Actions

Work Header

The Wands of Marmora

Chapter Text

Cover art below!

book 5 cover

Lance sighs, trying to stay awake as his brother, Marco, flips aimlessly through the channels on the TV. The house has been quiet for the past month and a half Lance and Marco have been home from school. Lance, Marco, and their older brother, Carlos, are the only ones home since Luis and Isa have been sent on a special Ministry trip to deal with something that they both claim to be “confidential.” Lance’s twin sisters, Hannah and Lucy, aren’t home either because they’re each with their significant other in a different country. Lucy is with Ryland and his family in Ireland while Hannah is with Tasha Parks and her family in France. Lance would probably be less bored if he had Keith over like the plan was so he wouldn’t have to spend time in foster homes, but ever since Shiro managed to clear most of Krolia’s name, he’s been living with her.

Don’t get him wrong - Lance is ecstatic that Keith finally gets to live with a parent, but Lance misses having him around.

“Ugh! Marco! Pick a damn channel and stay there!” Carlos yells, clearly getting annoyed from his relaxed position on the couch.

Lance looks over at Marco from the chair he’s in. Since Carlos decided to hog the whole couch, Lance claimed the chair which left the carpet for Marco.

“Jeez, fine!” Marco exclaims, stopping on the news channel. “Let’s see if anyone has died since You-Know-Who came back.”

Carlos chucks a pillow at Marco. “That’s rude!”

Lance ignores their bickering as the day’s headlines are announced, feeling relieved when there’s nothing about mass destruction or anything that could indicate the work of the evil wizard, Lord Zarkon.

As he opens his mouth to say something, a thunderous crack rips through the neighborhood which causes the lights to flicker and causes Lance and his brothers to jump up in fear.

“What the hell was that?” Lance wonders.

“It could be someone either apparating or disapparating,” Carlos answers, pulling his wand out. “We should go investigate.”

Marco and Lance pull their wands out too and follow Carlos outside. He leads them through the immense fields in their backyard towards the forest where the noise originated. Trees start popping up as they get farther away from their house. It starts off as trees spread apart but gets gradually denser and darker. The boys make their wands brighter once they get deeper into the forest.

The more they walk, the more Lance begins to get lost in his thoughts. He hasn’t heard anything from his best friends, Pidge, Keith, and Hunk. Well, Lance doesn’t really blame Hunk because his parents had to go on the Ministry trip with Luis and Isa so he’s staying with Shay’s family. However, he is mad at Keith and Pidge because he’s sent them numerous letters but hasn’t heard anything from them. Lance is beginning to think something’s up with them, but he can’t really confirm anything since neither are talking to him.

Lance breaks out of his thoughts when the sky suddenly gets darker and the air gets even colder. He sees Marco pointing at some frost beginning to form on the trees and grass around them. “What the hell is that?!” he demands.

“Dementors,” Lance says breathlessly.

“Excuse me?” Marco wonders with a raised eyebrow.

“Guys, get your wands ready to attack,” Lance instructs, lifting his wand up.

Carlos lifts his, muttering Lumos so the tip of his wand glows. “What do you-ah!” He winces as Lance sees a Dementor float past his head.

“Carlos!” Lance exclaims. He raises his wand, taking a deep breath, focusing on the happiest memory he can think of: winning his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts. “Expecto Patronum!”

He expects a white light to come out of his wand but nothing happens. Lance starts to panic, seeing both of his brothers beginning to lose their energy. He thinks of a different memory, thoughts heading towards Keith and how they spent the entire summer together last year…

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” Lance yells.

A blast of white light bursts out of his wand and a mighty, majestic Phoenix Patronus flies out of the tip of his wand. Its wings open widely before rocketing off into the sky, circling above the Dementor before chasing it away.

phoenix patronus

Lance lowers his wand, breathing heavily while his brothers look at him in awe.

“Lance, how did you-” he starts but stops when they see an older woman approaching them.

The three McClain brothers begin to panic, trying to hide her wands, but the woman holds her hands up. “Wait! Keep those out! There could be more Dementors nearby,” she says.

“Who are you? Are you a wizard too?” Marco wonders.

Lance shoots a glare at him for asking such a dumb question while Carlos hits him lightly on the arm.

“No,” she replies, “and I’m your neighbor from down the road, Mary Figg. I’m a Squib.”

“What’s a-” Marco starts.

“That means she has magic parents, but no magical abilities of her own,” Carlos hisses at him. “ Now shut up.

She motions for them to follow her back to the McClain house. “A wizard named Trugg Kroh was in charge of following Lance to keep him safe, but she must’ve left her watch to go buy some more stolen cauldrons.” They arrive at the front door and Mrs. Figg stops Lance before he walks inside. “Lance, Shiro will soon know that you used your magic outside of Hogwarts, but he’ll do everything he can to sort it out.”

Lance opens his mouth to ask what he’ll have to sort out, but another loud crack sounds through the street and another woman appears, holding a sandwich. She tilts her head in confusion. “What’s this?”

“Trugg, go back to Hogwarts and explain to Shiro why Lance needed to use his magic,” Mrs. Figg instructs. “There were Dementors and he had to use the Patronus spell.”

Trugg nods then disapparates once again. Mrs. Figg makes sure Lance gets safely in the house before heading back to her own house. Lance walks inside and shuts the door, walking over to his brothers who are standing in the living room. They immediately start trying to make sense of what happened, but an owl flies through the open window and drops a letter into Lance’s hands. He slowly opens it and sees it’s a letter expelling him from Hogwarts and it says that someone will be arriving shortly to destroy his wand.

His eyes widen in fear as he hands it off to Carlos to read. “That can’t be true, right? I was defending us!” Lance exclaims.

“Shiro will fix it,” Carlos reassures him. “Don’t worry.”

Suddenly another owl flies through the window, dropping another letter into Lance’s hand. He notes that this one is from Pidge’s father, Samuel Holt. Lance opens it eagerly and reads that Shiro is attempting to sort the issue out with the Ministry of Magic and that Lance should not surrender his wand nor leave his house.

Just as he finishes reading that letter, a third owl appears and drops the letter into Marco’s hand. “What’s that one say?” Lance asks.

“It’s from the Ministry,” Marco says as he starts opening it. “Oh, there’s a disciplinary hearing for you on August Twelve. You’re allowed to keep your wand until then.”

Lance opens his mouth to reply, but a fourth owl flies in, Lance recognizing this one as Rover. He eagerly grabs it, hoping it’s a letter from Pidge, but his spirits diminish slightly when he sees it’s from Krolia instead. He opens it up and furrows his eyebrows in confusion when it just reads:

krolia's letter

“Okay, what the hell is going on?” Carlos asks.

The boys end the night discussing theories in the living room before heading up to bed.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Lance writes two letters, each addressed to Keith and Pidge respectively then asks his owl, Blue, to deliver them. He instructs her to peck at each of them until they write him substantial replies. Blue coos at him, rubbing her head against Lance’s chin before flying away.

He stretches and starts changing into different clothes, but he hears a loud crash from downstairs, startling him. Lance runs out of his room and finds Carlos and Marco out there too. The three brothers pull their wands out and cautiously make their way down, Carlos leading them. They watch the front door unlock and swing open, revealing nine wizards standing there. Lance recognizes two of them, Zethrid Rozinov and Lotor Isola, but he has no idea who the rest are. “The hell?” Marco wonders, lowering his wand. “Who are you people?”

Lotor steps forward. “We’ve come to transport you three to a temporary safe place to await Lance’s hearing so you three aren’t put in any more danger.” He smiles at the boys. “Surely you haven’t forgotten me?” Lance notes the scars on the left side of his face from when he and Krolia fought during Lance’s third year. Lotor had transformed into a full werewolf and Krolia had to shift into a puma to protect the kids. After the fight, Lotor came out with three nasty scars on his face, one over his left eye and two on his left cheek from Krolia’s claws.

“Of course not!” Lance exclaims, running down the stairs to hug him. “I wish my dad was here, he’d be excited to see you.” He releases Lotor and looks at Zethrid. “It’s nice to see you as yourself and not down in that chest.”

Zethrid chuckles. “I can assure you it feels good to not be down there. Now, you and your brothers need to go pack your things. Ezor will explain who these people are to you.” She motions at a younger-looking wizard with long brown hair and pink highlights.

“Hello, Lance! I’m Ezor Parisi!” she exclaims greeting him. “Shall we?” She gestures upstairs.

Lance nods and begins leading her up there. “So, why so many of you?”

“There’s power in numbers, but I think Kolivan wanted to make sure you three were protected,” she exclaims. “Kolivan Mae is sort of our leader - he’s the one with the scar across his eye and looked pissed off. The other wizards down there were Ulaz Akashi, Regris Viana, Trigel Oyama, Blaytz Mclaren, and Ryner Collier. They’re all part of our…team.”

“What kind of team?” Lance wonders as he grabs a handful of shirts to shove in his trunk, but he drops them when he sees Ezor’s hair suddenly shorten and turn a dark green. “Whoa! How’d you do that?!”

Ezor giggles. “I’m a metamorphmagus. That means I can change my appearance at will.”

“That’s so cool!” Lance exclaims, hurrying to pick up his shirts to shove them in his trunk. He packs the rest of his clothes and supplies and he and Ezor bring it downstairs along with Blue’s cage.

They head back downstairs and Lance finds Lotor writing on a piece of paper then ties it to the McClain owl before sending him off.

lotor writing letter

“Alright, I’ve alerted Luis of where his sons are going. Shall we leave?" Lotor wonders.

Lance looks around the room for the rest of the wizards that were here but only Kolivan, Zethrid, Lotor, and Ezor are left. He doesn’t ask questions when the man with the scar across his eye nods and motions for everyone to follow him outside. “We will fly there on broomsticks. Everyone get ready - wait for the signals!”

Lance and his brothers gather their things and brooms and head outside, waiting to take flight. The other wizards join them, also with brooms. Lance decides they must’ve been outside keeping watch. Out in the distance, Lance sees red sparks fly up into the air.

“There’s the first signal,” Kolivan states. “Let’s go!”

“On your broom, Lance,” Lotor gently instructs.

“Form up around the boys! Make it snappy!” Zethrid instructs, pointing at everyone as they begin to take formation around Lance, Marco, and Carlos. “We’ll be flying in close-quarters formation. Lance, Ezor will be right in front of you so keep close to her at all times.”

She steps back and looks at everyone. “Now, don’t stop, and whatever you do, don’t break formation. If any of us are killed, the rest of you keep flying. If that does happen, the survivors fly to the east - the rear guard is standing by…they will find you.”

Ezor scoffs. “Stop being so cheerful, Zethrid.”

“We must be prepared! This would be the perfect time for Zarkon to strike Lance,” Zethrid replies.

“Uh, is that likely?” Marco wonders from beside Lance.

“No one’s going to die,” Kolivan interjects as blue sparks blast into the sky.

“Second signal!” Lotor exclaims.

“Mount your brooms everyone! Here we go!” Zethrid exclaims as she gets on her own broom.

Lance and everyone around him follows suit, preparing to take off at any second. Green sparks suddenly explode into the sky and Zethrid raises her arm. “Third signal! Let’s go!”

green sparks

Everyone kicks off from the ground and take off into the sky. Lance can’t help but find himself smiling while on his broom. Despite the circumstances being so dire, he can’t help but be happy at every opportunity he gets to fly. Lance looks up, noticing they haven’t reached the clouds yet.

“We need more height!” Zethrid shouts.

Seconds later, Lance hears a shout and sees a Dementor soaring towards them, tattered robes snapping and billowing in the wind. His eyes widen in fear, but he remains calm when he sees that the others around him are calm.

“Contacts to the south!” Zethrid exclaims.

“Zethrid, you, Ezor, and Lotor take the boys! We’ll slow them down!” Kolivan orders.

She does as told and she, Ezor, and Lotor lead Lance and his brothers away from the group. Lance looks around at the sky, checking for more Dementors but it appears to be clear. As he turns back forward, he yelps when one comes flying straight at him.

“Zethrid! There’s another one!” Lotor yells.

Lance readies his wand. “Expecto-”

“Lance, leave it to us!” Lotor exclaims, peeling away towards the Dementor.

“No!” Lance’s voice breaks as he shouts after him.

He watches as Lotor flies straight at the Dementor, which smoothly flips upward and away from him. Lance expects it to fly down at Lotor, but Lotor is one step ahead of it. He twists his broom around, wand drawn, and points it at the Dementor. “EXPECTO PATRONUM!”

A blast of white light explodes from the tip of his wand and a mighty wolf leaps out, snarling at the Dementor before chasing it away. Lance watches in awe at the figure, not expecting Lotor’s Patronus to be an ordinary wolf of all things. He’d have to ask questions about it later.

lotor's wolf patronus

Lotor rockets past Lance, Marco, Carlos, Ezor, and Zethrid. “Get them to the safe house!” he exclaims before disappearing.

“Come on, Lance! Keep moving!” Zethrid instructs.

“But I can help him!” Lance protests.

Zethrid huffs in annoyance. “Getting yourself killed won’t do a thing! Now move!

Glaring at Zethrid, Lance wheels his broom around and the five of them set off again, leaving the battle behind. As they fly for a few more minutes, Lotor and the rest of the guard finally return, intact and without injury. Lance feels if he were there, the process could’ve gone much faster.

“Are they gone?” Zethrid asks Kolivan.

He nods in response. “They’re all gone.”

“We’re here!” Ezor exclaims, pointing down at a neighborhood that has suddenly appeared below them.

Lance doesn’t recognize this part of London. It’s more run down than where he’s been in the city, but it looks like one of the poorer Muggle sections of it. The group begins to descend to the ground, keeping formation around Lance and his brothers. Once on the ground, the guard draws their wands. Lotor places a hand on Lance’s shoulder. “Stay here, Lance,” he instructs as several of the advanced guard move to secure the perimeter.

Lance is one hundred percent sure if Keith were here, he’d be super antsy to get moving once again. Keith’s not one for waiting patiently for things he wants.

“Clear!” Kolivan exclaims.

“Right, McClains, this way,” Zethrid instructs, leading them towards the building. Lotor and Ezor follow behind with their wands drawn, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. As they approach, Zethrid hands Lance a small piece of paper. “Here, read it and memorize it.”

Lance takes the paper from her and reads:

 

The headquarters of the Wands of Marmora may be found at

Number 12 Grimmauld Place, London

 

Before Lance has a chance to ask a question, Zethrid takes the paper back and promptly sets it on fire, destroying it. Lance looks back up at the building and notices that another section has appeared between 11 and 13 but the bricks are discolored slightly darker than the rest. Zethrid, Ezor, and Lotor hurry Lance and his brothers inside number 12. Looking around, Lance notes the sullen mood of the place with the peeling wallpaper and a threadbare carpet. Whoever lives here really likes the color black and anything in that color spectrum.

To one side there’s a staircase leading to the next level and at the base of the stair is a dirty, graying sheet hanging there as if it’s covering something. Lance has to resist pulling it down to see what it could be hiding. As the other members of the advanced guard walk in and head down the hall, Lance steps to the side and accidentally runs into an umbrella stand, knocking it over. To steady himself, he reaches out for the nearest thing to hold onto which so happens to be the drape on the wall. He pulls it off mistakenly to reveal a portrait of an unpleasant, old, thin, woman.

“Filth! Scum! Mutants! Freaks! Begone from this place!” the woman shrieks. “How dare you befoul the house of my fathers!?”

Lance opens his mouth to tell the portrait off, but suddenly Krolia Kogane runs into the hall, skidding to a halt next to Lance and looks at the portrait. She glares at it. “Shut up you miserable old hag! Quiet!”

“Blood traitor, abomination, shame of my flesh!” the woman shouts at Krolia.

Krolia rolls her eyes. “Yes, whatever! Do shut up!” She throws the sheet over the picture and the yells die away. Krolia huffs in annoyance before turning to Lance, smiling widely when she sees him. “Oh, there’s my favorite godson!” She pulls Lance into a tight hug, causing Lance to laugh.

Lance hugs her back, having missed her dearly. They embrace for a few more seconds before Lance pulls away. “Who was that woman in the picture?” he asks.

“My dear old mother,” Krolia replies.

“Why is her portrait hanging up here?”

“This house has been my family’s for centuries, Lance. It’s mine now,” Krolia responds. “I’m the last of the Madelinas so I offered it as headquarters to Alfor originally and now Shiro uses it. It’s the most useful thing I’ve been able to do for a long time.”

“I think Keith would disagree, Krolia,” Colleen Holt suddenly says from the bottom of the stairs.

Lance looks over at her and smiles. “Hi, Mrs. Holt.”

“Hello, Lance,” she greets. “Pidge and Keith are both upstairs waiting for you. They’ll fill you in.” She turns to Marco and Carlos. “You two can come with me.”

Lotor walks back down the hallway and motions for them to follow. “Come on, the meeting’s about to start.”

Krolia reaches up to ruffle his hair but Lotor swats her hand away playfully. “Still have an obsession I see,” he comments.

Krolia laughs loudly but it fades away when she looks at the scars on his face. She reaches up and gently traces her finger down the one on his lower cheek. Lotor takes her hand and kisses it softly. “Krolia, don’t do that to yourself,” he says.

“I don’t think I ever apologized,” she replies.

“No need,” Lotor says as he links arms with her. “You did what you had to do to protect the kids. I don’t blame you for it…besides, they make me look cool.”

Krolia scoffs. “Yeah, okay.” They share a laugh as they walk down the hallway together. Colleen takes Carlos and Marco and brings them down the hallway as well.

Once they’re gone, Lance runs up the stairs and spots his friends in one of the bedrooms. Keith sees him and immediately rushes over to hug him. “Lance!” he exclaims. “I’m so happy to see-”

Suddenly feeling angry again, Lance pushes Keith away. “How could you?! You both kept me in the dark all summer!” Keith steps back, dumbfounded as Lance brushes past him and into the room where Pidge is. “What gives?!” He plops down on one of the beds and crosses his arms.

Pidge rubs her forehead and Lance notices where Blue pecked her hands. Lance looks over at Keith’s hands when he sits next to him and notices the same marks. For a brief moment, Lance is happy to see their cuts before feeling guilty about it.

“Lance, Shiro made us promise not to send you any letters,” Pidge says. “It would’ve been too dangerous.”

“If we would’ve told you about the Wands of Marmora, everything would’ve been ruined,” Keith says, looking down at his hands. He starts picking at the scars from Blue and Lance reaches over to stop him.

“Just…fill me in now,” Lance says. “What are the Wands of Marmora?”

“They’re a secret society comprised of people who wish to prevent Zarkon’s return to power. They’ve been busy following known Galra Phantoms and standing guard over you,” Pidge explains. “We only know about it because our parents have been directly involved in it. Dad sent mom and me here with Keith and Krolia to keep us safe but your dad didn’t want you nor your other siblings to know so he gave specific instructions to everyone to say nothing.”

“Is that why he let Hannah and Lucy leave the country?” Lance wonders.

“Probably,” Keith replies. “I hated every second of not being able to tell you, but I didn’t want to put your life in danger.”

“Plus, I don’t think you would’ve wanted to hear about the case the Daily Prophet has been building against Keith all summer about him being an egotistical liar,” Pidge adds.

Lance sighs and laces his fingers with Keith’s, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. “Okay, I forgive you two. Now that I think about it, I’m kinda happy I didn’t know about it ‘till now. The summer had been calm for once.”

Pidge smiles then stands up. “I’m gonna go see if dinner’s ready. I’ll see you two down there.” She leaves the room.

Lance turns and looks at Keith when he feels him playing with his hand. “Did you enjoy a break from me?” Keith wonders.

“Keith, don’t be stupid,” Lance replies, standing up. “Of course I missed you! You made life interesting over the summer! I had to deal with Marco by myself!”

Keith giggles and stands up to face Lance. “Yeah, I’m sorry about that too. I liked spending the summer with you and your family, but it was nice to be with my mom.”

“I bet! She seemed happier when I saw her downstairs. Were you two able to do anything together over the summer?” Lance wonders.

“Occasionally we’d go out to eat in muggle areas but we avoided the wizarding world for obvious reasons,” Keith shares as they head downstairs. “It didn’t really matter to me what we did. I was just happy to be with her again.”

“How’s Red doing?” Lance asks. “I haven’t seen her.”

“She likes napping in my mom’s room for some reason,” Keith replies. “I’m sure you’ll see her later.”

As they reach the dining room, they hear two voices arguing with each other. “Krolia, they do not need to know all of that right now!” Colleen Holt exclaims.

“Keeping them in the dark didn’t do them any good either,” Krolia retorts. “Colleen, they need to know what’s happening. The Ministry won’t do sh-oh hi boys!”

The two moms turn when they see Lane and Keith standing in the doorway. Lance raises an eyebrow at them while Keith crosses his arms. “What were you two talking about?” Keith wonders.

“Colleen here doesn’t think you, Lance, and Pidge are ready to know anything about what’s happening,” Krolia shares, walking over to him. “I disagree.” She runs her fingers through Keith’s hair and kisses his forehead. “They’re not children.”

“They’re not adults either!” Colleen exclaims. She crosses her arms. “He’s not Seth and Lance isn’t Rosa.”

“I’m fully aware of who they are, Colleen. They have a right to know,” Krolia replies coldly.

Colleen huffs and crosses her arms as Pidge, Carlos, and Marco come running in to listen. “We get to know things now?” Pidge wonders.

“No,” Colleen says.

“Colleen, they deserve to know after everything they’ve been through,” Lotor says, walking into the room. “Just let us answer some questions.”

“Fine.” Colleen huffs and walks out of the room.

Everyone pulls up chairs and sits down to discuss the questions. “Okay, so where’s Zarkon and what’s he doing?” Lance asks first.

Krolia leans back in her chair. “He’s hiding for the moment because the Ministry is ignoring his return and he doesn’t want that to change.”

“Keith, you really messed things up for him last year,” Lotor adds.

“How so?” Keith asks.

“Well, the last person You-Know-Who wanted to alert was Shiro,” Lotor replies.

“What’s his plan?” Pidge asks suddenly.

“He’s building his army up again like before,” Krolia says.

Pidge nods. “And you’re stopping him from gaining followers?”

“Well, we’re doing our best, but it’s proving to be…difficult,” Lotor shares grimly. “You see, the Ministry of Magic insists that Zarkon isn’t back. Iverson likes being the Minister and if it turns out that Zarkon came back under his watch, he’d be sacked.”

“Which I wouldn’t mind happening!” Krolia interjects.

“Are you at least telling people?” Lance asks.

Krolia laughs loudly. “Apparently I’m a mass murderer and Lotor is a bloodthirsty werewolf. I doubt people would want to listen to what we have to say,” Krolia answers, high-fiving Lotor. “Plus Luis and Ezor would lose their jobs at the ministry.”

“However, Shiro is doing all he can, but if he keeps it up, he might end up in Beta Traz. That would give Zarkon a clear path to-” Lotor starts but stops immediately when he gets a glare from Krolia.

“What? Path to what?” Lance implores.

“You-Know-Who wants something…something he didn’t have last time,” Krolia says. “A weapon.”

“What kind of weapon?” Keith asks.

Lotor and Krolia exchange a solemn expression. “We’re sorry, but we can’t say anything more than that.” Krolia stands and places hands on Keith’s and Lance’s shoulders. “Now, who’s ready for some dinner?”

Chapter Text

Lance jolts awake when something jumps on his bed and walks onto his chest. He opens his eyes to the wide, bright green eyes of Keith's cat, Red. Lance opens his mouth to say something, but the cat leans forward and licks his nose before he can speak. She flicks her tail then hops off the bed and trots over to Keith's bed. Red jumps on him, meowing loudly in his ear to wake him up.

red

Keith gasps, turning to look at Red before groaning in annoyance. He reaches to grab her but she sprints out of the room. “That little miscreant,” he grumbles as he angrily gets out of bed, stretching. “Did she wake you up too?” He looks over when he sees Lance sitting up in his bed.

“Yeah, but she didn't meow in my ear,” Lance replies with a chuckle. “I think she still likes me better than you.”

“You think?” Keith challenges as he slowly walks over to Lance's bed. “Maybe you should change that thought?”

Lance raises an eyebrow then swings his legs off his bed, smirking at Keith. “Really? You know, those are fighting words, Keith.” He stands up and takes a step forward towards Keith.

Keith's determined gaze falters, and he takes a step backward. Lance continues forward until Keith trips over the bed and falls onto it. He leans down to put his hands on both sides of Keith. He opens his mouth to say something, but Lance sees the words fade away in his mouth. Keith seems to get lost in some sort of trance, violet eyes staring up at Lance. His eyes flicker from Lance's eyes to his lips then back to his eyes.

Lance gets a weird feeling in his stomach and pulls away from Keith. “Um right! Shall we…uh…breakfast?” Lance stammers.

Keith looks away and nods, standing up from the bed. “Sure…lead the way.”

Lance avoids eye contact as they walk downstairs to the smell of pancakes and waffles. They find Pidge sitting at the end of the table, reading a tattered brown book while Krolia and Colleen stand by the oven, arguing about something. “Colleen, while I appreciate your input, I don’t think making pancakes could be that diff-”

A puff of smoke bursts out from in front of them and Colleen steps back with a raised eyebrow. “You were saying?”

Krolia huffs in annoyance, reluctantly handing Colleen the spatula she had. “Fine. You do it.” She notices Lance and Keith in the doorway and smiles when she sees them. “Good morning you two! Was Red kind when she woke you both up?”

You told her to do it?!” Keith asks loudly. “Mom!”

Krolia laughs. “Being able to turn into a cat has its perks. My offer still stands!”

Keith glares at his mom. “I said no, mom.”

“No to what?” Lance wonders as Colleen sets a plate of pancakes in front of him.

“I offered to help Keith become an animagus too but he refused!” Krolia smirks and plops down next to Lance. “Would you like to become one? Your mom was a majestic Phoenix.”

“My Patronus is a Phoenix. Would that make my animagus be one too?” Lance asks.

Krolia ruffles his hair. “Probably! Shall we find out?”

“No! No,” Keith interrupts, pointing his fork at them. “No.”

“Seth said the exact same thing when we asked him to participate with us!” Krolia exclaims. “I believe his Patronus was a dolphin or something like that so perhaps it was smart of him to say no.”

They continue chatting with each other, Keith and Lance taking turns asking questions about Krolia’s time at Hogwarts. Turns out she spent a lot of time in detention for messing with the caretaker at the time. Krolia also liked to sneak and watch the Gryffindor Quidditch practices, not to spy for the Slytherin team but just to watch Seth on his broom. She admired his skill and talent and wanted his help for tips, but she never could pluck up the courage to do it. That is until he caught her one day and asked her if she wanted to exchange flying tips with each other.

They were inseparable from there.

According to Krolia, it took the both of them a while to realize their feelings for one another. Seth didn’t want to confess since he was a muggle-born and didn’t feel worthy enough of being in a relationship with a pureblood like Krolia. On the other hand, Krolia didn’t say anything because she didn’t feel like Seth reciprocated her feelings. Apparently, Rosa and Lotor got fed up with hearing their complaints about the other not feeling the same, they managed to get them both alone in the Room of Requirement where they finally told each other how they felt. Krolia told Seth that she didn’t care that he was a muggle-born, she loved him because of the kind of person he was. Seth told her that he would always, always love her no matter what happened.

Anyway, after the heartfelt story from Krolia, Lance, Keith, and Pidge move into one of the other rooms to begin dusting and picking up various things. They try to organize things into piles of stuff to throw away and keep, but the Madelina house mouse-elf, Plachu, resists their efforts. He sneaks off with items he does not want to be thrown away and mutters insults at everyone under his breath.

Meanwhile, Lance notes members of the Wands coming and going to deliver news and check in with them. He sees Lotor the most out of everyone, probably because he’s missed being with her. Krolia tries to rile up Zethrid when she visits but gets nothing out of her.

As Lance and Keith finally finish one of the rooms, Krolia finds them and brings them into another room where a large family tapestry is on the wall. It traces the Madelina family back to the middle ages. Keith puts his hand on Krolia’s name and points at the black spot where her face would be.

“What happened here?” Keith wonders.

“My mother burned my face off of it after I refused to subscribe to Zarkon’s philosophies about only Pureblood wizards being allowed to train and practice magic,” Krolia explains. “She disowned me and I was never welcomed back here. Luckily Rosa’s family was more than welcoming to have me stay with them.”

“Whoa, wait a minute,” Lance says, pointing at a name that has the last name, Morrison. “You’re related to Sendak Morrison?!”

Krolia scoffs. “Yeah. I guess you could call him my cousin.”

“Ew! Damien is related to me?!” Keith demands. “That’s disgusting.”

“I never said the Madelinas had good taste,” Krolia says. “Except for me, of course.”

Lance laughs when Keith scrunches his nose in disgust. “Ew, mom that’s somehow worse,” Keith says.

Lance continues walking by the wall, glancing at all of the names. He pauses when he sees one that says, Honerva Madelina. Somehow it’s familiar to him, but before he can ask who it is, the front door opens. A few seconds later, Carlos shouts something and someone responds from the doorway.

Krolia leads the two boys out of the room and they find Lucy McClain and Ryland McGivney in the hallway. Marco runs to hug his sister while Carlos hurries over to Ryland where they immediately begin talking about the joke shop they want to open. Last year after Keith won the Triwizard Tournament, Lance saw him give his winnings to Ryland and Carlos to fund the joke shop they dreamed of opening.

The rest of the day continues uneventfully since they still haven’t finished cleaning. Lucy shares the fun she had in Ireland with Ryland’s family saying it really felt like she was at home with them. She tells them that she’s tried to contact Hannah several times, but the only thing she received back from her is a picture of her and Tasha kissing underneath the Eiffel Tower. Lucy hands it to Lance so he can see it, and he stands with Keith to look at it.

It’s obviously one of the magical moving photos that the wizarding world is known for. Before Hannah and Tasha share the kiss, the two smile at each other and Tasha brushes a piece of Hannah’s hair out of her eyes before closing the gap between them. Lance can’t help but find himself smiling at the picture, happy that his sister found someone who reciprocates her feelings.

“They seem happy together,” Keith comments, looking at Lucy.

Lucy smiles and nods. “They are. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they tie the knot before Ryland and I do.”

“Why do you say that?” Lance wonders.

“Because Ryland hasn’t dropped any hints yet,” Lucy replies. “I know we’re still really young, but I’d at least like to know if that’s somewhere in his mind.”

“Just give him some time, Lu,” Lance reassures her. “He’ll come around. Besides, he’s a little preoccupied with that joke shop he and Carlos want to open.”

Lucy chuckles. “Yeah and I’m really happy for him. Anyway! I believe you two were busy cleaning?” She smirks at them and takes the photo out of Lance’s hand.

Lance and Keith continue cleaning the house with Krolia, Colleen, Marco, and Pidge since Carlos disappeared somewhere with Ryland to probably plan their shop. In Lance’s opinion, this is probably the most fun he’s had all summer - and that’s saying a lot considering all he’s doing is cleaning. He enjoys himself so much that he forgets about his hearing until he hears Krolia asking if it would be acceptable for her to accompany him to the Ministry since Luis isn’t here to do it. Zethrid tells her Shiro had specific orders to keep Krolia here, not wanting the Ministry to find any stupid reason to get her into more trouble. Shiro decided it would be best if Sam Holt bring Lance. Krolia is disappointed yet again to be stuck cooped up inside Number 12. Keith even asks if he could come with Lance, but Zethrid says he should stay with his mom.

Lance finds himself getting irritated again so he excuses himself for the rest of the night, heading upstairs to turn in early. He washes up and puts on clean clothes to sleep in. He looks in the mirror, trying to keep himself positive for the outcome tomorrow, but he can’t help thinking that expulsion is inevitable.

 


 

 

On the morning of his hearing, Lance wakes up early because of his nerves. He gets up quietly, not wanting to wake Keith up, but he finds Keith already awake. Lance walks over and begins picking out clothes for himself to wear to the hearing. “I know why I’m up this early…why are you?” Lance wonders.

Keith shrugs.

keith

“Do you wanna talk about it?” Lance asks as he puts on a new shirt.

Keith shakes his head no as he sits up. “You have more important things to worry about.”

Lance considers asking another question but decides against it when Keith heads across the hall into another room, shutting the door behind him. He quickly finishes getting ready and hurries down the stairs to find Colleen Holt, Sam Holt, Krolia, Ezor, and Lotor waiting for him in the kitchen.

Krolia smiles when she sees Lance. “Good luck today, Lance! I really wish I could come, but a certain headmaster decided it would be best if I didn’t.”

“It’s okay, Krola,” Lance says. “I’ll be okay.”

“That’s the spirit, Lance!” Lotor exclaims. “Now, when you’re in the room it’s best if you give short and precise answers. Don’t let Iverson rile you up because that’s what he plans to do.”

Ezor nods in agreement. “Ever since Keith claimed that You-Know-Who is back, he’s been more ornery lately so he’ll look for any possible way to nail you.”

Krolia and Colleen each give Lance a hug before sending him off with Sam. They walk outside and begin walking down the street as the sun rises up in the east. Lance notes that there aren’t many people walking around, probably because it’s early in the morning. Sam leads Lance on the sidewalk over to a red phone booth. Sam looks around cautiously before stepping inside, beckoning for Lance to follow. With some difficulty, Sam shuts the door and picks up the phone.

“You know, usually I Apparate, but you’re too young so I thought we’d take the scenic route,” Sam shares as he presses the numbers 6 2 4 4 2 on the number pad.

Through the phone, Lance hears a female voice say, “ Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your business.

“Lance McClain, disciplinary hearing,” Sam replies.

Please standby ,” the female voice states.

For a moment, nothing happens then Lance feels the entire phone booth begin to sink into the ground. He grabs the sides of the walls and looks around in a slight panic, but he calms down when he sees that Sam is unaffected by it. A few more seconds passes and the booth shudders to a halt and the door slides open to reveal a large lobby filled with busy-looking wizards and witches walking in all directions.

Sam leads Lance out of the phone booth and they begin walking through the lobby. Lance turns his head around just in time to see the phone booth door shut and slide up again out of sight.

“Keep close, Lance!” Sam instructs as they walk through a crowd of wizards.

Lance bumps into a few of the wizards but none seem to register that he’s even there. Out of the corner of his eye, Lance sees a stooped, timid-looking, white-haired wizard making his way towards Sam and Lance. Sam smiles when he sees him. “Ah, Perkins, good mo-”

“Sam, they’ve changed the time of McClain’s hearing,” Perkins interrupts, out of breath.

“Blast!” Sam exclaims. “Shiro thought they might try that.”

“It started at eight!” Perkins implores, pointing at a clock.

“Good, lord, that was five minutes ago!” Sam exclaims. “Come on, Lance!”

They break into a run down a hallway, continuing down until they reach a large lift. Sam guides Lance onto it where several other witches and wizards are. Sam presses a button on it and it descends shudderingly for a few moments then stops.

Department of Mysteries ,” a female voice says.

“Department of Mysteries?” Lance wonders.

“Yep, I’ve got no idea what they get up to in there,” Sam says. “It’s apparently top secret.”

The lift doors open and Sam and Lance exit, running down the corridors. Lance skids to a stop and looks down a dark hallway, feeling like he’s been there before. Sam stops as well when Lance does.

“Lance, come on!” Sam urges.

“I-I think I’ve been there before…or at least heard of it…” Lance trails off.

Sam grabs Lance’s arm and drags him along. “I find that highly unlikely, Lance.”

Soon they arrive at a set of large black doors. Sam pats Lance on the shoulder. “Well, there you are, Lance. In you go! Good luck!”

Lance takes a deep breath then opens the door, slowly making his way inside. He looks around at the large room, one side of the courtroom is an elevated ziggurat-shaped series of seats carved from black stone where about fifty witches and wizards sit, led by Mitch Iverson who is seated by a scowling woman apparently named Hira Dunlap by her nameplate. Lance spots Isa sitting nearby as well, present to transcribe the proceedings. She gives Lance a sympathetic look, but can’t say anything to him.

The entire room is dark except for a light shining through from the ceiling in the center of the room where a single wooden chair sits, covered in chains. Somehow this place feels familiar…from the pensieve in Shiro’s office! Lance and Keith saw the Madelina’s, Krolia’s family sentenced to life imprisonment in the same courtroom.

“You’re late,” Iverson states, interrupting Lance’s thoughts.

“Uh…sorry,” Lance manages.

Iverson sighs. “No matter, the accused will take his seat.”

Lance nods and takes a seat, looking nervously at the chains on it. He really hopes they don’t come to life and bind him to the chair.

“Very well, we’re ready to begin,” Iverson says.

“Witness for the Defense, Takashi Shirogane,” Shiro’s voice sounds from behind Lance.

Lance turns around and smiles slightly when he sees Shiro standing by the door of the courtroom, looking up at the Minister. Iverson grimaces and says, “Ah…you got our message that the time had changed, did you?”

“Must’ve missed it!” Shiro exclaims cheerfully, walking over to Lance’s chair. “However, due to a fortunate mistake, I arrived at the Ministry three hours early.” He looks up at the Minister with an expression of polite interest.

Iverson blinks then shakes his head. “Right…the charges.” He clears his throat and reads from his notes. “The charges against the accused shall now be read into the record: the accused did with deliberation and fore-knowledge of the illegality of his actions, produce a Patronus charm in direct opposition of the law that states no underaged wizard may practice magic outside of school and within an area where muggles reside.” He looks up at Lance. “You are Lance Luis McClain?”

“Yes,” Lance replies.

“And you conjure a Patronus on the night of the ninth of August?”

“Yes, but-”

“With direct opposition to the law against underage wizards practicing magic and within an area where muggles reside?”

“Yes, but-”

“You produced a Patronus? A fully-formed Patronus, with a clearly-defined shape? What form did it take?” one of the members of the council with the nameplate Susan Bones asks.

Lance nods. “Yes, and it was a Phoenix, ma’am.”

“That is most remarkable, Mr. McClain,” Susan compliments.

“It doesn’t matter how impressive it was!” Iverson exclaims.

“But I did it because of the Dementors!” Lance shouts.

“What do you mean?” Susan asks.

“My brothers and I were attacked by Dementors. That’s why I had to use the Patronus…to drive them away,” Lance explains.

Iverson scoffs. “Ah, yes, another cock-and-bull story. Did your friend Keith Kogane tell you to make it up?”

Lance scowls. “It’s the truth!”

“Of course it is,” Iverson replies sarcastically.

“Actually, we have a witness to the presence of the Dementors in question,” Shiro shares.

“We haven’t got time to-” Iverson starts.

“I may be wrong, but I do believe that it says somewhere in the Wizengamot Charter of Rights that the Accused has the right to present witnesses to prove his or her case? In fact, I believe that Alfor Quinn wrote that particular bit himself,” Shiro interrupts.

Iverson grumbles. “Very well. McClain, fetch the witness.”

Isa gets up and goes to the door to let Mrs. Figg inside. She stands in front of Lance and Shiro nervously.

“Full name?” Iverson asks.

“Arabella Doreen Figg,” she answers.

“So…what’s your story?” Iverson wonders.

“I was sitting on my back porch when I saw the Dementors gliding towards the boys,” Mrs. Figg shares.

“What did the Dementors look like?” Susan questions.

“Well, they were big and wore grey, tattered cloaks,” Mrs. Figg explains.

The counsel murmurs with each other while Susan asks, “Anything else?”

“It was like I could feel them. It - the air got colder and it felt horrible. Almost like I’d never be happy again!” Mrs. Figg exclaims.

“Very well, you may go,” Iverson says, dismissing her. Once she leaves the courtroom he speaks again. “Not very convincing.”

“Oh, I disagree,” Susan retorts. “She described their effects perfectly.”

“So Dementors just happen to be there? I think not,” Iverson scoffs.

“If the Dementors are still only taking their orders from the Ministry these days…I believe you know my views on this, Mitch,” Shiro interjects.

Suddenly Hira shifts into the light. She is a short, thin, sharp-chinned woman with sea blue eyes and magenta colored hair. Hira narrows her eyes at Shiro. “Excuse me, Takashi, but did you just accuse the Ministry of Magic of ordering an attack on this boy?”

Lance already hates this woman with her condescending tone and crappy attitude, but Shiro seems to know how to handle her. “If the Dementors are taking their orders from just the Ministry, then it makes sense that someone in the Ministry ordered the attack.” He crosses his arms. “And in that case, I’m sure the Ministry will make a full inquiry.”

“Dementors are irrelevant!” Iverson shouts.

“Mitch, if they were there then Lance was simply acting in self-defense which is perfectly allowable under Clause Seven of the Decree of Reasonable Restriction of Underaged Wizardry,” Shiro states. “We are all in agreement on this?”

Iverson frowns. “Well, yes, if he’s telling the truth!”

“You have heard it from an eyewitness, Mitch,” Shiro counters.

“Very well, all for clearing the accused of charges?” Iverson asks, looking around the room. His hand remains down along with Hira’s hand while the majority raise their hands, including Susan Bones. “All opposed?” Iverson raises his own hand, as does Hira and a few others, but not nearly enough to oppose those who voted to clear Lance.

Iverson huffs angrily. “Fine! Cleared of all charges! Courtroom dismissed!”

“Excellent!” Shiro exclaims. He swiftly leaves the courtroom before Lance can say anything to him.

As Lance stands up from his chair, he catches Hira looking at him with a look of utter disdain. Unnerved by her, Lance quickly leaves the courtroom, hoping he’ll never have to see that nasty woman again.

Chapter Text

After the hearing, Lance and Mr. Holt return to Number 12 where Keith, Pidge, Krolia, Ryland, Lance’s siblings, and some other members of the Wands have prepared a celebratory feast. Everyone questions Lance about how the hearing went, but Mr. Holt steps in and says Lance isn’t at liberty to say anything except that all the charges were dropped.

Throughout the celebration, Lance senses a bit of annoyance from Krolia when Pidge’s parents begin discussing when they should head to Diagon Alley to get the kids the supplies they’ll need for the school year. He thinks she’s probably jealous or upset that she can’t accompany Keith to get his supplies or that Keith is returning to Hogwarts in general. After what happened at the Triwizard Tournament last year, she started acting very protective over Keith. Lance shares his theories with Pidge and she agrees with them, adding that Krolia probably wanted Keith to stay with her at Number 12.

A few days before Lance, Pidge, Keith, and Marco are scheduled to return to school, booklists arrive from Hogwarts along with a letter from Hunk. Keith and Pidge learn that they’ve been selected as Slytherin and Ravenclaw Prefects for the coming year and Hunk’s letter shares that he and Shay were selected as Hufflepuff Prefects as well.

Lance eagerly opens his letter but it doesn’t say anywhere on the page that Lance received the same title. He furrows his eyebrows in confusion and looks up at his friends. “I-I wasn’t selected.”

Keith sets down his lists and moves to sit next to Lance on his bed. “Lance…I’m so sorry.”

Lance rests his head on Keith’s shoulder. “I guess Shiro doesn’t think I’m good enough.”

pidge and lance

“Keith did it two years ago when I couldn’t even get a white light to come out of my wand,” Lance replies dully. “It’s fine…I can’t compete with you two and Hunk.”

Keith wraps his arms around Lance and hugs him tightly. “Stop talking like that. Lance, you don’t give yourself enough credit.” He pulls away and looks at Lance, reaching up to wipe a tear off of his cheek. “Hey, don’t let this eat you up, okay? Besides, I never wanted to be a Prefect and I might tell Shiro I don’t want to do it.”

Lance shakes his head no. “Don’t do that. Slytherin is so lucky to have you as a leader. I’ll be okay.”

Pidge hops onto the bed too and hugs Lance from behind. “We love you Lance so don’t talk like your head is shoved up your butt.”

Keith and Lance laugh at her and hug each other. They all head downstairs to share the news with everyone else, the others shocked that Lance isn’t a Prefect. Lotor discovers that Shiro chose Paul Franco in place of Lance, which infuriates him. On multiple accounts, Lance has proven himself a much better wizard than Paul. He’s even failing Potions! Delia has to tutor him constantly! How is this fair?!

Whatever. Lance doesn’t really want to deal with it right now. He wants to be happy for his friend, but he can’t help but feel cheated out of a great opportunity.

As he and Keith walk around Number 12, Zethrid approaches the boys at one point to show them a picture of the old Wands of Marmora and they’re able to see the old members. Lance and Keith see Layla’s and Xander’s parents and eventually spot Rosa McClain and Seth Kogane. Both of them get upset at the sight of their parents and are irritated with Zethrid when she explains the cause of death for each one who had died.

Having enough, Keith drags Lance upstairs away from Zethrid, angry that she even showed them the picture in the first place. He pulls Lance into their room then slams the door shut. “Why did she even show us that?” Keith wonders, angrily taking his shirt off to change into his pajamas.

Lance shrugs. “I dunno, but I don’t think she meant to make us upset.” He changes too then gets into bed. “Just try not to think about it, okay? Good night, Keith.”

Keith mumbles something else before turning the light off and getting into his bed. “Night, Lance.”

Lance closes his eyes and feels himself drifting off into a deep slumber. He expects to have a dreamless night, but sadly this isn’t the case. The dark image shifts to Krolia crying over a lifeless body. She seems to be shouting something, but Lance can’t hear anything nor make out who’s on the ground.

As he leans down to get a better look, the image shifts to Keith, Hunk, and Pidge staring at him, pointing and laughing while Shiro, Allura, and Thace place golden crowns on their heads. Pidge’s crown has blue jewels embedded within it while Keith’s has red jewels and Hunk’s has yellow jewels.

Pidge scoffs. “Did you really think you could be like us?”

Lance tries to open his mouth to reply but nothing comes out. He looks to Hunk for support, but he simply rolls his eyes.

“Just stop, okay? Sure, we were close when we were little, but now I’m at the top of the class! I can’t be held back by you anymore,” Hunk says. “Shay and Pidge are better wizards than you and they make me better. You hold me back.”

Lance wants to cry and tell Hunk he’s sorry, but his voice still won’t work as if it’s lodged in his throat. He feels someone put a hand on his shoulder then sees Keith step in front of him. Keith leans in and his breath brushes against Lance’s lips. For a brief moment, Lance considers closing the gap between them, kissing his lips, running his fingers through his soft, raven-colored hair. His gaze flickers from Keith’s eyes to his lips then back to his eyes. Keith notices this and raises an eyebrow. “You’re a pathetic excuse for a wizard,” Keith sneers. “You don’t even deserve the pureblood title. You think I’m proud to call you my friend? You think I like you? I can’t stand the sight of you.” He puts a hand on Lance’s chest and shoves him to the ground. “What you feel for me is disgusting. I could never feel the same way. I would never feel the same way…no one would.”

Lance gasps and sits up, scrambling back when he comes face to face with Keith’s concerned expression.

huehuehue

“Lance? Are you okay? You looked like you were having a bad dream," Keith states.

“Uh…yeah, but I don’t remember what was happening,” Lance lies. “Did I wake you?”

Keith smiles softly and shakes his head. “No. I was already up. Come on, we’re going to be late for the train. I already packed your trunk for you. Blue didn’t listen right away but-”

Lance suddenly stands up and pulls Keith into a tight hug, burying his face in the crook of Keith’s neck. “Keith, promise me you’ll always be my friend.”

Keith hugs Lance back. “I promise, okay? Why are you questioning that?” He pulls away to look at Lance. “Is it because of the prefect assignments?” Keith sighs. “Lance, you know I don’t care about any of that. It’s honestly a joke in my opinion. I’d rather have detention each night for the entire year than lose you as a friend.”

Lance smiles and nods. “Okay…thank you.”

They change into their school robes then head downstairs where Pidge, her parents, Marco, and Krolia are waiting. Pidge’s parents explain to them that a guard must accompany Lance, but since no one can find Blaytz Mclaren, the wizard who was supposed to guard him, Krolia offered to do it - directly contradicting Shiro’s orders to stay inside. She shows them that she’s able to look more like a normal black cat instead of a puma for a short period of time thanks to the help of Ezor, Lotor, and Zethrid. Lance assumes she wanted to come to watch Keith ride off on the Hogwarts express for once too.

When they arrive at the train station, Mr. and Mrs. Holt warn Lance, Keith, Pidge, and Marco to not send any letters that mention the Wands. Pidge says goodbye to her parents and Keith allows Krolia as the normal black cat to jump into his arms and lick his cheek goodbye. Once on the train, Pidge and Keith head to the Prefect Cabin while Marco ditches Lance to find his friends.

For once, Lance finds himself not enjoying being on this train. Luckily, he runs into Xander Castillo and they unhappily share a compartment with a fifth year Ravenclaw girl named Romelle Beaulieu who is reading the wizard tabloid, The Quibbler . Lance doesn’t know much about her, but from what he does know is that she’s a peculiar girl who doesn’t have many friends and that her dad edits The Quibbler .

She doesn’t say anything when Lance and Xander sit with her but does give them a polite smile before returning to the paper. Lance asks Xander about his summer and he listens while Xander tells him about their family’s trip to Germany until Keith, Pidge, and Delia join them. Lance moves closer to Romelle to make room for Keith while Pidge and Delia sit on either side of Xander.

“Lance, I’m honestly shocked Shiro picked Paul over you,” Delia says. “Don’t beat yourself up about it, okay?”

“It has to be rigged because Bethany was picked as a Slytherin Prefect,” Keith adds. “She’s the biggest idiot and Layla should’ve been picked over-”

Before Keith can finish, the compartment door opens to reveal Bethany and Damien standing there. Damien doesn’t look happy while Bethany looks extra smug. “I was picked because Shiro sees that I’m a powerful wizard. You’re just pouty because you don’t get to spend more time with your stupid friend,” Bethany sneers. “I think the cat might be out of the bag on this one.” She glares at Lance then walks away with Damien. Lance grabs Keith’s arm to hold him back so he doesn’t go and attack them.

Eventually, the train arrives at Hogwarts and the students shuffle out. Lance looks and expects to see Slav and Coran directing the first-years onto the boats, but instead, he sees Slav and Allura. He wants to go and ask them where Coran is, but Keith tugs his arm and brings him to the carriages that will take them to the castle. Usually, the carriages appear to be moving on their own but now Lance sees emaciated, winged, horse-like creatures pulling them.

“What the-” He shakes his head. “Were those horse things always there?!”

“Lance, what are you talking about?” Pidge wonders.

“The things pulling the carriages! Can’t you see them?!” Lance wonders.

Pidge shakes her head no. “There’s nothing there. They pull themselves like they do each year.”

“Lance, I see them too,” Keith says as they get on the carriage after Pidge, Delia, and Xander.

Romelle follows and sits down next to Lance. She folds up the newspaper and turns to Lance and Keith. “I see them too. I’ve been able to since my first year. I assure you, you’re  just as sane as I am.”

Keith and Lance exchange a wide-eyed expression but don’t reply to her as the carriage begins taking them to the castle. They get off and head inside, splitting off to their respective tables. Lance and Delia join Paul just as the Sorting Hat bursts into song before starting to sort the first-years. It warns students against becoming too internally divisive about their choices. Lance has no idea what it could be talking about but Nearly-Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost, explains that the hat only gives warnings when it feels that Hogwarts is in danger.

Once the first-years are sorted, everyone begins eating the delicious feast in front of them. Lance, Delia, and Paul exchange stories of what they did over the summer, both of them more interested in what happened with Lance versus what they did over the summer.

After dinner, Shiro approaches the podium to give a speech. “Hello everyone and welcome back to another year at Hogwarts and a special welcome to our new first-years. I truly hope you find a home here and a family that will last you throughout your next seven years here. Now, due to the fact that our Herbology and History of Magic professor is gone, Professor Quinn will be taking over Herbology for the time being and Professor Matthew Holt will be taking over History of Magic. Professor Sam Holt will be the temporary head of Hufflepuff as well.” He clears his throat. “Next, our newest addition to the staff is Professor Hira Dunlap. She will be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I trust that you all will make her feel welcomed. I-” He stops when Hira walks up to Shiro and motions for him to move aside so she can speak.

hira dunlap

“Thank you, Headmaster, for those kind words of welcome. And how lovely to see all your bright happy faces smiling up at me,” Hira says.

Lance looks around the room and sees that literally no one is smiling. He exchanges a shrug with Delia before looking back up at her.

“I’m sure we’re all going to be very good friends,” Hira continues. Paul scoffs next to him and shakes his head. “The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of the utmost importance. Although each Headmaster has brought something new to this historic school…” She nods at Shiro. “Progress for the sake of progress is discouraged. Let’s preserve what must be preserved, perfect what can be perfected, and prune practices that should be prohibited.” She nods at everyone then steps away so Shiro can step back up at the podium.

“Thank you, Professor Dunlap, that was truly…illuminating,” Shiro says, sounding slightly forced.

“Illuminating? What a load of-” Paul starts but stops when Delia glares at him.

“You are all dismissed,” Shiro finishes.

Lance, Delia, and Paul make their way to the Gryffindor common room. “I think the Ministry will be interfering in Hogwarts business this year. I don’t like the vibe of that Hira woman.”

“You’re telling me! She was one of the people on the council who voted that I be punished for defending myself and my brothers,” Lance shares. “I already hate her.”

“Same here!” Paul exclaims.

As they get closer to the dorms, Lance realizes that students are pointing, staring, and whispering when he passes them. Did they all know about the hearing?

Chapter Text

All fifth years at Hogwarts must take a standardized subject-specific test called the Ordinary Wizarding Level exam or O.W.L. exam for short. This test determines whether or not a witch or wizard will be allowed to continue taking that subject in future school years and whether or not that witch or wizard will be successful in obtaining a particular job. In preparation for the O.W.L.s, the faculty begins piling on homework for Lance’s year.

His siblings warned him his fifth year would be hell, but he didn’t believe them…’till now.

The teachers have been pleasant towards them (well, except for Thace obviously), but that’s probably because Lance hasn’t had Hira yet. That will change as he heads to her class with Keith, Paul, Delia, Xander, and Layla. Lance is a bit nervous to see what Hira will be like, hoping she won’t be as unbearable as she was during his hearing.

Once they walk in, he and Keith sit next to each other at a desk while Paul and Xander pair up and Layla and Delia pair up. Lance looks at the board where Hira has finished writing her course aims. Layla taps him on the shoulder from behind. Lance turns around to look at her. “What’s up?” he wonders.

“She’s listed nothing about using the defensive spells, just the history of them,” Layla says quietly. “How will this benefit us?”

Lance opens his mouth to reply but Delia raises her hand before he can.

delia

He looks back at the front of the room when Hira points at Delia. “Yes, Miss Trang?”

“I see you’ve written what those defensive spells are, but when will we learn to actually do them?” Delia asks.

“The Ministry does not want underaged wizards practicing spells that are dangerous and frankly unnecessary,” Hira explains. “There is no need for you all to be doing these spells so you will only learn about them.”

“Isn’t the point of Defense Against the Dark Arts to use the spells?” Delia wonders.

“Miss Trang, this class has been approved by Ministry experts. Are you a Ministry expert?” Hira asks.

Delia furrows her eyebrows. “No, but-”

“Then you have zero business challenging those who are!” Hira exclaims. “We will be learning about spells in a safe, risk-free environment-”

“But we’ve got O.W.L.s coming up!” Delia interrupts. “You expect us to do the spells with no practice?!”

“That’s crap! What good’s theory in the real world?!” Keith blurts, earning shocked expressions from a couple students - including Lance.

“This is school, not the real world, Mr. Kogane,” Hira replies. “There is nothing out there waiting to get you.”

Keith crosses his arms angrily. “What about Lord Zarkon?”

Hira narrows her eyes at him. “Ten points from Slytherin, Mr. Kogane. Let me set the record straight.” She stands behind her desk, leaning on her hands. “Some of you have been told that a certain dead wizard has returned. Well, that’s a lie.”

“It’s not a lie! You’re just in denial because of Iverson’s stupidity!” Keith exclaims, standing up angrily. “You and everyone else at the Ministry are liars and cowards!”

Hira crosses her arms. “Mr. Kogane, you’ve just earned yourself detention!”

Keith moves around his desk stiffly, trembling with rage and his eyes dangerous. Lance wants to grab his arm to stop him, but he can’t find the willpower to.

“So does that mean Rolo Dawson just dropped dead?” Keith wonders. “Or are you calling me a murderer?”

Hira stands up straight as Keith approaches her. “His death was a tragic accident.”

Keith slams his fists against Hira’s desk, glaring at her.

keith's pissed

The entire class is deathly still. Lance holds his breath, waiting for Hira to make her next move. “Mr. Kogane…” Hira says slowly. “You have earned yourself a week’s worth of detentions!”

Keith scoffs and rolls his eyes. “Yeah, talk to someone who actually gives a crap. Zarkon killed Rolo and you know it.”

Hira snatches a quill from her desk, scribbling a note then hands it to Keith. “That goes to Professor Slater, dear.”

Keith rips it from her hand and storms out of the classroom, slamming the door shut behind him. Lance sits there, dumbfounded. He looks behind him at Layla and Delia who are both equally as shocked as he is. Hira continues teaching as if nothing happened. Lance tries to pay attention, but he can’t knowing Keith is being torn a new one by Thace now.

Once class ends, Keith bolts without saying goodbye to Lance. It hurts a little, but Lance brushes it off as he heads to Allura’s office to ask her a question about the Transfiguration homework. He knocks on her door and waits for a response.

He hears papers shuffling and footsteps approach the door before it opens to reveal Allura. “Oh, hello Lance. Please, come in.” She steps aside so he can walk in.

Lance walks inside and takes a seat in one of the chairs across from her desk. “I just had a question about the Transfiguration homework. Do you want it to be two or three paragraphs?”

“Two is fine,” she replies, sitting back in her chair. She sets her wand down on the table and leans forward to look closer at Lance. “Something else appears to be bothering you.”

“It’s about Hira…is she even qualified to teach here? We’re not even learning how to use magic to protect us. We’re just learning about it,” Lance says.

Allura shrugs. “You can take that question up with Shiro. I do not know why she would not be teaching you how to use the spells, but just be cautious around her, okay? Remember who she is and who she is reporting to. Have you gotten in trouble with her already?”

Lance shakes his head no. “I didn’t but Keith did. He told her off about not teaching us spells and she gave him a week of detention. Quidditch tryouts are tomorrow too! He can’t miss those!”

“I am sorry Lance, but since Keith is not in my house, I cannot help him out. Perhaps Thace will assist. As much disdain he has for Keith, he does enjoy watching Slytherin win,” Allura replies. “Besides, I am certain Sophia Barre will understand if all else fails.”

Lance nods. “Okay…thanks, Professor.”

Allura smiles at him. “Anytime!”

He waves goodbye then walks out of her office and over to the library to finish his Potions work with Hunk. when he walks in, he finds Reyna and Sophia testing Carlos’s and Ryland’s joke products on first-years. A part of him wants to tell them to stop, but then he remembers he’s not a prefect so he doesn’t care.

If Shiro didn’t think he could be a leader then he’s not going to act like one.

 


 

 

The next day, Lance begins getting ready for the Slytherin and Gryffindor Quidditch tryouts. Gryffindor Captain Brooklyn Torres and Slytherin Captain Sophia Barre decided to continue having them together since it seemed beneficial for both teams. Lance arrives early with Keith and they’re both surprised to see Layla there. “Hey, I didn’t know you were interested in trying out,” Keith comments as he and Lance walk up to her.

“Blame my older brother,” Layla replies. “He wanted me to try out during our second year, but I refused. He finally convinced me to do it this year, but I still don’t think I’ll make it.”

“If Cooper says you’re good…you’re probably good,” Keith replies. “Which position do you want?”

Layla shrugs. “Chaser would be fun, but I don’t want to deal with Damien.”

“He’s actually not that bad. Stella got it through his head during our third year that if he refuses to act like a team player, he won’t be playing,” Keith shares.

“And it worked?” Layla wonders with a raised eyebrow.

Keith chuckles. “Surprisingly, yes. When he’s not around Bethany, he’s…okay.”

“Are you thinking of becoming friends with that prick?!” Lance demands.

“No, but if he’s being pleasant to me during practices and games, I’m going to be pleasant back,” Keith replies. “You sound jealous.”

Lance clenches his jaw and crosses his arms. “You wish I was! Don’t think I’ll be going easy on you today.”

“What’s with the empty threat? You go easy on him during games so how is today any different?” a voice asks from behind them.

Lance turns around and sees Marco standing there with Timothy Peters, one of Gryffindor’s seventh-year Chasers who made the team when Lance did. To Lance’s surprise, Marco has on the Keeper gear.

“Wait…what are you doing here?” Lance asks

“Uh, I’m going to try out? I thought that was obvious,” Marco replies.

“As Keeper?! You only have experience as an emergency sub!” Lance exclaims.

“Hate to break it to you, but Carlos had been helping me out with my Keeper skills during the summer while you were moping around in your room about being ignored by your friends,” Marco shares. “He thinks I have a great shot at making the team. Plus, there are some great new Beater prospects out there and you haven’t done anything to prepare for this. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brookie picked someone new.”

“That’s enough out of you, McClains,” Brooklyn interrupts, walking over with Sophia. “Keep up the arguing and both of you won’t make it.” Brooklyn has her long red hair tied back into a high ponytail while Sophia has her short blonde hair hanging loose. Lance has no idea how she deals with it while she’s in the air, but she still manages to be the best Beater Slytherin ever had.

“Aww, c’mon Brookie!” Marco exclaims, walking up to her. “You don’t mean that.”

Her cheeks flush pink for a moment before she huffs and crosses her arms. “I do mean it. Go join the rest of the Gryffindors - now,” Brooklyn instructs.

Timothy and Marco exchange a smirk then walk over to the group of Gryffindors. Once they’re gone, Brooklyn sighs and uncrosses her arms. “Why is he such an ass?” she wonders.

Sophia chuckles. “I dunno. You’re the one who fancies him.”

Brooklyn smacks her arm then turns to Lance, Layla, and Keith. “Forget you ever heard that. Lance, let’s go.”

“Sophia? Before we head over…I have to miss Keeper tryouts,” Keith states.

“Why?” Sophia asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Hira gave me detention because I told her off in class about not teaching us how to defend ourselves,” Keith replies.

Sophia opens her mouth to scold him, but she thinks better of it and shuts it. “I’m not happy about you missing those tryouts, but seeing as though it has nothing to do with you, I’ll let you. She’s the worst anyway.”

They continue talking as Brooklyn leads Lance over to the group of Gryffindors. “Okay, everyone! Welcome to Quidditch tryouts! I’m the team’s captain, Brooklyn Torres. Some of you may think you’re all that just because you’re the best on your club team or whatever, but I’m here to tell you that you’re not. Quidditch here at Hogwarts is different. Only the best of the best make the team. You must prove your skills and you must prove that you are a team player. If you cannot work with others then you might as well just show yourself out now.” Brooklyn looks around to see if anyone leaves but no one does. “Good. Take this time to warm up on your brooms and for the position you are trying out for.” Once everyone begins moving to warm up, she motions for Lance, Shannon, and Timothy to stick back. “I need you guys to step up as leaders and help me out, okay? I have to go talk with Sophia to see who she wants to work with first.”

Lance watches Brooklyn walk away then turns his attention to Timothy and Shannon. “Wanna warm up?” he asks.

Timothy and Shannon nod at him and they get on their brooms, flying around for a bit before meeting up with an extra Quaffle. They practice passing to each other then Lance has Timothy throw him the Quaffle so he can hit it with his bat while Shannon catches it. They do this for a few more minutes before Brooklyn calls everyone back down.

“Alright, Sophia will be working with the Beaters and Seekers first while we can work with the Chasers and Keepers,” Brooklyn shares. “If you’re trying out as a Beater or a Seeker, you may either stay down here and chat or watch us up there.” She gets on her broom and flies over to one set of goalposts and the other Chasers and Keepers follow her. Some of the aspiring Beaters go up to watch while some stay below to talk with each other. Shannon and the other Seekers fly up and watch the others as well.

Lance takes this opportunity to fly over to the Slytherin team and watch them. He chuckles to himself when he watches the aspiring Beaters fail to hit Keith on his broom. Keith may be an amazing flyer, but the way he flies is predictable. Usually, he’s too preoccupied with looking for the Snitch, it’s easy to hit a Bludger at him to make him lose his focus - at least, that’s how Lance keeps him at bay. The only person to actually be able to hit Keith was his sister Hannah and Lance aspires to one day do the same.

Lance sees Sophia getting a bit irritated at the lack of skill - most of the Slytherins haven’t been remotely close to hitting Keith. She shows them how to properly do it and manages to knick Keith on the shoulder.

Hmm…make that two people able to hit Keith. Though, it does make sense that Sophia would be able to hit him since she practices with him and knows his exact gameplan whenever he gets on a broom.

Anyway, she lets the rest of the Slytherins have another go at it, but most of them still aren’t able to get Keith. However, towards the end, one guy actually hits it towards Keith’s head and he only misses because Keith ducks before he gets hit.

“Nice shot, Kenny!” Sophia exclaims. “See? Now that’s how you do it! The rest of you can take note of his form and execution.”

About ten or so more minutes pass and Sophia and Brooklyn switch who they’re working with. Lance is able to shine through the rest of the Beaters and nearly knock Shannon off her broom. Halfway through this section of the tryouts, Lance spots Keith leaving the Quidditch pitch to head to detention with Hira. A part of him wants to go with to support him, but he thinks better of it, not wanting to get himself in trouble or get Keith into even more trouble.

After tryouts finish, Lance decides to use his invisibility cloak to sneak and spy on Keith in Hira’s office to see what detention with her is really like. When he arrives, he sees Hira handing him a quill and a piece of paper. Keith takes it from her and looks around. “Where’s the ink?” he wonders.

“Oh, you won’t be needing ink,” Hira replies with a smile. “You’ll be writing lines today. Please write: I must not tell lies until you reach the bottom of the paper.”

Keith sits down at the small desk in her office and begins writing. Lance watches in confusion as the words appear on it in blood then he looks at Keith’s hand when Keith grunts in pain. Lance sees the words I must not tell lies carved into the back of Keith’s hand. He covers his mouth in shock, wondering how Keith isn’t freaking out.

Hira grabs Keith’s hand to see the progress and Lance feels an immense amount of pain in his forehead. Once she releases Keith’s hand, the pain goes away and Keith continues writing. As he gets farther down the page, his hand bleeds more and eventually stops trying to heal. Keith reaches the bottom of the paper and drops the quill, cringing at the sight of his right hand before glaring at Hira.

Hira smiles at him. “Is there a problem?”

Keith clenches his jaw but doesn’t reply. Lance can tell he’s had enough of her.

“You may go,” Hira says, dismissing him.

Keith’s angered expression falters and his face pales as he staggers out of the office. Lance watches him leave then follows closely behind to make sure he’s okay when Keith suddenly breaks into a terrified run, sprinting down the corridor, looking around in a blind panic. Lance struggles to keep up, but eventually, Keith stops running and walks slowly once again. He looks around, reaching to the sides as if to try to open a door, but nothing’s there. Keith continues forward, jogging then running then once again sprinting down the corridor again.

Lance begins to run to keep up with him again, but he stops when Keith freezes at the end of the corridor. He stands frozen for a couple of seconds before collapsing on the ground. Lance rushes over to him, removing the cloak and tossing it to the side to examine Keith. He kneels beside Keith, looking him over. His eyes are closed, but he’s still breathing. Lance reaches to touch Keith’s face, but Keith’s eyes shoot open and he yelps loudly, grabbing his forehead.

Lance grabs hold of Keith’s hands and forces Keith to look at him. He opens his mouth to say something, but he feels something wet and warm on Keith’s hand. Keith whimpers in pain and pulls his right hand away. Lance looks at his own palm and sees blood on it. “Keith…” Lance starts. “I-I know what happened.”

Keith looks at Lance, trying to keep a firm expression, but when a tear escapes, Lance pulls Keith into a tight hug, allowing him to cry on his shoulder. “It’s okay…you’re okay.”

Keith cries on Lance’s shoulder for a few more minutes before pulling away to look at him. “Y-you can’t tell anyone about this, o-okay?”

“What?! Are you insane!?” Lance wonders. “Keith, you’re bleeding a-”

“Promise me!” Keith interrupts. “Please…”

whoever hurt keith will catch these hands

Lance sighs but nods. “Fine. I won’t, but you should at least tell Shiro. I don’t think this is legal.”

“No. I don’t want to bother him with this,” Keith says. “But I could ask k Krolia for help.”

“Remember what we were told about letters?” Lance wonders. “We can’t!”

“I’ll be discreet,” Keith assures him. “We can send it tomorrow morning.”

Lance sighs. “Fine. I’ll walk you to your dorm.” He reaches for the cloak and puts it over to them before they head to the Slytherin common room to drop Keith off. Once Keith’s safely inside, Lance makes his way back to his dorm, trying not to think about Hira plotting how to murder Keith.

Chapter Text

Lance wakes up early on Saturday to meet with Keith to send Krolia a letter. They couldn’t include anything specific just in case the letter got intercepted so they settled for subtle allusions to Hira, mentioning the pain in their heads, and mentioning missing having Coran teach them in class.

They arrive at the Owlery and hear the hundreds of hoots from the other owls. Blue quickly flies over to them once she sees them, nuzzling both boys. “Hi, Blue,” Lance greets, kissing her head. “How’s my beautiful girl?”

Blue blinks at him and tilts her head, hooting softly at him. Keith ties the paper to her and smiles when she looks at him. “It goes to Krolia.”

Blue hoots loudly then flies out of the window, disappearing off into the distance. Lance and Keith turn around, eyes wide with worry when they hear the door creak open. Nyma slides inside and looks equally as worried when she sees them. “Oh…hi. I didn’t think anyone else would be up here,” she says quietly.

“We’re just sending a letter to my sister, Lucy,” Lance shares. “She’s been asking about our year so far.”

Nyma smiles softly and nods, walking over to a brown school owl. “Lance, have you found a new Keeper for Quidditch?” she wonders.

Lance notices Keith walk out of the Owlery without saying goodbye, but he doesn’t call him back. Instead, he directs his attention towards Nyma to answer her question. “Uh, yeah! My brother, Marco.”

Nyma begins tying the package to the owl. “He any good? The rest of your siblings were stars.”

Lance nods. “Don’t tell him I said this, but I think so. I guess we’ll find out later today if he made it.”

She releases the owl and it flies out the window. “That’s good.” Nyma turns to look at him. “I heard what happened in your Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Did Keith really say and do those things?”

“Yeah. I would’ve backed him up, but I was just terrified. I felt frozen and I couldn’t speak,” Lance shares. “But it was all the truth.”

Nyma opens her mouth to reply, but the door bursts open again and the Warden storms in. “McClain! I’ll have what you’re sending.”

Lance furrows his eyebrows in confusion. “What?”

“I have a word that you’re ordering a large number of dungbombs!” the Warden exclaims, holding his hand out. “Now hand it over.”

Lance decides to play along, rather than tell him that he was sending a letter to Keith’s mom. “You’re too late - it’s gone.”

The Warden glares furiously at Lance.

“Yeah, I saw him send it,” Nyma interjects.

The Warden narrows his eyes at her, looking her up and down before looking back at Lance. “If I get a single whiff of a dungbomb in this castle, McClain - you’re mine.” He turns and walks swiftly out of the door.

Nyma and Lance stand there in silence for a moment, processing what happened. Nyma breaks the silence first. “Um, you weren’t ordering dungbombs with Keith, were you?”

“No,” Lance replies.

“Hmm…I wonder why he’d think you were,” Nyma says thoughtfully. “Well, I’ll see you, Lance.” She gives him a smile then walks out of the Owlery.

Once she’s gone, Lance can’t help but find himself smiling widely after the pleasant encounter with her. He hurries out of the Owlery and over to the Great Hall for breakfast. Delia and Paul are at their usual spot, Paul already nose deep in waffles while Delia is reading her copy of the Daily Prophet .

“Hey, guys!” Lance greets cheerfully.

Delia lowers her paper and raises her eyebrow at him. “You’re awfully cheery this morning.”

Lance shrugs, still smiling as he begins to serve himself food. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Did you talk to Nyma?” Paul wonders, mouth full of food.

“What?! What made you think that?!” Lance demands.

“First of all, don’t talk with your mouth full of food, Paul. Second of all, did you Lance?” Delia asks again. “I thought you were sending a letter to Krolia with Keith.”

“Well, we were! Then Nyma walked in and I started talking to her,” Lance shares. “We were talking about Quidditch until the Warden stormed in, claiming to be tipped off that I was ordering dungbombs.”

Paul chuckles. “You ordering dungbombs? Hah! I can imagine Carlos sending you some, but you’d never order them.”

“Yeah! It doesn’t make sense,” Lance agrees.

“Maybe whoever tipped him off was interested in reading your mail,” Paul offers. “I mean it can’t be a coincidence he was that he was tipped off while you and Keith were sending a letter to Krolia.”

“Think it was Hira?” Lance wonders. “I mean she’s got it out for Keith already and Keith’s like my best friend so she’s probably biased against me too.”

“I wouldn’t dismiss it, but without proof, you can’t do anything,” Delia says, lifting her paper back up. “Hmm. Someone by the name of Blaytz Mclaren was sentenced to six months in Beta Traz for trying to break into the Ministry. Why does that name sound familiar?”

“I think he was on the council for my trial,” Lance says, trying to give her an answer so she doesn’t ask any more questions. Paul and Delia don’t know about the Wands of Marmora, and Lance doesn’t want them to find out - for their own safety.

“Probably,” Delia replies, folding up the paper. “Quidditch postings are up. You want to go look at them, Lance?”

Lance stands up. “Sure! We’ll see you later, Paul.”

Paul salutes them as he and Delia walk away. When Lance and Delia walk to where the small crowd of people is, they find Hunk, Shay, Pidge, and Keith there too. “Hi, guys!” Delia greets them. “Excited to see the rosters?”

“I know I am!” Pidge exclaims. “I have a good feeling about this year. I asked Joshua Carlson to help me out and he thinks I have a good shot.”

Delia nods. “That’s awesome, Pidge. I hope you made it.”

Suddenly Layla runs over, out of breath. “I - overslept. Who - team?” She pants loudly.

Lance pats her back. “Layla, calm down. We haven’t seen them yet. Are you okay?”

She nods. “Yeah. I just…nevermind. Let’s just look at them!”

They walk up to the wall and begin looking at the rosters. Lance scans over the Gryffindor one first, smiling when he sees his name under the Beater section and nodding when he sees Marco’s name.

gryffindor quidditch roster

“YES!” Layla shrieks suddenly, pointing at the Slytherin roster while jumping up and down. Keith smiles at her and hugs her back when she suddenly hugs him. “I made it!”

Lance walks over to them and looks it over, rolling his eyes when he still sees Damien’s name under the Chaser section. Keith is the Seeker, of course, and he raises his eyebrows when he sees Layla’s name under the Emergency Sub section.

slytherin quidditch roster

“Nice job, Layla,” Lance congratulates her. “I’ll try to injure Damien so you can play for him.”

Layla chuckles. “Please don’t. I’m not nearly as good as he is.”

“Don’t sell yourself short,” Keith says, patting her shoulder. “You’re talented enough to play in his position. I mean, you’re a better teammate than him.”

Layla shrugs. “Yeah, okay. You’re not wrong there.”

Hunk sighs in relief from next to them. “Thank goodness. There was this seventh-year Keeper wanting to try out and he was pretty good, but I made it instead.”

“Hunk, you were better than him,” Shay says. “He was too flashy.”

Lance looks over at the Hufflepuff roster, happy to see Hunk’s name on the list.

hufflepuff quidditch roster

“Oh, come on!” Pidge exclaims, irritated. “That’s crap!”

Lance walks over to her and looks at the Ravenclaw roster, frowning when he doesn’t see Pidge’s name.

ravenclaw quidditch roster

“I-I don’t understand! Joshua said I did great!” Pidge exclaims. She crosses her arms. “Whatever. This is all crap. I’m done.” She storms off, furious.

Lance turns to Layla and Delia. “She really wanted to make it this year.”

“I’ll talk to her,” Delia says. “Shay, Layla, wanna come with?”

The other two girls nod and follow Delia in the direction Pidge went. Lance turns to Hunk and Keith and motions for them to follow him. “Okay, during breakfast, Delia was reading the Daily Prophet and read that Blaytz Mclaren was arrested for trying to break into the Ministry.”

“That’s odd,” Keith comments. “Could it have been for his involvement with the Wands?”

“That sounds like a viable reason,” Hunk says. “He was probably lured there and tricked.”

“Let’s discuss this later, alright? I’ve got Quidditch practice in like twenty minutes. We’re still studying in Matt’s office tonight, right?” Lance asks.

Hunk nods. “Yep!”

“I have detention with Hira again so I’ll join you guys later,” Keith says solemnly. He rubs his hand then walks away without another word.

Lance looks longingly after him but turns away after a few seconds to head to the locker rooms to get ready. He arrives and hears two voices arguing with each other inside.

“I always thought Lance was the worst McClain Quidditch player, but it turns out that you’re actually the worst! You’ll be a great help to Slytherin this year,” Damien sneers.

“I made the team so clearly I am good,” Marco retorts.

“I’ve been on the Slytherin team since I was a second-year! You only just made it when you were a fifth year,” Damien replies. “What does that say about you? Don’t try to act like one of us because you’re not. You’ll be the reason Gryffindor gets last place.”

Lance steps around the corner, arms crossed. “Piss off, Damien. I started just the same as you so you’re nothing special.”

Damien chuckles. “That’s naive of you to say, Lance. Have you seen the Slytherin lineup this year? We can’t be stopped.”

“Is that you complimenting Keith’s Seeker skills?” Lance wonders with a raised eyebrow.

Damien frowns, storming up to Lance and jabbing a finger in his chest. “You just watch your back. You wouldn’t want what happened to Lucy to happen to you.” He snickers at Lance’s faltered expression. “That’s what I thought. Have a great practice, McClains…you’ll need it.”

Lance glares after him then turns to his brother. “Marco? You okay?”

“He’s not wrong,” Marco says, sitting down on one of the benches. “I’m not a good Keeper.”

“Clearly Brooklyn saw something in you otherwise you wouldn’t be on the team,” Lance reassures, sitting next to him. “Look, Damien’s a prick. You can’t listen to him.”

“It’s hard to ignore it. Even some Gryffindors say I’ll be the downfall of the team this year,” Marco shares.

“Who cares what they think? At the end of the day it only matters what you think of yourself,” Lance says. “You think people liked me taking Lucy’s place when she got hurt? Point is, ignore the doubters. You have the entire team to back you up.”

Marco sighs and shakes his head. “I…I don’t know…”

Lance pats Marco’s knee. “Trust me, Marco. You play like Isa did and I think that’s enough to prove your worth.” He stands up and gestures to the brooms. “Now, shall we get ready for practice? We don’t wanna be late.”

Marco smiles and stands up. “Yeah…thanks.”

Lance returns the smile and nods at his brother. “You’re welcome.”


 

After practice finishes up, Lance hurries to the locker room to shower, change, and grab his schoolwork to meet his friends in Matt’s office. He says goodbye to his team then makes his way over, opening the classroom door and walking into Matt’s office where he sees Hunk and Pidge already working on some Charms spells. Pidge waves to Lance when she sees him walk in. Matt isn’t there because he said he had to help Allura out with something. Lance slightly deflates when he notices that Keith isn’t there yet, but he knows he’ll join after his detention.

Lance takes a seat at one of the desks and pulls out his Potions homework, groaning at the fact he has to write a three-page essay on the uses of a strengthening potion and how to properly make it. As much as Thace hates his guts, Lance is one of the best students in the class right now so Thace mildly tolerates Lance nowadays, allowing him to assist in demonstrating how to properly brew certain potions.

Once he gets into the rhythm of writing, he hears the door open and sees Keith stumble into the room with his left hand holding his forehead and his right hand hanging limply at his side, covered in blood.

HIRA CAN CATCH THESE HANDS

He opens his mouth to say something, but he collapses on the ground before he can.

Pidge and Hunk drop what they’re doing and hurry over to help him up. Lance sets his quill down and joins them. “He has to go to the hospital wing,” Pidge says. “My mom can-”

“No!” Keith exclaims. “Can’t…can’t give Hira the satisfaction.”

“Hira did this?” Hunk asks. “You said she was making you do lines!”

“She is,” Keith answers, sitting down in a chair with the help of Hunk and Pidge, “but the quill has some sort of spell on it. It uses blood for ink.”

“That old hag! She’s sick!” Pidge turns to Lance. “Why aren’t you saying anything?” She gasps. “You knew and didn’t tell us?!”

“I-” Lance stammers.

“I made him promise not to,” Keith interrupts.

Pidge scoffs. “That was stupid of you!”

“Keith, you have to tell Shiro. You can’t keep doing this,” Hunk reasons.

“No,” Keith protests. “I’m fine.”

“What’s this you have to tell Shiro?” Krolia’s voice wonders.

Lance turns and spots her head in the fire. “Hey! What are you doing here?” He walks over and kneels in front of the fire. Pidge and Hunk help push Keith’s chair next to Lance so he can see Krolia too.

“I wanted to tell you I received your letter, but I didn’t dare reply. The Ministry is snatching owls left and right,” Krolia replies. “Now, regarding the pain in your heads, I wouldn’t worry about it since it seems to only hurt when You-Know-Who feels a powerful emotion.”

“What about what Hira is doing to Keith?” Pidge asks. “She’s making him write lines with this quill that uses blood and it’s carving the words into his skin!”

“I personally hate her,” Krolia replies. “And I’m willing to come and maul her myself, but Lotor advises against it.”

“Is she a Galra Phantom?” Lance wonders.

“I don’t think so,” Krolia answers. “Since she is in denial about him being back, I doubt she’s a follower. You mentioned Coran is still missing? Neither I nor Lotor knows anything about that, but I bet he’s safe. Would you like me to transform into a cat again and accompany you on your next trip to Hogsmeade?”

Lance and Keith both shake their heads no. “It’s too dangerous, mom,” Keith says. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Krolia smiles. “I appreciate your concern. I miss you dearly…you too Lance. I hope to see you soon!”

Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk wave goodbye to Krolia as she disappears back into the fire. The students return to their homework, Lance first treats Keith’s wound. “Keith, please just let me help you,” Lance says. “I know these two spells well.”

Keith finally offers his hand to Lance, allowing him to heal it. Lance pulls his wand out and points it at Keith’s hand. “Episkey,” Lance recites, watching the carved words on Keith’s hand heal into a scar. Keith goes to wipe the dry blood onto his robes, but Lance stops him. “I’m not finished yet.” He points his wand at Keith’s hand again. “Tergeo.”

Keith winces slightly as he watches the blood fade from his hand, but once it’s gone, he moves his hand with no issue. “Thanks, Lance.”

Lance smiles at him. “No problem!” He resumes writing his Potions essay while Keith reads out of the History of Magic textbook.

They stay in there for about another hour or so before going their separate ways back to their common rooms.


 

The next day during breakfast, Lance arrives with Paul and they find Delia reading the Daily Prophet . The boys join her and begin eating. “It says here that Hira has been named high inquisitor,” Delia reads.

“What’s that mean?” Lance questions.

“It grants the Ministry of Magic an unprecedented level of control at Hogwarts,” Delia explains. “She’ll be sitting in on all classes to review the teachers.”

“What’s Shiro got to say about this?” Paul asks. “Surely he can put a stop to it.”

Lance scoffs. “I wouldn’t bet on it.” He angrily takes a bite of a muffin, suddenly no longer feeling the excitement to eat.

Delia and Paul eat in silence with him until it’s time to head to Divination class. They make their way up the steep stairwell into the classroom. They take their usual seats, Keith, Layla, and Xander eventually joining them. Keith plops down next to Lance and glares at Hira who is sitting at the front of the room with a clipboard in her hand.

Slav regards her nervously then begins teaching the class, but is stopped periodically by Hira who demands he make predictions on the spot. Nothing gets done in that class, thanks to Hira. Not that Lance ever learned anything in Divination on a regular basis, now it was just annoying.

This continues throughout the day, Hira disrupting the way things go in Hogwarts. During Transfiguration, Allura expresses her obvious disdain for Hira, but since she’s a great teacher, there’s really nothing Hira can do to throw her off her game. In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Keith loses his temper again, earning himself another week of detention. Lance had the opportunity to stop and defend him, but he held back, not wanting words scarred into his skin.

After classes finish, Lance departs from Keith to head to the library while Keith goes to detention. Lance joins Hunk, Shay, and Pidge while they work on their obnoxiously long Defense Against the Dark Arts essay on the history of defensive spells.

About halfway through the essay, Pidge throws her quill down in frustration. “Ugh! This is stupid! I hate this!” she exclaims.

“We’re never going to pass our O.W.L. like this,” Shay comments.

Hunk furrows his eyebrows in thought. “What if we form our own study group for Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

Pidge scoffs. “How will that even work?”

“Well, both Lance and Keith have more experience in that line than any of us do,” Hunk explains. “It makes sense that they could lead it. They already know a bunch of spells that we’re supposed to be learning this year. Plus it’s a good thing to learn in case something bad ever happens.”

“I think that’s a great idea, Hunk,” Shay says.

Pidge nods. “Okay…yeah! I like it! Lance, what do you think?”

“I dunno. I don’t think I could teach a bunch of people how to do spells,” Lance says honestly.

“You’ve produced a fully formed Patronus…I think you’re more qualified than Hira herself. Not to mention you both have fought You-Know-Who multiple times and haven’t been killed,” Pidge counters. “Just…just talk it over with Keith and let us know, alright?”

Lance sighs and nods. “Fine. Keith should be getting out of detention right about now so I’ll talk about it with him before I give any definite answer.” He packs up his stuff and stands up. “I’ll see you guys later.” Lance leaves the library and heads down to the Slytherin common room to wait outside for Keith.

A few minutes pass before Keith arrives, looking very tired after dealing with Hira. He perks up slightly when he sees Lance. “Hey! What are you doing here? I thought you were with Hunk, Shay, and Pidge in the library.”

“I need to ask you something,” Lance states, “and if you’re not on board with it, then neither am I.”

Keith raises an eyebrow. “What is it, Lance?”

“Hunk had this idea of a student-led Defense Against the Dark Arts study group where you and I would teach students how to use defensive and offensive spells. Shay and Pidge both think it’s a good idea, but I wanted to talk it over with you first,” Lance shares. “What do you think?”

Keith slowly smiles and nods. “I think it’s a great idea! Those are the spells we should be learning now, but Hira is an idiot. When do we have to let Hunk and Pidge know?”

“I said I’d let them know tomorrow,” Lance replies. “You let Pidge know and I’ll talk to Hunk?”

“Sounds good. Good night, Lance,” Keith says as he turns to the Slytherin common room portrait.

Lance waves goodbye and heads to the Gryffindor common room, smiling widely. He finally has something good to look forward to this year. If Pidge and Hunk think he’s capable of teaching students spells then anything’s possible.

Chapter Text

The following morning, before heading to the Gryffindor table for breakfast, Lance finds Hunk at the Hufflepuff table with Shay and their other friends. Hunk smiles when he sees Lance. “Hey! Did you talk about it with him?” he wonders.

“Yeah. We’re in,” Lance shares. “He’s talking to Pidge.”

Hunk nods. “Alright! Pidge and I will take care of the rest. See you later, Lance.”

Lance waves goodbye then joins Delia and Paul for breakfast. “What were you doing by the Hufflepuff table?” Delia asks as she pours herself some more pumpkin juice.

“I had to tell Hunk something,” Lance replies. “He and Pidge will probably mention something to you about a student-led group study for Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Paul smiles widely. “Oh, cool! That’s an awesome idea! Who’s leading it?”

“Keith and I would,” Lance answers. “Just keep it on the down low. We don’t want Hira finding out about it.”

Delia and Paul nod. “We’ll keep our mouths shut,” Delia reassures him.

They head out together to head to their first class, Herbology. Coran still isn’t back so Allura continues teaching the class in his absence. While Lance loves Allura’s teaching methods, it just doesn’t feel right for her to be teaching them about plants. He really misses Coran’s upbeat attitude and enthusiasm about plants. Coran always has different stories to go with each plant and it makes learning about them much more enjoyable.

Throughout the rest of the day in classes and between classes, Lance notices Pidge, Hunk, and Shay talking with different people whenever they can. Some are in their same houses while others are in Gryffindor and Slytherin. However, the Slytherin ones seem to be only people Keith is friends with - which is probably for the best.

 


 

 

That night, Lance finds himself dreaming about the possibilities of what the Defense Group could achieve. He dreams about them defeating Zarkon and the Galra Phantoms together along with taking down Hira and the Ministry of Magic. Lance also dreams of Shiro walking up to him holding a red jeweled crown, similar to the ones Pidge, Keith, and Hunk had in a dream Lance had before school. Sadly, before Shiro can place it on Lance’s head, Lance wakes up to Paul yelling at someone for stepping on his foot.

Lance proceeds to get ready for the Hogsmeade trip and meets up with Hunk, Shay, Pidge, and Keith before they walk over. Pidge leads them through the crowded streets of Hogsmeade, avoiding the swarms of other students. “Pidge, where are we going?” Lance wonders.

She stops once they reach a slightly seedy looking pub. “Here we are!”

The Hog’s Head ?” Keith reads.

“Come on. This is where we’re meeting. Hunk, Shay, and I talked to some people, but I don’t expect many to show up,” Pidge explains as they head inside.

Lance looks around the place, regarding the grimy and ill-lit atmosphere of it. Shady witches and wizards sit uneasily in corners, looking at them suspiciously, but no one approaches them. Pidge points to one of the corners where many Hogwarts students are standing, including Delia, Paul, Layla, Xander, Marco, and others. About 24 students are there, waiting to see what they have to say.

“These are some of the people Hunk, Shay, and I mentioned the Defense Against the Dark Arts idea with,” Pidge shares.

Lance raises his eyebrows in surprise. “Wow.”

“Hey everyone! I thought it would be good if we met and talked over how we wanted to teach ourselves Defense Against the Dark Arts since we need to be learning it properly…not by the crap Hira is doing.”

“Hear hear!” Reyna exclaims.

“Obviously, this will help us pass our O.W.L.s for our fellow fifth years,” Pidge continues, “but, more importantly, it gives us the ability to protect ourselves from Lord Zarkon.”

Several people jump or wince in fear at the name. Ravenclaw’s star Chaser, Joshua Carlson steps forward, looking skeptical. “How do we know You-Know-Who’s really back?”

“Shiro believes he is,” Marco says.

Another Hufflepuff, the team’s Captain, Grayson Leon scoffs. “You mean Shiro believes him .” He nods in Keith’s direction.

“That’s true, but we’re straying from the purpose-” Hunk starts.

Keith steps forward. “It’s okay, Hunk. I got this.” He looks at everyone. “I believe Zarkon’s back because I fought him last year. Shiro’s already told the school this, but if you didn’t believe him then you won’t believe anyone.”

There’s a tense silence before Pidge clears her throat to speak. “Anyway…I think that in order to learn properly, we’ll need a teacher.”

Shannon Park, Gryffindor’s Seeker, furrows her eyebrows in confusion. “But we’re all students. None of us has the experience to-”

“Two people here do,” Delia interrupts, looking at Keith and Lance.

“Okay, I for one would like to know why Kogane and McClain are qualified and the rest of us aren’t,” Timothy Peters demands.

“Well, they’re the only ones who have confronted You-Know-Who several times and lived to tell about it,” Layla defends.

“One of the portraits said you two killed a Baku in the Cavern of Mysteries,” a girl named Desiree Warren says. “Keith had the sword in Shiro’s office.”

Lance nods. “It’s true. I distracted it while Keith killed it with the Sword of Gryffindor.”

Brooklyn raises an eyebrow. “Wow…” She and half the crowd look awestruck.

“Don’t forget they saved the Balmera’s Crystal from You-Know-Who in their first year!” Paul exclaims.

“And last year Keith got through the Triwizard Tournament,” Delia adds.

“Both of them have conjured fully-formed Patronuses,” Shay shares. “Keith in his third year and Lance very recently.”

“Not to mention Keith dueled with Zarkon all alone and he still couldn’t kill him,” Lance adds, smiling at Keith.

“Well, you fought off those Dementors this summer,” Keith counters.

Pidge and Hunk exchange a pleasing smile before turning to the crowd. “So, all in favor of taking lessons from Lance and Keith?” Hunk asks. He holds up his hand along with Pidge. Delia, Paul, Layla, Xander, Reyna, Romelle, Shay, Brooklyn, and Desiree raise their hands too. After a moment, everyone else raises their hands as well.

“Where will we meet?” Marco wonders.

“What about an unused classroom?” Xander offers.

Lance nods. “That might work. I can look into it.”

“Great!” Hunk exclaims. He pulls a parchment out of his bag. “I think we should put our names down so we know who was here.”

Suddenly, people look uncomfortable. “Uh…I don’t know. If it were found - I’m sure Hira wouldn’t like what we’re doing,” one of Hunk’s friends, a Hufflepuff named Andrew Harper, states unsurely.

Hunk gives him an unamused look. “Honestly, Drew, do you think I would just leave it lying around? Besides, it’s enchanted.”

Everyone calms down and take turns signing the parchment. Paul and Delia eagerly sign first and everyone follows afterward. Lance and Keith sign their names last after Pidge, Hunk, and Shay.

“What should we call ourselves?” Pidge asks once everyone has signed.

“What about the Anti-Hira League?” Sophia Barre asks with a snicker, high-fiving Reyna.

“Something that doesn’t give away what we’re doing,” Pidge says.

“What about Shiro’s Army?” Keith offers. Everyone mumbles with excitement, agreeing with the name.

“Shiro’s Army it is then! The S.A. for short,” Hunk says as he writes it at the top of the paper.

Lance peers over his shoulder to look at the paper, smiling at all the names listed.

Shiro’s Army:

Paul Franco

Delia Trang

Reyna McGivney

Sophia Barre

Zackary Barre

Desiree Warren

Wesley Warren

Joshua Carlson

Grayson Leon

Marco McClain

Timothy Peters

Layla Castillo

Alexander Castillo

Kathleen Deely

Brooklyn Torres

Shannon Park

Nyma Valentina

Romelle Beaulieu

Benjamin Deely

Natalie Leon

Millicent Blair

David Fredrick

Andrew Harper

Shailene Clark

Katherine Holt

Tsuyoshi Garett

Lance McClain

Keith Kogane

 

“Okay! Lance and I will let you all know when we’ll be meeting next,” Keith announces, breaking Lance out of his thoughts.

The group disbands and everyone heads back towards the castle, Lance unable to hide his smile. “Someone’s happy,” Keith comments with a raised eyebrow. “You excited for the S.A.?”

Lance nods. “Being the youngest meant I couldn’t show anyone what I could do since all my other siblings did it before me, but now I can show what I can do! It’s-” He stops in his tracks when he sees a sign posted outside the Great Hall. “Horrible!”

“Uh, what?” Keith asks.

Lance grabs Keith’s chin and turns his head towards the sign. It’s an education decree from Hira, forbidding all student organizations - including the Quidditch teams - from meeting again until they receive her approval. “Hunk!” Lance turns around and looks at Hunk. “We literally just talked about it. How does she know?!”

Hunk shakes his head no. “I put a jinx on it and if anyone snitched, we’d know.”

“How though?” Keith demands.

Hunk and Shay exchange a smirk. “Trust him, guys. You’ll know,” Shay says, linking her arm with Hunk’s before they walk away together.

Lance huffs, frustrated. “I have to go finish some Charms homework. I’ll see you later, Keith.” He walks back to the Gryffindor common room and begins finishing the assignment Professor Holt gave them, but he stops when he sees Blue in the window. Her feathers are ruffled and she’s holding her wing at an odd angle.

Delia and Paul walk into the common room just as Lance scrambles over to the window to open it, letting Blue inside. “Lance? What are you-” Delia gasps. “Oh no! What happened to her?”

who hurt her?!?!?

Blue nuzzles her head against Lance’s chin and hoots softly. Delia walks over and unties a letter from her feet. “Someone attacked my owl, that’s what happened!” Lance exclaims angrily. “Whoever did this will pay.” He starts walking towards the exit, but Delia stops him. “What?!”

“Don’t you want to see the letter?” Delia wonders.

Lance sighs, frustrated. “Fine. Read it to me.”

“It’s from Krolia and says tomorrow, same time, same place ,” Delia reads. “Do you know what it means?”

“Yeah, thanks,” Lance replies. He walks past Paul who pats him on the back in support.

As Lance leaves the common room and begins making his way to Slav’s cabin, he runs into Allura. “Oh, excuse me, professor.”

“It is late! Where are you going at this time of night?” Allura asks.

“It’s Blue,” Lance says, moving his arm to show her. “I think she’s been attacked.”

“What?” Allura steps closer, peering at Blue’s injured wing. “Oh, yes. I think you are right. Where was she coming from?”

Lance looks at the floor. “London…”

Allura sighs. “Alright, well, give her to me. I will take her to Slav.” She carefully takes Blue from Lance and furrows her eyebrows in confusion. She lifts up a small ball of orange/black fur from in the wings. “I do not think this belongs to Blue.”

Lance takes it from her and his eyes widen. “Red! What if she’s hurt too?! I-”

“You can’t let her do that!” a familiar voice shouts from the hallway. “Professor Slater, please!”

“Kogane, it is out of my hands. Your cat decided to attack her,” Thace replies, rounding the corner with Keith but stopping when he sees Allura and Lance. “Allura, Lance…” He spots Blue in Allura’s arms. “What happened here?”

“Someone attacked his owl, Thace,” Allura explains.

“Is that enough proof you need?!” Keith demands. “I want my cat back!”

“What happened to Red?” Lance asks.

“Hira took her away and put her in a cage because she attacked her!” Keith exclaims.

“Kogane, don’t make me tell you again,” Thace scolds before turning back to Allura. They exchange a knowing expression then look at the students. “Both of you head back to bed, we will take care of this.”

“But-” Keith starts, but Lance covers his mouth with his hand before he can say anything else - something he should’ve done in Hira’s class.

“Right away, professors,” Lance says, dragging Keith away. Once they’re out of earshot from Allura and Thace, Lance releases Keith and glares at him. “Do you know when to shut your mouth?”

Keith steps back. “Excuse me?”

“Are you asking to get more detentions? I can’t always be there to save you when you decide to explode!” Lance exclaims.

Keith crosses his arms. “What, like you were there for me in Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

“Just don’t, okay? Also, Krolia’s letter said tomorrow, same time, same place. Anyway, goodnight, Keith,” Lance says, turning back towards the Gryffindor common room. He walks inside and finds that Delia and Paul have gone to bed, leaving him alone in the room. As Lance begins to finish up his essay, he hears someone else in the room, moving things around. He sits up and narrows his eyes. “Who’s there?”

Suddenly, Chulatt, the house mouse-elf, pops up and smiles when she sees Lance. “It’s just me! Hello Lance!” she greets cheerfully.

chulatt!!!

“Chulatt! What are you doing here?” Lance wonders.

“Chulatt is cleaning, sir,” she replies. “What are you still doing up?”

“Finishing an essay,” Lance shares. “I’ll let you get back to cleaning.” He looks back at his paper but turns back to her. “Wait, Chulatt? You wouldn’t happen to know of a room where twenty-eight wizards can practice Defense Against the Dark Arts without the teachers - especially Hira - knowing?”

Chulatt smiles widely. “Chulatt knows the perfect place! It is called the Room of Requirement! The room can only be used in times of great need. Whatever you need will be there for you, Lance McClain.”

“That’s brilliant, Chulatt!” Lance exclaims. He yawns, rubbing his eyes. “I’m pretty tired. I’ll see you soon, alright?” He collects his things and waves goodbye to her, heading up the stairs to bed.

 


 

 

The following morning, Lance makes his way down to the dungeons for Potions class. Schedules got moved around this year so he no longer has Potions with Hunk anymore. Instead, he has Potions with Keith. Lance has been ecstatic about it since Potions is something he’s better at than Keith - and that’s saying a lot since Keith is great at a lot of things.

Lance walks into the classroom with a smile on his face, but it quickly disappears when he sees Hira sitting in a chair at the front of the classroom. He quickly takes his seat across from Layla, opening his textbook to act like he’s busy. Paul and Delia walk in next, Delia sitting next to Layla while Paul takes an empty seat on another end of the table. Next Lance sees Damien and Bethany walk in, but they ignore Lance’s table, too busy in their own conversation to notice anyone else.

Finally, Lance sees Keith and Xander walk inside. Xander takes his seat next to Paul, but Keith stops in his tracks when he sees Hira at the front of the room. He opens his mouth to question it, but Lance grabs his arm and yanks him into his seat. “Keith, don’t,” Lance warns. “Please.”

Keith pouts but complies. After a few more minutes, Thace strolls inside, shutting the door behind him. He regards Hira with irritation and disdain before turning to the class. “Okay, today we will be working on brewing the Invigoration Draught. Could anyone tell me what this does?” Thace wonders.

“Professor Slater, isn’t it your job to teach them that?” Hira asks.

Thace sighs and looks at her. “Please let me teach my class.”

Lance timidly raises his hand, hoping Hira doesn’t strike him down for participating. Thace nods at Lance. “Mr. McClain?”

“The Invigoration Draught gives the drinker a boost of energy,” Lance shares.

“Correct. Ten points to Gryffindor,” Thace awards, something rarely heard from him. “Now, everyone open your books to page one hundred and seven. There you will see the directions needed to brew the Invigoration Draught. For forty house points, who would like to come up to the front to attempt to brew it themselves in front of the class?”

Lance raises his hand just as Hira stands up. “I have to advise against this. Why aren’t you teaching the students how to brew the potion?”

“I am giving a student an opportunity to show their potions skills,” Thace replies. “I believe I saw Mr. McClain’s hand up first?”

Hira huffs in frustration but sits back down without another word. Lance approaches Thace’s table as the rest of the class grabs their notebooks and quills to take notes. Keith gives Lance a supportive smile as he stands at the front of the group with Delia and Xander.

“Okay, uh, first I’m going to mix in four Alihotsy leaves,” Lance says as he opens a jar of oval-shaped green leaves. He picks out four of the nicest ones and places them in the cauldron before mixing it in. The cauldron smokes a little then settles down as a dark green color.

Lance sighs in relief when the potion doesn’t explode then reaches for the small container of dried billywig stings. “Now I’m going to add two of the dried billywig stings while stirring the potion.” He grabs the stir rod and begins stirring as he drops the two stings into the potion. It glows blue before settling as the dark green color once again. “Next I’ll add five drops of the wormwood infusion followed immediately by a peppermint leaf.” He adds the five drops and places the peppermint leaf inside. “Lastly I’ll add half of the container of the stewed Mandrake.”

As he adds the final ingredient, the potion begins to glow once again, settling down for a teal/lime green color, smoking slightly. Thace walks over and stirs it around himself, taking a whiff before nodding at Lance. “Very good. Forty points to Gryffindor.” He looks at the rest of the class. “Now, back to your stations and attempt it for yourselves.”

Lance plops down next to Keith and exchanges a smile with him. “That felt good,” Lance shares.

“I personally enjoyed watching Hira squirm in her seat when she couldn’t correct Thace’s teaching,” Keith replies, beginning to brew his potion. “I think I enjoy watching her suffer.”

Lance directs his attention back to his notebook when Hira begins walking around the classroom. Luckily, she doesn’t intervene any further as the class finishes up their potions. The only other student to successfully brew the potion is Delia, but that’s no surprise. Lance offered his help to Keith, but Hira kept glaring at them so Keith denied his help and didn’t talk to him for the rest of the day.

After classes, Lance meets up with Pidge, Keith, and Hunk in Matt’s office to work on homework and to wait for Krolia. About an hour passes before Krolia appears in the fire. She apologizes for being late, saying she got held up doing something. She shares that she knows about their secret defense group and encourages them to keep meeting.

Before Keith can ask her how things are, a hand begins groping through the flames, attempting to grab hold of Krolia. She quickly says goodbye and disappears into the flames.

“I hate Hira!” Keith yells, kicking his chair. “She ruins everything!”

“Keith, how do you know it was-” Pidge starts.

“It was her! It’s always her!” Keith shouts.

Lance stands up. “Okay! I think we all should head to bed. I know I don’t want to deal with this anymore. Good night.” Before his friends can say anything, Lance walks out and back to his dorm.

 


 

 

The next day after classes, Lance receives word from Brooklyn that she earned permission to reform the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and scheduled practice for the evening. Seeing it as a good opportunity, Lance calls for an S.A. meeting after Gryffindor’s Quidditch practice finishes up at the Room of Requirement. He makes sure Pidge and Hunk know where it is before they begin spreading the word to the other members as Lance heads to practice.

Lance arrives at practice with Marco and they begin getting ready for practice. Marco makes sure to let Brooklyn and Timothy know where the S.A. meeting will be taking place. Timothy and Brooklyn give Lance a smile before heading out to the pitch. Lance snatches his broom and hurries out after them, frowning when he feels the cold, wet air from the rain. He sighs in discouragement when he doesn’t see the Slytherins leaving the pitch. Usually, they’d practice before Gryffindor, but Sophia must’ve not gotten permission from Hira to reform their team yet.

Oh well, it’s not Lance’s place to worry since it’s not his team. Besides, he can already feel a headache coming, sensing that Zarkon is upset that something he wants is not happening fast enough. He tries to ignore it as practice starts, but eventually, the pain becomes too great and the weather gets worse so practice ends a little earlier than planned.

Wet and sore, Lance hurries to the locker room to shower and change so he can head to the Room of Requirement with Marco, Brooklyn, and Timothy. They keep an eye out around each corridor in case the Warden or Laika are lurking about so they don’t get in trouble. Luckily they don’t run into anyone and arrive safely at the Room of Requirement. Once they enter, Lance smiles at the assembled group of people, Keith standing at the front of them all, clearly waiting for Lance to arrive. “Sorry we’re late, but I’m happy to see everyone found this place alright,” Lance comments, standing beside Keith.

“We weren’t waiting that long,” Delia shares.

“I have a question,” Paul says, raising his hand. “What is all this stuff?”

Lance looks around and sees that many devices like Dark Detectors and Sneakoscopes are scattered around the room. “Defense Against the Dark Arts equipment. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get to all of it before the end of the term,” Lance answers. “Now you guys can chat amongst yourselves…Keith and I have to go over what we want to teach first.” He turns to Keith. “What do you think we should do?”

“I think Expelliarmus is a good one,” Keith replies.

Lance smiles. “Alright! I trust you.” He looks back out at everyone else and claps his hands, getting their attention. “Okay! Before we start, you all need to understand something. Defending yourself against the Dark Arts has less to do with magical ability and more to do with thinking quick and a lot of luck. It’s not something you can study up on and expect to do perfectly the first time because that doesn’t happen in real life. You have to practice over and over and over again and maybe you’ll be able to do it, but that shouldn’t discourage you. I hope that when we’re done here, all of you will be able to do these spells with your eyes closed and mouths shut!” Lance nods at Keith.

“Right, well, we’ll be doing Expelliarmus tonight, but hopefully we can move onto other things if we have time,” Keith says.

Andrew scoffs. “Oh please! Professor Lockhart taught us that in our second year.”

“Lockhart didn’t teach as much as prune himself,” Hunk counters, earning a few chuckles from the group.

Keith crosses his arms. “Besides, it works. I used it against You-Know-Who last June and it saved my life.”

Andrew falls silent, not being able to argue with that. Hunk pats his back and gives a nod at Keith. Lance clears his throat. “Right! Well, let’s split into pairs and give it a go.”

Lance watches as everyone begins pairing up with each other, a little surprised with himself when he begins correctly assuming who people will partner up with. For instance, Delia automatically pairs up with Layla while Paul does the same with Xander. Hunk splits off with Shay as Marco puts his arm around Brooklyn. Reyna and Sophia partner up - no surprise there - and Pidge partners up with Romelle. Lance gets a tad distracted watching Nyma walk to an open area with Millicent Blair to begin working.

Keith smacks his arm to break him out of his trance. “ Come on ,” he scolds through clenched teeth. Once everyone’s settled in their spots, they turn to Lance and Keith for directions. “Okay! I’ll demonstrate how to use Expelliarmus on Lance.”

“Just so you all know, I didn’t agree to this,” Lance says as he pulls his wand out.

Keith ignores him and continues teaching anyway. “The key here is firm wand movements and total focus.” He takes a deep breath before pointing his wand at Lance. “Expelliarmus!”

A flash of scarlet magic bursts out of Keith’s wand, straight towards Lance’s wand. It makes contact with his hand, causing the wand to fly out and over to Keith. He snatches it out of the air before it hits anyone.

“See? Simple enough,” Keith says as he hands Lance his wand back. “Now, don’t expect the other person’s wand to come flying towards you the first time around. It took me a lot of practice to get it to do that so just focus on getting the wand out of your partner’s hand.”

Lance and Keith begin walking around to monitor everyone’s progress. Some of the students, like Reyna and Brooklyn, are getting the hang of the motions quickly while others, like Paul and Marco, are struggling to even get a little spark out of their wand. Lance instructs them to change their grip and wand angle so they can get better results before moving onto the next group. He comes upon Nyma and Millicent and watches them attempt the spell. Millicent successfully hits Nyma’s hand a few times, but the wand stays put firmly in Nyma’s grasp. When she notices Lance watching, she waves him over. “Lance, would you help me with my stance and arm angle? I don’t think I’m doing this properly,” she says.

“Oh, yeah! Sure!” Lance exclaims, shoving his wand in his back pocket. “Okay, so what exactly are you having trouble with?”

“I just don’t know the proper stance I should be in,” Nyma replies. “I’m looking at everyone else, but I still can’t do it.”

Lance nods. “Okay, show me what you’ve been doing so far.”

Nyma shows him her stance which has both hands holding her wand and her feet spread way too far apart. Lance winces internally at the shabby stance then steps behind her to help. “Well, first of all, you don’t need to stand with your feet that far apart.” He gently nudges her left foot closer to her right. “You also don’t need two hands holding your wand either.” Lance reaches around her to grab her left wrist, slowly bringing her hand down to her side. He then reaches with his right hand to place it on the hand Nyma still has holding the wand, lowering it slightly.

With his right hand still on hers, he uses his left to gently grab Nyma’s left hip and pull it back slightly. Nyma takes a small step back with her left foot, her back lightly bumping into Lance’s chest. She turns and looks at him, Lance getting a nice whiff of her lemony-scented blonde hair. Lance gets caught up in a trance staring into her dark blue eyes. His eyes flicker between her mouth and eyes, but before he can say anything else, he turns his head slightly when he sees Keith looking - more like glaring - at him.

nymance - ew

Keith quickly looks away and continues helping Sophia out. Lance clears his throat and steps away from Nyma, cheeks flushed. “And yeah! Like that.”

Nyma smiles and nods at him. “Thanks, Lance.” She turns her attention to Millicent. “Expelliarmus!” A flash of scarlet comes out of Nyma’s wand and hits Millicent’s hand, sending her wand up a couple inches before Millicent catches it again.

“Nice job!” Lance exclaims. “Keep up the good work.” He continues walking down the row of students practice, eventually reaching Delia and Layla.

“Expelliarmus!” Layla shouts, causing Delia’s wand to flip from her hand and across the room.

“Well done, Layla!” Lance praises. He turns to everyone else. “Look here everyone! Layla’s really got the hang of this one.” Lance looks at Layla. “Do it again.”

Keith tosses Delia’s wand to her and Layla readies herself again. “Expelliarmus!” Layla exclaims. Delia’s wand flies out of her hands once again. Layla smiles triumphantly. “I did it!”

Lance pats her on the shoulder. “Well done!” He nods at Keith and they step to the front of the room. “Okay, we’ve done a lot today, and Keith and I have seen some great improvement.”

Keith nods in agreement. “That’s it for now, but we’ll meet back here the same time next week. Good work, everyone!” He and Lance watch everyone walk out then they start cleaning up.

“Keith, can I ask you something?” Lance asks, stacking a pile of books.

“Go for it,” Keith replies without looking at him.

“Why were you glaring at me when I was helping Nyma out with her stance?”

Keith drops the Sneakoscope he was holding, turning to glare at Lance. “Because you were all over her! You didn’t help anyone else like that!”

“She asked for my help, Keith!” Lance exclaims.

“So if Pidge asked for help with her stance you would’ve done the same thing?” Keith wonders. “What about Delia? Layla? Xander ?!”

Lance rolls his eyes. “I don’t understand why you’re getting angry about this.”

Keith snatches the Sneakoscope off the ground and marches up to Lance. “For someone who’s naturally gifted at Potions, you’re awfully dense, Lance. Ask me again when you’ve finally figured it out.”

“Figured what out?!” Lance demands. “You’re not making any sense!”

Keith shoves the Sneakoscope in his hands. “No, Lance, I’m making perfect sense. You just haven’t connected the dots yet.” He turns and heads for the door.

“Wait! Keith!” Lance calls after him. “Just tell me what’s bugging you!”

Keith puts his hand on the doorknob then turns to look at Lance one last time. He purses his lips as if he’s thinking. “No.” He opens the door. “Goodnight, Lance.”

And with that, he shuts the door, leaving Lance standing there confused and alone in the room.

Chapter Text

As the autumn leaves vanish from the trees, snow begins to fall from the sky, thus bringing the first Quidditch match of the season - Gryffindor versus Slytherin. As Lance heads to the locker rooms, he passes several Slytherins wearing pins, mocking Marco’s Keeper skills saying Marco McClain is our King!

Lance ignores their taunts, pushing his way through to get ready for the game. He puts on his protective gear and slips on his number 7 jersey. Brooklyn claps her hands and motions for everyone to gather around her. “Okay! Listen up,” she instructs. “I want a clean game out there, alright? We all know the Slytherins love to play dirty, but we can’t stoop to their level. Focus on doing your jobs and we’ll win this game. Chasers, it’s our job to score as many points as we can to keep the game in our favor so Shannon can do her job and catch the Snitch. Lance, Torie, give everyone hell with those Bludgers, alright? Lance, you focus on keeping Keith off his game. Torie, you single out Damien so he gets frustrated and plays selfishly.” She turns to Marco. “Ignore the fans, okay? The Slytherins will try to get under your skin, but you cannot let them get to you. We trust you to protect the goalposts. Now, you have to trust yourself.” She pats his shoulder then looks back at everyone. “Let’s go win this, shall we?”

The team cheers with her and they run out to the pitch where the Slytherin team is already in the air warming up. Lance puts his goggles over his face so he can see then boards his broom, flying into the air. The snow is blowing around strongly in the wind, but not hard enough to have the game canceled. Lance waves at Keith when he sees him, and he’s happy to see Keith wave back.

A few more minutes pass and the game starts, Matt beginning to comment on the game. “Hello everyone! It’s good to be back announcing these Quidditch matches after that hiatus last year! It should be a good matchup today. Sophia Barre, the Slytherin team captain, and Brooklyn Torres, the Gryffindor team captain, both did a great job choosing their teams this year! Anyway, let’s begin. Allura tosses the Quaffle up and - no surprise here - number 9 Chaser for Slytherin, Reyna McGivney, is the first one to grab it.”

Lance begins to tune out Matt as a Bludger comes his way. He readies his bat and hits it in Reyna’s direction, forcing her to pass the Quaffle to Damien. He easily dodges Torie’s attempts to hit him and throws the Quaffle at one of the goalposts. Lance waits for Marco to block the shot but it soars past him and through the center scoring ten points for Slytherin. Lance groans in frustration, looking to where Keith is perched in the sky then smacks a Bludger at him to throw him off his game.

This pattern continues for several more minutes, much to Lance’s dismay. “…and Slytherin is up forty to ten!” Matt announces. “Number 3 Chaser for Gryffindor, Dina Buckland, with the Quaffle!”

Lance watches as Dina spins through the blizzard, trying desperately to see in front of her. Two shapes emerge from the snow, Sophia Barre and Kenneth Carabotta, the Slytherin Beaters, and each takes a swing at her. Dina twists completely around in her broom and the bats swish harmlessly past. She pushes forward to the Slytherin goals and hurls the Quaffle at one of the goalposts. Lance waits for it to soar through the center, but the Slytherin Keeper, Laura Gao, easily blocks it.

Below in the stands, the Gryffindor fans groan while the Slytherins begin chanting:

 

McClain is our King!

McClain is our King!

He always lets the Quaffle in.

McClain is our king!

 

Lance flies over to Marco who is looking grimly sick to his stomach. “Marco, ignore them!”

marco mcclain

Marco doesn’t acknowledge him as Jason Archard and Damien Morrison come speeding over with the Quaffle. Jason passes to Damien who chucks it towards the shortest goalpost. Marco dives down to block it but misses. A loud gong sounds followed by another groan from the Gryffindors.

“Another ten points to Slytherin!” Matt announces. “The score is now fifty-ten in favor of Slytherin.”

Lance wishes Shiro would shut Matt up, but since he’s not doing anything wrong, Shiro can’t do anything. He turns when he sees Damien pull up near Marco as well. He smirks at him. “I should thank you and apologize, Marco. You’re not a bad player! I mean, after all, you’re our best player!” He laughs.

Lance opens his mouth to shout at him, but the Snitch goes whizzing past his head, immediately followed by Keith and Shannon. Keith accidentally bumps into Damien, which slows him down and allows Shannon to take the lead.

Keith glares at Damien then takes off after the Snitch again. Lance watches as the Snitch takes a sharp left turn, causing Shannon to slow down which lets Keith get even with her again. Keith reaches out for the Snitch, fingers brushing up against it, but a Bludger comes from nowhere and knocks him off his broom. Lance’s heart lurches in his chest as Keith falls down onto the ground, rolling in the grass before landing on his back.

Shannon holds up the Snitch triumphantly, earning cheers from the Gryffindor crowd. Lance flies over to her to give her a high five before landing on the ground next to Keith and a few of his teammates. “Keith? Can you hear me?” Lance asks.

Keith groans and opens his eyes. “That hurt.”

Lance sighs in relief and grabs his right hand while Reyna grabs his left and together they pull Keith to his feet. Sophia hurries over with Keith’s broom, opening her mouth to say something, but Damien storms over before she can.

“You idiot !” Damien exclaims at Keith. “Why didn’t you catch the Snitch?!”

“Hey! I tried! Didn’t you see that Bludger knock me off my broom?!” Keith demands. “Not to mention you were in my way!”

Damien scoffs. “It’s not my job to watch the Snitch! You should’ve prepared for it!”

“Why you little-” Keith starts before jumping at him, taking a swing at his face. He tackles Damien to the ground and threatens to punch him again, but Damien blocks the blow and punches Keith in the jaw, sending him to the side.

“Guys stop!” Lance exclaims, hurrying over to attempt to break up the fight.

“Mr. McClain! Do not get involved,” a voice instructs from behind.

Lance stops and turns to see Thace walking over. He raises his wand up and aims it at the fighting boys. A flash of red comes from his wand and it separates Damien and Keith. “Congratulations! You’ve just earned yourselves a week of detention!” Thace exclaims, walking over to them. “Clean yourselves up and go see Colleen Holt in the medical wing.”

“On the contrary, Professor Slater, I just put up another decree from the Ministry,” Hira interjects, walking over. “I am in charge of all punishments and fighting is not tolerated! They will have a weeks worth of detention and are forbidden to play Quidditch for the rest of the season.”

Keith’s jaw drops and Damien crosses his arms in protest. “What?” Keith asks, voice breaking.

Hira raises an eyebrow. “You heard me. Hand over your brooms, now.” She holds her hands out for Damien’s and Keith’s broom. Keith angrily shoves it into her hands before walking over to Lance. Damien hands her the broom and glares at her.

“My father will hear about this,” Damien states.

“Is that a threat, Mr. Morrison? I guarantee I can make your punishment much worse if you would like,” Hira replies with a smile.

Damien huffs then storms off, absolutely livid. Before Keith can say or do anything to get himself into more trouble, Lance grabs his hand and drags him out of the Quidditch pitch and into the locker room. Lance puts his equipment and broom away then turns to Keith. “You know why I pulled you away, right?” Lance wonders.

Keith bites his lip then suddenly wraps his arms around Lance’s neck, hugging him tightly. Lance sighs and hugs him back, wrapping his arms around Keith’s waist while Keith buries his face into the crook of Lance’s neck, obviously trying not to cry.

“I’m so sorry, Keith,” Lance says solemnly, rubbing his back.

Keith lets out a stifled sob, gripping Lance tighter. “I-I let the team down! N-now I c-can’t make u-up for it!” he exclaims between sobs.

Lance pulls away and looks Keith sternly in the eyes. “Hey, this isn’t your fault.”

Keith sniffles and glares at the ground. “It’s my job to catch the Snitch. I failed at doing my job. How is this not my fault?”

“I watched you, Keith. Damien was in your way at the start so Shannon had a better opportunity,” Lance says. “Plus Torie hit you with that Bludger - nearly killed you might I add.”

“I should’ve seen it coming,” Keith counters, shaking his head. “I’ve gotten used to being targeted by you that I didn’t expect it from her.”

Lance sighs. “If it makes you feel any better, your team won’t win without you.”

“They didn’t win with me either,” Keith grumbles. He winces when he sees Lance’s angered expression. “Sorry…I’m just angry.”

Lance chuckles. “Yeah, okay. Let’s get changed and-”

The doors to the locker room open, revealing Hunk and Pidge. “Guys! Coran’s back!” Hunk exclaims.

Keith and Lance exchange a smile before hurrying off with Hunk and Pidge to Coran’s office, not caring if they’re still in their Quidditch uniforms. When they enter, they find his face badly bruised and bleeding. “Coran!” Lance shouts before they all hug him.

Coran chuckles. “Hello! It’s so nice to see you all again!”

“What happened to you? Where were you?” Pidge wonders.

“Shiro sent me into the mountains to talk to the Giants and rally support, but I was unsuccessful,” Coran shares. “I think-”

Suddenly someone knocks on the door then opens it. Hira forces her way into the room, glaring at Coran. “Where have you been?” she demands.

“That’s classified,” Coran replies cooly. “I cannot share any details with you. If you have an issue, you will have to take that up with Shiro.”

Hira huffs in annoyance then storms out of the room. Once she’s gone, Pidge turns to Coran. “Hira’s been doing class inspections so I’d be careful if I were you.”

Coran shakes his head. “I’ll be okay. You kids should hurry off now before she gives a reason to give you all detention. I’ll see you in class!”

He ushers the four out of his office, shutting the door behind them. Lance sees Keith rub his arm while grimacing. “Alright, let’s get you to the hospital wing, come on,” Lance urges, waving goodbye to Pidge and Hunk as he takes Keith away.

 


 

 

The following week before break goes by uneventfully for Lance. He shouldn’t complain since it gives him more time to study and prepare for his O.W.L.s, but he is because he likes having interesting things happen. The S.A. meetings have been keeping him entertained for the most part, but on the nights where they don’t meet, Lance is really bored. Normally, he’d hang out with Keith in the library, but Keith got behind on some homework due to his detentions with Hira so he hasn’t been able to hang out with Lance as much.

Nevertheless, Care of Magical Creatures always seems to throw Lance for a loop. During their last class before break, Slav leads the class into the forest where Lance sees the horrible horse-like creatures that pulled the carriages eating food from the ground that Slav fed them. Once everyone is situated, Slav turns to the class. “Alright! Please raise your hand if you can see these creatures,” he instructs.

Lance and Keith exchange a confused expression before both raising their hands. Lance notes another Slytherin boy also raises his hand. Slav nods at them. “Very good. These creatures are called Thestrals and are only visible to those who have witnessed death,” he explains. “Mr. McClain, would you join me up here for a moment?”

Lance internally sighs, really not wanting to be put on the spot during this class. If it were Potions or Astrology, he’d be all for it, but his knowledge on magical creatures is limited. “Yes?” Lance wonders.

“Take this feed here and hold your hand out,” Slav instructs, pouring a little in his hand. “Once she eats from your hand, you may pet her.”

Before Lance can ask a question, one of the Thestrals approaches Lance timidly, almost curious about the new person. Lance takes a deep breath and takes a step towards her. “Hi there,” Lance greets quietly. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”

The Thestral sniffs him then begins eating the feed out of his hand. Lance grimaces when he feels some slobber and her cold, wet teeth on his palm; however, his expression turns to awe when she bumps her nose against his hand. He gently strokes up her face before reaching her head. Lance chuckles and scratches her under her chin before rubbing her back. “You’re not so bad.”

Slav motions for Keith and the other Slytherin boy to join them. He pours some feed into their hands and points to two other Thestrals. “Now, split yourselves up evenly and join your classmates with the Thestrals. They’ll tell you where you may pet them.”

Lance spends the rest of the class period helping out his fellow students pet the Thestral and explaining what they look like. He has so much fun doing this, he’s almost disappointed when class ends, but Lance’s chipper attitude returns when he heads to the Room of Requirement with Hunk and Shay for the final S.A. meeting before Christmas break. While everyone is getting there, Lance strikes up a conversation with Reyna and Sophia.

“I’m sorry Keith and Damien were banished from the team,” Lance says. “How are you going to manage without them?”

Sophia sighs. “Honestly, no idea. We brought in our two emergency subs, fifth-year Layla Castillo and seventh year Nancy Langston, but if someone gets hurt, we’re screwed.”

“Who replaced who?” Lance wonders.

“Layla took Damien’s Chaser spot while Nancy took Keith’s Seeker spot,” Reyna answers. “Layla is promising…Nancy-”

“Would make a better Keeper,” Sophia finishes. “She’s no Keith, but she’ll do her best.”

Lance nods, turning to the doors again when Keith and the last few stragglers finally arrive. He waves goodbye to Sophia and Reyna then joins Keith at the front. “I’m thinking we teach Stupefy and Protego at the same time,” Lance says quietly.

Keith raises an eyebrow. “You think?”

“Yeah, that way they’ll be able to know how to protect themselves from the stunning spell,” Lance explains. “Trust me.”

“Okay,” Keith agrees.

Lance smiles at him then turns to the group. “Hi everyone! Today we’re teaching you two spells - one defensive and one offensive. The defensive one is Protego, the shielding charm, and the offensive one is Stupefy, the stunning spell. Partner up again then move into a circle so Keith and I can demonstrate the spells,” Lance instructs.

Everyone does as told, partnering up and moving into a circle around the center of the room. Keith and Lance enter the circle and stand at the edges, facing each other. “I will demonstrate the shielding charm while Lance attempts to stun me then we’ll switch,” Keith shares.

Lance raises his wand and aims it when Keith does. He takes a deep breath and exclaims, “Stupefy!” A blast of blue light erupts from Lance’s wand and heads straight for Keith.

Keith smirks slightly, reacting quickly. “Protego!” he shouts, waving his wand. An invisible barrier shines in front of him just before Lance’s spell reaches him. It bounces off and simmers away into thin air. “Stupefy!” A blast of red comes from Keith’s wand and soars over to Lance.

“Protego!” Lance exclaims, blocking the spell which sends it spiraling towards one of the walls where it explodes.

The students clap and mutter in astonishment at the display of skills then split up into their partners to begin attempting the spells. “Now I want those of you on my left to practice Stupefy and those on my right to practice Protego,” Lance instructs. “Keith and I will let you know when to switch.” He nods at everyone, signaling them to start.

Keith and Lance walk around the room, assisting people when they ask for it or when they look like they need it. Towards the end, Lance and Keith allow the group to circle around the center of the room once again to have two people test the spells on one another.

“Alright! Who would like to step up first?!” Lance asks, turning to look at everyone.

Delia looks over at Paul and smirks slightly. “I’ll go!” she exclaims, stepping into the circle. “Paul? Would you like to go against me?”

“I-I don’t know. I don’t want you to cry when I knock you down,” Paul says with a shrug, earning laughs from the other guys in the room. He smiles at them then steps into the circle. “But why not? What’s the harm?”

Delia raises an eyebrow at him then turns to Keith, waiting for his signal. Keith raises his arm. “Three, two, one, GO!”

As Paul opens his mouth to say Stupefy, Delia reacts faster, exclaiming, “Stupefy!” A blast of red light comes from her wand and nails Paul, sending him flying back onto the ground. She lowers her wand and smiles triumphantly.

“A fine example of why taunting is not a good method of winning,” Keith says, grabbing Paul’s hand to help him up. “Better luck next time.”

Lance chuckles at them then looks at the time, noting it’s getting late. “Well, I think that’s enough for today. Good work everyone! See you after break!” he exclaims.

Everyone grabs their stuff and begins heading out, wishing Lance and Keith a Merry Christmas and thanking them for their help. As Lance goes to grab his things, he notices Nyma still in the room, looking in one of the mirrors in the room. He looks at Keith. “Um, you go on without me, I’ll be another minute,” he says.

Keith nods then walks out, not asking Lance any questions. Lance takes a deep breath then walks over to Nyma, peering over her shoulder to see what she’s looking at. He notes the newspaper articles about Rolo’s death and a picture of him as well. Lance looks at her with a concerned expression on his face. “Are you alright?”

Nyma sighs and looks at the ground. “I’m okay.” She wipes a tear from her face. “I’m just thinking about Rolo because learning all of this makes me wonder if he knew this stuff-”

“Rolo did know this and he was really good,” Lance interjects. “Zarkon was just better.”

Nyma looks back up at him. “You’re a really good teacher, Lance. I’ve never been able to stun anything before.”

As Lance reaches up to wipe another tear off her cheek, he notices some mistletoe appearing above them in the reflection of the mirror. “Look at that,” he comments, pointing up.

Nyma follows his gaze then looks back at him. “I guess that means we kiss.”

“I guess so,” Lance whispers. He leans forward and presses his lips against Nyma’s. 

ew - nymance kiss

Nyma responds, moving her lips in sync with Lance’s for a sweet and tender kiss. Lance takes a step forward to deepen it but pulls away when he hears the door open again. He turns to see who came in, but he only sees a flash of black hair and something green before the door shuts once again. Lance turns back to Nyma and smiles. “I think that’s our cue to leave.” He strokes her cheek. “Goodnight, Nyma.”

“Goodnight, Lance,” she replies with a soft smile.

Lance nods at her then grabs his stuff and leaves the Room of Requirement to head to the library where his friends are. He can’t help but have a huge smile on his face as he plops down in a chair next to Delia. She raises an eyebrow at him. “Someone looks chipper,” she comments.

“There was mistletoe, and Nyma and I kissed under it!” Lance shares excitedly. He looks at his friends’ surprised/supportive faces but sees that Keith won’t meet his gaze.

“How was it?” Hunk wonders.

“Great but wet,” Lance replies. “I mean she-”

Suddenly Keith stands up, seizes his things and runs out of the library. For a second, Lance swears he saw a tear on his cheek, but he shakes his head because why would he be crying? Pidge stands up immediately after, shooting Lance a stern glare before following Keith out of the library. Lance looks to Hunk for an answer, but he just shakes his head no.

“Um, anyway, she was crying so obviously it was wet,” Lance finishes.

Paul chuckles. “That bad huh?”

“I’m sure Lance’s kissing skills were more than satisfactory,” Delia defends.

“Nyma spends half her time crying these days,” Shay interjects, lacing her fingers with Hunk’s. “I don’t blame her though. If Hunk died like Rolo did…I’d certainly spend a lot of time crying.”

Hunk smiles at her then kisses her cheek. “There’s no need to worry about that. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Well, you’d think a bit of snogging would cheer her up,” Paul comments.

“Don’t you understand how she’s feeling?” Delia wonders.

“She’s feeling sad about Rolo!” Paul exclaims.

“And confused about liking Lance, guilty about kissing him, and frightened of failing her exams because she’s worried about everything,” Delia counters.

“One person couldn’t feel all that - they’d explode!” Paul protests.

Delia rolls her eyes. “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon-”

Lance stands up. “Okay! On that note, let’s all head to bed, alright? Goodnight Hunk, Shay. We’ll see you two tomorrow.”

Delia and Paul wave goodbye to them too and head to the Gryffindor dorms with Lance. When they get in the common room, Paul and Lance say goodbye to Delia as they head up the stairs to their dorm on the boys’ side. Lance puts on his pajamas then gets into bed, falling asleep rather quickly.

He begins dreaming, the world around him turning into a dark corridor with Lance inches from the floor. His body feels smooth and powerful as he slithers swiftly down the hall - he must be a snake!

Lance makes his way past many doors until reaching a large door at the end of the corridor. It opens and behind it, an invisibility cloak falls to the floor in a shimmer of silver. Lotor stands, drawing his wand. He fires a golden jinx at Lance as the snake, but he misses. Unable to control his body, Lance finds himself readying to strike at Lotor.

A couple seconds pass before he lunges at Lotor, earning a scream from him. He strikes Lotor again and again, blood splattering against the wall. Lotor continues to scream in pain, but Lance can’t stop himself. He has no control over his actions. The snake’s fangs continue plunging themselves into Lotor’s skin, blood splattering everywhere. With the last bite, the snake pulls down, tearing at the skin before releasing.

Lotor’s eyes flicker everywhere as he stumbles back into a wall. He slides down it, leaving a bloody smear before collapsing unconscious on the floor. Lance as the snake abandons the door and slithers away at top speed.

Lance wakes up with a scream, adrenaline pumping through his veins. He looks up to see Paul standing over him, concern riddled across his face. Lance sits up, yelling in pain when his forehead starts pounding. Another student named Benjamin arrives with Allura. She hurries to Lance’s side. “Lance, are you okay?”

“Lotor’s been attacked!” Lance exclaims through clenched teeth, forehead threatening to explode with pain. “If we don’t do something now , he’s gonna die !”

Allura’s breath hitches and she nods, grabbing his arm to help him out of bed. “Come on, we are going to see Shiro.” She leads him to Shiro’s office where they find Keith there with Thace in the middle of telling Shiro the exact same story that happened in Lance’s dream.

Once Keith finishes, Shiro looks at Lance. “Did you have this dream as well?”

Lance nods. “It-it was horrifying.”

Shiro nods, turning to the portraits of the former headmasters and headmistresses hanging on the walls of his office, instructing them to raise the alarm. Once they return, they inform them that members of the Wands found Lotor at the Ministry and took him to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries where he is being treated now. Shiro thanks them then looks at Thace and Allura. “Thace, alert the rest of the staff of this and tell Matt that he will temporarily be in charge of any and all Gryffindor students who will be staying here over break,” Shiro instructs. “Allura, you will accompany Keith and Lance to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. I will ready a portkey for you, but for now, go fetch Marco McClain.”

Thace and Allura leave in a haste while Shiro turns one of the chalices he has in the room into a portkey. Right as Shiro finishes preparing the portkey, Allura returns with Marco each carrying a few bags while Red slinks behind Marco’s feet. Allura hands one of the bags she has to Keith and the other to Lance. “Your friends prepared your bags for you,” she shares.

Lance slings his bag over his shoulder and picks up Red for Keith. On Allura’s signal, they each reach for the chalice and right before they disappear, Lance’s head hurts again as he looks up at Shiro with a powerful hatred, fighting the urge to attack him.

They’re thrust back to Number 12 where Krolia comes running to greet them. Lance sets Red down as she hugs Keith and Lance first before taking Allura’s arm, walking away with her as she begins to cry. Marco turns to Lance and Keith with raised eyebrows. “Okay, what the hell did you two dream?”

“I don’t know. It didn’t really feel like a dream,” Lance replies.

Before Marco can say anything else, Blue flies in with another owl in tow. Lance takes the letter from the second owl while Keith takes Blue. He opens the letter and sees that it’s from Ezor saying that Lotor is still alive. Lance hurries to where Krolia and Allura are and shows it to them.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Krolia says, relieved. Keith and Marco join them with confused looks on their faces. “Lotor’s alive.”

Keith nods. “Good.”

“Now, I insist you lot stay here for the holidays. It’s too dangerous to go elsewhere right now,” Krolia says. “I’ll contact Luis and let him know that you two are here.”

Lance turns to his brother to get his opinion. “Yeah, that’d be awesome, thank you Mrs. Kogane,” Marco says.

Krolia smiles at him then looks at Allura. “I won’t take a no from you.”

Allura chuckles, wiping her cheeks. “I was not going to. If you will excuse me, I am going to contact Ezor to see if we are able to visit him now.” She stands and walks out of the room.

Marco leaves too to go put his stuff in one of the bedrooms. Once they’re alone, Lance and Keith go and sit next to Krolia. Keith still seems a bit distant with Lance, but Lance doesn’t comment on it. If Keith has an issue, he’ll tell Lance later.

“Um, mom? In the vision we had of Lotor - at least for me - I wasn’t watching as a bystander,” Keith says. “I was the snake.”

Krolia furrows her eyebrows in thought. “Hmm…okay.”

“It was the same for me,” Lance adds.

“Did you tell Shiro about this?” Krolia asks.

Both boys shake their heads no.

Krolia sighs. “Well, you should’ve. This connection is dangerous and who knows what else could happen because of it.”

“I should also add that before we came here, I felt this rage towards Shiro right before we left Hogwarts. I can’t explain it, but it didn’t feel like my own,” Lance explains. “If that makes sense.”

“Okay, thank you for telling me,” Krolia says. “Don’t worry about it right now, alright?” She looks up when Allura walks back into the room with Marco.

“We are permitted to visit him now,” Allura shares. “Krolia and I will apparate with you boys, alright?” She puts an arm around Marco’s shoulder as Krolia takes Keith’s and Lance’s hands.

Within seconds, they arrive at St. Mungo’s and are directed to where Lotor is. Inside, they find him badly bandaged across his chest and head. Lance can see a little blood threatening to seep through the ones on his chest, but he seems fine. He has one around his head, probably for where he hit his head on the wall. However, the most surprising thing is that Lotor is somehow still smiling. Allura rushes to his side first, fussing over him. “Look at you! How could you have let this happen? Why were you at the Ministry?”

Lotor chuckles softly, taking her hand in his. “Allura, calm yourself. I’m okay.”

Allura huffs and sits down in a chair next to his bed. “You scared me.”

He sighs. “I know…I know.”

Lance looks at Keith with a smug expression, but it disappears when Keith doesn’t look back at him. He opens his mouth to ask what’s wrong, but Krolia begins talking before he can.

“Hey, on the bright side you’ll have more scars to tell stories about!” Krolia exclaims. “Now you won’t have to keep telling people how I kicked your butt.”

“As if I told anyone I lost to you,” Lotor counters with a smirk.

After a few minutes, Ezor and Zethrid arrive, sending Lance, Marco, and Keith out of the room, but Marco hands them some extendable ears Carlos sent him so they can eavesdrop. They listen to some boring conversations first before Zethrid mentions something interesting to the others. She suggests that Lance and Keith could be possessed by Zarkon so that’s why they were able to witness the attack.

Upon hearing this, Lance drops his ear and looks at Keith with fear riddled across his face.

Could they be the weapon Zarkon wants?

Chapter Text

When Lance, Keith, and Marco arrive back at Number 12 with Krolia and Allura, Marco immediately heads to his room to write a letter to Brooklyn while Keith and Lance head to their shared room. Keith walks to his bed and sits on it, pulling out some homework to work on while Lance plays with Red on his bed. Blue ruffles her feathers then flies over to Keith, landing on his shoulder.

Lance huffs in annoyance and sits up, holding Red like a baby while she drifts off to sleep. “Keith, I don’t like this awkwardness between us,” he says.

Keith looks over at Lance. “What? What’re you talking about?”

“Don’t play dumb, Keith. After the last S.A. meeting, you’ve been distant,” Lance states. “What did I do to offend you?”

Keith’s breath hitches, and he bites his lip. “Y-you wouldn’t understand,” Keith replies quietly, looking back down at his paper.

Lance gently sets Red down on the bed, careful not to disturb her before walking over to Keith, plopping down right next to him on the bed. He takes the quill and papers out of Keith’s hands and sets them aside on Keith’s nightstand. “We’ve been best friends for almost five years, Keith. We know everything about each other, and we’ve been through thick and thin with each other. What could I possibly not understand?” Lance wonders.

Keith closes his eyes and shakes his head. “If I tell you then it means ruining everything. You’re really smart, Lance.” He looks up at Lance, tears welling up in his eyes. “When you figure it out, you’ll tell me yourself because it means it’s real, but it can’t come from me…it just can’t.”

“I don’t understand, but if it’s really this important to you, I’ll stop asking,” Lance says. “It’s just - I miss you. I miss us…talking, scheming, gossiping. Hunk has Shay now, and Pidge has our other girlfriends. I mean there’s Delia, Paul, and my other Gryffindors, but it’s not the same…they’re not the same. I don’t really have anyone except you anymore.” He offers a smile to Keith.

Keith suddenly pulls Lance into a tight hug, earning a hoot of protest from Blue as she flies off his shoulder. Lance hugs Keith back, resting his head against Keith’s. “Thank you, Lance. You’re all I have too, you know,” Keith says quietly.

Lance closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, getting a nice whiff of Keith’s scent. He smells like fresh laundry with a hint of lavender, thanks to Krolia washing their clothes. Keith’s hair smells like a mixture of fruit from the smell of the shampoo he uses, and his hair is equally as soft from the shampoo as well.

The two boys stay like that for a few more minutes while Keith calms himself down then Lance pulls away and smiles widely at Keith. “Alright! We’re back! The dream team is back in business baby!” He holds his hand up for a high five to which Keith happily gives.

“KEITH! LANCE! TIME FOR DINNER!” Krolia yells from downstairs. “WE HAVE SPECIAL GUESTS!”

Lance and Keith exchange confused expressions with each other before running downstairs. When they reach the kitchen, their faces light up when they see Hunk and Pidge sitting at the table by Allura and Marco. “HEY!” Lance exclaims as he and Keith run over to hug them. “What are you guys doing here? I thought you were spending Christmas with your families?”

HUGS!!!!

“We told our parents we’d be back with them by Christmas Eve, but we needed to see if you two were okay,” Hunk shares. “We heard about the dreams you guys had…I couldn’t imagine witnessing that.”

Pidge nods in agreement when she releases Keith from their hug. “How’s Lotor holding up?”

“He is somehow in good spirits,” Allura responds as Krolia starts placing the food out on the table. “I admire his bravery. I do not think I could have survived that…despite being a Gryffindor. Sometimes I wonder if I was placed in the correct house way back then.”

Krolia rolls her eyes. “Not this again. Allura, the Sorting Hat never lies. I thought I belonged in Ravenclaw, but there I was in Slytherin. You went on to become Head Girl and did great things for Gryffindor! Don’t be ashamed of that!”

Allura nods. “You are right. I am just out of sorts right now. Shiro made the right decision to send me here for the break.”

Once the food is set out, Krolia takes a seat and everyone digs into the delicious food. When Lance takes his first bite of the meal, he immediately considers Krolia’s cooking to be better than any meal he’s had at Hogwarts. The group chats well after the meal is finished before the students are sent to bed. Hunk takes the extra bed in Marco’s room while Pidge gets her own room at the end of the hallway.

Lance and Keith prepare for bed, but Lance can’t seem to shake some disturbing thoughts from his mind. He thinks back to when they visited Lotor at St. Mungo’s and heard Zethrid say that he and Keith could’ve been possessed by Zarkon. He concludes that they’re probably the weapons Zarkon wants.

If this is true then are they really safe here? They’re putting everyone they love in danger! Perhaps the best choice should be to run away and hope no one ever finds them.

Lance takes in a shuddery breath and looks over at the closed bathroom door where Keith is brushing his teeth. He waits for Keith to walk back out before sharing his thoughts.

The sink shuts off, and the door opens. Keith steps out, shutting the bathroom light off. Before he heads to his bed, he stops to look at Lance when he notices him staring. “What?”

“We have to leave,” Lance says. “We’re not safe here and none of our friends are either. Keith, You-Know-Who wants us .”

Keith sighs and joins Lance on his bed. “I was afraid you’d say that.”

“Why? Do you not think so?” Lance asks.

“Just the opposite actually. I thought that too but didn’t want to say anything in case you didn’t agree,” Keith replies. “We have to go.”

Lance nods. “Okay, we’ll pack what we’ve brought here and leave. We can stick together as long as possible but then we have to split up. That way it’s likely he won’t get both of us.”

Keith nods in agreement, walking over to pack up his bag.

Once both of them are packed, they walk out into the hallway but are stopped by a portrait of Krolia’s brother, Keenen Nigellus. He tells them that Shiro has given instructions for them to stay where they are, assuring them that they’re not in any danger at Number 12. Lance and Keith agree but refuse to leave their room, not wanting to take any chances. Lance falls asleep that night with ease, thankfully not dreaming about anything.

The following morning, Lance and Keith continue to stay secluded up in their room, ignoring calls of the others when it’s time to eat. Eventually, around dinnertime, they hear Krolia call them down, but neither of them budges from their positions on the bed.

Shortly after, Lance hears two pairs of footsteps stomping up the stairs right up to their door. “Lance! Keith! Open this door right now!” Pidge exclaims. She jiggles the doorknob, but Keith put a spell on it so it can only be opened from the inside. “I’m not afraid to blast this door down!”

“Guys, please, she’ll actually do it,” Hunk pleads.

Lance sighs and aims his wand at the door. “Alohomora.” The door clicks unlocked, and Pidge and Hunk storm inside.

“You idiots!” Pidge exclaims. “You’re acting like children!”

“Excuse me?” Keith asks.

“Don’t play dumb with me, Kogane. I know exactly what you two are up to! You guys think you’re gonna kill us all by being here because You-Know-Who might have a plan for you guys!” Pidge shouts.

“Pidge, I don’t think yelling will solve anything,” Hunk says. “We leave tomorrow morning, and we’ve barely seen you guys.”

Pidge crosses her arms. “I don’t think they’re going to listen to us because we don’t know what it feels like.”

Lance raises his eyebrows. “That’s exactly right. How did you-” He stops talking when Hunk and Pidge step aside to reveal Lucy and Ryland in the hallway. She offers Lance a smile as Lance scrambles to his feet to hug her. “Lucy! What are you doing here?!”

“Ryland and I came to spend Christmas with you here,” she says, kissing his cheek. “Your friends told us what you planned on doing.”

“Yeah. It was a dumb choice,” Ryland says. “I expected better from you two.”

“We didn’t know what else to do!” Keith exclaims. “We just sort of panicked.”

Lucy walks over and takes a seat next to Keith, putting her arm around his shoulders while Ryland crosses his arms and leans against the doorway.. “Do you two remember what happened to me three years ago? When you two had to save me from that Baku in the Cavern of Mysteries?”

Lance’s breath hitches and he looks at the ground, remembering vividly the encounter down there. Several students had been attacked throughout the year because of some creature “petrifying” them, immobilizing them - Hunk ended up being one of the victims. These attacks signaled that the Cavern of Mysteries had been opened once again by the Heir of Slytherin, but Keith and Lance ended up saving everyone by killing the monster. They discovered the entrance to the Cavern of Mysteries was in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom since that’s where she originally died. When they went inside it, they found Lucy McClain lying motionless on the floor with the apparition of Niko Dorra nearby. He had used his diary to slowly gain control of Lucy and make her do all the things he couldn’t finish during his time at Hogwarts. Lance and Keith fought and defeated the Baku then destroyed the diary so no one could be controlled by Niko again.

“Yeah, we remember,” Lance finally says, breaking out of his thoughts. “Niko Dorra made you do all those things, and Keith nearly died from the Baku venom. That was the scariest moment of my life.”

Keith looks over at him with a confused expression on his face. “Wait, your scariest moment was almost losing me? What about when those Dementors were about to suck all our souls out the next year or, I don’t know when you were kidnapped and held underwater by those merpeople last year?”

“I barely was aware of what was happening during both of those, but I consciously knew what was happening to you,” Lance explains. “I know it seems silly, but-”

“No!” Keith interrupts. “It-it’s not…it means a lot.” He smiles slightly, turning towards the ground with a slight pink blush on his cheeks.

Lance furrows his eyebrows in confusion and looks at Lucy for an explanation, but she simply smirks and shrugs, obviously knowing what’s going on but refusing to say anything. “Anyway, I never consciously knew what I was doing. I always woke up confused in a daze. Have you guys ever felt that?” she wonders.

“No,” Keith replies.

“Then you haven’t been possessed by him,” Lucy states. She runs her fingers through Keith’s hair. “So, are you two going to stop acting like fools and finally join us for some festivities? Hunk and Pidge leave soon, and they’re pretty pissed they haven’t spent any time with you guys.”

“Well, we can’t have them being angry anymore!” Lance exclaims, standing up. “I’m gonna challenge Pidge to a game of Wizard’s Chess! I’d challenge Hunk, but I don’t want to make a fool of myself.”

“We could tag team,” Keith counters as he stands up to join him, lightly bumping his hip.

“Aw hell yeah!” Lance exclaims, high-fiving Keith.

“Language!” Lucy calls after the boys as they run down the stairs.

Hunk and Pidge smile happily when they see Lance and Keith finally join them. They spend the rest of the day decorating Number 12 for Christmas while simultaneously goofing around. Krolia and Allura come back with a Christmas tree, but Lance doesn’t ask where they found one this close to Christmas. He’s learned not to ask why when it comes to Krolia.

As they get to decorating, Zethrid and Ezor arrive and drop off Lotor who had been released from the hospital but still wasn’t ready to return to his duties at the Ministry nor his duties as a Mamoramite. Lance watches Allura run over to him and carefully hug him so she doesn’t aggravate any of his injuries. He hugs her back, pressing a light kiss to her forehead. Lotor still has a bandage around his head and one of his arms is in a sling, but he continues to smile away. The rest of the day consists of decorating the tree and seeing various members of the Wands come and check in. Lance doesn’t see much of Allura and Lotor, but he doesn’t really blame them since they’ve rarely had any time to catch up.

The following day, as Lance and Keith are eating breakfast with Marco, Krolia comes wandering into the dining room. “Hey, Keith? Have you seen Plachu? I haven’t seen him for days,” Krolia says.

Keith shakes his head no. “Then again he hates me so he could be avoiding me.”

Krolia shrugs, sitting down next to him. “Oh well! Perhaps he’s crawled up into the air ducts and died.”

Lance chokes on his water when she says that, giving her an incredulous look.

“I’m only half joking. I better not get my hopes up,” Krolia replies.

Suddenly, the door opens and Thace hastily walks into the room. “McClain, Kogane, I’d like a word with you two.” He looks at Marco and Krolia. “If you two could leave, I must speak with these two alone.”

“You know, I don’t like people giving orders in my house,” Krolia retorts as Marco quickly runs out of the room.

“How unfortunate for you! Now kindly get out,” Thace states. “My instructions from Shiro are to speak with McClain and Kogane alone.”

“I’m Keith’s mother and Lance’s godmother. I think I’ll stay,” Krolia refutes, crossing her arms.

Thace rolls his eyes then sits down. “Fine, then. I know how you like to pretend you’re useful.”

Lance notices Krolia stiffen, but she doesn’t take the bait and jab back at him. Thace gives her a triumphant smirk before looking back at Lance and Keith. “Shiro wishes that I teach you two Occlumency,” he says.

“What’s that?” Keith wonders.

“It is an ancient form of magic that allows you to defend your mind from external intrusion,” Thace explains before standing up. “We begin at six o'clock on Monday, the day you return to school.” He brushes his robes off. “Well, unlike Krolia here, I don’t have unlimited leisure time.”

Krolia stands, irritated. “Now just a second, Thace. If I hear that you’re just doing this to give Lance and Keith a hard time, you’ll have me to answer to.”

Thace rolls his eyes. “How touching, but unfortunately Kogane is incredibly like his father - criticism simply bounces off of him. McClain on the other hand-”

Krolia walks over and grabs Thace by the shoulders and roughly shoves him into the wall. She glares daggers at him. “I’ve warned you. Alfor and Shiro may think you’ve reformed, but I know better!”

Thace shoves her off. “Touch me again, Madelina, and you won’t touch anything again.” He turns and storms out the door.

Lance looks at Krolia, who is still fuming. “Uh, Krolia? Are you okay?”

She turns and clenches her jaw. “I’ll be fine.” She walks over to Lance and ruffles his hair. “He was awfully fond of your mother, Lance, but she had her eyes set on Luis. Narti, Seth, and I were cruel to him because of that. I can’t say that I regret doing it because I don’t. He was terrible, but I do regret it because now he takes it out on the both of you, and you two don’t deserve that.”

Lance smiles at her then hugs her. “It’s not your fault he’s still holding a grudge. Besides, I’m a master at Potions so Thace doesn’t totally hate me.”

“I am-was Seeker so I always got Slytherin a lot of points,” Keith adds.

Krolia releases Lance and turns to Keith. “What do you mean was ?!”

Keith rolls his eyes. “You better sit down…this might take a while.”

 


 

 

The rest of Christmas break flies by pretty quickly and, soon enough, Keith, Lance, and Marco are getting back on the Hogwarts Express to head back to school. Krolia and Lotor accompany the students and Allura to make sure they get on safely. Just before Keith and Lance get on, Krolia hands Keith a small package.

the gift

“Use this if you need me, but only for emergencies, alright? I love you both so much.” Krolia kisses both of them on the forehead before waiting for Lotor by the platform entrance.

Lance watches Allura hug Lotor goodbye and notes her hesitation to step away when their faces are close. It almost seems like she wanted to kiss him but thought better of it. She gives him a small wave before hurrying onto a different cart. Lotor stands there, slightly saddened, but he smiles once again when he sees Lance staring. He waves to Lance then makes his way over to Krolia.

Keith tugs Lance onto the train, breaking him out of his thoughts, and they sit in a compartment together. Since Hunk and Pidge aren’t here, it’s pretty quiet and roomy in there with just the two of them. However, Lance isn’t complaining. As much as he loves Hunk and Pidge, it’s nice to sit in peace and quiet for once and to be with Keith alone. He doesn’t know why but Keith’s presence always seems to keep him at ease.

Anyway, the train finally arrives at the Hogwarts station, and Lance, Keith, and the other students who were on it shuffle off, making their way to the castle. On their way up, Lance spots Nyma talking with a couple of her Ravenclaw friends. He takes a deep breath and begins walking faster to catch up with her. Keith calls out to him, but Lance points at Nyma to tell him what he’s doing.

Lance steps beside her and smiles at her. “Hey, Nyma.”

She turns and looks at him, eyes wide in surprise before smiling. “Lance! Hi!” She looks at her friends. “Will you guys excuse me?” A couple of them giggle before walking away to leave Lance and Nyma alone. “How was your Christmas break?”

“It was…interesting but really fun. I had fun spending time with my godmother, Keith’s mom, and some of my siblings,” Lance replies. He pauses for a moment. “How was yours?”

“Uneventful but I liked spending time with my parents,” Nyma answers.

Another moment passes before Lance clears his throat. “Um, so, uh, Valentine’s Day is the same day as our next Hogsmeade visit,” he starts cheeks heating him. “I was wondering if you wanted to, you know, go with me?”

Nyma smiles widely at Lance. “Sure…that sounds lovely. See you then!” She hurries off back towards her friends while Keith steps up next to Lance.

“So, what’d you talk about?” he wonders.

Lance turns to Keith with a wide smile on his face. “I have a date with her! Since the next Hogsmeade trip is on Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be a good idea! What do you think?”

Keith seems to hesitate before nodding. “Yeah…she-she’s a lucky girl.” He forces a smile then looks back at the ground.

Lance opens his mouth to ask him what’s wrong but decides against it. Keith’s his best friend so he should know what’s bothering him, but for some reason, Lance can never figure it out. Keith always seems to know exactly what’s upsetting Lance, and that’s what makes Keith such a good friend. He’s always there when Lance needs him most but does Lance do the same? Of course, Keith would say yes, but Lance isn’t sure that’s the whole truth. Lance always seems to have to ask what’s on Keith’s mind instead of just knowing . Is Lance a bad friend? Again, Keith would definitely say no. Keith is hard to read, and it’s hard to get him to open up.

Perhaps it has to do with what Keith told him over break. The thing Lance has to figure out himself before Keith says anything about it.

He shakes the thoughts out of his head for now as he and Keith report to Thace’s office for their Occlumency lessons. They see him waiting at his desk, writing on a parchment. Keith and Lance stand awkwardly in the doorway before Thace motions for them to come inside.

“Take a seat. I don’t plan on wasting any time,” Thace instructs, gesturing to two seats he has in the middle of the room. “Now, as you both are aware, I will be teaching you two Occlumency so you two may defend yourselves against the Dark Lord since he is skilled at Legilimency.”

“What’s Legilimency?” Keith wonders.

Thace crosses his arms. “It’s the ability to extract thoughts and feelings from others.”

Lance’s eyes widen in fear. “Zarkon can read minds?”

“The mind is not a book of which any page can be examined,” Thace continues, ignoring Lance’s question. “The mind is complex and multi-layered.”

“So, he could read our minds right now?” Keith asks.

“Usually, eye contact is required for Legilimency to work, but in your case, things are different. When he attempted to attack the both of you, as you know, the spell backfired, and with that backfire, it created a connection between you two and the Dark Lord,” Thace explains. “Your mind is most relaxed during sleep so during that time you’re able to receive the Dark Lord’s thoughts and feelings. Shiro believes that it’s inadvisable for this to continue.”

“But hasn’t it helped so far?” Lance interjects. “I mean it saved Lotor’s life.”

“It did, but at the expense of our advantage,” Thace counters. “The connection between you two and him was so powerful during your visions of the snake that the Dark Lord became aware of it. Shiro fears he may try to use that to his advantage and manipulate you two with false visions.” He suddenly stands and pulls out his wand. Lance flinches and sees Keith ready to move in front of Lance if necessary. However, Thace simply puts it up to his own head and draws a glowing string of memory from his head and drops it into a Pensieve. “Kogane, you will go first. Wand out.”

Keith immediately pulls his wand out and puts it at the ready, waiting for Thace’s next instructions.

“You may use any spell you can think of to try and repel me,” Thace says.

“What are you going to do?” Keith wonders.

“I’m going to break into your mind. Legimens!” He exclaims as a burst of yellow shoots out of his wand, straight at Keith.

Lance watches in horror as Keith lets out a yelp of protest, face scrunching up as he tries to resist Thace’s penetration into his mind. Keith’s knuckles turn white as he grips the arms of the chair. He shakes his head in protest, muttering the word no under his breath. Sweat begins to drip down the side of his face, and his arms start to shake.

Then, suddenly, Keith’s eyes open wide as he gasps for air, falling onto the ground on his hands and knees. He breathes heavily, wand rolling away from him.

Thace looks down at him. “Very good, Kogane. You’ve surprised me.” He turns to Lance. “McClain, your turn.”

Lance gulps, nodding as he pulls his wand out. He readies himself for the spell, but once the blast of yellow hits him, he’s immediately transported to a memory back home. He sees a younger version of himself screaming and running away from Carlos as he is chased through the backyard. Lance tries to push Thace out of his mind, but he feels him rifling through more of his memories. The scene shifts again to the Great Hall as eleven-year-old Lance approaches the Sorting Hat. Allura places it on his head and after a few seconds, it shouts Gryffindor . Lance attempts to direct Thace away, but they reach the memory of Lance, Pidge, Keith, and Krolia lying by the lake while a Puma Patronus runs around them as hundreds of Dementors swarm above.

“NO!” Lance screams, a spell firing from his wand towards Thace.

He easily dodges it, and Lance collapses onto the ground, not remembering ever standing up. Lance coughs, trying to catch his breath as Keith grabs his arms and brings him to his feet. “You okay?” he asks.

Lance manages a nod before looking back at Thace.

“Well, you stopped me eventually, but you should repel me with your mind,” Thace says. “Abandon your emotions and clear your mind, McClain. Legilimens!”

Lance staggers backward into the chair again as he’s transported to another memory of him and Keith hugging after they watched the unicorn die during their first year. He pulls away from that memory but immediately is taken to the corridor where he and Sam Holt were before his trial. He watches his past self skid to a stop to glance down a dark hallway.

Lance, come on! ” Sam urges.

I-I think I’ve been there before…or at least heard of it… ” Lance trails off.

Sam grabs Lance’s arm and drags him along. “ I find that highly unlikely, Lance.

Thace lowers his wand, breaking the spell. “What was that?” he demands.

Lance looks over at Keith then at Thace. “I-I’ve just realized…what’s in the Department of Mysteries, sir?”

Thace narrows his eyes at Lance. “What did you say?”

“That corridor! I’ve been dreaming about it for months!” Lance exclaims. “I know it leads to the Department of Mysteries.”

Thace sets his wand down and crosses his arms, deathly quiet - which is never a good thing. “There are many things in the Department of Mysteries, McClain, none of which concern you.” He pauses to look at the time. “I think we will stop there. Kogane, good job today. McClain, work on clearing your mind. You’ve got too much going on up there. Off to bed.” He waves both boys out of his office and shuts the door behind them.

Lance and Keith exchange a confused expression before splitting off for bed. When Lance arrives at his dormitory, he falls asleep with his head hurting, knowing that Zarkon is very happy.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Lance heads to the Great Hall with Paul, and they find Delia reading her copy of the Daily Prophet . The boys take seats across from her and fill their plates with food. Lance opens his mouth to ask Delia to pass the syrup, but she hands him the paper before he can say anything. He takes it from her and begins flipping through it, eyes widening at the main story. “Is this for real? Ten former Galra Phantoms escape Beta Traz last night following an unknown explosion ,” he reads.

Delia nods. “I’m afraid so. A bunch of really bad ones is out, including Honerva Madelina. Is she related to Keith’s mom?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid so,” Lance replies. “They’re sisters.” He scratches his head. “This must be why Zarkon was so happy last night.”

Paul motions for the paper after stuffing a waffle in his mouth. Lance hands it over to him, pushing his plate of food aside. After hearing that a bunch of powerful dark wizards escaped Beta Traz, Lance lost his appetite. Plus, Paul stuffing his face isn’t pleasing either.

Delia gives Paul a disgusted look then looks at Lance. “This is really bad,” Delia states. “There’s also a piece about a Ministry of Magic worker named Bode. Apparently, he died at St. Mungo’s after being strangled by some dangerous potted plant.”

“I think my dad mentioned him once. He works in the Department of Mysteries,” Lance shares.

Delia scratches her head. “That cannot be a coincidence.”

Lance nods in agreement but doesn’t say anything else about it. The three of them sit in silence for the rest of breakfast before leaving to head to their classes. Outside the Great Hall, they notice that Hira posted a new Educational Decree that bans all Hogwarts teachers from discussing anything that isn’t directly related to their subjects with students.

But the reign of horror doesn’t stop there.

The terror continues in Care of Magical Creatures and Divination as Hira avidly attends each class, criticizing Slav’s teaching competence. Lance wonders if he’ll be fired. Coran even bans Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith from visiting him, claiming it’s too dangerous, but Lance knows it’s because Hira will want to know what they’re talking about.

Thankfully, the Valentine’s Day Hogsmeade visit arrives to take Lance’s mind off things. He waits with Pidge and Keith in the middle of the Hogsmeade street for Nyma to show up. For some reason, Keith refuses to look at Lance the whole time. He only acknowledges things Pidge says to him. Lance wants to ask Keith what his problem is, but any frustration with his best friend dies down when he sees Nyma walking towards them. He smiles widely at her, waving. Her mouth is covered by her blue Ravenclaw scarf, but her eyes show she’s smiling. Lance thinks she looks stunning with the snowflakes scattered in her blonde hair.

She moves the scarf from over her mouth. “Hi, Lance!” Nyma greets with a wide smile when she reaches them. Her smile falters slightly when she sees Keith standing closely to Lance.

“Alright, you two have fun!” Pidge exclaims. “Meet Keith and me in The Three Broomsticks after. There’s something you and Keith need to do.”

Lance nods. “Okay!” He waves goodbye and walks off with Nyma. He turns back to see Keith staring at him, but he quickly looks away when he makes eye contact with Lance. Lance furrows his eyebrows in confusion.

“What do you and Keith have to do?” Nyma wonders, breaking Lance out of his thoughts once they’re away from Keith and Pidge.

Lance shrugs. “Not sure. Pidge doesn’t like sharing details.” He opens the door to Madam Puddifoot’s for Nyma, allowing her to walk in first. As they walk to a table, Lance smiles at the red and pink Valentine’s Day decorations covering the shop. They sit down across from each other at a table next to the window. Lance shifts uncomfortably in his seat when he sees couples around them kissing each other.

“You know, Rolo and I came here last year,” Nyma shares, staring out the window. “Before…” She shakes her head. “I-I’ve been meaning to ask you, Lance. Um, for a while actually…”

Lance turns back to her, noticing her beginning to tear up. “What?”

“You w-were with Keith w-when he came back w-with Rolo, right?” Nyma asks feebly..

“Yeah…he was really shaken up,” Lance answers. “Why do you ask?”

“D-did he tell you anything Rolo said? Did he say anything about me before…before h-he d-died?” Nyma asks, tears slipping down her cheeks.

“Oh…I don’t know. Keith didn’t really talk about that. Then again, I didn’t ask…I was sorta focused on Keith over Rolo,” Lance replies honestly.

Nyma bursts into tears, crying into her hands.

Lance winces. “Maybe we should talk about something else?”

Nyma glares up at him, eyes shining with ire. “Would you like to talk about Keith some more?! I thought you’d understand!” She stands up quickly, rattling the table. The teashop goes silent and all heads turn to look at them. Nyma composes herself and looks at Lance once again. “Y’know, perhaps I wasn’t the one you should’ve asked to accompany you to Hogsmeade.” She puts her scarf back on her neck. “See you around, Lance.” She walks out without another word.

Lance sits there, bewildered at what just happened. Did he really only talk about Keith? Well, she only talked about Rolo! It’s an eye for an eye! What did she mean when she said that she wasn’t the one he should’ve asked to come with him? Who else would he ask? Who cares! Perhaps this was for the best. She’s still heartbroken over Rolo, and Lance has noticed Keith being weird about his relationship with Nyma lately. Keith isn’t so bad though. Well, he already talked about things with Paul about what has been confusing him. Paul suggested that perhaps Lance likes girls and guys after Lance admitted he’s been having confusing thoughts about Keith. Lance would’ve gone to Hunk with this problem, but he’s been busy with Shay and their Hufflepuff friends. Paul is the next closest friend to him aside from Keith. Lance couldn’t go to Keith about his questioning thoughts about Keith. Did Nyma mean that he should’ve asked Keith to Hogsmeade? Does Keith even like boys? He’s been thinking Keith’s name a lot. Keith…Keith…Keith…Keith and Lance. Lance and Keith . It doesn’t sound…bad? Lance kind of likes the sound of it actually…

No, not now!

Lance shakes the confusing thoughts from his head and makes his way out of the teashop over to The Three Broomsticks. He walks inside and spots Keith and Pidge sitting at a table with Romelle Beaulieu and Luxia Loraine, the annoying Daily Prophet reporter that both Keith and Pidge hate.

He takes a seat next to Keith, avoiding his gaze. “How’d the date go?” Keith wonders.

“Disastrous!” Lance exclaims, turning to him. Big mistake . He looks between Keith’s violet irises and raven-black hair. Lance resists the urge to move a piece of hair behind Keith’s ear. “All she could talk about was Rolo, and apparently all I could talk about was you, Keith.”

Keith quirks an eyebrow. “Really.” He doesn’t sound displeased. In fact, he sounds giddy.

“Yeah, apparently I can’t get you out of my head,” Lance replies. Eyeing him up and down. “It’s a real problem.”

Keith turns away, smiling. “Oh, well, I’m sorry.” He takes a sip of his butterbeer. He’s so not sorry.

Lance rolls his eyes and turns to Luxia when he hears her quill. “Don’t write that down! Pidge, why is she even here?”

“Little Miss Perfect refused to share until you got here,” Luxia replies as her quill angrily crosses off whatever it just wrote.

“I’ll take that as a compliment!” Pidge exclaims. “Now, I figured that with all the negative press that’s out about Lance and Keith, they should have a chance to defend themselves. And I mean about everything ! What happened last summer, the truth about Krolia, Zarkon being back after the Triwizard Tournament, and the names of the Galra Phantoms still on the loose.”

Luxia leans across the table. “The Prophet will never publish something like that! It goes against the public mood.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Pidge says dismissively. “We’ve found a publisher for the article anyway.”

Luxia tilts her head. “Who?”

Romelle looks away from the window. “My father. He’s the editor of The Quibbler .”

“Why did Luxia agree to this?” Lance wonders.

“If she doesn’t, I’ll expose her for being an unregistered animagus,” Pidge replies.

“Do you really think people will take Lance McClain and Keith Kogane seriously if they’re published in The Quibbler ? It’s nothing but a conspiracy, cock-and-bull story tabloid!” Luxia exclaims with a laugh.

“Some won’t believe them, but every person we do convince is another ally,” Pidge states firmly.

Luxia shrugs and motions for her pen to begin moving again. “Alright, boys, are you ready to tell the public the truth?”

Lance and Keith exchange a smile. “Yeah, let’s do it,” Keith says.

Pidge sits back and takes a sip from her butterbeer. “Fire away, Luxia.”

 


 

 

The following morning, Lance walks into the Great Hall and raises his eyebrows when he sees Pidge and Keith at the Gryffindor table with Paul and Delia. Lance takes a seat next to Keith. “This is a fun surprise! Why aren’t you guys at your tables?” Lance wonders.

Pidge hands him a copy of The Quibbler . Lance chuckles when he sees his and Keith’s smiling faces on the front cover. “It’s your article!” Pidge exclaims.

Suddenly, a group of owls arrive and begins dropping letters around Lance and Keith. “What on earth?!” Keith demands.

“Fan mail! Responses to the article!” Delia exclaims high-fiving Pidge.

“What article is that, dear?” Hira asks, suddenly appearing behind Lance and Keith.

“Lance and I just published an article telling the real story about what happened last June…and everything else,” Keith shares with a smirk.

Hira frowns angrily. “Where is this article?”

Lance hands her The Quibbler .

“Right! I will confiscate this!” Hira exclaims, tearing it in half. “Anyone found in the possession of this magazine will be expelled!” She walks away, fuming.

Pidge chuckles and high-fives Delia again. “Brilliant!” she exclaims.

Lance tilts his head in confusion. “How is that brilliant? She banned it!”

“Yeah, but will that stop people from reading it? I think it’ll want them to read it more ,” Pidge says with a smile before standing. “I’ll see you in Transfiguration, Lance, and you in Herbology, Keith.” She makes her way back to the Ravenclaw table.

Keith stands next. “I’ll see you in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Lance.” He gives Lance a smile and his hand a squeeze, lingering for a second longer before heading back to the Slytherin table. Lance’s jaw slackens slightly as he watches Keith walk away.

“What was that about?” Paul wonders, a hint of amusement in his voice.

Lance feels his cheeks heat up slightly. “Shut up, Paul.”

He eats in silence for the rest of breakfast while Delia and Paul discuss an assignment in Potions. When they finish eating, Lance meanders throughout his classes of the day, not really paying attention in any of them. Keith gets into another argument with Hira, earning himself detention. Lance has completely given up trying to prevent it since most of the things Keith is saying are true.

After his last class, Lance heads to Thace’s office where he and Keith have another Occlumency lesson. Lance walks into the office to find it empty. As he goes to start snooping, he hears Thace’s voice sound from down the hall.

“Kogane, I have run out of patience with you. The next time you earn detention from Professor Dunlap, do not expect me to get you out of it,” Thace says.

“Yes sir,” Keith replies dully as they enter the office. He brightens up when he sees Lance.

“Kogane, we will start with you,” Thace instructs, setting down some papers. “Do not disappoint me.”

Keith sits down in the chair and takes a deep breath. Lance watches as Thace readies his wand. “Legilimens!” Thace exclaims. A burst of yellow erupts from his wand and surrounds Keith’s head.

Lance watches Keith struggle to fight off Thace for a minute or two before he opens his eyes, gasping for air.

“Very good, Kogane,” Thace says. “McClain, you’re up.”

Keith gives Lance a reassuring smile and moves so Lance can sit down. Lance breathes heavily and prepares himself as Thace raises his wand. “Legilimens!”

Lance gasps as the yellow magic hits him. He tries to fight it off, but pieces of his life flash in front of him. He sees himself opening the charm necklace from his sisters during his first year, fighting with Keith after the Yule Ball, and kissing Nyma underneath the mistletoe.

“No!” Lance yells, tearing himself away. He snatches his wand up and aims it at Thace. “Legilimens!”

Suddenly he’s transported to Thace’s memories. He sees a flash of Alfor placing the Sorting Hat on his head, Krolia and Luis laughing as they trip Thace, and Rosa handing Thace a book with a prominent blush on his face.

Lance gasps and drops his wand, looking up at Thace in fear. “You—”

Thace closes his mouth when they hear a loud scream of anguish bellow through the halls. He glowers at Lance before motioning for both boys to follow him. Thace leads Keith and Lance up to the courtyard where they see Slav with all of his belongings in the center with Hira in front of him, arms crossed.

“Y-you cannot do this!” Slav exclaims, near tears. “Hogwarts is my home!”

“You’re fired, Slav. You must leave,” Hira instructs coldly.

“What’s the meaning of this?!” Shiro demands, suddenly appearing. He marches up to Slav and Hira. “Professor Dunlap, while you may have the power to fire my professors, you do not have the power to dismiss them completely from Hogwarts. That power remains with me.” He turns to Slav. “You are permitted to stay on the school campus, but I can’t give you your job back.”

Slav lets out a cry of joy then hugs Shiro. “Oh, thank you Professor Shirogane! Thank you!”

Keith and Lance look at each other in shock. “Hira’s gone insane,” Keith hisses under his breath.

Lance opens his mouth to reply, but Shiro speaks before. “Alright! Everyone back to your dorms!” he commands.

“We better leave before we get in trouble,” Lance whispers. “See you tomorrow?”

Keith smiles. “Always.”

Lance heads back to his dorm and falls asleep. That night instead of dreams, he is plagued with nightmares. He has more visions of himself as Zarkon, this time discussing Bode’s death with Branko, another Galra Phantom who escaped from Beta Traz. He tells Paul all of this when he wakes up, and, as usual, he suggests Lance go to Shiro. Lance refuses, not wanting to bother him.

At breakfast, Delia shares her theory that Bode could’ve been under the Imperius curse, and when he tried to get the mysterious weapon Zarkon searched for, he went mad and ended up in St. Mungo’s. However, Lance doesn’t have time to discuss his thoughts because Shiro approaches the podium to announce changes in the teaching staff. He introduces a new Divination teacher, a centaur named Firenze, and shares that Allura will be taking over Care of Magical Creatures until further notice.

In Divination, Firenze assumes Slav’s duties and explains to the students that nothing, even a centaur’s knowledge, is foolproof. After class, he asks Lance and Keith to tell Coran that his attempt is not working, and he must abandon it.

The boys relay the information, but Coran ignores it. No surprise there.

Lance’s spirits lift when he heads to the Room of Requirement for the next SA meeting. Inside, he finds nearly everyone there, some talking in groups with each other while others practice some of the other spells they’ve taught. Lance walks up to Keith, Hunk, and Pidge. “Hey, is everyone here?” he asks.

“Not yet. We’re just waiting for Marco, Reyna, and Timothy,” Keith replies with a concerned expression. “We have no idea where they are.”

Lance turns and waves Sophia and Brooklyn over. “Marco, Reyna, and Timothy didn’t come with you two?”

Brooklyn shakes her head no. “Hira was up their asses about something. Soph and I barely made it out alive.”

Lance furrows his eyebrows in concern. “What?”

Before Keith can reply, the door flies open, and Marco, Reyna, and Timothy come running into the room. “Sorry we’re late!” Reyna exclaims. “Hira wouldn’t shut up. Did you start yet?”

“No, you’re just in time.” Lance motions for everyone to gather around him and Keith. “Okay, today we’re going to be conjuring Patronuses. The way to successfully create a fully formed Patronus is to think of a happy memory. Use that to fuel your energy and focus into creating it. The words you’re going to chant are Expecto Patronum . Does everyone understand?”

The group nods and splits up to start working on it. Keith and Lance begin to walk around to see everyone’s work and offer assistance where needed. Most of the students struggle immensely, but others manage to make something come out of their wands.

“Make it a powerful memory. The happiest you can remember. Allow it to fill you up!” Keith exclaims, walking around. “Keep trying, Paul!” He gives him a thumbs up.

Paul nods at him and continues to make an effort. Lance walks up to his brother. “Marco, your turn now,” Lance says with a reassuring smile.

Marco takes a deep breath and aims his wand. “Expecto Patronum!” A flash of silver comes out of his wand but nothing else.

Lance pats him on the back. “Good try.” He begins walking around too. “A full-bodied Patronus is the most difficult to produce, but shield forms can also be useful against a variety of opponents.” He stops to watch Delia make an attempt.

“Expecto Patronum,” she whispers. A ray of white comes from her wand and a glittery white horse whinnies as it emerges from her wand.

“Fantastic, Delia!” Lance exclaims.

“Remember, your Patronus will only protect you as long as you stay focused,” Keith continues. “So focus—Romelle!” He pats her shoulder and she nods at him.

Keith and Lance continue walking around, smiling at each of their friends begins successfully making Patronuses. Pidge laughs as an owl emerges from her wand and flies around her.

“Expecto Patronum!” Xander exclaims.

Keith and Lance wait expectantly for something to come from his wand, but nothing does. Xander looks at them with a disappointed expression. “I’m trying,” he says.

“We know,” Lance replies, patting his shoulder. “Keep at it. This is really advanced stuff, guys.”

“Expecto Patronum!” Hunk yells. A blast of white comes from his wand and an otter swims out, knocking Xander to the ground. “Whoops! Sorry!”

“Expecto Patronum!” Romelle exclaims as a bunny hops out of her wand, beginning to move around the room, interacting with the other Patronuses.

“Excellent, Romelle!” Keith shouts to her. He smiles at Lance. “They’re doing really well.”

Paul groans in frustration. “Ugh! This is impossible! Could those of us who are struggling get a demonstration?!” he demands. He looks at Keith and Lance expectantly.

Lance steps forward. “Here we go.” He takes a deep breath and points his wand out in front of him. Lance’s thoughts flood with images of him and Keith working together and fighting off enemies together. A smile comes to his face as he says, “Expecto Patronum!”

The large Phoenix emerges from his wand, spreading its majestic wings before flying around the room. One by one the other Patronuses disappear as the students marvel at Lance’s Phoenix.

“Holy crap…” Paul trails off breathlessly.

Keith steps forward next, pointing his wand forward. “Expecto Patronum!” he exclaims, a large puma jumping out from his wand, roaring at Paul. The puma runs around the room and up the walls before disappearing when it collides with the Phoenix for an epic explosion of light. Keith looks at Paul. “That enough for you?”

Paul opens his mouth to reply, but Chulatt pops into the room with a terrified expression. “Chulatt, what—” Keith starts.

“Hira is coming!” she yells before disappearing.

The students begin to panic and scatter, running towards the doors that have appeared for them to leave through. Lance, Keith, Pidge, and Hunk are the last few to leave. As they round the corner, Damien suddenly tackles Lance to the ground.

“Gotcha!” he yells.

Keith stops in his tracks and goes to help Lance, but Hunk and Pidge drag him away so they don’t get caught too. Lance silently thanks them, not wanting Keith to get punished any more than he already has.

Damien hoists Lance to his feet and drags him over to where Hira is waiting. “I got one!” he exclaims.

She smiles smugly at him. “Good work, Damien! Now, search everywhere for the others and round them all up. Check everywhere, bathrooms, the library, empty classrooms—we must find them all!” Hira exclaims.

Damien nods and hurries off. Hira then brings him to Shiro’s office where he finds Shiro inside with Allura, Iverson, Kolivan, Ezor, and Isabella. Isabella gives Lance a disappointed expression.

Shiro narrows his eyes at Hira’s tight grip on Lance’s arm. “You may be High Inquisitor of this school, Professor Dunlap, but kindly do not manhandle my students.”

Hira releases Lance’s arm while Iverson claps his hands and rubs them excitedly. “Well, well, well, Mr. McClain! I expect you know why you’re here?”

Lance glances at Shiro who shakes his head ever so slightly. “I can’t say that I do.”

Iverson raises his eyebrows. “Really? You don’t? You haven’t broken any school rules?”

“Nope,” Lance says curtly.

“Or Ministerial Decrees?”

“None that I know of.”

Hira opens the door again, leading Nyma into the room. She clearly has been crying, and her face is covered in pimples forming the word “SNITCH.”

“I’m afraid this poor girl is unable to speak, but I shall tell you what she has told me,” Hira begins. “Shortly after dinner, she came to me and told me that if I went to the Room of Requirement, I would find an illegally-formed student group. It was at that time that this hex took effect.” She points to the pimples on Nyma’s face.

Fury boils in Lance’s veins as he silently thanks Hunk for the jinx, thinking Nyma has never looked better.

Hira clears her throat. “Since I had received information some time ago that McClain, Kogane, and a number of other students had met in Hog’s Head to start an illegal group—”

“Professor, I’m not sure that’s true,” Shiro interrupts.

Hira blinks at him. “I’m sorry?”

“In fact, when McClain and Kogane met those students, it was not illegal,” Shiro continues.

Hira crosses her arms. “But two days later, Educational Decree Twenty-Four was introduced. Thus forcing them—”

“I am well aware. However, I wonder if you have any evidence that this group has been meeting since then?” Shiro asks.

Hira points to Nyma. “She’s a witness!”

“Correct, but I was under the impression that young Valentina here only told you a meeting was going on tonight,” Shiro says.

Hira huffs. “Let’s ask her, shall we?” She looks at Nyma who is staring at the wall. “You can shake your head for an answer, dear. Now, have there been more meetings?”

Slowly, still staring at the wall, Nyma shakes her head.

“What do you mean by shaking your head, girl?” Hira wonders.

“I would think that means there have been no other meetings,” Shiro states calmly. “Is that correct?”

Nyma nods.

“What about McClain and Kogane? They were the leaders and has been—”

To Hira’s astonishment, Nyma is shaking her head again.

“Why are you shaking your head?!” Hira demands.

“It usually means no, Hira,” Allura pipes up.

Hira shoots Allura a glare then grabs Nyma by the cloak and shakes her roughly. Shiro stands, drawing his wand and points it at Hira. “Again, I cannot have you manhandling my students, Professor Dunlap,” he warns, anger in his voice.

Hira laughs softly, letting Nyma go. “My apologies, Headmaster. I forgot myself.”

“Well, what about the meeting tonight?!” Iverson demands.

“Right! Of course,” Hira says. “We proceeded to the Room, and we caught McClain just outside, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve found all of their names.” She pulls out the roster list Hunk and Pidge made from her pocket. Lance gaps at it in horror. Iverson gaps at it too, snatching it out of Hira’s hands. He looks up, an expression of twisted delight on his face.

“So, Shiro, you’ve been behind this whole thing?” he wonders, handing the paper to Shiro. He looks it over, suddenly at a loss for words. “Shiro’s Army…” Iverson shakes his head.

Shiro smiles pleasantly and spreads his hands wide. “Well, Minister, you’ve caught me!”

“This has all been your doing!” Iverson accuses, pointing his finger at Shiro. “You’ve been recruiting students for your army!”

Shiro nods. “Quite correct, Mitch.”

Iverson jumps. “I knew it! I knew it! You’ve been conspiring against me the whole time! This is too good to be true.”

Lance looks at Shiro in horror. “Professor, no!”

“Quiet, Lance!” Shiro scolds.

“Yes, shut up, McClain,” Iverson agrees. “So, you’ll be coming with us to the Ministry—”

“Ah, yes, I was wondering when we’d hit that little snag,” Shiro interrupts.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You seem to be laboring under the delusion that I would come quietly ,” Shiro continues. “You see, I have no intention of going to Beta Traz. It’s not really my style.”

Iverson glowers at Shiro. “You would really take on two Marmorites, Hira, and myself, Shiro?”

“If the shoe fits,” Shiro replies.

In one motion, all of them draw their wands. Lance’s eyes widen in fear, and he dives for cover. Shiro is the fastest, obviously. A flash of light comes from his wand and blasts in all directions. A spell strikes Shiro’s desk with a loud bang and explodes, dust filling the room. Someone shouts, feet scuffle, another bang, then finally, silence.

Lance coughs and stands as the dust settles. Shiro hasn’t moved from his spot while Iverson, Ezor, Hira, Kolivan, and Isabella lay on the floor unconscious. Shiro’s desk is split into two and all of the tables are overturned. He moves swiftly to Allura, Lance, and Nyma. “Are you all right?” Shiro asks, offering his hands to help Nyma and Lance up.

Allura stands, dusting herself off. “Yes, we are fine. Shiro, where will you go? Have you thought this through? Perhaps Krolia—”

“No,” Shiro interrupts firmly. “I won’t do that to Keith. Her name was finally cleared, and I won’t be the one to put it in jeopardy again. I will not be going into hiding. Iverson will just regret removing me from Hogwarts.”

Lance moves to Shiro’s side and hugs him. “I’m so sorry, Professor!”

Shiro smiles kindly at Lance. “There’s no need to apologize. Now, listen to me, Lance. You and Keith must continue studying Occlumency with Thace. Do everything he tells you.” He grips Lance’s shoulder. “Close your mind. You will understand in time.”

Iverson and the others begin to stir.

“Lay back down,” Shiro instructs. “They can’t know we had time to talk.”

Allura, Nyma, and Lance lay back on the ground while the others stand up. Kolivan and Iverson jump to their feet and raise their wands to Shiro, but Black flies into the air above Shiro. He claps onto her tail and they vanish in a blast of fire.

Kolivan sighs. “You may not want to admit it Minister, but you can't deny: Shiro’s got style.”

Iverson yells in frustration. “FIND HIM!”

Hira, Iverson, Ezor, and Isabella race from the office while Allura ushers Lance and Nyma out and back to their dorms. Delia and Paul ask Lance what happened, but he’s in too much shock to tell them.

Who knows what Iverson and Hira will do to Hogwarts now that Shiro is gone.

Chapter Text

Lance wakes up the following morning and heads to the Great Hall with Delia and Paul. As they begin filling their plates up with food, Hira approaches the podium holding a piece of paper. “Hello, everyone and good morning. By order of the Ministry of Magic, Hira Dunlap will replace Takashi Shirogane as Head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” She smiles at everyone smugly. “My first act as your new Headmistress is to form an Inquisitorial Squad, led by Damien Morrison and Bethany Mathesi. They will report directly to me about what is going on in the halls of the school. They also have my permission to dock points from houses. Finally, our good caretaker, the Warden, has requested we reinstate the old punishments . There is no reason we shouldn’t, so I have allowed it.”

Paul and Lance exchange an annoyed expression and look over at the Warden who is grinning like a kid at Christmas. Lance turns around to where Keith is, but his attention is directed towards Sophia and Reyna who are whispering with each other. Reyna pulls something out of her pocket and uses her wand to levitate it into the air. Sophia follows her lead and controls something similar. Once the objects reach the center of the room at the ceiling, they explode into a ton of fireworks. Lance smiles widely at the students around him who shriek and cheer in glee.

Hira gasps in horror and tries to use her magic to stop them, but it doesn’t work. She looks to the other professors for assistance, but none of them move a muscle to help…not even Thace.

Fireworks explode for the rest of the day.

After classes finish, Lance and Keith resume lessons with Thace. Keith succeeds in shutting Thace out while Lance continues to struggle. Keith tries to give Lance pointers, but they don’t help. During one of Keith’s runs, someone knocks on the door.

Thace removes his magic from Keith’s head to answer the door. When he opens it, they see Damien standing there. For once, Damien ignores Keith and Lance. “Professor Slater, Professor Dunlap needs your assistance with something important,” he says.

Thace nods and follows Damien out of his office, leaving Keith and Lance alone. They stay quiet for a minute or two until Keith breaks the silence. “I keep having weird dreams about the Department of Mysteries. I think they’re the same ones you’ve been having,” Keith says.

Lance looks in the cabinet and spots a pensieve. “Maybe we’ll figure out something in here,” he suggests.

Keith shrugs in agreement and they dip their heads inside. They seem to keep falling until being dropping into the Great Hall where the long tables have been replaced with desks. It seems as though Lotor, Seth, Narti, and Thace are taking their O.W.L.s. Lance and Keith spot Krolia, Luis, and Rosa talking with Zethrid in the hallway.

Ugh! When are they gonna be done!? ” Krolia demands as Zethrid walks away. “ Seth’s supposed to take me to Hogsmeade .”

I don’t think complaining will make them go any faster ,” Rosa says with a chuckle.

Who asked you!? ” Krolia wonders, crossing her arms.

Technically you did ,” Luis responds with a smug smile.

Krolia sticks her tongue out at him and leans against the wall. A few more minutes pass and the fifth years walk out of the Great Hall. Krolia smiles widely when she sees Seth, Lotor, and Narti walk out together. However, she doesn’t greet them right away. Instead, she elbows Luis and gestures to Thace who walks out right behind them.

Shall we? ” she asks.

Oh, most definitely ,” Luis replies.

The two exchange a smirk, and Krolia slowly approaches Thace, whistling as she does before tripping him, causing him to drop everything he was holding. “ Watch where you’re going! ” she yells. “ You’re such a screw-up, Slater!

Thace glares at her. He raises his wand to strike her, but Luis acts quicker. “ Expelliarmus! ” he shouts and Thace’s wand flies out of his hand into Luis’s. “ I don’t think so, loser.

Krolia raises her wand and aims it at Thace. “ Rictusempra!

Silver light leaves her wand, and Thace suddenly begins to laugh uncontrollably. The students around them also start to laugh at him and cheer for Luis and Krolia. Rosa pushes her way to the front and gasps when she sees Thace. She glares at Luis and Krolia. “ You two are cruel! ” she yells. Rosa pulls her wand out and aims it at Thace. “ Finite Incantatem!” A blast of red leaves her wand and engulfs Thace, immediately stopping him from laughing. Rosa immediately goes to help him pick up his things, but he glares at her.

I don’t need your help! Leave me alone! ” he shouts. He quickly collects his things and hurries off.

Before Lance and Keith can see anything else, something yanks them out of the pensieve. They turn and see Thace standing there, enraged. “Get out of my office! No more Occlumency lessons!” he yells.

Keith and Lance hurry out, the door slamming after them. They walk away from Thace’s office in shock. “Did our parents really act like that?” Keith wonders. “I-I didn’t know my mother was so cruel to him.”

Lance nods in agreement. “Yeah, I didn’t know my dad was so mean when he was our age.”

“I want to ask Krolia about it,” Keith says. “I want answers.”

Lance shakes his head no. “It’s too dangerous especially now that Hira is Headmistress. We should just head to bed.” He pats Keith’s shoulder. “We’ll get answers, but we need to lay low right now. Shiro can’t protect us anymore.”

Keith sighs and nods. “Fine. Good night, Lance.” He waves goodbye and heads to the Gryffindor common room, up to his dorm. He changes and gets into bed, falling asleep relatively quickly.

In his dream, Lance finds himself back at the Ministry heading to his hearing. As he’s running, he stops when he sees the doors to the Department of Mysteries. Lance timidly makes his way over to the large doors, grasping the handle and pulling it open. His eyes widen at the tall walls lined with glass orbs. As he walks through the different aisles, he notices that all of them are empty.

Except one.

Lance tilts his head at it, feeling drawn over to it. As he reaches for it, he wakes up with a gasp before he can touch it.

 


 

 

The following few days pass uneventfully. A notice for getting career advice is posted on all bulletin boards, requiring all fifth years to meet with their heads of house sometime in the following week. Lance personally has no idea what he wants to do with his life. Hell, he doesn’t even know if he’ll make it through the rest of his time at Hogwarts! With the crap with Zarkon, who’s to say? Although, if he did have to pick, being a Hogwarts professor might be ideal, or perhaps becoming a Marmorite and hunting down dark wizards! It would be pretty cool to be part of the Wands of Marmora like his parents were. However, being a Hogwarts professor would mean he gets to help out young wizards, but is he even good enough for it? Pidge, Hunk, and Keith are better than him at pretty much all the subjects…except for maybe potions…

On one of the days, Carlos and Ryland pay the school a visit to watch one of the Quidditch matches. The two graduated Hogwarts students meet up with Lance and Keith in the courtyard. “Well, if it isn’t our two Quidditch proteges!” Carlos exclaims.

Lance looks up from his book and smiles widely when he sees his brother and Ryland. “Hey!” Lance hurries over to give them both a hug. “What are you guys doing here?”

“We came to watch the Slytherin versus Hufflepuff game,” Ryland answers. “I wanted to see how the greatest Seeker Slytherin’s ever had play one more time.” He smiles at Keith.

“Uh, well, you’re out of luck. Hira banned me from playing Quidditch,” Keith says. “Damien and I got in a fight and both of us were thrown from the team.”

“And Slater didn’t do anything about it?!” Ryland demands.

Keith shakes his head no.

“Want me to do something about it?” Ryland asks.

“No, it’s okay. It’s sort of relieving honestly, but I do miss it,” Keith replies. “Though, I think there is something you two can do for us.”

“And what’s that?” Carlos wonders.

“Create a distraction so Lance and I can use the fire in Hira’s office to contact my mom,” Keith says.

Lance looks at Keith with wide eyes. “What?! Are you insane?!”

Carlos and Rylan exchange a smirk. “We’d love to!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! That’s too risky!” Lance exclaims. “No. I refuse.”

“Please, Lance?” Keith begs. “We need to know the truth of our parents.”

Lance sighs. “Fine, but after my meeting with Allura. Wait for me outside her office, alright?” He sighs and gathers his things, then heads to Allura’s office.

Lance knocks on the door, and Allura opens it a few seconds later. She smiles when she sees him. “Lance! Come in!” she exclaims, stepping aside.

Lance takes a seat in front of Allura’s desk, waiting for her to sit across from him. “So, any thoughts on what you want to do after you graduate Hogwarts?” Allura asks, sitting in her chair.

“Honestly? No idea,” Lance admits. “I’m not sure if I’m good enough to be anything.”

“Nonsense!” Allura exclaims. “I am looking at your marks right now, and you are doing very well in all of your classes. You could succeed in any field related to these.”

“But Pidge is better than me in Charms, Hunk in Transfiguration, and Keith in Defense Against the Dark Arts!” Lance counters. “I just…I don’t know…”

“Well, your Potions marks surpass everyone in your class.” Allura pauses then slides the papers aside. “Have you thought of any career? It could be anything.”

“Maybe a Marmorite?” Lance offers. “I considered a Hogwarts professor but—”

“That is an excellent idea!” Allura announces happily. “You would make an excellent teacher. You already had some practice with that group.”

Lance smiles. “You really think so?”

“I know so,” Allura answers. “Stick with Potions, alright? You will do amazing things with it.”

Lance stands. “Okay…thank you, professor.”

“You are welcome, Lance!” Allura waves to him as he walks out.

He leaves Allura’s office with a smile on his face, finding Carlos, Ryland, and Keith waiting for him outside. Keith’s face lights up when he sees Lance. “How’d it go?”

“Allura thinks I could be a great Potions professor!” Lance announces.

Carlos chuckles. “You’d probably be the first to get kids excited about Potions in a long time. Now, Ryland and I know exactly what we’re gonna do. You two just get to Hira’s office. She won’t be there.”

“What are you guys gonna do?” Lance wonders.

“That’s for us to know, and you to not be concerned about,” Ryland answers. “Go!”

The boys split off from each other. Lance and Keith sprint where Hira’s office is. They try the doorknob, but it’s locked. Keith pulls out his wand and aims it at the knob. “Alohomora.” The lock clicks, and the door opens. The boys step inside and hurry to the fireplace, using floo powder to make their heads appear in the fireplace at Number 12.

Inside, they see Krolia and Lotor cleaning up the table. “Mom!” Keith exclaims.

Krolia yelps and drops the plate she was holding, it shattering into a thousand pieces. She turns and her eyes widen when she sees Keith and Lance. “What are you two doing here?!” She hurries over and kneels down in front of them. “Is everything okay?”

“We know what you and Luis did,” Keith states. “In the Pensieve in Thace’s office, we saw you and Luis bully him after he finished his O.W.L.s!”

Krolia sighs. “I’m not proud of that moment. Well, no, it was funny, and he deserved it.”

Lotor walks over and joins them. “I remember that. I didn’t find it funny.”

“That’s because you’re a good person,” Krolia retorts, irritated. She looks back at Lance and Keith. “Boys, Luis and I were young and foolish. We’ve matured since then.”

“But why?” Lance wonders.

“Look, Thace isn’t as innocent as you think,” Krolia replies. “He made Seth’s life a living hell too. I wasn’t about to stand for that. Seth wasn’t very good with Potions, and Thace constantly pestered him about it. Actually, I tutored Seth in Potions…” She trails off, smiling. “I enjoyed those moments with him.”

Lotor rubs her shoulder. “You helped him pass his Potions O.W.L.”

“I did! Thace was mocking him when they walked out!” Krolia exclaims. “Did you not see that in the memory?”

Lance and Keith shake their heads no.

“Figures! Stupid Thace making himself out to be the victim,” Krolia grumbles.

“How are Occlumency lessons going?” Lotor asks, changing the subject.

“Oh, uh, after Thace caught us in the Pensieve…he, uh, sorta lost it and refused to give us any more lessons,” Lance shares.

Krolia snickers. “Excellent!”

“No, not excellent.” He gives Krolia a stern look. “They need that assistance.” Lotor looks back at the boys. “I strongly advise you two make right with him and ask for him to continue.”

“Fine,” Keith grumbles. “But now that I know he gave my dad a hard time—”

“Keith,” Lotor scolds.

“Okay! We’ll do it!” he exclaims. “We better go.”

Keith and Lance leave the fire and walk out of Hira’s office to find that Carlos and Ryland have turned the school into a swamp. They gingerly walk down one of the hallways and hear Hira screaming at them, threatening serious punishment. A large group of students cheers for Ryland and Carlos while they get on their brooms and fly away, saluting Peeves, the Hogwarts poltergeist.

Hira fumes, turning to see Lance and Keith smiling up at Ryland and Carlos. “You two! Come here now!” she yells.

Lance and Keith exchange a shrug and walk up to her. “Yes, professor?” Keith wonders.

“Who were those two hooligans?!” Hira demands.

“They were students here,” Lance explains. “One is my older brother, ex-captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, and the other is his best friend, ex-captain of the Slytherin Quidditch Team. I didn’t know they were visiting.”

Hira’s nostrils flare out in anger. “Fine! Go away! I have to clean this up!”

Keith and Lance fist bump when Hira turns away. Brooklyn comes running up to them, wearing pieces of her Quidditch gear. “Lance! Let’s go! You’re gonna be late for warm-ups!” she exclaims.

Lance hits his forehead. “Crap, right, sorry! I’ll see you later, Keith!”

“Good luck today!” Keith shouts after him.

Lance waves goodbye to Keith and follows Brooklyn to the locker rooms. He quickly changes into his jersey and gear with the rest of his team before walking out to the Quidditch pitch with his broom and bat. Lance takes a deep breath of fresh are, smiling at the large crowd. He gets on his broom to take a few laps around the pitch, searching for his friends. He spots them making their way through the Gryffindor crowd where Delia and Paul are. Lance salutes at them then begins to warm up with Torie Stockton, the other Gryffindor Beater. Timothy, Dina, and Brooklyn warm up with the Quaffle, taking some shots on Marco so he’s ready. Shannon is still on the ground, stretching. Lance wishes she’d take Keith’s approach of preparing by stretching his arms out then taking several laps around the pitch, weaving in and out of things.

Well, if Hira didn’t throw Keith and Damien off the Slytherin team, they’d be playing Gryffindor for the Quidditch Cup right now instead of Ravenclaw. As much as Lance hates Damien, he’s a very talented Chaser. However, Joshua Carlson, one of the three Ravenclaw Chasers, is the best one at Hogwarts—probably the best in a long time.

Lance’s attention turns back to his friends when he sees Coran walk up to Keith, Pidge, and Hunk, motioning for them to follow him. They get out of their seats and follow Coran to the staircase and out of the Quidditch pitch. Lance furrows his eyebrows, wondering why Coran would make his friends abandon Lance right before a big moment like this.

“Lance!” a voice screams.

Lance turns back, eyes widening when he sees the Bludger heading straight for him. He yelps and turns his broom so he’s hanging upside down, the Bludger flying past him. Lance glares at Torie. “You didn’t notice I wasn’t paying attention?!” he demands.

“It was too late!” she defends, flying over to him. “Why weren’t you paying attention?”

Lance turns so he’s upright again. “I just got distracted, alright?”

Their other teammates fly over to them. “Guys, chill, we don’t need a fight right now,” Brooklyn scolds. “This is our chance to earn Gryffindor its title back for being the best Quidditch team. Ever since Kogane and Morrison were thrown from the Slytherin team, they’ve gone off the rails. This is our shot to prove we’re better.”

She smiles at everyone. “So, let’s take home this win, alright?”

The team cheers and splits off to get into their positions.

Once Allura blows the whistle, the Chasers immediately flock towards the Quaffle, trying to obtain control of it for their team. Obviously, Joshua Carlson gains control of it first for Ravenclaw because he’s just that good. If the school wanted to form a team with only the best players, it would definitely pick Joshua, Brooklyn, and Damien (yes, Damien because even though he’s a jerk, he’s still a fantastic Chaser) as Chasers, Lance and Sophia as Beaters, Hunk as Keeper, and Keith as Seeker. The school would be unstoppable!

The scores stay close to each other, only wavering to twenty or thirty point differences from time to time, leaving it up to the Seekers to win and end the game for their team. Shannon, the Gryffindor Seeker, can easily locate the Snitch, but she’s slow in her execution. Nyma, the Ravenclaw Seeker, is the exact opposite. If Keith was in Gryffindor and on Lance’s team, they probably would’ve won already.

Stop thinking about Keith!

Eventually, Shannon ends up narrowly catching the Snitch because Lance managed to hit Nyma with a Bludger. Normally he wouldn’t target her, but ever since their failed date…he’s just felt apathetic toward her. Now…if it was Keith

No, knock it off!

Lance shakes the thoughts out of his head as his friends run over to greet them after the game. Normally he’d greet Delia and Paul first, but once he sees Keith, he can’t help but go to him first. Before Keith can even say anything to Lance, he wraps Keith in a tight hug, burying his face in Keith’s neck. He likes the feeling of hugging Keith. Lance doesn’t know why, but it just feels right .

Pidge clears her throat. “Uh, hello? Y’know there are other people who want to congratulate you than just Keith, right?” She has a playful smirk on her face.

Lance immediately releases Keith, cheeks flushing up in embarrassment. “Right, sorry. I just—I don’t know what came over myself.”

Paul scoffs. “I think I know.”

Lance shoots Paul a warning glare then looks back at Pidge and Hunk. “Why did you guys leave? You missed us win!”

“Coran needed our help,” Hunk explains. “I promise we wouldn’t have left if it wasn’t important.”

Pidge crosses her arms. “Plus, we all know if Keith hadn’t been booted from the team, they would’ve won, right? Even if your Chasers scored a ton of points, Keith would’ve ended up with the Snitch.”

Lance rolls his eyes. “The point is—I’m still mad.” He looks at Delia and Paul. “Thank you for staying and watching.”

They smile at him. “We wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Lance,” Delia says with a smile.

“Plus it’s our house and it would’ve been crappy if we ditched,” Paul continues.

Delia slaps lightly him on the shoulder. “Paul!” She smiles at Lance. “We’ll just leave you four alone now.” She drags him away, scolding him about something.

Once they’re gone, Pidge begins talking. “Coran wants us to take care of a giant named Naroc. It’s important because he doesn’t think he’ll be around much longer to do it.”

Lance’s eyes widen. “Uh, what? A giant?! No! That’s gotta be illegal!”

Keith puts a hand on Lance’s shoulder. “C’mon, Lance. Coran needs our help.” He offers a reassuring smile and gives Lance’s shoulder an affectionate squeeze.

Lance sighs then nods. He’s horrified by the idea of visiting a giant, but he also doesn’t want to let Coran down.

Hopefully, the giant is at least nice…

 


 

 

The following morning, the fifth year students prepare to take their O.W.L.s. First up is Astronomy followed by History of Magic with Matt proctoring both O.W.L.s. Lance didn’t get much sleep last night because of Gryffindor’s win and the fact that Coran has been harboring a giant in the forest.

Needless to say, Lance was a little on edge.

In the Astronomy tower, as he’s filling in his star chart, Lance looks down to see a team of six leave the castle entrance, making their way to the Herbology greenhouse where Coran usually is. Lance elbows Keith and gestures at it.

“Hey! That’s Hira down there!” Keith announces.

Several other students, including Layla, Pidge, and Paul, begin to watch what’s going on down below. “They’re heading for the greenhouse!” Pidge exclaims.

“Eyes back on the sky please,” Matt instructs, but there’s an uncertainty in his voice as he looks down too.

The six shadows approach the greenhouse, readying their wands to bust the door open. Lance hears a loud bang, and the door flies off the greenhouse. A flash of blinding light comes from inside the cabin, sending a couple of the shadows flying back. Coran runs out with his wand pointed at them. The six shadows fire stun spells at him.

“No!” Lance yells.

Coran easily deflects the spells back toward the shadows. Lance sighs in relief when Coran comes out unscathed. He feels Keith poke him and point to where Allura storms outside, fury across her face. “Look!” Keith exclaims.

Lance smiles. “Allura will sort this out!”

They watch as Allura marches towards them. “How dare you! How dare you!” she screams, breaking into a run. “Stop right now!”

They ignore her, continuing to fire.

“STOP!” she bellows. Allura pulls her wand out in one quick motion, but four red beams from four of the six strike her down. She illuminates in blood-red light, lifted from her feet, and hurled backward five feet, slamming into the ground.

She doesn’t get up.

Students scream in terror, and Matt covers his mouth in shock. “No warning! Alright, everyone, go to the Great Hall now .” He glares at Hunk, Pidge, Lance, and Keith. “Especially you four!”

As everyone makes their way to the Great Hall, Lance sees the team of six disappear. Slav and Professor Holt run out and bring Allura into the castle, probably to the Hospital Wing.

Lance wants to go see if she’s okay, but he still has to complete his History of Magic O.W.L. in the Great Hall. His lack of sleep from the night before and the fatigue he’s feeling after taking the Astronomy O.W.L. causes him to drift off, leading him to fall asleep mid-test.

His dream takes him back to the Ministry of Magic…

Lance moves toward the door at the end of the hallway, the same white light glows behind it like he’s seen in his past dreams. He opens the door and the light floods into the dark hallway. Lance stands in the same room filled with glass orbs. He stumbles back when he sees Lord Zarkon standing, grinning coldly at a woman lying on the floor.

“Can you reach it? Can you take it, Madelina?” Zarkon wonders.

Krolia glares at the Galra Phantoms surrounding her. “It’s Kogane, and I’d rather die than help you kill my son and godson.”

Zarkon raises his wand, and Krolia screams in agony on the floor of the Department of Mysteries. The Galra Phantoms around her laugh at her pain. “Oh, you will die,” Zarkon reassures her. “Eventually, but there are days and hours of pain that await you.” He releases Krolia who slumps on the floor, gasping for air. “I’m gonna enjoy this, Madelina. It’s unfortunate you chose not to join my side. Your sister is such an asset…having you both would’ve been ideal, but you chose to fall in love with that Mudblood. I’m glad I killed him. Anyway, I soon will have the weapon, and then not even your precious Wands can stand in my way!”

Zarkon laughs a horrible spine-chilling laugh. The room dissolves around Lance…

Lance gasps, sitting up with a start, earning weird glances from his classmates. Before anyone can say anything, he bolts out of the Great Hall.

Chapter Text

Lance storms out of the Great Hall to find Allura but runs into Keith. He looks like he’s been crying. “Lance! H-he has her…” Tears threaten to spill out of his eyes again, so Lance pulls him in for a hug. “He-he’s torturing her!”

“I know, I saw too,” Lance says, running his fingers through Keith’s hair. “We have to save her.”

Keith sniffs and pulls away, nodding. “Let’s find Allura.”

Lance nods in agreement, and the boys make their way to the Hospital Wing. Colleen Holt stops them before they can enter. “Where are you two going?” she asks.

“We need to talk to Professor Quinn,” Keith says. “It’s important.”

“She was moved to St. Mungo’s. Her injuries were far more serious than what I could do to help here,” Colleen says. “I’m sorry.”

Keith and Lance walk away from her, stunned. “There goes our last chance at help,” Keith states, clenching his fists.

“We need to find Hunk and Pidge,” Lance says, grabbing Keith’s hand again. He leads them to the library where they find Hunk, Pidge, Shay, and Romelle. “Guys, we need help. Krolia’s been taken, and she’s being tortured like Lotor was in the Department of Mysteries. We have to save her.”

“It could be a trap,” Pidge says. “Keith, they know you’d do anything to save her. I know what you’re going through is hard, but—”

“No, you don’t know, Pidge!” Keith exclaims. “You grew up with two parents who loved you! I went most of my life thinking I was alone in this world. I thought no one loved me. Then when the news of her escape from Beta Traz came up, and I found out she was my mother, but also was charged with the murder of my father and the betrayal of Lance’s mother—I didn’t know what to think of her.” He sighs. “Then I learned that she turned herself in to protect me further. She didn’t want my father’s death to be in vain.” Keith wipes the tears from his cheeks. “She loved my father. You know that, we all know that! The way she talks about him…they were in love.”

Pidge looks at the floor.

“I just got her back, Pidge,” Keith continues. “I refuse to lose her again. I don’t care if it’s a trap. If you were really my friend you’d want to help.” He crosses his arms and looks away.

“Whoa, Keith.” Hunk stands up. “Why don’t we just calm down? You know we’d follow you anywhere, but we have to be smart about this.” He looks at Lance. “Right, Lance?”

Keith turns to look at Lance with a pleading expression. “Lance? You saw it too. You know what’s happening.”

“I—” Lance hesitates. He knows Pidge and Hunk are right, but seeing Krolia being tortured…it felt as real as when Lotor was being tortured. What if they didn’t act and she died because they didn’t do anything? It was real when Lotor was being attacked, so what makes this scenario any different?

Lance takes a deep breath. “I’m with Keith. We can’t take the risk of not doing anything. She could die.”

Hunk and Pidge look at each other then back at Keith and Lance. “Okay, we’ll help.”

Shay and Romelle stand up too. “So will we,” Shay says firmly.

Hunk turns. “Wait, you two don’t have to do that. You could get hurt.”

Shay strokes Hunk’s cheek. “So could you. This is non-negotiable.”

Keith smiles at them. “Great, thank you. Now, we shouldn’t waste any time, so I think we should just head right to the Ministry.”

“Why don’t we use Hira’s fireplace to see if Krolia actually is at Number 12,” Pidge offers. “If she’s not there, maybe Lotor or whoever’s there can give us a precise location and even offer their help.”

Lance nods. “I like that idea. Let’s do it.”

“Hunk, Shay, Romelle, and I can stand outside the door to guard it,” Pidge says. “Just move quickly.”

“Carlos gave me some…devices…to mess with Hira before he and Ryland left, but I think I’ll be able to use them to buy you guys enough time in there,” Hunk says.

Keith and Lance smile at them before stepping into Hira’s office. Lance does his best to ignore the thousands of cat photos covering the walls as he and Keith approach the fireplace. They grab some floo powder and use it to transport their heads into Number 12. Lance looks around the room, growing nervous when he doesn’t hear Krolia’s and Lotor’s normal bickering with each other. “Hello? Anyone there?” Lance asks. “Krolia? Lotor?”

Plachu suddenly appears in front of them. He doesn’t look happy. “What are you two doing here?”

“Where’s my mom?!” Keith demands.

“The Department of Mysteries,” he answers simply.

Before Keith and Lance can ask for details, someone yanks them from the fire and shoves them onto the ground. Lance and Keith look up in fear at Hira. She puts her hands on her hips. “Did you really think you two could simply walk into my office without me knowing?! Foolish boys!” she shrieks.

Lance looks around the room, heart deflating when he sees Shay, Pidge, Hunk, and Romelle being held at wand point by Hira’s Squad. Their wands are in a pile on the floor. He looks back at her, determined not to say anything.

“Accio wands!” Hira exclaims. Keith’s and Lance’s wands are ripped from their hands and into Hira’s hand. “Who were you trying to contact?!”

“It’s none of your business!” Keith shouts angrily.

Hira huffs then looks at Damien. “Damien, please fetch Professor Slater.” Damien nods and leaves. Hira smiles sickenly at Keith. “Very well, Kogane. I have been too patient with you. Clearly punishing you won’t do any good, so perhaps I should punish Lance to inspire you to cooperate.” She motions for another squad member to seize Keith while Hira forces Lance into a chair.

“No!” Keith protests. “Don’t touch—” The squad member covers his mouth before he can finish.

Damien returns with Thace. “You wished to see me?” Thace wonders.

“I caught Kogane and McClain trying to communicate with someone in my fire,” Hira shares. “I need some Veritaserum—truth serum.”

Lance’s breath hitches at the thought of it. The things he knows and thinks about on a daily basis—he doesn’t want that said out loud! Especially parts of it have to do with Keith, and he’s not ready to address those…yet…

“Well, I cannot help you,” Thace replies dully. “I have none left.” He turns to leave, but Keith looks at him desperately.

“He’s got Tomlynx at the place where it’s hidden!” Keith exclaims.

“What?! What does that mean?!” Hira demands.

“Kogane, if I wanted nonsense shouted at me, I shall inform you,” Thace retorts before storming out of the office.

Hira is enraged and turns to glare at Keith. “That’s enough of that, Kogane! You leave me no choice!” She draws her wand and moves menacingly at Lance. “Now, you could have saved me a lot of trouble if those Dementors I sent to your house had finished you off!”

You sent the Dementors?!” Lance demands.

Hira scoffs. “Of course I did! Someone had to act!” She points her wand at Lance’s chest. “CRUCIO!”

Lance screams as the curse washes over him, immense pain rushing over his body. He clenches his fists and tries to fight the pain away but it’s too much. He slumps on the ground, shaking wildly.

“NO!” Keith screams. “Please— stop !”

Hira looks pleased and turns to Keith. “Well, well.”

Lance gasps, breathing heavily when the pain leaves his body. He turns to Keith with a pleading gaze. “Keith, no…”

A tear slips down Keith’s cheek. “We have to tell her, Lance.”

“I would rather die!” Lance yells. “What’s the matter with you?!”

“Shut up, McClain!” Hira looks at Keith again. “Now, who were you talking to?”

“We were trying to find Professor Shirogane. We had to tell him—” Keith pauses “—that it’s ready…the weapon.”

Hira’s eyes are shining with eagerness, smiling at Keith. “You and Mr. McClain will take me to it.”

The student holding Keith releases him, and he immediately hurries to Lance’s side. Lance gives Keith’s hand a squeeze, reassuring that he’s okay before Hira drags them out of her office and has them lead her into the Forbidden Forest. Lance instinctively takes Keith’s hand in his own, feeling safer being closer to him. Keith gives Lance a soft smile before forging ahead. Lance has no idea where Keith is taking them, but a few minutes later, a herd of centaurs surrounds them.

“What are you doing in our forest?” the leader wonders.

Your forest?! This forest belongs to the Ministry of Magic!” Hira exclaims. The centaurs move closer. “Stay back, you beasts!”

There are howls of rage from the ranks of the centaurs. Many nock back their bows. “You cannot attack me! Any attack on a wizard by a half-breed—” Hira starts.

“Don’t call them that!” Lance exclaims.

“You DARE insult us?!” the leader demands.

Hira points her wand at him, though it is shaking in her hands. “Stay back! Incarcerous!” Ropes fly from her wand and wrap themselves around the leader. The rest of the centaurs charge at Hira.

Keith grabs Lance and they leap behind a tree, still able to hear Hira scream as the centaurs surround her. “Ingrates! Animals! Filthy half-bloods!” Hira screams.

There is a blast like a gunshot and Hira screams again. Suddenly, Lance and Keith are grabbed by two centaurs. “What about these two?” one wonders.

The second gestures to Keith. “This one has been here with Coran. They have heard the warnings and disobeyed. They will suffer the consequences!”

Lance winces and ducks as several trees to their left are torn from the ground and tossed aside like twigs. There stands a giant who Lance guesses to be Naroc. Silence washes over everyone as they stare up at Naroc. “Cwran!” Naroc exclaims. He turns and looks at Keith and Lance. “Keef! Where Cwran!”

“Naroc! Help us!” Keith exclaims.

Naroc roars again and beats his chest. He reaches out for them and the centaurs let loose their arrows. They pepper Naroc across the face and chest. He roars in agony and stops around, trying to squash the centaurs as they scatter. Keith grabs Lance’s hand and drags him away from the fight. They reach the edge of the forest and stop to catch their breath. Lance looks at Keith and immediately pulls him into a tight hug. “I-I thought we were dead,” Lance admits.

Keith chuckles. “Not on my watch.” He pulls away and looks Lance in the eyes. Their faces are inches apart. “Lance, what are we supposed to do now?”

Lance gets lost in Keith’s violet eyes, his gaze flickering from his lips back up to his eyes. Before Lance can do or say anything, he hears footsteps coming up from behind them.

“That’s what we were wondering,” Hunk states.

Lance and Keith turn around and Hunk, Pidge, Romelle, and Shay appear from around Slav’s hut. The two boys look surprised. “What—how?” Lance wonders.

Pidge tosses him his wand while Romelle hands Keith his. “Hunk’s very good at magic. Anyway, how do we get to the Ministry?”

“We should fly,” Lance says.

“We’ve got no brooms,” Keith reminds him.

“There are other ways to fly,” Romelle states, pointing in the direction of the forest. “I mean…they can fly, and they’re very good at finding places you need to go.”

Lance and Keith turn around and see three Thestrals watching them. “Oh…” Lance trails off.

“What are you talking about?” Pidge wonders. “There’s nothing there.”

Hunk and Shay nod in agreement. “Yeah, what are you looking at?” Shay asks.

“Thestrals,” Keith answers. “You can only see them if you’ve seen someone die.” He looks at them to see if they have any follow up questions.

When no one speaks, Lance clears his throat. “Right, well, get on one and we’ll be off,” Lance says quickly.

“Uh, what about those of us who can’t see them?” Hunk wonders, crossing his arms.

Romelle steps forward. “Ride with someone who can. Hunk, you can come with me. Pidge, you go with Keith. Shay, you go with Lance.”

“Alright, let’s go,” Pidge agrees.

They slowly approach the Thestrals, the three who can see them leading. Romelle, Keith, and Lance each pick one and pet them to let them know they can be trusted before mounting on them. Hunk, Shay, and Pidge timidly follow and are initially shocked when they feel a creature there, but get on with the help from the other three. Once all of them are on, they take flight and make their way towards London.

They soar between buildings and finally set down in front of a telephone booth. Shay jumps off the thestral shakily. “Never again…” she whispers.

Lance lands next to her and smiles. “C’mon, it was a little fun.”

She rolls her eyes. “Mhmm, okay.” Shay gives him a smile before looking at Keith. “What now?” Her gaze switches between Lance and Keith.

Lance gestures to the telephone booth and all of them cram inside before being lowered into the Ministry. The doors open at the receptionist area with the golden fountain. The Ministry is completely deserted and quiet. They split up, wands out at the ready.

Once the coast is clear, Lance motions for everyone to come by him. “Okay, this way,” Lance instructs. He leads them to the larger elevator and they step inside. He presses one of the buttons that will take them to the Department of Mysteries. Once they reach the floor, they step out of the elevator and begin walking. Lance looks in each corridor before recognizing the one from his dreams. “This way.” He leads them down the hallway, more doors inside it leading to different rooms. They reach the one at the end of the hallway and walk inside just to be greeted with more doors. They try several rooms, one of which houses a tank full of brains and another that has an ancient archway with tattered black curtains. Lance hears whispering from the archway but ignores it.

Finally, they find the right door and move toward the dusty spheres, soon realizing that Krolia isn’t there. Lance looks at Keith. “She’s not here,” he whispers.

“Maybe Pidge was right,” Keith replies quietly.

“Guys! Over here!” Hunk exclaims, pointing at a sphere. “It’s got your guys’ names on it along with Zarkon’s.”

Keith and Lance walk over to it to look at it. Keith picks it up and spins it over. “The hell?”

“I warned you before that one day you would come to a sticky end, Kogane,” a voice taunts from behind them.

Keith and Lance turn to find Sendak Morrison emerge from the shadows cloaked in all black. Two dozen other Galra Phantoms emerge around him.

“Where’s Krolia?” Lance asks, gripping his wand tighter.

Sendak and several other Galra Phantoms laugh. “We don’t have her if that’s what you mean.”

“Don’t lie!” Keith yells. “Tell me where my mother is you sick son of a bitch!” Keith glares daggers at Sendak.

Sendak sighs. “Keith, just hand me the prophecy before things have to get ugly.”

“NO!” Lance yells, voice bellowing throughout the room. He steps in front of Keith protectively. “He will smash that to pieces if you don’t call off your Galra Phantom posse.”

“Do you even understand what’s in there? The truth to your mother’s death and the attack on Keith’s house is in there. Only those whom a prophecy is made can safely retrieve it,” Sendak explains. “If you give it to me, all your questions will be answered.”

“If that’s true, then why the hell didn’t Zarkon get the damn thing for himself?!” Keith demands. “He too much of a coward?!”

Sendak’s eyes widen and a wave of fury washes over him. He points his wand at Keith, but Lance raises his own wand to parry any spell Sendak sends. “I wouldn’t do that, assmuncher,” Lance warns

He lowers his wand and sighs again. “Lord Zarkon could not come himself because the Marmorites at the Ministry would have caught him immediately. He lured you two here by manipulating your dreams to think Krolia was in trouble,” Sendak explains. “Now give me the prophecy or I will kill you both.”

Keith glares at Sendak and gives Lance’s hand a squeeze, signaling him that he’s ready to move. “Well, I’d hate to be where you are right now because—NOW!” Lance screams before ducking as blasts of magic come from their friends, shattering the spheres that surround him, Keith, and Sendak. Keith yanks Lance toward him and sprints away.

Pidge, Hunk, Romelle, and Shay quickly follow behind, sending blasts of magic when they can. Sendak and the rest of the Galra Phantoms follow closely behind. Keith expertly dodges any blast that comes for them while Lance parries any spell that comes their way. No one is going to touch that boy while Lance’s heart is still beating in his chest. Even if it stops, Lance will protect Keith from beyond the grave.

Lance snaps out of his thoughts when he hears screams from behind him. He and Keith come to a grinding halt to see Hunk covering his nose, bending down in agony, Shay on the ground, clutching her ankle, and Pidge on the ground, unconscious. “NO!” Lance shrieks.

“I got Pidge! Keep going!” Hunk yells, hoisting Pidge over his shoulders and holding a sleeve to his nose to stop blood from flowing out. Romelle reaches down to help Shay up.

Keith tugs Lance’s arm and they continue forward into another chamber of the Ministry. They stop in the center of the room, eyes widening at the sight of the giant tank in the room. “What the hell is in there?” Lance demands.

“I think those are brains,” Shay answers, clearly disgusted.

“Why would-” Lance starts when a blast of magic flies past them and shatters the large tank, causing the brains inside to fly everywhere. One lands in Lance’s arms causing tentacles to shoot out and strangle him. He screams and desperately tries to pull the tentacles off of himself.

“Lance!” Keith screams. He aims his wand at the brain and it explodes off of Lance.

“Stupefy!” Shay exclaims, pointing her wand at the Galra Phantom, in attempt to retaliate for him attacking Lance. Another one comes up from behind and blasts her into a desk, also knocking her unconscious.

Hunk’s eyes widen in terror. “Shay!” his voice breaks as he shouts after her.

“We need to MOVE!” Keith orders, yanking Lance along into the Death Chamber room where the archway is.

A large, stone archway stands tall in the center of the room covered by a Black Veil. it flutters slightly, almost like it has been touched recently. Supposedly, it only moves because of the lost souls that are constantly moving on the other side.

Keith and Lance both become entranced by it, hearing the voices of ancestors of theirs. “Guys! Snap out of it! We have to—AH!” Hunk yelps suddenly.

Keith and Lance snap out of their daze to see Haggar torturing Hunk with the Crucio Curse. She makes his arms and legs move in unnatural ways. Hunk grimaces in pain, but is unable to make it stop. She cackles maniacally. “This is very fun!” she exclaims.

Lance’s eyes widen in fear. “NO! STOP!” he screams at her.

She glares at Lance while making his limbs move and contort against his will. Lance opens his mouth to say a spell, but Keith beats him to it. “Petrificus Totalus!” Keith yells at his aunt, freeing Hunk from the spell.

Suddenly the doors at the front of the chamber explode off their hinges, and Krolia, Lotor, Zethrid, Ezor, Luis, and Kolivan enter. They begin attacking the other Galra Phantoms, allowing Lance and Keith to run to Hunk’s aid. Before they can reach him, a Galra Phantom grabs Keith and chokes him. “GIVE ME THE PROPHECY!” he yells.

Lance panics and punches the Galra Phantom in the face, allowing Keith to elbow him. As he falls, he strikes Keith’s hand by accident, causing the prophecy to fly from his hand. Lance and Keith watch as Sendak raises his wand at it, but Krolia leaps onto him, tackling him to the ground. Both of them fall the rest of the way to the lowest level of the room, landing hard.

The prophecy bounces off a step, flips down to the next level before shattering into a million pieces against the stone. A ghostly version of Slav appears over the shattered orb. He speaks something, but it cannot be heard over the fight. He dissolves away shortly after.

Lance and Keith seem frozen, staring at the broken pieces of the orb. Krolia gets to her feet and sprints to them. “Get out of here!” she yells, pointing at one of the doors. “That’ll get you back to the Department of Mysteries.”

She makes her way to go back to the fight, but Keith grabs her hand. “Come with us!”

Krolia smiles fondly at the both of them, releasing Keith’s hand to stroke both of their cheeks. “You two are the important ones—I have to help the Wands. I love you both.” She kisses them on the forehead before hurrying to assist the Wands. Haggar leaps down in front of Krolia causing Krolia to grin widely. “Hello, Honerva! I can’t say it’s a pleasure!”

She fires a spell at Haggar, but she dodges, leaping down to the top of the stairs where the Veil sits. Krolia leaps down after her and their wands clash, blinding lights exploding from the tips. Keith turns to Lance with a desperate expression on his face. “I can’t leave her, Lance. I have to help,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you—” Lance starts when Keith pulls him close and kisses the corner of his mouth.

Keith pulls away and doesn’t look at Lance as he runs to help his mother. Lance stands there, dumbfounded, but doesn’t have time to think about it because Sendak lands in front of him.

“We may have lost the prophecy, but I can still deliver you to the Dark Lord!” Sendak exclaims, waving his wand. “Stupefy!”

Lance raises his own. “Protego!”

Sendak’s spell bounces away from Lance. He reaches to grab Lance, but a blast of red comes from Lance’s right. He turns to see Luis hurrying down. “Hands off my son!” Luis yells.

Two more Galra Phantoms go where Luis and Lance are, surrounding them. Luis and Lance faceoff against Sendak and the other two Galra Phantoms, each taking turns striking. “Expelliarmus!” Lance exclaims, disarming the second Galra Phantom so Luis can blast her away.

“Nice one, Lance!” Luis exclaims, smiling fondly at his son before turning back to Sendak. “I’ve waited too long for this moment!” He points his wand at him, sending three shots in a row before shouting, “STUPEFY!” A bright red blast comes from her wand, sending Sendak flying off the platform surrounding the arch.

AVADA KEDAVRA !” a voice screams from across the room.

Lance turns and watches in horror as a bright green light leaves Haggar’s wand, heading straight for Krolia.

“MOM NO!” Keith screams.

Lance watches Keith take a step forward to protect her, but Lotor grabs him so he can’t put himself in harm’s way. From out of nowhere, Luis jumps in front of the blow, taking in the green magic. “LUIS!” Krolia shrieks. “Why would you do that?!”

Luis simply gives her a smile. “Take care of my son…”

Keith covers his mouth in shock and stumbles backward in Lotor’s arms. He helplessly watches his mother reach in front of her while Luis’s eyes gloss over as he falls into the arch. Krolia sobs as Luis disappears into nothingness.

“NO!” Lance screams. He runs towards the arch, but Krolia snatches him, wrapping her arms around him tightly. As Lance breaks down in her arms, wailing loudly. “DAD!” Lance collapses in Krolia’s arms, crying out loudly. Broken sobs echo throughout the room. Krolia kisses Lance’s head and rubs his arms, letting him know she’s there for him.

Haggar’s cackling laughter cuts through Lance’s loud cries before she walks out of the room. Something snaps in Lance the moment he hears her laugh. He doesn’t give a shit if she’s Keith’s aunt. She murdered his father. She’s going to pay for his life. Lance tears away from Krolia and sprints out after Haggar.

When he leaves the room, he hears her singing, “I killed Luis McClain! I killed Luis McClain!”

“I’LL KILL YOU!” Lance yells, pointing his wand at Haggar. “Stupefy!”

Haggar turns and deflects it, firing back at him. Lance dives behind a pillar. She begins walking around. “Come out, come out, McClain,” she taunts. “Well, have you come to avenge your dear father or hide like a coward?”

Lance leaps out from behind the pillar. “CRUCIO!” A blast of red comes from his wand and hits her square in the chest. She shrieks in pain and collapses to the ground. As tears stream down Lance’s cheeks, the red beam glows brighter. He thinks about his mother, his father, Seth Kogane—everyone Haggar has probably harmed in her life. He despises her. He wants her to suffer, but he knows this is wrong. The red beam dims and disappears once Haggar rolls away from him, jumping to her feet immediately.

“Crucio!” she yells.

Lance jumps behind the statue of a centaur, and Haggar’s spell blasts the centaur’s head off. It clangs away into the darkness.

“Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, McClain?” Haggar wonders with a smirk. “You have to mean it, you have to want to cause the pain in your very soul!” She tries to outflank him, but Lance moves behind another statue. “Give me the prophecy!”

“It was smashed!” Lance yells in response.

Haggar fumes. “You lie!”

“How’s Zarkon gonna like that?” Lance asks, taunting her. “You’ve failed him, and he’s not very forgiving, is he?”

Haggar lets out a shriek of horror. “Forgive me, Master! I tried, I—”

Lance laugh again. “He can’t hear you!”

“Can’t I, McClain?” Zarkon wonders.

Lance peers out from behind the statue, eyes widening when he sees Zarkon in the middle of the hall, wand pointed at Lance. “H-how—” Lance stammers.

“So, you smashed my prophecy,” Zarkon continues. “I grow tired of you and Kogane continually thwarting my plans, Lance McClain!” He snaps his wand down. “AVADA KEDAVRA!”

Green light explodes from his wand. Lance flinches, preparing for immediate death, but the statue of the golden wizard leaps down from the fountain and takes the blast full in the chest. It explodes in a thousand shards of molten metal. Zarkon whirls and sees Shiro standing at the doorway, looking ferocious.

“You shouldn’t have come here tonight, Niko,” Shiro says.

“It’s you who made that mistake, Shirogane!” Zarkon yells. “Avada Kedavra!”

Shiro vanishes with a swirl of his cloak and reappears between Zarkon and Haggar. She tries to run, but Shiro knocks her to the ground with a stunning spell, vanishing again as another killing curse strikes the wall and explodes, shaking the hall. He reappears close to Zarkon, and Shiro raises his wand and strikes.

A blinding light comes out of it, the power staggering. Lance shields his eyes as Zarkon conjures a glowing shield around himself. Shiro’s spell collides with it, filling the room completely with blinding light. The whole room shakes. Lance staggers to the ground and rocks fall from the walls. The light fades and Zarkon is unharmed.

“No killing?” Zarkon wonders.

“There are other ways to destroy a man, Niko,” Shiro counters.

“There is nothing worse than death!”

“You are quite wrong, Niko, as you always have been. Alfor told you this, and now I am too.”

Zarkon fires another killing curse at Shiro, but Black the Phoenix swoops down from above and swallows the jet of green light, exploding into flames and falling to the earth. Shiro spins, sending a constant flow of light from his wand, the power shaking the hall. Zarkon raises his wand and the light separates from around him. He glares at Shiro with blood red eyes, slowly being forced backward by the power of the light.

Fear flickers in Zarkon’s eyes, then he lets out a roar of frustration, a ring of green flame surrounding him, and he vanishes in a tongue of red-orange fire. Shiro’s stream of light blasts into the wall, punching a huge hole into the wall. Lance is lifted into the air and tossed into the wall from the explosion.

Lance screams as half the ceiling falls in, about to crush him, but someone yanks him out. He turns and sees Keith there, eyes wide with fear. Lance immediately pulls him into a tight hug. “Oh my god…” he whispers.

“I got you,” Keith replies.

The boys turn around when they see Zarkon reappear where the statues were. “Look out!” Keith screams. He raises his wand, shouting a spell. The water in the pool below the statues instantly flows upward to surround Zarkon in a globe of water. Zarkon vanishes from within the globe of water, and it crashes back down to the pool, spilling onto the floor.

“Shiro!” Keith yells.

“Stay where you are!” Shiro orders.

Lance screams as his head pounds, blood suddenly coming from a cut in his forehead. He collapses onto the ground, head in hands, continuing to scream in pain.

“Lance?!” Keith wonders, kneeling down.

Lance looks up and begins speaking, but it’s not his voice. “ Kill me now, Shirogane. Kill these boys if death means nothing. Do it!

Green flames explode from all the fireplaces around them, and people appear as they apparate. Mitch Iverson arrives too. Zarkon shrieks in pain, and he appears across the room. He snatches up the unconscious body of Haggar and disapparates in a blast of green fire. Lance slumps on the ground, breathing heavily when he feels Zarkon leave his body. Blood continues to flow from the wound in his head.

“Lance!” Keith exclaims, kneeling next to him. He strokes Lance’s cheek while Lance looks up at him.

“Minister, I saw him!” Isa exclaims from across the room. “You-Know-Who! He was right there!”

Iverson stands in the middle of the room, a dazed look on his face. “I know…I saw him too…”

Shiro steps forward, and half the room gasps. People notice him for the first time. “If you and your men will head to the Death Room, you will find several Galra Phantoms which I and some others have apprehended.”

“Seize him!” Iverson yells.

Shiro stands to his full height, eyes blazing with anger. “Minister, you have just seen You-Know-Who in the flesh only seconds ago! It is time to come to your senses! If you insist on trying to arrest me, I will demonstrate how pointless that will be.”

No one looks interested in arresting Shiro. “Shiro, what the blazes happened here?” Iverson wonders.

Shiro smiles and walks over to Keith and Lance, helping Keith lift Lance to his feet. “I will tell you everything when I get Lance and Keith back to Hogwarts,” Shiro replies. “Also, you will order the removal of Hira Dunlap from my school. She will probably need medical attention, having had an encounter with some centaurs. All Educational Decrees will be nullified and you will call off the search for Coran so he can return to work.”

Iverson sputters incomprehensibly.

“I will return here later tonight with answers,” Shiro continues. He taps the golden centaur head. “Portus.”

Keith and Lance walk over to Shiro. As they reach for it, Iverson steps forward. “No! Takashi Shirogane! I demand answers now!”

Shiro turns to Iverson. “The Second War has begun, Mitch.”

And with that, Lance, Keith, and Shiro vanish from the Ministry of Magic.

Chapter Text

Lance, Keith, and Shiro land back in Shiro’s office. The portraits cheer and welcome Shiro back. The two boys watch as Shiro takes a small baby Phoenix from his pocket, placing it on Black’s stand. Everything has been repaired since Lance was last in here.

Fury and sadness boil inside Lance as he clenches and unclenches his fists. The image of Luis dying replaying in his mind. “Boys, please sit,” Shiro instructs.

Lance looks at him with a glare then snatches his hand away when he feels Keith grab it. “Don’t!” he yells.

“Lance—” Keith starts.

“No! You don’t get to say anything!” Lance turns away from him. “My dad is dead !”

“Lance, I understand how you’re feeling right now,” Shiro says.

“How could you?!” Lance demands. “You don’t! He’s dead!” Tears brim Lance’s eyes.

“You’re forgetting I was friends with him when I was at Hogwarts,” Shiro says. “You aren’t the only one who has feelings, Lance.”

Lance scoffs, crossing his arms. “You didn’t watch him die. I had to watch both my parents die. I just…” He collapses in a chair, putting his face in his hands. “I want them back.” Lance tenses when he feels a hand on his shoulder. He looks up and sees Keith standing there with an apologetic expression.

“I’m sorry, Lance,” he whispers. “I didn’t know he’d take the blow for Krolia.”

Lance shakes his head. “He’d never let her die. I just—it’s not fair!”

“It’s not, you’re right,” Shiro interjects. “And I think it’s my fault that he’s dead. I never told either of you the whole truth.” He gestures for Keith to take a seat.

Keith pulls up a chair next to Lance and looks up at Shiro with interest.

“On the night you two saw the attack on Lotor, Zarkon figured out that your connection allowed you to infiltrate Zarkon’s thoughts and actions,” Shiro explains. “He assumed these connections worked both ways, so he began forcing his way into your thoughts. That’s why I had Thace give you two Occlumency lessons. Zarkon knew the only person Keith would go to great lengths to save would be Krolia, so he projected the image of Krolia’s torture into both of your minds. Lance, he knew you’d do anything to help Keith. He needed you two to retrieve the prophecy because he couldn’t risk entering the Ministry.”

“Why couldn’t one of his goons get it?” Keith asks.

“Only those who a prophecy is about can touch it,” Shiro answers. “Now, in order for you two to remain safe for so long, Lance needed to be near his mother’s blood while Keith simply needed to be in a place far away from the wizarding world. Lance, that came in the form of your siblings while Keith’s came in the form of the orphanage—until obviously, Krolia came back into your life.”

“What was the prophecy? It broke before we could see it,” Keith says.

Shiro sighs. “Alfor told me that sixteen years ago Slav Red made a prophecy about a boy who was born on the 26th day of a summer month to parents who have defied Zarkon three times. Now, this part could be applied to both of you, but it continued to say that Zarkon would mark the child as his equal, choosing the boy he believed he would be the most dangerous to him. I believe Zarkon chose Keith first because Keith’s a half-blood like Zarkon.”

“Why did he come after me then?” Lance asks quietly.

“Because your parents and Keith’s parents were connected. They had a strong friendship bond,” Shiro answers. “Lance, that made you dangerous too. That’s why Zarkon went after you six years later. Now, the second part of the prophecy proclaimed that this child would have powers the Dark Lord would not know and that either must die at the hands of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The distinguishing power you two have is love.”

Keith and Lance look at each other then at Shiro. “So, based on what you’re saying, the both of us has to kill Zarkon in the end or vice versa?”

Shiro nods. “I’m afraid so.”

 


 

 

Lance and Keith sit in the Hospital Wing with their friends as Colleen Holt tends to them. Hira is also in there since Shiro saved her from the centaurs, but thankfully, she is unconscious. Pidge and Hunk keep asking about the prophecy and what Shiro talked to them about, but neither of them has said anything. They don’t know how to tell their friends that in order to stop Zarkon, one or both of them has to die.

Lance suddenly stands up in the middle of Hunk’s story about him and Shay defeating a Galra Phantom together. “Sorry, Hunk, I just—I’m gonna go see Coran, alright? I’ll see you guys later,” Lance says as he walks out of the Hospital Wing. He makes his way out of the castle, and instead of heading to the greenhouse where Coran probably is, he heads to the lake.

He sits down on the shoreline and stares at the water. Thoughts flood his mind about how he’s going to face his siblings. Will they blame him for this? Lance was there when both parents died and didn’t do anything to stop it. Will they hate him? He’s already on thin ice with Marco. Maybe this will push them off the edge. He should run away before they have time to outcast him. After all, he is the runt of the family.

Lance feels a sharp pain in his chest and tears trickle down his cheeks. He lets out a sob and buries his face in his hands, crying loudly. His body tremors with each sob. Lance wraps his arms around himself tighter, rocking back and forth as his vision blurs from the tears.

“Lance?” a voice asks from behind him.

He turns and sees Keith standing there with a worried expression. “Keith,” Lance whispers before running to hug him. Lance wraps his arms around Keith’s waist, sobbing into his chest. His hands grip Keith’s shirt tightly as he soaks it with tears. Keith holds Lance in silence, rocking him slowly. A small lapse lets Lance pull away, blinking lashes heavy with tears. Lance looks up at Keith with a heartbroken expression. “He’s  gone…”

Keith strokes Lance’s cheek, wiping some tears away. “I know…I know.”

“A-and he’s n-never coming back,” Lance’s voice breaks. He shakes his head then collapses against Keith again, howls of misery worsening. The pain comes in waves like the ocean. They crash onto the shore with force before receding again, allowing a brief moment to take a breath before it all happens again.

Keith rubs Lance’s back, resting his head against Lance’s. “You’re gonna be okay, Lance. I know you are. You’re so strong and—and that’s why I-I…admire you so much.”

Lance sniffles and pulls away. “Admire? Is-is that what y-you call it when you almost k-kiss someone?” He tries to smirk, but it’s too difficult right now.

Keith’s cheeks flush up in embarrassment. “I just—that was a—I thought I was gonna die, okay? I just—I had to do something to show you because nothing else was working!”

Lance wipes the rest of his tears off of his face. “What are you talking about?” he asks.

“You know what I’m talking about,” Keith replies. “This thing between us that I’ve felt for the past two years. I know you feel it too so don’t try to pretend you don’t.”

Lance looks at the ground. “Keith…I don’t—”

Keith lifts Lance’s face with his hands and covers his mouth. “Don’t answer now. I don’t expect anything after what just happened. Just…just think about it, okay? I don’t mind waiting.” He offers a small smile.

“I don’t deserve you, Kogane,” Lance says biting his lip. “You’re too good to me.”

Keith laughs. “You’re wrong. You only deserve the best, McClain.”

“Wow, vain much?”

“Am I wrong?”

Lance decides not to answer that. Instead, he simply takes Keith’s hand and they sit together on the edge of the lake, leaning against each other. Lance looks down at their intertwined fingers then up at Keith’s face. He doesn’t know why, but something about this just feels right . He doesn’t know how right now.

Maybe within the next year, he’ll figure it out.

 


 

 

Within the next few days at Hogwarts, Allura returns after making a full recovery. She eagerly shares how concerned Lotor was for her well-being, and how Krolia teased him ruthlessly about it. Allura hasn’t looked that happy in a long time. Hira also leaves the school for good, earning celebrations from everyone—even Thace seems to be in a chipper mood with her presence vacant from the school.

Well, The Warden is the only one really upset about it, but his opinions don’t really matter right now.

As the Gryffindor boys in Lance’s dorm pack up before heading to the Great Feast, Lance can’t find the motivation to pack up. Paul offers to wait, but Lance tells him he’ll be a while. When he’s alone in the room, he breaks down on the floor, mourning Luis’s death.

Lance tries to keep the tears back, not having the energy to cry like this again—especially since Keith isn’t here to comfort him again. He picks up a picture from in his luggage to look at it. Lance’s lip begins to tremble as he looks at the smiling faces of his family with their father. Carlos and Marco have stopped fighting each other to smile at the camera while Lucy and Hannah obviously look like they were arguing to see who would stand in the front. Isa stands next to Luis holding a small Lance in her arms.

Slowly, Lance’s walls come tumbling down and the tears begin to flow out. He tosses the photo aside and collapses onto his back on the ground. Sobs punch through him, ripping his muscles, bones, and guts. He turns and covers his face with his hands, willing his heart to burst out of his chest. His life crumbles in his fingertips.

The tears slow down and Lance picks himself up. He packs up his things and begins wandering the halls of Hogwarts. Lance runs into Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost.

“Oh, hello, Lance,” Nick greets. “Why aren’t you at the feast?”

Lance shrugs. “Not hungry.” He pauses. “Could I ask you something?”

Nick sighs. “I’ve been expecting this.”

Lance tilts his head in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“A lot of people come to me when they’ve lost loved ones,” Nick explains. He sighs again. “He’s not coming back, Lance. Few wizards choose the path I chose.”

“Why?” Lance wonders.

“I am neither here nor there—trapped between two worlds. Something like that doesn’t appeal to most. I don’t know the secrets of death, Lance,” Nick says. “Frankly, I was scared of it. I wanted to survive as an imitation of life than face the unknown. Sometimes I wonder if that was a wise decision.” He gives Lance a sympathetic smile. “I wish I could’ve been more help, Lance. I’m sorry.”

Lance shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it, Nick. I think he wanted to be reunited with my mother and Seth Kogane again. I mean…I guess that’s what I would want.”

Nick gives Lance a smile. “That’s a nice sentiment. Now, I must get going. I will see you next term.” He gives Lance a bow before disappearing through a wall.

Lance stands there for a moment before spotting Romelle walking around holding a stack of papers. He approaches her. “Hi, Romelle.”

She turns and smiles at him. “Hello, Lance. It’s the last night and I need to pack.”

“That’s true…why are you putting up signs then?” Lance asks.

“Oh, people take my things and hide them,” she shares casually. “I don’t think they like me much.”

“I’m sorry,” Lance says. “Do you want any help looking?”

“No, thank you. It all turns up in the end.” Romelle puts up a paper. “Luis was your father, correct? He died for Keith’s mother. I wonder why.”

“I think a part of him knew that it wouldn’t be fair for her to be taken from her son again when she only just got him back,” Lance says. “Luis got to be with me all my life, but Krolia only was part of Keith’s for the past two years. I want to be mad, but I can’t be.”

Romelle nods. “That’s a nice way of thinking of it.”

“Have you ever—”

“My mother,” Romelle interrupts. “I was nine.”

Lance nods. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Romelle says. “It’s not like I’ll never see her again.”

“What are you talking about?” Lance asks.

“Didn’t you hear the voices beyond the Veil? They were just out of sight, that’s all,” she continues. “Of course, things always work out in the end.” She smiles at him then looks up. Lance looks up too and sees a pair of her shoes hanging from one of the beams above. Romelle places a hand on his shoulder affectionately before walking away.

For the first time in a while, Lance smiles too.

 


 

 

The following morning, all the Hogwarts students get on the Hogwarts Express to head back home. Lance sits in a compartment with Pidge, Romelle, and Keith. Nyma passes their compartment and waves to Lance, but he doesn’t acknowledge her.

“Well, that was awkward,” Pidge comments. “What happened?”

Lance shrugs. “Nothing’s going on anymore.” He looks across at Keith and smiles slightly. Red jumps from Keith’s lap into Lance’s, curling up into a ball.

“It must’ve been bad because she’s dating Joshua Carlson now,” Pidge shares.

“Whatever.” Lance pets Red. “I’m happy she’s happy.”

“What about you?” Pidge asks. “Are you gonna be okay?”

Lance looks at Keith when Pidge asks that. “I will be.”

Pidge glances between them suspiciously but doesn’t comment on it.

When the train pulls into King’s Cross, Lance spots several members of the Blades, Lotor, Ezor, and Zethrid, waiting for them along with Isa and Krolia who no longer has to be disguised as her animagus. They get off the train and Keith immediately runs up to Krolia and hugs her, Red trotting behind him.

Normally, Lance would be jealous of Keith right now for having a parent, but he knows better than to do that. Keith went most of his life without one, and it was Luis’s choice to save Krolia. He doesn’t want to take that away from him.

“Now, Lance,” Zethrid begins, interrupting Lance’s thoughts. “If I don’t hear from you in three days, I will send someone to check on you.”

Lance nods. “Okay, thank you.”

Krolia and Keith walk up to Lance next. “We will be visiting,” Krolia says. “I feel responsible for all of this.” She ruffles Lance’s hair. “Take care of yourself, okay? I promised your parents I would make sure no harm comes to you.”

Lance suddenly hugs her tightly. “I love you.”

Krolia smiles and kisses his forehead. “I love you too.”

Isa and Marco walk up to them. “It’s time to go,” Isa says gently. “Thank you, Krolia.”

Krolia nods and releases Lance. “See you soon.”

Keith gives Lance a quick hug, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Lance kisses Keith’s cheek softly before walking away with Marco and Isa.

He smiles to himself, glancing back once more at the train before getting into the car, excited for what the year to come will bring.