Chapter 1: Another Me?
Harry stood in front of the Daily Prophet office reading the headlines, Nagini was hidden under his robes as Harry quietly told her ~I am at Hogwarts.~ Harry glanced around to make sure no one was paying attention to them. He was wondering what was going on.
Nagini moved a bit. ~How?~ She lifted her head a bit to peek out.
~I have no idea. It says I was sorted into Gryffindor House and I am enjoying my first week as a student. There is some history about my parents, the usual stuff. Oh, this is interesting. I have a best friend named Ronald Bilius Weasley. Amazing what you can learn about yourself in the paper.~ Harry told the snake.
~Who? Who is that?~
~No idea but something is very wrong. It says how my relatives are so wonderful.~ Nagini hearing that started to hiss her anger at the idea of the muggles being wonderful. ~Calm down, we need to figure out how to fix this.~
~The little ones will be able to do it, Tom always said if you needed things done, go to them.~ Nagini hissed to him.
~Yes, I agree. Maybe Griphook or Ironclaw can help us figure out what is going on. Let me just get those books he recommended and we will head there.~ Harry looked around Diagon Alley as he made sure Nagini was hidden. He headed towards the bookstore when Nagini moved again.
~Go to the left, I smell something.~ She hissed. Harry went to the left and started to follow her directions. ~Is the one we are following blond?~
~Yes. Tall, and has a cane.~
~We need to speak to him. He is one of Tom's.~ Nagini lifted her head a bit to look out and make sure. ~Yes, that is Pretty Boy. He is one of my Tom's.~
~He looks like he is heading to Gringotts. I will see if I can speak to him in there.~
They followed the man into the bank, as Harry moved into line behind the blond man, he looked around and noticed no one was watching them. "Excuse me, Sir, may I speak to you for a few minutes?" Harry felt Nagini moving a bit.
The man turned and looked down at Harry. "I can spare a few minutes. What do you wish to speak to me about?"
"A mutual friend says you would be able to assist me. I don't believe here is a good place to speak maybe we could speak in Griphook or Ironclaw's office?"
"I am not sure we have a mutual friend." Nagini poked her head out of Harry's robe and hissed, causing the man to jump a bit in surprise. "I believe we need to speak privately."
Harry smiled at him. "Follow me." Harry walked up to a goblin. "Griphook, would it be possible to speak to you and Ironclaw?"
"Certainly, if you will follow me to my office. I will bring him there shortly." Griphook knew things were going to change.
Once Griphook left them in his office, Harry turned to the man. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Harry Potter."
The man looked confused for a second. "I am Lord Lucius Malfoy. You don't look like the Harry Potter in the paper." Harry was slightly taller and a bit stockier than the image he saw. His hair wasn't as dark but had some red highlights in it. He also didn't wear glasses, so his emerald green eyes were brighter. He didn't have the scar on his forehead either.
"That is one of the reasons we were coming here today. Nagini smelled you and told me to speak to you."
"She smelled me? How long have you known her?" Lucius knew the snake was known for her hunting skills.
"Yes, she has been my friend for as long as I can remember. She helped me get away from my relatives. We have been living on our own for a number of years. I have no idea who that other boy is."
Lucius leaned back in his chair, but before he could ask any of his questions, Griphook and Ironclaw entered Griphook's office. "Good morning Mr. Potter and Lord Malfoy."
"Good morning, Ironclaw." Lucius replied.
"Good morning Ironclaw, how is your wife Maka?" Harry asked.
"She is fine, thank you for asking. She is going to be sending you some biscuits she baked." Ironclaw answered. "It appears we have a slight surprise. We already had an Eagle Owl ready to send a massive to you regarding this new Harry Potter. We weren't aware of him attending Hogwarts until we read the paper."
"Do you know who it is?" Harry asked.
"No, however, Dumbledore has been trying to get into your vaults again. He used this new Harry to try and gain entrance when he was brought here by Hagrid." Ironclaw answered. "He refused an Inheritance Test. We didn't know who he was posing as Harry Potter, Hagrid had your vault key, but the blood wards protected your vault."
"I tried to get some information, but Hagrid was very effective in keeping that boy close to him." Griphook answered. "He also removed something from the same vault that was robbed later that day. It was empty when the robbery happened."
"Dumbledore has been trying to get into Mr. Potter's vaults? Has he ever succeeded?" Lucius asked.
"No, he has been trying since he placed our Harry with those nasty muggles." Ironclaw really hated Dumbledore and he wasn't afraid to let it be known.
"How about his seats?" Lucius asked.
"He is using them." Harry told Lucius.
"The Headmaster set himself up as the proxy for those seats by sealing the Potters' Wills. He took control of the estate and the seats. He didn't realize that James and Lily put blood protection with passwords on the vaults." Griphook replied. "The passwords were set up to be answered by anyone else but Harry. They knew he wouldn't know them. The interesting fact is that in the Potters' Wills, the Potters gave a list of guardians, and stated they didn't want Harry to be under the care of either the Headmaster or the Dursleys."
"Can't we get the Wills unsealed?" Lucius asked. "I am sure there are a few loopholes to allow that."
"There are, however, if we unseal the Wills, Dumbledore with his power, could override the desires of the Wills. They were sealed in a closed session of the Wizengamot, Dumbledore used fear of reprisal from the Death Eaters and Harry's new fame to get him placed with muggles. Now, we have proof that the muggles were abusing Harry, but it won't stop him from trying to place Harry with a family he deems worthy." Ironclaw stated.
"We have been allowing Harry to stay with some of us in the Nation when we can. Your laws allow him to stay with us for three months than he needs to leave for two weeks." Griphook added. "This is the first year we allowed him to stay in the Cauldron, usually we sent him to our relatives."
"I only saw the paper today because this week I am staying at the Leaking Cauldron." Harry explained. "They don't know it's me. I am there as Regulus James."
"Who is listed as Harry's guardians?" Lucius asked. "You also won't be staying at the Cauldron, you will be coming home with me until we can fix this. My Lord wouldn't be happy to hear any of this."
"The only one alive or not in Azkaban listed is Severus Snape. We, however, haven't spoken to him about this issue since we were fearful of what the Headmaster might do if he knew Mr. Snape gained custody of Harry." Ironclaw answered.
"I believe I have an idea, we will need to speak to Severus. Is there a way we can get him here without letting Dumbledore knowing why?" Lucius asked.
"Yes. We have a few contracts we have been reviewing for him in regards to his potion making." Griphook glanced at Ironclaw, they knew this would work. "We can get him here in about an hour or so."
"Do it. I believe Mr. Potter and myself need to speak for a bit, so may we use an office or meeting room until Severus arrives?" Lucius asked.
"Yes, you may actually use my office. I am heading back to the teller area. I am the supervisor today." Griphook informed them. "I will arrange tea if you wish."
"Please can I get some of Maka's biscuits too?" Harry opened his robe and Nagini moved to the floor and Harry hissed ~Finite Incantatem.~ Nagini grew to her massive size and curled up at Harry's feet. Harry didn't see Lucius' surprise on his face.
"You know Maka will bring you some." Ironclaw replied as they left the office.
"What can you tell me about any of this? Do you know why he might have a fake Harry Potter?"
Harry turned to face Lucius. "I am not sure what to tell you exactly. Nagini says I can trust you. You know her Tom." Harry paused "I never saw the fake Harry Potter before. I know my relatives had no desire to have me living with them."
"I do know him, very well actually. What I am wondering, is how you know Nagini? How come you aren't with those muggles?"
"I can only tell you what I know. Which is about five years ago, Nagini helped me escape from those muggles. She found me when I was really young. She kept me safe from the muggles. When I ran away, she guided me here to Diagon Alley. The goblins knew who I was, and said Dumbledore was the one who put me with those muggles. They were abusive. It took me a long time to realize that it was abuse. I got my Hogwarts' letter here. I saw the name Dumbledore and knew I didn't want to go there. I never answered the letter. A few more arrived and I ignored them completely. The goblins have been teaching me magic for the last few years. I got a wand about three years ago from the wandmaker in Knockturn Alley."
"The muggles, they were your relatives?" Lucius wasn't happy with what he was hearing and trying to figure out how to protect Harry and expose Dumbledore at the same time. He knew Severus would have some answers for them.
"Sadly yes. They never wanted me and made sure I knew it. They told me my parents were killed in a drunken car crash and a bunch of other lies. I am not sure who that fake is, but I know that he has to have something to do with Dumbledore. He is the only one who knew where I was. He left me there for a reason. Nagini told me about how my parents were killed, how her Tom is missing. He's not dead. She can't find him."
"How did Nagini find you?" The Dark wasn't dead that was interesting. He would have to start looking for a way to find him. Harry and Nagini should be able to assist in finding the Dark Lord.
"She said I smelled like him. Something about me having him. I am not sure what she means, but Ironclaw can explain it. I never asked really what it meant." Harry answered him. "I never really followed up with what they meant. I wanted to learn what I needed to learn first."
"That is fine, we can figure it out. We can also work on figuring out what to do with Dumbledore, Severus, and how to get rid of this fake Harry Potter."
The office door opened and female goblin came in with tea and biscuits. "Harry, how wonderful to see you again. Lord Malfoy, I am Ironclaw's wife, Maka."
"Hi Maka." Harry grinned at her. Nagini lifted her head and gave Maka a quick nod of her head.
"Nagini if you go down into the mines, you will find some rats if you are interested." Maka stated. "Topa would enjoy seeing you."
"Topa?" Lucius was wondering about this Harry Potter, he wasn't like the Harry Potter that Draco had written home about.
"The Dragon." Maka answered as she began to make a cup of tea.
~Should I leave? Pretty Boy will protect you, he knows my Tom won't want you hurt.~ Nagini looked towards the open door.
~I will be fine. Have fun.~ Harry hissed. "She is going to go and get some rats. Thank you, Maka." Nagini slithered out of the room.
"It's an honor, you know they will spoil her down in the mines." Maka grinned. "Lord Malfoy, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Honor is mine." Lucius returned. "Harry has been telling me how he came here."
"Yes, he was so little. It took our healers months to fix the damage. They starved him, beat him and he didn't even know his own name. We did an Inheritance Test to find out who he was. Some of us have taken him in as our own, but because of your policies, we couldn't adopt him nor allow him to stay permanently, but he is one of us. He knows our ways."
"I will be taking him home and depending on what Severus decides to do, we can go from there." Lucius explained.
"That is good, he needs a home. We have tried to provide him with one, but your laws and magic are so different than ours." Maka provided Lucius with Harry's education and his health. She answered questions Harry couldn't for Lucius regarding his life. They were enjoying a lively debate about wands when Severus arrived with Ironclaw and Griphook.
"Lucius? I am not here regarding my contracts, am I?" Severus took a seat next to Lucius.
"No, we have a slight problem." Lucius responded. Maka bowed and quietly left the office.
"We have the contracts ready. May I introduce you to Harry Potter." Ironclaw said.
"Harry Potter? Who is at Hogwarts?" Severus asked, looking to Lucius for answers.
"We don't know. Mr. Potter has been living basically with us for a number of years." Griphook responded. "We didn't know until we saw the newspaper this morning that Harry Potter was at Hogwarts."
"I ran away from my relatives about five years ago. I have been with the goblins since. Nagini helped me get here."
Severus looked at Harry. "You look like your mother but with your father's dark hair."
"There is more Severus. Dumbledore sealed the Potters' Wills to get control over Harry and his seats. You were to get custody of Harry. The rest are dead or unable to take Harry." Lucius explained.
Severus' face reflected his shock for a few seconds before his mask was back in place. "Can we prove that?"
"Yes, however, with his control over the Wizengamot, using Harry's seats, we can't do anything as of yet. If we go to the Wizengamot about the abuse his relatives did, he will just use his power to get control over the real Harry and place him with a family he wants." Ironclaw explained. "We can do it in a few other ways, but we will need a wizard to take guardianship of the real Harry."
"If I take guardianship of Harry, he will try and get control over Harry by using my contract with Hogwarts, and my Vow to protect Harry." Severus answered.
"I have no idea why you are even still teaching." Lucius commented. They watched Nagini slither back into the office, her body reflecting the food she had eaten.
"He will send me to Azkaban. It's one of the reasons I made the Vow." Severus answered.
"He can't return you to Azkaban if he does he will incriminate himself, but for treason." Lucius informed him. "He can't use that threat. He might try something else. I think that is why Sirius Black was placed in Azkaban. He didn't even get a trial. Dumbledore knows that." Lucius informed Severus.
"Wait, Mr. Black didn't get a trial?" Ironclaw asked.
"No, he was one of the few placed there after that night without one. They did a few them in a closed session." Lucius informed him. "I only know about it because I was able to read the transcript when I became the minority leader."
"Mr. Black was also on the list of guardians for Harry." Griphook said.
"So he removed anyone who might be able to take guardianship of Harry and put himself in their place?" Lucius asked.
"Yes. The muggles never wanted Harry and made it well known." Ironclaw said.
"I am slightly confused. We have been told that Harry was treated like a prince, giving all kinds of special training and knowledge of our world." Severus told them, he looked at the boy who was sitting with them, he certainly didn't look like he had been treated like a prince. "We now have a fake Harry Potter at Hogwarts, who looks almost an exact replicate of James Potter, except for the eye color. We have Dumbledore who basically stole control over Harry Potter's seats and his image to keep control." Making sure he grasped all the concepts that they would now be dealing with.
"Tom is alive too." Harry added.
"Are you sure?" Severus asked.
"Yes, Nagini and I know he is. We just don't know where he is."
"It's the prophecy, he believes it's not fulfilled." Severus put everything together. The old fart was always going on about the prophecy.
"It was fulfilled. We told him that when he arrived here on the first of November demanding entrance into the Potter Vaults." Ironclaw stated. "He sealed the Wills that same day and tried again to gain access to the vaults. He took control of the seats that same week. We explained he had no right, but he produced the Ministry Order for him to gain the proxy of those seats."
"I will need to reread the transcript but there was nothing in there giving him access to the seats, vaults, or even allowing him to gain control in any form. The closed session was just regarding the Death Eaters going to Azkaban." Lucius said.
"Do we have proof that is the real Harry Potter? You know we will need it." Severus stated.
"That is true." Lucius answered.
Harry moved closer to Severus, he looked at Severus. "You smell like spices."
"I am a potion master." Severus answered.
"No, I can smell the various smell from the potions, but you smell like spices, vanilla, and strawberries." Harry responded.
"Harry is what is called a Cat Sidhe. It's a large feline, slightly bigger than Jaguar or a Leopard. It's a black cat with a white spot on its chest. They are native to Scottish Highlands. They are a wizard or witch who can transform into a cat with nine duplicates at the same time. Harry mastered turning into his cat form." Griphook explained, his voice carrying how proud he was of their skills. "Nagini and Harry can track anything."
"That I believe is how they found me in Diagon Alley today."
"May we use any of this to get us custody of Harry?" Severus asked.
"No, the only thing we can think of is a blood adoption. No one in the nation could do it." Ironclaw stated. "However, Lord Malfoy will be able to keep him safe."
"I would need to speak to my wife, but I don't see a problem with it. She always wanted another child." Lucius knew Narcissa had wanted to gain custody of Harry, he knew she would be overjoyed at this news.
"I can also go to Hogwarts in my cat form."
"How much like a cat are you?" Severus asked. "I know from my classes that Cat Sidhe are a lot like cats."
"He is very much like a cat, he also can not be forced out of his form." Ironclaw answered. Harry transformed into his black cat form. Harry was about the size of a black panther, with the white heart on his chest.
"So our plan is simple for now. We do the blood adoption, most likely tomorrow. Harry can go to Hogwarts after Yule, we will get him caught up if he is behind. In the meantime, he can visit Severus with Nagini and they can see if Professor Quirrell is something different, Draco wrote home about him."
"We will work on getting the Wills released. How do you want to handle this fake Harry Potter?" Ironclaw asked. "I would suggest we wait until we know if Quirrell is the Dark Lord or not. If we expose we know about the fake Harry Potter, Dumbledore might plan on making his move regarding the Dark Lord."
"I agree. He might." Severus said. "He worked hard to get all of us to this point. I will need to keep an eye on the man."
"Harry will be able to help. He can be very subtle. Since he can be in nine places at once, he can be very useful." Griphook told them.
"I want to get some of my protection gear out of my vault then I will take Harry home. Can you bring Draco home this weekend so we can talk to him?"
"Yes, I will tell Dumbledore that you had a family emergency. We can say you adopted a sickly cousin, and he can come to Hogwarts after Yule." Severus replied. "If Quirrell is the Dark Lord, Harry and I can find a way to speak to him. Nagini might be able to sneak into his quarters and find out."
"Harry can shrink her down and she can do it late at night or early in the morning." Lucius thought for a few minutes. "She will be able to find out faster than any of us."
"Harry in his cat form, with her will be able to find out a lot of information and the portraits won't think anything of it." Severus said. "They would be just looking for a human."
"True. Maybe have Draco bring Nagini in her smaller form into a defense lesson might be a good idea. It will be safer." Lucius said. "That way neither Harry or Nagini will be roaming the halls. We don't need someone accidentally seeing either of them."
"Harry?" Severus looked down at the cat sitting there.
Harry transformed back. "It will be easy for Nagini and me to find out. We have worked as a team, with me in my cat form. If you can get me into Hogwarts, we can find out in minutes."
"How?" Lucius and Severus asked.
"Nagini will be able to sense him. I can use my nine cats to find him." Harry answered. "The goblins have taught me a lot of stuff."
"He is very well versed in our magic and yours." Ironclaw answered. "There is a lot we do not understand concerning your magic but we did teach what we knew. He is aware he needs to learn more."
"Like potions." Harry grinned.
"Yes, like potions, he has been asking to learn about them for a while. We haven't taught him those because we were afraid of a potion accidents." Ironclaw stated. "Now, if you do the blood adoption, we can file the paperwork with our daily filings to enable it to be buried."
"Will I get a new name?" Harry asked.
"If magic grants it then yes. You will be a Malfoy and a Black twice over. My wife is a Black and your grandmother was also one." Lucius explained.
"Cool beans." Harry responded.
"Let's get you home. Severus, I will floo you tonight to let you know when we need the potion."
"I will start on it as soon as I get back. I need to review these contracts and sign them. He will ask otherwise." Severus stated.
"Harry, you need to shrink Nagini." Ironclaw told him.
Harry hissed ~Reducio.~ Lucius glanced at Severus as the man covered his shock on hearing Harry speaking the snake language.
~So we going with Pretty Boy, Smelly One, and finding my Tom?~
~Yes, Lucius and Severus are going to help us.~
~Good.~ Nagini slithered up and over Harry's neck, and Harry wrapped his robe around her. He picked up his cloak and added to their protection.
"She is happy we are going to find Tom."
"Well, let's get you home. I will make a quick visit to my vaults. I need some protection gear I know is in the main family one, and I need to remove some funds from my own personal one." Lucius watched Harry gave Severus a hug, shocking the man and took hold of Lucius' hand.
Chapter 2: Working The System
Harry was sitting in Lucius' office reading a book, Nagini was curled at his feet, when he smelled something strange. ~Nagini? You smell that?~
~House elf.~ Nagini lifted her head. ~Some one is coming with Pretty Boy.~
Harry changed into a cat and together Nagini and Harry hid. They saw two sets of legs enter the room. "Harry?" Lucius asked confusion in his voice. Harry peeked out from under the desk. He meowed. "Narcissa, meet Harry." Lucius smirked.
"Lucius, it's a panther, you named a panther Harry Potter." Narcissa was wondering if her husband caught the Black craziness.
"No, that is Harry Potter. Harry, my wife Narcissa." Lucius introduced them, and almost laughed as the Cat Sidhe shifted into Harry Potter, with Nagini coming out of hiding. Narcissa clearly wasn't expecting to see Harry Potter or Nagini.
"Nagini?" Narcissa looked at Lucius, she was clearly confused. Harry Potter was with Nagini, the Dark Lord's familiar.
"Hello." Harry grinned. "Nagini is my friend."
"Hello, Mr. Potter, I wasn't expecting a panther." Narcissa smiled at the boy.
"I am a Cat Sidhe." Harry answered as if that explained everything and looked towards Lucius confused.
"I didn't get a chance to speak to her regarding everything." Lucius informed, guiding his wife to a chair.
"No, I was excited to see you." Narcissa honestly was, when Lucius explained to her that Harry was here she didn't really give him much of a chance to go further in his explanation. "We are cousins, your grandmother on your father's side was Dorea Black, she was my father's sister, we are both great-grandchildren of Phineas Nigellus Black." She sat down in one of the wingback chairs. "I wanted to take you, but Dumbledore wouldn't allow it." She almost spit the name Dumbledore.
"Yes, Lucius was explaining we are related." Harry answered. "You don't have the mark they have." Harry began to walk around the room, looking at the different bookcases.
"What mark and who are they?" Lucius moved to his desk, sitting in his chair. He wasn't sure what Harry was seeing but he wanted to see what his answer would be.
"The mark you and Severus have on your left arm, Narcissa doesn't have one." Harry waved his hand and a glass of juice appeared in his hand. He missed the look at that Narcissa and Lucius exchanged. "You know there are wards back here, blocking some books."
"I am aware, please don't remove them." Lucius answered. "I wasn't aware you could see our marks."
"Yes, they are unique, they are linked to that book in the wards."
"What book?" Narcissa was wondering what exactly Harry was seeing.
"The fourth book from the top, the wards need to be strengthened, while you don't need a Fidelius Charm per se but I would think about adding another ward that would cover the blackness of the mark and this book. Also the other dark objects too." Harry answered.
"Goblins." Lucius answered Narcissa's unasked question. "They taught him goblin magic."
"Wards." Narcissa grinned.
"Narcissa, we need to explain a few things. One of the things we need to explain is that this is the real Harry Potter."
"We don't know who is at Hogwarts, it's not me." Harry looked back towards the books. He was going to enjoy reading them.
"Severus is now aware of the issue, he was called to Gringotts after I had already met Harry at the bank. Harry was actually raised by the goblins. Harry couldn't stay there all the time, so they would send him to their relatives. He ran away from his abusive relatives five years ago. Nagini directed him to the goblins. The goblins have been raising him, teaching him and helping him learn magic. They taught him their magic and some of ours. I was hoping we could adopt him."
"Of course, tell Severus to start brewing." Narcissa said. "Now, we will need to pick a room for you, get you some new clothes and I am thinking books." She began to make a list of things that Harry would need.
Harry walked over to Lucius. "Is she always that decisive?"
"Yes, you will get used to it." Lucius explained. "Draco will be home on the weekend so we can explain this to him."
"We know where Tom is." Harry walked over and looked closely at Narcissa.
"We believe he is at Hogwarts as Professor Quirrell." Lucius explained. "Nagini and Harry will be able to find out once they get into Hogwarts. Harry using his cat form with a shrunken Nagini."
"I have some skills." Harry grinned causing them to smile at his words.
"A Cat Sidle is unique." Narcissa explained.
"He is also a parseltongue." Lucius said, causing Narcissa to turn towards Harry.
"You are full of surprises." Narcissa grinned as Harry moved back to the bookcase.
"May I read these books?" Harry pointed to the books in the cases.
"If they aren't warded, you can." Lucius answered.
"If you can reach them." Narcissa answered.
Harry grinned at them. "So do I get to pick my name?"
"Magic usually picks a new name if you get one. I have a feeling you will be given one." Lucius answered.
Harry grinned and snapped his fingers and sandwich appeared in his hands. "Harry, how are you doing that?"
"Magic." Harry answered. "Can't you do it?"
"No, we rely on house elves to do that type of stuff." Narcissa answered. "If you are hungry, you can always ask for one of the elves. Just call Dobby or say elf."
"Oh, like when we are in the caverns and want to go on the carts, we just have to say cart." Harry smiled.
"Exactly." Lucius smirked. He was enjoying Harry, he was refreshing but at the same time powerful. He also realized the boy was going by their mark based on Nagini's words and her trust in the Dark Lord. It was going to be interesting when Dumbledore learned the real Harry Potter didn't like him and wanted to avoid going to Hogwarts because of him.
Lucius flooed Severus. "May I step through?" He asked.
"Please. I will put up the wards when you do." Severus replied.
Once they were seated, Severus and Lucius took a sip of their scotch. "Do I need to make the potion?"
"Yes, and I can safely say Harry would be able to find our Lord. He was able to see my wards and actually told me how to improve them. He did hide when I brought Narcissa into my office, they must have smelled or heard us because when I went into my office, we couldn't see them. He appeared and he was in his Cat Sidle form."
"Do you think they could find out if our Lord is here?"
"I think in seconds." Lucius answered.
"When do you want to try it?"
"I was thinking just having them floo over and see if they can find out while in your quarters."
"It might work. I have noticed Dumbledore hasn't been really worried about Quirrell. Now the interesting thing is when Quirrell gets excited his stutter stops."
"You think it's him?"
"I am not sure, however, I have been watching this Harry Potter, he is almost exactly like James Potter. I haven't had him in my class as of yet, but I can tell you he has been mouthy. He made friends with Ronald Weasley."
"So Dumbledore has him aligned with a known light family." Lucius looked thoughtful for a second.
"Yes, and it looks like he wants to try and get the muggle-born Hermione Granger to join their group. She is a know-it-all and loves authority figures. From what I can tell and the ones who have had in their classes have said. It hasn't worked so far but it will be just a matter of time." Severus added. "I also think he set it up for them to meet outside of the platform."
"I heard Ron speaking about how they helped Harry find his way to the platform." Severus answered. "I also found out he sent Hagrid to get Harry his supplies."
"So he really wants to have his Harry Potter been seen as an icon for the light. How about that stone you mentioned?"
"They know about it. I heard them speaking of it, and Harry mentioning seeing Hagrid take a package out of Gringotts." Severus answered. "He wants us to set up some course, but I believe he is going to install it and make it an easy trial for them to get through."
"I wouldn't be surprised, it's a test for his Harry Potter. How are we going to stop this?"
"I am not sure, I believe best bet is to let our Harry and Nagini find the Dark Lord and speak to him about what to do. Once our Harry is here, we can also stop that fake Harry if necessary." Severus sighed. "I wonder why he sent Hagrid, not a professor?"
"I am not sure, I am wondering if the muggles know anything." Lucius summoned the bottle and refilled his glass. "I am also wondering how he is going to keep this a secret."
"Who is going to say anything? The muggles? Harry Potter?" Severus asked.
"I was thinking about that. How did he find out Harry was missing? How did Dumbledore manage to get a fake Harry Potter in time for Hagrid to meet? We know the fake went into the bank, but avoid the goblins, which I am wondering why? Why take the boy to the bank, knowing it was a fake Harry?"
"Well, he wanted to make sure that he saw Hagrid remove the stone from the vault. The rest I am not sure about. I am also wondering how he made him look like James."
"Take some of the blood from the house, wasn't it frozen?" Lucius asked.
"It was and that is how he did it. He used the blood and a golem with blood magic. It would explain why the fake looks like James." Severus answered. "If he used a binding spell, to bind the blood magic into the form of Harry Potter, he would have a very obedient light savior."
"I think he did. The Dark Lord will know more if we present this to him."
"I agree. Do you want to bring Harry here tomorrow, with Nagini?" Severus asked. "I don't have a class until after lunch."
"I know Harry would love that, I should warn you, he is going to want to read your books." Lucius explained. "He is already going through mine."
Severus smiled. "So a Ravenclaw?"
"No, a snake, while he likes to read, he knows how to hide and be cunning. The reason he was willing to talk to you and I was because he knows we are marked and can see the connection to the Dark Lord."
"He does?" Severus was trying to grasp what Lucius said. "He can actually see our marks and the connection."
"Yes, he even saw the book the Dark Lord gave me to hold for him. He saw the connection."
"That is interesting. I mean he was open with the goblins, but he had to learn to hide if no one else knows who he is but us." Severus answered. "Yes, bring him in the morning. If he can sense the Dark Lord, then I know it's Quirrell, he is the only new member of staff this year."
"I agree, maybe if we get confirmation, we can send a message via one of my elves, and have him meet us here." Lucius thought for a few seconds. "I wonder if an elf could get Harry into his quarters instead."
"I wouldn't do that, he might hurt Harry first. I think Harry would trust him and not be on guard because of Nagini. Maybe send Nagini with an elf."
"I will speak to them tonight. When will the potion be ready?" Lucius answered.
"I can have it done by tomorrow, I started it when I got back." Severus answered. "Are you both going to do it?"
"Yes, between him being a Black already, Narcissa and I could get guardianship of him already but we don't want to take a chance of Dumbledore using his power to get control. I need to work out how to legally get back control of Harry's seats without letting Dumbledore know too far ahead of time."
"Once he is adopted, you can legally take control I thought." Severus said.
"I can but I have to make sure we don't give him to much notice, he might make the fake disappear and try to claim guardianship over our Harry." Lucius answered. "I want to make sure he can't."
"How can he get custody if you do a blood adoption?" Severus asked.
"He has too much pull in Wizengamot. Too many would follow his greater good and protect Harry act." Lucius answered.
"You have an idea?"
"Yes, if we get his seats but keep quiet, work behind the scenes with the Dark Lord gathering people back slowly, we slowly edge out his light people. I want to see if we can maybe get everyone tested, something about how many light seats we have lost over the decades has been bothering me. I know the War removed a lot of our seats, but something still doesn't add up."
"He is in charge of a lot of light kids too, being their magical guardian." Severus responded.
"That he is." Lucius muttered. "I will be back in the morning, after breakfast."
Harry was meowing at Lucius and Narcissa as they stood in the foyer. "I am going to throw some floo powder, I am going to say Hogwarts, Severus Snape Quarters then you will enter into the flames and come out in Severus' quarters. Don't be afraid of the flames."
Harry meowed. "I will take Nagini with me." Lucius explained. Harry moved to the floo and waited. Lucius tossed the floo powder into the fireplace. "Hogwarts, Severus Snape's Quarters."
Harry entered the floo and landed in Severus' quarters. He gave the man a meow but went to the door and started to frantically meow and pawed at the door. Lucius stepped into Severus' quarters. "Lucius, I think he found the Dark Lord."
Nagini moved to the door and pounded on the door too. "Harry, switch back and talk to us." Lucius said.
They watched Harry switch. "He's here. He is here." Harry was almost bouncing with excitement.
"Come and sit down, Severus will go and get him."
"Harry, sit down and stay with Lucius. If you want, Lucius can explain while I am gone what is going to happen with a blood adoption."
~We need to get to Tommy.~ Nagini hissed.
~Severus said he is going to check we will wait. Let them, the old man resides here, we don't want him finding us.~ Nagini backed away from the door. "We will stay, we don't want the old man to find us."
"I will be back shortly." Severus walked to the door. He had to agree, the boy wasn't a Gryffindor if he was he would have taken down the wards and gone after the Dark Lord instead of just meowing by the door.
"Come and sit with me, Harry. I know we already talked about the adoption, so how about we wait for Severus to bring the Dark Lord to us."
"Do you think the old man knows he is here?" Harry asked.
"No, if he did, he would have done something about it by now." Lucius reassured him.
~See Nagini, Tom is safe.~ Harry told the snake, causing the snake to curl up at his feet. "I told her that Tom is safe."
They spent the rest of their time waiting for Severus to return with Quirrell. Harry was leaning into Lucius, who was caressing his hair. Harry sat up and grinned as Severus returned with Quirrell. "Tom!" Harry grinned at the man.
"Severus gave me some of the highlights, we couldn't speak for fear of the old coot." The Dark Lord said as he sat down ~Nagini, my dear, how are you?~
~I am better now, Harry and I have been looking for you for a long time.~
~We have been, didn't think you would be here. Why you come to the old coot's place?~ Harry hissed.
~I was waiting for you. I knew that wasn't you that showed up here.~ The Dark Lord responded. "I am glad you found the real Harry Potter. I don't know who the fake is."
"Neither do we." Lucius responded. They explained what they knew, how the goblins helped Harry, and about the blood adoption they were going to do.
"We will need to get my body back." The Dark Lord said. "I will need to do a ritual for it." Harry got up and turned into a cat and hopped into the Dark Lord's lap and curled up and closed his eyes. "Nap time?"
"Typical cat." Severus snorted.
"Have you seen him do the nine forms yet?" The Dark Lord started to pet Harry.
"No, but I believe we will be finding out what he could do." Severus answered. "Nagini and Harry are pretty close."
~He is my hatchling.~ Nagini hissed.
"She called him her hatchling." The Dark Lord translated. "I have a class soon. Harry, I need to go."
"Meow." Harry looked at him.
"Harry, let me take you home and we can do the blood adoption." Lucius said.
Harry jumped off the Dark Lord's lap and went to the door and sat down. Nagini slithered to the door too. "I don't think they want to leave him yet." Severus stated.
"I can't have a cat the size of a panther with a huge snake in my classroom."
Harry turned back. ~Reducio~ He turned back to his cat self but the size of a kitten. "Meow."
"Well, that was interesting." Severus went and picked up Harry. "How about you go with me, while Nagini goes with the Dark Lord."
~Good, we protect you.~ Nagini hissed.
"They agree, they want to protect us." The Dark Lord told them.
Lucius hid a grin. "I will come at lunch and get them. We need to do the blood adoption today."
"Meow." Harry said from Severus' arms.
~He said yes.~ Nagini hissed.
"It seems she knows cat. Harry said yes." The Dark Lord responded.
"Meow, meow, yowl."
~He said he just wants to check out the rooms, we both do, make us feel better.~ Nagini added.
"They want to check out the rooms, it will make them feel better. They don't trust the old coot and want to make sure we are safe." The Dark Lord explained.
"I will take Harry." Severus said, "I was only going to give a lecture so no cat fur to destroy any potions."
"I can hide Nagini under my robes." The Dark Lord responded.
"I will let Narcissa know, I will see you at lunch." Lucius stood up and headed toward the floo.
Chapter 3: Surprising Facts
Severus opened the door to his classroom to let the students in, when he realized with a bit of a shock, that this class was the first year Gryffindor and Slytherin. He was hoping that Harry wouldn't do anything in the class. He went to the front of the class to start his lecture, intent on ignoring the stares that the kitten form of Harry was getting. He looked at the raised hands and knew he was going to be asked by Granger of all people what Harry was. He knew if he didn't call on her, she would speak anyway. "Yes, Ms. Granger?" He didn't keep his annoyance out of his voice and he noticed the look the fake Harry Potter shot him.
"Why do you have a baby panther for this lesson? I didn't see anything in our potions books requiring anything from a panther." Hermione Granger asked. "I have never seen one with a white spot on its chest."
"It's a Cat Sidhe, Granger." Draco Malfoy informed her, not hiding his sneer. He really had a hard time liking her, she was too much of a know it all, and didn't like not being called on for answers.
"There isn't such a thing." Granger promptly told him, smugly. She looked at the Professor Snape to have him back her up.
"Sorry to inform you Ms. Granger, but you are wrong, again." Severus really couldn't believe how arrogant the girl was. She was clearly the type that if she didn't read about it from a book then it didn't exist. He was wondering how quickly she was going to head to the library after class to research what Draco just told her. He was going to show this memory to Lucius and the Dark Lord. He had a feeling that the Dark Lord would enjoy it. He, himself, had been wanting to put the annoying chit in her place for a while. "Mr. Malfoy please explain." He watched Harry start walking around the room. When he got to the fake Harry Potter, he was clearly smelling him.
"Hi, kitty." The fake Harry Potter bent down to try and pet the real Harry, only to have Harry back away and head back to Severus. "Figures it's just like Snape." He heard the fake tell the red-haired idiot next to him.
"A Cat Sidhe or The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [kʰaht̪ ˈʃiː]) or Cat Sidhe (Irish: [kat̪ˠ ˈʃiː], Cat Sí in new orthography, is a large feline, slightly bigger than jaguar, panther or a leopard when it's an adult. It's a black cat with a white spot on its chest. They are native to Scottish Highlands. There are a lot of different legends regarding them, but they are considered harmless unless you anger one, then they are like any other angry animal. They can turn into nine different cats at once, as a method of escape." Draco was not hiding his delight in besting Granger.
"Correct Mr. Malfoy, five points to Slytherin. Anyone else?" Severus saw another Slytherin raise their hand. "Mr. Zambini." The kitten was hopped onto his desk and was clearly watching the students.
"Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth is not a fairy, but a witch that could transform into a cat, but it hasn't been proven either way. The Cat Sìth may have been inspired by the Scottish wildcat itself. It is possible that the legends of the Cat Sìth were inspired by Kellas cats, which are probably a distinctive hybrid between Scottish wildcats and domestic cats only found in Scotland. Typical Kellas cats resemble large black Wildcats, but with some peculiar features closer to domestic cats, and have probably been present in Scotland for centuries, maybe even some two millennia or more. However, that is what the Muggles believe, so they let themselves be seen by them, knowing they aren't in danger." Blaise stated, he knew he wasn't the only one enjoying putting the know it all in her place.
"Isn't there a tale about them being the King of the Cats?" Ron Weasley asked. "I remember my brother telling me one." He couldn't believe that Hermione didn't know about these cats, he knew as soon as he saw the small kitten what it was. Wizards believed they were signs of good luck. "Don't they also believe they are signs of good luck as opposed to what muggles think of black cats?"
"Not all muggles believe that Ron." Granger informed him. "It's only the ones who are superstitious."
"Muggles believe black cats are used by witches as familiars." The fake spoke.
"Five points from Gryffindor for speaking out of turn." Severus informed them. "Now who knows the story?" When no one answered Severus continued. "The British folktale "The King of the Cats" is about a man who comes home to tell his wife and cat, Old Tom, that he saw nine black cats with white spots on their chests carrying a coffin with a crown on it, and one of the cats tells the man to "tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum is dead." The cat then exclaims, "What?! Old Tim dead! Then I'm the King o' the Cats!" Old Tom then climbs up the chimney and is never seen again." He wasn't giving any points to Gryffindor, even if the Weasley brat surprised him by actually knowing something useful, like that there was a story or that black cats were considered to bring bad luck by the muggles.
"I remember that story." Voices muttered among themselves.
"Yes, Muggles do consider a black cat bad luck, not all Muggles, however, it is still a very popular belief. Our society considers a Cat Sidhe to bring good luck." Severus informed his class. He knew most of the Slytherins wouldn't know about the muggles superstitions and would be in the library to find another way to believe that Muggles were inferior in some way. He would have to speak to his house later regarding some of the superstitions that still existed. Severus inwardly smirked, as he realized that Harry was indeed a bearer of good luck.
"There is also a legend that on Samhain, it is believed that a Cat Sìth would bless any house that left a saucer of milk out for it to drink, and those houses that did not let out a saucer of milk would be cursed into having all of their cows' milk dry." Draco added.
"Yes, ten points to Slytherin." Severus said. "Anything else?" When no one responded, he started his lecture on the healing potions they would be working on in their next practical lesson. "Homework is a two-foot essay on the uses of minor healing potions and their uncommon properties. Class dismissed."
When the class was over, he looked at Harry. "Anything interesting?" He asked, as he put up some privacy wards, and included a proximity ward.
Harry transformed back to his human self. "The fake me, he smells weird, I need to find out more information but he doesn't smell like a boy, he smells like a girl, but also smells of a strange magic. There is also a Vow on the fake."
"A girl?" Severus groaned as he realized who the fake Harry was. He had wondered what happened to Tonks, now he knew. "I know who it is. We need to speak to Lucius and the Dark Lord. His class should be over also."
Harry transformed back into his kitten form and followed Severus out of the classroom and towards the DADA classroom. Harry enjoyed how the students back away from him and Severus as they walked. "Severus?" They heard.
Severus wanted to groan, the one person he didn't want to see, and he just happened to be in the halls. "Albus." Severus waited as the man approached them.
"Why do you have a Cat Sidhe with you?" Dumbledore was clearly wondering where the beast came from. He knew they weren't dark creatures and didn't mind one being in the school.
"It followed me home." Severus replied. "I am going to find a new home for it." He didn't want him to get any ideas concerning the real Harry Potter or Harry as a Cat Sidhe.
"They are considered the bears of good luck." Dumbledore told him. "Maybe he and Minerva can have a chat."
"I will bring him to dinner tonight, right now, however, I told Quirinus that I would meet him and see about arranging a lesson on them in DADA. I had a few students in my last class who had an interest in them."
"Excellent idea, maybe he will visit all of the DADA classes, it would be a great practical." Dumbledore exclaimed.
Harry meowed at them. Severus glanced down and hid the inward smirk as Dumbledore basically gave Harry free access to Hogwarts. "Indeed."
"I won't keep you, I will see you at lunch."
"I am afraid I won't be there for lunch. I need to get some potion ingredients from Malfoy Manor." Severus now had the floo activity from Lucius' earlier visit and the one he would be making later.
"Very well. I shall see you at dinner. I will tell Minerva to be ready to have a chat with your new friend." Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling as he started towards his office. He didn't see Severus and the kitten exchange a look.
Harry continued to follow Severus to the DADA classroom. He was surprised to find it empty, so headed to Quirrell's office. He knocked on the door and was told to enter. As soon as he did, he felt the wards go into effect. "You are going to enjoy this, my Lord."
"Interesting class I take it?" The Dark Lord asked.
"Yes, but we ran into Dumbledore, he wants some practical lessons on Cat Sidhe, and believes all of the students will enjoy your lesson on them." Severus told him.
"Seems we will be giving lessons on snakes and Cat Sidhe. I mentioned the variety of potion ingredients snakes provided, and how they can be used for protection in my class, it was third year Ravenclaws and Slytherins."
"They can be here for a while and no one will think anything of it. That does make it easier." Severus replied. "He wants Minerva to talk to our Harry." He paused, looked down at Harry, who meowed at him. He took a seat, in the chair that was in front of Professor Quirrell's desk, even if the Dark Lord was in charge right now, it was still Quirrell's office.
~He said, tell Tom.~ Nagini translated. She slithered out from under the desk. She was still small but Severus knew the snake was deadly.
"They said to tell me." The Dark Lord translated what Nagini said. He knew that Harry had to have found something interesting out already.
"Harry figured out who the fake is. It appears to be a former student by the name of Nymphadora Tonks, she is a Hufflepuff, but the interesting fact is she is a Metamorphmagus. The trait emerged because of her mother, Andromeda Black, married a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks. Andromeda was removed from the tapestry of the Black family tree as a result of her marriage, not that she really cared. Harry said she was under a Vow."
"Most likely a Vow with some blood glamours, and a sealer. Her skills as a Metamorphmagus would help the image from being revealed." The Dark Lord knew Dumbledore had to have used dark magic.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he did take some of James' blood and used a sealing ritual. He never asked me for a sealer, but I know he could get it any place, it's an easy potion to brew. He could have even brewed it himself." Severus was petting Harry.
"Very true, it really doesn't matter, when the time is right we can reveal it. I am just wondering how long he is going to have her keep playing at it?" The Dark Lord wondered what the old coot was thinking.
"Well, we know if he wants a long lasting golem it takes at least six months to create, if he wants one that is going to have a personality and be able to operate without him feeding his magic to it, it's going to be closer to nine."
"More like a year, now we know he had Hagrid bring a golem to Gringotts. That was July, he most likely had quickly created golem or something at the muggles for them to be able to convince Hagrid that the fake lived there."
"Do you think Tonks will disappear during the Yule break and the golem will appear after that?" Severus asked.
"I believe so, but even if the golem does appear, it won't make a real difference in our plans, we can still expose the golem when the time is right." The Dark Lord began to form a plan in his mind on how they can expose what Dumbledore was doing without risking the real Harry.
"Once the blood adoption is done, we can work on securing Harry's future." Severus knew his Lord was working on a way to protect Harry. He could tell from Quirrell's expression what the Dark Lord was thinking. Quirrell wasn't good at masking his feelings. "I told Albus that I would be going to Malfoy Manor during lunch so we can do the blood adoption at that time."
"I believe I am going to add my own blood adoption too." The Dark Lord said.
"Meow?" Harry was confused. He transformed back into his usual self. "Me?"
"Yes, I still want to look at your Inheritance Test, but I believe you are my heir." The Dark Lord told them.
"My Lord?" Severus was now confused.
"I have been researching on why the curse failed that night. The only way it could have failed is if I attacked someone from the Slytherin line who was my heir. Harry was born with the ability to speak to snakes. Since he is the only other one, it would automatically make him my heir. I have some doubts about the prophecy also, but I can explain that later."
"Slytherin heir? Well, that makes more sense than the idea that Lily's love saved him. If that was a true theory, the killing curse would have failed numerous times before." Severus said.
"What about the Horcrux in me?" Harry asked.
"WHAT?" Severus and the Dark Lord almost screamed at him.
"According to Healer Grimly, I have a portion of Tom's soul in my scar. They wanted to remove it, but since no one ever heard of a living Horcrux, they didn't want to try it. They instead isolated it, and it caused my scar to disappear." Harry shrugged. "I don't get the whole thing."
"A living Horcrux." The Dark Lord was amazed, now he was going to guarantee that Harry was safe. It also explained why Nagini was so attached to Harry.
"Is it dangerous?" Severus asked.
"No, it used to teach me and still does. I can interact with it when I focus on it. It protected me from the Muggles before I ran away. It taught me how to do some healing spells." Harry answered. "Can I have some chips at lunch?"
"May." Severus automatically corrected Harry, as he thought about what this meant and how it changed things. He knew now that the Dark Lord would never allow any harm to come to Harry, and that made his Vow easier to fulfill, in one way, but he had to worry about Dumbledore going after Harry.
"Harry, do you understand what it means for you to be my Horcrux?"
"Not really, I know you and I stay alive." Harry answered. "So is that a yes for chips?"
Severus held back his laugh. "Yes, you may have chips, if they are available at Malfoy Manor."
"It also means that we are connected, Harry." The Dark Lord explained. "How that connection will work I am not sure, but we can figure it out."
"I know how it works, I can feel your stronger emotions and can see things if you are upset." Harry answered. "That is why Maka made sure I learned Occlumency."
The Dark Lord laughed. "You certainly are a surprise, Harry." He stood up. "Let's go and get the adoption taken care of."
They rose and Harry transformed back into his kitten form, snake and kitten followed the two men back to Severus' quarters, causing a few curious glances.
Chapter 4: Adoption and Surprises
When they arrived at Malfoy Manor, Harry transformed back into himself. He held up a wand. "Here." He held it to Severus.
"I don't need your wand, Harry, we don't use a wand for blood adoption." Severus didn't take the wand but was wondering why Harry was giving it to him. He knew no one mentioned taking his wand from him.
"It's the fake's."
The Dark Lord took the wand, he started to inspect it. "It's not a new wand, this wand has had a lot of use."
Harry opened his robe and pulled out some parchment. "Here is some stuff he wrote on or she? She is pretending to be a boy, so she?"
The Dark Lord and Severus looked the parchment. "I didn't even see you do it." Severus was amazed. He only thought Harry stayed in his cat form. He certainly wasn't expecting a wand and parchment, but it did explain why he got close to the fake and why he back away quickly. In potions, they don't use a wand, so the fake wouldn't have noticed, and he knew fake and Weasley kept their wands in their back pockets so Severus knew the fake wouldn't notice until his next class if that.
"Skills." Harry grinned. "So what is for lunch?" He hoped it would involve some chips, he really had a craving for them. The goblins just couldn't get chips correct, and it would make Nagini happy, they were on their way to get chips when they saw the paper.
~Mad skills~ Nagini added. ~We talented.~ Sounding surprisingly like Harry.
When she hissed that the Dark Lord lost it, he couldn't stop laughing. "Sorry hearing my almost 60-year-old snake say mad skills and we talented wasn't something I was expecting." The Dark Lord, wiping a tear from his eye, wondered if he was going to be able to claim his snake again, but he wasn't too worried.
"I believe we will be having a discussion about those skills, however, the wand and the writing will be able to help us. I can compare it any samples in Tonks school file." Severus leaned down and said, "good job, just limit the wand stealing."
"So you want the other ones too?" Harry pulled open his cloak and showed them a variety of wands. He had about ten wands in his cloak.
"Where did you get those?" Severus couldn't believe he hadn't seen the child do anything. He was an expert at catching children doing things.
"Surrey, Kent, Hyde Park, Nottingham, Central London, Edinburgh." Harry stopped when Severus put his hand up.
"Why?" Severus was trying to grasp this whole concept.
"Well, some are from people who wanted to hurt me or Nagini, but mostly because it was good practice for casting magic, as they don't have any traces on them, like the wands you get from Ollivander." Harry answered. "You need them? I find they come in handy for certain types of jobs. They are good for breaking or building wards, can't be linked back to me. Way to hide from that man."
"The goblins taught you how to pickpocket, steal and rob people?" Severus was wondering what else he knew. He knew Harry would never trust Dumbledore and he didn't blame him.
"No, I learned at that well before them. It was how we survived before I got to Gringotts. These are old wands, I haven't had to steal one, until today, because I got my own. These wands used to provide us with food, shelter, and warmth." Harry explained. "Are you mad?" He tilted his head, looking closely at Severus.
"No, I was confused and concerned. I don't want to find out Hogwarts students were missing their wands or have the Aurors looking for you. The Headmaster might have connected the missing wands to the Cat Sidle he saw today." Severus knew Harry was going to keep them on their toes.
"Are we having a meeting in the foyer?" Lucius was wondering why it had taken so long for them to walk from the foyer to the sitting room.
"No, it seems our Harry pulled a bit of surprise with his skills." The Dark Lord held the wand up to Lucius. "It's the fake's wand. Harry got it and some of her written work."
"Very good, if you get more wands let me know. I will give you ten galleons for each." Lucius would have to pay a lot more for untraceable wands if he had to go and buy them.
"Deal." Harry opened his cloak and pulled out the other wands has the Dark Lord started laughing again, Severus wasn't if he should kill Lucius now or later. "Here is ten wand, one hundred galleons please." Harry held the wands in his hands.
"Please don't steal wands unless it's needed." Severus was glaring at Lucius. He wondered what the man was thinking.
"How did you get so many wands?" Lucius finally recovered enough to ask. He had been looking at the wands and trying to figure out how he could possibly have gotten so many.
~You should have gotten chips.~ Nagini hissed. ~Tell him you want chips.~
~You will get chips, remember Severus said if they had them, you would get them.~ Harry looked at them. "She wants chips."
"You got my familiar hooked on chips?" The Dark Lord realized it was official his familiar was now Harry's too.
"Who did you think they were for?" Harry asked.
"You." Severus and the Dark Lord answered.
"While I have wanted some, I have a craving because of her. She is addicted. Do you still want the wands? I also have some rune stones, ward stones, some glamour rings. I usually sell them in Knockturn." Harry stated.
"Where did you get those?" The Dark Lord asked.
"Made them. Picax, Naota, Ragn, and Frank taught me how to make them." Harry stated. "It is how I was able to buy clothes and things. I need to get to my vault if you want. I can't carry everything."
"Let's go and sit in the sitting room, do the blood adoption and we will discuss your enterprising ways. Narcissa already set up for a room for you." Lucius started walking towards the sitting room.
"I get a room?" Harry's voice was filled with amazement. "I never had one before." The adults hid their anger at those words. What kind of muggles did he live with before he made it to the goblins? They knew in the goblin culture, everyone who wasn't married slept in the same room, whole families lived in about six rooms.
~You didn't even have your own boot cupboard, had to share it with those nasty other things.~
"I believe we will be adding what your living situation was before you went to the goblins." The Dark Lord stated.
"Not much to tell, it was abuse, Maka told Lucius about it." Harry wasn't going to be speaking about those muggles if he could help it.
"Maka provided me with his medical history, education and how Harry is aware of their ways." Lucius let them know it wasn't about Harry and his experiences that Maka had told him about. He opened the door to the sitting room.
"I was wondering if you gotten lost." Narcissa rose from her seat. "My Lord, I welcome you to our home."
"Thank you, Narcissa, it's good to see you again. I do believe we have a blood adoption to do?"
"I have the potion ready. Harry what is going to happen is simple, I know we have explained how this works but now we are going to explain the ritual in of itself." Severus took the vial out of his robe, while Lucius set up a small table with six candles on it, two white, two red and two green. "Lucius, Narcissa, and the Dark Lord."
"Tom Marvolo Riddle, the four of you can call me Marvolo." The Dark Lord knew his real name would be needed for the ceremony.
Narcissa handed Harry a sterling silver knife. Severus took his spot. "I am going to be officiating the ceremony. They will each light one of each color candle at the correct time. Each time they light a candle, they will make a promise, after all of the candles are lit, you need to pass me the knife. Now this importance, after each promise, you need to wave the knife over the flame, you don't need to hold it." Severus waved his hand over one of the candles. "Just that easy and fast."
"Do I need to have the flame touch the knife?" Harry was looking at the small tables with the runes engraved on it.
"No, just make sure it passes over." Severus answered. "Once that is done, you will hand me the knife. Now I am not sure what rituals or ceremonies you have seen with the goblins, but I will need to make a small cut on their fingers. They will hold their finger over their individual candles, I will make the cut, and they will each allow three drops of their blood to fall into the vial. After that, they will use blood to put out their candles. We won't speak after the promises until you see a name, it might stay a bit the same or it might completely change."
"Are the promise something set in the ritual or ones they have made up? Why also are you using old Norse rune, wouldn't old English or Scottish be better?"
Narcissa hid a smile as she saw the last question clearly surprised the men. She wondered what part of Harry being trained by goblins that they misunderstood, she was willing to bet the boy could teach them rituals that wizards hadn't used for centuries. Yes, her future son was going to be a challenge, and one she was looking forward to, she also wondered if Albus Dumbledore would ever realize what a huge mistake had made.
"I am using this table as it's been in the Malfoy family for years. While modern Malfoy families lay claim to France as their origins we can trace our root to the Nordic area." Lucius answered.
"The promises will be ones we make ourselves. They might be similar, they could cover teaching you or even just simply protecting you." The Dark Lord told Harry.
"So, instead of doing the normal potion for blood adoption we are doing this ritual. Why?" Harry asked.
"While the blood adoption potions are easier, we believe this is better. You will get receive not only magical confirmation of being a member of our families, the Dark Lord, and Malfoy family, but you also get a Vow. It's viewed at as a magical contract, a binding magical contract." Severus was actually impressed by Harry's questions and knowledge.
~Hurry up, you belong together. Afterward, we have chips.~ Nagini lifted her head up and looked at everyone.
"If they have chips, you will get some chips, Nagini." The Dark Lord really wondered about this snake. She was always a very demanding snake, but she was never addicted to anything like chips before, then again he had never given her human food. "Any more questions, Harry?"
"No, but can I pick who lights what color candle?"
"You can, as candle color truly doesn't matter, as originally it was completed with all white candles." Severus said.
"So Lucius, red, Narcissa, green and Marvolo, white." Harry arranged the candles accordingly, putting each one on the correct rune needed, the rune for each family member.
They adults watched with pride has Harry arranged the candles, they were evenly spaced in a crescent shape, secured enough to not be knocked over and he placed the potion vial away from the where the flames could have caught their clothing if the vial had been placed in the center.
Severus faced north, Harry faced south, Lucius, and Narcissa faced east and the Dark Lord faced west, Nagini was curled up between the Dark Lord and Harry. "I, Lord Severus Tobias Prince Snape, ask Harrison James Potter is he entering into a Blood Adoption Ritual willing and without malice?" He suddenly looked at them, he realized they never got an Inheritance Test on Harry, they will need to see Ironclaw again.
"Does that mean like when the goblins say ill intentions?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Severus was finding Harry a unique combination of street smarts, cunning, naivety yet worldly, and with a good head on his shoulders. He was looking forward to teaching him.
"Yes, very willingly and without malice or ill intentions."
I, Lord Severus Tobias Prince Snape, ask Lord Lucius Abarax Malfoy is he entering into a Blood Adoption Ritual willing and without malice?"
"Yes, I am entering it freely and without malice."
"I, Lord Severus Tobias Prince Snape, ask Lady Narcissa Aurora Malfoy nee Black is she entering into a Blood Adoption Ritual willing and without malice?"
"Yes, I am entering it freely and without malice."
"I, Lord Severus Tobias Prince Snape, ask Tom Marvolo Riddle, Lord Voldemort, Lord Slytherin is he entering into a Blood Adoption Ritual willing and without malice?"
"Yes, I am entering it freely and without malice."
"Lord Malfoy, your promises."
Lucius aimed his wand at the red candle on his right, "I promise the love of a father, who will guide you in your life and provide for you." Harry waved the knife over the candle, Severus gave him a slight nod. Lucius lit the next candle. "I promise you a safe haven, a place to rest, to be protected, to be loved and to always have a home." Harry waved the knife over the candle on Lucius' left.
Narcissa lit the green candle on her right. "I promise the love of a mother, who will aid you in your life and assist in any struggles you shall encounter." Harry waved the knife over the green candle on her right. She lit the candle on her left. "I promise to be compassionate when needed, to listen when needed, to give advice whether or now it's heeded or needed." Harry gave her a smirk as he waved the knife over the candle.
"Lord Tom Marvolo Riddle Slytherin."
The Dark Lord, using his wand, lit the white candle on his left, aligning it to the Malfoys' candles. "I promise to give you the training in all areas of your life, from your schooling to politics." Harry waved the knife. The Dark Lord lite the last candle. "I promise you protection, with my leading the dark faction."
Harry waved the knife over the candle. He held it out to Severus. Severus cut Lucius' index finger. Lucius held his finger over the vial, after the three drops, he put out his candle, each one followed that pattern until the candles were completely out. At Severus' nod, Harry took the vial and drank it. They guided Harry to the couch as the potion worked. They watched him change before their eyes. He grew a few inches, his shoulders got broader, he gained a little bit of weight, defining his muscles. His hair went to a bluish black with a Malfoy blond streak going down the sides of his face. His skin tone went a tad lighter, his nose and lips thinned, giving a more Roman-shaped nose, his eyes also changed shape, they became a bit more oval. His eye color was the biggest change, his eyes were now purple with the Malfoy grey specks. They waited "Orion Arcturus Marvolo Black Gaunt Malfoy, so mote it be." Harry finally said.
"So mote it be." They replied. Severus handed him a pain potion. "Sleep Orion Arcturus Marvolo Black Gaunt Malfoy."
Chapter 5: Dinner with Minerva, Student Life
* cat speak
Might revamp this a bit later, I had a new idea in the middle but not sure if the idea will work out for this story.
Lucius gently touched his youngest son. "Orion time to wake up. You need to head back to Hogwarts to meet with Severus and the Dark Lord for dinner."
Harry slowly woke up. Nagini was curled up on his feet. "Are you coming?"
"No, but we will be waiting for your return tonight. Severus is waiting for you in his quarters."
Harry got up and morphed into his cat form. "We will need to find a name for your cat form." Narcissa picked him up. "There are some clean clothes and things that Severus took with him for you to have tonight."
Harry meowed as Narcissa carried him to the floo. Lucius was there with Nagini. "We will start to make arrangements for you to go to Hogwarts after the Yule holidays. Severus can provide you with the details. You will come home with Draco this weekend. We don't want too many floo trips."
Harry followed Severus to the Great Hall. Nagini had made her way to the Dark Lord, but she was going to stay hidden in Severus' quarters most of the time. Severus was going to say she was for his potion research. Once they were seated at the Head Table, Harry sitting on the edge of the table with his own plate in front of him. "Minerva that is the Cat Sidhe I mentioned earlier." Dumbledore announced to all the staff. "Isn't he adorable?"
Harry tilted his head to look at Dumbledore as if he was crazy and meowed a few times, causing Minerva to snort. "Minerva?" Filius asked.
"Sorry, but he was offended. He prefers amazing, skilled, and I believe the last one translated as godlike as all cats view themselves to be." Minerva had a grin on her face.
"All cats?" Poppy summoned a small ball with a bell in it and rolled it down the table.
Harry watched the ball roll off the table and onto the floor. He looked at Poppy. "MEOW!" His ears were flat back, his tail was swishing, and his fur was fluffed up.
"Oh dear." Minerva gasped and transformed into a cat and started speaking to Harry. *She didn't mean to offend. Most of the tabby cats enjoy balls and other toys.*
*Do I look like a tabby? I'm a great hunter, I stalk and kill prey, not round things that smell weird and make weird noises.* Harry meowed back, he was going to enjoy this. *She insulted me. I am bringer of good luck if you treat me right, bearer of misery if you don't.* Yes, I want that milk to keep coming, he thought.
*I am aware. I will inform them all. I believe it's your size, they see you as a kitten.* Minerva thought he was a cute little thing.
Harry grow to his full height. *Now they won't.* He looked at each member of the staff as they took in his new size. Oh, he was going to enjoy this. He would have to remember to make plans with Nagini. They were going to have some great fun in this castle.
*I will let them know you mean no harm, and to not give you tabby toys.* Minerva was trying to remember the complete lore regarding Cat Sidhe.
*Good. Milk would be good.* Yes, lots of milk. He liked it, especially since he never had it at the Dursley. He loved orange juice too. The stuff in the students' glasses didn't smell too bad either. He wondered what it was.
Minerva shifted back. "Sorry, but he was a bit insulted by the toy. That is his regular size, he would like some milk."
"I didn't mean to insult him, I thought he would enjoy it." Poppy responded as she summoned a bowl of milk, passing it to Severus.
"I explained, he reminded me of the legend of the Cat Sidhe. I believe having one here will remind everyone that they can bring good fortune or bad." Minerva responded.
"Yes, the legends. I had wondered if they were true." Professor Burbage asked. "I wonder if he would be interested in attending a few of my classes, Severus?"
"He is here for a bit, I believe. As I told Albus, he followed me here. He attended my first year Gryffindor and Slytherin class and was well behaved in it." Severus responded as he added some more meat to Harry's plate. The milk was now in a bowl to the left of Harry. "Don't drink to much milk. You need to eat some of the stuff on your plate." He quietly told the cat, only to get a "do you think I am stupid look?" returned to him.
"I asked Severus and Quirinus to provide lessons on Cat Sidhe already but some will enjoy the muggle viewpoint I believe." Dumbledore liked this plan, the longer he kept a Cat Sidhe here, the better lucky his Harry would have. He would make sure they didn't deny the animal a daily sauce of milk.
"I am sure he won't mind, but he is a cat." Severus reminded them. "I am not going to guarantee he will agree."
"Let me work up a schedule and I am sure I can explain it to him." Minerva stated as she looked a the cat, she suddenly remembered another bit of lore about them. Their parchment for making mischief. She wondered if Severus and Albus knew about it. She decided not to warn them.
Harry finished his milk and hopped down and started to make his rounds around the students. He eventually returned to Severus and nudged the man with his paw. Severus looked down at before he could say anything, Harry dumped a supply of prank products at his feet. "Meow."
"Minerva?" Severus started to pick the jokes up. He recognized a lot of the items and wondered where Harry could have put the items.
"He said they came from my the third table." Minerva and everyone looked. "Gryffindor or Ravenclaw?"
"Gryffindor." Everyone but Minerva and Dumbledore stated.
"Before we have an issue, why don't you ask him." Irma knew who the items came from, and agreed it was the Gryffindors. They had ruined too many of her books with their pranks, especially those devil-twins.
Minerva sighed but transformed. *We need to know which table.*
Harry jumped from his spot next to Severus, twisted in mid-air, landed on all fours on the Gryffindor table, and prompted went down the table and smacked each student who had the prank items on the top of their heads with his tail. *Them.* Harry was going to enjoy this.
Minerva transformed back. "My Gryffindors and the ones who he hit with his tail had the items." She stood up. "Mr. Weasleys, Mr. Potter, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Smyth, Miss Carruthers, Miss McKinley and all of my second-year students, are to report to Mr. Filch for detention for the next three nights."
"I know that cat had something to do with it." Was heard up and down the table.
"No, you had something to do with it. You have forbidden items on your person and you knew the penalty. Now you will report at 7 to Mr. Filch. I am sure he still has the Charms corridor that needs to be cleaned." Minerva stated.
Harry trotted up the table and when he got to the fake Potter, knocked the plate off of the table and onto his lap, followed by the goblet filled with the nice smelling drink. Harry moved to the next goblet, smelled it and started to drink it, as he sent Ron Weasley's plate into his lap. He liked the drink, wasn't sure what it was, but it was good. "I do believe the Sidle likes pumpkin juice." Dumbledore stated.
Severus didn't hide the smirk he had as he watched the fake Potter and his friends try to clean up the mess that was now being worn by the two boys. He wondered why Harry did it, and he wondered about the pranks. He glanced at Minerva who was glaring at her lions still.
Severus was followed by the much bigger version of the Cat Sidhe and found students gave him even a wider berth. He was going to enjoy that fact of having the Cat Sidhe with him. He was almost in his quarters when Draco Malfoy called, "Professor Snape."
He entered his quarters, leaving his door open for Draco to enter. "Uncle Severus, where were you today?"
"At the manor, I needed to get a few things. Your father is going to ask for you to return home this weekend. You should get the letter in the morning. I will speak to Dumbledore and take you home on Friday night." Severus needed to start to arrange things for this week, it was only Tuesday so that gave Harry four days to create havoc, he thought, with Nagini aiding him. He also wanted to set up lesson for Harry.
"Is everything alright with Mother and Father?" Draco started to pet the Cat Sidhe, who was purring, but he jumped a bit when Nagini slithered into the room. "Uncle Severus there is a huge snake behind you."
"I am aware. She won't hurt you. She most likely is checking on the Sidhe."
"Oh. Wait, they are friends?" Draco didn't remember ever reading about snakes and cats being friends in any of the books he read as a child.
"Best friends, I believe is the correct word." They had discussed Nagini and Harry association and they all agreed, the two were going to be inseparable. The Dark Lord didn't seem to be too upset about it. Severus wondered if it was because Harry was his Horcrux. He needed to do some research on Horcruxes. He would ask the goblins if they could also provide more information.
"I would have thought they would have viewed each other as dinner." Draco kept petting the Sidhe, as the snake moved towards him. He finally touched the body of the snake and watched the snake arch a bit into his hands. "She likes being petted."
Severus didn't respond as he sat at his desk. "Draco."
"Yes, Uncle Severus?"
"This weekend, it's important that you don't mention it to anyone. You can only say that you have to home. Your father won't include any details in the letter, but you aren't in trouble and no one is in danger." Severus reassured Draco. "I will also be asking the Slytherins to guide the Sidhe to any classes that he might need to make an appearance in."
"What is his name?" We will gladly help. The Gryffindors will be looking to get revenge for him turning in their pranks."
Severus looked at Harry. "I am not sure he has a name as of yet. I will take him to Professor McGonagall to see if she can get a name from him." He knew Harry would and could handle the Gryffindors. "Now head to the common room."
"Good night, Uncle Severus." Draco stated. "Night Sidhe and Snake." He gave each a quick pat and left.
As soon as Harry felt the wards go up, he shifted. "Those Gryffindors are clueless."
"Is that why you removed their pranks?" Severus asked.
"Yes, the idiot duo wanted to set off pranks in your potion class, when a few of the others heard, they wanted to join in. The ones that look alike, they wanted to stop it and were talking to their friend about how to prevent it without giving themselves away."
"The Weasley twins and their friend Lee Jordan. The twins are famous for their pranks. They are actually very creative in them and don't pick on one person nor are they cruel. Do you know who did the Charms corridor?"
"Yes, the idiot duo. They wanted to see how their prank stuff worked, so they set them off. They were bragging about it. The Know-It-All, she was trying to get them to stop and think about what they were doing."
"I am wondering why Tonks is allowing that. She is an Auror and wasn't for pranks like that when she was here."
"She wasn't here. The fake smelled different tonight." Harry paused. "He smelled like wood, also was saying constant vigilance. Kept saying it would teach the students to be aware of the danger around them."
"Mad-Eye Moody. He is crazy enough to agree to anything Dumbledore wanted to be done. He must have switched them before dinner." Severus paused. "Did you smell anything else?"
"The same type of Vow." Harry was looking at Severus' bookcase. "Can I read these?"
"It's may and yes. I am going to assign you lessons plans to get you ahead of the first year students. The same type of lessons Draco had, we will spend time in my private potion lab."
Harry grinned. "I can't wait." He wanted to learn potions for so long. The goblins wouldn't allow him to actually brew anything because of the different type of magic they used for brewing. They were also fearful of Harry being hurt too badly in a potion accident.
"Do you know anything about potions?" Severus asked.
"A bit, the goblins let me help but I wasn't allowed to brew. Their magic and ours don't always agree and potions are sensitive to that. Also, they were afraid of me being hurt beyond what they could heal. Goblins are a bit heartier than us when it comes to survival." Harry pulled a book down and grabbed the one next to it. They were on Charms and Defense. "Can you answer a question for me?"
"I may answer a question." Severus replied.
Harry ignored him. "Why is it called Defense Against the Dark Arts when they don't teach Dark Arts? How can you defend against something you know nothing about?"
"That is an excellent question, given what we are to teach students. For some unknown reason, Dumbledore has convinced certain Ministry personnel that all Dark Arts are evil. Dark Arts, if they are used by a Light Wizard, can make a Light Wizard feel out of control. Light Wizards don't rely on their feelings to cast, so they view that all magic must be cast that way and expect everyone to agree with it. Now, Dark Wizards can use their feelings and believe it puts more power behind their spells. There is a double-edged sword on that because if they don't control their feelings the magic can overwhelm them and drive them insane. Which is why all Dark Wizards usually learn from someone who has already mastered that control. In between that are the Grey Wizards, they can use spells that don't fall to the extreme end of the Light or Dark Wizards." Severus looked at Harry, he could tell the boy was paying close attention to his words.
"So, for the three Unforgivables, they must use a lot of emotions. Do the Light Wizards realize that any spell can kill or cause pain to someone if used correctly?" Harry asked.
That was a question he wasn't expecting from Harry. He had heard it before but usually from older students. He wondered what exactly the goblins had taught Harry and wondered if he could get some of their lesson plans for his students. "I believe they count on people not doing that. It's like the muggles, everyone uses common everyday items, when in fact, a really evil person could use those same items and kill someone with and have. Pencils, pens, butter knives are just some of the items they have used." Severus paused. "Do you know what kind of wizard you are?"
"Dark." Harry answered. "But the goblins found I could cast any type of spell. It didn't matter. The Patronus Charm took me a bit to get, had to practice a week for that to work."
Severus almost choke, the boy could cast a Patronus Charm. "May I see it?"
"Sure." Harry stood up, after putting the books down on the table. "Expecto Patronum."
Severus watched as a Fennec Fox came out of the wand and danced around him. The Fennec Fox fit Harry, he thought. The boy was sly and cunning, but also playful. "You are going to have to hide some of your talents, but I don't want you to ever hide your skill with magic." Severus warned him. "I want you to be at the top of your class. You can do it."
"I am aware. The goblins made sure I could. Maka will kill me if I didn't." Harry answered.
"So will your parents and I know a certain other person wouldn't be happy if you didn't either. I still want to see where you stand during this week, so each night we will work on the different courses."
"Great, I now have wizards who are going to smother me too." Harry muttered.
"Yes, you will." Severus got up and went into his bedroom, he returned a few minutes later and handed Harry two books. "These are two books your mother read all summer before we started Hogwarts."
"I have them. I found the Charms simple but effective. Tanka showed me how to mask some of the simpler spells to help me when I wasn't with the goblins. The potions in chapters 5 and 6 were interesting. I really wanted to try to make the healing ones."
Soon the two of them were in the lab with Severus showing Harry how to make a healing potion. Severus found he didn't have to correct Harry's cutting style but he had to explain some of the minor things like what a pinch was versus a dash. The goblins didn't measure that way.
On Wednesday Harry spent following the Dark Lord around, he found the stuttering annoying and had a great deal of fun removing quills and things for the students' bags. He had a nice pile of goodies by the end of the day. When the last of the students left for the day, Harry gathered up his goodies and put them in his endless pouch. He knew the Dark Lord was watching him and he saw the grin on the man's face. "Don't worry, it's nothing they won't miss."
"I am not. I am actually impressed, I didn't see you change to do it and I know they didn't feel you remove anything."
"I don't need to change. I use wandless magic. The goblins don't use wands, so that is how I learned magic. I got a wand about a few years ago to use as a prop. Wizards expect a wand, I would have stood out using magic without a wand." Harry answered. "Besides, it allows them to underestimate me that way."
The Dark Lord grinned. "You are just full of surprises. Severus said you did well last night working on potions. He is going to do check your skill with Charms and Transfiguration tonight. Tomorrow will be Defense and Herbology."
"Do you think I could see Lucius about my ward stones and things from my vault? I have a feeling I am going to need a lot more books." Harry asked.
"I tell you what if I need anything like what you already make I will buy them from you directly at cost. For your school books, I will buy any book you need if you are at the top of your class."
"How about you buy any book I want if I am at the top of my class? I will provide you with all the stuff I make at a profit of just 25%?" Harry countered. He wasn't going to tell him he already planned on being the top of his class because Maka would kill him if he wasn't.
The Dark Lord smirked, Harry was a true snake. "I will buy you books I deem acceptable and 5%."
"The books I want, 20%."
"Books you want with the exception of books that your father and Severus would object to and 10%."
"Books I want and debate over the books anyone finds objectable, with a valid reason not because I said so, and 15%."
The Dark Lord thought about it for a few minutes before responding. "Deal." He held out his hand.
Harry shook his hand and before he shifted into his cat form for their way down to the Great Hall for dinner added. "Pleasure doing business with you." He wasn't going to tell him he would have done it for 5% and debate on the books.
The Dark Lord grinned as he watched the cat head towards the Great Hall. The little brat knew how to drive a bargain and the Dark Lord refrained from commenting that he would have bought the school books no matter what.
Draco, with Pansy and Blaise, were walking to the Charms classroom to collect the still unnamed cat when they heard a loud yowl and a scream. "I'm going to kill that cat."
They ran down the hall and found Weasley with Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan pointing their wands at the Sidhe. "Blaise, get Professor Flitwick."
Blaise went back towards the classroom, while Pansy and Draco pulled out their wands and got ready to defend themselves and the Sidhe. The Sidhe suddenly broke into nine different cats and started moving towards its attackers.
"How do we stop it?" Dean asked, fear lacing his voice, as he was pointing his wand at one of them, and then moved it to another.
"I don't know." Seamus stammered, trying not to panic.
"Don't you do a thing." A voice stated and they all turned and found Professor Snape standing behind them. Draco and Pansy relaxed. The Sidhe didn't, however, he was still stalking the three boys.
"Cat, leave them be." Severus ordered. He watched the cat's eyes narrow, the tail flicked, the fur was still raised. "I will deal with them." He promised the Sidhe. The Sidhe disappeared, causing a few to gasp. "Draco?"
"We were coming down the hall to collect the Sidhe, we really need a name, when we heard a yowl, some screams of pain. We ran down the hall and saw Thomas, Weasley, and Finnegan with their wands drawn, saying there were going to kill the cat. They had him cornered. We arrived, with our wands out, ready to defend the cat, when it did the whole Sidhe thing and split into nine. You arrived I believe as it was about to attack the three Gryffindors."
"That menace needs to be killed." Weasley stated. "He scratched us."
"After you cornered him and hurt him." Draco retorted.
"Twenty points each for attempting to hurt an animal, and detention for two weeks with Filch." Severus responded.
"We didn't do anything to it. It attacked us for no reason." Weasley snarled. He didn't see his two friends who were looking at him in confusion because that wasn't what happened. They had indeed cornered the cat and thrown a few spells that they had heard mentioned in the common room.
"Severus, there is more to this than what you have heard." They turned and saw Blaise with Professor Flitwick. "During my class, I heard Mr. Weasley, with Mr. Thomas, Mr. Finnegan, and Mr. Potter plan to corner the cat. Mr. Potter declined and warned them not to do it."
"I believe a trip to the Headmaster's office is in order. I will meet you there after I check on the Sidhe. Professor, do you have time to escort them there?"
"Yes. I will inform the Headmaster what happened."
"Thank you." Severus responded and headed to the dungeons, stopping by the Dark Lord's office to see if the man was available. He didn't want to deal with a possible hurt and angry Harry Potter. He found the Dark Lord marking papers and when he explained what happened, he found himself wondering if it would have been better to just deal with an angry Harry Potter by himself.
They found Harry lying on the floor in the dungeon by Severus' quarters. A group of Slytherins was already working on fixing his wounds. "We don't know what happened."
"We do. We were coming to find him. I will take over. Twenty points to Slytherin for aiding him." Severus watched the Dark Lord pick up the Sidhe. Severus opened up his door and guided the Dark Lord to his guest bedroom. Harry transformed.
Harry opened his eyes. "They hit me with a bone breaker and two stinging hexes." He hissed a bit when Severus touched his ribs. "They broke two or three ribs."
"You won't be able to take a pain potion with the Skele-Gro. I don't see any missing fur, so the hexes weren't strong enough to do the maximum damage."
"I am aware. They are just lucky I didn't gut the miserable little brats." Harry remarked. "They weren't experienced with the spells. I heard them trying a few times."
"Why didn't you run?"
"I did, they got me as I was running, forced me into the corner. I was trying to get away when they did the stinging hexes. You arrived shortly after that." Harry explained. "It took them a while to get the hexes off but Weasley is the one who cast the bone breaker. I don't think he will admit it."
"We appreciate that fact that you didn't gut them." The Dark Lord stated. "You will need to take it easy tonight."
"I need to go and speak to Albus about this." Severus replied. "Are you going to keep him company?"
"Yes, if only to keep me from going after the brats." The Dark Lord responded.
"I'm not sure if I can do much to them. Weasley is friends with Potter. He won't like the idea of not having Potter surrounded by his pets." Severus stated.
"Oh, I plan on making their lives miserable." Harry replied.
"Indeed." Severus had a very strong feeling that Harry would carry out that threat.
Severus returned to quarters. As soon as he entered, he threw a vial across the room. The Dark Lord, who was reading one of his books, knew Severus rarely allowed his emotions free reign. "I take it that it didn't go well?"
"I was told my punishment was enough, even when Filius pointed out it was a planned attack, the man ignored it and said that since the Sidhe escaped unharmed, everything was fine. When I explained how we found the Sidhe, the boys were informed that they would have to find a way to fix things with the Sidhe. Weasley started to complain and we got a lecture about how important a Cat Sidhe was to protecting Harry Potter."
"What?" The Dark Lord asked. "How did he arrive at that?"
"According to him, since a Cat Sidhe followed me here, and since it's the first time, and it's the first year for Harry Potter, that must mean the two are combined."
"If he only knew." The Quirrell side stated.
"How does he think they are to accomplish this goal?"
"That is where he proved he is senile." Severus sat down opposite the Dark Lord. "He wants them to give gifts of fish and leave out bowls of cream. He even suggested giving catnip and speaking to Minerva about what type of toys a Sidhe would like."
"I wonder what Minerva will do when she learns what they did. She is very protective of Harry." The Dark Lord responded.
A grin appeared on Severus' face. "Yes, she is."
"Oh, Harry decided on a name. He said since everyone is calling him Cat, he thought to make it official by naming himself Catmando." The Dark Lord informed him.
"How did Nagini take it?"
"I had to send her to my home for a bit. She was ready to go and kill them and any Gryffindors that got in her way." The Dark Lord answered.
Harry was moving slowly as his ribs still hurt. He refused to not attend any class. He told Severus that he was learning a lot in the classes, and he wasn't about to let Weasley and friends scare him away. Severus agreed that if Harry stayed hidden they might try again, they would figure Harry was afraid of them. He knew it was going to be a war now between the Gryffindors and Slytherins. Not that it wasn't before but now it was going to be moved up a notch, especially since the Gryffindors didn't get into trouble. If it has been anyone else, and they would have been made an example of, they would have been suspended or expelled. One boy was three years ago when he used his own pet to practice hexes on.
As Severus took his seat with Cat now sitting in his own chair, Weasley, Thomas, and Finnegan approached the Head Table. Gryffindor and Slytherin tables were quiet as they wanted to hear what was said. "Sir, we want to apologize for what we did last night. It wasn't right to attack the Sidhe." Dean Thomas stated as he placed a bowl of cream on the table in front of Cat.
Harry growled at the bowl and nudged it towards Severus. Severus smelled it. "Why did you put Amortentia in the cream?"
"What?" The three of them responded, confused as to who did it.
The Dark Lord exchanged a quick look with Severus. They knew who did it. "We didn't do it. We wanted to just give him some cream and some catnip."
At catnip, Harry jumped onto the table and meowed at them. "Here." Dean tossed the bag to Severus. Severus caught the bag and before he could move Harry snatched it out of his hands and was off.
"I think you might want to go and find him." Minerva grinned. "We might not have a Castle left intact if he rolls around in it."
"I know where he is going." Severus stood up. "Don't ever mention catnip around Cat or I will give any student who does a week's detention." He warned as he headed out to find Harry.
"Iii do feell badd." The Dark Lord stammered. "Iii will goooo hhheelpp." He got up and left before anyone else could say anything. He went directly to Severus' quarters, where he found Harry sitting on the couch with a book opened.
"Catnip?" The Dark Lord asked.
"Does nothing for me, but did you see their faces?" Harry laughed and grabbed his rib cage as he did so. "The look on Severus' face was worth it too."
"Indeed. You're going to be writing three feet on why it's advisable to not make fun of a potion master."
"That is a one-sentence essay. The answer is because they can poison you, make you miserable enough to wish for death, yet keep you alive." Harry retorted. "When do we get to leave?"
"After lunch. Draco doesn't have any classes and neither do we." Severus responded. "I do have Gryffindor and Slytherins for the first class this morning."
"Oh, fun." Harry went to get up.
"No, you will be staying here. I don't need you causing any more problems."
"That isn't fair, I didn't cause any problems with them. They picked on me first." Harry whined. "Besides, I want to see if it's the girl again. Last night it was someone else, smelled close to the Weasley family."
Severus groaned. "How many people is he using for this?"
"Two are Order members, how does Tonks fit into it?" The Dark Lord asked.
"She is being trained by Mad-Eye and Shacklebolt." Severus responded. "I believe they are most likely quietly looking for the original Harry Potter and telling Tonks to play Harry to prevent a panic."
"He would do something like that." The Dark Lord responded he looked at his pocket watch. "We have to head to class. If it gets too boring in potions, you can join me."
Harry changed and followed Severus to the potions classroom. He made a face at the fake Potter and went and laid down on Severus' desk and slept. Severus watched Harry sleep through two more classes before he woke him up to head to the Great Hall for lunch. Double period with the Gryffindors always made him thankfully he had a short day on Fridays and the weekend to recover.
Draco joined them in Severus' quarters after lunch. Draco didn't show his surprise when Professor Quirrell joined them but Severus knew Draco was wondering what exactly was going on.
Chapter 6: Returning
" normal speaking
Draco followed everyone into his father's study, he saw the snake as they walked. He looked at Severus, who wasn't surprised to find the snake roaming around.
"Patience." Severus said, as Narcissa settled everyone down and called for tea.
"Draco, I believe this will be a bit of a surprise for you. I would like for you to listen to what we say and at the end, if you have any questions, we will gladly answer them." Lucius said. "First, Professor Quirrell, if you would."
"Draco, what is going to be discussed here can not leave this room. I want you to take a vow." The Dark Lord stated.
"Why? Who are you? Where is your annoying stutter? Father, I am not going to listen to some lousy Professor." Draco looked affronted. "I am a Malfoy, I don't take orders from a nobody."
The Sidhe and snake started hissing at Draco, who jumped out of his chair. Draco pulled out his wand, only for it to disappear. "Orion, give him back his wand." Lucius stated.
The Sidhe changed into Harry and threw the wand at Draco. He glared. ~Whiny little brat. Can't even let things be explained.~
~I agree.~ The Dark Lord stated. "Lucius, perhaps you might let your son know how much danger he is in."
"Yes, my Lord. I do apologize, he normally has better manners." Lucius stated. "Draco, if you return to your seat, we will explain what you need to know." He wasn't sure what the Dark Lord was going to tell his son but he hoped the Dark Lord realized they needed to limit Draco's information.
"My Lord?" Draco paled as he realized what his father said. He looked at the snake, that was the Dark Lord's familiar. He looked at his mother, she was clearly not impressed by his behavior. He glanced at the boy. "Why do you look like a Malfoy?"
"Oh, he is bright." Harry muttered, turned back into a kitten, hopped onto Severus' lap. He turned and faced Draco.
"Draco, meet your new brother, Orion Arcturus Marvolo Black Gaunt Malfoy. We blood adopted him." Lucius explained.
"We need a vow before we go any further." The Dark Lord stated.
"I have a new brother? Vow?" Draco was very confused. He didn't think his parents would do something like adopted another child without speaking to him first. He turned his gaze to Professor Quirrel unless the Dark Lord made him. The boy was a Black and a Gaunt, two older pure-blood names, so it wasn't like they adopted a mud-blood or half-blood.
"Yes, Draco. We need the vow, not because we don't trust you, but because we don't trust Dumbledore. You know he likes to scan the minds of students." Severus explained. "The vow will protect you and Orion."
Draco made the vow and they informed him of what they learned. At the end of it all, Draco looked at the Sidhe, grinned. "Harry Potter, I am so glad, the other was an idiot. So how much trouble can you cause for Gryffindor?"
~We cause lots and lots of problems for the bad Lions.~ Nagini hissed. ~They won't know what we do to them, until too late.~
The Dark Lord laughed. "They said lots. From what Nagini added, they have a lot of plans."
"I believe the collection of goods Orion had yesterday can attest to it." Severus had been surprised at how much Harry had collected from the clueless Gryffindors.
"I did enjoy all the Lions getting into trouble for the pranks."
"So did we." Lucius laughed. He had heard about it, and Harry had provided his memory of it.
"Is he going to come to Hogwarts as Orion?" Draco asked.
"Yes, but after the Yule holidays. We don't want the Sidhe to disappear and have Orion appear. I believe Severus has a plan on how to work it out." Lucius explained.
"I do. We will keep the Sidhe around all year. However, we are going to explain that since the lessons are over with the Sidhe and snake will be sleeping during the day."
"Hunting at night." Draco smirked. "What about the Stone?"
"I do believe our little feline as an idea on how to get it." The Dark Lord smirked.
Harry transformed back. "Right now it's still in the old man's office. He has that dog guarding nothing. The dog likes music, so I don't understand how that is protection once the stone is in place."
"Fluffy is Hagrid's pet." Severus added. "The thing will go for a treat, while a thief could open the trap door he is guarding."
"I agree. I already supplied him with a few steaks. It worked. The rest of the course that Dumbledore wants to have set up is missing. I believe he plans on putting Devil's Snare below the trap door. As I couldn't see any other place for it to work."
"He brought the Mirror of Erised, it's in an abandoned room." Severus said. "That mirror is dangerous. I think we should put up some warning wards for us to monitor the third floor."
"The mirror is on the second floor, below the room that Fluff is in." Harry smirked.
"How do you know that?" Narcissa asked.
"I hope you haven't been looking at it." Lucius frowned. He knew the lore of the mirror and couldn't believe it was in the school.
"I saw him moving it. Nagini and I were worried about students seeing it. So I added some wards. He hasn't been able to remove the mirror." Harry answered.
"We can use that." The Dark Lord stated. "Severus, if we set up cameras, take pictures of the students entering the two rooms, with a memory of him announcing warning concerning the third floor."
"It will be enough to get a warning, but not much more beyond that." Lucius explained.
"I think I might be able to help with that. After all, Halloween is coming up." The Dark Lord stated. "He must be expecting something."
"He is. I think he set the stone as a test for Harry, while he watches for signs of your return. I know he was pushing it all summer. He hadn't done that in years." Severus started to brush the cat fur off of his robes, but looked at Harry, and stopped. He had a feeling he was going to be wearing cat hair for a while.
Draco was carrying Cat down the hallway to the potion lab, when he saw Weasley, Thomas, and Finnigan trying to work out how to hide and stage an ambush for him. He leaned against the wall and listened to them.
"No, he always comes down after Charms. If you and Dean hide in this alcove, I will stay around the corner. When I step out and I say Malfoy, you two come out of the alcove and block him from running."
"Ron, that won't work. I am telling you, we need to do it back at the entrance to the hallway, this is to close to the potions classroom. Snape will kill us. We can't do anything to Sidhe." Dean pointed to the doors that led to the variety of rooms that Severus used. One was his office, one was the classroom, and there were three student labs. He really didn't want to do this, to begin with. He hoped they weren't going to get caught, but he had a feeling they would be.
"Snape won't be here. He is in the Infirmary, some Puff needs a special potion, which is why this will work. We can get that mangy cat and Malfoy at the same time." Weasley said.
"I think we should leave that cat alone. What are we going to do if it turns into nine cats again?" Seamus asked. "Not mention it is bad luck."
"Stop worrying about the stupid cat. It's with the Slytherins so you know it's evil. We just need to stun the freak cat. I will cast the stunner, it should work on both of them, then we tie them up and drag them further down the hall and teach them a lesson." Weasley remarked.
"Mr. Weasley, I see you are still sadly denying a village of their idiot. Now, why don't you shock me, say something intelligent? As I am sure you have a creative excuse as to why you three have graced my hall in an attempt to inflict damage onto Mr. Malfoy and Catmando?" He wondered where the fake Harry Potter was. He knew none of the Order members would have allowed this. He wondered if the fake had warned them not to do it. He knew the fake was limited from doing too much to stop them, as they didn't want to let anyone know about the fake.
"We haven't done anything." Weasley said, the yet was left unsaid.
"Indeed." Severus moved closer to the group. "Detention, with Filch tonight. Ten points from Gryffindor for being where you shouldn't be. Mr. Malfoy, ten points to Slytherin for avoiding a confrontation and setup."
"We didn't do anything." Weasley stated, again. "You can't give us detention when we haven't done anything."
"How about we go and speak to your Head of House? I am sure she would love to hear what I heard you discussing, especially for Cat." Severus knew they wouldn't want to go and see Minerva. Minerva loved Cat, and he knew she wouldn't allow them to even think of hurting the cat. "How about the Headmaster? I am sure he would love to know you were attempting to hurt a Cat Sidhe. Yes, let's go and speak to him. I am sure you can adequately explain yourselves."
Cat jumped out of Draco's arms and started meowing at Severus. Cat started to rub against Severus' legs. "Freak cat." Weasley muttered. Dean elbowed him.
"Sir, I apologize." Dean knew that he should have listened to Harry Potter. The boy warned them about doing this.
"Me too, I'm sorry, sir. I don't want to hurt the Sidhe, my mum would kill me." Seamus really needed to stop listening to Weasley. His mother was going to kill him for getting another detention. They were warned by Harry Potter not to do this.
"Fine." Weasley muttered. "I apologize, sir."
"Mr. Weasley since you appear to be under the impression that Cat Sidhe are evil, you now have a three-foot essay on Cat Sidhe, due on Friday by your potion period." Severus had a feeling Harry was going to make sure Weasley was going to have a hard time finding quills, parchment to write on, and even ink.
"That isn't fair." Weasley almost shouted.
"You're right, let's add an essay on the importance of honor." Severus glared. "Now, before I remove more points which Gryffindor can't afford to lose, I strongly suggest you leave and I should only see your faces here for classes, my office hours, or any valid reason, anything else, I will seek to speak to your parents and suspension."
Severus picked up Harry. "Tea?"
"Please." Draco was going to have to warn the other Slytherins about the Gryffindor idiot.
Cat watched the troll walking around confused. He wasn't sure what the troll was to do. He already directed it away from some students. He wished the staff would hurry up and find that stupid thing. He didn't like having to dodge that club. *Don't bit him, Nagini.* He dodged the club again. *Everyone else gets candy and a feast for Halloween, what do I get, I get troll watching.*
~I won't, but it smells. Tom should have made sure it was washed first.~
*I don't think he cared. We just need to keep it away from the students. The staff should be here soon. Severus is off to make sure Fluffy is annoyed enough for them to believe that someone tried to get into the room.*
~Puppy is fun.~ Nagini had spent a few hours with Fluffy playing. They both liked to chase things.
*We can't keep the mutt. Here they come.*
Nagini slithered into a hole to hide, while Harry sat there and started howling. The troll started ambling towards Harry and he took off running directly for the staff, howling up a storm as he ran. He better get an extra chocolate frog for this.
"Oh, dear, Cat." Minerva had her wand out. Harry was weaving around the troll's legs and club.
"Merlin, that was close." Filius stated as they watched the club miss the Sidhe, who growled at the troll for it.
"Accio Catmando." Minerva almost screamed. The Cat Sidhe went cruising through the air, and Minerva wrapped him up in her arms. She ignored the extended claws. "You're safe."
Filius, Dumbledore, and Severus started casting stunners at the troll. "Banish it?" Filius asked as the troll crashed to the floor. The resulting vibrations almost caused a few paintings to fall.
"Yes, I believe there is a troll colony in France that is a bit more rural." Dumbledore stated. "I will send it there."
Severus ignored them as he was looking at Cat who was now glaring at the troll from Minerva's arms. "Is he alright?"
"He seems fine, still breathing fast but doesn't appear to be hurt." Minerva answered. "A checkup wouldn't be remiss." Harry wiggled a bit, and jump into Severus' arms, started to purr. "I need a drink." She muttered. "I know I have aged a good ten years."
"I will do it when I get him back to my quarters. I do believe you are correct in that he isn't hurt." Severus looked down at the furball. "Let me take care of him."
Once in the safety of Severus' quarters, Harry transformed. "Next time, I am just going to let Nagini bit it."
"There shouldn't be a next time. Do you want a hot chocolate? I expect Dumbledore and Minerva will pay a visit to check on Cat later." When the Dark Lord mentioned a troll, they had decided on where to release it. They didn't want anyone hurt but they also knew they needed to make Dumbledore believe that the Dark Lord didn't care if anyone got hurt.
"Tom owes me some chocolate frogs. I also missed the feast. Nagini should arrive once the troll is out of Hogwarts."
"I have some for you. I also arranged with the house elves for you to have your own plate from the feast." Severus smirked as he walked into his kitchenette. He hoped the cameras worked in that hall, he wanted to see the photos of Cat running from a troll.
The Dark Lord looked up as Nagini slithered into his quarters. They would be leaving for the Yule break later today. ~Where is Harry?~
~He is delivering our presents to the Gryffindors.~ Nagini had a smug look on her face.
~What presents?~ The Dark Lord wondered what the duo did now.
~Let's just say fertilizer smells and they will be needing new shoes.~
Well, that explained the missing amounts of fertilizer over the last few weeks. Pomona had wondered if the students were over fertilizing the greenhouses but turned out Harry and Nagini had a plan. He heard a knock at his office door. "Eeenntter."
Severus entered the office, followed by Cat, who was clearly happy. Severus tossed up some wards. "The Lions will be delayed in leaving today. You might be needed to help us with apparating students. It seems all of their footwear has been found in greenhouse four and their house floor is covered in fertilizer. Mr. Weasley was caught trying to move some of it out the window."
Harry transformed. "It was payback for hurting me. He is lucky I didn't make him sleep in it, but I figured he was going to have a hard enough time explaining why."
Severus was a bit surprised. Severus knew Harry could have hurt the trio of boys, as he had been hurt, but a prank, while it didn't smell great, was harmless. He wouldn't even be suspended for it. Granted he might have to pay for the shoes, but he knew Dumbledore would find a way around that. Harry had stopped targeting Thomas and Finnigan after they flat out refused to aid Weasley in trying to hurt Cat. Weasley had actually been in detention a lot because his housemates got tired of him trying to drag them into plots to hurt the animal. However, he couldn't allow the prank to be viewed as being something to encourage, even if he found it funny. "Orion, you can't keep pranking Weasley like that. It's going to cost his family some money unless Dumbledore does something. The Weasley family struggles as it is."
The Dark Lord arched a brow. "Why does Weasley think he did it?"
"He doesn't, but everyone else does. I made sure to include Weasley's shoes, but the wettest tracks lead to Weasley's bed, I also used his wand, so when Dumbledore checks the spells, the spell will be there." Harry answered. "I can still prank the brat when I start here?"
"Yes, and on that score, Lucius was able to get you to start as a first year. You will have to take some tests during the Yule break to show you are able, but that is also arranged." Severus explained. "I already know you are fine on potions. I explained that I have been tutoring you until you could start."
"So he was fine with the idea of a cousin being adopted by Lucius and Narcissa? I didn't hear anything different at the staff meeting."
"Oh, he isn't happy about it. He wanted to find out who Orion's original parents were. He is hoping he can recruit him away from the Lucius. He believes that since he wasn't raised by Lucius and Narcissa that he might be able to convert him to the light. We need to make sure he doesn't try to toss a compulsion on you before you are sorted." Severus paused. "He has been looking for children in Knockturn."
"So the golem must not be ready." The Dark Lord stated. "We will make sure Orion is protected before we return."
"Can I go on the train with Draco?" Harry asked.
"I don't know, can you?" Severus asked.
"Yes I can, my question is will you let me?" Harry transformed. ~Humans.~
"Hiding as Catmando doesn't mean you are exempt from using manners." Severus stated.
Harry ignored him and made his way the Dark Lord's desk, crawled under it and curled up with Nagini. "Orion, you need to ask properly."
Cat didn't even lift his head. "Why is he being so stubborn? He usually knows his manners."
~Rules to many rules.~ Nagini hissed. ~We used to be free. He is feeling bound by all the rules.~
The Dark Lord translated what Nagini said. He knew Nagini had been leaving the Castle a lot to hunt. He hadn't realized how much of a change it would be for Harry. Severus understood. The boy had been on his own for a long time, yes, the goblins taught him things, but they weren't known for the manners and they exploited every loophole.
"Orion, how about I take you and Nagini out to the Forbidden Forest for a bit, the train won't be leaving for a few more hours. So you can run around there." Severus had, originally, taken Harry out to gather ingredients with him, but as the school year moved forward, he had cut back the time he had brought Harry.
Harry peeked out from under the desk, tilted his head. *You coming?*
~Of course, the smelly one is going to come with us. He always is looking for potion ingredients. We help him.~
Harry crawled out from under the desk. "We go and get potion ingredients. Nagini and I found a cool spot with spiders."
"Why do I feel like I should have warned the spiders?" Severus commented. "Come on. Tonight, however, we are going to be having a long discussion with your parents." He was a bit worried. They needed to get Harry to behave like a Malfoy, he thought, he might have been pushing Harry a little too much.
Harry made a face. ~Ya, sure get parents, you said. Parents are great, you said. He's not even one of them.~ Sarcasm was great in Parseltongue.
Severus waited for the Dark Lord to translate. "No, what he says to her is private. I won't translate it. It wasn't anything concerning you or making fun of anyone."
Severus and the Dark Lord walked back to Hogwarts after seeing all the students off. Transporting all the muggle-born and half-bloods had taken more time than they had expected. They were going to gather their trunk and head out to the apparition spot so they could apparate Malfoy Manor and not have Dumbledore know about it.
The Dark Lord, Severus, Lucius, and Narcissa were sitting down after a very long week of have Orion taking exams, and the boy was getting very testy because of being tired. "We really need to work on his manners." Lucius commented.
"I don't think that talk will be well received. Severus already mentioned it." The Dark Lord took a sip of his scotch. "Actually, Nagini had a point. They aren't used to being confined. They are used to the way the goblins run things. I have actually been surprised at how well Orion has been adjusting to all the rules we have placed on him."
"Some seem more like suggestions to him. He has a nice collection of goodies." Severus leaned back in the chair.
"I went with him to his vault. He has a huge collection of ward stones, wands, rune markers, even had some boundary stones." Lucius had been very impressed. His son had a lot of talent, now they just needed to direct it into a more positive direction.
"Boundary stones?" The Dark Lord's eyes opened wide. "Do you know how rare and hard they are to create?"
"He has a few sets, he made three in onyx, two in malachite, and two in red jasper." Lucius wasn't exactly sure what boundary stones did, but he did know they were useful in creating areas where no magic could be detected by anyone, which allowed for people to practice anything forbidden, including outside rituals.
"The level of skill for any gemstone is a masters level." Severus was at the edge of his seat. "He has to be a mage."
"I agree, it would also explain how he has been able to hide, mastered the goblin magic, and I am going to bet, his test results will show he is beyond a first-year." The Dark Lord looked over to Narcissa, who was clearly thinking. "Cissa?"
"While I agree with all of you, I believe we will leave him as a first-year, he needs the experience, and Draco will help him. Regarding the rules, I believe I have a solution for it. Severus, we know he will be in Slytherin, so why not create a reward system for him. He likes to go and collect with you, use that and making potions to encourage his improvement in manners. Marvolo, you and Severus will have to spend time training him, give him a magical outlet. I think dueling lessons for him and some of the children of your followers will do the trick."
"If we use a set of Orion's boundary stones in the dueling room, off of the common room, Dumbledore would never know." Severus liked this idea, and he could see so did Lucius and the Dark Lord. "He does know wandless, so that will keep him safe in Slytherin too."
"Now to get him to act like a pure-blood, that might be harder." Narcissa commented.
"Very true, but I think Orion will fall into that easy. He is used to blending in, so I believe he will adapt to that fairly easy." Severus took a sip of his brandy and leaned back in his chair. "That boy is very good at adapting."
All of them agreed with Severus assessment.
The owls arrived with the morning letters, including a Ministry owl with one for Orion. He took the letter, placed it on the table and continued eating. Draco, who will never be known for his patience, looked at the letter and to his new brother. "Well?"
"What? I'm eating, it can wait. It's not like I won't get in. Father just got the Hogwarts letter." Harry took a bite of his bacon.
Lucius looked at his stack of mail, and seeing the Hogwarts letter was indeed in his pile, pulled it out. The letter was addressed to Orion Arcturus Marvolo Black Gaunt Malfoy, Malfoy Manor, Green Bedroom, Wiltshire, England. "I need a quill." He had to fix the name before the letter was opened, as he didn't want it to register as being read.
"What is wrong?" Narcissa summoned a quill.
"They have his full name, but since it's done by the enchanted quill, Dumbledore wouldn't have noticed, because I never told the old fool Orion was taking his exams. I just suggested he might attend this year, but it looked like it would be next year. I also included several Muggle-borns and half-bloods to have a re-issuance of their invites. So Minerva wouldn't notice."
Lucius crossed out Arcturus Marvolo Black Gaunt off of the letter and waited for magic to change the letter. Once it was changed he handed it to his son. "So they won't know?" Draco asked.
"He also has been away this week. I made sure to keep Minerva busy while the quill wrote out the invites. She never looked, just sent them off." Severus sat down in his seat. "Good morning."
"Morning." Everyone answered.
"Uncle Severus, Orion got his results but hasn't opened them as of yet."
"I see." Severus filled his plate. "What do you expect me to do about it?" When Draco gave him a look and huffed at him.
"None of you are even curious about how he did?" Draco eyed them all.
"I passed." Harry answered. "The tests were really easy. If you're so concerned, here." Harry handed the letter over to Draco, who opened it. Draco scanned down the letter.
Enclosed is your course grades. Please find the suggested years for you to enter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Exceeds Expectations (E)
Astronomy O+ (2nd year)
Charms O+ (2nd year)
Defense Against the Dark Arts O++ (3rd year)
Herbology O (1st year)
History of Magic O++ (OWL Granted)
Language: Goblin (NEWT Granted)
French (OWL Granted)
Gaelic (OWL Granted)
Muggle Studies O (4th year)
Potions O (1st year)
Study of Ancient Runes (OWL Granted)
Transfiguration O+ (2nd year)
"Granger is going to go ballistic." Draco muttered as he handed the letter to Severus.
"The Know-It-All, why?" Harry asked as he looked at his Hogwarts letter laying next to his plate.
"Yes, that is why. She is determined to be at the top of our class."
"Harry, you have OWLs." Severus was a bit surprised.
"What are those?" He saw Severus hand the result to Narcissa. Who was leaning close to Lucius so that he could see the results.
"Harry, did you ask to take them?"
"No, I don't even know what they are. They just kept asking me questions, I just kept answering. They had to call in a goblin after the Ministry guy couldn't keep up with me. It was Frank, we talked for about ten minutes about some warding stones I was thinking of creating."
"Harry, you got your OWL in History of Magic." Lucius looked a bit surprised.
"The guy kept asking about the Goblin Wars, I did live with them, kind of hard not to learn that." Harry shrugged it off.
"He got a NEWT in their language, which isn't surprising. French, Gaelic, and Runes?"
"Need them for making wards, and other things. What is the big deal about some owls, they just deliver letters."
"OWLs and NEWTs are exams that are taken in certain years. OWLs are taken in your fifth year, while NEWTs are done in your seventh." Lucius explained.
"They asked me stuff I knew, stuff I learned from the goblins. I didn't know." Harry defended himself. He was getting very upset, and the dishes started to rattle.
"Harry, no, we aren't upset, we are surprised and very happy with your results. We are just trying to figure out how you took the test, but if the examiners kept asking questions." Lucius read the results.
"Dumbledore." The Dark Lord said from the doorway. "He must have made sure the testers were his people so that he could find out who Orion was. I wouldn't be surprised if Harry gets a compulsion charm tossed at him or the Hat to have him sorted into either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor."
"I wouldn't either." Severus added.
Lucius handed the result to the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord started grinning. "Very impressive. I believe that deserves a reward. How about we go to Diagon Alley?"
"Can I visit with Maka?"
"I don't know can you?" Severus looked at Harry. Harry glared.
"Harry, remember, manners, my dear." Narcissa calmly reminded Harry. Harry stood up and left the table.
Draco watched him leave, and when he was sure Harry was out of hearing distance he said "I know you are doing it to teach him manners like you did with me. However, I don't think it's going to work with him. He has decided to be stubborn about that one point."
"I feel Draco is correct." The Dark Lord took a sip of tea. "Perhaps if we stopped asking that way, he might change his mind."
"He does seem stuck on that one point." Lucius looked at his wife. "I will go and speak to him." Lucius gave Draco's shoulder a reassuring squeeze as he left the room.
"Perhaps a chat with Maka will help him." Severus suggested.
"I was going to also suggest that. She might be able to prove us with more insight. I think there might be another reason he is stubborn on that issue." Narcissa thought for a few minutes. "It might have to do with those muggles."
"It might. Petunia was very petty. I can see her doing the same thing, and when Harry uses may, denying him the request just because she could. From what we learned about them, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility. He was denied food, so they might have used it as a form of conditioning him."
"She sounds pleasant." Narcissa couldn't keep the venom out of her voice thinking about that woman.
"I do believe there will be time to visit them and correct their behavior." The Dark Lord remarked.
Lucius came back into the room. "He is in his Sidhe form and refuses to speak to me, he is curled up with Nagini, in front of the fire. Nagini just shooed me away. I got the impression something happened to him with that use of that word may."
"Muggles." The Dark Lord snarled. "I will see if Nagini will aid me in getting our little Sidhe into coming with us and speak to Maka."
At Lucius' confusion, Narcissa and Severus explained. Lucius silently cursed the Dursley family and Dumbledore.
~About time you got here.~ Nagini hissed at the Dark Lord.
~Sorry, my dear, we were discussing what might be the issue.~
~Those muggles. You tried that may stuff again, didn't you?~
~Yes, we just want Harry to learn his manners, to be all that he can be.~
~Muggles used that word, tormented him with it, and when he did, they hurt him.~
The Dark Lord closed his eyes for several minutes. When he opened them, he looked at Severus. "It's worse than we thought. He would give in and use it. Nagini said they would hurt him afterward."
Severus inhaled deeply and slammed his shields in place to keep from going to kill the muggles. He wished dearly that they were in front of him. Instead, he moved forward and picked up the Sidhe. He walked over to a chair. "Harry, I am sorry for what you experienced. We, your parents, Marvolo, and I would never do that to you. I know you will need time, but you can't hide from your past."
"Very true, it does work, Harry, but there comes a time when it won't work. You have family that is downstairs worried about you."
"Actually, we are right here." Lucius stated from the doorway. "Harry, please transform. We can work on the issue, and I believe if you speak to Maka, she will also tell you that you can't run from this."
~They are right.~ Nagini slithered closer to Harry. ~They care about you. We do this. I won't leave you.~
~Promise, change, you scared the humans enough.~
"Come on, Orion, I need my brother to help me get some Lions into trouble." Draco patted his brother. "Can you also help me with my school work?"
Harry transformed, still sitting on Severus' lap. "Fine, but no more of that I don't know stuff."
"Agreed." Everyone stated.
"So when can we visit Maka? We need to send an owl, so she will know we coming, she always has biscuits, but if we tell her ahead of time, she will make these chocolate ones that have specks of almonds in them." Harry was back to being himself.
Severus leaned down and whispered into his ear. "If you promise to use may I, I will promise not to say I don't know, and agree for every week you do, I will add an extra trip to collect potion ingredients."
"You will?" Harry tilted his head.
"A true Slytherin." Draco laughed.
"Draco why are Granger and Weasley standing outside of our compartment?" Pansy was filing her nails.
As Draco and Harry looked up, the compartment door was forced open, slamming it back, causing it to echo in the room. "Trying to discover me." Harry had hoped the two idiots wouldn't be so blunt about it. They were a bit curious to see what Dumbledore was going to do or use for Harry Potter.
"They also believe that we prevented Potter from getting on the train. I heard Weasley whining to Granger about how Potter didn't make the train and it had to a slimy snake's fault." Blaise lowered his book. "Granger had been voicing her a rather strong opinion on why they hadn't received a letter from Potter."
"I thought he stayed at Hogwarts?" Theo ignored the duo still staring in at them.
"I thought so." Draco exchanged a look with his brother, who arched an eyebrow. Severus and the Dark Lord was going to find this interesting.
"How about we give them something to stare at?" Harry smirked.
"What is your idea, Orion?" Draco knew Harry had to have something good planned.
"Who can get out their wand without them noticing?" Draco knew Harry could do wandless, so he was a bit confused by the request.
"I can." Pansy showed Harry her wand that was peeking out her left sleeve.
"Good. Can you nox the lights?"
"Certainly, say when."
"Now would be good, don't remove it until you hear them screaming." Orion placed his hands on his lap. When Pansy noxed the lights, he began casting. Nothing happened for a few minutes when suddenly Weasley and Granger started screaming at each other. Pansy removed the spell and they started laughing as Granger and Weasley were now blue, dressed in pink ruffles, with flowers, low cut dresses that looked like they belonged in the 1700's. They had matching hats and parasol. Their hair was bright green, with ringlet curls hanging down the sides of their faces. They had the tackiest makeup on, something that only clowns would wear.
"That is something I want to see again." Theo was laughing so hard, as Granger and Weasley continued to scream at each other and those around them.
Hagrid was at the train station. "Yeh the new one? Dumbl'dore said ter take yeh across the lake."
"No." Harry kept walking with Draco.
"No." Harry climbed into the carriage with Draco. "As if I'm going to go across the lake." It wasn't a well-known fact but the reason why first-years and all incoming students were required to go across the lake, was because there was a charm that when you passed under the bridge, your wand and your magical signature were recorded, and a tracker was added.
Draco and most of the purebloods had the tracker removed. Most of the parents, also charmed their children before they attended Hogwarts to prevent that recording of the wand and signature by using an old ritual that was banned. Since Harry was going to be the only one crossing, he didn't want his signature or wand recorded, and even though he went through the minor blood ritual, no one wanted that known. They watched a confused Hagrid standing by the boat. "I wonder how he is going to explain it?" Pansy eyed the man.
"No idea, don't really care." Harry settled back for the ride. "Wonder why they use the bony horses?"
"What?" Everyone was looking around trying to see the bony horses.
"The ones pulling the carriages. They look like skeletons of horses."
"There isn't anything pulling the carriages. It's magic." Granger was suddenly standing next to them. "You're to ride the boats."
Harry ignored her as Draco turned to Blaise. "He must be seeing the Thestrals. They can only be seen by those who have seen death. Since my brother was in the hospital for so long, he must have surely seen someone die."
"I didn't know Hogwarts had a herd, but shouldn't be surprised." Theo looked at Granger. "Nice dress. Now, if you truly knew as much as you think you know, you would know that a Thestral is a breed of winged horses with a skeletal body, a face with reptilian features, and wide, leathery wings that resemble a bat's wing. They are very rare and are considered dangerous by the Ministry of Magic."
"True, and Thestrals are known as omens of misfortune. There is another theory that besides witnessing death, those who have accepted the reality of death can also see them, some say it's due to their somewhat grim, gaunt and ghostly appearance." Blaise, the Ravenclaw of the group added.
"Their black coats make them looks even scarier." Harry's gaze passed over Granger. "I must say pink really isn't your color."
"There is no such thing as invisible skeleton horses, and when I find out who did this, I am telling."
"I'm not sure who you are, but you are very wrong." Harry watched as Hagrid starting coming towards them again. He realized Hagrid must have received new orders. He hadn't been paying attention so he wasn't sure how the half-giant received them, but it did explain why the carriages hadn't moved.
"Dumbl'ore said yeh have ter go by boat." Weasley was following Hagrid, who clearly was at a loss as to what to do with one student complaining to him, while he was trying to obey Dumbledore.
"Hagrid, they're being mean. I don't know what they are planning but they are trying to tell me there are skeleton invisible horses pulling the carts, and making fun of me because of a prank."
"They're called Thestrals, Granger." Pansy rolled her eyes. "We weren't planning anything, and saying pink isn't your color isn't making fun of you. How old are you? 3?"
"Thetral be real. Hogarts got one o' the largest herds, we do." Hagrid was quite proud of the herd. "One o' me mares, Martha, just-"
Harry had enough, and send a magical signal for the herd to start moving. He wasn't about to ride in one of those boats. They could hear Hagrid trying to get the herd to stop moving but Harry kept the signal going, as he also heard Granger screaming about waiting for her. "Looks like Hagrid is going to be taking someone across the lake anyway." The group of Slytherins laughed.
Harry stood by the Great Hall door, with Severus. They had met him at the entrance. Severus arched an eyebrow. He wasn't surprised to see him in the carriages. He knew Harry wouldn't ride the boat over. Not only did Harry want to avoid the trace and magical registration, but as a Sidhe, he hated the idea of going over any water, never mind a lake. Something about cats and water. "Hagrid seems frustrated." Harry went to open his mouth. "Manners." Severus warned.
"Fine, let's just say, he made the trip with the boat." He swallowed sex joke he was about to say. It had been a good one too. He heard it from Splitter.
"I gathered." Severus had seen Hagrid arrive with a very angry Granger and Weasley dressed in pink dresses. "How did you manage that?"
"I didn't do anything, they did it themselves."
They had been ignoring Dumbledore's rambling speech about returning from the holidays. "We now welcome a new student. Orion, if you please come forward so we can sort you."
"It's Mr. Malfoy." Harry walked towards McGonagall who was holding the Sorting Hat.
As soon as Harry got near the stool, the Sorting Hat came alive. "Oh, no, oh for Merlin's health and well-being, no." Harry hid his smirk. He was going to owe the Hat big time for this performance. "I'm not sitting on that head. Founders' child, you select where you go." Harry closed his eyes for a second. That wasn't part of the plan. He glanced at Dumbledore, the old man did this. "No, Slytherin...he belongs in Slytherin Dumbledore, none of that Founders' Child business."
"Hat?" McGonagall lifted the hat up higher and was now face to the brim with the hat. "What?"
"Albus, stop throwing compulsions at me. He is a Slytherin, not some Founders' Child."
Harry hid his smirk. The hat was getting a bit of revenge it seems. "Albus, what is going on?" McGonagall turned and faced a slightly confused Dumbledore.
"I'm not sure."
"Illegal sorting." A Ravenclaw student yelled. "If he is using compulsion spells, how do we know you hadn't before."
Harry walked over to the Slytherin table, enjoying the chaos that broke out. He really owed Hat now. He glanced at the Dark Lord and Severus, who were clearly enjoying Dumbledore trying to calm down everyone. Dumbledore finally shot a firecracker into the air. "Mr. Malfoy, if you could return, we will get on with your sorting."
"I think I will send a letter to my father first." Harry calmly answered, sounding almost exactly like Draco.
"I do agree. Father will be hearing about this!" Draco couldn't wait to see how Dumbledore was going to recover from this. He knew the man would but it was going to give his father a way to, hopefully, put a small taint on Dumbledore's name.
Harry was prowling around Hogwarts. He felt something was different, and he noticed there wasn't anyone playing Potter. Nagini was slightly ahead of him. *You smell that?*
They followed the strange scent. It led to part of the Castle that really wasn't used. It was up on the fourth floor, almost directly over the forbidden third floor. Harry and Nagini stopped in front of a warded door. Harry sat down and analyzed the magic. *Basic wards, nothing dangerous, but there is also an alarm on the door.*
*We shall.* Harry began to remove the alarm and wards. Once they were removed, he opened the door and froze. His eyes got big. In the room, there were four frozen Harry Potter's. *They aren't real.*
*No, they smell of magic, but not flesh and blood.*
*Guard here. I am getting Severus and the Dark Lord.*
Severus and the Dark Lord looked at the four Harry Potters. "He made four golems." Severus couldn't believe what he was seeing.
The Dark Lord walked around the four. "Well made. Severus, you take the two on the right, I will take the two on the left. We will bring them to the Chamber and dismantle them there. We don't have time to do it tonight, but I will place them in some parsel wards. Harry, I want you and Nagini to make sure we have a clear path to the Chamber, open the door for us. Once we are down in the Chamber, I want you to start building protection wards, especially a parsel one to keep Fawkes out."
Harry, using his nine forms kept everyone from discovering them. They froze the sleeping portraits, kept the ghosts from seeing anything, and made sure no staff or students were around. Once, safely, down in the Chamber, they got to work. Nagini talking to the Basilisk, while they set up the wards.
Harry yawned a bit and curled up and slept after he was finished. "We will need to find a ritual to destroy them, but not return the magic to Dumbledore." The Dark Lord finished casting the last of the spells to make sure the four Potters didn't leave the Chamber.
"I have a few books that might have one in it. I wonder what he will do now that his golems are missing?"
"Go back to Tonks and the others."
"Tonks and Mad-Eye were assigned a mission for the Ministry. I heard him telling Minerva that they needed Tonks' skills."
"I see. That explains why there wasn't a Mr. Potter tonight." The Dark Lord picked up the sleeping Sidhe. "Your chamber?"
"Yes, I have a room for him and Nagini."
The snake in question slithered up to Severus, who allowed her to hang from his neck. "Interesting sorting tonight."
"Very, I have already been informed that I needed to be in his office, with Orion, in the morning. He wanted to speak us tonight, but Minerva seemed to believe the Sorting Hat needed his immediate attention."
"It's going to be an interesting six months." The Dark Lord petted the sleeping Sidhe, as they walked back to their chambers.
Severus arrived for breakfast. As he neared Harry and Draco, he stopped. "The Headmaster has requested our presence after breakfast."
"Father?" Draco turned to face Severus as Harry asked the question.
"I have already informed him, he is on his way." Severus knew Dumbledore wasn't expecting Lucius to arrive, but Severus knew Dumbledore wanted to force Harry into a different house, especially after the sorting last night.
"Indeed." Severus continued on his way and sat next to the Dark Lord. No one spoke during the meal as Harry, the Dark Lord, and Severus were watching Granger and Weasley. Dumbledore still hadn't arrived. As breakfast was almost finished, Severus saw Minerva was about to leave. "Minerva, where is Albus?"
"I'm not sure. I'm aware he has a meeting with your and Mr. Malfoy shortly, according to a note I received, but I haven't seen him."
The Dark Lord and Severus knew the man had to know the golems were missing. They wondered what he was planning on doing. Granger and Weasley were still trying to figure out where Potter was.
Lucius was standing outside of the Great Hall doors when Severus, Draco, Harry, and the Dark Lord exited. "Father." The boys greeted him.
"Good morning, I wasn't expecting to be called here so soon." Lucius gave them a slight smirk.
"Well, the-" Severus put a hand over Harry's mouth.
"He's been a bit grouchy since last night." Severus had already informed Lucius about what they found, and about the train, the boat, and Granger.
"A bit?" The Dark Lord thought that was an understatement.
"Let's get this over with." Lucius sighed. It was going to be a long morning. "Orion, let us handle him."
Harry nodded his agreement as they bid Draco and the Dark Lord good-bye.
The adults noticed how stressed and tired Dumbledore looked as he offered tea. "I must say, I wasn't expecting you, Lucius." Dumbledore really wanted the boy, only. He was hoping to create strive within the Malfoy family and saw this as the perfect way. Just like he did with the Black family. That turned out wonderfully. All he needed to do was find Harry Potter and he would have control over the Potter and Black seats. He would find a way to eliminate Draco later.
"My sons are my main concern. I was a bit concerned hearing about Orion's sorting."
"The hat kept telling the Headmaster Slytherin while fighting a compulsion to something called Founder's Child." Harry knew the Hat wasn't going to agree with the old fool.
"I stand by it. Slytherin. I won't put up with another compulsion for a Founder's Child and I will demand a total school resort if it's pushed." The Sorting Hat spun around on in the air. "Hogwarts will force a resort if necessary." The Sorting Hat warned.
"What is it anyway?" Harry could see Dumbledore was not happy with the Sorting Hat. Harry thought the man had a lot of interesting objects in his office.
"A Founder's Child is another way of saying an apprentice, under the Headmaster. He would be responsible for all your discipline, your housing, your clothes, he could even arrange a marriage contract for you."
"No, thanks." Harry wasn't about to spend any time with the Headmaster.
"It's a great honor. I'm sure we can work this out. I will have the hat checked for charms and spells as I believe it's getting faulty, and we shall do a resort after that."
"I believe my son gave his answer, and I wasn't going to allow it." Lucius wondered what Dumbledore's game was.
Severus had been watching Harry and noticed the boy's interest in things on Dumbledore's desk. He wondered what caught his attention. "I also believe it would be better for Orion to remain in the main program. He has a lot of catching up in certain areas. I have arranged for some tutors for him."
Harry made a face but accepted the decision. He knew he didn't know much about wizard magic and wanted to learn. They had already made arrangements to allow Harry to keep creating his ward stones and other Goblin taught objects.
"Why does he need tutors? Based on his testing, I believe he really should have gone into his second year."
"My wife and I decided that while Orion may be advanced in his studies, due to his illness, he is behind in his social education and interactions." Lucius knew Dumbledore wanted to get involved.
"I'm sure Hermione Granger would gladly volunteer. I will make the arrangements." Dumbledore pulled out a piece of parchment.
"Albus, while Miss Granger is smart, she is not up on social customs or graces. The girl is a bully, rude, and likes to hit." Severus wasn't about to allow any Order members near Harry. Harry would torment them, and slowly drive them crazy. While it wasn't a bad idea, he didn't want Harry anywhere near the Order or Dumbledore.
"I agree. We have already arranged for his tutors. Draco and a few others will be joining him during ballroom dancing, law, and political science course."
"I'm afraid I can't allow those courses here." Dumbledore didn't want any of the pureblood classes returned, he certainly didn't want any muggle-born or half-bloods to know them.
"It's already been arranged with the Ministry and the Board. You should have received the letter this week." Lucius knew the man most likely had seen a letter arrive but because of the Potter situation hadn't read it. They made it worse with the removal of the golems. "The letter should have included the permission of the different students. The tutors will arrive starting next week via Severus' floo."
Dumbledore wanted to curse. If these tutoring sessions worked out well, he knew it would allow Lucius and the Board to reinstate the classes at Hogwarts. "I see. I have been a bit busy, but I'm sure it will all work out."
"Is that all, Albus?" Lucius knew the man was already trying to figure out how to keep the courses from being returned. He also knew people were going to wonder where Potter was, and since he didn't have Tonks or Mad-Eye, who was going to play Potter now.
"Yes, thank you for meeting with me."
Lucius and Severus walked with a quiet Harry back to Severus' quarters. "What did you find?"
Harry frowned for a few seconds. "I found my vault keys. Hagrid had the trust vault key, but he had the others. I left them there. Also, something else, he had wards in his office, two of them hiding secret doors. One of them has dark magic behind it. I think it's an artifact."
"I will arrange for a recall of the keys, have a letter sent out." Lucius was going to do have a very careful review of those accounts.
"An audit too." Severus suggested.
"He also had a cloak, it kept calling to me. He has some wards on it. I will need to speak to the Sorting Hat and see if he knows about it."
"Lucius, make sure all items have been returned. If the cloak is the one I am thinking of, it was Potter's. Lily admitted to me it was how they got around and some map was how they always found me."
"I am sure Ironclaw will make sure of it." Lucius was hoping Dumbledore didn't steal from Harry.
"I will inform Tom."
Harry was very bored. He looked around the Transfiguration classroom at the students still struggling to turn a beetle into a button, he had four different buttons. He sighed, started singing in his head and made his buttons start dancing with each other while wishing he could go and play with Nagini.
"Mr. Malfoy, ten points for excellent charm and transfiguration work. Look everyone at what excellent examples of perfect buttons."
Harry arched a brow until he felt Draco nudge him. "Thank you, Professor." Harry, out of the corner of his eye, saw Granger's arms fold across her chest. The girl was not taking not being number one well.
"He couldn't have gotten it before me. He has to be cheating."
Harry and Draco were sitting down watching Hermione Granger inform McGonagall that Orion Malfoy was a cheater. "Miss Granger, he did not cheat."
"He had to, he hasn't even been in any classes, and today is his first day, and he got a perfect needle? There isn't any way he could have. He couldn't have down all of the last term's lessons perfectly in one day." Granger's voice was taking on a long whining tone.
"Why not? I do know how to read a book, and certainly, I have shown I can use magic."
"Because I certainly couldn't do it." Granger snapped.
"Miss Granger, I will have you know, I do know when a student is cheating in my class. Mr. Malfoy certainly didn't cheat."
"He had to, it's the only way. I have always been the top of all of my classes. I have spent hours learning the ways to cast different spells, researching how they work, and how to improve my casting."
"While I do agree you skill reflect the time you have spent, it does not dimish the skills you each have. Mr. Malfoy has time to work on his skills before arriving at Hogwarts. Just as you did." Minerva knew the girl used her wand over the summer and Yule holiday and knew Dumbledore encouraged her to. She wasn't sure why, but she wasn't about to let the girl accuse a promising student of cheating. She had seen the boy's results and wasn't surprised.
Granger glared at Harry. "Admit it, you cheated."
Harry was a bit surprised by the girl's hostile tone. "I did no such thing."
"Miss Granger, detention tonight for lack of respect towards Mr. Malfoy and I." Minerva held up her hand. "I will remove points if you keep this up. He didn't cheat."
Harry watched Granger and he knew she would be complaining to Dumbledore. "Fine." The girl spit out and with a parting glare at Harry, stormed out of the room. Harry saw Draco watching her. He had a feeling Draco was going to play a prank on her.
"For not arguing with Miss Granger, two points each. Dismissed."
*Hey Crook, she still annoying?* Cat sat down next to Crookshanks and Mrs. Norris.
*Yes, went on and on about you, as your human self.* Crookshanks and Mrs. Norris were the only two cats who knew who Cat really was.
*That human is annoying, I did leave her another present.* Mrs. Norris put a few dead mice in Granger's shoes every morning.
*She thinks I do it.* Crookshanks gave a cat version of a smirk. *Hasn't figured out that I'm the one putting hole in her clothes, she thinks it's poor quality clothing on the wizarding world part.*
*She accused me of cheating again, well, I heard her whining to Weasley that I had to be cheating. She wants to go to the old fool and complain.*
*She is going to go tomorrow morning, set up an appointment last night.* Crookshanks really couldn't stand the girl and did whatever he could to avoid her.
*The old man, he is planning on moving the mirror tomorrow. Heard him telling Argus, he needed a new room cleaned.*
Cat laughed. *I added wards, so I say good luck to him moving it.*
*I know where I am going to be, I want to see him get mad.* Crookshanks agreed with Mrs. Norris, they were an odd pair but they worked well together.
*She left her satchel on the floor, I shredded her charms and potion assignments.* Crookshanks knew Cat was going to take some of her quills.
*Good, I need a few things, so I'm going shopping.*
*Grangermart is opened for business.* Mrs. Norris turned her head. *What is going on? Someone is up and roaming the halls.* Mrs. Norris went off to see who it was.
Cat and Crookshanks followed her. They discovered the old man at the room where he stored the mirror. They watched him go into the room. They quietly followed, wondering what the old fool was doing just staring at the mirror.
Cat was curled up in Severus' lap. Severus had been summoned to the meeting that Granger had requested with Dumbledore concerning Orion Malfoy's cheating. McGonagall was currently serving tea as they waited for the arrival of Granger. "Honestly, Albus, you know the accusation is false."
"I do agree, however, we must at least listen to Hermione."
"She is only doing because Orion is doing better than he and the little know it all doesn't like it." Severus had already head about all the accusations from Minerva.
"Perhaps if we explain to her that Orion really belongs at a higher level or even advanced Orion, it would be better."
"No, Lucius and Narcissa want Orion to be able to improve his social interactions and that means being around dunderheads his own age. Miss Granger's issues are her own, and we shouldn't allow it to interfere with Orion's educational needs."
"I do agree." Minerva was about to continue but Granger arrived, ending her idea of persuading Dumbledore to leave things alone.
"Come in, Hermione." Dumbledore knew it impressed students, but the older people knew it was just a proximity ward. "Lemon drop?"
"No, thank you, Sir. My parents are dentists and sugar rots your teeth."
Severus resisted the urge to inform the girl that was a witch she didn't have to worry about it. Severus knew Cat was awake and he knew the boy most likely was already collecting quills from the girl.
"Yes, I see. You wished to see me?" Dumbledore knew very well what she wanted, but he hoped she had changed her mind.
"Yes, I believe Orion Malfoy is cheating. I have tried to speak to him about but he is very rude. He claims he isn't cheating, but he has to be."
"Miss Granger, I have already informed you that he wasn't cheating."
"I can also add that Mr. Malfoy has had training before he started attending Hogwarts."
"That isn't fair!"
"I will inform every pure-blood and half-blood parents. Also, please do not try and say you haven't practice your magic before you attendance here or even during the Yule holiday." Severus knew the girl had used magic outside of Hogwarts.
"I needed to be prepared for the start of the terms." She defended herself.
"Did you not just say it was unfair? Did you not accuse Mr. Malfoy of cheating for using the same tactics you have used?" Minerva knew the girl did.
"You were informed not to perform magic in front of muggles, yet you have. While Mr. Malfoy was using his magic with his trainers, so shall we address your breaking of the law?"
"I don't believe we need to worry about that, I'm sure Hermione won't be doing magic outside of Hogwarts. Regarding Mr. Malfoy, I'm sure it's a slight misunderstanding, but Hermione I can assure you that Orion isn't cheating. He has been earning his grades by studying and doing his assignments, the same as you."
Granger clearly didn't like what she was hearing but knew she had no choice but to accept what she was being told. "It's not fair that I can't use my magic outside of Hogwarts like they can."
"Life is seldom fair, I would suggest you get used to it, Miss Granger."
"Hermione, no one is allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts, but Orion wasn't able to attend the last term and was home-schooled, therefore, he was allowed to use magic." Dumbledore had more important issues to worry about. He had delayed everyone expecting Harry Potter to return by informing them that the muggles were taken an extended trip overseas but would be back. "Now, is the matter resolved?"
"Yes, sir." Granger was clearly pouting and Severus had a feeling she was going to do something stupid to try and beat Harry and be back on top.
~Master, worried about my hatchling.~
~Why?~ The Dark Lord was correcting assignments and Nagini joined him about ten minutes ago. He knew the snake had something on her mind since she hadn't settled down when she arrived.
~He hasn't been happy.~
~Why do you say that?~
~Saw him crying earlier. He was in that room with the smelly stuff in it. He told me he wasn't crying, not like my hatchling at all.~
The Dark Lord was a bit worried, it didn't sound like Harry at all. ~Where is he?~
~Watching the puppy. Students almost got bit, so we feed puppy.~
The Dark Lord cleaned up his desk.
Severus and the Dark Lord found Cat staring at Fluffy, Nagini followed them in. Fluffy's three heads turned as they entered, Nagini lightly smacked Fluffy with her tail. Cat didn't even look at them. Severus picked up the Sidhe. "I'm taking you to my quarters."
The Dark Lord picked up Nagini and they walked the quiet halls, most of the students were already in their common room since curfew was closing in. The Dark Lord and Severus had an idea of what was wrong and who to place the blame on.
Once back in Severus' quarters, Harry shifted. "So what is wrong?" Severus put a mug of mint hot chocolate in front of Harry.
"It's nothing." Harry wasn't sure what exactly to do. It's not like he ever had anyone but Nagini to tell his problems too. Yes, Maka took care of him, but goblins weren't exactly the soft and cuddly type.
"Orion, please, we can't help if you don't tell us." The Dark Lord saw Nagini slither over to Harry.
~Tell them, then we get some crisps afterward. Crisps make all better.~
The Dark Lord shook his head. "Orion, tell us, we can help."
Harry didn't seem convinced but hoped they might be able to help. "Granger and Weasley have been cornering me in the library or halls. Granger keeps insisting that I'm cheating, while Weasley is always calling me an evil snake. I haven't anything to them in my regular form because I don't want that old man to call me into his office. Crookshanks, that is her cat, says that she wants her parents do either hire tutors or go to the Board and complain. Weasley has been urging her to go to the Board, saying I'm cheating, and that way I can be expelled. That isn't all, according to Mrs. Norris and Crookshanks the old fool has been trying to move the mirror, and Fawkes told Mrs. Norris that old fool has been trying to get someone to play Harry Potter since he informed everyone that Harry would be back by the end of January."
Severus was a bit impressed by the little spying network Harry had, while he was planning on ways to make Granger and Weasley pay for hurting Harry. He had a feeling there was more to the Granger/Weasley situation. "They have hit you, haven't they?"
Harry didn't look at them.
"Orion, are they hitting you?" The Dark Lord saw Nagini wave her tail yes, while she kept her head on Harry's lap.
"I can handle it." Harry pulled his legs up onto the couch, causing Nagini to move out of the way.
"Orion, you don't need to handle it. We are here for you, we are here to help you, not just give you chocolate or a place to stash all of your quills and things." Severus got up and sat down next to Harry on the couch. "They have hit you, haven't they?"
"Yes, but I can handle it."
"You shouldn't have to, and no matter how much you think you can handle this, anyone hitting another student isn't allowed." Severus was going to be speaking to a certain Lioness about her cubs.
"I could have used magic to stop them, but I didn't."
"Which is exactly what you should have done. You did the right thing. In the future, you aren't to go anywhere without Draco or a few snakes. I know you could have hurt them, and we are very proud that you didn't, but let's not give them any reason to push you into hurting them." The Dark Lord knew Harry could have them, and when he glanced at Severus, he knew Severus knew it too.
"I hate this. I can't be who I am here, running from a fight, Maka, Ironclaw, and Frank would be ashamed of me."
Severus knew this was the heart of the matter, goblins didn't run from a fight. "Orion, think about this. If you had hurt them, two students, who really have no experience in fighting, no experience in how life works, does that make you brave or a bully?"
"A bully?" Harry looked at him.
"A bully is what Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley are. What they are doing to you is called bullying. It's not right. Yes, some say stand up to your bully, but when it's two against one, in a school run by a lion, it's sometimes best to get your revenge another way." The Dark Lord knew about Severus' experiences at the hands of the Marauders.
"So I can keep pranking them?"
"Yes, and I'm sure your animal friends will help." Severus saw the gleam in Harry's eyes. If Granger and Weasley thought their missing items were a problem, they were about to learn it was a minor problem. "You want to sleep here tonight?"
"Yes." Harry changed into Cat.
Lucius looked at the letter he just received from Lady Longbottom. "Narcissa, I need to go to Hogwarts after I retrieve Orion's test results."
Narcissa looked up from her letters. "Miss Granger went to the Board?"
"Worse, she has filed charges with the DMLE and the Board, asking for Orion to be removed from Hogwarts for cheating. According to Augusta, Mr. and Mrs. Granger filed the charges on behalf of their daughter with the backing of Ronald Weasley." Lucius handed the letter to Narcissa. "Augusta wants me to bring anything I can tomorrow to the Board meeting. Thank Merlin, Severus and the Dark Lord mentioned to Dumbledore about tutoring Orion before he started at Hogwarts."
"I believe Severus kept track of the lessons." Narcissa read the letter. "Lucius, perhaps some memories of the confrontations also. Miss Granger has been physical and emotional abusing our son."
"Another reason why I want to go to Hogwarts. I want as much as we can get on her. I know Dumbledore didn't back this. He wanted to put Orion into a high level to give the girl her first place in her year." Lucius was going to have the Dark Lord write a letter about tutoring his son.
"I believe you should see Amelia after this, keep it from going further. Dumbledore might use it as a way to push Orion into his second year."
"I'm going to go right after I am finished at Hogwarts. I am also going to see the girl punished, despite what Dumbledore is going to want done."
"I will write to Augusta thanking her, and perhaps inviting her for tea." Narcissa knew Lady Augusta Longbottom wasn't afraid of Albus Dumbledore and had stopped the man on more than one occasion. The letter mentioned her grandson telling her about Granger and Weasley.
"I'm sure it will be informative." Lucius wondered why the girl's parents backed her in this ridiculous notion.
"Lucius?" Severus was a bit surprised to see Lucius entered his office after he granted entrance. "I wasn't expecting you? Is Narcissa well?"
"Yes, however, we have a problem baring the name of Granger." Lucius pulled out the letter from Lady Longbottom. "Read, it will explain everything."
Severus read the letter, and read it again. "How could they press charges? I wasn't even aware it was a crime. I mean, I know a student can be expelled, but criminal charges?"
"I believe it's about using magic outside of Hogwarts, but you mentioned that she has also?"
"Indeed. Numerous occasions, including using it on the train. I have kept records of what I taught Orion, to show he used magic in lessons, as acceptable when homeschooled." Severus opened his file cabinet and began to gather his records. "I know Quintas has also kept records."
Lucius frowned at the name of Quintas but soon had his answer to why when Dumbledore strolled into Severus' office. Dumbledore walked to stand in front of Severus' desk. "Lucius, I was going to send a letter asking to meet with you. We need to work out a solution to these charges." Dumbledore saw Orion's records on Severus' desk. "I see, you have kept records."
"I always do." Severus knew Dumbledore was hoping he hadn't. Dumbledore was still trying to figure out what to do regarding no Potter while pushing Granger and Weasley as Potter's friends. Granger, since she was a muggle-born, and Weasley because he was a pure-blood, with Potter being half-blood it was Dumbledore's perfect union. He needed to promote all the classes getting along under his guidance.
"There is nothing to discuss. The Grangers will be facing charges of slander. Miss Granger brought forth this issue twice before. Each time it was explained to her about Orion having tutors." Lucius wasn't going to have his son forced into his second year because Dumbledore wanted a muggle-born to be the top of the class. He also wasn't going to allow Granger slander his family name or his son.
"I'm aware, however, I'm hoping I can speak to Mr. and Mrs. Granger, and get them to drop the charges. I'm sure it's just a slight misunderstanding." Dumbledore held out a tin of candy. "Lemon drop?"
"No, thank you. This slight misunderstanding hasn't been resolved by her Head of House, or you when we last spoke concerning this issue. Miss Granger was informed that we were aware of her use of magic outside of Hogwarts while explaining that my son did under some tutorage while he was recovering." Lucius wasn't about to let Dumbledore's pet get away with doing this. She had two warnings already concerning the cheating accusation.
"I will speak to Hermione's parents, perhaps we can get this resolved by the end of the day. I will go and speak to Hermione before I leave." Dumbledore didn't give them time to respond before he was heading out of Severus' office.
Lucius waited until Severus indicated Dumbledore was out of range. "Let's go and speak to Marvolo."
The Dark Lord read the letter and when Lucius was finished telling him what Dumbledore had said, he smirked. "We use it combined with the pictures of students visiting Fluffy. Show that he is more focused on finding Harry Potter than he is on Hogwarts and her students. We have the memories, we have the pictures, add Granger and Weasley's records, and from what Lady Longbottom hinted at in her letter, no one is happy with this action."
"Even if Dumbledore gets the whole thing dropped, Rita will find out about it." Lucius knew exactly how to get Rita interested. "I'm still going to speak to Amelia about this."
"Weasley and Granger's records will also work against them. Neither of them can claim it's biased either, as Minerva has assigned a lot of detentions to them, and made references to their bullying." Severus, as one of the Heads of Houses, got a weekly report on detentions. "Dumbledore might get the Grangers to drop the charges, but Granger won't give up. She really doesn't like to be in the wrong, nor in second place. Weasley has been really pushing her, too."
"While he is gone today, I can do the ritual to destroy the four golems. It's actually very simple since he used Potter blood, Orion just has to demand the blood and magic stolen from the Potter line back. Orion can do it in Severus' quarters, while I can do the ritual down in the Chamber."
"Danger?" Lucius wasn't sure what ritual the Dark Lord was referencing but he wanted Orion safe, he knew the Dark Lord did too, but at times the man could be a bit blind.
"To me, only. I will have Nagini with me, if I have an issue, she can fetch Severus." The Dark Lord picked up the book. "Dumbledore's magic won't be affected, but since he used frozen blood, the time factor had to affect the decay of some of the blood and magic. That decay could cause some magical instability and might give me a bit of a backlash."
"I think we should be there for this. Narcissa too. Dumbledore always attends tea with Cornelius on Saturday afternoon."
"I have to agree. Nagini and Orion will most likely want to attend, no matter how much of an objection we might want to make. They will find their way down to watch at least." Severus knew Harry would find to attend.
"He would." The Dark Lord sighed. "Saturday, we can do it. We need to tell Orion about this."
"Let me get to the Ministry to control this before it becomes a bigger problem. I know Dumbledore will try to sweep it under the rug if the talk with the Grangers doesn't work."
"I wonder if he is going to bring their daughter with him when he leaves here? Dumbledore might bring Minerva with him, since Minerva has spoken to Granger numerous times, and he would rather have her be the bad guy versus himself." Severus wondered if Filius would be interested in making sure that Granger learned how to respect others, and hopefully stop hitting people.
"I better go and see-"
The door was thrown open and Draco ran into the room. "Come quickly. Granger and Weasley beat up Orion."
The three of them followed Draco back down to the dungeons. Nagini was curled around Orion and wasn't letting Poppy near him. "Everyone out of the way. No one is going to get near Orion until we get the snake calmed down." Severus pushed his way to Harry and Nagini, Lucius and the Dark Lord were right behind him.
"Severus, he needs tending." Poppy had her bag opened. "I need to examine him."
Lucius didn't stop he walked up to Orion, scooped him up and headed right for Severus' quarters. "Severus, get Narcissa." He ordered he entered Severus' quarters. "Draco, get some blankets."
"I'm able to heal him." Poppy was following behind. Nagini snapped at Poppy. Poppy didn't move towards the group.
"My wife is a healer, she will do it." Lucius laid Harry down on the couch. "Orion?"
The Dark Lord forced every one of Severus' quarters as Narcissa arrived with her healer bag. The door was closed as Narcissa pulled her wand out. She didn't speak as she began casting. "He has a broken right arm, left wrist, and some ribs. He has a lot of bruising."
Severus handed her a Skel-Glo potion and began to pull out the bruise paste. "He can sleep in the guest room."
"What happened, Draco?" The Dark Lord watched Nagini who was now hanging her head over the top of the couch to watch Harry.
"I'm not sure. We were walking back to the common room. Orion needed a book from the library. I heard Granger accuse him of being a cheater than Weasley calling him a coward for walking away. I started to walk to where I heard them, but suddenly Granger started yelling for Weasley to stop hitting Orion. Weasley replied that she hit Orion too. When I caught up with them, Orion was on the ground, I saw McGonagall and Flitwick coming down the hall. Weasley started screaming at McGonagall about how Orion started the fight. Granger started hitting Weasley calling him a liar. I ran for you after that. When I didn't find Uncle Severus, I figured he was with you." Draco looked at them. "Why didn't he fight back?"
"Didn't want to get into trouble and have to visit Dumbledore." Orion muttered from the couch. "Granger accused me of cheating, she said I was going to be expelled, and that they filed charges against me. I walked away and she pushed me, then hit me on the shoulder. When I didn't turn around, Weasley pushed me into the wall. I put my arms up to stop from smashing my face into the wall."
'Which caused the breaks." Narcissa explained.
"Weasley kicked me when I fell to the floor. A few different times." Orion opened his eyes. "What did she mean by charges?"
"Nothing for you to worry about. We already have it handled. I was already on my way to the Ministry to have it handled."
"Good, get them into trouble too. I would like to have one day without one of them leaving a bruise on me."
"Let's get you settled in bed, while your father goes and handles everything." Narcissa helped Orion up. "Draco, give your father your memory. Severus come and take Orion's once we get him settled into bed." No one disobeyed Narcissa.
Lucius was sitting in the meeting room in the Ministry that the Board of Education normally used. He had sent a summons for the Board, the Weasleys, the Grangers, and Madam Bones. Everything was ending here. Dumbledore and his pets weren't hurting his son any longer. Dumbledore wasn't going to force Orion into a higher level either because of Granger.
He had the memories, Severus and the Dark Lord's lesson notes, the detention reports, even some memories showing Granger admitting to using magic outside of Hogwarts. He buried his anger. He really wanted to curse Dumbledore, Granger, and he blocked out what he wanted to do to the youngest male Weasley.
Slowly everyone filtered in. Dumbledore escorted the Grangers, Weasleys, and Minerva into the room. Madam Bones looked really annoyed before her mask was in place. Madam Bones and a few Board members were clearly not impressed by Dumbledore judging by the looks they were sending Dumbledore, the Grangers, and the Weasleys.
Arthur looked resigned, while Molly looked ready to explode. Her son had clearly been venting, judging by his red face. The Grangers were an interesting couple. The husband looked frustrated, while the wife looked slightly confused but ready to defend her daughter, while their daughter was whispering to her mother.
"Well, we have numerous issues, so take a seat and let's get this over." Lady Longbottom slammed down a gavel. "Since this issue involves Lord Malfoy's child, he has stepped down as the head of the Board, and I will be leading the session. Everyone take a seat."
The Board members took their normal seats, while the witnesses went to the guest seats. "I'll be acting as the Secretary." Ted Tonks set up the automatic quill. He had read the complaint, as had the other Board members regarding the cheating. He honestly was surprised it made it this far. The bullying and now the attack was a surprise. He knew this wasn't going to go the way the Grangers or Dumbledore wanted it to go.
Dumbledore seemed surprised by the change. As well as the Weasleys. Lucius knew that Dumbledore was counting on Lucius not stepping down so he could claim biased. Dumbledore couldn't claim that with Lady Longbottom. "I'm a bit unsure of why we are here." Dumbledore took his normal seat.
"As I said a few issues. The first issue, the charges of cheating brought forth by the Granger family against Orion Malfoy. The second will the attack by Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley on Orion Malfoy." Lady Longbottom looked down at her notes. "Now according to my notes, Headmaster Dumbledore, Deputy Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor House Minerva McGonagall, and Head of Slytherin House Severus Snape, the issue of cheating has been addressed before. What was the outcome? Why isn't Professor Snape present?"
"Professor Snape remained behind to assist Lady Malfoy with healing Orion." Minerva glared at Dumbledore. She had been warning him about allowing Granger and Weasley such free rein.
"Let's move this forward. The cheating charges shall be addressed first since it has a few issues combined. Albus, do you want to address what this is about?" Lady Longbottom had heard about this issue from her grandson and wasn't going to let Dumbledore's slight misunderstanding work this time.
"It's a slight misunderstanding. As we have explained to Hermione, Orion Malfoy had been homeschool due to illness." Dumbledore's eyes started twinkling. "We have already explained that there was no cheating. The earlier incident was a reaction to Hermione learning about a meeting."
"Yes, we have the records of Orion Malfoy's homeschooling. The records were submitted by Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell." Lady Longbottom watched the Board members read the records and the notes. "It says that Hermione Granger has been using magic outside of Hogwarts, including using it before she started at Hogwarts, while we have a clear evidence that Orion Malfoy's usage was under professor instructors in accordance to what he was missing due to illness. Mr. and Mrs. Granger claim that Orion Malfoy has to be cheating but don't list a reason."
"As I stated, it's a slight misunderstanding. We have explained that Orion was ill, and actually, he is more advanced in his knowledge, however, his parents desire him to remain in his first year."
Mrs. Granger rose. "My daughter has always been the top of her class, she worked hard and that boy shouldn't be allowed to get away with cheating nor should my daughter be prevented from being able to use magic for improving her school work."
"Mrs. Granger, it's against the law for magic to be used in front of muggles and for underage wizards and witches to use it outside of Hogwarts. The reason for not allowing it's usage in underage wizards and witches due to unstable cores, mispronounced spells damage to themselves and others, and if the spell or their usage is high enough they could drain their cores." Lord Marshall, a healer from St. Mungos explained. "Professor McGonagall was your first contact with our world, and I see there is a signed acknowledgment of your understanding of the underage usage of magic."
"Why is it fine for underage purebloods to use magic whenever they want and not me?" Granger stood up and demanded.
"They don't. It is the reason why Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell have kept records. Magic is carefully monitored for the reasons that Lord Marshall just explained." Ted Tonks carefully explained.
"See Mother, the purebloods stick together." Granger had her hands on her hips. "They are so backward."
"Miss Granger, I'm a muggle-born, married to a pureblood. My daughter is a student at Hogwarts and isn't allowed to use magic in our home, and it was my wife who explained to me the reasons why." Ted Tonks glanced at Lady Longbottom. They now understood why they were here. Ted and Lady Longbottom had tried to stop this after it was submitted but the Grangers weren't willing to listen to them.
"Neville certainly isn't. I wasn't and I didn't allow my son to use magic until he was finished with Hogwarts." Lady Longbottom added.
"I certainly don't allow it." Molly Weasley was perfectly willing to have the Board and the Malfoy anger directed at Hermoine Granger.
Mr. Granger glared at his wife as he rose from his seat. "Since this is clearly an issue, we will accept the punishment for allowing our daughter to use magic outside of school. This cheating issue, I would like it explained. All we have been told is that Orion Malfoy was cheating, that it was being covered up."
"Mr. Granger, I reviewed all the work of Orion Malfoy, the records of his tutoring, and his test results. Mr. Malfoy didn't cheat. His parents selected to leave him in his first year." McGonagall explained. "We explained it to your daughter."
"He had to be cheating in order to be ranked higher than me. Tell them, Mother. I have always been the brightest student and top of my class."
"Hermione said this Orion shouldn't be in her grade, why is he? Is it to boost his stats for better positioning?" Mrs. Granger demanded.
"What is she talking about?" Lady Longbottom was confused.
"In muggle schools, a lot of students positions in their class helps them get scholarships or even offers to attend universities." Ted explained.
"My son was ill for a long time. He has tested higher, but we wanted him to remain with his brother and students his own age. His testing was to show he was able to join Hogwarts for this term." Lucius pulled out some health reports. "Lord Marshall can preview these reports to show our son's health history."
"That won't be necessary. Hermione, this has gone too far. The boy clearly isn't cheating, there isn't a cover-up, and a valid reason for you not using magic outside of school. Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall tried to explain it to our daughter. My wife, however, selected to push the issue. We won't push this matter any further. What is the punishment for our daughter breaking the law?"
"While we appreciate your acceptance, we have a lot more to discuss. Let's get through the rest of this before we discuss punishment." Lady Longbottom pointed to the memory phials. "We have the memories from Orion and Draco Malfoy, as well as a few other students who saw what happened. We can either watch all of them, or Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger can admit to their part in beating up Orion Malfoy. The beating resulted in a rather large list of injuries."
Lucius passed out the health scan. Narcissa and Severus' signature were on the bottom of the results. Dumbledore read down the list and closed his eyes. Molly didn't even take one. "This is part of the Malfoy-Weasley family feud. My Ronny would never hurt a person without a good reason. What did that Malfoy brat do to him? Show the memories, let's see them."
"I don't believe that will be necessary. We can handle it." Dumbledore certainly didn't want anyone to see what happened. He knew that they beat the boy. Orion had made a point of not hitting them, no matter what they did.
"I want it resolved. This isn't the first time they have hit my son." Lucius sat down.
"I agree, it does need to be resolved. Ted, is the pensive ready?" Lady Longbottom wasn't about to let the two brats get away with their bullying. Neville had already told her about how they treated everyone in the common room. She read between the lines and knew the duo was bullying her grandson, too.
"Yes. I have the memories lined up based on date and who gave them." Ted uncovered the pensive. He lined up the memories phials.
Dumbledore groaned as they watched all the memories play one after another. Arthur Weasley looked sick as Molly was clearly upset seeing her son beating up people, but only when they weren't Slytherins.
"Hermione Jean Granger, we raised you better than that. I do not like this person you're turning into. A bully, Hermione. You were bullied, you know what that is like." Mr. Granger was furious. "I'm finding it harder and harder in allowing you to remain at Hogwarts." He had originally objected to Hogwarts when he learned they didn't offer basic classes like English and math.
"Hermione, I supported you because you have always been honest. However, this is unbelievable. I'm in agreement with your father. You will accept any punishment that is issued." Mrs. Granger turned to address the Board. "Lord Malfoy, I'm so sorry for my part in this ordeal. I pray that your son recovers fast." She never felt so embarrassed in her life. Her daughter was clearly not grown up enough to be away from them for so long.
"Thank you and will pass on your thoughts to my son." Lucius watched Mr. Granger smack his daughter on the butt. "He will make a full recovery, no lasting physical damage will remain."
"Dad, it wasn't like that." Granger was hoping that Dumbledore would interfere but Dumbledore was reviewing the list of people who submitted the memories.
"So that isn't you?"
"Yes, it's me, but he is cheating. I've always been the top of the class. The Headmaster even said that I'm the brightest witch of my generation."
"It's time for a life lesson. Hermione, someone is smarter than you. It happens. You're clearly to fixed on being number one. Professor Dumbledore's assessment that you are the brightest witch of your generation may be true, but clearly, Orion Malfoy is the brightest wizard. Get over it." He smacked her again on the butt. "Now, apologize."
"Hermione, we told you he wasn't cheating. This has gone on far too long." Dumbledore needed to keep his pets in Hogwarts for when he found Harry. "I believe suspension for two weeks will cover everything."
"For Miss Granger. Now, we shall address Mr. Weasley." Lady Longbottom faced the Weasley family. "Mr. Weasley, what do you have to say for yourself? In reference to your recent actions."
"He is a cheat and a snake. He just hasn't been caught doing anything wrong. He is a Malfoy, so it's only a matter of time."
Arthur closed his eyes as Madam Bones stood up. "Charges have been filed. I'm going to suggest we proceed with them. Mr. Ronald Bilius Weasley, you are charged with assault and battery. If we allowed for hate crimes like muggles do, I would be charging you with a hate crime. You are under arrest."
"My son, you can't do that. He is innocent. Arthur, Albus." Molly pulled her son into her arms.
"Molly, you saw what he did. He attacked a boy who didn't even fight back." Arthur saw two Aurors come forward.
Lucius was sitting in a closed session of Wizenagamot for Ron Weasley. Dumbledore pulled several strings to get this closed session. He saw Madam Bones in a silenced conference with Minister Fudge. He watched Dumbledore working the ones that might be on the fence.
Dumbledore was wasting his time. Lucius wasn't going to let Ronald Weasley get away with what was done. He knew Madam Bones and Minister Fudge were in agreement with him, as most of the Wizenagamot. Dumbledore wasn't getting this Weasley off. Arthur Weasley's resigned attitude hadn't helped Dumbledore either. Many had seen the change in Arthur and the man wasn't denying what his youngest son had done, sealing Ron's fate.
He saw Mr. Granger was in attendance, but not for Dumbledore. Hermione's parents had arranged to speak to Madam Bones. They were deeply concerned about what was happening and provided the letters that Hermione had written home, as well as submitting their own statements about the changes in their daughter's personality. Mr. Granger wanted to show his support, also wanted to be available in case the cheating charges were brought up. The issue of her hitting was already being addressed.
Lucius knew this session was going to make the decision for them to remove their daughter from Hogwarts or not. It all depended on what Dumbledore did. The Grangers weren't impressed by Molly Weasley. Molly Weasley was sitting behind Dumbledore with her husband. She looked frustrated, but no voice was coming out of her mouth, so she must be silenced, too. Arthur looked older, tired, and resigned. Gone was the jovial man that was Arthur Weasley.
Madam Bones moved to the left table, the table that was set up for her to prosecute criminals, while Dumbledore finally moved to the right table, as Ron Weasley was escorted in by two Aurors. The two Aurors weren't in Dumbledore's Order. Lucius had made sure none of Dumbledore's people were allowed near Ron Weasley. Ron Weasley was fighting a bit, but since he was chained it was useless as he was dragged to a plain, old, wooden chair. He was secured to the chair, a silencing charm was placed over his mouth.
Minister Fudge slammed his gavel down. "We have reviewed the evidence. The memories, the letters, even the detention reports. Mr. Ronald Bilius Weasley, you're charged with assault and battery against Orion Malfoy. Lord Malfoy, the status of your son?"
"I believe Madam Bones has the most recent update on his health. He has made a full recovery, physically, but as Mind Healer Adamson wrote, the mental aspect of being bullied repeatedly by Mr. Weasley before the beating added more to the trauma of the beating." Lucius knew that Harry wasn't used to being the victim and allowed himself to be beaten to prevent Dumbledore from blaming Harry. Harry spent a lot of time with Severus and the Dark Lord, with Nagini and Draco.
"Yes, we have reviewed the report." Minister Fudge looked at Dumbledore. "Albus, you claim it was a slight misunderstanding, however, in reviewing the memories it clearly shows Mr. Weasley beating Mr. Malfoy and that Mr. Malfoy didn't fight back. We also had numerous memories of Mr. Weasley attacking a Cat Sidhe, as well. He is even heard clearly stating it needed to die. He even attacked it."
Severus gasps were heard in the chambers, but not from the Wizenagamot. Since it was a closed session only those who were invited, part of the trial, or needed for the session were in attendance. "I am aware of the issues, but Mr. Weasley is just misguided. I'm sure with time, understanding, and perhaps the council of a mind healer, things could be worked out."
Madam Bones rose. "As the Headmaster, you had almost 8 months to handle this situation. I'm also including the fact that the attack on the Cat Sidhe happened in October, and you did nothing. You told the boys involved that they needed to make amends. Two of the boys showed remorse and alienated themselves from Mr. Weasley, as most in Gryffindor House has done. You ignored the numerous outbursts of Mr. Weasley saying all snakes must die. All snakes are evil. I submitted all the detentions."
"It's just some first-year high jinx."
"We all remember your saying that about the group of Gryffindors called the Marauders. Two are dead, one is in Azkaban for the death of twelve muggles and a wizard. I am sure many on the Wizenagamot remember their own experiences with the Marauders or their children." Lord York rose. "You ignored their cruel pranks and they didn't beat a child."
"I have to agree, this pattern of allowing some Gryffindors doing whatever they want, whenever they want, backed by your claim of it's a slight misunderstanding needs to end." Lady Longbottom remembered what Dumbledore had done when her son attended Hogwarts. Frank would tell her about the pranks, while he wasn't a victim often, the pranks bothered her son.
"They are children, they are going to experiment with their magic, they are away from home learning new boundaries." Dumbledore ran his hands down his beard. He was dressed in one of his more reserved robes. It was bright neon yellow.
"I have submitted numerous reports from three different mind healers, as well as other magical and muggle schools policy regarding their policies on bullying, what they do when students beat up another. Especially, when they target one student, or in this case one house." Madam Bones indicated the reports on her desk, the copies had been shared with everyone on the Wizenagamot.
"We have reviewed the reports. The suggested changes will take effect at the beginning of the next school year. I believe, Lady Longbottom, Lord Malfoy, Ted Tonks, and Ethel Jones have already begun to draft up the changes to Hogwart's school policies." Minister Fudge waved his wand. "Now, as to the sentence."
"Mr. Weasley hasn't been found guilty." Dumbledore didn't like how this was going.
"Mr. Weasley has been found guilty by a vote of 153 to 17." Minister Fudge showed the vote on the magical board behind him. He held up his hand. "The Wizenagamot has decided that Mr. Weasley isn't a suitable candidate for Azkaban."
Dumbledore beamed, patted Ron Weasley on the shoulder. "I agree, it's only a slight misunderstanding, and boys will be boys."
"Glad you agree. Mr. Weasley, your wand is being snapped, your magic will be bound. You are going to be enrolled in a military school, Ted Tonks and some board members have a few schools they have selected. Once a school accepts you, you will be placed there with wards, as a permanent member of the school, until such a time that it's has been deemed you have learned to control your temper and can be a productive member of our society. The schools we have selected are run by squibs and they will be informed about everything." Minister Fudge announced. "You will remain in the holding cells until you can be delivered to your new school."
Dumbledore went to speak. "He could have gone to Azkaban." Madam Bones warned Dumbledore. "I won't have a problem with requesting a change if you keep trying to protect him from being punished for his own actions."
The two Aurors moved forward and escorted a kicking and thrashing Weasley out of the Wizenagamot session. As Dumbledore took his seat, Arthur escorted Molly out.
Cat was staring at Nagini, who was working with Fluffy on making sure no one got past the huge three-headed dog. They had noticed the changes in the maze below. Some of the previous traps had been removed. Dumbledore had been acting strange since Weasley was removed, and they destroyed the four golems. Crookshanks and Mrs. Norris were sitting with him. *Puppy isn't getting it.* They had been trying to keep Fluffy from being distracted by meat or toys, they knew the music aspect they couldn't fix.
~No, but we can also make sure no one gets by. We take turns watching with Puppy. The old man keeps checking to see if my Tom stole that fake thing he put down there." Nagini used her tail and sent three balls for the dog to play with. ~Now that the annoying male is gone, what about the other one?~
*Her parents gave her a warning, one more issue and she will be withdrawn. She acted like she was being killed. Drama Queen.* Crookshanks had been avoiding the girl. *She still thinks she is in the right.*
*Let's get a scheduled worked out.* Cat wasn't sure what Dumbledore was going to do. No Weasley or Granger for him to count on. No golems or someone to play Harry Potter. Severus, Lucius, and Tom were working on a different plan. *We will put up wards down there too.*
Orion and Draco were ignoring Granger as well as everyone else was. Since Weasley was no longer in Hogwarts, the girl had no one backing up her belief that Orion was cheating. She wasn’t making any friends with her attitude. Orion felt a bit bad for her, but she was making herself unliked and wasn’t about to let anyone try to persuade her that she was in the wrong.
Granger spent most of her time in the library trying to improve. Almost every morning there was an owl delivering the girl more books. If there wasn’t an owl delivering books, it was delivering other supplies for the girl. Everything from parchment, quills, ink, and clothes to some muggle things that no one was exactly sure she ordered. Crookshanks wasn’t sure what it was but said the girl spent most of her nights up studying and wasn’t really sleeping that often.
Orion learned from Severus that Granger’s parents had informed the girl of her punishment. During her summer holiday, Granger was going to be working at her parents’ dental practice for free all summer when she wasn’t working the community service that Madam Bones was going to arrange. Madam Bones mentioned having the girl volunteering at the St. Mungos in the Spell Damage unit. Granger would have the weekends off, but during the week she was going to be working a few hours each day.
Severus thought the punishment was better than what Dumbledore would have arranged. It might also teach the Know-It-All some idea of what she was risking by doing magic without anyone to train her. Severus knew she would see at least one or two people who burned out their magic and he hoped by the time the girl returned for her second year she would learn something. Severus didn’t know if it would work given the girl’s attitude. Orion always enjoyed listening to Severus’ views on things.
Orion felt a nudge from Draco. He returned to paying attention to Severus’ lecture on the upcoming potion they would be doing in the second half of the class. Since the class was with Gryffindors, Severus was doing his usual glaring at the Gryffindor side of the room. Currently, Severus was doing a review of the potions they had used for the year to prepare the students for their end of year exams. Orion was actually looking forward to leaving Hogwarts.
“I’m sure all of you are aware of the dangers of adding porcupine quill while a potion is still on the burners.” Severus glanced at Longbottom, who looked sheepish. “You have an hour to brew the potion that will be listed on the index card. Since I don’t want anyone to claim I’m being unfair, each of you will come up to my desk and pick up an index card.” Severus stepped away from his desk and everyone could see the index cards were laying spread out on his desk. “Pick one, get your ingredients, and start brewing. You have an hour. Gryffindors first, since I don’t want to be accused of favoritism.” Severus could really care less if he was accused but he didn’t want to listen to Dumbledore.
Orion loved how Severus and the Dark Lord were making it clear they weren’t happy with how Granger was now claiming that the staff was favoring Orion Malfoy because of what Ronald Weasley did. Dumbledore had to step in a few times when the girl went to Professor McGonagall and claimed that she wasn’t being treated fairly and neither were the Gryffindors because of what Weasley had done. No matter what Granger was told, she didn’t want to believe anyone.
Weasley was sent to a military school outside of London. Madam Bones had made the arrangements with some squibs who taught there as well as the Headmaster. She had provided the Headmaster with all the information she had on Ronald Weasley. He was required to graduate from the school. Dumbledore had tried to get it to a yearly review. Dumbledore hoped to get Weasley returned to Hogwarts.
McGonagall was waiting for the staff meeting to begin. It was the usual monthly staff meeting and as usual, Dumbledore was running late. She had poured herself a cup of tea. She placed a saucer of milk on the table for Cat to drink from. Cat was sitting on the chair next to Minerva and standing up on his back legs; he started to drink the milk.
“Minerva, you are spoiling him, again.” Severus picked up his own cup of tea to take a sip. Severus was a bit surprised that Cat came with him to the meeting.
“Of course I am.” McGonagall added a bit of bacon to the saucer. She had turned into a cat a few times to speak to Cat and Crookshanks. She did enjoy her time as a cat.
Cat and Crookshanks never gave away that they knew the cat they were speaking to was Professor McGonagall or provide her with any information beyond what they wanted her to know. Usually things about what was happening in the dorms or which students needed her assistance.
Cat was glad he woke up to attend this meeting. He munched on the bacon, giving Severus a very cat-like satisfied smirk. Since it was Friday morning, he planned on making up for lost sleep later after lunch, when he had no classes. He would sleep with Nagini and Crookshanks while they watched Puppy.
Dumbledore finally strode in; Cat closed his eyes at seeing such bright colors so early in the morning. Dumbledore gave him a pet as he sat down. Cat resisted the urge to bite the man. Dumbledore took the cup of tea that McGonagall had already poured for him. “Thank you, Minerva.”
The rest of the staff was in their usual seats, trying to fully wake up. No one liked the early morning meetings. Even Professor Sinistra always struggled to remain awake, as this was her normal sleeping time since she had midnight classes. While the rest of the staff had several hours of sleep, she didn’t get a chance to sleep due to the fact that by the time she was done cleaning up and putting things away from her classes, it was almost close to 3 AM in the morning and Dumbledore always set the meetings for 5.
“I’m sure we are all eager to get through the meeting. So let’s begin.” Dumbledore pulled out a folded piece of parchment from his robes. “Now, I really don’t have any items on my agenda per say, but I do have a concern.”
Everyone groaned. They all knew what that meant. Cat didn’t bother finishing his saucer of milk. He headed for Severus. He jumped onto Severus’ lap and sat down. Severus began to pet him as Dumbledore continued. “I’m a bit worried about Hermione Granger. Since Ronald’s been gone, it appears as if she doesn’t have any friends.”
Cat knew it wasn’t anyone’s fault but Granger. The Gryffindors had been willing to understand, after all, they had endured Weasley too. They believed she just been a victim of Weasley’s rantings, which they also understood since Weasley was the girl’s friend. However, Granger wasn’t making it easy.
“It would help if she stopped insisting that Orion Malfoy cheated.” Aurora Sinatra was tired and wasn’t going to waste time. “I heard her whining about it to Lavender Brown, again. She is blaming everything on Mr. Malfoy, including Mr. Weasley being removed.” Since most of the students were quiet as they drew or were looking into the telescopes she could hear those who were speaking very easily. Especially since on the ramparts, the sounds could and would echo, there wasn’t much she missed.
“I have to agree. I have caught her saying that because of Mr. Weasley’s removal that the staff is now favoring Mr. Malfoy and Slytherin. She has been informing anyone who listens to her that the staff is trying to make sure that Lord Malfoy won’t sue Hogwarts. I’m not sure what she means by suing, but that is what she is saying.” Professor Filius Flitwick, who was normally the easiest of Professor to get along with, wasn’t happy with how Granger had been acting. Yes, humans could sue other humans but it was usually over broken contracts or other agreements. So Filius wasn’t sure what Granger was speaking about. “She even blames him for her ruined worked. She showed me a torn up assignments, claiming that Cat had to do them. Nothing is her fault.”
Cat tilted his head a bit. Crookshanks must have been very busy. Crookshanks only ruined her work when Granger bad mouthed him. Mrs. Norris still left dead animals in the rooms shoes.
“She hasn’t been very accepting of the truth, Albus.” McGonagall had been trying to get the girl to see the truth. “Her own cat was caught tearing up her shoes by the girls in her dorm, and she blamed it on Cat. They also stated that her cat was the one destroying her assignments and clothes. I spoke to her cat, who informed me that Granger actually has been mean to him.”
Cat knew Crookshanks had made sure to be caught. He wondered what Crookshanks meant by being mean to him. He knew McGonagall wasn’t going to allow Crookshanks to be abused, neither would Crookshanks. He hoped Crookshanks would come home for the summer with him. He was going to have to speak to Draco about him taking Crookshanks. He knew Crookshanks would love a new owner.
“Perhaps a mind healer would be best.” Poppy suggested. “She is so used to being the best student that it is clearly upsetting her more than we are able to handle.” Poppy had tried to get help for Weasley. “Albus, we can’t keep ignoring this. The girl needs some help, beyond what we can provide for her.”
“I will speak to her parents.” Dumbledore wasn’t sure what to do exactly. He had never had the issues he has experienced in the last 9 months. He didn’t like his plans being ruined, but he could adapt. “I have already spoken to her about her work.”
“We need to start the review for the end of year exams. I’m, frankly, worried about how she will handle not being the top of her class.” McGonagall was very worried. She had been after Dumbledore to get the girl help since the winter holidays. She believed that Granger fell too deeply into her delusion that she was the brightest witch of her generation. The girl’s whole world was about books and being the smartest. She wasn’t able to handle being flawed. She refrained from commenting on how Dumbledore had pushed the delusion with his bragging about her being the brightest witch.
“I have to agree with Minerva, Albus.” Poppy wasn’t sure if Dumbledore would do anything about Granger, but she was going to write a letter to Madam Bones and hopefully get the girl some help. She was also going to speak to McGonagall. Together, she hoped that they could get her parents to set up for her to see a mind healer. “We can’t allow this to continue. We must do something for her.”
“I will speak to her parents.” Dumbledore was actually very worried about his last remaining pawn. He needed to get her back on the path. He didn’t want a scandal associated with Granger or Harry Potter. He knew the girl was very bright and he wanted her to remain bright. However, he didn’t want to lose her to the muggle world. Her parents were close to pulling her from Hogwarts.
Cat curled up on Severus’ lap as Dumbledore started to run through the schedule for the fifth year OWLs and the seventh year NEWTs. The Dark Lord and Severus just listened to Dumbledore ramble on.
The school followed Orion’s example and didn’t do anything to Granger, which seemed to surprise the girl. She kept expecting some kind of bullying or even name calling. Orion, however, selected to just ignore her and focus on his end of year exams.
Draco had followed Orion’s lead, but he wanted to make the girl pay. It was shared by numerous Slytherins, but they also understood that while the girl wasn’t responsible for what Weasley did. They recognized that perhaps if Granger didn’t encourage Weasley things might not have gone so far out of whack. Draco had wanted to do something to her, but Orion explained things were being handled and showed Draco that as Cat, with his other animals friends, were dealing with Granger. Draco, being a Slytherin, liked that idea.
Cat, Nagini, Crookshanks, and Mrs. Norris still watched the trap door, with Puppy. They also made sure to keep Puppy fed. Cat also spent time with the Dark Lord and Severus as Cat and as Orion. Draco and Orion set up study groups for their exams.
Orion was a bit surprised at how close he felt toward Draco. He wasn’t sure exactly what was going on but he felt like Draco was really his twin brother. He was confused about the feelings as well as his feeling of having so many humans in his life. Severus, the Dark Lord, the Malfoys, even his new animal friends. There were so many changes in such a short period of time.
Goblins weren’t like humans. While they remained close to their families, they weren’t touchy-feely, they weren’t very expressive about their emotions, a lot like Slytherins in that way. Goblins believed in training to be warriors while increasing your gold. They knew the art of the deal, how to mine, how to craft weapons, ward stones and other bits of magic. Orion knew he wasn’t a goblin but they were his family before he started at Hogwarts. They trained him, they taught him, they took him in, cared for him but most of all, they showed him how a family worked.
He was conflicted about how he should feel about losing the goblins. He didn’t want to lose the goblins, but he wasn’t sure that since he was a human, had a human family, was he still wanted by the goblins. Maka was like his mother, Ironclaw, his father, Frank, an uncle. He wasn’t ready to lose them.
“Orion?” The Dark Lord found Orion sitting next to Nagini.
Nagini lifted her head, allowing the Dark Lord to pet her. ~He’s confused.~ Nagini had gone to the Dark Lord last night explaining that Orion was having problems. She didn’t fully explain, as she wasn’t sure what the problem was, but she knew the Dark Lord was having the same issue.
The Dark Lord sat down next to Orion. “You ok?” The Dark Lord put an arm around Orion’s shoulder.
Orion looked at the Dark Lord. “Are humans always so confusing? Everything was so much easier before I got a human family before I agreed to come to Hogwarts.”
“They can be. You know it’s not easy to go from having no one to having the goblins as a family, and then a few years later, you get humans as a family.” The Dark Lord had been watching Orion. He knew the boy was going to have problems adjusting and had spent time talking to Maka about Harry. Maka had explained how long it took Harry to adjust to them, to accept them. “You know you aren’t going to lose Maka, Ironclaw, and the others as your family.”
Orion looked up at the Dark Lord. He arched a brow. Orion wasn’t sure if that was a true statement.
“Yes, I’m aware I haven’t had a family but I’m also getting used to it. It’s why I’m able to understand what you are going through. I was an orphan. For almost seventy years, I had no one. I relied on no one. I only had Nagini for the longest time. Now I have you, Severus, Draco, Lucius, Narcissa, and Maka and her family. I speak to her almost weekly. I give her updates on how you are doing.” Dark Lord was able to meet with Maka during the week. She was full of insight and understanding beyond what he was expecting.
“I write to her.” Orion wrote to her weekly. He still kept up on his skills, but he did miss seeing Maka and his other goblin family members. He didn’t want to disappoint Maka and Ironclaw. He knew the humans were happy with his performance. Severus, the Dark Lord, Lucius, and Narcissa let him know they were happy with him and Draco. They provided a lot of positive feedback to the boys.
“Yes, I’m aware and she is very happy to get them. I tell her the things you don’t. She is the one who pointed out that you and I are now building a family and we aren’t used to it. When I tried to deny it, she hit me with a wooden spoon on my butt.” The Dark Lord had been surprised when he got hit with a wooden spoon. “She is the one who pointed out that each of us has never had anyone in our lives who really wanted us after the death of our parents. She was quite frank with how we need to learn what family means.”
“She has good aim with that spoon.” Orion thought about getting whacked by the spoon when he did something stupid. Maka always seemed to have that spoon on her. He got the spoon only when he did something that was really stupid or endangered his life.
“Yes, and you know you will be able to visit them this summer. No one is going to prevent that. As far as everyone is concerned, we are all family. The goblins, us, even Severus, as much as he would love to deny it.” The Dark Lord ruffled Orion’s hair. “Maka was very firm on all of us being there for the yearly family reunion. I think your parents were surprised by the invite but they agreed everyone needs to attend. Your mother even answered for me and Severus.”
“Yes, and trust me, no one stands against Narcissa, I have a feeling Maka is the same way.”
“She is.” Orion was quiet for a few seconds. “It’s weird.”
“Yes, it is. Having others to rely on, others that worry about you, correct you when you do something wrong. However, you know what, we now have someone to have our backs, which is something neither of us is used to having but it’s a good thing to have them in our lives.” The Dark Lord wasn’t sure how he felt about it yet, but he knew it was a good thing. Having people in their lives was very different.
“It’s still weird.”
“Yes, I agree. It’s weird, but it’s a nice weird.” The Dark Lord gave Orion a slight smile. “I’m sure we will get used to it. Severus, he is in the same boat in a way.”
“He is?” Orion didn’t know that.
“Yes, but that is his story to tell you. You know he will.” The Dark Lord was going to speak to Severus, Lucius, and Narcissa.
“You know, for the longest time, it was just Nagini. The goblins helped but it wasn’t like I trusted them for a year or so. They weren’t exactly trusting of humans either. So it took a while. I survived so long by being on my own, with just Nagini. Nagini and I lived on the streets; we worked on making our way to the goblins.”
The Dark Lord remained quiet. He knew now was the time for listening.
“When the goblins discovered who I really was, they didn’t care about my name, they only cared that I was healed, that I was alive, and they were willing to train me. It took time for us to accept who we each were. Many of the goblins were afraid of allowing a wizarding child into the caverns. Time changed that. I learned about them as they learned about me. You know it was Maka, Ironclaw, and Frank who got the goblins to accept me.”
The Dark Lord ran a hand up and down Orion’s back. The Dark Lord was a bit surprised at how close his own feelings were to Orion’s. He knew Severus was feeling the same way, but unlike Orion and him, Severus had experience in dealing with family.
“Maka was the first, she was the one who fed me, and she made sure I had at least a meal a day. After that, Ironclaw arranged for me to have lessons with Frank. Frank was the one who got the warriors to change their minds about me. I don’t think they see me as a human.”
“I don’t think they do either. Orion, you are an original. The life you lead wasn’t an easy life, but you got an education and life that no one else in the wizarding world can even grasp. Neither of us is open about our feelings, we keep things buried and mull them over, same as Severus. However, now we have family that worries about us. Family, goblin and human, that cares about us.”
~We are almost done here, soon we will all be together.~
“What she says is true. You have final exams next week, and we got home the week after that.” The Dark Lord had a feeling that the summer was going to be interesting.
“That will be nice. This school isn’t good for us.”
“No, but soon we won’t have to hide any longer.” The Dark Lord knew Orion was feeling the strain of pretending. He was also feeling it.
“There you are. I’ve been looking for you. Dumbledore is gone for the night. I think he is expecting someone to do that stupid course of his.” Severus wasn't surprised to find the two of them together.
“I say we disappoint him.” Orion smirked.
“I agree.” The Dark Lord stood up. “Come on, Brat, let’s go and get some hot chocolate.”
Severus wasn’t sure what he missed but he figured he would find out eventually.
Crookshanks was waiting for Cat and Mrs. Norris the next morning. They headed up to visit Puppy, where Nagini would be waiting. The three felines were a bit concerned about what would happen to Puppy once he was out of Hogwarts, but Puppy assured them that Hagrid would take good care of him. Hagrid didn't want to leave him in Hogwarts but the old guy was the one who insisted.
After Crookshanks told them what happened last night in the Gryffindor dorm, they decided to go and share the news with McGonagall as a way to aid them. They needed a plan for Crookshanks to remain at Hogwarts or go home with Draco, Severus, or the Dark Lord. They were leaning toward going home with the Dark Lord.
The three cats walked into McGonagall's class, hopped into the different window sills and waited in the sun for her class to end. As soon as the class was finished, she called for some saucers of cream from the elves, and she transformed into her cat self. Cat wondered why the glasses showed up on McGonagall's cat form.
"Oh, dear, since the three of you are here, I'm assuming we have a bit of an issue. What happened?" McGonagall was a very polite cat and offered them their own saucers of cream. She wasn't sure why she was included in the clowder but she was enjoying herself.
"We have a major problem." Crookshanks wasn't going to beat around the bush. He was actually afraid of going home with Granger this summer. Not that he believed she would hurt him, but more for his sanity. He didn't believe the girl had a sane bone in her body.
"Yes, one that involves that two-legged girl." Mrs. Norris had spent the night watching with Puppy to make sure that Dumbledore didn't try anything. Since Dumbledore didn't have a Potter to use the man wasn't as bad, but they knew he was planning something.
"Yes, her. She wasn't happy that you made her stay in her dorm last night. Kept insisting that someone was going to steal something. I really don't know what but she was kept telling her dorm mates that Professor Snape was doing to do it." Crookshanks thought Lavender Brown had been about to stun the girl when one of the other girls suggested visiting another dorm, where they spent the night. "She caused the other two-legs to leave their own room."
"Tell her, Crook." Mrs. Norris licked her face before speaking.
"I will, I'm enjoying my cream, Mrs. N." Crookshanks was enjoying the cream. They could always count on McGonagall having a saucer or two ready for them. Granger never gave him any, always telling him it would make him fat. As if he would allow that to happen.
"There is more?" McGonagall wasn't happy with what she was hearing. However, Granger had shown up at her office last night insisting that Severus Snape of all people was going to steal whatever Dumbledore had them protecting. She was hoping the girl wouldn't return next year.
"Yes, the girl is still going on that whole cheating business. She tried to get some of the boys to sneak her out of the house and go with her. None of them agreed, especially after she said that Weasley would have. She said she was going to go to some Board if whatever was stolen as you ignored her warning. She worked herself into a fit last night."
"Indeed." McGonagall wasn't happy with what she was hearing. "Anything else?" She knew nothing was stolen but Granger was a problem that wasn't going to go away easily.
"Something about Potter but it was a bit confusing. She was saying she needed to be ready for when Potter returned from wherever he was." Crookshanks glanced at Cat, who wasn't speaking.
"Old guy was by the puppy, muttering about Potter not being here and spoiling his plans." Mrs. Norris knew that would get the old tabby upset. Dumbledore had never really explained why Potter never returned after the Yule holidays beyond his relatives taking an extended holiday abroad.
McGonagall didn't comment and they didn't push her. They knew the woman wasn't happy with Dumbledore and how he had handled the events during the year. They heard a bell sound. "I need to head to lunch. Cat, are you going to join us?"
Cat looked at her. He normally didn't go down for lunch, preferring to get a nap in but something told him to go. "Yes. I wonder if I can get Severus to give me some bacon?"
"I will if he won't." McGonagall transferred back to her human self.
Cat was sitting under the table listening to McGonagall. "Albus, she needs help. She caused the girls she shares a dorm with to leave their room. She tried to get the boys to sneak her out of the house. She actually believed that Severus was going to steal whatever we are protecting."
"I'm sure she is just trying to help."
"Albus, this was after she came to me, claiming it was in danger because you weren't here."
Dumbledore had been a bit surprised when he returned that night to discover nothing had happened. He had put up warning wards to alert him if anyone started the course, which would have allowed him to return in time to make sure the Stone was secure. "She went to you?"
"Yes, and I assured it that everything was safe. Why she assumed that Severus would steal whatever it is, I have no idea. She clearly has listened to Mr. Weasley's rants about Slytherins and believes the house is evil." She glared as Dumbledore looked at the Slytherin table. "Don't you even think that. I'm sick of you believing every Death Eater came from Slytherin. They came from all houses, including Black, who was a Gryffindor."
"Minerva, I'm aware of that information, however, they aren't known for their compassion."
"Why should they be? We make them feel unwanted, we blame everything on them, how would you react to that prejudice based on what your house was? This needs to end, Albus."
Cat had to agree. Dumbledore was making more issues than solving them with his attitude. He coughed up a furball on the man's shoes and headed down to Severus. He hopped onto Severus' lap, and waited to be petted.
"I can't find Crookshanks." Granger was looking around the main area of the Gryffindor house.
"He most likely is hiding from her." Dean whispered to Seamus.
"I agree. I would if I was her cat." Seamus and the rest were all ready to head down to breakfast when Granger stopped the prefects, claiming her cat was stolen.
"Granger, no one is going to steal your cat." The seventh year Prefect, Ian McDonall rolled his eyes.
"He was here last night, now he is gone." Granger stomped her foot.
"He is a cat, did you expect him to come when you called him?" Lavender Brown huffed. "Honestly, cats are cats."
McGonagall entered the common room. "What is the delay? The train leaves in a few hours."
"Granger lost her cat." Almost everyone shouted out.
"Everyone go to breakfast. Ms. Granger, your cat will turn up. They always do."
Crookshanks sat next to Nagini as the Dark Lord was finishing up the last of his packing. The students had left two weeks ago, now it was their turn. He had turned in his grades and cleaned up his room. He wondered if Dumbledore realized he was returning next year.
The Dark Lord was walking down the main stair case when he saw Minerva waiting for him at the bottom. "Minerva?"
"I do apologize, but the cat following you, is Hermione Granger's familiar. We have been looking for it."
"It has been staying with me most of the year. I wasn't aware he had an owner. He has been sleeping my living quarters for the last few weeks."
Crookshanks started meowing. He wasn't about to return to Granger.
"I will write a letter to inform Ms. Granger that her cat wants to remain at Hogwarts."
Orion gave a weary look at the Weasley family walking down Diagon Alley. Orion had been to visit Maka and Frank. He had been in the middle of creating a new ward stone but ran out of some of the minerals he needed so he was heading to Slugs and Jugs.
He ducked into one of the store doorways. He quickly changed into his Sidle form and started following the youngest Weasley who was clearly home for a short holiday as their Mother was fussying abouthim and making a big deal about his return to the fold and how she was going to miss him when he returned in two weeks to awful muggle school. Her words, not the boy's, which Cat found interesting.
The family broke up in the middle of the alley except for the two youngest and Mrs. Weasley who headed for the Leaky Cauldron for some tea. Cat decided he would follow them.
Once everyone was seated, Cat crawled under their table and waited for them to move away from boring family drama and Weasley's new school.
"What is the Headmaster going to do when Potter returns?" Weasley almost kicked Cat when he swang his foot around.
"He is still working on that. However, Ginny will be there. I'm afraid Hermione might not be returning. Her parents were very upset about last year and they didn't care for the change in their daughter's attitude."
"Yes, I will. The Headmaster said Harry will be in my grade. I can show him around and we can be seen as a couple, so we can get married later."
Cat almost got sick. He knew the girl was only eleven but she was already thinking of whoever Dumbledore got to play Harry Potter? He was so glad it wasn't him. He knew if was a Gryffindor thing to believe everything the old fool spewed out, so he wondered if it was a Weasley thing?
"Now, Ginny, we can't be telling anyone that. Your father and I just signed the marriage contract but we agreed you are to young to have it announced."
Cat was going to speak to his parents. There was no way he was marrying that girl.
"Yes, I know, Mum. When is Harry going to live with us? I thought the Headmaster said Harry would be spending the summer with us." Weaslette whined. "I don't want him to become friends with anyone else. He is mine."
"I'm sure once the Headmaster retrieves him from his relatives, he will join our family."
Cat left the Leaky Cauldron and headed back to Gringotts. Once inside, he sent a letter to his parents, the Dark Lord, and Severus. He quickly explained to Ironclaw, Maka, and Frank what he heard.
"We shall speak to your parents. However, rest assured no marriage contract will be valid unless Lord and Lady Malfoy sign it." Maka assured him. "Help me set up a tea tray for when they arrive." She looked at her husband. Ironclaw nodded his agreement. No one was going to hurt their unofficial child.