring in his lap with his hands over his face.
Blitz threw the letter down on the table and rubbed Hearths back. After a few seconds Hearth couldn’t hide his sobs anymore and Blitz felt him shudder with tears under his hands. Blitz reached over and hugged Hearth tightly rocking him back and forth trying to comfort him. Blitzen knew about Hearth’s brother. One night while they were hanging out together Hearth had told Blitz with trembling hands about how a Lethifold had killed his brother. Hearth and his brother had been sleeping when the creature entered their room and ate him. Hearth being deaf had not heard his brothers cries and was too late in realizing what was happening and altering his parents. Ever since Hearths parents had hated him more than usual. The Alderman’s were a wealthy noble pure blood family. The fact that their eldest son was deaf was a disgrace. When Hearth’s brother had died they blamed him. They told him it should have been him that should have died. They made Hearth work to repay a wergild. He wasn’t allowed to leave their house he had to pay to eat and sleep and spend all his waking hours working off his debt to pay his parents back for the death of his brother. When Blitz had first heard the story he was disgusted and angry. Hearth was the kindest person Blitz had ever met and his best friend. It broke his heart to know what hearth went through until he decided to run away.
They stayed like that for so long Blitz lost track of time. Eventually Hearth got a grip on himself. He took one last deep breath and wiped his face on his sleeve and raised his head. He weakly signed “Sorry”
“Hey none of that. Don’t apologize” Blitz said reaching out to grab hearth hands to stop him from signing. This admittedly was very rude and he knew Hearth hated being silenced, but he couldn’t let Hearth put himself down further.

“Hearth I don’t know what to say except that you’re safe here. We are your family. And were not going to let anything happen to you.” Blitz said
Hearth shook his head and pulled his hands back to talk.
“You don’t know my father. He’s powerful. And now he knows where I am. I need to leave. Keep you guys safe”
Blitz’s eyebrows scrunched together with confusion and irritation.
“Hearth that is the stupidest thing you have ever said. And let me remind you once said my orange tie went well with my purple robes. I’m not letting you go anywhere.” Blitz started saying.
Hearth cut him off by singing rapidly and shaking his head. Blitz reached up against and wrestled his hands still. Hearth now looked slightly angry. He tried to fight off Blitz but Blitz was much stronger.
“Hearth, please listen to me. I promise you that nothing will ever happen to you. I will personally make sure your father will never lay a hand on you. Also you can’t leave. I wouldn’t, scratch that, I can’t live without you. You’re my best friend. You’re pretty much the only person who get me and I can trust 100%. Without you … I don’t’ know… I couldn’t do it. I love you bud.” Blitz started rambling desperately.
Hearth stopped struggling let his hands falls down. He leaned forwards and his head fell onto Blitzs shoulder. Blitz put his arms around Hearths shoulders patting his back. He then rested his chin on the top of Hearths head. The familiar sent of cedar and wood smoke met his nose.
Blitz didn’t know why he did it but he turned his head and kissed hearth on the top of the head. He immediately regretted his actions. He wasn’t thinking, it just seemed like the thing to do. But now as hearth raised his head to look at Blitz. He wished he had a time turner. Kissing your best friend on the top of the head might not be something friends do.
Blitz started cursing to himself in his head. ‘Idiot idiot idtiot’. Blitz had always held a place in his Hearth for the tall deaf wizard since they met. There was something about his grey eyes and sarcastic nature that he was drawn to. He knew Hearth was tough and didn’t really take anything from anyone. Yet as Blitz got to know him he also got to see the very rarely seen vulnerable Hearth. The Hearth that made Blitz want to roll him in blankets and hug him to sleep. Blitz trusted hearth more than anyone and Hearth trusted Blitz back. The only person Blitz had trusted and loved this much before was his father, who was now gone. They did almost everything together. Blitz would have been crazy to not fall for the guy. Yet he always pushed these felling and thought back to the bottom of his thoughts. He didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize their friend ship. Yet in his moment of distraction he slipped and like an idiot forgot that hearth and him weren’t like that. They were just friend. And friends definitely didn’t kiss each other on the heads, especially when the other one is in such a vulnerable sate.
“Did you just kiss me?” hearth signed very carefully and slowly so that Blitz completely understood.
‘YOU STUPID IDIOT BLITZEN! NOW YIUVE DONE IT.’ Blitz heard the voice in his head yelling at him. Blitz started at Hearth like a deer in the headlights. Scared to move or answer. Hearth titled his head pushing the answer out of Blitz. Blitz simply nodded. Then started babbling and signing clumsily.
“I’m Sorry. I didn’t mean to I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t mean to make…mmmph”
Blitz was cut off as Hearth quickly leaned forward and just as clumsily as Blitz signs pressed his lips up against Blitz’s lips his eyes squeezed tightly shut. Blitzes eyes were wide with shock. He tensed up and sat still like a statue. The kiss was brief and when hearth pulled away and saw blitz’s still shocked expression he signed something so quickly that blitz didn’t catch it and jumped up. He started quickly running for the door. Blitz came to his senses and reached out to stop hearth. He managed to grab the guys candy cane striped scarf and pull him back. Blitz stood and forced hearth to turn. Hearth refused to meet his eyes. Something the elf often did when he didn’t want to talk. Probably a defence from years of being verbally abused. But blitz wasn’t mad at Hearth, he was more confused. He leaned forward and made hearth meet his eyes. Hearth slowly raised his head and stated signing “Sorry” over and over again.
“Why are you sorry?” Blitz signed. “I should be the one who’s sorry. I shouldn’t have kissed you. It wasn’t appropriate”
Heath shook his head. “No, I wanted you to. I shouldn’t have been so forward. I should have asked. I wasn’t thinking. You probably hate me now. My father is right I’m a freak, not normal. Normal respectable wizards don’t … they don’t.. They don’t fall for their friends like that”
“Hearth I could never hate you. Don’t say that. Please” Blitz stammered trying his best to sign what he was saying with trembling hands. “Listen Hearth I really like you. And I know this isn’t the place but better now than never I need to tell you that well. I really like you, not like friends.”
Hearths eyes were unreadable. His expression stayed blank like usual. Then Hearth did something Blitz wasn’t expecting.
“I like you too. I want to be more than friends. I have for a long time” Hearth signed.
They stood still together for a while too scared to move as if the air between them would explode. Eventually blitz reached his hand out and gently held Hearths hand.
“Can I kiss you again? I would hate for you to only have your first kiss as pathetic as the one you gave me” Blitz said trying to force a smile and some humor into his words. It must have worked because Hearth smiled lightly and nodded his head.
Blitz stepped closer and grabbed hearths scarf to pull down his face. He pressed his lips up against Hearths more forcefully than Hearth had but at the same time he kept it gentle and tender. He put both his hands on Hearth hips and pulled him closer trying to push his feelings into Hearth through the kiss. Blitz felt heath slump slightly as he pushed harder into the kiss. Hearth hands went up and around Blitz’s neck. Hearth lips moved under Blitz. They were moist and obviously unexperienced. Blitz lingered the kiss for a few seconds more then pulled back and pecked hearth at the corner of his mouth before pulling away completely.
Blitz kept his hands on hearth hips and looked up at him. Hearth blinked a few times like a newborn owl blinking at the sun. Blitz smiled up at him still trying to comprehend what had just passed between them.
“Do you want to go down to breakfast?” Blitz asked letting his hands fall off of Hearth to sign as he spoke.
Hearth nodded and blitz reached out to take his hands. They walked out of blitz office hand in hand. Once they got to the hallway the let their hands spate but stayed walking close to each other conversing in ASL.

The whole time during breakfast Blitz thought about the letter Hearth had received from his father. Blitz didn’t know what he was going to do about Hearth’s father but one thing was sure. No one was going to lay a hand on his Hearth.

Chapter Text

"Magnus you are going to love Halloween at Hogwarts. It's literally the best night of the year." Alex told Magnus excitedly at the breakfast table. Magnus had just finished telling her about how he had never really celebrated Halloween. Since his mom died Magnus had been a little too preoccupied trying to find his next meal or safe place to sleep instead of dressing up as his favourite fictional character. Which was Frodo thank you very much.

Alex was practically bouncing out of her chair with excitement telling Magnus about the Halloween feast the school held. And how after the student went to be they all went to the village to actually celebrate.

"So do you guys dress up?" Magnus asked. He had always wanted to dress up at Halloween. The last time he got to wear a costume was when he was 10 and got to be Spider-Man. He was looking forward to have an excuse to geek out.

Blitz who was sitting two seats over from Magnus beside hearth gave a glowing smile. Obviously excited they had reached the topic of costumes.

"Well of course. It wouldn't be Halloween without costumes.” blitz beamed. "Also speaking of costumes I think us four should all collaborate you know do a group costume. I can make them. And the students will get a kick out of them"

Alex almost broke Magnus’s ear drums when she made a high pitch squealing sound of excitement. "Oh my Gods Blitz that's a great idea! What should we be?!"

Hearth waved for attention and signed "I don't do Halloween. Count me out"

Blitz's face knotted and his eyebrows knit together. He pursed his lips and turned towards Hearth.

"What do you mean you don't 'do' Halloween? Halloween is amazing." Blitz started telling off Hearth "Also we need you. I was thinking Star Wars. I mean even slot of wizards know Star Wars since Alex had that movie muggle night for the students last year. Magnus you grew up around muggles right? You've seen it?"

"Duh of course. I love star wars." Magnus said.

Hearth pursed his lips and signed." I didn't see it. I wasn't at the movie night. Plus parents didn't let me see muggle movies."

"Don't worry about it bud. I'll find a way to watch it with you before Halloween" Blitz signed. Hearth smiled at that but still kept his expression of loathing at having to participate in a group costume.

Blitz turned back to Alex and they began planning out the costumes for the four of them

*
Blitz was an amazing costume designer. In less than a week he had made 4 amazing costumes. Blitz must have stayed up late to create them because he had worn dark shadows under his eyes all week. Magnus also guessed Hearth had helped out because the guy also looked like he hadn’t slept a wink too. Still Magnus was grateful for Blitz’s hard work.

The day before Halloween they all met at Blitz’s office to come see their costumes. He had made himself a perfect costume that made him look like a more impressively fashionable Han Solo. To Hearths displeasure Blitz had made him a sort of Chewbacca costume. To be honest the costume wasn’t that bad. It consisted of a pair of brown trousers and a very furry brown sweater. He had also made Chewies iconic bandolier for Hearth to sling across his chest. Magnus guessed Blitz had held back for Hearths sake since he knew how reluctant the guy was to dress up.

“Why do I have to be the furry guy?” Hearth complained in signs when Blitz made him try it on.

“Because you’re the tallest. Also Chewbacca doesn’t talk so you have that going for you” Blitz said not giving Hearth the opportunity to weasel his way out of the plan.

Hearth flipped Blitz a rude gesture when Blitz turned his back to hand out the costumes for Magnus and Alex.

“So the plan is for Alex to be Leia and Magnus to be Luke Skywalker” Blitz said handing them their costumes. The costume looked like Blitz had stolen them right from the production.

“And what if I’m not a girl tomorrow” Alex said

“Already thought of that” Blitz replied. “You’ll just switch with Magnus”

Alex smiled wide.

“Hey!” Magnus protested.

Alex sniggered and punched Magnus on the arm. “I think you would look great in a dress” Alex teased.

Magnus just scrunched up his face and stuck his tongue out at them both.

Hearth had given up completely on the conversation and had fallen face first in Blitz's couch refusing to look up at them.

*
Thanks fully for Magnus’s reputation Alec was a girl on Halloween. At first when he heard knocking on his office door he was scared it would be Alex demanding to trade costumes, but instead he opened the door to a beautiful looking Alex. She was wearing the long white robes of Leia and had made her hair grow out into long locks which she tied up on either side of her head. Her facial features were still Alex, with entrancing and very distracting two toned eyes and perfectly sculpted features. Magnus caught himself staring again and quickly shook his head to focus.

“Hey Alex. Almost done, just have to brush my teeth. Give me a sec” Magnus said letting Alex in his sitting room.
Alex walked over to the couch and crashed down putting her feet up on his coffee table. Magnus went to brush his teeth. When he came back he found Hearth and Blitz had also let themselves in. They were also all dressed and ready. They all stood in a circle and took in their costumes.

“We all look great!” Blitz exclaimed. “My best costumes so far if I do say so myself”.

Hearth rolled his eyes and led the way down to breakfast.

*

When the four of them entered the Great Hall a lot of student called out complementing them on their costumes. Even Hearth couldn’t help but smile when students exclaimed they had the coolest professors ever.

At the staff table Sam and Amir sat eating breakfast with Mallory and Halfborn.

Sam simply wore her regular robes but donned a pumpkin orange head scarf today in honor of Halloween. Amir however was dressed like a pirate. He waved as they sat down and started complimenting Blitz on his work.

Mallory and Halfborn had also decide to go for a group costume/or couple costume. Magnus still hadn’t figured out exactly what they were to each other. He guessed they were somewhere between being romantic partners and mortal enemies. Sometime both at once. For Halloween they had dressed up as Kahl Droggo and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. Halfborn had no problem pulling off his costume. The guy was pretty much already a dothraki minus the horse. Mallory however had charmed her hair blonde for the occasion. It still kept its giant frizzy mess and her braid looked like a rabid raven had teared it apart. Still the effect was pretty, frightening yet beautiful. T.J came in a while later dressed in a Night Watchers cloak with a giant fake sword at his side. He looked slightly uncomfortable but smiled as two older students from the Gryffindor table wolf whistled him. He joined Mallory and Halfborn at the table to complete their group.

*

The Halloween feast was amazing. Magnus thought by the end he was going to end up in a sugar coma. The hall was filled with glowing pumpkins instead of floating candle and every inch of table was filled with the widest variety of sweets Magnus had ever seen. The school choir provided entertainment during desert singing some classic Halloween songs. Then Halfborn entertained everyone with a dramatically scary story. Magical visual depictions curtesy of Blitz and T.J.

Around 11 o clock the students were all sent to bed. Magnus and everyone else got ready to head down to the village for a little celebrating of their own since tomorrow was a Saturday. Mallory and Halfborn said they would stay behind to patrol the corridors together, so Sam and Amir had no excuse to ditch out on the fun this time. Magnus also suspected they wanted and excuse to ditch the group to sneak off somewhere alone, but he didn’t say anything.

They all ordered rounds and began telling scary stories around a large wooden table in the back of the bar. Amir won at having the most horrifying stories. Magnus was pretty sure he would have nightmares about killer cow men tonight. The night quickly turned into the best time Magnus had ever had. He spent a good hour learning how to play darts from T.J and Amir. Sam sat and criticized his technique playfully as T.J. kept trying to show him how to hit the board and not the wall behind it. At the table Hearth and Blitz sat very close to each other conversing. This time around Hearth was refusing to drink anything stronger than Butterbeer, but unfortunately for him Blitz seemed to be in a good mood as he was now starting on his 4th mug of mead. He talked rapidly his singing become very exaggerated with ever sip. Eventually Hearth cut Blitz off from drinking when Blitz spilled his mug over covering his costume in dark red stain.
Alex was again in deep conversation with the bar maid. When Magnus’s arm got tired from throwing darts he went over to Alex. When he approached the bar maid waved bye to Alex and went to the back room. Magnus cleared his throat feeling bad he had scared off Alex’s friend.

“Umm sorry, I didn’t meant to interrupt.” He said.

“Don’t worry about it. Shelly was getting on my nerves anyway. She can’t catch a hint. I can only turn her down for diner so many times before I have to hex her” Alex went on taking a sip from her mug.

Magnus smiled and nodded not knowing how to respond. He felt awkward hearing Alex talk about someone hitting on her.

“Anyway enough about my sad love life. Tell me about yours. Have a girlfriend? Boyfriend?”Alex prodded with an evil smile on her face.
Magnus shook his head and snorted.

“Ya right. I’ve never even had a kiss unless you count some girl in grade school. Which I don’t” Magnus went on.

“Oh really? A soft cinnamon bun Hufflepuff like you has never had any action? Well I guess that explains why you’re so lame” Alex teased.

“Ha ha very funny. For your information Hufflepuffs are the best lovers. We have natural charm” Magnus teased back. After 2 months spending time with Alex he felt much more comfortable joking around with her. Joking with Alex was easy once you got over the fear she might decapitate or hex you at any moment if your annoyed her.

Alex raised one eyebrow and looked over Magnus’s shoulder.
“It would appear quite the opposite actually” She said pointing over at the corner where Hearth and Blitz sat.
Magnus turned around to see what she was talking about.

Blitz now obviously very much past his limit had taken Hearths hand and was clumsily trying to show him how to tie a tie on himself. Unfortunately for Hearth Blitz couldn’t seem to remember how to tie a tie. Hearth didn’t seem to mind he took his hands back smiling and trying to retie Blitz’s tie back on trying to save the short guy some dignity. He was practically laughing when Blitz leaned forward trying to take the tie off and accidentally nudging Hearth in the chest with his forehead.

“I don’t know if I would call that natural charm” Alex joked. “More like failed attempts at flirting. Man I wish those two would just get it over with”

Magnus raised his eyebrow at Alex. “Blitz and Hearth? Really?” He said skeptically.

“Oh come on Magnus even you can’t be as oblivious as they are?” Alex sighed in fake exasperation.

“I don’t know Alex. I mean Blitz and Hearth are the best of friends but I don’t see that that means there’s anything else going on”
Alex rolled her eyes. “Am I the only one who isn’t blind? They are so obviously into each other. Plus I caught Hearth coming out of Blitz’s office last Sunday morning when I went to invite Blitz down to breakfast”

“That doesn’t; mean anything. Hearth could have just gotten up earlier to see Blitz, or accidentally fallen asleep on his couch” Magnus protested. It’s not that Magnus was against the possibility of Blitz and Hearth being a thing, just that he didn’t want to assume anything until he knew for sure himself.

Alex rolled her eyes again. “In his pj’s? I seriously doubt it” Alex said.

Magnus rolled his eyes back at her but didn’t fight her on it.

Sam came over to them with a Butterbeer in hand and sat down beside Alex. She smiled at them.

“I’m so glad I came out. I really needed this.” Sam said stirring around the straw in her Butterbeer.

“You work too hard Sam” Alex said accusingly wagging her finger at her.

Sam rolled her eyes and ignored Alex.

“Magnus I got your owl about your dragon keeper friend bringing in a baby dragon for your upper year classes to see. I think that’s a great plan but I’m going to have to send you some safety forms to fill out first” Sam said in her usual serious business voice.

Magnus nodded. Alex dramatically slammed her head against the bar.

“Sam take a break. No work talk.” Alex groaned.

Sam pouted her lips and gave Alex a look.

“So Sam how are you and Amir?” Magnus asked trying to change the subject.

“Um were good” Sam said a little too coldly. She turned her head and Magnus could say he saw her blush.

“What’s wrong? Spit it out.” Alex prodded.

“Nothing’s wrong.” Sam said defensively.

“Ya but something is up. Come on you can tell us. I’m your sister. Plus Magnus and everyone here is pretty much family. You can’t hide whatever it is forever” Alex said.

Sam looked over at the both of them she was definitely blushing now.

“Well I know it’s kind of early to tell everyone, but I’m so excited. Me and Amir are having a baby” Sam said her eyes wide and face in a contagious smile.

Alex squealed again and ran forward to hug Sam. Magnus smiled and awkwardly hugged Sam too. At that moment everyone else had decided to come up to the bar. They had obviously heard what Sam just said because Halfborn slapped Amir on the back so hard the guy almost fell down. Mallory and T.J. also took their turns hugging and congratulating Sam. Even Hearth hugged Sam which was a rare sight to behold since the guy wasn’t very physical.

Blitz in his tipsy state ordered a round for everyone except Sam, Hearth and Amir. They all toasted to baby Al-abas Faladan.
Eventually Hearth signed that he was going to walk Blitz back to the castle before he got himself into too much trouble. Magnus and Alex offered to walk back with them. Magnus helped Hearth carry Blitz most of the way back to the castle as halfway back Blitz seemed unable to walk straight anymore. Alex teased that she would never let him forget the embarrassing moment when he fell over into a bush and couldn't get out. But blitz probably wouldn’t remember that.

When they got to the staircases Alex departed and Magnus helped Hearth carry Blitz up to the 4th floor. Once they managed to get into Blitz’s office Magnus and Hearth dumped Blitz onto his bed. Magnus pulled off Blitz shoes while Hearth wen to grab the blanket from the couch to drape over Blitz. Hearth insisted on staying to keep an eye on Blitz so Magnus headed back to his office.

*

Magnus slept in late the next morning and woke up with a huge headache. Round 11 o’clock he managed to roll out of bed and slogged down to the hall for food. There he ran into T.J who was poking at his eggs half-heartedly, one hand holding up his head. Magnus grabbed a pot of coffee and some toast and decided to bring some up to Blitz.

Magnus knocked on Blitz’s office door and to his surprise Hearth in sweat pant pajamas answered. He waved for Magnus to come in ignoring Magnus’s confused look. Blitz was sitting on the couch head in his hands. The guy looked like death. He was clammy and had bags under his eyes. He groaned at the sound of the door closing. Magnus walked over and handed him some toast. Blitz took it and chewed on it slowly. Hearth poured a cup of coffee and shoved it in Blitz’s hand. Blitz immediately started draining the luke warm coffee like it was the elixir of life. After he finished his third cup he said.

“I am never drinking again?” he signed so that Hearth could hear as well.

Hearth rolled his eyes and signed “You said that last time” and then turned to pour him a fourth cup.

“Well at least you didn’t do anything embarrassing last night. The worst was that you bought everyone rounds and then fell into a bush" Magnus said and signed trying to make Blitz feel better.

“That would explain the twigs in my hair” Blitz mumbled into his coffee cup.

“What?” Hearth signed “Stop mumbling”

Blitz put his cup down and signed “Not important, never mind”

This comment earned a angry look from Hearth. He hated being told that. But in Blitzen's pathetic state he seemed to forgive him enough not to flip him a rude gesture.

Hearth stood up and started filling a kettle at the sink and went to put it on the fire. He then went through Blitz’s drawers and pulled out some tea and a mug. He turned to Magnus and signed “Do you want tea?”

Magnus nodded then turned to the grumpy looking Blitz on the couch when Hearth turned his back to look for sugar.
He raised his eyebrows at Blitz and quietly said.

“So are you two…is there something I’m missing?” he practically whispered the last part. He knew Hearth couldn’t hear him but still.
Blitz looked a little like he had been caught stealing the last cookie from the cookie jar. He opened his mouth to responded but no sound came out. He then closed his mouth and sat in thought for a minute. He looked a little uncomfortable all of a sudden.

“Hey ummm I didn’t mean to be nosy. Just something Alex said last night. Plus you guys have been like super close lately. Like way more than usual.” Magnus said whispering again. Looking up to check that Hearth’s back was still turned. Magnus felt ok interrogating Blitz. Blitz was usually confident and didn’t keep many secrets. However he felt that if his new found suspicion was wrong Hearth was way more likely to be very upset that Magnus suggested what he was suggesting.

Blitz also glanced over at Hearth then back to Magnus. Hearth was now watching their conversation. Magnus couldn’t read his expression since Hearth had his usual unreadable guarded face on. But he still shifted his weight from foot to foot looking slightly restless, probably uncomfortable.

“Uummmm, well ...ya we’ve been kind of … I don’t really know the word … ummm together I guess would be the word. But don’t say anything kid. Hearth and I aren’t really comfortable enough to tell anyone yet” Blitz stammered out. He kept glancing at Hearth to see if he was going to interject, but Hearth didn’t really do anything except start to look awkward.

Magnus just nodded. “Hey man no problem. I’m actually happy to hear that. You two are adorable. As for keeping it to yourselves it might be a little hard. Blitz you kind of blew your cover last night. Alex now totally ships you.”

Hearth blushed so dark Magnus could see his face changing colour from across the room. Blitz just looked down at his now empty mug of coffee looking horrified. Hearth brought over the two mugs of tea and placed one down in front of Magnus. He took his and warmed his hands. Hearth went and sat down in the armchair by the fire still blushing slightly.

“At least it was just our friends” Hearth signed to Magnus and Blitz “Not students. Everyone last night are practically family. well they are really the only family I do have”

Blitz just groaned and signed. “I am never drinking again. I didn’t do anything too embarrassing with you did I?”

Hearth just shook his head. “Nah, you just get a little touchy when you’re drinking”

Magnus snorted and grinned at Blitz. He patted him on the back.

“Just little touchy. Plus Me and Alex both thought it was cute” Magnus joked.

Blitz just sighed, but Hearth flipped Magnus a very rude gesture.

“Speaking of last night” said Blitz obviously trying to change the subject. “Did I remember this right? Are Sam and Amir having a baby?”
Hearth nodded vigorously obviously in an ‘excited’ Hearth manner.

Blitz grinned and Magnus smiled as they started talking about how happy they all were for Sam and Amir. Apparently according to Blitz they had been trying to a long time to have a baby. He then started going into a long explanation about an outfit he was going to make for the new baby for Sam and Amir.

Magnus stayed talking with Hearth and Blitz until around dinner. Just a typical happy Saturday. A Saturday he was so grateful to have.

Chapter Text

It was late Friday night as Magnus patrolled the 12th floor corridor. Magnus enjoyed being on duty at night. When he went to do his rounds around the castle to
make sure no students were sneaking out of their dormitories he got to explore. There is no better time to explore and discover the secrets of Hogwarts than 2am. Magnus got to the end of the hall and pulled back a tapestry. He found what he was looking for. A new passageway of stone stairs. He wondered were this one
went. He raised his wand so that the light from it illuminated the floor better and began climbing up the stairs. After about 200 steps he found himself down a weird
corridor. He followed it and then found himself facing a tiny wooden door. He reached out and opened it. He found himself now at the top floor of the astronomy tower.

 

The moon was shinning in through the open windows. Magnus felt a slight breeze as he stepped into the tower. Magnus. In the window sat a black cat.
When he walked in it turned its head. One eye glowed a bright yellow tinted brown the other glowed a deep dark brown. It watched him for a sec then turned to
stare down at the grounds. He walked over to the window sill and gazed up at the moon and the starts in the clear inky black sky. The cat moved it's gave to the
moon. He became lost in thought. Exactly a year ago he was staring up at his sky from a ratty sleeping bag in the middle of a deserted alley. If only last Magnus knew
where he would be now. He stood there staring at the sky for a bit then signed and decided it was probably time to head back to his office. As he turned to walk
away the cat shifted and jumped down onto the floor. As it fell down it glowed and transformed into the shape of a person. He shrieked out unmanly in fright.

"Calm down beantown. It's just me" Alex said laughing at Magnus look of shock.

"Wait your an animagus?" Magnus said looking confused.

"Ya I told you I dedicated my life to tranfiguration. Seems fitting that I also learn to change species since I change genders."

Magnus started up in shock at Alex. The dude was super impressive. Magnus had only met 1 other animagus before and that was Sam. Whe he first saw Sam in
Lion form he had almost wet his pants. He also knew it wasn't an easy thing to learn and most wizards couldn't even fathom doing it.

"That's so cool. How long did I take you to learn to become a cat?" Magnus asked.

"Hmmmmm" Alex pondered. "It took me 3 years to learn the cat. I started in my 6th year at Hogwarts. The it took about a year to learn transforming into a Weasel.
But after that I got the hang of it and it would only take about half a year each with lots of hard work."

Magnus's jaw dropped. "Wait you can transform into more than 1 animal?"

"Ya. First multi species animagus ever. I am up to 12 species so far. Registration with the ministry is a pain tho, because of me they had to invent another section on
the forms" Alex explained as he jumped up to sit on the window sill.

"So what other animals can you turn into?" Magnus asked now super interested.

"The horsefly is my favourite. But being a cat is the easiest for sneaking around the castle. The grizzly bear is always a student favourite." Alex went on.

"Omg you my friend are the most impressive person I have ever met. That is literrraly the coolest thing ever." Magnus said walking over the the window
to sit down as well.

Alex smiled and Magnus was pretty sure he saw him blush. It was hard to tell though since Alex's face was obscured in shawdows.

"so how hard is it? Would you be able to per say teach someone?" Magnus asked.

Alex tinted his head to Magnus and raised an eyebrow.

"You want to learn to be an animagus?"he asked.

"Well ya. If always wanted to be. I think it would definitely help out with taking care of magical creatures. Maybe I can be something big and scary like an elephant." Magnus said smiling.

Alex rolled his head back and laughed. "Well I can try and teach you. But it's the hardest thing your tiny brain will ever try to do." Alex joked, yet she still had a hint
of seriousness.

"Would this be a bad time to mention I've never even been able to transfigure a pocket watch?" Magnus said.

"So your saying I'm going to have my work cut out for me. Well i guess it can't be any harder than teaching first years to sit still for 5 minutes." Alex said. And smiled at
him. His eyes shinning in the residual moonlight.

Magnus smiled back. He could feel butterflies creeping into his throat making him want to choke or vomit as his stomach twisted uncomfortable to deal with their flapping. He had a feeling he was quickly falling for Alex. That meant trouble. He thought after Halloween when he realized what was happening he would be able to convince himself to not stare or think of Alex in that way, but every time they hung out together he fell deeper. Being alone with only Alex was even worse.

He was brought back to reality when Alex snapped his fingers in his face.

"Your're staring again? Are you Ok?" He asked punching his playfully on the arm.

Magnus shook his head. "Ya sorry."

"Anyway if your serious about learning come to my office Saturday after lunch. Well start this week." Alex said jumping down from the window sill.

"Sounds great' Magnus said.

"See you then" Alex said and waved. She turned towards the sort and slipped through it as a black cat.

*

A piece of chalk flew across the room and nailed Magnus between the eyes.

"Ow!" He exclaimed.

"Your not concentrating hard enough! I know it's hard for you to use your brain but you can at least try" Alex said his voice slightly raised.

"I am!" Magnus said back. He was starting to regret asking Alex to teach him how to be an animagus. The guy had no patience. In Magnuses defense he was
trying really hard. He was concentrating hard than he ever had before. He could feel his face start turning red since he was focusing so hard he forgot to breath. Still
he couldn't even manage to transfigure his ears.

He had been coming to Alex's office every 3rd night for the past 2 months. She was working him like a dog. Sometimes he didn't leave until late at night. Completely
exhausted. Mentally and physically.

"Well your not focusing on the right thing then. When you close your eyes you need to see in your mind what you want to become then u need to feel it. What animal are you imagining?" Alex asked.

"I am trying to imagine a horse. But I can't see the details. I mean how am I suppose to know what I would look like as a horse." Magnus said frustrated.

"Ok let's just focus on one part then. Let's start with the tail. Your blonde so let's assume your tail would be blonde as well." Alex said as she walked over to Magnus
in the middle of the room.

"Now feel where your tail would be imagine it and how it would feel to have a tail." Alex said as he sat on a desk in front of Magnus.

Magnus scrunched up his face and tightly closed his eyes. He tried his very best to imagine a tail coming out of the base of his spine. He tried to image the swishing
a horses tail would do and how his would feel. Yet he felt nothing he couldn't imagine it. 'Come on Magnus. Feel the tail. Be the tail' He thought to himself.
He found his mind wandering. Instead of a long swishy tail he felt that his tail was more stiff. It curled up instead and waved back and forth as he walked. It's hair was
short and golden. Way softer than any horse tail. The fur was thick and warm. He shook his head and opened his eyes. Gods he was hopeless.

"I'm sorry Alex. Maybe I'm not cut out for this. I can't focus. My mind can't seem to stick on one thing long enough" he said defeated.

Magnus turned to walk to the chair when Alex let out a surprised gasp. Magnus Magnus turned to walk to the chair when Alex let out a surprised gasp. Magnus
turned back to him wondering what he was now pointing at. He was surprised to see he was pointing at him. He looked down. He didn't see anything out of the
ordinary.

"What?" Magnus asked somewhat alarmed at the look on Alex's face. Alex just jumped down from the desk and ran over to him. Alex grabbed behind
Magnus and spun him around. He reached out and Magnus felt something weird. Alex gently touched his tail. Magnus cranked his neck to see Alex running his
hands through his thick furry tail that has sprouted from the base of his spine. It was golden in colour and about the same length of his arm.

"Omg I have a tail" Magnus exclaimed as Alex let go of it and started at it impressed.

"It would appear that your mind doesn't see you as a horse. Looks more like a dog tail... interesting." Alex said tapping his chin.

Magnus reached back and grabbed his tail. It was as real as his other body parts. Alex reached out again and started petting his tail. Magnus felt an electric
current travel up his tail and then up his spine to the back of his neck. It flushed his face and caused him to blush. He felt embarrassed about the blushing but it
was really distracting having Alex touch his tail.

"Its so soft" Alex said letting it go.

Magnus grabbed at it and held it against himself. It was so weird yet so cool. Then another thought came to mind.

"How do make it go away? I'm pretty sure Mallory would never let me live it down if I showed up to breakfast with a tail"

"Well essentially do the same thing you did to make it appear. Imagine yourself without the tail"

Magnus frowned. Now that he had the tail it was a little difficult to imagine it gone. He scrunched his face up again and tried his hardest.
When he opened his eyes the tail was gone.

"I did it!" Magnus said super excited he reached over and hugged Alex forgetting about the fact Alex might hex him for it.

Thankfully he didn't. He hugged Magnus back. Magnuses stomached did a few back flips inside him.

"Your the best teacher ever" Magnus said as Alex broke up the hug.

"I know" Alex said. "I bet we could have you turning into whatever it is you transfigure into by Christmas."

"You think?" Magnus asked.

" Ya your a quick learner. Anyway it's not that late but I think we can call it a day. Wanna go get some coffee with me?" Alex
asked.

"Sure" Magnus said. He followed Alex out of his classroom.

*

Alex and Magnus headed to the staff room and Alex put on a pot of coffee on the fire. He then crashed beside Magnus on the couch. He slung one arm around
his shoulder and laid back into the cushions looking completely relaxed. The butterflies came back to Magnuses stomach.

" So ummm...what's new with you?" Magnus asked not knowing what to say.

Him and Alex usually hung out and talked all the time but he was having trouble coming up with something interesting to
say whole Alex had his arm around his shoulder. He smelled like wet earth and clay with a hint of sandalwood.

"Nothing really. I helped Sam pick out a crib the other day. She said I can come to her next appointment. Amir wants her to
go to a muggle doctor. Apparently the muggles have a way to take a picture of a baby while it's still in the womb."

"Cool. I bet your gonna be the best aunt and uncle ever."

Alex laughed. "That baby is also going to be the most spoiled kid in the world. Blitz has already made the kid enough fancy outfits so That it never has to wear the same thing
twice for the next 2 years. Mallory has already started saving to get it's first broom and Hearth and Halfborn won't stop reading up on how to change diapers and stuff like that. I caught them both practicing on a cat together.

Magnus laughed. He too was guilty of secretly reading up on baby care with Hearth whiel Blitz sat at his sewing machine making baby clothes. Plus he was way better than Hearth. He could change a diaper in less than 30 seconds now. Hearth still couldn't figure out where to tuck and pin.

"Its definitely going to be the most lived baby ever" Magnus agreed.

Alex smiled in agreement. They sat watching the fire for a bit. He only extracted his arm from around Magnus when the kettle was done. He poured
them 2 coffees and handed one to Magnus. Magnus slurped his coffee noisily.

"Hey Alex. Thanks again for teaching me. I really appreciate it." Magnus said.

"Hey no problem. I kinda like spending the extra alone time with you. Plus you look really cute with a tail" he said sipping his coffee. Magnus's stomach do a flip
again.

" Oh do I Now?" He tried his best to joke. "I wonder why a dog though? Is it usual to not be able to choose the animals?"

Alex made a sideways smile and pondered for a bit. "Hmmm not always. I mean lots of wizards choose, but sometimes your personality is too much
of you so there's not much you can do. You seem pretty confident I who you are so maybe that's why. I think the reason I can do so many animals by choice is
because I'm never stable with whole am. I kinda transition more than just my gender. But also my personality and confidence. Also that brand of magic isn't very well
know."

Magnus just nodded. "I kinda wish it wasn't a dog. The night my mother died, The fire that killed her. It was started by some werewolves. A gang I guess. I don't
know why they wanted to kill us. But since then I haven't been very fond of dogs." Magnus said.

Alex just frowned at him sympathetically. He didn't say anything tho. Something Magnus appreciated about him. He hated when people gave him the old 'oh I'm so sorry for you' speech.

Alex just put his arm back around him shoulders and pulled him closer. Magnus slipped on arm around Alex's back. The contact made him feel closer to his friend,
and a little more comfortable.

"If I have learned one thing it's that you don't get to choose who you are." Alex said eyes staying fixed on the fire. "We just have to learn to accept and live
ourselves the way we are. If we don't we will never grow as people and never learn."

Magnus nodded and Alex leaned his head against his shoulder. His green hair tickled Magnus's ears and cheek. This time he didn't try and fight the butterflies.
They sat like that all night watching the fire. At some point they must have fallen asleep because Magnus woke up the next morning in the same position. As he
stirred so did Alex. The rising sun bathed the staff room in orange light. Alex didn't say anything about falling asleep together but she broke the silence by suggesting
they head down to get breakfast.

Chapter Text

Hearth was awoken groggily when he felt something heavy fall on himself. He opens his eyes slightly and could make out Blitz drapping a blanket over him. He had fallen asleep in Blitzs cozy armchair by the fire again. The book he was reading had fallen on the floor. A typical Friday night. Blitz usually stayed up late working on whatever project he had going and Hearth passed out with a book in his lap. Usually Blitz fell asleep with his head on his work bench. Tonight he had apparently called it an early bedtime. The clock on the wall said it was only 10pm.

Blitz leaned in and kissed Hearth on the top of the head as he tucked in the blanket around his shoulders. The kissed woke Hearth up slightly and he looked up sleepily at Blitzen. Blitz was smiling.

"Sorry I didn't mean to wake you. You just looked cold" Blitz said.
Hearth could see the quietness in his voice as if he didn't want to wake Hearth up by being too loud. Which was pointless since Hearth couldn't hear anything. Hearth shook his head twice. He didn't mind being woken up by Blitz. Blitz stood back up straight looking at Hearth curled up in the chair.

"Do you want the bed tonight? It can't be comfortable sleeping in my chair or on my couch every night." Blitz said.

Hearth hadn't spent a night in his office since the day that Blitz had kissed him. Every night he usually fell asleep on Blitzs couch or armchair. He liked sleeping in Blitzs place way more. It was warm and always smelled like the rose cologne Blitz wore. He felt safe here. Since he started sleeping here had hadn't had one single nightmare. This in itself made the sore back the morning worth it. He couldn't remember a time before his brothers death when he didn't wakeup in a cold sweat because of the nightmares.

"No it's ok. I'm good here. I wouldn't want to kick you out of your bed" Hearth signed.

Hearth was being honest. He would feel horrible if Blitz slept on the sofa while Hearth took up his bed. He paused for a second thinking about a ridiculous idea. I mean they could both sleep in the same bed. I mean they were close. They exchanged at least 4 kissed a day. And even cuddled on the couch sometimes. If their situation was normal Hearth would even go so far as to say they were dating. But since Hearth had never dated before and not did he even have a clue what dating really was he didn't think it would be appropriate for him to suggest him and Blitz share the bed. The thought of them sharing the bed made him blush slightly. He shook his head to clear his mind. He felt slightly embarrassed he had even let the thought cross his mind.

Blitz looked down at him. Blitz's face was a mix of confusion and concern.

"Its ok. I don't mind the couch. I just want you to be comfortable." Blitz said.

Hearth just shook his head.

Blitzes facial expression then turned to something that resembled a mix of embaressmnt and a little bit of fear. He wringed his hands uncomfortably.

"Or ummm. You could come into the bed with me." Blitz said slowly as he signed to make sure Hearth completely understood him.

Hearth felt his face blush deeper. It was as if Blitz had been thinking the same thing Hearth had just been thinking. Hearth shifted in his seat slightly. He was wide awake now and felt very self conscious. Was Blitz just being nice or did he really want to share the bed with Hearth. Hearth looked back at the bed and then back to Blitz.

"Are you sure?" He signed.

Blitz nodded looking way more embarrassed then before.

"Well I mean if you want to. I get if your're not comfortable sleeping with me, that's ok too" Blitz stammered out signing as he spoke.

Hearth looked up and did his best to smile at Blitz and not look to flustered. He got up and walked to the bedroom. Blitz followed him.

Blitz took some extra pillows out of the closet and threw them to Hearth. Hearth crawled into the bed. The sheets were made of soft silk. There touch was cool. He put the pillows behind his head and rested his head down. The pillows smelled so strongly of rose cologne he had to fight the urge to take bunch of deep breaths in to indulge in the smell.

Blitz strode to the middle of the room and put out the lamps. The room was now very dark. The bedroom door was closed so only a small crack let in light from the dying fire in the living room made it through. Hearth couldn't see very well but he felt the bed sink in slightly as Blitz got in. He felt Blitz pull the covers up higher and Hearth took the opportunity to sink into them further. He was being very conscious of where he was situated in relation to Blitz. He could feel the heat radiating from Blitz. He resisted the urge to put out his hands and feet to warm them against him. It wouldn't be that hard as the bed wasn't that big and Hearth could feel the hair on Blitz's arms beside his.

Hearth really hoped Blitz couldn't hear how fast his heart was beating. He tried his best to keep his breathing calm but he was pretty sure he probably sounded like he had just finished a mild jog.

Hearth turned in bed so that he wasn't facing Blitz. Hoping this would help hide his embarrassing physical reaction to sharing a bed. Gods Hearth wished he was more confident with Blitz. He had no reason to be nervous. It was just Blitzen. The only person Hearth trusted completely. The one person Hearth knew would not judge him.

Hearth felt Blitz move slightly then gently rested his arm around Hearths waist. Hearth jumped in surprise at first but then fell back down. Blitz was warm and his arm was heavy and comforting.

Hearth wished he could hear and talk. It was impossible to communicate in the dark.
Blitzs hand found Hearths hand and Blitz began to trace letters on his palm.

"I S I T O K I F I C U D D L E Y O U?" Blitz spelled out.

Hearth nodded and then scooted back so that his back was up against Blitz's chest.
Blitz moved his other arm above his head and began running his fingers through Hearths hair. Hearth felt himself melting in Blitzs arms. Why hadn't he slept in Blitzs bed before this? Hearth thought to himself. He let out a deep happy sigh and felt his throat vibrate in a what must have been a moan. He instantly felt embaressemtn crawl into his throat. Blitz didn't seem to mind he just hugged Hearth closer and Blitz pressed another kiss on the back of Hearths neck.

Hearth shivered and he felt a bolt of electricity shoot down his body. They laid together for quiet a while. Eventually Hearth felt Blitzs hand in his hair go limp and the arm around him get heavier. Blitzs breathing became more shallow and calm. He had fallen asleep. Hearth fell asleep not long after. Blitz' s bed was too warm and soft. His nose filled with the sent of roses. He slept so well he didn't even dream.

*

When Hearth woke up it took him awhiel with a mixture of blurry slept blinking to realise where he was.
It took him another minute to realise he was alone in the bed. He sat up and looked around the room no sign of Blitz. Hearth swung his legs out of the tangled blankets and walked out of the bedroom. He found Blitz sitting at his work table in his dress down clothes. By dress down he meant dressed down for Blitz. A pair of brown leather shoes. Paisley socks. Dark muggle jeans. And a white dress shirt under a grey wool sweater. He was tracing out the pattern for baby sling for Sam and Amir. When Hearth walked in the room Blitz looked up.

"Good morning. Or make that good afternoon." Blitz said smiling. Hearth blinked at looked out the window. The sun was high in the sky.

"What time is it?" Hearth signed.

"Around 1 in the afternoon" Blitz signed back. "I didn't want to wake you. You looked like you needed the extra sleep."

Hearth walked over to the work table and signed "thank you".
He bent down and kissed blitz a little more harder and longer than usual. He he pulled away Blitz looked up at him confused. Blitz was usually the affectionate one. Hearth rarely was the one to iniciate any sort of intimacy. But Hearth was feeling partially warm and drawn to Blitz this morning. Maybe it was how cute he looked in his muggle clothes. Or maybe it had to do with the cuddling in the same bed last night.

Hearth poured himself a cup of hot water and made some tea. He sat on the couch. He watched as Blitz finished tracing his last piece and began cutting the fabric. Hearth loved watching Blitz work. His hand ran over the fabric so gracefully. He ran the cloth through to sewing machine so flawlessly Blitz made it look easy. Not wanting to stare to long and seem odd Hearth picked up his book from the coffee table and began reading. Occasionally glancing over his book to watch Blitz.

A couple hours later blitz hung the half finished baby carrier on a mannequin. He walked over and sat on the couch beside Hearth.

"Ready for dinner?" He signed to Hearth. Hearth nodded and then signed.

"One second

He went into Blitzes room. The top drawer of Blitzs dresser had few muggle clothing and one set of black robes for Hearth. Hearth grabbed the black jeans and a black hoodie. He quickly slipped them on and met Blitz back in the living room. On their way out of the office hearth grabbed his candy cane striped scarf that was haning on the rack by the door.

Hearth reached over and grabbed Blitz's hand as they walked down the corridor. Blitz didn't mind. Hearth knew he loved holding hands. When they got to the end of the corridor Blitz went to let go like they usually did when they got to a part of the castle they knew they would encounter others. But Hearth gripped it tighter so that he couldn't let go. Blitz didn't look over at Hearth but Hearth turned his head to see the short wizard smiling wide.

When they got to the entrance hall they were spotted by two hufflepuffs who waved to them. Hearth noticed there eyes darting to Blitz and Hearth entwined hands.

"Hi professir Blitzen. Good evening professor Hearthstone." The boy on the right said.

"Good afternoon McLaggen, Basil. Don't forget you with promised to hand in your cheering charms essays Monday. It's two weeks overdue and I can't keep stretching the deadline." Blitz said to the boys.

They both nodded. "No problem professor. We will have them to you Monday this time. We promise."

Blitz smiled and them and Hearth continued towards the great hall.
The boys turned to each other once Blitz had turned. Hearth couldn't hear them for obvious reasons but he read McLaggen' s lips as he whispered to Basil.

"See I told you. Cough up. You owe me 5 galleons"

Basil reached into his pocket and Hearth turned away. So apparently they hadn't been as low key as they thought. 'All well' Hearth thought. Doesn't matter now since if decided to stop hiding.

They walked up to the staff table still hand in hand. It was really hard to ignore the fact lots of students turned in their direction and whispered to one another as they walked together. The worst part was the face Alex had on when she saw them. The annoying face of someone to was about to brag about knowing the whole time. Beside her Magnus sat obviiusly the only one not interested in the fact Blitz and Hearth were holding hands. Although that could only be exspected as he was busy caressing a tightly wrapped falafel sandwhich.

When they sat down Hearth finally let go of Blitz's hand. He immediately began busying himself with scooping up potatoes avoiding talking to Alex. She however didn't say anything she just sat with a smug look on her face.

After Magnus had devoured his 4th helping of falafel Alex got Blitz and Hearths attention by asking.

"So how long have you too been hiding this?" She asked.

Blitz made a fake coughing movement by the looks of it and then stammered out.

"We haven't been hiding anything. We just like to keep our business private" he explained. "But if you must know since September."

Hearth nodded and went back to his salad ignoring the smug looks on Alex's face.

Chapter Text

Blitz pov

Blitzen loved Christmas. He was absolutely head over heels in love with Christmas. And Christmas at Hogwarts was the most magical by far. Blitz had taken over the decorating of the castle since he started teaching here. He personally picked out every single Christmas tree, garland, bobble, and bow. As soon as December 1st arrived Blitzen worked all day and night to have the castle ready for the next next 25 days. He pulled out all the stops. Enchanted icicles, live fairy lights, blooming mistletoe and large red poinsettias growing along every doorway and banister. Armour suits sang carols and fake snow that fell in the entrance hall.

Blitz had even managed to get Hearth into the holiday season. Hearth helped Blitz put up and decorate all 12 Christmas trees that went up in the Great Hall. He didn't even make fun of Blitzen when he annoyingly fixated on making sure 2 ornaments were never too far from each other but never to close. Alex said he was anal retentive, he would say he was more of a perfectionist.

One the last day of term Blitz sat at the desk at the front of his classroom. His 4th year class sat around chatting and playing board games. Blitz knew that trying to teach during the last period before holidays would be hopeless. Instead he let his students relax and have fun. He sat at his desk reading a book T.J. had lent him about armour making. Hopefully it would inspire something. When the bell rang the hoard of students began to file out of the room. Blitz looked up when he heard a few students say.

"Hi professor Hearthstone" and
"Happy Chirstmas Professor Hearthstone"

Blitz watched as Hearth waved to the students as he passed through the door. He was wearing his holiday sweater that Halfborn had knitted him last year. It was black with a light grey and white Nordic pattern with those dancing deer. It was hideous especially with his candy cane striped scarf, yet it was Hearths favourite sweater. Blitz was pretty sure Hearth wore it just to annoy him. He would never admit that was his motive yet every time he pulled it out he got a mischivious glint in his eye. As he approached Blitz's desk Hearth waved. When he got to the desk he sat on the end as Blitz started putting away his paper work in the desk drawers.

"Last class. Now we are officially off. Would you like to come with me to London overnight. I need to pick up something." Hearth signed.

"Of course. I also could pick up some things myself. I'm running low on some sewing supplies. And there's not alot of good selection in Hogsmade." Blitz said as he signed.

Hearth smiled and followed Blitz up the staircase to his office. Blitz dropped a stack of essays on his desk in there and followed Hearth into his/their small place. Hearth already has a bag slung over his shoulder. He had probably gone back to his office before he came here. Blitz went into his bedroom and also began packing an overnight bag. He packed some muggle clothes since his favourite sewing supplies store was in the muggle part of downtown. When he came back into the living room Hearth was pulling on his black woolen cloak. Blitz grabbed for his dark navy peacoat.

They walked down to the gates. Once they were outside Hearth held out his arm to Blitz. Hearth was a much stronger wizard than Blitz therefore he could get the both of them to London by apparition. He didn't do it often though as it left him tired and dizzy. Blitz grabbed his arm and with a gut twisting compression of darkness they apparated.

They landed in the middle of Diagon Alley. Snow was lightly falling from the sky. The streets were packed with witches and wizards all covered in a light layer of snowflakes, milling around doing their shopping. The shops and lightposts were all decorated with wreaths, holly berries and fairy lights. The smell of cookies and other sweets wafted from the bakery. It was truly magical.

Blitz reached over and took Hearths hand. They walked down the cobbled streets together toward the Leaky Cauldron. The Leaky Cauldron was a rowdy mix of chaos and excitement. It was also absolutely packed. Hearth got his room key and immediately signed.

"Lets go upstairs. Less crowded. Come down for dinner later."

Blitz nodded and they headed up the rickety wooden stairs. When they got to the room Hearth dropped his bag on the floor shed his cloak and fell face first into the bed. Blitz laughed and hung up their stuff. Hearth was the messiest guy Blitz knew. Or maybe Blitz was too much of a clean freak. Blitz went over and threw a log in the fireplace. He prodded it a couple times to make sure it was good then went to sit on the bed beside Hearth. When he sat down Hearth rolled over to his back so he could talk to him.

"I hate apparition" Hearth signed. "Makes me dizzy."

"Practice makes perfect. Plus I wouldn't complain. Most wizards would give their right arms to be able to apparate that far. Myself included. I wouldn't really be complaining about being so powerful" Blitz said.

Hearth rolled his eyes.

"Our abilities aren't measured by the power if our magic. Only by how we use it. Plus you have many talents I would trade you for any day." Hearth signed back.

It was Blitz's turn to roll his eyes.

"What do you need in London anyway?" Blitz asked changing the subject.

"Something I have been looking for for a long time is here." Hearth signed raising his hands up in the air in front of him while still on his back.

"What's that?" Blitz asked.

"A secret. None of your business" Hearth signed then stuck his tongue out at Blitz.

Blitz raised and eyebrow at Hearth but didn't push it. Although this would explain the sudden flux of owls Hearth kept recieving at breakfast the past 2 months.

Hearth let out a loud exhale and closed his eyes sleepily. Blitz leaned down and went to kiss his forehead. Surprisingly before he could place his lips on Hearth Hearth reached up and grabbed Blitzs head pulling him down into a proper kiss on the lips. Hearth pushed into the kiss passionately and Blitzs hands automatically went around Hearths waist. After a few seconds of deep kissing Blitz went to pull away but Hearth pulled him closer refusing to let go. He kissed Blitz again in the same way. Blitz felt himself go light headed. He pushed back into the kiss his lips moving more purposefully.

After what seemed like forever Hearth and Blitz fell away from one another.

"What was that for?" Blitz asked Hearth. Hearths cheeks were flushed and warm. Blitz was glad for his dark complexion or he might have looked just as flushed.

"Nothing. Just wanted to kiss you. Is that a crime?" Hearth signed.

"It should be." Blitz joked. "Your not usually so..." Blitz cut himself off "Anyway you should take a quick nap then we can head down to dinner."

Hearth gave a faint smiled and nodded. He sat up and grabbed the quilt at the end of the bed he pulled it over himself and laid back down.

Blitz got up and went to sit in the armchair by the fire. He pulled out his armour making book. After his first page he heard the familiar sound of Hearth snoring.

*

When the clock on the wall read 8 o'clock Blitz woke Hearth. He was looking much better after his nap. They both made their way downstairs. They grabbed a table at the back of the room and ordered some dinner from the inn keeper. The place had clamed down significantly. Hearth slurped up his vegetable soup and stared intently at the flame from the candle on their table. He seemed lost in thought and a little fidgety. Blitz scanned the room and watched other patrons as they milled about. He spotted some wizards he knew use to work with his father at the ministry and they waved when they passed their table.

Blitz also noticed two strange looking wizards at the other corner of the bar. They were glaring in their direction. They kept pretending to not notice them every time Blitz looked over. Both wizards were tall and muscular. Their blonde hair was neatly trimmed and combed back. They kinda reminded Blitz of Hearth. Minus the kind eyes and lanky frames. Their skin and pointy ears though were unmistkingly similar. Blitz noticed they were keeping a particularly close gaze on Hearth. He frowned and nudged Hearth under the table with his foot. Hearth looked up at Blitz who very lightly signed.

" don't turn around right now. But I think there's two guys here watching us."

Hearths eyes widened slightly but he kept his expression the usual blank slate. He twirled his thumbs nervously. After a few seconds he pretended to drop his fork and glanced back at the guys as he retrieved it. When he came back up he looked grim.

"Lets go back to the room. Now" he signed.

Blitz nodded and they quickly headed upstairs. The two guys watched them go but didn't get up themselves.

When they got back to the room Hearthstone locked the door and waved his wand over the lock.

"So are you going to tell me what that was about" Blitz asked concern creeping into his face.

The corner if Hearths mouth twisted and he signed.

"I don't know. But those 2 guys use to work for my father. Don't know why they would be here unless my father sent them to spy."

"Why would your father be sending people to spy on you?" Blitz asked.

Hearth gave half a shrug and frowned slightly.

"Father sent me a letter a month ago. After that one I showed you demanding to know about rumours he wasn't so happy about hearing."

"what rumours were those?" Blitz asked.

"Rumours about us. " Hearth simply signed. He then crossed his arms across his chest. Hearths version of I don't want to talk anymore. Hearth walked over to the window and glanced outside. Apparently seeing nothing interesting he strode to the armchair, sat and began taking off his shoes.

"I wouldn't worry. Could just be a coincidence. Plus there nothing they can do to me or you here" Hearth signed after he kicked off his boots.

Blitz gave him a skeptical look but decided to leave it. He knew Hearth didn't like speaking about his family issues. Blitz kept a mental note to keep a close eye on Hearth until they got back to Hogwarts.

Hearth got up and threw another log in the fire. He warmed his hands up against the warm heat coming from the fireplace. Blitz took off his shoes then went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. He washed his face, brushed his teeth, brushed his neatly combed hair and put on his pjammas. When he came back out Hearth was already in bed in his PJs. He was on his back staring up at the curtains. Blitz scooted in beside him. They were so comfortable sleeping together now he didn't even need to ask Hearth to turn off the light . Hearth reached over to grab his wand and flick the lights off. Blitz pulled the covers over Hearth and his shoulder and rested his head down on his pillow.

*********
You can now go to my smut chapter if you want to read it. You totally don't have to read it. But if you do you can read it here

http://archiveofourown.org/works/11600784

**********

Hearth pov

Hearth woke up as the sky started to turn orange with the rising sun. He could feel Blitz sleeping beside him. His chest gently rising and falling his hands up behind his head and his leg hanging off the side of the bed. Blitzs hair was becoming a tangled mess in the pillow. A sight he knew Blitz wouldn't be to pleased for anyone including Hearth to see. Hearth smiled like an idiot as he began to remember what happend last night. He resisted to urge to lean over and kiss Blitz awake.
Hearth gently pulled the blanket off himself and did his best to get out of the bed without disturbing the sleeping Blitz.

He padded across the floor grabbed his bag and went into the bathroom. He quickly took a shower and put on his clothes. A simple white t-shirt under a black wool v-neck sweater. His nice black boots and dark black pants. He reached into his bag and pulled out his carefully folded blue and bronze embroidered scarf Blitz had made him. He carefully wrapped it around his neck.

He turned to the mirror and for the first time in 3 years combed his hair back into a perfect slick. The way his father made him always brush his hair. Hearth hated it, it made him look like a very pale blonde Transylvania vampire. He frowned at his reflection. A strand a hair fell down from his now neatly combed hair. He brushed it back in.

Hearth wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for Blitzen. Hearth had spent the past year searching for it. Unfortunately the only way to get it was to go and do his best to look important and intimidating. That unfortunatley meant dressing like his father and going somewhere wasn't so comfortable going.

He sighed and then exited the bathroom. Blitz was now awake. He walked over to Hearth and reached up. He straightened Hearths scarf.

"You look... different" Blitz said taking in Hearths hair.

Hearth gave a sideways frown and signed.

"Gotta go somewhere today that requires it. I hate it. I feel like my father. Minus the scarf."

Blitz looked up concerned. "Where are you going? It doesn't sound like a place you should be going to."

Hearth just shrugged off the question. He signed. "Don't worry about it. It's nothing, just something I need to do"

Blitz frowned. "Hearth that's not an answer. Also what do you need to do?"

Hearth shrugged again and signed. "Go take a shower and get dressed. Your hair is a mess"

Blitz patted his head and scowled at Hearth. Thankfully he didn't push the issue any more. He did however give a look that conveyed the message 'this conversation isn't over'. Blitz grabbed his bag and went into the bathroom.

Hearth went and sat in the armchair. He picked up the book Blitz had been reading and flipped through it. Enchanted armour, that was interesting. Hearth remembered a book his brother and him had once read on goblin armour. Hearth always thought goblin made objects were fascinating. The goblins knew how to craft in amazing ways. He remembered once at dinner Andrion had said to his mother and father that he wanted to be a Goblin. Hearth remembered the anger that had flared in his father's eyes. His father never hit Andrion, but this was the first time Hearth had seen his father yell at someone that wasn't himself. No pure blood son of his was going to profess his wish to be something as low as a Goblin. He remembered that night Andrion crawling into his room tears flowing down his face. Hearth held his brother all night. Andrion kept saying things but Hearth wasn't so good at reading lips back then, also it's pretty much impossible to understand someone when there crying. Thinking of his brother dropped an all too familiar rock in his stomach. He felt sick, he missed his brother so much. Until he ran away and met Blitz Andrion had been his only friend. The only person he felt comfortable sharing his feeling and fears with.

Hearth was brought back to the present when Blitz emerged from the bathroom. He had combed his hair back into perfection and was now sporting a dark gray suit with a navy dress shirt dress shirt underneath. Today he had tied a maroon floral pattern bowtie around his neck. He looked as fashionable as ever. Hearth loved when Blitz dressed like a muggle. He had always been drawn to muggles. Probably out of some sort of subconscious rebellion.

Hearth signed. "You look good, as always"

Blitz smiled and slipped on his dragon hide boots. And grabbed for his coat.

"Come on let's get breakfast I'm starving" Blitz said as he signed. Hearth followed him out grabbing his cloak and bag off the hook.

*

After breakfast Hearth followed Blitz into downtown London. The streets were packed with weekend shoppers and people visiting the city. Snow was falling gently from the sky in large flakes and the wind was bitterly cold. Hearth hiked up his scarf around his ear thankful for its magical warming. Blitz seemed fine in the cold. He had put on his dragon hide gloves. Hearth had just tucked his hands in his pockets so he couldn't sign or hold hands. Blitz didn't seem to mind he laced his arm through Hearths and they walked arm in arm down the sidewalk.

They got to their destination around 20 minutes later. Blitz unwraped his arms from Hearths. He went to open the shop door for Hearth but Hearth shook his head. He pulled his hands out from his pockets risking losing them to the cold.

He signed. "Actually I'm going to go do the thing I came here to do. I'll meet you back here when I'm done."

Blitz looked upset and aggravated.

"I don't like the idea of you going off on your own with those guys we saw last night around" Blitz argued. He signed with his gloved hands which were hard to read but Hearth got the gist.

Hearth shook his head. "Don't worry about me. I'll be back in less than 30 minutes. Promise."

"Hearth" Blitz started to argue but Hearth reached into the inner pocket of his cloak. He grasps his wand and with one quick look around to make sure no-one was watching he turned on the spot. He gave Blitz a mischivious smile. The last thing he saw was Blitz face knot up in irritation as he tried to grab Hearth before he dissaperated.

*

Hearth appeared in the middle of Diagon Alley. The streets were packed so he struggled to get through . Eventually he found what he was looking for. The stairs that led into Nocturn Alley. Hearth stopped at the top of the alley entrance to steel his nerves. He straightened himself trying to stand taller and more sure of himself. He pulled his hood up over his head and walked down the stairs.

Diagon Alley was almost deserted. Only a dew dodgy looking people walked past Hearth. There feet clacking on the cold wet stones. One wizard with long pointed yellow teeth and a scar across his face glanced curiously at Hearth. Hearth pulled his hood lower over his face and did his best not to quicken his pace so he didn't seem suspicious. After a what seemed like the most stressful 5 minutes of Hearths life he found what he was looking for. A dark dimly lit store. The sign above the window read. Borgin and Burks. Hearth took a deep breath and straightned himself. Gathering his thoughts. 'You got this, just act like father would', words he thought he would never say to himself. He stepped through the door.

The shop seemed to be empty Hearth glanced around at the objects displayed around him. An old vanishing cabinet sat in the corner of the room. Various swords encrusted in jewels and beautiful ornamentation decorated the walls. Probably goblin made. Cobwebs covered everything. Hearth found a cabinet filled with beautiful pieces of jewelry. He slowly walked over and peered into the glass. A sign on the door read. "Cursed objects: Do not touch". Hearth peered in but didn't see what he came to find. Which he was thankful for. He didn't think he would be able to do much if it had been cursed.

Hearth almost jumped out of his skin when he felt a gnarled hand grab at his shoulder hard. He turned quickly his hand jumping to his pocket with his wand instinctively. A grizzly old man with an eye patch let go of his shoulder but started talking to him obviously in a not so nice manner.

"Are you deaf!? I asked you what are you doing in here?" The man said.

Hearth wanted to shrink, or at least pull out his wand but he resisted. He remembered his act and stood tall doing his best to look as if this man was the scum under his foot. Hearth knew that look well. It was the look his father gave to everyone, including himself. Hearth had prepared for his inability to talk as well. He reached into his other pocket and pulled out a small leather bound book and a quill. Honestly Hearth preferred pens but he figured this wasn't the crowd you wanted to go pulling muggle objects out around. A pen enchanted to have ink constantly would do. He opened the note book and wrote.

"I am deaf, but that is none of your business. I am looking for a watch. A very specific watch." Hearth wrote he then as cold as he could handed the man the book. The man read. His mouth moved as he struggled through the words.

"Watch eh?" The man scowled. "How am I to know your not ministry swine. You look awfully like those bunch of muggle lovers"

Hearth did his best to look annoyed and angry instead of unsure like he felt. He snatched the book back with as much of his father's gusto as he could. He reached up and pulled his hood off showing off his practically white hair. He then reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a ring. The family ring he was made to wear when he was still at home. He shoved it in the man's hands. The man examined it gingerly. Staring intently at the family coat of arms etched in the front in precious jewels. A look of understanding and fright grew on the man's face. Even if the British wizards didn't take kindly to wizards with wood elf blood they did know of his families reputation. The Aldermans were powerful and wealthy. Those who crossed them usually went missing or ended up dead.

Hearth held his hand out and the man carefully placed the ring back in his palm. Hearth tossed it back in his breast pocket. He did his best to stare down impatiently and disgusted at the man. This time it wasn't so hard. The man seemed to have shrunk now realising he might be in trouble.

"This way Mr.Alderman" the old man said as he shuffled to the back of the store. Hearth followed. For once thankful for his family name, a name he hadn't used in years.

Hearth watch as the old man ducked under a counter and dissapeared into a back room. He came back carrying a large trunk. He dropped it on the counter. He turned to Hearth and asked.

"Exactly what kind of watch?"

Hearth pulled out his notepad again and wrote down.

"A specific pocket watch my sources say you have acquired. It should be gold and unscripted with Nordic runes."

Hearth placed the book on the counter and the man read it. He frowned and went to open the chest. He rummaged inside and then pulled out a large black velvet box. He placed it on the counter in front of Hearth. Hearth reached out and opened the box. Inside was a small pocket watch cast in gold. The design of tree was etched in thin delicate silver in the front. The silver lines so thin they looked as if a needle had painstakingly drawn them on. The thin lines so carefully drawn made such a realists image the tree looked as if it was actually swaying in the wind. Hearth reached out and picked up the watch. Along the side old Nordic runes were inscribed. Not many wizard could read old Nordic runes but Hearth could.

Be the light in the dark
Be the calm in the storm
Be at peace while at war.

On the back in simple English the words inscribed said.

To my son Bilbi,
May you always find the time to be happy.

This was it, Hearth had found it. Blitz's father's watch. He gently placed the watch back in to box. He reached over and wrote in his book.

"Barter"

He reached into his front pocket again and placed the ring on the counter. The old man read the word and glanced between the ring and the watch. Then up at Hearth skeptically. Hearth did his best to look intimidating. Eventually the man nodded and snatched up the ring. Hearth reached down and grabbed the box with the watch. He placed it in his coat, put his hood back up over his head and turned quickly to walk out of the store.

Chapter Text

Hearth quickly strode down the dark alley until he got to the exit. He stood on the stairs and pulled the box out of his cloak. He carefully opened it and examined the watch. It was beautiful, but also crude. It was intricate and yet simple. Something very different. Crafted not by goblins, elves, or even wizards. This was the work of dwarves. He pulled the watch out and thin gold chain spilled out of the box attached to the watch. Hearth blinked a few times. The chain was so heavy for being so thin. It also looked weird. He ran the chain through his fingers . The chain looked like it was made of gold but it felt like silk in his hand. He held it up to his face. The chain was woven from strands of metal so thin they made Blitz's bronze embroidery look shameful. Over a thousand microscopic gold strands where woven in a large braid that made up the chain. The chain looked newer than the watch. At the end of the chain was a small hook with something written on it. Hearth turned it over to read it. Inscribed in tiny writing not as elegant as the writing on the watch were the words.

To my son Blitzen,
May you always find time to follow your dreams.

Hearth held his breath for a second as he realised who had made the chain for the watch. He remembered the story Blitz had told him. Blitzens father was a master rope maker. He had been killed by a gang of werewolves when Blitz had gone away to a muggle school for fashion. The werewolf gang had gone after Blitz's father because he had somehow figured out the gangs plan to break their leader out of Azkaban. They ransacked their house and left his dad for dead in the yard torn to shreds. The watch that had gone missing that night. Blitz's father Bilbi had added his own gift and had planned to pass it onto Blitz. Yet he never got to.

Hearth remembered how Blitz had mentioned the watch only once. They were discussion goblin made treasure when Blitz mentioned that he thought dwarven crafts were better. Dwarves knew how to enchant objects and give them souls. He mentioned the dwarven watch his father had inherited from his half dwarven grandfather. And also that the watch had gone missing when his dad dies. Ever since Hearth became obsessed with finding the watch. He knew how important Blitz's father was to him. Now he finally had it. He wrapped it in his handcherchief and put it back in the box. He placed the closed box inside the inner pocket of his cloak and patted it prospectively.

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye coming from behind him. He reached into his other pocket for his wand but too late. He felt a hard punch to his back and white hot pain ran down his shoulder to his wand hand. Stinging jinx he thought. He felt another punch hot and like rock more to his side now as he was thrown against the alley wall. He tumbled down the stairs back into Nocturn Alley. His shoulder took most of the impact when he hit the bottom saving his head. He felt something snap and pain shot down his right side.

He looked up to see one of his father's henchmen from the night before slowly walking down the steps towards him a evil smile on his face like he had just done something heroic. Hearth saw the man call out down the stairs probably to the alley corner behind hearth. "Dimitri come here I've got him!"

Hearth instincts kicked in. He reached into his cloak with his left hand (since his right one wouldn't move) and pulled out his wand. The guy on the stairs saw what he was doing and went to stun Hearth, but Hearth was faster. He rolled and aimed at the guy. His spell hit him before his even reached where Hearth had just been. He tumbled down the stairs. Hearth felt a hot blast of red light shoot past his left ear barely missing him. He quickly turned to see the man who must have been Dimitri pointing his wand at him shouting something Hearth couldn't make out from this far. He raised his wand and fired back. The guy dodged behind a barreling pickled newts eyes. Hearth flung himself into the dorway of a nearby shop. A blast hit the corner of the doorway near Hearths head smashing the bricks and sending rubble flying. Hearth stepped out slightly and aimed another stunning spell. It missed him. Hearths aim was off having to use his left hand. Dimitri shot another bombard curse and it destroyed the rest of the brick doorway. Hearth lept out of the doorway as it collapsed. A few bricks fell down on his shoulder causing him to fall over in pain. He fell to the ground and before he could attempt to get up he saw Dimitri kick his wand out of his hand. He looked up to see him standing above himself wand drawn and a nasty gash bleeding down his face. Dimitri smirked down at Hearth licking the blood off his lips.

"Your father's says it's time to come home boy. Just be glad we found you and not the others. We won't hurt you that much before we hand you over."

Hearth just glared up at Dimitri. There was no way he was going to be taken by him. He preferred not to die or something worse the hands of his father. He saw his wand not far away from him to his left out of his peripheral. He lunged as soon as his hand grass it he willed himself into the nothingness focusing on his destination.

*

Hearth appeared into the alley nearby where he had left Blitz. White blotches popped into his vision as the pain in his arm grew. He gently tried to touch it but it hurt too much. He knew he wasn't going to be able to heal it himself. He stumbled out of the alley and started walking down the street. He only had to go a few steps when he felt a hand reach out and grab his good arm. Still slightly alarmed from his recent encounter he jumped high like a startled cat. He quickly calmed down when he saw it was just Blitz.

His vision was swimming now but he could just make out Blitz's words.

"Oh my Gods Hearth. What happened to you. Are you alright?"

Hearth did his best to sign with one hand.

"Im fine. Shoulder broken. Need to leave. Guys from last night."

Blitz eyebrows knit together like it always did when he was worried. Blitz nodded getting the message loud and clear. He grabbed Hearth's good arm and pulled his wand out. They stumbled back into the dark alley and Blitz apparated pulling Hearth with him.

They landed the platform in Kings Cross. The platform was empty except for them. Blitz lead Hearth over to a bench and Hearth slowly sat down being careful of his arm which now felt as if it had been cut off. If it wasn't for The fact he was craddeling it in his other arm he would have thought he lost it. Blitz didn't sit, he stood over Hearth and did another scan of the platform. Hearth tried to raise his good arm to sign 'sorry' but Blitz scolded him.

"You can apologize and tell me what happened later." He said/signed looking angry. Hearth felt himself shrink in the seat. He had never made Blitz angry before. He half expected him to start shouting and calling him names...
like his father and mother would. Blitz kept himself calm. His eyes still showed anger but he gently knelt down in front of him. He pointed to Hearth's arm and signed P for permission. Hearth nodded. Blitz reached up and helped him carefully pull his busted arm out of his sleeve. Blitz raised his wand and cut off Hearth's sweater and shirt sleeve. His arm at his shoulder had gone purple and bruised. It was swelling and looked like purple cantaloupe had merged with his upper arm.

Blitz frowned. Hearth raised his good hand and signed out the word " P A I N" since his other hand was incapacitated.
"B O M B A R D A, F E L L, S T A I R S".

Blitz pursed his lips. He reached into his bag and pulled out a length of fabric. He cut it and then tied a sling around Hearth's neck. He gently put Hearth's arm inside.

"Of all the stupid things i have done this is the worst" Blitz said when he was done standing up straight.

Hearth was confused. Why did Blitz think this was his fault. It was obviously his, Hearthstones fault. He knew he shouldn't have gone off on his own.Hearth used his good hand to sign shakily."

"Fault not yours. Fault mine"

Blitz shook his head and sat down beside Hearth. He checked his wrist watch and then said.

"I shouldn't have let you out of my sight after we saw those guys. But it doesn't matter now. I'm not gonna be able to heal you so we will get you to the castle asap. I can't apparated that far obviously and your're in no shape to do so. But the train comes in at 11 so just hold on till then." Blitz stared at his feet as he talked but signed so that Hearth still caught what he was saying.

Hearth nodded and bent forward cradling his arm trying to ignore the pain. He wanted to talk to Blitz. He felt bad about getting himself into the situation and wanted to explain to him how sorry he was. He also wanted to talk about why those guys had gone after him. Why did his father want him back home. What was he planning. Nothing good Hearth thought. He knew what happened to people who crossed his father. Unfortunately his father never wanted them brought back to him, which made Hearth nervous.

As 11 o'clock approached parents began arriving on the platform to pick up their children for the winter holiday. When people started arriving Blitz helped put Hearth's cloak over him as to not alarm the parents that recognized them. At exactly 11 o'clock the train slowly pulled into the station. Students spilled out of the train and a few spotted them and waved.
Blitz lead Hearth onto the train and they collapsed in a compartment. Soon the train left the station. Blitz peered out the window as London disappeared behind them. He still looked slightly angry but his face was now more worried than angry. Hearth shifted slightly to lean back into the seat. His arm was throbbing and the pain was messing with his head. He was having trouble focusing it took him a few minutes of staring at Blitz as he spoke and signed to comprehend what he was saying.

"Are you ok. Your sweating and look like you've just been obliviated."

Hearth shook his head slowly. He wasn't doing well. His arm hurt more than words could describe. But he didn't want to worry Blitz so he stopped shaking his head and nodded. Blitz gave him a confused look so Hearth raised his left hand and signed "P A I N" since his right hand was incapacitated.

Blitzen nodded. "I'm sorry I don't have anything to help that. I wish I knew more healing magic. Here we can take your cloak off now hopefully that helps."

Blitz got up and again helped Hearth out of his cloak. Hearth looked out the window as they did so not wanting to see his arm. He felt Blitz gently touch it and winced he clenched his good fist but didn't pull away.

He felt Blitz reach out and touch the hand of his bad arm which was laying in the sling on his stomach. Hearth looked down and was startled to see his hand turning purple. Blitz put his hands on either side of his and rubbed and squeezed it tightly being careful not to move his whole arm, a for a few minutes. While doing so he looked up at Hearth and said
"Your hand is cold. Probably bad circulation with the swelling."

After a few minutes of rubbing his hand Blitz stood back up, on his way up he kissed Hearth's forehead which Hearth didn't feel like he deserved.

Blitz sat down in front of Hearth again.

"So what was so important you had to go and almost get yourself killed for?" Blitz asked.

Hearth shifted uncomfortably. He remembered before the attack the engraving he had found on the watch. The unknown long lost gift Blitzen's dad had intended to give his son. Hearth was proud to have found it for Blitzen. He had originally intended to give it to him for Christmas, but seeing the circumstances he felt Blitz deserved the whole story and an explanation. With his good hand he reached into his cloak now laying beside him and pulled out the box.

He held it up for Blitzen to take. Blitz took it and looked at Hearth curious and confused. Hearth nodded at him to open it. Blitz turned the box in his hands and opened the lid. His mouth opened slightly when he saw the contents inside his face was flabbergasted with surprise and what looked like a little sadness.

His hands shook as he pulled out the watch from the box and held it in his hand.

"How and where on earth did you find this?" Hearth saw Blitz's mouth stammer out.

Hearth held up his good hand and signed

"Lots of owls and searching. Took a long time. Eventually tracked it to a store in Nocturn Alley"

It took him a whiel to spell since he had to spell out words that required more than one hand, but Blitz watched him intently.

Blitz mouth opened like he wanted to say something but nothing came out as far as Hearth knew. Hearth raised his hand again and signed letter for letter.

"Read the label on the chain. Only discovered after I got the watch. I think your father made the chain. I think he meant to give it to you before he ..."

Hearth dropped his head unable to spell out the words 'He died'. Blitz looked down and read the inscription. Hearth saw some tears leak out of Blitz's eyes as he gazed down at the words his father had engraved. After a few tears had fallen on Blitz's lap he looked up at Hearth. Hearth gave him a sympathetic smile and raised his hand to sign.

"I love you"

Blitz smiled back. He wiped his tears in his sleeve and signed.

"I love you too...Hearth you have no idea how much this means to me."

Hearth gave a weak smile ignoring the pain in his arm. Blitz walked over and kissed him in the lips his hands tangling in the back of Hearth's head messing up his stupid combed back hair.

He pulled away, sat back down and said.

"In still upset at you for running off on your own. I could have lost you. You mean way more to me Hearth. Please never do that again. At least until we figure out a way to deal with your father." His face was again knotted with concern. Hearth nodded felling bad again for causing Blitz to worry so much.

The ride back to the castle took a long time. As they got close to Hogsmade Blitz opened the window and pulled out his wand. His duck shaped patronous flew out the window bringing a message to the castle for someone to come down to the station to help. When the train finally pulled into Hogsmade the sky was black and shinning with stars. The moonless night was dark. Blitz helped Hearth off the train. The pain was so bad now his head swam and he had difficulty standing, let alone walking straight. Waiting for them on the platform was Sam and Magnus. They both looked extremely worried. When they spotted Blitz and Hearth they marched over. Hearth could see Sam ask what happened. Hearth was too tired and in to much pain to even try and explain with one hand. He looked over to see Blitz start to explain. Hearth lowered his head ashamed.

He looked back up when he felt Blitz squeeze him to get his attention.

Sam was trying to talk to him.

"Magnus is a great healer. He can help. We'll get to the castle and he can check out your arm."

Hearth nodded. The walk back to the castle was the longest walk Hearth had ever taken. Every step jostled his arm sending a shock of pain across his upper body. When they finally reached Magnus's office Hearth felt like passing out. He collapsed on the couch. Magnus rummaged around in his cabinets and pulled out some weird looking plant. He crushed it in his mortar and rolled the now plant mush into a ball. He walked back over to Hearth and held it out.

"Ok this should help with your circulation. Hopefully reduce some swelling."

Hearth took the plant gunk and quickly swallow the bitter ball. Magnus sat down beside him and as gently as he could examined Hearths shoulder and upper arm. Magnus tried to move it slightly but Hearth felt himself let out a gasp he was pretty sure pirbablu sounded like a scream. Magnus frowned and ran his hand along the top of the shoulder to the elbow feeling fir what was wrong. The pain made Hearth take in a deep intake of breath. He squinted his eyes up in pain. He felt Blitz's hand on his good shoulder trying to comfort him. When Magnus let go Hearth opened his eyes which were now watery.

"The arm is broken which is an easy fix. But the shoulder is dislocated. Which is cutting off the blood supply. He have to put it back in the socket before I can fix the break. Unfortunately it's going to hurt. Like alot." Magnus explained in signs. He looked pretty scared and worried about that fact. Hearth felt dizzy. How could it be more painful than this, he didn't really want to know. He looked over at Blitz and Sam who had the same expressions as Magnus.

Hearth took a deep breath to calm himself. Then he nodded to Magnus. Magnus gestured for Sam to come over. Magnus had Sam hold either side of Hearths shoulder steady. Her hands pressing down felt like branding irons melting thought his body. When Magnus grabbed his arm he let out what was unmistakenly a yell even though he couldn't hear it. He had never been so vocal in his life. He thought of how dark it was that to do the one thing he always wished he could do, talk, was only because of some involuatey reaction he had to excruciating pain.

He looked over at Magnus. Magnus opened his mouth and Hearth read them as he counted down.

"In 3, 2, 1" Magnus pulled up hard on Hearth's arm pushing in and up pushing his arm back into his shoulder blade. Hearth let out another scream. One that felt louder. His vision went white. The last thing he remembers was falling forward into Sam as he passed out

*

Hearth woke up confused. It was pitch black and he couldn't see a thing. But he smelled a familiar sent. Rose cologne and cloves. He could feel the too similar softness of Blitz's comforter and sheets around him. His arm twinged but wasn't throbbing or unbearably painful anymore. He tried to move it but found he was restricted by a sling wrapped around his chest holding his arm across his stomach and his forearm securely against the side of his chest.
He used his other arm to feel around. Blitz wasn't in bed with him. He reached over to the night stand and felt his wand laying there. He picked it up and waved it. The lamp in the corner came to life. He looked down to see he was in his sleep clothes. He swung his legs out of bed and stood up slowly. He was happy to find he felt fine. He padded over to the bedroom door and slowly opened it entering the living room.

He looked around the room. The fire in the fireplace was dying but the residual burning embers gave off enough light for Hearth to see Blitzen laying down on the couch wraped in his wool blanket. Hearth walked over and bent down. He taped on Blitz's shoulder to wake him.

Blitz woke up with a small startled jolt. When he saw it was just Hearth he smiled and sat up.

"Your're awake. Thank the gods." Blitz said and he got off the couch. He pulled Hearth into a hug. Hearth was much taller than the dark wizard so he wrapped his arm around Blitz's shoulder and buried his face in his hair.

After a few minutes Blitz pulled away and pushed Hearth to sit on the couch muttering things Hearth only caught bits of.

"Sit, tired, arm" and "silly"

Blitz walked to his cupboard and pulled out some herbal tea. He placed the kettle on the fire and threw in some wood. He then sat down beside Hearth.

"You passed out from the pain. Although that was probably for the best. It made it easier for Magnus to fix your arm. He said it should be good by tomorrow evening. Just be careful not to exert it today. How are you feeling though?" Blitz said.

Hearth gave Blitz the thumbs up. He was feeling much better. Besides the fact he couldn't use his hand which he found quite annoying.

"Good, and now that your feeling better What The Hellheim Were You Thinking!" Blitz started ranting.

Hearth pretended to pay attention to the long speech Blitz was now giving him. Something about stupid ideas and if he did it next time Blitz would murder him. He stopped when the kettle started sputtering. He poured them both cups of tea. He put extra honey in Hearths. Hearth took the cup in his good hand and sipped the warm liquid. When Blitz finished his cup he turned to Hearth and said.

"We should figure out what to do about your father. Something tells me this is just the beginning."

Hearth frowned. He knew Blitz was right, but he didn't have any clue what to say or do. He knew his father was crafty. He always got what he wanted. The fact that his father wanted him brought to him made Hearth's stomach want to come out of his throat. Even after all this time he was still terrified of his father. He felt himself start to shake as he recalled how his father would look down at him with his face full of loathing, cruel words curling off his lips. If Hearth looked away or didn't answer his father when he spoke his father would raise his hand and strike him. A frequent occurrence as half the time Hearth didn't know his father was talking as he couldn't hear. He would try and sign but his father would just grab his wrist and twist it painfully. "Don't use those silly signs with me boy." He would snarl pulling Hearth up by his wrist causing pain.

He was brought back from his thoughts as Blitz put his arm around him. He started rubbing his back trying to comfort him. Hearth raised his arm to sign sorry but his hands were shaking so bad he just ended up holding it up against his chest hugging himself. Blitz continued rubbing his back. Hearth could feel his breath against the top of his head whispering something Hearth couldn't hear.

It took Hearth awhiel to calm down. But eventually he got a grip. He was safe at Hogwarts. His dad couldn't reach him here. It was his home and he was safe here. He looked up at Blitz. Blitz gave him a sympathetic smile then raised his hands and signed.

"We should talk to Sam. She will know what to do" Blitz said.

Hearth starred into Blitz's eyes. He knew Blitz was right. He nodded.

Chapter Text

Magnus starred up at Alex. She was frowning down at him her face concentrating on finding a solution to the problem at hand. She ran her hands through her hair as she tilted her head looking at him. Her hand was over her mouth he stifle her laughing. Magnus huffed. He too thought hard about what to do. Why did he always end up in weird situations like this? He raised his back paw and scratched an itch behind his ear. Oh ya did he forget to mention he was currently stuck as a wolf. That part is a little important.

He had finally managed to transform during his animagus lesson one night during the winter holiday. When his body contorted into the form of a large wolf Magnus felt upset. He hated wolves. He really didn’t want to be one. He was even more upset when he tried to turn back and found he couldn’t. He concentrated with all his might but he couldn’t turn back into a human. He felt stuck, which he was. He snorted exasperated. Stupid wolf transforming.

“Here stay still I’ll try something.” Alex said raising her wand. Magnus closed his eyes. Alex had a habit of always accidentally burning his eyes. He head her mutter some incantation. When she was done he opened his right eye slowly. Nope there was still a giant wet nose at the end of his muzzle, and his body was still fur covered.
A small growl escape his muzzle. He stood up and paced in a circle. His tail knocked over a chair behind him. Alex couldn’t hold back her laughing anymore and she sat on a desk laughing like a child. Magnus tried to give her evil wolf eyes, but he didn’t know how well it worked.

“I honestly have no idea what to do.” She admitted once she calmed down a bit.

A lightbulb went off in Magnus’s head. He opened his mouth, I mean muzzle, to say something but all that came out was a bark. This made Alex fall back onto the desk laughing so hard she had to clutch her side. Magnus waited a few seconds for her to stop being a jerk. When she looked up he got up and crossed the classroom. He pawed at the door. Alec got up and followed him to the door.

“Good idea. We should go see if anyone knows a solution. Plus you can show up your new look” she teased.

Alex opened the door and her and Magnus headed down the corridor. When they got to the stairs Alex said.

“Let’s go see Blitz and Hearth. Blitz may know of some charms that can help. Or maybe even Hearth might know something. If anyone has read about obscure transfiguration counter curses it’s probably him.”

They started to head up to the fourth floor. When they got to Blitz’s door Alex knocked. Magnus heard some shuffling from inside. After a few minutes Blitz answered the door pulling a sweater on over his t-shirt. Unfortunately he had forgotten to put on pants. His Green boxers with tiny Christmas trees made him look ridiculous. He ran his hands through his hair fixing it. He looked slightly confused to see Alex and a giant wolf at his door.

“Alex, Hi. What are you doing here so late? Also why is there a wolf here?” He asked in a slightly higher voice than usual.

“The wolf is Magnus. It’s kind of a long story, but we need your help. Can we come in? I mean if were not interrupting anything?” she said gesturing to his Christmassy boxers. Blitz blushed slightly and nodded at them.

“You’re not interrupting anything just give me a second to… uh.. straighten up” Blitz said quickly and slipped back behind the door closing it.

Magnus heard some more shuffling behind the door and the sounds of a second person running into Blitz bedroom from the living room. Blitz came back fast now wearing an appropriate pair of pjama pants. He let them in. As they were walking in Hearth came out of the bedroom pulling a black jumper over his head. Thankfully he was wearing pants. Magnus felt a little embarrassed having obviously interrupted something. Alex on the other hand had no shame she smiled and plunked down on the couch putting her feet up on Blitz’s coffee table. Hearth stood in the bedroom doorway and Blitz ran to his desk for his wand. Hearth signed to Alex.

“Where did the wolf come from?”

Alex started giggling and signed “It’s Magnus. He managed to transfigure, but he’s stuck. We can’t get him back to normal.”

Hearth nodded and ducked back into the bedroom to grab his own wand. Magnus paced the living room. He turned and accidently knocked an empty cup of tea off the coffee table. It shattered causing him to jump back in surprise. Blitz walked over and waved his wand. The mug fixed itself and flew back onto the coffee table.

“Magnus it’s probably best you sit still.” Blitz said.

Alex was laughing again. Hearth was back in the room now with a pile of old looking books. He sat down on the ground beside Magnus and began flipping through a particularly worn one. The front read ‘The Terrible Tragedies Of Transfiguration And What You Can Do’.

Blitz walked over and knelt in front of Magnus he reached out his hand and ran his fingers through the fur on the top of Magnus’s head. It surprisingly felt good to be pet.

“Well at least you’re a beautiful wolf. I mean look at your coat. I’ve never seen a blonde wolf before.” Blitz said.

Magnus gave him an irritated huff.

“I have 2 ideas. Hold still” Blitz said raising his wand over Magnus.
The first spell BLitz tried did nothing. The second spell sent a feeling like ice was dripping down his back but nothing happened. Blitz frowned stood up. He walked over behind his desk and pulled some books out himself. He sat down on the couch beside Alex and began flipping thought them too. Magnus gave up and laid down on Blitz’s carpet. Hearth ran his fingers through Magnus’s fur behind his neck. He then signed with an evil smile.

“Blitz is right, you are soft”

Magnus rolled his eyes and rested his head on his front paws. Hearth continued petting his head as he flipped through books. Hearth scratched behind his ear, and he had to resist the urge to thump his leg. No wonder dogs loved to be pet, it was amazing.

After what seemed like hours hearth raised both his hands and clapped for attention. He raised the book he was looking through and placed it on the table. Alex and Blitz leaned forward to read the page Hearth had pointed out. Magnus tried to read the page but he couldn’t see well with his wolf head from this angle.

“Could work” Alex said after she finished reading.

“Maybe. Have either of you done a spell like that before?” Blitz asked. Alex and Hearth both shook their head.

“I could try though. I mean what do we have to lose” Alex suggested.

“Probably not a good idea. Magnus could get stuck like that permanently if we mess it up. We should go see Sam. If anyone can do it it’s her” Hearth signed.

Magnus barked in agreement. He definitely didn’t want to be stuck like this forever.

“Fine let’s go then” Alex said standing up from the couch.

The four of them headed up to the 11th floor. They climbed the spiral griffon flanked staircase which sprang up when Alex said the password ‘Mistletoe’. Hearth banged the brass knocker to Sam’s office. Magnus really hoped she was in her office and not out doing gods knows what. Thankfully the door creaked open and Amir’s head popped out.

“Hey guys. What’s up? Uh what’s with the wolf?” Amir said slightly startled at the last bit.

“We kind of need Sam. Magnus is stuck as a wolf.” Alex said as if that was a completely normal thing to have happen late in the evening.

“Uh ok. Come in” Amir said letting them in.

They entered as Sam came down the stairs from their living loft into her office. Her hand was protectively over her now protruding belly, her beautiful hair fell down her back not in its usual headscarf. She greeted them and stared curiously at Magnus the wolf.

“Magnus is stuck as a wolf” Alex explained before she could open her mouth.

“Um, how?” Sam asked.

“Alex was trying to teach him to be an animagus. Turns out he’s only good at one way transformations” Blitz explained.

Sam frowned. Hearth pulled out the book and placed it on Sam’s desk in front of her.

“We think we found a solution, but need your help to cast it” Hearth signed.

Sam bent down and read the page. She looked up and nodded.

“Ya ok. I’ve done this once before a long time ago.” She said picking up her wand.

She walked over to Magnus and raised it over him. She tapped it over his head 5 times and then waved it above him. Magnus felt like someone had dumped a bucket of ice over him. As it happened he slowly turned back into himself sitting on the floor. Alex held her hand out and helped him up.

“Thanks Sam’ he said.

“No problem” Sam said. “Also nice coat. You look good as a wolf”

Magnus pursed his lips at her and stuck out his tongue.

They left Sam’s office and headed back to their respective offices. Blitz and Hearth got off at the fourth floor together and Alex followed Magnus down to the first floor.

“Besides that incident you did awesome” Alex said to Magnus. “I mean learning to become an animagus in a couple months is super impressive. Just keep practicing now, and you’ll get it down”

“Thanks” Magnus replied

Alex punched his arm.

“Come on don’t look so glum” Alex encouraged. “I know you hate the whole wolf thing, but if I have learned anything it’s to embrace who you are”

Magnus pondered that. If anyone knew anything about learned to be who you were it was Alex. Someone who had to accept a different them every day yet still be the same old Alex. He nodded at Alex.

“I guess your right”

“Of course I’m right. I’m always right” Alex said.

Magnus smiled and Alex’s evil smile.

“I’ll remember that than” He said.

“Anyway I’m going to head to my office. See you tomorrow?” Alex asked.

“Ya see you tomorrow” Magnus replied.

“Oh and by the way next time your transfigure you have to let me pet you. It’s not fair both Blitz and Hearth got to pet your soft fur and I didn’t” Alex joked with a smile.
Magnus couldn’t help but smile back.

“No problem. I kind of like the head pats.” Magnus joked

Alex gave a little laugh and then waved and headed down to her end of the floor.

Chapter Text

It was the first day back after Christmas holiday. The sky was clear and the sun was shinning down on the blanket of white snow. Magnus stood watching as his 6 year class stood surrounding the paddock. He had managed to capture a mother unicorn and her two golden twin foals for his first lesson back. The class was busy sketching the unicorns and taking notes as he spoke whiel walking around the paddock. The foals stayed close to their mom, but as they got use to the crowd they began to etch forward towards the fence the class was gathered against.

"Alright I know they are cute an cuddly but be careful. Keep your voices down. They are easily frightened. Boys in back, come on now" Magnus said as the class crammed to see the unicorns better. A few students squealed in delight at the sight of the creatures. The mother was glistening white. The snow appeared grey next to her. Her horn sparkled in the sun long and extremely dangerous. She nickered unsure, and Magnus held out his palm to feed her an apple. She calmed and quickly chopped it down. She nuzzled his arm as if asking 'more apples?'.

"Now unicorns are very secretive creatures. Very hard to find. They don't trust wizards, and for good reason. Their hair has many magical properties. The most well known use being wand making. Their horns are often used in rare potions. This means that they are often captured and harvested from. A terrible practice that has led to alot of poaching and illegal harvesting." Magnus said as he approached his class. The foals and the mother followed behind him. He reached into his pocket and passed bags of sugar cubes for the class to pass around. The foals moved forward eagerly as student began holding out their palms to feed them sugar. They even let some Gryffindor girls pat their velvet noses.

"Foals are born gold and turn silver around 2 years old. These two are around 1 and a half. You can see some silver starting to come in around their chins and ears" Magnus went on patting the neck of the closest foal.
" They don't go pure white until 4 years old when they reached sexual maturity. Now the twins we have here are pretty common. Most unicorn give birth to twins. We have two girls here. Male unicorns foals are typically smaller and less afraid of wizards. Now who can tell me what is the favourite food of the unicorns?"

A male student in the back raised his hand high.

"Yes Basil"

"Unicorns love heather flowers" Basil answered loudly from the back.

"Excellent. 10 points to Hufflepuff. Now something your text book won't tell you is that if a unicorn eats too much heather it can actually affect the colour of it's white horn. Heather has many magical properties but we I still having figured out how it turns the horn purple. But in once met a particalulry large female unicorn that had taken over a large field of heather and had eaten so many flowers her horn turned completely lilac."

The rest of the class Magnus spent talking about the many important facts about unicorns that would probably come up in their NEWTS. His students took notes sometimes but seemed more intent on listening and trying to feed the unicorns. When the bell from the castle rang across the grounds they begrungly hiked backup the hill to the castle.

Magnus hung around the paddock after his students had left feeding the mother some dried heather he had brought with him. He looked around quickly when he heard a voice by the fence.

"I've never seen a unicorn up close before. They are very beautiful."

Alex Fierro was now sitting on the fence legs swinging inward to the paddock. Alex was wearing a green cloak that matched a pink turtle neck tucked underneath. Alex smiled at him as he looked up.

"Are you a girl today?" Magnus asked. He was pretty sure he knew the answer. Alex had a very girl like air about her today. He didn't know how he knew, or if he was right so he asked.

"Ya she/her. How did you always know?" Alex asked smiling and tilting her head.

Magnus shrugged blushing slightly. "I don't know. Lucky guess maybe?"

Alex chuckled and rolled her eyes.

"Anyway since your a girl you can come over. Just no sudden movements. These guys are pretty skittish" Magnus said waving her forward.

Alex jumped down from the fence and came forward. She got right up beside Magnus and looked up at momma unicorn with a bright look in her eyes. The foals peeked out from behind their mom to look at Alex curiously.

"Wow" Alex said slowly raising her hand out to the unicorn. The unicorn stepped back unsure. Magnus wasn't thinking, but he reached out and took Alex's hand. He guided it towards the head of the unicorn. The unicorn didn't back away this time with his hand guiding. She let Alex's hand run over her face and into her brilliantly white mane. Alex grinned wide in amazement. Magnus looked down at his hand over Alex's as she rubbed the side of the unicorn. He suddenly felt self conscious. He quickly pulled his hand back. Alex kept her hand on the unicorns neck but looked at him with a curious expression. Wanting to say something to distract himself from his furious blushing he reached into his pocket and pulled out the rest of the sugar cubes and dried heather flowers.

The golden foals came up eagerly when they saw the food. Magnus held out his hand to Alex and she took some of the treats. Magnus gave the mom some sugar as Alex bent down on her knees and fed the foals. An 'awwww' escaped her mouth as she petted the golden fur of the twins.

"Ya, they are very cute. Took me forever to get their trust. Being a male didn't help. But they are very sweet." Magnus said to Alex.

One of the foals raised its head and stuck it's nose into Alex's ear. It began to nuzzle against her neck. The other foal laid down beside her and laid it's head in her lap.

"They seem to really like you" Magnus said impressed by the what he was seeing.

Alex looked up at Magnus with a proud smile. Magnus knelt down beside her to pat the foals as well. The mother unicorn stood over them she leaned down and licked the top of Magnuses head. The slobber caused his hair to stick up crazily. Alex laughed at his new hairdo. She reached up and ruffled his hair to make it worse.

"There, I fixed it" she said playfully.

Magnus gave her a sarcastic smile. The butterflies has returned to his stomache. He suppressed the urge to throw up.

"Anyway I came down to ask if you wanted to come have some dinner and beers with me in the village tonight." Alex said looking away from Magnus and focusing on her hand in the foals golden mane.

Magnus was taken back. That was not what he was expecting. He probably waited to long to process what Alex said because she statred saying.

"You don't have to say yes. I mean you are probably busy."

" No no no. Wait I mean yes. Well yes to dinner. No to being that busy. I mean I have some papers to mark but it's not the important. I mean I do have time to come to dinner" Magnus felt himself rambling.

Alex gently bumped into his arm.

"Ok beantown. Let's go" Alex said gently getting to her feet. Magnus got up and followed her out of the paddock. He locked the gate on the way out. He would let the unicorn family out back into the forest tomorrow evening after his other 6th year class got their lesson.

"One sec" Magnus said. He went into the cabin and grabbed some blankets. He went back to the paddock and draped the blankets over the backs of the three unicorns. He quickly filled their hay and water troth. He than trudge across the snow covered grounds with Alex.

*

When they got to the village they headed towards The Three Broomsticks. The inside was warm cozy. The smell of beer and food wafted around the place. A few patrons were scattered around on the bar and at tables around the room. They ordered 2 beers and Alex led them to a booth seat in the back corner of the room.

She pulled off her cloak and began sipping her drink. Magnus did the same. He looked around the room. At the bar the bar maid was watching Alex and him with narrow eyes. Magnus all of a sudden felt a bit uncomfortable. Suddenly he realised how close he was sitting to Alex. The bar maid noticed him looking at her and gave him a angry look her lips pursed. Magnus lowered his head and focused on the bubbles in his beer. Alex broke the silence.

"Hungry?" She asked.

"Uh a little bit" Magnus said.

"Ok, be right back" Alex said getting up and heading to the bar.

Magnus watched as she talked to the angry bar maid. What's her name? He had forgotten. He felt bad about forgetting but to be fair he was a little tipsy when he was told. Either was he didn't like the look the bar maid was giving him. Magnus watched as Alex conversed with the bar maid. They seemed to be talking rapidly. Eventually the bar maid stormed into the back. She came back awhiel later and passed Alex a basket of chips. She said something else to Alex and Alex quickly turned away from her. Magnus could see her roll her eyes impatiently as she came back. Alex crashed down beside him again and began twirling a fry in her finger before nibbling at it. She muttered something Magnus didn't catch. He didn't know what to say. But Alex quickly got over it.

"So what's the coolest creature you have ever seen" Alex asked turning towards him and smiling. Glad for the change in focus he immediately began telling Alex the story of the time he found the nest of a Chinese fireball that had been stealing pigs from a local farmer.

They sat sharing stories, laughing, and poking fun at each other for a long time. They had successfully eaten through 3 baskets of chips and a pitcher of beer before they figured it was time to go. Magnus didn't want to go. He loved spending time with Alex. He missed spending time alone with her. Since she had successfully taught him to be an animagus they had only hung out in groups. Usually with T.J. Mallory and Halfborn. To be honest he liked this way more. When she was teaching him they didn't have alot of time to joke around. When they hung out as a group he had to be careful how much he stared at Alex or else Halfborn would begin to tease him. Here he could joke and stare at Alex as much as he wanted. He only had to endure the occasional abuse to his arm when Alex punched him lightly for saying something stupid.

"Do you want to go for coffee?" Magnus found himself asking.

Alex paused as if thinking then said "Kind of late for coffee".

"You can have decaf then like the monster you are" Magnus suggested playfully wanting to keep the night going.

Alex smirked and said "Ok let's go".

Magnus led her down the dimly lit streets of Hogsmade towards Madam Puddifoots, his favourite teashop. The sun had gone down and the clear sky showed the stars above. The night was calm and no wind blew. Magnus could see some small clouds on the horizon in the light of the full moon, but they seemed very far away.

The tea shop of cozy and warm as well. It smelled like fresh brewed coffee and baking bread. The shop seemed empty except for two figures in a booth at the far end. As Magnus walked in the shop towards the counter he recognized the two people. It was Blitz and Hearth. They were sitting side by side in a booth. Hearth had both hands up on the table around a still steaming cup of tea. His head was resting on Blitz's shoulder his eyes closed as if he had fallen asleep. Blitz's arm was around Hearth holding him up against him as Hearth snoozed. His other arm sat beside 3 empty cups of coffee as it busily sketched across the notepad on the table. His eyes were so focused on what he was drawing he didnt even look up to see Alex and him walk in. Magnus wanted to wave and say hi but felt a little awkward about interrupting. Instead him and Alex sat down in a booth at the opposite end of the shop. The sandy haired blue eyed waiter came out of the back and took their drink orders. He came back quickly with 2 steamy cups of coffee goodness. Once he left Alex spoke. She was facing the direction of Blitz and Hearth and crammed her neck to look over the booth to peak at the two of them again.

"I'm so happy they finally got together" she said. " If I had to sit awkwardly with the two of them in the staff room during break for one more year I might have lost it. I don't know if this will be much better tho."

Magnus turned in his seat and looked over the booth to see Blitz place a kiss on top of Hearth's sleeping head while he brushed eraser bits off his notebook. It was so sweet he figured only eating the entire bowl of sugar on the table would be more nauseating. He was happy his best friends had each other. Knowing what they both had been through he couldnt think of anybody who deserved each other as much and Blitz and Hearth. Yet it made him feeling kinda empty seeing them like this. Usually Blitz and Hearth toned down the affection completely when they were with their friends or in the castle.

Magnus looked back to see Alex now sipping at her blasphemous decafinated beverage. She smiled up at him from her cup.

"Speaking of Blitz and Hearth did you hear about what happened to Hearth in London." Magnus asked Alex. Alex nodded her head and clenched her fist.

"Ya, if Alderman or any of his goons show their faces in Scotland I'll personally strangle them with my garrot before sending them to an early grave" she spat out.

The corner of Magnus's mouth twitched into a smile. If anyone would forget magic and strangle someone with a clay cutting cord and their bare hands it would be Alex.

" I wouldn't worry about it. Hogwarts is the safest place in all of Europe. Alderman isn't getting anywhere near here. Sam will make sure of that. Also I pity whoever goes after Hearth with Blitz around." Magnus said trying to lighten the mood.

"Or the fool to try anything dangerous near Blitz with Hearth around." Alex interjected as she dumped alot of sugar into her cup. "He may be a scrawny pile of cuss words and sarcasm but I've seen him do some scary pretty powerful magic. Anyway change if subject, this one is getting kinda dark."

Magnus smiled and warmed his hands on his coffee.

"Do you like hiking and camping?" He asked. Alex's eyes lite up at that question. She began a long ramble about how she practically grew up hiking the mountains with her old pottery studio in Boston. She started telling a story about how she had once ran come across a hidebehind on solo hiking trip and how she had to fight it off. The story was quite terrifying but Magnus also couldn't help but be impressed.

" You know I'm heading to the Appalachians this summer to find and do some observational studies on Wampus's this summer. Would you be interested in coming" Magnus said.

"Really?" Alex asked.

"Ya I could use a sidekick with outdoor skills and hidebehind fighting skills" Magnus said. He teased a bit but was actually very serious about what he had just said.

"If either one of us is a sidekick it would most likely be you" she said leaning across the table to poke him in the chest.

Magnus smirked. "So is that a Yes?"

Alex smirked back and feigned thinking hard.

" Hmmm I don't know. I mean I have alot of laying around and doing nothing this summer. I couldn't possibly find the time to go somewhere awesome and help you study some crazy dangerous magical cat" she said sarcastically.

Magnus laughed. He took that as a yes. Suddenly he felt like he was floating on air. He was excited to spend the summer studying Wampuses but now he was estactic.

*

Eventually it got very late and the barista came over to tell them he had the close the shop. He went to go tell Blitz and sleeping Hearth but Alex told him they would do it. They both got up and headed towards the couple. Hearth was now curled up in the booth his face resting against the wall as he snored lightly. Blitz only looked up from his sketches when Alex waved her hands in front of his face.

"Ahh!" He yelped in surprise knocking over an empty coffee cup. "Oh hey guys. Since when have you been here?" he said once he saw it was just them.

"Around 2 and a half hours" Magnus answered.

Blitz looked out the window confused and pulled out his dads old stopwatch on a chain from his robes pocket. He checked the time.

" Oh man we've been here nearly 6 hours." Blitz mummered. He looked over at the sleeping Hearth and nudged him to wake up. Hearth did begrudgingly and looked up at Magnus and Alex. He sleepily signed "Hi. What time is It?"

"Around midnight" Alex answered. "Come on lover boys we can head back together."

Hearth frowned at Alex and made a rude gesture as Blitz packed up his drawings. Alex just smirked and gave a devilish eyebrow raise.

The four of them headed down the dark streets of Hogsmade back towards the castle. The moon shone bright so they didn't need to pull out their wands to see the path. Hearth had decided to get revenge on Alex for her comments by enchanting about 30 snowblls to fly and attack her from behind. She screamed as the cold snow probably went down her neck and back. This promptly caused a mini snowball war between the two of them as they chased each other back to the castle. Magnus and Blitzen straggled behind to avoid getting in the cross fire.

"So did you just finish a date or something?" Blitzen asked. Magnus caught so off guard by the question accidently slipped on a patch of ice. When he regained his balance he stammered out.

"What? No!... Well at least I don't think so. I mean maybe, but we'll. No probably. I mean she didn't ssy it was a date" He managed to spit out.

Blitz raised both his eyebrows at him skeptically.

"But you do like her?" He asked.

"No. I never said I liked her. Well I do like her. But not in that way. I just like her as a friend. But I don't like like her like her" Magnus babbled out.

"Kid take it from someone who spent the last 3 years of his life fighting his feelings for his best friend. Don't lie to yourself. It doesn't work." Blitz said putting his arm around his best friends shoulder. Magnus pursed his lips unable to think of a logical excuse or explanation.

Magnus thought about his feelings. Maybe he was lying to himself. He always found himself thinking of Alex during the day, even if he was doing something completely unrelated. He thought about the butterflies that welled up in his stomach everytime he got to close to Alex, and how he felt like melting into a puddle everytime she laughed. He then thought about all the times he had caught himself staring at her. How beautiful her two toned eyes were. How much he loved it when she teased him and punched his arm. Maybe Blitz had a point.

He was brought back to reality when Blitz and him caught up with Alex and Hearth. Hearth was standing in the middle of the road wand raised turning around madly looking for something. There was no sign of Alex. Suddenly a large bird flew overhead. Hearth raised his wand to send a column of snow up in the air but the bird was too fast. The levitating snow flew past the birds and the birds dived down dropping a large snowball in Hearths face. Hearth stumbled back wipping the melting shulsh out of his eyes and spitting out snow. The bird flew around and landed in front of Hearth. Now that they were closer Magnus could make out that the bird was a giant eagle owl. As they approached the owl turned back into the form of Alex. She was rolling around on the ground laughing her head off. Hearth kicked some snow at her which made her laugh harder and grab for his legs. Hearth fell over into the snowbank with Alex.

"That's enough you two" Blitz said striding forward and helping Hearthstone out of the snowbank.

Both Hearth and Alex were now covered in snow and soaking wet. They both magically dried themselves but Hearth still shivered, and his lips had turned blue. Blitz pulled off his cloak and put it around him. Blitz linked arms with Hearth and they continued to trump up to the castle. Alex however seemed to be awakened by the snow fight. Magnus walked beside her as the followed Blitz and Hearth. After about a few minutes Magnus felt Alex's hand reach over and grab his. Alex's hands were cold but very soft. Her fingers were strong, probably from all the pottery she did. Magnus felt his hand tingle and was suddenly aware of how sweaty his hand was. He let go sliglhy and repositioned it. Alex kept walking and appeared unruffled. Magnus however felt like a nervous wreck. Yet he kept holding her hand. There was something comforting and thrilling about holding Alex's hand. Beside him Alex started humming a song he wasn't fimilar with. He wanted to say something to break the silence but he was scared she might let go of his hand . So they walked in silence all the way to the gates.

They began to cross the grounds when a piercing cry rang out through the night. Blitz, Alex and Magnus all stopped in their tracks. Hearth noticed the sudden change in mood and turned to them.

"What's wrong?" Hearth signed.

"Heard something strange. Be quiet while we listen" Blitz signed but Hearth didn't need telling twice as he was a good judge of danger.

The night stayed silent. Magnus was on edge. That shriek didn't sound human. Not wanting to talk out loud in case they heard it again Magnus signed to everyone.

"Sounded like a beast in pain. Also sounded like it came from over near the forest"

He pulled out his wand and everyone followed suit. They turned slightly their path now leading to the forest edge. Magnus squinted in the dark. The moon was full and bright by he couldn't make out any detail along the tree line. After a few seconds of scanning he heard the cry again. It was now louder and more panicked. It was the sound of a horse in pain. He broke into a run towards the paddock his friends following close behind.

As he reached the top of the hill above the paddock he looked down into the gale see to see 3 tall figures standing in the enclosure. The white unicorn was on her hind legs trying to bat the intruders with her front hooves. The foals close behind her trying to avoid the jets red light coming from the wands of two of the figures. The third figure is what shocked Magnus. It was large and humanoid except it was scraggily and muscular. Poised on 4 limbs. From the head of the man beast sprouted the muzzle of a wolf.

Before he could think out the situation the stupid part of his brain took over. He shouted a guttural cry and shot some stunning spells down into the paddock. The wizards turned and focused their attention on the group. The werewolf kept edging forward towards the unicorn. Magnus could now make out had a large bleeding gash across his back leg.

"It worked you stupid mut. Leave the horse and focus on the target!" Magnus heard one of the men cry. His accent was thick and rough.

Beside him Alex dissapeared and flew down toward the 2 men and the werewolf as an eagle owl. Not knowing how to fly Magnus, Blitz, and Hearth ran down the hill towards the paddock shooting stunning spells and dodging whatever the wizards threw at them. The werewolf snapped at the baby unicorns as the mother stilled tried to fend him off. Alex got there first she landed as herself in front of the werewolf and quickly turned into the form of a giant German Shepard, her fur on end. She barked in warning at the werewolf but it just snapped back at her ready to pounce. Alex made the first move lunging towards its throat. The wolf let out a cry of pain and the night was filled with the sounds of dogs fighting.

Luckily for Alex the 2 wizards seemed more focused on the 3 other wizards bounding over the paddock fence. They shot spell after spell unmercifully towards them. Magnus wasn't a good fighter but he wasn't going to let these guys get away with messing with his harmless creatures.

He shot another stunning spell and it barley missed goon number one. Another spell flew past his right ear, it was the green light of a killing curse. It came so close he could feel the heat coming off it. Magnus dived to the ground. Blitz levitated the food troth and sent it flying towards the wizards. It almost hit them but the deflected it in time. Goon number two shot another killing curse this time at Blitzen. Magnus scrambled to get up and push him out of the way but he tripped. Hearth got to him instead. He slammed the short wizard to the ground. Magnus shot out a binding curse at goon number 2. Ropes flew out of his wand and tied around asslaint 2. Hearth tried to pull Blitz up but his leg bent in the wrong direction. Hearth pushed him back and stood in front of him as if to protect him.

Goon number 1 watched this. Magnus could make out the amusement in the eyes that peered out from under his cloak hood. He fired spelles so rapidly at Hearth Magnus couldn't even keep up watching. They were like bullets. If it would have been him he would have been a goner, but to Magnus's surprise Hearth had mad skills. He blocked the spells and fired back just as quickly. His wand arm a blur, his body never moving from in front of Blitz.

Magnus needed to figure out something before his friend lost it. He concentrated and turned into a mangy golden wolf. He lurched forward and grabbed the wand arm of the assistant in his jaws. He bite down feeling the blood squirt out of the mans arm, and his bones break under his teeth. The man let out a scream. He dropped his wand. Magnus pulled him to the ground. His hood fell reavealing a pale face with bright blonde hair. Hearth stepped forward a small bit towards the man but kept Blitz in his shadow. Blitz was sitting up now his leg laying at and odd angel, but his wand was raised. Hearth raised his wand at the man but no spell came out. Maybe Hearth was fozen.

Having forgot about Alex and the werewolf fight Magnus let go of the assailants arm just in time for both of them to be plowed over by the rolling figures of Alex the Shepard and the mangy werewolf. Assailant number one was flattened to the ground but quickly got up. He came to his senses and freed his partner. Magnus and Hearth went to stop him but the werewolf and Alex rolled around in a ball of chaos. The werewolf finally got the upper hand and threw Alex across the paddock by the neck. Alex hit the far fence as herself. She rolled around the ground obviously in pain. Hearth Magnus and Blitz turned just in time to see the two goons running into the forest behind them.

Unfortunately the werewolf wasn't done. It slowly approached the now panicked unicorns teeth barred. Apparentlt the wolf was intent on unicorn steaks. Magnus used all his wolf strength to bound forward. He tackled the back of the back of the werewolf and sunk his fangs into the back of its neck. The werewolf howled and lashed out. It's claws swung around trying to reach Magnus, but it couldn't as Magnus swung his whole weight trying to bring down beasts to the ground. It rolled over him and he lost his grip the werewolf. Now raging the werewolf lunged at the closest living thing, mother unicorn. The unicorn cried our as the werewolves claws raked it's face and it's teeth sunk into its neck. The unicorn went limp in its mouth. Magnus let out a guttural cry now back as himself.

He made to get up, his wand raised but suddenly the paddock exploded in blue light. He found himself frozen in place. Wait not frazen in place. He was still moving but so slow he might as well be moving through cold honey. From behind him Hearth strode forward. Everyone else seemed to be stuck in slow motion except him. His eyes were blazing with anger. Magnus felt a chill go down his back. Hearth's gaze made him want to crawl into a ball and hide it was so terrifying. Hearth walked up the the werewolf and stunned him. He the wrapped it in cords that flew out of his wand. The beasts could do nothing as it seemed to be stuck like it was suspended in jello. Once the beasts was bound Magnus felt the world shift. He fell forward as regular time and movement came back. Hearth was the only one left standing. He glared down at the now bound werewolf.

Magnus came to his senses and rushed forward towards the fallen unicorn. It wasnt moving. He placed his shaking hands on its neck trying to detect any sings of life but felt nothing. He pulled out his wand and tried to revive it anyway. Nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Again and nothing. He let out a loud frustrated sob cutting it short as it caused him to choke out tears. He felt a hand rest on his shoulder and looked up with teary eyes to see Alex kneeling down just as distraught. He fell down to the dead unicorn crying out. He had failed this pure gentle creature. This was all his fault. Out of the corner of his eyes he could make out the two foals coming forward slowly gently nuzzling their mom. His heart broke and he cried out again. He felt Alex bring him in to a hug as they knelt in the snow.

Behind him he heard the werewolfs wreak moan tied on the ground. He heard Hearth shuffle back towards where Blitzen was. He barley paid attention as he heard Blitzen yelp as Hearth susposedly healed his leg. He only looked up when he heard a new voice join them.

"Oh my Gods. What happened? Are you all alright?" A Irish brought called out from the gate.

Magnus looked up to see Malory and T.J. making their way toward them. Magnus heard Blitz call out behind him.

"We are fine. Someone got into the grounds and ..." Blitz trailed off at the end.

Mallory and T.J. walked up to them and took in the scene. Magnus wiped his eyes on his sleeve. 'Get a hold of yourself' he told himself.

He shakily got to his feet. He saw Hearth help Blitz to his feet and sign to Mallory and T.J.

"Take this thing to the dungeon. Don't let it out of your sight. We will be there soon. Also wake up Sam it's urgent."

Mallory and T.J. looked down at the now unconscious tied up werewolf. If they were freaking out they didn't say anything. They levitated their new prisoner and sent a patronous up to the castle.

 

Magnus looked around once Mallory and T.J. had dissapeared. He watched the two young foals pace sadly around their now dead mother. Alex walked over and they went to let her stoke there backs. Blitz and Hearth walked over to him.

"We should bury her before she attracts something worse from the forest" Blitz said in a low voice. Magnus was still in shock but Blitz spoke sense. He nodded and choked out.

"Um Alex... can you take the foals up to the castle. Umm my classroom should be big enough. There's stuff in the trunk under my desk. Could you stay with them until I get back"

Alex nodded and raised her wand. Two leather ropes appeared around the foals and she led them gently up the lawn. Once they were gone Hearth turned to him and put his hand on his shoulder. He didn't need to sign anything his message was clear 'Its ok we are here'.

Blitz dug a deep grave by the forest edge and Hearth lowered the body of the beautiful beasts. Hearth seemed a little on edge being so close to the forest they had seen the 2 goons disappear into but they managed to bury the body of the unicorn. Hearth waved his wand one last time and purple Heather flowers bloomed on the freshly dug frozen dirt. The flowers immediately frozen in the cold night.

They tromped back to the castle. They ran into Sam in the Entrance Hall. She was hastily pulling on her hijab over her hair. She had pulled a cloak over her jogging pants and shirt. She held her belly protectively. She looked alert and on edge.

"What happened? Mallory sent up urgent message saying you guys had been attacked and that they have a werewolf in the dungeon." She began.

"My father" Hearth managed to sign before Blitz cut him off.

"Sam it's probably best you come with us to Magnus's office and we can explain everything."

Sam nodded and led them to Magnus's office. Inside Alex had laid out some blankets and was sitting on the ground beside the two sleeping foals.

Sam took in the scene and looked back at Magnus. He held out his hand as if to say 'give me a sec and I'll explain everything'. Magnus walked over and collapsed in his chair. Blitz and Hearth collapsed in nearby desks. Sam walked over and sat on top of Magnus's desk.

"Can someone please explain what is going on?"

Hearth raised his hands and signed everything that had just happened. Occasionally Blitz would take over where Hearths signs got shaky.

"So long story short you think Hearth's father sent two guys to come and try to take Hearth and they used the Unicorn to lure you guys away from the castle. And they brought a werewolf"

Hearth nodded solemly.

"That raises one important question. How did they get in? They obviously were watching Hearth because they knew he left the castle. Why not attack him in the village? Why come onto the grounds? How did they even get in the grounds? This whole place is on magical lock down."

"That's a good question Sam" Alex said slowly getting up from the floor being careful not to wake the foals. " I say we wait until morning and interrogate the mutt in the dungeon. I bet he has answers"

The way Alex said interrogate made it sound like she was saying torture. Sam shook her head.

"I can't let you guys interrogate him. I need to go contact the ministry and they will come arrest him. They will do the questioning" Sam said.

Alex didn't look happy about that but stayed quiet. She must have known Sam was right.

Hearth raised his hands and signed

"Sam please let me talk to him before the ministry comes. I need information. I promise it will be short."

Sam locked eyes with Hearth. After a few long seconds she nodded faintly.

"What about the foals?" Sam asked turning to Magnus.

Magnus breathed in deeply and said.
"I can take care of them. This is my fault so it's only right. It'll be another few years until they can go off on their own."

"Ok then" Sam said sliding off the desk.
"Ill let your classes know they have the next three days off. That should be long enough for you to sort that out. As for future precautions I'm going to increase the number is staff on patrol at night to at least 3. Also no more Hogsmade visits. Teachers included until we figure this out." She sighed exhausted. "Sorry I have to leave you all but I have to go send some owls as well as check on Mallory and T.J. I'm relieved that you are all ok."

Sam walked out of the classroom. She looked exhausted. Magnus looked around the room everyone sat in silence. Surprisingly Hearth was the one to break the silence, kind of.

"I'm sorry. This is all my fault." He signed.

"Its not your fault man. Don't talk like that. If it wasn't for you and that crazy spell work it could have been way worse. You saved our lives."

Hearth just shook his head and raised his hands again.

"They wouldn't be here if I wasn't. I should have left at the beginning of the year when Sam got those complaints."

At this Blitz lost it. "Don't you dare blame yourself! And don't you dare say that again! This isn't anyone's fault but your father's and you know it!" He spoke not signing because his fist shook at his side. He wasn't exactly yelling but Magnus could hear the anger and desperation in his voice. Something way scarier than yelling.

"Blitz is right Hearth it's not your fault. Also it wouldn't be Hogwarts without you. Your're family. Without you our lives aren't complete" Alex said with force and authority. Hearth just frowned but couldn't seem to think of a response. After a few second Alex spoke again.

"Its getting late. We should all head to bed for a bit."

Blitz nodded in agreement and walked over to Hearth. "Come on buddy" he mumbled reaching out to touch Hearths arm. Hearth slumped up and him and Blitz headed out of the classroom. When the door closed shut Alex turned to look at Magnus.

"Um going to stay with them here to tonight. Tomorrow I'll figure out something. We have a very motherly hippogriff names Silverwing who might take them in" Magnus started saying as he got up and sat down beside the sleeping foals.

"Well if your're staying I'm staying" Alex said sitting down beside Magnus on the floor.

Alex raised her wand and summoned a blanket from the trunk that was open under his desk. She caught it and draped it over the both of them. Something about the warmth and softness of the blanket made Magnus feel better. He let out a deep breath. Alex's hand reached over and claps his. He was thankful for the support of his friends especially Alex.

Chapter Text

Hearth lay in bed staring up at the ceiling restless. He couldn't sleep after everything that had just happened. Beside him Blitz was already sleeping. Hearth could feel the rise and fall of the blanket as he breathed. He turned on his side. He could see the silhouette of Blitzen in the small bit of light that came through the curtains from the window. He thought about how that man called Dimitri, the guy who attacked him in Nocturn alley, had almost killed Blitzen just a few hours ago. His stomach knotted up as the thought of losing Blitzen because he messed up. He reached out his hand gently and ran his finger up and down Blitz arm.

He remembered how Blitz had lost it on him in Magnus's office. He couldn't hear Blitz's raised voice but the anger in his face was unmistakable. A look he often saw in his father, except his father's anger was filled with disgust. Blitz's anger was filled with desperation and concern. He felt bad for making Blitz feel like that, but in all truth he believed what he had said. This was all his fault. He put his friends in danger. He was the reason his father was doing these things. It was only a matter of time until someone closer to him got hurt. If any of his friends got hurt because of him, especially his Dawrf, he would never forgive himself.

Knowing he was not going to sleep tonight he carefully rolled out of bed being careful not to wake Blitzen. In the dark he reached for the sweater laying on the chair. He couldn't see well in the dark but felt the soft cotton and smelt the rose sented cologne. He pulled Blitzen's sweater over his head and hugged himself in it breathing in the sent deeply. The sweater was too short on the torso so his t shirt hung out the bottom and the shoulders were way to big. Still it was warm. He picked up his wand and tiptoed out of the room and slipped on his shoes. He grabbed his candy cane striped scarf off the door handle and sneaked out. He was going to get answers.

As he went down the stairs to the dungeon the air got colder. He could see his breath coming out in faint clouds. He walked through the corridors until he came across Mallory leaning against the wall facing the door to the dungeon. She looked up when she saw Hearth. She gave him a confused look.

"Mallory. I need to talk to him. Can you please help?" He signed.

She said something, but her accent made it difficult for him to understand. Her subtle head nod made him take that as a yes. He raised his wand and tapped the lock on the dungeon door. He stepped inside and Mallory followed.

Hearth looked around the dingy room. The werewolf still lay on the floor bound in ropes, but he had transformed back to his normal form. The sun must have been rising outside. Hearth raised his wand and the ropes fell away. The grizzly man looked up at him and gave an evil smile. Hearth waved his wand and the man's hands flew into shackles. He then tucked his wand in his pocket and began signing.

"Do you work for my father?" He asked. He looked beside himself quickly to see Mallory translating.

The man squinted and looked both Mallory and Hearth up and down. He nodded ever so sliglhy.

"My father doesn't consort with werewolves. How did you end up with his men?" Hearth asked.

The man grinned eviliy at Hearth and spoke.

"You think I'm going to spill formation about your father you stupid boy. If I did I would be killed. If I ever got out of this that is. Your father is angry enough with those other two failing to bring you back during your last run in. I'm not so stupid."

Hearth stared the man in the eyes. They were cold and emotionless. Hearth stepped forward and raised his wand. He concentrated hard. He remembered one spell he had once read in his father library. An ancient spell book about spells to penetrate the mind. Long lost spells wizards had forgotten. He remembered him and his brother being forced to learn these books day after day. His father wanted his sons trained powerful, well his one son. Hearth was more of a necessary add on to the learning since he still carried the Alderman name. He said the incantation in his mind. The tip of his wand lite up with white light and a circle the size of his wand illuminated on the mans forehead. The man bent over to regain his balance his eyes unfocused. He looked up at Hearth fear starting to creep into his eyes.

"Just like your father eh. Go on kill me then. I'm good as dead anyways"

Hearth ignored him and signed. "What does my father want? Why does he want me taken back?"

The man on the floor chuckled as the light on his head glowed brighter forcing the answer out of his mouth.

" Your father keeps his plans secret from his lower ranks. I was only recruited to strike fear. Nothing makes families comply than a werewolf knockong on their door. But I'm not included on the master's plans. But I'll tell you this boy it can't be pleasant. His mind set set on revenge. And there's nothing that can stand in his way from getting that revenge something I'm sure you know. Why else would you be hiding in this castle."

Hearth looked over to Mallory who looked down disgusted at the man her wand was now out in her hand just in case.

"Im not hiding from amything. How did you get inside the grounds?" Hearth asked keeping his expression blank.

" Oh don't ask me that. Like I said I wasn't kept in the loop. I was blinded before we left. No idea how we got into that forest of yours. One minute were standing in a park in London. The next wer're in that damnable forest. We watched you and the the other one head into the village. We followed you and watched you until you came back. Came up with a plan to get you close to the forest for extraction. Unfortunately we hadn't planned for the other two to come along. We only planned on having to kill your ... boyfriend is it?" The man said. He sneered at the last three words his lips curling unmistakably.

He laughed to himself and then said with an evil smile. "Oh your father will not be pleased to hear about that. He's been trying to confirm that rumour for awhiel now. I wonder if he will want him taken back with you or killed on the spot when my friends return to him"

Hearth's fist balled up and he fought the urge to walk forward and punch the guy black and blue.The man was testing him, making him angry. Unfortunately he seemed to have found his weak spot pretty quickly. Hearth wondered if the man had been watching him and Blitz through the coffee shop window. The thought made his anger dissapate into fear.

He remembered when he was younger how his father would drive the message into him to always strive for normalcy. Only Andrion knew about his defects and secret feelings. He loved Hearth and accepted him no matter what. The memory still brought back the fear he held when he was younger that his father would find out more of his broken sons flaws and defects.

He pushed his feelings down deep inside keeping his face blank. The feelings deepened the black pit he felt forming in his chest. He pushed that down too.

Mallory taped his shoulder. He turned towards her and she said.

"I don't think this guy has any important info Hearth. Come on let's go."

Hearth didn't want to leave the cell. He had come for answers and didn't want to leave until he had them. Yet he knew Mallory was right. This man was just a pawn like he was. He turned and relashed the man in ropes. The light on his head faded. They stepped out of the dungeon.

Mallory turned to him.

"You look like death. Go back upstairs and get some sleep. I'll stay here and keep watch" she said as she signed.
Hearth nodded and headed back upstairs to the fourth floor. As he walked down the fourth floor corridor he stopped at a window. He leaned up against it and watched the sun rise above the trees on the blood orange sky. He savoured the beautiful sight. The sunrise calmed him down.

Suddenly he saw something come up behind him. Someone pulled him into a vice grip. Still on edge from last night he jumped but relaxed when he realized it was just Blitzen. Blitzen hugged him hard and Hearth squeezed back. After a few seconds Blitz pulled away and began telling him off in quick sharp signs. He was hasilty dressed in joggers and a white t-shirt. His feet were bare on the stone floor.

"Odins beard you can't disappear like that Hearth. Can you imagine how panicked and worried I was when I woke up and you were missing. Especially after last night. You stupid elf" Blitz went on in signs.

Hearth couldn't help but smile at that last bit. He loved their pet names for each other. Blitz only used them for special occasions, like telling him off.

"I'm sorry" Hearth signed in reply. He pulled Blitz into another hug. Hoping to show him that he actually was sorry. After a few minutes Blitz pulled away.

"Come on. You look like death. Let's get you back to bed. I'll go up to Samariahs office and tell her to cancel your classes for today." Blitz signed.

Hearth wanted to protest but he was too tired. Maybe Blitz had a point. He let himself be led back to their place.

"What about you?" Hearth signed when Blitz sat down next to him in bed.

"Ill be fine. I got some sleep. Plus my students can catch up on their essays today." Blitz replied.

Hearth looked at Blitz as Blitz pulled the blanket over them.

"I want you to stay." He signed.

Blitz smiled at him yet his face still looked sad.

" I'll just be downstairs in my classroom ok. I'll come back as soon as my last class is done" Blitz signed back.

"Can you stay here until then?" Hearth signed.

Blitz smiled at him. "Ok I'll stay here as long as I can" he signed.

Hearth shuffled down in the bed and rested his head against Blitz's chest. He grabbed at his shirt afraid to let go in case he vanished into thin air. As soon as his eyes closed he fell asleep. He dreamt of Andrion and the sad and also happy memories he had with his dear brother.

Chapter Text

Blitz POV

Blitz awoke in the middle the of the night. It took him a few seconds of reaching over the other side of the empty bed to remember Hearth was on duty tonight. Blitz rolled over to Hearth's vacant side, his face down into Hearth's pillow. He closed his eyes and breathed in the sent of pine needles and wood smoke from the down. He tried to fall back to sleep but his brain was clouded with anxiety inducing thoughts. Ever since the night when those men who worked for Hearth's father had shown up Blitz found himself waking up at least 4 times a night in a slight panic. He would turn over to make sure Hearth was still sleeping beside him. Once he realised it had just been a dream he would fall back asleep only to wake up a couple hours later. Tonight was the first night since then he had slept alone.

Since that night Sam wanted at least 2 or 3 staff on duty just in case. Blitz got to do most of his patrolling nights with Hearth so he could keep an eye on him but Saturday night Hearth had with T.J. He fought the urge to get out of bed and join Hearth on his rounds anyway to keep a look out on him. What kept him in bed was the fact that Hearth didn't appreciate being treated as such. Hearth was powerful. Expensive private education, curtosey of his stuck up father, had ensured that. Hearth was also tough and didnt like to be treated like a child. If anyone could take care of himself it was Hearth and he didn't appreciate Blitz being so protective.

Blitz couldn't help it tho. His father had sent his men after Hearth twice. They could get into the grounds and no one had figured out how yet. This made him particularly nervous. Even with more than one person on patrol he still rolled in the bed of edge. If something happened to Hearth and he wasn't there he would never forgive himself. After a few more minutes of tossing and turning he gave up. He threw the blankets back and slid out of bed. He pulled on a wool jumper over his t-shirt and slipped on some socks. He quickly fixed his hair in the low candle light of the sitting room and put his shoes one. He walked down the fourth floor wondering where Hearth would be on patrol at 2 in the morning.

He made it all the down the 12th floor North corridor and sent two 7th year Gryffindor students who had been hiding in a portrait hole to go back to their dorm. Eventually he happened to pass a window and looked out to the grounds. The night was still and dark. The moon was dark in the clear sky. The stars were shinny very brightly in the dark sky. Then an idea went through Blitz's head. He had an idea where Hearth and T.J. might be hanging out between rounds. Blitz turned around and headed to the astronomy tower.

Just as he suspected he found Hearth and T.J. atop the astronomy tower. Their backs were to the staircase he had come up. They were leaning on the railing. Hearth was pointing to something up above while his other hand appeared to be spelling out something to T.J. Blitz cleared his throat.

"Good night for star gazing." He said out loud to announce his presence. Hearth obviously didn't hear him but T.J. nudged Hearth as he turned around.

"Hey Blitz. What you doing up. Its not your night on duty?" T.J. said and Blitz walked over to the two of them.

"Uhh I couldn't sleep... had too much coffee." Blitz lied. Beside T.J. Blitz saw Hearth roll his eyes obviously not fooled by his lie.

"Anyway what are you two looking at?" Blitz said changing the conversation and leaning against the rail with them.

"Uranus is just barley visible up over there. It's kinda poking out by the head of the bear" T.J. said pointing slightly north high in the sky.

Blitz looked up and saw nothing but bright stars blanketing the sky.

"I don't see it. But I was always rubbish at astronomy." Blitz said, signing so Hearth knew he was talking.

"I was terrible at tranfiguration. Mcgonagall was teaching when I took it. She said she would pass me as long as I promised not to turn another classmate into a weasel. Unfortunately I accidently turned my examiner into a weasel out of nerves during my OWLs." T.J. said smiling with a big yawn.

Blitz smiled wide at the story.

"Hey T.J. if your're tired I can take the rest of the shift" Blitz said.

"Sure, actually that would be great. If your're ok with it. I mean if Hearth' s ok with it too?" T.J. said signing the last bit to Hearth. Hearth shrugged unconcerned with his usual blank expression on.

"I got it T.J. I cant sleep anyway." Blitz said. T.J. Thanked him and turned to head down the stairs.

Blitz turned back to look out to the grounds from the railing with Hearth. Once the sounds of T.J.'s footsteps had long gone Hearth turned to him.

"For me it was potions" Hearth signed to Blitz in reference to the conversation they had been having about the classes they weren't good at.

"Really?" Blitz signed with a raised eyebrow. He had always thought of Hearth as well skilled in all aspects of magic not just reading ancient runes. He had seen him do some pretty spectacular things. Potions was not something he could imagine Hearth being bad at.

Hearth nodded in reply. "I could never figure out how to do things right. I always messed up somehow. Forget ingredients, added the wrong things, I could never cut things properly. Once I set the room on fire by accident. My tutor didn't have the patience for my screw ups. But father would force me to practice more than my brother hoping I would figure it out and stop embarrassing the family. I haven't touched a potions set in years." Hearth signed out.

Blitz smiled at Hearth. They stood looking at each other for a bit before Hearth
raised his hands to sign.

"You don't need to watch me. I can take care of myself." Hearth's face was still blank but his eyes looked serious. Blitz just grabbed his hand and turned back towards the window.

Usually Hearth would tell him off for ignoring him but Hearth didn't seem up for it tonight. He just squeezed his hand tighter and gazed down toward the forest edge of the grounds.

The night was silent. Only the occasional sound of a bat flowing up to the rafters broke through the calm.

At 3 hearth motioned that he needed to do rounds of the castle. They lite their wands and headed down the stairs. The castle was quiet. They didn't run into any more wayward students. A cat jumped out of a suit of armour and gave Blitz a fright which Hearth thought was hysterical, but nothing more exciting happened.

They got to the dungeon and did the usual loop around past the Slytherin common room, and to all the places around it that students liked to sneak off too. Finding nothing they headed back to the entrance hall.

"1 hour until the last round. What do you want to do until then?" Hearth signed.

"We could go up to the staff room." Blitz suggested. Hearth nodded and led the way up the stairs.

The staff room was empty but the fire was still going thanks to the house elves of the castle. Hearth collapsed in the couch right in front of the fire and Blitz went to join him. As soon as Blitz sat down Hearth moved and laid down. He put his head in Blitzen's lap, and his legs dangled over the side of the couch. Hearth's hands clasp to each other over his chest as he stared blankly into the fire. Blitz's hands absent mindedly through his blonde hair. Sitting by the fire warm and cozy he smiled to himself. This was what true happiness was.

Hearths POV

Hearth didn't know when he fell asleep. But given the warm of the fire and the gentle feeling of Blitz's hand running through his hair he was pretty sure he fell asleep quickly.

Unfortunately he fell into a nightmare. Growing up he always had nightmares. Before he ran away he couldn't remember a time he had a regular dream. The first happy dream he remembers having was the night he ran away from home. He slept in the alley between a coffeshop and a public library. It was a warm night so he curled up on some foldeded cardboard. It was a wonderful night, which may seem unbelievable. But Hearth didn't know that sleeping could be so uplifting when you weren't having nightmares. Unfortunately the nightmares came back slowly into his life. They were a part of his life like his deafness was.

But he hadn't had a nightmare in quite some time. The last one he had had was the night he first kissed Blitzen. Before he had headed to Blitzens he had dreamt about his brother and the day he died.

This time he had the same dream. He was himself as a child. He was sitting crossed legged in the moss and roots of a tree in the forest by his house. He had a pile of stones laid out on the bed of moss and was carving some ancient Nordic runes into them. He had read a book about the ancient language and wanted to practice the alphabet. He had always been interested in rune language. Wizards long ago thought the runes could do magic on their own. Hearth dreamed of one day figuring out how that worked without a wand.

His brother was playing on the shore of the nearby river. Hearth was only a year older but he was suppose to keep a close eye on his younger brother. But Hearth wasn't paying close attention to his brother. His brother walked along the shore practicing sword swings with a giant stick and occasionally stopping to try and skip rocks across the river. Andrion was brave and bold. He was pretty good at taking care of himself. Plus they always played in the forest. Hearth wasn't worried about his brother getting into trouble.

He turned back to his stones and continued to carve runes into them. Once he was finished the last one he piled them all up in a pyramid shape. He was about to knock it down and lay them out when he felt something hard smack him on the back of the head. He looked behind him to see the smooth river rock that had hit him. He quickly looked up and instantly froze with terror. A large blue furry beast was slowly rising out of the water. It remesemled a lion and a wolf but had large horns coming out of its bear like head. Andrion was backing up slowly. Another rock in his hand and a giant pointy stick in another. Andrion turned his head and shouted something, but there was nothing but silence in his ears. He tried to make out what Andrion was shouting but he was too far away.

He got up shakily and began to run towards his brother. But Andrion turned and shouted at him again. His face fixed in a determined expression. This time he could make out some of the words on his lips.

"RUN HEARTH!"

Andrion started forward towards the creature. Hearth began to run forward towards his brother as the beasts reared its head back in an unmistakable roar. It's eyes glowed yellow and fixed on Hearth running down the other side of the beach toward his brother. It turned it's attention to him it's feet sinking into the sand now. It's claws as long as curved butter knives. Hearth slowed down but didn't stop. He needed to get to his brother. The beasts started towards him and he veered to the side onto the thin forest line hoping to lure it after him instead, away from Andrion. Then a rock flew out of nowhere and hit the beasts on the back of the head. The beast stopped and roared once more. It turned. Hearth could see Andrion standing legs spread an poised holding his pointy stick aloft like a javelin thrower. Hearth could see Andrion shouting at the beasts. He couldn't make out the exact words but the look in his brothers eye sent the message, 'Leave him alone.'

The beast slowly turned and crept toward Andrion. Hearth ran forward but he was still too far away. He saw his brother's eyes fixed on the large blue bear/wolf/lion creature. Andrion lurched forward. The creature lowered itself ready to pounce. In one last desperate attempt to save his brother he tried to let out a scream. He didn't know if it worked but he saw Andrion turn in his direction just as the creature pounced. He watched in horror as it landed on his brother. He saw dark red luiquid fly through the air as the giant clawed paws came down on his brothers chest. He didn't know if he was screaming in his head or for real now. He turned and ran into the forest as quick as he could. He needed to get help.

Hearth awoke with a start. He was soaking wet with sweat and was burning hot. The room was dark except for a low glow from the fire. He had half fallen off the couch. His feet were still on it but he had thrashed so hard his torso hung off the side. The only thing keeping him off the ground was Blitz's strong hands holding his arms as if he had been restraining him. Blitz's looked down at him fear and concern on his face. His eyebrows knit the way they do when he fusses over the way Hearth usually dresses or when he is hurt. Hearth sees Blitz speak.

"Are you ok? You were screaming and thrashing around like you were having a nighmare" Blitz says helping lift him back up on the couch.

Hearth sits himself on the couch and hugs his knees to his chest. The way he use to do when he curled up on his bed at home. He can see Blitz looking at him concerned out of the corner of his eye. Hearth waves his hands quickly to tell Blitz that he's fine. He stares into the fire for a few seconds absent mindedly clasping at his candy cane striped scarf. He breaths in trying to slow his heart rate and control the terribly terrifying images of his brother being ripped to pieces out of his head. He feels Blitz's hand on his shoulder. After a few minutes he's collected himself and his emotions enough.

He turned to Blitz and signs. "Sorry. I haven't had a nightmare since that night I came to get my scarf back. I didn't mean to scare you."

"Dont be sorry. That was pretty scary, I've never heard you scream before, but I'm more worried about you." Blitz says.

"Dont worry about me. I'm use to it. I'm more angry that they seem to be coming back. They completely dissapeared these last few months." He signs.

" So you've had these nightmares before?" Blitz asks.

Hearth nodded. Then signed "Ever since I was small. Always the same ones."
He then hesitates holding his hands aloft unsure if he should continue. He trust Blitz more than anything in the world. Blitz has been the only solid loving thing in his life since Andrion. But all his instincts from growing up with his father fight him still, telling him to push down his vulnerabilities. He was always taught to never show your weaknesses or they will be used against you. But he had to share with Blitz. Blitz deserves to know after all he's done for him.

"I told you that my brother died when I was younger right? And that my parents blamed me?" Hearth signed. Blitz just nodded his head.

Hearth had given Blitz the gist of his story but not the exact details. He didn't want to tell Blitz. Why? He didn't know. Maybe it was because talking about it was too painful. Maybe because he didn't want Blitz to treat him different or think of him differently. Maybe it was because he was taught never to trust anyone. Or maybe it was because he was a coward. But this time he wasn't going to hold back. He trusted Blitz and needed to share this with him.

He spent a long time signing everything about his nightmare. He told Blitz everything about the night his brother died. He shared his guilt and how much he missed Andrion. He talked about how his father made him skin the beast all night in the cold dark forest alone. He told Blitz about the wergild his father gave to him to complete. By the end his eyes were red and itchy but he managed to keep in the tears. He was exhausted. But blitz sat there clamly listening, his face unreadable. By the time he was finished the sun had turned the morning sky out the window deep red.

When he was done Hearth felt himself collapse with grief and exhaustion. Blitz grabbed both his hands and squeezed them tight. Hearth looked down at them. Their skin contrasted beautifully. Hearth's pale white skin made Blitz's more warm and dark. He felt Blitz give him a kiss on the top of the head.

He looked up but Blitz didn't say anything. There was no need to say anything. Blitz's warm hands and comforting kiss said everything he needed to hear. Blitz pulled his hands back and signed.

"Come on you've been up all night. Let's sleep in today so we can be rested for Monday."

And with that Hearth followed Blitz out of the staff room.

Chapter Text

Magnus stood by the edge of the dark forest looking out over the grounds. Spring was coming early this year and the grounds where a swamp of muddy slush. The snow had begun to melt making everything go from white to brown. This meant wearing rubber boots every day. He didn't mind. The smell of fresh mud and spring rain lifted him. He loved spring. Spring meant that the warm season was on its way. Soon he would be out in the forest of North America continuing his research.

Spring was his favourite time of year. When his mom was still alive she would pull out all their camping gear the first day of warm weather and begin to check and repair anything in preparation for the trips she planned on doing with him once the snow melted. These memories warmed him from his chest to his finger tips. He titled his head back soaking in some sun.

Nearby Alex was leaning against a paddock fence feeding the baby unicorns some carrots. Their adoptive mother Silverwing stood in the middle of the paddock trying to dig a chipmunk out from under the roots of a tree. The foals were now starting to come into their silver coats more. They looked a little scraggly as their thick golden winter coats began to shed. Alex was brushing them gently collecting the sheddings in a basket. The school could use the hair to make bandages for whatever or whoever needed them. Magnus walked over to her and picked up the other brush and started to help Alex.

Since Sam had insisted no one be alone, especially by the forest Magnus had been spending alot of time with Alex. Especially in the evenings when he had alot of work to do by the forest. He was worried it might be awkward. Neither of them had mentioned the 'possibly a date, possibly not a date' they had been on the night the mother unicorn died. Also he had not attempted to hold Alex's hand since. But Alex acted like her usual self. Calm and confident with a pinch of hostility. Good old Alex. He didn't mind tho, Alex was slowly becoming his best friend. "Shhhh don't tell Blitz or Hearth" he thought to himself. He grinned at his own joke.

"What are you smiling about?" Alex said noticing his face.

"Nothing. Just I was thinking about how much time we've been spending together."

Alex raised an eyebrow at him.

"Ok? Is that a problem? I mean I could always start ignoring you if you want. I could use the free time" she said with a teasing grin.

"Oh haha" he said sarcastically. Alex punched his arm.

"You know we never got to finish our date what with everything that happened" Alex said as if commenting on the weather.

Magnus turned and stared at her confused and slightly caught off guard. Trying not to sound like an idiot he managed to babble out.

"Date? I mean ya date. Ummm, ya alot happened... Just I didn't know... never really had a date before...ummm..." He trailed off at the end looking down at his shoes to hide his embarrassing blushing.

Then Alex did something that really surprised him. She leaned forward and planted a kiss on his cheek. It was quick. Alex leaned back and smiled at him as he stood there eyes wide and as still as a statue.

"Anyway I promised Halfborn I would help get ride of a Boggart infestation in the dungeon. See you tomorrow." And with that Alex waved at him and turned back to head up to the castle.

Magnus stood in place shocked for a good minute until Silverwing came up to him and dropped a bloodied chipmunk on his shoulder. Which was probably meant affectionatly. He wiped the excess chipmunk blood off his robes and handed the dead creture back to Silverwing patting her head. He decided it was probably best not to stay out by the forest with the sun starting to set. So he followed Alex's mud footprints up to the castle.
*

Magnus knocked on the wooden door to Blitzen's office. They were on duty tonight together and he thought he would stop by early to spend time with him before rounds started. Also he needed to talk to someone. He figured Blitzen would be the only person not to make fun of him at the same time. Also he knew Blitzen was on to him, or at least he seemed to know about his feelings towards Alex.

Blitzen answered the door. He was dressed in dark green robes. His gold watch chain dangling out of his pocket and clipped to his chest pocket. His dragon leather boots matched with the dragon leather gloves he wore when he was sewing. He looked as spiffy as he always was.

"Hey Magnus" Blitz said in greeting.

"Hey Blitz. Do you have time to talk and stuff?"

"Sure"

Magnus began to step forward but Blitz stopped him. Blitz jutted his head towards his muddy boots. He had forgotten to clean himself after working on the grounds. His boots were caked in mud. Mud had even splattered up his jeans to his knees. Magnus glanced behind himself and saw a trail of mud footprints where he had walked.

"Here" Blitz said pulling out his wand. He waved it and the mud on him dissapeared. Another wave and the muddy footprints vanished as well.

"I don't think the caretaker Hunding would appreciate cleaning up your muddy footprints."

Shoes now clean Magnus walked into Blitz's place and crashed on the couch. He looked around and saw no Hearth. Which he was thankful for.

"Hearth's not here right now?" He asked peering at the bedroom door.

"Nah he has a few students he's giving detention too. Why you ask?"

"Well I wanted to talk to you about something and I'm pretty sure Hearth would just make fun of me."

"Is it about Alex?" Blitz asked without missing a beat.

Magnus pursed his lips but replied. "Ya kinda"

"Ya I guess Hearth would tease you then. Anyway what's the problem?" Blitz asked.

"Ummm well I wouldn't say it's a problem. But ummm well... Alex just kissed me...amd I like just stood there, and now I'm confused." Magnus said looking anywhere but at Blitz grinning at him widely.

"I get it. Also very smooth" Blitzs said sarcastically smiling at him. "On the bright side it sounds like she's interested in you."

Magnus just grunted "Ya but what should I do now. Do I like go and kiss her back? Should I ask her why she did that?"

"No no no. That would probably be a bad idea." Blitz said shaking his head.

"What should I do then?" Magnus asks eagerly. He really appreciated the way Blitz was handling his situation. He was grateful for a friend who could help him with his inexperience, especially in the romance department.

"Well I think you should ask her out on another date, but this time make it very obviously a real date" Blitz said after a few seconds of pondering.

"That's a great idea Blitz, thank you so much" Magnus said with relief and sincerity. He reached over to the other side of the couch where Blitz was sitting and pulled him into a big hug. He was so grateful for Blitz's open ears and good advice. Blitz returned the hug.

"Hey no problem kid" Blitz said.

"Im not a kid. Your're only 4 years older than me." Magnus said thumping Blitz on the back as he broke apart the hug.

Blitz just rolled his eyes.

"Just remember to kiss her back at the end of the night this time. Also remember to be polite and curteous , it would break my heart to know my child wasn't a gentleman" Blitz said half joking half serious. Magnus laughed. He had been spending so much time with Blitz and Hearth everyone else was now starting to refer to them as his parents. Something he thought was amusing and decided to roll with. Having a talk about dating with Blitz helped enforce the Dad vibe people probably picked up on with Blitz and him.

Just then the door opened and Hearth came in. He was dressed in his usual plain black robes. He threw his striped scarf on the armchair and waved to Magnus once he saw him sitting on the couch with Blitz.

"Hey" Magnus waved back. "How's it going mom?" He signed to Hearth smiling as hearth frowned at his new nickname. Hearth wasn't fond of being called mom, but Magnus kept using it as revenge for all the times Hearth had teased him about liking Alex the past few months. Hearth just flipped him a rude gesture and stuck out his tongue.

The guy looked tired. He had bags under his eyes and he was paler than usual. He collapsed into the chair with an exasperated huff.

"Rough day?" Magnus asks Hearth.

Hearth nodded and signed.
"Students thought they could have a secret duelling club in the Ravenclaw common room. Hunding and me spent all day fixing the place. Then I had to supervise 15 students for dentetion. I mean in what world is duelling in a common room a smart idea?"

After a bit it was time for Blitz and him to do rounds. He spent the night taking the opportunity to ask Blitz about all the things he didn't know about. What to do and act like on a date, what to say and talk about, and most importantly the gist of how to kiss. He felt a little awkward but Blitz made him feel better giving him good advice. By the end of the night he was ready to see Alex tomorrow.

*

The next morning he went down to breakfast to grab some muffins for himself for later. He then ran to Alex's office. Hoping to catch her before she headed to breakfast. She answered the door bleary eyed. Her hair was a mess and her bed clothes where bright neon and baggy. She looked like she just woke up.

"Magnus its like 6am. What the Hellheim are you doing here?" She said groggily. Magnus was starting to regret his decision of doing this first thing in the morning. Yet he was already here so better go through with it.

"I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me tonight?" He stammered out doing his best to keep his voice normal and not let his eyes wander to his feet in humiliation.

"You woke me up to ask me that?" Alex said irritated.

"Ummm ya.... I'm sorry. I'll go now." Magnus said cursing himself in his head.

"Good idea. I'll see you at 7 for our date" Alex said turning to go back inside her office.

"Wait so is that a yes?" Magnus said brightly turning around now hopeful.

"Not if you keep me up any longer. Also thanks for the muffins" Alex said ruthlessly grabbing his muffins he had grabbed for later out of his hands and slamming the door behind her. Magnus could make out the faint smile on her face as the door slammed shut in his face. He fought the urge to jump up in victory and skip down the hall. He needed to see Blitz to go tell him the good news and get some fashion advice for tonight.

Chapter Text

Hearth lay on the couch in the middle of Blitz's sitting room holding an old rune text book above his head. He had found it in the restricted section the other day. The runes weren't the typical language that runes were usually written in. The runes were written out but in another language. After a day of intently studying them he had figured out the runes were used to write phonetically in Swedish and sometimes in old Germanic. Hearth was struggling to read it. He knew Swedish well, it was his first language, but it had been years since he had taken German, and this random old Germanic like language was throwing him off. That mixed with the weird combo of phonetic rune writing was making it extremely difficult. It took him awhile to even understand the what the words were supposed to be as he had never heard the words out loud and couldn't relate the phonetic spelling with the actual spelling very well. But he kept reading. He had managed to get the gist of the introduction. The book was about wraiths, restless spirits and how to conjure them. No wonder the book was put in the very back of the restricted section.

He put the book down as his eyes were beginning to hurt. He looked over to see the progress Blitz had made on Magnus. Magnus had come to Blitz after lunch with all his clothes asking for Blitz's help dressing and preparing for his date. Once Blitz had come up with a list of things he could do with Alex he got to work trying to make Magnus looked presentable. Hearth thought this was hilarious. Magnus had a look and it resembled a mix between a lumberjack and Kurt Cobain. But Blitz was a genius. After 2 and a half hours of ruthlessly making Magnus change and groom himself he finally looked presentable. Blitz had forced him down and cut his hair so that he no longer looked like he had stepped out of the early 90's. Magnus kept running his hands through the neatly combed short hair making Blitzen scold him as he brushed it back into place.

Hearth tried to stifle his laughter. As 7 o'clock got closer Blitz took out a nice jacket from his own closet and made Magnus put it on. He then tied one of his favourite bowties around his neck. Magnus still had on a plaid flannel dress shirt underneath but Blitz somehow made it work.

"Remember to be a gentleman. Also don't do anything stupid." Blitz said as Magnus tied his shoes.

" Ya ya. Pull out chairs, hold hands, and don’t talk about anything disgusting, blah blah blah." Magnus said. "Thanks for the help. I don’t know what I'd do without you." He then reached over and hugged Blitz who patted his back.

"Also I expect you here tomorrow at breakfast to tell us about it." Blitz called after Magnus who was opening the door.

"Righteo. Wish me luck" Magnus said stepping out the door with a grin.

Blitz sighed and then turned to him. He looked tired but was smiling broadly in triumph.

"Our kid is growing up" Hearth signed to him smiling at his joke.

"Since when are you a comedian?" Blitz said smiling raising his eyebrow at him.

"I am the very definition of fun and laughter" Hearth signed with his usual straight face.

"Sarcasm, very funny" Blitz said turning to start picking up the mess that was now the sitting room.

Hearth stood there watching Blitz pick up clothing pieces and folding them. He had pulled out his ponytail and his braided hair fell around his shoulders as he worked. He had rolled up the sleeves on his white dress shirt so his arms showed. Hearth found himself staring at his large muscled arms. Blitz flawless dark skin was mesmerizing. He felt eyes eye now moving down Blitz body and...

"What's wrong buddy?" He saw Blitz say as he waved his hands to interrupt his staring. Hearth shook his head to focus. He probably looked like an idiot staring blankly at Blitz.

"Nothing. I just zoned out. Sorry" he signed and quickly turned to go back to the couch. Blitz continued his tidying up. Hearth picked up his book again and pretended to read. He risked glances at Blitz occasionally when Blitz wasn't looking. He didn't know why but he couldn't keep his eyes off Blitz today.

Well that wasn't entirely true. He knew why he was staring. It had been months since Blitz and him had spent the night in London. Just the thought of that night made his head swim and his chest tighten. His mind wandered to the memory of Blitz kissing. His breath on his neck, the way his strong arms ran his gentle hands over his chest...Hearth shook his head again and went back to focusing on the book. But he just found himself staring out of focus blankly at the page.

Blitz and him hadn't been like that together since that night in London. They had gone back to their usual behaviour. Kissing lightly occasionally and cuddling on cold night. Although their cuddling was more frequent now. The biggest change was the fact Blitz would occasionally look up at him in the middle of working and sign 'I love you' to him across the room. Hearth didn't mind. He loved Blitzen and would happily spend the rest of his life like this.

He figured the lack of intimacy was partly his fault. After that night when he had cried the first time Blitz touched him passionately he guessed Blitz had decided to wait for him to make the first move. Blitz was too kind and considerate to push him into anything. Unfortunately Hearth felt like a coward. He was too scared to make the first move. First off he felt embarrassed. He didn't know much about this subject. Second he didn't want to ruin anything. What if he wasn't good enough? What if Blitz wasn't that attracted to him physically? Blitz was gorgeous. He on the other hand was pale and looked like a starved bowtruckle. He knew these thoughts were irrational. Deep down he knew Blitz loved him no matter what, but these thoughts always crept into his mind every time he cuddled with Blitz or kissed him. Every time he thought about moving the cuddling to another place or deepening his kisses these thoughts at the back of his head stopped him.

The one time since that unforgettable night he had managed to get over his fear. Blitz was sitting on the couch knitting and he had gone and knelt over Blitz. He had taken away his knitting and began kissing him as passionately as he could. While Blitz was still in shock at his surprise move he had managed to get off his clothes all the way down to his boxer and undershirt. Once Blitz got Hearths intentions he managed to get off his shirt completely and began sucking on his collar bone while his hands worked around his hip loosening his pants. Unfortunately Blitz stopped abruptly and signed to him. "Someone's at the door." He got up and quickly threw on whatever clothes he could find to answer the door leaving him sitting there on the couch somewhat defeated and angry at whoever had interrupted. When Blitz came back in saying "Magnus and Alex need out help" while he pulled on his pants Hearth immediately forgot all about that and went to get a sweater on so he could help his friends. Magnus made up for his interruption by providing some entertainment as a giant wolf with a big problem.

Hearth was shook out of his memories by Blitzen sitting down next to him on the couch. He had his crochet hook and very intricately patterned half-finished sweater out.

"What's wrong? You've been starting at the page for over 40 minutes." Blitz asked him putting down his work to sign.

"Nothing wrong. Just stuck in thought. This book isn't written in the usual language. It's like the author took the sounds of the runes and wrote down stuff in Swedish and German. I'm having problems understanding." He signed back to Blitz.

Blitz frowned at that. "That's interesting but I wonder why they did that. What's the book on?"

"Wraiths and restless spirits. Something about how to summon them. Found it in the restricted section." Hearth signed back.

Blitz nodded and frowned. He then went back to his crochet. Hearth closed the book and put it down on the coffee table. He then leaned down and placed his head on Blitzen's lap putting the sweater he was working on over his face. He felt Blitz chuckle at him.

Hearth smiled and closed his eyes. He would have never in his past thought he would ever be this happy. Blitz was one of the only people he felt completely comfortable around. He could finally be himself. Why was he so scared of himself then. He should just go for it. Blitz was his best friend and so much more. He wouldn't judge him, or push him away if he went for what he had been wanting to do for a long while.

Hearth took a deep breath and then raised his hands under the sweater too. He reached to the side of his head and began to gently wiggle his fingers over Blitz's sides. Blitz buckled over with fits of laughter and Hearth tickled him. He knew Blitz was tickleish, his very obvious weakness. He felt Blitz drop the hook and the collar of the sweater as his hands tried to stop Hearths from assaulting his now exposed stomach and sides. Hearth pushed the sweater to the ground and sat up in top of Blitz facing his face. He continued tickling him. Blitz was gasping for air as his laughs turned hysterical. Tears began to fall out of his eyes as he begged for mercy. Hearth could make out some words from the incoherent lip movements of laughter.

"Hearth. Stop. Tickles. Going to die."

********* Ok this is where I'm stopping this part as It gets pretty rated E after this. You don't have to read the smut, but you can if you want right here (http://archiveofourown.org/works/11600784/chapters/26987769)****************

Hearth awoke just as the sun was turning the sky orange. Blitz slept beside him still so he carefully slipped out of bed. In his groggy daze it took him awhile to find his clothes. He managed to find his grey joggers and wrapped a wool throw around his bare shoulders. The sky was starting to get pretty bright so Hearth walked over to the window to close the curtains so Blitz wouldn't wake up. His eyes widened in shock and curiosity when he saw a small blue tit perched on the sill urgently pecking at the glass. A tiny piece of paper was tied to its leg. Hearth quickly unlatched the window and the tiny colourful bird hopped inside. It stuck out its leg and Hearth carefully picked it up to untie the paper. Once the paper was free the bird took back off out the window. Hearth closed it and the curtains and went out to the sitting room. He examined the paper. It was plain white paper rolled into a small cylinder. 'Hearthstone' was written in small cursive letters in green ink. He felt his chest droop. He recognized the writing, as there was only one person he knew who sent letters by songbirds, a common thing among hulders. Hearth carefully unrolled to paper and read the contents.

Hearthstone,

I don't have a lot of room to write you a full explanation but I need your help. Something is wrong here. I think it has something to do with your brother. Things are happening and your father is acting strange. I wouldn't be writing you but you are the only person I know could help. Please be in your office Saturday at midnight.

(The runic symbols for 'friend' which happened to be ehwaz, which also means horse, which is interesting)

Inge

Hearth reread the letter at least 4 times to make sure he was processing what it said correctly. He then stared at the last sentence. It sounded like Inge wanted to meet with him but how could she. She was far away back at his father's home. She couldn't leave without his father's permission, so there was no way she could get away. As for the rest of the letter he was completely lost. He stared at the words 'your brother' hoping they might shift into words that made more sense. His brother had been dead for years. As for his father acting strange that perked his interest. His father may be cruel and greedy but he always kept up appearances even with his staff. The way he was perceived by other was always at the top of his priorities list. If he was acting strange enough for Inge to write to him after not seeing him in over 5 years then something must really be wrong.

At the same time Hearth felt uneasy about the note. With the recent events of his father's henchmen tracking him down he had a small seed of doubt sprouting in the back of his head. He wanted to believe the note wasn't real. It was a clever trick from his father, maybe even the bait for a trap. But the runic symbols for friends were clear as day. The day he left Inge had caught him breaking out of his locked room. She pulled him into a cupboard to hide him from his father who he hadn't heard was coming up the stairs. After the coast was clear he told her his intentions and she hugged him so fiercely he had a hard time breathing. She helped him get out and before he turned away for good he signed 2 words to her.

"Goodbye friend"

She merely let a tear out and signed back.

"Goodbye friend"

He knew she wrote those words to let him know it really was her.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt the couch sink down next to him. Blitz had snuck up on him in his distracted state. Blitz looked to the note he was holding quizzically. Hearth passed it to him hesitantly.

"Came this morning" he signed.

"Who's Inge?" Was the only question that Blitz asked when he was done reading.

Hearth's face pinched as he thought about what Inge was. Friend was probably the best way to describe her but she was a little more than that even after all this time.

"She is a hulder who is bound to serve my family. Only the ultra-elite have hulders instead of house elves. They are forest spirits. Her mother practically raised me. Taught me to sign. Then Inge was ordered to take care of me when her mom died. Inge is kind and gentle. She was my only friend growing up. My best friend. I haven’t talked to it seen her in 5 years. Father keeps his hulders under close watch." Hearth signed. His hands fell down after the long explanation.

Blitz nodded his expression blank. He reread the note. When he was done he asked another question.

“Do you know what's going on?"

Hearth shook his head.

"So are you going to be in your office on Saturday then?"

Hearth sat there still for a second and then gave a small nod.

***

Saturday came and Hearth headed to his office at 11 with both Blitz and Magnus. He figured it was probably best just in case it was a plot. They hadn't seen hide nor hair of his father's men since that night in midwinter but he still felt uneasy.

His office was what it was when he left Friday afternoon. A pile of papers on the use of runes in marking magical entrances laid on the desk waiting to be marked. Piles of books laid all over the rest of the desk some still open. He had forgotten to close his ink well and the quill still sat up in it probably all dried out. The rest of the office was pretty plain. Book shelves covered all the wall except the spot where a small fireplace sat not burning. The only other furniture besides his desk were the three plain wooden chairs. One behind his desk and two on the other side facing in. His old lodging behind the door behind his desk was now being used for storage by the staff.

Magnus walked in and started pursuing his library dragging his hands along the book spines. He quickly gave up and went to crash in the chair behind Hearths desk looking bored at the lack of action. Magnus had been on the side that it was a trap.

Blitz walked over to the window and opened it. A breeze rolled through his tower office. The smell of dusty books was now mixed with the smell of fresh spring air.

Hearth walked over to the fireplace and lite a fire. He then walked to one of the other chairs on the opposite side of the desk and sighed impatiently. No sign of Inge which was no surprise. Eventually Magnus started doodling on a plain piece of parchment on Hearth's desk. Blitz continued to lean against the window frame and lookout on the grounds. Hearth just stared blankly at the wall. He was nervous and on edge. He didn't know what to expect as midnight slowly crouched closer. And then midnight came and still no sign of Inge. At around 12:45 they all decided that whatever they were waiting for wasn't going to happen. Magnus left the tower complaining about being tired.

Hearth felt a little disappointed. He wasn't surprised that Inge didn't appear, but deep down he was still hoping she would. He hadn't seen her in years. Getting that note had stirred up some feeling and he was now missing her terribly. He mostly wanted to make sure she was ok. Blitz kept staring out the window and Hearth paced over to join him. When he got behind him Blitz turned around to face him. He must have looked upset because Blitz frowned at him and signed.

"You ok?"

Hearth just nodded and signed.
"I hope she is Ok"

Blitz just nodded. He reached out a hand toward his. He opened his mouth as if he was going to say something then he jumped back as if he was surprised. Hearth knew that look. He quickly turned around scanning the room for the source of the sound that startled Blitz. He saw nothing. He saw Blitz walk over to the fireplace a little cautiously. Hearth followed him. Then he saw Inge's face in the flames. Hearth’s heart skipped a beat and he hurried over to kneel in front of the fireplace. Blitz followed him down so that he too could see Inge better.

Hearth raised his hands to sign but quickly lowered them when he saw Inge begin to speak.

"Hearthstone I'm so glad I found you. How are you? You look so... so different. Look at you. You look well Hearth. Black suits you, also so does the new hair style. Very handsome." She said blushing slightly, or maybe it was just the flames licking up around her chin. Her lips were a little difficult to read with the flames and her accent after spending so long surrounded by Americans and Englishmen.

Inge looked just as she always did. Tiny chubby pixy face with pink cheeks and bouncy blonde curls. Her eyes were startling green like fresh foliage. They wrinkled in the corner right now as her smile lite up her face.

“You look just as pretty as you always have” Hearth signed which made Inge blush darker confirming his suspicion. “I’m so happy to see you again. I thought I would never see you again.”

“I did too” Inge said her smile wavering into a frown at the memory of their departing from each other hung in their memoires.
Hearth felt a small punch as Blitz elbowed him in the side.

“Oh I forgot, Inge this is B L I T Z E N” Hearth signed and then gestured Blitzen to Igne’s floating head. Blitzen waved kindly at her and then said “Hi Inge, it’s nice to meet you”
Inge smiled at him but it looked slightly forced and awkward.

“Hi Blitzen. I would say it’s nice to meet you too but unfortunatly the circumstances as to why I’m contacting Hearth make this a little hard.” She said and then turned back to face Hearth.

“What is it Inge?” Hearth asked.

Inge paused for a second and looked like she was listening for sounds behind her. After a few seconds she focused again on Hearth.

“Frightening things have been happening around here Hearth. I don’t know who to go to for help. Your father has completely lost it. He fired almost all his staff it’s only me and one other hulder now. And that’s not the worst of it.”

“What’s been happening Inge?” Hearth signed to encourage her. She bit her lip hesitantly then continued.

“ Well about a month ago things started happening. Like small magical like things. When the room would get too tense or anything things would go flying off the wall and shelves. Doors would slam and stuff like that. We thought it might just be a poltergeist or something, but our hulder magic told us it wasn’t. After about a week it slowly started to get worse. Glass would shatter constantly, doors ripped off hinges. My friend here was throw against the ceiling one night while she was mopping the floors. A fire started in the kitchen at 3am even though the fire in the stove had been put out long before. Your father started acting odd. He would fly into rages more often, he fired a bunch of staff, and got paranoid. He had his guards on watch all the time all over the house. He would talk to himself while he locked himself up in his office. Then the other week something happened that I am pretty sure explains it all…. I saw your brother Hearth. I was walking back to my corders when I heard a giggle in the kitchen. When I opened the door I saw him jump off the counter and run through the other door and slam it behind him. All the pots flew off the walls. I was so terrified. He didn’t look right. I mean he looked like your brother, but he didn’t. He was solid, not like a ghost, yet he was… blurry. His eye were glowing yellow. Hearth I think your father tried to bring him back, and he made a… he made a wratih.”

Inge finished her long explanation. Hearth felt his insides turn to stone. Beside him Blitz shifted uneasily. Hearth took a couple unsteady breaths.
“Inge are you sure?” he signed. Inge nodded solemnly.

“Hearth your father has lost it. I think the wraith is messing with his mind… he…he killed some hulders the night I sent you that letter. For no reason. He flew into a rage and just…” she broke off tears now streaming down her face.

Hearth felt his eyes widen in horror. He had no love for his father, but the hulders his father enslaved, well they were a different story. Right then he made up his mind.
“Inge the semester ends tomorrow. And I promise you I will be on my way back tomorrow evening. I’m going to try and help. I don’t know much about this kind of magic, but the least I can do is try and get you out of there safe. Will you be ok until tomorrow night?”

She just nodded tears streaming down her now beet red face. He felt Blitz’s hand grab his gently and looked over.
“I’m coming too” He saw Blitz say.

Inge looked up and Hearth saw a hand materialize to wipe her eyes then fall back down to hold their owner up in the fireplace again.

“Hearth I know you said you would never come back to this place, and I would never make you but I feel so afraid right now. I don’t know who else to turn to.”

“It’s ok. I would do anything for you. You’re my friend, my dearest friend. I’ll get you somewhere safe I promise.” Hearth signed back hoping to convey as much feeling as he could into his signs. This mad Inge begin to cry again.

After a few tearful seconds she stopped and tensed up. She went rigid still as if listening. Then gave a face like ‘I have to go’ and disappeared. Hearth kneeled for a while staring at the dying embers where Inge’s face had vanished processing the conversation hey just had. He felt Blitz’s hand touch his again on the cold stone floor bringing him back to the real world. Hearth turned to Blitz with what he hoped was an angry enough expression.

“You’re not coming with me. I won’t allow it.” He signed sharply.

Blitz glared back at him. The guy was a big softy, but when he was angry it showed, and it was intimidating. I was probably the clothes did it. Being glared at by someone in a suit and tie usually made the situation more intense.

“ You’re crazy if you think I’m letting you got here by yourself. You heard what Inge said. There’s no way anyone can handle that on their own.” Blitz said and he signed just as sharply and rapidly as he had.

Hearth huffed in anger.

“I’ll take Sam then, but you’re not coming. There’s no way. My father is literally E V I L.” he signed quickly. He was frustrated that Blitz couldn’t seem to comprehend this. He stood up before Blitz could fight back. He crossed his arms and leaned against the desk defiantly. He wasn’t letting Blitz win this argument. Blitz stood up and mimed Hearth by also crossing his arms and starring daggers at him back. “Your such an idiot. I can’t believe we are even having this argument. Not even you can be this thick” Hearth finished signing.
They had a kind of angry staring contest for about a minute before Blitz opened his mouth.

“I lost my dad already, I’m not losing you. I’m coming and that’s it” he said and then turned to walk out of the office before Hearth even had a chance to argue back. Hearth stood there fuming for what felt like hours. He stomped over to the window and looked out on the grounds. His mind was running a mile a minute processing both his issue with Blitz and what he needed to do about the problem now bubbling at his old home. He thought it odd that the book on wraiths was now currently sitting on Blitz’s coffee table, and he was having a hard time reading it. If there was a god Hearth thought her extremely cruel and twisted.

Hearth turned his back on the window and slid down to lay against the wall directly below the window on the floor. He closed his eyes and let out a breath. Before he knew it he had fallen asleep with exhaustion. Small child like ghost plaguing his dreams causing him to tremble in terror.

***********************

The next morning he was awoken by someone shaking him. He opened his eyes to see Magnus hovering over him looking somewhat frustrated somewhat confused. Hearth straightened himself, his back was sore from leaning against a stone wall all night. His hands, shoulder, back and feet were freezing.

“Dude what are you doing?” Magnus asked looking unimpressed.

Hearth just shot him a look. He didn’t feel like explaining himself or arguing with Magnus too. He got to his feet ignoring the helping hand Magnus held out.

“Blitz already told me what’s going on. And I have to say I agree with him. You’re not going there without us” Magnus signed as he spoke.

“Us?” he signed back.

“Yes Us. Last night Blitz came to get me and Sam to make a plan. We are all coming with you” Magnus signed back stubbornly.

Hearth fumed and let out a breath to show his anger. “You’re being just as stupid as him then” he signed hotly.

“Dude you can say whatever you want but you’re not winning this one” Magnus signed cool and collectedly as he spoke. He then stopped talking and signed. “Also Blitz had been crying all night. He’s scared for you and fighting with him didn’t help.”

Hearth’s anger dissipated slightly as guilt slowly crept into him.

“Magnus you don’t know my father or his men”

Magnus cut him off and signed silently.

“I don’t want to hear it Hearth. But you need to find Blitz and apologize. He’s standing outside this door right now. He wanted me to come in and talk sense into you. He thought if he came in it would make thing worse. But you’re going to go out there and make up or so help me…Then you need to get your things together. Sam says we leave at twilight.”
And with that Magnus turned and left. Hearth stood there dumbstruck. Magnus was never so strong and commanding. He guessed that was probably a sign Magnus was right. He took a few minutes to compose himself before he carefully exited the office. Like Magnus said Blitz was waiting for him down the stairs sitting ontop of a desk eye fixed on his shoes. He was still in the clothes he was in last night. He had bags under his eyes indicating he hadn’t slept much that night. Then he remembered that Magnus told him Blitz had cried most of the night. Hearth immediately felt like he was a slimy troll. How could he have done something so terrible to Blitz? His chest was twisted with guilt. He walked over to Blitz who looked up when he closed the door behind him. Hearth didn’t know what to say.

“I’m so sorry” He signed to Blitz from the top of the stairs. Blitz studied him blankly for a few seconds and then stood up and walked up the stairs to pull Hearth into a hug. Hearth knew he didn’t deserve Blitz or this hug, but he hugged Blitz back. The stood there hugging for what felt like forever until Hearth broke it. He raised his hand to apologize again but Blitz cut him off.

“Let’s just forget about it ok. We have to get ready for tonight”
Hearth nodded and followed Blitz back to their place.

Chapter Text

The first thing Alex did when she opened her office door was collapse to the floor from laughing. Confused Magnus found himself standing there awkwardly as she clutched her side and bent over or her feet laughing her butt off. He tapped his foot impatiently and Alex looked up, when her eyes met his face she burst out laughig again. She pointed to his now painfully short hair.

" Oh my God you look like a total goob" she choked out grasping her side.

Magnus frowned down at her as she finished laughing herself still and stood again. He ran his hands through the back of his hair.

"Blitzen cut it for me. Hearth said I looked too much like Kurt Cobain" Magnus said defensively.

"I like Cobain" Alex said. She had stopped laughing and was now smirking at him. She had changed into a pair of dark jeans and a bright green and pink argyle sweater with a bowtie tied around the collar of the white shirt she had on underneath. The long top of her green hair was slightly curled which Magnus thought looked super cute. Magnus felt himself blush. He ran his hands through his hair again feeling a little self conscious.

"So what do you want to do?" Alex asked breaking his awkward silence.

This got Magnus back on track with the plan Blitz helped him figure out.

"Its a surprise" he said smiling at her. She gave him a look and then reached out and grabbed his hand.

"Lets get going then" she said dragging him down the hall.

*

First step of Magnus's plan was to get to London. And thankfully for him he had the perfect plan to do this. He walked with Alex all the way to the forest and did his best dog call whistle. Not long after 3 large thestrals came out of the forest. They approached him slowly eyeing Alex suspiciously. Alex looked around but her eyes looked right through the leathery winged horses.

" Are we flying thestrals?" She asked sounding excited. Or at least Magnus hoped it was excitement.

" Ya, quickest way I know to get to London" Magnus said trying to sound like it was no big deal.

Alex's smile broke into a wide toothy grin. She raised her hands as if she was trying to touch one of the thestrals she couldn't see. Her hand was a tad too far to the left. Magnus reached out and guided her hand to the nose of the closest one. A male named Tiberius. Tiberius gently nuzzled into her hand smelling her. He seemed content with his new found friend and licked her with his slimy black tongue. She exclaimed her disgust, but kept smiling as she wiped the thestrals spit on her pants.

Magnus helped Alex onto Tiberius, and then hopped on his favourite threstral who showed up. She was a large female named Daffodil. The sky was clear and clam. Even high up only a gently southern breeze flew over them. Magnus would look over at Alex to see her still grinning like mad. After she got the hang of flying on a invisible leather horse she began holding out her arm against the wind as if she was gliding along with Tiberius. The ride to London took only an hour on these magical beasts. They landed in a nearby park with a small forest clearing. Magnus made sure to cast many spells to keep muggles and other wizards out for the time being, as well as spells to keep the threstral inside. He then summoned some skinned rabbit and tossed them into the trees to keep them happy.

So part 1 was a success. Alex loved the thestrals Magnus thought to himself. Now to move onto part two.

"Come on I want to take you to the best place in the world" He said to Alex unable to hide his excitement.

" Ok" Alex said as she locked her arm around his and followed beside him.

*

"This is the best place in London, scratch that, the whole world, to eat." Magnus said pointing to the small restraunt ahead. "They make their falafel fresh, and also have this amazing rose tea which will make you want to never eat anything but their food ever again."

Alex smiled at him.

"Good cuz I'm starving." She said opening the door.

The place wasn't the fanciest place ever, it was quite the opposite actually. It was small and outdated. The fridge cooler on the side had a light flickering, and there was only 4 small stools against a small bar facing out the window to the street. A teenage boy stood behind the counter on his phone. When they entered he put it in his pocket and greeted them enthusiastically. They ordered their food and watched as the kid went to start deepfrying small delicious chickpea balls. He made them their sandwhiches and poured some iced rose tea. When they went to sit at the window the guy slumped back over the counter pulling out his phone again.

Magnus had to stop himself from inhaling his falafel sandwiches like an industrial vaccumm. He didn't want to look too repulsive. But after her first bite Alex began to eat hers just as ravenously.

" Oh my God Magnus this is the best thing I have ever eaten!" She exclaimed to him with some garlic aioli smeared above the left side of her lip. Magnus felt his heart skip a beat. God Alex was amazing and beautiful.

" I told you it would ruin all other food for you. Man when I was on the streets I would eat here whenever I got the chance. Nothing can lift your spirits more then pure deep fried amazingness" he said between bites.

Alex bumped him with her shoulders as she too took another bite.

*

When they were done eating Magnus told Alex he had one more trick up his sleeve. She happily walked with him through the streets of London hand in hand. Magnus was worried his sweaty palms might ruin the moment but Alex didn't seem to mind. Instead she talked to him quite fanatically about how much she missed the hustle and bustle of the city. She loved the castle as well as being out in the mountains in nature. But it had been a long time since she had been in London. Apparently the last time she was here she and Hafborn had gotten into a tussel at the Leaky Cauldron and decided it was best to stick to the hiking and camping for days off after that.

"And then Halfborn picks the guy up by his shirt collar and walks him out him he was putting out an angry cat" Alex said as she recited her story. Magnus laughed at that. Halfborn was huge, Magnus would make a bet he was part giant or something. He would have no problem picking up a guy like they were merely a scrappy kitten.

When they got to their destination Magnus held out his hand with a playful "Tada".

Alex looked over at the window storefront Magnus had stopped in front of and a infectious flowing smile lite up her face. Magnus always passed this pottery studio when he was in London and immediately thought of it the moment Blitz suggested he take Alex to do something she loved.

"So I was thinking maybe you could show me some of your mad clay shaping skills" Magnus said enjoying the speechless happy face Alex was making.

"Only if you promise not to try and recreate that scene from Ghost" Alex teased punching him in the arm.

The pottery was a great idea in theory. Magnus was excited to do something he knew Alex enjoyed so much with her. Unfortunately he was a disaster. After watching Alex place down her clay and slowly begin to spin it effortlessly under her fingers he too tried to start his wheel. On his first attempt he hit the peddle too hard and his clay went flying off it with quite alot of force. He was glad that there was no one in its path when it went flying. The second attempt was a little better. He managed to get it spinning, but he wet his hands and the clay so much that when he went too fast he splattered clay all over himself and Alex.

Other then that it was alot of fun. Feeling the clay slid under your fingers was odly satisfying. Him and Alex chatted the whole time carelessly and Alex teased him merciously about his lack of artistic skills. When they had finished Alex had made a beautiful vase that flowered out at the top. Magnus had managed to make a deformed mug shaped vase that collapsed in a bit almost immediately when his wheel stopped because of how soggy and uneven his walls were. Still Magnus was proud of his creation.

Instead of letting them dry naturally like the other muggles they sneakily did it by magic and Alex used a spell she invented to magically fire them. They snuck their creations out so as to not bring up any odd questions. Magnus offered his deformed creation to Alex who laughed at it but still took it and held it kindly. She gave hers to him and he secretly decided that this was now his most precious possession.

The flight home went smooth. The bright lights of London soon began fade and were replaced by the dark calmness of the countryside.

After they got back Magnus walked Alex to her office. As they got closer he slowly began to feel more and more nervous and fidgety. As they walked across the grounds he awkwardly reached down to hold her hand. His hands were clammy and sticky but she didn't seem to mind. Magnus was doing his best to run over how to casually kiss Alex goodnight, but his brain seemed to be too busy to help him out. Instead he could only transfix on the fact he knew nothing about kissing. He wondered if it would have been weird to have asked Blitz advice on that. Probably would have been super wierd he decided.

Before he knew it they were both standing in front of Alex's door. Magnus turned to Alex still holding on to her hand. Something about holding it made him feel more grounded. Her hand was soft but strong, also holding it made him feel more confident that he wouldn't run away in fear by accident. He opened his mouth to say something but nothing came and he just closed his mouth probably looking like a stupid goldfish.

Alex smiled at him, her two toned eyes glint with a mischivious light again. She leaned forward and kissed him right on the lips. Magnuses eyes widened and he jumped a little in surprise. Then he was kissing her back. He pushed in and brought his hands up around Alex's shoulders. Alex' s hand went to his hips and she moved her lips under his. Being this close he could smell the sent of earthy clay and almond extract off of her. It made his head swim. He pulled her closer. His body moved closer and his mind subconsciously took over his lips. Alex returned the kiss. He found himself swaying on the spot with her connected by more than physical touch.

And then suddenly Alex pulled away and stepped back from him. She was now starting at her door so Magnus couldn't see her face. Her hand was on the door handle but she stood there frozen not moving to open it.

"Tanks for the great night Magnus. I had alot of fun" Alex said a little too quickly.

"Ummm No problem. Uh I had a lot of fun too" Magnus said a little confused. Had he done something wrong? Did his breath smell? Maybe he was as bad a kisser as he feared. He decided that was most likely explanation.They stood in silence for a second both still rooted in place. Magnus decided to break the silence that was killing him.

"Sorry I'm such a bad kisser" he said quietly.

To his surprise Alex let out a laugh. She turned to face him again. Wait, Magnus's brain corrected. He turned to look at him again. After spending so much time with Alex over the past year he had gotten pretty good at not needing to ask Alex what gender he was.

"Your not that bad a kisser" Alex said with a nervous smile.

Magnus felt his foot shake with nerves. He really wanted to kiss Alex again.

"Could I kiss you again?" He asked carefully. "I mean you just Ummm, look so handsome and..." He broke off feeling awkward as Alex raised an eyebrow at him. He then smiled and nodded.

Magnus stepped forward and continued his kiss a little more purposefully this time. Shortly after Alex broke it off and said something that really surprised him.

" Hey do you want to come for coffee or something?" He asked.

"Uh ya I'd love too" he answered. "Coffee? Coffee?, or 'Coffee?' " he finished inflicting the last word hoping his lack of explanation wouldn't confuse him.

Alex gave him a devilish grin.
"We'll see"

He opened his door and led Magnus inside.

****
And whatever happened in there is between Magnus and Alex.
****

Magnus left Alex's pretty late/ early in the morning. When he got back to his office to sleep he didn't wake up until around noon. He went to have lunch with Blitz since the guy demanded to hear how it went. Magnus got right up to when he kissed Alex goodnight outside his door and left it at that.

He had a feeling Blitz thought there might be more to the night, but he was thankful he didn't ask anything about it.

Chapter Text

Hey lovely MCGA fans,

So if you're reading this you have probably noticed I haven't updated in a very long time.

I'm sorry to leave you all hanging, but I have lost almost all interest in finishing this story. I am very disappointed in Rick Riordan. Is new books are garbage and it has made me lose interest in the fandom completely. They now read as if some ghost writers are just quickly pulling random idea from him together. The new books lack character development and logical and interesting plot lines. I have always written fan fiction because I found it fun and exciting. I have no intention on making it like a chore, which is what it would be if I continued.

I'm going to give rick one last chance with the 9 worlds book, but honestly I do not see it rekindling my passion for this fandom.

Again sorry to all the lovely people who read this fan fiction and left all those ovely comments and kuddos. You guys the real MVPs.