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A Strange Set of Circumstances: The Half-Blood Prince

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Carthage.

15th June 763 BC

02:56 PM

The volunteer's body had been prepared for the ceremony, Izil need only complete the gruesome act now; she had no desire to participate in such an unthinkable evil but she served at the pleasure of her people and they had begged her to be theirs forever- a request she had no power to deny. The ceremonial markings contrasted starkly with her coffee coloured skin, their white limestone paste shining in the fading sunlight where they had been painted on her face and naked form.

As darkness covered the land off in the far horizon, Izil moved closer to Mother Ubab; she was the eldest person in the village, having seen a hundred and thirty-seven summers, and had volunteered to be part of the ceremony so her grand children's children might see the majesty of Izil. Mother Ubab had had all her hair shaved off and her body had been painted completely in red clay, the clay caking in the crevices created by the wrinkles left by time and life. Humbled by the offerings of a woman not much older than she, Izil kissed Mother Ubab on the lips and shut her eyes.

"You will be at peace," she whispered.

"I will sleep with peace," the woman responded, the ceremony had begun.

Izil burned sage and defused the essence about the abandoned courtyard, she chanted in a tongue forgotten by most as she worked, "I offer to thee this sacrifice, I offer to thee this life, I offer to thee this soul."

She picked up a vial of poison and walked over to Mother Ubab, she got on her knees beside the stone slab where the woman's body was laid out. She slowly fed the brew to Mother Ubab, forcing it into her mouth even when her body fought against her desire to be useful; this part was the reason why this ritual had been outlawed by their people for so long, why she had to complete the ritual in seclusion. Izil wept for the life she had taken, outstretching her hands to the heavens and screamed in the lost tongue, "Oh great spirits of the beyond, I give to you this soul, I give to you my beauty, I give to you a piece of myself. Do with all as you wish, bestow unto me the powers vested in the moon."

The moon had stretched across the sky and was now fully covering the sun, the darkness was complete as she repeated the words; begging the spirits to hear he cries. She ululated once, twice, thrice, "Oh, Great Diviner of life and death, hear me your humble servant."

There was a bright flash and a clap of thunder, before her stood a man with skin kissed by the sun and dark as the night sky; Izil bowed low, remaining on her knees and touching the floor with her forehead.

"Rise," the earth seemed to tremble as the man spoke, "let me see the beauty I am being offered." Slowly, modestly and cautiously Izil rose to her feet and the man grinned, "The berry of still waters." The man spoke in a tongue she had never heard but somehow she understood him, "This beauty I can work with."

"I hope my gift pleases," Izil spoke in her own tongue now.

"I will not take your beauty," the man turned away from her, moving around the slab where Mother Ubab's corpse lay. He held up a silencing finger, "I will use it to my ends." He nodded to himself, "I will take your womb."

"My womb?" Izil shook her head, "it has been at least sixty summers since I last bled."

"I will quicken it and you will bare me many daughters," the man nodded to himself, "each more beautiful and extraordinary than the last."

"I am but your servant."

"I must warn you," he paused for a moment, "there will someday be another who will envy your power and seek to surpass you, in doing so they will grow your power and cause you to bring great pain upon their children." The man extended his hand, "I will give to you now the means to defeat this being, but doing so will end all magic in this world."

"I don't understand-"

"If you speak this word it will end your enemy," he explained, "but evil will carry innocence with it into oblivion."

"If it is spoken by anoth-"

"Don't give too much away," the man wagged his finger, "my brothers would not like that very much."

"Yes, Great Diviner."

He pushed his thumb onto her forhead, "I anoint you Ta'lab, Kusuh, Salardi, Ala, Thoth, Kalfu, Ilargi, Artemis, Hors, Wu Gang, Ratih, Ay Ata, Bahloo, Hini, Ngalindi, Metztli, Ixbalanque, Awilix, Chía, Ka-Ata-Killi, Coniraya, Menily, Alignak, Pah and a thousand thousand more names."

A great surge of power coursed through her body as youth returned to her, her thighs moistening as her womb quickened. She got to her feet with power no man could take from her, she had evolved beyond this plane of existence but was anchored to it.

"Rise my child!" his voice shook the mountains at this point, "You are the moon that reaches across the sky to cover the sun, you will carry mountains in your hands and the breakers of norms in your womb! Rise my child, Mother of Langa, giver and taker of power, Master of the Deplorable Word."

~0~

Kurt grinned broadly as he exited the arrivals terminal at Heathrow International Airport, he was greeted by a cautious grin, "I take it Peru was a fruitful endeavour."

"Oh no," Kurt shook his head and shrugged, "it was basically a disaster, I'm not sure I learned anything."

"Then why the large grin?"

Kurt's smile turned bashful, "I'm just happy to see you."

"I missed you too," Finn grinned and hugged him tightly, "Look I love Ernie but he has nothing on you." His brother slung his arm over Kurt's shoulder, "He puts a limit on cuddle time."

"Why didn't I think of that?" Kurt face palmed, "I must be getting soft."

"Not around the middle," his brother hugged him again, "your abs won't quit."

"They're contractually obligated to serve out their full term," Kurt pursed his lips as they exited the terminal building, he looked around the pickup zone but couldn't see a car that was obviously for them, "how are we getting home?"

Finn grinned and produced a set of his father's car keys, "Guess who is licensed to drive in the United Kingdom."

"Being licensed by the Queen doesn't mean that you are able to drive me around," Kurt shook his head, "I don't want to die just yet."

"Calm your tits," Finn ushered him to his father's car, "I know what I'm doing, let's remember that I was almost a doctor."

"Considering medical school when you're ten doesn't make you almost a doctor," Kurt countered, "it barely makes you almost a med student."

"Don't worry," Finn leaned over and fastened Kurt's seatbelt for him, checked his mirrors and started the car. Mariah Carey's Fantasy blared from ever speaker, causing Kurt's heart to skip a beat when the beat dropped. Finn navigated the route from the airport to their home fairly well, when they came to the first red traffic light he leaned over to Kurt and whispered, "Why so serious?"

"Too soon," Kurt chuckled, relaxing in his seat.

"No such," Finn shook his head.

"Are you fucking serious?"

"No," Finn guffawed, "but I will be fucking Padma Patil by the end of the year."

"Good for you, good for her," Kurt shrugged, grabbing onto his seatbelt as Finn weaved his way between cars, moving from lane to lane, "if you live long enough to seal deal."

"Ninety-six can fuck it," Finn pursed his lips, "no way I'll kick the bucket."

"It rhymes, so it must be true." Kurt's whole body smiled as they turned back onto Grimmauld Place, the street where he'd grown up. The sight of his home made him giddy, he jumped out of the car and up the front stairs as soon as Finn put the car in park, bursting into the foyer he extended his arms to take in the magnificence of his home, "My love, I'm home."

"What's up?"

Kurt let out a yelp of shock, turning to see a bare chested Hipster Weasley brushing his teeth, "What are you doing here? Why aren't you at work? Why aren't you dressed?"

"You want those answered in that order or do you want to hug it out first?"

"If you touch me, I will cut your eyes out," Kurt crossed his arms.

"Cool," the young man nodded to himself, "I just took a shower and I couldn't remember which bathroom I left my toothbrush in, so I got a new one." He shrugged, "dragons don't need constant care, even when they are being held prisoner in an underground cave, so I only work three days a week. What was the last question?"

"What are you doing here?"

"I live here," Charlie furrowed his brow, "right?"

"Sure," Kurt shrugged, "I just thought you'd want to go live with your mother, seeing as she knows you're in the country and all."

"Moving out and then back in at the end of summer seemed like too much work," Kurt watched as he rolled his shoulders and stretched his deltoids, "How was Peru?"

"Peruvian," Kurt narrowed his gaze to a sharp glare, "did you say that you work three days a week?"

"Every other day, yeah," Hipster Weasley nodded.

Kurt smirked, "I'm cutting your pay in half."

"Cool story bro."

"I'm not joking," Kurt's smirk turned malevolent, "or I'll start paying you by the hour."

"What am I supposed to do when the dragon doesn't need me?" he gaped at Kurt, "teach her to play cards?"

"As I recall, you are supposed to be studying dragons and this is a work-study," Kurt shrugged sarcastically, "maybe try that instead of walking around my house naked."

"I'm wearing boxers, not naked!" Charlie called out after Kurt as he turned on his heels and made his way downstairs. Kurt found Finn reclined on the couch and joined him in front of an indistinguishable action movie.

"Are you physically incapable of being civil with non-Hermione people?" Finn asked him without turning away from the TV.

Kurt rolled his eyes, "non-Hermione people are terrible, just look at yourself."

"I'm fucking amazing," Finn grinned.

"But we're practically perfect in every way," Kurt flashed the boy a sly grin, "the only other person who can claim the same is fictional."

"You want to compare yourself to Mary Poppins?"

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag," Kurt sang in a high lilted voice, "tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag."

Finn pursed his lips malevolently, "Feed the birds and what do you have?"

"Fat birds," they chorused with a chuckle.

"This is why you're one of my top three favourite siblings," Kurt gave his brother a friendly pat on the shoulder.

"Wow," Finn scoffed, "Top three? I'm second, aren't I?"

"Harley Drew sets things on fire," Kurt shrugged, "and she listened when I instructed her to go into exile."

"Then who would watch your back?" Finn scooted closer on the couch and threw his arm over Kurt's shoulder.

"Someone disposable," Kurt shook out of his brother's grasp, "I'd find someone."

"…don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to…" Charlie half hummed, half sung the song with earbuds connected to Kurt's discarded Walkman in his ears.

"Like Hipster Wealsey?" Finn suggested.

"No," Kurt spoke in a deadpan tone, "if Hipster Weasley died I would be devastated."

"Before I go back to pretending I didn't hear that, I just wanted to let you know that mum is expecting us for dinner," he replaced the earbuds and continued mumbling the TLC song. Kurt gaped at him till he twirled on his way to the refrigerator, he removed the earbuds once more, "what?"

"Why is your mother expecting me when I haven't told anyone I'm back in the country?"

"Was it some kind of secret?"

Kurt rolled his eyes, "Tonight I was going to soak in the tub and get red wine drunk."

"I can cancel," Charlie shrugged.

"No Hipster Weasley," Kurt scolded, "you can't cancel dinner on someone this late in the day, especially not if they're cooking."

"So we're on?"

"Yes," Kurt rolled his eyes, "are they at number twelve or The Burrow?"

"The Burrow."

Kurt got up and stormed to the refrigerator, opening it and grinning, "I'll just have to get white wine drunk."

"You're going to my parent's house drunk?"

"It's not like I need to make an impression," Kurt shrugged, "I'm going to wash the third world off my body, later bitches."

"You are something…"

"Something special," Kurt agreed.

~0~

Kurt, Finn and Hipster Weasley arrived at the burrow to find their peers seated around the kitchen table; he was surprised to find Hermione there, waiting for him. She got to her feet and hugged him tightly, "I missed you."

"I missed you too," he rocked her from side to side as he spoke, "you should have come with me."

"There'll be plenty of time for that later," she smiled politely as she let him go, "you smell like wine."

"There's more in my purse," Kurt winked at her. He turned to the room of waiting people, "Ronald, Harry."

"Kurt," the pair grinned broadly, extending their arms to him.

"How have you two been?"

"Good," Ron shrugged.

"Broody," Harry countered.

Kurt let out a little chuckle, "you didn't get up to any mischief while I was gone?"

"Harry took up riding trains," Ron tattled.

Harry glared at him, "Ron learned to read."

"My brother's dating Fleur Delacour," Ron tried to cover up his mistake, "Bill."

"Sounds like quite the summer," Kurt shook his head, "you'll have to tell me more about it later." Kurt patted Ginny on the head as he moved toward Mrs Weasley, who was berating Charlie on everything from his clothes to his overgrown hair.

"Oh Kurt," she held an opened envelope in her hands, "congratulations."

"Thank you," Kurt nodded, a polite smile fixed on his face, "What'd I do?"

"Fourteen Outstanding OWLs," she handed him the envelope, "I couldn't help myself."

"You could help yourself," Kurt kept a polite smile on his face but was seething, "you just chose mail fraud." He looked over the embossed lavender stationary, the sheet had a shimmering gold boarder and there his results were in small uniform print, "Outstanding pass in every subject, perfect score for Charms, even did well in Divination."

"You're top of our year," Hermione beamed at him, "you have an average of ninety percent."

"Ninety point five-eight," Kurt corrected. He turned to Hermione, "You?"

"Fourteen Outstanding passes," she flipped her hair, "eighty-nine point nine-one." She brushed imaginary dirt off her shoulder, "I beat Tracey, she got eighty-nine point eight-nine."

Kurt chewed his lip, "Shit, that was close."

"She got a perfect score in Transfiguration and Potions," Hermione shook her head, "she's a machine."

"I almost got a perfect score in Dark Arts," an awkward silence fell over the room.

"Well…"

Kurt turned to Hipster Weasley with a threatening finger extended as a warning, "Don't you fucking dare."

"You were asking for it," he smirked.

"I was about to add that this is also true for History of Magic and Defence Against the Dark Arts," Kurt crossed his arms, "How you like them apples?"

"I'm allergic."

"Kurt is the last person I would share my weaknesses with," Ron chortled.

"Oh," Kurt quirked a curious brow, "and how many eligibles did you get?"

"Four," Ron's shoulders slumped, then his ears peaked up again, "one is for Potions, because Snape wanted an Outstanding Pass."

"You failed three subjects?"

"No," his mother huffed with her hands on her hips, "just Divination and History of Magic." Her gaze shot to Harry as she spoke, "he's eligible for concession in Charms where he received an Acceptable pass."

"You as well?" Kurt snapped at Harry with his arms crossed.

"I got an Exceeds Expectations in Charms," Harry held his hands up in surrender, "Divination… and Potions, well… Fred and George didn't let us finish our History of Magic OWL."

"This is their fault?" Mrs Weasley squeaked.

"No," Kurt shook his head, "most other students finished their exams, they were probably going to fail anyway."

"I assume you'll both be repeating History of Magic?"

"What on earth for?" Charlie scoffed, "useless subject."

"When we want your opinion, we will ask for it," Kurt snapped, he handed the young man his bag, "would you pour us some wine."

"Sure," he shrugged, "I nothing but to please your fantasy."

"Rawr," Hermione wagged a suggestive brow.

"That's from Othello," Kurt rolled his eyes.

"Yes," Hermione nodded, "that's why I reacted the way I did, Emilia says it of her husband."

"Don't do this now," Kurt shook his head, "not in front of the children."

"I'm fifteen," Ginny whined, getting up and storming out of the room; Mrs Weasley followed her, comforting her.

"I'm not touching that," Kurt shook his head.

They all watched the pair go, then Hermione turned to him, "Did I mention that Neville crossed the NOut?"

"That's my baby," Kurt clapped his hands, "I raised that."

"He even got an eligible in Potions," Hermione exclaimed, "Mandy told me everyone's grades when she called me this morning."

"How did Miranda do?"

"Eighty-Eight, Padma got Eighty-nine point one," she explained, "Lisa got eighty-seven."

"How were her O-Levels?" Kurt couldn't help the smile that had spread across his face, "is she going to be surgeon or not?"

"She got straight As," Hermione shook her head, "she has her choice of A-Level subjects."

"Who else was in the top ten?"

"Blaise Zabini, Terry Boot, Anthony Goldstein," she counted them off on her fingers, "Neville and Susan Bones tied tenth."

Kurt smirked, turning to Ron and Harry, "All this could have been yours, if only you'd listened to me for the last five years."

"That seems like a little too much work," Charlie interjected, handing them each a glass of white wine. Kurt shot him a glare, "right, silent."

"Now Harry has to go beg Snape to let him into Potions or he'll never be an auror," Kurt explained.

"What?"

"You need a NEWT in Potions to become an auror," Hermione explained.

"Were you not paying attention during your career consultation session?"

"Were you?"

"Yes," Kurt scoffed, "that's why I got straight As on my O-Level exams too." He pursed his lips, "gonna kill my Maths, Economics and History A-Levels and get into Oxford."

"Your life is so much better put together than mine," Harry's head hung in shame.

"I keep a very detailed day planner," Kurt smirked.

"I'm bored of this conversation," Finn groaned downing his wine and holding up his glass for Charlie to refill it.

"That's what happens when you don't participate," Hermione ran her fingers through his hair, reaching across the table to where he'd laid his head in the crook of his elbow.

"I got an Exceeds Expectations in everything except Potions and Care for Magical Creatures," He didn't sit up as he spoke, "not much to say, everyone got an Outstanding in Care for Magical Creatures."

"So what?" Charlie puffed his chest out, "It doesn't count?"

"That's exactly what it means," Kurt pursed his lips, downed his wine and held out his empty glass, "Can you imagine what would become of the world if Professor Snape gave every Tom, Dick and Harry an Outstanding in Potions?"

"Hey," Harry protested the use of his name, "I am an above average potioneer."

"See," Kurt pointed his finger at Harry, "Above average, not outstanding."

"It would make Professor Snape more popular," Charlie countered, "that, and some shampoo."

"Maybe then he'd finally get the Defence Against the Dark Arts post," Hermione giggled.

"Play nice," Kurt reprimanded him.

"When have you ever played nice?" Finn shouted, rising to a sitting position and pointed an accusatory finger at him.

"I'm the nicest brother you have," Kurt shrugged.

Ron nodded, "Besides, we don't know what went wrong in Professor Snape's life for him to end up where he is."

"Yes we do," Harry shook his head.

"Right," Ron nodded to himself, "he was a Death Eater."

"But that's none of our business," Hermione shut down that conversation.

There was a moment of silence and then several of them moved at the same time, in an attempt to resuscitate the conversation. Ultimately it was Harry who won out, peaking Kurt and Hermione's interested, "I met the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, he's batshit crazy."

"An eccentric," Hermione nodded to herself, "when did you meet him?"

"How did you know he was being hired for Defence Against the Dark Arts?" Kurt crossed his arms.

"Who is it?" Charlie added, receiving curious nods.

"I was with Dumbledore when he asked him to return to his position," Harry explained, "Professor Slughorn."

"Horace Slughorn is a potions master," Kurt corrected, to blank faces, "he was in the job before Professor Snape, was Head of Slytherin House before Professor Snape too." There was a chorus of nods but the question hung in the air, "he wrote a lot of the comments for the past Slytherins in the Hall of Records."

"Why were you-"

Ron placed a hand on his best friend's shoulder and shook his head, "Don't embarrass yourself this way."

"Does he always have to know everything?" Harry countered, throwing his arms in the air, "he even knew my prophecy before I did."

"I heard it the same time you did," Kurt shrugged defensively, "I was just aware of it before you were."

Charlie narrowed his gaze and smirked in Kurt's direction, "What else do you know?"

"That Professor Slughorn is probably back because he taught Tom Riddle," Kurt's smirk matched Charlie's, "Professor Dumbledore probably thinks he knows what Tom Riddle's diary was."

Hermione gaped at him, "do you know what it is?"

"I don't think it matters," Kurt shrugged, "Professor Dumbledore has chosen his path to solving the Voldemort problem, and I have mine."

"You?" Hipster Weasley scoffed.

"Don't talk down to my Kurt that way," Ron scolded his older brother.

"Thank you Ronald," Kurt beamed at his friend, "And as for you." Kurt turned to Hipster Weasley, "Yes, I have a potential solution to the Voldemort problem, because I haven't canonised the headmaster and believe there may be flaws in his plan."

"What kind of flaws?" Hermione narrowed her gaze and furrowed her brows.

"The fact that it hinges on a sixteen year old who isn't completely in the loop on the role he has to play, or fully briefed on how he's expected to perform in the aforementioned role," Kurt shook his head, "I don't know if that sounds like a solid plan to you, but I'd like to have a backup just in case that doesn't pan out."

"You know that isn't fair," Harry grumbled.

"No offense babes," Kurt flashed him a sympathetic smile.

"Not what you said about me," Harry shook his head, "I haven't been properly briefed. The part about Dumbledore," Kurt quirked a curious brow, "you can't open with the fact that we've canonised him, because then any defence we might mount on his behalf just reinforces that claim."

Kurt pursed his lips, trying not to laugh, "How long have you been keeping that under your hat?"

"A year," Harry chuckled, "since the first time you said that we'd canonised him. I had to look up what it meant, then Lisa helped me get the language just right."

"There might be hope for you yet," Kurt grinned, sipping his wine.

"That's cool and all," Hipster Weasley interjected, "but what is your plan?"

"Have you ever read The Magician's Nephew?" Finn crossed his arms, a proud grin on his face.

"No."

"Well, there is a spell mentioned in that book that Kurt is going to find and use on Voldy."

Charlie nodded to himself, "what does the spell do?"

"When Queen Jadis used it, it killed every living thing except for her," Finn spoke nonchalantly.

"It's called The Deplorable Word," Kurt grinned, the shadow of malevolence rearing its head into his facial expression.

"Kurt," Charlie shook his head, "I don't like this, I don't want to die." Then he furrowed his brows, "Isn't your grandmother named Jadis?"

"She is," Kurt nodded, "that's actually how I knew it was real."

"If she-"

"The Magician's Nephew is a fiction book," Hermione explained, "and apparently, the spell doesn't do exactly that." She rolled her eyes, "we suspect that it works similarly to the dementor's kiss."

"Are you guys fucking with me?" Harry shook his head, as did the rest of the group, "you can't be serious, what do… I don't know, my parents think of this?"

"Who knows?" Ron shrugged, "You're free to ask them, might get you sent to St Mungo's though."

"What would you tell them?" Harry quirked a curious brow, and it seemed as though Kurt himself was speaking, "that Kurt is planning on performing the dementor's kiss on Voldemort using a spell he read about in a muggle children's book?"

"That does sound crazy."

"I would never kiss the Dark Lord," Kurt shook his head, "He doesn't have a nose."

Finn put up his hand like they were in a classroom, "Why doesn't he have a nose?"

"And why does everyone recognise him without one?" Ron threw his hands up, glad to finally be discussing a matter that had been bothering him, "it's almost like he never had one."

"No," Harry shook his head, "he had one, looked like Kurt's."

"We saw it in the Chamber of Secrets," Kurt nodded along with Harry, "he actually looked quite a bit like me."

"Then what happened to it?" Ron screamed, grabbing tufts of his hair, "did he lose it from doing too much black magic?"

"No," Kurt shook his head, holding his own nose, "that can't be right. Bellatrix, Rudolphus and Rebastan all still have their noses." Kurt shook his head, "and I've never heard anything about Grindewald not having a nose."

"But he must have lost it before his fall on Halloween," Ron shook his head, "You said that Fudge said he was back, none of you told him that was Voldemort. That means he looks the same, so what happened to his nose?"

"Maybe," Hermione grinned, "You should get curious and go to the library."

Ron shook his head, "I'm not that curious, I barely do magic so my nose is safe."

Hipster Weasley shot a pointed look in Kurt's direction, "Kurt, you're obviously going to look into this, so you can… know and tell the rest of us."

"I'm sorry," Kurt scoffed, "but if memory serves, you work for me."

"I work for Gringotts Wizarding Bank," Charlie countered.

"And do you think they would still have you if I decided I liked my dragon tortured and in pain?"

"Good one devil," Charlie nodded, accepting defeat.

"Wow," Hermione shook her head, "just when we'd gotten past the thing with Ron."

"You're telling me," Harry slumped in his seat, "we're supposed to be on vacation."

"Were we like that?" Ron gaped.

"Worse," Finn groaned, "you were a year round extravaganza."

"Kurt," Hermione held him by the hand, "have you considered that maybe you're the problem?"

"No, never."

~0~

The Glen, Scotland.

24th June 989.

11:04 AM.

Rowena leaned on the barrier between the edge of the balcony and the three story drop to the ground, her ankles were swollen and her back was killing her but she would not miss today's eclipse for anything. She had always had a fondness of the celestial event; for as long as she could remember, she would climb up to this very terrace to watch as the moon stretched her hand over the sun- it reminded her of her mother, despite having no memories of the woman. A fear washed over her and she placed her hands on her rounding belly. Rowena had never truly had a mother, now here she was with child and no way of knowing how to be a mother; what kind of fate did that leave her child? What kind of upbringing would she be able to give a child, having never had a real one herself?

"Good morning Rowena," she was ripped from her thoughts by the voice, she turned to see a haggard and unkempt man standing between her and the door. She looked closer at the man, finding that there was something behind the overgrown, yellow nails and the uncombed hair. A sliver of familiarity behind the curtain of white facial hair, masked by the marriage of poor hygiene and pride- a combination that she hoped never to see again.

The man stepped closer, "Oh, don't say you don't recognise me." His words hissed as he spoke, but she had never known anyone with a lisp, "it is me, your Salazar."

Her eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open, "Salazar? What has become of you?"

"I've become enlightened," he let loose a manic giggle, "I have pulled back the veil and seen the truth."

"And so you stopped bathing?"

He shook his head, "I have left all my worldly attachments behind, they served only to cloud my vision."

"And as a result you leave a cloud of dust everywhere you go," Rowena grimaced, the smell was truly foul, "Why are you here? I don't think your wife would appreciate this meeting."

"I have long since let Oestara go her own way," he shook his head, "she was holding me back from my destiny."

"I hate to say it," Rowena turned away from the man, hoping for a breath of fresh air, "but I envy her. Would you be a dear and leave me behind as well?"

"I haven't come here for you," the man shook his head.

"This is my house," Rowena scolded, "Who else would you have come here for?"

Salazar extended a crooked finger in her direction, pointing to her distended belly, "I came for that."

"This has nothing to do with you," Rowena crossed her arms, "it is none of your business."

"But it is my business," the man hissed back at her, "For you carry a child that will carry my name."

"Unless there is another child in here that I don't know about, there is no child of mine that will carry your name," she let out a small chuckle, "look at yourself, no sane person would give the name of a mad man to their child."

"I'm not mad," he snapped, "I'm enlightened!"

"Potato, tomato."

"Those two things aren't the same," the man furrowed his brow.

"What have you become Salazar?" she shook her head in disbelief, "I see none of the man I knew in you."

"That man was weak! He's gone now."

"That man was a well-respected wizard," she countered, "his name has gone down in history and has been immortalised in the halls of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You are not that man, you are not this child's father."

"You cannot keep that child from me," he smiled, flashing her a mouth full of rotten teeth. Rowena wondered how a man so formidable had fallen so far, so quickly, "you cannot deny me to them."

"Her," Rowena corrected absentmindedly, "it's a girl."

"The Daughter of the Serpent," he smirked, rubbing his hands malevolently.

"No," Rowena shook her head, "If the man I knew is gone, then so is her father." She puffed out her chest and seemed to grow in height, "she will carry with her the sigil of the Ravenclaw family, she will be an eagle just like her mother and serpents will know to fear her."

"You cannot keep me from my child."

"Do you want to see me do it?" she scoffed, "Would you like to test your powers against mine?" she leaned forward, smiling so as to bare all her teeth, "No matter how enlightened you may be, I have stared down Anais Haddad-Schmidt and come out victorious. I will always be twice the wizard you will ever be."

"You dare to speak to me this way?"

"You want to try and stop me?" she gave a small bow of her head, "be my guest."

"You will rue this day," He shook his head.

She echoed his movement, "I will not rue it alone, you will be overcome by great sorrow for the man you were and the things you lost to black magic." She squared her shoulders, "if even a sliver of the man I knew still lives, I know it to be the only truth he has left in his life."

"That fool is dead."

"Then what remains in his place will regret the day it crossed Rowena Ravenclaw," she smiled, "whatever remains of you will be crushed by whatever remains of me, I cast this curse on you and all that you believe."

"And what if I believe in you?"

"Then I shall perish by my own hand."

~0~

Kurt exited Flourish and Blotts with a bundle of all his set work in his arms, he handed the bag to Finn, "That is everything we'll need for this year, I look forward to a reduced course load."

"You're telling me," Ron beamed at him, "First day back, I have first period free."

"And you'll be using that time to find out about repeating History of Magic," Kurt scolded him, "If you don't do it, I will. Nobody wants that."

"What do you have against free periods?" Ron shook his head at him.

"Nothing," Kurt grinned, "I actually have that period free too."

"No Ancient Runes or Arithmancy for you?" Harry quirked a curious brow.

Kurt shook his head, "and certainly no Divination."

"I thought Hermione liked Ancient Runes and Arithmancy," Harry shrugged.

"What does that have to do with me?"

"Well…" Harry nervously scratched the back of his neck, "don't you two take the same classes?"

"Prior to this year we were taking all the classes offered at Hogwarts," Hermione smirked, "there isn't a precedence for that assumption."

"Fine," Harry waved them off, "so you two are going separate ways?"

"Hermione has decided to pursue that path," Kurt shrugged, "I chose Magical Theory and Dark Arts instead."

"Will they still be offering Dark Arts?" Finn grinned excitedly.

"I wrote Professor Dumbledore many letters about it," Kurt nodded, "I eventually wore him down."

"I'm not surprised," Hermione scoffed, "I've read some of your letters of complaint."

Kurt shrugged, "I will not be deprived of the school experience that I deserve just because some tit has decided to start a Wizarding War." He crossed his arms and turned up his nose indignantly, "it's like how they tried to discontinue Alchemy because of the fact that only six students pre-registered."

"I was supposed to pre-register?" Finn chewed his lower lip.

Kurt narrowed his gaze to a glare, "You tit."

"I'm not a tit," the boy puffed out his chest, "I'm a bird of paradise."

"That's a type of flower," Hermione and Kurt chorused.

"Neville bought some for Mandy as a good luck gift before her biology O-Level," Hermione explained.

"Proving once and for all, that Neville is a great boyfriend," Kurt added.

"I'm sure that is part of the reason Mandy is having sex with him," Hermione giggled.

"The rest of the reason being that she wants to," Kurt interjected before anyone could ask, "and also, fuck you."

"Why fuck us?" Ron gaped.

"Feels like something Mandy would say," Kurt shrugged.

"Definitely something Mandy would say," Finn concurred, "that's just so her."

Hermione stopped in her tracks, "Oh no, not Olivanders."

Kurt's attention was called to the destroyed store front, "Another victim of the times." Kurt shook his head, "terrible business."

"I heard my dad discussing it with Kingsley," Ron explained, his voice dropping to a whisper, "apparently Fenrir Greyback, the notorious werewolf, and some other Death Eaters came to take him away in broad daylight."

"Wow," Kurt gaped, "do all werewolves have names that are related to their affliction?"

"I don't know what you mean," Ron shook his head.

"Fenrir was a monstrous wolf from Norse Mythology," Harry explained.

"Thank you Harry," Kurt grinned, "that's twice now that you've had information on Norse history or mythology, depending on how you view it."

"Twice?" Harry furrowed his brow.

"In first year you suggested Ragnar as a name for Norberta," Kurt nodded to himself, "provided some exposition on the carvings on his longboats, none of this rings a bell?"

"Nope," He shrugged, "whatever."

"Why would Death Eaters kidnap a wand maker?" Finn asked.

"Maybe they needed more powerful wands," Ron suggested.

Kurt shook his head, "the idea that there is such a thing as a more powerful wand is false, there is better matched wand that will allow you to better channel your magic but the wand itself isn't more or less powerful than another, simply more compatible with the witch's magical signature."

"Thank you Kurt," Finn smirked, "for boring us."

"I'm sorry, but would you like to act as your own exposition going forward?" the boy shook his head, "then shut up."

"Everyone got their wands from Ollivander's," Hermione let out a tired sigh, "it was one of those places… it was a fixture in our society."

"Monuments rise and fall," Kurt shrugged, "Gregorovich's day came and went."

"Kurt!" Hermione scolded.

"I'm not saying it isn't sad that he was kidnapped," Kurt rolled his eyes, "I was going for a hopeful tone, that a new day would come." He gestured around them, "Look at this place, so many of the stupid shops I didn't go into have closed down. Then look at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, a new shop thriving in spite of adversity."

"This whole place looks like Nocturn alley now," Harry agreed, "but after the rain, though her leaves may be wet, the flower turns her face to the sun, triumphant."

"Poetic," Kurt chuckled, "Should we start calling you 'Harry, the Bard'?"

"Like Beedle the Bard," Ron grinned merrily.

The group exchanged blank stares, "Who?"

"Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump? The Wizard and the Hopping Pot?" Ron gaped, none of their faces lighting up in recognition, "What kind of childhoods did you have without Beedle the Bard?"

"Muggle ones," Finn pointed out.

"We listened to stories by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm," Hermione explained in a more friendly tone, "although I sometimes suspect Kurt was raised on Stephen King novels."

"Dean Koontz actually," Kurt deadpanned.

Finn crossed his arms challengingly, "What kind of childhood did you have without television?"

"Touché," Ron nodded.

"Look," Finn pointed across the alley, "there go Malfoy and his mummy. Kurt, is it time for a family reunion?"

"I will punch you in the throat," Kurt growled.

"They are looking hella shifty," Ron commented.

"I get it," Kurt rolled his eyes, "my family is evil."

"No," Ron shook his head, "look at how they're looking around and trying too hard to be inconspicuous."

"Considering the patriarch of their family was recently tried very publicly for being a Death Eater after denying accusations for fifteen years, I understand why they don't want to draw attention to themselves," Kurt scolded, "maybe we should mind our own business."

"They just turned into Nocturn Alley," Hermione interjected.

Kurt let out a defeated groan, "and we're going to follow them, aren't we?"

"I'm curious," Harry smirked.

"Where is this curiosity when we're going to the library?" Hermione teased. They started moving but Kurt stayed routed in place, "Kurt?"

"You guys can violate Draco and Narcissa's privacy but I can't," Kurt shook his head, "they didn't sign up for this, Lucius did."

"Kurt?" Harry furrowed his brow, "we have to see why they turned down Nocturn Alley."

"If Kurt's not going, I'm out," Finn shrugged, hanging back with his brother.

"They haven't done anything to warrant being followed," Kurt shook his head. He took a deep breath, "their only crime at this point is being related and married to the wrong person." Kurt crossed his arms and puffed out his chest, "I can't treat them like that's a crime, I don't want to be a hypocrite."

"So-"

"Go," Kurt turned on his heels, "meet us at Fred and George's shop when you're done."

~0~

There was a soft knocking on Kurt's bedroom door, he opened the door with a reproachful look on his face. He wanted Finn to know that he didn't appreciate being disturbed during his personal time, he was surprised to find that it wasn't Finn at his door, "What do you want? I'm in the process of completing the arduous task of putting contact paper on my textbooks."

"Oh," Hipster Weasley swallowed loudly, "I can come back, it can wait."

"Is the dragon dead?" Kurt rolled his eyes, "I've already left my work, so you might as well tell me."

The young man let out a heavy sigh, "kind of seems silly, given that you're busy and everything."

"Spit it out," Kurt growled.

"I was hoping you could help me with my hair," Hipster Weasley rambled eventually.

"I can't do anything to stop you from being a ginger," Kurt shook his head, "even with all the hair dye in the world, you'll still smell like copper."

Charlie nodded for a moment, twiddling his thumbs, "I have made peace with smelling like a coppery old boot." He knitted his fingers together, "but I was thinking more along the lines of a haircut, I figured you would be better at it than my mother."

"Succumbing to the pressures of your mother, real mature."

Charlie smirked, "do you really think so little of me?" Kurt nodded, "I walked right into that one. My supervisor at work made a very pointed suggestion that I deal with," Charlie gestured to his shoulder length hair, "I don't know if you can help me with that because I'd really appreciate it."

"Give me a moment," Kurt let out a defeated sigh, "I need to gather my supplies, wait for me in the bathroom downstairs."

Kurt walked over to his closet, his footsteps were slow and small- demoralised. He collected his vanity case and for a moment he paused, looking at the hair tie he had pocketed years ago with no real use for it; his impulses saw him taking it and putting it in his pocket once more, a small smile spreading across his face at the memories it carried.

Kurt open the bathroom door to find Charlie shaking nervously from the chair that he'd moved to the centre of the room, "I won't butcher you, people will know this is my work." He cracked a comforting smile, "Besides, I'm not really in the Sweeney Todd mood."

"I haven't cut my hair short since…" he shuddered, "since mum did it before the Quidditch World Cup, I've long history of bad haircuts with mum."

"Relax," Kurt put a hand on his shoulder, "I have experience, I cut Finn's hair and maintain my fifty pound haircut."

"That is a heavy haircut," Hipster Weasley grinned.

"You're not funny," Kurt gestured for him to move his chair closer to the sink.

"What are we doing?" He did as he was instructed, "You know I don't have lice."

Kurt rolled his eyes, "I know what I'm doing. Now, take your shirt off." Charlie followed Kurt's instructions and sat in the seat when Kurt gestured for him to do so. Kurt laid a towel across Charlie's broad shoulders and adjusted the chair, getting it to recline slightly, "lean back and tell me how you feel about the water's temperature."

Kurt screwed in the handheld shower from his vanity case and ran the water cold, Charlie giggled, "cold." Kurt increased the water's temperature, "perfect."

Kurt lathered the young man's long hair with shampoo, "I'm not doing this because I think you have lice, I just find it easier to cut hair when it's wet." He let out a tired sigh, "and the tension is leaving your body, making my job easier."

"Cool," Charlie nodded, "this shampoo smells really good, smells like Christmas."

"Don't move your head," Kurt scolded him, holding his head in place. He rinsed the shampoo out of the young man's hair, "When last did you condition your hair?"

"When did I last…"

"Okay," Kurt nodded to himself, he messaged conditioner into his scalp, "I'm surprised it grew this long and thick without proper care."

"I'm not a savage," Charlie countered, "I wash it."

"But do you give it the attention it deserves?"

"And, pray tell, what does it deserve?"

"To be deep conditioned, to be treated with essential nourishing oils," Kurt shrugged, "to be loved." He leaned up against the wall as he waited for the conditioner to do what it was supposed to do, "your hair is like a child, it needs to be looked after and certain regiments need to be in place for it to grow strong."

"And you know what children need?"

"Yes," Kurt smiled, "every child needs five basic essentials to grow up right; sunshine, water, a balanced nutritional diet, fresh air and love."

"What makes you such an expert?" the young man was smirking at him now.

"I know things," Kurt turned up his nose, "I don't know if Ron's told you this, but I'm quite knowledgeable as to what is best for the children."

"He's mentioned it," Hipster Weasley chuckled, "it was his justification when he made Ginny cry by referring to her as 'the children'."

"Ginny is in quite the precarious position," Kurt shook his head.

"How so?"

"Everyone in her life sees her as a child, while she sees herself as being grown," Kurt let out a tired sigh, "that can catalyse risky behaviour."

Charlie cracked his knuckles, "You don't think she's going to get possessed again?"

"No," Kurt shook his head, "she'll try to prove to the world that she's grown and she'll just end up hurting herself."

"You are quite wise," Charlie gaped at him.

"I was almost in Ravenclaw," Kurt preened at the praise. He messaged Charlie's scalp again before gently rinsing the conditioner from his hair, "comes with the territory."

Kurt lifted the towel from Hipster Weasley's shoulders and gently towelled the man's hair, "You have a soft touch."

"Some people are tender headed," Kurt shrugged, "some people need a little kindness."

"What do you need?"

"I need…" Kurt's breath caught for a moment, "I need… I haven't asked myself that question in so long that I don't know what I need." Kurt combed the red hair, it hung past his shoulders in its straight wet form, "I can tell you what I want in a heartbeat, but what I need…"

"What do you want?"

"For this to be over," Kurt started to trim the tips off the hair, using the comb to keep it uniform length, "I'd like to move on with my life." Kurt shook his head, "I want- I'm ready for the next chapter in my life."

"I'm sure you know this but there's no harm in hearing it again," Charlie grinned, "this too shall pass."

Kurt moved Hipster Weasley's head forward, revealing the nape of his neck, "thank you." Kurt plugged the clippers into the socket and their hum drowned out his loud thoughts, he buzzed the hair short for an area staring at the top of Charlie's neck and extended to the line created by the tops of his ears. Kurt put down the clippers and replaced their hum with the droning of the hairdryer, he worked meticulously to blow out Hipster Weasley's remaining hair.

Once Kurt was done he handed the young man a hand mirror, "you didn't cut very much of it." He grinned as he gave his jawline length hair a once over, "not sure my boss will like it, I love it."

Kurt realised for the first time that he had cut the hair how he thought it should be, forgetting the parameters he had been given, panic washed over him for a moment as he tried to reconcile what he'd done with what he'd been asked for. Kurt pulled his hand from his pocket where he'd been fiddling with the old hair tie, he grabbed handfuls of Charlie's hair and twisted it into a bun and used the hair tie to secure it.

"There," Kurt smiled at his own reflection in the hand mirror, "the best of both worlds."

"My boss can't complain about this," Charlie chuckled.

"And in your free time you still have something to run your fingers through," Kurt smirked.

"Thank you Kurt," Hipster Weasley beamed up at him.

The smile made his heart catch as he thought back to the last person whose hair he'd cut in this bathroom, "You'll be fine to clean up?"

"Sure," the young man's smile fell.

"I have things to be getting back to," Kurt turned before Charlie could say anymore. He climbed the stairs and knocked on the door next to his, Finn's face was worn from sleep but Kurt couldn't bring himself to care as he enveloped his brother in a hug, "I miss Harley, I miss them all so much."

~0~

Kurt entered Professor Slughorn's reserved train car with Hermione and Harry following closely behind him, he wore a broad smile on his face and carried a gift basket in his hands; Since Harry's confession that the Headmaster intended for Professor Slughorn to 'collect' him as a means to get information, presumably on Tom Riddle's diary, Kurt had decided that he would make a better collectable. He was pedigreed, had accrued some fame for himself, was powerful and revered in many academic circle, had been made a prefect, and he knew how to schmooze.

The basket contained cheeses from his grandparent's farm, a few bottles of wine from his personal cellar, a bottle of fifty year old scotch from his father's private reserve, and candied pineapple; he'd learned of the potions master's love of the sweet treat from Andromeda, a former student of his. The sea of students filling the train car parted as Kurt moved through the cart toward his mark, the walrus-like man was talking to Tracey Davis when they stepped up to him.

"Good day," Kurt smiled broadly, "I thought I'd come by and introduce myself, I'm Kurt Elizabeth Hummel."

"Ah," the rotund man nodded vigorously, his jowls shaking from the force, "The champion duellist and Master of the Order of the White Lotus?"

Kurt played bashful well, "I didn't think you would have heard of me, but guilty as charged." He held out the basket, "I brought you a small welcome gift, I hate to admit it but I am a bit of a teacher's pet."

The man took the basket and looked it over while Kurt explained the contents, playing up the role his family had played in the assembly of the basket. The bald man smiled broadly, "I am quite partial to candied pineapple, however could you have known?"

"I twisted the ear of a former student of yours," Kurt shrugged, his modesty more false than his pleasant nature.

"A former student of mine, you say," he stroked his bare chin, "might I get you to let me in on the secret?"

"I shouldn't," Kurt shook his head, he leaned in close enough that he could whisper without lowering his voice too much, "Andromeda Black." Kurt covered his mouth and gave a small giggle, "don't tell."

"How do you know her?" he narrowed his gaze, he was analysing Kurt's all too familiar features.

"Don't tell," Kurt's smile turned mischievous as he brought a single finger to his lips, "but she's actually my aunt."

"That would make you Bellatrix's boy," the man's face was contorted in confusion.

Kurt winked, "we'll make an occasion of that story another day." Kurt moved to the man's side, facing Harry and Hermione, "but now I'd like to introduce my dear friend Hermione Jean Granger, the brightest witch of the age."

"Charmed to make your acquaintance," the man extended a meaty hand, "Ms Davis here has been regaling me with the most titillating conversation, I can't imagine anyone brighter."

"You're too kind," Tracey and Hermione spoke at the same time, this elicited a jolly chuckle from Professor Slughorn.

"My other friend needs no introduction," Kurt shrugged, "I believe you're already well acquainted."

Kurt played up the pair's familiarity and the potions master ran with it, "Harry, my boy."

Harry gave an uncomfortable smile and Kurt wanted to punch him in the throat, "Professor."

"Professor Slughorn," Kurt interjected before Harry could taint his celebrity by saying something stupid, "I'm not sure whether you're aware of this but my friend Tracey here received a perfect score in Potions."

"Oh yes," he nodded, his attention shifting to Tracey, "I heard it was two students who achieved that feat."

"The second is Kurt's stepbrother," Hermione nodded, a polite smile fixed on her face, "Finn Hudson."

"I didn't receive a preregistration for my Alchemy class from a Finn Hudson," the man shook his head and Kurt had to hide a smirk, "I'm not familiar with that student."

"Finn," Kurt shook his head, "while brilliant, is a little absent minded." He laid a reassuring hand on the professor's shoulder, "but trust me, he will be taking the class."

"I am personally looking forward to this year's Alchemy class," Tracey nodded to herself, "I intend on pursuing potioneering as my choice career after school. Damocles Belby is one of my personal heroes," she pointed her finger across the train car, "that is his nephew, Michael Belby."

"The kin of Damocles Belby," the man's eyes grew wide and his jowls hung lower, "in the Slug Club." He nodded to himself, "yes."

The group watched the man wade through the ocean of students to the unsuspecting seventh year student standing at the buffet. Tracey elbowed him in the ribs, "bring it back a few levels."

"Too much?" Kurt smiled innocently.

"Way too much!" She shook her head, "You're trying to be friendly with him, not blow him." She crossed her arms, "I thought he wanted to collect Potter, not molest him."

"Who knows what collect means," Kurt shrugged.

"Did you think Professor Dumbledore was being catholic about it?" Hermione scolded.

"Catholic?" Harry furrowed his brow.

"Turning a blind eye to the abuse of children," Hermione explained, she turned to Kurt expectantly.

"No, I wasn't flirting," Kurt shook his head, "that was me being nice."

"Seemed like you being flirty," Tracey shuddered.

Kurt held up a finger to pontificate, "I'm witty when I flirt." He fixed an imaginary stray hair, "that was me being charming."

"I don't know what to say," Tracey held her hands up in surrender.

Kurt nodded, "I'm just being nice, I will turn it down." Kurt scoffed, "I didn't even swat his arm and pretend to be surprised by his biceps, I can't believe you thought I was flirting."

Chapter Text

Kurt let out a huge yawn as he sat waiting for the Headmaster. He was glad that they were working on rehabilitating their relationship after the last academic year’s fall out but he wasn’t sure how happy he was about the choice of a late night meeting on their first night back at school, he was exhausted from the journey and unpacking his room- not that it showed. Kurt checked his watch for the last time, he would not be kept waiting.

“Sorry for the delay,” the headmaster flashed him a small smile, “The head auror was briefing me on how reintroducing students to the secured Hogwarts grounds was going.”

“You should be sorry, I need my beauty rest,” He crossed his arms to reaffirm his dissatisfaction, Kurt quirked a curious brow, “Why weren’t the Hogwarts grounds secured already?”

“Wow,” Professor Dumbledore held his hands up in surrender, “I’m feeling very attacked by that question.”

“As you should be,” Kurt spoke absentmindedly as he moved forward in his seat, his attention drawn by the Headmaster’s hand, “How did you get it?”

“Get it?” the man gaped at Kurt.

Den Langsomme Dødenroter,” Kurt exclaimed excitedly.

“You know what this is?” Professor Dumbledore quirked a curious brow at him.

“It’s one of those curses most people haven’t heard of, only mentioned in the most obscure of dark arts books,” Kurt shrugged, “There hasn’t been a recorded case in almost a thousand years, only one book in the library’s restricted section mentions it and the author didn’t even know how the curse worked.”

“You do?”

“It’s ancient Norse,” Kurt explained, “No known cure.” A malevolent smile spread across Kurt’s face, “it was used to protect the elite’s barrows of wealth which had been reserved for Valhalla, it was claimed to turn whomever it infected into a wight- similar to inferi.”

“Tell me more,” the man egged him on.

“Well, that part is legend,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “But the curse is supposed to inflict terrible pain and a slow death on the afflicted, Killing them in about a month or so.” Kurt examined the headmaster’s hand, “this is fresh, maybe you have a month.”

“I’ve had it for a month and a half,” Professor Dumbledore explained, he seemed to contemplate Kurt’s words for a moment, “I thought you said the library book on this affliction had very limited amount of information.”

“Oh, definitely,” Kurt shook his head, “You should really work on the library’s collection of Dark Arts books, that is like studying pharmacology without understanding the viruses you aim to cure.” Kurt waved off his imagined protests, “Understanding dark arts is the corner stone to learning and applying most of what we are learning here.”

“But where did you learn about this curse?”

“Considering it hasn’t been seen in almost a millennium?” Kurt furrowed his brow for a moment, “I read it somewhere… or it just came to me in a dream… Just Kidding, it was in one of the books I bought in Czechoslovakia year before last.” He shrugged, “Doesn’t really matter to me. You said you’ve had this for a month and a half, how aren’t you dead? And how does it still look so fresh?”

“Professor Snape has come up with an elixir to help me slow down the effects of the curse,” the Headmaster smiled, “he has given me till the end of the school year.”

“And death is only the beginning of the next great adventure to the well-prepared mind,” Kurt nodded to himself, “I don’t want to see you die.”

“It was inevitable,” Professor Dumbledore smiled sadly, “I am a hundred years your senior, you were always going to outlive me; at least, I would hope so now that the fire is back in your eyes.”

Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “I wanted you to be there when I was right about the second wizarding war.”

“Because there is no point in being right if nobody is wrong?”

“Because you’re my friend and I didn’t want to see you die without finding peace,” Kurt shook his head, “or helping to create it.”

“Kurt,” Professor Dumbledore smiled sadly at him, “I am at peace knowing that you will fight to defend the defenceless.”

“How did you get it?” Kurt breathed deeply, holding back his tears.

“Do you remember Tom Riddle’s diary?”

“Yes,” Kurt nodded to himself, “You went to great lengths to ensure I wouldn’t look too deeply into it.”

“I would like to retract that request,” the headmaster bowed his head.

“That’s why you brought Professor Slughorn back,” Kurt nodded to himself, “you think he knows something about it.”

“I know he knows what it is,” the Headmaster puffed out his chest as he spoke, “And if Harry can’t find out what it is from Slughorn, then I trust you will figure it out now that the time is right.”

Kurt narrowed his gaze and stared down his nose at his elderly friend, “There is something more, something you’re not telling me.”

“I have found another relic similar to the diary,” the man confessed.

“You have,” Kurt sat up straight as a whip, “show it to me.”

The man handed him a dull silver ring inset with a pebble, an unknown marking engraved into the stone. The ring was cracked and broken but still holding itself together despite the damage, Kurt rolled it between his fingers and the let out an exasperated groan, “You’ve destroyed it.”

“That is how I came about this curse.”

“How am I supposed to study the husk of a magical masterpiece?” Kurt pinched the bridge of his nose, “did it try to influence or possess you?”

“It attempted to influence me,” the elderly man nodded, “yes.”

“Did it have any defined motives?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“The diary wanted Ginny to open The Chamber of Secrets,” Kurt groaned, “I’m going to have to speak to her.”

“Nothing quite so well defined or specific,” he shook his head, “only destruction.”

“It got what it wanted because you destroyed it beyond the point where I am able to study it,” Kurt rolled his eyes.

Professor Dumbledore crossed his arms, “You destroyed the diary.”

“I was a child when I did that,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “You are an adult, you should have known better.”

Professor Dumbledore seemed to take an afront to Kurt’s candour, he appeared to mull the details of his accusation over. It took a few minutes before he spoke, “Have you ever heard the tale that there was only one wizard that Lord Voldemort ever feared?”

“I am not here to stroke your ego,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “this doesn’t excuse your foolishness.”

“He chose me because he knew me,” the man explained, ignoring what Kurt had said, “If he had been wiser, he would have feared the next generation.” The Headmaster stroked his long beard for a while, “Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Snape know everything I know and more.”

“But he doesn’t fear them,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I know, you taught all three.”

“He fears the past catching up with him more than he fears the future,” Professor Dumbledore shook his head, “he will never fear the threat posed by Harry Potter as much as he has feared me.”

“Fascinating story,” Kurt shrugged, “why are you telling me things I already know?”

“Because I too have only feared one wizard in my life,” the Headmaster confessed.

“We’ve discussed Grinderwald,” Kurt shook his head.

Professor Dumbledore shook his head, “I loved Grinderwald.”

“So, your fear was mutual,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “whoopie!”

“My fear is in the present continuous,” his elderly friend explained, “and that wizard is you.”

“That isn’t funny,” Kurt pursed his lips, his mood turning sour.

“My intention was never to be funny,” he let out a tired sigh, “but rather, I wanted to be informative.”

“To what end?” Kurt snapped, “telling me that I’m a greater evil? That when Voldemort is dead, I will be the next great threat?”

“My fear of you is not based in false prophecies of your potential for evil,” the man explained, “but rather it is based in your great power and even greater potential.”

“I don’t follow.”

“I fear you because you not only possess great power, but great knowledge too,” Professor Dumbledore explained, “You will recreate magic in your image, whatever that will mean. You will turn me, the Dark Lord and all four founders into relics regardless of the path you choose to follow.”

“That isn’t funny.”

The elderly man shook his head, “which part did you think was intended as a joke?”

“I’m not going to turn all of wizarding kind evil,” Kurt snapped.

“With equal effort, you could turn them all good.”

“The dark arts are part of my image,” Kurt explained.

“And maybe they should be part of every student’s education,” Professor Dumbledore shrugged, “as should muggle education.”

“How do y-”

“The same way I knew to watch Tom,” Professor Dumbledore explained, “there is a fire inside you.”

“I just want to protect my friends and family,” Kurt wiped away tears before they could form.

The Headmaster smiled at him, “there’s something more, Love.”

“I love them all so much,” Kurt turned up his nose, his pride keeping his tears at bay.

“There is something special about how your love manifests, it moves mountains.”

~0~

Kurt stood at the ballet bar in the abandoned transfiguration classroom Professor McGonagall had given him, he was working on his barre exercises. He moved into a seventh position arabesque; strong, firm hands corrected his near perfect posture and Kurt’s whole body smiled.

“There,” a too familiar voice spoke in his ear, “perfect, as always.” Kurt turned to thank his instructor but stopped dead at the perfect smile that stared back at him, “what’s wrong?”

“Cedric?”

“As I neither live nor breathe,” his impish grin drew Kurt in, this was the same way he had smiled at Kurt in the prefect’s bathroom as he sung the second clue to him.

“I’m losing my mind,” Kurt nodded to himself, “the side-effects of too much dark and obscure magic I wasn’t ready for is catching up to me.”

“You think this is because of a little shadow travelling and one count of legillimancy?” Cedric chuckled, “you’re still some ways from that.” The young man, handsome as ever, grabbed Kurt’s hand and started a simple waltz with him, “let’s dance.”

“Why not?” Kurt shrugged, “If not because I’ve lost my mind, then because I’m being haunted by the love of my life for turning into a harlot after his death.”

“Kurt,” Cedric smiled at him, “think only of me.”

“How can I?” Kurt shook his head, “this is the first time I have seen you in so long, all I can think about is how weak I’ve been.”

Their waltz picked up in pace, “Or are you thinking of him?”

“Him?” Kurt gasped.

“Him,” Cedric’s voice grew angry, “the one who spoke in soft words and charmed you both before and after me.”

Kurt shook his head, “I don’t know who you mean.”

“Should I wear his face?” Cedric’s face melted into that of Terry Boot. Kurt tried to let go but the boy held on tightly, “The boy who declared himself a Hummelsexual, the one you used to make me jealous in life and in death.”

“I never-” Kurt began a defence but was cut off by Cedric.

“You never what?” the devilish grin on Terry’s face was haunting, “never tried to make me jealous?”

“Of course, I did.”

“Or are you claiming that you never used Terry?” Cedric’s voice grew darker each time he spoke.

“Not intentionally,” Kurt defended himself, “he offered himself to me.” Kurt drew a deep breath, “he was intelligent and charming. I had many great conversations with him but he always knew that he wasn’t what I wanted.”

“Just a passing fancy!”

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Kurt sobbed, “he knew we were temporary.”

Terry’s face hardened, “but did he want that?”

“I was transparent as to what we had,” Kurt shook the tears filling his eyes away, “he knew what we were.”

“He thought you would grow together.”

“I never meant to lead Terry on,” Kurt tried to break away from the waltz, “I only enjoyed his company.”

Terry held on tighter, “taking his feelings for granted.”

“No,” Kurt shook his head.

“Did you love him?”

“No.”

“Just a toy,” he spun Kurt out, and their dance and the face transformed. The face was now Gregory Goyle’s and the dance was more tantric, a sultry salsa, “Like the one you lusted after, gave more than you gave me.”

“I have never!” Kurt snapped.

“Fine,” Gregory’s tango was firm and engaging as the larger boy ran his lips over Kurt’s body. Cedric’s voice still rang true in Kurt’s ears, “the one who worshipped at your altered.”

“That has nothing to do with anything I ever did!”

“Yes,” Gregory locked eyes with him, “he loved you before I knew I did.”

“What control did I have over that?”

“You didn’t have to give yourself so fully to him,” Gregory’s avatar countered, “you shouldn’t have let him hold you, taste you, desire you.” The grin on the Slytherin boy’s face grew hungry, “He touched parts of you no one had touched before me.”

“Was I supposed to mourn you to my death?”

“You shouldn’t have let him believe he could have you as he desired,” the voice roared back.

“I led our mutual exploration and directed our boundaries,” Kurt explained, “he halted our journey.”

“When you betrayed him!”

“When I stood by the convictions and the belief system I had been true to our entire acquaintanceship,” Kurt snapped, “The same convictions that had me watch you die.”

The dancer let him go and turned back with the face of Noah Puckerman, “the one who never truly wanted you, he only desired what you withheld from me.”

Kurt squared his shoulders, “what you wouldn’t accept.” Kurt closed his eyes, “you cannot blame me for what other people felt when I was honest as to what I could feel.”

He squared up with Cedric’s Puckerman disguise, “I never pursued you more than you did me.” The face turned back to Goyle, “I didn’t offer you my virtue, if there is such a thing.”

“Why?”

“It wasn’t on offer,” Kurt pursed his lips, “we had a mutual understanding.”

“Mutual?”

“Yes,” Kurt had grown bold, “I needed to be touched in your absence, and he desired to have me on his arms.”

“You took advantage of his desire for you!”

Kurt shook his head, “I gave him what he wanted.”

Gregory melted back into Terry, “What of me?”

Kurt took a deep breath, “you were the last piece in my Cedric jigsaw puzzle, but the use was mutual.” Kurt took a deep breath, “from the date when I helped you help your friend up to your self-declaration as a Hummelsexual and your Segway into your bisexuality.”

Terry’s face began to transform but before Kurt could see who Cedric would become next he covered his eyes, “What of the one you love now?”

“Please,” Kurt sobbed, “no more.”

A gentle hand laid on his shoulder, “I’m sorry.”

“Cedric?” Kurt trepidatiously looked up at his first love’s face.

“I’m sorry,” he smiled as he often did, “my intention was never to hurt you but I was caught in a cycle of your internalised guilt, I couldn’t stop.”

“Cedric,” Kurt repeated the name to assure himself that he was talking to the first love of his life, “I loved with you with everything I had.”

The boy gently caressed his face, “I know.”

“I don’t know if I have another love on that scale left in me,” Kurt shook his head.

“I want you to know,” the boy smiled sadly at him, “that loving someone as much or more, doesn’t take away from what we had.”

“You’re just saying that because I created you in my mind.”

Cedric chuckled, “you think I crossed the veil to be here and tell you what you want to hear?”

“You’re a creation of my imagination,” Kurt shook his head, “What other purpose is there for your existence?”

“For you, I have crossed that uncrossable line,” Cedric caressed his cheek, “all I’ve wanted since my death is to give you another chance at love.” He was so close that if he’d been breathing, his breath would have been hot on Kurt’s face, “This dream might appear haunting, but it is meant to heal that last broken piece of the heart left shattered by my untimely death.”

“A dream,” Kurt shook his head.

“Well,” Cedric smiled sadly, “sweetheart, you don’t dream.”

“So, this dream isn’t mine,” Kurt screwed his eyes shut, “and for sure it isn’t yours.”

“So,” Cedric held Kurt’s face in his hands, flooding Kurt with calming feelings till his eyes slowly opened, “what is this?”

Kurt was quiet for a few moments, “I don’t know.”

“Love is the most powerful magic,” Cedric explained, “that we know of, that is.”

“Why now?”

“Because your love for him and your love for me are powerful enough to pull me across space and between dimensions to tell you to love him harder than you loved me,” Cedric grinned, “you broke your curse to have this conversation with me.”

“I love you,” Kurt stated, his voice matter-of-fact.

“I know,” Cedric nodded. He drew a deep breath, “now love yourself and move on fully.”

Kurt sobbed as the boy he loved faded away in his arms.

~0~

The five smartest students in Kurt’s year stood shoulder to shoulder at the front of the group of NEWT potions students, all eyes were fixed on Professor Slughorn as he stood perfectly still and silent. He checked his watched and smirked before beginning to speak, “Welcome, welcome, welcome.”

There was a resounding chuckle that filled the room, the man’s eccentricity was made further evident by his campy demeanour. He was ‘spirit fingers’ or a tongue pop away from a cabaret, “You are the cream of the crop of your year and as such, it is my great pleasure to instruct you in the art of potioneering.”

The class applauded as the man’s grin grew larger, “in this class we will journey together to discover the properties of many of our potions ingredients and how they react with one another to form the beginnings of brews.” Tracey’s hand shot up, “Yes, Ms Davis.”

“That sounds an awful lot like herbology,” her voice was level but there was an iota of fear in her eyes, “I wasn’t aware that it was a corequisite.”

“Only part of the syllabus will focus on the properties of ingredients,” he nodded to himself, a small chuckle escaping his lips, “and only a fraction of that will focus on plants, a third year herbology student possesses the competences necessary to keep speed as we will merely be identifying and studying the properties of the ingredients.” The door swung open and the class was interrupted by the arrival of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.

“The eligible are here,” Blaise Zabini snorted.

“Hey,” Neville snapped, “I’ve been here since the beginning of the lesson, I wrote Professor Snape the day our results came out.”

“Harry, my boy,” the potions master’s voice grew more cheerful and his grin wider than Kurt had thought possible, “I was beginning to worry.”

“Sorry,” Harry blushed, “there was a clerical matter I needed to see to.”

“Not to worry,” he shook his head enthusiastically, “and you’ve brought a friend.”

“Ron Weasley,” the tall boy introduced himself, “I’m rubbish at potions.”

“Nonsense,” he waved them over to join the group, “there’s space in the front.”

“Unfortunately not,” Hermione shook her head.

Padma mirrored the action, “We’re all filled up.”

“I’m sure there’s something in the back,” Mandy shrugged, a malevolent smile spread across her face, “it’s not personal, it’s academia.”

Lisa waved Harry over, but he stopped short and turned to Professor Slughorn, “You see, we haven’t got our books…”

“Find something in the cupboard,” he turned back to where their group was standing, “now, where was I?”

“You were explaining that a third year Herbology student could follow the portion of the syllabus on plant properties,” Mandy volunteered, her smile turning sweet.

“And, lucky for us,” Pansy smirked, “Potter and Weasley fit just that description.”

“Pansy,” Hermione gasped, “Ten points to Slytherin.”

Professor Slughorn gaped at them for a moment before finding his composure, “Right, a basic example would be a simple flu remedy; ginger is a diaphoretic, who knows what that means?” A sea of hands shot up, “Mr Longbottom.”

“That means that it promotes sweating,” he explained.

“Correct,” the man nodded, “Lemon detoxifies the body, corrects pH imbalance and provides vitamin C.” he explained, “Honey is an antimicrobial. Mix the ingredients together according to the recipe, catalyse with boiling water and you have a remedy for the common cold.” Kurt and Tracey raised their hands at the same time, “Ms Davis, then Mr Hummel.”

“Will we be learning to create potions of our own?”

“Not at NEWT level,” he shook his head, “You will be learning why existing potions have the ingredients they do. To create a potion you need to know what ingredients to add to your brew based on their properties, yes, but-”

“In order to do so, an understanding of the intended result is necessary,” Tracey nodded to herself.

“A skill that will be learned in post-secondary education,” he agreed, “Mr Hummel?”

“What distinguishes this syllabus from that of alchemy?” Kurt smiled innocently, he was engaging Professor Slughorn despite knowing the answer to the question- a question that anyone who knew the definition of alchemy would know the answer to.

“Excellent question,” he nodded vigorously, his jowls shaking as he did so, “Alchemy is an instrument to improve potioneering. Through transmutation we can create the perfect ingredients such as to elevate the quality of our brew beyond the bounds of normal potioneering.” He clasped his arms behind his back and moved toward the group, “A fine example would be one that young Harry is familiar with.”

“Me?” Harry swallowed loudly.

“The philosopher’s stone,” Lisa interjected, her hand in his, “the standard cure requires a noble stone, usually Sugilite is used for its healing properties, by substituting the philosopher’s stone you end up with a brew that cure any ailment- including death itself.”

Kurt started a round of applause, “ten points to Ravenclaw.”

“Mr Hummel is correct,” Professor Slughorn eyed her suspiciously, “Miss?”

“Turpin,” she smiled broadly, “Lisa Turpin.”

“Would you and Mr Hummel step forward,” he looked about the classroom and pointed to the back, “you.” Theodore Knott stepped forward nervously, “I have three potions, each of you will attempt to identify them and share any information you have on the brew, You first, Mister?”

“Knott,” he stepped toward the cauldron filled with a milky liquid. He sniffed it and frowned, his brow furrowed, “This is Polyjuice potion; it is tasteless, odourless and harmless until someone’s essence is added to it.” He stepped toward Tracey and the group watched as he grabbed a single loose hair off her robes, “it then takes on properties that fit the person you will be transforming into.”

He added her hair to the potion and the room was filled with the smell of Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, “it is only for human transformations and results in humanoid animal transformations. The time for which the effects will last is determined by the quality of the brew and the ingredients.”

“Correct,” Professor Slughorn nodded, “Five points to Slytherin.” He shut the first cauldron and opened the next, “Mr Hummel.”

Kurt walked up to the cauldron and was shocked by the smells that greeted him, a gasp escaped his lips, “no.”

“Is there an issue?” Professor Slughorn stepped toward him.

“None,” Kurt shook his head, “This is amortantia, a love potion that creates extreme infatuation and in some cases obsession. The brew is not characterised by the properties of the ingredients but is more metaphysical; ingredients that symbolise and are associated with love are used in the brew, like roses and chocolate.”

“Very well-”

Kurt stepped closer to the cauldron, “it is said to have been invented by Morgan le Fay, the sister of King Arthur, to bewitch Queen Guenevere into adultery.” Kurt took a deep sniff, “it smells very different to each person, according to what attracts them. For example, I smell pine, citrus and… tobacco.”

Kurt took a step back to the group, letting out tired sigh as the class applauded, “Very well-done Mr Hummel, ten points to Slytherin.” Kurt smiled broadly, his instincts kicking in, “Ms Turpin.”

Professor Slughorn opened a cauldron of molten gold, “Felix Felicis, also known as Liquid Luck.” She smiled as she spoke, “this potion ensures that all the user’s endeavours will succeed, seeming to bend reality in their favour. It is extremely hard to brew correctly and has been likened by some wizards to the muggle drug cocaine; in that it makes one feel invincible, is highly addictive and your body can build up a tolerance to it.”

“Well done Ms Turpin,” he nodded, “Points have been awarded for your genius already.” She gave a polite curtsey, “For today’s lesson, I want you all to open your copies of Advanced Potion Making to page ten, I expect each of you to brew a draught of living death. The first student to brew an acceptable draught will receive a vial of Felix Felices.”

Kurt’s hand shot up, “Professor Slughorn, the mutual understanding between teacher and student with regard to this competition is that none of us have attempted to brew this potion before?”

“Correct.”

“Well,” Hermione smiled shyly, “two students in this class have attempted this potion under the private tutelage of Professor Snape.”

“It simply wouldn’t be fair on the rest of us for them to be allowed to participate in this competition,” Kurt shook his head, “Would it?”

“Not at all,” the man shook his head, “they would have to recuse themselves.”

“That would be me,” Finn raised his hand.

Padma let out a disappointed sigh, “And me.”

“It would not be fair for me to allow you to participate in the competition,” the aged professor nodded to himself, “I do, however, expect a brew from each of you.”

Hermione, Kurt, Mandy and Tracey exchanged high-fives, “That vial is mine.” Tracey licked her lips, “Let’s get moving.”

They filled up the spaces around a desk right at the front of the classroom and prepared their cauldrons, equipment and ingredients. Hermione peered at him suspiciously, “What was that with the potion earlier?”

“Yes,” Mandy grinned broadly as she started working on her brew, “spill.”

“There’s nothing to tell,” Kurt shrugged, “it was just a heady rush from the vapours, I was overwhelmed by the scent.”

“Likely story,” Tracey chuckled without looking up from her cauldron, “You looked like you’d seen a ghost.”

“More like smelled a ghost,” Mandy teased.

“True that,” Tracey nodded, “So, you can’t lie to us, we’re your friends.” She looked up from her work to stare him down, “Who is he?”

“There is no ‘he’,” Kurt shook his head as he sprinkled his powdered root of asphodel into his brew.

“Then why did you look like you were going to pass out?”

“I was overwhelmed,” Kurt pontificated to drive his point home.

“I’ve never seen you whelmed, let alone overwhelmed,” Mandy shook her head, “I’m not buying it, not renting it, not watching it on basic cable.”

“So, I ask again,” Tracey worked with precision, “Who is he?”

“You do know that the potion doesn’t smell like a person,” Kurt’s tone was condescending and biting, “it is a combination of smells that entice one to consume the brew.”

“Girl, who are you telling?”

Mandy nodded along, “we know that.”

“But,” Tracey sneered, “The combination of smells might have made you think of someone.”

“Someone unexpected,” Mandy giggled, biting her lip as she struggled to slice open her sopophorous beans, “And don’t be the boy who cried Cedric.”

“It’s just sad now,” Tracey flashed a sad smile, the frustration evident on her face. She seemed to have gotten her beans perfectly placed for slicing when it shot out from under the edge of her blade, she slammed her fist into the remaining beans and their juice sprayed all over their group, “That’s one way of doing it.”

“I’m impressed,” Hermione nodded, turning her blade over on its side to crush the bean.

“You’ve been quiet,” Mandy peered at her suspiciously, “what are your thoughts on this matter?” she crossed her arms and narrowed her gaze, “Or has Kurt told you who the mystery gentleman is?”

“No, I am not in the loop,” she shook her head, “you two seemed to have this investigation under control, I want to win.” She smiled broadly, “as much fun as it is to exclude Finn from things, I’d hate to have done it without gain.”

“Well,” Tracey smirked broadly, “It’s a feeling you’re about to become accustomed to because I’m about to cross the finish line.”

“Motherfucker,” Hermione hissed, stirring her potion at speed.

“Professor Slughorn,” Tracey’s hand shot up.

“Yes, Ms Davis?”

“I’m finished,” she smiled, “I’m first, these people are also finished but I was first.”

He came over to their table, inspected her brew. He sniffed it, held a swatch up to it to check the colour and dropped a single green leaf into the cauldron, it turned autumn brown and flaked into nothing. The man smiled, “This is an acceptable brew, congratulations young lady.”

Tracey grinned broadly as she accepted her prize, “Thank you.”

The man inspected the rest of their brew and nodded to show his satisfaction. He was then called over by Harry and let out a sigh of delight, “Well, what do we have here Harry?” he put the brew through the same tests as each of their brews had passed, “This brew is perfect, one drop would put as all in an unending sleep.”

“Say what now?” they chorused.

“Only once has a student produced a potion such a quality before,” he chortled, “this deserves special recognition. Harry, you’re a winner.”

“Oh, hell no,” Kurt huffed under his breath.

“I know,” Hermione shook her head.

“I bet if my brew had been perfect, there would have been no second prize,” Kurt shook his head, removing his gloves.

“Are those new dragon-hide gloves?”

“Yes,” Kurt smiled broadly, “grey, the black was so last season.”

“Were they a gift?”

“Girl, no.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t you find it suspicious that Potter is suddenly good at potions?” Tracey asked their group of friends as they watched the boy who lived running drills on the quidditch pitch, his lifetime ban lifted since the departure of Professor Umbridge.

“You’re telling me,” Kurt shook his head, “Last year he would have ruined his brew by using a cast iron cauldron instead of his pewter one.”

“Professor Slughorn literally used the word perfect,” Mandy shook her head, “A word that doesn’t come to mind when speaking of Harry Potter.”

“Hey,” Lisa protested.

“You knew he was past the NOut when you picked him,” Mandy shrugged, “and unlike Neville, he just doesn’t have it.”

“He has it,” Lisa snapped, a salacious smile spreading across her pretty face, “he has it in abaundance!”

“Don’t be fucking disgusting,” Mandy snapped, “Nobody wants to hear that about Harry Potter.”

Tracey shook her head, “We all know that Mandy was talking about Longbottom’s work ethic, he has worked consistently harder than any other student and has always asked for help when he needed it.”

“Despite the fact that Tracey terrifies him,” Kurt interjected.

“I scare Longbottom?” she gasped, “but he’s always so pleasant.”

“Because he’s precious,” Kurt waved her off, “he overcame that fear to do well, that’s why Professor Snape wrote him a reference for his potions concession when Slughorn took over.”

Mandy rolled her eyes, “Is this the part where you claim his love or that you raised him?”

“I have played a part in Neville’s life,” Kurt squared up with his friend, “Nobody can deny that.”

“But…” Lisa prompted him.

“He’s grown so far beyond what I taught him and everything I imagined he could be,” Kurt shrugged, “As much as I would like to take credit for that, he did it on his own.”

“Preach,” Hermione clapped her hands, breaking her silence, “he worked on himself.”

“So, Lisa,” Mandy turned to her best friend, “What is your boyfriend’s story?”

“Did he spend the summer working on himself?” Tracey tried to keep a straight face as she spoke but they all burst into a guffaw as soon as she was done speaking. She recomposed herself, “I’m hilarious.”

“You need your own show,” Hermione teased.

“I’m sorry,” Tracey shook her head, “I know this is serious, but I couldn’t help myself.”

“Why do you people struggle so hard with seeing Harry succeed?” Hermione posed the question with a straight face, “he’s proficient enough at magic to have taught Dumbledore’s Army.”

“Kurt carried him through that,” Mandy countered.

“Yet he still got the second highest score in our year,” Hermione shrugged, “so there must be something to him.”

“But a work ethic isn’t it,” Kurt snapped, “Harry has consistently been apathetic toward his education, we told him how important his OWLs were way back when but he still allowed himself to fail two of them and get a concession for a subject he would need for his aspirational career.”

“Preach it,” Lisa groaned reluctantly, “he doesn’t seem to care.”

“It might have something to do with Voldemort’s return,” Tracey shrugged, “but he still cares about quidditch, he’s cared about that consistently; sans Chamber of Secret, escaped mass murderer or evil government official.”

“He’s academically apathetic,” Mandy agreed, “that’s why we want to know what the story is.”

“Maybe he is flourishing under a teacher that cares,” Hermione shrugged.

“Hermione feels like we’re attacking her friend, and by extension her,” Kurt held up a silencing finger, “So let me change the subject.” He took a moment to think about what he was about to say to some of his closest friends, “I think I’ve started to lose my mind.”

“Have you started to become the next great evil?” Mandy teased.

“That isn’t funny,” Tracey snapped.

“Wow,” Mandy chuckled, “calm down.”

“If Hummel goes dark now then I’m left alone in Slytherin,” her voice was softer than usual.

“Theodore will never fall,” Kurt assured her.

“You-”

“I know,” Kurt nodded, “because unlike almost every other Slytherin student in our year, Theodore doesn’t have any ties to the dark side.”

“Neither does Blaise,” Tracey snapped, “actually, it seems to be a white thing.”

“Don’t even,” Kurt shook his head, “but Theodore is made of different stuff, he’s not a slave to conformity the way Blaise is.”

“What is going on?” Hermione quirked a curious brow.

“Tracey, at the end of the day is the only Slytherin student in our year who isn’t a pureblood,” Kurt shook his head, “there used to be four of us with no link to the Death Eaters. Since Blaise seems to be flirting with darkness and I’m a newly revealed legacy, Tracey is a minority.”

“Like I wasn’t already enough of a minority,” she rolled her eyes. She shrugged, “it could be worse, I could be in Gryffindor.” The group shuddered, Hermione and Denis glared at them, “so much worse.”

“Okay,” Kurt waved his hand dismissively, “I was explaining how I am not evil crazy.”

“Continue.”

“Well,” Kurt took a deep breath, “I recently dreamed of Cedric Diggory.”

Tracey rolled her eyes, “don’t you exclusively dream of dead people?”

“Yes,” Hermione nodded, “but till this point it was always the same dead person, Rowena Ravenclaw and her life.”

“True,” Kurt nodded, “everything I knew from a dream had been her work, knowledge and experience, there was definitely something magical about it.”

“So,” Lisa seemed to mull over what she had just heard, “maybe you’ve learnt everything she had to teach you.”

“You know basically everything there is to know about Anais Haddad-Schmidt,” Hermione shrugged, “maybe that part of your life is over.”

“No,” Mandy shook her head, “I need to hear why Kurt thinks this is linked to the end of his sanity.”

“Why?”

“Maybe Cedric said something important that Kurt is too close to see,” Mandy explained, “you both took divination, you should know that dream interpretation is literally about being objective to the dream.”

“Mandy is right,” Tracey nodded, “we need more information.”

“He appeared in my transfiguration classroom,” Kurt explained, letting out a steadying breath, “and we danced.”

“You danced?” Lisa rolled his eyes.

“We practiced for the Yule ball there,” Kurt snapped dismissively, “it started out well enough, it was reminiscent of our happiness.” Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “Then…”

“What happened next?” Denis gasped, Kurt had forgotten he was there.

“Be quiet,” the group hissed.

“He turned into each of my desire of suitors,” Kurt’s voice was cold and empty, “he’s gone, so I know he didn’t want to hurt me… the guilt was a lot.” Kurt squared his shoulders, “that is what he blamed too, he told me to move on, but one thing stuck with me.”

“What?” Tracey gazed up at him with hope in her eyes.

“He told me that an echo of his essence had traversed life and death to tell me to move on,” Kurt shook his head, “and something stupid about love being the most powerful magic.”

“Love is the most powerful magic,” Lisa spoke first, “that’s why the Unspeakables study it… my mother is an Unspeakable.”

“That’s not where Kurt is coming from with this,” Hermione shook her head, “I might not understand Harry Potter, but I am fluent in Kurt Elizabeth Hummel.” She preened in the attention for a moment, “there’s something he isn’t saying.”

“He, for some strange reason,” Kurt took a deep, steadying breath, “thought I’d moved on to another great love.”

“May-”

“Shut up,” Kurt snapped back, “I might have moved from one infatuation to another, but I haven’t felt anything close to what I felt for Cedric.”

“Maybe it’s cumulative,” Hermione suggested, “you do have more friends.”

“Let’s not play games,” Tracey shook her head.

“What do you mean?” Lisa’s eyes grew wide.

“Say more,” Mandy leaned forward.

Hermione shook her head, “Don’t do this.”

“It’s the guy from the letter about dusty trains,” Tracey explained as if it were the most obvious thing ever, “those lyrics are from Bette Midler’s early ninties song, PS I Love You.”

Kurt shook his head, “I don’t know that one.”

“Like everyone else, you didn’t watch the movie,” Tracey glared at him, “Bette deserved an Oscar.” She took a few deep breathes to regain her composure, “in the song, she asks her love who is away from her if it was dusty on the train, then promises ‘PS I love you’. That is what he meant, the person who wrote that note wanted you to know that they love you.”

Kurt gasped, “that’s the first pop culture reference I’ve missed.”

“Someone told you they loved you and you missed it?” Hermione gaped in awe, “can we all agree that only happens when you’re Kurt Elizabeth Hummel?”

“I second the motion,” Denis nodded, “but Kurt also deserves to be loved right.” The group of girls glared at him, “that was not an exclusionary statement.”

“Watch your back,” Hermione glared at him.

“Who is he?” Mandy gushed.

Kurt’s mouth opened and closed without sound, “I…”

“Kurt isn’t ready for what he just discovered,” Tracey stage whispered to their friends, “let’s give him some space.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Kurt shook his head.

“This is the part where I’d ask if all this is related to the moment you had in the potions class,” Mandy grinned.

“Hermione’s been confounding Cormac McLaggen these entire try-outs,” Denis proclaimed, “to make sure Ron makes the team again, fight her!”

“Hermione!” the group chorused.

Denis grabbed Kurt’s hand, “are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine,” Kurt nodded to himself, “I’m just somewhat in shock.”

“If you don’t love them, then you shouldn’t feel any pressure,” Denis smiled comfortingly, “if you had any feelings you would have said something.”

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Kurt took a deep breath, “I thought that was code for something else when I read it.”

~0~

Kurt waltzed into the Headmaster’s office, “Hello.”

“Mr Hummel,” Professor McGonagall gasped; she was surprised but Kurt had planned this that way, “I wasn’t aware you’d be joining us.”

“Neither was Professor Dumbledore,” Kurt flashed a friendly smile, “but we have business to discuss.”

“We can reconvene at later date,” Professor McGonagall glared at him, “when you are most convenience.”

“Please stay,” Kurt shot an icy look, lips pursed, at the Headmaster, “maybe you could assist me to get some answers from our beloved Professor Dumbledore.”

“Is it answers you seek?” the man quirked a brow, speaking for the first time, “then we may speak freely.”

“I’m not sure what part I play in this game of yours,” the transfiguration professor shrunk into herself.

“No,” Kurt snapped before the headmaster could speak, “Professor McGonagall needs to be here to ensure that you are completely honest.” Kurt sashayed into the seat beside his favourite female teacher. He narrowed his gaze and stared Professor Dumbledore down, “after all, you want your chosen successor kept in the loop at a time as volatile as this.”

“This is true,” the man nodded, “I would have preferred she find out in a dramatic letter when I was dead, or when it was directly relevant to her position here at Hogwarts.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what is happening,” Professor McGonagall shrugged but Kurt shook his head.

“Professor Dumbledore is about to tell us everything,” he dismissed her, “and explain as to why exactly he brought Professor Slughorn back for another tenure as potions master.”

Professor Dumbledore let out a tired sigh, “do you want the long version or the condensed version?”

“Give me the short version,” Kurt spoke before his elder could, “I’m dressed for a dinner.”

“You look great,” Professor McGonagall complemented him, “I think the cape achieves the right amount of drama.”

“Thank you,” Kurt smirked, “I try.”

“So,” she turned to her superior, “what is it you have to tell us Albus?”

“I should say that I rehired Horace Slughorn because he is a brilliant teacher,” the headmaster began, “but…”

“but what?” the transfiguration professor glared at him, “tell us your reasoning.”

“Harry Potter is on a journey-”

“And while you two work on helping him find himself, I can’t be with my family,” Kurt crossed his arms and pursed his lips, “people are dying!” Kurt’s gaze and the air in the room turned cold, “Maybe we should have everything else keep pace with the brightest instead of lagging to accommodate… Harry.”

“Mr Hummel,” the Gryffindor head of house reprimanded, “that is not called for.”

“I actually believe that it is the right amount of called for,” Kurt smirked malevolently, no more words were needed between him and the headmaster.

“I brought Slughorn back because I believe that he has information on what helped Lord Voldemort return after his defeat at Godric’s Hollow that Halloween night,” the man admitted reluctantly.

“Don’t act smart with me,” Kurt crossed his arms and quirked reprimanding brow, “I’m not entertained.”

“Mr Hummel,” Professor McGonagall gasped, her horror evident in her surprised face, “Professor Dumbledore is the headmaster and should be afforded the appropriate respect befitting somebody of his station.”

“What happened to ‘Have a biscuit Potter’?” he pursed his lips, “or am I to live by a different set of rules because my parents weren’t the Gryffindor darlings of Hogwarts?”

“That is not what I mean in the least,” the transfiguration professor shook her head, “Simply that your tone was too familiar.”

“Professor Dumbledore was acting smart by trying to be vague,” Kurt explained, “and it failed to entertain me, I have an appointment.” He gestured to his outfit, “Now, please be more specific.”

“I think Horace Slughorn was the one to tell Voldemort about the magic used to create the diary and the ring,” Professor Dumbledore sighed, “I have a memory belonging to Professor Slughorn about what I believe to be the exchange, it has however been tampered with.”

“You think that by knowing what these are and if there are more, you’ll be able to figure out why he won’t die,” Kurt nodded to himself.

“Yes,” the elderly man agreed, “would you like to see the memory?”

“No, I’m good,” Kurt rose from his seat, “if you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner party to be getting to.”

The headmaster nodded, “Very well.”

Kurt exited the headmaster’s office, descended the stairs and exited into the main courtyard. He walked with determination to Professor Slughorn’s quarters for the first Slug Club gathering, he would be meeting everyone there; he had intentionally had this meeting with the Headmaster so that he would arrive fashionably late and make a grand entrance, drawing all attention to himself. He made quick work of the stairs, if he timed everything correctly then he would arrive just as they had been seated.

Kurt swung the door open with a flourish of his cape, the bone eye brooch staring everyone down, “sorry I’m late.”

“Mr Hummel,” Professor Slughorn waved him over from the head of the table, “we were beginning to wonder where you’d gotten off to.”

“I told him I didn’t know where you’d gotten off to,” Tracey smiled patting a seat between her and Hermione.

Kurt waved them off bashfully, “I simply lost my head, I had library book I’d forgotten to return and I did not want to get on Madam Pince’s bad side.”

“Well, now you’ve made it,” the man grinned broadly, “Ms Davis has saved you a seat.”

Kurt slipped into his seat, “You did that on purpose.” Tracey hissed in his ear, “I’m not mad you did it, I’m mad I didn’t think of it.”

“You’re telling me,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “this is Kurt’s night now.”

“We should leave and come back dramatically,” Tracey teased. He looked around the room to find that of all their friends, they were the only ones not sitting in a couple, “you see it too?”

“Short of Pansy and Blaise, who haven’t declared relationship status,” Hermione started.

“We’re basically the only ones who aren’t with anyone,” Tracey nodded, completing her thought.

“Jealousy is a killer in this business,” Kurt shook his head, “You should be more like me, happily single.”

“You can say that,” Hermione glared at him, “You have dusty trains guy waiting in the wings to hold you in their Bette Midler aficionado arms.”

“Probably biceps,” Tracey countered, “Kurt has a type.” She shrugged, “but I too am perfectly happy as a single young woman.”

“Because Theodore basically asked to finger bang you in front of the entire class,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “And I thought you like him.”

“I do,” Tracey nodded, “but I’m not going to pull down my pants at the slightest glimmer of interest, he has to court me and earn my affection.” She smiled broadly, “since Angelina Johnson graduated, I’m the prettiest girl in school now.”

“Says who?” Hermione quirked a curious brow.

“No,” Kurt nodded “she’s right. Tracey has been the Dark Horse both academically and in the looks department, she has blossomed into the prettiest girl in school.” Kurt smiled at his friend, “You also blossomed, you’re in the top five now.”

“Do boys have to deal with these ridiculous standards?” Hermione huffed, “bet nobody is ranking them.”

“We totally are,” Kurt nodded, “Anthony Goldstein is the cutest boy, followed by Blaise, Theodore and Dean Thomas.”

“Dean Thomas is fine,” Tracey agreed.

“Dean Thomas can come collect a ‘some’ at his leisure,” Kurt agreed.

“Who is number five?”

“Wayne Hopkins,” Tracey and Kurt sighed dreamily.

“Which one is he?” Hermione furrowed her brow.

“Dark hair, kind of dangerous looking. He’s in Hufflepuff, in our year…” Kurt let his words trail off, waiting for Hermione to catch on.

Tracey rolled her eyes, “he’s the tall, Asian guy.”

“He was a beater alongside Anthony last year,” Kurt added.

“Not ringing any bells,” Hermione shook her head.

“Because you’re a snob,” Kurt shook his head, “You barely know anyone who isn’t in Gryffindor.”

“You don’t associate with anyone beyond the NOut,” Hermione hissed.

“Mr Hummel,” Professor Slughorn interrupted their conversation, Hermione hissed that they weren’t finished, “What is it that your parents do in the muggle world?”

“My father restores classic cars,” Kurt smiled broadly, “Carole is a housewife.”

“And you Ms Davis?”

“My parents are both in banking,” she explained, “my mother, at Gringotts, and my father in the Muggle world.”

“That is quite interesting,” he narrowed his gaze, “And they’re both…”

“Black,” Tracey nodded, “yes.”

“I think he was asking if they were both wizards,” Kurt nudged her.

“Oh,” she feigned ignorance, “my father is a muggle.”

“Would I know your mother?” He leaned forward, “did she attend Hogwarts?”

“Yes,” Tracey smiled nervously, “Willa Rosier, she was-”

“A Slytherin prefect,” he boomed merrily, “of my own picking; excellent student all around and top of her year in Arithmancy.”

“She never said,” Tracey shrugged.

“You know,” He pointed to Kurt, “if memory serves, your Grandmother is Druella Rosier.” Kurt nodded, “yes, the five students were cousins; your mothers, Andromeda, Narcissa and Evan Jr. When I was a new teacher, I taught your grandparents- That should tell you how long I’ve been in the game.”

“Our Grandparents?” Tracey quirked a curious brow.

“Yes,” he nodded, “Evan Sr was much older, he was a prefect by the time Crawford started, Crawford being only a year or two younger than Druella.”

Tracey and Kurt exchanged a surprised look, Kurt smiled malevolently and dropped his voice to a whisper, “that means you’re also related to Draco.”

“Yes,” the man nodded, “I’ve taught a good few of your parents, and some of your grandparents.” He then turned to Hermione, “I wouldn’t have taught anyone in your family. What is it they do in the muggle world?”

“My parents are dentists,” Hermione answered with a broad smile, Professor Slughorn’s face was blank, “It’s a medical profession that tends to people’s teeth.”

“Ah,” the man nodded, “and is that a dangerous profession?”

“Not particularly,” Hermione shook her head.

“Not at all,” Kurt countered, “this is Britain, the only danger they are in is going out of business.”

“Not entirely true, a boy once bit my father and he needed ten stitches,” Hermione huffed, “And oral hygiene and care have really turned around in the last century.”

“I see,” he nodded, “I see.”

Hermione smiled, “You missed out on me having to explain orthodontics to everyone for the two years I had braces.”

“Braces?” the man’s eyes grew wide, “What on earth are those?”

“Kurt,” Mandy hissed as Hermione explained orthodontics to Professor Slughorn.

“What’s up?”

“So,” Neville grinned, “You and Tracey are cousins.”

“Second cousins,” Tracey corrected him.

“But you already knew that,” Kurt smirked, a pointed look directed in Tracey’s direction.

“Are you asking if I was aware that our mothers are cousins?” Tracey crossed her arms, “because the answer is no, mothers aren’t exactly chuffed to announce that their cousins have escaped from Azkaban.” She shook her head, “besides, my mother is mostly estranged from her family.”

“Because she’s black?” Neville’s eyes grew wide.

“No,” Tracey giggled, “Because she married a muggle… who is black.”

~0~

Kurt slung his arm over Tracey’s shoulder, eying the first year student she was talking to, “Who do we have here? Is this your brother? Are you Thomas?” The first year nodded, “I’m-”

“I know who you are,” the boy’s tone was curt, “You’re Kurt Hummel.”

“My reputation precedes me,” Kurt pursed his lips.

The boy nodded, “I’ve heard quite a bit about you, people talk.”

“By people, do you mean Tracey?”

“We all know I have nothing but terrible things to say about you,” she rolled her eyes.

“Tracey hasn’t so much as mentioned you,” the first year spoke boldly.

Kurt gasped, “Tracey, I’m hurt!” he pretended to wipe non-existent tears from his face, “I expected you to tell little Tommy all about the worst of the Slytherin prefects.”

“I never got around to it,” she shrugged, “sorry babes.”

“I am hurt,” he hid his face, “don’t try to console me.”

“I had no intentions of doing anything resembling that,” she crossed her arms, “I don’t work here.”

Kurt let the charade lapse, “wait, then whom did you hear of my excellence from?”

“Excellence?” Tracey giggled, “that sounds like a self-read, if I’ve ever heard one.”

“Don’t do this now,” Kurt shook his head, “not in front of the children.”

Thomas glared at his sister, “everyone in Slytherin has something to say about Kurt Hummel.”

“Well,” Kurt smiled, “You can form your own opinions over the next two years.” Kurt squared his shoulders, “Till then, I expect nothing short of your utmost respect as a Slytherin Prefect! Detention for giving me lip.”

“The fuck!” the boy protested.

“Do you want to go for double detention?”

“That’s enough Kurt,” Tracey intervened, “Thomas, apologise to Kurt.”

“I’m sorry I spoke out of turn,” the boy looked down at his feet.

“Apology accepted,” Kurt nodded, “two copies of the first two chapters of Hogwarts: A History, by Monday and we’ll be even.” Kurt grabbed Tracey’s hand, “Let’s go, everyone’ll be waiting.”

“You are aware that Hogwart: A History is not a set work?” Tracey quirked a curious brow, “my brother isn’t broken as a person yet, he doesn’t own a copy.”

“If he wanted to borrow a copy, he would have asked,” Kurt pursed his lips, “we can assume that he’ll be heading to the library.”

“Somehow I get the feeling that’s part of the punishment.”

“Best believe,” Kurt nodded, “I’ve been named as the meanest prefect already, I have to live up to that reputation.”

“Is it me or are we speeding through this year?” Tracey hugged herself as they walked, “How is it already time for the first Hogsmead visit?”

“We’ll never get to the part where we almost die if we don’t skip over the mundane stuff,” Kurt shrugged.

Tracey stopped in her tracks, “I almost forgot to tell you, my deplorable word research has come to a dead end.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I’ve gotten to the point where all my questions are returning the same answer

“Why would you think that would be a dead end?” Kurt quirked a curious brow.

Tracey rolled her eyes, “I’m getting different names but if you read them in their original Arabic, they’re pronounced the same way.”

“First question,” Kurt eyed her suspiciously, “Why do you know Arabic?”

“I’m Muslim and my parents insisted we study the Quran in Modern Standard Arabic and in the ancient form,” she rolled her eyes, “I have known true suffering.”

“So, what’s the issue of studying the same name in different iterations?”

“It turns to Ancient Greek,” Tracey explained, “which I don’t know, then into an unknown language.”

“Phonecian?” Kurt smiled nervously.

“Nothing I’ve seen before,” Tracey shook her head, “but not old enough to be hieroglyphs.”

“This would be the perfect moment for a Rowena Ravenclaw moment!” Kurt screamed to the sky.

Tracey shook her head, “but nooooo… You had to fall in love with Cedric and Dusty Trains guy and ruin a good thing.”

“Ruining a good thing,” Luna spoke up as they entered the Hog’s Head Inn, “Sounds like Kurt.”

“Luna,” Kurt hugged her tightly, “I feel like I haven’t seen you since Yule Ball.” Kurt crossed his arms, “and by extension, you do not know my story.”

“No,” she shook her head, “that’s hyperbole, I was definitely in Dumbledore’s Army.” She smiled impishly, “It’s just that I’m not in any of your classes.”

Kurt fixed an imaginary stray hair, “what did you get to drink? And where are Harry, Hermione, Lisa and Ron?”

“They elected to go to The Three Broomsticks,” Neville explained, “they were hoping to catch up with Slughorn.”

“They said you had your own thing going on and they were working on theirs,” Luna added.

Kurt nodded, “That’s fine too.”

“Are you mad?” Neville chewed his lip, “Don’t be mad.”

“I’m not mad,” Kurt smiled sweetly, “I’m playing a different game, but let’s not get hung up on the actions of the golden trio.”

Tracey smirked, “this bitch sounds mad.”

“Let’s get some tej and have some fun,” Kurt smirked, “drinks are on me, though I will leave early due to a prior commitment.”

“What kind of commitment?” Mandy wagged a suggestive brow.

Kurt furrowed his brow, “girl, don’t even try me like that.”

“I just want to know,” Mandy whined, “Tracey planted an idea in my mind and I can’t let it go.”

“I thought it was public knowledge,” Tracey shrugged, “You got a letter from him, it had the coded message and then you dumped all the men who love you.”

“Explain,” Mandy crossed her arms.

“Remember how I claimed to be great at broken down telephone?”

“You said you were good at it,” Luna corrected.

“Well,” Kurt let out a tired breath, “I read that letter and I thought it was about the impending decline of Dumbledore’s Army, which was why I also had the meeting without the children and had Cho disclose the details of the group.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Neville snapped, “I trust you more than almost anyone else and you made a mistake?”

“My source missed a clue,” Kurt smirked, “Luckily, I verify everything I hear and make informed decisions.” Kurt smiled softly, “I wouldn’t put you guys in danger without knowing I could pull you back out.”

“What does that mean?” Tracey furrowed her brow.

“It’s why I didn’t take you along with us,” Kurt pursed his lips, “you had to send the message onto the next person in the chain.”

“You…” Tracey shook her head, “that letter?”

“Yes,” Kurt nodded, “the parchment inside was enchanted, to send a specific message to a specific person when it was burned.”

“You always say that Dumbledore’s secrets are dangerous, but you’ve been keeping just as many,” Neville shook his head.

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “I’m not keeping secrets, I have backups and contingents that are kept secret because I don’t want what happened to Harry’s parents to happen to anyone of you.”

“How is that?”

“I’m not going to act like I have all the answers,” Kurt shrugged, “I don’t, but when everyone was talking about taking a stand and making your own choices. When you were all wanting to fight the good fight, I had to know that when the fight came, we would have the necessary support.”

“I can’t deal with this,” Neville shook his head.

“Do you think the Order showed up to save you all during the skirmish at the Ministry out of the blue?” Kurt’s face grew cold, “Do you think Dumbledore was there to fight Voldemort because he felt a disturbance in the force?” Kurt crossed his arms, “I’m not lying to you, if you want to be in on every detail of how I’m playing this game, we can have that conversation and we can brief each other at every turn.”

“Or?” Mandy asked, receiving glares from the group, “Do you know what happens to people who know too much? We don’t all have to be vulnerable.”

“The alternative is that we let Kurt do his thing,” Neville let out a tired sigh, “but what about when you’re gone?”

“I will never be gone,” Kurt smirked, “I’m going to out live you all.”

Chapter Text

Kurt stepped up to him and pounded his fists on his chest, “‘Was it dusty on the train’?”

“So, you got the letter,” a smirk, “and you read my note, I was beginning to wonder.”

“I did read it,” Kurt huffed, “It took me a moment to respond because I didn’t get that reference.”

“I thought you loved Bette Midler,” he shrugged.

Kurt rolled his eyes, “I do love her, she is gem undeserved by those who receive her. Too precious for this world!”

“You seem to be part of the hoards who are undervalueing her,” he fixed a lopsided grin on his face, a challenge.

“I have been a little busy living without television for the last five years,” Kurt groaned, “You know, when I’m not doing that, I’m travelling the globe learning magic that’s saving the world.”

“And so?”

“I haven’t watched that movie,” Kurt huffed.

“You’re not a loyal fan.”

“You don’t get to call into question my dedication to Bette Midler,” Kurt cocked out his hip, “unless you want to wandlessly manipulate your own fire to ensure you survive the wizard apocalypse.”

“You didn’t teach me that one,” he complained.

Kurt smirked, “but I did teach you about Bette Midler, and everything else you know about pop culture.”

“Fighting the good fight is keeping you away from your love of pop culture,” he shook his head.

“It’s not going to fight itself,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “someone has to take charge, take names and get things done.”

“And here you are.”

“Here I am,” Kurt chewed his lip, “did you know what it meant or did you screw up the message?”

“I know what the question means,” he nodded.

Kurt nodded, “do you-”

“I love you,” he countered, “I feel something immense for you.” He took a deep breath, “I couldn’t keep it to myself.”

Kurt pursed his lips, “Do we even know each other that way?”

“I want to get to know you that way,” he admitted, stepping closer to Kurt, “My next letter was going to ask you to set the night to music with me.”

Kurt shook his head, “Slow your roll there, we’re definitely not there.”

“I don’t want to miss out on my opportunity,” he ran his thumb over Kurt’s lips, licking his own, “just in case tomorrow never comes.”

“Tomorrow will definitely come for me,” Kurt nodded to himself, “I have to think about this.” He took a deep breath, he was rewarded with the fresh smell of Swiss Pine, “I will contact you when I’m ready for… whatever.”

~0~

“Mr Hummel,” Professor Snape had his standard deadpan stare in place, “thank you for coming.”

“Of course,” Kurt nodded, “it is my duty as a prefect.”

“You weren’t asked here as a prefect,” Professor Snape gestured to an opal necklace sitting between him and Professor McGonagall, “we asked you here in your capacity as the top dark arts student at this school.”

“I would think Professor Snape-”

“I know only that Katie Bell is lucky to be alive,” the man shook his head, “the curse itself is foreign to me.” The man looked into Kurt’s eyes, “seeing as you have been able to identify magic that has failed me in the past, you were the one to better identify the curse in the necklace.”

“Mr Potter claims that this is a product of Borgin and Burks,” Professor McGonagall explained, “this is but one of his hypothesise.”

Kurt quirked a curious brow, “you asked Harry?”

“He, Ms Granger and Mr Weasley were witnesses to the atrocities that befell Ms Bell following her contact with the necklace,” Professor McGonagall spoke with shock, “because it is always those three.”

“I leave you alone for one afternoon,” Kurt shook his head.

Hermione gaped at him, “these were circumstances beyond even your control.”

“Hermione is right,” Ron agreed, “We couldn’t do anything to stop this or to stop ourselves being there.”

Kurt pursed his lips, he turned to Harry, “what happened?”

“She had the necklace when she left the Three Broomsticks,” Harry told the story, “she said-”

“Don’t tell me what you think or what you’ve heard,” Kurt lifted a silencing finger, “I want to know what you saw, Hermione?”

“She touched the necklace through a hole in her glove,” Hermione eyed Harry nervously, “she appeared to be… be crucified and she levitated.” She chewed her lip, “she wasn’t breathing fully, and what little breathing she was doing came out in croaks… almost a rattle.”

“Ronald?” Kurt turned to his red headed friend.

“What Hermione said was all we saw,” he swallowed loudly, “we were just walking back and they were ahead of us.”

“I know Katie,” Harry spoke solemnly, “off the quidditch pitch, she wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“This is true,” Professor McGonagall nodded to herself.

“If she was delivering that thing to anyone, she wasn’t doing so knowingly,” Harry continued.

“Do we know for whom the package was intended?” Kurt countered, “the recipient might be telling of the sender’s intentions.”

“It was Draco,” Harry snapped.

“The necklace was for Draco?” Kurt furrowed his brow, “that’s unexpected.”

“Don’t be daft,” Harry spat back, “he gave her that necklace to give to Dumbledore.”

“And you saw this exchange?” Kurt quirked a curious brow. He crossed his arms, “or are you basing this on your assumption that he’s become a death eater?”

“I just know,” Harry insisted.

Kurt took a deep breath and raised a silencing hand before either of the teachers present could speak, “Harry, when everybody thought that you and I were responsible for the attacks linked to the Chamber of Secrets, were we not afforded the rights of innocent until proven guilty?”

“This isn’t the same,” Harry groaned.

“Because Draco’s father is a Death Eater?” Kurt tilted his head, “like mine, Tracey has Death Eaters in her bloodline, Ron’s grandmother is family with Crabbe’s family.” Kurt put his hands together and squared up with Harry, “Your own grandmother has family who are death eaters.”

“It’s different,” Harry shook his head.

Kurt shut his eyes, “in this country we have laws, and the law says that you are innocent until proven guilty.” Kurt rolled his eyes, “do you have any evidence that it was Draco?”

“No,” he shook his head.

“Because I have evidence to the contrary,” Kurt let out a frustrated breath, “he had detention today, with Professor McGonagall.”

“And he served the full session under my supervision,” Professor McGonagall crossed her arms, “So, this accusation is baseless.”

“So,” Kurt crossed his arms, “I might be more selective of whom, why and how I accuse people.” He glared at his friend, “don’t let certainty and confidence turn you careless and venturesome, least of all at the expense of a peer.”

“Mr Hummel is correct,” Professor McGonagall echoed, “baseless accusations are quite dangerous.”

“It seems that your new found prowess in potions has installed an arrogance in you,” the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor glared at Harry, “Or are we failing to see the grandiose of the Chosen One?”

“Thank you,” Kurt spoke to his friends, “that’ll be all.” He whispered the long-distance summoning charm and donned his dragonhide gloves and picked the necklace up, “Do I have to take care of this here or may I take my leave to analyse the artefact in my own time?”

“You may go,” Professor Snape nodded.

Kurt gave a shallow curtsey, wrapped the necklace and put it in his bag, “I’ll get back to you as soon as possible, juggling this and my school work.”

“Very well,” Professor McGonagall smiled softly at him, “thank you Kurt.”

He exited the deputy headmistresses’ office and crossed the quad, descended the stairs and entered the Slytherin dungeon, “Tracey, could we have a word in my room?”

“Now?” she looked at him through hooded lids that expressed her displeasure.

“Unfortunately so,” he smiled invitingly, “won’t you be a doll?”

“Fine,” she rolled her eyes, collecting her books, “I’ll do it but I won’t enjoy it.”

“Thank you,” Kurt walked to his room and held the door open for Tracey as she made her way down the boy’s corridor.”

Harry removed the invisibility cloak from over himself, Ron and Neville. Hermione and the remaining members of management adjacent were waiting, “Tell me why we couldn’t have this meeting in the room of requirement?”

“Because that was where we last conspired as a group,” Kurt explained with an eye roll.

“You have a lovely room,” Lisa exclaimed in awe, “I love the use of silver.”

“Thank you,” Kurt smiled, “We enjoy nice things here in Slytherin.”

“Nice indeed,” Mandy nodded as she ran her hands over his linens, “what is the thread count on these sheets?”

“Let’s not touch the Egyptian cotton,” Tracey smacked her hand away, “I don’t believe I was called here to admire the sheets.” She scoffed, “they are only an eight hundred thread count after all.”

“I know,” Kurt shook his head, “I chaffed the first night at Hogwarts.”

Hermione snapped her fingers, “now you two are the ones getting distracted.”

“Right,” Kurt nodded to himself, he pulled out the necklace and held it up for all to see, “This is the Dark Lord’s next move, this cursed necklace was intended for the Headmaster.”

“Katie Bell was bewitched to deliver it from Hogsmead,” Ron extrapolated, “in the girls bathroom of The Three Broomsticks Inn.”

“Do we know who did it?” Neville furrowed his brow, “Or why they picked Katie?”

“We don’t have anything definitive,” Kurt shook his head, “But Harry has a theory that he’ll share with anyone with ears.”

“Is his theory Draco?” Neville deadpanned, “because that seems a little too familiar to me.”

Kurt smirked, “Even Neville sees it.”

“I don’t appreciate your tone,” Mandy snapped, “what is ‘even Neville’ supposed to mean?”

“It means that we have reason to believe that a pattern has developed because Neville, someone with no affiliation with Slytherin or Draco, can see that Harry likes to go for the easy solutions,” she narrowed her gaze, “Who is evil? A Slytherin. Who is the Half-blood Prince? His father.”

“The Princes were a pureblood family,” Tracey scoffed, “they didn’t have half-bloods.”

“I knew it wasn’t a title,” Hermione giggled to herself, rubbing her hands together conspiratorially, “why are titles never that in the wizarding world?”

“You’re preaching to the choir,” Lisa, Kurt and Tracey chorused.

“But,” Tracey fiddled with her fingers, “on the train here at the beginning of the year Draco told Pansy that this would be his last year at Hogwarts.”

“You see,” Kurt nodded, “Reason to suspect him, did you know this?”

“Yes,” Harry let out an exasperated groan, “I did know this, I was eavesdropping in their compartment at the time.”

“Oh,” Kurt shrugged, “You never mentioned it to me.”

“You usually know everything,” Harry shrugged, “even private and intimate things that no one should ever know.”

“It’s my talent,” Kurt shrugged. His face turned stony, “we know that the necklace is from Borgin & Burkes.”

“How do we know that?” Ron narrowed his gaze.

“The wrapping is monogramed,” Kurt smirked, “classic gay mistake, good brand recognition.”

“Draco was at Borgin & Burkes during the summer,” Harry exclaimed.

“But his bag would have been searched by an Auror when he arrived,” Neville shook his head.

“No, it wasn’t,” Luna spoke up, “Harry and I saw Professor Snape vouch for him, his bag wasn’t searched.”

“So, it’s him,” Harry nodded to himself, “it must be him.”

Ron scratched the back of his neck nervously, a habit he must have picked up from Finn, “well… the thing is… my bag wasn’t searched either, none of the prefects bags were searched.”

“Slughorn also vouched for me,” Lisa admitted, “and the top five students of every senior year.”

“So?” Harry shook his head, “Draco has been acting strange all year!”

“Draco’s father was outed as a Death Eater,” Hermione explained, “he might have known that his father had those beliefs but we don’t know if he knew about his father’s status as a Death Eater.”

“Even if he’d known,” Kurt chewed his lips, “their family’s wealth has been frozen and they’ve become social pariahs, they were living with Druella during the summer.”

Hermione nodded to herself, “What do we know?”

“That we’re dealing with an amateur,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I could counter the curse on this necklace, it would only serve as a warning to someone like Professor Dumbledore.”

“How do you mean?” Luna furrowed her brow.

“I thought you said Katie was lucky to be alive,” Hermione probed him, “but now, it’s mostly harmless?”

“Katie is an average student,” Kurt explained, “it would take some knowledge and creativity to overcome the curse but most of the people in this room could manage it.”

“That is uncalled for!” Ron protested, “Harry can hear you.”

Kurt burst into a wild guffaw, “good one Ronald.”

“Thank you,” Ron bowed, “I’ll be here all week.”

“My point being,” Kurt continued, regaining his composure, “the person who did this didn’t do too well in Dark Arts, that can help us narrow down numbers.”

“Where do we start?” Lisa shook her head as she thought it over.

“Who wants to go to the Hall of Records?” Hermione and Kurt chorused.

~0~

Kurt hooked his arm into Finn’s, “I just saw Dean Thomas in his Quidditch uniform and he looks… delicious.” Kurt moaned the last word, “Do you think he’d go out with me?”

“Salutations to you too,” Finn grumbled.

“You don’t want to play polite with me.”

“I don’t?” Finn looked afraid.

“You didn’t respond to my last summons,” Kurt admonished him.

Finn shook his head, “you haven’t updated your mailing list, Padma isn’t in Management Adjacent.”

“And so you’re boycotting our meetings?”

“All partners matter,” he countered.

“Fine,” he nodded, “I will rectify the oversight, even though your girlfriend doesn’t like me.”

“Now that that’s out of the way,” Finn grinned broadly, “why are you checking out Dean Thomas when you have Dusty Trains Guy?”

“Is that a thing now?”

“It is totally a thing!” Finn chuckled, “everyone wants to know who he is, everyone who is anyone has a theory and since the departure of Fred and George, I am taking bets.”

“Well,” Kurt looked down at his hands, “did you ever consider that Dean could be Dusty Trains Guy?”

“He’s quite low on the ladder,” Finn shook his head, “you hate Seamus and by extension those who call him friend, you’ve been burned by Goyle’s loyalties.” He smirked, impressed with himself, “same way you avoid people who try too hard to impress you, Cedric’s attempt with the Goblet of Fire left you marked. That’s why only idiots are betting on Harry Potter.”

“I’m not comfortable with being analysed like this,” Kurt shook his head.

“Pine, Citrus and tobacco,” Finn grinned, “it could have just been you admitting that you’re in love with yourself but you don’t smoke enough to smell like it.” Finn snuggled up to him, “who will you be loving till you’re seventy?”

Kurt was silent for a moment as they climbed down to the lively quidditch pitch. Kurt started to speak but couldn’t form the words, he took a deep breath and tried again, “Finn, you know me.”

“Better than anyone,” he said proudly, “nobody can tell me differently.”

“And I’ve always eaten attention, right?”

“At every meal, snack and binge,” Finn snickered.

Kurt took a deep breath, “my thing right now is… this worked better when it wasn’t a thing.” He buried his head in his hands, “I liked it better when I had feelings for him and it was my thing, he didn’t even know.”

“How does that work?”

“I was going to tell him when I had defeated the Dark Lord,” Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “I was saving us as a reward but because Tracey is Precocious, he knows I feel the same way.”

“Go for it,” Finn smiled broadly, “these are not the times for delayed gratification.” He stopped walking and held Kurt by both hands, “If you feel anything that could grow to be love for him, don’t let him slip between your fingers.”

“Have I ever told you that you are literally the world’s greatest brother?” Kurt smiled broadly and hugged his brother, “where others might tell me to diminish my light or hate me for who I love, you encourage me. Everyone who departs from the norm deserves a brother like you, I love you.”

“Don’t make me blush,” Finn smiled bashfully, “I love you too.”

“I’ll never mention it if you promise not to mention it,” Kurt wagged his brow expectantly.

“I have one question,” Finn grinned malevolently, “maybe a follow up.”

“What is it?”

“Is it Neville Longbottom?” he took a deep breath, “are you breaking him and Mandy up?”

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “what would make you think such a thing?”

“Because you love him like you raised him,” Finn shrugged.

“And when he calls me mother,” Kurt shook his head in disappointment, “I call him baby. That, we can comfortably call platonic.”

“And you’re still strictly same-sex oriented?” Kurt nodded, “And it isn’t Harry Potter?”

“Only in Harry Potter’s dreams could he make a Bette Middle reference so obscure I would miss it,” Kurt scoffed, “So don’t you even dare ask me about him!”

“You’re quite clearly melting for him,” Finn grinned, “he must be hot.”

“I’m not falling for that,” Kurt smirked, “I’m top of our year.”

“He burns for you?” Finn smiled shyly, “at least tell me that much.”

“I thought you had a question and a follow up,” Kurt smirked, “It’s starting to feel more like the Spanish Inquisition.”

“Well,” Finn shrugged, “that’s as close as you’ll ever get to religion.”

Kurt gasped, “Denis and his disciples worship me as their living god. They’re playing around with names right now, what do you think of Life Pukers?”

“Are they the anti-Death Eaters?”

“Yes,” Kurt bowed his head in shame, “not the wittiest bunch.”

“Tell them to try something less literal…” Finn thought the matter over for a moment, “Kurt’s Kool Kids, you can spell ‘cool’ with a K and call yourselves-”

“The KKK?” Kurt shook his head, “miss me with that, we are not reclaiming that term, that’s America’s problem.”

“Okay,” the tall boy thought the matter over once more, “let’s go with something unrelated and untelling, the Sunshine Gang.”

“You don’t have to convince me,” Kurt shrugged, “tell Denis.”

They watched the quidditch match for a solid five minutes before Finn peered at him out the corner of his eye, “You must think you are so slick, don’t you?”

“I do, and I am,” Kurt grinned mischievously, “why do you ask?”

“Getting me all distracted with cute names for your legion of followers.”

“I don’t follow,” he shook his head.

Finn mirrored the action, “don’t play dumb with me, you’re top of our year.”

“For now,” Padma interjected.

“Not now baby,” Finn called over his shoulder, “we were in the middle of a conversation.”

“No, we weren’t.”

“We totally were,” Finn countered, “I was asking you about Dusty Trains Guy.”

“WE finished that conversation,” Kurt nodded, “I’m certain.”

“Is that so?” Finn smirked, “and how did it end?”

“You had a last question and a follow up,” Kurt explained, “You asked me if Neville was Dusty Trains Guy, and then you asked if I was still strictly same-sex oriented.” He pursed his lips, “both of which I answered to my fullest ability.”

Finn cursed under his breath, “Please.”

“Please what?”

“Just tell me,” Finn roared, “I need to know, you’re going to tell Hermione but not me? I’m your brother!”

“I’m not telling Hermione,” Kurt shook his head.

“Fine, Tracey,” Finn rolled his eyes, “Mandy, whoever the flavour of the month is.”

Kurt smiled, “three people know; myself, the gentleman in question and-”

“And who?” Finn groaned.

“That would make it too easy for you,” Kurt smirked, “wouldn’t it?”

Finn buried his face in his hands in exacerbation, “this is punishment, this is secret punishment just like Burt does it!”

~0~

Kurt was startled to find Hermione Granger in the restricted section of the library, they had not made plans to meet each other there but here they were none the less. He dropped into the seat beside her and smiled broadly.

She eyed him suspiciously, “What?”

“Nothing,” he beamed at her.

She narrowed her gaze and sniffed at him suspiciously, “doesn’t seem like nothing to me.”

“You’re my friend, right?” Kurt twiddled his thumbs as he spoke, “my good friend.”

“Really,” she chortled, “I would go as far as to say that you’re my best friend.”

“And our friendship was built to last?”

“Me and you will be together in paradise,” she grinned, “or we’ll haunt the same library.”

“Could we survive anything?”

“We will survive everything,” she assured him.

“What if I slept with Viktor Krum?”

“Why would you sleep with Viktor?” Hermione furrowed her brow suspiciously.

Kurt shrugged, “it’s a hypothetical.”

“Do you have a valid reason in this hypothetical?”

“You hyped him up too much and had to have a taste,” Kurt shrugged, “or something like that.”

She shrugged, “I’d be upset at Viktor for sure, he can’t bang my friends…” she chewed her lip for a moment, “I’d be over it in a month max with you.”

“Could you forgive me if I left?”

“Left what?”

“All of this,” Kurt shrugged, “if I left Hogwarts and started a fresh somewhere else.”

“What?” Hermione shut her book and shook her head, “You cannot leave me here with this mess!” she crossed her arms, “Can you imagine the havoc that Harry and Ron would create without you there to hold their hands at every stop.”

“Neville and Mandy would be there to help,” he tried to reassure her.

“It wouldn’t be the same,” she shook her head, “they would both want to be in charge and we both know that they are sorely lacking in leadership capabilities.” She took Kurt’s hand, “Harry thinks knowing your desired outcome is the same as having a plan.”

“You could take charge,” Kurt breathed heavily, “manipulate them into believing everything is their idea like we did with Dumbledore’s Army.”

“Do you remember how much brain power and energy we wasted satiating them?” she shook her head, “Why are you even asking me all these questions?”

“I’m a pureblood and so is… Dusty Trains Guy,” Kurt shrugged, “Maybe we should take our moment to be together as one.”

“Kurt-”

“Everyone keeps saying I should be with him,” he shrugged, “I could transfer to a different school and pretend not to know anything about Lord Voldemort.”

“First they came for the centaurs, and I did not speak out—because I was not a centaur,” Hermione countered, “Then they came for the Muggle-borns, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Muggle-born.”

Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “Then they came for the wizards of colour, and I did not speak out—because I was not a wizard of colour.” He hugged himself, “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

“I don’t think people are telling you to run from this fight,” she threw her arm over his shoulder, “if anything, they want you to fight harder because you have someone special.”

“To break every rule like I did when I had Cedric,” Kurt sobbed, his head in his hands.

“Well,” Hermione rubbed gentle circles into his back, “yes, to some degree.”

Kurt sobbed loudly, “I can’t, I don’t have Rowena Ravenclaw guiding me from the beyond anymore… it keeps me up at night, I had come to depend on her.”

“Kurt Elizabeth Hummel depends on nobody,” she countered in a voice cold as ice, “you had the echo of a memory whispering nonsensical garbage to you but it was only as valuable as you made it.”

“You’re just saying that,” Kurt wiped the tears from his eyes.

Hermione shook her head, “you had a dream about a children’s story and were able to deduce that it was connected to a muggle book and based in fact.” She shook her head, “with anyone else, that would have been grasping at straws but ninety percent of what we know is your work, not hers.”

“But I’m the one who was selfish enough to lose her,” Kurt crossed his arms indignantly, “and her wisdom. I need her to know where to go next.”

“I think that if you still needed her, she would have come back,” Hermione smiled, “You should look forward, or at least look for a Phoenician translator.”

“I’ve delegated the task,” Kurt rolled his eyes as he recomposed himself, “Hipster Weasley is on it.”

“That does not inspire confidence,” Hermione shook her head.

Kurt shrugged, “Not at all but he’s all I have since my parents left me and he hasn’t let me down yet.”

“You’re not serious though,” Hermione broached cautiously, “about running off into the sunrise with Dusty Trains Guy.”

“Why shouldn’t I be?” Kurt shrugged.

“Because you fucked us all,” Hermione’s face hardened, “You want to play ball? You fucked us!”

“I don’t und-”

“You contaminated the prophecy,” she explained, “remember that?”

“Oh, shit.”

“Yes,” she nodded, “You might have made Voldemort immortal, so you don’t get to run off with your biceped, poetic lover.”

“Thank you,” Kurt grinned at his best friend.

She smiled back at him, “you were never going anywhere, you did this for attention.”

“That’s what I’m thanking you for,” Kurt smirked, “I never realised how much attention Ron’s jealousy and my desire of suitors provided.”

“Your batteries were running on empty?”

“Girl,” he shook his head, “I can’t even handle the prolonged silences I am now forced to endure.”

“At least you have someone who loves you,” she smiled shyly.

“I don’t want to love someone new,” Kurt groaned, “I want to wake up in Cedric’s arms tomorrow, I want to be loved by him for the rest of my life.” He hugged himself once more, “I don’t want to start a whole new fire.”

“Baby,” Hermione shook her head, “the fire is burning, try as you might to ignore it.” She took his hand again, “Do you remember when you first suspected that you might love him?”

“It was just after I sent my parents away,” Kurt smiled unconsciously, “he came to see me, hugged me and said that he thought he heard me crying.”

“Wow,” Hermione grinned bashfully.

Kurt nodded, “he made me feel like I mattered for more than my encyclopaedic knowledge for the first time since Cedric.”

“What’s standing between you and him?”

“You’re the first person to ask me that,” Kurt bowed his head in profound contemplation, “I don’t know, nothing of substance.”

“As Celine Dion says, ‘He will see you can give him, everything he need, let you be the one to love him more’!”

“Solid Celine Dion reference,” Kurt smiled at his friend, “I have raised you well.”

“Am I ready to take the world on alone?”

Kurt shook his head, “not even close.”

“What Hermione furrowed her brow, “why?”

“If you were ready to be on your own, you would have brought Neville so I don’t have to repeat this conversation later.”

“Good one Devil,” Hermione nodded to him in congratulations.

Chapter Text

To whom it may concern,

I write this letter in two minds; I love you and want nothing more than to shout this from the rooftops for all hear, my other mind is more cautious. I have had a great love once before in this short life, the very circumstances that prevent me from pursuing my feelings for you were born the day my last love died. I hope you can understand how it is that I can feel like I’ve found in you the next great love of my life but still feel afraid to pursue any avenue with you.

I have known the ultimate loss; I wish I could say that Cedric left me for someone who was prettier, smarter or nicer but to know that he didn’t leave me of his own volition is what hurts most. To know that the young man who loved me would still be by my side if he had the choice hurts. To think of you in the same manner devastates me. To have had and lost you would be too great a loss for my short existence.

In this moment, I face a Catch-22 in hindsight; If I had let things be, this would not be an issue. If I had let things play out as they wished, you would be mostly safe from the horror which I have cultivated. The main issue with that scenario is that I would be missing out on this love that has grown independently between the two of us. Am I expected to truly dwell on the past in this way? To regret actions that I know to be right? I sometimes believe that loving you is my punishment for interfering where I did not belong, that would be an easy way out. In reality, I know that our love is the ultimate reward.

What I  mean to say is that I love you green eyes, I cannot deny this any longer. To love you may be my undoing but I have acted selflessly for far too long. Wont’ you be mine?

Yours Always,

Kurt Elizabeth Hummel

P.S. I Love You.

Chapter Text

Kurt gave himself the once over in the mirror, blowing himself a kiss and pursing his lips with satisfaction; he was smoking hot and nobody could tell him differently. He grabbed his purse and left his room, shooting himself a seductive wink in the mirror before he went. Waiting for Kurt at the Slytherin Dungeon entrance, dressed in a tux that he’d borrowed from Finn, was Ron.

“I like your suit,” the boy beamed at him.

Kurt smiled, “I wish you had let me alter yours.” Kurt straightened the jacket on the shoulders, “it could look quite exceptional if only it fit just a little better.”

“Then it wouldn’t fit Finn afterwards,” The boy shook his head, “That wouldn’t be right.”

“Again,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “Finn hasn’t worn this suit and I am almost certain that he never will.”

“Oh,” Ron nodded to himself as realisation dawned, “It’s that kind of loan.”

“I initially used the term gift,” Kurt countered.

“That you did,” Ron nodded to himself, “you know I can’t accept a gift like this.”

“Of course, I know that,” Kurt nodded vigorously, “what are we, savages? It needs to be tailored before you can even think of wearing it again.”

“I meant-” he let out a tired sigh, “it’s too grand.”

“It’s only Ralph Lauren,” Kurt shook his head, “think of it as pay back for all those sweaters your mother knits for me at Christmas time.”

Ron nodded as they stood at the door to the Potions Master’s solar, “thank you.”

“And that is how you accept a gift,” Kurt smirked. He handed his compact to Ron, “Hold this.”

“Your wish is my command,” the boy bowed.

Kurt adjusted his black lace tiara so that the arches lined up perfectly with the contours of his face, “How do I look?”

“The suit says Kurt Hummel,” Ron gaped at him, “but the headpiece says ‘Better than your everyday Dark Lord’!”

“It better,” Kurt smirked, “it’s Westwood.”

“That doesn’t mean anything to me,” his friend shrugged.

Kurt clicked his tongue in disgust, “I’ll try not to hold it against you.” Kurt hooked his arm in Ron’s, “Let’s do this. People need to see me looking deadlier than the killing curse.”

Ron opened the door and Kurt entered the party, all eyes were glued on him in his over the top ensemble. Even alumni of the Slug Club were captivated by his presence, a chorus of whispers making their way around the room as those who didn’t know him tried to discover what they were missing out on, and those who knew him and his antics offered their usual commentary or praise.

Professor Slughorn walked right up to the pair, abandoning an ongoing conversation in their favour, “Mr Hummel, you’re looking quite the spectacle.”

“Thank you,” Kurt pursed his lips as one of his peers handed him a flute of champagne. Kurt took a slow and leisurely sip of his drink, “And thank you for having me.”

“I could never think to have one of my supper parties without a wizard like yourself,” the man chuckled merrily, “and who do we have with us?”

“Ron Weasley,” the lanky boy answered, “I’m in your sixth-year potions class.”

“And a dear friend to myself, Ms Granger and Harry,” Kurt added, schmoozing on Ron’s behalf, “Also Gryffindor’s star keeper.”

“Ah,” He shook Ron’s hand with little interest, “yes.” He turned to Kurt, “Mr Hummel, have you ever considered playing for the Slytherin Quidditch House team?”

“Me?” Kurt gasped, shock marking his face.

“Yes,” the man leaned forward, whispering his words conspiratorially, “you know, both of your parents were quite proficient players in their own right.”

“I might have heard tell,” Kurt shrugged, playing coy.

“Rudolphus was a beater unparalleled by any in speed and agility,” the man’s eyes grew bright as if he were recalling the golden age, “strapping, with the shoulders of a man before he was fifteen. And an arm that could have gone pro, that had earned him his spot on the shelf.”

“Is that so?”

The man seemed to remember himself, “that was before this business with… had to cull the shelf a good deal after that.”

Kurt nodded slowly, exchanging an empty flute of champagne for a full one, “between the two of us,” Kurt matched the man’s conspiratorial ton from earlier perfectly, “Did Bellatrix ever make the shelf?”

“Bella Black was a marvellous student,” he nodded, “she was one that I was truly proud of, her career at The Daily Prophet was only beginning when she got mixed up in all that nonsense, but she was a star pupil.”

The man thought back on his former student with reverence and awe, “she was top of her year in almost every subject she took, she had a thirst for knowledge and a drive to learn.” He let out a tired breath, “a Quidditch keeper of note. I made her House Prefect without hesitation, and when the time came I advocated for her to be made Head Girl.”

He let out a tired sigh, “she was an exceptional young woman, broke my heart to take her picture down.” He let out a steadying breath and smiled mischievously, “between the two of us, hers is the only one of that lot I kept.”

“Thank you,” Kurt smiled politely, “it isn’t often that people want to remember the people that they were before they became monsters. Having never had the opportunity to know them at all, it gives me comfort to think of them as more rounded individuals.”

“It has been a pleasure,” he smiled, “it is always good to be asked, especially by a student of your calibre of character.”

“Stop,” Kurt blushed, “you flatter me.”

“It is a pleasure to watch someone like yourself express themselves in such an open manner,” the man grinned and his jowls quivered; his teeth looking like tiny, white prisoners in his immense mouth, “If I were a man, fifty years younger and a good few stone lighter, I might try my hand at a look so daring.”

“You’re too kind,” Kurt shook his head, playing at bashful, “I simply dress how I feel on the inside.”

“Good for you,” the man applauded him with great vigour.

Kurt smiled politely, “My date seems to be getting antsy,” Kurt gestured to Ron, we’ll catch up over the course of the night.

Kurt was less than impressed by the décor of the event, Professor Slughorn was no slouch but his winter decorations paled in comparison to Professor Flitwick’s annual masterpieces. This didn’t mean that the man had failed to go the whole nine yards when one considered this was merely a dinner with students; especially considering that people passed the NOut like Harry Potter would be present. But it was surely lacking in Professor Flitwick’s signature touch of whimsey, their charms professor had an unrivalled eye for frozen centre pieces, red, gold, spruce and lillies.

Kurt hugged Hermione while she and Luna gushed over his tiara, “You look… I have no words.”

“He looks like a sexy demon,” Luna added, “Something I would imagine Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as wearing.”

“I don’t know what to say to that,” Kurt furrowed his brow, “is it supposed to be a compliment? I love you Luna but what does a compliment from someone as… uniquely dressed as you mean? Am I supposed to feel good about myself right now?”

“You’re funny,” she giggled, “Harry Potter was looking for you.”

Kurt quirked a curious brow, “Harry Potter was looking for me?”

“Yes,” she nodded, “he spent the first ten minutes after he arrived trying to catch a glimpse of you over the tops of the crowd’s heads.”

“That sounds like it was adorable,” Kurt smirked, suppressing a chuckle.

Hermione nodded, “Sickeningly so, why won’t he finish puberty and achieve human height?”

“Now, now,” Luna giggled, “Play nice.”

“The décor is amazing,” Hermione mused, “look at the size of that spruce.”

“I find swiss pine to be a superior Christmas tree,” Kurt turned his nose up at the comment, “the smell is much more festive.”

“Would you like a cigarette with that?” Hermione smirked and Kurt chewed his lip.

“Am I missing something?” Luna looked between the pair suspiciously, “do tell!”

Hermione’s smile grew more spirited, “should I?”

Kurt finished his champagne and got a fresh flute, “Wherever is that Potter boy?”

“When Kurt smelled amortantia, it smelled of Pine, Citrus and tobacco,” Hermione explained.

Luna nodded for a moment, “what else do we know?”

“Kurt called him ‘Green Eyes’ in a letter confessing his love,” Hermione squealed excitedly.

“Green eyes,” Ron turned away from the buffet table for a moment, “Are you talking about Harry?”

“Where did he get off to?” Kurt looked around the room for his friend.

“Harry?” Neville asked as he and Mandy approached, “He was asking about you earlier.”

“So I keep hearing,” Kurt nodded, “Where did they go?”

Mandy shrugged, “Lisa made a big deal of telling me she was going to the bathroom, and then they both disappeared. They could have gotten anywhere by now but they probably went to the library.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, “I don’t know whether to wait and be drunk when they get back or to go look for them.”

“Get the best of both worlds,” Mandy handed him a charged champagne flute, “go look for them while you’re drunk.”

“That is a terrible idea,” Neville shook his head, handing Kurt a freshly charged glass, “But like a fire, I can’t look away.”

“That’s because I’ve been working on a way to use fire to hypnotise people,” Kurt hiccupped, “it has not been successful, fire is not the answer to everything.”

“That’s a good level,” Hermione took his glass away and replaced it with a full one, “come back if you finish this glass before you find them.”

Kurt pointed to the door, “here I go.”

He wandered the dark, deserted halls of the castle for five minutes or so; he hummed a Toni Braxton song as he tried classroom and closet doors to see if one would give way. Finally one opened and it took Kurt a moment to realise what he was seeing, he dropped his glass when it dawned on him what horror stood before him.

Harry Potter’s pale buttocks were tensing and releasing, Lisa’s legs were wrapped around his waist, and they were fornicating, “I hope you’re using protection.”

Kurt shut the door and screwed his eyes shut; he would never unsee the horror that had just befallen him, and he had to consider whether it was worse than when he had watched Harry kill Professor Quirrell with his bare hands. Kurt buffed his nails on his shirt, waiting for the young couple to finish their business.

It wasn’t long before Lisa exited the classroom, adjusting the hem of her flapper style dress, “Kurt.”

“Hi,” Kurt nodded and grinned at her, “Get yours!”

She fixed her hair and stepped into her thong before walking away, “see you in a bit.”

Harry appeared in the doorway, a scowl on his face, “I don’t want to hear it.”

“You were looking for me,” Kurt shrugged defensively, “I’m not sure what it is I’m not supposed to say but I promise to try my hardest.”

“I know you’re not fond of Lisa but we made an adult decision,” Harry crossed his arms with pride, “So I don’t want to hear you bash her.”

“You’re the one who is supposed to bash her,” Kurt smirked, “I don’t care.”

“Well,” Harry was silent for a moment, “I wasn’t expecting that, I still have more stuff prepared.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, “Let’s pretend you changed my mind for the better, address whatever matter you wanted to discuss with me so desperately earlier in the evening, and then I can go carry on drinking.”

“You sound like your grandmother,” Harry giggled.

“Not a bad person to sound like,” he shrugged, “Ever seen Oma wanting for anything? She found someone rich to spend her life with and her glass is never empty.”

“She is a very fortunate person,” Harry shrugged.

“She is that bitch,” Kurt nodded.

Harry nodded for a moment before shaking himself out of his stupor, “So, Dumbledore has been showing me memories that he has gathered over the years that relate to Voldemort with the hope that it might help us defeat him.”

“Is that what’s happening in your story line?” Kurt rolled his eyes, his disinterest evident.

Harry nodded, “His mother’s family was hard core crazy, his uncle and grandfather were imprisoned for attacking a ministry official. His mother used love potions to trick his father, a muggle, into marrying her but he left her when she was pregnant.” Harry explained with some excitement in his voice, “she died during childbirth and he grew up in an orphanage, where Dumbledore found him.”

“Really?” Kurt asked enthusiastically, “You guys have cracked the case wide open, I should abandon my research in favour of finding out mundane facts about Tom Riddle’s childhood.”

“I get the feeling that you aren’t impressed,” Harry narrowed his gaze suspiciously, “your tone is quite convincing so I can’t tell…”

“Well,” Kurt kept his tone the same, “In four months you’ve discovered the same amount of information as I did during one evening in the Chamber of Secrets and an afternoon at the Ministry for Magic.”

“I see,” Harry nodded, “What do you have?”

“A codex in Alexandria that’ll surely lead to the deplorable word,” Kurt smirked, “just as soon as we manage to translate that dialect of Phoenician.”

“So, samesies,” Harry teased, “except I know that it was Slughorn who told Voldemort about the exact magic that keeps him from dying, I know exactly what most of their conversation was. I’m going to use that.”

Kurt scoffed, “You don’t think Professor Slughorn remembers that memory perfectly,” Kurt quirked an expectant brow, “it probably haunts him daily because of the power it gave Voldemort.”

“So, he’ll want to help.”

“Or he’ll want to protect himself,” Kurt shook his head, “this will either go really well or it’ll be a horrible disaster.”

“I’m going to roll the dice,” Harry shrugged, “you’ve got my back.” They made their way back to the party but stopped short of the final turn, “Do you hear that?”

Kurt strained his ears and catches what Harry was eluding to, “whispering?”

“Snape,” Harry clarified as they listened closely.

“Let me help you,” Snape asked.

“No,” the voice countered, somewhat frantic, “he chose me, he trusts me.”

“And he would want you to take my help if it means getting the job done.”

“No,” the voice spat back, and for the first time Kurt recognized the voice as Draco’s, “You only mean to steal my glory, do not interfere.”

Professor Snape was silent for a moment, “Do you know that I made your mother the unbreakable vow? That I would do everything in my power to help you along in your endeavors.”

“That sounds like your problem.”

~0~

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

01st September 1000 AD

06:24 PM

She was less than impressed by the castle which she had called home all her life than her peers who were awed by every detail which had grown mundane to her. The first years milled up the stairs and filled the antechamber outside the Great hall as they did every year, normally she would be seated next to her mother at this time but this was her year to begin her formal education.

She leaned over to the boy with the coffee coloured skin who stood beside her, he had taken the train and had been talking animatedly to anyone who would listen since they had arrived, “Do you know who he is?”

The boy followed her finger to a striking young man with chestnut coloured hair and silver eyes, he grinned broadly, “That there be Edward Tuft-Waldon, he’ll be the Baron of Kesteven before he finishes at Hogwarts.”

“Oh?” she quirked a curious brow.

The boy nodded, “Yes, his family is old, Purebloods from Germany.”

“You are informed,” she nodded to herself.

“That I am Ms Ravenclaw,” he nodded and extended a friendly hand, “Bertram Colin Pavinsky, everyone calls me Peeves on account that I tend to get on people’s nerves. What with the amount that I tend to talk and all.”

“I see,” she nodded mindlessly, not looking away from Edward.

Peeves smiled broadly, “I see you’ve taken a fancy to the future Baron, yes? I don’t blame you, he is cute!”

“Oh,” her attention briefly turned to her new friend, “that’s nice.”

“He is definitely Slytherin material,” Peeves nodded to himself, “he has the pedigree for it and… look at him, that is future Head boy material.”

“Slytherin material?” she quirked a curious brow, “my mother always says that Salazar is a brilliant man that I can learn a lot from but should never be like.”

Peeves shrugged, “I’m almost certain you’re going to have to call him Professor Slytherin from now on.”

Helena nodded, realising that all her familiarities with the staff of Hogwarts would work against her when the time came for her to make friends with her peers. She smiled at her friend, “which house are you hoping for?”

“I’ve always had a fondness for books and knowing things, so Ravenclaw makes sense for me,” the boy spoke a mile a minute, “but I have a sense for adventure that only Gryffindor can quench, even if Gryffindor isn’t known for producing the most successful wizards.”

“I honestly have no idea how I’m supposed to choose a house,” she shook her head.

“Choose?” Peeves’ eyes grew wide, “I thought we were assigned our houses.”

“Most people are,” she agreed, “but a little known secret is that you have input in where you end up, you can ask for a specific house.”

The boy nodded, then shook his head, “I’m going to leave being responsible for my potential unhappiness to the system.”

“Knowing I could change the course of my life would drive me crazy,” Helena shook her head, “I’m about to have the debate of my life.”

They were led into the great hall, Godric greeted them and welcomed them to Hogwarts. The man flourished his crimson robes as he spoke about how the house system worked, how they should consider their houses to be their families, Helena noted his omission of her mother’s closer on the importance of following the school rules in pursuit of success- she wrinkled her nose at that.

She watched as students were called out one by one, flashing a thumbs up Peeves when his turn came up. The boy walked confidently up the stairs, seated himself in the chair and allowed the leather hat to be placed on his head of tight black curls, “Gryffindor!”

“Helena Ravenclaw,” Godric called out, there were whispers all through the great hall. Helena tried to mirror Peeves’ confidence but must have fallen short because Godric whispered, “You’ll do great Sweetheart.”

“Thanks,” she whispered softly.

The hat she had watched with unabating curiosity for all her years at Hogwarts was placed on her head, ‘We meet at last, young Helena.’

‘You know who I am?’

‘Yes,’ the hat seemed almost to laugh at her insinuation to the contrary, ‘Your mother cares deeply for you, I have counselled her on many matters and it seems that you are always on her mind.’

‘The ultimate distraction is what she called me,’ she countered.

‘You are very much like your mother,’ the hat trumped her, ‘you could learn a great deal from her.’

‘Please don’t put me in her house,’ Helena begged.

‘There is nowhere else for you,’ the hat countered, ‘you will not go with Godric or Salazar, and you would not grow under the tutelage of Helga.’

‘Please, I’ll go with Salazar.’

‘And break your mother’s heart?’ she knew there was no responding to that, “Better be, Ravenclaw!”

~0~

Kurt was seated in the lounge of The Burrow as people were speeding all around him, getting Christmas niceties organised- his offers to help had been rebuffed by Mrs Weasley. He was sipping his champagne when the room was invaded by Andromeda Tonks in a floor length silk dress, she was followed by a jolly and plump man with grey hair- the flank was brought up by Nymphadora.

“Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” Andromeda kissed him on the cheek, “you look amazing.”

“I can only say the same,” Kurt held his breath for a moment as he gawked at her body, “I die.”

“That’s what they all say until they’re all actually dead,” Nymphadora scoffed.

Andromeda rolled her eyes, “don’t mind her, she’s been quite the pill for the last few months.”

“Have I now?” Tonks countered.

“Yes,” Andromeda turned to her daughter, “I don’t understand why you won’t just move out of my house if you hate me so much.”

“Because not everything is about you,” Tonks snapped, “Ever consider that?”

“Ladies,” the man interjected, “play nice.”

A wicked smile spread across Andromeda’s beautiful face and- in that moment- she looked like Bellatrix, “Yes Darling, why don’t you carry that little torch of yours all the way to Rome.”

Three of four jaws in the room went slack in shock, “Dora.” The man called out after her but she didn’t pause, storming off. He turned to his Aunt, “Dromeda!”

“What?” she reclined onto the day, “she needs to grow up.” She shook her head and all of Druella broke through her surface, “If she acts like a child then I’ll be more inclined to take childish jabs at her.”

“You sound like your mother,” Kurt teased her.

She chuckled, “don’t we all spend our lives slowly turning into our parents?”

“If you agree to drinking the matter, then I will concede to turning into my grandmother,” Kurt smirked, not being specific as to which one he meant.

“Agreed.”

“Perfect,” Kurt shook his wand like a bell and chiming filled the room, “Ginny!”

The preteen girl appeared in the doorway to the kitchen with a scowl on her face, “What is it Kurt?”

“Could we have a glass for Andromeda?” he then pointed to the ice bucket just outside arm’s length from him, “then, could you charge our glasses? Please and Thank You.”

Just as soon as Ginny disappeared, the man who had arrived with the Tonks women reappeared, “You’re going to have to talk to her, she’s hysterical and talking about moving out to find an apartment in London.”

“Good luck with that,” Kurt scoffed, “the housing market will send her running home.”

“I’m sorry,” the man turned to Kurt, “But who are you?”

“Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” Kurt lazily extended a hand that forced the man to come to him.

“Ted Tonks,” the man nodded politely.

Kurt gaped, “the Ted Tonks?”

“I don’t know what that means,” the man shook his head.

“Druella is like… obsessed,” Kurt gushed as Ginny filled his glass, “she says you’re thoughtful and kind.”

“That is surprising,” the man grinned, “considering I’ve never met her.” He eyed Kurt suspiciously, “How do you know her?”

“I’m her grandson,” Kurt shrugged the fact off casually, “by way of Bellatrix.”

“Bellatrix LeStrange?” his eyes grew wide.

“The name isn’t that common,” Kurt shook his head, “but yes, that Bellatrix.”

“Well,” the man nodded to himself, “I’ll be.”

“Be babes,” Kurt smirked.

“I remember the day I told her that,” she downed her champagne, “it was the last time I spoke to my mother, the last thing I said to her.”

“Wow,” Kurt gaped at her, “seems that you both remember it well.”

“How could I forget?” she chuckled, “it was the morning of my wedding, she came to see me at the the three broomsticks inn and ask if I was certain I wanted to make the choice I was making.”

“And that’s what you told her?”

“First I proclaimed proudly that I loved him,” she pulled her husband into her arms and, for the first time, Kurt saw her softer side, “because he was many things but chief among those was that he was thoughtful and kind.”

“That is beautiful,” Kurt flashed a small smile.

“The last thing she said to me made Amelia cry,” Andromeda smirked, “she said, ‘I hope the happiness he gives you is worth everything that you’re giving up’.” She bowed her head and kissed the crown of her husband’s head, “she relieved me of any doubt with those words.”

Kurt had to take a deep breath to keep his vision from fogging up, “Druella and yourself have quite a bit to talk about, you clearly cared for each other deeply.”

“Nobody and nothing made my mother act the way she chose to act,” Andromeda shook her head, “she had her own wealth and Education, status and influence; she could have stood against my father to no consequence, but she chose to shut me out like everyone else.”

“Your mother is a mess,” Kurt nodded, “But you have her to hate, you should at least find out if anything has changed in the twenty-three years since you last spoke.”

“That’s cute but your mother is dead, my mother pretends I’m dead.”

“Fair,” Kurt shrugged.

Andromeda shrugged, “but she never beat me, isn’t that the standard?”

“Kurt,” a set of hand rested on his shoulders, he looked up at Ron’s freckled face, “you can come sit for dinner.”

“Get the ice bucket,” he got to his feet and held out an inviting hand for Andromeda, “Shall we?”

Ron led them out of the house to a large dome tent. The interior of the tent was draped in fine white silks, was filled with short tables surrounded by leather ottomans with centrepieces of white calla lilies. Ron instructed Kurt to remove his shoes and his feet sank into the fluffiest white rug, Kurt let out an involuntary moan.

The tent smelled of cinnamon and fresh pine needles, tears welled in Kurt’s eyes, “This can’t be for me.”

“You couldn’t have Christmas in Morocco or with your family,” Ron spoke for them, “this doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what you deserve.”

Chapter Text

Harry:

Aunt Petunia was no slouch when it came to pulling together an elaborate and decadent Christmas party; she would cook a meal you would be glad to have leftovers of for as long as they would last in a house with Dudley and Uncle Vernon, and she always decorated the her house to the highest calibre of festivities. Harry had also been party to Kurt’s catered lunch the year before but this event was something like he had never seen before in his relatively short life. Today, Harry had seen how the sausage was made and it had changed how he saw parties for the rest of his life; the Weasleys had put together a Christmas party intended to rebuttal Kurt’s soiree the previous year.

A large tent had been erected in the field next to the burrow with the centre mast being replaced with a large pine tree, decorations had been prepared to the finest detail, Mrs Weasley was preparing a menu of foods she had been complaining about for the better part of the morning, and everyone was hard at work- everyone except for one person, Kurt had been instructed to pamper himself and get drunk on champagne. Keeping the trains running on time was Fleur Delacour; she had been up in the wee hours of the morning and had put them all to work. She was not a merciful supervisor and was almost as finicky as Kurt was, maybe he had been asked who should take his place at the helm because it was clear to Harry that their similarities did not end with their rosy complexion or speaking French.

After a long day of work- he had been helping Hipster Weasley decorate the tree, a task neither of them seemed to have the eye for. Harry was dressed in his Christmas sweater as he followed Kurt into the tent to see the finished product for the first time. Like the Hudson-Hummel house, the decorations were almost exclusively white but the underlying theme was different; this seemed like something more exotic.

Harry took his seat opposite Kurt, between Ron and an unknown, rotund man. Kurt looked impressed by their work, whether that meant that he thought of their work as good or simply that it was better than what he thought them capable of was unclear. He had complemented the décor and had leaned over his neighbours to thank everyone. He sipped his champagne and chatted animatedly to the people around him, Harry didn’t seem able to keep up with the conversation at the table- Tonks was still in the same funk she’d been in since Sirius died.

“How are we this evening?” the man beside him spoke.

“Very well, thank you,” he nodded, extending an inviting hand, “Harry Potter, and how are you?”

“Well, as well as one can be these days I suppose,” the man’s smile was like a thousand and one hugs, putting all of Harry’s fears to rest, “Ted Tonks.”

“This is my dad,” Tonks explained, she seemed to glare from her mother to Kurt’s direction, “You remember my mum?”

“Andromeda,” Harry nodded, “How lovely to see you again, have you been well?”

“I think Ted said it best,” she sipped her champagne and Harry wondered where his champagne was. She gestured in Kurt’s direction, “do you have any idea why we’re celebrating your friend?”

“No,” he shook his head, “I was woken this morning and put to work with little to no explanation. I suppose it could be because he had the Weasleys over last year, his family went into hiding this year and so I think they didn’t want him to be alone.”

“Oh,” Andromeda glared at her husband, he refused to meet her gaze, “his family is in hiding because there is a recently resurrected mad man who would seek to persecute them? Or possibly their crazed in laws who would relish the opportunity to prune their family tree?”

“Dromeda,” his voice was soothing but her gaze continued to burn a hole into the back of his skull.

“They aren’t publicly working as the Head of the Muggle Liaison Office?”

“What kind of example would I be setting for Dora if I ran at the first sign of danger?” the man turned to his wife and held her hand, “I could never live with that kind of cowardice if I taught my daughter to run at the first sign of trouble.”

Harry could hear an imaginary Kurt rolling his eyes and muttering ‘Gryffindor’ under his breath in the back of his mind, the real Kurt did not weigh in because he was too engrossed in his conversation with Lupin, Charlie, Ron featuring a standing Fred and George- something wasn’t right about that picture.

Andromeda shook her head, “Other than encouraging your daughter to go with you… do you want to die? Leave me alone?”

“Never.”

“I’ll be the Second Widow Black,” she smirked, “children will tell scary stories about me.”

Harry felt like he was intruding on an intimate moment, he turned to the other end of the table to find Kurt climbing over Charlie as George held a blue and white box just out of reach. Kurt got a hold of the gift and smirked victoriously, “What’d you get me from Tiffany & Co?”

“Where?” they all looked confused but none more than Kurt when opened the box and it sighed with pleasure, George attempted to salvage the moment with a kiss on the cheek, “Surprise!”

“What is going on?” Kurt furrowed his brow.

Fred knelt to Kurt’s level, “On multiple occasions we have seen you open boxes just like this one and gasp with joy.”

“So,” Ron grinned, “And so we thought, what if the box was happy to see you instead?”

“We can’t guarantee who thought of it,” George raised his hands in surrender.

Fred leaned forward, “But we can make you certain guarantees as the manufacturers.”

“It’ll always be as happy to see you as we are,” they chorused.

“It’s like a puppy without the cost or responsibility,” Kurt gushed, “I love it.”

Charlie chuckled, “he’s just being nice, the box usually has diamonds.”

“This is better than diamonds,” Kurt shoved the older boy, “neither have any intrinsic value but the value given to this box isn’t set by society but by the thought that went into making this gift.”

Lupin leaned forward and opened Kurt’s hand, placing an indistinguishable coin or pin in his hand and closing Kurt’s hand slowly, “Merry Christmas.”

~0~

Harry cozied up to Kurt and smiled bashfully, “What is it?”

“What would you say if I told you that I needed your help?” Harry batted his lashes innocently.

Kurt shut his Alchemy textbook, “I would pretend to be shocked.”  He switched to the seat opposite and leaned forward in his new seat, “then I would ask you how you screwed the pooch this time.”

“Why would you think it would be me?” the boy gaped at him, “Why not Ron?”

Kurt smirked, “Ron has been well behaved for the larger part of a year.”

Harry seemed to mull over what he was being told, then the lights came on in his mind, “He has, hasn’t he.” He scrunched up his face, “Why is that?”

“He must have outgrown whatever was holding him back from being his true self,” Kurt shrugged, Harry suspected that there was something that the other boy wasn’t telling him but chose not to press the issue.

The boy who lived narrowed his gaze, “is that a dig at how short I am?”

“No, Honey no,” Kurt shook his head, he took a swig from his hip flask, “Not everything is about you.” He held it out to Harry, who took a cautious sip and smiled as the warm brown liquid went cascading down his throat, “how can I help you?”

“You were right about Slughorn,” Harry hung his head in shame, “I pushed all the wrong buttons and now he won’t talk to me.”

“The plan was floored,” Kurt placed a reassuring hand on Harry’s knee, “it wasn’t your fault, just blame Professor Dumbledore.”

“That seems like a cop out,” Harry shook his head, “I’m the one who heard your warning and actively chose to ignore it. The events played out exactly as you said they would,” he grinned malevolently, “are you gifted with the third sight?”

“No,” Kurt chuckled, “I’m also not in the beyond, nor is my aura pulsing.”

“Pity,” Harry shrugged, a wag of his brow hinting at his meaning.

Kurt gaped at him, “Harry James Potter!”

“What?”

Kurt glared at him, “You completely failed to deliver that joke, you’re supposed to make a reference to throbbing before making it sexual.”

“Wow,” Harry scoffed, “what got up your ass?”

“Do you want a list?” Kurt challenged.

“Okay,” Harry chuckled as he took another swig from the flask, “that was a good one.” He eyed the hip flask suspiciously, “this never seems to get empty.”

“Bottomless extension charm,” Kurt smirked.

“I can see a bottom from here,” Harry countered, extending his index finger in Kurt’s direction.

“Okay, Fuck you!” Kurt growled, “There’s nothing wrong with being on the bottom, I am sure I will love it and it will be the most fulfilling thing I ever do! So I will not be shamed, my refusal to be shamed does not give you the right to speak so freely of my potential sexual exploits.” Kurt got to his feet and snatched his hipflask back, “Please get out of my compartment.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry pulled Kurt down into the seat beside him, “I’m sorry Kurt. I’m sorry you’re a virgin who’s chance to finish first was taken by Lord Voldemort.”

“You’re just pushing your luck today,” Kurt scoffed.

He shrugged innocently, “Sorry, I got carried away.”

“It’s almost like you’ve forgotten that I know a curse that can break all your bones,” Kurt shook his head.

“I remember,” Harry swallowed loudly, “Hipster Weasley told us about how he saw you using it on Rebastan.”

“And that was entry level usage,” Kurt let a small threat creep into his voice and Harry’s joints ached.

“We let ourselves get side tracked,” Harry shook off the ominous air that filled the train car, “How do I fix things with Slughorn?”

“You need an in road,” Kurt nodded to himself, “Come to him with your natural curiosities and an apology.”

“My natural curiosities?”

“Tell him that you’re curious because he killed your parents,” Kurt explained, the eyeroll audible in his voice, “remind him that he is the only person you can ask because Professor Dumbledore has an agenda and Hagrid has too much anger.”

Harry nodded his head in understanding, “You want me to manipulate him?”

“How far have you gotten without manipulating anyone?” Kurt quirked a curious brow, “whenever I’ve been ahead, it has been because I manipulated someone into helping push me forward.”

“How do we push forward?”

Kurt smirked, “let’s co-ordinate dates and get this over with.”

“I thought you were working on your own thing,” Harry smirked.

Kurt pursed his lips, “I am open to the possibility of being wrong.”

“What’s the plan?” Harry nodded to himself as he spoke.

“You show up while I’m consulting,” Kurt smiled to himself, “you make nice, I ask the hard questions.”

“That easy?”

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “the tone has to be perfect, the questions worded ever so delicately and Professor Slughorn in the optimum mood.”

“It’s starting to sound less easy,” he swallowed heavily.

“I want something from you in return,” Kurt grabbed Harry’s hand in both of his and started to emanate warmth, “I want a promise.”

“You, want something from me?” Harry furrowed his brow, “what is it?”

“I want you to help me save Draco,” Kurt whispered the words but they sounded like shouts in Harry’s mind.

“You…” Harry shook his head in an attempt to clear the fog, “what?”

Kurt took a deep breath, “Draco has been painted into a corner by his father’s actions, he never stood a chance at being one of the good guys.” Kurt slowly let out what was left of the breath, “if it has come to him taking the dark mark and completing this mission for the dark lord in an effort to rehabilitate his family’s image then the price is too high.”

“You want to talk about prices being too high,” Harry shook his head, “Do you have any idea what it is they want Draco to do?”

Kurt nodded, “And Professor Snape has made the unbreakable vow in his capacity as a spy for the same reason I am asking you to help me.”

“You would let Professor Dumbledore die?”

“I would kill him myself if Professor Snape’s loyalties were to prevent him from following through," Kurt admitted, his breath choppy. He took a deep steadying breath, “he’s dying.”

“What?”

“You’ve seen his hand getting worse but refused to accept that it would kill him,” Kurt shook his head hopelessly.

“No,” Harry mirrored Kurt’s body language, “there must be something you can do.”

“That he’s lived this long is a testament to all we have done,” Kurt countered as tears filled Harry’s eyes.

He hugged himself and let his tears fall, “I can’t believe it.”

“You’ve seen him grow frail, you know it is inevitable,” Kurt threw his arms over him, “let’s have some good come out of his death.” As Kurt held him, his tears dried and his breathing levelled, “It is literally his dying wish.”

“Is this because Draco is a child or because he’s your…” Harry let the words hang in the air but Kurt was not picking up what he was putting down, “your family. Is it because you’re family?”

Kurt shook his head, “Draco isn’t my family, none of them are.” Kurt gave a small and weathered smile, “aren’t his youth and innocence enough?”

“Is he though,” Harry contorted his face questioningly, “innocent, that is.”

Kurt nodded, “right now he’s innocent enough.”

Harry nodded to himself, “can I ask you an unrelated question?”

“I don’t know if I should be afraid.”

“If I’m out of line, you can punch me in the face.”

Kurt furrowed his brow, “there is like a seventy percent chance I will punch you in the face.”

“I’m going to take that risk,” Harry nodded to himself.

“Your funeral,” Kurt shrugged, “I look forward to punching you in the face.”

“So,” Harry took a deep and steadying breath, “if this Dusty Trains Guy has green eyes, and it isn’t me because I have written you zero letters.” He took a deep breath, “based on your behaviour on Christmas, is it Lupin?”

~0~

Hermione:

Hermione was waiting to greet Kurt, Harry and Ron in the castle foyer, “Why is Harry covered in blood?”

“Because I’m an idiot and I deserve it,” Harry nodded to himself, “And I need to be punished for a little bit longer before I can fix it.”

She gaped at him as he walked away, “what happened?”

“Damned if I know,” Ron shrugged, “I left him with Kurt and when I returned he was bleeding.” He eyed Kurt cautiously, “not that I’m implying that Kurt had anything to do with it.”

“I punched him,” Kurt admitted with a dismissive shrug, “we made a deal.”

“What kind of deal ends with one of your better friends bleeding?” she heard herself scolding.

Kurt rolled his eyes, “Harry came up with the terms.”

“Were the terms fair?” she asked, he glared at her and she knew the question had been unfair, “Sorry, I’m getting the feeling that this is how Harry got punched.”

“He wanted to ask a question,” Kurt led her down the stairs to the Slytherin Dungeon, “and his question was about Green Eyes?”

“What about him?” she gushed.

“He had formulated a theory,” Kurt shrugged, he recited the Slytherin Dungeon password, “he wanted to test its veracity in a winner takes all bet.”

“That stupid fool,” she shook her head.

“Harry or Ron?” Tracey smirked as she and Pansy joined Kurt and Hermione on the walk down the boys’ corridor to his room.

“Dare I say,” Pansy spat to ward off evil spirits, “Weasley has been behaving his year.”

Kurt nodded, “it was Harry.”

“Is this why he was bleeding?” she smirked.

Hermione nodded her head, “Kurt punched him for being less than decorous.”

“I want you all to know that this comes from the least evil morsel of my being,” Pansy threw herself on Kurt’s bed, “but YASSSSSSS QUEEN!”

Hermione was perplexed by Pansy’s response, “You don’t want to hear what Harry said?”

She shook her head, “I don’t know what Draco said to you but I know he deserved it because Kurt administers deserved-punishment, I learned that the hard way.”

“I want to hear the whole story,” Tracey admitted.

Kurt caught them up to as much as Hermione knew, “his preamble was fine, but it left him vulnerable.”

“What was the question?” Tracey demanded, before Hermione could form the words in her throat, “tell us.”

Kurt shook his head, “he asked me if Remus Lupin was the love of my life.”

“Professor Lupin?” they all chorused.

Kurt nodded, “The very same one who tried to give me a ‘B’ in third year.”

Pansy shook her head, “he was cute, old cute like… Dennis Quaid, not like Robert De Niro.”

“Good to know that Dzaddy transcends magical abilities,” Kurt smirked. Hermione had to swat Kurt, reminding him to behave himself.

Tracey guffawed loudly, “he took one characteristic and he ran with it.”

“Clearly,” Kurt shook as if he had bugs on him, “The man tried to give me a B!”

“Hallelujah for the industrious mind of Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” Hermione shook her head, “or where would we be?”

“Hallelujah,” Pansy echoed. Everyone eyed her suspiciously, “I go after Lily Moon, she’s afraid of rats. Everyone is afraid of rats…” her gaze lingered on her and Kurt, “Sorry.”

Kurt aggressively nodded his head, “when I first encountered Ron’s rat I acted strong because I thought it was a cultural thing.”

“Same,” Hermione nodded.

Pansy contorted her face like the she had tasted a sour lemon, “Are you that student?” Kurt’s mouth fell open, “I’m not judging, I hear Helena Ravenclaw was that student with Salazar Slytherin.”

“Salazar Slytherin was her father,” Kurt snapped.

“Messy,” Tracey shook her head, “That is some white bullshit.”

Kurt shook his head, “It wasn’t both, he was just her father.”

“Whatever,” she rolled her eyes, her next words were under her breath, “still sounds white to me.”

Pansy spoke before Kurt or she could formulate a response, “Back to the matter at hand, who is Green Eyes?” her grin grew wider, “Gosh, that rolls off the tongue better than ‘Dusty Trains Guy’!”

“Ask Tracey,” Kurt shrugged.

Hermione turned to her with disgust written all over her face, “You told her?”

“He told Neville,” she corrected.

“Longbotttom?” Pansy furrowed her brow.

“When Neville calls him mother,” Tracey began.

“Kurt calls him baby,” Hermione completed.

Tracey shook her head, “Whenever I see how happy Mandy is, I regret turning him away.”

Pansy shook her head in sync, “Neville is putting it down and I resent that Mandy is the one picking it up.” She rolled her eyes, “As if I didn’t hate Mandy enough.”

“Mandy has it all,” Hermione admitted, “We all hate her.”

Kurt shook his head, “As someone else who has as much of Neville Longbottom he desires, I would like to be taken into consideration for your hatred.”

Hermione shook her head, “Mandy has a different it factor-”

“Like,” Pansy gave the idea some thought, “if you had behaved as a child, that would be your life.” She shrugged, “it almost seems achievable to the normal person.”

“Her life seems to say, ‘this could be you but you playing’ and then turns around laughs with its cool friends,” Tracey nodded to herself as she perfectly explained the monument that was Mandy Brocklehurst.

Hermione shook her head, “You even find yourself forgiving her bitchiness.” She rolled, “like what she did to Lisa at Slughorn’s party.”

“And their supposed to be best friends,” Pansy shrugged.

“I still want what she has though,” Hermione heard herself admit.

Kurt gaped at the ladies, “I have everything she has, plus I have material wealth.”

“Take away that wealth,” Hermione shook her head, “what do you have?”

“Great taste,” Kurt shrugged, “a banging body, Intelligence-”

“Talent,” Pansy added.

“Power?” Tracey challenged.

“Fame,” Pansy countered.

Tracey shrugged begrudgingly before she spoke, “Beauty.”

“Friends,” Pansy smiled at the occupants of the room.

Hermione nodded, “Green Eyes. I guess there’s a little Mandy Brocklehurst in all of us.”

“And she’s had, with her luck, a large Neville Longbottom in her,” Pansy let out a defeated sigh.

The group turned to Kurt and Hermione found herself doing the same, he shrugged, “I’m as ambivalent as the rest of you.”

“But on the topic of penises Kurt can recognise without the need for a head shot,” Pansy purred.

Hermione smiled devilishly, “it’s called oral, headshot doesn’t make sense.”

“Tracey Anne Davis,” she started.

Tracey shook her head, “I actually don’t have a middle name, just Tracey.”

“Tracey Anne Davis,” Pansy repeated, undeterred by Tracey’s protestations, “under the oath of sisterhood, who is Green Eyes?”

~0~

Kurt took a long drag of his cigarette, he held the smoke in his lungs and then let it escape with his misted breath into the cold December night; snow was falling but melting on the ground. Large muscular arms wrapped themselves around Kurt’s waist from behind and dry, plump lips kissed at his collarbone.

“You have guests,” He whispered in Kurt’s ear so that he could be heard over the howling of the wind.

Kurt smiled, “My guests can keep for a moment.”

“Who is Green Eyes?”

Kurt choked on the smoke from his cigarette and detangled himself from the young man, “I beg your pardon?”

“I just want to know who this green-eyed bloke is,” he stepped toward Kurt, “can I take him in a fight?” he took Kurt’s hands in his own, “because I did all of this for you and it would be a tragedy if I lost you to him.”

“You’re being silly,” Kurt pounded his fists on his muscular chest.

He shook his head, “No, I have your confession in writing, you love this Green Eyes person.”

“It’s you,” Kurt laid his head on the young man’s shoulder, “you are green eyes.”

“No,” he shook his head, “my eyes are blue, but thank you for considering me for the position.”

Kurt couldn’t help rolling his eyes, “have you seen copper oxidise?”

“I’m going to assume that is a science thing and pretend to know absolutely nothing about it.”

“When you expose copper to air, over time it changes colour from orange to…” Kurt prompted.

“Blue.”

“That’s the difference.”

“I don’t follow.”

“I see that as a shade of green.”

“What does that have to do with the price of eggs?”

Kurt smiled, “That is the same colour as your eyes.”

“Oh,” he nodded, pulling Kurt into his space and laid his head on Kurt’s shoulder. This moment, stolen from everyone else was perfect for no other reason than that they were together, “my eyes are still blue.”

“You make me regret how I feel about you,” Kurt ran his fingers through the young man’s hair as he pulled himself closer to the boy.

“And how is that?” his facial fair tickled Kurt as he smirked, “You have to remind the half-wit.”

“I should not have let Mandy have Neville,” Kurt smiled, “If I had fallen in love with Neville Longbottom; I would have made my pureblood supremist parents just as proud, he’s cuter too and he listens to me.”

“It’s literally not my fault that you’re always wrong.”

Kurt gaped, “you might be the only person who believes I am capable of being wrong.” He shook his head, “this is why it’s called falling, nobody does it intentionally and that is how someone as fabulous as me ended up with someone like you.”

“Tonight-”

“Tonight was perfect,” Kurt kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you. When I was in the moment it was almost as if they hadn’t gone.”

“You were still thinking about them…”

“They are my family,” Kurt bowed his head, “I won’t not miss them when I can neither write them nor see them, the phone call only made things worse.” Kurt melted into the muscular arms that held him up right, “You know I usually go for guys who are taller than me.”

“I am nothing like what you usually go for,” he smirked.

“Gryffindor,” Kurt shook his head, “How the mighty have fallen.”

“Well, I got you a gift.”

Kurt smirked, “As I kind of expected you to, the only doubts I had were routed in your ineptitude.”

“Remind me again why I love you?” he furrowed his brow as he produced a box identical to the one Fred and George had gifted him.

“Because-” levelled his face with the man’s and kissed him deeply for the first time, “I don’t know why you love me but I’m glad that you do.”

“Because you are completely your own,” Kurt opened the box, “the only person under forty I know who wears brooches.” He kissed him again as his eyes feasted on the silver dragon brooch with wide webbed wings, “not quite a serpent but not a bird either, unique.”

Kurt sobbed, “Oh, Charles.”

“Don’t cry,” he smiled, kissing the tears away like his father had done when Kurt had been a child; Kurt had never told anyone about that eccentricity. Charlie held his hands and gestured to the tattoo on his shoulder, “I’m crazy for dragons.”

“I know,” Kurt took a deep breath, “For so long, I’ve associated my feelings for you with guilt and I have revelled in the lack of reciprocity; it let me hate that I loved you but-”

“None of that matters now.”

“I…” Kurt took a deep breath, trying to steady himself, “I was wretched because I couldn’t help feeling guilty because of the relief I felt for a split second when Cedric died.” A dark silence enveloped them, “at first sight I knew you would be significant in my life and I tried to push it away because Cedric was my great love. The more I knew you the more I realised that at some point I might need to break up with my perfect boyfriend for the mess that is you.”

Kurt shook his head, “But if I hated you, I could stay with the boy whom I loved.” Kurt took a deep breath, “After Cedric died, I tried to clog the hole with everyone and anyone but you…”

“It’s okay,” he smiled, “I made it out on the other end, don’t you think I’ve struggled with this too.”

“I remember almost biting Hermione’s head off because I learned she had made out with a Weasley,” Kurt admitted, “I would have been devastated if it had been you.”

Charlie grinned, “Neither of us said anything because it would be easier if we didn’t have to face rejection.”

“I was afraid,” Kurt buried his face in his hands.

Charlie gently pried his hands away from his face, “we both were but we’ve found our way to each other, the road that brought us here barely matters when you consider that we might die tomorrow.”

Kurt pulled the young man in for a kiss and allowed himself to truly melt into the kiss, “I love you Hipster Weasley.”

Chapter Text

Carthago

09th August 698AD

07:36 PM

Izil, the mother of a million daughters and barer of a thousand, thousand names felt a shooting pain in her chest and tears marking her face as they raced for the floor- she knew at once what the tears meant.

“Zara,” she spoke to her youngest daughter, a girl of five years, “call for every one of your sisters who will hear you cries, tell them to come at once.”

“Yes mother,” the girl bowed her head, her eyes glowed red and her lips moved in a thousand languages at once.

Izil had not felt pain since the day she had sacrificed Mother Ubab and summoned the man of night, who had plucked her soul and placed it in every moment in time to watch the earth from the sky. She knew that this pain, it meant that she had served her purpose and paid her penance- she was now free to pass on into the next life.

All at once, the room filled with her many daughters; the many hundreds of them who still lived filled the room all at once, and one at time simultaneously. They each called to her and asked why she had called them in their adopted tongue, she held up her hand as she took her seat and all the voices were silenced.

“Today,” she breathed heavily as her thousands of years caught up with her, “Carthage will fall for the last time.” There was a chorus of gasps, “I am her guardian and when she ceases to exist, so shall I.”

Her eldest living daughter moved to speak but Izil shook her head, “it is not our place to interfere with the destiny of our people. They will find peace and a new protector in this new era.”

“Yes Mother,” the women of various ages chorused.

She produced a scroll from nothing and held it to her chest, muttering in the tongue that only she knew now. She kissed the scroll and then held it out to be taken but none of her daughters moved to take it.

“When I move on to the next great adventure, the deplorable word will need a new wielder,” her daughters’ spirits rose, “which of you will take it and it’s curses.”

The air turned still, none of her daughters spoke. A small voice cut through the room from the corner, opening path directly to Izil. Frida was the one who had spoken; she was not the eldest, nor was she the youngest. She was not the most beautiful, nor was she the plainest. She was not the wisest, nor was she dimmest. She was simply… unremarkable.

“I will take the curses,” she spoke in a small voice.

Izil gestured for the young woman to take her hand, her vision was flooded with every possibility of the future, “You will bare many children, who will have many children but the males will have no warmth in their bones until one hand strikes down the other.”

“There will be darkness, aloofness and madness in your lineage,” she shook her head, “until it strangles that which begets its final branch.”

Frida bowed, “I accept.”

“The final wielder of the deplorable word,” she coughed heavily, “Blind to their destiny.” Izil felt the pain spread to her bones, not long after that all her parts that made her whole were screaming to be free, “they are here, my children…”

In that moment, Izil let go and all her many composing parts went their own way.

~0~

Hermione got to her feet and gaped at Kurt, she moved to speak but the words died in her throat. She growled with exacerbation as she paced around his room, she stopped to speak but once more came up short, returning to her stomping about. It was on her third attempt that she managed to successfully form words, “But you told me repeatedly that Hipster Weasley wasn’t one of your suitors, and I asked many times.”

“I didn’t lie,” Kurt shook his head, “he wasn’t one of my suitors, we were communicating on a professional level.” Kurt let out a tired breath, “Do you know how angry it made me when you guys insisted that he was one of my suitors and I knew in my heart that I wanted nothing more in the world than for those words to be true but all the while knowing it would never be a possibility?”

Pansy gasped, “I think Hummel is about to cry.”

“I’m not going to cry,” he snapped back at her.

Hermione sat down next to him and hugged his shoulders, “I didn’t know you felt this way.”

“I didn’t know he felt,” Tracey shook her head.

“Least of all for Hipster Weasley,” Hermione shook her head, “You hated him.”

“At a point,” Kurt nodded his head, “Yes.”

“but now you’re in love with him?” Hermione shook her head, “I’m just supposed to accept that he’s the next great love of your life?”

“I don’t know how to make you understand something that I’m just beginning to piece together myself,” Kurt rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, “I did hate Charlie, for a time.”

“And then?” Pansy beamed at him.

“What changed isn’t the story,” Kurt shook his head.

“Then what is?” she leaned into him.

“From the moment I met Charlie,” Kurt shook his head, grinning broadly, “it wasn’t anything near love but there was an immediate curiosity.” He laid back in his bed and threw his hands above his head, “I thought it was stealing pieces of me from Cedric, it was easier to hate him.”

Hermione smirked, “You are a strange young man Kurt Elizabeth Hummel.”

“So,” Pansy gushed, “then Cedric died and…”

“I still felt the guilt,” Kurt nodded to himself, “I was expected to be Cedric’s widow, but my heart seemed to have recalibrated itself almost immediately to the next man.”

Pansy nodded, “so… what happened? What happened to the guilt?”

“I felt guilty for a while,” Kurt admitted, “but I needed him, I was working with him on my Care for Magical Creatures project and he was doing a lot of work for me in the fight against Voldemort.”

“And so you got to know him better,” Tracey didn’t phrase the words as a question, but for the first time since Charlie had entered his life they didn’t feel like an accusation either. She smiled, “And you liked what you found.”

Kurt giggled, “we were exchanging letters almost daily for some reason or the other; he was helping me with my studies and I him with his, we were fighting the bad guy together and… my feelings continued to grow.”

“You fell in love,” Pansy squealed.

“I found myself falling in love with him,” Kurt agreed.

“Yet you were so surprised by his declaration of his love for you that you almost missed your opportunity,” Hermione shook her head.

Kurt leaned up and kissed Tracey on the temple, “Thank you.” Tracey rolled her eyes and shoved him off her, “I didn’t think we were compatible, or that he could feel the same way for me as I do for him.”

“Kurt Hummel has insecurities,” Pansy scoffed, “Now I’ve heard it all.”

“I’m a lot more than Brains, Body and Beauty,” Kurt smiled at her, “I thought we were too different to feel the same way about each other,” he shook his head, “I could never be his uptown girl.”

Tracey held up a silencing finger, “Please stop, I’m beginning to feel.”

“Just in general or something specific?”

Tracey shook her head, “I don’t know, I’ve never done this before and as such have no way knowing.” She shrugged, “I just want it to stop.”

“I never want it to end,” Pansy grinned, “I never thought anything involving a Weasley could make me feel so warm inside.”

Hermione moved to speak but Kurt held up a silencing finger, “if you make any reference to a sexual relationship between myself, Charles or any other Weasley I will punch you.”

“If you keep punching your friends, then you will run out of friends,” Hermione warned him.

Kurt nodded, “what were you going to say?”

“What made him decide to say something now?” Hermione leaned into Kurt’s space, “what made him say something to you now when you hadn’t given him any indication that you might feel the same way?”

“Time,” Kurt smiled to himself, “I asked him this question, his response was time.”

“I don’t understand,” Pansy shook her head.

Kurt nodded, “Time, like love, is a fluid force that can only be delayed and rerouted but never stopped.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Tracey shook her head.

“He wanted me to know how he felt in case one of us didn’t make it out of this war alive, time isn’t exactly on our side with this impending conflict” Kurt explained, “Kind of selfish of him.”

“But because he did, you’re in love,” Hermione gushed. She breathed heavily and shook her head, “with Hipster Weasley.”

“You are having some difficulty wrapping your head around that one.”

“I never thought of him that way,” she shrugged, “I just can’t help seeing him as Ron’s irritating older brother.” She nodded to herself, “now I’m trying to think of his good qualities.”

“He’s tall,” Pansy shrugged, “I assume.”

Hermione shook her head, “but he does have these great broad shoulders and arms that you want to be held in forever. In a lot of ways he fits into your type.”

“Kurt has a type?” Pansy smirked.

“Yes,” Hermione grinned, “taller, handsome, charming, intelligent, distinguished and biceps.” She nodded to herself, “Cedric was all of the above.”

“Terry is taller, handsome, charming and intelligent,” Pansy agreed, “Goyle is taller, he might be handsome and he has biceps.”

“Puck was all of those things,” Kurt furrowed his brow, “Things just never took off.”

Tracey nodded, “so, Granger, how does Hipster Weasley measure up?”

“He’s not tall,” she shook her head, “but I will give him ruggedly handsome, he’s smart and his biceps are better than Goyle’s but not as good Anthony Ricketts.”

“You just reduced him to a criteria that I wasn’t aware I was following,” Kurt shook his head “but then again, don’t all boyfriends fit this convention? Viktor Krum certainly does.”

“Fair,” Hermione nodded.

Tracey smirked, “Allow me to course correct.” She tucked her hair behind her ear, “Did you fuck him?”

“Tracey!” Hermione gasped.

“I want to know,” Pansy interjected, “I also want to know what kind of equipment we’re talking about.”

“Pansy Parkinson,” Kurt gasped, “Do you take me for Hermione Granger? I would never kiss and tell.”

“You made me do it!”

“Still,” Kurt shook his head with trumped up judgement, “you didn’t have to share with such detail.” Kurt imitated the lewd gesture that Hermione had made when they’d had the conversation, “I can’t look at Viktor the same way, I’m sometimes tempted to fight you for him.”

“You’re telling me,” Tracey scoffed, “and that thing she said he did with his tongue… I tried to describe it to Anthony and he was not up to snuff.” Her shoulders slumped, “I think the foreign language has added extra strength to his tongue.”

“How is Anthony?” Hermione quirked a curious brow.

“Damned if I know,” Tracey shrugged, “I haven’t spoken to him since I cut him loose last year.”

“He’s playing professional quidditch,” Kurt shrugged, “with Ron’s favourite team, the Tutshill Tornados.”

Hermione smirked, “speaking of, how is Ronald taking you hooking up with his brother?”

“I told Charlie he had to tell him,” Kurt shook his head, the girls laughed, “I still have so much to live for.”

~0~

Ron dropped into the seat beside Kurt and kissed him on the cheek, “I heard about you and Charlie, I just made ten galleons.”

“Good morning to you too,” Kurt pursed his lips, “You seem to be in a good mood?”

“You think,” Ron snorted, “I proved to everyone that I knew my Kurt better than any of them.”

“I guess you’re quite pleased with yourself and this outcome,” Kurt giggled, “Your Kurt and your brother.” He leaned in close and whispered the next words menacingly, “but did you know he was knuckles deep in me on Christmas?”

“I see what you mean,” Ron’s smile faded, “Just don’t go all Lisa Turpin on my brother.”

“I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.”

Ron shuddered, “Harry and Lisa are very… affectionate… even in public…” Ron scratched the back of his neck nervously, “Don’t give my brother a handjob in the library.”

Kurt’s eyes grew wide and he forced himself not to laugh as he met eyes with Harry, who was about to take a seat opposite them. He laid a comforting hand on Ron’s shoulder, “I promise that I will never give anyone a handjob in the library.” He nodded his head in Harry’s direction, “I think your best friend has some words for you.”

Ron’s ears turned red, “You and Lisa have a problem.” He shrugged, “You had sex in a classroom.”

“Kurt had sex on the astronomy tower,” Harry countered.

“I did not,” Kurt blushed violently, “I only had intentions and those died when Hermione stole my keys.”

Harry rolled his eyes, “Yeah, whatever.”

“Speak of me and I shall appear,” Hermione joined them and looked around in disappointment, “we don’t have quorum.”

“Lisa and Mandy will be here,” Harry assured them.

Kurt met eyes with Finn across the dining hall and felt a pang of guilt. He had made his brother a promise, he waved him and Padma over, “I think we just made quorum.”

Hermione furrowed her brow, “since when do we care about consulting people?”

“Since I needed to instate a new set of rules.”

“We are not going to be quiet about your love for Hipster Weasley.”

“Die in a fire!” Kurt rolled his eyes, his brother and Padma took their seats beside Harry. Kurt smiled, “Good morning Padma, thank you for joining us.”

“I’m not even sure what I’m joining,” she shook her head, “all I know is that I will probably be arrested for it.”

“Then you know enough,” Mandy and Neville took their seats at breakfast, “And now we have quorum.”

“Good morning Kurt, Hermione, Finn,” Neville grinned as he filled his plate, “Other people.”

“Well, fuck you too Neville,” Ron smirked.

Hermione turned to Kurt with a blank stare, “why did we need quorum?”

“And why are we starting without Lisa?”

“From what I’ve heard,” Mandy smirked, “She isn’t walking funny, so she has no excuse to be late.”

Everyone’s jaw went slack and Kurt sipped his tea to hide his amusement, “First on the agenda, if any of you have any questions about my newest romantic venture, I would like to ask that you direct them to the Slytherin girls.”

“The Slytherin girls?” Neville exclaimed, his confusion clearly visible.

“I’m delegating the task,” Kurt shrugged, “they have the time. Next on the agenda is a task for Finn, Hermione and Ron; your task will include doing as much research as you can into the inner workings of Voldemort’s organisation and the power structures that exist within.”

“Why am I in research?” Ron furrowed his brow, “if my OWL results are anything to go by, I should be kept far away from this project.”

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “This will give you time to work on your History of Magic re-write and to improve those grades.”

“Savage,” Ron nodded to himself, “but fair.”

“Neville,” Kurt smiled broadly, “You’re running point on a project with Pansy and Tracey, your goal is to save Draco from himself.”

“I don’t understand,” Neville shook his head.

“Harry was right about him,” Kurt took a deep steadying breath, “He has become a Death Eater, though I believe that this is a path he followed under duress.”

“Cool,” Neville nodded, looking around the table at the solemn faces, “what do I do? Sabotage him?”

“In part,” Kurt nodded, “but also, you need to convince him that he has a reason to live and that nobody is going to touch a hair on his mother’s head no matter what happens.”

“You think they are threatening his mother?”

“It’s what I would do,” Kurt let out a tired sigh, “she’s all he has left.” Kurt’s gaze darted to Finn and returned to Neville without being noticed, “she is a weakness waiting to be exploited.”

“How do you know they won’t hurt her?” Padma interjected.

“Because nothing is more dangerous than somebody with nothing to lose,” Kurt smirked, “I need him alive and well.”

“Why?” Padma countered.

“Please don’t get Kurt started on ‘the children’,” Mandy rolled her eyes, “I don’t want to spend my whole life at this table.”

“Thank you Mandy,” Kurt smiled shyly, “I hope you will help get Pansy up to speed, given she’ll be working with you.”

Mandy punched the air with glee, “team captain.”

“wait,” Hermione lifted a silencing finger, “My teams names were said alphabetically; I am still team captain, right?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Finn shook his head, “Neither Ron nor I are fit to lead.”

“I’m going to hear that from Kurt,” Hermione flashed Finn a saccharine smile, “If you don’t mind.”

“As your best friend, I’m the only one here to make sure that you aren’t consumed by your insecurities,” Kurt smirked malevolently, “You are in charge.”

“Thank you.”

“Mandy,” Kurt cleared his throat, “you, Padma and Lisa are in charge of keeping the trains running on time. Making sure nobody suspects a thing about what is going on, making sure that everybody in Dumbledore’s army is still practicing their magic and keeping track of the other two team’s progress and reporting back to me.”

“Are you putting them above me?” Hermione gasped.

“Hermione Jean Granger,” Kurt glared at her, “I will punch you in the neck.”

“What will I be doing?” Harry interjected before things could escalate.

“We will be fixing the mess that you and the Headmaster created with Professor Slughorn,” Kurt flashed a tight-lipped smile, “does everyone understand what they’re doing?” everyone nodded, “Good, you all have to get to class and I have another meeting.”

“Kurt,” Harry raised his hand, “Can I have a word?”

Kurt nodded him over, “how can I help you?”

Harry handed him a letter, Kurt examined the stationary, “it’s from the Ministry.”

“It’s from the desk of the Minister for Magic,” Kurt agreed, “it’s unopened, you don’t want to see what Rufus Scrimgeour has to say?”

“I know what he has to say,” Harry rolled his shoulders, “he wants me to work with the Ministry on some press tour to assure people that everything is fine.”

“And?”

“I told him I would get back to him,” Harry shrugged, “this is him calling it in.”

“I don’t see why you’re telling me this.”

“I want your opinion,” Harry flashed a tight-lipped smile, “you’re clearly better at making important decisions than I am.”

Kurt shook his head, “I don’t scold you because I want you to stop trusting yourself, I do it because I believe you can make better decisions.”

“Fine,” Harry nodded curtly, “this is me exercising my better judgement.”

“Ask a specific question then,” Kurt rolled his eyes.

“Should I be using this as an opportunity to get closer to the Minister?”

“To what end?”

“To gather useful intelligence?”

“You aren’t capable of doing that,” Kurt pointed out, “hence this mess with the Potions Master.”

Harry giggled, “fair.”

“So?” Kurt squared up with him, “What’s the plan?”

“I don’t have one.”

“Then you have no business going into the Ministry.”

“You went in-”

“With a plan,” Kurt countered, “You have nothing.”

“Help me make a plan.”

“The Ministry has nothing that I want!”

“Maybe we can stop them from arresting innocent people,” Harry snapped.

Kurt scoffed, “if I thought that served any purpose to the greater cause I would have done something about it by now, I at least would have mentioned it.”

“You are-”

“You ask for my opinion, but you never want to hear it.”

“I just…” Harry growled, “I have a hard time hearing it.”

“Make a deal if you feel so strongly about it,” Kurt let out a tired breath, “but when you wade into uncharted waters you’re more likely to lose your footing and drown.” Kurt started to gather his books, “As much as I would dislike seeing you drown, I would hate to see you pull us all down with you.”

“Okay,” Harry nodded, “I didn’t want to do it anyway but I felt obligated to do something.”

“You don’t want to do it?”

“The Ministry treated me like garbage last year,” Harry punched the wall, “the last thing I want to do is help them.”

Kurt chuckled, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” A smirk spread across Kurt’s face, “I guess if I tried, I’d lose the punch. That was a bit too much.”

“Thanks for the feedback,” Harry rolled his eyes.

“You know that you’re late for Herbology, right?”

“Shit,” Harry turned and took off at a run. At the end of the corridor he turned back and waved, “Later!”

~0~

Kurt guided Harry into his seat, “okay, quill and parchment.”

“Why are they here?” Harry gestured to the two Ravenclaw students standing beside Kurt’s baby grand.

“Your humiliation has to be witnessed,” Kurt’s tone was flat.

“Fine, can I have Hermione and Ron?” he flashed Kurt a pitiful expression of desperation, “Mandy is cruel and I’ve spoken to walls with more personality than Michael Corner.”

“We can hear you,” Mandy Brocklehusrt growled.

“And that’s rich considering that the most interesting thing about you is that you’re alive,” Michael sucked at his teeth dismissively, “the boy who lived.”

“Savage,” Mandy giggled, “I’m writing that one down.”

“Michael and Mandy are here to help you,” Kurt fought back a smile, “I’d suggest being nice to them.”

“Help me?”

“You’re writing Professor Slughorn an apology letter, and I thought that seeing as Michael is a charming, handsome, sensitive and poetic soul…” a blush crept up the Ravenclaw boy’s neck as Kurt listed his more endearing qualities in a wistful voice, “he would be perfect for crafting this letter.”

Mandy laid a hand on Kurt’s shoulder that brought him back to reality, “I’m here to make sure that the letter still sounds like you.” She spoke the next part under her breath, “and apparently make sure Hummel remembers that he’s found… what is it exactly that you’ve found?”

“Someone else to do everything for,” Kurt deadpanned, “Because I am not busy enough.”

“Precisely,” she nodded.

Kurt cleared his throat and grabbed Harry by the shoulders, “just so you don’t feel blindsided by the reasoning behind your apology, we will be playing on the natural curiosities of an orphan about the motivations of the monster that killed his parents.”

“This is the part where I’d fight you,” Harry nodded to himself and Kurt dug his thumbs into the boy’s collar bones, “but you’re hurting me and that’s a very smart idea.”

“They always are,” Kurt smirked.

“Would you two like a private moment?” Mandy glared at them, “because I have other things to do.”

“British railway?” Kurt quirked a curious brow.

Mandy blushed, “yes, I have a trip to Fratton planned. So, if you don’t mind.”

“I wouldn’t want you to be late,” Kurt nodded.

Harry looked between the pair, his confusion evident, “What are they on about?”

“Longbottom is a very luck lad,” Michael smirked, “he is in for eventful afternoon.”

“So,” Kurt smirked, “Let’s not keep him waiting.”

“Right,” Michael nodded, “Dear Professor Slughorn, I write to express my deepest regrets with regard to our previous misunderstanding.”

Kurt shook his head, “about instead of with regard to. Harry isn’t that formal.”

I know that I crossed a line, and for that I must say I’m sorry,” Michael continued to dictate, without missing a beat, “My overzealous behaviour-”

“Lose the adjective,” Mandy interjected, “this is Potter, not Tolstoy.”

“Hey!” Harry exclaimed defensively.

My behaviour was sparked by a burning curiosity. Lord Voldemort-”

“Slughorn doesn’t like that name,” Harry offered.

“But you do,” Mandy countered, “I had to twist Michael’s arm to get him to use it for that exact reason.”

“I thought I was making nice,” Harry furrowed his brow.

Kurt rolled his eyes, “You’re making nice, not becoming a new person.” He adjusted his spectacles, “part of what will make this work is if he sees how strong willed you are and realises that you won’t stop looking for answers.”

“So, we’re manipulating him.”

“Yes,” Kurt, Mandy and Michael chorused.

“And you think that’s right?”

“We think it’ll work,” Mandy countered.

“And if memory serves,” Kurt took a seat at the piano, “You came to me for assistance, I don’t believe you would have done that if your methods had been working.”

“Okay…” Harry was silent for a moment, “I don’t get it.”

“We’re trying to make him feel guilty for holding on to this secret,” Kurt explained, “make him believe that by keeping his knowledge from you, he’s stunting your psychological development and keeping you from moving on from the deaths of your parents.”

“Can we continue?” Michael quirked a curious brow.

“Sorry,” Harry bowed his head.

“Where was I?” Michael started to pace. Harry moved to answer but Michael held up a silencing finger, “that was rhetorical. Lord Voldemort has been a central figure in my life; people have told me about how I defeated him all my life, I am constantly reminded of all he took from me when he killed my parents.”

“Add an air of indignance,” Mandy suggested, “If my curiosity is a crime, then send me to Azkaban today.”

“Isn’t that a bit much?”

“You punched a wall the other day,” Kurt countered.

“Fair,” he nodded to himself, “carry on.”

Voldemort has taken so much from me, he killed my friend.” There was a pregnant pause at the last statement, Michael was waiting for Kurt to react.

He used my blood to come back to life,” Kurt added, “No matter how hard I may try, he is always a part of my life.” He cleared his throat, “it is unlikely that Professor Slughorn will still be reading.”

“Or he’s hanging on every word,” Michael gaped at him, “I didn’t know that he used Harry’s blood- I never actually thought about how he came back.”

“Few do,” Mandy dismissed the conversation and all the unasked questions.

“Right,” Michael fell into the bench beside Kurt, “So, it is only natural that I would want to know all there is to know about him. That I would want to know what draws him to me, and to want to know of any way to break what connects him to me.”

Me to him,” Mandy corrected, “Sounds more… desperate.”

Yours, Harry Potter,” Kurt spoke curtly.

PS. I hope we can have a supper party soon, I really enjoyed the desert at the last one.”

“Why did you add that?” Harry glared at Mandy.

“Your clunky way of ending on a high note.”

Harry turned to Kurt, “I hate her.”

~0~

Kurt wiped his glasses as he held court in his room for the second time in as many weeks, he found himself wearing them more and more as he struggled to find the time and energy to put his contact lenses in. Neville, Pansy and Tracey sat on his bed with different levels of comfort; Kurt had demanded that they meet him here and give him any kind of feedback on Draco that they had. As much as he liked to pretend that his concern for Draco was entirely altruistic, he had promised Druella that he would look out for his cousin and in return she would reach out to Andromeda.

Kurt already been concerned for his cousin but his grandmother’s request had been confirmation that the boy was up to no good, and acting in such a fashion under duress. Kurt had no relationship to speak of with Narcissa, and a tumultuous one at best with Draco, but he and Druella had worked hard to build their relationship. His grandmother was now one of the many people Kurt had to keep happy, he seemed to collect them without meaning to and couldn’t bring himself to disappoint any of them.

“Tracey?”

“He’s lost his marbles,” she looked to Neville and Pansy for support, both nodded their heads in agreement, “like off the deep end.”

“Goyle’s out off the loop,” Neville substantiated, “apparently all he does is bark orders and have meltdowns when things don’t work out. He apparently sobs about how ‘they’ are going to kill him and then lashes out violently.”

“Apparently that’s why Crabbe and Goyle have been wearing their jumpers every day since the year started,” Tracey let out tired sigh, her concern was pulpable, “he’s hurting them and they don’t want to leave him with no one, so they’re taking it on the chin.”

“When he’s not acting like his cheese slipped off its cracker, he’s in the third-floor girls’ bathroom,” Pansy added, “Daphne tried to offer him a blowjob and he spat in her face.”

“Moaning Myrtle laughed,” Tracey didn’t even crack a smile at the expense of Daphne Greengrass, her face remained stony.

“She appears to be the only person he will speak to,” Pansy shook her head, “and she won’t betray his trust.”

“He isn’t eating right,” Neville’s voice was small, “hardly at all, I’ve been watching him at meal times.”

“I sent him a care package, pretending it was from his mother, and he didn’t even touch it,” Pansy admitted, “if anything, it made him sadder.”

“He must be depressed,” Kurt nodded to himself, “has he hurt himself?”

“We don’t know,” Neville shuddered at the thought, “nobody knows, he’s been in long sleeves all year to hide the-”

“The dark mark,” Kurt completed the statement without thinking.

“What are we going to do?” Tracey sounded far away.

“I’m not sure what we can do when even a blowjob is met with malice.”

“Kurt,” Neville snapped, “nothing about this is funny.”

“I know that,” Kurt looked him dead in the eye, “but we can’t force him into therapy or medicate him without his consent, not without getting him killed.” Kurt took a deep breath, “Social interaction is all we can do for him, to do all we can to help him feel like he’s not completely alone.”

“I never thought I’d say this, but I feel badly for Draco Malfoy,” Neville sighed heavily, “I didn’t think I would ever feel anything but hate for him, but I’m kind of rooting for him.”

“We’re all rooting for him,” Tracey agreed.

Kurt took comfort in the knowledge that Professor Snape had made the unbreakable vow to do everything in his power to help Draco succeed, he had made peace with the impending death of Professor Dumbledore- a small price to pay for Draco’s soul. He said a small prayer to a god he knew wasn’t real that Professor Snape had it in him to follow through on his vow, to betray the man who had vouched for him and kept him out of Azkaban. Kurt didn’t know what the repercussions would be but the headmaster was dying anyway and to save Draco he had told himself that bringing forward the death of somebody living on borrowed time was a worthy sacrifice.

“What moves has he made?”

“He was responsible for the necklace,” Neville confirmed what Kurt already knew, he felt bad about gaslighting Harry but that rolled off him in a moment, “he had Goyle give it to Katie to deliver.”

“My reward for teaching him his way around a curse, a hex and a jinx,” Kurt spat the words.

Tracey glared at him, “there was no way you could have known.”

“That would make me very naïve,” Kurt scoffed, “I always knew he wouldn’t just come over to this side, not without me by his side.”

“Blame doesn’t help us in any way,” Pansy intervened before Tracey could come to his defence.

“Goyle also told me that he poisoned a bottle of liquor that Slughorn was supposed to give to Dumbledore as a gift,” Neville stayed on track, “also, that there is something that he’s doing in the room of requirement.”

Pansy furrowed her brow, “why was Goyle telling you all this?”

“Well…” Neville blushed, he attempted and failed to shrug nonchalantly, “he thought I was Kurt.”

“That’s why Mandy asked me for Polyjuice?” Kurt quirked a curious brow, “And you asked me for the dungeon password.”

“I confronted him in the shower,” Neville nodded, he then bowed to Kurt, “congratulations.”

Pansy looked between the pair suspiciously, “What does that mean?”

“The legend of Gregory Goyle is based on fact,” Neville’s eyes grew wide, “and maybe underexaggerated.”

Pansy got to her feet, “Are we done?”

“We need to find out what he’s doing in the room of requirement,” Kurt spoke in flat tone, “but for now, that’s all we can do outside of being friendly to Draco.”

“Will do,” she nodded, “I have to go.”

“Where are you off to?” Tracey quirked a curious brow.

“To get some of Gregory Goyle.”

“I don’t think you’re his type,” Neville and Tracey chorused.

Pansy turned to Kurt without skipping a beat, “can I have some Polyjuice?”

“You are not having sex with Gregory Goyle as me,” Kurt gawked at her, “unless you’ve forgotten, I’m seeing someone.”

“We could explain it all to Biceps.”

“I don’t want to explain anything to Charles.”

“I hate you.”

“I think I can live with that.”

Chapter Text

Kurt couldn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes when Gregory Goyle slipped into the seat beside him, interrupting his conversation with Lisa. Kurt knew that he would have to pay for Neville’s choices but he didn’t think the larger boy would be around to collect so soon after the fact. Kurt knew that he couldn’t hold it against Neville, given that his choices often imposed on others.

Gregory leaned in so close that Kurt could feel his breath on his ear, “Hi Kurt, Lisa.”

The strawberry blond girl narrowed her gaze, she looked as if she was going to hiss at the larger boy, “That’s Tracey Davis’ seat.”

“I’m sure she won’t mind sitting one seat over,” he shrugged, “if only for one day.”

“We are not thinking of the same Tracey Davis,” Lisa scoffed.

Kurt lifted a silencing finger to stop their back and forth, this was worse than the Kurt and Ron show, “We’ll see when she arrives.” Kurt looked up from his notes and dead into Gregory’s soft brown eyes, “until then, care to tell me what brings you to the front of the classroom Gregory?”

The boy smirked, “well-”

“Just a moment,” Kurt raised a silencing finger, “Is this related to our last conversation.”

“In a sense,” he nodded slowly and deliberately.

“You have more to tell me about Draco?”

“No.”

“Then how is this related to our last conversation?”

“Well,” Gregory smirked, “I was wondering if-”

“No,” Kurt shook his head.

Gregory gaped at him, “I beg your pardon.”

“I spoke to you in the shower because I knew you would be alone and more likely to tell me the complete truth,” Kurt crossed his arms, “You and I have irreconcilable differences.”

Gregory furrowed his brow, “I don’t know what that means.”

“It means that you are unable to move past whatever your last fight or disagreement was about,” Lisa interject condescendingly.

“Thank you Lisa,” Kurt spoke reproachfully, he wanted Goyle to know that they weren’t getting back together, not to isolate on of his only sources into Draco’s life, “but she is right.”

“Don’t say that-”

“What?” Kurt quirked a curious brow, “you made yourself perfectly clear about where you stood on the matter.”

“I-” Goyle took a dep breath, “we can work through that.”

“My stance on the matter isn’t changing,” Kurt crossed his arms.

“We can work on this,” he insisted.

Kurt shook his head, “I don’t know if you haven’t heard but I’m seeing someone.”

“The last time you were seeing Terry,” the larger boy shrugged.

“Yes,” Kurt nodded, “but we’ve declared relationship status.”

“Oh,” Gregory nodded.

“Yes,” Kurt matched his expression.

He let out a defeated sigh, “I thought you came to ask me about Draco as a segue into…” he gestured to the space between them, “I don’t know why I thought you would ever forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive,” Kurt shook his head, “somethings just don’t work out. I asked about Draco because he’s my cousin and he hasn’t been acting quite like himself; I was concerned”

“Why are you like this?” he shook his head, “you are so thoughtful, and you care about everyone, I don’t think I know anyone as kind as you.”

“Kurt?” Lisa quirked a curious brow, Gregory nodded, “Kurt Elizabeth Hummel?” Gregory nodded once more, “Kind?”

“Yes,” Gregory exclaimed, drawing the attention of all their classmates. He crossed his arms indignantly, “I haven’t heard you asking about anyone’s wellbeing.”

“Well, that’s because I don’t care,” Lisa tilted her head condescendingly.

Gregory matched her facial expression and tone, “Thank you for proving my point.”

Tracey cleared her throat, standing only little taller than Gregory’s seated height, “What’s going on here?”

“You are in for it now,” Lisa smirked.

“I wanted to speak to Kurt,” Gregory tried to come across as confident and show Tracey how desperately he needed her seat, he failed to realise that she was immune to emotion.

“I smell desperation,” She smirked, “Lisa, move over one seat.”

“What?”

“Move over a seat.”

“Kurt,” she looked to him to be the voice of reason, “are you hearing this?”

Kurt smiled at his friend’s girlfriend, “She said move over a seat.”

“Well,” she gaped at him, “I never.”

“Now you have,” Tracey smirked, gesturing for Lisa to move over, she took the seat without any further protestation on Lisa’s part. She leaned forward in her seat and smiled like a predator when she spots her pray, “Hello Gregory.”

“Tracey,” he gave her a quick nod of his head.

Her smile grew hungrier, “How have you been holing up?”

“Holding up?” the boy creased his brow and chewed his lip.

“Since Kurt and Weasley declared relationship status,” she reached out a comforting hand and Kurt smacked it away.

“WEASLEY?” Gregory’s face twisted from confusion to anger, “You chose Weasley?”

“Oh,” Tracey feigned shock, “You hadn’t heard.”

“No,” he shook his head, “I didn’t know that Kurt chose Weasley as the next great love of his life.” He got to his feet and everyone looked at him, “why would you choose him? I’m… I’m better than him.”

“Sit down,” Kurt tried his hardest not to laugh, “you’re causing a scene.”

Gregory spoke in a whispered and straining voice, “Just tell me what he has that I don’t.”

“You do realise that she phrased it that way to goad you into reacting the way you did,” Kurt shook his head, “I’m not running off into the sunset with Ron Weasley.”

Kurt saw the boy’s spirit come down from the rafters, “it’s not Weasley.”

Gregory’s spirit began rise into the rafters once more, “it’s not.”

“It’s one of his brothers,” Kurt smirked, “Charles, to be specific.”

“He’s still a ginger,” Gregory scoffed, “I’m better than a ginger, no offence Lisa.”

“I’m literally so offended,” Lisa flipped her hair, “and besides, I’m strawberry blonde.”

“From a bottle,” Gregory scoffed.

Lisa glared at Kurt, “at least we’ve clarified that it’s the hair colour that comes from a bottle, not the actual hair.”

“Yes,” Tracey nodded condescendingly, “That’s what’s important here.”

Gregory grumbled under his breath, Kurt flashed him a severe glare and the large boy cleared his throat, “I said, Draco’s going to the room of requirement next period.”

“What does he do in there?” Kurt quirked a curious brow.

Gregory shrugged, “He won’t tell us, apparently we can’t be trusted with ‘important’ things.”

“Well, you are literally betraying the little trust he afforded you as we speak.”

 “Tracey,” Kurt reprimanded her, “Gregory knows that he’s acting in Draco’s best interest.” He took the larger hand in both of his, “Thank you for coming to me with this.”

Kurt quickly scribbled a note, showed it to Tracey, then tapped it with his wand and watched it fly away.

~0~

Neville:

Neville had been sitting in the Library beside Mandy when an origami butterfly landed in the middle of his potions book and unfolded itself, the page remained blank as expected. He tapped it with his wand and whispered “Contaminated.” Ink poured from within the finely weaved fibres of the parchment and slowly formed into the delicate yet elaborate penmanship of one Kurt Elizabeth Hummel. The note had vague yet deliberate instructions, “Follow Draco after Magical Theory, observe, report back. Do not engage.”

Neville nodded to himself as he internalised what he had to do, then he walked over to the nearest sconce and set one corner of the parchment alight. This earned him a reproachful glare from Madam Pince and his girlfriend’s attention, Mandy shut her own book and started to pack their stuff.

“What does he want?”

“Reconnaissance work,” Neville was deliberately glib with his chosen answer, Kurt had partitioned their factions for more reason than covering more work; limiting how much each individual knew would reduce chances that they would be selected to be kidnapped and tortured for information, and it reduced the chances that they would find anything out if worse came to worst. He loved Mandy and knew that she was a formidable witch, perfectly capable of taking care of herself but he was protecting himself- keeping himself from losing her.

“Is that so? She nodded to herself, “well, you are overdue for a DA session.”

“Can I get a private session?” he attempted a suggestive smirk.

Mandy leaned in and kissed him on the cheek, “I wish we could but we’ll be having a ‘cute boys’ session, so you’ll have to try a little harder to keep my attention.”

“I’m a cute boy?”

“Second cutest Gryffindor,” she entwined her fingers with his.

Neville gently guided her to the wall and kissed her deeply, his hand sneaking un her shirt just like Finn had taught him. He pulled back and spoke in a whisper, “bet Dean Thomas can’t do that.”

“Not even in his wildest dreams,” she purred, her voice quivering as she pulled him closer by his waistband.

“Ms Brocklehurst, Mr Longbottom,” Professor McGonagall scolded, appearing out of nowhere, “This is a public corridor, that kind of behaviour in not acceptable.”

Neville could have sworn he saw her smirking as she walked away, Mandy had a hungry smirk on her pretty face, “How much time do you have before your reconnaissance mission?”

“Not nearly enough,” Neville chewed his lips, “I still have to find Harry and get into position before the period ends.”

“Well,” she lazily walked her fingers up his torso, “Lisa has Magical Theory, so Harry won’t be too hard to find, we’ll just follow the smell of teenage angst to the Gryffindor common room and…”

Neville shook his head, “no ellipses,” he took her hands in his and kissed her knuckles, “not just yet.”

Neville led her down the corridor by the hand, an amorous silence surrounding them. They went down stair, walked through abandoned corridors and through the maze of the Hogwarts castle; Kurt called it the jewel in Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, a feat of architecture and magic. Neville, had asked what a diadem was and gotten a grateful smile from Ronald when Kurt had explained that it was somewhere between a tiara and a circlet. Kurt had gone about how the lost piece of jewellery had been a gift from Salazar Slytherin to the great witch, initially a token of his affection and later a reminder of his descent into madness; Neville had been captivated as he listened to his friend recount with fascination the intellectual prowess of his dream companion.

“Good day Helga,” Neville beamed.

The portrait snorted derisively, “I see you’re with her.”

She is my girlfriend,” Neville nodded.

“And she can hear you,” Mandy snapped, pulling her hand from Neville’s in order to fix both on her hips, “I will not pretend to be in competition for my boyfriend.”

“I supposed your not so pretty girlfriend is correct,” the women in the painting rolled her eyes, “Password.”

“Lionheart,” Neville responded.

Mandy shook her head, “you deserve better than this.”

“Hey,” Neville exclaimed, “my parents were in Gryffindor.”

“And you never got to know your parents,” Mandy pointed out, “maybe, like Harry Potter, they deserved exactly this much.”

He shrugged, “true, they did name me Admetus.” They walked in and found Harry, Hermione and Ron studying in the Gryffindor common room, Neville kept his emotions muted when he spoke, “Harry, may I have a word.”

“Sure,” the boy nodded as Mandy took the spot beside Hermione, “Upstairs?”

“That would be best,” he walked away, slipping into the persona he had prepared for espionage missions like this one.

When Harry reached their dorm he waited impatiently before speaking first, “What did Ku-”

“The least you could do is close the door,” Neville rolled his eyes as he flicked his wand with a short incantation, “Pettigrew was in Gryffindor, nowhere is safe.”

“Right,” Harry nodded, “I forgot.”

“I’m here to borrow you invisibility cloak,” Neville spoke frankly, “Some of our work extends beyond fixing our own mistakes.”

“That last part was totally uncalled for,” Harry grumbled as he handed him the cloak.

“Well,” Neville shrugged, “I’m a big dog for a change, I want to bask in it.”

“Neville,” Harry smiled gently. “You’ve always been a big dog to Kurt, or at the very least his favourite dog.”

“Whatever.” Neville grabbed the cloak and walked down the stairs, he grabbed Mandy by the hand and whispered in her ear, “Be my alibi.”

“You never have to ask me twice,” she curled her lips into a seductive smirk, “I need you, so… let’s go.”

“After all is-” she put her finger on his lips.

“Let’s go.”

They made their way out of the common room and down the stairs, as soon as they were completely alone Neville kissed Mandy deeply, “You are the most amazing woman in the world.”

“I know,” she smirked.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Neville wrapped the cloak around himself and watched his body disappear, he kissed Mandy once more before disappearing completely. He made his way briskly to Kurt’s Magical Theory class and positioned himself for his mission.

He nervously paced in front of Professor Flitwick’s Magical Theory classroom, Harry’s invisibility cloak draped over him and keeping him hidden from his fellow members of the student body. Neville had done many things in service of Kurt Elizabeth Hummel but today took the cake, he was going to be tailing a Death Eater! He was rational enough to know that Draco posed no real threat towards him, unless he was grossly careless and knew that Kurt had selected him over his colleagues in management because he had just the right amount of fear to act in his own best interest.

The classroom door opened and his peers started to stream out into the corridor, Neville stood absolutely still and waited for his mark. He watched student from far beyond the NOut and the most boring of his peers, waiting for Draco. Kurt looked directly at him and Neville adjusted the invisibility cloak to make sure he was completely hidden, it must have been their connection that had allowed Kurt to fix dead onto him because Neville was completely covered, and he wasn’t so much as casting a shadow. His friend moved on without acknowledging him, leading Tracey Davis and Lisa Turpin down the hall toward the library, Neville stayed planted in place despite his instinct to follow him as well.  

Then Draco walked out of the classroom, only looking up from the floor to check over his shoulder. Neville watched him walking down the hall for a moment before following the brooding teen, Draco skulked down the hall with great speed and Neville had to power walk in order to keep up with him. The waifish teen climbed stairs with a vengeance, Draco assessed his surroundings as he went and made sure he wasn’t followed but he couldn’t see Neville hot on his heels.

Defying expectations, Draco made his way to the third floor girls bathroom; the very same one that had housed the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. He looked at his ashen reflection and began to weep.

“Oh, please,” Draco begged, “Let it work today.”

Neville didn’t understand, despite knowing that the boy was desperate because the real Death Eaters were threatening his mother, what did he need to work. While Neville was watching Draco sob into the sink, he saw a spectre he knew as Moaning Myrtle approach his former bully.

“There, there Draco,” she spoke soothingly, her more abrasive demeanour left far behind. She looked to be stroking his back soothingly but Neville knew ghosts couldn’t actually interact with anything in this plain of existence, they were merely observers.

“You don’t understand,” Draco sobbed.

“Only I can understand,” Myrtle assured him, “only I will ever know.”

Draco nodded to himself and Neville knew that he had intruded on a private moment, “Only you know.”

Guilt riddled Neville as he watched Draco pull himself toward himself, slicking his hair back into place before they were on the move again. They went to their planned destination this time and found two first year girls standing on either side of where the main entrance to the Room of Requirement should have been, one of them holding a set of brass scales.

Draco nodded to the girls and the door appeared, Neville followed him into the room and was surprised by what he saw. The room he had come to associate with minimalism, necessity and efficiency was at this moment filled with broken, lost and unwanted things. Neville’s skin crawled on Kurt’s behalf due to the mess but he followed Draco through the maze of desks, chairs and other discarded Hogwarts furniture till they came to an are of more personal items.

There was a vanity, a broken bed and two wardrobes; Draco seemed preoccupied with only one of these, stroking it before opening it. He conjured an apple and placed it inside, he whispered an incantation when he closed the wardrobe and reversed the incantation after ten minutes. The wardrobe was empty, Neville took the seat at the vanity to observe more fully for longer.

Draco tried the incantation in reverse once more, to no result. Over and over again for hours until he opened it and let out a sigh of relief.

~0~

Kurt had watched Neville avoid him for long enough by the time Pansy, Tracey and he cornered him, confronting him about his mission.

“There’s not much to say,” Neville shrugged them off without looking up from his school work.

Tracey shook her head, “If I’m being made to care about people’s feelings then I’m going to need more than there isn’t much to tell.”

“What can I say?”

“Start with what happened in the room of requirement,” Tracey snapped.

“It wasn’t anything.”

“Draco just hung around? And what? Did his homework?” Kurt furrowed a confused brow, “Why would Gregory mislead me?”

“Because he wants to turn your insides into soup,” Pansy scoffed, “it was evidently an invitation.”

“Was he there?” Kurt felt anger building up inside him, “Tell me now, so I may forever end his peace.”

“No,” Neville shook his head, “Draco was there.”

“And he wasn’t doing anything?”

Pansy smirked, “Are you sure you followed the right Draco?” Tracey eyed her suspiciously, “Crabbe was asking about brewing Polyjuice, maybe they’re distracting us with multiple Dracos.”

“No,” the Gryffindor boy shook his head, “I was with him from when he left the Magical Theory classroom up until dinner, not even a perfect brew lasts that long.”

“So…” Pansy shrugged.

Tracey rolled her eyes, “we’re going to need a blow by blow of your adventures.”

“Look,” Neville rolled his eyes, “We went from the classroom to a ten minute cry with Moaning Myrtle, then to the room of requirement to whisper to the weird wardrobe and pull his hair out when it didn’t whisper back.”

“Describe the wardrobe,” Pansy snapped.

“It was not pretty,” Neville shook his head, “you would not want one in your house.”

“Just describe it,” she rolled her eyes.

“It was mahogany, or ebony,” Neville gave it a moment’s thought, “definitely mahogany. It had a metal trimming, silver or steel- one of the shiny white metals.”

“Was it very tall, almost standard ceiling height?”

“Hard to say,” Neville shrugged, “the room had very high ceilings and a lot of stuff thrown away there…” he tried to recall the wardrobe as he’d seen it, “it was about three tables tall.”

“The shape?”

“It was triangular,” Neville glared at Pansy, “Why? What do you know? You can’t have it!”

“I don’t want it,” she rolled her eyes, “I have my suspicions as to what the wardrobe is.”

“And?” Kurt nudged her to say more.

“A vanishing cabinet,” Pansy spoke in a small voice.

“None of us know what that is,” Kurt shook his head.

“My family had one in out attic,” Pansy explained, “My grandmother was a blood traitor, she used it to help her friends during the last wizarding war.”

“How?” Kurt furrowed his brow, “what does it do.”

“they are built in pairs, from the same tree which has to be specially grown,” Pansy explained, “the pair form a passage between each other, but you have to keep them happy by polishing them and such. If they aren’t happy, they can kill whomever enters.”

“And there’s one here at Hogwarts?” Kurt gaped at her, “Will it even work with all of the wards and enchantments placed over Hogwarts?”

“That’s what made them so popular despite their extreme expense,” Pansy choked back a chuckled, “they circumvent almost all kinds of magic.”

“We should destroy it,” Tracey stated, her tone matter of fact.

“No!” Neville exclaimed.

“Why not?” Tracey stared blankly at him, “that would save us a lot of trouble.”

“If you destroy one, then the partner is destroyed as well,” Pansy explained.’

“And if Draco is working on this one, then he knows where its twin is,” Kurt thought out loud, “the death eaters are probably working to restore that one.”

“If we destroy this one they’ll know that Draco has been found out,” Neville extrapolated.

“And they’ll kill his mother,” Tracey rolled her eyes, “the very thing we’re trying to avoid.”

“So…” Pansy slumped in her seat, “we have nothing?”

“Not quite,” Kurt shook his head, “Draco will only use that cabinet as a last resort.” Kurt beamed, “it would mean admitting defeat, and the Dark Lord frowns on those who fail him.”

“That doesn’t help us now,” Pansy countered.

“We also know who he’s telling his darkest secrets to,” Tracey smirked.

“Moaning Myrtle,” Kurt and Neville Chorused.

Pansy nodded, “we need to convince her to tell us what he’s planning.”

“And that will help us help him,” Kurt nodded.

“On a lighter note,” Tracey turned to Neville, “You missed Transfiguration while you were playing Harriet the Spy, I covered for you with McGonagall but she is less than impressed.”

“Shit,” Neville exclaimed, “I lost track of time.”

Tracey passed him her notes, “you should be more vigilant.”

~0~

Harry:

Kurt glared at Harry, the aim was to make him uncomfortable and he regretted inviting him to this meeting. Why was it that the taller boy always invoke a sense of inadequacy in him? That was why Tracy Davis and Mandy Brocklehurst had been promoted to best friend before him despite having been Kurt’s friend for longer. He tried smiling at his friend but he knew that Professor Dumbledore was digging their graves.

“You two brought me here to witness the majesty of your plan,” Kurt remained impassive, “is there any majesty or are you going to show me things I learned in the Hall of Records.”

“That’s not fair,” Harry shook his head, “who knows what you’ve discovered in the Hall of Records.”

“Horace Slughorn is the teacher who taught Voldemort the magic that has kept him alive all these years,” Professor Dumbledore explained.

“I know,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I figured as much after you told Harry to let the man collect him.” Kurt buffed his nails, “Let’s clear this once and for all, were you being Catholic about it?”

“I don’t follow,” the headmaster furrowed his brow in confusion, “Catholic about it.”

“You know…”

“I really don’t,” the man shook his head.

Kurt rolled his eyes, “Which is exactly what someone who was being catholic about it would say.”

“How do I make you aware that I’m not following your train of thought?” the elderly wizard looked to Harry.

Harry let out a tired sigh, “Kurt wants to know if that was code for child molestation.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted to know.”

“I’ve denied being molested multiple times,” Harry assured the headmaster.

Kurt rolled his eyes, “again, being catholic about it.”

“I only wished for Harry to become a member of the Slug club,” Professor Dumbledore assured him, “By my requests, he should be no more molested than you.”

“Can we stop this very weird conversation?” Harry pleaded.

“I was looking out for your best interests,” Kurt smiled soothingly, “If not me then who? What with your dead parents and all.”

“Kurt,” Harry let out a defeated sigh, “I hate being cared about by you.”

“Hey,” Kurt reprimanded him, “I let my boyfriend die for you.”

“Do I bring up my dead parents as often as you do Cedric?”

“More,” Professor Dumbledore and Kurt chorused.

“I must be so annoying.”

“Yes,” Kurt nodded, “yes, you are.”

“Where were we?” Professor Dumbledore asked in an attempt to course correct.

“We were discussing either magic too dark to imagine or too boring to think of,” Kurt pointed out.

Professor Dumbledore shot Harry a curious look, “Kurt thinks that Voldemort is either using really dark magic or really mundane magic in order to stay alive.”

“And if he learned it here,” Kurt rolled his eyes again, “it’s the latter.”

The headmaster nodded to himself, “do you stand by that judgement when I tell you that he learned of that magic from Horace Slughorn?”

“Yes,” Kurt kept his face impassive.

“What if I told you that Professor Slughorn altered his own memories in order to cover up their conversation on the matter at hand?”

 Kurt shrugged, “It’s Professor Slughorn, not Professor Snape or Professor McGonagall…” Kurt shook his head, “I stand by my statement.” Kurt yawned loudly, “If anything, that calms my imagination down.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“The Dark Lord travelled all of Europe,” Kurt spoke as if these facts were obvious to everyone, “I was thinking he learned something frightening in Germany or Russia.”

Harry shook his head, “I’m pretty sure that’s racist.”

“Well,” Kurt frowned, “I grew up in an era where all tv villains were poor covers for Russians and…”

“And?” Professor quirked a curious brow.

“The Germans know what they did.”

“Okay,” Harry tried his hardest not to laugh at his friend’s distasteful humour, “we know that he was a descendent of the Gaunt family.

“I know that,” Kurt interrupted him and Harry wanted to punch the boy in the mouth.

“You do?”

“Tom Marvolo Riddle,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “Marvolo isn’t a common name, the fact that he didn’t say it with disgust in the Chamber of Secrets is an indicator that it ties him to his magical side.” He buffed his nails on his robes and smirked, “that, and the fact that the Gaunt family was the last extant line of legitimate direct descendants of Salazar Slytherin, the rest having bred into it.”

“You got all of that from the Hall of Records?”

“My boyfriend is very good at research,” Kurt shrugged, blush creeping into his cheeks. Harry couldn’t help but smile as the boy tried to stay stoic despite his body willing him to gush, “we met in the middle.”

“Okay,” Harry rose to the challenge, “Did you know that his mother used magic to seduce his muggle father, he left her when she was pregnant with You-Know-Who and he was raised in an orphanage?”

“Relevance?” Kurt rolled his eyes, “but yes, that’s why he closed the Chamber of Secrets; they were going to shut the school down and send him back to his orphanage.” Kurt leaned forward and placed a concerned hand on his forearm, “you told me that, that’s why he framed Hagrid and Aragog.”

Harry gaped at his friend, Dumbledore only smirked, “he does that.”

“Also, Morfin Gaunt’s criminal record reveals that his sister’s bewitching of the muggle Riddle son, as his motive for murdering them,” Kurt shrugged.

“Ha,” his ego inflated just a little, “that was a false memory planted in his head by Voldemort, they real killer of the Riddle family.”

“Voldemort is a killer?” Kurt feigned surprise, “shocking!”

“He’s been killing since he was a teenager,” Harry countered, “did you know that?”

“Yes,” Kurt furrowed his brow, “he literally killed Myrtle as a teenager.”

“Right,” Harry nodded, his ego deflating slightly.

“What have you learned other than that it was Professor Slughorn who told him about the magic?”

Harry looked to Dumbledore, the man shrugged, “he likes to collect trophies from the people he kills.”

“Really?” Kurt furrowed his brow, the cogs moving behind his glass eyes, “that isn’t uncommon amongst serial killers, but I never imagined he would fit that profile so rigidly.”

“He stole his uncle’s ring, Hepzibah Smith’s chalice,” Harry explained.

Kurt stopped, “Who is Hepzibah?”

“A wealth heiress he killed,” Harry shrugged.

Kurt turned to the Headmaster, “did he take a trophy from all his victims?”

“It is difficult to tell,” the elderly man spoke monotonously.

“No,” Kurt frowned, “a chalice, that doesn’t sound like it was out of a set, the trophies would be important to their owners.” Kurt spoke decisively, “he isn’t a kleptomaniac stealing a candelabra on their way out the door. If he’s taking trophies, it’ll be something like a ring or… like my brooch, you’ll notice if it’s gone.”

“What do you mean?”

“Madame Bones,” Kurt spoke to Dumbledore, “was her monocle gone?”

“No,” the headmaster responded, “nothing appeared to be missing, she was simply killed.”

Kurt shook his head, “he also didn’t kill his uncle, just robbed him of his ring.” His friend nodded to himself as he spoke, “he was robbing her, he killed Hepzibah for her chalice. But why?”

“She claimed it was priceless,” Harry responded, “said it belonged to Helga Hufflepuff.”

“Why would he want that cup?” Kurt furrowed his brow, “Helga literally just drank out of it, it was said to be imbued with the properties of a wit sharpening potion and to refill itself but that isn’t special.

“Maybe it was because it belonged to her,” Harry shrugged, “he was also a bit of a thief at the orphanage.”

“Why steal something of Helga Hufflepuff’s?” Kurt shook his head, “why not something of his ancestor’s?”

“I can’t know the mind of a mad man,” Harry shook his head.

“Your entire plan is literally riding on that,” Kurt gaped at him, “what else do we know?”

“That he wanted to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts-”

“To recruit followers,” Kurt shook his head.

“He didn’t have his hair then,” Harry added, earning himself a curious stare from Dumbledore, “we’re trying to figure out when he stopped looking like a normal human and started to look like what humans would look like if we’d evolved from reptiles.”

“Did he have his nose?”

“Yes,” he nodded, “also cursed the post, which is why nobody holds the position for more than a year.”

“Cool story,” Kurt nodded to himself. He straightened his perfectly coiffed hair, “let’s find out what’s stopping him from dying… other than you.”

Chapter Text

Kurt sat at the very front of the alchemy classroom and stared intently at Professor Slughorn; his hands absently scribbled down notes on the history of transmutation but his mind was working a mile a minute. It wasn’t that he wasn’t interested in the Alchemy lesson, Alchemy was one of his favourite subjects right now, but he was captivated by the man who was presenting the lesson. What was Professor Slughorn’s deal? Was the man secretly diabolical and Kurt’s hubris was preventing him from seeing it?

This was the man who had given Voldemort the means by which he had evaded death for all this time, but all Kurt could see was a mild-mannered professor. Was this plump man so twisted that he had deceived all those around him for more than half a century? Why was it that Kurt saw a harmless old man, where Harry saw a master of evil and dark magic? Was Horace Slughorn capable of magic so dark that Kurt couldn’t imagine it?

The questions were keeping him up at night, there wasn’t much reason to sleep now that his dreams of Rowena Ravenclaw had ended but the inverse was also true- he wasn’t very productive while he laid awake late into the night. Remus Lupin had seen the man just as he had; their mail correspondence made possible by the wax stamp he had given Kurt over Christmas. The man was the only member of the Order of the Phoenix that he could trust to present the facts in spite of how Professor Dumbledore had influenced their opinions- Kurt supposed that the same may apply to Kingsley Shacklebot but Kurt didn’t know him well enough to send him probing letters, even under the veil of friendship. Remus’s description matched up with Kurt’s perception of the man perfectly, but one thing was certain: it didn’t match up with the indignant and angry man from the doctored memory, it was more his style to share the information and caution against its use.

“You still trying to size him up?” He could hear the eyeroll in Hermione’s voice.

“Is it that obvious?”

“You’re brooding almost as much as Harry,” Hermione chuckled, “You might want to turn it down a few levels.”

“I’m just not seeing it,” Kurt scowled, “nothing about this man says master of the dark arts.”

“The ‘they’ that comes for us doesn’t look different from the masses,” Mandy shook her head, “trying to see it in them is like trying to tell the wood from the trees. Right Tracey?”

“Excuse me?” the Slytherin girl glared at her through hooded lids.

“People don’t look any kind of way,” Mandy explained, “racists look like everyone else.”

“Why did you ask me?”

“Because you’re black Tracey,” Mandy rolled her eyes, “Don’t act surprised that I’ve noticed, you’ve brought it up enough times for me to get the hint.”

“Cool,” Tracey nodded, “And yes, Mandy is correct. Evil people look like the rest of us, some of them have a look- in this case, dark marks- but most are more covert about it.”

“He just doesn’t seem diabolical to me,” Kurt shook his head, “I’m not saying that him being evil is completely out of the question but-”

“But-”

“Good or evil, I don’t think he knew what he was doing,” Kurt nodded to himself, “if he was even a fraction as conniving as I am then he would have done a better job doctoring his memory.”

“Maybe he got sloppy,” Hermione shrugged.

“Not possible,” Kurt, Mandy and Tracey chorused.

“If he has constructed a persona this convincing then he won’t let it slip for a moment,” Mandy shook her head, “He’ll pour it into every facet of his being.”

“Besides,” Tracey picked up the thread, “he doctored the memory after extraction, he remembers what he said and that in itself was deliberate.”

“He wants to be found out,” Mandy agreed.

“He wants to tell the truth,” Tracey nodded to herself.

“Then why doesn’t he?” Hermione furrowed her brow, “it’s the right thing to do, why not expose Voldemort?”

“Self-preservation,” Kurt and Tracey chorused.

“Not everyone is a brave lion,” Mandy shook her head, “he’s afraid. Of what it will mean for his reputation and what the consequences of betraying the Dark Lord’s trust might be.”

“If he’s not going to come out with it on his own,” Hermione twirled a tuft of curly hair around her finger, “how do we get him to tell one of us?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” Kurt looked down at his notes to check if they were at all legible and was pleasantly surprised to find that they lived up to his standard. He skimmed over them, thinking about the matter at hand the whole time, “what makes him tick?”

“Once you know what makes him tick,” Mandy spoke, the question evident in her tone, “you can manipulate him to your liking?”

“Yes, exactly,” Hermione agreed, “what do we know about him?”

“He has a desire to be proximal to fame and greatness,” Tracey explained, “Slughorn was an excellent student, quidditch player, prefect and Head Boy… but he peaked in high school.” She didn’t look up from her notes as she spoke, “he’s a classic study in those who can, do and those who can’t-”

“Teach,” Mandy and Kurt chorused.

“That’s a horrid saying,” Hermione shook her head, “Teaching is a passion that very few possess-”

“Honey,” Kurt raised a silencing finger, “save it for Oprah.”

“But you’re my Oprah,” she countered, Kurt rolled his eyes.

“Magnitudo et auxiliator,” Mandy mumbled under her breath.

“What?”

“He who helps make greatness,” Mandy repeated, “You need to show him all that you can be in order to get his attention.”

“That’s how you get close to him,” Tracey agreed.

Hermione shrugged, “That shouldn’t be hard, right?”

“No, but once I have him hooked, how do I get him to trust that his image won’t be disparaged if he tells the truth?” Kurt glared at the man, “How do I get him to tell us the truth without spooking him?”

“Mr Hummel,” the man stood in front of him and looked down at Kurt, “do you care to share your thoughts on Transmutation?”

“That refers to an alchemist’s effort to turn base metals into gold,” Kurt explained, a smile spread across the man’s walrus-like face, “most commonly, lead into gold.”

“Thank you for regurgitating the textbook’s definition of the process,” his voice taunted Kurt for failing to live up to the standard he expected, “but I did ask for your thoughts.” His jowls quivered as he spoke, “maybe you would have some thoughts on the topic, if you hadn’t been so busy talking through my lesson.”

Kurt glared at the man, shrinking him in his mind before opening his mouth to cut him down size, “my thoughts are that it is the magical effort to replicate the processes of nuclear fusion and fission as they occur in nature. Turning light elements into heavier ones, like happens when stars turn hydrogen and helium into lithium, carbon, oxygen and iron.” Kurt smirked condescendingly, “the opposite, fission as is observed through radioactive decay.”

“I see,” the man nodded, “a very astute observation.”

“The law of conservation of matter is integral to successful transmutation,” Kurt bared all his teeth, “when turning lead into gold, you have to account for the remaining electrons, neutrons and protons. Hence, when turning lead into gold, you end up with lithium as a by-product.”

 “Very well,” the man smiled, “I couldn’t have said it better myself, ten points to Slytherin.”

Tracey leaned in to whisper in his ear, “you know how you wanted to get him to open up to you? This isn’t how you go about it.”

“I was excluded from that narrative ages ago,” Kurt shook his head, “like you, I’m too judgemental.”

~0~

Kurt dropped into the seat beside Hermione at breakfast, “Good morning Baltimore.”

“You’re in a good mood,” she eyed him suspiciously, “Did you see another first year fall down the stairs?”

“Unfortunately, not,” Kurt shook his head, “I’m just really excited to spend today with my best friend.”

“You’re just too sweet,” Hermione shook her head, “So, I know that’s a lie.” She scrutinized him, “did your boyfriend send you something nice for Valentine’s day?”

“Nothing worth writing home about,” Kurt shook his head, “I don’t think he gets me and my desire to eat attention.”

“No,” Hermione cleared her throat, “I think he gets you just fine.”

On Hermione’s cue; a line of third year boys walked down the centre aisle, each carrying a bouquet of red tulips. Kurt gasped as each of the twelve boys handed him their bouquet of twelve perfectly cut and arranged flowers, they then formed a perfect semicircle around where Kurt was sitting.

A Hufflepuff boy Kurt didn’t know too well stepped forward, “L - is for the way you look at me.” The other boys began to harmonise, creating a jazzy tune acapella as they did so, “O - is for the only one I see.”

V - is very, very, extraordinary,” a second boy, a Ravenclaw this time, chimed in, “E - is even more than anyone that you adore can.”

Love is all that I can give to you,” half the group chorused.

Love is more than just a game for two,” the second half countered, a note lower.

Two in LOVE can make it,” the Ravenclaw boy belted out.

Take my heart and please don't break it,” the Hufflepuff answered him.

Love,” the group chorused, “was made for me and you!”

Denis stepped forward and handed him a crisp bottle of champagne, “with love, Charles Hector Weasley.”

The third years turned and filed out of the great hall, leaving Kurt up to his neck in flowers and cradling a bottle- floored and unable to speak. He took a few moments and a couple of deep, steadying breaths but he finally spoke, “this absolutely isn’t his style.”

“But it is yours,” Hermione countered, producing a pair of fluted from nowhere.

“You-”

“Denis and I were commissioned to oversee the execution,” Hermione popped the cork off the bottle of bubbles and started pouring them each a flute, “but it was all Hipster Weasley’s idea, I was shocked to find out he could be so thoughtful.”

“I knew,” Kurt nodded to himself, “I was surprised that he took it this seriously, I expected something more playful.”

“No,” Hermione shook her head, “he did this especially for you, even scheduled it for the time and place where it would get the most eyes, at a time when you would think he’d forgotten.”

“Is that my brother?” Ron asked as he sat down opposite the pair, “who has never remembered even one of my birthdays who is this attentive?”

“I really hope he doesn’t feel the same about me as he does you,” Kurt chuckled, “because that would mean I was either an idiot or… just gross.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Ron shook his head, “I am not putting my brother to the test.”

“What test?” Hermione furrowed her brow, her confusion evident.

Ron smirked, “Incest is best, put your brother to the test.”

“Sick Ron,” Hermione shuddered.

“I’m more concerned on how it reflects on me,” Kurt shook his head, “I’ve been telling people I love that man and he’s creeping on me with his brother?”

“And not even a good brother,” Hermione echoed his tone of disgust.

“What would the people say about me then?”

“Let’s change the subject,” Ron grumbled, “Before someone’s feelings get hurt. What are your Hogsmead plans?” Ron asked them as he organised his bacon sandwich assembly line.

“We don’t have any,” Kurt shook his head.

“Come on,” Ron eyed the pair, “you two are the only people who don’t have girlfriends or boyfriends to go into the village with, seeing as I don’t date… let me hang with you guys.”

“You could go into the village with Tracey,” Kurt suggested, “she’s not dating anyone right now either.”

“Neither is the serpent of Slytherin,” Ron scoffed.

“Is that a new nickname for Goyle?” Hermione smirked.

Ron gaped, “Do I get naming rights?”

“I will see if I can pull some strings,” Hermione shrugged, “I technically linked the term to its item…”

“Hermione,” he waved his finger in her face, “Don’t fuck me on this.”

“I’ll see what I can do…”

“Bitches all over this school will be begging Goyle to slither his Serpent of Slytherin into their Chambers of Secrets,” Ron exclaimed, “I’d like for it to be known that it was I, Ronald Billius Weasley, who came up with that idea.”

“He’s worked for it,” Kurt shrugged.

“I even called Hermione a bitch,” Ron preened, “Do I get to come with on your super secret trip?”

“We’re going to a bookshop in London,” Hermione admitted, “it specialises in tomes on dark magic.”

Kurt shrugged, “we’re trying to find dark magic too dark to imagine.”

“That sounds frightening,” Ron swallowed loudly, “I’m in.”

“That wasn’t an invitation,” Kurt countered.

“Oh, come off it,” Ron spoke with his mouth full, “I’ve got nothing to do, and someone should look out for you two.”

“Excuse me?” Kurt quirked a severe brow.

“You two,” Ron matched his expression, “in a bookshop, you’ll be there till closing and miss the last cut off for Hogsmead returns.” Hermione and he exchanged a look, trying to decide whether to bring Ron with them, “don’t make me beg, I will do it.”

“You’ll have to dress more… grown up,” Kurt let out a tired sigh.

Ron furrowed his brow, “Like slutty?”

“No,” Kurt gaped at him, “Do I look slutty to you?”

“You always look slutty to me,” Ron shrugged.

“Fuck you,” Kurt shook his head, using all his self-control to not throw his drink in Ron’s face.

“I thought that was what you were going for.”

“It is what he’s going for,” Hermione assured Ron, “he just doesn’t want to hear it.”

“What I mean,” Kurt emptied his flute and Hermione replenished his drink, “is that the bookshop is on the UCL campus and you shouldn’t look like the sixteen-year-old virgin you are.”

“You’re a sixteen-year-old virgin,” Ron countered.

“But do I look it?”

“You’re both pretty,” Hermione interjected, “but Kurt is right, go put on something other than a sweater with your initial on it.”

“Guess I shouldn’t shave either,” the boy smirked and Kurt glared at him, “just kidding.”

“I just don’t understand why you’re still sitting here,” Kurt spoke impassively, “go get changed.”

Hermione watched Ron go before turning to Kurt, “What was that?”

“What did I do now?”

“You’re letting him come with us?” Hermione gaped, “you know how judgemental Ron can be about matters of the dark arts, how do you justify bringing him into the thick of it?”

“Ron is an adult,” Kurt shook his head, “or he will be in two weeks according to wizarding law, he claims that he has grown more mature and people are seeing that in him. Is now not the time to find out if we can trust him?”

“One should not test the loyalties of one’s friends too far Kurt,” Hermione shook her head, “Not only have you lied to him, but you’ve thrown him into the deep end.”

“It’s a sink or swim moment,” Kurt shook his head, “he-” Kurt paused for a moment, “we need to know now whether we can rely on Ron, or if he’s a throw away.”

“A throw away?” Hermione gaped at him, “this is Ron were talking about, we’ve known him since first year! Since the troll!”

“In the dungeon,” Kurt rolled his eyes.

Hermione nodded, “yes!”

“Ron is one of my closest friends and he’s supposed to be brave or whatever you Gryffindors are good for but I think his personal boundaries may be a hinderance in our journey going forward,” Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “I just wonder if, when it comes down to it, he’ll be able to pick between the bigger picture and his family… his friends… his feelings.”

“That is so not fair,” Hermione shook her head, “You should trust him, he’s our friend.”

“But he hasn’t trusted us very far all these years,” Kurt let out a tired breath, “he and I are like brothers, he’s one of my best friends, but that doesn’t mean he’s hard-knock.” Kurt let out a defeated sigh, “I’m too soft for this shit…”

“You’re the strongest of us all-”

“But I’m still too weak for all that is going on,” Kurt drew in a deep breath, “I’m only sixteen, I didn’t have any trauma growing up other than a death that was beyond my control… this is not my portion but I know how to turn it all off…”

“But?”

“Not Ron…”

“And you’re concerned?”

“More so than for myself-” Kurt was silent for a moment, “For all of you.”

“Kurt-”

Kurt nodded in defeat, “I didn’t contaminate that prophecy to prove anything.” He squared his shoulders and looked down his nose at his best friend, “I did it to save my best friends, my brother and the world from tyranny.”

“Kurt-”

He nodded once more, “I know, I don’t have to be strong for everyone.” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I may be a stupid bitch for thinking it possible but… fuck that!”

“Kurt,” Hermione laid her hand on his shoulder, “You can’t save everyone.”

“I can try…” Kurt countered, “I am in unique position where I can try harder than anyone else…”

Hermione shook her head, “I need to go get my bag… I don’t like this on your shoulders but I cannot dissuade you-” she took a deep breath, “I’ll be back in few moments, can we hold the conversation.”

“Go,” Kurt laid his head on the long table.

Kurt felt a hand on his shoulders, “You don’t always have to so strong.”

“Is Miranda watching?”

“I am,” Mandy laid her hand next to Neville’s.

“Did I cause a scene?”

“Not really,” she spoke softly, “it’s more of an echo of how devastated you were by the most romantic gesture in… I’m going to say Hogwarts history.”

Kurt sat up straight, “Because I definitely wasn’t going to cry, I’m just exhausted.”

“Don’t you get eleven hours of sleep?”

“Miranda,” Kurt shook his head condescendingly, “that has never officially been the case.” He put his hand on her shoulder, truly speaking down to her, “I slept as long as I needed to gather all the information a dream offered me.”

“Don’t talk down to my girlfriend,” Neville levelled a challenging look at his friend.

Kurt squared his shoulders, “how the whisper of a love everlasting changes people.”

“I don’t me-”

“It’s not a bad thing,” Kurt shook his head, gathering his roses, “Hold onto her, she’s one of the best.”

“That’s uncharacteristically sweet,” Mandy blushed.

“I raised him,” Kurt smirked, “Augusta and I made a man worth fighting for.”

Kurt turned his chin up and strut out of the great hall. Down the steps and along the corridor until he came to the Slytherin Dungeon. He offered the password and sauntered to his room with full arms, he found Tracey Davis seated on his bed.

She smiled broadly, “Goyle or Weasley?”

“These are from Charles,” Kurt blushed slightly, “they came with a little song.”

“A welcome change, I’m sure.” She leaned in to smell the flowers, “tulips?”

“They are my favourite.”

“Oh,” she nodded, “I see.”

“How can I help you?” Kurt asked as he elegantly draped a scarf over his shoulders.

“I wanted to give to this,” she handed him the moleskin journal he had given her for Nancy Drew work, “In case you guys need my work today.”

“Thank you, Tracey.”

“Thank you for not calling me ‘Tracey Anne’,” she shuddered, “all the Slytherin girls are doing it all of a sudden.”

“Pansy has a future in marketing and brand management,” Kurt nodded to himself.

“I would love to sit here and talk about futures that may never come,” Tracey smirked, “But I have a three-way with Longbottom and Mandy.”

“Lucky you,” Kurt chuckled.

She rolled her eyes, “wishful thinking…” Tracey was silent for a moment, “I actually have my first date with Theodore Any advice?”

Kurt dug in his draw and handed her one of his ‘starter packs’, “always use lube, always use protection.”

“That’s not exactly first date advice-”

“If it works out,” Kurt smirked, “you’d rather have this information and all the supplies, and not use them than wish you had them.”

“Anything non-sexual to say?”

“You don’t have to have movie chemistry or agree on everything,” Kurt shrugged, “if it’s right, then you’ll know.”

“How will I know?” she chuckled.

“It’s different for everyone,” Kurt tilted his head in a moment of contemplation, “for me it was a deep fear, for Neville it has been strength. Harry and Lisa make each other feel seen-”

“Basically, they are the missing piece,” Tracey rolled her eyes, “and that is how I’ll know?”

“You could always consult Dr Rhodes if you aren’t sure-”

“She went to Oxford,” Tracey nodded.

“Help yourself to anything,” he gestured to his room, “just remember to sign it out or Bella will attack.”

Kurt made the journey back to the main foyer, the reverse of his earlier trip. He found Hermione and Ron waiting for him, the linked arms and walked toward the transfiguration quad. They came to the gilded eagle and Hermione recounted the password that he had shared with her.

The headmaster rose from his seat when they entered his office, “Ah! Ms Granger, Mr Hummel.” His robes bellowed behind him like the rivers of Egypt when they’d turned to blood, “I wasn’t aware Mr Weasley would be joining us.”

“Last minute addition,” Hermione shook her head, “Kurt agreed to it on a whim.”

“We needed to be chaperoned,” Kurt assured the headmaster.

“Very well,” he nodded. Then he leaned in closer, “I must caution you to return before dinner, and tell all but those who need to know that you were in a private lesson with me.”

“Of course, Headmaster,” Kurt and Hermione chorus.

Ron nodded and muttered “For sure.”

Hermione and Kurt exchanged a look but didn’t faulter, they threw some floo powder into the headmaster’s fireplace, “Thirteen Grimmauld Place, Islington.”

“Before you go,” Professor Dumbledore spoke once more, “I hope all your pursuits succeed.”

Kurt stepped into the green flames and out into the waiting arms of his beloved, “Hello.”

“Salutations Mr Hummel,” Charlie pulled him into a deep kiss. They held each other tightly and their hands roamed the other’s body, Kurt finding hard muscles under the unfortunate layers that Hipster Weasley chose to wear.

Hermione cleared her throat, “what if I’d come through first?”

“Then you would be a very lucky lady,” Charlie grinned.

Kurt spoke from his lover’s arms, “Charles is quite tempted by my presence.” He wagged a suggestive brow, “very tempted.”

“That’s not a measure of how turned on I am,” he blew a raspberry in the crook of Kurt’s neck, “though, I don’t deny Kurt’s claims.”

“That’s enough,” Ron proclaimed, announcing his arrival.

“I don’t take my instructions from you little brother.” Hipster Weasley grinned broadly, almost manically as he held Kurt in his arms still.

Kurt backed away slightly, without disconnecting, “Ron is quite correct.” The older boy stared at him, “we’ve had enough raspberries for a life time.”

“Luckily,” Charlie blew another raspberry on Kurt’s collarbone, “I don’t take instruction from you either.”

“Charles,” Kurt giggled politely, “that is most inappropriate.” He shook his head, “not in front of Ron and Hermione.”

Hermione turned to Ron, “is it me? Or has Kurt gotten more proper?”

“I think it may be contrast,” Ron shook his head, “Hipster Weasley isn’t quite himself either.”

“Not you too,” Ron’s brother rolled his eyes, letting go of Kurt for the first time to retrieve a cigarette.

“Yes,” Ron smirked, “me too.”

Hermione sniffed loudly, “What’s that smell?”

“What? Which is it now?” Charlie lit his cigarette, “Copper? An old boot?”

“Christmas,” Hermione sniffed once more, “like…”

Kurt glared at his best friend, “really?”

“I think I’m getting it,” she smirked at him, “is your Christmas tree still up?”

“You are not the least bit sneaky,” Kurt shook his head, “not the least bit clever.”

“What’s going on?” Ron darted between the pair.

“She’s talking about his shampoo,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “she’s making reference to what I smelled in the amortontia because she’s petty and worthy of a demotion from first best friend.”

“Why are you bringing this up now?” Ron directed the question to Hermione, his brow furrowed.

“I want Kurt to admit what the final scent was,” she smirked.

“Copper,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “Are you happy?”

Hermione shrugged, “where is it?”

“On his shoulder,” Kurt threw floo powder in the fire place, “Booked.” The flames turned green and Kurt saw his best friend planted in place, “in the flames of his dragon tattoo, it says ‘Kurt is always right’.”

“I love watching you squirm,” she grinned.

“Well,” Kurt glared at her, “I’m going to get a taste.”

Kurt took one step forward and Charlie grabbed by the waist, “Ron beat you both to it while you were best friend feuding.”

“Damn it,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “I like to put Kurt on blast but then someone else is always the winner.”

“You deserve!” Kurt exclaimed.

“Let’s just go before my brother is unbearable,” Charlie gestured for them to enter the fire place, “Also, we’re due at Andromeda’s soon.”

“Wait a minute,” Hermione walked and talked, “I’m not dressed to meet Andromeda.”

“That’s how meeting Andromeda works,” Charlie countered, “You sort of stumble into it.”

“And turn into Tonks?” Hermione scoffed as she and Viktor Krum embraced.

He mispronounced her name for old times sake as he hugged Kurt, something they had never actually done before. Kurt kissed his cheek to threaten Hipster Weasley’s security.

“Welcome all to Booked,” Viktor gestured to the bookshop around him.

“This is so not you,” Ron shook his head.

Viktor shook his head, “this is not the ‘me’ people know.”

Kurt turned to Charlie, “Why aren’t you layered?”

“Because,” he shrugged, “you love me.”

Hermione glanced at Kurt, “Did you just squirt from the Celine Dion reference?”

“I’m first in our year,” Kurt chuckled, “and Professor Dumbledore’s most trusted advisor-”

“Where are you going with this?” Viktor intervened, “You sound like Bird seed man.”

“He means Percy,” the Weasleys Chorused, before exchanging a look and shuddering.

“What I mean,” Kurt fixed an imaginary stray hair, “is that I will not be distracted by the majesty of Celine Dion.” Kurt scoffed, “especially in a world where Immortality exists.”

“I do not mean to be discouraging,” Viktor did that thing boys do, scratching the back of this neck, “this scroll is untranslatable.”

“What do you mean?” Kurt groaned.

“It cannot be rendered into English” Viktor clarified.

Hermione rubbed his arm, “I think he’s being facetious.”

“This is not the time Kurt,” the young man shook his head.

Kurt turned to Charlie, “You’re going to let him speak to me like that?”

“I’ve heard nothing wrong,” he shrugged.

“He talked down to me like…” Kurt gave it a moment’s thought as he stammered over his words, “Like I’m Harry Potter!”

“Were you not behaving facitiously at a serious moment?”

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “I was being dead serious,” Kurt shook his head, “is it an unknown dialect? Is it nonsensical in English? Or is it enchanted so that it will be untranslatable?”

“Very well,” Charlie nodded with a groan, “Viktor, please do not speak to my boyfriend that way. It is unwarranted.”

Kurt shook his head, “I should have stayed with Terry Boot.”

“I did exactly as asked,” Charlie shrugged, “I don’t know why you can’t do this without me.”

“I can do this without you,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I was going to do it without you, but you insisted on joining us.” Kurt put his hands on his hips, “now, you have to fulfil your boyfriend duties.”

A mischievous grin spread across the older boy’s ruggedly handsome face, “You mean like this?” he grabbed Kurt in his arms and swung him into a dip, “or this.”

He moved in closer but Kurt stopped him just short, “if you blow a raspberry then I’m breaking up with you.” Charlie planted soft, passionate kisses from Kurt’s collarbone to his lips, “Perfect.”

“Did he ‘blow a raspberry’?” Viktor asked, his thick brow furrowed, “I do not this term.”

“No,” Kurt grinned as he was pulled up right. Ron blew a raspberry in the crook of his elbow, “That’s what it means to blow a raspberry.” He let go of Charlie’s hand and straightened his dragon brooch, “Show me this untranslatable scroll.”

“You’ve never seen it?” Ron gaped.

“Hermione collected it from Carthage and Viktor has had it since,” Kurt explained.

Viktor gestured for Kurt to come to the counter, “Here it is.” He explained as he unfurled the scroll, “Whether it is Phoenician or not, I cannot be sure. What I do know that the text is Afro-Asiatic.”

Kurt eyed the scroll, “Find it in the place where he is buried.”

“What?” Hermione looked from him to the scroll.

“That’s what it says,” Kurt shrugged, “then there are co-ordinates.”

Viktor gazed at Kurt in awe, “How can you read it?”

“He’s Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” Ron rolled his eyes, “it’s funny how you always rib Harry for being the chosen one when clearly you’re just as chosen.”

“No,” Kurt shook his head, “I think this has something to do with Rigel Cygnus LeStrange.”

“Who is that?” Viktor whispered to Hermione.

“That’s his birth name,” she explained in a whisper. She looked Kurt in the eye, “why do you say that?”

“The Dark Lord is the heir of Slytherin,” Kurt thought out a loud, “and he has no children.”

“That we know of,” Ron added.

Kurt shook his head, “I don’t think there’s a cursed child out there.”

“Okay,” Hermione nodded, “so what?”

“That makes him the last of Slytherin,” Kurt explained, he paused, “whatever remains of you will be crushed by whatever remains of me.”

“What is that?” Viktor’s eyes grew wide, “that sounds like a curse.”

“That’s exactly what it was,” Kurt nodded, “cast by Rowena Ravenclaw upon Salazar Slytherin.”

“And you never thought to mention this?” Ron gaped.

Kurt shrugged, “I thought they were just words.”

“So,” Ron quirked a curious brow, “what’s your thought process?”

“If the curse holds up,” Kurt nodded to himself, deciphering his thoughts as he went along, “then so long as something, like an heir, of Slytherin still exists-”

“Then something similar of Ravenclaw must still exist to fulfil the curse,” Viktor completed the thought.

Hermione shook her head, “Ravenclaw’s daughter Helena never had children.”

“She disappeared for a year and was found dead in a pool of blood,” Charlie countered.

Hermione shook her head once more, “she was killed by the Bloody Baron.”

“Keep in mind that most pregnancies of the tenth century ended in pools of blood and dead mothers,” Charlie argued, “and a hidden pregnancy might have remained hidden for the deceased’s dignity.”

“Fine,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “let’s pretend there was a pregnancy and a baby.”

“Keeping in mind what she said,” Kurt furrowed his brow, “and the fact that I can read a scroll that is ‘untranslatable’…”

“You’re a direct descendent of Rowena Ravenclaw,” Ron gaped.

Hermione continued to shake her head, “but Voldemort is left alone, he is the last but you have Draco and could have kids someday.”

“I don’t have any LeStrange Cousins,” Kurt corrected, “And I had cancer, in all likelihood I’m sterile from the treatments-”

“Why else can he read a scroll no one else can?” Charlie grinned, “my baby is special.”

“Lord Voldemort is what remains of Slytherin and-” Viktor grinned.

Kurt took a deep breath, “I’m what remains of Ravenclaw.”

Chapter Text

“Kurt,” Hermione gaped at him, “Do you hear yourself?”

Kurt rolled his eyes, “I know, I sound like a crazy person-”

“I’m going to stop you right there,” she lifted a silencing finger, “there is no but.”

“Kurt very much has a butt,” Charlie smirked, feeling his boyfriend up, “and it is excellent.”

“Not the time or the place but thank you for appreciating the merchandise.”

“Kurt sounds like his cheese has slipped right off its cracker,” Hermione argued.

“Maybe Harry is a descendent of Ravenclaw and the two prophecies line up,” Ron suggested, there was a moment of silence before the group exploded in a wild guffaw. Ron nodded, “I heard it once I’d said it.”

Charlie kissed Kurt’s forehead, “let’s not forget that you naturally have a thing for languages, it might be possible that this isn’t meant for you.”

I don’t even think this is meant for me,” Kurt shook his head, “despite my tries to make it make sense, it isn’t the same thing.”

“How so?” Charlie quirked a curious brow.

“I’m not all that remains of Rowena,” Kurt shook his head, “I have living parents and grandparents.”

“A curse like that cannot go unfulfilled,” Viktor shook his head, “there must be something of Rowena Ravenclaw left.”

“And,” Kurt nodded, “If that thing is in Voldemort-”

“There’s no hope,” Ron mumbled.

“No,” Viktor countered, “when all had left Pandora’s Pithos, Hope remained.”

Kurt smiled, “You called it a pithos.”

“What else would I call it?” Viktor stared intently at him as he had in the maze when he’d been bewitched.

“In English it has incorrectly been translated as Pandora’s Box,” Kurt explained, “but you are quite right none the less, we must never lose hope. This curse will be fulfilled, no matter what it takes.”

Hermione nodded, “or else he shall die by his own hand.” She smiled at Kurt as she leaned deeper into Viktor, “that’s the next line of the curse, right?”

“Correct,” Kurt smirked at his best friend, unable to nuzzle into his boyfriend’s chest because he was taller, “there should be a law against this.”

“What?” Hermione furrowed her brow, “Dark Lording? I’m almost certain there are.” She started to count them off on her fingers, “Murder, assault, stalking-”

“He means how much taller Viktor is than you versus my being shorter than him,” Charlie explained.

“I want to put my head on your chest too,” Kurt whined.

“If we’re horizontal-”  

“I will call Professor McGonagall to come get us,” Ron threatened, “you didn’t see the look she gave Neville.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, “I forgot that I brought an honorary Slytherin girl.”

“I will take that as a compliment,” Ron puffed out his chest.

Charlie gaped, “Ron? Taking Slytherin as a compliment?” he shook his head, “Are you a proficient brainwasher? I’m probably not even in love with you.” 

“Calm down,” Ron shook his head defensively, “you just haven’t met the Slytherin girls, they are the coolest girls at Hogwarts! Last year Daphne Greengrass gave a blowjob to every senior boy.”

Viktor gaped, “she completed her goal.”

“Well,” Ron held his hands up in surrender, “Cedric’s death removed her only obstacle.”

Kurt gaped at him, “me?” Ron and Hermione nodded, “I would have let her go for it, she would have saved me an afternoon.”

“KURT ELIZABETH HUMMEL-”

“Calm down,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “that was a joke!” he chuckled to himself, “can you imagine? Every afternoon?”

“It’s not like he’s the King,” Hermione agreed.

“And what am I? A concubine?” Kurt rolled his eyes, “I have other interests.”

“Really,” Charlie leaned forward rubbed his stubble against Kurt’s face, “And what might those interests be?”

“Perfect skin,” Ron answered, pulling the pair apart, “and you’re going to give him stubble burn. I think we should talk about the important matter at hand.”

Kurt scoffed, he couldn’t think of anyone who lived up to the prophecy and he decided to focus on today, “You’re the one telling us to focus? Now I’ve heard it all.”

“Right now,” Charlie grabbed his brother’s shoulder and squeezed, “it doesn’t matter who ‘the last of Gryffindor’ is.”

“Don’t test me,” Kurt scolded the young man as he moved back into his arms, “I’ve told you, as I’ve told Ronald and Harry, multiple times that Godric Gryffindor didn’t have children! They didn’t have IVF back then and he was too gay to close his eyes and think of England.”

“Maybe he should have thought of you,” Ron quipped, “it seems to drive everyone else crazy.”

“So help me god, Ronald,” Kurt growled, “I will blind you!”

“Yes Ronald,” Charlie pointed across the store to where Hermione was leaning against a bookshelf and Viktor was whispering in her ear, “the Bulgarian Bon-bon is about to finger Hermione while we’re all in the room.”

“Why am I here?”

“You begged to be here!” Hermione chuckled.

“Tracey gave me her journal,” Kurt pulled the journal out of his bag, “So we could cross reference any of our findings with her research-”

“But we didn’t find anything,” Ron countered.

“I’m aware Ronald,” Kurt scowled at his friend, “I am well aware of all the money and time I’ve spent following a lead that just keeps leading me deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole with no end in sight…” Kurt took a deep breath, “there are so many branches that Rowena Ravenclaw’s family could have followed in the last thousand years.”

“Everyone, Let’s go have lunch and wine at Andromeda’s,” Charlie threw some Floo powder into the fireplace and announced the address. When Kurt moved toward the fireplace, he held him in place.

“What?”

“This isn’t the end of this lead,” Charlie grabbed Kurt by the jaw and forced him to make eye contact, “you’ll figure this out, you’re the most brilliant mind of this millennium. There is nothing you can’t do; so long as you want to find the wielder of the deplorable word, you will find them.”

“I-”

“Who are you?” Charlie held him in place, “Tell me who you are.”

“Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” he smiled gently, “first in my year, most powerful wizard of the century, sixth hottest guy at Hogwarts and best dressed student at the school.”

“Damn right,” Charlie leaned in and kissed him gently. He slung his arm over Kurt’s shoulder and led him into the fireplace, “So, there are five guys hotter than you at Hogwarts?”

Kurt rolled his eyes and ran his fingers through the dark, deep red, jaw-length curls, “you need a haircut.”

“Are you coming on to me?”

“Kurt Elizabeth,” Andromeda smiled at him, “You’re positively glowing.”

“Salutations Andromeda,” Kurt and his aunt nodded at each other, “How is Edward?”

“I hate that he’s around,” she handed him a large goblet of white wine, leaned in and lowered her voice, “but I’m glad that he’s here.”

“I know exactly how you feel,” Kurt nodded, winking.

“I need to tell you about the letter that I wrote to my mother,” she giggled, sipping her wine, “I poured my heart out about everything that’s happened in my life for the last twenty-seven years and she responded with ‘That’s lovely to know, Thank you’.”

“How did she sign it?”

“How did she sign it?” Andromeda furrowed her brow, “What kind of question is that?”

“We aren’t an affectionate breed,” Kurt sipped his wine, “Druella, yourself and me. I found that when Charles and I were courting each other that people use subtleties, for example; Charles signed off by asking me if it was dusty on the train, this is a lyric from a Bette Midler song titled ‘PS I love you’.”

“And, love you I do,” Charlie pursed his lips, “but you were also my man, off to war.”

“You are so far from perfect but so close too,” Kurt grinned like a fool, “Do you see the significance of a sign off?”

“The letter was one sentence long, I didn’t care how she signed it.”

“Where’s the letter now?”

“I don’t know…” she shrugged and pointed at her adorable husband, who was fussing about the kitchen, “Ted probably kept it to scrapbook or decoupage.”

“Edward!” Kurt waved the man over. They kissed each other on both cheeks, “Do you have Andromeda’s letter?”

“The one from her mother?” he quirked a curious brow, producing the letter from the pocket of his apron, “I was meaning to discuss the matter with you.”

“I’ve got this covered,” Kurt took the letter, unfolded it and smirked, “She opened with ‘Dearest’, it took her a year to start sending me letters addressing me as ‘dearest’.”

“That’s how all her letters to me have always begun,” Andromeda shrugged, “even the warning before my marriage.”

“You’re her daughter, she’d had eleven years to learn to learn to care for you by the time she sent you the first letter.”

“Took me four years to figure out how I felt about Kurt, I love him.” Everyone stared at him, “Not romantically, I don’t feel that way about anyone and that was the confusing part.”

Kurt got to his feet and held his arms out for Ron, they embraced, “that’s the first time you’ve actually told anyone but me.”

“I love you too,” Hermione said as she joined in the group hug, “You’re my best friend.”

Charlie, Viktor and Ted piled on but said nothing, Andromeda simply cleared her throat. Kurt cleared his throat in response, “this moment is derailing my point with Andromeda, stop touching me.” The group dissipated but Kurt held Charlie’s hand, “not you.”

“Why me?” Kurt pushed him onto the couch and fell into his lap, “never mind.” He turned to Andromeda, “I love your nephew.”

“He’s something,” she charged both of their glasses as Kurt kissed Charlie, “Isn’t he?”

“He- Kurt, could you bend down?” Charlie wagged a suggestive brow.

“I would like to see it,” Andromeda smirked.

Kurt shook his head, picking up the letter, “he just wants to blow a raspberry, back to the letter.”

“Do we have to?”

“She signed it ‘Affectionately’,” Kurt exclaimed.

“She still cares,” Andromeda breathed heavily.

“That’s what this letter was supposed to tell you,” Kurt took a deep breath, holding back tears, “she, like you and I, doesn’t have this immediate aptitude for emotive language.”

“Kurt thought calling me names was a good way to let me know he liked me,” Charlie smirked, attempting to tickle Kurt, “he kicked me once.”

“Stop tickling me, it doesn’t work,” Kurt squared his shoulders, “I was actually trying to push you away with the insults, and I kicked you within twenty-four hours of meeting you- that doesn’t count.” He leaned away from Charlie and toward Andromeda, “How are you feeling about this?”

“I just want to speak to my mother but she probably won’t see me…” she gulped her wine.

“Edward!” Kurt called out, “bring parchment and a quill. Also, Andromeda is ready for you.” Ted appeared with canapés, a roll of parchment tucked under his arm and a quill held between his teeth like seductive man would with a rose. Kurt leaned into Charles, “take notes.”

“Lunch is served,” Ted announced and handed Kurt his requested items, “and for my favourite nephew.”

“Thank you to my favourite uncle,” Kurt smiled endearingly.

“You guys are fucking disgusting,” Andromeda groaned.

Kurt tapped the provided stationary with his wand and grinned, “the three of us have plans for my next Hogsmead visit.” Kurt pursed his lips, “Hermione, Ted; another time. Other people, we can plan a solstice dinner party.”

“She won’t have me,” Andromeda shook her head.

Kurt smiled, “she has wanted this since the moment she told you to ‘take care’. The thing about people like us is that once we open up to someone, it’s for keeps; I can’t leave these assholes anymore than your mother can stop loving you… I think.” Kurt’s breath hung low, “I’ve never fallen out of a relationship, the people I care about die.”

“That’s…”

Kurt shot to his feet, “If we’re talking about the last of Ravenclaw, then we can use all the wizarding families that went extinct in the last millennium and trace them back to a common origin.” Kurt’s quill and parchment started up again, “Rowena Ravenclaw had one most trusted friend, Haim Black would know if there was a baby… we could have a séance.”

“Séances aren’t real.”

“For spirits that have passed on,” Kurt grinned manically, “but Helena Ravenclaw’s best friend is a poltergeist or restless spirit known as Peeves, Bertram Colin Pavinsky- the original Gryffindor house ghost.”

“Original Gryffindor house ghost?” Ron gaped, “Peeves? What about Nearly Headless Nick?”

“Nearly Headless Nick died four hundred years after the other house ghosts,” Kurt smirked, “he was a replacement for Peeves, who was always a restless spirit but reached a breaking point.” Kurt clapped excitedly, “spirits that never rested are more easily contacted within the bounds of real magic.”

“That sounds like fun,” Ron gasped, “can we make it a slumber party with the rest of the Slytherin girls.”

“Slytherin girls are the best,” Ted agreed, “Do you remember Willa?”

“Willa’s daughter, Tracey Davis is the prettiest girl and third smartest student in our year!” Ron smiled broadly, “If one must date, date a Slytherin.”

“Amen to that,” Ted and Charlie announced.

“Willa has a daughter?”

“Yes.”

“I…” Andromeda went silent.

“It’s not your fault,” Edward tried to reassure her.

“Willa actually married a muggle,” Kurt spoke before he could stop himself. Kurt was silent for a moment, “I’m sorry but she and her daughter are in a similar position.”

“I haven’t spoken to Willa…”

“It’s never too late,” Ron shrugged.

“Yeah,” Kurt sat back down in his boyfriend’s lap, “so much to do.”

“Not what I meant,” Ron rolled his eyes.

Kurt mirrored the action, “I know, you want Andromeda to make nice with Tracey’s mom- not my priority.”

“Let me guess,” Ron furrowed his brow, “something deceitful, something about dark magic and a very complicated plan of implementation?”

“Don’t talk to my boyfriend that way,” Charlie kissed his shoulder before whispering, “I won’t die.”

“Ronald,” Kurt’s face fell, “I forgot to tell the Slytherin Girls about your new naming credit.”

“Fuck you Kurt!”

~0~

Ron:

“I hate to say this, ladies,” Ron bounced on Tracey’s bed, making sure not to spill his Charlie-sent champagne, “but Kurt and Charlie are the cutest couple ever.”

“Kill me now,” Pansy squealed, “Kurt deserves everything, though I still have malignant hate for him.”

“That’s called jealousy,” Millicent pointed out.

Daphne shook her head, “I’m jealous of Kurt, nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Thank you Daphne,” Pansy smirked.

“Don’t thank her,” Tracey rolled her eyes, “she’s only jealous of the fact that Kurt fallated Cedric and she didn’t.”

“Who isn’t jealous of him for that?” Daphne countered and the Slytherin girls agreed.

“Speaking of reasons to be jealous of Kurt,” Tracey intervened, “Our newest member needs to be congratulated, Kurt has interacted with ‘the Serpent of Slytherin’.”

“We were all here in second year,” Daphne rolled her eyes, “What does that have to do with Ron?”

“Serpent of Slytherin is what we’re calling Gregory Goyle’s monster,” The ladies clapped, “and it was all Ron’s idea.”

“In that case,” Pansy smirked, “Call me the Heir of Slytherin because I’m going to control Serpent of Slytherin.”

“Hermione was right about you,” Ron smiled softly, “You have a way with words. She and Kurt think that you should be writer or a marketing guru.”

“Definitely marketing,” Millicent scoffed, “because that mouth has been writing checks that it cannot cash, how long are you going to be threatening to fuck Goyle?”

“I’m no Kurt Elizabeth Hummel,” Pansy rolled her eyes, “it takes the rest of us time to gain his attention.”

“Fear not,” Kurt grinned as he stormed the room, “I will teach you my ways.”  Hermione, Lisa, Mandy and Padma entered the room after him, “I cannot, however, guarantee that they will work for you.”

“My options are currently; keep doing what I’ve been doing, which has gotten me nowhere,” Pansy shook her head, “Or take a chance and not die a virgin.”

“Maybe if you picked someone who wasn’t so obviously gay that might improve your chances,” Padma shrugged to a chorus of affirmations.

“This is definitely the kettle calling the pot hag,” Pansy sniggered under her breath.

“My boyfriend isn’t gay,” Pansy scoffed.

“Isn’t he though?” Millicent quirked a curious brow.

Mandy shrugged, “He taught Neville how to French.” She laid her hand on her chest and smiled warmly, “thank him for me.”

“That doesn’t make him gay,” she shook her head, “he taught Hermione how to French as well.”

Hermione mirrored Mandy’s body language, “thank him for me.”

“So,” she nodded, waiting for someone in the crowd to agree with her, “he’s not gay, he could be into both genders.”

“You know what they say,” Kurt smirked devilishly, “Bi today, gay tomorrow.”

“That’s a small minded and terrible stereotype,” Ron heard himself say, “have asexuals also just not met the right person?”

“I’m not ‘they’,” Kurt held his hands up in surrender.

“but let’s level,” Pansy looked them each in the eye, “he’s not gay.”

“In all likelihood, no,” Kurt tried to smile reassuringly but looked like he might eat Padma, “He’s probably doing all of this kissing people irrespective of gender to mess with everyone.” He produced his handbag and started pulling out the parts of a table and handing them out for assembly, “his sexuality doesn’t matter; you guys are happy, right?”

Padma nodded, “yes.”

“Then he can be gay tomorrow and that will be tomorrow’s problem,” Kurt smiled more assuringly, “but for today, you can just be whatever you are.”

“Sometimes I forget why everyone hates you,” she kissed Kurt on the cheek.

“It’s because he’s a cunt,” Ron chuckled.

“Please leave,” Kurt stopped distributing candles and pointed to the door, “these are my friends and comrades in evil, you are here at my mercy.”

“Did I lie though?”

“I also wouldn’t be lying if I said I hope you die violently,” Kurt grabbed his cheek, “I look amazing in black and I would fuck your brother so hard on your grave.”

Ron blushed, Kurt walked around the room rearranging candles so that they were just so. He drew a perfect circle in salt as he did so, he drank from a bottle of vodka as he went along and sprayed it around as he went and muttered under his breath- ignoring Tracey’s protestations as he did so. They all took their seats and Kurt placed a small twig on the table, three lit candles, a bowl of water and one of blood inside the triangle formed by the candles.

They all held hands and Kurt started to speak, “Peeves!” the cartoonish poltergeist appeared with a broad grin on his face, “Ad ligandum eos partier eos coram me.”

The candles blazed higher but Ron wasn’t sure if it was Kurt’s doing or the success of the séance, then Peeves began to glow and transform into a normal- if not handsome- man. Kurt smiled and his voice grew deeper, “Bertram Colin Pevinsky, we summon you as you were at your death. We summon you unbound by magic, we summon you and you alone completely.”

The candles died down and a beautiful, chocolate skinned man stood on the table, “Why have you called me here?”

“To give you peace,” Kurt stared the spirit down, “we’ve called you here to allow you to rest.”

“I cannot find rest,” the spirit turned away, “not until the curse is fulfilled, I know this in death.”

Kurt pursed his lips, “we know about the curse, we know how to free you.” Kurt squared his shoulders, “this curse does not belong to you.”

“This curse-”

“The curse belonged to Helena,” Kurt maintained eye contact the whole time, “it was not yours to carry.”

“For as long as the curse goes unfulfilled I am bound to this plain of existence,” he looked down at his hands, dejected, “this is my burden.”

“The curse will never be fulfilled unless you tell us what you’re hiding, there has been a breakdown in the natural course of the curse and you will never rest until order is restored.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Something of Salazar Slytherin still exists,” Kurt spoke frankly, “there lives an heir, and the curse-”

“The curse demands an heir to Ravenclaw to match,” the spirit faltered for a moment, flickering.

Kurt attempted a reassuring smile once more, “you are no longer bound by the magic that  bound you in life, it only exists in your mind.” Kurt rolled his eyes, “you can’t die again.”

“I…” the spirit flickered, “I am bound by my promise.”

“You are the only one who suffers from the results of this curse,” Kurt countered.

“This was my lot in life and in death.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, “cut the bullshit, I know that if something of Slytherin remains then there must be something of Ravenclaw as well.” He stared the ghost down harder than before, “just tell us how that manifests; did Helena have a sister? Did she have a secret baby?”

“That boy…” Peeves’s human counterpart glowed brighter, “from the day she first saw him, she wanted him despite her mother and I’s assurances that he would lead to her ruin.” His face grew peaceful as he spoke, “Edward Tuft-Waldon, she fell pregnant with his child and gave her life so the boy might live.”

Kurt’s eyes went wide, “do you know what became of him?”

“After they defied Rowena, it killed her,” he was silent for a moment, “he was raised by his father’s family…” Peeves looked off into the distance, to something Ron couldn’t see, “it’s finally my time.”

“Go,” Kurt nodded. They all watched as the young man turned back into his cartoonish poltergeist form and then dissolved into a cloud of gold dust and dissipated into the air, Kurt let out a tired breath and the candles went out.

“Whose blood is that?” Daphne turned to Kurt as they let go of each other’s hands.

“Harry’s” Ron smiled, “Kurt had me steal it in his sleep.” Ron didn’t mention that they had made this choice because Kurt had already given blood for this fight, “this is his war after all.”

“Am I the only one who wants to know what that was all about?” Millicent looked from the first person to the next, none of them but Kurt would meet her eye, “or is this some big secret.”

“If I tell you, then you’re a part of this,” Kurt crossed his arms, “then you are putting against the dark lord.”

“Come to think of it…”

“That’s what I thought.”

“What did we learn from this whole thing?” Tracey Davis stared daggers at Kurt, “Or did you pour salt all over my floors and spit all around my room for no reason?”

“That Helena had a son, raised by the Baron of Kesteven,” Kurt smirked, “and that death can break a curse.”

“What does that even mean?” Ron furrowed his brow.

“I have a place to start,” Kurt pursed his lips, “I can follow descendants of the Baron’s bloodline till I come to someone who can tell me where to find the deplorable word.”

“Don’t you mean someone who can use the deplorable word?”

“It’s a spell,” Kurt shrugged, “Anyone can use it.” He straightened his perfect clothing and smiled, “I hate to be this person-”

“You live to be this person,” Hermione smirked.

“Only thing that keeps me going in times as dark as these,” he chuckled.

Tracey smiled, “I still don’t know why you spat all over my room.”

“To ward off evil spirits,” Ron smiled, “we learned that in divination.”

“Indeed, we did,” Hermione nodded condescendingly, “what’s next?”

“More research,” Kurt nodded to himself as if trying to convince the person who mattered most to him, himself. He nodded to himself, “I’ll do some work with Harry Potter in the interim but I believe that I must find the deplorable word.”

Chapter Text

Kurt checked his watch, he hated wasting his time like this but he had agreed to help Harry get back into Professor Slughorn’s good graces and acquire the crucial memory- even if that did mean wasting time listening to advice on a test that he was more than ready for. He sat across the desk from the potions master as the man explained to him how isotopes work, how he needed to know the structural difference between graphite and diamonds in order to rearrange the molecules, and the basics of spellcasting.

Kurt had an incomparable understanding of diamonds, he had been wearing them since his mother’s tragic death and, not to be crass, he wore them with an elegance that Christine Hummel could never manage. He was certain that he could turn anything into diamonds on demand but then, once more, Kurt wondered why poverty and hunger were still a thing in a world where wizards could enlarge food and make wealth from nothing?

 Kurt couldn’t bring himself to think of the countless children who went to bed hungry every day, he thought of people like the Weasleys, who lived a modest lifestyle and barely managed to make ends meet in order to send their children to school. Were they simply bad wizards? Should he be letting Harry spend as much time with them as he did? Would they be able to protect him adequately if the Dark Lord and his followers were to attack the burrow? Kurt didn’t know who to ask, then it hit him.

“Professor Slughorn,” Kurt stared the man down, “if it is possible to turn pencil lead into diamonds, then why does poverty exist in the wizarding world?” Kurt shook his head, “why aren’t all wizards fabulously wealthy? With magic you can turn mundane, everyday elements into precious ones.”

“Well,” the man reclined in his seat and Kurt could imagine him disguised as an overstuffed arm chair. He patted down his lapels before he started speaking once more, “In the wizarding world, the gold that makes our coins is finite and marked. One could not simply create gold and pass it off as currency.”

Kurt wanted to punch the man for his smugness, “yes, but it is possible to exchange muggle money into galleons and muggles go to war over these minerals that we can synthesise at the drop of a hat…” Kurt took a deep, steadying breath, “if we can turn silicates in sand into oil, isn’t it our responsibility to bring peace to the middle-east by giving everyone who wants their oil some?”

“My boy,” the man smiled a prison of tiny teeth, “the thing about muggles is that we have a long history with them, dating back to the witch trials.”

“People of colour have a long history with white people but I might be one of the only people Tracey Davis calls friend,” Kurt shrugged, “Padma Patil is dating my brother despite what our country did to her ancestral home and people.”

Professor Slughorn shook his head and chuckled, “my boy, it simply isn’t the same.”

“You’re right,” Kurt nodded, “they invaded our countries, destroyed our way of life, stole a generation of our people and sold them into slavery, and killed many of us… wait, that was people of colour.” He rolled his eyes, “has the wizarding world considered getting over it?”

“People lost their families!”

“They weren’t the first or the last,” Kurt uncrossed and recrossed his legs, “Grindelwald killed people in droves and people moved past that.” He pursed his lips, “don’t get me started on Anais Haddad-Schmidt.”

The man leaned forward in his seat, his curiosity peaked, “Who?” There was a knock on the door, “Come in.”

Harry entered, he stopped when he saw Kurt, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Not a problem,” it took all of Kurt not punch Harry for his wooden performance, “we had moved past academics into the general ignorance.”

Professor Slughorn had stiffened in his seat and his response was equally uncomfortable, “Harry, how can I help you?”

“I was hoping to have a moment with you,” he looked to Kurt, “alone.”

“That’s my que,” Kurt packed his notebook and got to his feet.

“Nonsense,” the potions master exclaimed as Kurt moved to leave, “there is nothing Harry and I can’t discuss in the presence of a peer, a Slytherin prefect none the less.”

Harry shuffled uncomfortably, this performance was significantly more believable than his initial surprise, “I wanted to apologise for what I said after our first Slug Club supper, I wrote a letter but I wasn’t sure if you got it-”

“Don’t give it any further thought,” the man waved off Harry’s worry.

“I brought a peace offering,” Harry produced a package of candied pineapple, “I remember how Kurt’s offer of the same made you very happy at the beginning of the year.”

“They are my favourite,” the man chuckled nervously, “that is too kind but a gift wasn’t necessary.”

“Oh no,” Harry shook his head, “it was, I was totally out of line.”

The man nodded and had a piece of the overly sweet treat, offering some to Kurt, “that’s water under the bridge.”

“He does that,” Kurt glared at his friend, “talks out of the side of his neck.”

“That’s me,” Harry bowed his head in shame, “always putting my foot in mouth…”

“He always comes up with an excuse, so we have to forgive him.”

“This one’s good. It’s just, after Voldemort-” Harry stopped suddenly, “I mean You-Know-Who, tried to kill me for the fifth time-”

“A fifth time?” the man moved to his liquor cabinet and produced an almost empty bottle of whiskey, pouring them each a double, “I know only of the Halloween night.”

“Well,” Harry made himself comfortable and began to recount the story of Quirreldemort, “The Dark Lord was on the back of our first year Defence Against the Dark Arts professor’s head.”

“You lie!”

“Truth,” Kurt nodded, “he wanted the philosopher’s stone; he tried to steal it from Gringotts but they’d moved it to Hogwarts earlier that day.”

Harry blushed, probably thinking of how they had naively believed Professor Snape to be after the stone, “he went after the stone and the four of us followed him.”

“Harry murdered Professor Quirrel,” Kurt chimed in, “burned him with his hands in self-defence.”

“I’m a murderer?” Harry’s eyes grew wide.

“And nobody helped you,” Kurt added with a nod of his head.

“Why do you always say that when Quirrel is mentioned?”

“Because I want no part of this narrative,” Kurt shook his head, “I haven’t killed anyone.”

The elderly professor gaped at them, “Harry is a hero, taking on You-Know-Who all on his own.”

“No,” Harry shook his head, “I’ve only taken on You-Know-Who once and that was in fourth year. In second year, Kurt straight up murdered him.”

“He, unlike Professor Quirrel, is still alive,” Kurt smirked, “all I did was destroy a book.”

“I don’t follow,” the man shook his head.

“He was using an old school diary to possess Ginny Weasley,” Kurt explained.

“Kurt cast spells out of two wands at the same time,” Harry gushed, “on a basilisk, even I know that they are almost impervious to magic and Kurt made it work.”

“Harry slayed Slytherin’s monster with the sword of Gryffindor,” Kurt countered

Harry shook his head, “Kurt is being modest, he used three blood things-”

“Three samples of noble blood,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “it’s a blood spell I read in this Arabic book on obscure magic I bought in Japan.”

“How does this spell work?”

“It separated Ginny’s soul from You-Know-Who’s and returned his fragment to the diary,” the potions master paled and finished the remainder of his drink in a single swig, “it used the blood from Harry’s injury, the basilisk’s and my own to do so.”

“Fascinating,” the man charged his glass from a second bottle, “but that’s three.”

“The Triwizard Tournament’s third task,” Harry added, “when he came back.”

“When he killed Cedric,” Kurt looked down at his hands.

“The last time was at the Ministry,” Harry extended a hand toward Kurt, he smacked it away, “when everyone found out he was back.”

Kurt looked up suddenly when he heard the sound of breaking glass, Professor Slughorn was lying on the ground and frothing at the mouth. He and Harry looked at each other in confusion, “did you poison him?”

Kurt was aghast, “why would I poison the potions master?”

“Why do you do anything?”

“Do you want to get punched in the throat?” Kurt narrowed his gaze and the boy who lived shook his head, “because this is how you get punched in the throat.” Kurt crouched beside the rotund man, “get a bezoar.”

“Right,” the boy nodded sarcastically, “let me find a goat.”

“You are heading right for a smack bottom,” Kurt countered, “in the professor’s stores.”

“Right,” Harry nodded to himself, he searched the man’s cabinets.

“By all means, move at a glacial pace,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “it’s not like someone is dying.”

Harry put a bezoar in the man’s mouth and forced him to swallow, Kurt moved to the man’s stores and searched for a restorative draft. His efforts were rewarded when the man regained consciousness after being forced to swallow a dosage to counteract whatever effects the poison had on his body.

The aged man blinked rapidly as he looked up at the pair, “what have you done to me?”

“It wasn’t us,” Harry countered.

“It was probably the second bottle of whiskey,” Kurt spoke as he helped the man to his feet, “you’re the only one who drank from it, where as we both ate the candied pineapple and all of us drank from the first bottle.”

The man nodded, eying the bottle that sat open on his desk, “I guess this is why they say it better to give than receive.”

“What do you mean?” Kurt quirked a curious brow, “was this a gift?”

“One I was going to give,” the man shook his head, “to Professor Dumbledore but I changed my mind when he got me a cheap quill set, I was not going to be the boob who spent a fortune on a nice gift for someone who couldn’t care less- not Horace Eugene Flaccus Slughorn.”

“Which means that this poison,” Kurt sniffed the bottle, “wasn’t intended for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” Kurt shrugged, “the bottle was intended for the headmaster and, by extension, the poison in said bottle.”

“I don’t like what I’m being accused of,” the man’s jowls quivered and he crossed his arms indignantly.

Harry shook his head, “You wouldn’t have drunk the poisoned whiskey if you had poisoned it yourself.”

“You probably got the idea to gift Professor Dumbledore with this bottle from someone who also had the idea planted in their mind,” Kurt added.

“Rosmerta,” the man gaped, “she sold it to me, I thought she just wanted the business.”

Kurt waved the man’s shock off, “she’d probably been bewitched to do so.”

“The Three Broomsticks Inn,” Harry smiled, “that’s where Katie Bell got the cursed necklace.”

Kurt tilted his head expectantly, “Are you going anywhere with this?”

A brooding Harry shook his head, “no.”

~0~

Harry tugged on Kurt’s sleeve, “What?”

“I need your help,” the boy who lived troubled, like he had screwed the pooch, “in Mertyl’s bathroom, quickly.”

Kurt rolled his eyes, following his friend. He found himself running through the corridors as the young man before him moved as quickly as his little legs would carry him, they came to the flooded bathroom and Kurt’s breath caught as he feared that the Chamber of Secrets had somehow been reopened. His fears changed instantly as the water turned red, then he saw Draco laying in the water sobbing.

Mertyl was hovering over his body and whispering comforting words to him, her aura turned dark when she saw them, “What are you doing back here? And why have you brought him?”

Kurt fell to his knees, soaking his pants, “What have you done?”

“I didn’t mean to,” Harry tried to reassure him, “he didn’t even fight back, he just took it.”

Kurt produced both his wands, “Vulnera Sanentur.” He repeated the incantation over and over as he thought of his second incantation; the blood flowed back into his cousin’s body as he sobbed and the deep cuts to his thorax healed. Kurt smiled gently and whispered soothingly, “everything is going to be fine, you’re going to be fine. Narcissa is safe, you don’t have to worry about anything. I’ll take care of everything, I’ll take care of you.”

“Kill me,” Draco sobbed.

Kurt was shocked by the words, he shook his head, “I’ll see you through to the otherside, I promise that you’ll be okay.”

“Please,” the boy sobbed, “Kurt please.”

“You’re going to be okay,” Kurt spoke softly as the sobbing boy pleaded with him, “everything is going to be okay.”

“Will he be alright?” Harry asked him.

Fire burned inside Kurt, “What happened?”

“I confronted him about poisoning the bottle of whiskey-”

“Despite the fact that I have told you multiple times that Draco needs to be helped, not persecuted?” Kurt narrowed his gaze, “what were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t thinking-”

Kurt shook his head, “Do you know what could have done?”

“I don’t know what to say,” Harry shrugged, “maybe I’m becoming like him-” Kurt slapped him, “what the fuck?”

“You’re not becoming an idiot,” Kurt shook his head, “that must have been the first thing you got from him because you’ve been dumb as bricks for as long as I’ve known you.” Kurt let out a tired sigh, “I shouldn’t have struck you, I’m sorry.”

Harry balled his hands into fists, “You may think I’m stupid but-”

“But what?” Kurt tilted his head, “What was so difficult about following a simple instruction? Stay away from Draco, he’s innocent in all of this.”

“I’m not stupid!” Harry snapped, “I was just so angry, Sirius died because of these people and he’s become one of them.”

“And so you decided to double your body count?” Kurt put his hands on his hips and stared the shorter boy down, “do you know what it would have meant for you if he had died? They could have pinned Cedric’s death on you or even Barty Crouch Sr’s death, they would have labelled you as a mad man and a homicidal maniac.”

“Kurt-” Harry grew angrier, “I’m not the bad guy here.” He took a step closer to Kurt, “I’m not the one who is trying to kill Professor Dumbledore.”

“Not being the bad guy simply isn’t enough,” Kurt hugged himself, he turned to the damaged sink, “Reparo.” Water stopped gushing from the damaged faucet as it pulled itself toward itself, “you have to ask yourself if you are the good guy, if you can assure yourself that you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons and not because Draco has been your rival since first year, then you can call yourself the good guy.”

“I’m not answerable to you,” Harry scoffed, “I don’t have to defend myself to you.”

“You actually are,” Kurt smirked, “I’m a prefect. Fifty points from Gryffindor, a month’s detention, no more Hogsmead visits for the remainder of the year, a ban from the remainder of the quidditch season and a notation on your permanent record.”

“You think I care about any of those things,” Harry snapped.

Kurt shook his head sadly, “you should, a notation like this might mean that you can never become an Auror.”

“What?”

“It calls into question your mental stability,” he put a hand on his friend’s shoulder, “I’m not punishing you with that last bit, I’m concerned for you.”

“I wish you wouldn’t be,” Harry bowed his head.

Kurt helped Draco to his feet and slung his arm over his shoulders; waving the water out of their clothes and with is, Draco’s tears. He helped his cousin out of the bathroom and down the corridor, they navigated the stairs and Kurt paid no mind to the stares they received as they made their way to the Slytherin dungeon. Kurt didn’t look at or speak to anyone, he took Draco to sixth year boys’ dorm and laid him to rest.

Kurt waved his hands over the fair-haired boy’s head, “Bad dreams, bad dreams go away. Good dreams, good dreams here to stay.”

“What are you doing?” Gregory stared down at him.

“Don’t interrupt me, I have to do it three times in a row in order for it to work!” Kurt snapped, “Now I have to start over.” He started waving his hands again, “Bad dreams, bad dreams go away. Good dreams, good dreams here to stay. Bad dreams, bad dreams go away. Good dreams, good dreams here to stay. Bad dreams, bad dreams go away. Good dreams, good dreams here to stay.”

The tension left Draco’s body and he started to breath peacefully and rhythmically. Kurt turned to look at Gregory and the boy took it as his que to speak, “Was that a spell?”

“Sort of,” Kurt let out a tired sigh, “it’s kitchen magic, we’ll learn about it next year in magical theory.”

“What is it?”

“Magic so mundane and simple that even muggles can do it,” Kurt explained as he got to his feet, “like warding off evil spirits with certain symbols or actions.”

“Is everything alright?” the boy stared at him deeply, “that’s what I meant.”

“Yes… No,” Kurt turned to Gregory and melted into the taller boy’s arms with a heavy sob, “he looked relieved, like he was happy to be dying.”

“What?”

“He even asked me to kill him,” Kurt’s whole body shook.

“Draco would never,” the boy countered.

“This isn’t the same Draco we once knew,” Kurt shook his head, “he’s been beaten down by the pressure of all that has happened this year.”

“I can’t believe it,” Gregory shook his head, “I won’t believe it.”

“What kind of world is this?” Kurt breathed heavily as tears streaked down his face, “how has the world hurt someone so young so much in one year? He wanted to die…” the boy rocked Kurt comfortingly for a moment but he remembered himself, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to send you mixed signals- that isn’t fair.”

“I can be your friend,” Gregory assured him, “I’m not socially inept, I can separate my feelings for you from our friendship.” He pulled Kurt back into his arms, “this is what friends do for each other.”

Kurt sobbed harder, “I have to help him, I might not like him but not even Draco deserves to feel like this.”

“There, there,” Gregory patted his back gently, “we all want to help him but…” he hesitated for a moment, “What Draco has to do, I don’t think he can be helped. I don’t want to be part of it but he’s my friend.”

Kurt smiled gently, pulling himself toward himself, “Something has to be done.”

“Don’t-”

“I know friends are supposed to worry about each other but,” Kurt shook his head and gestured toward Draco, “you have enough to worry about.”

~0~

Harry:

The corridors were almost deserted as he left Kurt’s Transfiguration classroom after his thirtieth afternoon of writing lines, at the end of every week he had to write an essay on why his actions were wrong. Kurt had taken the punishment very seriously, seeming to switch their friendship off during their detention sessions. He knew that Kurt had meant well, his punishments meant to teach Harry a lesson, and he couldn’t stay mad at him.

“Kurt,” he stopped the boy as he was walking out of the classroom, “today is my last detention.”

“Yes,” Kurt smiled weakly, “I “hope you learned your lesson.”

“I did,” he nodded rigorously, “dark magic is a lot like a loaded gun, in the hands of a trained and responsible person it can be a useful tool but it can be very dangerous in other hands- my hands.”

“Where did you even learn that spell?” Kurt glared at him and it made him feel small, “it’s not in any of the library books worth reading.”

Harry looked around them, “the Half-blood Prince, it was in his potions book.”

Kurt quirked a curious brow, “it was in a potions book?”

“The book has all these handwritten notes and spells scribbled in the margin,” Harry explained.

“These notes are why you’re suddenly good at potions?”

“Hermione thinks its cheating,” he shrugged, “we had a whole conversation about this, where were you?”

“I’m assuming you had this conversation in the Gryffindor common room?” Harry nodded, “I’m not in Gryffindor, I was in my own house’s common room.”

Harry scratched the back of his neck to avoid facepalming, “I forget that you aren’t in the same house as us, especially because you show up in my room all the time to scold me.”

“Maybe you should be less scoldable,” Kurt shrugged, “it’s funny how you think I don’t know about your attempt to sneak out to Hogsmead through the tunnels, I personally had them filled in.”

“I-” Harry tried to defend himself but Kurt raised a silencing finger.

“You wanted to question Madame Rosmerta,” Kurt was dead on the money and it made Harry feel predictable, “I know how that mind of yours works and I don’t need little notes in the margin to do it either.”

“That was unnecessarily mean,” Harry sulked.

“Why?” Kurt tilted his head, “we know who bewitched her and why, did you not get enough out of nearly killing Draco.”

“Draco needs to be stopped,” Harry balled his hands into fists.

“Draco needs to be protected,” Kurt put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and looked deeply into his eyes, “from his task and from himself.”

“I know,” He nodded but he couldn’t bring himself to believe it, he knew Draco believed the same thing as all the death eaters and he was faking this tortured victim thing to throw them off. Kurt was too close to see it, “think of the children.”

“I wish you’d say that with more enthusiasm,” Kurt gave him a small smile, “after all, you are the children.”

“Think of the children!” Harry repeated with false mania.

“I’m not above slapping you again,” Kurt shook his head at him.

“Or punching me in the throat,” Harry rolled his eyes, “I live in constant fear.”

Kurt chuckled, “what are you up to this evening?”

“I’m going to take my vial of liquid luck and try and get the truth out of Slughorn.”

“Harry,” Kurt took a step closer, his eyes growing bright, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. I-”

“I don’t want to hear it,” Harry shook his head, “trust me.”

Kurt raised his hands in surrender, “be careful.”

Harry walked away, before Kurt could try to talk him out of his idea. Harry ran up the stairs to Gryffindor tower, passed the Fat Lady without any thought and waiting for him in the common room were Hermione and Ron. Hermione handed him the vial of molten gold and started to recount Slughorn’s schedule to him.

“Hermione,” he stopped her, “we’ve planned this perfectly, don’t stress too much.”

Hermione gave him a look that reminded him of Kurt, “You aren’t exactly known for sticking to plans.”

“I followed Neville’s plan for the second task perfectly,” Harry countered.

“That was Luna,” Ron and Hermione chorused.

“Right,” he nodded to himself, “I forget that I only did the part of the Triwizard Tournament where I was almost burned to a crisp.”

“we don’t know how long the potion will last so-” Hermione gaped at him as he downed the chocolate flavoured potion, “you shouldn’t take the potion till the last possible moment.” She let out a heavy sigh and produced her hip flask, “use this when that brew’s effects wear off, it’s Tracey’s one.”

Harry shook his head, “I won’t need it.”

“Are you feeling any different?” Ron shrugged, “more chosen than normal.”

“I want to go to Hagrid’s, I miss him,” harry smiled warmly, “he’s barely been in our lives since we dropped Care for Magical Creatures.”

Hermione shook her head, “this is why I don’t go behind Kurt’s back, you’re having an adverse reaction. We were warned that this stuff was like drugs but I wen along with this stupid plan.”

“I can hear you,” Harry grinned at her, “I think Hagrid’s hut is the place to be this evening, for me.”

“Harry,” Ron squared up with him, “what about Slughorn?”

“Don’t over think this,” He assured his best friend, “I know what I’m doing… or at least the potion does.”

Ron turned to Hermione, “You or Kurt are taking the next dosage, Harry is clearly the one that flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

“I have to go,” Harry didn’t wait for their responses, he just walked out of the common room and made his way down the stairs and through the various corridors and quads that led him to the castle exits near the greenhouses. Harry half hummed and half sang the song that was bouncing in his head, “Wise men say only fools rush in, But I can't help falling in love with you.”

Harry waved his arms in the air and thought of Lisa, she was so pretty and she was always nice to him, “Something I don’t know. Oh, if I can't help falling in love with you?” he wished he’d brought her but then something told him that it was best he was on his own, “Other lyrics I don’t know, I can’t help falling in love with you.”

Harry watched the man hanging out of the greenhouse window by his legs for a moment, he approached his pray with absolute stealth, “What you doing?”

The potions master hit his head on the window’s frame, “Harry, what are you doing outside at this hour?”

“I’m on my way to Hagrid’s,” Harry peered through the window, “what are you doing?”

“I…” the man shook his head, “You can’t leave the caste at this hour.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not safe,” the man proclaimed.

Harry rolled his eyes, “I’ll be fine, I do this all the time.” He started to walk off, “this is kind of how I maintain my friendship with Hagrid.”

“Harry,” the man followed him, calling out for him to stop and come back. Harry walked some ways from the entrance before acquiescing to the man’s request, “I demand that you escort me back to the castle.”

“That would be counterproductive to my mission to get to Hagrid’s,” Harry shook his head, “I can see him.” He pointed to where the man stood near the whomping willow, “Forward we go.”

Harry made quick work of descending the slope until he came to Hagrid, the large man was sobbing and staring down at an acromantula carcass. Harry recognised this particular acromantula as Arogog, he wasn’t sure how he could distinguish him from any other acromantula when one considered that the only time he had met the spider it had been in the darkness of night. The smell of burning spiders tickled his nose and reminded Harry of how Kurt had saved their lives that night, Harry wondered where they would be without Kurt to look out for them- most recently, Azkaban.

“Hagrid,” Professor Slughorn gaped at the groundskeeper, “however did you manage to slay this beast?”

“He didn’t slay it,” Harry shook his head, “Aragog was Hagrid’s pet-”

“And friend,” Hagrid wailed.

“And friend,” Harry nodded, “he was the ‘monster’ that Hagrid was expelled for breeding, the alleged murderer of Myrtle.” Harry turned to the potions master, “You should remember, you were around then.”

“Yes,” the man nodded, “I did read about your name being cleared when Minister Fudge was awarded the Order of Merlin, the beast was actually a basilisk.”

“Which makes more sense, given that acromantulas don’t petrify their victims and Myrtle didn’t have any bite marks on her body,” the pair and fang stared at him, “Kurt went on a tirade that includes a soliloquy on how the minister desecrated the Order of Merlin by taking credit for his work.”

“Fair enough but he forgot to feed Fang,” Hagrid shrugged and Fang barked.

Harry shook his head and addressed the dog, “Ron fed you.” The dog barked once more, “well, in Kurt’s defence, his pet feeds itself when he forgets to feed her. Once Bomballerina caught a first year.”

“Professor Sprout was not impressed,” Hagrid chuckled so hard he started to sob once more.

Harry laid a comforting hand on his elbow, “let’s have a Viking funeral.”

“Before you burn the body,” Slughorn interjected, “might I milk a vial or too of venom?” the man looked into Hagrid and Harry’s shocked faces, “it is a remarkable specimen for potioneering.”

“And it fetches a pretty penny on the black market,” the shocked faces turned to him, “Kurt’s curriculum structure is more sound and consistent.”

“That it is,” Hagrid nodded, “help yourself to his venom, he won’t be needing anymore.”

Slughorn produced a vial and milked the spider’s fang just as Goyle had described Kurt doing so, Harry made a mental note not to mention that Kurt had dismembered one of Aragog’s children. The man produced a second vial and continued his task, accidentally snapping off one of the spider’s mandibles and eliciting a gasp from Hagrid.

“Let’s say a few words,” Harry and Hagrid bowed, “Professor?”

The man sounded flustered but he started to eulogise a spider he never knew, “In his life, Aragog must have known many mates. His progeny will prosper and multiply in his death as they had in his life.” He took a deep breath, “this majestic beast has left an impression on this world despite so few knowing him.”

“It’s like you know him,” Hagrid sobbed.

“A quick song,” Harry nodded to himself, “Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go. It’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you.” He sang the song on his own, “Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go. It’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you.

“That was…”  Hagrid wiped his tears away, “so bad, please never do it again.” They all laughed and Hagrid blew his nose with duvet sized handkerchief, “thank you both anyway.”

Harry pointed his wand at the acromantula, “Aro.” Blue flames shot out of his wand and incinerated the dead spider before their very eyes in a matter of moments.

“I have rock cakes and a fresh brew of mead,” Hagrid announced, seeming to have pulled himself together.

“I could go for a rock cake,” Harry nodded to himself.

Professor Slughorn shook his head, “we should be headed back to the castle.”

“Nonsense,” he shook his head, “I’m enjoying being at someone who wasn’t killed by Voldemort’s funeral.”

The potions master reluctantly followed them down the remainder of the slope to Hagrid’s hut, Harry made himself comfortable on the oversize chair and waited while Hagrid served them. Professor Slughorn tried to play it cool for all of thirty seconds before succumbing to his base nature for self-indulgence, it didn’t take long for the potent mead to work its magic and the pair were tipsy.

Harry leaned forward, “Professor Slughorn.”

“Harry, my boy.”

“I need to ask you for something,” he spoke frankly.

The man shook his head, “I know what you want, I can’t do it. I’m sorry but it would ruin me.”

“I think you would suffer a harder hit to your image if people found out that you could have helped put an end to Voldemort’s reign of terror but chose to remain silent to protect your reputation,” Harry was channelling Kurt in that moment.

“Please don’t use that name-”

“Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself,” Harry countered, “Hermione taught me that.”

The man shook his head, “do you know what you’re asking me to do?”

“I’m asking you to honour my mother’s sacrifice,” Harry was playing the man like a fiddle, “I’m asking you to respect her refusal to let Voldemort kill me. I’m asking you to honour Cedric Diggory, who stood between me and the Dark Lord.” Harry extended a hand toward the elderly man, “I’m asking you to put aside your instincts for self-preservation and try to act a little brave.”

~0~

“Professor,” Harry entered the headmaster’s office, “I got it.”

Kurt turned in his seat dramatically, “are you ready to hear what I have to say?”

“I have Slughorn’s memory,” Harry proclaimed excitedly.

“And I figured out what the conversation was about,” Kurt smirked, “I was meaning to tell you but I got caught up in exam prep and being angry at you.”

“How?”

“When I mentioned Tom Riddle’s diary, Professor Slughorn paled when I mention part of Ginny Weasley’s soul,” Kurt smiled, “It triggered one of my memories, something I’d read about Harpo the Foul.”

“The guy who used to own your wand?”

“The very same,” Kurt pulled the boy who lived into the seat beside him, “in a biography of his that I read in Peru they mentioned a sort of black magic with which he experimented.”

Harry winced, “Is it too dark to imagine or too boring to think of?”

“Too boring to think of,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “it’s a child’s idea of dark magic, completely lacking in creativity.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

“I’ll let you decide,” Kurt shrugged, “it’s called a horcrux.”

“What does it do?” Harry leaned forward in his seat.

“One splits their soul and hides part of it in an object,” Kurt explained, “so that if you’re killed, part of you lives on. In theory- I guess in practice as well, seeing as Voldemort is still alive- the main soul piece cannot be killed.”

“So,” Harry slumped in his seat, “he can’t be killed.”

“Not unless his horcruxes are found and destroyed,” Kurt smiled.

“You destroyed his diary, and Professor Dumbledore destroyed the ring,” Harry perked up, “How many does he have?”

“Due to the Dark Lord’s superstitious nature, he’d pick a powerful number,” Kurt crossed his arms, “he would split his soul into three, five or seven pieces.”

“So, either we’ve destroyed all of them,” Harry spoke to himself, “or there are at least two more.”

Kurt nodded, “basically.”

“How do you do it?” Harry looked deeply into his eyes, “create a horcrux.”

“There’s a whole ceremony but the soul is split through murder,” Kurt spoke coldly.

“What kind of objects are we talking about here?” Harry’s mind was working behind his spectacles, “do you have to use a special object?”

“No,” Kurt smiled, “a smart wizard would pick a random pebble and drop it the bottom of a lake.”

“But Voldemort is stupid like me,” Harry smirked, “that probably explains the trophies he took from his victims, like his uncle’s ring.”

Kurt’s grin broadened, “you’re thinking, that’s a step in the right direction.”

“So, we know of at least one more horcrux,” the boy grinned, “Hufflepuff’s cup.”

Kurt nodded, “and so the chase goes.”