Just a Little Twist – 2/6 – Duochanfan

Title: Just a Little Twist
Author: Duochanfan
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Action Adventure, Drama, Pre-Relationship, Romance, Slash
Relationship(s): Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley/Viktor Krum
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Major Character Death, Torture, Violence – Graphic, Violence – Domestic and/or Against Children, Discussions of Abuse, Murder, Torture. Murder. Character Death. Kidnapping.
Word Count: 166,650
Summary: Remus remembers to take the Wolfsbane potion before he heads off to confront Sirius and Peter Pettigrew. This one thing helps to give Harry something he had wished for in the dark days of living with the Dursley, a family. It all kicks off a ripple of events that take place over Harry’s Fourth and Fifth year that will change everything.
Artist: SpencnerTibbsLuvr



Chapter Sixteen

Harry looked around the large room. They were finally in the new home and had been for a day so far. He loved it, it was large, open and airy. He had a nice room, larger than he had ever had before. But he wasn’t complaining. How could he? It was still like a dream for him. And now, he was finally fourteen. He was getting older and he finally had his wish, his birthday wish since he knew how to make them, he had a family. He had friends and family that he loved.

“Thank you,” he said, trying not to get teary at the sight of his friends being there. All of his dorm mates were there, as well as the Weasleys. Draco had also turned up, but he had been standing near the back of the group since he arrived, not wanting to be noticed, but Harry could see. Hermione had also come, but that was because she was now staying at the burrow until school began. Ginny was there, but she had been warned to remain away from Harry. The teen was glad she was receiving treatment for what she had been through and hoped that it would help her.

“Welcome mate,” Ron grinned, putting an arm around him. The redhead wasn’t happy when he spotted Hermione again, and had done nothing but complain about it the day that Harry, Sirius, and Remus had moved into their new home. He had come over to help, and Hermione had arrived before he was leaving.

“Okay!” Sirius yelled, “games are up, go and have fun, and you can fly here, which is why we have a few extra brooms around, take your pick on what you want to do!” he added, clapping his hands to get everyone’s attention.

Harry grinned as he looked at the pile of gifts he had opened, a lot of sweets and a few books on defence, and other things like that, but he was happiest when he had seen his guests arriving. He didn’t think anyone would come.

“Harry,” Hermione said as she walked over, looking a little stuck up as she sent a glare towards Draco.

“Hey,” Harry nodded to her, the smile dropping from his face. He hadn’t wanted to let her come, but he was trying to give her a bit of a chance at getting back their friendship.

“What the hell is Malfoy doing here?” she hissed at him, eyes glaring towards the blond a few more times as some of the others walked over as well.

“You have to agree mate, it’s…” Seamus began, glancing over at the blond.

“He’s family,” Ron was the one to answer, “and I know, it’s a little weird. It is for me, too, to know that Harry’s been hanging out with him during the summer. But he’s welcome here,” he added.

“You sure it’s all good?” Dean asked, a small frown on his face glancing at the blond. He remembered the things he said about muggle-borns all too well.

“Yeah, it’s fine, really,” Harry reassured them, “Look, I know and understand what he was like at school, but we’re not at school and he can finally leave what his dad told him behind him. Give him a chance, and you… you might make a friend,” he added, hoping they would give the blond a chance.

Neville looked unsure but nodded, “okay, if you say so, Harry. I trust you.”

“Thanks, Neville,” he smiled at him, “I know he was a bastard, to all of us, but he has changed, and it’s a good change as well.”

“All right, it’s on your head, Harry,” Seamus nodded as he and Dean walked off together, Neville slowly following behind them.

“I don’t think this is a good idea, Harry,” said Hermione, bristling at the thought of Draco Malfoy being anywhere near her.

“Look, Hermione, he has been good,” Ron said, thinking of the one time that he had studied with Draco and Harry.

“He’s helping a lot,” Harry added. He had the things Draco had taught him checked by Remus and Sirius occasionally, and so far the other teen hadn’t given him anything that would be false, only the truth and the right answers when Harry was getting things wrong.

“Oh, and what could he possibly help you with?” Hermione almost yelled as her hands went to her hips.

“You forget Hermione that we once trusted you to help us and you sunk that trust,” Harry reminded her, voice going cold, “He’s helped me with my work, with learning runes and arithmancy. Has also been helping Ron, and before you even suggest that he has been sabotaging our learning,” he paused for a moment when Ron cut in.

“Like you did,” Ron muttered bitterly.

“I-”

“He hasn’t been,” Harry said before she could even speak a word, “So far he has done more to help us than hinder us, which he hasn’t done at all.” Harry growled at her, “Now drop it, Hermione,” he finished going to walk away.

“Harry,” she gasped, grabbing his arm to stop him, “he is going to hurt you, he will. That’s who he is.”

“No it isn’t,” Ron was the one to answer this time, as he removed her from Harry, “He’s… he’s not the same,” he murmured, looking as though it pained him to say that.

“Then don’t come crying to me when he hurts you,” Hermione huffed, flouncing off towards Ginny.

“Really,” Ron muttered “she has no fucking idea what she has but us through,” he added, looking to the ground.

Harry put an arm around him, “It’s fine Ron, you just have to ignore her.”

“I can’t,” he complained, “She fucking staying with us now. And I have her coming to me all the time trying to get back into my good books and saying that she wants to help me with my studying. I keep having to lock myself in my room. Mum and dad are getting annoyed with it.”

“Then I’ll see about getting you over here even more. Maybe we can have a bit of fun,” Harry suggested.

“Everything okay?” Draco asked quietly as the two walked near him,

Harry and Ron looked at him, “Hermione being her usual righteous self,” Harry was the one to answer him.

“Ah,” he nodded, “you both okay?” he asked, somewhat concerned for them. He knew that they were hurting badly for what Hermione had done to them.

“I wish I could just… be somewhere else,” Ron sighed heavily.

Draco looked confused, “What do you mean?”

“Hermione is staying at the burrow now until school. She’s done nothing but try and get me to study with her, to let her help me. I know she’s trying to show that she has changed, but the way she is going about it makes me really uncomfortable. I don’t want to let her help at all,” Ron answered him.

“I get that,” Draco nodded, “I think you should just put it out of your mind for now and try and enjoy the day,” he suggested, sounding hopeful.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded, “let it just… drift for the day,” he snorted as he walked outside.

Harry and Draco followed, joining in on the fun. Though Hermione glaring at the two of them occasionally and at Draco. However, the others in the group decided to give him a chance. Harry and Ron had to help him at least once, to escape a prank that the twins had tried to pull on him.

XxXxX

“That was awesome,” Harry grinned as the last guest had gone. Though the Weasleys and Draco were still there.

“It was, mate,” Ron grinned as he flopped down on the couch beside him.

“It was fun, your friends are… nice,” Draco said softly, from where he had perched himself on a chair nearby.

“Of course they are, they’re not disgusting Slytherins like you,” Hermione snapped at him, sneering as the teens all looked at her.

“Not all Slytherins are bad,” Harry said, “or are you forgetting yourself and Pettigrew,” he added coldly, making Hermione gasped.

“I’m nothing like them!” she yelled back.

“Yes you are, you fucking turned on us, making us believe falsehoods. It could have gotten so bad that we would have failed classes and then what would happen?” he asked her, yelling back. He was done being quiet about her behaviour.

“I… I wouldn’t have let it go like that!”

“Bullshit!” Ron screamed, “bullshit, you did. You fucked with everything. If I hadn’t forgotten some of the things you told us, I would have failed first year outright, how is that not letting it go too far?” he asked, “How?”

“I-”

“It doesn’t matter no matter what you say, we will never trust you like we once did,” Harry told her, his voice going softer.

“I can’t believe you would tell him that not all Slytherins are bad,” Molly hissed as she turned on Sirius.

The teens in the room turned to face them. “Mrs Weasley,” Harry began only to be cut off.

“Harry, sweetie,” she said condescendingly, “I know you want to think of Malfoy as a friend, but he won’t ever be that. He is a Slytherin and he just uses people and throws them away when he is done, just like all of those of that house,” she added, glaring at Draco.

Draco looked away, “I wouldn’t do that. I don’t have to do that anymore. My father,” he spat, “doesn’t control me anymore,” he added, gathering his courage and looking at her.

Molly just sniffed and turned back to Sirius, “You… telling him that Slytherins are fine when you were the opposite while at school.” She added, poking him in the chest, “how can you change like that… how could you think of them as being… being-”

“People?” Sirius suggested, “they are,” he sighed, “Molly, it took me until I finished school to learn we are all the bloody same,” he said, cursing lightly.

“Language and you think you can raise someone special like Harry,” she huffed, “you’re not even fit to raise a dog.”

Harry couldn’t help the little snort at the last bit. But he stood up and went to Sirius, “he is raising me the way my parents wanted,” he told her.

“Oh Harry, you don’t know any better,” she said condescendingly, “he just thinks that he makes a good father figure, but really he isn’t. He was so irresponsible in school, it was hard to take him seriously even out of it.”

“You forget, Molly, that I was a fully trained armour by the time I was twenty and worked damn hard in that line of work. Now I am responsible for the house of Black and regent of the house of Potter. I take it all seriously, including to make sure that Harry knows-”

“He’ll know nothing because of you,” Molly interrupted, “you are teaching him that those that attacked his own parents are fine to be around!” she yelled.

“Mrs Weasley, I suggest you leave my home,” Sirius’ voice was cold and dangerous, “Don’t even think about protesting. I am raising Harry to become the next lord of house Black and Potter, and he needs to know a damn sight more than you think. It doesn’t matter what house they are in, they are allies. House Greengrass are allies of House Potter and are considered family friends. They predominantly Slytherin, you forget that houses changed for each family. The Potters were once Slytherins until Harry’s great-great-grandfather, much like house Weasley, “ he pointed out to her.

“I… I never heard something so insulting, Ron, Ginny, Hermione come on we are leaving!” she yelled, turning on her heel and leaving through the floo connection.

Sirius sighed as Harry hugged him, “I know she isn’t right Siri,” he murmured to him.

“I know Harry, but she is so stuck in her view,” he muttered, “And I wish I knew where it came from.”

“Ron said it was because of his uncles,” he answered, remembering what his friend had told him.

“Right, it might be, they took down a number of wizards, most of them were Slytherin if I remember right. Two were Ravenclaw and one Hufflepuff,” he sighed softly and hugged Harry, “enjoyed your birthday?”

“Yeah,” Harry grinned, “come on, Draco, we can fly for a bit longer until your mother comes,” he suggested, seeing Draco looking a little subdued.

“Sure,” Draco smiled a little as he got up and the two went outside again to fly.

Chapter Seventeen

Harry woke up that morning feeling as though he was going to be sick at any moment. He had Ron and Draco coming over. They were going to have a good study session. Though Ron was coming early to get away from Hermione. She had been bugging him the day before and he had ended up sending a plea to Harry to come over early. Harry didn’t mind at all so he had told him to come early. Getting up and dressing was a chore and a half as he finished dressing and went downstairs.

“Morning Harry,” Sirius greeted a cheerful tone in his voice, though the smile on his face turned into a frown when he spotted a pale-looking harry.

“Morning,” he mumbled, going to the table and taking a seat, slumping in his chair, head in his arms and eyes already closing.

“You okay?” Remus asked him, placing a hand on his back.

“Hmmm,” Harry hummed, “headache, feel a little odd,” he added.

Sirius nodded, “Albus told me that might happen,” he sighed, “I was hoping it wouldn’t.”

“What do you mean?” Remus asked him, knowing that the other wizard had been having a number of meetings with Albus over the last few days.

“The wards that were anchored at Privet drive and to Harry are breaking. It’s going to make Harry feel a little weird, as they were blood wards and they are being broken before he turns seventeen. Normally if we had waited until then, Harry wouldn’t have felt anything,” Sirius explained as he sat down himself, Kreacher popping into the room to serve them.

“Thank you,” Harry said as he sat up, looking at the light breakfast he had been given. He smiled a little as he started to eat, knowing that what was there wouldn’t upset his stomach that much.

“Master Harry be welcome,” Kreacher muttered as he bowed at them and then left the room with a pop.

“So I’m going to be like this for a bit then?” he asked, looking at his godfather.

“Yeah, sorry Harry, but it might take a few days for them to fully break, and when it does you’ll have the worst headache, but it will clear up after a couple of hours,” he said, patting him on the shoulder, “it’ll be just fine, now eat up,” he advised, “I need to head to Gringotts, Draco will be coming by a little later as well, like you asked. And I’ll be with Narcissaat the bank. Remus, you have an errand as well?” he asked the werewolf.

“Yeah, I need to get a book from Flourish and Blotts,” he answered, looking up from his breakfast, “I shouldn’t be too long.”

Sirius snorted at that, “yeah right,” he grinned, “last time you said you were going for a book we didn’t see you for almost five hours. And that was just one book. You also came back with seven more,” he added.

Remus put up only a token protest when he saw Harry grinning and nodding in agreement, “I know when I’m beat,” he muttered as they finished their breakfast amid laughter and jokes, hoping to cheer Harry up and distract him from any pain he was feeling.

XxXxX

Harry lay on his bed, Ron looking down at him, “Hey,” he grinned up at him.

“Hey yourself, you look like shit Harry, you sure you want to do this today?” he asked him, a worried frown on his face.

“It’s fine, I’ll be like this for a couple of days according to Sirius,” he sighed, pulling himself into a sitting position with Ron’s help. Harry told him what Sirius had explained to him before the two of them started to get their work out and go through it. It was going to be the second time that Draco was over to tutor them in arithmancy and runes. Ron was looking forward to going through the arithmancy part of the work. He found it a lot easier to deal with than runes.

“Okay,” Harry said as he looked at the clock in his room, “Draco should be arriving,” he added as he got up to go and greet the other wizard.

“Why don’t you stay there and I’ll go and get him,” Ron suggested, quickly pushing Harry back into his chair again.

Harry slumped in it and nodded. Ron was worried Harry was a lot paler than he had been when he had first arrived. “Yeah, okay,” he sighed, closing his eyes and slumping against the desk a little more.

Ron nodded and left the room, heading down to the floor room. He walked in and waited. It didn’t take that long for the connection to come up. Accepting the floo connection Draco was soon stepping through, “Hey,” Ron said she began to head out of the room again.

“Where’s Harry?” he asked, a little confused. He didn’t think Ron would be comfortable enough to come and meet him as he did.

“He’s not feeling great at the moment,” Ron answered him, hurrying up the stairs, “I really don’t think we should study. I think we should let him rest,” he sighed a little as he reached the bedroom door and walked in.

Harry glanced up from where he had rested his head against the desk, “hey Draco,” he smiled tiredly.

“You look like-” Draco started as soon as he saw him only to stop and focus on his forehead, “Harry,” he said softly, almost cautiously, “you have a headache, yes?” he asked him.

“Yeah, what is it?” Harry sighed, eyes fighting to stay open.

“Ron, I need you to get Sirius now, as soon as you can, wherever he is, go and get him and make him come back here. Tell him Harry’s scar is like the locket. He’ll know what it means,” he said, eyes still fixated on Harry’s scar.

“What?” both Harry and Ron shouted. They two had been let in on what it was, much like Draco knew what it was all about.

“Yeah, it feels like it to me, go get him, it… it looks like it’s part of his scar, but contained,” he said, eyes narrowing as he looked at it, wanting to get closer, but was a little scared of what could happen.

“Okay,” Ron said and rushed from the room. He ran down the stairs to the floor room and took the floo to the Leaky Cauldron. “Hey Tom!” he yelled out, greeting the owner of the Leaky Cauldron as he darted down the alley and towards Gringotts. He knew that’s where Sirius was, but couldn’t remember where Remus was.

He ran into Gringotts like Voldemort was after him and looked around. He looked lost as he couldn’t see Sirius. He knew that he would have to wait, he looked to one of the goblin guards, “Excuse me,” he said, giving a bow, “I know it is really bad to ask. But I have something that I need to tell Sirius Black, I know that he has an appointment here. I don’t know who with, though. It’s about his godson Harry, something has happened and I need to speak with him,” he asked, almost begging as he hoped that the guard would listen to him.

“Sirius Black is in a private meeting with Narcissa Malfoy and Sharpclaw, wait until he is free,” he growled at the teenager before him.

“Please,” he begged again, “please, I just need to tell him, Harry’s in trouble, he’s really ill,” he said, changing what he was saying a little.

“What seems to be the problem Bloodscale?” a haughty voice came from behind the guard.

“This child wants to see one of our clients that are currently in a meeting,” he answered, nodding to his superiors and then gripping his spear tighter as he glared at Ron.

“Sir, please,” Ron said, “I know Sirius is in an important meeting concerning the House of Black. But what I have is something that concerns the heir of House Black and Potter,” he told him, “He’s fallen ill and Sirius needs to get back because we think it’s magic-based.”

“If you lie, child, your life is forfeit,” the goblin warned him.

“I’m not,” Ron said, standing proud, “I know the rules of Gringotts, and I know that my life is yours should I deceive you or any other worker of this bank,” he added, he learned something from Bill after all.

“Very well, I shall take you there,” he nodded, turning, “follow me,” he ordered.

Ron closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath as he followed the goblin down to the offices that were further in the bank. Ron was too nervous to look around, he knew that he would never come down this corridor, as it was mainly for those that had money that needed meetings with the goblins. His family hadn’t had money in a very long time, since his grandfather’s time if he remembers correctly.

The goblin stood before some doors and knocked loudly. “I apologise for the interruption,” he called out, waiting to be let into the room.

“You may enter!” came an annoyed voice from inside.

Ron gulped again and closed his eyes for a second again and then followed the goblin into the room.

“Ron?” Sirius asked, a little curious as to how the young wizard got to them.

“I’m sorry Sirius,” he told him, apologising, “and sorry to you as well master Goblin, but it is somewhat urgent that I come here,” he added, turning to the goblin that Sirius had been in a meeting with.

“Why are you here child?” he growled at him, not liking the interruption.

Ron turned to Sirius, as the other goblin backed out of the door. “It’s Harry,” he began.

Sirius pales, “what is it? What’s wrong?” he demanded to know. Only the calming hand of Narcissa on his arm stopped him from running off before or could finish.

“You know what you told us about the diary and locket,” he mentioned glancing at the goblin.

“Yes,”

“Draco thinks that there is something similar in his scar as well. Draco is scared and worried about it. But…I don’t think that it’s harming Harry that much at the moment. It hasn’t been done yet, though I don’t know why,” he murmured at the end.

Sirius almost collapsed at that moment, his mind going to Harry, “I’m sorry but I am going to have to finish our meeting early, I need to get back to my godson.”

“Very well, I shall end our business now, you have the cup that you wished for,” the goblin nodded, understanding that the young wizard that Ron and Sirius was talking about was the heir of houses Black and Potter.

“Thank you for your help,” he nodded to him and then the three of them quickly left the office and headed to the floo to get back to Grimwald. Sirius rushed past them all to the bedroom.

“It’s one of them,” Draco said, still sounding scared as Harry looked pale, but still himself.

“Harry, I’m going to scan you a second all right?” he asked, getting a nod in response. Sirius scanned him and there was a slight glow around the scar. He slumped, “yeah, it is going to have to talk to the goblins about it, we need to find out what they can do to help.”

“It’s not going to hurt him?” Draco and Ron asked, giving each other a glance before looking back towards Sirius.

“No, it’s contained, there is another magic that is containing it, though I think the wards at Privet were shielding it from the rest of us so we couldn’t sense it,” Sirius said, mostly guessing.

“So we have to wait,” Draco sighed, finally moving closer to Harry, knowing that he and the others were safe from the Horcrux.

“Yes, but I’ll get in touch tomorrow as soon as I can, for now, Harry, why don’t you rest,” Sirius advised seeing how tired and pale his godson was.

Harry shook his head, “no, I want to do a bit of work and then I will,” he promised.

“I’ll… we’ll keep an eye on him,” Draco said as he looked at Ron. Ron nodded.

“Okay, don’t do too much,” he warned as he and Naraiccsa left the room.

The three settled down to do a little work before the two older ones forced Harry to rest.

Chapter Eighteen

The next morning was tiring for Harry. His head was still hurting and he was feeling a little nauseous as they sped through the floo and into Gringotts. Sirius had been able to get an appointment for them for the morning. Though Harry had wished that he could sleep a little longer. He had also forgone having something to eat. Finally entering Gringotts, Harry leaned against Sirius as he tried to gain his balance and avoid emptying his stomach on the marble floor.

“You okay Bambi?” Sirius asked after a while.

“Not really, want to sleep,” he winced as the bright lighting in the bank hurt his head.

“As soon as this is over then you can go back to bed, another couple of days and then you should be all right again,” Sirius said, rubbing his back soothingly before they headed towards the teller. “Hello, here to see Sharpclaw,” he said as soon as the goblin turned to him.

“Name,” he demanded. Looking at the ledger in front of him.

“Lord Sirius Orion Black,” he answered, giving his full name.

“Very well, this way,” he said, hopping down from the desk he was working at and talking about the two of them to the back.

Knocking on the large double doors of the office that the Black Family Goblin had they were soon let inside. “Lord Black,” the goblin bowed as he walked off.

“This is most unusual Lord Black,” Sharpclaw said as he looked towards the lord and then the young pale teenager he had brought with him.

“I know,” Sirius said as the doors closed.

“So what brings you and your heir to our humble bank?” he asked as Sirius and Harry walked into the room further, sitting down when Sharpclaw gestured that they could.

“When Ron Weasley came here last night, he told me that Harry was ill. That was not entirely the truth. As you know I have been after the cup, as I retrieved it yesterday,” Sirius began, checking on Harry for a moment before turning back to the goblin.

“Yes, it had an aura around it that was rather disconcerting,” Sharpclaw murmured.

“I know, that is the second object that I have come across that gives off the same. But, I have learned what they really are.” He sighed a little, unsure how to broach the subject, “what do you know of Horcruxes?” he asked him.

“They are an abomination that needs to be dealt with as soon as they are found,” he snarled, shaking in anger at the very thought of them.

“I know,” Sirius nodded, “the cup is one, and I have a locket as well that is the same. I know of one that has already been destroyed,” he told him.

“Was another found yesterday, one that had affected you Mr Potter?” he asked, looking at the wizard. And frowning as he was beginning to sense something surrounding the young man.

“Not quite,” he told him, “though the locket almost got him a little while ago, we were able to stop that. No, we found another, but it is located in Harry’s scar.”

“A person holds one?” he exclaimed. Not much could shock a goblin but the thought of a human being exposed to such a thing for so long and still be able to retain themselves was unheard of. As soon as one usually came into contact the damage was already being done.

“Yes,” Sirius nodded, “there’s one located in Harry’s scar. It is surrounded by another type of magic and I have to wonder if that might be something that Lily did before she died.”

“Mum?” Harry asked, almost sleeping in the chair he had sat in.

“Yes, there is a kinder magic that has contained the Horcrux from going anywhere else. That’s one of the reasons why it hasn’t affected you like it would others. The locket had enchantments on it to pull someone in. I have no doubt that if we find more then they will have something similar,” he explained to him gently. Reaching out to hold Harry’s hand to comfort the distressed look that he was showing.

“I would like to examine him quickly, with your permission,” Sharpclaw asked.

“Of course.” Sirius gave permission.

Sharpclaw got up and went over to the young wizard, quickly examining him with his own magic and noting that Sirius was right. That there was another magic protecting Harry, “you are correct about the other magic.”

“Right,” he sighed, a little happy that such a thing was keeping his godson safe.

“There is a way to take them out,” Sharpclaw said going back to his chair and sitting down, “though normally it would be possible with a person, that is because they are usually too far gone. I think there have been only eight cases where a wizard or witch was able to fight it enough to have it removed by us. It will take us some time to get the necessary things together and the people,” he added, making a number of notes on the pad near him.

“Then I thank you, take what you need from the Black vaults. I also ask that you do the same with the two objects that have so far been found,” he added.

“Please bring them to us at your earliest convenience and I will see that the Horcruxes are safely taken care of and that the objects themselves will be returned without damage,” he assured him.

“Thank you,” Sirius bowed to him.

“You are one of our best patrons Lord Black, and the Potter family have been some of our best as well, I look forward to our future partnership, for now, leave this matter in my hands and I will take care of it. Bring the others as soon as they shall be treated the same and returned to the Black vault until you wish to collect them,” he told him, many a few more notes before looking up at the wizard.

“Thank you,” Sirius said as he stood up, helping Harry to his feet, “I shall stop by with the cup and locket soon,” he added as the two of them left the office and then the bank.

“Oh, afternoon, Albus,” Sirius said as he came through the floor, “let me get Harry to bed and then we can talk,“ he said as he guided the teen out of the room.

“I can take care of myself Siri,” Harry mumbled, though he felt nice and warm knowing that Sirius cared enough to actually help him as they reached his bedroom.

“I’m helping you,” he said, shaking his head as he helped the teen undress and change into his pyjamas, “Now, get some sleep,” he said, tucking him in and kissing him on the forehead, “night.”

“Night Siri,” Harry yawned, his eyes closing and quickly falling asleep. His head was still painful, but now he was feeling exhausted.

Sirius watched for a moment before he went back downstairs. He was worried about him, who wouldn’t be. Harry was ill, and even though they expected it with the breaking of the blood wards before they were to run out, it still worried him. He walked down the stairs seeing Albus now in the living room waiting for him.

“Everything all right?” Albus asked as he saw the worried look on the young wizards face.

Sirius shook his head, “No, not really,” he said, explaining what they had found out about Harry, “and it doesn’t help that he’s not well because of the wards breaking,” he added.

“Ah,” Albus said, eyes a little wide as he thought of Harry being a Horcrux, “What are you going to do concerning Harry?” he asked him. He knew that to destroy a Horcrux meant death for the person most of the time. He had heard of a few exceptional cases, but they were mostly rumour.

“The goblins have agreed to help, but it might take about a week for them to be ready. In the meantime, the magic of his mother is surrounding it and keeping it contained so it’s not influencing him at all,” he added.

“That’s good news, let’s hope it’s all sorted out as soon as possible,” he smiled as Kreacher popped into the room with tea, “ah, thank you Kreacher,” he thanked the elf as he poured for the two of them.

“Yeah,” he nodded, taking the mug when it was filled, “thanks,” he murmured, taking a sip. “So what brings you here?” he asked.

“I raised the wards at Hogwarts for a while. Wanting to see if they could sense anything in the castle. They have,” he told him, “I’m not sure where at the moment, but I’m already starting my search. I will have to lower them back down when school starts again, but that is more to do with something that will be going on,” he grumbled.

“Oh?”

“The Triwizard Tournament is being brought back. Fudge thought it would be a good idea, and he now has the backing of a number of people. I did try and protest against it coming back, the death toll alone should have seen it scrapped for good,” he huffed, he hated when he wasn’t listened to, “I was able to talk them out of a few things. But I’ve had to give a few concessions about others,” he added.

“What else?” he asked, “I don’t want Harry to get mixed up in all that and with his luck.”

“I know, which is why I’m thinking about things that could be done to prevent the younger years from entering,” he added.

“Good, do your best with that I don’t want to see Harry in that at all,” Sirius glared at him, though really it wasn’t Albus’ fault that such a dangerous tournament was being brought back. “Try and keep things safe for all those involved,” he added.

“I am going to be doing all I can. I’ve asked an old friend to join us as the DADA teacher for this year,” he added.

“Who?”

“Moody,” he answered him, “I’ve been talking to him for a while, and he has finally agreed to do so. Though only for the year, and only because of the tournament. I want him there to keep an eye on a few of the visiting people.”

“Kakarof,” Sirius nodded, “yeah, I have no doubt that with him double-crossing some of the death eaters, he might become a target of theirs, not only that, but our side doesn’t like him either,” he pointed out.

“That’s what I am thinking,” he nodded, “I do not want the students to be caught up in all this, they have enough to worry about with exams and for those chosen, surviving the year,” he sighed, drinking his tea and letting the flavour and familiarity calm him.

“Yeah,” Sirius said as he heard the floo flare up again. “That would be Remus,” he told him since it didn’t need his permission to come through like most of those that come to the Marauders Den.

“I shall take my leave, I need to get back to my search,” Albus said, finishing his tea, “I shall talk more later.”

“Of course, and thank you for telling me, if you want some help in searching, just grab Remus and I, we’ll be happy to help,” he offered as he walked him to the floor room. Remus exiting as they did so.

“Hey,” he nodded, a bundle of books in his arms.

“Bookstore again?” Sirius asked him.

“Just researching,” he answered, rolling his eyes as he then walked away.

“Research he calls it, I call it hoarding,” he grumbled, though it was good-natured.

“I may take you up on your help at some point if I can’t find anything,” he told him as he then disappeared through the floor.

Sirius watched the flames die down before he went to search for Remus, wondering what the werewolf had brought this time.

Chapter Nineteen

Ron waited by the floo in the kitchen. Molly had been mad and spitting when he had told her that Draco and Harry were both coming to the burrow that day. They were going to be doing a bit of work together. Sirius and Remus were at Hogwarts helping Dumbledore with something, so they couldn’t be home alone. So Ron had asked his dad if they could come to the burrow. Arthur had been a little sceptical but decided with Ron’s providence to give Draco a chance.

“Hey,” he greeted, smiling at Harry as he came through. It had been a few days since he last saw him, but he was looking a lot better. No longer pale and tired looking.

“Hey Ron,” he grinned, stepping towards him as the floo flared once more behind him and Draco stepped through.

“Hello, and thank you for letting me come,” Draco said politely as he then began to look around. In the sink the dishes were being washed by magic, a pair of knitting needles were hard at work in a corner on a rocking chair, “wow,” he said, a soft smile appearing on his face as he carried on looking around.

Ron was a little puzzled at how Draco was behaving, “it’s just a normal home,” he muttered.

“No, you… you can really feel the magic here, the welcoming feel of the home itself. The manor, it’s cold, horrible to be honest. But here, you can feel it welcoming you and protecting you. It’s amazing, the Marauders Den is starting to feel like that as well now that Harry and cousin Sirius and Professor Lupin are living there. They are putting out magic, we all do all day. Just a little and it fills a place slowly. But the more happiness and closeness that ties a family or a group together the quicker it happens and the more warmth a place gives off,” he added, trying to explain what he was feeling and how it happened.

“Well that explains why Grimmauld Place always felt like it wanted us dead,” Harry snorted.

“Yeah,” Ron grinned, “H-”

“I can’t believe you let that waste into your home Ronald,” came a sharp voice from behind them.

“Seriously,” Ron muttered to himself, rolling his eyes before he turned to Hermione, “I don’t care what you think. At the moment we are… well not really friends. But-”

“Looks like it might end up like that,” Draco said, snorting a little and the two of them sharing a little smile and laughing.

“Yeah, I’ve no doubt about it, since the two of you teamed up on me a few days ago,” Harry grumbled.

“You were ill!” the two of them shouted at him.

“See,” he gave the two of them a look.

“Well-”

“Yea, I think we will become friends,”

“What did you expect when you made us hang out together,” Draco finished with a sniff.

“You’re acting like us!” Fred and George yelled out as they walked past.

“We have a blond-”

“Haired brother now,” the two grinned as they left the room laughing.

“Why does it remind me,” Draco murmured softly as he looked to Hermoine, “I apologised for the very distasteful name that I called you, I didn’t mean it at all. My grandfather Malfoy, he… rules the family with an iron fist. We thought as he does, we act as he does, we believe as he does,” he told her. “I just wish there had been a way for me to be true to myself sooner, it would have saved a lot of problems for us in the present.”

“That means nothing!” Hermione growled, hands on her hips as she took a threatening step towards him, “You have a mind of your own and you should have used it!”

“It doesn’t work like that in magical homes and families Hermione,” Ron told her. “It’s like with our family, we follow our grandfather Weasley as well. It doesn’t matter with our own personal beliefs, we follow the head of the family in all things. To show solidarity,” he explained.

“So why would he change now?” Hermione challenged.

“Because My Grandfather Malfoy might be head of the Malfoy family, but he is underneath the Black family socially, therefore, because my mother married down the ladder, they have to toe the Black family line now and thus the head of the Black family, which is Sirius,” Harry answered her as best as he could. He was still learning after all.

“Sirius does things a lot differently, he wants us to be our own people, so we are made to be true to ourselves. Which is why my father is still a dick,” Draco answered.

“It’s like the Weasley family,” Ron said, “I’m learning more about it as well, so we’re Defenders of Avalon. A family tasked with protecting the balance of magic. We are true to magic, not to the family for the most part. We will side with whichever is the weaker to keep the balance,” he said, adding quietly, “my great, great grandfather was on the side of dark, but my parents and grandparents this time are on the side of light. A balance between the two needs to be maintained or the magic becomes stagnant, less magical children being born, which is what’s happening.”

Draco nodded “I noticed, the classes from a decade ago were double and a few years before that triple. During our parents’ year, there were about 30 new students per house, now it’s barely ten.”

“I always wondered why there were so few students.” Harry murmured.

“There are reasons for everything,” Draco told him, “Like the Malfoy’s last name, it basically means Bad Blood,” he added.

“Really?” Ron asked, interested.

Draco nodded, “Malfoy roots are in France. During the french revolution, we were kicked out and we had the name Malfoy ever since. I don’t know what it was beforehand though,” he said softly, “My father and grandfather never told me. But we would often save the muggle aristocrats that were being beheaded over there. Mainly the women and children. Our family was then targeted and almost ended up under madam guillotine as well. We were able to escape even though we weren’t able to save all of the family. Some were killed to protect the others that were fleeing. The main head of the family stayed behind with his wife and eldest child, while the rest of the family were sent away to England.”

“Ugh, if you were so helpful to muggles, then why do you hate Muggleborns so much!” Hermione yelled in his face as she got closer.

“Hermione, back off,” Harry demanded, moving in front of Draco and making Hermione move back a little.

“Well, I’m waiting for an answer,” she demanded.

“Because of the stupid beliefs that you bring in. Most mMggleborns are fine, but a number of them have brought in the beliefs that werewolves are dangerous all the time, and once upon a time they were the best to have as our Auror, then one hundred years ago a stupid Muggleborn wizard decided to try and fight one on the full moon and declared that they were dangerous and spread that. More and more Muggleborns believed it and turned the community against werewolves. Our forces are weakened because of it. Now only that,” Draco said, as he began to build up to a rant, “But the tradition that we had, the sharing and cleansings of our magic has been taken from us, now we can only do so when we are home. Once we celebrated the holidays at Hogwarts and then one Muggleborn took offence to it and we were forced to stop. To see it as wrong to celebrate mother magic and the gift we have.”

“So that’s why?” Harry asked him, curious as to the tradition that Draco mentioned.

“Yes, for the years I was at home, I celebrated and cleansed my magic and felt closer to it because of it all. Like I was free from the restraint of labels. Then I went to Hogwarts and my magic stagnated. I felt choked and I know a lot of those that celebrate the old traditions and holidays are feeling the same thing as well. There is a chokehold on our magic that we can only let free after a cleansing. And we can’t do that at Hogwarts,” Draco told him.

“I heard about them, but mum doesn’t like them,” Ron said with a shrug.

“You should ask your father about them, I feel that he is more open with the way that your family is aligned,” Draco advised him softly.

He nodded, “yeah.”

“I can’t believe you would listen to him, uh you are all so stupid. You really should just ditch him,” Hermione said as he then huffed and walked off, muttering darkly under her breath as she left.

“We’re just talking,” Ron partially yelled after her, “she is a nightmare at the moment.”

“More than usual?” Harry asked, giving him a sceptical look.

“Yeah,” Ron sighed, “she just doesn’t stop Harry, really doesn’t stop. Now that she knows that I’m talking with Ma- Draco, yeah, can’t really call you Malfoy, get confused with your dad,” he muttered, glancing at Draco.

“It’s fine, and I’m calling you Ron, not Weasley here, I’ll have a hoard after me,” he said, though Ron detected something in Draco’s voice when he spoke.

“You…”

“Jealous,” Draco easily admitted, “I always have been of your family,” he told him, “why do you think I was so nasty towards you? It’s got nothing to do with your family name, though there was an incident not long after the Malfoy family came over that involved your family. But that’s long been over for us. It’s more to do with the fact that you have a lot of siblings,” he added.

“Trust me, it’s not always fun,” Ron told him, rolling his eyes.

“To you, because you have them. But to me, who have never had something to play with or be around but myself and house elves for most of the time. Unless my grandfather gave permission for me to be around the other’s families. I was always alone,” he told him.

“I was as well, I might be in a large family, but they all drifted off spending time with those they wanted. Percy was with Billy and Charlie the most. The twins off together and then Ginny the only girl and able to go and visit her friend whenever she wanted, I was alone most of the time. I learn chess just for something to do,” he shrugged.

“Hmm,” Draco nodded.

“Okay, let’s get some work done while Hermione had flounced off,” Harry suggested glancing around. There was no one else in the room with them, and it was a good opportunity to get something done before Hermione and Ginny came back. Or Molly decided that they had enough work and should play.

“Yeah okay,” Ron grumbled a little as he added, “After a bit, want to fly?”

Draco grinned, “yeah, do a bit then fly,” he agreed easily.

Harry grinned at the two of them, happy that they were getting along, “Okay, work,” he muttered as he pulled around his bag and set it on the table. Ron’s things were already there. Draco pulled out a miniature bag and tapped it with his wand. It soon expanded and he pulled out his own notes to help.

“Right,” Draco said, his voice taking on a more serious tone as he started to go through Arutmancy first. The two boys listened carefully making their own notes and working on the problems the blond gave them. None of the three could see Hermione watching them through the window, an annoyed look on her face. She was losing her best friends, and all because she had made a mistake in the way she tried to make them need her.

Chapter Twenty

Ron had to wait almost two days before he could corner his dad and talk with him. The man had been spending a lot of time with Ginny now that she was going back and forth between St Mungos and home. His mother was still ranting about it, and since Ron was home most of the time, he was the one that had to listen to it all the time.

“Dad!” he yelled out before the man could disappear on him again.

“Oh, Ron,” he smiled as he saw his youngest son, “everything all right?” he asked him.

Ron stopped and thought, “I… I don’t know,” he told him, trying to be honest.

“Need to talk?” he asked, walking a little closer to Ron.

“If you have time, I know you’ve been busy with work and that,” he said, feeling bad that he might be disturbing his dad when he had some free time.

“Always, you know that just come and grab me if you need me. Come on, my office,” he said as he led the way. Ron had only been there twice before, and both times had been the fact that he had been in a lot of trouble. Ginny had squealed on him when he had gone further than the field away from the burrow.

“Thanks, dad,” he smiled as he sat down on the comfy chair in the room. Arthur took the other one and smiled at his son.

“So what do you want to talk to me about?” he asked him, settling back to listen.

“Well, I was talking with Draco and Harry about the traditions that our world has. I know we have some but I… I don’t know what they are,” he began, unsure of how to talk to his dad about it all.

“Ah,” he chuckled lightly, “it’s something your mother doesn’t really believe in. The Prewett line has many Muggleborns in it that they tend to have more Muggle World beliefs, so they don’t really celebrate the traditions and holidays in the magical world like most of us,” he told him.

“Do you?” Ron asked, perking up when he heard the last bit.

“I do, though I tend to leave the area so your mother doesn’t find out. When Charlie and Bill got around your age they found out about them as well. And they wished to take part in them. Percy follows your mother a little too much. The twins take part as well, they discovered them last year,” he explained, “it was agreed when Molly and I married that I would let you all know about the traditions when you came back from Hogwarts in your last year. And let you decide if you wished to take part in them. I did that with Percy, he chose not to. “

“Right,” Ron nodded, “I’d… I’d like to learn more about them?” he asked him.

“Okay, if we’re going to do this, then you know you need to tell your mother,” he warned him. “I made a deal with her, and it’s all up to you to make the choice, even if you are younger than your brothers were when they decided. You are still of an age when you can,” he added seeing how pale Ron went at the words.

“She’s not going to be happy, she’s already annoyed with me,” he added softly.

“Why?” Arthur frowned.

“Because I won’t hang around with Ginny when Harry is here. Harry is really uncomfortable around her. I know that Ginny is getting the help she needs, but it’s been hard for Harry to be around her and mum. They both push all the time. And Ginny keeps trying to get me in trouble with mum about it, and has done so with mum…”

“She’s on your case I take it,” Arthur sighed as he looked at how dejected Ron looked.

“Yeah, I keep going to Harry’s all the time to hide from it all,” he admitted.

“Okay, I’ll be with you when you tell her, and I won’t put up with any of her nonsense,” he added standing up and holding a hand out for his son, “come on, may as well get it over and done with now.”

Ron took the offered hand and was pulled from the chair, “I’d like to learn it all,” he murmured.

“I know. I do know that Lily, Harry’s mother, used the protections from the traditions as well, for the old holidays. She was very powerful in the end because of it all. Most of us do get a good boost in power from following them. But it’s more that our magic has been cleaned and no longer pulled down by decay,” Arthur tried to explain.

Ron nodded as they walked out of the office and towards the kitchen. He could hear his mother talking and then his heart sank when he heard Hermione replying to her. “Maybe we can do it another time?” he asked, looking at his dad with scared eyes.

Arthur smiled and reassured him, “it’s going to be fine, I won’t put up with things against the tradition, the Weasley family is steeped in them, and they have always helped us keep safe and going in times of strife, and I know that might happen again. Especially with our views this time around,” he added.

“Okay,” he nodded, still sounding unsure as Arthur led the way inside. He sat down at the kitchen table, letting and awaiting for Ron to sit beside him.

“Molly,” he called to his wife, “I would like to talk with you please,” he said, keeping his voice calm and gentle.

“Yes dear?” she asked, her voice sweet as she turned to him.

“As I said when we married, I would not force any of our children to learn about the traditions and holidays of our world. And I have kept that, but Ron came to me today and has asked to learn,” he said, looking at his son.

“You… have?” she said, though it sounded more like she was biting her tongue as she looked to her youngest son.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded almost gulping as the look he got from his mother could freeze anyone in their tracks, “I want to learn Mum,” he told her, “I want to see about it all,” he added.

“It’s that bloody Malfoy!” Hermione yelled, “He got to you, didn’t he? He told you all those stupid things about those archaic rites. They don’t do anything, no one with any smarts would dare to use them,” she said with a sneer and look of distaste on her face.

Ron glanced at her, “No one smart enough would use them?” he snorted, “I learned that Harry’s parents practised and I know that Sirius does as well, Harry is asking about them too. We both want to learn about them.”

“And as for smart Hermione,” Arthur said, “Would you say Lily Potter was a smart woman?” he asked her,

“Of course she was, she found a way that negated the effect of the killing curse,” she huffed, rolling her eyes.

“Lily practised the traditions of our world and took part in all the holidays, much like James. What she learned and used from them, I would think that is a clue as to what she did to save Harry’s life. You’ll find, Hermione, that nearly all of the wizarding world practices, including many Muggleborns when they leave school and find out about them,” Arthur told her, a frown on his face as he wondered why the girl was acting like she knew everything. That clearly wasn’t the case, since she had dismissed what Mother Magic does for their world.

“Wha-?” Hermione gaped at him, “I don’t believe she would do something like that, no you’re lying. Lily Potter was a Muggleborn. She would have realised how bad those… those archaic rituals are.” With that she got up and stored out of the room, muttering about liars.

“You really want to do this Ron? I was hoping that you would be smart like Percy,” Molly said.

“Molly!” Arthur yelled at her, “No, don’t even start that again, it’s a personal choice. I allow you to have your way, even though grandfather wishes for you to follow the family line and join in with the tradition of our world. I let it go. You will not diminish their wish to learn something.”

“Arthur, you know that most of the dark celebrate them,” she tried to widdle him around to her way of thinking once more. She had done so each time one of her sons had wanted to learn about them.

Arthur shook his head, “And stop filling their heads with lies about dark and light, you forget that this family is grey. Dark and light are about balance, and we are part of that balance. Using the traditions in the holidays of our world is nothing to be ashamed of, and to be honest, Hogwarts should bring those classes back, magic is getting stagnant and we are losing that connection to Mother Magic once more,” he told her, getting sick of the disgust she showed whenever one of their children wished to follow the old traditions and holidays.

“Mum,” Ron said, stopping her from starting again on his dad, “I want to learn them, even… practice them. They should like they would help me get more in touch with my magic, and that’s a good thing,” he added, almost shrinking back on himself at the glare he was getting from Molly.

“Molly, enough, you know he is fine to follow them if he wishes. He can learn about them as well,” Arthur told her, “and that is the end of it, if I find you are trying to poison his mind against them, then I will forbid you from talking about them to any member of the family,” he added, putting his foot down. He wondered if he should have done it beforehand. Then again the older boys were more able to stand up to their mother. Ron had always been somewhat alone and always in his mother’s warpath.

“Hmph,” she huffed as she turned and went back to making dinner. Though this time the pot and pans were banging loudly, showing anyone that was in hearing distance that Molly Weasley was not happy at being told what to do.

“Come on, Ron,” Arthur said as he guided Ron from his chair, “I have a few books that you should read. Though I ask that you be careful and keep them to yourself, they are family written, going back almost 500 years,” he smiled as he saw the excited look in Ron’s eyes.

“Really?” he asked him.

“Yes really, I’m going to let you read them in my office. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I can let them go from there with the way that Molly and Hermione have been acting,” he answered him, leading the way to his office again.

“That’s fine, no one is allowed in there unless you bring them in, so at least I’ll have some peace and quiet. Would… would it be okay if I’m at home to go in there to study? Hermione… Hermione keeps trying to get me to study with her, and for her to help me. But after what she did, I don’t want her help at all,” he asked him, wondering if there was a way to go through the wards that Arthur had set up to stop anyone from going in.

“Hmm,” he wondered, closing the door behind them, “Let’s see what I can do,” he smiled. Starting to mess around with the wards a little. Ron sat down and waited, then a few minutes later he felt a shiver down his spine.

“Dad?” he questioned.

“I changed them so you can come and go as you please, so you should be fine to hide away in here,” he smiled at his son as he went over to the bookcase, “Now I do ask that you only look at things that I give you. Some of the things here aren’t for young eyes,” he warned him, ” Please don’t break my trust,” he asked, speaking softly.

“I won’t, dad,” he nodded, determined to never break that trust between them. He knew how privileged he was, none of his brothers had the same access to the office he now had.

Chapter Twenty One

Ron nodded as he listened to what Draco was saying, “I know, dad’s been letting me learn, and it’s really stupid that they stopped teaching them at Hogwarts. I know that not everyone will follow them.”

“Yeah, but they were taken off to make the Muggleborn comfortable, the thing is they learn about them after school and feel like they have been missing out on a large part of the culture that they are now part of,” Draco pointed out.

“Hmmm,” Harry thought for a moment, “Wonder if we can do something so we can… teach… or at least let some of the others know what they are, and to get them to ask their housemates about it. I’ve just started reading about them as well.”

“We could put up notices and that,” Ron said, as he pulled some paper towards him. Once again grateful for the muggle inventions that Harry would use while they were studying. They made it so much easier. “Let’s come up with a few ideas,” he added, looking at the two of them.

“Well, information booklets, something that would just explain the very basics of each holiday and the significance of doing the small rituals that are part of some of them,” Draco said, as he watched Ron write down what he was suggesting.

“Oh, that’s a good one, might take us a bit to get them done up and sent out,” Harry nodded, “what are some other things that Muggleborns should know about the wizarding world’s culture?”

“The traditions when it comes to courtships and marriage. As well as birthday and that,” Draco murmured, trying to think of them all.

“Birthdays? Courtship?” Harry frowned, not hearing something like that before.

“Yeah,” Draco grinned, “there are so many traditions that most witches and wizards go through to date someone. Even when it comes to pregnancy as well, there are certain dates that are marked that are part of traditions as well.”

“I’ve read a few of them,” Ron told him, “I’ll see if I can ask dad about making a copy, though I would think that Sirius would have something for you to go through.”

“Sirius would have what?” said the man himself.

“Oh, hey,” Harry grinned as the man walked over and hugged him.

“So what?” he asked again, Albus walking into the room and nodding to the three teens.

“We’re going on about the traditions and holidays that the Wizarding World celebrations. I didn’t know about them, and even Ron didn’t. But we’re learning about them thanks to Draco and Ron’s dad,” Harry answered him.

“Ah yes, such a wonderful celebration of magic,” Albus said fondly. “It’s hard to celebrate while I am within Hogwarts,” he added, a little sad at that.

“I know there used to be a course for it before I went to Hogwarts. My father went on about it as did my grandfather,” Sirius said, looking at Albus.

“Dippit decided that he didn’t want to make any of the Muggleborns uncomfortable so he stopped teaching the holiday and traditions class. And stopped the school from celebrating them,” he answered him as to why they had been taken away.

“Then what’s stopping you from reinstating it?” Ron asked him, “I know a lot of people would like to know about them, even if they don’t follow them,” he added.

“You know Mr Weasley, I never really thought about bringing them back, I always stopped before doing so,” he murmured, looking at the redhead.

“Why did you stop?” Harry asked, “Was it because you were trying to keep the Muggleborns comfortable?”

“No, I just didn’t think. I was against the stopping of the class in the first place. It is costing us dearly within our culture. We are losing touch with our gift more and more as the years go by,” he answered him, “I do wish for them to be welcomed and comfortable in our culture. It is no longer just our culture but theirs as well.”

“I think you should make a start on bringing it back then,” Harry suggested, “Muggleborns should be made aware of what they are missing out on instead of learning of it through word of mouth.”

“They come into our world and learn nothing of it until they leave school. They are sometimes lost because of it,” Draco added.

“They don’t know how anything works either, the Wizengamot, they don’t know about that, or the hierarchy of the wizarding families and what they all mean,” Harry added, “I’m so lost and I need to learn all this,” he finished, feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of leaning something that most of those that lived in the wizarding world, and grew up to titles would have known this by the time they started Hogwarts.

“I apologize,” Albus told them, “I will do my best in getting the School Governers on board with reinstating the Wizarding Culture class. It will be nice to have it again.”

“I think,” Ron began, glancing at Draco.

“That all students,” Draco added with a nod.

“Should be made to pay attention,” the two finished together.

“Of course,” Albus said, a twinkle in his eyes as he watched the two. Even Sirius was amused by them.

“You’re doing it again,” Harry complained, though he couldn’t help but laugh as the two of them just looked at each other in horror.

“We really need to stop,” the two said together again, “damn it!”

Harry was laughing so hard, it was only Sirius that was stopping him from falling out of his chair. “Sorry, but it’s so funny,” he giggled as he finally sat in his chair properly.

“It would be nice to be able to celebrate all the holidays again. I know that Hogsmeade celebrates them. You can sometimes see them from the school grounds if you’re high enough,” Draco added, a soft smile on his face.

“Then I shall start looking for someone to teach,” Albus nodded.

“My dad or Draco’s mother would be a good first port of call,” Ron suggested softly. “They both know the traditions and practice them. Not only that, but I know that dad has had to teach me and my brothers from scratch about them. He would be able to teach, though I don’t know if he would leave his job though,” he slumped a little.

“Mother might, but again, I don’t know if she will want to, she enjoys dealing with all the charity work in the Malfoy name at the moment,” Draco murmured.

“And the Black and Potter,” Sirius added, “I’ve asked her to help start sorting it all out. They’ve been neglected for a while.”

“Right,” Harry nodded. He had been told of that already, and Sirius was slowly teaching him how to manage the funds he had available.

“I’m sorry to say, but I’ve got to take Harry to Gringotts,” Sirius said, hating himself when he saw the worried look enter all three of their eyes. The Goblin has messaged him while he was at Hogwarts looking for another Horcrux that things were ready. The locket and the cup were now dealt with.

“Okay,” Harry said, feeling scared of what was going to happen. He had hoped they would put it off for a bit longer. But Sirius said from what he had heard it would be best to do it as soon as possible, why his mother’s magic was still protecting him.

“We’ll go, but can you… can you tell us when it’s over so we know how things go?” Ron asked as he and Draco started packing away their work.

“I will, promise,” Sirius told him softly.

“Thanks,” Draco nodded to him.

Sirius and Harry watched them pack up, Albus wandering off for some tea. Harry got up when they were done, “I’ll take you to the floo room,” he said softly as he led the way.

They reached the room and before they could floo out, they both hugged him tightly, “good luck,” Ron said.

“Yeah, good luck, it should all be fine from what you’ve told us. Just… you are going to be exhausted for a bit,” Draco said, trying to put aside the worry he was feeling.

“I know,” he smiled, trying to put on a brave face.

“Right, we’ll see you soon,” Ron said as he was the first one through the floo.

Draco paused, and then hugged Harry even tighter before he went through as well. Harry smiled as he walked back to Sirius, “Okay, ready,” he said.

“Okay,” he said, as Albus rejoined them. They headed through the floo and into Gringotts. It was early evening, so the place was quiet as they were quickly shown to the ritual room that had been prepared for them all.

“Okay Mr Potter,” the goblin said as he walked over, “I need you to wear this,” he handed over a small robe, there were runes embroidered all over it. Harry took it and moved to the screen and quickly changed. He felt a little odd, since he was wearing nothing else.

“Okay,” he said, taking a breath.

“Mr Potter,” another goblin approached, “please lie in the middle of the ritual circle, we will prepare you,” he said.

Harry did as he was told and then another approached, this one was female. They began to draw on Harry’s forehead with a sticky substance. He could feel the same being done on his legs and arms.

“This will be painful Mr Potter, but you will be fine afterwards,” he was warned.

Harry nodded he had already been told. It didn’t take long for them to start. Albus and Sirius were told to remain outside the circle and to be nowhere near Harry at all. Sirius was gripping onto Albus when Harry screamed for the first time. They watched in horror as above him a cloud started to form. A scream came from the cloud and it was louder than Harry’s.

Harry arched and then slumped where he lay as a shadow of a man began rushing around the room, trapped by the magic circle. The runes that had been painted onto Harry blocked the shadow from trying to get back into him. The goblins around the circle began to chant and the circle of magic rose from the ground, passing over Harry and then tightening around the spectre.

The chanting got louder and more forceful as the magic spun around the shade. Soon enough it gave one more scream and it shattered into nothing. Destroyed never to return.

“It is over,” one of the goblins said, his voice exhausted as he and the others collapsed to their knees around the circle. “You may retrieve Mr Potter,” he added.

Sirius didn’t need to be told twice as he rushed into the curled and picked Harry up. The teen was pale and shaking from the pain he had endured, but the scar on his forehead was slowly fading away already. “It worked” he murmured as he brought Harry outside and to the small bed that had been prepared. A goblin healer already started to check on him as he was laid down. Other healers are going to the other goblins to check on them as well.

“He is fine, let him rest for a day or two and he will be back to normal,” the healer told him.

“Thank you,” he said gratefully, “thank you.”

“Welcome Lord Black,” she told him.

“Do I have to wait until I can take him home?” he asked, a little unsure if he should take Harry away from Gringotts.

“He is fine to leave, I will lead you to our floo, so you will not be disturbed,” she answered him, “As I said, let him rest, giving him a pain potion when you get home. When he wakes in the morning make sure he eats foods that are easy on the stomach. He may feel a little nauseous for a day or two if anything carries on more than two days contact us straight away. There may be some remains of the dark magic.”

Sirius nodded, feeling a little reassured, but then scared about the fact that something could remain behind, “And if there is?” he asked her.

“Do not worry, the magic that protects him is still there, it will continue to protect him,” she reassured him, “now take young Mr Potter home and let him rest,” she advised once more.

“I will,” Sirus said, quickly changing Harry into his clothes again and leaving the robe behind before following the goblin to the floo. Albus followed Sirius as he took Harry home.

Chapter Twenty Two

Harry was excited. Almost a week after having the Horcrux extracted from his head, Sirius had surprised him with tickets to the Quidditch world cup. Ron was going to be going as well since his dad had been able to win a few tickets in the draw at work. He had enough for the whole family and for Ginny to invite a friend along as well. Sirius had booked it so that they would be staying over the night at the camp on-site in order to be able to be with friends as well as enjoy the game. Draco was going with his parents but had asked to join them at the camp during the night, which had been granted by his mother. Lucius had tried to stop it, but Narcissa had just smirked at him, and sent a stinging hex at his… lower regions.

“I can’t believe that we’re here,” Harry almost jumped around as he looked to Sirius and Remus. They were going through the fields to where they were going to be staying the night. Sirius had the bag with his tent already.

“I know, it’s going to be fun,” Sirius grinned at him as they reached the spot. Pulling the bag from his back he placed it down and moved back. Counting his steps and then said “With me you two,” he told them.

Remus and Harry joined him and quickly the man shot a spell to the bag, and the tent popped up, looking like a normal three-man tent that muggles would use. Harry frowned a little, but then saw the grin on Sirius and Remus’ face.

“Well, go in,” Remus prompted him, pushing him towards the opening.

Harry walked in, eyes going wide with the sight of what was around him, “oww, I love magic,” he murmured gratefully as he went to explore the room he’s in. There were four doors total, one which was a cosy living room, kitchen, and dining area. “This is amazing!” he yelled out as he then went to another one of the doors and looked in. It was a bedroom with two beds in it, “I take it this is mine and Draco’s room tonight?” he asked as Sirius came up behind him.

“Yep,” he smiled at him, placing a hand on his shoulder, “magic is an amazing thing, Harry.”

“Yeah,” he nodded, grinning widely as he walked out and went to check the others rooms, seeing two more bedrooms and a bathroom as well.

“Okay, we’ll have a bite to eat before we go and explore the outside world,” Remus said as he began to make them something simple to eat, only a few sandwiches, but it was something that would tide them over until they would find something to eat at the vendors that were around.

XxXxX

Harry rushed ahead of them as he spotted the Weasley’s. There were two older redheads with the group as well, and Harry knew that they were Bill and Charlie. He hadn’t really met them before, so this would be the first time. “Ron!” he yelled out.

“Hey Harry!” he yelled back, darting over to his friend, “Where’s Draco?” he asked, not spotting the blond.

“He’s coming later with his parents, Narcissa sent a hex to Lucius’, erm you know,” he laughed, pointing towards his crotch.

“Really?” he asked, and the two broke into laughter when Harry nodded.

“Yeah, Draco was quite happy in telling me. He sounded so happy and proud of his mother. He said that he no longer rules and neither does his grandfather,” he laughed.

“Ugh, I can’t believe I have to be here,” Hermione grumbled as she walked over to them.

“Then why did you come?” Harry asked her, “I know you don’t like the game,” he pointed out, though it was well known that the only reason she watched the matches at Hogwarts was only for Harry and for the fact that McGonagall enjoyed quidditch and she wanted to get into the professor’s good books.

“Because I didn’t really have a choice,” he muttered.

“You did, mum would have let you stay, she said to go so you could hang out with Ginny and Luna,” Ron pointed out, “and if you really didn’t want to go then she would have been fine with it.”

“And I would have had a lesson on how to cook,” Hermione sneered, “no thank you.”

“Cooking is a good skill to have,” Harry pointed out, “I can cook, and so can Ron. Even Draco is now learning thanks to Narcissa insistence.”

“That’s what magic is for, it can do all that,” Hermione said huffing as she began to walk away.

“And that you can’t always get what you want done,” Harry called out after her.

“She is still a nightmare,” Ron said, “But dad lets me go into his office more now,” he grinned as the two of them started away from the camp to go and explored all the vendors that were around.

“Hey, aren’t you going to introduce us?” a shout came from behind them as they neared the vendors.

“Oh sorry,” Ron grinned, “this is Bill,” he said pointing to the long-haired one, and then the more scary and buff one he went, “and that’s Charlie.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Harry,” Harry smiled at the two of them, pleased to put faces to the names that had been bandied about for the last three years.

“Finally good to meet you, Ron goes on about you all the time,” Bill laughed, putting Ron in a headlock.

“Hey!” Ron complained.

Bill let him go and the two men decided to go with the teens as they went around, waiting for the match to start.

XxXxX

They were already in the top box when Draco arrived, rushing over to Ron and Harry as soon as he spotted them, “Save me,” he whispered.

“What’s wrong?” Harry asked as the two leaned in closer.

“Father was trying to stop me from going again. Mother hexed him nonfunctional and then when he tried to get her to reverse it, she hexed him with an itching hex that he can’t get rid of. Only she can,” he said, there was amusement in his voice as he spoke and the three of them huddled together to talk more.

“Wow,” Ron said in admiration for the woman, “She is good.”

“Yeah,” Harry grinned in agreement.

“I know she is, but… well, my dad is pissed,” Draco cursed quietly. Not wanting to bring his father’s attention over to him. “He is not happy since he can’t scratch himself in public, too unbecoming of a Malfoy,” he rolled his eyes. “But yeah, she got him,” he chuckled lightly. Only stopping when he felt his father’s eyes on him. He put on a poker face for a moment until he had turned away and then smiled again,

“You really do follow all that etiquette type thing,” Ron grumbled.

Draco nodded “Mum’s more relaxed about it than father. He insists on it all the time. And if it will keep the peace, then I try to follow it a bit more,” he said softly.

“I can understand that. While your dad is an arsehole, he’s still your dad,” Ron nodded, making a face.

“Hmm,” Draco hummed, not really giving an answer.

The three settled back to watch the game, becoming amused when Ron went a little loopy when the Veela came on, trying to go after the siren-like girls. But they pulled him back and kept him in his seat. They could see that many were affected by them. The game went on for a while until Krum caught the snitch. But Ireland still won.

“That was amazing!” Harry enthused as the match ended, “He still caught it, he knew that it wasn’t going to end well for Bulgaria, but he took the snitch, ending it on his terms.”

“Yeah,” Ron grinned, “He is one of the best seekers in the professional leagues. And he still goes to school,” he added.

“I’ve seen one other match,” Draco said, “he was brilliant then as well.

“Yeah?” Ron grinned as the two gushed over Viktor Krum.

Harry smiled and listened to them as Draco followed them back towards the tents. “Want to ask Sirius and your dad if you can stay with us?” he asked Ron.

“Oh, yeah, I’d love to,” Ron answered, eyes wide with gratitude, he really didn’t want to go back and have to listen to Hermione harping on him again. She was once again trying to get into his good book, Although she would start ranting at him again if Ron mentioned Draco or traditions..

“Hey, Siri!” Harry called out waving at the wizard as he and Remus headed towards them.

“What is it, Harry?” he asked him, hugging him as soon as he reached him.

“Can Ron stay with us as well?”

Remus nodded, “yes, I can transfigure an extra bed for him in your room if you want,” he agreed, “Just tell Arthur so he knows where his son is,” he added.

“Sure!” Harry nodded as the three of them ran off to where the Weasley’s were camped.

“Dad,” Ron called out as soon as he saw him, “Is it okay if I stay with Draco and Harry?” he asked him as soon as he saw him.

Arthur looked from Ron to the two boys following him. “If you want, I don’t mind, just behave,” he warned him, though there was a smile on his face.

“I will dad,” he grinned, heading into the tent he went over to the bed he had claimed and packed his things to take with him. “Right, see ya,” he shouted over his shoulder as the three of them headed back towards Sirius’ tent.

Walking inside, Ron sighed in relief, “you have no idea how grateful I am,” he muttered, snorting a little.

“I got you,” Harry nodded, he had only had to put up with Hermione twice since she had been staying at the burrow, and that was only because he has spent some time with Ron. Ginny so far had been avoiding him, though Molly was still trying to get him to play and spend time with her.

“So, what do you want to do?” Draco asked as they made their way to Harry’s room, a third bed had already appeared in the room.

“Don’t know,” Ron shrugged, “I was thinking we could go back out and head to the campfires, they are doing up food for everyone and having some contests around, thought we might be able to join in,” he suggested after a moment’s pause.

Harry frowned, “Hmm,” he murmured, “Yeah, that should be fine, we’ll see if Sirius and Remus want to join us as well,” he added.

“Sounds good,” Draco agreed, sitting on his bed as they let Ron unpack his things.

“Okay,” he grinned when he was done, let’s go!” he led the way out of the room. Draco and Harry were smiling as they walked out, grabbing Remus and Sirius before they could even protest.

The three teenagers bumped into a few of their friends as they wandered around. Dean had joined Seamus and his family for the game, and the Finiggans were celebrating in style. The three joined them as Remus and Sirius joined in with the more adult fun that was going on.

The night was slowly winding down as darkness enveloped the camp, though that still didn’t stop a few of the more die-hard fans and celebrations that were going on. Harry, Ron and Draco had to be ushered away from Seamus and Dean, as those two were still carrying on when Sirius and Remus decided they wanted the three boys to at least attempt to sleep that night. Heading back to their camp, they waved to the Weasley’s who were heading back to their own tent. Harry was grinning the whole way, the day had been brilliant and a great way to put behind him what he had gone through.

Chapter Twenty Three

The three teens finally fell asleep at almost 2 in the morning, only to be woken an hour later when Sirius burst into the room waking them up.

“Get up!” he demanded, pulling the bedclothes off them all, “I need you up and ready to get out now!” he added, a tone of worry and urgency in his voice.

Harry and the others started to get out of their beds. Remus rushed into the room as well, “Come on,” he said, “grab your wands and keep them on you. Permission from me and Sirius to use them if you need to,” he added.

“What’s going on?” Harry demanded to know as they were ushered out of the room.

“Death eaters have attacked the camp. They are setting the tents on fire and some of the muggles that were nearby are being tortured. Auror is responding but not as fast as we like. So I’m going to go and help, along with Remus. I need you three to head to the forest. Go hide in there, stay together, do not separate for anything!” Sirius warned them all as he led the way out of the tent and towards the small forested area that was nearby.

“What about you?” Harry worried, eyes wide as they rushed through the camp, other parents and guardians doing the same thing, taking their children to the forest.

“Going back to help, they put up an anti-apparition ward and anti-portkey wards, no one can get out,” he said softly, “I know you can fight, I know you can protect yourself, but I need you to stay in there and stay safe, so please, do this for me,” he begged him.

Harry didn’t hesitate, “I will, promise, we’ll stay in the forest.”

“Good, now stay safe, if someone starts firing any spells at you, stun them,” he advised.

The three teens nodded as they entered the forest, keeping sight of each other as they went inside. They took to keeping to the larger trees, the thick trucks easily hiding them at times, along with the bushes that were dotted around.

Ron almost screamed when someone grabbed him around the waist, “Gi… Ginny!” he gasped as he saw that it was his sister.

“Ron, you’re okay?” she asked, looked at him.

Ron smiled, “Yeah, I’m fine,” he told her, “Where are the others?” he asked, glancing around and spotting the twins rushing over to them.

“Dad went to help, so did Bill and Charlie,” she answered him.

“Percy and Hermione are somewhere around, we lost them a little,” Fred said, looking around for any sign of his older brother and Hermione.

“Right,” Harry nodded, “I’m worried,” he said, looking to where they had come from. He and the others could hear the cries and shouts of some people. It sounded like a few were hurt.

“We’ll be fine in here, and they all know what they are doing,” Draco assured him, placing a hand on his shoulder, “Really, they will be just fine. Sirius is a former Auror, and he’s sharp as anything. Remus was our DADA teacher, he knows what he’s doing. I know that Mr Weasley,” he began, looking at Ron, “Used to be an Auror during the first war before he transferred out when it ended. Bill is a curse breaker, he knows a lot, and Charlie, well… who would want to face someone who is used to firing spells strong enough to affect a dragon?” he pointed out, seeing that Ron was just as worried as Harry.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded.

“How do you know that about dad?” Fred asked his vice low, frowning at the blond as they ducked around another bush and crouched down.

“Mother told me that he worked with your uncles for a while,” he answered.

“Right,” George nodded as they started to move again, not wanting to stay in one place for too long. His dad has told them all to keep on the move, so he was following that order.

The others followed as they headed into the clearing nearby. It was open, a large space almost. Harry stumbled as he felt something bump into him. He looked around and all he could see was a scared house-elf, the same one that had been in the top box with them, hiding in the corner. “You okay?” he asked her. Seeing the wide frightened eyes.

“Yes,” she squeezed out as she started to look around frantically.

They carried on through to the clearing, the small elf following them. They heard a yell of something from nearby. And looking up above them was a cloud, in the shape of a skull with a snake coming from its mouth, twining its way around it. The black and bright green of it makes them all pale.

“What is it?” Harry asked as they then heard pops all around them.

“Duck!” Ron yelled, pushing Harry down as spells were aimed their way. Ron and Draco pulled out their wands, Harry searching for his but unable to find it. Fred and George, who were already armed, began to return fire. They sent shields up around them, as well as stunners back to where the attacking spells came from. Their spells took three down before another yell ripped through the night.

“Stop, they are my sons!” Arthur yelled as soon as he appeared and spotted three of his boys.

The firing of spells stopped, and the air went silent as one of the attacking wizards stalked towards them. Sirius, Remus and Arthur headed towards the boys.

“You all right?” Arthur asked, as he checked over his son and then Ginny, who was being protected by harry.

“We’re okay dad,” Ron assured him.

“Harry, Draco, you okay?” he asked the boys.

“We’re okay,” Draco nodded, holstering his wand again.

“I can’t find my wand,” Harry said, as he started to search around for it.

“Which one of you did it?” the wizard that had hurried to them demanded, grabbing hold of Harry and glaring in his face.

“None of them would have done it, Barty,” Sirius said, shaking his head as he pried the man’s hands off his godson.

“One of them did it, Sirius,” he growled as he looked and noted who was there, “Malfoy,” he sneered at the blond who was now standing next to Harry and subtly looking him over.

“He wouldn’t,” Sirius protested, stepping in front of Draco

“You all know what his father was, he might have been able to wheedle his way out of it,” he glared past Sirius towards Draco.

“His father might be the worst out there, but that means nothing when it comes to Draco,” Sirius said, making sure that Draco and Harry remained behind him.

“And who’s to say that Malfoy didn’t teach his spaw-”

“You finish that word Bartholomew Crouch and I’ll make sure that the rest of your career ends in flames,” Sirius growled, eyes narrowed.

“I would second that,” Arthur said, “What you are doing is dangerous Crouch,” he added, “you got in trouble for not even bothering to send some people to trial. Don’t forget that,” he warned him, reminding him that he had sent over ten people to Azkaban without trials. Seven of them had been like Sirius, innocent of all charges.

“Where did the mark come from,” he yelled, glancing around and then seeing the small elf near them, “Winky,” he called to her, “where did you get that wand?”

“I picked it up master,” she answered, her voice trembling as she held the wand aloft.

“That’s my wand!” Harry exclaimed as soon as he saw it. “It must have fallen out of my pocket when we were running through the woods.” He guessed.

“Winky, you know elves are not to touch a wizard’s wand,” he told her, “You are dismissed from my family service, you’re a disgrace!” he yelled, tossing her his scarf.

“Master!” she cried, as she held the scarf in her trembling hands.

“Barty!” one of the witches next to him said.

“She broke the rules, she left my service,” he said, his face was pale. “Mr Potter,” he said, looking at the wizard, “take your wand back now,” he added, letting him take the wand.

Harry reached out and took it. “Sir,” he began, “Must you really do that to her?”

“Yes, there are certain rules an elf must follow, breaking them results in immediate dismissal, though they can differ from one family to another,” he said, sounding calm, but his eyes were frantically looking from one side to the other. As though he was searching for something.

“Come on,” Arthur said, “We should see about finding Percy and Hermione, Bill and Charlie went looking for them. They should have found them by now,” he added as he guided the Weasley’s away, “you all coming?” he asked as he turned to Sirius.

“Yeah, we’ll go together, you’re welcome to stay at the Marauders den for the night. Save going home and disturbing Molly,” he added.

“Thank you, Sirius, we’ll take you up on that,” Arthur smiled as they went to find the others.

It didn’t take long to find them, near the edge of the forested area.

“You all okay?” Arthur asked them, looking them over to see if they were fine.

“Yeah,” Bill grinned, “Nothing to worry about,” he chuckled lightly, though they could hear the edge in it. Adrenaline was still high for the young wizard.

“Wasn’t a dragon, but it went fine dad,” Charlie grinned as he leaned casually against a tree.

“Okay boys,” Arthur said, shaking his head at the two of them, “We’re staying with Sirius for the night since I’d rather not worry your mother until we get home.”

“In other words,” Bill began, “you don’t want her to start ranting about things so you can get some sleep before the sun comes up.”

“Exactly,” Arthur laughed lightly. He loved Molly, he did, but even he could admit that she was a little much sometimes.

Sirius looked around, as did most of them when they felt a weird magic in the air, “Looks like the anti-apparition and portkey wards have been taken down.”

“Yeah,” Bill agreed, “Should be able to go now,” he added.

“I have a returnable portkey to the Marauders Den,” Sirius said as he pulled out the same rope that had brought them to the camp in the morning. “You know what to do,” he said softly.

They took hold of the portkey and Sirius activated it. Twelve people held tight as it spun around and soon deposited them in the receiving room of the Marauders Den.

“Okay,” Sirius said, “we have a few guest rooms sorted, some of you are going to have to double up,” he said looking at the twins, Hermione and Ginny, and the three eldest of the Weasleys.

“That’s fine,” Arthur said, shaking his head, “as long as we are all able to sleep, I don’t care who rooms with who,” he said, and then thought better of it as he looked to the girls, “You two will be sharing though.”

“That’s fine Mr Weasley,” Hermoine smiled at him.

“Yeah dad,” Ginny smiled as well. The shy young girl that Harry had first met was now back. A little timid but he didn’t blame her for what happened. He just hoped she was over the need to constantly follow him.

“Ron and Draco in my room,” Harry said as he led the way, letting Sirius take care of the rest of their guests

The two followed their friend, heading to his room. Remus followed behind them so he could transfigure another bed. They already had an extra in there for when Ron stayed over a few days ago.

“Right,” Remus said as soon as he was done with the transfiguration, “try and get some sleep. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow,” he added.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded, knowing that they were going to have to explain to Molly what happened. He just hoped they got there before the newspaper did.

The three settled down as soon as he left and quickly fell asleep. None of them wanted to stay awake and hash out what happened, though Draco was still annoyed about what had happened with Barty Crouch.

Chapter Twenty Four

It was midafternoon the next day when Ron arrived back at the Marauders Den. Unfortunately, Hermione had made her presence known in more ways than one. She had shoved him onto the floor before he could even stop her. Ron wasn’t happy about her behaviour at all. He was going there to escape the woman. As he walked away from her, she started to search around for him.

“Ron, wait for me!” she called out as soon as she noticed that he was leaving the room without her.

“Why should I?” he asked her, stopping and facing her. “Why should I, you weren’t invited over. You were told to leave me alone. Yet you continue to bitch at me for things! You say that I won’t let you help me, that I won’t talk to you. But at the moment I can’t stand the very sight of you!” he yelled at her. He had enough. He had been doing his best to keep his temper with her. But she was dancing on his last nerves, and this latest stunt had just broken it.

“I just want to spend time with my friends and you keep leaving me alone,” she huffed, glaring at him.

“You’re not my friend. right now you are an annoyance, an acquaintance that I wish I had never met,” he told her, his voice going cold.

“O… Of course, I… I’m your friend,” she said, voice wobbling as she felt a stab of something go through her.

“No, you’re not. If you were a true friend, you would have done everything that you could to make sure that we would have passed our exams as best as we could. You would have helped us and not hindered us in our educational pursuits. You made it so bad that I hated having to study with you. My desire and need to learn was shrivelled into a corner because that’s all you wanted us to do, but you made sure we learned from you and not a book. Morganna forbid we even tried to read one, you snatched it from us, called it rubbish even though we know it was a book you had read and gushed over!” he ranted at her, finally letting everything that was in his head out. He wanted this woman to know exactly what she had done to them.

“Everything okay?” Harry asked, he had heard the shouting and came to see what was wrong. Draco, quickly following his friend to see what was going on.

“Harry, Draco,” the redhead nodded and greeted them before looking back at Hermione as he answered, “She barged into the floo before I could even enter it,” he explained why she had been there without them needing to ask.

“Right,” Harry nodded.

“Harry!” Hermione called to him, glaring at Draco who was standing by the brunette’s side, “have you heard all the vitriol that Ron is spewing, he… he isn’t himself,” she said, her eyes going a little wet as she looked like she would cry at the moment.

“He is being himself,” Draco was the one to say, “you’ve pushed him so much he can’t take anymore and I don’t blame him,” he shrugged.

“Agreed,” Harry nodded.

To Hermione, it seemed like Draco was controlling what they were thinking, “No, no, that… that bastard has got to you. He’s done something to you. You should see a healer, I know you would never have turned away from me if he wasn’t around. You’re my best friend, I’m one of your best friends. We’ve done so much together,” she said, shaking her head and looking at the two, pleading with them to listen to her, “Sirius… Sirius has done things as well, turned you against me, against Mrs Weasley. Put stupid ideas of traditions and the old way of things. She told me that it doesn’t do anything. And I believe her, I’ve read about them, in my first year and they are just so old fashioned, archaic. They celebrate something that just isn’t real!” she ended up yelling.

“He’s not done anything to us, except for tutoring us in the subjects we’ve asked to change to,” Harry told her, keeping his voice calm. One good thing about living with Remus was learning from the werewolf about how to keep his temper and remain calm no matter what was going on. Even Ron was listening to their past teacher when he told the redhead how to channel his temper in a different way.

“Now shut up, the three of us are going to be doing a bit of work and we don’t want you to interrupt, though I would like it if you went back to the burrow,” Harry told her as he turned. Ron and Draco did the same and the three of them went to the library. Harry watched as Hermione’s eyes lit up and went towards the books only to be stopped from even getting one down.

“What!” she demanded, stomping her foot as she tried again and again, only for the magic to push her hands away.

“Only family and those brought into the wards in the library are able to touch them. If a book is out and you try to hold it, it will disappear and reappear on the shelf. You won’t be able to touch them,” Harry informed her. Draco and Ron had been brought in not long after Harry’s birthday when they had taken to studying in the library instead of Harry’s room.

“That isn’t fair!” she yelled, “Why would you do something like that, to stop people from looking at books!” she couldn’t understand why the information was stopped from being accessed.

“Because some of them are family tomes that are protected, and while Ron and Draco have access, they don’t have full access,” Harry explained to her. “They can only get to a few of the books,” he added.

“The first two cases over there, and most of the bottom three shelves of the rest,” Ron murmured. He couldn’t help but enjoy the shrinking that was coming from Hermione at being denied something.

“Can you please be quiet, we have some work to do,” Draco told her as he then looked at the other two, “Got your things?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded, pulling the bag he had brought with him and bringing out his things. Harry quickly grabbed his own from the side table where he had left them and the three settled down. Draco did his best to try and talk with them when Hermione was constantly snapping at him and telling him he was wrong.

“Hermione, would you please shut up?” Harry told her, finally annoyed with her bitching.

“No, I will not,” she replied, “why would I keep quiet when you have that tiny death eater in the room? Can’t you understand that you are being undermined?” she asked them, glaring at Draco once more.

“Hermione,” Ron stated.

“No, this time you’ll listen to me, I’ve sat by and watched as you two pulled away from me. I know I did something wrong, but not that wrong that you should just abandon me!” she exclaimed, “I had to think why you would and then I started to learn that you were both hanging around Malfoy. You know his dad would have been there last night, he would have been happily torturing the muggles and trying to harm the Muggleborns that were there,” she glared at him, her lips snarled in disgust.

“My father couldn’t have been there since he was and still is currently begging my mother to release him from the hexes she has him under,” he replied to her accusations.

“Bullshit, why would Narcissa Malfoy do something like that against her husband?” she snorted, “no, you’re lying through your teeth again. Though I have to say I’m waiting for the famous ‘I’m going to tell my father’,” she imitated the usual cry that came from him.

Draco snorted, “You have no idea what a joke that sentence was for me,” he told her, “I would always say that when I couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone. It was nothing more than an empty threat, though really, I tended to use it to let those around me know that I wasn’t serious with what I was saying. I never, and still don’t think highly of my father. He is a brute of a man, and not one to look up to. Though now that mum has the reigns of the family, I can see him having no choice but to change a little if he wants mum to stay with him.”

“Does he love her?” Harry couldn’t help but ask.

“I’m not sure. I know mum does love him. And I… I think he does, but he’s just been shown the wrong way, my grandfather and grandmother, all his life. That he was never given a chance to find out things for himself. I know mum’s going to try,”

“I think she should, nature versus nurture after all,” Ron told them all.

“Oh,” Harry nodded a grin on his face, “he was nurtured to have hatred thanks to your grandparents, but now he is being left to figure things out alone, left to nature, to see if he is redeemable,” he said softly.

“Exactly, don’t know if it will work,” Draco sighed, “I might not look up to him.”

“But he’s still your dad, I said that before, he will always be that to you. Someone that you should be able to go to,”

“He was like that when I was younger, I could go to him, but then when I was six, things changed. Grandfather came back from France, along with grandmother, and my whole world turned upside down,” Draco gave a small sigh, “I just-”

“Oh shut up!” Hermione huffed, “stop your whining and get lost. Go back to the father you love so much,” she sneered, “go and be like him, a Muggleborn-hating bastard.”

“Will you shut up!” Harry yelled at her, “I’ve tried, I really have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt Granger, but as of this moment, you have gone too far. Draco is fine and has been doing nothing but ignoring the little snips that you’ve done against him since you got here. His father didn’t take part, and Draco never would. The only thing about Muggleborns that those raised in the wizarding world hate is the fact that they bring in strange beliefs and try and tear down things that have been around for thousands of years.”

“They are so backwards, and archaic, candlelight! Quills! Parchment! Old traditions! So old they should have been out centuries ago.”

“Quills and Parchment are used because they can last a lot longer than their muggle equivalents as they are specially made to make sure the ink doesn’t fade and the parchment doesn’t break down,” Draco answered her on some of the reasons.

“Muggles don’t have those abilities,” Ron added, “as for candlelight, they are enchanted as well, to make sure that they give off extra heat to warm the place as well as to make their lights brighter, but not harsh enough that they hurt your eyes. I noticed when I’ve gone in the muggle world, the lighting hurts my eyes so badly.”

“It was like that the first two weeks I would be back at the Dursley’s. My head would hurt so badly when I was in artificial light,” Harry nodded, agreeing with them.

Before Hermione could even think of carrying on her vitriol against the wizarding world she now was part of, Harry added, “I want you to go home, you’re not welcome here anymore. I don’t want you to come here, you were supposed to be trying to earn our forgiveness for what you did, but so far you’ve done nothing but be a terrible guest and prospect friend.”

“Come on,” Ron said, he wasn’t afraid of manhandling her out to the floo, he pointed to the door. Seeing the looks on their faces Hermione huffed and flounced off as she left the room. Ron followed her to make sure that she would go through the floo. He returned a few minutes later fuming even more. Without asking, the other two started to help him calm down, only to learn that Hermione had tried again to turn Ron against Draco and convince him to do the same with Harry. He had refused.

Chapter Twenty Five

Harry waited in the Leaky Cauldron for the Weasley’s to arrive. Mrs Weasley had tried to go shopping for them while they were at the Quidditch World Cup, but Harry insisted, as did Sirius, that they would go afterwards. They didn’t have long until they were to go back to school. And they knew that the alley was going to be packed with other last-minute shoppers. The floo flared up and soon a bunch of redheads and one fuzzy-haired witch came through. Sirius had given him permission to be alone so he didn’t have to be watched. Though he knew that his godfather was wandering around the alley on business so he could be reached if needed.

“Hey Harry,” Ron grinned as he rushed over to his best friend.

“Hey,” he greeted back.

“Hello Harry,” Molly greeted him, “so you’re coming with us. We’re going for Robes first since we need to get some dress robes.”

Harry nodded and the two of them fell back, “Yeah, do you know what that’s about?” he asked Ron and the twins.

“No idea,” Fred said, “never happened before,” he finished.

“Though there were only three of us who needs them. Ginny doesn’t have them on her list,” Ron said softly. “So it’s something for fourth year and up,” he surmised.

“I’ve got them on mine as well,” Hermione said, trying to butt into the conversation.

“Right,” Harry said as they carried on Following Mrs Wealsey and Ginny, who was walking near her.

“Right,” Molly said as soon as she walked into Madam Malkins, “Harry, why don’t you go and sort yours, I need to sort some dress robes for Ginny,” she added as she pulled her daughter with her to talk to one of the seamstresses.

Harry stopped, “For Ginny…” he turned to the brothers, “What does she mean by that, I thought Ginny didn’t need any?”

Molly turned to him, “I can’t leave her out,” she told him, “it wouldn’t be fair. Now boys,” she said.

“Fred and-”

“George, we’ve got it sorted for ourselves mum,” Fred finished off George’s sentence.

“We have our own money for dress robes as well,” Geroge added.

“Okay, you’re both sorted,” she smiled at them and then turned back to where Ginny was being measured.

Ron just sighed and followed Harry as he was being measured for his own as well. Harry looked puzzled as he was measured. He watched as Molly gushed over the fabric and chose what colours and such for Ginny’s dress robes. Harry then had to do the same for his own, as the twins waited patiently for their turn. Harry stepped down from the dais and let the twins go up as Ginny once more stood with her mother. Hermione was looking over the choices that she had as well, it was the one thing she hadn’t brought when she was with her parents.

“Well, that’s Ginny sorted. Now for Ron,” Molly said, happy as she went over to a rack of robes and began to go through them. Pulling one out she nodded to herself.

“Wh-”

“That would be mine,” Ron slumped, “it’s always the same when it comes to me and Ginny. Ginny would get something new and me… whatever was cheapest.” With those words, Ron walked out of the shop.

Harry quickly finished paying and rushed out after his friend, “look, Ron, I can-”

“Thanks, Harry, but no,” Ron muttered, shaking his head, “come on, since you’ve paid, let’s go and get books, or rather your books. Mum already knows which ones to get for me.”

“Yeah, though we have the arithmancy ones and rune ones already, for third and fourth year,” Harry added, as the two had gotten them as soon as they made the choice to change subjects.

“Do you think Hagrid is going to be upset with us?” Ron asked as they had both dropped creatures as well. Both of them knew that they wouldn’t be using that in their work. Neither of them were big animal people.

“Maybe, we’re going to have to explain why we changed,” Harry sighed as they reached the book store.

“Yeah,” Ron murmured as they walked in, there were a number of students already around. But thankfully over the centuries of supplying the students with books, they always had a special set up established where each year’s books were in one section.

XxXxX

Harry returned to the burrow with the Weasley family, wanting to spend a little more time with Ron before he had to go home, though he would be alone for a little while, as Remus and Sirius had a few errands to run concerning the Black estate. He glanced around and could see Bill and Charlie talking in the living area. He put his things away and went over to them.

“Harry,” Bill nodded, a grin on his face.

“Can I talk to the two of you please?” he said, “privately,” he added, as he looked around the room seeing that the others were coming and going from it.

The two oldest Weasley brothers looked at each other but nodded. “Okay,” Charlie said as he led the way out into the garden, “where?” he murmured.

“Orchard would be more private,” Bill answered him, though he was curious as to what Harry wanted to talk to them about.

“Okay, what is it?” Charlie asked him as soon as they reached the first of the trees.

“We were in Diagon Alley,” he started, “now fourth year and up, are required to have a set of dress robes. Not third year and below, for some school event,” he shrugged, still not sure what they were for. “But, Mrs Weasley bought brand new dress robes for Ginny as well. Not that wouldn’t be fine and not something I really cared about until I saw her buying Ron’s.”

Bill sighed, “and why would that be something that worried you?”

“Did you know that whenever Ron needs something new, he gets second hand, but Ginny will always get new? Whether that’s a book, a toy, or something to wear like a simple jumper. He will always have hand me downs from you and the others. And Ron’s fine with that. But when it comes to something he needs, like the dress robes she brought…” he trailed off wondering if he could describe the robes that Molly had brought for Ron adequately enough.

“What were they like?”

“Something out of a muggle film that was at least set in the 1700s or 1800s,” Harry told them. He sighed, “look, I’m just saying that you didn’t see Ron when Ginny was getting measured for the robes. He looked devastated. I think… I think he was hoping since Ginny didn’t need any, that he would actually get something that belonged to him. When I was paying, I heard that the ones Ginny was getting were almost 50 galleons, and the one Ron getting wasn’t even 2. It’s… it’s not right how she treats him. I know Ron was hoping to be able to get a little part-time work in Diagon Alley as well. The twins already did so.”

“We did as well,” Charlie nodded, “We all could do work during the summer as soon as we were fourteen,” he finished, looking at Bill.

“He said ‘Ginny always gets something new, and he gets what is cheapest’.” He said, remembering what Ron had told him when Harry saw Molly picking the robes out.

“She’s doing it again Bill,” Charlie sighed.

“Yeah,” Bill nodded, rubbing his face.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked them, frowning at the words.

Bill looked down at Harry, “mum has a tendency to ignore or belittle Ron. He just never fit in as well with us or the others. He was… not really different, and not in a bad way either. He was clingy at times. Charlie and I were nine and seven when he was born, so we didn’t really pay that much attention to him. But by the time he could play properly, we were both heading to Hogwarts. Percy wouldn’t go near him since he was messy, like any child was. The twins were always together and wouldn’t let anyone into their little world. And Ginny was still a baby and was being doted on by mum. He was just alone.”

“I know, he told me that, that no one wanted him around,” Harry said.

Charlie and Bill looked guilty, “it wasn’t that we didn’t want him around, he was too young for the things we did. And when we did spend time with him he… questioned everything. We found out not long after my second year that Ron had become very isolated and alone, even more than before. The twins played a number of tricks on him, trying to get him to laugh. We did our best to always be around him after that, play with him, talk with him, answer his questions.”

“A lot of the tricks the twins played on him backfired though, which scared him badly most of the time. He was always withdrawn, barely talking to us. Ginny had her own friend in Luna nearby. Found mum yelling at him a lot, for eating too much at the table, for example. It’s one of the reasons why he tends to eat quickly right at the start and then slows down,” Bill spoke softly.

“Constantly being compared to us,” Charlie added, “‘Why aren’t you like your brothers, smarter like Percy, better at things like Bill, Strong like Charlie,’” he mimicked his mother’s voice.

“She still does that,” Harry said softly, “He always wants to be better than you.”

“So he can show mum that she can love him as well,” Charlie told him. “Right, we’re talking to her again about it, and dad this time, too. I want him to know what she’s doing.”

“Yeah, I’ll sort him out some proper robes for the ba-”

“The what?” Harry picked up as he heard the almost slip.

“For the event,” Bill changed, smirking as Harry pouted, “I’ll make sure he won’t be embarrassed.”

“Thanks,” he grinned as he then headed back to the burrow.

“Hey, where were you?” Ron asked him, “Been looking for you,” he grinned.

“Sorry, I needed a walk,” Harry answered him.

“Okay,” Ron said, a small grown on his face as he tossed Harry one of the brooms, “shall we? He asked him.

“Sure,” Harry grinned as the two of them went towards the larger part of the garden and went up.

They took to flying for a while, doing a few times to dive to the ground. They were up for a few hours before they finally landed, knowing that dinner would be done soon. “Hey Harry, can I say something?” Ginny asked when they returned, her voice quiet and shy.

Harry stiffened, but as he looked at her he didn’t see the normal look that had been in her eyes. “Yeah, okay,”

“Ron can stay,” she added, seeing Ron hesitate in leaving them alone.

“Okay,” Ron nodded, as the two rested their brooms on their shoulders.

“I just wanted to say sorry about the way I acted. I don’t know if you know, but there was still some of that thing in me. It got transferred over. Not much, but enough to… influence me. Dad got Bill to take me to Gringotts to get their help,” she told him.

Harry paled, understanding that she had become a living Horcrux, but unlike him, she didn’t have another magic that was protecting her from the influence that it had. “Okay,” he said shakily.

“Because I had told the diary so much about you, the thing latched onto you. It told me that being with you would make me whole, or it…” she trailed off, “It’s hard sometimes to separate myself from that thing, to remember what was my feelings or what was its feelings,” she told him.

“I believe you,” he nodded, “And… I don’t know if we can be friends-”

“That’s fine, I have some of my own, I just neglected them with my… with its obsession going on. But I’ll be just fine with my own,” she smiled at him, “and thanks, for listening.”

With that Ginny darted off, no longer going red at the sight of him like she had the first time she saw him. Harry was just glad that she was acting more normal. Ron and Harry went inside, as they thought Mrs Weasley had dinner ready for them. Remus and Sirius were also there waiting for them.

Chapter Twenty Six

Harry flopped down on the bench seat in one of the compartments on the Hogwarts Express. It was finally time to go back to Hogwarts. Ron was already seated across from him, and Draco had promised that he would sit with them for some of the ride. He still had to talk with his housemates after all, but most of them were fine with how things were going within House Slytherin. Ron had pulled a face at that, but he let it go easily this time.

“You have no idea how nice it is to be here,” Ron said, closing his eyes and waiting for the train to start its journey.

“Hermione?” Harry asked, a little smirk on his face. Ron had done nothing but complain about her since she had ended up staying at the Burrow.

Ron just sighed and nodded. “You would think she would get the hint and leave me alone when I yell it in her face. She just ignores it.”

“Just like when we tell her something, she’d ignore it because she is always right,” Harry rolled his eyes.

The two looked up as the door opened and a blond quickly entered and shut the door, “Seriously, she can be a nightmare,” Draco huffed as he sent his trunk to the rack above and flopped down beside Harry.

“Taking bets,” Harry grinned, “Hermione or Pansy?”

“I vote Pansy,” Ron said, with Harry nodding in agreement.

“Nope, both are wrong, it was Astoria Greengrass,” Draco smirked at them. “She is the sweetest girl, don’t get me wrong. But she is trying to get her parents to go to my parents and sign a betrothal between the two of us.”

“What does Narcissa think of that?” Harry asked him.

“She said she wouldn’t do that to me. She knows that I don’t… well, Astoria isn’t really my… type,” he said, wincing a little.

“Okay, so she’s not going to make you,” Ron nodded, a little puzzled with the wording that Draco was choosing.

“No, she isn’t. My father tried, but since my mother is now basically the head of the family she has the final say. So Astoria was trying to talk me into going for it. Like I said, if she was my type I would have. She is a very nice young girl, a little young at the moment, since she is only twelve. But that won’t matter much when we leave Hogwarts,” he sighed.

“Right,” Harry nodded, “I’m glad Sirius doesn’t think that way about me,” he murmured.

“He wouldn’t,” Draco told him. “Sirius doesn’t like betrothals at all.”

“Right,” Ron added.

“I know, he said that they don’t do anything to add to the happiness of the wizarding world and those that are betrothed usually only have one child because they can’t stand each other,” he snorted a little.

“I can attest to that,” Draco nodded, “My parents were an arranged marriage as well. I still don’t know what my grandmother was thinking about accepting one from a lower standing family.”

“Could have been a number of reasons,” Harry said, shrugging.

“Oh, that reminds me,” Draco said as he made sure that the door was closed, “I found out what’s going on at Hogwarts,” he grinned.

“Oh,” Ron and Harry shared a loot, “yeah?”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “they are holding the Triwizard Tournament.”

“The what?” Harry puzzled, frowning at him.

“The Triwizard Tournament was a competition held between the three top schools of Europe, at the moment they are Hogwarts, Buebatoons, and Drumstrang. We’re going to be the host school, so we’re going to have people from the other schools staying with us,” he answered.

“I heard about that, said to be an eternal glory or something,” Ron added, “that there is a special goblet that will be used to pick the best student of each school to take part in the three tasks.”

“Exactly, the thing is, after they have been chosen they have no choice but to compete. No matter the age. The magic of a name is strong after all,” Draco said softly, “they might promise eternal glory, but I can’t think of one single person that took part that I know of,” he added.

“Neither can I,” Ron muttered, “But think of the prize money…” he added, his voice quiet barely audible to the two others in the room.

“Prize money would be nice for anyone Ron,” Draco said, “But I’d rather not lose my life to get it. The death toll is what stopped the tournament from being held for over 100 years, since too many people lost their lives during it.”

“Oh,” Ron nodded as he thought it through a little more.

“I want nothing to do with it,” Harry said, shaking his head. “I don’t need the glory, don’t need or want the money,” he added, shuddering at the thought of having to be put through such tests.

“Yeah,” Draco nodded, “I want nothing to do with it either. I don’t mind watching, but that is the extent that I’ll go through.”

Ron was silent, “you know, you’re right, money isn’t the worst of my life at all,” he agreed, “let’s make sure we keep out of it,” he smiled.

“Will do,” Harry grinned.

“So how-”

“God, can’t he just fuck off,” Hermione grumbled as she walked into the compartment and sat down.

“Which reminds me, why can’t you?!” Ron growled at her.

“I have nowhere else to sit,” Hermione told him.

“I call bullshit, you can go back and sit with the others in our year, we really don’t want you here,” Harry told her as he saw Ron shuffle away from her.

“Why not? your my friends, and I’m yours, he certainly isn’t,” she said, about ready to start once more making digs at Draco and his father’s spotty past.

“Hermione,” came a voice from the door, Ginny stood in the doorway, “hello,” she nodded to the others, “are you coming? She asked.

“I was trying to spend time w-”

“And they don’t want you here anymore than they want me, so why are you putting yourself into a situation that might hurt you?” Ginny said wisely, “come on,” she demanded, “bye,” she waved to the others as she grabbed Hermione’s wrist and forcefully pulled her from the room.

“Wow, your sister…” Draco said as he watched.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Ron growled at him.

“No, no, she really isn’t my type,” Draco protested.

“Good, because if you went near her, Ron wouldn’t be the only one to hurt you,” came a twin’s threatening voice from the doorway that was still open.

“Hey Fred, hey George,” Harry greeted the two of them.

“Though we might just play some pranks anyway,” George grinned at the three of them.

“Do that and I will get all the ideas that Moony and Padfoot have,” he grinned as he saw the shocked look on their faces.

“Mooney?”

“Padfoot?”

“Yep, Moony and Padfoot,” he laughed at their reaction.

“You know our-”

“-Idols!” Fred finished.

“Yeah I do,” Harry told them, “and maybe if you’re good, I might tell you who they are and where you can find them,” he added.

“Right,” Fred said as he turned to face his brother.

Geroge nodded, “No more pranking Harry.”

“Or anyone else that I don’t want pranked, which means not Ron or Draco, and maybe Neville as well. Leave them alone,” Harry said.

“Yes sir!” they said, mock saluting before they left the compartment.

“Well, at least they are dealt with,” Ron said with a smile, “thanks.”

“Yeah, thanks, their pranks are legendary down in the Slytherin dorms,” Draco told his friends.

“They worship the marauders, and they still haven’t heard me call out the marauder’s den yet when I’ve flooed over, sooo,” Ron grinned.

“I can hold it against them for a while and make sure that they behave.” Harry laughed. The three of them looked up when there was some knocking on the compartment door.

“Come in,” Draco called out, though he had a feeling he knew who it was.

“Hey,” Dean greeted them as he, Seamus and Neville walked into the compartment, “sorry for barging in like this.”

Draco sighed, he had been wrong, “I thought you were going to be Pansy,” he snorted to himself.

Dean looked down at himself and then his skin, “nope, definitely not a white female,” he grinned.

“Good thing too,” Seamus said with an eyebrow wiggle.

“Anyway,” Neville said, rolling his eyes and taking a seat next to Draco, while the other two sat down by Ron.

“We wanted to know what is going on with Hermione?” Seamus asked, voice going serious as he looked to the others. “Now we know that you and Malfoy here are all chummy. Though it was a bit of a shocker at your party.”

“But we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt,” Dean added, looking to Draco.

“That’s fine, I know what an arse I was to you all at school. And I am sorry for it,” Draco said quietly, looking at them all sincerely.

“Yeah, that’s good, thanks,” Seamus nodded, “but what is with her?”

“Okay so at the beginning of the holidays, you know how I went to live with Sirius Black?” he asked them, getting a nod in return, “well, he found out that my work wasn’t right. So looking at the essay I did before Hermione corrected them and after showed both Ron and I that we would have better marks with the originals we did. She was putting the wrong information down for us to write in.”

“Wow!” Dean leaned back, “Wow, just… that’s so not right,” he shook his head, “she was sabotaging your work?”

“Yeah, and she was doing it as soon as we became friends in first year,” Ron said softly, “I know my grades weren’t the best to start with as I have a bit of trouble with spelling, but I’m learning,” he added.

“That’s fine,” Seamus shrugged, “that can easily be helped at times.”

“Yeah,” Ron nodded.

“So she was doing that and that’s why you’re not talking to her?” Neville asked them, curiously.

Harry shook his head, “No, not it’s not the full reason. We told her to back off for a while and leave us alone, but she started to try and get back into our good books by trying to force us to study with her. Which isn’t going to happen.”

“Then whenever she sees Draco with us she starts having a go at him,” Ron added, looking at Draco.

“I’m used to it,” he shrugged, I know I was a bastard to her,”

“You might have been, but you have apologised and not once have you lashed out at her, no matter what she has said. You just carry on,” Harry said, he had been impressed with how much Draco had held back his temper with her.

“Okay, so Hermione is in people’s bad books at the moment,” Dean nodded, singing, “She is going to be unbearable isn’t she?” he asked.

“Oh yeah, she wants to try and force herself on us again. She tried it earlier but Ginny pulled her out,” Harry grinned.

“Yeah, I was surprised with that,” Ron said, “I thought she would try and get in here herself.”

“I think the mind healer she has been seeing has helped her a lot,” Harry said softly.

“Yeah, she’s not… like she was before as well. She knows and sees things,” Ron added, thinking of the way Ginny had cried after Harry, Sirius and Remus had gone home about getting Dress Robes and when Ron didn’t. Normally she would have lorded it over him.

“You guys are welcome to stay in here,” Draco suggested to them, “I’ve got to go and show my face to the others for an hour at least before I can come back. I need someone to keep those two out of trouble,” he grinned, gesturing to Ron and Harry.

“Hey, that last time was your fault, you wanted to see if we could prank them,” Harry protested.

Draco grinned, “yeah, but he didn’t believe I would do it,” he said as he got up, “right, be back soon.”

“Mean!” Ron called out after him, laughing with Harry as Draco’ yelled back his reply.

“Of course!”

Chapter Twenty Seven

Soon the time came for Harry and Ron to sit on the bench while the sorting of the first years finished. Hermione had tried to take a seat next to them, but Dean, Seamus, and Neville had stopped her for the most part. Ginny had done the rest by dragging the witch a little further down the table to sit with those in her year. Harry and Ron had both sighed in relief.

“Now,” Dumbledore said as he stood up and took the stand, “Welcome to all the first years to what will be seven years of being a family and the learning you will do here.”

The other students clapped for them before Dumbledore brought them under control again.

“Now, it was pointed out that we have a lack of education in one area during the summer holidays. I’m talking about the traditions and the holidays that are celebrated by most of the Wizarding World. Now I know that not all celebrate them, but you are all going to be learning about them despite that, as I am making these lessons mandatory for all students, no matter the year you are in, or your background,” he said.

“He took the advice then,” Harry whispered with a nod, seeing the pleased look on a number of faces around them.

“Advice?” Neville asked, looking at the two.

“Yeah, we were starting to learn about the traditions and holidays belonging to that of the wizarding world during the summer. Dumbledore mentioned that the course had been a requirement back before he started working here. When he was a student they were mandatory classes in order to let the Muggleborns basically know about the traditions,” Harry said softly.

“Thing is, a lot of the purebloods are leaving them as well,” Ron added quietly, “dad was telling me that less and less celebrate them because they don’t do it regularly after they start at Hogwarts.”

“Yeah I know, it was so unfortunate to learn I would be able to celebrate,” Neville murmured, “nan was going on about them as well, about how they help us keep in touch with our magic. Without the rituals and such I doubt I would have much magic to speak of,” he told them.

“Why?” Dean asked, puzzled, “what are you talking about?”

“When my parents were… attacked,” he mumbled, they all knew he lived with his grandmother, but not why, “The magic used is some of the worst around. The darkness of it can infect those surrounding those attacked. The rituals that people do during certain celebrations helps to clear that darkness away, and the over-saturation of it if you just use light magic.” He explained a bit more.

“It helps to draw our connection to magic closer as well as cleansing it of outside influence. But you only start really taking part when you reach four or five,” Ron added, repeating something that his dad told him.

“I’ve taken part in some of them before I could hear,” Seamus said softly, “I just didn’t see the point in doing only one or two during the holidays,” he shrugged.

“Yeah,” Neville nodded.

“So you have that to look forward to,” Dumbledore said as he finished explaining about the class, “it also means that we are bringing back the traditions and the celebrations that were once part of this school. I have to say that I, myself, have missed celebrating them within the grounds of Hogwarts as I did when I was a child,” he smiled. “Now,” he then said, “There is one more thing that I would like you all to know before the food arrives to fill out hungry bellies!” he grinned as he looked out.

Ron and Harry shared a look, glancing over at Draco as he nodded and grinned at them. The two snorted as they turned to pay attention to the headmaster once again.

“We will be hosting the revival of the Triwizard tournament right here at Hogwarts. We will be restricting the age of those that are able to take part,” he said, voice going grave as he added, “For those that wish to enter you must have reached your seventeenth year by October 31st.”

“NOT FAIR!” Fred and Geroge yelled out, hissing and booing along with a few others.

Harry glanced around, he could see a lot of others all yelling about the same thing. “You do know that a lot of people have died from this tournament,” he murmured, catching the attention of those around him.

“Hmm,” Neville murmured “never really thought of that,” he added as the others nodded.

“No one does,” Ron muttered, “even I didn’t,” he finished softly.

“Well, I’m going to keep as far away from it as possible,” Harry nodded, grinding as some of the others did the same.

“Now, now, I know you are not happy about the age limit,” Albus called out, bringing the room to order once again. “But it has been decided to try and avoid the pitfalls that have come up in the past. We need to make sure that this one remains the safest as possible,” he added, looking at those around. “Do not put your name into the goblet of fire lightly. Choose wisely the path you wish to take.”

“And now, we have one last thing to announce,” he added, “We will have a new t-”

An echo of screams sounded in the room as the enchanted sky flashed brighter than normal as lightning danced across it. The accompanying thunder scared the students as the door to the great hall slammed open. Dumbledore looked at the man.

“You new teacher, for the Defence Against the Dark Arts position is Alastor Moody,” he announced. As all eyes were on Moody as he made his clunky way up towards the head table.

“Moody,” Ron murmured to himself, “Mad-eye,” he added.

“Who?” Dean asked, glancing at the man that was walking between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables.

“He was an Auror,” Neville said softly, “one of the best as well. He brought in a lot of death eaters in his time with the force.”

Ron nodded, “They say that he is crazy paranoid, that he doesn’t trust anyone, except for Dumbeldore. So that might explain why he is here.”

“Or it could be that we have a lot of people from foreign schools coming. They will have teachers as well as the headmaster, or headmistress of each school coming as well.” Seamus pointed out, “We know a lot of the darker sect comes from Durmstrang, not saying that’s a bad thing,” he added when the others all looked at him.

“They do study the dark arts there,” Ron nodded, “Draco was telling me about it, that his father wanted him there. But his mum put her foot down on it. One of the few things that she had been able to get her own way with before she took over as head of the family.”

“What else did he tell you?” Dean asked, he was a little curious as to the other schools.

“Just that they teach it and the defence of it as well,” Ron answered, “nothing more than that.”

“Right, do you know about the Beauxbatons?” Dean then asked.

“No idea about that school, no one I know has gone there, or know about it,” Ron answered softly.

“Now, I have the last teaching announcement to make, the teacher for the new Wizarding Culture class that we now have is Professor Galen, he will be taking the class for you all and will be there to help you should you need it. He has said that he will have his door open at all times before curfew should you have any questions on what you will be learning,” Albus then ended as another teacher stood up and bowed to the school. He was an older gentleman, hair neatly parted as he smiled warmly at the students. “I hope that you welcome your new Professors warmly.”

“Now,” Dumbledore said, “let’s eat!” and with that, the food appeared on the table.

“Yes,” Ron hissed, “you have no idea how hungry I am,” he grinned.

“Just slow down on eating a little,” Harry chuckled. Seeing Ron go a little red, but nodded.

They carried on eating, making small talk as they finished.

“Now then,” Dumbledore said as he stood when the food was finished and disappearing back to the kitchen. “We are full and happy, let us sleep well tonight as lessons begin tomorrow.”

Harry and the others got up, as prefects started to call out to the first years, gathering them up together as people started to make their way to the dorms. The group of friends quickly made their way to the dorm, getting the password off the sixth year prefect as they normally did.

“Finally,” Dean said as he reached their room and flopped on his bed. “I have missed this place.”

“How can you miss this place?” Ron gaped at him, “Don’t you miss being home?”

“I love my family, I do, but sometimes having four younger siblings that love nothing more than to hang onto you, well, I can do with the break,” he laughed, sitting up on his elbows, “Doesn’t help that mum now has another on the way. Though Keith is really good for her,” he smiled as he thought of his stepdad.

“They got married this summer,” Seamus grinned, “I was there, Dean asked me to come with him.”

“Ohhh,” Harry wiggled his eyebrows at the two of them.

“Not like that!” Dean yelled, as he took his pillow and threw it at him.

“Really! ” Seamus added, though Ron and Harry just looked at each other and laughed as they both could see the embarrassment on their faces.

“But yeah, mum got married. He… he wants to adopt me as well,” Dean added, sounding so unsure of himself.

“What do you think about it?” Harry asked, sitting on the edge of his best.

“Well…” Dean sighed, flopping back and looking up at the canopy of his bed, “I’ve known him since I was seven, when he and mum first got together. He’s so nice, and he does treat me like his own, always has done. My birth father, he… he left when I was two, have not seen him since, I don’t even remember him. Just know that he left me and my mum alone and never came back. Mum doesn’t even know where he is, and neither does my grandmother.” He sighed heavily, closing his eyes.

“Then basically for the last seven years, he has been a dad to you. May as well make it official,” Harry told him, “he obviously cares about you enough to offer,” he added quietly.

Dean thought about it, “You’re right, it’s hard, part of me still hopes that my father will show up. Nan always told me how much he loved us, but I-”

“Well, where is he then if he loves you?” Ron blurted out, looking at Dean.

Dean was silent, “Nowhere,” he murmured, “Nowhere and he never has been here since I can remember. Keith has, he’s been a dad to me more than someone who should have been there.”

“Talk it over with him, tell him what you feel,” Neville said to him, “It’s hard to know that you have a parent out there but they can’t care for you. I know my situation is different. I know that mum and dad are my parents, but they didn’t raise me. I love them, but it’s nothing compared to what I feel for my grandmother who raised me.”

“Hmm,” Dean nodded, “I… I need to think,” he muttered, getting up and grabbing his pyjamas and washing things. “Shower and then bed.”

“Yeah,” Harry nodded to him. They chatted for a little more before they headed to do the same, wash up before settling in for the night. They had lessons the next day after all.

Chapter Twenty Eight

Harry and Ron looked through their timetable after it had been handed out, “So we’re with the third year,” Harry murmured.

“Yeah, note here saying that we’ll be put with the fourth years if we pass the test at Halloween,” he added, pointing to the small annotation made on their timetable.

“There are a lot that changes to their classes after their first year of electives, And then have to play catch up. You won’t be the only ones,” Neville said softly.

“Oh, wonder who else then,” the redhead murmured looking to the others in their year.

“No one else in Gryffindor, but I know of one Slytherin who stopped Divination and is doing Care of Magical Creatures instead,” Seamus told him, so he didn’t have to keep looking.

“Right,” he nodded, “I think Draco mentioned them, erm, Blaize Zabini I think? Or was it Gregory Goyle?”

“Goyle,” Harry told him, “Zabini is adding Care of Magical Creatures to his list for this year.”

“Ah,” he nodded. “We’ve got Runes first with the third year,” the redhead continued.

“Then Potions with the Slytherins,” Harry grinned, “Draco and I are going to pair up, I suggest you grab Neville,” he said to Ron.

“No, I’m going with Seamus,” Neville said, waving his hands, “I’m no good with potions, you know that. Seamus helps to keep me in check with it.”

“Dean?” Ron asked him.

“I’m good with that,” he grinned at him, “Right, shall we get going? Seamus and I have Arithmancy ourselves.”

“Didn’t know you took Arithmancy,” Harry murmured.

“I think only you and Ron didn’t take them last year,” Neville told him, “We thought it was odd that you wouldn’t since they are a good thing to know, same with Runes. Those two are subjects everyone takes when we reach third year and then they add an extra class or two on top of that. Only Hermione took all the extra classes,” he added softly.

“Though a number of people tend to drop one after a week or two,” Seamus added, “I dropped Divination after the first lesson.”

“I did too, the same time Hermione did,” Dean added.

“We should have done the same and tried for something else,” Harry mused quietly.

“Hermione did a lot of damage,” Ron murmured, the others all nodding, knowing what he meant.

“See you later,” Harry said as he and Ron headed towards Runes. It would be their first lesson with the teacher.

“Hello to all of you, we have, as always a couple of fourth-years that now wish to catch up, and they will be doing accelerated learning to help them to catch up to their peers so they can rejoin their class. Now let’s go over the goals for this year.” Professor Babbling began to outline their course for the year. Ron and Harry wrote them down, happy that they had already met a lot of the requirements. It meant that they would be able to focus on learning what they needed to pass the placement tests.

“Okay,” she then said, calling the class to attention, “I hope you have all that written down, you will need it for the rest of the year as a reference as to what you should and shouldn’t know.”

“Yes Ma’am,” the class intoned with a nod.

She smiled at them, “No need for that, but thank you,” she then added, “there is one thing that I do in this class and that is assigned seating. As we only have two that are in fourth year, you will remain with each other. I’m going to add a third to your bench, and that will be,” she paused as she looked down at the seating plan that she had already made, “Luna Lovegood if you could please join them,” she smiled at the pale blond as she got up and went over to them.

“Hi Luna,” Ron greeted, “how are you?” he asked as she sat by him, looking a little spacy to Harry.

“Hello Ron, the wrackspurts are all gone from you now,” she smiled at him, and then smiled at Harry, “The nargles are happy and clear,” she then went quiet as Babbling went through the class list and began to sort the rest of the students out into their seats.

“Okay, now that we are ready, I hope you are prepared for the rest of the lesson, we will be going over one of the runes today, just to get an idea of what they are and what they can do if you use them correctly.”

Harry and Ron paid attention, even though they already knew this. As soon as Babbling set up the class with a problem, she walked over to them, and went through six more of the runes to make sure they had a good idea of them. It was a little odd to be singled out, but knew that this was the only way that they would be able to get the lessons done fast enough to try and move up by Halloween.

“That was good,” Harry said as he packed things up.

“It was, and thank you, Luna, I hope we didn’t make anything hard for you,” Ron said as he then turned to the blond.

She looked at him, or rather through him as she smiled, “No, it was easy as well,” she then walked away.

“You sound like you know her,” Harry asked him as they walked out of the classroom and down towards the dungeons. They had Potions next.

“I do, she and Ginny were really good friends before Hogwarts. But about two years before they started, Luna stopped coming around. We heard that her dad didn’t want her to visit far away. She saw her mother die when an experimental spell went wrong. Mum and Dad would try and get Xeno to let us have her for a bit, but he always refused. Didn’t want to lose her”,” Ron answered softly.

Harry nodded, “that… you can kinda understand, but it would hurt in the long run.”

“Yeah,” he nodded, “come on we have Potion-” he trailed off as he heard something from down the corridor.

“What?” Harry asked, seeing the frown on his friend’s face.

Ron gestured with his head to follow him. Harry did so, heading down a different corridor and stopped as they saw Luna surrounded by a few students.

“Aww, and Looney Lovegood came back,” one of them sneered as she pushed the younger and shorter girl.

Harry growled as he went to take a step forward. The girls that were around Luna looked up at the noise. Their eyes went wide as they saw them before darting away. Harry and Ron rushed over to Luna, “you okay?” Harry asked as he helped pick her things up.

“I’m fine,” she said, as though nothing had just occurred.

“Are you sure?” Ron asked her, “if they’re bothering you, then you should say something, it’s not right,” he pushed a little.

Luna smiled sweetly, “it’s okay. The wrackspurts and nargles have infested them, it will take time but they will leave,” and with that, she turned and almost danced away from them. Her movements were graceful and light.

“She’s different,” Harry said softly, “but a good type of different,” he smiled.

“Yeah, she was when we were young as well. Always seeing things that we couldn’t. I know a lot of people don’t understand that, they just call her weird. Percy did until mum grabbed him for it.” Ron told him as they headed back down the corridor towards the stairs. They rushed down them, at the bottom of them they bumped into the others from their year.

“So how was Runes?” Neville asked, as he and the others quickly rallied around them to make sure that Hermione wouldn’t get near.

“It was good,” Harry grinned as he and Ron went over what they were going to be doing to catch up.

“Hey!” Draco yelled as they entered the Potions corridor.

“Hey!” Harry grinned at him as he rushed over. “Didn’t you have Arithmancy as well?” he asked, wondering why he was already there.

“Yes, but there is a shortcut from just outside the classroom down here,” Draco told him, “I’ll show you,” he grinned, “Normally Slytherins only, but… I think it should be fine to tell you two,” he added, making sure to gesture to Ron and Harry only.

“Hey!” the others protested.

“We’ll see,” Draco just smiled at them as they were finally allowed inside the classroom.

“Pair up!” Snape demanded as soon as the door closed on the last student as they went through the door. Harry and Draco immediately went to one bench before Hermione could reach them, while Ron grabbed Dean and went to another. It didn’t take long for them to all be paired off, while Hermione ended up with Lavender, much to her annoyance.

“The potion is on the board, I expect you to get to work straight away!” he yelled at them.

Draco and Harry started to copy it down, quickly as they could, making a list of items that were needed and the method that was used. Harry was the one that went up to get the potion ingredients.

“Harry, you should have just asked me to be your partner, not that idiot,” Hermione muttered as she quickly left Lavender alone to get the ingredients as well, trying and talk to Harry.

Harry rolled his eyes, “no, I wanted to partner with Draco. You’ll be fine without me,” he told her, not really wanting to talk with the witch.

“But Harry, you know Gryffindor and Slytherins shouldn’t hang around like this. You have to be careful, he might try and sabotage the potions and hurt you,” she warned, her voice full of worry and concern.

Harry closed his eyes and counted to ten, wondering if he should learn another language to count in that as well just to help calm his temper down. “No, he wouldn’t. That would be something you do to make sure I wouldn’t learn right and then to make sure that I would have to rely on you even more,” he snapped at her, the counting obviously not working.

“I suggest you get out of the way of the other students,” Snape grumbled from behind them.

“Yes sir,” Harry nodded as he quickly strode back to his table. Putting down the ingredients that he had collected.

“Want me to get the others we need?” Draco asked, seeing that Harry was close to really laying into Hermione if she cornered him again.

“Please,” he sighed, closing his eyes once more to let go of the anger he was feeling towards her. She had been an okay friend at one point. He just wondered why she had turned against them like she did.

“Right,” Draco said, patting his shoulder and going up to grab the last of them. The blond saw Hermione making her way towards him. He just tried his best to ignore her when she reached him.

“You know he’ll figure it out soon that you’re just using him. And then you’re on your own and he will destroy you. Like really destroy you and the rest of the vermin that infect this school. Can’t believe Dumbledore is believing that crap of archaic Mother Magic,” she was dismissive of it all as she grabbed the last of her ingredients and went back to Lavender, glaring at Draco as he finished his own gathering and went back to his table.

“You okay?” Harry asked Draco to see the frown on his face.

“Yeah, just Hermione being her usual self. She is soooo,” he growled at the end, not really thinking of a good word for the woman.

“A pain in more ways than one,” Harry nodded wisely.

“Yeah,” Draco snorted.

“Get on with your work!” Snape yelled as he saw Lavender trying to gossip with Parvati.

The two shook their heads and knuckled down on their work, trying to make sure that they would get their potion done right. At least they didn’t have to go near Hermione again for the rest of the lesson as she was now too busy berating Lavender.

Chapter Twenty Nine

Ron, Harry and Draco decided to sit together in their new Wizarding Culture class. This was their fourth class, as they only have one a week with their teacher.

“Welcome again young children,” Professor Galen smiled as he greeted them all, “Now today, we will be going over a few of the birthdays, the special ones especially,” he added as he began to explain which birthdays are most celebrated within their world.

“Now, one of the most special birthdays is your 13th, you have all passed that age now. This birthday is when the first change in your magical core happens. I’ve no doubt that most of you have felt that your magic has changed, become that little bit more stable when casting new spells. And stronger as well with those that you have used before. It is also the year when a lot of you will find out where your affinity lies in regards to light and dark magic. No, I must insist that you realise that dark magic and light magic are not good or evil,” Galen intoned, “No magic is that it is up to the user to use it as they see fit, whether for good or evil,” he added.

“But how-”

“Miss Granger, I have told you a number of times, waving your hand and then blurting out your question will not get you answered, 10 points from Gryffindor,” He silenced the girl that had been a disruption during the lessons so far. “Now, you may be fascinated to know that Dark magic is subtle, very subtle. Those that have that affinity tend to be more proficient in the healing arts, warding magic, potions even. The subjects that require only a slight hint or more fitness is needed. Now Light magic tends to be more defence, charms, a lot of those with light affinity become Aurors or Enchanters. But do not think that all that do those jobs have that type of affinity. Anyone can use light and dark magic, it just becomes easier to use a certain type and master it easier,” he added as he carried on explaining what the 13th birthday celebration would usually entail for a general family.

Galen smiled as the end of the lesson came, “Now, for homework, I want you to write how you would celebrate your own child’s 13th birthday, how would the ritual of the day go for them.”

Harry put his hand up, “What would happen if you don’t do the rituals?” he asked as soon as Galen gestured to him.

“Hmm, they can be done later on, but they are mostly focused on cleaning the magic of all outside influences so an affinity can be seen, nothing to worry about for those that haven’t taken part,” he reassured though he could see they were worried.

“Thank you,” Harry said as he and the others wrote down the homework and headed out to the library. They had a bit of time before dinner and they wanted to get something done. As they neared their usual spot, Ron stopped.

“What?” Draco murmured quietly as Ron moved away from them.

“Can’t believe how easy it was to get her shoes from her,” came a vapid voice as they quickly approached the library.

“Loony Lovegood, wish she would get the hint and leave,” another snorted.

The three looked around the corner and saw Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe from the year above them. In Cho’s hands were a pair of small black shoes. “Well, she’s now by the charms classroom all alone and nowhere to go.” Cho snorted as she turned to the window and threw the shoes out of it.

“Let’s get going, I need another Charms book,” Maretta said, grinding as they headed to the library again.

Ron was pale as he rushed away from the others, heading to the charms corridor that the two were talking about. Harry and Draco quickly followed. “Luna!” he shouted as he saw the young girl sitting on the floor. “You okay?”

Luna looked up, “yes,” she smiled, though they could see if she didn’t reach her eyes.

“Come on, we’re going to Professor Flitwick,” Harry said, “R-”

“Piggyback,” Ron smiled at her, as he turned around and waited for her to get on, “come on Lulu, on you get, just like when we were kids,” he added. She may have been Ginny’s friend, but sometimes the blond would play with him as well.

Luna giggled as she got on, “thank you,” she whispered as Ron got up and the three of them made their way to Professor Flitwick’s office. Harry led the way inside as soon as they got permission to enter.

“What can I do for you all?” he asked, frowning as he looked at the boys and then Luna.

“We’d like to report bullying,” Ron said as he let Luna down into one of the comfy chairs in the room.

“We witnessed an incident with the same students a week ago, but this one was more serious,” Harry said as he then quickly explained what he had seen. “Then we were heading to the library, we saw two girls holding a pair of shoes, talking about Luna, and about taking them and leaving her in the Charms corridor.”

“I see,” he nodded as he looked at the young girl, “Miss Lovegood, can you tell me what happened?” he asked her, his voice gentle as he could see she was scared.

“I… The…”

“Luna, please, this isn’t the first time,” Ron said, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Luna looked at him and she nodded, “They take my things, sometimes they spell my clothes and bedclothes to make me… itch and hurt.” She began, and just like that, it was a flood of constant bullying from the moment she was sorted into the house of Ravenclaw. The four of them listening in horror at a systematic abuse some of her housemates played on her.

“I need to check one thing Miss Lovegood, and I shall be back momentarily,” he said as he got off the chair and into the back room. He was soon back, “I am going to be calling a house meeting, but first,” he said, voice stern as he pressed his wand against a crest on his desk, “Marietta Edgecombe, Cho Chang, report to Professor Flitwick’s office immediately.”

“Sir I,” Luna said, her voice shaking.

“Can she stay within the Gryffindor dorms for a bit? I think there should be some space in Ginny’s dorm,” Ron suggested, knowing that his sister would be able to help Luna as well.

“Good idea, please take her with you,” he began and then said, “one last thing,” he turned as a pop echoed in the room and a small house elf appeared in the room, a pair of shoes nice and clean in his hands, “here you go, I’m sorry that this has happened to you Miss Lovegood, I am hoping that my punishment of the house will stop them from doing it ever again.”

“Thank you, sir,” she murmured softly as she took the shoes and put them on her bare feet.

Ron smiled at her, “I’ll make sure you’re welcomed in the dorm. We have dinner now, but you’ll be fine to sit at our table,” he added, looking at Flitwick, who nodded in agreement.

“I thank you all for bringing this to my attention and for making sure of the safety of a fellow student. 20 points to Gryffindor and 10 points to Slytherin, thank you,” he smiled.

The four left the room and began to head to the great hall, “Wish I could sit with you at dinner,” Draco said, “Blazie and Daphne are being difficult and dancing if you get my meaning,” he said looking at his friends.

“There are no rules stating you can’t. The only time we have to remain at our house tables is for the feasts,” Harry told him, already having looked it up.

“Okay,” he nodded as they went inside, a number of students were already there, waiting for dinner to begin. Moments later they all covered their ears as a voice boomed out, “all students to the great hall for an announcement.”

“Wow, loud,” Ron said, as the others nodded. It didn’t take long for the great hall to be filled and for students to look at them oddly when they saw Draco and Luna sitting with them.

Albus stood up as soon as everyone was gathered, “Good, I will hand the floor over to Professor Flitwick.”

The small professor joined the headmaster. “I want to announce that Maretta Edgcomb and Cho Chang of first-year Ravenclaw have both been suspended for three weeks. Cho Chang has also had her prefect badge revoked. New Prefect for the girls will be announced in the house. As of this moment, a punishment for most of the Ravenclaw House is now in effect, along with the zeroing of house points.” With that, the counter for Ravenclaw suddenly dropped to zero.”

Murmurs broke out when the headmaster took the stand once more, “The reason for this is simple. Bullying. We have been lax on this for too long. No more will certain words be allowed to be used in this school without some form of punishment. If you are found guilty of physically or mentally abusing another student, you will be suspended for a minimum of 1 week. A third infraction will end with expulsion. “ He told them all, “From now on, be warned, I and the other teacher will no longer take things lying down and you will be punished for your infractions. Now that is over, I have one last thing for you all to know, in two days we will be hosting the schools of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, I do hope you will all help me in welcoming them before dinner and a feast that night in celebration of their arrival. From the night on the Goblet of Fire will be open for those who wish to enter. But be warned, that should you enter, then it will not be possible to take your name out of it,” he told them.

“Well,” Harry said, “I’m glad they have an age limit, it should mean I’m safe,” he grinned.

“Merlin, Harry,” Ron and Draco groaned, “you just went and-”

“Jinxed yourself!” Draco finished what Ron was saying.

“Do you guys know how creepy that is?” Dean asked the two of them as the food arrived.

“What’s creepy?” Ron and Draco asked.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh, “that is what they are on about,” he told the two of them as the others were nodding.

“You’ve become… friends, it’s still a little odd,” Neville said softly, charging a little.

“Yeah,” Dean snorted, “not only that but we have a pretty young lady with you today,” he said smiling at her, getting a punch on the arm from Seamus. “Don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” he apologised to her, “But you are very pretty,” he added.

“Thank you,” she smiled at the two of them, “the nargles like you, and you should ignore the wrackspurts, they don’t understand,” she told them softly as she went back to eating.

Ron just smiled at the puzzled look on Dean’s face, as well as Seamus’.

Dinner carried on and Ron grabbed his sister to tell him of the temporary housing for Luna, though it might be for the rest of the year as Ravenclaw house was getting a cleaned out and a putdown. Dinner finished and they headed to the library for a while before curfew, doing their work while Draco went over a few things that they needed to know for Arithmancy as well as Runes. Luna listened in as well, nodding along with him. The young girl was calm, quiet and a little shy. Barely saying anything, and when she did, it was nice not to have the strange look aimed at her, but ones of thoughtfulness. Her words had meaning, you just had to learn how to interpret them.

Chapter Thirty

They had celebrated Mabon, or to some the Autumn Equinox with a feast in the Great Hall and a special celebration in the village that they were all allowed to attend, even the first and second years, though they would only be able to see some of the villages during the celebrations, supervised by all the teachers except one or two that remained at the castle for those that didn’t want to celebrate. There had been a few dancing and singing competitions that students could take part in, winning small prizes like tokens for meals and items from the shops around the village. It had been fun, but now it was the end of the first week of October, the weather bitter and cold.

“Hope they hurry up,” Ron grumbled as he looked around, hoping to spot whatever it was that was going to be bringing the foreign students.

“They should be here soon,” Luna smiled from where she stood beside him.

“Hmm,” he nodded, “Look!” he gasped as he spotted something off in the distance that was speeding ever closer to them.

“Beauxbatons,” Dumbledore announced as the carriage that was pulled by several Abraxans dove down and were soon settled on the ground in front of the school. A tall elegant-looking lady walked out as the headmaster went over to her, “Madam Maxima, welcome to our school, our groundskeeper will be quite happy to help with your most elegant and beautiful abraxan.”

“Please, make sure they only drink single malt whisky,” she said as she looked to the man that stepped forwards to take care of them.

“I already have a good few casks for them to drink from, I’ll take good care of them,” Hagrid grinned as he went over to one of them and started to murmur to it.

“Now, please we will have you and your ladies join us for the feast in a moment, the Durmstrang Ship should be here soon,” he said as she then stood beside him as sure enough, a ship suddenly popped out of the water of the black lake and into view. Albus and Maxima stepped towards it to greet the headmaster of their school as well. Soon enough they were all settled in the great hall. Standing at the head table, along with a number of wizards that Harry had never met before, and one that he had the most unfortunate time of meeting during the attack at the World Quidditch camp.

“Hello to all students, for those that weren’t here to greet them, we have our guests from overseas, please welcome the lovely ladies from Beauxbatons academy and their head Mistress Olympe Maxima!” Albus called out after everyone was settled into the great hall. The girls of Beauxbatons came in, showing their skills in congregation as the flying birds and butterflies began to flutter from their wands. As their small show ended, the girls gathered near the head table as Madam Maxime joined Albus and the other wizards at the stage.

“Welcome,” Albus said to her, smiling as she smiled back. “Now, we welcome the Proud sons of Drumstrang! And their headmaster Igor Kakaroff!” And with that the doors almost slammed open, staff hammered onto the stonework of the great all as sparks were sent flying from them. The headmaster walked in, beside him one of his students. As they walked towards the head table sparks still flew as one of the students moved forward and shot a flame bird, the Durmstrang crest into the air.

“Welcome, Headmaster Karkaroff,” Albus greeted him as the boy of Dramstrang settled to one side as well. “Please, students, welcome those that wish to sit at your tables,” he added, gesturing to the boys and girls of the two school to take their seats.

Ron was wide-eyed as he watched the student that had come in with the Drumstrang headmaster, “That’s… That’s Viktor Krum!” he shivered.

“The Bulgarian seeker?” Harry asked, glancing over as the teen sat next to Draco.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “And I can’t believe he sat next to Draco, wonder if he could introduce us, he’s like my hero,” he murmured.

Harry smiled at him, chuckling, “We’ll see,” he told him softly.

“Yeah,” Ron grinned as the students finished sitting down. Beuxbatons had chosen the Ravenclaw table, while Drumstrang had chosen the Slytherin table to sit at.

“Now that has been done,” Albus called for attention once more, “we have one last thing to do before our feast gets underway,” he said as four wizards with Filch in the lead, brought in a large object. It was placed down before the head table. “Within here is the Goblet of Fire, to put your name inside is to be given the chance to be chosen as a champion for your school,” he said as he raised his wand and tapped the cabinet. It glowed a little as then dissolved down until a large goblet was revealed. With a flash, it lit up, decorating the hall with a blue flame, “The Triwizard Tournament is now open!” he called out.

“You will have until the afternoon of October 31st to enter your name. The drawing of the names will take place that night during a feast between the school,” Barty Crouch announced as he stepped forwards. “Do not forget that those of age, seventeen and above can enter their names.”

“To prevent those underage from entering an age line is to be placed around the goblet,” Albus said, as he stepped away a line began to appear around it. “It will remain here until after the announcement. Now I hope that you will all enjoy the feast and get to know our neighbours!” he said as the food arrived on the tables and they began to eat.

“I wonder who is going to enter their name?” Dean queried as he looked up towards the sixth and seventh years.

“Well, Angela and Katie are both of age and so is Lee, though his birthday is in a week. Don’t know about the seventh year though,” Harry said as he thought of the twins’ friend and his quidditch teammates.

“Yeah, we don’t really have a lot of candidates from Gryffindor,” Seamus said softly, “I know your teammates are good though.”

“They are,” Harry grinned, “I think we’ll end up with a Slytherin champion to be fair, they do have a number of stronger contenders in there. While I would love to have a Gryffindor champion, I know all out, they would win, though if the twins were joining, I think they would be strong too. They don’t think inside the box,” he added, giving it more thought.

“What’s this?” Ron asked as he noticed that there were a number of dishes that he hadn’t seen before.

Dean looked at it, “Oh that’s a French dish,” he grinned, “Keith took us to a place, they had frogs legs and snails as well.”

Ron and Seamus went green at the thought, causing the other three boys to laugh at them, “No thanks,” he muttered.

“They are not eaten everywhere in France though, just certain parts. And you’re right, I wouldn’t either, have enough trouble adding them to potions,” Dean said.

“Or did you all forget that we put snail parts, frogs legs, and other animal parts into potions and you all drink and take them? Don’t forget,” Harry pointed out to them.

“You have no idea how my stomach would turn each time we had to do potions, and how my stomach would turn when I thought of what can go into them. But… you get used to it, you soon learn that everything tastes nasty no matter what potion it is,” Dean snorted.

“You know, I never thought how odd it would be for you,” Neville said quietly, “For us, it’s normal, bat spleens and things like that being added,” he murmured “We just get on with it.”

“Yeah, but some people eat cats and dogs in other countries as well, and that… that thought makes my stomach turn, but for others, it would be completely normal,” Harry said, remembering something his aunt had told Dudley when he was a child.

“Yeah,” Dean nodded as he had heard something similar as well.

“Wonder what it’s like,” Ron murmured looking at the dish.

“Try it and find out,” Harry suggested to him, giving a shrug. He was fine with what he was eating at the moment.

“Hmm,” Ron nodded, bringing the dish towards him and taking a small sample of it. He chewed it slowly, “hmm, not bad,” he smiled putting more onto his plate.

Harry snorted, “You’ll try anything, won’t you?”

“Yeah, we’ll have to give food a chance. If it’s good, it’s good,” he shrugged and carried on.

They finished their meal, as their guests went back to their ship and carriage to sleep. Harry flopped down on the chair by the fire, “Well,” he sighed.

“Oh Harrykins!” came the twin voice from behind him.

“What do you two menaces want?” he asked, looking up at them.

“Nothing much, just need-” George started.

“-a certain map,” Fred finished with a grin.

“What for?” he asked the two of them, frowning.

“Our previous potion-making location is no longer available, we need to find another, but since we have someone new we need to make sure that it’s a secure place away from most foot traffic,” George told him, voice serious this time.

“We’re trying to build up items for a shop we want to do when we leave. We’ve got many ideas, most of them are worked out. But we still need a place to experiment,” Fred added softly, making sure no one would overhear.

“Okay,” he nodded, “I’ll get it to you in the morning if that’s all right, or do you want it now?” he asked them.

“Now would be best, with people all excited about the other schools, it’s a good time for us to sneak out and wander around and try and find somewhere,” Geroge whispered.

“Sure, I’ll go and get it,” he nodded, heading up to his dorm and going through his trunk before he grabbed it. He didn’t really use it as much as he used to, though he knew the twins would give it back to him. He now knew who had created it. Heading down he handed it over saying softly, “Take care of it, I found out that my dad was part of the ones that helped make it.”

“Wow, okay,” Fred nodded, taking it into his hands, “we’ll make sure to treat it well.”

“Thanks,” he grinned as the two of them quickly disappeared out of the dorm.

“Where are they going?” Hermione asked, approaching him from behind. “Curfew is soon,” she added, looking a little pissed when Harry tried to walk away from her. Grabbing his arm, she pulled him towards her again, twirling him around.

“Look, what goes on with and between people is not your business, keep your nose out,” he told her bluntly as he yanked his arm from her bruising grip and stalked off towards Ron, who was talking with Dean and Seamus.

“You okay?” Ron muttered seeing the stormy look on his friend’s face.

“Heroine and her nosiness again,” he shrugged, “come on, I’m heading to the dorm before she can grab me,” he added, walking towards the stairs to the boy’s dorm.

“You know she can get our stairs up,” Ron reminded him.

“I know, I’m going to talk to Professor McGonagall about that. I don’t want her to just storm into the room again,” he grumbled. The witch had taken to doing it at least twice a week to try and get the two for them to talk to her.

It hadn’t worked, but now he was determined to try and get her banned from going up to them. It wasn’t fair that the girls were allowed in the boy’s dormitory but they weren’t allowed to even attempt the stairs without some kind of repercussion.

 


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One Comment:

  1. OK… is she possessed? Goodness, that witch has lost her MIND!!! This is such a great read. I love how you are giving the Malfoys a chance. And Luci earned that. LOL He best learn to behave! *cackle* But honestly! I want to shake Hermione until her hair straightens out! Great new section!

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