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i am not the one who has no heart

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The summer is terrible. The Dursleys are the same sneering, self-righteous, awful people he’d happily left at the beginning of the school year, and Ms. Figg is busy often with secret things she can’t mention to him. There is an instance where the Prophet arrives in the mail and her face whitens as she reads it; that is the only time she will ever tell him to go home early so that she can use the floo.

Aunt Marge comes to visit near the end; she brings with her one of her prized dogs, Ripper, who delights in chasing Harry into trees, and her belligerence and general distaste for anything Potter, which she loudly and unashamedly announces every time they meet. This time, however, Ripper quails before Lilla’s mechanical skeleton and large, predatory, slow-blinking eyes. He growls for show, cowers a moment, and goes to hide under Marge’s seat at the table. Harry’s half afraid and half hopeful he’ll be crushed if the chair fails her.

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It’s always hard to maintain his composure around Aunt Marge; when she starts in on Lily, ignoring the way Ripper’s whimpers from beneath her chair grow in volume and frequency, and how Lilla appears at the top of the stairs, eyes glittering like terribly sharp glass, it’s nigh on impossible. If there is anything Lilla protects more than Harry, it’s his mother, her namesake. Aunt Marge is inviting the wrath of Harry’s beasts by speaking this way.

But it isn’t the beasts that crack first; it’s the glass in Harry’s hands, shattering all over Aunt Petunia’s nice tile. He doesn’t say anything in the sudden silence, but his eyes stare reptilian into Aunt Petunia’s. Her face is white, with fury or fear he can’t tell, and he honestly doesn’t care at the moment.

“If you don’t stop,” he says to Marge, and his voice is very, very quiet and very, very calm, “I’ll make you.” She looks him in the eye, sneers, and says, “As I was saying, like the bitch-” She’s grown to expect complacency, obedience, and that is what gets her in the end.

She doesn’t finish her sentence. Ripper squeals like a stuck pig and flees for the next room; Dudley watches in extended horror as his aunt rises to the ceiling and bounces, roaring, and his cousin stands very still at the counter and watches her with flyaway hair and eyes so focussed they look glassy. Petunia is shrieking, and Vernon is turning red with his shouting. Harry doesn’t stay. He steps from behind the counter, gathers Lilla from the stairs, and when Vernon attempts to make him reverse it Lilla’s head rises from her boy’s shoulder and hisses long and angry. Vernon jumps out of the way, Harry opens the door and trundles through it with all of his things, once locked under the stairs, in hand up the street to Ms. Figg’s. He needs to borrow her fireplace.

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He doesn’t go to Diagon Alley. They’d be looking for him there first. He doesn’t go to the Burrow because they can’t guarantee his safety and he’s seen the state of Percy’s robes. They’re secondhand. He doesn’t want to escape there only to cause financial and legal trouble for Percy and Ginny’s family.

After hugging Ms. Figg goodbye, he steps into the green flames of her Floo and says clearly, “Malfoy Manor.”

And there he is.

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The Malfoy house elves tell him to wait in a parlor once it’s been determined that he’s not a threat. It isn’t very long before Draco storms into the room, eyes wide and gait stiffly controlled.

“What are you doing here ,” he hisses, and behind him is his father and another house elf, wringing its hands and tugging on its long, drooping ears.

“Mr. Potter?” Mr. Malfoy announces curiously, dragging the syllables into their own words. Harry nods. He’d stand to shake hands, but he doesn’t trust his body not to vibrate with anger.

“My apologies for showing up unannounced, Mr. Malfoy,” he says. The man smiles. “My relatives were being… less than hospitable, and I remembered that Draco had offered to let me stay over sometime this summer.”

He had, actually. During one of the calmer points of the previous year, Draco had offered lodging for the summer. And they can’t send him away; a single mention of such a thing would ruin the Malfoys in the public eye. Keeping him as a guest gives Lucius a reputation boost when Harry does return to school, and allows the man to learn more about Harry’s stance on certain issues. Harry doesn’t care at the moment about any of that: his head is still replaying Marge’s purpling face as she floated out the window like a balloon cut loose and Dudley’s hands covering his head as he retreated under the table.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Potter. We wouldn’t be so remiss as to throw out one of our dear Draco’s friends.” Mr. Malfoy’s smile is sharp, as though each of his teeth was saying hello as well.

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Lucius sends a notice into the Ministry that Harry Potter was in his custody that night. There is no backlash, really: with Dumbledore in a cell awaiting a trial, no one is there to truly protest his sudden proximity to the Boy Savior. Those who would lack the necessary political power to truly oppose him. Due to Lucius’ description of Marge’s demeanor and quotes that had led to her being inflated in his report, there was very little sympathy for the woman by the time Lucius was through with her. Everyone agreed that hearing someone say such a thing about their mother, much less the mother of the Wizarding Savior, would have resulted in much worse punishment, and the woman was very lucky. So lucky, in fact, that many got it into their heads to punish the woman with mild jinxes and hexes, like the Tripping Hex or the Stinging Hex or mild household charms to frighten her at night when her magically-induced bladder issues drove her out of bed. Of course, after such unfavorable behavior, no one requested that Harry return home. There was proof that the boy’s relatives had simply sat by and watched all of this occur! Surely they couldn’t be trusted with the care of a child, especially a magical child!

Harry is removed from their custody, then, and placed in the custody of the Ministry’s child services. As the Malfoys are capable of caring for a second child and have expressed no complaint at doing so for now, Harry is left in their home.

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There’s a murderer in the Prophet . Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather and Lady Malfoy’s cousin, who’d told Voldemort where to find Harry’s parents and then sought out and murdered Peter Pettigrew and thirteen muggles. Reporters flock to the gates; Lucius Malfoy smiles out the windows at them but scowls smartly when out of view. Lady Malfoy takes pity on Harry; “You needn’t leave the Manor through the gate,” she tells him. “We are connected to the Floo system.”

Lucius is the one to tell him “No comment” was fine to say to questions. “Giving them no answer means they can’t misconstrue your response beyond speculating of your reasons for keeping silent, and in this case they will likely be on your side no matter what you choose to imply.”

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Harry receives letters from everyone still. Percy and Ginny’s family won the lottery by some wild luck and went to Egypt on vacation. There’s a picture in the paper they send back of them posing in front of a pyramid. The way the Malfoys’ mouths screw up in distaste at the sight of the Weasleys’ numbers was enough to quirk Harry’s mouth in amusement.

Some of Harry’s Ravenclaws are worried about the rumors of Dementors being employed at Hogwarts this next year to catch Black; he’d reportedly been ranting about someone being Hogwarts, and how he’d kill him. People are worried he means Harry, but Harry isn’t so sure. Why come now, after all this time? According to Hagrid, Black had picked him up and held him the night of Voldemort’s attack. Why not just...drop the helpless, one year old baby down the stairs or out a window? It’d look like an accident, and the job would be done.

Harry sighed into his morning tea. Wizards were useless for practical things.

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Showing up at King’s Cross with Lilla slithering beside him and the Malfoys at his other side earns him strange looks. Not from his Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs, or even the Weasleys, who’d no doubt been slyly informed by Percy or Ginny to give them a subtle advantage. They’re all coming from Gryffindors (who look a little ill at the thought of the Saviour accompanying a Malfoy) and the Slytherins (who look just a smidge upset).

Speaking of Ginny, Harry’s glad to see Percy took his quiet suggestion and introduced Ginny and Luna, who appear to have caught on famously. They’d been trading letters over the summer and visiting in the field between their homes, and they come to King’s Cross arm in arm and chatting about how many nargles do you think Luna could get to live in her mistletoe necklace?

As a reward for Percy’s helpful nudge of Ginny in Luna’s direction (which has to be good for both girls in some way), Harry makes sure to introduce the seventh year to Lord Malfoy, who, as evidenced during Harry’s stay, is rapidly running out of patience with his current PA and needs someone meticulous, driven, and able to keep a secret. Percy was delighted by the introduction but hid it well, and Lord Malfoy was intrigued. Harry was careful to do it away from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for Percy’s peace of mind, but he didn’t imagine they’d be very excited about the match in the future, either.

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Returning to Hogwarts is like ensconcing himself in a hot bath he has spent all summer drawing for himself. The Slytherin table is yet again a hotbed of activity, and the first years alternate between stunned silence and incredulous laughter. The new Headmistress McGonagall practices her chastising stare from the faculty table until they’re quiet enough for her speech, which is punctual, to the point, and blessedly free of dire warnings or mentions of Dementors prowling the grounds. She does announce Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban and his reported interest in someone at Hogwarts, but it’s short and perfunctory and not once do her eyes skip to Harry’s.

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There is a terrible commotion when Black gets into the school and tears up the Gryffindor’s entrance portrait, but Harry doesn’t mind. It means he gets a nice, quiet sleepover with his Ravenclaws and Draco watches with narrowed eyes as they theorize Black’s motive.

“It’s well-known even at Azkaban that Harry’s a Slytherin, and Black’s not stupid,” says Mandy Brocklehurst, a girl in Harry’s year. “So Black’s not after Harry, he’s after a Gryffindor.” Thus begins the game of throwing out a name and saying the reasons why or why not Black might be targeting that person. The nearby Gryffindors are staring at each other with wide eyes, and the Slytherins are (quietly, sophisticatedly) snickering into their bedrolls at their expressions.

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It’s at this point that Dementors are mentioned in talks of how to keep Black out or possibly capture him. The Headmistress won’t hear of it, and makes a point of owling Lucius Malfoy, a parent on the school’s Board, about the suggestion from the Ministry of stationing Dementors in a school his child attends. He wastes no time swooping into the school and utterly destroying every argument the suggestee puts forth by reminding them all that yes, Black is likely to be on school grounds, but so are several hundred students .

Harry is informed of all of this by Draco, who is suitably relieved that the Headmistress hadn’t agreed to Dementors on the grounds to the extent that he says something about “she’s already better than Dumbledore. I mean, in regards to life-threatening things being placed in schools.”

Harry agrees, and wishes there were some magical way to find out who Black’s looking for and deal with that.

Aurors are posted around and inside the school at all major entrances and most of the minor ones. Lord Malfoy also insists that warding be placed to alert the Board and Ministry to Black’s appearance.

Despite all of this, however, Black continues to get inside.

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Care of Magical Creatures is taught by Professor Grubbly-Plank and her new teaching assistant. Harry catches Draco’s irritated eye and tells him, quietly, that if he ruins this class for Harry he will suffer for years onward. The gleaming eyes of cackling Ravenclaws over Harry’s shoulder is enough to convince the boy, who pouts through about half of the first class before realizing that they’re not learning about Blast-Ended Skrewts, at least, which is always a good thing.

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In the end it doesn’t matter. Professor Lupin is a werewolf and knows nothing important, Peter Pettigrew is still alive, and Sirius Black isn’t yet a murderer but is willing to become one if it means Pettigrew ceases to exist.

Harry’s Hogwarts-based team of beasts records audio of Sirius Black in a shack in Hogsmeade (their range has been expanded for this project) yelling blue murder at what appears, in the beginning of the recording, to be a rat. By the end, however, Remus Lupin bursts into the scene and whispers, sounding shocked and crumpled and broken, “Sirius. Peter?

There is a shuffling, snuffling sound, and then a man begins to wheedle plaintively, “Remus, my old friend, please, help me, he’s mad! He’s going to kill me!”

The man is not Sirius Black, for he immediately starts in with “Of bloody course I am! You betrayed Lily and James to His Prickiness, you left me there to take the fall, you were the Death Eater spy!”

There is a silence filled only with snuffling, presumably from Pettigrew. It is filled rather suddenly. “He lied to me! He had my mother! He promised fame and glory and being out from underneath Perfect Potter and Brilliant Black’s shadows!

Lupin makes a gagging sound here. He begins to cry.

The recording cuts off here as the beast sent off to alert the Aurors has returned with eight in tow. Black is reported to have leashed and tied Pettigrew, and only releasing him into Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody’s custody upon being promised the rat’d reach trial and most likely Azkaban for his crimes.

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The Ministry attempts to cover the whole thing up, but the Board (who had, of course, heard everything in the beast’s recording) organized a press release into the Daily Prophet , the Quibbler , and anything else a Hogwarts parent might read. For the muggle parents, owls were sent to their homes, as they too had been informed of Black’s interest in someone at Hogwarts. Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew are given dates for trials, with Pettigrew’s before Black’s so that whole business is hopefully cleared up if Black is innocent or not.

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There is a moment where he is pulled aside by Ginny and Percy pull him aside and explain to him why the youngest Weasley male had been seen to be of a pale complexion and far-away mind.

“Peter Pettigrew set himself up as the Weasley family rat,” said Percy, looking disgusted even as he spoke. “He was mine for a few years, but when I became a prefect our parents gave me an owl, so I passed my old pet to Ron, who was starting school that year. So Pettigrew was watching myself and Ron sleep for years,” Percy explained. This did indeed give reason to the boy’s subdued, seemingly shocked demeanor. Harry decided that such circumstances warranted a beast so that the boy could learn to trust again.

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Headmistress McGonagall calls Harry up to her office after classes end soon after that. Sirius Black has been declared innocent; Peter Pettigrew is guilty for accessory to the murders of James and Lily Potter by giving their hidden location away to a mass murderer knowing the man was targeting their young son.

She gives him his father’s cloak.

“It was in Albus’ things,” she tells him, “and I think your father would rather you have it. It’s a bit of a Potter family heirloom, if I remember correctly.” She told him she’d actually found it a while ago, but it didn’t seem right to give it to him when there was a murderer about who could try to take it. Now that Sirius Black was free and Pettigrew was behind bars in Azkaban, she felt he could handle it.

She also gave him a letter from Black.

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The letter reads that Sirius Black has moved back into Grimmauld Place, as it is an ancestral Black house, and, as his godfather and someone who’s heard that bad things happen to Harry at his relatives’ home, is offering Harry a place to stay.

You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Arabella Figg was just telling me she thought I should make the offer known. Also, Dumbledore was never lawful in placing you there. Your parents’ will dictated that you be placed with myself or Remus Lupin in the event of their death, and obviously that didn’t happen. It also stated that under no circumstances were you to be placed with Petunia Evans or her family. So. The offer’s open if you’d like to take it.

Harry’s summer was shaping up to be better and better.

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Professor Lupin was fired nearing the ending of the year for his involvement in the arrest of Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. It was determined that he had been using some sort of spell to monitor a tunnel that no one else knew of and that he hadn’t bothered to report the existence of to the Aurors. It was decided that he wasn’t being charged with anything, but Headmistress McGonagall had received numerous complaints from the students’ parents and unfortunately couldn’t keep him on staff. She was, however, perfectly willing to write him references as he was an excellent teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts.

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As the year winds to a close and the train pulls into Hogwarts’ station, Harry drags Percy Weasley over to Lord Malfoy just to see the Weasleys’ faces when Percy is offered the position of Lord Malfoy’s assistant for the upcoming year and a reconsideration after a few months to see if Percy has been able to handle his work until that point. He also assigns one of his own house-elves, Dobby, to his new assistant (probably in the hopes of getting the creature away from him so he doesn’t have to deal with the rule-breaking and subsequent outrageous punishments that make lots of noise and wake everyone in the manor at one in the morning ) while the incredulous Weasley family looks on. Dobby appears exceedingly delighted to be given a task that doesn’t involve secrets yet.

“He wants wages and clothes,” Lord Malfoy explains, looking exasperated. “I authorize his receiving of these things so long as he stays in your service and performs his tasks well and to your satisfaction.”

Percy is grinning. In public. Harry is too, behind his hand of course. He’s happy for Percy; he knows before this offer he was planning a life underneath the Minister of Magic which, while prestigious, came with his employer constantly forgetting his name or claiming his achievements for himself. This would be much more advantageous for the ambitious Weasley.

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“Don’t think you’re coming back here after a display like that !” Molly Weasley shouts, outraged and humiliated in the face of Percy’s jubilation and Dobby’s exuberance. “Tell him you don’t accept, and you can return. Think about what he’s done to your father!”

Behind Molly’s back, Arthur smiles at his son proudly and flashes him a thumbs-up. Why? Because sometimes accepting someone has made choices that make them happy, despite the unhappiness brought unto you, is the right thing to do. As long as Lucius isn’t cruel to Percy, Arthur will encourage his son’s choices until such time as they change to something else, and then he will support that too. There’s no use encouraging future animosity when everything could be smoothed over for good and forgiven.

“Not a problem, Mr. Weasley,” Lord Malfoy interjects smoothly, placing a hand on Percy’s shoulder. Molly sputters in rage. “As your employer, I would be happy to assist you in finding adequate lodgings.” He leads Percy away, his wife and son following, and as they turn a corner to walk out of view, he glances back at Arthur and - nods. Arthur nods back.

“Arthur! What was that?” Molly shrieks.

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Harry catches a ride on a flying motorcycle still laughing and has to explain his mirth to Sirius, who’s steering the invisible motorcycle and sidecar into the grey London sky and turning in the direction of Grimmauld Place. They both get a good laugh over the whole thing, and Harry’s summer begins.

(He ends up owling the contact information of one of his Ravenclaws’ wizarding real estate agent uncle to Percy within a few days, wary of leaving Percy completely at the mercy of the Malfoys, however benevolent they may be.)

END OF YEAR THREE: PRISONER OF AZKABAN

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Questions for readers about GoF:

  1. Should Tri-Wizard still go the same, now that Percy isn’t Barty Crouch’s assistant? And is actually treated with respect because his job is well done? (just alternative Tasks, drama with the lack of Crouch, stuff like that)
  2. Neville’s beast should be? Something big, for plot purposes, but what? Ideas please! :)
  3. Birthday presents for Harry, since he’s getting an actual birthday this year? (what, from who, and why you think so, please, to help me decide :)
  4. Ron’s beast form should be? Definitely big cat for plot purposes, but which one? Please suggest ideas that you think would fit him: lion/lynx/caracal/etc! :)
  5. Shipping ideas for characters other than Harry? Might be fun to sneak that in for later chappies, sort of “shipping one-shots” or something? (note that this will likely be slow burn or at least not sexual for a while.)
  6. If George and Fred are getting beasts, what should they be?
  7. Does anyone have an OC Ravenclaw they’d like to see in this fic, or a canon Ravenclaw I haven’t included yet? There’s a slot in GoF where I need one but I haven’t picked one yet so I thought I’d let y’all choose your fav :D