Chapter 1: Heritage
Harry was tired that day at Hogwarts. Between what hell his relatives had put him through during the summer and whatever play this new pink bitch was pulling Harry was having a hard time focusing on his potion. He knew by now that he was mistreated at the Dursleys but years of "training" had him keeping his mouth shut. He also knew that if he weren't at roughly genius level he would already be dead several times over. He had been "taught" never to do better than Dudley at school and by the time he had realized it was cautiously safe not to hide his intelligence at Hogwarts they expected him to be a clone of James Potter.
Harry suspected that Snape knew something was off but they both recognized that letting him get close to the Gryffindor would put them both in a worse situation. The end result of that cautious silent acknowledgement was their sniping back and forth as everyone around them assumed they hated each other. Harry knew that Snape might hate him but it was a painful one filled with past regrets instead of the burning malice that he received regularly from the Dursleys. He also knew that the teacher would do his best to correct and protect Harry despite it all. He wasn't quite sure why the man was willing to face off against a transformed werewolf for him despite his obvious terror to say nothing of the dementors but it was an observed fact none the less.
Today Harry's inattentiveness and exhaustion were easily picked up on by the snarky Potions Master even as his classmates were oblivious to the fact. Today Dumbledore was away attending to ICW (International Confederation of Wizards) business and thus out of reach. Today Umbridge was at the Ministry attending to something that only she could fathom. Today was the day they were brewing a heritage potion. Today Harry's life would be re-written.
"You should be finishing up your potions. I will be checking them and if they are not suitable for use you will use the potion I brewed before class. This heritage test is a legal bloodline test and a copy will be submitted to both Gringotts and the Ministry as a standard procedure for your benefit," Professor Snape announced roughly ten minutes before class ended. "Once you have your results I will use the spell to confirm and certify them which will automatically send a copy to both the Ministry and Gringotts. You may leave with the original once your results are certified. You may not linger, unless of course you wish to be made into my latest potion ingredients."
The class quickly finished brewing and nervously awaited his verdict. Severus stalked around the room examining the potions in front of him and Potter out of the corner of his eye. Making a snap decision after checking Longbottom's pitiful attempt he left Harry for last with the work of his so called friends sorted out before even half of the class was checked to get them out of his way. Besides, the boy had far too many odd things happen to him at the strangest moments barring those incidents at Halloween and the end of the school year which seemed to happen like clockwork. It was a pattern that had most of the sensible staff on high alert to help deal with whatever incident appeared that year. While it wasn't yet Halloween it was close enough to put Severus on edge and worry just a little bit extra about how exhausted Harry happened to be. Hopefully he could head off this year's Halloween issue before it became an actual problem... hopefully.
Chapter 2: Staff Support
Harry watched somewhat gratefully as Snape purposefully emptied out the room before dealing with Harry's potion and test. It wasn't that he didn't necessarily want his friends to see the results, assuming they were as expected, but more that he wanted time to himself with the proof. Proof that the Dursleys were never willing to give him. Proof that he even existed and wasn't some stolen child or a changeling or something that wasn't even considered human. Harry thought that if he could share that with his snarky Professor the man would understand even if no one else did.
A few drops of blood on the prepared parchment as the last classmate disappeared out the classroom door had Harry sagging in relief. He didn't yet know who the potion would find in his history but he could already tell it was working. That was enough for his first long time worry to disappear. He existed.
Harry's elation quickly turned to confusion as the potion started filling the page with his family tree. How in all hell did he have five parents and three brothers?! Who were these Holmes people? And why was another Harry Potter listed as his dead brother?!
Noticing his student's confusion with an unaccountable sense of dread Professor Snape looked at the test and drew in a sharp breath. Not saying a word he fetched his own brew and they repeated the test without a sound.
"Say nothing to anyone. I need to look into this," Snape told him sternly. The realization from just looking at the test results that even though the Harry next to him was Harry Potter but not the first Harry Potter made him sick. Thankfully, his vow of protection applied to this Harry and not the dead one. On the plus side the fact that he could honestly tell the Dark Lord that his Harry was not the chosen one gave him a sense of absolute relief that it nearly made him dizzy.
"If its true?" Harry asked quietly. His scar was very clearly connected to Voldemort. If he wasn't even the original Harry how the hell did that even work?! The only way Harry could think that he might have been able to have the same connection with the Dark Lord was if the scar and whatever was in it had been transplanted onto him from the first Harry...his brother. This was going to make his head hurt until he figured it out. Not to mention figuring out exactly how much danger he was actually in and from who, the light faction or the dark faction.
"Then we will visit your actual family on the weekend and go from there," Snape answered calmly. "If this is your usual Halloween luck then this is going to be disastrous and probably also a godsend for you. This must be done carefully and discretely or meddling busybodies will make certain that you never meet them and they never know you exist."
"Yes Professor," Harry said quietly. "Shall I just tell anyone who asks that you ranted over my... James again and that I accidentally ruined the test when I tripped on my way out?"
"That will work nicely. Stay away from the mutt if he sneaks into the castle and Umbridge when she returns. Do not make eye contact with Dumbledore from now on. I will explain the situation with him later once we have sorted out your family," Snape ordered quietly. "I will clear our field trip with Minerva and officially collect you for a detention on Saturday at breakfast. Expect to hear a rant over your insult to my brewing ability come morning."
Harry nodded, collected his things and convincingly tripped his way out of the classroom, shifting into a dead run down the corridor as if he had been terrified into bolting.
"25 points for running in the halls!" Snape shouted after him in a false fury. Any watchers would have no idea as to what had actually happened in the classroom.
Snape watched his young charge eat his supper at the table of lions and noticed how little actually made it inside the brat. If these people were Harry's real family or at least his first family then he would have to see about getting permission to act as the brat's guardian in the magical world. The Lord knew Dumbledore wasn't doing his job as Harry's current illegal guardian.
Minerva McGonagall, upon being informed, had been both horrified at the implications and resigned to the truth of it, especially since it came connected to young Harry. She knew that Severus would have triple checked the results. Just as she knew they had to sort this out before anyone could be officially notified or risk mass panic and hysteria among the Wizarding World to say nothing of increasing the risk to Harry himself. Legally, he was still Harry James Potter just as, legally, they had discovered that he had been essentially kidnapped. There were old laws and protocols for things like this because of even older attempts at line theft through kidnapping. The first step was always to secure the child and the next was to find his actual family. Anything further could only be decided after contacting any living family.
"What is it this time?" Professor Filius Flitwick asked with resignation, startling both Minerva and Severus out of their contemplation of one trouble magnet student dressed in a dark red sweater. Both Professors looked towards their fellow head of house only to discover that the rest of the attending staff was also watching them.
"Potter's luck is kicking in with a vengeance," Minerva admitted somewhat sheepishly. She was embarrassed not to have realized that the other staff members would pick up on their attention being aimed at Harry without them fighting.
Aurora Sinestra, the Astronomy Professor, groaned. The looks on the faces of the rest of the staff all agreed with her opinion on the situation.
"Potter currently falls under the Laws regarding Line Theft under the kidnapped section," Severus elaborated quietly, just loud enough to be heard by the rest of those at the table. "Dumbledore is implicated."
The quiet swearing from most of the staff grimly pleased the two teachers.
"Have you located his birth family?" Filus asked grimly.
"Tentatively," Severus agreed. "I will be making liberal use of the point me spell once we get to the right London district to locate who I presume to be his Family Head. I will be carrying the needed potions to confirm the heritage test and will be brushing up on my paternity charms before bed. I will also be petitioning for magical guardian status from these people in case of problems."
"Send for us if you have a problem or need someone else to try for the magical guardian position," Filius instructed bluntly. "I can help with anything Gringotts or goblin related. That boy needs us and I for one will see that he gets our help."
There was a low chorus of agreement from the staff. Before anything else on the matter could be discussed a fight broke out between several students. The staff either went to deal with the fight or returned to their supper.
Chapter 3: The Meeting
My brat of a muse has latched onto this story with a vengeance for the moment. Enjoy!
Saturday morning dawned with a red sky and the Weasley twins having snuck into the fifth year dorm to prank their brother only to find him rummaging through Harry's things. Harry, under the combined effects of a sleeping spell and a silencing spell on his bed curtains, was oblivious until the twins woke him up.
"I just wanted to use the map!" Ron protested as his brothers glared at him and Harry tried not to feel hurt.
"Then you could have asked, Ron!" Harry snapped at him. His sleep had been plagued by nightmares and when the sleeping spell had hit him he was trapped inside them, unable to wake no matter how hard he tried.
"What else has ikle-ronnikins taken from our baby brother Harry, hm?" Fred asked menacingly.
"The only things I care about aside from my broom are the map, invisibility cloak, photo album, pocket knife, and the present from Sirus I haven't opened yet. I have to care about homework and my school things if I don't want to fail but everything else is something I could lose. Mind checking his stuff for those things?" Harry asked the twins evilly as he glared at his self proclaimed best friend.
Harry had figured out pretty quickly that Ron wasn't his friend as "just Harry" but he had been desperate for any friend at that point and by now Ron was his oldest friend. Between what had happened last year and everything else that Ron had done the red-head was looking more and more like he should be cut loose as a friend. Even the deadly adventures they had to deal with each year only went so far in earning Ron leeway with the way he treated Harry and Hermione had long since proven that she would choose Dumbledore and Ron over Harry.
The Weasley twins were another matter entirely when it came to Harry. The pair had actually tricked him into a three way adoption bond, knowing it would help their little black haired brother. A bond that didn't show on the test because they hadn't yet gotten around to the blood adoption part of the adoption bond. They had Harry's full confidence and were the only students that Harry had actually told that he didn't hate Snape but respected him and his position. They had also been the only ones he had told last night that something weird had happened with his heritage test. The pro-Harry part of the newly formed DA was largely going to be on standby in case things went south but it had been agreed that Snape was probably one of the best people to take him to see his first family. They just had to hope that these Holmes would want to be Harry's family.
"I just want to borrow the stupid map!" Ron protested, bringing their attention back to the matter at hand. George moved to Ron's area of the dorm and pointedly ruffled through his stuff, pulling out anything that obviously belonged to Harry. Fred held Ron in place as Harry drooped in resignation just that bit more every time one of his things was pulled from Ron's stuff.
"I think we need to have a talk," Fred said in a dangerously calm voice as his eyes burned with anger over what his stupid younger brother had done to his other little brother.
"Mum is going to be hearing about this," George promised darkly. "And so is Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall. I promise you even if Dumbledore gets you out of trouble for this you wont be getting out of trouble with us."
"I just don't know you anymore Ron," Harry said softly. "I don't think I ever did. Don't call me your friend anymore because from what I see? I'm just a pet to you and not even one that you like. Twins would you ward my stuff please?"
"Sure, Harry. Why don't you grab what you need and head down early? We will set it to your patronus until we've got time to key it to you all proper like," Fred agreed easily as his twin nodded in firm agreement. Ron went purple in anger. Harry was one of only around three students who could cast a patronus at all and the only student in the school who could cast a corporeal patronus. Only a few of the teachers could cast a corporeal patronus with it being an advanced skill.
Snape had no problem collecting Harry and offhandedly announcing the "detention" to the rest of the school once they had both eaten. Opting to openly leave the school they walked down towards Hogsmeade only for The Potions Master to apparate them away after passing through the wards of the school. He didn't apparate them far, only down to the Three Broomsticks where they used the floo to arrive at the Leaky Cauldron without issue.
The Professor had picked seeking out Mycroft as the elder of the two brothers listed on the test via birthday while Violet and Sigur Holmes were getting old for muggles. He had reasoned that Mycroft had likely taken over the majority of the Head of the Family duties and would be the appropriate person to contact. Thus the previous day's and the morning's excessive use of the point me spell and its modified map version to find the man in the first place. The man was also in London and could be escaped from into the crowd or down Diagon Alley if things went south while the elder Holmes couple were clearly traveling.
"Mycroft Holmes?" Severus Snape asked politely as he approached the man sitting at a cafe table with an expensive morning coffee, an umbrella against his chair that reminded him of Lucius' cane. Next to the man was a woman who was deeply absorbed on whatever latest electronic gadget fascinated the masses these days. Had he asked Harry who was walking at his side he would have discovered that it was a rather expensive smart phone.
"Yes," Mycroft greeted them suspiciously.
"I need a word with you about one of my students. We can do this here or in private if you prefer?" Professor Snape offered cordially. He could tell that the man was more than he seemed but he wasn't yet sure if that more was a bad thing. Dangerous? Most certainly but dangerous for whom?
"I am going to assume that you are not wasting my time for the moment since you were able to track me down at all," Mycroft said reprovingly. Without another word he stood and they moved into a nearby office building. Harry suspected that the man's assistant had done something on her phone for them to suddenly have access to this meeting room.
"What does that idiot Fudge want now?" Mycroft asked bluntly as they settled into seats around the conference room table.
"Minister Fudge has no idea we are here. He will have to be informed by the end of next Saturday no doubt but he is not the reason we are here. As it is apparent that you know of our world I will cut to the point. Yesterday my fifth year potions class, which includes young Mr. Potter here, brewed a hereditary potion and tested it," Professor Snape told him just as bluntly.
"May I ask, professor," Mycroft, drawled as he casually spun his umbrella in his hands, "What Mr. Potter has to do with this particular thread of conversation?"
Harry couldn't help but feel anxious. What if they wouldn't accept him being related to them, particularly Mycroft Holmes? What if, they too, thought he was also a freak for having magic? What if they wanted nothing to do with him? Especially, after they found out about the Dark Lord after his hide?
"It pertains to Mr. Potter because it was his hereditary potion. It seems that he is your missing brother of fifteen years," Snape said bluntly, placing the results on the table in front of them without prompting.
The entire room froze as Harry held his breath after Snape's proclamation. A heart beat of a moment passed as Mycroft glanced at the parchment record that proved their story.
When Mycroft Holmes suddenly cursed angrily and gestured to his female assistant Professor Snape quickly stood and drew his wand, angling to protect his charge. Harry, at the look of rage on the older man's face, cowered behind the professor a bit. He couldn't help himself. Uncle Vernon had always had the exact same expression on his face when he was about to whip his back with his belt. It made him glad that he had decided to stand near his Professor instead of sit down at the table.
"Call Sherlock, Anthea," Mycroft ordered through clenched teeth. "I do believe that this will be a case he'll most certainly take."
"Right away, sir," the beautiful assistant, Anthea, said as she immediately swapped apps on her smart phone to make a call. Harry unknowingly clutched his professor's robes in his hands when the man's eyes focused on him. They were dark with fury as they ran along his body.
"Make sure he brings along Doctor Watson," Mycroft ordered as the woman started speaking on the phone. "The boy needs immediate medical attention."
"Of course, sir," Anthea said smartly before turning back to her discussion with Dr. John Hamish Watson. The only way to get Sherlock there in a timely manner was by working through the man's friend and flatmate. Everything had just changed.
John was enjoying his morning cuppa and the fact that Sherlock had actually slept the night before and eaten not more than twenty minutes ago, for once, when his phone rang.
"Don't answer it!" Sherlock shouted from the messy living room.
"Your brother is not the devil incarnate," John shot back as he answered the number marked "Pure Evil" absently noting that Sherlock had been at his phone again. "Hello? ... Am I going to need more than the basic kit from our place? ... We will be there as fast as I can get Sherlock to move. Don't let Mycroft frighten the kid any more than he already has. Leave the Professor alone about shielding him. The man did the right thing if the kid was skittish enough to bolt behind him."
"Mycroft frightened a child?" Sherlock asked carefully from the kitchen doorway, having gotten up and moved at some point from the couch, as John hung up. John stood up and immediately headed for the more extensive med kit they kept under the bathroom sink rather than the smaller one behind the mirror.
"Don't bother to change just grab your coat and your shoes," John ordered. "You know that office building near where your brother likes to get hideously expensive coffee? We need to get to the third floor conference room on the east side."
"Time?" Sherlock demanded as he snapped into work mode. It was a fairly new development, snapping into work mode when John needed him rather than hunting down a killer.
"Terrified kid with possibly dangerous injuries," John snapped out. "I'm not waiting for someone else to fight through morning traffic when I know you can get us there in a fraction of the time over the rooftops and back ways."
"Noted," Sherlock snapped back as they hurriedly gathered what they needed in John's old army backpack and left. Sherlock took the lead as he led them through back alleys and over roofs to where his brother was currently making a mess of things. They were there in under twenty minutes.
The first thing John noticed when they entered the conference room was that the kid was underweight. The second was how lost and frightened those emerald eyes looked.
"May I approach? I'm a doctor," John asked the teen's protector as calmly as he could manage. The kid needed him calm and professional. He could ask Sherlock to find the bastards who made the teenager learn how to cower like that later.
John didn't comment on the drawn wand but noted it as a drawn weapon. The danger of the situation ratcheted up accordingly in his mind. A slight shift in his stance warned Sherlock of a possible threat even as Mycroft refused to bait his younger brother, simply handing over a piece of parchment with something on it. Sherlock went still when he saw whatever was on that parchment even as the dark man protecting the kid slowly nodded, letting him approach and check the kid. John could tell just by looking at the kid that he was going to want to murder someone by the time he was done. The words carved into his hand alone had him wishing he had the bastard who did it in his sights with a clear shot.
"Where, exactly, did that come from Mr. Potter?" the dark man asked forbiddingly. Good to know he wasn't the one to cause this sadistic injury.
"Detention with Umbridge sir," the Potter kid answered, refusing to look at either man.
"Harry, this is illegal and to force a child to use such a quill much less often enough to leave permanent marks is a KISS level offense. The official form of those quills leaves no mark and is only used for things like signing war ending treaties. Blood is powerful, forcing you to write anything in your own blood much less repeatedly is so very dangerous," the man informed the kid in a softly dangerous voice. "I will have to forcibly retrieve whatever you wrote on and destroy it. I only hope that I can keep my temper enough not to kill the bitch outright and be sent to Azkaban as a result. She isn't worth being sent to that blasted place but she certainly wont be leaving Hogwarts alive if I get near her any time soon. How many lines did she make you write?"
"I lost count but it was until the message sank in. I didn't get back to the common room until after midnight," Harry admitted quietly.
"So what house are you in then?" John asked absently, drawing on his very brief conversation with a now dead fellow soldier who had been a wizard. The sudden silence from the Holmes brothers behind him had the good doctor stifling a grin. It wasn't often that he got one over on either man and his knowledge about magic and the Hogwarts house system was a definite win.
"I'm a Gryffindor. Professor Snape is the Head of Slytherin," Harry answered cautiously as his hand was carefully cleaned and bandaged.
"Shirt off," John ordered. He didn't like how the kid was favoring his left side.
"What?! No!" Harry squawked, pulling away.
"I can tell just by looking at you that something is wrong with your ribs. I need to wrap them and see if anything else needs patching," John explained calmly. Harry reluctantly complied and the multitude of scars that his shirtless chest revealed deepened the silence from the others to dangerous levels.
"So help me if Albus tries to send you back I will kill him," Professor Snape growled.
"Its not so bad," Harry said uncomfortably.
"You are clearly underweight and the scars I am seeing say something different. Care to try again?" Snape snarked at his student.
"Hey! Not all of them are from the Dursleys! The one on my arm is from Slytherin's Basilisk in Second year and the one on my other arm is from the bastard Wormtail during the graveyard mess," Harry complained. He was more comfortable arguing about his scars than getting examined and treated by the doctor.
"Basilisk? The be damned creature you fought and killed at 12 was a Merlin be damned BASILISK?!" Snape practically shouted. "A single Basilisk of any age or size can wipe out an entire city! An entire stadium dead in an instant of looking the blasted serpent in the eye!"
"They were going to close the school!" Harry protested hotly.
"From the sound of it a Basilisk is the magical equivalent of a nuke... or a black mamba loose in a kiddy day care," John pointed out oh so very calmly. When Harry blanched at the comparison he knew the kid got it.
"Oh," Harry said weakly. The rest of the impromptu medical exam passed without comment.
"Mycroft? Who is his normal doctor? I need a word with them about some of the treatment he's been given," John asked politely, steel in his voice, as he repacked the med kit back into his bag.
"No one. I see Madam Pomphrey at the school if I have to but I mostly patch myself back up unless it happened in public and someone makes me go to the hospital wing," Harry answered for his older brother. "I'm... not allowed during the summer."
Snape growled lowly at this information and started plotting ways to keep the brat alive even if it meant using his own Potions Mastery as a substitute for an actual healer. He already had a medi-wizardry certificate and was only a few steps away from full Healer status in any case simply because of his Potions Mastery. It was no wonder Minerva had trouble making sure the imp was undamaged if Harry was unwilling to get treatment in the first place or went with self treatment.
"John, how do you know about Hogwarts?" Sherlock asked carefully.
John finished up with Harry, stood, and moved slightly apart from everyone before turning to face them. A moment later his eyes glowed icy blue-white as two figures ghostly white lept from his hands to circle the room. John looked at the shocked gazes of his little audience and into the eyes of his flatmate as the glow of power faded from his own. His dual patronus of a Dun Stallion and a Leopardess moving to flank him on either side.
"You don't have to be born with magic to use it, Sherlock. You simply have to figure out how to plug in to the power source and avoid killing yourself when you weave the pattern. I summoned these two in Afganastan after I was shot. A fellow soldier covered for me since he was a wizard and I very clearly wasn't. Our squad kept shut about it but it was one of the only things that kept us alive that day," John told them quietly. "The wizard, Marks, got me liscensed as a hedge witch without training to keep some berk from deciding I needed to just not wake up from my shoulder wound. Marks died before he could tell me more than that magic is hidden for a reason and is a state secret."
"He's mine!" Sherlock immediately snapped at his older brother. "Get your own."
"Sherlock," Mycroft said in a long suffering tone that had John smiling in amused forbearance as he wandered off to fetch tea from the tray that had been delivered earlier. He knew it would take a bit for the bickering to calm down before they could move on and it was better to let the pair get it out of their systems since they weren't dealing with an active emergency.
Harry, John, and Snape watched the bickering for a bit as they drank tea and calmed down. Anthea, on the other hand, continued dealing with business for Mycroft through her smart phone as the pair of brothers bickered.
Patronus Definitions (courtesy of http://www.mugglenet.com/2017/08/patronus-say-personality/):
Leopard – This cat is probably behind the phrase “death from above!” Leopards are so at home in trees that not only do they pounce from up high, but they are also known to pull their kills high into the branches so that they aren’t snatched by other predators. These big cats are strong and graceful with gorgeous spotted coats. Talk about the perfect Dementor sniper!
Leopardess – Leopardesses should be known as ninja moms! They can hide their young up in trees and on the ground while they are growing up. Fiercely protective, she still embodies all the traits of the male leopard. Dementors better keep their heads up if a leopardess is your Patronus!
Dun Stallion – The dun stallion Patronus relates to a serious, responsible, down-to-earth person. It symbolizes stability, structure, and support. The strength of this Patronus rests in the sense of belonging and is therefore more powerful when used in defense of loved ones than in personal defense.
Chapter 5: Birthdays and Mad Men
This one was kind of rough to write but it proved that musey has well and truly sunk he teeth into this fic. Enjoy!
"So which one am I supposed to be related to?" Harry finally asked, disrupting the brotherly bickering.
"They are brothers. You would be related to both," John answered calmly with little more than a raised eyebrow in question and surprise at the asked question.
"You were kidnapped from mummy when you were very small on an outing," Sherlock decided to finally explain. "We've been trying to find you ever since. The blood adoption marked on your paper is one of the reasons why we couldn't find you."
"Mummy thought she couldn't have any more children by that point but you were no less loved for being a surprise to all of us. Whoever took you tried to alter mummy's memories but our family practices a form of Occlumency unique to the Holmes clan. No other method works for us but our method works equally well for family members that have no magic as those with magic," Mycroft explained. "It was the family techniques that kept her from loosing any memories about you and later let us try to find you."
"We are a magical family but we home school since our magic doesn't usually manifest the way other people's do. As a result we are often mistaken for muggleborn whenever we venture into the Alleys," Sherlock added. "Like the Malfoys we are titled in both worlds and act as a sort of go-between. The Malfoys mostly live on the magical side while we live mostly on the muggle side. We watch for problems and take care of them if we can. Your kidnapping put all of the United Kingdom at risk because of how the magics involved work. We cared more that you were missing and taken from us than that you were already so linked with the land's magics that being taken risked causing them to crash."
"At least you aren't the subject of the prophecy anymore even if Dumbledore insists on it, you can't be. Moving the scar from your brother Harry to you doesn't change that," Severus snarked in relief. "Although, the sibling blood adoption made you every bit their son legally and magically and thus eligible for both the Black and Potter Lordships. I can still get away with flatly telling the Dark Lord that you aren't the Harry that stopped him and thus not a threat. How you are linked to the land its self I'm just going to put down to your impossible luck. I swear you have Liquid luck in your veins!"
"What prophecy?" Both older Holmes brothers demanded immediately. Harry looked confused and just as curious about the prophecy as his brothers.
"I only heard the first part of it. It tells of a boy born as the 7th month dies to parents who defied the Dark Lord three times that would vanquish the Dark Lord. I later learned that the child was marked as his equal. All of which Lily's first son did only to die later at the hands of the Dursleys if the death date on the heritage test is anything to go by," Snape explained. "The Dark Lord was never specifically named beyond Dark Lord so it could apply to a different person in both cases but I have no way to access the official record to check the rest of the prophecy and the wording. Frankly, I am surprised that Harry doesn't already know about it, judging from his expression as he was the one Dumbledore expected to be the one to complete it and end the Dark Lord."
"Lunar Calendar or Gregorian Calendar? Unless an even older calendar was used?" Sherlock asked intently. Something was telling him that this was important. From Mycroft's expression he agreed with his brother.
"I... don't know. It was assumed that it was the Gregorian Calendar by all currently involved. Why?" Severus asked with a blink of surprise.
"Because our baby brother was born under a new moon just before midnight. More specifically it was the seventh lunar moon of the year - as the seventh month died," Mycroft said flatly. Harry muttered a curse under his breath and Snape fought the urge to do a facepalm.
"Your blasted luck!" Snape groused. "A troll and whatever mess that was Quirrell in first year, a basilisk in second, Black and the Dementors in third, the bloody tournament in your fourth year, and now this!"
"At least this time I've got some warning instead of randomly fighting not to wind up dead," Harry shot back. "I'm not actually trying to find trouble! I almost always argue with Ron and Hermione when they push me to look but I always seem to wind up involved anyway no matter how many times I say no!"
Snape's head snapped around to look at his charge intently.
"Compulsions have a hard time latching on to our family but if its potions based..." Mycroft said in quiet rage.
"I'm immune to the Imperius curse... or at least I can usually throw it off. Voldemort tried to make me bow to him with it and it didn't really work," Harry shot back pointedly. It was insulting to think that he couldn't handle the much weaker compulsion charms. A dangerous thought occurred to Harry a moment later.
"If I was adopted as the original Harry's brother and they did move the scar from him to me with whatever link connects to Voldemort... why did Quirrell burn in first year when he tried to touch me? Why did Voldemort's touch in the grave yard hurt like he was pouring acid on my scar? Why would the protection move to me in the first place if I wasn't always Harry Potter?" Harry asked slowly.
"Because your brother Harry had already received all of the magical protection. Knowing Lily she allowed for the possibility of later siblings being adopted or adopted family and arranged in whatever magic she did to include them in her protection. It will break when you hit 17, an adult in our world," Snape explained. "That's how you could hold the protections and be protected by the blood wards at the Dursleys from magicals wishing you harm. It was extended to you as his new brother. The scar... I don't know enough about especially with it being a unique curse scar. It could have been forcefully moved on to you or it could have moved on its own when your brother died. He would have had to have been alive when you were adopted as his brother even if he was dying at the time. One thing I do know is that Dumbledore is desperate to make this prophecy work and work the way he envisions it."
Silence enveloped the room as they contemplated this new knowledge. Silence that was shattered roughly five minutes later by a phone ringing in John's pocket.
"Did you add another new ring tone?" John demanded of a wide eyed Sherlock in exasperation as he fished his phone from his pocket.
"Not that one," Sherlock said faintly as John answered the phone. Before he could bring it to his ear and say hello it switched to speaker phone without his prompting.
"Hello Sherly! Magic and Monsters and Baby Brothers, Oh my!" Moriarty's voice cackled from the phone. Harry knew this was bad when Sherlock, John, and Mycroft went white.
"Does our family attract madmen then?!" Harry demanded in exasperation. "I swear I get hunted by maniac idiots wherever I go! Aren't the bloody crazy fans enough?!"
"The Boy Who Lived.... or not. I find this all very interesting," Moriarty said in a happy pondering tone over the phone. John looked like he was holding an angry rattlesnake with the way he was handling the phone.
"Jim," Snape said simply, the sigh in his voice obvious.
"Severus! Well well well, we do have an interesting meeting going on," Moriarty commented gleefully.
"As if you weren't listening in the whole time, cousin," Snape snorted disdainfully. "The brat is mine, on pain of death."
"Pain of death?" Moriarty asked considering.
"My own death!" Severus snapped at his, apparent, cousin. "I was forced into an unbreakable vow to protect him. I'm just thankful that it didn't latch on to the first Harry or else I would either be dead or in considerable agony from failing to protect him. Right now Dumbledore is being more dangerous than usual and the ministry is being its usual dangerously incompetent self. The problem is that they have decided my Harry is threat."
"You want me to leave the Holmes boys and their toys alone," Moriarty was openly pouting over the open connection.
"I don't ask what you get up to but I do need Harry's actual family alive. Just by looking at his brothers that means leaving Doctor Watson and Anthea alone as well. If you are so board as to be messing about with deadly games again I can arrange for magical equivalents that don't actually cause the chaos and semi-permanent destruction that a muggle version would. You are a squib. Its not like you don't know how to contact me or get into the Alleys," Severus snarled at his cousin over the phone. "The Dark Lord has been resurrected and is currently convinced that my charge is a threat. I am running out of ways to keep him alive and until the paperwork is filed with the goblins over Harry being kidnapped and falling under the Line Theft Laws Dumbledore is still his guardian! If you aren't going to help then leave us in peace so that the world doesn't burn down around our ears!"
Silence was heard over the phone for a heartbeat as Moriarty considered what his cousin had just told him.
"Take up the Prince Lordship," Moriarty eventually countered, his voice sober and lacking its usual mania.
"Mother was disowned! I can't," Severus shot back bitterly.
"What? Where on earth did you get that idea?" Moriarty's frown was audible over the phone. A heartbeat of silence was followed by cursing only to be ended by verbal conclusions with the master criminal's voice darkening in rage. "Dumbledore is playing with our family."
"Considering the pair of us are all that's left and I am far to valuable for my vocational expertise alone much less the way he trapped me... I'm really not surprised," Severus sighed. "I am betting that the only reason he has ignored you is the fact that it isn't common knowledge that we are related. He doesn't see you as a threat."
"More the fool him," Moriarty replied with dark amusement. "Very well if you can get the Holmes to agree to a family alliance I will be willing to change my games with Sherlock to something... less lethal or at least more magical. I will also be willing to acknowledge you as the Head of Family once you take up the Lordship. Working with them instead of against is going to be a novel experience. I had planned on destroying Sherlock's reputation and making him choose who of his chosen family he wanted to save next week. I suppose that I will have to come up with a different game to play with him, one that has less lethal consequences for both him and I. After all family should come first."
"Dumbledore is a harder target," Severus pointed out immediately. "He's kept me practically imprisoned at the school since the Dark Lord fell no matter what it looked like to outsiders."
"Then it seems the old goat's plucking is long overdue. If you adopt the kid pick him a better name than Harry. There are too many Harry's in our odd little cross family already," Moriarty said wickedly over the phone.
"You do realize that if I adopt him that will make his brothers family," Severus reminded his cousin sternly.
"All that does is take killing them outright off the table, cousin. Little Harry needs to grow up more before he can join in the games and you are the more maternal one of the pair of us," Moriarty taunted, sending Severus into a spluttering fit of indignation. "The Magical Ministry and Dumbledore are fair game. We can wait to decide on the Dark Lord that branded you. If he's salvageable... well it wouldn't be a bad thing for Little Harry to have his own organization and army of minions to play with."
"As far as you're concerned he's already been adopted by your cousin hasn't he?" John asked in wary yet wry amusement.
"Severus would have tried to get out of the vow if he hadn't already claimed the brat in his heart, Lily Evans' involvement or no," Moriarty said simply. "He might have been slacking on the practical side of upholding the vow but his magic isn't punishing him for not protecting Little Harry. That tells me that even if it looks like he's slacking he's really not. An outside force is stopping him from properly fulfilling his vow and thus it is not his fault."
The phone call abruptly cut off, ending the conversation.
"My cousin is impossible," Severus growled as John put away his phone. Lunch was ordered in. They ate as they processed everything that had happened or been revealed in the last 24 hours.
Chapter 6: First Step
Musey did not want to move forwards on this so you get some more character analysis and personal crisis resolution. Next time they are back at Hogwarts!
"So how many geniuses did you count in the room?" John asked Anthea as they finished up the family meeting for the day.
"Four, you?" Anthea answered with a flash of a grin aimed at the former surgeon. The pair were being pointedly ignored by their respective Holmes brother as they tried to discuss housing arrangements with Harry and Severus despite it not being an issue until summer.
"Same," John agreed ruefully. "I'll have to work out treatments for Harry with Severus to try and fix the damage I found. Fixing the malnourishment is not going to be easy even with magic. I am going to insist that he learns how to fight without magic as soon as its safe to do so. Sherlock can fetch us books to go through later when I make him take me to the Alleys. Knowing them we might wind up in a running battle down the streets of the magical district at some point."
"I'll send over a briefing and a set of dossiers on the over all situation, confirmed targets, and what I can get my hands on for anyone close to Harry. We have people from all sectors of the magical community on staff so it should be fairly comprehensive," Anthea offered up readily enough. "I wouldn't mind copies of those books but I can wait on them and we can just trade off."
"Make sure Harry has a discrete knife he can carry around for emergencies. It might not do as well against magical opponents but its better than nothing. We can give him a better back up once we have a better idea of what we are dealing with and his own capabilities," John ordered softly. In that moment he was fully Captain Watson making sure his new squad member was outfitted and trained properly.
Anthea hummed her agreement. The Holmes boys needed extra care and skill sets to simply survive what life threw at them. It was usually up to whatever assistant or partner they eventually claimed to keep them from doing something stupid or at least keep them healthy enough to survive whatever mess they landed in. Both Anthea and John had figured that out shortly after meeting each other properly rather than as auxiliaries to the two brothers. When the pair started teaming up to handle their respective Holmes and trading secrets the brothers didn't say anything even if they seemed more relaxed than in previous meetings. Neither assistant thought the pair hadn't noticed their scheming to keep the brothers in relatively good health and functioning. It also seemed to the two that Harry had picked Severus for his own assistant, at least for now.
Moriarty was a wild card in all of this. Working with a former enemy even if only temporarily wasn't exactly common with this group but it also wasn't something they hadn't done before. Finding out that Moriarty was tentatively aligned with baby Holmes through Severus though had been a surprise with how much he'd done to try and kill Sherlock even if he had just been playing. One thing both Assistants were very much aware of though was that the moment Moriarty posed too much of a threat to one of the Holmes boys they would kill the mad bastard without a second thought. The only thing that would stop them is their personal Holmes saying something bad would happen that couldn't be handled. Neither Anthea nor John took threats to their Holmes lightly and Harry had been added to their protection list the moment Sherlock and Mycroft accepted him as their little brother.
"I have to finish at least this year for my OWLs!" Harry protested, bringing Anthea and John's attention back to the four geniuses in the room.
"How did you ever get put into Gryffindor?" Snape muttered, fuming.
"Met Draco and then fought with the hat," Harry answered absently, his mind still focused on wanting to finish school at Hogwarts. "I think the hat only agreed because it knew it would be dangerous for me in Slytherin with everything even though it really wanted me in Slytherin."
Snape was left speechless at this casual announcement and annoyed for not having seen the dual nature of the brat.
"Your actual status is going to have to come out and sooner, under our control, rather than later, under someone elses control, might be the best option," Mycroft pointed out thoughtfully.
"I would prefer to announce it to my Slytherin Students and get him re-sorted as a protective measure before it breaks to the world at large," Severus quickly put in. "Even announcing it to them half an hour early will be a boon and will give me a chance to keep them from trying to kill him. Many of the Dark Lord's followers have children in Slytherin house which is a large part of why it would have been dangerous to place him with Slytherin in the first place. By announcing the situation to the house before hand they will rally around him if he is placed in my house, seeing him as one of the victims of Dumbledore."
"Not inaccurate," Mycroft hummed thoughtfully.
"I want to get a look at the school," Sherlock stated unequivocally.
"If John is willing to play late blooming student and you are his sponsor... It would work best if you can get Lucius to help. The Ministry installed a lackey in the Defense position and from the complaints of the students as well as the injury Harry received at her hands she needs to go. I am uncertain how we can get rid of her or check the staff for being compromised in some fashion but it needs to be done," Severus offered. "It would be best to get the goblins to help. Let me get back to you on the matter later."
"I need to stay in Gryffindor until either my housemates toss me out or I am officially unwillingly re-sorted. Umbridge is going out of her way to target me. I say let her. I'm used to this after a fashion and the other students aren't. Have the staff focus on protecting everyone else, especially the firsties," Harry all but ordered. He knew that he was the most at risk and didn't see any issue with playing bait when he was already on the hook.
"That wont work," Severus sighed. "I understand where you and your Gryffindor bravery are coming from but it wouldn't take much for her to be able to legally get someone executed. Even if it was later found that she used the authority illegally the person would still be dead. Fudge is terrified of being overthrown and over reacting to everything except the actual threats which he is blind too. Dumbledore is doing nothing to quell that and the Dark Lord is focusing on doing things quietly for once."
"Besides, we just found you again. Do you honestly think we will let you walk right back into danger?" Sherlock demanded. A few moments of silence and observation later from both older Holmes had them in shock.
"You do. You do expect us to sacrifice you without a thought," Mycroft whispered in horror. "What have they done to you to make you think such things? Little brother, you aren't going to be left alone again."
"Find a way to insert me into the school," Sherlock ordered his older brother with a scowl. "Its clear that we need to be far more vigilant with our Little Brother than we first thought."
"I can manage it, barely, but it can be done," Severus said slowly, thinking about what would be necessary to pull this off.
"Not that I mind the extra help but... wouldn't they be at risk?" Harry asked worriedly. The adults all exchanged a mix of long suffering and concerned looks. Harry shouldn't be worrying over them or what they were possibly risking for him. No, as a teenager in a potentially dangerous situation he should only glad that he was getting the help he desperately needed, not worrying for them.
"Regardless the risk is theirs to choose to take or not," Severus reminded Harry firmly. "It does not reflect on you beyond the fact that they care about you."
"Its not that. I'm used to people not caring about me as just Harry," Harry admitted somewhat irritably. "I... don't want to loose them."
"This is what happened with Black all over again isn't it?" Severus scowled before smoothing out his expression and plainly spelling it out to his student. "Harry, we understand the risks just fine. It is our choice. Yes, you play a large part in that choice but you are not, in fact, responsible for us or our decisions no matter what the Headmaster may try to tell you or guilt you into believing."
"What... what was my name?" Harry finally asked quietly. It was obvious to all of them that he was worried about the answer or the acceptance as family being taken away or something similar.
"That was another reason we couldn't find you," Sherlock admitted ruefully. "None of us thought that they would give you a name so closely related to the one you already had."
"Harold... you were named Harold Dominus Holmes. Sherlock was the one to pick out the Latin word Dominus for your middle name at the time," Mycroft finally answered quietly. "Harry is a diminutive of Harold and a common short form for the name. Its also one reason we have had no trouble calling you Harry despite having known you as our lost little brother Harold since you were taken."
"Lily named your brother Henry after her father. It was James and Black that insisted on calling him Harry every chance they got. His legal name was Henry James Potter. Whoever did the sibling adoption didn't know or they wouldn't have made your new name Harry James Potter," Severus added what he knew about Harry's naming. "Its also another reason why the vow latched on to you rather than your brother."
"I know I shouldn't be happy that his dying gave me so much but... I'm glad I got you instead of him Professor. I'm glad you found my first family," Harry admitted.
"You didn't know him," John said simply with an army surgeon's needed practicality and distance. "Its alright not to feel anything for someone you don't know, can't know. It doesn't make what happened any less horrible but it lets us keep living instead of being weighed down by centuries of death and sorrow that are not our own. One thing I do know is that god has always wanted us to live. If he didn't then he wouldn't have made us. Its also one of the reasons that the best revenge against those who wish us harm is to live well. To live well even when harmed by enemies is to prove both that they have no power over us and to prove to ourselves that we can heal from the attacks thrown at us. From what I can tell you've done a remarkable job of that even if you still seem to be under attack. Will you let us help you keep living?"
"I... yes. Yes, I will let you help me," Harry said firmly, more strongly than anything else he had said during the entire day away from Hogwarts.
"Good," John said just as firmly. "You have a team now, a family. Let us worry about the really big stuff for the most part. Your job is to stay safe, stay alive, and get your school work done. We get to worry about people being idiots. Sounds good?"
"Alright," Harry reluctantly agreed.
"We will come back to Hogwarts with you today and go from there. Mycroft can handle things like paperwork and informing our parents," Sherlock said cheerfully while getting a sour look from his older brother that made Harry stifle a laugh.
"I will do my best to see him safely returned to your family for the winter holidays or, at the latest, the summer holidays," Professor Snape promised.
"Before we go forwards, please cast the spells that certify the blood test Professor," Mycroft ordered calmly.
"You know what will happen once it files its self," Severus pointed out levelly.
"I know," Mycroft agreed with a feral grin. "I get to lambast both the Wizengamot and Gringotts for not realizing that my baby brother had been sibling adopted to Henry Potter and then swapped for him when Henry died. An adoption that also made Henry a Holmes. When we find whoever did this they won't just be up on kidnapping and line theft charges. If I have my way they will be up on murder charges for the death of Henry, first son of Lily and James Potter, fourth son of Violet and Sigur Holmes, of the families Potter and Holmes. I can't speak for the Black family with Black still living and running about as well as his current standing accusation for being the cause of the Potter's death. I can however demand justice as one of the guardian families of the land and the acting Head of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Holmes."
Harry watched wide eyed as Severus nodded regally and hit the test with the confirmation spells. Thus certifying them as accurate and automatically filing them with both Gringotts and the Ministry of Magic.
After that there was a side trip to Baker Street for some basic things for Sherlock and John before the group of four returned to Hogwarts. Mycroft was left behind to plot the destruction of whoever had taken and so badly hurt his baby brother as his slightly older baby brother went with Harold to guard his back. Gringotts, upon receiving the newly certified paper work, was sent into a scramble as they tried to figure out what the hell was going on and how to fix it if only to placate their more powerful clients.
That night Harry slipped into bed and fell asleep with a smile on his face, secure in the knowledge that his brother was down in the dungeons, tucked away in Professor Snape's guest room with John.
Chapter 7: Electric Breakfast
When Harry had agreed to this insane plan yesterday he had not been expecting to be kidnapped by the entirety of Slytherin house come Sunday Morning! Yes, he had told Snape that he could announce the situation to the Slytherins when they got back but he didn't actually expect them to act on it! Much less the next morning!
"So... why did you argue the hat out of putting you in Slytherin?" Pansy Parkinson asked pointedly as she spread jam over her morning scone.
"Because, on the train, Draco reminded me of my cousin who would cheerfully have set me on fire while I slept," Harry answered bluntly. "I have to deal with that sort of thing at the Dursleys and I wasn't going to deal with that here if I could bloody well avoid it. Its not like I knew I was anything but the freak and monster they always called me."
"That put a sharp damper on any questions," John commented mildly as he and Sherlock walked up behind Harry who was trapped at the Slytherin table.
"I don't want to be harassed or attacked today," Harry shot back irritably. "I probably will be anyway but I'd like to at least limit what I have to dodge. Its not my fault that most of them don't believe the truth when I tell them."
"I see my snakes didn't wait on openly adopting you into our house," Snape commented in open amusement as he strolled up to the table. He had been planning on collecting John and Sherlock before heading to the staff table but the current conversation sounded promising.
"I told Ron we weren't really friends yesterday before breakfast based on his actions and now the Slytherins suddenly like me! How is this not going to turn out badly? I sleep in the same dorm as him!" Harry grumbled mutinously. Ron's unreasonable hatred for all things Slytherin was well know across the school.
"If Mr. Weasley proves himself to be a problem then we will deal with it and you will not hide it or try to protect him," Severus said pointedly. "We can always move you into a guest suite. It might be better in any case."
"Hermione isn't going to be happy that I'm not going to listen to Dumbledore any more," Harry finally admitted the other worry on his mind.
"The know it all acts like the Headmaster is a god," Severus snorted in disgust. "If she keeps insisting that Dumbledore's insistance on you completing dangerous tasks without aid is even sane then you are better off ending that friendship. You can try to reconcile later in life when she is not so hell bent to kiss the Headmaster's backside as to not see the danger he keeps allowing you to be placed in. You have older brothers now to help and, if you allow it, Slytherin house. There is absolutely no reason why you should be expected to handle things like you did with the Basilisk in your second year. Incidentally, at some point I want to see the corpse and check if anything harvest-able remains. We can work out what compensation I will give you for anything I might want to purchase off your kill after its harvested."
"Okay. Its should still be in the Chamber of Secrets which has a parseltongue password at two separate spots. When do you want to look at it?" Harry asked, much more cheerful when discussing dead monsters over the potential reactions of his former friends. A reaction that did not pass unnoticed by his brother and new family doctor.
"We need to sit down at some point and discuss all of these dangerous adventures. If nothing else we can see what you need training in to avoid facing the same thing again. Or at least teach you to figure out when you need help before facing something trying to kill you," John said ruefully. "I'm still trying teach Sherlock that one so we will probably focus on surviving first over recognizing when you need help since knowing you are in trouble does you no good if you can't survive it."
"I'm not that bad!" Sherlock protested.
"Murderous cabbie! You knew he was on a killing spree and you purposefully got into the cab with him and let him challenge you into a game of deadly chicken with poison pills! I had to shoot him from the other building!" John shot back. "To say nothing of Moriarty."
"Moriarty doesn't count. He sought me out, not the other way around," Sherlock argued back. "For that matter the cabbie doesn't count since Moriarty pointed him at me."
"Apparently, I do actually need to talk to both of you if my cousin is getting up to those sorts of games," Severus scowled at the two men only for his blood to run cold at the sound of Harry's retort.
"That's nothing compared to having to face off against a sixty foot basilisk with just a Phoenix and a sword or a hoard of Dementors," Harry told them, obviously thoughtful over what he had already faced. "Then again the Acromantula nest in the Forbidden Forest isn't exactly nice to wander into either."
"Minerva! We need to debrief the brat directly from now on!" Severus called to his just arrived fellow teacher as he rubbed at his suddenly aching head.
"Aye, I heard," McGonagall agreed looking a bit pale as she approached the group. "Albus clearly hasn't been telling us even half of what Harry has been dealing with! I am going to be having very strong words with the old goat as soon as I can get my claws into him!"
"Great, he's got the same self preservation instincts as his sleuth of a brother!" John said, throwing up his hands in despair.
"I thought, at worst, that it was newly hatched by some idiot when he told me yesterday that it was a basilisk that he fought in second year. I thought he had just had been given a dry bite with its full mouth for the scar the size that he has," Snape complained. "I know he said it was a single fang but a fang that size?! Perhaps on a Dragon or a Nemian Lion..."
"It wasn't a dry bite," Harry said quietly, causing both teachers to stagger and nearly pass out as they leaned against each other at this new information.
"How are you even alive?!" Theodore Nott squeaked.
"Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix, was helping me fight it so when it bit me as I stuffed the sword through the top of its mouth he cried on it," Harry said simply. "It took a bit for everything to stop going black and for me to be able to move."
"Liquid Luck in his veins! I swear!" Snape growled out as both teachers slowly regained their color and their balance. "I'm giving you a full physical and health check after breakfast. If only for my own peace of mind!"
"I think I'll join you in checking him over again," John agreed with a groan.
"You are lucky our phones don't work here or I would already be calling Mycroft to send a helicopter to pick us up," Sherlock growled. He was having a hard time controlling a slight panic attack at having nearly lost his baby brother before ever finding him again.
"Breathe Sherlock, Breathe," John instructed his flatmate. He completely understood where his friend was coming from having grown up basically taking care of his own sister.
"Can I eat please?" Harry finally asked with a sigh. The so-called adults nodded and purposefully headed for the staff table despite loosing most of their appetite after that very odd discussion.
"Whiskey," Minerva ordered her plate and thus the house elves.
"Minnie?" Pamona asked warily. It was never good when the Deputy Headmistress was ordering straight alcohol for breakfast.
"You'd better eat some potatoes with that drink or you'll be the worse off for it. Believe me, I understand the feeling but we are no good to them drunk. Keeping any Holmes alive when they run into danger requires a clear head matched with quick feet and a clever wit," John warned, going out of his way to serve the woman himself from the platter just in case.
"Thank you, Healer Watson, for that reminder," Minerva said, nodding her head in resigned agreement as she started in on her potatoes. John raised his eyebrows in surprise at the new title but didn't comment on it as he turned to his own food.
Most of the rest of the day managed to pass without incident as John and Sherlock got acquainted with the castle. The staff, upon hearing of John's sudden acquisition of magic, started trying to teach him more than the patronus spell. Every single spare wand from the lost and found he tried to use burned to ash in his hands. Sherlock smugly took to teaching John his family's method, much to the astonishment of the staff. By supper time John could cast a floating version of lumos and a stunner, these having been decided by Sherlock as the most immediately useful spells for most situations at the moment. John just rolled his eyes and discretely asked Severus for a few books on magical healing. Severus added his old notes on spell creation and the differences between wand spells, wordless spells, wandless spells, and the combined wandless-wordless spells. If nothing else it would give John a place to start on figuring out how to translate anything he created for others to use or, alternatively, translating wand based spells into something he could use without issue.
Chapter 8: New Light
Snape had opted to go after the blood quill papers and destroy any he found while John and Sherlock distracted the school with their very public presence. The Potions Master had just slipped past them into the great hall for his supper when something large and pink approached them from out of the corner of their eye. The duo had been standing just outside the great hall shortly before supper, examining the educational decrees when Umbridge finally showed herself as having returned from the Ministry. It only took one look for the pair to conclude that this was not going to be a pleasant conversation.
"Ahem, hem, hem, where is your wand sir?" Umbridge twittered sickeningly. "What exactly are the pair of you doing here at Hogwarts?"
"Hm? Wand? I don't need one. My magic manifests strangely and I don't think I've ever successfully used a wand," John said mildly. He was really beginning to hate this woman even without counting what he had learned from Harry about her.
"He's licensed," Sherlock told her bluntly. He didn't specify what John was licensed as, only that he had his license.
"Sherlock, it is not my fault that Lady magic has gotten upset at how few Witches and Wizards there are and has started picking people to give magic to at random," John scolded in a long suffering tone.
"I'm honestly surprised Lady Magic thinks any of the old blood is salvageable at this point," Sherlock shot back derisively. "My family has long been closer to her than most families that use magic. Its one of the reasons we control the defensive magics of the land. No one else is strong enough. Of course that means we have to home school since our magic tends to destroy wands which the weaker wizards need to perform a simple light spell. I am quite pleased that Lady Magic picked you for me. Now we just need to teach you more of the family magics."
"Sherlock," John said warningly.
"What?" Sherlock demanded.
"A bit not good," John said patiently. "It isn't polite to comment on the fact their magic has gotten weaker. You can write up a treatise on the matter later and I'll translate it so that the average person can understand it. Alright?"
Sherlock openly went into a sulk but grudgingly nodded his agreement.
"If all that is true then why is Harry here instead of with us back at Baker Street where you can teach him?" John asked quietly enough that only Sherlock heard.
"Some idiot put binds on Harold's magic. He wouldn't be able to use a wand otherwise and his wand in particular actually restricts the flow of his magic rather than helps it flow. Its the only way for it to work for him. Now that he's more than half way through learning to use a wand he needs to finish getting certified at least in the basics before we can take off the binds and train him without a wand in the family magics," Sherlock answered simply. He hadn't bothered to lower his voice so the answer rang out across the hall from their position in the doorway and silenced the great hall in the process.
"What?!" Harry shouted in outraged shock. "Who the hell put binds on my magic?!"
There was a general murmur from the purebloods and some halfbloods of "Potter's this powerful with binds?!"
"Don't be boring Harold. Of course you're too powerful for a standard wand. You've not seen Mycroft or I using them and we very clearly informed you that your kidnapping nearly brought down the wards across the country. The only reason you can use a wand without burning it to ash is because someone put a ludicrous number of binds on your magic," Sherlock said scathingly. "Incidentally, the only reason the wards you are naturally linked into as part of our family didn't fall is because binds don't really limit the connection to the land. As soon as you stabilized with the new binds the wards did as well. On the plus side you don't run the risk working under binds that everyone else does. Your magic will never build up under the restraint of the binds and kill you, instead it just flows more strongly back into the land."
"Sherlock, he doesn't have your observational training and he hasn't recovered from being starved regularly by whoever has been keeping him when he's not at Hogwarts," John interrupted bluntly. He ignored the way Harry cringed at that information suddenly becoming fact instead of just rumor caused by Ron's loud mouth.
Harry had known he wouldn't like the way they let some things out, especially after that morning's little conversation involving Murderous Cabbies and the Basilisk. Harry hated that it had to look completely natural and careless if they were going to fight the media campaign against Harry when it came to the Hogwarts rumor mill. This was even more important if they didn't want the students thinking the information was contrived. Ron, the loud mouth, had spilled more than one of Harry's dark secrets about the Dursleys into the rumor mill over the years and it had been agreed, reluctantly on Harry's part, that using the rumor mill to confirm things was the best option. Or at least it was until they could get a proper media retraction for the slander and their own official story out in the papers.
The sleuthing duo never answered the woman's demanding question of why they were at Hogwarts. Instead, they opted to look at the pink bitch as if she were an idiot and that the reason for their presence was obvious every time she asked. Harry, stuck once more at the Slytherin table, couldn't help snickering at the way she was getting nothing out of his older brother and John.
Harry wasn't really surprised to be ambushed by Umbridge and dragged to her office close to curfew on his way back to Gryffindor tower after visiting his brother in the dungeons. He was more resigned than anything and knew that his brother would flip when he saw that Harry was injured again... which was kind of a nice thought, actually.
"Mr. Potter, why have I been hearing that you were missing and off the grounds without permission this weekend?" Umbridge asked in a simpering tone of voice.
"I wasn't gone without permission. I was serving detention with Professor Snape. He had me come with him to do some stuff in London that he needed an extra pair of hands for," Harry answered honestly. The man had labeled the trip as a detention and he had needed Harry there with him to run those errands. "Can I go to bed now? Snape said that this is the last night I get to sleep with the Gryffindors since he said that he's making me get re-sorted some time tomorrow. I just hope he doesn't make me get re-sorted in front of everyone at breakfast."
Umbridge's gaze immediately sharpened in interest.
"Oh? Now why would you need a re-sort?" Umbridge asked sweetly, trying to seem like she was on his side.
"I don't. He just... found out that I argued with the hat when I was sorted," Harry grumbled, half way to pouting even as he eyed her suspiciously. "Its not like I'm the only one to argue with the stupid thing."
"I do hope that you consider Slytherin house as a friend no matter where you are sorted to in the morning. If nothing else Professor Snape and young Mr. Malfoy can help you learn the correct way of things," Umbridge said pointedly. "I will let you off with a warning in regards to your recent abominable behavior as long as you submit 400 lines of I will act civilly in polite company and respect my betters with your homework next class period."
"Yes ma'am," Harry said hastily and took his cue to escape. Her attempt at a kind smile sent shivers down his spine and made him want to throw up.
Unfortunately, Harry's night wasn't over because almost the moment he stepped into the Gryffindor common room he had to dodge spell fire.
"I'll kill him! I'll kill the slimy snake lover!" Ron roared as Harry dodged behind a couch only to have to move again as the couch exploded in stuffing and fabric shreds.
Drawing his own wand Harry proceeded to engage his former friend in a duel more to give everyone else the chance to escape than to actually win. When Ron drew blood Harry just wiped it away and dodged behind an overturned table. When Harry became soaked by a successful water jet spell he lost his footing. Something which slowed his reaction speed enough that he couldn't block a mid-level spark spell. A spell that sent raw electricity through the water soaking him, causing muscle spasms and leaving behind electric burns across his body. Harry was saved only by the twins taking out Ron. The last thing he saw before he passed out were two identical concerned faces hurrying over to him.
Chapter 9: Summary Judgement
Yeah, I'm tired by now... *author glares at clock that says past midnight*
Harry woke slowly to a quiet argument nearby as his senses were filled with the familiar scent of the hospital wing.
"No, Sherlock, it might just make the whole thing worse," John's voice warned. "Deal with one thing at a time. Right now we can just get him moved into his own rooms and get him re-sorted so tat he's at least not sleeping in the same room at the Weasley boy. Let him finish the term and then we can decide if we need to officially take him out of Hogwarts and home school him or not."
"If Dumbledore insists that this was just a slight misunderstanding between friends again..." Sherlock threatened, his voice edging on an outright snarl from what Harry could hear of it.
"Then I will help hold him down while you strangle him with his own beard," John's voice agreed. "We can't effectively change the opinions of the school to something less hostile by just taking him away. If there was another magical school in the British Isles I would be right there with you insisting that he moved schools. As it is the magical community is small, if we don't fix his reputation with his schoolmates it could hurt him badly down the line. Remember that in a small enough community a ruined reputation can be just as deadly as an actual knife in the gut."
"Fine but I want Moriarty here quickly. You don't see the connections that I do yet but he sees enough of them that it will be faster if all three of us are here working on it," Sherlock insisted. "He might as well prove his own position of accepting us as family now rather than later. If he's a threat it will be easier to get rid of the body here than in London any way. Those twins might turn out to be useful as well even if all they are willing to do is follow my brother around."
"The younger Weasley kid poses a problem. From the way he acted there is no way that Dumbledore will..." John started only to drift off again before he could hear much more of the conversation.
Ron Weasley didn't care that everyone was angry at him for attacking Harry. He only cared that he hadn't done enough damage to that dark traitor of an ex-friend. That's why he was sneaking into the Hospital wing to punish the fame hound some more even though it was past midnight and he had classes tomorrow.
A hand reach out of the darkness from nowhere and grabbed him. The hand shoved him hard against the stone wall of the corridor as a second hand whipped around to cover his mouth as it opened to scream.
"You shouldn't have touched my little brother," Sherlock snarled into the ear of the little murderous shit. Several hard punches to the younger wizard's kidneys ensured that he would be pissing blood and in regular pain for a good long while. Magic didn't work that well at healing bruised kidneys either. Ruptured kidneys or kidney stones? Sure. Simple internal bruising for that particular organ? No one had bothered to make a spell or a potion to handle that since it was only extremely painful and not actually life threatening... in a magical person. In a non-magical person on the other hand? They could die, especially if the internal wound wont stop bleeding.
"Try to touch Harry again and I wont be so nice," Sherlock hissed into his ear before letting go and disappearing back into the shadows.
"Mr. Weasley," Snape's voice snapped out from a different direction in the dark as Ron slid down the wall in pain.
"Professor Snape," Ron almost sobbed.
Snape frowned at his student's tone of voice and drew his wand, checking him with a basic diagnostic charm. As much as he didn't like this particular evil little brat he was still the lazy git's teacher.
"How on earth did you get bruised kidneys and a bruised lower back?" Snape asked in a condescending manner. He had seen the unmistakable edge of Sherlock's coat disappearing back into the hospital wing and could guess at what had happened.
"Someone jumped me," Ron complained. "Said to leave Harry alone, that he was his brother. The liar doesn't have a brother. He's got nobody that cares. Little bastard is going to pay."
"You are wrong. He has a family, not just of blood but of choice," Snape bit out. "If memory serves you were a part of his chosen family until you finally destroyed the last of his trust in you. You chose not to be his family and now you are attacking him over it? Tsk, tsk, I think you are in great need of a month or two of detentions with Filtch. If I thought the Headmaster wouldn't over turn it I would be having you up for expulsion on attempted murder charges and taken away by the Aurors. As it stands I will simply have to settle for making your continued existence miserable. I would take your detentions myself to ensure you understood the error of your ways but at this point I might just kill you myself if I tried. Stay away from Potter and get back to bed!"
Ron yelped and took off, not even bothering to ask for something to ease his pain. He would be pissing blood for at least a month and blaming Harry for a lot longer than that.
John raised an eyebrow as Sherlock smugly returned to the chair next to him at Harry's bedside.
"Bruised kidneys, not hard enough to cause risk in someone with magic but hard enough to hurt for a good long while. I made sure that most of my hits landed around the kidney rather than directly on them in any case, bruising the muscle more than the kidney," was all Sherlock said. John nodded his acceptance, simply happy that his friend hadn't killed the boy. If the boy had been an actual adult and pulled that stunt John wouldn't have batted an eye at killing him in return. He had, after all, been a soldier and threatening their odd little family like this was a killing offense in his mind.
Most of the time the pair tried to bring in their murderous quarry without killing them but there were a few cases were said quarry was a bit more on the tenderized side than absolutely necessary. No one commented on it because those were the cases where people were perfectly willing to "slip" and kill the bastard for what they had done, usually to children. Sherlock had learned that John had an impeccable understanding as to how far was acceptable when it came to a target they were going after for one of their cases. It was something he liked about his friend even as the Doctor's too soft heart often made Sherlock scoff at the sentiment he wore on his sleeve next to his healer's heart.
Moriarty had figured out where Sherlock's heart was on the first try. It was only their very deadly bluff that let the pair walk away from that potentially lethal pool trip. Now they would be working with the same man who had promised to burn out Sherlock's heart from his chest in order to protect the returned baby Holmes.
"The kidneys were a good choice," Snape said as he joined them half an hour later. "We don't have a spell or potion to fix bruised kidneys. After all they are hardly lethal to one with magic. He will be pissing small amounts of blood for a month and have trouble sitting or standing but no actual harm."
Sherlock hummed his agreement. Another hour later Snape spoke his own worry into the darkness.
"I felt the vow bond tug. His heart stuttered when he was electrocuted," Severus told them softly.
"I don't care if he gets sorted back into Gryffindor or what the old goat decrees. Harry isn't getting near that little murderer again much less sleeping in the same dorm room," Sherlock said darkly.
"I will offer him my second guestroom if it becomes necessary," Severus informed them solemnly.
"That's why we decided to share. Its not the first time the pair of us have slept in tight quarters and it likely wont be the last," John agreed, his briefly bared teeth gleaming in the scant moonlight.
"The re-sorting will be at breakfast, assuming that he's well enough for it after sleeping all day," Severus tossed out. "Madam Umbridge was rather put out to find that Weasley had nearly killed him in a temper tantrum. Dumbledore's sweeping of the incident under the rug has refocused her against the old man and away from Harry... for now. I've already sent off a message to Jim, he's working with Mycroft for the moment but we should be expecting care packages before the weekend. If the red-headed brat tries something like that again the vow will demand action and the Acromantula nest in the forest will be getting a free meal."
"Noted," John said carefully. As far as he was concerned at this point they were in an urban war zone with flaky civilians who could be for or against them at the drop of a hat.
Breakfast that morning arrived with Harry moving carefully with John, Sherlock, and Severus at his side as he entered the great hall, heading openly away from Gryffindor and Ron.
"Mr. Potter, please come up here for your re-sorting," Umbridge's sickeningly sweet voice cracked out evilly, halting Harry's progress.
"I don't think I can make it that far," Harry admitted lowly to his escort.
"Now Delores, its clearly been a slight misunderstanding between friends," Dumbledore said condescendingly.
"He didn't," Sherlock growled.
"He did," John agreed, equally as angry. Before either could make a move to simply kill the old bastard Severus' voice snapped out like a caustic whip.
"If you think that attempted murder of a fellow student is a slight misunderstanding then perhaps we should be calling St. Mungoes to have you committed, Headmaster!" Snape snarled, immediately silencing the room. "Then again I shouldn't be surprised since you did the exact same thing during my own school years and blamed me for nearly winding up dead rather than the one who nearly killed me. Not this time. I call upon Lady Magic and Hogwarts to stand in judgement of a student who has attempted to deliberately take the life of one of his fellows! Let my magic and the marks upon the victim stand in judgement against this student who treats life as though it were worth nothing."
A golden glow enveloped the group standing near the doors to the great hall before anyone could make a move, examining them, judging them. There was a reason why such judgement magics were rarely invoked anymore, they could just as easily turn back on the wielder. The glow faded slightly only for a bolt of power to leave to shoot towards first Dumbledore and then a second towards Ron. Dumbledore dodged, barely, Ron did not. Dumbledore received a bad burn across his left arm which would refuse to heal with magic when examined. Ron, on the other hand, simply disappeared, leaving behind a broken and charred wand in a pile of ashes that had been the teen's clothing.
"Touch my Land Guardians again and you will not need to worry about fighting young Tom Riddle!" a voice thundered through the room before fading away.
Severus broke the silence with a groan as he found himself kneeling before Harry with something dripping down his right forearm. John quickly checked him and found a new mark carved into the flesh of the Potion Master's right arm. A lightning bolt circled by a stethoscope, topped by a deerstalker hat with a gun and a magnifying glass crossed beneath.
Harry's eyes glowed an eerie green as he whispered "Mine." Before trying to pass out only to be caught by his elder brother.
"Severus?" Minerva called worriedly across the distance.
"I should have known better than to invoke such powerful magics when the imp is involved," Severus laughed somewhat hysterically. McGonagall didn't waste any time getting to them.
"Oh... are you alright with this?" Minerva asked carefully as she saw the sluggishly bleeding mark just before Doctor Watson wrapped gauze and a bandage over it to protect it as it healed.
"I will have to sort out the other arm sooner rather than later but... I am content with the outcome," Severus said after a moment's thought.
"I'll file the paper work for you. Congratulations, I suppose," Minerva offered with a weak smile.
"Vassal to mine brother, finish it," Sherlock ordered quietly so that only their group could hear.
"As I once swore an Unbreakable vow of protection to my new master do I now also extend that vow to service and to act as his shield mate," Severus said quietly, keeping it private. Sherlock ritually accepted Severus' wand on Harry's behalf.
"And so you are a part of us and our household from this day forth," Sherlock agreed. A spark briefly lit up the tip of Severus' wand confirming the vow and ending the ritual. The wand was quickly returned and Harry recovered soon after.
"Hey, I feel better," Harry said in surprise as he stood up straight and was able to walk tall to the stool set before the teacher's table.
"What exactly was that?" Umbridge demanded in a carefully brittle tone of voice.
"A very old judgement request that is almost never used any more. Madam, Dumbledore, wanted to let the boy walk free with no punishment after attempting to murder a pureblood heir," Snape said pointedly. Harry had been born a pureblood and his sibling adoption as an infant hadn't changed that. Umbridge's eyes widened as she finally understood who Harry actually was.
"We can re-sort Heir Potter and call for the Aurors to document the incident after the students are in class then," Umbridge said firmly. "Taking memories from various reputable students should be more than enough proof on both the attempted murder and the call for judgement."
The near instant announcement for "Slytherin!" was a bit of a let down after what had already happened but no less binding and no less of a relief for the group as they finally took their respective seats for breakfast. The only thing to disturb the rest of the day was the random Aurors collecting evidence to close the case against one Ronald Weasley. The same evidence that was being added to the case file against the strangely suddenly absent Albus Dumbledore.
Chapter 10: Serpent's Den
This is not the best update but it is an update.
Happy Birthday to me!
The night of his re-sorting Harry was oddly unsurprised that he actually had another place to sleep. While he officially now had a bed in the Slytherin dorms his brother Sherlock and Professor Snape expected him to sleep in the snarky man's second guest room at least once a week. Once the side effects of Severus calling for judgement on Ron and the side ritual that swore the older wizard's loyalty to Harry were explained it was less of a surprise.
"You taunted Murphy with my luck involved and someone trying to kill me?" Harry asked deeply unimpressed. "I really need to tell you about the stupid yearly adventures if you are making those sorts of stupid mistakes. Even Ron learned not to do that! Well, he mostly learned it. If he'd learned it properly he wouldn't be dead."
"Apparently, it runs in the family," John commented ruefully, referencing how often the same thing happened on a particularly important/dangerous case with Sherlock. They ignored the two stunned and offended wizards in favor of comparing scars. John had wanted a better look at some of Harry's scars and Harry had decided that if he was going to be poked and prodded he would get to do it right back to the other man.
Eventually, Sherlock and Severus started a cautious discussion on brewing, investigation and spying techniques. Both examinees noted and ignored the fact that the two didn't opt to leave the living room as they checked each other's scars with their shirts off. Harry and John were amused to note that the dark haired pair even went so far as to subtly keep the pair in the same room as them, barring bathroom visits. Neither of them doubted that the supposedly uninterested pair were taking mental notes of every mark and related incident that the Doctor and teen were discussing as they went over each visible scar.
Bed time and curfew came quickly. Harry had argued hard to stay in his new dorm this first night considering he was still recovering from Ron's murder attempt. He had, however, conceded to letting both Sherlock and Severus cast separate monitoring charms on him in case of problems. Sherlock really didn't want to let his brother stay that far away from the three older men but couldn't find a proper argument. As a result he had to grumpily settle for an old family protection charm along with the monitoring charms cast on his little brother for the night.
"Family," Snape told the wall and entrance to the Slytherin dorms the password as he lead Harry into the Slytherin common room for the house meeting he had called. He gave Harry one last instruction before turning to deal with the rest of Slytherin house. "Stand with me."
Harry nodded his assent as everyone else got organized with the older years in the back of the room looking over the heads of the younger years.
"You all know that Potter was re-sorted into our house. I informed you all this morning before breakfast of his newly discovered status as a kidnap/line theft victim and of his birth family, the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Holmes. As you know Mr. Potter-Holmes should have been placed here from the start. Due to a poor impression made by one of our own he chose to out argue the hat on his placement, something which is rare but not entirely unheard of. You all know our policy on finding that one of our own has hidden themselves in another house. They are Slytherins even if they openly wear red, blue, or yellow instead of green and thus family. For those of you with blood family connections to the Dark Lord and the Dark Faction... information has come to light that places doubt on our Harry's supposed inherent threat to the Dark Faction. This is to be kept in-house," Severus announced with little fan fare, staring down his students with a grave look. His repeat of certain information was to remind them all how serious he was about all of this. "I have not had time to do more than start getting certain things confirmed and a few papers filed. As such, while I will not forbid or delay any reports or letters you may wish to send home, kindly remember that we are vulnerable during this state of transition. Also, it has come to light that Mr. Potter-Holmes is linked directly to the wards of the land and his original kidnapping almost brought down all the wards across the entire British Isles. Until all of the facts are determined hasty action could doom everything no matter who is involved. If nothing else it will certainly result in detention if you make things more dangerous for those of your schoolmates who may be involved."
In other words, yes, they could send letters home. However, if they intentionally got the people riled up and didn't make it clear that Harry's situation had something strange about it that needed to be sorted before anything happened then they would get into trouble. The reason was clear enough, information could kill just as easily as a spell or a blade. Warning the Dark Faction that Harry might not actually be an enemy was crucial to sorting at least part of the situation out safely and everyone present either knew it or would shortly be informed of that fact by their peers.
"That is very interesting my dear Severus," came a voice from the back. A seventh year student walked forwards as the ending polyjuice potion morphed him back into the form of the Dark Lord. Severus could only numbly recognize that the resurrected man must have taken a neutralizer potion almost as soon as everyone had started organizing for the house meeting. If he couldn't talk his way out of this they were screwed and he would have failed to keep Harry safe.
"Let me guess, you felt something before through our bond? Either when Ron attacked me or when Snape called for judgement earlier?" Harry asked somewhat sardonically as everyone else froze. He swapped to Parseltongue just for the privacy and the hell of it. "~I only found out about the damn prophecy on Saturday. None of us know what's in it beyond what Snape knows, the first couple lines. Depending on if I still count as the one who defeated you, unlikely as that is, and if you currently count as the Dark Lord of the prophecy things may change. You might not count any more since you were technically dead even if you didn't move on or get turned into a ghost. We all need to know what the stupid thing actually says in full before anything else happens between us. I am willing to let all of what happened between us be set aside as the actions and trickery of an as yet unknown party rather than your fault for the attacks every year but this has to be sorted. So does our weird link.~"
"You are a Parselmouth," Voldemort said carefully, buying time as he considered what Harry had said. He ignored the frozen room as he studied the enigma of a young wizard.
"Did you come in through one of the secret passages or the Chamber?" Harry asked curiously, perfectly willing to let the man think about his reasoning. He didn't want to wind up dead or go back to trying to kill each other without an actual reason for the pair to go to war. Yes, everything that had happened since he was taken from Mummy Holmes counted as enemy action and an act of war against both the family as well as almost the entirety of Magical Britain. The problem was that the so-called Dark Lord wasn't actually responsible for any of it even if he had tried to kill Harry practically every year.
"Salazar's Chamber. It has multiple exits into the castle and a few out of the castle and grounds. It was designed as a secondary emergency escape tunnel on top of the siege one that is a normal part of any castle for the time period. I was also under the impression that I was the only one who could access those passageways. You've just proven that I was mistaken on that point," Voldemort said mildly. "Part of it was the link, of which I was previously unaware, and part of it was the judgement magics. I want to know why I felt a second string coming from Severus that both is and is not my mark."
Harry blinked at that, not sure what to make of it. Severus visibly winced and didn't even try to argue as he silently rolled up both of his sleeves, putting both marks on full display for the powerful man to examine. Harry hovered uncertainly off to one side as the Dark Lord took to examining both marks in front of the assembled Slytherin house.
"~Touch both marks,~" Voldemort hissed the order quietly. The parseltongue words floated through the silent common room, allowing no one to mistake the fact that it was an order.
Harry shrugged and obeyed, placing his fingers on both marks simultaneously alongside the Dark Lord's own fingers. He was more than a bit surprised when the marks began to glow with a dark purple light. Voldemort hummed thoughtfully and nodded his thanks to the younger wizard as they both took a step back from the Potions Master. It took a moment for the glow to fade even as Severus lowered his arms to hang back at his sides.
"I don't know how you did it, Severus, but you are now bound as a vassal to both of us, irreversibly in Potter's case. I could release you but it could very well kill you," Voldemort told the man bluntly. Severus winced at the pronouncement. "Lady Magic never allows those who share a vassal in such a way to war with each other without consequences. If the pair of us continue to fight it will destroy both of us... and the land with it. Congratulations, you've just become indispensable. As an anchor for both Potter and I as Lords of Magic, especially a shared anchor, if you die we could go insane to the point that it might be kinder to simply use a Nuclear Weapon or two across the Isles and be done with it. A week of 24 hours out of every six months must be spent in our presence unless we are hunting to retrieve you from an enemy. It can be done in smaller sections of time unless any of the three of us is badly injured and if you are the one injured... expect to be guarded viciously by both of us."
"Liquid Luck," Severus grumbled sourly. Harry snickered as Voldemort raised an eyebrow at the obvious in joke but chose not to comment.
"I will expect you both over the winter holidays. Severus, please make the appropriate arrangements on this end and send me a list of who all is coming. I don't expect that many of Harry's friends will want to come but I won't discount it either. The three of us are going to be living and a part of each other's lives for a long time to come," Voldemort said almost cheerily. "We can finish sorting out anything else then, such as if we find that a formal truce is needed or some such."
After a moment of reflection Harry could sort of understand why he might be happy. After all his supposed ultimate downfall turned out to suddenly be bound as a sort of ally and Harry had stated that he was not holding the previous mess against the man. As far as the Dark Lord was concerned things were looking up.
"Why can't I just have one normal year?" Harry grumbled. Voldemort quirked and eyebrow in amusement but didn't bother to comment, instead slipping out of the common room and, further on into the dungeons, out of the castle through a parsel protected passageway.
The rest of the evening passed with almost everyone leaving Harry in peace to settle in as they recovered their nerves from being in the presence of the Dark Lord.
Chapter 11: Reputation Boost
Happy 4th of July!
"So, you are a Holmes... How's that working out for you?" a Slytherin 6th year asked curiously over breakfast the next morning. No mention was made of the visit by the Dark Lord.
"Not bad. It appears that my knack for finding trouble is a family trait though. As for the reaction of the rest of the school... well you can see for your self," Harry answered humorlessly. He casually waved towards the rest of the students eating breakfast in open invitation to examine the evidence. Harry was trying to ignore the glares and hisses about being a traitor or supposedly going dark. The baby Dark Lord comments from second year were making a re-appearance and Dumbledore was blatantly hiding.
"What about Granger?" Draco demanded haughtily. He didn't even bother to glance over at the idiot lions and their red bedecked table.
"Hermione isn't speaking to me because she thinks I put Snape up to the judgement magics and blames me for what happened to Ron," Harry answered in resignation. She had slapped him earlier and told him to stop killing people. Thankfully, it had happened when no one else was around since he had snuck out for an early walk before breakfast.
Snape had appeared out of the shadows, as usual, soon after she had stalked away around a corner. This left him to be found standing there in stunned shock alone and unprotected in the empty hallway. Taking in Harry's rapidly reddening cheek and his devastated expression the Potions Master hadn't bothered with anything except seeing to Harry. It was also one of the reasons that Harry now had to keep an escort of three or more fellow Slytherins with him at practically all times for a minimum of a week if not longer. At least the bruise that had covered a good chunk of his face from Hermione's hand had been taken care of before anyone saw it, aside from Severus, John, and Sherlock that is.
"So why did the Professor put you under escort? Aside from the obvious?" Theodore Nott asked bluntly.
"Because someone already hurt me this year," Harry said flatly, refusing to elaborate further despite the looks of open curiosity. Classes took up the rest of the day as most of the staff tried to avoid appearing disapproving of Harry's new position in Slytherin.
By the weekend Harry was comfortable enough with Slytherin as a whole to do his homework in the common room. Dumbledore had made a reappearance but kept studiously away from anyone connected to either Holmes. A fact that had Sherlock eying the man dangerously and John watching him with calm wariness. The pair never let him get Harry alone, nor did the four heads of house. Something that Harry found himself oddly grateful for. The Weasley twins along with Neville and Lee Jordan went out of their way to openly visit with Harry and show that he wasn't evil just wearing green instead of red.
Moriarty showed up to irritate his cousin for one afternoon and get a proper gauge on who Dumbledore was but openly disappeared rather quickly from the school the next morning. Sherlock looked smug and John was scowling from what little Harry managed to see of his brother when the criminal mastermind finished his visit. In the end Harry put the incident aside and wondered slightly at the odd silver bracelet that Severus had slipped over his wrist with a warning look to leave it alone. Later he would find that no one but Severus, Harry, Sherlock, John, and Professor Flitwick could see it. The small mark of a Leopard laying down wearing a crown with a potions vial under its paw releasing smoke on the clasp made Harry wonder about it and the vine pattern on the rest of the bracelet.
It was a bit of a shock for Harry to be approached by Professor Flitwick about the school viewing his memories of his yearly adventures, something that Harry had stubbornly put off.
"Did you get permission from Hermione and the Weasleys?" Harry asked carefully. It was true that most of it had only happened to him and the idea of a movie like event using his yearly adventure memories was sort of intriguing. Besides, it would put an end to the weird stories by telling everyone exactly what happened. He could always translate the Parseltongue bits for them.
"Gringotts would like copies and I dare say this is the only way you will get any peace from your peers once they find out that you are sharing your memories with anyone. Dumbledore is still of the opinion that you should say nothing and let him handle it but he is under fire for your kidnapped status. The only reason he hasn't yet been arrested is that more proof is needed to counter his political power. Your eldest brother is doing a marvelous job keeping him off balance in the Wizengamot but he is having to deal with the Ministry corruption at the same time," Flitwick admitted. "Lord Malfoy is assisting as is Mr. Moriarty but they are having difficulty sorting it without simply taking over the Ministry themselves, something which is made more difficult in some ways due to the Crown's stance on the Ministry and the Dark Lord's own previous take over attempts. Simply put it is going take time, possibly years. By sharing your memories and officially filing them with Gringotts as public record it will be harder to use them against you and harder to force someone else into the same position without consequences. It will also make it possible for anyone who wants to see them to view them unless you specify otherwise."
"I don't want the fame. I never did," Harry said bluntly. He really didn't like being the public's chew toy with their weird mood swings between deciding that he was their golden boy or a new baby dark lord.
"Scarhead, this is your chance to prove me wrong about your mess from every year," Draco drawled. "Besides, I want to see the twin demons face's when they find out you agreed to let the whole school watch but not them in private. I know they've been after you on it even though their mum has threatened to disown them for talking to you.... You have to include the dragon one from first year. I want my revenge for that and this is better than making you sleep in a soaking wet cold bed for a week."
"Only if It get to set them up as a short series so that all of it is shown but we don't have to watch through hours to get one clue for the next bit," Harry agreed unhappily. "I'll give the long ones for the official record if you want and some of it really can't be broken up but... yeah, I'll share. If you can get my brothers and Snape not to punish me for any of it. Helping me learn from it all is one thing but getting punished over stuff I didn't have much choice on is something I won't let happen anymore, not again."
"You still haven't shown me the Chamber," Severus reminded Harry somewhat grumpily.
"Prank Dumbledore and discuss it with the goblins when they see the memories from that year. I don't know for sure if I get to keep anything from it even though I killed it," Harry said uncomfortably. He just knew that despite any promises of no punishment he would be in trouble after the memory movie marathon.
That weekend Harry's memories were viewed by the entire school and the Gringotts group all through Saturday. At Sherlock's insistence the memories covered each incident in his previous four years of schooling even if it would get someone in trouble.
"This is why you don't mess with our Harrykins!" the Weasley twins crowed, gleefully bouncing around all of the tables in the great hall, by the end of it all.
"I can and will find some way to punish you and make you understand why recklessly endangering your life is unacceptable!" Severus growled between the memories of second year, glowering darkly at Harry. The former Gryffindor just shrugged. It wasn't like he actually went looking for the danger... mostly. The Acromantula nest was Hagrid's fault and the Basilisk was the stupid diary's fault.
The goblins, on the other hand, watched Harry with a considering eye and proceeded to discuss a number of things in their native tongue, occasionally dragging Flitwick into the discussion.
"Sherlock, I think we need to focus on his escape, evasion, and active combat skills just judging by these memories alone," John said thoughtfully. Harry was seated with them and Professor Snape as a precaution as well as for easy access during the memory swap outs. He had been rather interested to review his own memories in this movie like fashion even if he wasn't thrilled to be sharing with everyone despite the solid logic presented by Professor Flitwick at the time.
"His deduction skills need some refining but really he needs more generalized information to deduce from and, yes, more combat and escape/evasion skills. It is clear to me that while it would be more difficult facing these things completely without magic Harry could have managed it," Sherlock said judiciusly. "In fact most of his magic use in emergency situations is clearly based around a quick wit and very muggle thinking combined with the family's natural deductive ability. We will need to school him on certain specialized transfiguration, wandlessly of course, and you will need to teach him about guns as well as how to shoot...
"You keep picking out things for me to learn but you haven't exactly started on teaching me anything yet," Harry pointed out uncomfortably.
"That has more to do with learning what you already deal with and dealing with any immediate dangers than anything else. Pay attention Harold," Sherlock snarked. He didn't really understand why his little brother was uncomfortable with a clearly important topic that needed to be discussed.
"Nice conversation deflection," John smirked. "The problem is that we really do need to teach you the basic thinking of how to get away if nothing else. You've got good instincts as both a protector and an escape artist. We need to know which way you dodge before we can start teaching you how to use it effectively. Its the same with your magic and other skills. If taught what to target a doctor or a chef or a butcher or any number of occupations is more dangerous than a skilled assassin simply with their own already learned skills. You've already been using that same mindset when things get dangerous but your focus is less focused on your own survival than it should be. I blame Dumbledore and the people he placed you with for that."
"Time for the Tri-wizard Tournament from Harrykin's view!" the Weasley twins announced as the viewing pensive was set up and everyone settled back down for a review of Harry's fourth year.
Chapter 12: Shadows and Family
Marvolo stared at nothing in shock as he finally processed what his mind had been nibbling at ever since he had checked Severus' new mark over a month ago. He was bound more tightly to the other two wizards than he had thought. In point of fact he was now bound not only to them but through them to the land its self, a rare and powerful occurrence. Harry had, by the grace of being born and then kidnapped, obtained the position that Marvolo had been trying to achieve since he had stumbled upon an obscure parsel research book in his 5th year. The Dark Lord was only not yet bound as the younger man's vassal by the simple fact that Harry didn't know. He didn't know that he was supposed to bring Voldemort to heel and bind him to his eternal service as a fellow guardian of the land, kneeling next to Severus.
The thought of kneeling to the imp was both galling and yet intriguing. He wouldn't be sleeping with either wizard except platonically. At the thought of sharing a room and platonically sharing a bed with both Harry and Severus his magic hummed happily. He knew, instinctively, that the three of them would never share romantic feelings with one another but being practically inseparable siblings? He could work with that.
Sadly, it was apparent to the big bad Dark Lord that cuddles were in his future. Secretly, he didn't mind the thought of cuddles.
"Figured it out did you?" Moriarty asked as he practically oozed out of the non-existent shadows of the well appointed study that was normally Voldemort's private domain.
"You aren't quite the squib that you portray," Voldemort said quietly, fully back in Dark Lord mode in an instant.
"Shadow Daemons are a tricky lot and it only takes a properly cultured drop of blood from one of them plus around a thousand innocents slaughtered on the open moors under a full moon. Its not that hard really to trigger the inheritance," Moriarty shrugged. "You seem to be a decent match for the baby Holmes now that you've put your sanity back together again. Smart enough to join in play time, powerful enough to stand on your own if it comes to it."
"You've adopted them..." Voldemort recognized stonily, expecting to have to fight to escape.
"Yes and no. You see Severus is my cousin and he's currently bound to both you and the baby Holmes. So that makes us all family, after a fashion. In my games being family only means that I wont kill you outright. I was actually checking to see if you could be salvaged. I am the muggle equivalent of a Dark Lord myself so your status as Dark Lord wasn't really the most pressing concern," Moriarty explained with a casual shrug. "Dumbledore has already signed his own death warrant and we needed to know if you were any better. We also needed to know if we could replace the ministry with something better or if we would just have to rip down the statute of secrecy and work from there. I'm half convinced we should just scrap everything and start from nothing... or torture the Unspeakables into releasing all of their records and playing things by ear from there."
"In what scenario do I and my people come out alive?" Voldemort asked bluntly.
"Kneeling as a vassal to baby Holmes but then you already knew that," Moriarty gave a vicious smirk. "No, what you are really asking is how you can get me to leave your people and power base intact... you can't or at least not completely. The Werewolves are too much of a problem and so are some of the other dark creatures. I may not have personally minded corrupting my DNA with the blood line of a demon, removing myself from the line of Adam and that of humanity, but not everyone is that pragmatic. The giants have to go, too many children of fallen angles preying on humanity. No, I want a fairly clear playing field instead of letting them randomly eat or rape any regular or magical humans they happen across. It isn't time for them to roam across the world in the open yet so their bastard offspring need to die. We can leave those still sleeping below the earth alone to wake on their own."
"Anything else?" Voldemort asked warily.
"No, no, nothing really just openly kneel to baby Holmes before the new year so that he is in control of you and your people. It will save a bit of time and bloodshed on our parts," Moriarty said patronizingly. "Remember the giants, the werewolves or at least Greyback's pack, and the Dementors need to be destroyed or on their way to being destroyed before you kneel. Ta, thanks for the chat!"
Moriarty faded back into the non-existent shadows smiling mockingly at the current Dark Lord of Wizarding Britain.
Chapter 13: Doctor's Instinct
John was suspicious. He was suspicious about how carefully Harry had been handled and controlled by Dumbledore. Suspicious of the way the wizarding world venerated both Dumbledore and Harry. Suspicious of the lack of attack or other response by the so called Dark Lord who had been hunting Harry for so long. He knew that something had happened when Harry first slept in the Slytherin dorm but he wasn't sure exactly what had happened. It all made his shoulders itch. It also made him extremely grateful that Moriarty, despite being a psychotic ass, had passed off a pair of Brownings to him complete with around twenty full clips of ammo during his "visit" to the school. While he didn't like handing a gun to Sherlock due to the man's habit of using it to relieve boredom in an unsafe fashion he couldn't argue that it would not be needed.
Generally, guns around children was a stupidly unsafe thing to do. After the memory movie night John stopped caring about that and started being not only glad but paranoid about keeping his gun on him whenever they were out of Severus' quarters. When both Sherlock and Severus finally gave him questioning looks he simply had to recite Basilisk and Acromantula for them to drop the issue. Both men knew better than to try and argue that using magic was better against any such foes due in large part to their own experiences in a fight. You used what tools you had to hand that you knew and John wasn't skilled enough to use magic in combat yet. Then too both creatures he listed were magic resistant, something Harry had fought in or near the school in the last 4 years, and would have fairly easily fallen to bullets.
Still, the inconsistencies surrounding Harry and his mistreatment bothered both the Doctor in him and the Army Captain. Whenever both sides of him sat up and took notice of something it was a sure sign that he needed to pay special attention to it, whatever it was.
Dumbledore had been too quiet even with Mycroft and Moriarty harassing him through the ministry and Wizengamot. It was Harry's slight sigh and grimace at tasting his food one morning that tipped John off. Before he could think he was moving and knocking the food and drink of Harry's breakfast away from the youngest Holmes.
"Back! Away from the food!" Captain Watson barked out at the entirety of the Slytherin table. Harry was physically picked up by the man and swept away from the food as the Slytherins scrambled to obey, instinctively reacting to the voice of command. Harry's eyes were already starting to develop a slight glaze as his vision slipped out of focus even as his lips gained a blue tinge. Severus didn't ask nor did he wait, he just shoved a beozar down Harry's throat. Less than a second later he was casting diagnostic spells to see what else he could do.
"Potion overdose. Someone has been drugging him for a long time and feeding him a masking potion on top of it all to hide whatever he was being given. If the imp hadn't overdosed we would have never known because his magic wouldn't have rejected the potions, ripping through the masking agent," Severus muttered angrily as he set to work. The beozar would only give them so much time to save Harry's life.
"Wouldn't a masking potion hide everything? Showing its presence by the very lack of any healing potions?" Sherlock asked shrewdly.
"Not if it was bonded with the potion it was meant to hide, masking every hidden potion crossed with a tailored masking potion. We will have to do a full flush and cleansing later but first I have to get him strong enough to survive the process," Severus snarled, even as he adjusted to the new information while he worked. The imp was getting food from a dedicated elf from now on to go with the new diet Severus, John, and Sherlock had already worked out for Harry.
"Is there a spell to induce vomiting or do we have to do it the old fashioned way?" John demanded. Severus swore and got everyone to back off before hitting Harry with a vomiting jinx. Harry immediately flipped over and started emptying his stomach.
"I'll need samples," Sherlock said grimly as he watched Harry be sick even as he scanned the crowded hall for the culprit and any accomplices.
"Ta, I believe we all will," John shot back. "I'll start making our meals."
"I don't think we will be getting samples to test," Severus said blankly as he stared at the vomit that was melting the magic infused stone floor underneath it.
"I'm seeing flecks of blood. If I had to guess the Basilisk Venom is probably still in his blood being kept in check by the Phoenix Tears and changing him to boot," John theorized. "God obviously likes the entire Holmes family because from what I know of all this Harry, and his brothers, really should be dead several times over. No magic can beat God deciding something needs to happen or someone needs to live. I bet that between his magic, the venom, and the tears he can survive most poisons needs an increasingly higher dose of any long term potion of medicine to make it work. On top of all that I bet he can probably stomach almost anything remotely edible or rather his stomach can handle it being eaten without killing him."
"The fact that he isn't dead from the venom means that he is likely immune to any known poison or venom but over dosing on non-poisonous potions? That, he would be vulnerable too. Everyone thinks to guard against poisons but almost no one guards against antidotes or other healing potions," Severus agreed grumpily, running another set of diagnostics. One of them dinging and had the potion master scowling. "There is, a mix of love potions and various antidotes of all kinds. Some are working against what was already dosing him showing an additional bevy of control potions, loyalty potions, and suggestion potions - all fairly useless with his overly stubborn disposition."
"Anything we can do?" John half way demanded as Harry stopped throwing up to settle into slight dry heaving as his stomach finally calmed down. In answer Severus summoned one of the bits of holly, complete with berries that had gone up in deference to the coming winter holiday.
"That's poisonous," Sherlock growled.
"I am aware," Severus said in aggravation as he knelt to feed the poisonous berries to the troublesome imp. "Weren't you listening? The problem isn't the poison levels its the lack of poison for the antidotes to counter."
"Its a bit unorthodox but It makes sense. A lot of antidotes are actually another form of poison," John agreed with a wince. "That doesn't mean we aren't going to monitor him or purge his entire system but giving him poison to match at least one antidote in his system will give us more time to set up the complete purge. I want his blood completely cleaned and replaced too. It was bad enough that the Venom and Tears have stayed in his blood for years already."
"He may begin producing a form of them in his blood on his own with how long they have been in place," Severus warned. It wasn't like muggles could normally adapt to such things in such a way so it was worth mentioning.
The vassal bond hadn't warned Severus when Harry started reacting to whatever was in his food. This fact made the man believe that Harry wasn't in any real danger. He would simply have been uncomfortable and miserable. The holly, while poisonous, wouldn't hurt Harry due to the immunity gained via the basilisk venom. Still, they had to play the part of concerned protectors treating a poisoned student in case someone else got caught in the cross fire or the culprit was watching everything play out.
"Why are they always stupid?" Sherlock groaned before leaping up on the table and using the house tables to dash down the hall and tackle an older student who had barely begun to try and run.
"Sherlock? Check for messages?" John called, unconcerned at his friend's actions.
"Mr. McClaggen!" Flitwick objected as the Gryffindor tried to bash in Sherlock's skull on a nearby table leg. He succeeded in dazing the detective but this hand reaching for a knife on the table above was his undoing. The Weasley twins got a good shot at him and took it. The mess of prank spells reacted poorly as they knocked the burly Gryff free of the still recovering detective.
"He's not that smart," Fred snarled.
"We'll find out who gave him the idea just fine, Freddy," George agreed. John didn't comment as he took down a 7th year Ravenclaw that tried to toss something at Harry while everyone was distracted by the showy take down further down the hall.
"That, Miss. Grace, was a very bad mistake," Severus threatened as he guarded Harry from whatever was thrown. The object splatted on the stone but not before a shadow tried to jump from it to the closest living person. Professor Flitwick caught it with a containment spell and quickly burned it to ash.
"Demon summoning! In this school?!! I can promise you that you will be expelled before midnight!" Flitwick hissed furiously before trapping and dragging away his disgraced Ravenclaw student.
"Demon summoning?" John muttered, slightly bewildered as he returned to his feet. Harry was asleep by the time he went to check the young wizard again. No one was surprised when Harry was taken to his room in Snape's quarters rather than the hospital wing. Harry slept for the next week and by the time he woke again, fully recovered from the antidotes reacting badly to a nasty wizarding cold it was almost time to go home for the winter holidays.
Harry was enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast in bed despite being stuck in his room for the rest of day with John as his Doctor and his suddenly even more over protective brother. It wasn't that he minded the fussing really but more that he didn't want to worry John or Sherlock just because he had a week long nap.
"Isn't it strange that that stupid boy's parents haven't shown up yet?" Sherlock asked abruptly as they ate next to Harry sitting up in bed. The detective was actually eating his food, making both brother and blogger happy instead of fussing over him and his lack of personal care.
"Wha? Ron's mum hasn't... you're right. That's just... weird," Harry said, blinking in shock as his mind scrambled for answers. "She likes to shout and keeps insisting that I'm one of her kids since I made friends with Ron in first year. I thought that I somehow just missed it. Stupid really, to think that. Everyone would have been talking about it for ages and she's not exactly quiet... her howlers are famous and so is her voice when she gets riled, usually because the twins did something."
"At least I'm not the only one to find this whole thing with your little brother weird," John sighed, letting his spoon drop into his bowl of porridge. "The entire school was oddly quiet when we watched those memories, half or more of the so-called dark families are suddenly highly protective of Harry instead of wanting him dead. Dumbledore, the so-called Leader of the Light, has purposefully distanced himself from Harry and us. There is also the fact that while he was here Moriarty didn't indicate anything nefarious or wanting to play or taunt us at all. We also foiled a couple of different assassination attempts from the people who, until we showed up, were the ones in control of Harry. To say nothing of anything out of school and the schooling irregularities. Its all driving me mad!"
"Very good John! Even without having sussed out the cultural norms you've picked up more than half of the important clues," Sherlock congratulated his flatmate smugly. "So what does all of that tell you?"
"Simply put? Dumbledore either wants control of Harry to control the Wizarding World or he wants Harry to die so that he can keep power. We put a nice dent in his pipe dream by showing up and actually caring about Harry much less having any clout despite coming out nowhere. I've run into enough Officers in the service like that, enough Doctors in the field too. We are taught to have something of a god complex in the medical field to try and stave off the guilt of not managing to save everyone and killing ourselves trying," John offered up with a shrug. "Its not the best way to go about it but that's what's being taught as a part of medical school. Thankfully, the army knocked that right out my head during basic training."
"How do you figure?" Harry asked, suddenly not so hungry anymore.
"Its obvious the man believes himself to be infallible and he's got way too much power over everything. I noticed that he is Headmaster, giving him control over the children and what they learn, a part of the Judges for the Wizards, and the international representative. To me that sounds mighty close to being a king even if its not called that for this," John said bluntly. "You, as the Boy-Who-Lived, are a threat to his position of ultimate authority. This is especially true since you are related to this git here."
Sherlock made a token noise of protest over being called a nosy git but otherwise kept silent, listening to the analysis of his friend.
"This is no longer just about keeping you safe as a member of our family. This is about an active threat to our family and the country as a whole. The Dark Lord, if he's still even after you, is now second place as a threat level. Dumbledore presents more danger than anyone other than probably Moriarty," John told them bluntly. "This poisoning thing is a good example. The kids involved got let off completely after Dumbledore explained what had happened to the school board and the Aurors. Ron's parents still haven't shown up to talk about their dead son and the fact they are in Dumbledore's pocket is common knowledge. That man uses his words as a weapon and a shield for those he favors or who give him what he wants. If we wouldn't be effectively letting him run wild starting wars with other countries on our behalf I would have called in some favors and evaced everyone before a team came in to take him down with extreme prejudice. The apparation thing would let him get away too easily as would many other spells he obviously knows. We may have to go to war to stop him, even if its just our family at war with him."
"A bullet in his brain will stop him," Sherlock pointed out. "Moriarty would love to hear me actually ask him to kill someone."
"Then he becomes a martyr and practically unstoppable," John said bluntly. "No, Sherlock, if it were that simple I would have already taken the shot and submitted myself for court marshal under military justice. I may be a civilian right now but this is a matter of actual national security and I would have been acting as Captain Watson, not your flatmate and blogger."
"Then we find a way to stop him," Harry said firmly if quietly. "What do we know? We know he wants me either dead or controlled, making me perfect bait. We know he likes control. Lets try and shake that control shall we?"
"Lets," Sherlock agreed evilly. They all returned to their breakfast, with talk turning to lighter topics of conversation. The only witness to their plotting was an old portrait of a Wizard and his serpent familiar that sported a very familiar spiny crest on its head. Later, the portrait would wander out of his frame to meet up with his three dearest friends from when he was alive. Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue would once more work in harmony and make the stones of the castle sing.
Chapter 14: Grey Robes
Harry knew his luck would eventually kick in but he didn't think it would happen like this. John, Sherlock, and Severus were out cold at his feet while Harry faced off, completely unarmed, against more than 30 of his upper level schoolmates. It was the last Hogsmeade weekend before the train home for the holidays and he had talked his minders into a trip around the castle town.
"Someone wants a word with you," a wizard, who had been hidden until now said carefully as he moved to the front of the group of students. It was at that point that Harry recognized not everyone was doing this willingly, some of his schoolmates had slightly glazed eyes. The three unconscious men were collected even as Harry found himself quickly tied up. A stunner made sure Harry never knew how the group escaped with their prisoners.
The first thing Harry heard when he woke was the sound of dripping water landing on cavernous stone. The first thing he felt was familiar arms wrapped around him smelling of various potion ingredients.
"He's awake," Severus' voice said softly from somewhere close above him. Harry forced his eyes open only to be met with darkness.
"Don't worry about the dark, Harry, its not your eyes," John instructed. "We are in a cell that has been installed into a set of natural caves. Food appears by magic and dishes go the same way. There is an area for doing the necessary that is set up with a very low red light that is turned on by a motion sensor of some kind and doesn't last all that long. A green light is turned on when food is delivered for about half an hour before it gets turned off again, taking the dishes with it. Sherlock was here too but he was taken away about an hour ago. They knocked him out first and made us stay at the back of the cell with a mix of guns and wands."
"Not Malfoy or Voldy then I bet. Probably not anyone from a rabid pureblood or powerful dark family. The mix of normal and magical means they are probably used to passing back and forth so probably a halfblood," Harry speculated aloud.
As if in response to Harry's speculations they heard the sound of a portkey arriving and dropping what sounded like a body on the stone floor inside their cell. The swearing revealed it to be a group of people. Harry specifically recognized the voices of Voldemort, Mycroft, Lucius Malfoy, and at least three others unknown to the teen.
"Well, that explains why the cell is so big," John said ruefully, unintentionally silencing the new arrivals.
"Dare I ask what my brother has done this time to cause such an outcome?" Mycroft asked irritably as the new comers resumed disentangling themselves in the dark.
"I don't know! The guy just said that someone wanted a chat and knocked me out. Sherlock, John, and Severus had already been knocked out by the group of 7th years they were controlling," Harry protested. He didn't realize that Mycroft had been referring to Sherlock, his other brother.
"Ah, I was actually referring to Sherlock but from the sound of it this is going to be a family affair. Not to worry Harold, I wasn't blaming you. I was simply put out over the situation. Although, the fact that one of the culprits actually spoke to you and specified that you in particular were wanted for this chat is somewhat worrying," Mycroft corrected. There was some muttering and shuffling as people settled in more comfortable positions wherever they were on the floor.
"Sorry," Harry muttered somewhat sheepishly.
"In answer to your assumptions, Mycroft, Sherlock was captured with us but they took him away. They are using a mix of wands, guns, magic, and technology. Harry was unconscious when the attending captors made some very uncalled for comments to which Severus responded by promising to show them what an Elite could do. I gathered that at least one of their number was a Death Eater from the way the idiot paled. Sherlock growled and snarled at their comments only to get himself a beating for his cheek before they dragged him off already unconscious. I just pinched their wallets and plan to... discuss it with them later," John said with a verbal shrug. "It was clear that they hadn't been told much of anything. They are pure muscle in this case. One of them had a tattoo of a mercenary company that I've crossed paths with in the past, largely peacefully at bars and the like."
"Lovely," Mycroft said sourly.
"Oh, it gets better," John assured him before proceeding to give them the same outline of their cell and situation that he had given Harry when the younger man woke.
"Severus, why didn't you try a wandless unlocking spell?" Voldemort asked, obviously annoyed.
"Whatever they gave us has kept our magic largely suppressed, not to mention that Harry was unconscious until shortly before you arrived and we could not assess his condition properly. Thus far we are largely unharmed," Severus corrected with a blankness that Harry recognized as Occlumency being employed. "It was not attempted because we could not attempt it. There are also wards in place around the cell if not the entire cave system."
"They don't know I can cast spells and I can't cast that many yet," John added. "Nothing really useful for this with magic on their side as well as ours. I figured we should keep it as a bit of a trump card for now especially since I am not sure how my specific method of using magic might interact with the wards."
Discussion moved to random quiet talk as they waited for the next move of whoever captured them. It would be awhile before anything could be done.
Sherlock hadn't quite been as knocked out as he had appeared to be when he was dragged off. As a result he was able to somewhat track where he was being taken in regards to the cell and what limited security precautions were in place. His magic, unlike Severus' own magic, had never been suppressed or bound in any way by their captors. Then again Mycroft had been searching for a way to temporarily block or constrain his magic for decades if only so that he could talk to a moody Sherlock without having to defend against spell fire. John had been more of blessing than either Holmes was willing to admit. They were both quietly ecstatic over the way he managed to ground Sherlock for different reasons.
Finding himself slumped in a generic wooden kitchen chair in a blank concrete basement Sherlock absently noted that it was connected to the cave system where his ordinal cell was. The fact that he was now facing a smug Moriarty hadn't been as much of a surprise as Sherlock wanted so much as a sense of disappointment. Disappointment that Moriarty hadn't at least helped out in taking out Dumbledore and the idiot Ministry of Magic before turning everything into yet another deadly game. Or at least he was disappointed until someone else walked up to stand next to the criminal mastermind, someone dressed in heavy grey robes complete with a face concealing hood.
"I do not know why you are so insistent that these people are to be your payment for assisting me but as you can see we have them. Your wayward lover is returned to your side and his little patchwork family is in the holding cell," a low baritone voice issues from the concealing hood.
Sherlock automatically noted the cultured tones, the apparent lack of identity recognition for any of the captives, and the way the grey robed man went out of his way to give nothing away.
"Family can be so difficult at times but it is one of the few bonds I honor," Moriarty said smoothly, the manic little smile didn't reach his nearly dead eyes. "Thankfully, I have experience handling my little family and what minions they tend to collect. You have your alliance but I want Dumbledore to pay for what he has done to my family."
Sherlock watched carefully from under his nearly closed eyelids as he studied what little body language the pair were giving off. The deep sincerity coming off of Moriarty wasn't faked, which was slightly surprising to the captive detective. Neither he nor Moriarty were in a romantic relationship at the moment but it was a good cover story, especially if the man needed everyone on this new aspect of the case. Sherlock would play along... for now.
"I will expect the first shipments of gold bullion, dragon hide, and arm bands of binding within the next week. We will see if those snap bands you spoke of used as children's jewelry will hold the necessary enchantments for the more finicky test subjects later. I will leave you to your... reunion," the grey robed man commented sourly before turning and stalking off.
Sherlock was surprised when Moriarty sent off the remaining guards so that they were alone in the basement room.
"I know you're awake Sherly," Moriarty said with a Cheshire grin as he almost skipped over to the badly beaten detective.
"Your point?" Sherlock snarked tiredly. "I'll play along with pretending to be your... paramour but I'm going to need a bit more information than I've managed to deduce. Incidentally, those guards were threatening to play with Harry so at some point they will have to be dealt with and probably made an example of."
"Well that explains the excessive number of bruises you are going to be sporting. I knew you weren't stupid enough to encourage a debilitating beating without a very good reason," Moriarty mused. "I'll play up John as our third but seen more as a pet for the pair us because he can't follow our deductions as fast. It will give them an excuse to underestimate all three of us. Harry is the baby of the family with Severus also the baby or at least the next youngest as far as anyone else is concerned and we treat them like it. Who else showed up? I specified you, John, Severus, Harry, and Mycroft but I assumed some others might be caught up in the net."
"I don't know. When I was dragged out of the cell it was just John, Harry, Severus, and I," Sherlock admitted quietly. He was really hurting but didn't expect Moriarty to care as long as he was largely functional and not dying, thus screwing up whatever diabolical plan had been concocted.
"It will take a few hours before we can check on them to avoid suspicion and you are going to have to play either cowed or resigned at being back in my clutches. Both you and John will be sleeping in my room, only one bed darling. I can insist that Severus and Harry stay with Mycroft so that he can watch the babies for us. For anyone else there is going to be a few things that might get someone hurt but should keep everyone alive," Moriarty pointed out with a small frown. "Our little friend is a bit too savvy about the old goat and using the family connection gives us some very good reasons to be put out with him even if they find out our legal names. The secrecy enforceable by family magics is a wonderful thing and can easily explain away why our family status isn't public knowledge."
"Mental chess then?" Sherlock offered after a moment's consideration. They were going to be stuck together for a while to avoid suspicion and he really didn't want to talk about their mutual but opposing work at the moment. Chess was neutral enough considering their normal relationship or lack there of so it was a fairly safe offer and they could modify it with extra rules as they progressed.
Moriarty hummed his agreement and the mental chess tournament began. The night was yet young and there were plans to be made, dangerous psychopath or not.
Elsewhere, the stones and magic of Hogwarts were not pleased that certain people had never returned from their trip to Hogsmeade. The essence of the school began to seriously consider sending the house elves after them to retrieve her wayward favorites. Dumbledore, on the other hand, happily snoozed away in the knowledge that "The Stone Worker" had collected a few of his more problematic pawns. By the time he "rescued" them they would be more likely to dance to his tune and stop ruining his plans.
Chapter 15: Goblin Law of Family
Filius Flitwick grimly quick stepped behind his cousin down a side passage of Knockturn alley. It had been a week since young Harry had disappeared alongside Severus, Healer Watson, and his older brother Sherlock. The quick disappearance soon afterwards of Mycroft Holmes and several prominent members of the dark faction set off mental alarms bells. As a result heads were raised in concern and immediate attention across both the majority of the Hogwarts staff and the entirety of the goblin nation.
The public viewing and official filing of Harry's adventures from previous school years had many a goblin eyeing the young man. They even openly resorted to discussing among their own petitioning for Harry to be considered for at least warrior training if not friend or full goblin status. Such discussions often degenerated into some form of fight as Harry would need a goblin sponsor or adopting family and clan. None of which mattered if the young wizard could not be found in a timely and safe manner. Which was why Filius and many a full blooded goblin were out searching for him in one form or another.
At the moment the group Filius was with were heading for a meeting with someone who claimed to know what had befallen the young wizard-warrior. From Filius alone there would be hell to pay if his student and/or his colleague wasn't in reasonably decent condition. He didn't know John or Sherlock well enough yet to know if he would be willing to shed blood on their behalf.
The group of seven goblins, all blooded warriors, arrived at the run down ruin that was once a lucrative inn for the powerful among the more dangerous beings of the Wizarding World. The main area of the ground floor was largely empty aside from the rotting and shattered remains of old tables, benches, and stools.
"Welcome," a voice echoed around the room as the group warily looked for its source. Filius was the one to find it first as the ripple of a disillusionment spell held for another minute or so before obligingly falling.
Well, Filius thought humorlessly, learning to track Severus skulking about the castle and chase down too clever students across the castle for various reasons has paid dividends. I will have to find some way to repay him for the unintentional training. Perhaps an offer of training or a joint project from one of my goblin cousins? Something to think about later.
"You offered information on one we seek," the group leader spoke sharply. "We will discuss price once the information has been evaluated."
"1000 galleons up front and the aid of Gringotts in a complete re-invention of myself elsewhere should it become... impractical to remain in this part of the world. If I don't discover myself in need of discrete relocation then another 5000 galleons at the end of this," the man told them bluntly.
Filius saw a brief flash of fang at the pale mouth of the patrician featured man's grim statement. He was dressed in simple dark blue robes over a basic white shirt and pants with sturdy black boots on his feet. There was no wand or other focus in sight, but his shoulder length black hair, pale skin, and gleaming blue eyes reminded the former dueling champion of something important and dangerous. Before the team could bristle at a perceived insult the vampire spoke again.
"I am aware of how cheaply I am offering the information but the fact of the matter is that that boy, whether truly the Boy-Who-Lived or a kidnapped replacement, is owed a debt. A debt that extends to all of these isles," the vampire said firmly. "The debt we owe might not be as obvious as that of the original boy but it exists."
"We are aware of the nation's debt," Sharptooth snarled. "The problem is determining the extent of the debt and how much will be magically enforced should he call upon it."
"I wasn't speaking of the goblin debt," the vampire said humorlessly. "The humans are idiots but then maybe your people are missing a piece of the puzzle. Acknowledged cub of a turning wolf shackled by bands of light, child of the land kept caged, the lord of the night bows to the land's child only after a lesser crown swears fealty.... Ring any bells?"
"Shit," Filius cursed before continuing the words passed down that they may watch for one who magic deemed of import long before his birth. "He will have the venom of the king serpent and the tears of the firebird in his veins. The sleeping crown waits for him to claim his lands that harmony might yet abound. To walk first a tortured path only to be returned to loving family and guarded fiercely by those of magic. For if he is to fall so too does all magic across the lands."
"The Pillar," Sharptooth groaned.
"At least it gives us clues as to how much more we owe than the simple warrior status," Filius snorted. He was completely unsurprised and more resigned that the blasted thing taught to everyone of any goblin blood for the last 5000 years applied to Harry. "Cousin, I know there was more to that prophecy than was published."
"Exactly," the vampire agreed. "My coven searches for more information than what I bring to you this night."
"What do you bring to the table?" the group leader asked carefully. He could not afford to mess this up.
"A group was seen carrying a ruined Hogwarts uniform with both Slytherin and Gryffindor markers on it out of an old entrance to the Chislehurst Caves that run under south east London. A few people were seen being allowed sunlight and air under a mixed guard but my coven mate couldn't get close enough for a positive ID. The young idiot nearly got himself dusted in the process. As a gesture of appreciation between our two peoples, for all that I am not a ruling member of any clan, I offer the goblin nation a place in the hunting party that will be sent to investigate. If that young wizard is who was spoken of then finding him is top priority. If he isn't... well then our people's have both earned a bit of gratitude from someone who will come into wealth and political power among the wizards. What say you?" the vampire grinned. "After all only one person recently missing would have Gryffindor colors sowed on the inside of a Slytherin uniform considering his relatively recent house change."
"I will pay you the 1000 galleons myself if we find young Harry there," Filius vowed, prompted by a slight burning of something under his shirt and against his skin. He was not happy with the situation and he was going to get Harry back if he had to call in all of his markers to do it! No one could argue with him claiming Harry as his grandson-of-the-heart when he finally submitted the last thing Lily Potter left with him before going into hiding. No goblin court would argue against a family claim when a heartstone of crystallized magic was submitted as proof of the claim.
"What do you know that we don't?" Sharptooth asked suspiciously. In answer Filius pulled the crystallized heartstone hung on a cord from under his tunic and ended the containment shield. It went from dark purple stone to blazing beacon of light in an instant.
"Lily Potter's heartstone still flares when Harry is at risk. Kidnapped from his blood and adopted he may be but she still claims him, her magic still claims him," Filius said bluntly. The other goblins swore viciously but stepped back, giving the Professor and Charms Master the lead as a member of the injured party's family.
"Such a strong bond with a child adopted after her death," the vampire commented with a faint sort of awe. Filius nodded his agreement with rueful sorrow as he re-cast the protective spells around the rough pendant made by his fallen apprentice. In revealing the crystallized heartstone he had established a family claim by giving up the right to keep such a powerful and meaningful gift a family secret.
"She was a loving woman most of the time but still there were times her temper, ability to hold a grudge, and personal pride got in the way of things," Filius said sadly. "You know it was her stubbornness and selfless gift of this crystal that had me adopting her. She had just managed it before Dumbledore forced their little family into hiding. I never got the chance to explain to her what it meant or file any of the paperwork. Dumbledore is very picky about who he lets talk to Harry and it has always bothered me."
"That almost sounds as if we need an investigation into the old goat but then his involvement with the obvious kidnapping started that, didn't it?" the vampire asked lightly, eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"Indeed it did," Sharptooth agreed with an evil toothy smile. "This is yet another thing to add to the file."
"Lets find my grandson first," Filius ordered sharply. Talk immediately turned towards the hunting party that would go into the caves looking for the missing teen and his protective adults.
Chapter 16: Uncomfortable Accomodations
Yeah, so musey likes you guys today.
Hogwarts fumed at being unable to reach her missing favored and the addition of Salazar's heir to that list over the last week. It was maddening! The elves she had tracking them had lost them after only two days, dragged behind some powerful, ancient, Druidic wards underground that made her regret not sending the elves sooner. The plans to rescue her favorites as spoken of by her little goblin blood Professor though showed enough promise that she lead his war party to the goblin weapon armory. If it brought little Harry and his family home to the castle then Hogwarts had no problem giving up the goblin artifacts to the goblin war party. The vampires were watched with a great deal of suspicion any time they were near the students but left largely alone aside from some subtle threats if they got too close to someone for the castle's comfort.
As the war party prepared with the help of most of the staff and many students Dumbledore found himself locked into the Headmaster's area of the castle, a prisoner in his own personal domain. Every single one of his sweets were gone and the only thing he was left to wear were some pure black morning robes he used to convey his deep sorrow at various well attended funerals.
Elsewhere the prisoners were working on surviving their captivity and possibly escaping.
"So?" John asked his flatmate quietly after their latest trip outside the caves for winter sunlight. The pair were standing near the back of the cell and talking quietly under one of the lights that were now on for most of the day which had originally only come on for meal times.
"South East London, Chislehurst Caves, one of the areas closed off because of an old collapse. This is the back entrance and it was expanded into a few of the local buildings in their basements. I can't get us far enough fast enough, not without outside help and with Harry coming down sick from the damp," Sherlock growled angrily. "Using magic isn't an option for this one and our group is larger than normal. The cold and snow isn't helping with it being so close to Christmas. Publicly arguing with Moriarty might get us in extra trouble but it might be our only option. He's not down here enough to see how truly sick Harry is getting. I don't think our host is reporting our condition to him accurately."
"Holding us hostage for his cooperation," John concluded while swallowing down his anger. Harry had been stripped of his school clothes earlier in the day by their captors. The still too skinny teen was now wearing random bits from the other's clothes while he cuddled in close to Severus as everyone lurked protectively around the pair.
"Yes, he probably told Moriarty that any hint to us that we were hostages for him delivering on the agreement would be met with some form of punishment," Sherlock agreed grimly. "I don't think he knows how many public representatives are actually here. Between all of us capturing us placed this group as a significant threat to all of the United Kingdom both magical and non-magical."
"Is he willfully blind?!" John asked furiously. "With Harry's fame and the fame each of us has gotten in both communities one way or another he would have to be blind!"
"Or from out of town or completely aware of our actual value," Sherlock corrected. John went perfectly still as he waited for his friend's point. "He's playing dumb and he didn't know at first but someone is already looking for us. Someone else, someone with power, either doesn't want us to resurface or is paying the bill to keep us out of the way. Moriarty indicated that this Stone Worker was too knowledgeable about Dumbledore. Yes, we are captives but we are also temporarily off the public playing field and placed somewhere that Moriarty can play madman while shielding us."
"He just likes putting bruises on you," John snorted in disgust. He didn't mention that he was being given bruises too nor did he point out the fact that all of them had agreed certain bruise placement was necessary to keep the ruse of intimacy going.
"He doesn't want me to get away even if we get everyone else out in short order," Sherlock admitted somewhat reluctantly. "I understand his reasoning but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
"He knows I wont leave you," John remarked thoughtfully. "I am more useful functional or caring for you and Harry than trying to get away just yet and both of you berks placed me in the pet/mistress role for your fictional sordid relationship."
"Not unless I make you," Sherlock agreed grimly.
"Don't even start," John warned dangerously only for their discussion to be interrupted by Harry exploding in a deep, rattling, wet cough.
"This is intolerable!" Voldemort, call me Marvolo, snarled as he hovered anxiously over Harry who was cuddled up inside Severus' robes against the snarky man's chest, shivering.
"He has a fever, its not high yet but I don't know that we can safely reduce his temperature," Severus said worriedly as John came over to check on Harry with Sherlock at his heels.
"Well Sherlock, do we shatter the statute of secrecy? Or do we announce our positions to one and all?" Mycroft asked with grim humor.
"Blast it! You were the one who taught me why we hide this!" Sherlock shot back at his brother in open frustration.
"I know," Mycroft said softly. "I've been preparing a brief on esoteric sciences for the public for years. Neither of us likes the spotlight and doing this is going to give us as high of a public profile as the Queen with a similar rank. We would no longer be just servants of the Royal family and the true role of Emrys with his complete history would have to be published. The old treaties would go into immediate effect. We would become a joined and armed society. The laws on weapons would be adjusted to include magic, which amounts to no certification equals no magic use, and duels would be brought back as legal. I am fully aware, more so than you, what shattering the statute entails."
Harry's next burst of coughing silenced any further discussion.
"Sherlock, I either need medicine for him or we need to start thinking up ways to keep him hydrated and keep his temperature from going up even further," John said quietly. "I am not good enough with the wandless medical spells yet and it sounds like his lungs will need draining soon. If we can get something hot into him it will break up some of it with the heat as it goes down or use steam. For lowering his temperature we can use the water from the sink they left us in the privy to make damp cloths for his forehead. I just don't like how fast this is developing."
"Its alright," Harry mumbled, patting weakly at John's arm. He had hid his cough as long as he could with such observant cellmates but it had ultimately gotten past his control. This wasn't the first time this had happened but he wasn't planning on telling any of them that. Feeling safe in Severus' arms he allowed himself to fall asleep.
Harry woke up in a bizarre room, decorated with oversized baby things and strange angular shapes on the walls. It was like someone had modeled the place after a Saturday morning cartoon!
A quick glance around had him convinced that he was dreaming. Harry was laying down in an oversized crib, dressed in a correctly sized (on him) baby onesie that declared him "King of the Crib". The bottle that was next to his head was still full of warm milk!
Deciding that he had eaten worse things and remembering John's comment about warm things being good for his cough Harry decided to just go ahead and drink the milk from the patiently waiting bottle. He still silently vowed never to speak of this... ever.
Just as he was finishing his oddly tasty bottle of formula based milk (he had thought it was supposed to taste horrible) there were sounds of a fight coming from outside the room.
"I am not climbing into that blasted crib!" Severus' voice shouted just as the door burst open with the potions master stumbling into the room.
"Now Severus, you need to be a good baby of the family and stay with baby Harry," Moriarty declared with obvious dark glee.
"Right now, I really hate you," Severus glowered as he followed the instruction of the gesturing gunman and insane cousin. He forced himself to climb into the oversized crib next to Harry with only a little more grumbling. Harry noticed that the man was also in a fitting onesie but at least he had gotten a plain green colored one. Another deep cough wracking his form had Severus instantly at his side as Harry fought for breath.
"Don't worry about it Baby Sevy! You'll be all taken care of!" Moriarty said brightly. "At least you are slated as a toddler. Harry is slated as a newborn!"
"If I ever get my hands on you again...." Severus growled threateningly. Moriarty's grin took on a sharp, jagged edge.
"The puppies will be along shortly while daddy and papa take care of business. Mama John will be by to check on you with her helpers later. Be good!" Moriarty said cheerily before waltzing out of the room, gunman right behind him. There was the distinct snick and thud of a lock and bolt sliding into place. They were locked in.
"Severus?" Harry asked quietly, finally having caught his breath properly.
"Yes imp?" Severus grumbled grouchily as he pulled the younger man protectively into his arms.
"Is your cousin in any way sane?" Harry asked bluntly.
"I am beginning to wonder that myself," Severus growled, instinctively cuddling Harry closer as if to offer him greater protection.
"We've been moved haven't we?" Harry asked quietly.
"Yes," Severus said just as quietly. "You got sick so fast we couldn't risk some of the more magical things we considered to escape. Too many of the guards were eying you in an unsavory manner to take the risk of failing to get you out and the rest of us were willing to wait. I don't believe Jim is in as much control of the situation as he believes himself to be even with his particular reputation."
A few hours later Mycroft, Marvolo, Lucius and one of the guys Harry didn't know were shoved into the room and locked in with the already captive pair. Of the four only Mycroft had gotten away without receiving magical puppy ears and a tail. Instead he had been shoved into a little boy red and white striped sailor top with blue tight mid-thigh length shorts, completing the ensemble with a round straw hat. All of them sported some sort of minor injury.
"What happened?" Severus demanded, shifting to his knees in the giant crib.
"We were kept together but they lead Rookwood, Dodson, and Michels off," Lucius said as he carefully poked at his split lip and swelling jaw.
"They killed Dodson and Michels," the newly named Rookwood informed them. "I didn't fight. I recognized what spells they were using because the Lestrange brothers always liked catching me in their prank wars. I don't know what set those two off but they are dead and I was very careful to show my cooperation."
"My cousin took personal control of what Harry and I were forced into. I saw John and Sherlock. Jim is keeping them with him and really playing up the lovers thing," Severus reported. "Harry was unconscious the entire time until shortly before I was placed here with him. I found needle marks on his arm and a medicine case with medicine for him in the crib with us. I don't know what they gave him with the needle but it seems to be helping him."
"Well that's something at least," Marvolo grumbled, limping a bit as he moved over to sit on a padded floor area. As embarrassing as all of this was it was still better, and less physically painful, than what could have been done to them.
"It sounds as if we should take the chance to rest," Rookwood suggested. "If we play along, with a bit of a struggle to show we aren't happy, they might even relax a bit. I know how embarrassing this is probably going to be for all of us but we have to be relatively healthy and rested if we are going to do anything when the time comes."
"Fine!" Marvolo spat. "But I am still skinning your cousin the first safe chance I get."
"Duly noted," Severus agreed quite readily. Harry snickered and pulled the former spy down to sit with him in the crib. The pair fell asleep curled up together, protected by the other four.
Well after dark the war/rescue party found a newly abandoned sight in the target caves. They had been too late. The only indication that the prisoners had been there less than 12 hours before was their quickly fading scent and a button lost off of Severus' vest left behind in the cell.
"Severus, your stubbornness about those blasted vests may have just saved you," Filius muttered with an evil grin. It wasn't long before the goblins lead the war party further into London on foot, following the tracking charm that was powered by Severus' ridiculous fondness for his many buttoned vests.
Chapter 17: Lost Control
"I can not believe you both pulled that on them!" John was incredulous over the two supposed super geniuses. Yes, it was a good tactic for keeping the others unharmed and alive. Humiliating, but a good tactic considering who they were working with.
The pair were smirking and looking at him speculatively now and John wasn't going to stand for it!
"No, whatever you two are thinking just no," John said firmly. He had been forced into wearing a hot pink apron but was otherwise untouched by the prank, accepting kisses was part of their cover. "You two are enjoying this far too much."
"When you aim to bring down someone who worked with Hitler you need to enjoy the little things," Moriarty said casually. This earned startled looks from both of his pretend lovers and narrow eyed looks from their "helpful" guards.
"Oh?" Sherlock asked, suddenly narrow eyed himself.
"Didn't you know? Dumbledore actively worked with Grindlewald and Hitler," Moriarty said condescendingly. "Just because he isn't willing to play nice with us, since we have a claim on Baby Harry and Baby Sev, doesn't mean he isn't willing to get a little dirty. The numbers of missing students and students who mysteriously didn't return to Hogwarts during WW2 was shocking! Just shocking I tell you!"
"Marvolo?" John asked, feeling sick.
"Was always forced back to nearly the center of the blitz by that man," Moriarty growled. "Its a wonder he survived, powerful personal abilities or not. If he was more trusting of the old goat he would have disappeared to be used in the human experimentation done by Grindlewald's people and the German scientists. Bad for business that, wholesale slaughter and experimentation."
John swallowed hard. Maybe Moriarty actually was working diligently on his end of the deal, prank by these two berks on the others aside. They had already heard about the deaths of Dodson and Michels. No one had batted an eye when Moriarty had killed the idiots responsible for the pair dying, although the method was more than a bit on the painful side it got the message across.
"So are we eating meals together? Like a regular family? Or are we getting take away while the kids get tv dinners?" John asked lightly. His blatant attempt at changing the subject was met by minute relaxation on the guard's part and a tracking of that by the two genius playing catch that cat with Dumbledore.
"Yes, I suppose," Moriarty said, mimicking a bored manner for his audience. "Moran? Make sure that those three bank jobs go smoothly. I trust you to handle the assassination of the idiot making a play for Mycroft's place just because he's on a little unscheduled vacation."
"Yes Mr. Moriarty," Sebastian Moran, who they had been introduced to as Moriarty's second in command, answered smartly. "Most of the gold bullion has already been delivered to the Stone Worker. We have maybe half of the arm bands of binding and a quarter of the dragon hides he wanted. The arm bands are proving to be tricky because some of them are old enough to be falling apart and the newly enchanted ones have limits that the old ones don't. I've had them marking the boxes with the differences to avoid confusion."
"Excellent! Carry on!" Moriarty said smugly, before leading his two fake lovers off down a short hall.
They were heading away from the operations room they had been observing several different mercenary teams at work on the monitors. John had seen similar stuff in the Army and couldn't argue with the efficiency of the teams even if he didn't like that they were working for Moriarty instead of the Army for whatever reason.
John was distracted as he was roughly shoved into the "nursery" in front of the two genius berks who had arranged the prank.
"Lets play a game!" Moriarty said evilly to their team as the door locked behind them. When the wards also went up around the room he spun around to glower at the sealed door.
"We were afraid of this," Sherlock grimaced as he too glowered at the sealed door to the room.
"Moran has his orders. We are mostly safe in here, despite the obvious betrayal. I insisted on certain things like steel walls on the off chance someone got the bright idea to just blast their way through the walls with an automatic. The floors are fairly standard with a basement room underneath so we should be able to break out that way at the worst, same with the ceiling and the second floor bedroom above us. The bathroom is hidden in the cabinets over there against the wall. I insisted that the room be set up similar to a safe room but without bothering to hide it," Moriarty told them. "If it takes too long or they start trying to hijack certain things than Moran has instructions to retrieve us with extreme prejudice."
That is about when a hole opened up in the ceiling to drop down a King Cobra into the center of the room.
"~There is no food here! The stupid rough human lied!~" hissed the serpent that had been let into their strange prison.
"~Actually, I'm pretty sure they just wanted you to bite us to kill us,~" Harry informed the serpent in parseltongue.
"~A speaker!~" the cobra exclaimed, whipping around in shock to stare at the grumpy teen still trapped in the oversized crib with Severus.
"~Two of us, actually,~" Marvolo hissed calmly. "~Our captors have no idea. They pulled what fangs we have so that they could keep us caged.~"
"~How despicable! Speaker hatchlings are rare!~" the cobra declared. "~...why do I scent traces of a Basilisk?~"
"~Because I have bits of basilisk venom in my blood?~" Harry offered with a shrug. "~They tried to take it out of me a couple of times after I was bitten and a phoenix cried on it but it didn't really work. Even the last one that John and Severus worked out didn't really clear it out.~"
"~Yet you live,~" the cobra said speculatively.
"~I suppose,~" Harry shrugged again, obviously uncomfortable.
"~You speakers need a keeper,~" the cobra said in a disapproving fashion.
"~Now wait just a minute!~" Marvolo started to protest only for a second, very familiar, snake to enter through the same hole in the ceiling.
"~Tom! You know better than to let yourself get kidnapped!~" Nagini scolded as she quickly shot to her wizard and wrapped him protectively in her scales.
"Great, now Nagini has gone into mother hen mode," Marvolo groaned as he settled back into his seat on the floor and let his overly enthusiastic familiar cuddle him.
"~How did you loose your speaker?~" the cobra demanded in a very disapproving manner.
"~He went out to check about seeing the speaker hatchling that he finally understands he can't afford to kill and never came back!~" Nagini protested. "~He's normally very good about staying safe and coming home in a timely manner except when the old mean wizard hurts him somehow. I've been trying to get him to bring home the speaker hatchling to keep them both safe but I had to get him to stop trying to kill the hatchling first. Bringing him home to our well protected nest is no good if my speaker kills him.~"
"~True,~" the cobra said contemplatively. "~Very well. You keep your speaker and I will watch over the hatchling speaker. We really must get them mates for more hatchling speakers.~"
Harry and Marvolo both groaned and went bright red in mortification at this suggestion.
"What?" Severus demanded, still eying the cobra warily.
"The cobra just adopted me and now the two have decided to plot how to get us wives," Harry said dryly, still bright red in mortification. "Aparently there aren't enough speakers for them to be happy about it."
A previously undetected trap door opened up in the ceiling and a set of six pizza boxes with a couple of gallon bottles of water were lowered into the room using fishing line. Fishing line which was let go to drop into the room for the prisoners to keep. The food and water were angled not to land too close to the cobra but otherwise nothing was said on either side until the trap door was closed again, leaving the captives alone together.
"Yeah, I don't think they are letting any of us out any time soon," Harry commented wryly.
It would be several more hours stuck together before they heard a commotion outside the room accompanied by several war cries.
Chapter 18: Family Ties
The theme for this chapter is:
Blood Is Not The Only Thing To Make Family.
Fair Warning: This chapter has bloody combat scenes that Musey decided to go the descriptive route on. So expect bloodshed! Enjoy!
Filius Flitwick, Dueling Champion, and Warrior of the Blood cast a single wide area spell that charmed every single scrap of ammunition in a 5 block radius. A charm that upped the fire resistance of the explosive powder in the bullet casings by 600% and effectively rendered every gun dead for the next 48 hours when the charm wore off. Their targets wouldn't know something was wrong until someone tried to fire their gun.
This charm was a special spell he had worked with Severus to create on behalf of Gringotts and the goblin nation. The goblins weren't stupid and they constantly funded the development of magic which could counter the muggle's technology and weapons. Politics would only go so far when the statute of secrecy finally shattered. For his part Severus was paid by the spell being taught to anyone who even remotely asked about it at Gringotts for a few knuts or for free if they were underage. The pair hadn't finished working out a proper shield spell to work against modern bullets and weaponry for an active defense in a firefight. They wanted one specifically for bullets even if the existing defense against arrows shield slowed the bullets down drastically. Thus far this new preventative charm was the best they could come up with and it had additional applications.
Today, the end result of casting the Smothered Smoke Charm was that the war party would not have to fear the guns or the ricochets from misfired bullets and shattered surroundings. All they had to worry about was close quarters combat and any wizards that had been recruited. The goblins were going to enjoy the engagement for the fight while the vampires would enjoy it more on a personal level as a free meal.
The vampires took the lead as they moved on the building that they had tracked Severus Snape too. They were hoping the group had been kept together as a whole. If the kidnapped group had been split up Severus was still the best link to the others if the right magic was used to track them down. The only question was if they were too late.
The first sentries never saw the pair of Vampires that took them from above and behind, having leapt silently to bounce off of the outside of the building and drop down on top of them. The clicking of misfiring guns as fingers reflexively tightened on triggers had the goblins giving feral grins as they moved past the still feeding pair of vampires. The two would catch up after finishing their snack. The roving patrol they found next, inside the building had enough time to shout but wasted it to staring in disbelief as they attempted to fire their weapons. The second group of standing guards though had wizards in their ranks.
A vampire and two goblins went up in flames from an over powered incendio, screaming at being burned alive. An entrails exploding curse bounced off of a goblin made shield. Both spells gave the gun touting team members time to draw various knives and ditch the guns completely, either by holstering it for the pistols or tossing it aside, often at the intruders.
"Kenarv! Nash tom Mik-tow! Ish lic Mistal!" Filius cried. Had he spoken in english the enemy would have heard. "Charge! Find my Grandson! Find the Pillar!"
The goblin warriors roared their own battle cries even as the vampires gave actual roars that greatly resembled the sound of a furious lion, matching the wall of sound produced by their smaller allies. The enemy wizards paled and tried to apparate out only to desperately switch to wide area spells. One cast a spell that created a flood of boiling soapy water. Filius absently noted that the young idiot had swapped consonants in his bungled casting. The small Charms Master quickly took out the other enemy wizard, who wasn't fast enough at getting his own shield up to stop a severing charm from taking his head straight off of his shoulders. Blades met flesh even as fangs tore into bloody muscle as battle was joined in earnest in the close quarters of the converted office building's hallways. As one the war party tore through the building, only bothering to take prisoners in the obvious command center or those who surrendered fast enough. in the end they had close to 30 prisoners, nearly 100 dead enemies, 9 dead of the war party and no one yet rescued.
"Where is my Grandson!" Filius demanded, stalking up to a slightly battered Moran while covered in blood. He had needed to slice open the inside thigh of an enemy at one point and got doused in blood for opening a major artery as a result. The same thing had happened a second time when he got someone in the arm pit with his blade. His wand had mostly been put away for most of the fight after close quarters had been joined in the halls. There was no point in using such a fragile tool in such a melee if he didn't have too and it worked just fine for sniping in the larger areas.
"Shorty, I don't have a clue who or where your grandson is," Moran growled. He wasn't happy about being taken out without a fight and vowed to at least get into a bar brawl once this was over. For his pains one of the vampires rattled his skull with a firm but not overpowered punch to the jaw.
"Wonder if he's related to that insane Moriarty?" someone muttered to his fellow sullenly.
"Not if they are taking it out on Moran. He's Moriarty's second," his friend chuckled mirthlessly.
Quick as a flash the first idiot was dragged forwards, both having been heard clearly by the vampires.
"And what would you know about this Moriarty?" the vampire purred loud enough for the goblins to hear.
Mentally Filius groaned at the involvement of Severus' unstable cousin and vowed to start keeping a better eye on the potion master who he had almost finished deciding to adopt. There were several levels of adoption among goblins and Filius had only recently settled on the one which would give his colleague the best benefits without tying him down. As an adult he had to be presented with several of the adoption types if Filius was serious about him being counted among the goblin clans as one of their own instead of just as personal family to Filius. Harry was already considered one of theirs the moment Filius shared Lily Potter's heartstone.
"He is insane. I don't know why the boss puts up with him and his crazy captive patchwork family," Idiot #1 answered with disgust. "We finally got word to show him how it really is around lunch. I was looking forwards to playing with the green eyed slip of nothing until you lot showed up!"
"I told you, you could only try something after the stupid snakes were in there for at least a few days!" Idiot #2 snarled. "Orders were to give them food and water but make sure to add a snake to their nursery once an hour. You killed four of the bloody snakes and Jugson missed two of the times to add a snake so they only had one since orders came down. With that many people in there they had no problem killing the first Cobra."
"Snakes?" Filius was burbling with amusement, trying not to laugh. "You put snakes in with my grandson?"
"Yeah, what's so funny?" Idiot #2 practically snarled. "I wasn't going to disobey when the punishment is being tortured for a couple months and then drawn and quartered."
"What is so funny is that my grandson can speak the language of snakes," Filius told him, outright laughing at this point. "If I know Harry that snake went in there expecting a meal and adopted him instead. That snake is probably happily curled around his neck or lurking near him, guarding him jealously against anyone who tries to hurt him or take him away!"
"You're Flitwick aren't you?" Moran asked calmly, looking at him oddly.
"What of it?" Filius asked as he finally calmed down, glad Harry wasn't in as much danger as he had thought despite his still missing status.
"Jim said he'd like to try and get you to claim his cousin as family somehow. He liked how protective you were with the kids at your school and how nasty your temper was against whatever he saw you guarding them against. He also said something about your people being warriors and making future games interesting," Moran muttered. "I didn't see why but after this op you pulled off I'm thinking of hiring some of your people for future jobs."
Filius hummed thoughtfully as he looked over the man that was Moriarty's second. He didn't look overly impressed but he also knew that anyone could be taken by surprise. Deciding that nothing could be arranged in that direction for the moment he gave the hand signals that designated who would survive the coming executions and who would die. Moran would survive, most of the others would not. The war party wasn't equipped for prisoners after all and the King of the Goblins had ordered all enemy combatants be slain in this endeavor. Quarter would only be given to children, civilians, and misinformed allies or spies for their side.
"Show me this nursery," Filius ordered.
Moran was allowed to get to his feet, his hands still tied behind his back. The mercenary was acutely aware of when the others started dying as the screams and shouts followed them down the hall. Deciding that working with the little warrior was the best thing he could do, despite the vampire guard trailing along right behind him, he lead them to the door they wanted.
"Its locked. The walls and door are reinforced with steel plate meant to stop some idiot from deciding to randomly kill them with bullets. Jim figured that they could hold off anything but the room suddenly being filled with bullets or that he and I would catch the threat in time. Neither of us thought that we would be turned on this soon," Moran reported calmly as he indicated the still sealed door. "I didn't know we'd been betrayed yet, only that Jim was really taking to long messing with his cousin and their friends. I figured he and that Sherlock bloke had gotten into another mental chess tournament or he was having to play up the insane captive family angle spending time together again."
"Its been awhile since I've torn apart a safe room," the vampire guard mused gleefully as he stepped forwards to literally rip the steel door from its hinges, taking the locks with it.
"Androv," Filius said disapprovingly as he walked past the smug guard and wary prisoner pair. When he stepped into the room he realized why, exactly, the by now dead idiots had called the room a nursery.
"Filius, I swear if you try to use this as blackmail you will be turned green and stuck in a pink tutu for a week during Valentines day!" Severus snarled before the part goblin managed to recover enough from his shock to speak.
"Severus, for all your skill in dueling and sneaking about you simply don't match the skill of certain goblin master scouts. Master Blueblade would be terribly disappointed in me if I did not keep it for blackmail if only for use of your Potions expertise in the future," Filus shot back with a smirk. Severus' low cursing and growl just made the small Professor smirk wider. The week of green skin and pink tutu wearing would be well worth it.
"Samson is getting kind of hungry and he can't eat the pizza they gave us Professor," Harry hastily interrupted. He didn't want these two going after each other now that they had a chance to escape. Besides Samson, his new King Cobra, actually was hungry.
"Sebby, why are you tied up and standing next to a vampire?" Moriarty asked as he saw the pair through the now wrecked doorway. Sebastian Moran just grunted and didn't bother answering such a stupid question.
Filius just chucked and started transfiguring the inappropriate kiddy and pet clothes that everyone in the room but Moriarty was wearing into something that was closer to regular every day wear. Reversing the magic that created the living puppy tails and ears was something he could do blindfolded since it was a common prank among the staff. A prank that Minerva had insisted upon for the simple fact that if a student botched something like it the entire staff would know enough to reverse them back into humanity. Some botched human to animal transfiguration would kill in seconds, leaving no time to fetch the proper staff member. It was the same reason that Severus and Poppy had bullied the staff into learning certain basic healing and stasis magics. It was too damn useful against hormonal teenagers learning magic and their inevitable mistakes.
"Finally!" Severus growled as his colleague vanished some of the bars on the oversized crib to let the two younger wizards out.
Harry grinned as he got out of the crib through the missing section, cobra wrapped around his neck. A spell hit him, shifting the teen sized onesie into a long sleeved shirt and pants set. He and Severus were still barefoot but a quick duplication charm and an automatic resizing charm had the pair in boots in no time. Then Harry got hit by a wracking cough that had him doubled over and wheezing as Severus and John immediately started hovering over him.
"That cough is less wet, which means mucus in his lungs but I don't like how he doubled over," John muttered. Harry couldn't hide the feeling of weakness in his muscles after the coughing subsided and both hovering men had to catch him as he started to fall.
"Not good," John said as he carefully helped Harry to stand. His eyes caught on a patch of speckled blood on Harry's lips. "Definitely not good."
"I smell blood," Androv, the vampire, warned. "Not much but it needs to be checked. I also smell an infection."
"We need to get Harry somewhere safe. The infection in his chest must be worse than we thought if the vampire is complaining about it," Severus growled worriedly. That's when he saw the bit of blood mixed with what Harry had coughed up on the floor at the teen's feet.
"Lets get him somewhere warm and safe," John agreed grimly. "I'll need to check him over after a long hot bath and we get some soup or broth into him, tea too. The pizza was fine for now but he needs fluids and rest."
Before Harry could force himself to pay real attention to his surroundings they were already away and hidden deep inside Gringotts. That night as Harry slept next to Marvolo and Severus in an oversized bed Moriarty, Mycroft, and Sherlock pooled what they knew alongside Filius Flitwick and the Goblin representative. One last message reached them before they set to planning in earnest. The Queen had ordered the replacement of the Ministry of Magic and the arrest of both Dumbledore and "The Stone Worker" on grounds of treason. She had also told the Holmes family that they had permission to re-negotiate the treaty with the goblins and request their aid in effectively revamping the British controlled part of the Wizarding World, laws included. A list was given on what the crown considered acceptable concessions and compensation for various levels and situations which did not need further permission from the crown for this operation. In effect, the Queen had given them carte blanche to fix the mess that the wizards had made.
Chapter 19: Serpent's Choice
It was a little known fact that anyone bitten by a basilisk that survives the venom tends to incorporate it into their body. They basically become immune to just about any and every poison and venom in existence, destroyed by the basilisk venom as it enters the body. The venom also carries qualities that can be activated later, some of which only become possible if the body has so deeply accepted the venom that the marrow of the person starts producing it as part of the blood. As for Phoenix Tears? If they linger long enough in the blood rather than use up all of their power in providing healing to the person, which is extremely rare, they too can become part of the blood. In both cases to convert to actually producing the basilisk venom and phoenix tears the person must be exceptionally strong in magical power or something similar if not the subject of a divine blessing. After all, if the mortal body isn't strong enough to handle the power load trying to shove that much power through the body kills the person.
Samson watched the older speaker and his familiar help the dark one tend to the hatchling speaker. Harry, Samson's new wizard, was not doing well. There were mutters of Bronchitis turning into Magically Resistant Pneumonia, curses aimed at previous care takers that had hurt his hatchling speaker, and much tending to his Harry.
On the third day in safety Samson had enough. He chased everyone back away from Harry a good ten feet before moving on to Harry's chest, coiling there and considering his hatchling wizard.
"~It is never easy to watch them struggle, never easy to raise a speaker hatchling,~" Nagini hissed as she moved to join the pair on the bed, coiling beside Harry's sleeping form.
"~This speaker hatchling has the venom of a King of Serpents and the Tears of a Firebird running in his veins. He needs to shed his skin in warmth and comfort,~" Samson hissed irritably.
"~You want to try triggering a new hatching for the hatchling,~" Nagini said thoughtfully. She studied both teenager and cobra for a bit. Her own wizard had promised they wouldn't be interrupted for a time unless she fought the cobra to protect Harry. Her Tom was a good speaker, trusting her to know the truth in snake things.
"~I do. It is said that a Firebird burns and becomes a new hatchling, healing all past harms. My speaker needs that unless we can find a way to wake the tears and venom in his veins,~" Samson said seriously. "~The venom and tears sleep, always nibbling at his health in a back and forth sway. They must wake, devouring the intruding illness and healing the harm done.~"
"~If you do this, if you go against the one marked even to save him, the venom of the King Serpent will turn upon you,~" Nagini warned. "~You will never hunt again or bask in the warmth of the sun or sleep in the cool of the earth.~"
Samson didn't say anything. Instead his mouth opened in a hiss as he struck, digging his fangs in deep into Harry's shoulder, pumping his venom into Harry's body and blood. Harry's magic immediately flared in response as a menacing hiss and a harsh bird cry echoed around the room. As everyone scrambled for Harry, Smason turned to ash, leaving nothing behind. Harry's magic shifted again, placing him under a magical glow as if under the fantastical glow of the northern lights.
Nagini, now the only one who was able to touch Harry as the northern glow forced everyone to stay back, sighed. She may as well help the idiot cobra's gift to work. Moving carefully she rolled the unconscious teen into her coils, settling him carefully in her protective embrace.
"~Nagini?~" Marvolo, her Tom, demanded to know what was going on.
"~Samson triggered the power in the venom and tears. The hatchling's magic has finally accepted he must be part King Serpent and part Phoenix. The transformation is finishing and healing his old wounds. The breathing infection will be burned out when the flames come,~" Nagini explained enigmatically. "~I will help through the coolness from the Serpent side. Having me guard him allows the magic to focus less on defense and more on repairing the damage while not killing him as he becomes changed.~"
"~What will change?~" Marvolo asked warily.
"~Mostly he will heal. He may eventually develop his own fangs and venom or the healing tears. Natural fire will not bother him. His jaw might become like a serpent but it is unlikely. He will have a wider range of prey and more magical berries in his diet. Magical resistance and a longer life span... nothing major overall,~" Nagini speculated. "~The biggest change will likely be getting rid of that stupid thing that he keeps on his face to see with. If the great creator says he must stay pure human than these changes will be temporary, possibly nothing but healing will happen. We must wait and see.~"
"Marvolo?" John asked carefully.
"Nagini says that its nothing dangerous to Harry. This is apparently more of a healing thing but it might give him some extras," Marvolo translated. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
"~Grab the black one you let make you terrible tasting healing water and get in the nest,~" Nagini hissed in exasperation. "~Coil around him and share youur warmth and magic. It will help.~"
Marvolo immediately perked up at there being something they could do.
"On to the bed Severus. Sharing our body heat and magic will apparently help him," Marvolo ordered. Severus raised an eyebrow but complied without arguement. He had heard weirder things that helped with magical mishaps or strange magics. All in all this was fairly tame to help in fixing this.
John and Sherlock soon, reluctantly, took their leave. They headed out in to Diagon Alley on the hunt for certain books and supplies now that the pair were certain that Harry would be alright for a few hours.
"The castle is apparently not pleased with Dumbledore since he is still locked in his area of the school, unable to escape in any fashion," Filius offered as a distraction. It was gratefully accepted by Mycroft, unable to help Filius' grandson and new son. Severus having agreed to the adoption without issue, trusting the smaller man to claim him as a son.
"It poses a bit of a puzzle for actually arresting him but for the moment it is quite helpful," Mycroft mused. "I sent Moriarty and Moran off to properly track down the Stone Worker's network. Apparently, they took what happened as a personal insult. Marvolo set his people to sorting out the over all taking of the Ministry with the Goblin War Leader while we put Harold back together."
"We can't try to take things too far yet with Harry this weakened. He's too much of a rally point. He needs to be part of the public face, at least at first," Filius pointed out. "Completely leaving out the Pillar Prophecy, from a magical stand point he is the counter balance to Marvolo and thus also a Lord of Magic just as Marvolo is the Dark Lord. We confirmed that he took the test for the Lord of Magic ranking and actually earned the title. He can't yet take the title Lord Slytherin because of fiddly family charter requirements that I am not privy too. I know my grandson will hate the fame aspect but using it will save lives. I think he will be fine as long as Severus and Marvolo are there with him."
"Is a romantic relationship likely to develop between them from this?" Mycroft asked somewhat dubiously.
"No, more likely they will act closer than brothers but never become lovers," Filius answered without batting an eye at the suggestion. "Think of them as being intertwined on a level higher than us but not as one which is what happens in a marriage and romantic relationship that is done right. It will take them some years before they consider trying to find wives and its likely they may not even look. Their relationship is going to be closer to that of twins or triplets in some ways."
"Ah... That is acceptable," Mycroft said, relaxing a bit. "A bit more protection for Harold wont hurt anything, nor will adding more people to the family... provided they are trustworthy."
"I can promise you that by this point both Marvolo and my new son are more loyal to my grandson than most people will ever be comfortable with," Filius chuckled ruefully. "I doubt Harry will ever finish binding Marvolo unless the magics or some idiot wanting to cause national level trouble insists. He doesn't need to, not any more. They obviously came to some sort of truce and Harry's natural ability to get past people's defenses came into play. He's well known for it among the staff when Dumbledore doesn't interfere to keep him isolated, which seems to be always. I have found that only actively trying to hate or hurt him from the start stops him from becoming a near instant person to trust and a friend. Its Harry who decides how close he can let someone get for the most part. I am frankly glad that he is no longer being controlled by Miss. Granger and the youngest Mr. Weasley."
"Indeed?" Mycroft asked, eyes narrowing as certain things suddenly fell perfectly into place. "Would you say, hypothetically, that Harold was currently considered to be Heir Apparent to the ruling throne of Magical Britain?"
"Before the Pillar aspect came into play? Possibly for the majority of the Wizards and many of those who wanted nothing to do with Marvolo's agenda at the time. Now? There is no question about it," Filius said firmly. "I gave up the existence of a powerful and normally secret object - Lily Potter's Crystallized Heartstone, her first and last one - to get him as much protection and help among my people that I could provide. The position as family for a recognized warrior of the blood. In doing so I linked us together as kin but I also bought unquestioned aid for whatever comes next and placed all of his resources under the umbrella of clan protection. It was only later I realized, with quiet confirmation, that my father's people had been straining at the bit wanting to help him but unable to by the laws of both our peoples. Recent revelations have just added onto the respect and his ranking among the goblins."
"Then there is a real possibility that we may have to strip away the statute of secrecy," Mycroft pointed out, equally ruefully. "There is a family prophecy passed down that only applies to those descended of the Emrys. I will get you a copy but it may take some time."
Filius cursed lowly as they both unconsciously glanced over towards the three, now sleeping, wizards and single serpent familiar on the bed.
"How many prophecies must that boy live through?! When will it be enough?" Filius demanded of no one in a furious whisper.
"I don't know. I dearly hope that the family one does not apply to my just found baby brother but our family are known to be drawn to trouble spots," Mycroft said sadly. "We tend to act as a catalyst and general troubleshooter."
"I'll warn the war leader," Filius said in resignation. With that the two men got to their own work, trusting the honor guard placed on the quarters that the three were resting in to keep them safe as Harry slept and healed.
Chapter 20: Defining Family
Eh, this one is short.... Blame Nagini!
Marvolo and Severus both woke quietly and just lay there surrounding Harry for a time before either spoke.
"Severus, I know I have not been the best friend or leader to you. I've thought about what this bond we now share means to the three of us. Whether you like it or not you will most likely be considered the most sensible out of the three of us and at times you will be the only one able to stop us," Marvolo said quietly. He wanted this out in the open so that they might never need to speak of it again. "I... don't know how well I will be able to take orders from you if it comes to that. As it stands now only you and Harry have the right to tell me I'm being an idiot and effectively put me in time out or demand answers from me. Whatever has happened to cause all of this has fixed something that broke in me a long time ago. By the same token we've been drafted as our brat's keepers."
"If you keep using Crucio I will feel no compunction about treating you like a cranky toddler and putting you over my knee for a spanking," Severus threatened. Completely unimpressed by the other man's fumbling he had decided that hiding his honest reaction would do no good. He had basically raised the last 15 years worth of Slytherins as their Head of House and had no problem officially adding the imp and correcting the Dark Lord to that resume.
The threat made Marvolo relax. He hadn't been sure the spy would have understood what he was saying. Their communication might never be perfect but at least they understood each other enough that they could start over.
"Thank you," Marvolo said gratefully. In that instant their relationship shifted forever away from master and servant towards one of family.
"Sleep," Harry ordered grumpily, not awake enough to care about anything and almost instantly sucked back under into his dreams. The two older wizards rolled their eyes but, secretly happy, complied without protest. Nagini smugly watched over her wizards.
Chapter 21: Emrys
This one has a bit of a Merlin Cameo. I don't especially plan for him to be a major character at this point but my muse has surprised me before so I wont rule it out. Enjoy!
Harry dreamed. He dreamed the death of Lily and James Potter at the hands of a Dementor as he walked down a dark, dreary, Gothic cobbled alley way. A shout ahead of him had the young man picking up the pace only to run full tilt into a packed earth courtyard that would have been described as the bailey of a castle. A castle that loomed high behind him, clearly a working fortress. The clash of weapons brought his focus from the manned walls to the dirt fighting ring no more than 6 feet in front of him.
Harry knew who these people were without asking, the start of the round table.
"Yes, Arthur can be a prat," came a voice from Harry's right, causing the young wizard to turn sharply and see a young man in patched servant's clothes with a red neckerchief.
"Who... Merlin," Harry said, ending his question with the conviction of an answer.
"Yes," Merlin said, smiling sadly. "One of the reasons the Holmes family needs to maintain a place in both worlds is that your family is looking for Arthur... or the Christ child, whichever comes first. You see the weight of the years became too much for me and I petitioned for a time to sleep during my wait for my friend. I was warned that doing so could change all magic. I agreed and was given into the care of your family as a result. A family that I didn't know was of my blood until after I was sent into a magical coma. You see one of the incidents that didn't make it into the history books was a night when I was in deep mourning and very drunk I slept with a young lass from one of the druid clans. She never told me of the child and was gone by the time I woke the next morning with a rather spectacular hangover. The child was hidden almost as soon as the mother died in childbirth. I wont go into the politics and destiny magics of the time which made this necessary."
"You're my ancestor... I bet now you're going to say I qualify for some stupid prophecy or duty or something," Harry grumbled. He really hated his luck sometimes even if it did have a habit of keeping him alive in the most disastrous situations.
"Considering you nearly brought down all of the magics across the lands that once stood as the kingdom of Camelot when you were kidnapped as a babe... Is that really so much of a surprise?" Merlin smirked. "At least the first prophecy about your baby brother was fulfilled by him and finished when he died at the hands of the Dursleys. Stopping the Dark Lord through killing him is no longer necessary, you tamed him instead. When your brother died he was freed to live but he needed to come near you repeatedly for the healing to begin because you carry the scar that once was inflicted on your brother. Now, you could have stepped into your brother's place and followed Dumbledore's plan. A plan that would have seen you both dead even if you got better after dying. I can't say how glad I am that you chose a different path and allowed the first prophecy to die with your brother."
Harry swallowed hard and considered what he had just learned. Dumbledore planned for him to die ending the Dark Lord Voldemort. The fact that Harry hadn't tried to keep attacking Marvolo when things started to be revealed may have saved his life even as it looked like it was healing Voldemort from whatever had messed him up. Dumbledore was always the one to encourage Harry to see anything that the man didn't openly approve of as Dark and Evil, usually through Hermione and Ron. Harry, through his birth parents, was a descendant of Merlin and now qualified for some prophecy that probably only applied to his family. Sherlock and Mycroft were going to go spastic when his magic was properly unlocked because he had nearly taken out all magic in the UK as a baby instead of just the wards linked to the land.
Yes, Harry decided, his luck was just that weird.
"The thing about prophecies, real ones, and destiny is that even if you manage not to be a part of it the events generally have to be fulfilled by someone. It isn't often that God decides someone specifically has to do something that no one else can do and steps in to make sure they do it. Most people get the hint before he has to send an angel or something to knock them over the head about what needs doing or someone else willingly steps up to take their place. The catch is that if you were the first pick then the next person will never manage to do it as well as you would have done," Merlin told him calmly. "Me? I was one of the people who couldn't step back. Just like Paul from the Bible, born Saul of Tarsus, wasn't allowed to ignore the call. The choice is still there. I just learned the hard way that if no one else will do in the spot it only hurts you to try walking away. Take that as you will."
"And me?" Harry asked warily. Merlin studied him quietly for a minute.
"Let me ask you this, what would you do to protect your real friends? You new family? The question isn't really if you are willing to step forwards and fulfill the prophecy that has been ear marked for you but what will happen if you don't," Merlin said kindly. "Even assuming that the prophecy is false and has nothing to do with anything except some idiot getting drunk... what happens if you ignore what is happening? Prophecies are a descriptor and a warning, a rough map to help people get through a situation that might be world ending for them and others. Some are also promises of things to come and the results of ignoring warnings or of divine covenants broken. Fake prophecies are nothing more than hot air but real ones... real ones stand as a warning, hope, and a promise. God always keeps his promises. When it comes to prophecy those are the things you need to keep in mind."
"That doesn't answer my question," Harry shot back irritably.
"Doesn't it?" Merlin asked with a smirk, mischief glittering in his eyes. "If you accept my legacy that Parseltongue trick you picked up will help you become a Dragon Lord. Anything else... you will have to figure out on your own. Tell the goblins you are my heir apparent but call me Emrys. The looks on their faces... Its going to be priceless!"
Before Harry could try to ask another question everything faded to black. Whatever magic had been fueling the dream was gone and as it left Harry he fell into one of his normal nightmares about being chained up at the Dursleys.
Magic, manifested in the form of a beautiful auburn haired athletic woman of Asian descent. She casually came up behind Merlin to stand at his right shoulder without a single sign that he had sensed her.
"You could have told him," she said with a voice that sounded like a soothing lute playing notes to dance along the breeze.
"Tell him that if conditions are right my body will die and he will become my new incarnation? Tell him that we might merge into one being? Forever bound to seek and serve Arthur until the promised return of the Christ Child? After what the old goat did to him?" Merlin said blandly, hiding his pain at the probable rejection that would be caused by that news. "Or are you referring to the alternate paths? The ones that require waking us early? The ones that would have him facing the bloodshed if not the death of most of his schoolmates?"
"I was actually referring to the one which would free you, free Arthur, and return the Round Table of Camelot to rule in Peace and Protection over these lands," Magic responded archly. "The time of the Druid is passed and your choice to sleep made it possible to insert some wiggle room into the Prophecy regarding you and your friends. He has to be willing to offer all of you his protection once he takes up the crown in your place for it to work correctly and the Creator has to sign off on it but it would work and probably not cost too many additional lives."
"Innocents?" Merlin asked tensely.
"Unlikely," Magic hummed, happy to have caught his attention and interest at the possibility.
Merlin closed his eyes in resignation, mentally cursing himself even as he spoke the words that could destroy Harry for being of his line. "I will not prevent you from presenting the possibility to Harry but you will give him all of the pertinent information. This includes the prophecy paths that will lead to the other options and what those options actually are. Damn me but if he is going to be given the option to rescue or merge with me he has to know what he's getting into."
"And what price do you offer me for this boon my Warlock?" Magic demanded in an eerie voice, her eyes beginning to glow golden, unseen by the man before her.
"What would you have of me?" Merlin asked bluntly as he re-opened his eyes to look again at the remembered practice fight between Arthur and Percival.
"A boon for a boon. You will know your task when it is time to repay this debt," Magic whispered into his ear as she faded into little more than morning mist.
"Shit," Merlin said succinctly, as he sank to his knees in the dirt where he stood. He prayed to God that he hadn't just done something spectacularly stupid that Harry would have to pay the price for. He didn't really hold out much hope that it would all actually work out but God had provided more difficult miracles in the past so it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
The tinkling laughter on the breeze still filled Merlin with dread that he had made a very grave mistake.
Severus knew the instant his dreams shifted away from only hosting him. He knew, instinctively, that whatever was about to happen was not going to be good. He also knew that both Harry and Marvolo were suddenly far closer than they should have been even when pressed up against each other, sleeping in the same bed. He knew the instant all of their personal and joint mental barriers failed.
The currently pint sized spy bolted away from his distorted monster of a father that had manifested in his own dreams. His ten year old feet carried him out of the building that had been his childhood home and into the street. What he found there were two other buildings of which he knew of but had never officially seen. Wool's Orphanage and the Dursley residence.
"Severus?" a teenage Tom Riddle with ruby eyes asked as he left the yard of the orphanage and approached the smaller wizard.
"Marvolo," Severus greeted and felt himself shift into a 13 year old version of himself.
"Dreams," Marvolo muttered in annoyance.
"Reality for the moment," Severus corrected. "Any mental barriers or defenses we had before this are gone. Where is Harry?"
Marvolo opened his mouth to deny knowing where their imp was only for a raging unknown male voice cursing and insulting someone rose from the Dursley abode. Neither wizard hesitated, they bolted for the too perfect suburban home, never realizing they had shifted into adult versions of their child forms as they moved. The sound of pained screams rose from the building as they slammed into an unyielding front door only to bounced away, landing roughly in the near by bushes.
"I thought you said no barriers?" Marvolo groaned as he moved to glare at the impertinent door that dared to block their way.
"I did. This isn't natural and it isn't under the Imp's control," Severus growled in a mix of irritation and worry. He couldn't decide the best way to get to their Imp without causing damage. If they treated this dream world strictly as if it were a part of the physical world it would do less damage, assuming they did no magic, but it could also trap them.
Another sound of pain sliced through the air, louder this time and under less control of the one in pain.
"If he actually lived through whatever is causing that much pain..." Marvolo growled. It was clear to the Potions Master that the Dark Lord was already plotting to murder whoever they found hurting their Imp, dreamscape or no dreamscape. He wouldn't put it past the man to carry it out in the normal real world at a later time either.
Severus reconsidered several of his options and finally just picked up a nearby rock only to immediately break the window. He barely paused before scrambling over some of the shrubbery to get through the window into the house. Marvolo growled out low curses but quickly followed suit. He could always bitch about it later once the three of them were safely awake in bed and he was assured they were all safe.
What the pair found sent white hot rage through them even as the sight sickened them. Harry was chained to the wall, face pressed into the revealed plaster and wall paper, as a distorted monstrous version of Vernon Dursley carved letters into his back with a red hot kitchen knife. A bloody chain on the floor next to the pair showed that it had been used as a whip, matching the marks in the wall to either side of the trapped wizard.
Severus and Marvolo didn't think, they just cast. As the spells flew from their hands to blast the monster away from Harry chains shot out from the floor and the walls to trap the pair, circling limbs, throat, and torso. They were pinned in place in no time, at the mercy of Vernon alongside their Imp.
"Well, well, well, lookie here, more freaks trying to rescue you. I guess something does care about you even if they aren't real people," Vernon laughed meanly as he got to his feet. Harry tiredly looked at the pair out of the corner of his eye, the only way he could, and sagged in his chains, held up by the cruel metal bolted into the wall studs.
Harry hissed out something in parseltongue that his fellow wizards couldn't catch. Vernon grew enraged and took a fresh blade from the knife drawer. Severus felt the newly hot blade slice into his chest through his robes and grit his teeth, refusing to scream. Marvolo cursed out Vernon even as Harry sagged further in his chains, obviously fighting not to pass out. Deciding that setting off another trap was preferable to to the three of them being tortured by the fat distorted muggle Severus grit out another spell. Vernon went flying for a second time. This time the chains launched themselves from the cupboard under the stairs, wrapped themselves around all three of them and dragged them into the darkness. The three wizards landed in a bundled heap, causing Harry to cry out in pain at the landing even as the light from the cupboard door disappeared, leaving them in blackness.
"You will both be getting checked by healers when we get out of this dream trap!" Marvolo hissed as he checked them both over by feel in the darkness. The chains wrapping all three of them clanked and clattered softly in the darkness as the three shifted around.
"Extended cuddling might be more effective," Severus snarked, carefully holding Harry as he checked over their Imp with careful fingers.
"You are lucky that I have no romantic feelings for either of you or you would find yourself both spanked for being in danger and thoroughly snogged once I have you both back in safety. Since the two of you are not my type you'll have to content yourselves at not being let out of my sight for the foreseeable future," Marvolo shot back. The darkness was irritating but not as terrifying to the trio as it might have been to someone else.
"No Crucio?" Harry asked cheekily, his exhaustion clear in his voice.
Voldemort snorted and answered honestly, "No, Crucio is for servants and minions, not family. No matter how strange our little family happens to be you two are my family now and I'll thank you to remember that."
"Can you sleep in a dream?" Harry murmured the question even as he passed out in their arms in the darkness of their joined mindscape.
"Shit," Severus cursed as the smaller body in his arms went limp.
"Dare we risk another spell?" Marvolo murmured questioningly. Severus was the Mind Arts Master, unlike Marvolo who was merely extremely proficient when it came to the mind arts.
"We've set off a trap every time, traps that we will have to investigate and unravel, but I don't see another choice aside from waiting for Harry to regain consciousness," Severus grumbled. He really didn't want to set off another trap but equally, despite this being a dreamscape, Harry could be dying in his arms.
"Lumos," Marvolo murmured cautiously. An orb lit up in his raised hand to float up into the air, revealing their location as that of an oddly dry cavern.
"Sandstone," Severus noted absently as he set to checking Harry in the new light. "He will be fine. Sit down, rest, we can take turns waiting for what happens next. Hopefully, morning will come and we will wake naturally."
"And if it doesn't?" Marvolo asked gruffly.
"Then we find every anchor of magic and issue that our minds hold and start unraveling them," Severus said flatly. "We would leave our cores for last and rest a great deal before going near them to see if anything is wrong with them."
"Yes, I would rather not loose my magic in our escape attempts," Marvolo agreed dryly. Three subjective hours later they were still waiting for Harry to wake in the dreamscape.
Yeah, so the Dreamscape parts is turning into a bit of a nightmare. I'll have to see what the devil my muse is getting at. Hopefully, you all are still enjoying this!
Fyi: I have placed the start of a Hobbit Plot Bunny on Bunny Farm 3, ch 83-85. I'm not sure how far it will get but you can at least look at it.
Chapter 23: Waking World Kerfluffle
Hogwarts rumbled in low grinding anger. She had trapped Dumbledore in the Headmaster's section to keep him out of trouble and away from her favorites that he seemed to hate so much. She had also wanted him away from the other children! Not meddling with dark magics to screw with her favorites at a distance! How did he even hide those materials and hair samples from her?! The blasted old bastard was just begging for her to let some of her masonry fall atop him!
Sadly, the castle concluded that indulging in the urge to squash the errant Headmaster would cause too much trauma to the students who had remained in her halls over break. At least now that her missing favorites were at Gringotts she could send her elves to randomly check up on them. A fact she had only learned as the walking dead man that claimed to be her reigning Headmaster cast the Nightmare Maze curse. He had needed to use a stolen lock of hair from each of them and the fact that he kept a store of such locks of hair under a preservation charm in a special trunk made Hogwarts sick. She couldn't stop this curse being cast but she could stop the manipulative bastard from making use of the rest of his stores. The House Elves were more than happy to steal the captured personal items and samples to either return them to their owners or burn them to ash in one of the big kitchen fireplaces, ruining them for use in magic.
Hogwarts also ordered the house elves to inform the goblins that she was very interested in the good health of her favorites currently in their care. After much back and forth discussion a bargain was struck. The goblins would treat the three as allies under the Hogwarts banner if the castle would allow them to arrest Dumbledore and take him away. Hogwarts happily agreed and informed the goblins that the rescue party was permitted to keep the goblin made things she had provided from the hidden armory as a gesture of good will and friendship.
After hearing about the returned goblin items combined with Filius Flitwick's claim of kinship to young Harry there was no argument. A discrete set of bodyguards were assigned to the sleeping trio while several low level clerks set about tracking just what might be owed to the three under goblin and bank law. The Pillar Prophecy was also brought back in to the light with both versions gaining immediate attention.
The Public version of the Pillar Prophecy:
Acknowledged Cub of a turning Wolf shackled by bands of light, Child of the Land kept caged, the Lord of the Night bows to the Land's Child only after the Lesser Crown swears fealty.
He will have the venom of the King Serpent and the Tears of the Firebird in his veins.
The Sleeping Crown waits for him to claim his lands that harmony might yet abound.
To walk first a tortured path only to be returned to loving family and guarded fiercely by those of magic.
For if he is to fall so too does all magic across the lands.
The Pillar will be bound while helpless as to be a weapon against the Lord of Darkness during his time of torment.
The shackles forcing the Pillar to shape as a weapon shall be broken by the Warrior-Healer, the Hunter of Man's Evil, and the Steward of the Land as guided by the Obsidian Guardian Warrior of Night.
Only by holding the Guardian Warriors of Ruby Fire and of Obsidian Night, known also as the Lord of Night and the Lesser Crown, may the pillar survive the fires of war to claim the Sleeping Crown.
The Goblin version of the Pillar Prophecy: [Amycat8733 helped]
Child of Land and Magic holding the light of Emerald Growth, Guarded by Warriors of Ruby Fire and Obsidian Night.
Claimed of a Goblin Mage-Warrior line the Pillar will stand as anchor to the children of magic.
Born of the line of Emrys, the Pillar will return unity to those children of magic before his final death.
This Child shall face against an Elder with a Rotten Heart who sees himself as a Lord of all Magic and threatens the Clans.
Through torments designed, the Rotten-Hearted Elder shall seek to form the Pillar as a weapon obedient only obeying his hand.
Beware, once the Pillar is free, the Elder shall seek to destroy that which he cannot control.
The Wolf with his Grim packmate will fall to the greed of the Elder rather than allow the Pillar to be shackled anew.
The Warrior-Stone Cutter will seek to plant evil and nurture it from the shadows that he may shatter the Pillar for his own ends
Should the Pillar fall so too will all of magic by the end of the mortal generation that was of the Pillar
Goblin Mage-Warrior, guard your treasured child of your child well
Keep the Pillar always with his Warriors of Ruby Fire and Obsidian Night
The Pillar and his paired Guardians will bow their head to none but the Lion who is also the slain Lamb
The prophecy was further considered after the War Party reported that the Vampires apparently believe that Harry was the Pillar. This lead to much investigation as the warriors were put on alert. The trio slept on, caught in the Nightmare Maze, unaware of the forces beginning to rally around them.
Chapter 24: Of Dreams
So, mind traps are a pain in the ass and Musey refused to cooperate.... sort of.
Harry slipped back into the wakefulness of the dream realm only to find that Severus and Marvolo were standing over him protectively and glaring at some weird tentacled nightmare monster. A monster that was coming from a nearby pool of water in the too quiet sandstone cavern they happened to be in.
"I dare say that you would all be far more comfortable in proper chairs and with tea sitting next to a roaring fire," a very posh baritone voice commented dryly. "Your young one looks absolutely knackered for all that he just opened his eyes."
Harry realized with a shock that the voice was the monster that he now realized resembled descriptions of a Cthulhu.
"Thanks?" Harry asked questioningly as he sat up where he lay on the oddly dry cave floor.
"Oh don't worry about it young one," the Cthulhu chortled. "A side effect of the Nightmare Maze Spell the three of you are trapped in and your own understandings of beings like myself shaped me. Unless you give me a new form later on in life I will always be a part of the three of you. I have no reason at all to hurt any of you or even hinder you. The magic has been active long enough that there is absolutely no way you can remove or eliminate me from your minds for at least 48 waking hours after the spell breaks. I can live 10,000 years in that time in your minds and be quite content!"
"Then why are you not a ravening monster?" Marvolo asked darkly. His own mind flashing back to what little he remembered of the horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft.
"Because young Harry thought of me as a possible older brother between being mistreated by the Dursleys and his reading maybe only a paragraph of the stories, specifically my description. He heard his Aunt and Uncle deriding the school assignment, the contents of my world and existence, and thought we might have something in common. The books sent home for the school assignment had been a mix up but the beastly woman and her whale of a husband wouldn't stand for the actual stories assigned either since they contained magic as a story element," the Cthulhu explained. "Can't say I particularly mind Harry's version of me. Of course I do have a side that is, as you say, a ravening monster but it is largely used to defend my territory at the moment, which just happens to be your minds."
"The Basilisk?" Harry asked carefully. He had actually made the Basilisk memories part of his standing mental defenses as a kind of therapeutic project over one summer so he was rather surprised they hadn't run into her yet.
"Ah, Daisy is sleeping. Since she started as a memory she wasn't utterly destroyed when your minds merged under the effects of the Nightmare Maze, like most of the other defenses. She lost a few of the things you taught her but a little work a few days after the spell ends should put her to rights," the Cthulhu said cheerfully. "That mess in Salazar's Secret Chamber was quite the thing and I've viewed the memories a few times. Honestly, you get drawn into farrr too many traps and plots. One would almost think that old goat in charge of your school wanted you dead! No proper defenses or reactions to threats! No real protections on the dangerous areas of the school! Its disgraceful!"
"Daisy?" Severus asked, eyebrow arched high as the pair of protectors relaxed slightly.
"I was twelve!" Harry protested hotly, flushing in embarrassment. Yes, he wasn't much older than 12 now, only 15, but it had made sense at the time and he wasn't going to debate the issue!
Severus just hummed doubtfully but let it rest as the three were lead away into a different cavern all together that abruptly changed into a modified version of one of the school common rooms. The Cthulhu bustled about, making tea in the fireplace with a hanging metal tea pot that would have fit in fine in a middle ages house hold.
"So, before things get more muddled, you should know that you aren't that far from where your magical cores are hidden in this Nightmare Maze. Don't break them! I don't care how much the maze pushes you to break those pillars of power! If you break them then not only are you trapped forever but you will loose your magic," Cthulhu told them sternly. "To get out.... well the best way to avoid doing damage or allowing the maze to do further damage is the way you came in, sort of."
"What do you mean, sort of?" Harry asked suspiciously as he accepted his cup of tea. Tasting it he was surprised to find himself drinking hot chocolate instead of tea.
"We were asleep when the spell took hold," Severus said softly as his mind connected the dots.
"So we need to return to the sleeping level of this dream-reality and just wake up?" Harry asked cautiously.
"Only if we want to accept that our mindscapes are merged permanently from now on," Marvolo said mirthlessly. "No, its a bit more complicated if we want to untangle our minds as well as wake up safely."
"On another matter, briefly, could you explain the traps we have been encountering in the Imp's area of our joined mindscape?" Severus put in quickly. He did not want to go over the requirements for untangling their minds just yet. The three of them would have to be better rested before that discussion happened.
"You already know what they are," Cthulhu said pointedly.
"Bobby traps for us, laid as compulsions or other mental manipulations both magical and mundane conditioning or even full out brainwashing," Harry recited, looking into his hot cocoa and refusing to look up at his fellow wizards. "The result is a common side effect of abuse twisting the survival instinct in more natural settings. In more deliberate settings... Imperio is a good example of the desired result by the one doing the conditioning. Its a lot harder to break if done without magic and a lot more intensive in both time and resources."
It hadn't been hard to figure out once he had both learned about basic thought control in muggle history class and finding out how very different his home life was compared to his schoolmates. The clincher had been Neville's quiet question in first year if he knew how his Magical Guardian was going to vote on something. Harry had no idea what his classmate was talking about and, being eleven, didn't pursue the matter further since class was just about to start. They had both realized the time and had to bolt across half the castle to get to class, washing away all other thoughts in their hurry. There were any number of other little tells that his Slytherin side whispered to him about. The fact that he was famous enough that people randomly stole his things just because they were his clued him in on one of the more obvious reasons that someone would want to control him.
"How were you ever placed in Gryffindor?!" Marvolo muttered roughly.
"Fought with the hat," Harry said blandly. He didn't look up to see if they believed him. Even with the other things these two men knew about him, knowing about the fight with the hat and believing it could easily be two different things. Harry was tired and didn't really want to get into another exhaustive discussion (ie. rant) from the other two about how he should have been a Slytherin from the start.
"Is there a way to remove these... them without causing additional damage? Preferably in a timely manner so that we might return to the waking world in short order?" Marvolo asked both Severus and Cthulhu bluntly.
"You've removed several simply by using magic in this combined mindscape," Cthulhu said mildly.
"Yes and no," Severus answered Marvolo just as bluntly and far less ambiguously. "Simply going through and trying to set them off one by one will be tedious and rather dangerous. On the other hand the other methods I know of, while fairly adaptable by nature, generally require that the attending Legilimens is not trapped within the same mindscape. There are several diagnostic methods available but it is largely assumed that one is not having to employ them on one's self or someone that the attending Legilimens is actively linked too. To say nothing of a Legilimens performing it on themselves without having taken certain precautions before hand."
"You could always leave it for another time," Cthulhu pointed out. "Its not like the three of you weren't already connected through your magic and the land. Just make sure to be sitting on the wardstone connected to wards older than 1000 years when you are ready to disentangle yourselves."
That seemed to be the end of it for the moment. Within half an hour they were back tracking up through the cupboard trap door and escaping Vernon for a second time.
"Why the hell did 'Tuny import and plant Juniper Bushes of all things?!" Severus complained. They were finally leaving the house the same way the older pair of wizards had come in, through the broken window.
"Because she found out it gives me hives and wanted to one up the neighbors," Harry said ruefully. "One of the teachers had a sample that Dudley tried to shove down my throat but only got it down my shirt. The school nurse panicked when I started turning red in a bumpy rash and almost called an ambulance until one of the teachers pointed out I wasn't having trouble breathing. She checked me again and they just decided to call for Aunt Petunia to come get me. She ordered the bushes the next day."
"Vicious bitch!" Severus snarled. He started eyeing the garden with a speculative gleam that Harry was more familiar seeing in Seamus Finnigan's eye just before the Gryffindor set something on fire, again.
"At least we didn't land in a thorny rose bush," Marvolo snorted in amusement.
"She keeps the rose bushes, also imported, a little further along the side of the house and in the back. Dudley liked chasing me and shoving me into them but I could sometimes get into the hollow underneath the bushes and be safe until Uncle Vernon came after me," Harry shrugged. To him this was all normal even though he knew it wasn't how you were supposed to treat a child or even an adult that you didn't hate. "It was always a pain because I would have to clean up the blood I dripped everywhere with lye soap and that always made every part of me that it touched burn. I was only allowed to wash it off with cold water after it was cleaned at least three times. The thorns always made me bleed but it seemed like it made them harder for Dudley to kill. I didn't figure out until later that they tried not to hurt me since I was the gardener and they protected me when they could. Professor Sprout said that I bonded with most of the plants in the garden when I told her about how they almost seemed to help me growing up."
"Pamona and I are going to have a long talk about recognizing the implications of things beyond the immediate use in plant and earth magics," Severus grumbled. He easily subsided into a less dour mood at hearing Harry's light laughter over his grumpiness. Less than an hour later they were waking in their bed at Gringotts.