Title: King’s Cross Redux
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Fix-It (obviously), Slash, Time Travel
Relationship(s): Harry Potter & Severus Snape, Harry Potter/Orion Black
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Abuse – Child, Character Bashing, Dark Themes, Death – Major Character, Death – Minor Character, Discussion – Child Abuse, Explicit Sex, Hate Speech, Love Potions, Murder, Violence – Canon Level, Violent Bullying
Author Notes: Most of the warnings are for canon-type actions on the part of Voldemort and the Death Eaters (Dark Themes, Death – Major Character [mostly], Death – Minor Character, Hate Speech, Murder). The main relationship is Harry & Severus. The sexual relationship between Harry/Orion isn’t a romance, it is friends, so don’t expect true love. See my Notes File for Timeline issues. Thank you again to Ztivokreb for betaing and to helva2260 for the lovely cover art. Thank you to Keira for the lovely QB dividers she made for us.
Word Count: 50,644
Summary: Harry died – again – and woke up in King’s Cross – again. This time, he was alone when a train came for him. But his next great adventure wasn’t onward, it was backward, and Harry found a new destiny and a world to save – one child at a time.
Harry opened his eyes to an unhappily familiar sight – a King’s Cross train station entirely in white. He groaned and sat up, muttering, “Why am I always naked here?” A set of robes suddenly appeared on the floor, prompting Harry to stand and dress while looking around.He saw the nearest white benches, but there was no crying baby thing under them this time. Peering into the distance through eyes that didn’t need glasses brought no manipulative former headmaster into view.
The vast station was entirely silent, even Harry’s footsteps not echoing through the space. Harry hummed aloud, tunelessly, just to hear something, though he knew he didn’t really have ears any longer. He paced along between the rail lines, crossing the platform seven times. Still, no cryptic messenger appeared.
Harry sat on the nearest bench and slumped over, his head in his hands, tapping his feet. He was so confused.
It had been around eight years since he had visited this limbo space during the Battle of Hogwarts when he allowed Voldemort to hit him with the Killing Curse. That time he had understood why he was in the afterlife or between the after life and life life. Whatever the fuck it was precisely, limbo, purgatory, a near-death experience. He had been hit by the Killing Curse and should be dead. He expected to be dead and either cease to exist utterly – in his nihilistic moments – or wake up in a heaven type place with his family. Limbo, or whatever, hadn’t been too much of a shock. Waking up again in the Forbidden Forest had been another story.
But now, he’d been eating dinner in his exceptionally well-warded flat, alone, glass of wine in his hand. It had been a perfectly normal night, no deadly battle, no life and death struggle. Just some downtime at home between lecture tours.
“So, how the fuck am I fucking dead?” Harry yelled into the vast white space around him.
As a projection appeared in the air in front of him, he inwardly cursed. That was stupid. I knew this place gave you what you asked for. Bright side, at least it won’t kill me.
Floating in the air, as if on a movie screen, was a perfectly clear picture of Molly and Ginny Weasley in the kitchen of the Burrow. Ginny looked young, but not a pre-teen. They were standing over a cauldron on the stove, adding ingredients. On the table next to them was a recipe, handwritten. Harry read it over. It was a powerful attraction potion.
Ginny seems to be around 15, so I’d be 16. That would make it sixth year, or just before my sixth year, her fifth – which explains the chest monster of jealousy whenever I saw her with Dean. And probably the insane obsession with Draco that I channeled into him being a threat that needed to be stopped. Which he was but still, I was out of control with the stalking. How did I not see it?
The scene changed slightly, still the Burrow with Molly and Ginny but they looked rougher, more stressed, and Ginny was older, around 16. There were two cauldrons on the stove and two recipes on the table, the attraction potion and a love potion. Not Amortentia. This was milder, but still long lasting. The scene skipped ahead and Ron entered the kitchen, Deluminator in hand. Molly handed him the vials of bottled potions.
“Don’t storm off again, Ron. We can’t afford to leave them alone together.”
Ron nodded and took the potions, placing them in his pack. He clicked the Deluminator and waited before walking out of the Burrow.
Asshole! I never should have forgiven him during fourth year. I wonder if that was potion induced, too?
The scene changed again, though the characters remained the same, Molly and Ginny, approximately 22 or 23. Now there were four cauldrons on the stove, the recipes being a strong attraction potion bordering on an aphrodisiac, a potent love potion though still not Amortentia but close enough, a lust potion, and a fertility potion. Looking around the kitchen, Harry noticed the decorations and placed the timeline more precisely. It was last Christmas Eve.
Well, the lust potion explains the wild night at the club the day after Christmas dinner. It had to be a slow acting one. They wouldn’t have wanted me to jump her at the dining table, way too suspicious. Explains how upset she was when I had plans that night and didn’t invite her along.
The scene changed once more, still Ginny and Molly, this time not brewing but instead pouring six different vials into a bottle of elderberry wine, the very wine Harry was drinking when he dropped dead. The recipes were still on the table, all of the previous potions plus Amortentia and a confuddlement draught.
That explains why the odd smell of the wine – and it’s distinctly foresty taste – didn’t make me curious or alarmed. I’d been drinking two glasses of that wine a night for over a week. They poisoned me slowly with an overdose of fucking emotion altering potions!
The scene faded from the mist in front of him. Harry realized that his desire for privacy in his love life had in part led to his death. He had realized his sexual preferences lay with his own gender a few months after the war ended. But he never told anyone in the wizarding world. At least, not in Europe. So Molly and Ginny hadn’t realized that his powerful magic was not just negating the love and attraction portion of the potions but so was his biology. He was gay, and it would take a very different type of potion to overcome that and make him sexually attracted to Ginny, a female.
His lack of response had made them desperate, Harry supposed. And instead of looking for a different answer, they started mixing potions with increasing frequency until they killed him. He wondered if anyone would ever know the truth, then shrugged it off. It didn’t make any difference to him now.
His one consolation was that his will was up to date, and the Weasleys didn’t get all that much since he didn’t want them to take offense as Molly had always done when he gave them money or expensive gifts. Although Harry supposed she was only pretending offense. Stupid woman.
Harry got up and walked along the platform following the tracks. He hoped to find an exit of some sort to take him on. As he ambled along, Harry thought over his past and his naïveté. He had been so starved for affection, for positive human interaction, when he began Hogwarts. Dumbledore had planned well, knowing he would have ‘ten difficult years’ with Vernon and Petunia. But he knew those difficult years would set him up to have no self-esteem and value others much more than himself. He was groomed to be a martyr from the moment his parents died.
He had always found his meeting with the Weasleys in the train station to be odd. Relatively few magicals came to King’s Cross via the muggle side unless they were muggleborns or muggle-raised half-bloods who lived in or near London. Everyone else apparated or took the floo. But the Weasleys went the muggle way the entire time he knew them. However, according to Bill, they never did that while he or Charlie went to Hogwarts. One of their parents always apparated them while the other stayed with the younger kids at home. As far as he knew, things changed with Ron’s first year. Harry’s own first year. Not only did they come through the muggle section, but Ginny came with them, and Arthur went to work.
And Molly almost yelling about muggles and Ginny hollering about Platform 9 and ¾. Harry felt so stupid when he first thought about the inconsistencies in the story. And Ron – the rest of the train is full? The Express can’t be full, Harry knew that now. It expanded upon command, and they always aimed to have at least two dozen extra seats and a dozen additional compartments beyond the number of children expected to ride the train.
Harry had actually realized during that first train ride that Ron had lied. But he had been so happy to have a friend, and he’d just decided that Ron was being lazy and not wanting to drag his trunk further. And Ron’s later attitude towards schoolwork and life, in general, had seemed to validate the idea. Harry had realized by mid-September of first year that Ron Weasley was a lazy arse.
The Weasleys had seemed so wonderful, barring Percy. The perfect wizarding family, pureblood but not prejudiced. Large and loving. Light.
But that first train ride had actually shown they weren’t that different from the Malfoys or the Blacks. At least some of them. Ron had mentioned that all their family were wizards. Except for a cousin he thought was an accountant. But they didn’t talk about or to him. A squib that was abandoned by the family to live in the muggle world, go to muggle school, take on a muggle job. Never to be mentioned or met with again. And that cousin was from Molly’s family.
The Light wasn’t all that is good and pure. The Dark wasn’t only evil and tainted. Granted, after the war ended, the muggleborns and blood traitors who were still alive were released from Azkaban. Some of the more draconian measures passed during Voldemort’s control of the Ministry were repealed. But the Muggleborn Registration Committee was simply rebranded and their aims repurposed.
Just like werewolves, all muggleborns were required to register their parentage with the Ministry upon entrance into the wizarding world. Their magical signatures were collected and stored and tracked, like the Trace, even into adulthood. Their families were tagged with trackers, from the oldest to the babe in arms, whether muggle or magical.
Upon graduation from Hogwarts, which remained mandatory, a muggleborn had two years before they needed to live full time in the wizarding world. And three years to be married to either another muggleborn or a half-blood. Muggleborns were forbidden from having a regular wizarding marriage with a pureblood. Instead, they were more considered a consort in such a relationship, and their spouse was free to marry a fellow pureblood after two years if there were children and after five years if there were no children. This was so that the new pureblood spouse could bond as a true parent to a young child, too young to recall who their actual parent was.
These laws didn’t affect Harry since he was a half-blood, but Hermione just about lost her mind. She had gone to Australia to find her parents – who refused to return or have anything to do with her after she restored their memories – and the laws passed while she was gone. She and Ron had been dating fairly hot and heavy before she left, but after four months on her own in Australia, she came back to the new laws and broke up with him. Ron tried to woo her back, but she refused.
In hindsight, Harry suspected that some of those potions in the Burrow kitchen given to Ron were for her. But they had left her system during her time away, and her reason returned, and she wouldn’t even go to dinner with Ron. Harry didn’t think she realized she had been potioned. It was likely she had thought she had dated him due to heightened feelings brought on by the war and the deaths all around them.
Hermione had come to him a year after the Battle of Hogwarts and said she was leaving England. She was going to move to Australia to try to mend fences with her parents and to avoid the horrific marriage and location laws for muggleborns. Her parents were already elsewhere, and she had no extended living family in the UK to be affected by the tagging laws and punished for her failure to follow the muggleborn laws.
Harry had visited Australia two years before, and Hermione was happy enough. Her parents still refused to see her, but she was stubborn and kept trying. She was in muggle University and dating a half-blood from New Zealand. Harry hoped she never returned to England. Things were not improving there.
Not that the muggle world was much better. Six months before, a wizard had performed some very showy magic in front of over two dozen muggles. The obliviators showed up, but six different muggles had already sent videos to others. The videos went viral within hours, and several disenchanted muggleborns and squibs came forward to validate them. It was a huge mess, especially when the ones who shot the videos didn’t recall it and told the exact same story about a gas leak and fumes causing hallucinations – word for word the same story. A week after the event three businesses came forward with security camera footage from similar events, two from during the war and one only two months old.
The various muggle governments in the know had admitted publicly in a joint press conference three weeks before Harry’s death that the magical world existed and was hidden from the normal world. There were riots in the streets in many countries, and several fundamentalist sects in both the US and the Middle East had captured preschool age muggleborns and burned them at the stake. Those caught were arrested, but many protested that they were following God’s words and laws.
Harry suspected a full on war was going to happen before much longer, within the decade if not sooner. The magical world was just too intertwined with the muggle one, Statute of Secrecy or no Statute of Secrecy. Food, material goods, metals, gems, investments, not to mention the part wizarding settlements like Ottery St Catchpole and Godric’s Hollow, or the wizarding areas in the midst of muggle areas – houses like Grimmauld Place, Platform 9 and ¾, Diagon Alley, the Ministry, St Mungo’s.
The wizarding world never truly withdrew completely in Europe or most Western nations, and it was coming home to roost now. But it wasn’t Harry’s problem to worry about anymore. He was dead, not a lecturer on Defense with sold-out classes around the world for children and adults.
Harry wished he had seen the truth of the world and people around him before it was beyond too late, but he hadn’t. He’d latched onto untrue and unfaithful people, and it cost him his life. There were people he had pushed away who had his back, he wished he had trusted them.
Harry walked through the ghostly white train station for what felt like hours, and still, no end was in sight. The scenery didn’t really change either, and Harry suspected that he was somehow walking the same stretch of platform over and over without turning. There seemed to be seven benches, each just a slight bit different from each other spaced between three pillars. None of the pillars were portals, Harry checked both sides of each one. None of the benches moved when pushed or pulled or sat upon. The train tracks were uniform but unreachable. There seemed to be an invisible wall along the platform edge that Harry couldn’t pass.
Harry found the entire process tedious. He felt like he was stuck in a Greek tragedy hell, but without the rock to push or the temptation of unreachable water or fruit. He tried to find the way out, but once he had nothing to do but walk and hope he stumbled upon the exit, he could only think on his life, over and over, his regrets, his triumphs, his loneliness, his betrayals, his wishes. The longer he walked, the more his thoughts focused on his isolation and wishing he could find a way out, find the true afterlife, after this limbo. He wanted his loved ones, those who truly cared about him and didn’t just pretend.
Finally, Harry sighed into the cavernous room he was trapped in and spoke it aloud. This time around, even clothing had only appeared after a spoken wish. As had the explanation of his manner of death. “I wish I could find the way out. I don’t want to go back to the life I left behind this time. I want to go on. I want to be with those who took care of me.”
Within moments, Harry heard the first sound in this place that he hadn’t created of his own accord. A train rattled the tracks to his left and came to a stop next to him. In looks, the train resembled the Hogwarts Express, however, the coloring was different. Harry tilted his head as he gazed at the engine and the cars it was pulling. It wasn’t white. It was mostly colored black but with a good bit of deep purple throughout. And along some of the edges were lines of a brighter, though deep, green.
Harry tried to remember back to his days in Trelawney’s class, the symbolism of colors. Well, he knew black was the color of death, in both the muggle and wizarding world, at least in the UK. And staying here wasn’t getting him anything. He had made a wish to leave and see his loved ones. And the last time he was here and asked about a train, Dumbledore had said it would take him on.
To my next great adventure, Harry supposed. There really isn’t anything to lose in this. Can’t be worse than stuck here with absolutely nothing to do but sit or walk and brood. I hate not having something to do, too much like being in my cupboard at the Dursleys’ house. Safety but boredom. Gryffindors forward!
Harry shrugged his shoulders and walked to the first door on the car closest to the engine, which had no door itself. He entered, and as soon as he was across the threshold, the door closed behind him. He looked around and frowned.
The interior somewhat broke the theme that had been going on since he died. The walls and ceiling were reminiscent of a train car, but there were no compartments, no rows of seats or benches or tables. There was a single chair in the center of the room. It was large enough for Harry to sit without his feet touching the floor, with plush cushions and arms. The fabric covering the chair was the same deep purple as parts of the train exterior with the green outlining the edges of the cushion and the back.
There were two decorative buttons on each arm front, deep black but with a green symbol embroidered on them. A familiar symbol that he hadn’t thought about in years – a triangle within a circle bisected by a straight line. The symbol of the Deathly Hallows. Which Harry supposed made sense seeing as the originals of that symbol were laying on the seat of the chair.
The Elder Wand was propped against the back with its handle on the seat, the Resurrection Stone – sans ring – was in the middle of the cushion, and Death’s Invisibility Cloak – which Harry had left hanging in his closet of his flat – was draped across the left arm of the chair. Leaning against the right arm was a mokeskin pouch, an odd addition to the trio.
Harry walked forward and stood staring down at the artifacts. He had never wanted the stone or the wand in the first place, not really. Dumbledore had tricked him into taking the stone, and the wand was a fluke of circumstances and prophecy. Besides, the only reason he wanted the cloak was the family history attached to it.
And yet,they were all here now. Before him once again. The train, or whatever it really was, hadn’t started moving although the door had closed. Harry glanced behind him. Correction. Closed then disappeared entirely. There was no going back and no real choice before him, just time.
Harry had never been one to not jump in, a true Gryffindor. He pulled the sword from the hat and everything, once upon a time. He reached forward and picked up the pouch first, placing the string around his neck, so it hung down his chest like a necklace. He lay the cloak over his arm, slid the wand up his sleeve and scooped up the stone.
As Harry stood back up, he blinked his eyes, wondering if he needed to wish for his glasses after all. The train car interior was wavering before his eyes and fading away. As it faded, he realized that though it had been in color, it had been just as glowy as the station. The area around him now was solid, lacking that ephemeral quality from before.
Harry looked down at himself and saw he was wearing the robes he had asked for after his death. He wasn’t floating or partially transparent. He wasn’t a ghost. He reached his hand out and touched the nearest surface. He couldn’t push through it, it was solid, real.
Harry breathed in and smelled his surroundings. He placed a hand at his throat and felt his pulse. He was alive. Again. Damn it!
Harry glanced around. He was standing under a large weeping willow tree, hidden entirely by its branches. He could hear a river or stream nearby but couldn’t see it from within his sanctuary. It was near noon, as the light was slightly dim but not at all dark beneath the tree.
Harry sat at the base of the trunk and leaned back, thinking and pondering his circumstances. He was alive but this time he didn’t wake up in the same circumstances as his death. The first time he returned, he was in the Forbidden Forest within the circle of Death Eaters surrounding Voldemort. He had been in the same condition, clothes, belongings, wounds, as when he allowed himself to take the Killing Curse, other than being flat on the ground rather than standing.
This time, he was wearing the clothes which he had requested in the white limbo area, not the clothes he had died in. He arrived standing upright with the Hallows and the bag, not his holly wand in its holster and his pocket watch. He also wasn’t in his flat at his dining table. He was outside under a tree.
Of course, his first time in the limbo zone had not lasted long, maybe ten to twenty minutes, time flowed oddly there. This time it had felt like at least four hours, maybe closer to six. He had also boarded the train rather than just kind of fading into waking up. And he had been alone there, not with Dumbledore’s ghost or soul or echo or whatever he was.
Harry blew out a breath. Frankly, he realized there was no way to know why things were different for sure. He didn’t even know where he was. He wasn’t near his flat because there was no forested park of any kind within five miles of his home and the closest flowing water was the Thames and that would be louder than the sound heard. And there would be more city noises.
He needed more information but he decided to explore the belongings from limbo first. He knew the cloak, stone, and wand well enough, so he turned to the bag. Hopefully, it was tuned to him or it was just a waste.
Harry undid the knots and opened the mouth of the bag. Having no idea of its contents, he reached inside, and a portfolio met his fingers. He pulled it out to examine. It was made of dark brown leather and tied shut with green silk ribbon. On the cover was the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.
Harry opened the portfolio and found a pile of documents. On top was a magical certificate of existence, certified by the Ministry of Magic and Gringotts Bank. It proclaimed that Hadrian Mortian Peverell was born July 31, 1941, in Sydney, Australia to Lord Cadtus Antioch Peverell and Lady Morticia Peverell née Maat. He was homeschooled and attained 10 International OWLs and 7 International NEWTs in 1959, and then attained a Defense Mastery under Marcus Tanglewood-Selwyn in 1965. He ascended to the lordship of House Peverell upon the death of his father in 1961.
Harry frowned. Peverell? He had thought they had all died out long before the 1960s. He hadn’t done in depth research, but Antioch had died within a day or two of receiving the wand. Cadmus had killed himself, but his line had continued down to the Gaunts, and then Tom Marvolo Riddle. Ignotus’ line had fallen to a single girl within two generations and she married into the Potter family, ending with Harry himself. He had never heard anyone mention Cadtus or Hadrian Peverell. And certainly, there was no Lord Peverell in the Wizengamot when he had died, and Peverell would most certainly be a British title. Australia didn’t have a titled class. It was mostly a European thing, based on those descended from the Round Table in the UK, or from various other wizarding royal houses elsewhere which had been allied with Pendragon when Camelot thrived.
Harry reached out to move the parchment to see the one beneath. When his fingers touched it, the parchment flared gold and chimed. Harry jerked his hand back and the glow faded. His eyes narrowed and he reached forward again. The parchment once more glowed gold though this time silently. He let go and took hold several more times, each time getting the same response as the second time.
“Well, that was informative, Merlin damn it.” Harry knew this type of paperwork. It was kind of the magical equivalent of a passport/birth certificate. It glowed gold when the magical signatures matched exactly. These were his papers. Certified papers. That gave him a bad feeling about how his circumstances had changed. He hoped he was wrong but with his luck – poisoned to death by love and lust potions because he hadn’t told people he was gay – Harry suspected his hunch was correct.
He turned the paper and looked at the rest of the stack. It included deeds to four houses – one in Australia, one in the US, a manor in northern UK, and a townhouse in London – a defense mastery certificate for Hadrian Peverell, a Gringotts account statement, and a self-updating security enchanted list of the contents of Death’s Pouch.
The contents list was interesting and comprehensive, listing things from a multi-compartment trunk to clothing to books to a wizard’s tent to over 30 other various magical items to three vault keys to loose galleons, sickles, and knuts. Harry sighed and thunked his head back against the tree trunk. There was one immediate way to determine if his fear, his hunch, was correct.
He slid the Elder Wand from his sleeve and grasped it as he cast the tempus spell. The results were as Harry feared. October 14, 1966.
Alright. Fine. I don’t think heaven is the 1960s – possibly hell but it is more likely that I time travelled somehow thanks to that train. And the fucking Hallows. I’m Lord Hadrian Peverell. I wonder if he actually existed in my past as a person and I am replacing him or if he died or if this is some kind of alternate history. Don’t know, don’t want to care. I’ll probably never know. Sitting here under this tree isn’t going to change anything. I need to figure out where the hell I ended up now that I know when I ended up.
Harry got to his feet and donned Death’s Cloak, disappearing from view. He put the portfolio back into his pouch and took a chance. It worked and his hand filled with an Auror grade wand holster. He strapped it to his right arm and slid the Elder Wand into it. After closing the bag and placing it into his robe pocket next to the Stone, he parted the branches of the willow and began making his way in the opposite direction of the sound of the water. The area seemed familiar to him as he looked around, but he knew he had never been here before.
As he walked further, he came to a street lined with dingy houses on both sides, several factory stacks in the distance spewing out thick smoke, which re-emphasized the 1960s thing as the muggle environmental laws of the 1990s and beyond would never allow that. He saw a street sign and understood why the area was so naggingly familiar. He had seen it in the memories given to him by Severus Snape before he died during the Battle of Hogwarts. He was in Cokeworth, walking down the street Spinner’s End, the location of the childhood homes of Severus Snape and Lily Evans.
Harry nodded, he had wished to see his loved ones, and his mother certainly counted in that number, though a six-year-old Lily Evans was not what he’d had in mind. Tricky wish fulfillment wording loopholes.
As he walked down the street from the houses that were less shabby towards the ones that definitely needed work, Harry scanned the letterboxes for the name Evans. He couldn’t find it.
Why isn’t it here? Am I too early?
Thinking back on the memories, he recalled the one where Severus Snape first met Lily Evans in the play park when she jumped from the swings and floated to the ground. They had certainly been older than six, looked closer to nine, maybe eight. While Harry had gotten the impression that Snape had been watching Lily for some time, he doubted it was for years. He didn’t think a young Severus Snape had that much patience. Days, sure. Weeks, maybe. Months, unlikely. Years, no, most definitely not. So, maybe the Evans family hadn’t moved to Spinner’s End until later, 1968 or 1969.
Then why am I here?
Harry reached the most dilapidated section of the street and stopped as he heard a child cry out. It wasn’t a baby’s cry or a scream of pleasure or humor. It was a choked off cry of pain, something Harry was familiar with from his own childhood. He turned towards the direction of the cry and through the window of a nearby house saw an adult man with his arm raised as if to hit something. The man was glaring down at the floor and slowly lowered his hand and spit on something before storming out the front door.
A glimpse through that door before it was closed from the inside showed Harry a familiar face sprawled on the floor – a six-year-old Severus Snape, his face red on one side, his lip split, and spittle dripping down his forehead. A woman was standing behind him, a wand slipping into her pocket and a potion vial in her other hand.
Harry frowned and followed the abuser as he stormed down the street. The man who could only be Tobias Snape walked three blocks to the neighborhood local pub. Harry followed the man inside and stood in a corner, watching and listening as he steadily worked himself into a fine state of inebriation.
I was put here for a reason, and it obviously wasn’t because of Mum. I really don’t think I worded that wish correctly before the train showed up. I know what I meant but I wasn’t precise enough. I didn’t say family – though that was deliberate, I was thinking of Remus and Tonks and Sirius, not just my parents.
I think I said people who cared about me… Snape didn’t really care about me, he cared about my mum. He – Merlin! I said took care of me! Didn’t I? He certainly did that, the git. Risked his bloody life multiple times for me. He was an arse and a first-rate bastard, not really a good man, but he tried to make up for his mistakes. Kind of. Bitter wanker.
But right now, he’s just a little kid who’s knocked around by his dad and only helped after the fact by his mum. He doesn’t even have my mum to escape to yet. He’s not done anything to make up for yet. And I’ve never been able to not help people, whether they deserved it or not. And a six-year-old little wizard deserves it, no matter who he grows up to be. Merlin’s balls, I couldn’t even leave Tom Riddle in that kind of situation at that age. My ‘saving people thing’ that made me martyr myself for everyone in the Forbidden Forest never died. Even though I know fucking Dumbledore groomed me from the moment my parents died to make that choice. It’s still who I am at my core, a protector. Damn it.
Okay, fine, I can wait until Tobias leaves the pub and spell him somehow. Threaten him. Hurt him like he hurts his son.
Harry shook his head roughly. Stupid plan. I need to do better than that. I’m not Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, Gryffindor Golden Boy, Man-Who-Conquered anymore. However it happened, I am Lord Hadrian Peverell. He never attended Hogwarts. He won’t have anyone’s expectations on how he should act based on House sorting. No one here will idolize him one minute and attack him the next.
I admitted to myself years ago that I hid my Slytherin side to better fit in with my friends – fake friends – like Ron. I was pushed to reject Slytherin from the moment Hagrid entered that Hut on the Rock. “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.”
That was such a crock of hippogriff shit. Several Death Eaters came from Ravenclaw, a few from Hufflepuff, and when he said it, Hagrid thought the main betrayer of my family came from Gryffindor. And he did, he just thought the wrong one then.
I need to be more Slytherin about this. Get over my own prejudices. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. And there definitely isn’t anything wrong with cunning and being sly. Dumbledore certainly fit that more than anyone I knew.
Actually, thinking on it, most of the people I knew who truly showed Slytherin traits – as defined by the Sorting Hat – weren’t in Slytherin. Dumbledore, Molly, Ron, Ginny, Percy, Fred, George – basically, most of the Weasleys. And the kid who was sorted into Slytherin before the hat more than brushed his head was more of a brash Gryffindor than anything else.
So, I need time to plan, really plan, not just rush in like an idiot, get clapped for using magic on a muggle and end up in Azkaban, of no help to anyone. But I can’t let Tobias just go back home, drunker and probably more belligerent and dangerous than before. Vernon was always worse after he’d had a few, whether at home or down at the local.
Harry continued to turn ideas over in his head as Tobias finished his fourth pint of ale and was turned away by the bartender from getting a fifth. “I ain’t carrying your heavy arse home to yer wife, Toby. And it ain’t late enough for you to be sleepin’ it off in here. Go on home.”
Harry smiled under his cloak. Perfect. Thanks for the idea, Mister Bartender.
Tobias stumbled drunkenly into the street and began making his way towards his house. Harry waited until he was near an alleyway and tripped him by sliding a rubbish bin in front of him. Tobias fell down and laid there for a minute. Harry slid up behind him and forced a potion from his pouch down his throat. The muggle man didn’t even struggle, though it was fast.
After a few moments, he regained his feet and continued home. Harry watched through the window as the man fell onto the sofa face first and began snoring as the sleeping potion took effect. It would last at least sixteen hours on a muggle as drunk as he currently was. And he’d pass it off as a drunken blackout. He wouldn’t miss work as the next day was Saturday. And Harry would have time to work on a more long-term solution.
First step, figuring out where to stay, that night and long term. Harry returned to the park and ducked under the willow from before. He lowered the hood of the cloak and took out the portfolio. He had two properties in the UK and those were his options as he didn’t want to live abroad. One was a townhouse in the heart of London, though he suspected when it was built it wasn’t too near the city. The other was a manor on a hidden island that he evidently owned in total in the middle of Morecambe Bay near Bardsea.
Harry read the instructions in the documentation and sighed. He reached back into the pouch and summoned the lordship ring. It was a silver-colored band, though he somehow knew the metal wasn’t actually silver. The stone was nearly black from a distance and still, but it shimmered in the colors of a dark rainbow when he shifted it so the dim light under the tree hit it. Harry had no idea what type of stone it was, but it was beautiful. He slid the ring onto his right ring finger and the Resurrection Stone appeared floating above it.
“Oh, come on!”
The Stone hovered for a moment before sinking until it came into contact with the stone on the ring. It seemed to sink into the stone as it disappeared, although the original stone didn’t change, visually. When the Resurrection Stone was gone from sight the band of the ring glowed black and warmed on Harry’s finger. After about thirty seconds of that, Harry’s hand began to glow, moving up his arm and disappearing under his robe.
Harry blew out an exasperated breath and grit his teeth. “Fine. You didn’t want to chance me losing you. I get it. Could have just asked a bloke, ya know.”
Harry focused on the ring, placed his thumb against the band, and spoke, “Londinium.” The familiar hook and whirling of a portkey grabbed him and he settled into his body, relaxing against the pull. Seconds later his feet hit a marble floor and he stood upright in the foyer of his London townhouse.
The foyer was large, with a white marble floor and a sweeping staircase leading upwards and branching hallways leading away from the front door. It wasn’t at all reminiscent of the only other wizarding dwelling located in London that he had known in the past – his past, the future now – the Black family home on Grimmauld Place. This home was bright and open and airy and had lots of windows, just in the foyer. They weren’t letting in much light at present, but the sun had set a few minutes before and the House was in the middle of a park hidden behind heavy muggle repelling wards.
As he glanced around, Harry heard a familiar popping sound and found a clean, smiling house elf standing before him. The elf was male and dressed in a toga, obviously created from towel fabric but not just a repurposed towel. “I is Mizzy, head house elf for Londinium Mause. House being empty for two hundreds of yearses.”
Harry sighed. “I’m Lord Hadrian Peverell, newly returned from abroad. Touch my magic and be welcomed anew into the House Peverell, Mizzy of Londinium Mause.”
The elf squeaked and held out his hand, hovering it over Harry’s ring. Harry felt his magic reach out and embrace the elf and through him the three other elves in residence. There were two females and one other male, one of the females of an age with Mizzy, the others younger but not children.
“I will be living in the UK for a while, so I am examining my properties. I will tour this house briefly this evening and would appreciate a light meal when I am done, if you have the supplies. Two sandwiches of some sort with a small salad and tea.”
The elf nodded happily. “Mizzy can do. House has five floors, below is basement with wine storing place and potion making room. This is grounded floor with flooing room, kitchen, big eating dine room, ball dancing room, little parlor room, and large parlor room. First floor be having library room, family gathering room, office room wood, office room marbles, open room blue, open room brown. Floor two has nursery rooms one and two, schoolroom, playing room, red bedroom, Brown bedroom, purple bedroom, and four bathing rooms. Toppest floor has master suite bedroom, heir suite bedroom, star looking room, rune making room, spare heir suite bedroom, and three open rooms not named.”
Harry smiled. “Can you read and write, Mizzy?”
“Good. Please write down the layout of each floor and a map of the house if you can. Include any outbuildings and the grounds with ward lines, alright?”
“Mizzy will do.”
“Thank you, Mizzy. You can give that to me at dinner. For now, I’m just going to wander. You can go back to your duties now.”
Mizzy nodded and popped out. Harry took a deep breath and decided to start from the top and see the master suite. He could use the exercise anyway.
Harry had a nice light dinner prepared by the elf in charge of the kitchen, Pola. Mizzy’s map and written descriptions were surprisingly easy to follow, the handwriting a neat copperplate. Questioning revealed that the elves had been taught by portraits in the schoolroom, having been ordered to be the best elves they could be before the last Lord Peverell left London. It still baffled Harry, how powerful and smart house elves were when well-treated and cared for. Mizzy was nearly two hundred fifteen years old, as was Pola, Mizzy’s mate. Their children, Kin and Care, were each over a hundred and cared for the grounds and the outbuildings respectively. Dobby had been twenty-four when he died and Kreacher had only been forty when Harry met him, yet both were mad and had relatively weak power.
Harry decided to take one more trip and go to the island manor house before he went to bed. He needed as much information as he could get before he tackled the Severus Snape issue the next day.
He bid his London elves goodbye and used his ring to portkey to Morecambe Bay. He found a sprawling manor house with five wings set in a star shape. The grounds were extensive from the map located in the library and included a Quidditch Pitch, four greenhouses, empty stables and kennels, a barnyard with cows, pigs, goats, and chickens, several fields with crops, a small orchard, a beach, a decorative garden and several other things. The island was basically self-sustaining if the owner required it. And the wards went out into the bay for over 350 meters in every direction. The air smelled clean and fresh and the island was beautiful. It currently housed a house elf population of fourteen led by the head island elf, Darro.
Harry went to bed in the master suite – which was an entire floor of one wing of the house – and dreamt of events occurring in Australia, New York, Florida, Rome, Paris, Toronto, New Orleans, Moscow, and Tokyo. He saw everything from the perspective of Hadrian Peverell and he somehow knew that those he met in his dreams were now remembering it all, as well.
A voice, yet not really a voice, in his mind told him that his fears of displacing a true person who existed before he took the train from limbo were false. The facts he had known about the Peverell family in his past life were true now until the moment he arrived. But now, everything would show that Antioch had a son before he got himself killed. And that son’s line ended in Hadrian Peverell. Documents, historical and modern, would show it. History books and genealogy books would list the family. The Sacred Twenty-Eight was now the Sacred Twenty-Nine and to everyone in this time, it always had been.
This was the same reality that Harry Potter had died in. But now the soul who bested the Deathly Hallows properly was a new person, the Master of Death was Hadrian Mortian Peverell, not Harry James Potter. Hadrian had accepted his title. It was now his, for all time.
Harry spoke to the voice-not-voice, “I am Hadrian Mortian Peverell, but I will never forget I was born Harry James Potter. I will never disregard the love of my family for me, that birthed the soul I am into the world that let me become more than I was. The name they gave me resonated within my very soul, for all time.”
Moments after this bizarre not-dream, Harry awoke. He recalled with perfect clarity the entirety of his night’s visions and revelations. As he readied himself for a day of interactions with the Snape family, one way or another, he discovered more of what his final acceptance of his soul’s circumstances wrought in reality.
As Harry reached for the cloak on the chair where he laid it the night before, his hand met only chair fabric. Yet, when he glanced at his hand to see if he had misjudged his reach, it was invisible. The cloak was nowhere to be found in his bedroom and the elves had not taken it either. Experimentation and thought brought control to the power. When he wished to be unseen, he was so. He could trigger it with a thought or a motion, as if raising the hood of the cloak. If he wished for someone or something else to be unseen, a gesture as if throwing the cloak over them made them so.
The Elder Wand remained in its sheath, but Harry could tell it, too, had changed him. Every spell he attempted wandless worked perfectly, where before he could use only a small handful, like Lumos, Alohomora, Tempus, and a short distance Accio. Removing the wand from its sheath showed it had changed. Physically changed. It had smoothed out and buffed to a shine, the nodules were no longer present, and the color was now a gleaming black with a green and purple handle. He realized that Dumbledore would have the wand in the here and now and Harry couldn’t possess an identical one, nor could he simply not use one, whether it was superfluous or not.
Harry made his way to the apparition point after informing the elves that he should be back for dinner, possibly with a couple of guests. His current plan involved convincing Eileen to leave her husband and Harry would help her get on her feet, so Severus would be raised in a non-abusive home.
Harry apparated to Cokeworth, once more under the willow, though he “donned the cloak” before he left. He quickly made his way to the Snape house on Spinner’s End knowing his slumber spell would have worn off of Tobias around half an hour ago. He arrived to see the three Snapes leave the house and begin walking toward the town center where there appeared to be a market day in progress.
Harry followed close behind as the family made their way around, purchasing food and goods from some of the cheaper vendors. Severus glanced several times at various displays of sweets and toys, but they never stopped to indulge the boy.
It was one such glance that led to the beginning of the end for the abusive Tobias. Severus had glanced for several seconds at a vendor with chocolates and didn’t see in time that Tobias had stopped moving at the next booth. He ran into the back of the irascible man and Tobias, already slightly drunk, though he had been awake less than an hour, stumbled and nearly fell over. The man spun to face his son when he regained his balance and without a thought to his location, smacked the child across the face hard enough to send him flying onto his back in the middle of the path.
Harry smiled grimly, expecting one of the surrounding muggles to step forward as Severus was bleeding from where his head struck the pavement, as well as his lip once again catching his teeth and seeping blood. When no one did, when not a single soul even glanced at the fallen boy or enraged man, Harry sent a wandless spell at the two males. He grimaced at what he found. Both of them had muggle notice-me-not spells on them, especially geared towards violence. Muggles like the shopkeepers or bartender could see Tobias without a problem but when he got aggressive, they forgot as soon as he was out of sight. If that violence was towards Severus, they wouldn’t notice it or its effects on the boy.
Harry realized Eileen was complicit in the abuse. He had always believed that she had either been abused as well, or was a weak witch much like Merope Gaunt who could barely use a wand. He assumed she stayed with the abusive muggle because she had no family who would take her in, no skills in the muggle world as she grew up pureblood, not enough power to have a job in the wizarding world that could support her and Severus. A stupid assumption, he realized now.
Eileen Prince had attended Hogwarts and graduated. She had been very good and won acclaim at school for her potions brewing. She had married a muggle against her parents’ wishes and been disowned but that said nothing about any reasons behind it beyond supposed pureblood prejudice. Eileen Snape was assisting her husband in escaping the results of his abuse upon his son. This changed Harry’s plans but not too much. It just made the number he would rescue decrease to one, rather than two. And he would bring bad acts home to roost on two adults, not just one drunken muggle.
Harry followed the Snape family as they left the market, Eileen carrying the two bags of things they had purchased and Tobias pulling Severus along by the back of his collar as he ranted and berated his child in a low voice. The young boy was barely able to keep his feet under him and prevent himself from being literally dragged by his father.
As they walked, Harry invisibly cancelled Eileen’s muggle notice-me-not variations and the trio drew looks from a few people they passed. Eileen didn’t notice as she hurried along in front of the men in her family. Harry smiled grimly. The muggles would be calling for child protection soon and he could just wait and see the outcome. No Gryffindor rushing in.
Unfortunate for him, at that moment the Snapes crossed their property line and Harry saw the muggles lose interest once more.
She didn’t just spell them, she fucking warded and spelled their house so no one noticed Tobias’ abusive behavior towards Severus. She may not be hitting him, but she is aiding and abetting it.
Harry hurriedly began casting at the house, working on breaking the muggle repelling ward. It took too long for his taste but after just under ten minutes, he managed it. The instant he did, he saw one of the neighbors’ hurry inside their house as they had been about to do when the Snapes had passed by earlier.
But Harry couldn’t wait for the police now. It had been too long. He opened the front door and cast a spell freezing those inside in place. Severus was in just his pants, stretched over an ottoman, his bare back bleeding. Tobias stood over him, frozen in a position of torturer, his arm back ready to bring the belt, buckle end foremost, onto his child’s scarred back. Eileen was frozen into place off to the side, watching with a small smile on her face.
Harry frowned and cast a truth spell on all three and a tongue-tying curse to prevent them from speaking of magic to the muggles. Harry hated child abusers more than most anything, thanks in large part to Vernon and Petunia Dursley. He wanted to curse the elder Snapes with more than just a jinx to make them tell the truth, but he didn’t want to slide down that slippery slope if he could help it.
Within ten minutes, Harry heard the police arrive out front and released his freezing spell as they came up the walk and looked through the window. The sight had them busting open the door and taking a ranting Tobias into custody.
“He’s my son! I can discipline him if I want. I hate him! Thinks he’s so much better than me, little asshole!”
The second officer asked Eileen why she hadn’t reported her husband to the child protection services. Her reply sealed her fate to the policemen.
“Little arse deserves it. Tobias and me, we were happy before he came along. Now, Tobias won’t even touch me, ‘cause of him. Be better off without him.”
Harry understood the subtext, knowing some of the history. Eileen hadn’t told Tobias about magic, turned her back on it to marry him. Then Severus was born a wizard, not a squib or a muggle and it all came out when he did his first accidental magic. Tobias likely hated his son for having magic when he couldn’t, much like the situation between Petunia and Lily. And he refused to sleep with Eileen so she couldn’t birth another child who could be a witch or wizard.
Harry listened as his mild truth and calming spell on Severus made sure he didn’t try to hide his abuse from the muggle authorities. A child advocate showed up and took Severus up to his room to gather things and get cleaned up and dressed. When Severus went into the bathroom, the advocate remained in the small bedroom and Harry took the chance.
As the door closed behind the young boy, he silenced him and removed his invisibility, revealing himself to Severus. He put his finger to his mouth in a gesture for silence. Severus tried to speak and realized Harry had magicked him. He glared, a bare echo of his future glower. Harry again put one finger across his lips, eyebrows raised. Severus sighed soundlessly and nodded.
Harry removed the spell and helped the boy to the sink. He leaned next to him and whispered very quietly as the water began to run, “My name is Hadrian. Everything will be alright.”
Severus looked up at him. “You’re a wizard. Mum’s a witch. Da’s not.”
Harry nodded. “I know.”
Severus washed his hands and dabbed at his split lip. “Why are you here?”
“Magic sent me. I didn’t know why until I saw what your father and mother were doing.”
“You made the police come.”
“Sort of, yes. Your neighbors called them, but I removed the magic your mother had used to make them ignore what was happening to you.”
Severus sniffled. “She really doesn’t love me, does she? She always helped me clean up and put potions on me and stuff, but she never stopped him. She’s a witch, she coulda but she stopped people from helping instead?”
Harry hugged Severus from behind. “Yes. Your mother isn’t a good person, Severus. Maybe she was once, but she made horrible choices and she has to pay for them. She understood what she and your father were doing was very wrong and illegal. And now she’s been caught, and they will face the consequences.”
“And what happens to me? She said her parents hated her and consider me a mongrel. Da doesn’t have any family.”
Harry ran his hand down Severus’ arm, soothing the boy. “I don’t know your grandparents, the Prince Family, but well, magic sent me to you for a reason. I’ve been living abroad for a long time and I’ve just come home to the UK. I have a few houses that could use some children’s laughter. I’m politically powerful in the magical world, Severus, and if you wanted, I could adopt you into my family. Or I could keep you until we find you a home and family you prefer.”
Severus turned in Harry’s arms. “Really? You – you’d want to adopt me? I can work hard. Mum taught me some cooking and I help her make potions, mostly preparing ingredients but I can do that really well.”
Harry smiled. “You don’t have to earn your keep, Severus. But if you want to be my son, we can work things out so you feel appreciated and happy.”
Severus nodded shyly.
“Alright then, I am going to spell the child authority and police to accept that I am a distant relative they contacted to take you. And we’ll get you officially adopted in both worlds. Lots of meetings and paperwork but we’ll start with the wizarding world as the magical documents will ease the way considerably in the muggle world.”
Severus giggled lightly as Harry made faces at the thought of the red tape ahead.
A week later, Harry and Severus walked through the Ministry lobby headed towards the DMLE. Harry had to give them a copy of the police report on Eileen Snape née Prince and then head to the Children’s Division to begin the process of adoption. He didn’t think there would be much of a problem.
The changes of the 1960s were towards bettering people’s lives, whether it be squibs, muggleborns, or wizarding children. If Eileen weren’t going to jail along with Tobias for child abuse based on her own testimony, it would be a harder spell to cast as it were, because blood family was still considered high priority. Witness his own placement with the Dursleys.
But Eileen would be in jail for three years for child abuse, Tobias for ten plus fifteen more for aggravated assault on a fellow prisoner while awaiting trial which put the other man – a non-violent offender in for repeated shoplifting – in a coma for two days.
The muggles, believing Harry to be a second cousin of Severus’, allowed him to take temporary custody so the boy wouldn’t go to foster care. Severus loved the island for the past week. They visited the London house, but it was more restrictive being in the middle of Hyde Park – which wasn’t a park or even government land when the house was built – with a tight ward line. Severus spent a lot of time out in the fresh air of the island, running and playing, being a carefree child.
Once the Snapes had been sentenced, both pleading guilty to avoid even harsher penalties, Harry knew he couldn’t put off the wizarding side any further. Severus and his parents lived in the muggle world, the muggle authorities gave Harry custody, so it wouldn’t be too big of a problem yet. But the longer he put it off, the stickier it would become.
The wizarding world would know he wasn’t related to Severus with any degree of closeness. However, his parents were unavailable, his father had no living relatives closer than third cousins, and the Princes had actually died within the past three years. Eileen’s mother had caught dragon pox in 1963 and Eileen’s father had died of a curse of some sort in 1965. So, there wasn’t anyone to take Severus in that was a direct blood relation. And regardless of the changing times, even the progressives preferred wizarding children to be raised in the wizarding world if legally possible. They wouldn’t want to place a fairly powerful wizard child in muggle foster care if a politically powerful Lord was willing to adopt him.
They entered the Wizarding Children and Families office and Harry approached the receptionist. “Hello. I’m Hadrian Peverell and I have an appointment regarding the adoption of Severus Snape.”
The young woman looked up and smiled at the two of them. “Of course, Lord Peverell. Have a seat, please, and Mister Jervin will be with you soon.”
Harry lightly steered Severus to the wooden chairs along the wall. When Severus sat down his eyes widened, and he popped right back up and stared at the chair. Harry smiled as the young boy leaned forward and pressed his hand on the seat. “Cushioning charm,” murmured Harry. “We’re wizards, no need to not be comfortable. Remember, looks can often deceive, no matter where you are, but the wizarding world has more options available.”
Severus nodded solemnly as he sat back down. “I’ll remember. I promise.” The boy then promptly ruined the serious air he was going for as he bounced up and down on the charm that made the hard-looking wood soft and comfy, like a cloud.
A few minutes later, which Severus spent trying all of the chairs to see if any of them felt different, the Department Head, Jonder Jervin came from the back offices. Harry knew that the department wasn’t overly large as it would be in the 1970s, as more orphans were created by Voldemort’s blood war, but it was large enough and busy enough to have four caseworkers plus the receptionist. Harry’s position as Lord Peverell fairly insured the highest one would deal with him, to avoid giving offense.
Harry nudged Severus to his feet as the man approached and began greeting them. “Lord Peverell, Mister Snape, I’m Jonder Jervin. I’ll be handling you through the process.”
Hadrian held out his hand for the other man to shake, as the higher placed it was his choice. “Pleasure to meet you, Mister Jervin.”
“Likewise, Lord Peverell.”
“Hadrian, please. No need to be overly formal when informality will work easier.”
“Very well. Please feel free to use Jonder, if you wish.”
Severus looked up at the towering six-foot man. “You can call me Severus. You’re going to help me be official and make Hadrian my dad, right? You won’t make him give me back?”
Hadrian knelt down in front of Severus. “You won’t ever be going back there, Severus. I promised. Your parents are in muggle jail for hurting you so much. You’ll be older than I am now when you father is released. If he doesn’t get in more trouble in jail like he already did.”
Severus bit his lip. “What about Mum?”
“She will be out in a few years but after what she did and what she let your father do, you will never have to see her again. If you want to see her after you’ve grown up, that’s your choice then. Until that moment comes or doesn’t, no one will make you see her and definitely not live with her, not the muggles, not the wizards. Even if they don’t want me to have you for some reason, or if I do and something happens to me, you will be protected, Severus.”
Severus nodded, “Okay.”
Jonder met Hadrian’s eyes and inclined his head. In a jovial voice, he spoke while motioning the two wizards to follow him. “This won’t be difficult. We just have paperwork and some questions. If you get bored while I’m talking to Hadrian, I have some toys and books you can use while you’re here, Severus.”
They entered a spacious office with a large window with a view of boats on the Thames. Severus started at it and whispered, “I thought we were underground.”
Jonder smiled, “We are.”
Severus’ mouth opened and then closed twice before he spoke. He turned to Hadrian. “This is like the hard-wooden chairs that are actually soft, isn’t it? We’re underground but it looks like we are high up and looking outside.”
Harry nodded. “Yes.”
As Jonder took a seat behind his desk, he explained. “The window is there, Severus, but it’s charmed to show a view of the outside. Unlike some species, goblins, for example, humans don’t do well stuck underground for long periods without natural light. Almost every office has a charmed window, they even vary the weather shown. There’s one in the lobby of our office but it gets a bad glare at this time of day, so Marcia keeps the curtains on it drawn for a few hours.”
“Alright, Severus, I’m just going to ask you some questions so your part is over with and you can play or read, okay?” Severus nodded. “Now, you’ve probably had to answer some of these before in the past few days, but I need to fill out paperwork on the wizarding end. Can you tell me what happened on Saturday?”
Severus looked at his swinging feet. “Mum and Da and I went to market. Cokeworth has one every Saturday, and usually just Mum goes, but once a month it is bigger and we all go. I wasn’t watching close enough. I’m usually pretty good at it, but I got distracted, and Da stopped and I ran into him. He smacked me and I fell down. He yelled a bit and then dragged me home.”
Jonder looked at the quill taking notes. “You fell down? Did anyone help you up? Or intervene when he was dragging you?”
Severus shook his head. “No one ever did. I just thought they all agreed with Da and I was an evil git and deserved it. And I mean, he wasn’t like pulling me along. I got up and I didn’t fall again.”
“But he had a hold of you?”
Severus nodded. “My jacket at the neck. It’s pretty sturdy so it doesn’t rip like shirts do sometimes.”
“And your mother? What was she doing?”
“She was ahead of us, carrying the stuff we bought.”
Jonder nodded and looked at the quill again. “So, she didn’t see what your father did?”
Severus shook his head. “She saw him hit me and hurried ahead when he grabbed my jacket neck. She always went first so she could get the door open for Da so she wouldn’t have to loose me and chance me making a break for it. I never did. But Mum worried I would. But I tried to be good. When we got home, I got my shirt and trousers off and bent over the stool. Da taught me how to be good when he wallops me when I was little. I hated it and it hurt but I thought I deserved it. Mum always said it was my fault, if I didn’t make him mad, he wouldn’t have to hurt me. But Hadrian told me they were wrong. School said that kind of thing was bad, too, but none of the teachers ever helped me. Hadrian did.”
Jonder sighed inaudibly. “How often did your father get mad like that?”
“Most days he at least shoved me, he’d smack me or punch my face couple times a week, unless he was in a real bad mood and really drunk. And he thrashed me at least once a week, sometimes more if I was bad…If he said I was bad or Mum told him I’d been bad, even if I wasn’t.”
Jonder blinked. “Can you tell me about when you first met Hadrian?”
Severus beamed. “Da had hit me a couple times with the belt and then everything froze still. I thought I had done it and was really scared at first until the policemen came in. And they talked to me and a woman came and we went up to the bathroom and she didn’t come in with me but Hadrian did and he was invisible and told me he was going to rescue me and that I wasn’t bad and that Mum and Da were bad and that Mum had made people – muggles – not see how they hurt me but when he fixed it they helped and he was going to make sure I was safe and I could live with him or a family but he helped me and I trust him and I love him, I think. I want to be with Hadrian and be his son. He says I don’t have to pay for my upkeep or cook or make potions, unless I want to. I can play and be a kid, because kids should just be kids. That’s what Hadrian says to me.”
Jonder smiled. “Okay, kid.”
“That’s all I have to ask you for now. Why don’t you go in the play area? I have several things or you can read any of the books on that shelf.”
Severus looked at Hadrian who nodded and smiled. “It’s okay. Go be a kid.”
With a grin, Severus hopped down from the chair and ran over to the area, exploring his options. Hadrian and Jonder watched as Severus finally settled onto a cloud shaped pillow with a children’s book on magical animals. Once he was settled and occupied, Jonder turned to Hadrian.
“I’m going to put up a slight silencing spell so Severus isn’t disturbed by what we discuss. It is standard procedure.” Hadrian nodded his assent as the department head activated the spell around his desk area.
“Very well, Hadrian. For the record, everything you say is being recorded. First of all, why were you in Cokeworth? There are no records of you having property there.”
Harry shook his head and began his tale of Hadrian Peverell’s actions. “No. I had never been to Cokeworth. The Peverell Family Magic is very…odd, sometimes, even to those who are born into it. When my father, the previous lord died and I came into the title and patriarchy, I began to feel an itch in my magic. I didn’t know what it was, and it had no definable purpose. At that time, I was nearing the end of my apprenticeship for my Defense Mastery. In hindsight, I suspect the magic was preparing me for future events, as I was in no place to do anything at that point. I couldn’t leave the apprenticeship until it was complete. But the very night I was awarded my Mastery and released from the apprentice bonds, I dreamed. All night long I would fall asleep, sleep soundly and undisturbed for an hour, then dream of a globe or an atlas or a world map. The dream would start with a wide view or a spinning globe and gradually center on the United Kingdom. Once it was centered and I recognized and acknowledged the view in my dream, I would wake up. The first time, I went right back to sleep. Then I got up and had some water. Or walked around for a few minutes. Or looked out the window. But as soon as I slept once more, the cycle repeated. In the morning, after the sun had broken the horizon, I began to feel what I can only call a tug in my magic. Tugging me very lightly towards the UK. I put my affairs in order and packed up my home.
“You may not know but several hundred years ago, the Lord Peverell of the day went on a bit of a world tour. He fell in love during his trip and married, living close to his wife’s family for her sake. I have his journals. Thereafter, many of the heirs felt a wanderlust and ended up in different countries. I myself was born and raised in Australia. But I felt that the Family Magic was telling me it was time to come back home. I arrived at my family’s London home a few weeks ago and then our manor house. The tugging was more insistent and harder the longer I waited.
“I cast a family spell to take me where I needed to be. It is more complex and more confusing, but it is a protected family spell. It led me to a Cokeworth, under a willow tree in a park near the river. By turning around in a circle slowly, I was able to isolate the direction of the tugging and it took me to Severus and his parents. I followed them around the market. I admit, I was under an invisibility cloak, a family heirloom. I can navigate the muggle world but frankly, I didn’t know what was going on or why my magic was sending me to Severus. I decided to watch and see.
“And what I saw was horrible. When Tobias Snape just whirled on the boy and struck his face – Severus didn’t just fall over, he flew back several feet and struck his head on the ground! I wanted to go to him, but I couldn’t just appear out of nowhere in front of dozens of muggles. And I assumed that others would come to his defense – his mother perhaps, or a fellow shopper or stall holder. Child abuse is illegal in the civilized parts of the muggle world.
“By the time I realized no one seemed to even see what had happened, though some did move around Severus’ prone form, Tobias was already pulling him down the street by the collar. I followed. I kept my wand hidden under the cloak and cast a detection spell – one that only shows results to the caster – and saw that Severus and his father were under a very odd notice-me-not variation. It was so odd and specific yet not, I assumed that Severus was a muggleborn and at some point, had cast accidental magic that stuck. I cast a cancelling spell on them, and the muggles began to notice the two. But then I saw Eileen enter the house and take out a wand and cast a spell. That is when I realized Severus wasn’t muggleborn, his mother at least was magical.
“I feared what was going to happen to Severus, but I couldn’t do anything. I had no presence in the muggle world in the UK and not much of one abroad. My magic was almost burning me inside, tugging so hard at that house. I cancelled the spells Eileen cast, and the muggles again noticed and recalled what had happened. I heard one phoning the muggle police, but I worried they would be too late. I entered the house and found Tobias hitting Severus with a belt, the buckle end swinging into his back. Severus was already bleeding. Eileen was standing there watching, she was smiling! Her wand was up her sleeve, she could have stopped it, but she was watching with – it was almost gleeful. It was definitely smug. I stood in front of the window and cast a freezing spell.
“I unfroze them just as the muggle police arrived around ten minutes later. Severus was living in the muggle world, his father is a muggle, and I just felt things needed to be settled there. Cokeworth is a purely muggle town. It isn’t mixed. I let the muggles handle it. And I spoke to Severus when I could, and my magic urged me to offer a new family to him. If he had said no, I would have respected that and helped him find a situation he preferred. But he didn’t. And in the past week, I have grown to love that prickly little boy.
“I can give him a home and a place in a rich family magic legacy. I have plenty of money, several homes, and time to devote to him. I don’t know why my magic sent me to him, but I am glad it did. Severus deserves so much better than the hell he was in.”
Jonder blinked his watery eyes and nodded. “I have a copy of the arrest and conviction report you provided to the aurors. I have to say, his father is an abusive, evil man, but his mother is a real harridan. She hid her magic from her husband because she wanted him to love her. Then Severus was born magical. She hated her own child for exposing her secret. She actually encouraged Tobias’ violence on the boy, and while ostensibly helping Severus to heal, in reality, she was using potions that would prolong his pain and cause deep surface scarring that wouldn’t dull the nerves beneath it. Indeed, the scars she created on her son after her husband’s abuse increased the sensitivity of the nerves, making future thrashings worse.
“Since you contacted our office with the basics of the case and applied for custody, we’ve evaluated you. Our department agrees that you and Severus belong together. We will keep an eye on the situation for six months and if within that time nothing changes, you may fully adopt Severus. During that time, you will be father and son on paper, not magically bound, in both worlds. I truly believe you can give that boy a happy childhood. Something all children deserve but so many don’t quite get.”
It had been a few months since Harry had been granted custody of Severus by the Ministry of Magic and the new year had begun. They had spent that time getting to know one another and Severus learning to be a child, permitted to be loud and messy and to ask questions. Within reason. He learned to respect the boundaries Harry set for him, not arbitrary rules changed on a bitter parent’s whim.
Yule had been wonderful for both of them. Severus had only celebrated Christmas, and even that was limited. Harry had only begun learning about Wizarding holidays a year or so after the war, and none of his so-called friends kept to the Old Ways, so Yule had always been a solitary, somewhat solemn celebration for him, not a joyful one.
Harry spoiled his new son, buying him toys, both wizarding and muggle, clothes, books, and a training broom. He loved to play with Severus and watch him discover the joy of a new toy, Harry discovering it as well, through a child’s eyes.
Though Severus didn’t know how similar their childhoods had been, Harry knew. Harry might be in a new body, free from the scars of his old one, everything having been renewed in limbo, just as his eyesight had. But he still recalled the cupboard under the stairs, nights in the dark and cold, curled up with the stomach pain of starvation, bruised and bloody from Vernon’s and Dudley’s corrections and games, spiders crawling on him through the night. He recalled frying pans to the head, hands around his neck throttling him, arms held behind his back by minions while the leader of the pack punched him repeatedly in the stomach and chest. Chores until his hands bled, back and neck and arms badly sunburned, oil burns from spitting grease, Harry remembered it all.
Neither Harry nor Severus were permitted to be a child. In his original life, Severus never truly permitted himself to be free like a child should. The closest he had come was the time he spent with Lily Evans, in the play park, under the willows by the water, on the grounds of Hogwarts while others worked to separate the wrongness of a Gryffindor friends with a Slytherin. He clung so fiercely to her, his first friend, his glimpse of normalcy, of happiness in his grim world.
This time around, Harry would make sure Severus met Lily from a position of strength. If they became friends, it wouldn’t be a desperate grab by a lonely and abused boy but a relationship of equals.
Harry experienced a childhood vicariously through his son. Severus got to learn to have fun and trust in this new life. It was wonderful for them both. Harry played with Severus, he read to and with him, he taught him to fly. It was one of the best months of either of their lives.
But now, Severus was healed physically, comfortable with Harry, even called him Dad a few times, and his soul was healing with the resilience of a child’s wonder. And Harry had hired a tutor to work with Severus. He didn’t want to send him to a muggle school, and there were no magical primary schools. Some of the mixed villages had an older woman who would teach a few of the children some basics in return for household staples or a few knuts. But most children were taught by a parent, a paid tutor, or an older sibling or another relative.
Severus had only attended the muggle school in Cokeworth for a few months and hadn’t enjoyed it. Harry had discovered from his friends who were at least partially muggle raised that muggle school had not been a good time for any of them. They were never popular, always the outcast, the weirdo, the freak.
The single exception he had ever found was Lily Evans. By all accounts that he had heard or seen, she had been at least partly popular before Hogwarts. Harry didn’t know if she was the exception that proves the rule, or if talking to the actual Lily and not others would have revealed her lack of comfort as well. There just seemed to be something about a magical child being surrounded by muggle children that made the muggles subconsciously uncomfortable, and it often led to them being at least verbally, if not physically, vicious.
So, Harry had hired a tutor with proper credentials to teach Severus five hours a day during the week. Severus would learn things from both worlds: mathematics plus Latin, writing essays and writing with a quill, muggle history and magical history, science and magical theory, potions basics – much of which he knew already thanks to Eileen’s parenting – and muggle classic children’s literature. All age appropriate. Severus would spend time with his tutor during the day, and Harry would be free to pursue other things.
Harry made a point of eating breakfast and dinner with Severus every day. And he always spent time with him after dinner and on the weekends. But Severus was beginning to regain his independence, trusting that his new father would return to him. Harry loved seeing the reserved, clingy child come out of his shell and laugh and whine and pout and play.
The first time Severus yelled at him, Harry had inwardly rejoiced. The child would never have dared to raise his voice to Tobias Snape, unless it was in a cry of pain. For Severus to scream about the unfairness of a bedtime when he wanted to keep reading, was wonderful progress.
But though in some ways Harry admitted he spoiled his son, he also took Petunia Dursley’s lessons on parenting to heart. Lessons on how not to parent. The boundaries and rules were firm, and the punishments revealed beforehand. Severus pushed those boundaries as he began to trust his new life and Harry enforced them with loving, firm discipline which was never physically or even verbally abusive. Timeouts – though never locked in a small space, grounding – though never in the dark or physically restrained, removal of privileges – though never food other than sweets, these were the punishments Severus was becoming used to. And now that his tutoring had begun, writing lines or essays based on his wrongdoing were added to the list, though it should go without saying they were never written with a blood quill.
And now that Harry wasn’t Severus’ only human caregiver, he could begin to tackle other things. Magic or Fate or Death, whatever it was that brought him directly to Severus, he felt he had accomplished, or at least started on, what they had wanted to be changed. But being in the past, and having already screwed the timeline with his actions, Harry had no intention of letting things fall out as they had before.
Upon first arriving in the past, Harry had made lists about history that he recalled. He noted significant events of Voldemort’s first Blood War of the 1970s and Tom’s personal timeline. Harry knew that there had been several horcruxes made by this time, though he didn’t entirely trust Dumbledore’s conclusions on some of them. But he knew that Riddle hadn’t finalized his hiding spots for most of them until the mid to late 1970s when he gave the cup to Bellatrix after her marriage and the diary to Lucius and borrowed Kreacher to test the cave’s protections, or at least the potency of the potion. The diadem he had recovered during his travels and placed in Hogwarts shortly after he returned to the UK and began the early moves in his war. Nagini wasn’t created as a horcrux until after his re-embodiment in 1995. And the scar horcrux was of course created on October 31, 1981. As it was currently January 1967, and not only was the “Boy-Who-Lived” not born for over another decade, but his parents hadn’t even entered puberty yet, Harry had ignored those two.
The ring, though, was cursed with a nasty, basically unstoppable curse, yet it had nowhere near the protections of a powerful family manor – Malfoy, a Gringotts vault – Bellatrix, a magical castle with hidden rooms – the diadem in the Room of Requirement, or a cave full of traps and inferi – Kreacher and Regulus. It was highly likely the ring was the first horcrux Tom hid, possibly the first one he actually made.
Harry knew that Dumbledore was convinced that the diary was first and made with Myrtle’s death at the hands – or eyes – of the basilisk, but the timing of what the diary knew and recalled didn’t quite sync up for Harry. If the soul piece fractured off with the indirect killing, even if it wasn’t in the container yet, it wouldn’t have had the memory of catching Hagrid with Aragog and framing him for the killing. Harry believed that the diary was created later, likely near the same time as the ring, after the deaths of Tom’s father and grandparents. Not that the timing of their making mattered much. What mattered was when he hid the ring in the Gaunt shack.
Also, it was possible that the locket had been hidden in the cave earlier than the house elf testing of the protections and he simply refined the danger. Harry planned to visit the shack and the cave to see if the ring or locket were present. And if they were, he would destroy them.
Another thing Harry wanted to change was the attitudes and prejudices that led to Tom gathering so many followers, generation after generation. And to do that he needed to use the political and social power that he wielded as Lord Peverell. Which required attendance at the Wizengamot when it resumed in a few weeks. And small talk and political posturing and alliance building. Basically, he needed to allow his Slytherin side to come to the fore.
Harry knew it wouldn’t be easy, there was a lot he didn’t know this far back. But he had at least three years until the true war began and violence began to spread throughout the country.
Harry sat in a familiar chair in a familiar office, though the decorations were not quite the same as he remembered. The many little whirling silver knickknacks were not present, though the stand with the brilliant firebird still held pride of place. The old man behind the desk was not quite the man he had met at eleven. His hair was white but less silvered, his beard wasn’t quite as long, and his robes were decidedly less flamboyant. They were still eccentric, but they didn’t scream, “I’m barmy and colorblind with absolutely no sense of taste.”
The old man smiled, and his eyes twinkled behind his glasses. “Welcome to Hogwarts, Lord Peverell. It is such a shame that you weren’t able to come to school here.”
Hadrian inclined his head. “I’m sure it would have been fascinating, but I enjoyed my schooling, Headmaster. I was able to study more what I wished at my pace, rather than among others who would hold me back or vice versa in classes I didn’t care for.”
“And yet you were the driving force behind the creation of the Wizarding Primary School Network these past four years. And one of the most anticipated lecturers for each class, I’ve heard from a large number of the younger students who attended one of the schools you created.”
Hadrian smiled. “True. But there is a large difference between living in the United Kingdom with its large population, and growing up in Australia where the only school is a day school with minimal classes and no electives. Not everyone thrives in a self-study environment. As an educator of so many decades, you must know that, Headmaster Dumbledore.”
Dumbledore chuckled. “Of course. Every child is different, and all are a pleasure – in their own ways.”
“And having a standardized pre-Hogwarts education has helped everyone, regardless of their family status, to begin on the same foot. And I have received letters from several of your professors thanking me for the instruction the primaries give on writing and essay structure and logic.”
Dumbledore inclined his head. “I’ve heard much praise from the professors about those who took those classes with your schools.”
Hadrian titled his head slightly to one side. “You keep referring to them as my schools, Headmaster. I assure you, I may have been the impetus behind the bills on primary education in the Wizengamot and I certainly donated a good bit to many of them, but I don’t own, nor run, any of the schools. My only involvement in the past two years has been guest lecturing on Defense and as a parent with a son attending one of them. You asked me to have this meeting with you tonight. And seeing Hogwarts has been very interesting. But I confess, I am a bit confused as to the point of this meeting. Surely you don’t want me as a guest lecturer for your students?”
Dumbledore sat back and smiled enigmatically. “In a way, in a way. For the past several years, since the long-term Defense Against the Dark Arts professor retired in the spring on ‘68, I have had the same issue arise. Each of the professors I hired to teach the class has left at the end of the school year. The first was hired away for a very prestigious job with the ICW. The second planned to return but had a spell backfire over the summer break and was in a magically induced coma for seven months and didn’t want to return after they recovered. And our last professor, the current one, is leaving after three different seventh year girls and one boy have turned up in the family way by him. Now, all of the students were of age, none of them were in NEWT DADA classes, and the relations were consensual. And in the case of one of the girls and the boy, rather orgiastic. But the ‘free love’ of the multiple short-term partners is not an example for the younger students that I would like spread. Especially since the not-so-esteemed professor didn’t seem to learn from the first surprise that he should use contraceptive charms or potions. Thus, he will be leaving us when the year ends in two months. And I am again in a position to require a new professor.”
“That is odd, and I’m sure it is frustrating. But I am still unclear. Are you asking me for recommendations, Headmaster Dumbledore?”
“No, no, my boy. I am asking if you would be willing to take the job. I thought of approaching you last year but everyone I spoke to about the idea who knew you were sure you would turn it down as you would not wish to live here due to your son. Hogwarts has not hosted professors with children too young to attend as students themselves since 1692. But I happen to know that young Mister Peverell received a Hogwarts letter on his birthday and has accepted attendance, therefore, you are available. I would give you leave for Wizengamot duties if necessary, of course. And I’m sure we could arrange your schedule to allow you time for your guest lectures at the primary schools.”
Hadrian blinked in surprise. He had not seen this coming. Regardless of the hail fellow well met routine the old man was doing, Hadrian knew the old man couldn’t stand him. They had been opponents over the educational reform too much. So, this was odd. Unless Dumbledore suspected the curse’s existence and hoped to get rid of him in a permanent way without bloodying his own hands. If that was his plan, he would be sorely disappointed.
“It is a very interesting, and surprisingly tempting offer, Headmaster. Assuming we can come to terms on salary, benefits, and freedom of curriculum – within Ministry standards, of course, I believe you have a professor. Assuming Severus doesn’t object too much about having his father teaching.”
Dumbledore grimaced so swiftly during the talk of Hadrian’s demands that the lord would have missed it – if he hadn’t been watching and hoping for just such a sign. “I’m sure we can come to an equitable agreement, my boy.”
Hadrian smiled, showing his teeth. “I’m sure.”
Harry walked into the teachers’ lounge in Hogwarts just after the 1970/1971 school year ended. This was a meeting to close out the school year and prepare for the next. Harry had spent the day with the man he was replacing, being shown his lesson plans and gradebook and notes on his students. The man also gave him a tour of the main points of interest to a teacher. Then he had handed him off to Minerva McGonagall and left the building.
Normally, the departing professor would handle this meeting, showing the replacement how it was done but considering the scandalous reason the man was sacked and the fact that his tenure had only lasted a single year, as had the two professors of the subject before him, Harry was simply thrown into the shallowest part of the deep end of the pool and left to sink or swim.
Most of the professors had yet to arrive when Harry walked in, but Minerva showed him the seat typically used by the DADA professor and he sat down. It was interesting to see the difference between 1971 and 1991. There were a surprising number of familiar if younger faces on the current staff. Not counting Hagrid or Filch, as they weren’t teachers and this was a teachers meeting, Harry recognized McGonagall and Dumbledore, of course, but also Pomona Sprout, his old future Herbology professor and the Head of Hufflepuff House, Septima Vector, professor of arithmancy, Rolanda Hooch, the flying instructor and Quidditch referee, Horace Slughorn, the smarmy suck-up potions professor and Head of Slytherin House, Cuthbert Binns, the boring ghost who taught History of Magic, and Silvanus Kettleburn, professor of Care of Magical Creatures, though he looked odd with most of his limbs intact. One other familiar face entered the room just before the start of the meeting, Filius Flitwick, the part goblin who taught Harry Charms. This would be his first year in his position and he was escorted by the retiring Professor Gregory Klaster.
Albus began the meeting as the clock struck one. “Hello everyone. I know this is a dreadful meeting and we all just want to start our summers now that the children are off on theirs, but as I always say every year, it is necessary, and we’ll try to keep it short. Before we begin, I want to welcome two new professors who will begin teaching here in September: Filius Flitwick, who will be taking over for Gregory as he retires, and Hadrian Peverell, who will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, replacing our previous teacher of that subject. I hope you will all make them welcome to our wonderful school.”
Hadrian and Filius both nodded at the rest of the teachers and sat back in their chairs. “Now, first let us speak of the rising second through fifth years, are there any problems anticipated or lingering?”
Pomona Sprout sat forward. “Melanie Grant, one of my rising fifth years, she may have problems over the summer.”
Minerva frowned. “Her mother’s death?”
Sprout nodded and frowned, her eyes sad. “Yes. Her mother died in a magical explosion in the basement of their home. It was ruled a bizarre accident, they think she may have mispronounced a spell or something.”
Albus leaned on the table. “I’m sure her family will help her with her grief, Pomona, my dear.”
“Yes, her father is wonderful but that isn’t the issue. The accident happened just a few weeks before end of term and happening in the basement, well, it was a very large explosion. It brought the majority of the house down. If anyone else had been home, and evidently it was close, Melanie’s father had left less than five minutes before it happened, he would have certainly died. Melanie would be an orphan.”
Albus tilted his head, “Would Mister Grant not have been able to shield himself?”
Pomona huffed. “Jack Grant is a muggle, Albus. He married Linderra Polmondo.”
“Ah, Gryffindor class of ‘53, I believe.”
“Yes, well, the house was destroyed totally and there were no others for sale in the village. And there were no other mixed muggle/magical towns near enough to his work to be feasible since he can’t exactly apparate or floo there, as a muggle with a muggle job. So, he found a place in a purely muggle town a short trip by muggle transport to his job.”
Albus sat back. “Well, I’m sure he will allow Miss Grant to visit her friends and such. There’s nothing wrong with living in the muggle world when your parent or guardian is a muggle.”
“Yes, but in the weeks since learning of her mother’s death, Melanie had several outbursts of accidental magic. She’s a very powerful young witch and her emotions are very volatile.”
“I’m sure the Obliviators will be available if necessary. And her grief will lessen as she spends time with her family and in her home. Now, anything else?”
Several other professors discussed students who had troublesome home situations of varying kinds and were brushed off by Dumbledore. He insisted that everything would be fine and that children exaggerated. None of the professors reported blatant abuse allegations or suspicions but Harry took note of all of the names and knew he would check on them all as surreptitiously as possible. And with his constantly growing powers as Master of Death, he could be incredibly surreptitious.
Finally, Albus started to bring the meeting to a close, but Rolanda Hooch spoke up. “Before we dismiss for the summer, I would like to know about Argus. Is he returning?”
Albus sighed. “I am working to get his release from Ministry holding. I still cannot understand why he was at that rally demonstration thing. He has a very good job in a magical school, his family didn’t disown him, they educated him themselves rather than abandoning him in the muggle world when they realized his – condition.”
Minerva rolled her eyes. “It was a march for squibs rights, Albus. And Argus is a squib. A fairly prominent one among other squibs due to his job here and his family situation. The Ministry overreacted and because they don’t like the idea of equal rights, they began cursing them. When several retaliated with thrown rocks, knives, and that one had a gun – Argus didn’t participate in the violence, he said, but the squibs didn’t start the fight. The Ministry claims they did, but witnesses, including witches and wizards who were nearby, claim otherwise. You need to open your eyes to how things are changing, Albus. There is a social revolution going on, on a number of levels, you should see the insanity that such has been in the muggle world. The idea of civil rights is not going away.”
“Hmmm. Things will work out and I am sure the DMLE will release Argus into my custody.”
“He didn’t do anything wrong to have to be in anyone’s custody but his own, Albus!”
“Of course, of course. Now, Minerva, if you will—”
Emma Xavier who taught Runes interrupted. “Things are very odd out there, Albus. I live in a mixed village in Wiltshire. Just around 800 people, about sixty percent magical. Well, it was that ratio in September. But I got letters from several of my friends, over the past year there have been quite a few muggle deaths in the village, not just old people or accidents. Obviously magical killings. Over sixty muggles have died in nine months, most of them related to a magical, a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or some such. People are saying it’s the pureblood maniacs, hating the rise of this equality for muggleborns and half-bloods and others.”
Minerva nodded. “Yes, I’ve heard disturbing things, as well. We’re so insulated from the world here at Hogwarts. Unless the Prophet reports on it, things are just different here and we don’t know what the regular witch or wizard is seeing. Ones that live in the midst of muggles.”
Emma nodded. “There was even a werewolf attack in March.”
“A werewolf attack? Are they alright?” asked Pomona.
Emma smiled. “Yes, they lived. And they were given the cure that WERSIC & Co released three years ago. But still, it was horrible.”
Everyone nodded. Harry inwardly smiled. That cure was something he had brought with him from the future. Once he and Severus were settled and things were going well, he had created a company to hide that he was involved in such things. Wand of Elder Resurrection Stone Invisibility Cloak or WERSIC. He found it funny, even if no one would ever know what it stood for but him.
Albus smiled tightly. “Yes, yes, that was a wonderful invention. And allows children to not have to live with a horrible curse. But now, I think we should focus back on school matters. I know everyone wants to leave for their summer holiday, so Minerva has the schedule for the school’s deadlines. Minerva?”
“Yes, well, I need your book and supply lists by July 5 so that I can send out lists to new and returning students. Please remember to break it down by year. Then I will need your syllabi broken by class year and lesson plans for each major portion of your curriculum by August 20. For our new professors, although you don’t need to be living in the castle until the morning of September 1, after the Hogwarts Express has left for its journey here, your office and classrooms need to be ready as you want them by August 28. We will have a teachers meeting on August 30 and a full staff meeting on August 31. If you have any special requests for the configuration of your classroom, either before the school year begins or as it goes along, let me know and I will make sure the house elves see you for your instructions in a timely manner. Is there anything else school related before we dismiss?”
Septima Vector spoke up, “Yes, I would like to address the reason we lost the Defense professor. This is school related, Headmaster! I know the doings that we learned of were not illegal as the students were of age, and he wasn’t directly any of their professor. However, did anyone question him as to other liaisons he may have had that didn’t result in pregnancy? I highly doubt his seed is so fertile that every partner catches. How do we know he didn’t just get lucky and none of his possibly underage or direct students are pregnant? And how do we keep this from happening again?”
Minerva looked down at the table and scowled. “No, he wasn’t questioned about other partners. Albus felt it wasn’t necessary and he had learned his lesson by losing his job.”
“I was less concerned with the predator and more concerned with his victims, actually, Minerva. Those children could be traumatized by finding out his activities with so many others.”
“Hmph. Well, hopefully, if there were others, they learned a lesson.”
“And what lesson is that, professor?” Asked Hadrian. “Adults are untrustworthy and uncaring?”
“No. That they should keep their hormones under control.”
Harry shook his head, and Septima rolled her eyes. “You are so very puritanical, Minerva.” The arithmancy professor groaned. “An adult who should have been able to be trusted betrayed them and used them for his own ends. And you blame the children, of age or not, and not the beast that preyed on them.”
Albus smacked the table lightly with his hand. “Yes, well, people have differing opinions on matters. And as for the children, well,” Albus’ nose twitched, and his eyes dimmed their habitual twinkle. “Two of the students that were affected were from somewhat prominent families and brought attention to the issue. When school resumes, every student will be taken to Madame Pomfrey for a health scan and two healers from Saint Mungo’s will be arriving to give each year, separated by gender, a talk about such things. I am told that the first through third years will be a much shorter talk, I assume due to their ages.”
Hadrian leaned forward and looked at the headmaster. “No, it is because they have all had over a year, minimum, of primary school. The first class, the rising fourth years here, only received a half year at primary and there were other focuses than sexual education. But in a full year curriculum it is part of the health and wellness course. The type of information provided is expanded as they get older, of course, but even the youngest get a hygiene course and an explanation on private parts of the body and who should and should not touch them there and how.”
Pomona looked at him. “Really? Why would they need to know that?”
Hadrian sighed. “It is an issue. In the muggle world and the magical one there are people who prefer to have sex with young children. And these predators can be good about convincing the children that it isn’t wrong for the to do this. The primary schools teach them that it is never okay. Whether the adult is a stranger, a teacher, a healer, or a family member.”
“That’s horrible. It can’t be common in the wizarding world.”
“Not common. It isn’t common in the muggle world either. But it does happen. And in the magical world, they have more ways to hide it, from healing potions to tricking the child into making a vow. They rarely use obliviation in such cases because it destroys all of the grooming of the child they did and they like long term victims. But those who like to simply force a child do use it. Though, those magicals most likely find their victims in the muggle world.”
Albus huffed. “Well, regardless, as I said, we will be having healers here to speak to our students about these matters in the coming year. If any student comes to one of you with questions, refer them to Madame Pomfrey.”
Emma leaned forward. “Can you tell us, Lord Peverell, what else do the primary schools teach exactly? I don’t believe we all understand it. I know I didn’t realize it was so – diverse. I knew from that first class that they were taught writing and numbers, it was glaringly obvious but -”
Filius cleared his throat. “Pardon me, but is it really that big of a difference? I had heard about the new magical primary day school system, of course, but I didn’t know it had made a discernible difference that quickly. They have only been around a couple of years, haven’t they?”
Septima chuckled. “Oh, it was discernible, alright. That first class that had all been to primary for at least a few months? When I read the first homework assignments, I thought I had grabbed a fourth-year stack by mistake. The parchments were all neat, no ink blotches, no scribbles, no smears, the handwriting was legible on them all, and the essays were logical and structured well. They weren’t all Outstandings, but compared to normal? Yes, it was different. But Lord Peverell knows more, I’m sure. He was one of the main creators of the system.
Hadrian nodded to her and looked around the table. “Just to provide a brief history, the Wizengamot passed the laws for the creation of the primary day school system and its standardized curriculum in the early fall of 1967. By the end of December, twelve primary schools were built and ready across the UK. They opened to students from ages five to those turned eleven after September 1st in early January of 1968. Each class has a population of nine to fifteen students. Students can floo, be side-apparated, or take a school purposed equivalent of the Knight Bus every morning and afternoon. Muggleborns all chose the bus option. The day starts at 8 in the morning and finishes at 3 in the afternoon. The school year runs Monday through Friday from the first Monday in September, unless that falls on the first of the month, to the second Friday in June with ten day long breaks at the end of December and the middle of March.
“The schools teach the basics, of course, how to read, how to write with a pencil – a graphite stick – and a quill, how to count and do basic mathematics, how to control their emotions and magic to cut down on incidents of accidental magic requiring the Obliviators. They also teach both muggle and magical history, muggle science basics, potion basics like preparing ingredients and practicing stirring and color shades, health and wellness as I said earlier, but which also includes physical fitness and eating healthy, how to think logically, how to write an essay as they get closer to upper schooling years, Latin and Ancient Greek, art and music both magical and muggle, creativity in writing versus fact based writing like journalism, muggle current events and culture, including things like styles of clothing and transport and amusement, magical culture, including current events and styles, religions, covens, conclaves, and rituals.”
“Really?” Filius bounced in his seat. “You teach muggleborns the Old Ways? Or just classes with purebloods only?”
Hadrian smiled at his former future Charms professor. “There is no such thing. All classes are created so that they are a good mix of pureblood, magical raised half-bloods, muggle-raised half-bloods, and muggleborn. Some are slightly more weighted one way or another, but none have a huge majority of any one type.”
Hadrian nodded. “Yes, and it brings to mind a recent law passed, or rather, one that will be enforced where it wasn’t previously. I don’t know if Headmaster Dumbledore informed you of it when it was decided in the Wizengamot in February. If Hogwarts wants to keep its charter and continue to operate as a school with sanction from the Ministry and the ICW, they must cease discrimination.”
Minerva drew up and Harry could practically see her animagus form around her. “We don’t discriminate! Muggleborns are treated very well in Hogwarts.”
“It wasn’t about how you treat muggleborns. Rather the opposite. You go so far in trying to cater to muggle sensibilities that you discriminate against those who practice religions that the muggles don’t. You’ve even changed school feasts to be more muggle. October 31 is not even an actual holiday in the muggle world in the UK. And yet, you have a Halloween feast with bats and skeletons and sweets, attendance at which is mandatory for all students, which discriminates against those who celebrate Samhain. Christmas, not Yule. You understand. You must allow each child to worship as they will, not force your will upon them. It is the law. Just as Hogwarts cannot turn away based on blood status, they cannot stop legal religious practices.”
Albus scowled. “I would have brought it up in August, my boy. We will, of course, comply with the law. Now, everyone have a pleasant summer holiday.”
Harry and Severus were at the breakfast table one morning in mid-July. There was nothing particularly special about the day, it wasn’t a holiday or anyone’s birthday. It was a normal summer day. Or, it would have been, mused Harry, if yesterday’s mail hadn’t brought Severus’ school supply letter. Severus had received his acceptance letter shortly before his eleventh birthday, but the school supply lists went out in their own batch in mid-summer. If the student had a summer birthday, then they received both at once, as Harry had once upon a time in the future that no longer was.
So, as per previous plans, today would be school supply shopping in Diagon Alley. Severus had been to Diagon Alley before. He had even bought school supplies for primary. But this, regardless of what else Harry changed, this was a huge day for young British magicals. Today, Severus Prince Peverell would claim his first wand.
Harry looked across the table at Severus as he tried to eat his breakfast with manners, and not simply scarf it down. His son was nearly vibrating in his seat as he held himself properly over his plate of soft-boiled eggs, toast, and bacon.
Harry sipped his morning tea slowly and waited for his son to break. He knew it wouldn’t be much longer. Once Severus was done his repast, Harry had a bet with himself regarding how long it would be before the child broke through the desperately-wanting-to-be-seen-as-mature facade that Severus wore when his emotions were high.
No matter how old or in what timeline, Severus always had a poker face. The effectiveness of said poker face may vary with his age but he always tried to keep his emotions off his face. Severus did not wear his heart on his sleeve, as they say. It was a skill learned early from Tobias and Eileen and never unlearned, no matter how much better his life had become otherwise. And the fact that primary taught the basics of occlumency to help students focus their minds and their magic, didn’t help the matter.
But Harry knew his son. He knew that Severus had emotions, strong ones, and that once he didn’t have something directly in front of him to focus on, those emotions, and the impatience that they brought, would break through the mask and Severus would show the excited eleven-year-old on his first trip for Hogwarts supplies.
Harry took the last bite of his own toast as Severus drained his milk glass. Severus placed his glass down and removed his napkin from his lap, patting his lips, as his gaze met Harry’s over the teacup once more at Harry’s mouth. Severus bit his lip as Harry slowly sipped his cooling tea and counted in his head. Before his internal count hit twenty, the boy broke.
“Aren’t you done yet, Dad? We’re going to Diagon Alley today! We have lots to buy and we’re meeting Lily and Jack and Fredericus and Pralina after lunch at Fortescue’s, remember?”
Harry lowered his empty cup and smiled. “I know, Sev. You made sure that the elves woke you at five this morning so you wouldn’t oversleep and miss it. And you made sure to make noise outside my door so I would join you in your wakefulness by half-past five. As a matter of fact, the clock just chimed seven. I know you’re excited, but while Gringotts is open around the clock, the shops don’t open until eight. So I suggest you go wash up, make your bed, and pick out what robes you want to wear today. We’ll leave around half-past seven and make a stop at the bank. By the time we’re done there, the shops should be open, alright? Get moving.”
Severus stood and nearly toppled his chair in his haste. He blushed as he righted it. “Sorry. Thank you, Dad.”
“Sure thing, your highness. See you in a few.”
Severus scowled at the nickname and hurried from the room. Harry cleaned himself up with his napkin and chuckled. He loved teasing his son with variations of playing on his mother’s maiden name, which Severus took as his middle name when the adoption finalized.
The boy didn’t understand the full extent of Harry’s amusement at the ongoing joke, and wouldn’t for years, but Harry never let it go. He used it so much that some of Severus’ friends had even picked up on it and begun using it occasionally.
Half an hour later, the Peverell father and son were in a Gringotts cart headed for their vault. Even after so many years, Harry loved the adrenaline rush and Severus enjoyed it, too. You’d never think it to look at him but Severus’ favorite ride at the muggle amusement parks they sometimes visited were the roller coasters. Harry couldn’t wait for him to try the inversion coasters in another few years.
Harry timed it right, and by the time their visit to the bank was completed – and some of Severus’ nerves were soothed by the cart ride – the shops of Diagon Alley were opening for business. Harry insisted that their first stop be the one they both liked least – clothing – more specifically, Madam Malkin’s for Severus’ school uniform robes. Severus grimaced but agreed, and to his surprise and pleasure, on the stool next to him was his best friend Lily Evans, getting her uniform measured.
“Sev, hey! You must have been up early. The shop only opened six minutes ago.” Lily smiled.
Severus chuckled. “You were in here before me, so what time did you get up?”
Lily wrinkled her nose. “Early enough. We got the train to London yesterday and spent the night at the Leaky Cauldron. We’ll take the Knight Bus back home since I’ll have my wand to use to summon it.”
Severus frowned. “You could have just come over to the island, Dad would have side-alonged you, and we all could have flooed together.”
Lily shook her head. “Mum and Da would never have imposed like that. Besides, we came to London early, first thing yesterday morning, so Petunia could get some shopping for her school done, too. She never would have used the floo or want to be apparated. She isn’t even here with us. Da took her to meet with one of her school friends last night and she’s spending the day with them. It was a huge argument to get her to agree to take the Knight Bus to get home.”
Severus nodded and Harry inwardly sighed. It seemed that Petunia Evans just would never appreciate the fact that her little sister was a witch when she herself wasn’t. He had overheard Severus and Lily talk about it before and though she wasn’t as vicious as she had been in Severus’ future memories of his first timeline past, Petunia still had no desire to know about magic.
When they finally finished getting measured for their uniforms Severus and Lily said their goodbyes. While in other circumstances they might have asked to do their shopping together, today was different. For one thing, this was their first Hogwarts shopping trip which was a rite of passage for young magicals in the UK. For another, they would be meeting up later in the afternoon with some other friends at Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor.
As they exited the robe shop, Severus turned pleading eyes on Harry. “Flourish and Blotts next?”
Harry chuckled. “No. Bookstore last or we’ll never get the rest done before the stores close for the day.”
Severus pouted for a moment before he sighed and nodded. “Okay. Then, what’s next?”
“Well, I think the best stop would be to get your trunk and book bag. You can use your old book bag if you want but I think a new one would be best. And a trunk, of course, can’t carry your uniforms in your school bag. Cobbler for your shoes and gloves, since Malkin’s doesn’t work with dragonhide. Then we can hit the various odds and ends stores for things like your telescope and parchment, quills, and ink. Apothecary for potions ingredients and supplies, Ollivander’s to get you your wand, then finally the bookstore. And doing things in that order is not only efficient but it allows you to get used to using your trunk and bag as your orders get placed there after each store. Including the trip back to Malkin’s before we leave the Alley to pick up your order.”
Severus pursed his lips. “Okay. That sounds logical, Dad. Let’s go.”
It was a long morning, but after two hours, Severus’ new cherry trunk – three compartments, books, clothing, and drawers, compete with auto-sizing, expanded space, organizational charms, and basic password security with magical signature identification – was filled with various supplies. The order of shopping had changed a bit, as Harry could see through the door that Ollivander’s actually had a line of three children waiting to be measured. They went to the apothecary where Severus had convinced Harry to get him extra ingredients. Severus wasn’t as focused on potions as Harry’s first life – they connected too heavily to Eileen in the boy’s mind which was not a good association this time around – but he was still a potential master and enjoyed brewing and experimenting, within reason for his age.
When they returned to the wand maker’s shop, the child who had been last in line was leaving the shop, admiring the pine wand in his hand. Harry grinned as he held the door for his son, and they entered the magic filled shop.
Ollivander was standing behind the counter and gave them his creepy smile. “Lord Peverell. Young Mister Peverell.”
Hadrian inclined his head. “Master Ollivander.”
Severus drew his shoulders back and stared the old man right in the face. “Mister Ollivander, I’ve come to find my wand.”
Ollivander chuckled creepily. “Of course you have, young sir. Why else would an eleven year old be in my shop?” A measuring tape wound its way around Severus’ body as he held out his right hand, knowing from primary what was needed. “Normally I would discuss your parent’s wand while I measured you but alas, I didn’t sell it to him. A very powerful wand, that I can tell you, very interesting.”
Ollivander began to take boxes down from his shelves. “So busy this time of year, so many first wands. And I recall each one I’ve ever sold. They go out into the world in the hands of eager young boys and girls and they learn along with their wizard or witch. The wand chooses the wizard, Mister Peverell. Always, always, always. The wand chooses the wizard one way or another.”
He held out a box to the boy. “Holly and dragon heartstring, 9 ½ inches, rigid. Pick it up, give it a wave.”
Severus’ fingers barely even closed around the handle when the wand jerked from his hand and the lid slapped shut.
“No, most decidedly not. Odd, I’ve not gotten one so wrong in quite some time. Not a bit right with that.” He slid another box forward. “Unicorn hair and Silver lime, 8 inches, supple.”
Severus was able to pick the wand up but waving it just produced a light wind.
“No, not that one either, but something was right. Hmm.”
Harry stood back and observed as Severus tried wand after wand and Ollivander’s smile grew. Pine, beech, walnut, hickory, willow, spruce, bendy, springy, swishy, supple, whippy, hard, various lengths. Until at last, Ollivander pursed his lips and peered at Severus piercingly. After two minutes of this unrelenting stare, Ollivander’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.
He came around to the front of the counter and walked to the front window of the store. He reached into the display and under the pillow and pulled out a wand. He turned around and handed it to Severus. “See what that makes of you, young man.”
Severus’ hand closed around the handle and he closed his eyes as a light glowed around him. He had found his wand.
Ollivander hummed. “Very interesting, Mister Peverell. Very interesting. Hawthorn and unicorn hair with a vein of mithril running around the handle, 10 ½ inches, hard but not rigid. Very special wand, made quite some time ago, waiting all these many years for you. I look forward to your future, Mister Peverell. Very much indeed.”
Severus bit his lip and looked at Harry with uncertainty. Harry smiled and nodded at him and the boy relaxed. “Thank you, Master Ollivander.”
Harry purchased the wand and a dragon hide wand holster for Severus’ arm and they left. Severus looked at Harry. “I don’t understand, Dad. Why – my wand—”
Harry placed his hand on Severus’ shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, Severus. Ollivander makes his reputation by being creepy and cryptic and odd. I think it comes from being saturated in so much unaffiliated magic every day.”
“So, I’m not weird?”
“You are a normal wizard, eleven years old, ready to start Hogwarts. And on his way to the bookstore. I will get your school list and you can get your extra reading. Seven non-fiction, reference books, and no more than ten fiction, Severus. We’ll take a trip to the muggle bookstore for more fiction later in the summer.”
Severus sighed. “Fine.”
It was late August and Harry was back at Hogwarts to ready his classroom and office. It was earlier than the deadline of the 28th by over a week but Harry chose this day because he knew for sure Albus would not be in the castle. It was the next to last scheduled day for the summer session of the ICW. And Albus would need to be there all day long. It gave Harry hours to get things done without the worry of those twinkling blue eyes.
Harry did plan to make sure his office and classroom were ready, but he could always come back, if necessary, to finish that. He’d sent his requests for furniture set-up and such things weeks ago, so it should just be a matter of tweaking things and adding personal touches. When he had arrived, Minerva had thanked him for his clear syllabi and lesson plans and given him a basic map of the castle and grounds and his patrol schedule, though she warned that could be subject to change before the 1st.
So now, Harry was wandering the halls, seemingly following the map, making tick marks on it for the location of broom closets and trick doors, “discovering” a few of the secret passages that were more obvious than the rest, slowly and inexorably wandering to a specific wing of the seventh floor, a wing empty of portraits but with some tapestries, including one of Barnabas the Barmy trying to teach trolls to dance ballet.
Upon his arrival, he paced back and forth in front of the blank wall across from the tapestry and after the third pass, a door appeared. Harry opened the door and slipped inside, and the door disappeared behind him. Surrounding him were towering stacks of furniture and various detritus that had been lost or abandoned or hidden over the centuries at Hogwarts.
Harry wandered the aisles, marveling at the immensity, overhearing in its echo of the length of history embodied in the school. No matter how many times he saw this configuration of the room, it always amazed him. After a bit of wandering, Harry found the diadem that Tom desecrated with a torn piece of his soul.
Over the past five years since he had arrived in this time, Harry had discovered several interesting powers that seemed to accompany his Master of Death title. He had still not seen hide nor hair nor bone nor scythe of a literal personification of death, but he dreamed of himself doing things, and when he attempted them once awake, they worked.
One of the most interesting – and for his current purpose, most important – was the ability to move souls – or fragments of souls as the case may be. He first used this power when he visited the cave by the seaside that had once – would have once – house the locket horcrux. He knew that Tom had used Kreacher in 1979 to test the potion protection in the basin on the underground lake, but Harry had not been sure if that was when he placed the horcrux there or if it had been a final piece of the puzzle. Kreacher said that Tom had placed the locket in the basin after the potion had been drunk by the poor elf, but it could have already been in the cave.
When Harry went there, the cave entrance was sealed, waiting to be opened by blood. Harry had gone inside, found the lake, and the boat, but most of the deadliest parts of the trap were missing. There were less than a dozen inferi resting in the water. But the island in the center held a box with a withering curse and within the box was the locket.
Harry had reached out to pick up the foul thing and when his hand neared it, it tingled. Harry recalled a dream from a few weeks before and decided to give it a try. He laid the index finger of his wand hand on the locket, and with his mind called for the soul piece to come forth and exit the container that housed it. After a few seconds of struggle, it obeyed and hovered in the air above the closed locket. Harry had lifted his finger and wrapped his hand around the pulsing red ball. As he closed his fist, the fragment vanished, and Harry knew that it had moved on into limbo.
Harry had replaced the feel of Tom’s magic around the locket, reset the trapped box, and left the way he had come. He hadn’t wanted to leave signs of his presence. It was obvious by the lack of inferi that Tom would return to this cave many times in the coming years to completely fill the lake with them. Harry didn’t want to be cocky and assume he wouldn’t check on the locket’s presence each time. It wouldn’t do for the dark idiot to make new horcruxes that Harry didn’t know about because he knew someone was after his current ones.
Some experimentation with the power showed Harry that he had no control over souls within a living host. Or, to be accurate, a living body holding a single soul was safe from his power. Possessions – as Quirrelmort from Harry’s 1st year in 1991 – was different and he had freed several people from unwilling possessions by other souls. He could also force ghosts to cross over with a bit of willpower put into his touch. He also called souls forth from within all of the dementors of Azkaban when he visited there under Death’s Invisibility no-longer-a-physical-cloak. Harry believed that he might actually be able to destroy those foul, evil things, but it wasn’t time to try yet.
For now, Harry sent the soul fragment within the diadem on to limbo with others from the locket and the ring. He still had not decided what to do with the priceless relic. It would be far too suspicious for him, a new professor, to claim he found it while wandering the school, whether today or in the future. He felt horrible on a number of levels just leaving it here to be lost forever. Perhaps he could plant it somewhere for some intrepid explorers to find, hidden in an obscure secret passage behind failing charms and wards. He would think on it further. For now, Harry ambled back towards his classroom, making more notations on the map.
Harry finished placing his books and lesson plans in a warded bookcase in his office, and looked around. It was well set up. His desk was a warm cherry with a comfortable office chair behind it and two slightly less comfortable straight back chairs in front of it. His more advanced books and materials were either in the warded bookcase behind his desk or in the locked and warded desk drawers. An open bookcase was near the door with the more basic books within it. The walls had abstract art paintings that were warded against portrait wanderers. The final touch was the wizarding photographs of Severus on the corner of his desk.
He nodded in satisfaction and walked out onto the balcony overlooking the classroom. Harry had always found this room ridiculous. The balcony never failed to make him think of Romeo and Juliet, and considering his office was up here, the inference displeased him. He shook his head in amusement at his own inner absurdity. He wasn’t sure if this was something that the house elves were able to change but he would ask them. Harry would much prefer to have his office on the same level as the classroom, possibly next door, but at least no steps and balcony.
The rest of the room was configured as he had requested. The desks were in a large single row horseshoe shape with his teacher’s desk a few feet from the open end. There were two large chalkboards to either side of the desk, like wings. There were pictures on the wall of wand movements and spell fire, as well as some magical creatures that would be dealt with in his class rather than Professor Kettleburn’s class. The difference, of course, being that his class learned to subdue them or escape them while the other learned to take care of them and keep them alive. Domestication was the key, something that Hagrid had never quite grasped in Harry’s future past. Draco’s query in fourth year had been rudely put and asked simply to goad Hagrid, but it had been a legitimate question to ask for that class. What good were Blast-Ended Skrewts? The answer: they had no use. Even years later, no one had found use in any of their parts, even for potions. If the skrewt had existed in nature before Hagrid bred them, they would have been covered in DADA, not Care. They were unable to be domesticated and had no practical use.
To the side of the classroom near the balcony, there was a door which Harry was quick to inspect. It led to a full-sized dueling room, complete with mats, mirrors, and dummies, exactly as he had pictured. It was somewhat reminiscent of the Dumbledore’s Army configuration of the Room of Requirement. Harry shook off the memories the room provoked and headed back into the classroom. He took a seat behind the teacher’s desk and looked across the horseshoe. He could see every seat, and under every desk, from here.
Harry knew from his own time as a student that teachers needed to keep an eye out. And considering his first-year classes would hold the Marauders, even if they never became such a group now, they were still handfuls on their own. Harry wondered how the changes in each of their lives would impact their Hogwarts years. He’d met each of them, some briefly, some for longer, due to his lecture circuit of the primary schools. However, he had made sure when planning with Jonder, that each past-perhaps-future Marauder attended a different primary school. Sirius attended the school just outside of London, Remus was in Dorset, Pettigrew was in Cornwall, and James was in Wales. Severus, living primarily in the middle of Morecambe Bay was close enough to Manchester, and therefore Cokeworth, to attend the same primary as Lily Evans. And their friendship had formed once more, though as Harry had hoped, it was much less desperate on Severus’ part.
Each of the Marauders had been affected by the changes Harry’s time travel had created, though two of them more profoundly than the other two. James had been called on his spoiled attitude and learned to reign it in at school to an extent. Peter had been brought out of his shell a bit and taught to stand up to bullies. Remus had been a recipient of the werewolf cure and was now a normal wizard, though his sense of smell was still slightly enhanced, and the scars remained.
Sirius, though, it could be argued that his was the most profound change of the four. When the Blacks were forced to send their sons to primary, by law, and by patriarch Lord Arcturus Black’s command, the school discovered curse damage on the two boys. It wasn’t childish accidental magic residue or something else fairly innocuous. It was the remains of several illegal and borderline illegal dark curses, including the Cruciatus. Child Services was called in along with the aurors and an investigation revealed that Walburga Black was responsible. She was arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to Azkaban for life.
Orion Black petitioned for and was granted a ritual divorce. He had been forced to marry his cousin and family magic cast on him by his grandfather had ensured that he would remain with her. The magic, not just dark but utterly black, had twisted his personality and magic, nearly a form of Imperius. Walburga had reinforced the directive four times a year on each solstice and equinox. With the divorce, Orion was able to cleanse himself, the London townhouse and the family magic well of the taint.
The family magic had lashed out in response once Orion had been healthy once more. Several of the Blacks from Walburga’s branch were stripped of their connection to the family magics and lost much of their power. A few younger members of the family had their minds cleared of the so-called Black Madness, though not all of them.
Sirius and Regulus were healed of their curse damage caused by their mother and taken care of by this new man their father had become, the man Orion had been before he was forcefully betrothed to Walburga.
Harry wondered how things would be different in the Marauders-to-be once they arrived. Where would they sort?
James Potter – Harry was sure he was still headed for the lions.
Sirius – he had learned that Slytherin and pureblood didn’t equal evil, that houses and families had good and bad people and he hadn’t needed to learn to be so brash and daring to survive. So perhaps the lions again but perhaps the snakes or even the eagles. His mind was quite sharp when he applied himself, both in primary and in Harry’s memories.
Remus – he had spent years fighting the wolf inside, but it had been gone for a time now. And his brain, it had always been his defining characteristic beyond the pull of the moon. So lion or eagle?
Peter – his sorting had always baffled Harry. He wasn’t brave, daring, or courageous. The Peter that was had been cowardly, sneaky, and disloyal. He wasn’t really smart, and he wasn’t hard working – twelve years as a house pet known for being able to sleep anywhere. But he did have a sly cunning and ambition. How was he not sorted to Slytherin? He wasn’t muggleborn.
An idea occurred to Harry. Peter wasn’t the only odd sort that he had come across in his previous life. Hermione was really not a good fit for Gryffindor, at least not until much later in her life than first year. Draco was really more of a brash lion than a sly snake. Goyle wasn’t cunning or ambitious but he was loyal. Ron was ambitious, as were Percy, Fred, and George.
Could Dumbledore have gone that far? Yes. Harry rolled his eyes at himself. Of course, he could. But did he? One way to find out and he’s not in the castle today to stop me!
Harry and Severus disembarked from the Knight Bus and walked into King’s Cross Station. They were going the muggle way rather than flooing so that Severus would have the experience and know the way if he needed it in the future. As they approached the pillar between the muggle platforms 9 and 10, Harry heard echoes in his head:
What’s the platform number, again?
Best go at a bit of a run if you’re nervous.
He shook it off and focused on the present, not the never future. Severus led the way, his trunk shrunk in his pocket. Primary had a special class near the end of the year for those who would be going to Hogwarts in the fall and had shown maps and pictures of the station. Severus stopped five feet from the portal and glanced back at Harry. Harry nodded and smiled. “Go on, I’ll meet you on the other side.”
Severus nodded and stepped up to the pillar. He glanced around and when he saw no one paying attention he strode through the portal, head high, back straight, at an early version of his future stalk, the only thing missing the flaring robes. But Harry had seen him take a deep breath in and hold it as he passed through. Harry walked up and through the portal and entered the bustle of Platform 9 ¾. They weren’t Weasley family late – five minutes or less to spare – but they weren’t insanely early either. The platform was pleasantly full of families saying goodbye for months.
Severus waited for Harry to catch up and then pointed out his friends, Lily and Pralina, and their families near the middle of the platform. They went to meet them, and Severus greeted his friends while Harry turned to the adults, saying his hellos.
“The day is here, they’re off to Hogwarts.”
Lily’s mother, Daisy, nodded. “I can’t believe it. I mean, she’s been going to magical primary every day for over three years, but this is so different, so much more magical.”
Pralina Herrington’s father, Reginald, a half-blood, smiled. “For them, too. I never went to a magical primary, didn’t have them back in the dark ages when I was young, but the first trip on the Hogwarts Express is a special thing. It signals the transition from young child to adolescent. I worry for them but that’s a father’s job, I think. Or a mother’s.”
The other parents nodded. Harry sighed. “Well, don’t tell the kids, Severus knows but has been sworn to silence, I’ll be around to keep an eye on the tykes. I’ve been hired to take the vacant Defense Against the Dark Arts professorship. I can’t play favorites, but I’ll be there to watch over them and make sure you’re all kept in the loop of the going ons. And I’ll nag them to write at least once a week.”
Daisy smiled. “Oh, that’s so wonderful, to have someone I know, someone who knows our kids, there with them. I’m sure Severus will be properly mortified by his dad teaching his classes, but it isn’t like he hasn’t had the experience before.”
“Well, I’ve done the lecture circuit thing but not been his primary teacher.” Harry paused, his brow furrowed at what he had said. “No pun intended. So, it won’t be quite the same and he understands that in class and other formal interactions that I will be Professor Peverell. It’ll be weird for me, too, but I think it’ll be good to get an insider’s view of Hogwarts and how it is working – or not, as the case may be. Educational reform, that’s me.”
Reginald tilted his head. “Good point. There have been some odd rumors floating about the past few years. You’ve streamlined the pre-Hogwarts schooling, now you’re taking on the old girl herself. Let me or Jonder know if you need anything from our departments.”
“Always, my friend.”
Severus and his friends broke off their conversation as the rest of their pack, Jack and Fredicus, appeared. The groups broke apart into family groupings once more and Harry embraced his son. “I know this isn’t for long but it will be different in a few hours.”
“I know, Dad. I feel so odd, like homesick but we’ve barely left home and you’ll be there.”
“But I’ll be in my rooms, which while they have a bedroom for you, if needed, won’t be occupied often. You’ll be up in one of the towers or down in the dungeons. In a dorm with others in your House and year. That’s new. You don’t like change, Severus. You never have, you fear it will be a bad change, one that you can’t control. But you have friends, they’ll be in your year, in classes with you, one or more possibly in your House. And you’ll make new friends, and see old faces who you weren’t close with in primary but may become closer with now at Hogwarts. Just follow your heart and consult your brain. Be logical and don’t ignore what your magic is telling you. You’re growing up, my little prince, and it’s a scary thing. But no matter what you face in the future, good or bad, I’ll always be there for you. You’re my son. I chose you to be part of my family and gave you your place in our Family Magic. I love you, Severus Prince Peverell.”
Severus hugged Harry hard around his waist, his long arms just enough to reach, where not long ago they couldn’t. He sniffled and whispered. “I love you, too, Dad.”
Harry held onto the boy for a few more seconds, reluctant to let the moment go. At last he brushed Severus’ hair behind his ears and kissed his forehead. “Now, enough rampant emotionalism. There’s a time and a place and frankly, this was one of them. But the train’s about to leave in less than ten minutes and you all should get a compartment and get settled in before it starts moving. Have a good trip and be open to making friends and try not to make any enemies, okay?”
Severus nodded and straightened his back, his chin lifting. “I’ll see you soon, Dad.”
“That you will.”
Severus turned and headed towards the train steps, his friends joining him soon after. Those with full-sized trunks were assisted by Severus and Fredicus, both of whose were shrunk. Reginald cast feather light charms, and the children climbed aboard the train. After a few minutes, a window one car down opened, and they waved as the train began to move down the track. Harry waved goodbye to his son, hoping his first trip went better than Severus’ first trip in the previous timeline or Harry’s own first trip – bullies finding a new target, false friendships, and rejected friendships leading to bitter rivalry.
Harry slid into a seat at the head table in the Great Hall. Other than Dumbledore, who sat on the throne-like chair in the center of the table, the professors didn’t have assigned seats, though many did have preferred ones. And when Hagrid ate in the Great Hall he always sat on the end on a reinforced chair. Several of the teachers were already there when Harry arrived, and he chose a seat between Emma Xavier and Filius Flitwick near the end of the table by the Gryffindor table. His other choices either put him next to Slughorn – someone he wanted to avoid as long as possible – or near Dumbledore – some place he had no desire to be. Also, Harry figured that he and Filius would be expected to gravitate to one another, both being new professors, which Harry didn’t mind at all. He had always liked Filius, though he wished the other man was more attentive to the bullying in his House when he was Head.
The Great Hall began to fill up with the returning students and many of the younger years gaped when they caught sight of him. His presence and presumed job were spreading quickly through the gossiping hoard, from the younger years who had him as a guest lecturer in their primary schools, to the older ones via older siblings or overheard remarks. Harry simply smiled and ignored it.
Minerva emerged from the staff room behind the table and placed the stool and Sorting Hat in front of the staff table. She then walked down the center of the middle aisle and as she passed the talking died down to whispers which slowly faded when the main doors opened, and she led the lines of firsties to the front.
Harry recognized all sixty-three of them. He knew some of them more than others, either through Severus or through his future past life. He recalled how he felt when he waited in the much smaller group during his first trip to Hogwarts. He was so nervous, convinced he wouldn’t be sorted and would have to return to the Dursleys. Yet he still argued with the Sorting Hat to keep him out of Slytherin and away from Draco Malfoy, already his schoolyard enemy.
As he listened to the song sung by the sentient hat, he mused on how different its songs were. This one was basic and straightforward, much like the song from Harry’s first year, no cryptic warnings or ominous messages. He was extremely curious where some specific students would be sorted. And he looked forward to Dumbledore’s frustration, as the magics he and others had put on the Hat over the centuries had been stripped from it weeks ago during a stealthy trip to the Headmaster’s office, not to mention the ward he had weaved to prevent it from ever happening again.
Minerva unrolled the scroll and called out, “Alminster, Curran!”
A young boy with straight blond hair slid onto the stool and after fifteen seconds, the Hat called, “Ravenclaw!”
Harry watched a so young version of his godfather take a seat on the stool and disappear under the brim. Harry knew that the first time around Sirius had been sitting there for quite some time before he got his way to avoid Slytherin. He wondered if his mother’s arrest and conviction would change his desires, or how it had affected his personality. Harry’s eyebrow raised minutely when after only six seconds on the head, the Hat cried, “Hufflepuff!”
Sirius always was loyal, to a fault, sometimes, like the dog that was his animagus form. His loyalty to Dumbledore and Peter Pettigrew got him locked up for over a decade and eventually killed.
The sorting continued on and on, the tables filling, Severus’ friends among them, all but one having names in the first half of the alphabet.
Harry watched as his mother walked to the stool in response to the call, “Evans, Lily!” She remained under the hat for a good thirty seconds, her head tilting slightly seven seconds in – Harry was counting. At last, the free hat opened its mouth, “Ravenclaw!”
Herrington, Pralina went to Slytherin while Grant, Jack ended up in Hufflepuff. Then more students Harry recognized but didn’t really know. Before the former werewolf, “Lupin, Remus!” was called to take his turn. Less than three seconds later the Hat caroled out, “Ravenclaw!”
Two more snakes, a badger, and a lion were sorted when “Pettigrew, Peter!” rang out. A brief seven seconds on the stool saw a yell of “Slytherin!” send the former -future? – rat to a different House.
Then, Harry’s son was called, “Peverell, Severus!”
Severus strode to the front of the hall and turned with a flourish to sit facing the students. The Hat dropped on his head and only Harry’s insider knowledge of his child revealed to him Severus’ nerves. To most others watching, his mask would be pureblood perfect. Twenty seconds Severus sat on the stool, awaiting his fate. Then, “Ravenclaw!”
Harry clapped slightly more vehemently for his son as he joined Lily and Remus at the table of the blue and gold. Just as Sirius escaping his abuse led to a new House, so too did Harry’s rescue of Severus from Tobias and Eileen. Severus still held some Slytherin traits, to be sure, but they weren’t as well developed, and he valued learning things more than cunning and the ambition to be better than his parents.
Plovertell, Mariven was sent to Slytherin and then Harry’s future father was called, “Potter, James!” James swaggered up the aisle, cocky and full of himself. His bullying at primary had been curtailed by his teachers but he was still incredibly spoiled by his parents and felt superior to basically everyone. And like a blond in Harry’s own first year, the Hat barely brushed James’ head when it sent him to his House.
The Marauders-that-once-were had been sorted and ironically, each went to a different House. Harry wondered how their interactions would develop now. Would they be friends at all? Enemies? Simply classmates? He doubted their group would form as before, the House separation too much of a divide to cross. But some of them might manage it.
The sorting continued for another twenty minutes, Gryffindor gaining two more male lions and three female, while Slytherin gained four female snakes and one male. Hufflepuff swelled with a further seven male badgers and five female, and Ravenclaw claimed three female eagles and one male. With a final call of “Yaverian, Fredicus!” Minerva rolled up her scroll and the boy was sorted into Slytherin.
Harry glanced at the headmaster as he stood to welcome everyone before calling for dinner and smiled. The old man’s arms were much more rigid than the normal fluid movements. It was a small tell but Harry enjoyed it. The Manipulator didn’t get his way and he was frustrated. But the students were where they belonged, where they were meant to be.
Hadrian stood at the front of his classroom on the first day of classes. His very first class would throw him into the deep end right off the bat. It was the 7th year mixed House NEWT level students. It was a fairly large class, percentage wise, for the size of their graduating class. Assuming no outside interference – such as death or worse, being expelled, and assuming no inside interference – failing out or dropping out, the current 7th years would graduate 68 strong. Of those 68, a whopping 24 were taking the NEWT DADA class. Nine Gryffindors, four Hufflepuffs, five Ravenclaws, and six Slytherins would take the test in June.
In his past, fourteen of them would become Death Eaters and three more unmarked but supportive spouses of marked Death Eaters. Harry planned to do his very best to change those statistics for the better. If he had his way the number would be zero. None of them were yet marked at this moment and locked onto that future path.
Tom Riddle didn’t start to mark un-graduated school children until the late 1970s. He just didn’t have the backing to do so until the war was more under way and the terror and his ideology had spread.
Harry had direct past interactions in his future with three of those in this class – Slytherins Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black to-be-Malfoy and Ravenclaw Quirinus Quirrell, who Harry actually killed in self-defense when he was eleven.
The classroom had been fixed as he had requested and the Shakespearean balcony that had led to the office was gone. The office was now on the same floor as the classroom and its door was behind his teaching desk.
The students entered and sat down in the horseshoe set-up by House, fairly automatically. The Gryffindors were on the one side nearest to him, with the Hufflepuffs next to them, followed by the Ravenclaws, and then the Slytherins directly across the horseshoe from the Gryffindors. Once seated at their desks there was no talking or taunting as Harry suspected the younger years might engage in – as he and his friends and enemies had when they were in school.
Once the class was seated, Harry flicked his hand, sans wand at the door and it closed. He smiled at the wide-eyed looks several of the class gave him and the considering looks from the Slytherin side.
After taking the roll, Hadrian stood in front of his desk and faced the class. “Welcome to your NEWT year Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Some of you may recognize me or know who I am. For those that don’t, my name is Hadrian Peverell, Lord Peverell. You may call me Professor Peverell, regardless of your station. I do not expect or require noble protocols to be followed in the classroom or school setting. If we meet socially or formally, obviously this rule does not apply.
“I know that you have had an odd time with this class. Your first three years you had the same instructor who then retired. Thereafter each year has had a new professor. This may have led to some things being missed through no fault of yourselves. This class meets three times a week. In our first month of classes, I will be doing mostly review of what you should have learned, spells and theory, in your first six years of instruction. Thereafter, we will focus on new material, plus intensive catch-up of anything the majority of the class didn’t know or didn’t grasp from previous years. I believe that every member of this class is capable of getting at least an E, if not an O, on their NEWT. Are there any questions, so far?”
Several hands went up and Hadrian pointed to one of the Ravenclaws, Quirrell to be precise. “You said that we would move on if the majority understood something. W-What if you aren’t in that majority?”
“This is a large class, Mister Quirrell, if there is a spell or theory that the majority understand, and we move on, but you aren’t in that majority, I have office hours posted and we can meet and discuss it. I also encourage the formation of study groups or the use of in-school tutors. I don’t have the time to individually tutor people intensively, however if a large portion of the minority are struggling with something, I can make time to have sessions with that group for that topic. I simply do not want to bog down the entire class because one or two cannot quite get something. You are all of age, you are adults in that sense, if you are serious about wanting to get a NEWT in this subject, you should know your resources by now. If you aren’t serious about it, feel free to drop out. The NEWT for this subject is not for the faint of heart.
“Let’s get started, shall we? This class is Defense Against the Dark Arts, so what are the Dark Arts?”
Several students raised their hands and Hadrian chose one of the Hufflepuffs. “Mr. Hunt?”
“Dark Arts are spells and curses that are illegal and cause madness over time if used.”
Hadrian pursed his lips. “Close to the Ministry approved definition, two points to Hufflepuff. Your NEWT will look for a longer answer but essentially, Dark Arts are magic that has been classified by the Ministry as illegal to use. Some rituals that are so classified as they can cause core damage or direct brain damage that could lead to insanity, but most don’t. What are the most illegal of the spells in this category? Miss Tanner.”
“Um, the Unforgivables.” She bit her lip when Hadrian simply raised his eyebrows at her. “Oh, um, the Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and the Killing Curse, sir.”
“Well done, four points to Gryffindor. Take a lesson from this, expand to a reasonable extent upon your answers, give specifics or examples. The first answer Miss Tanner gave was perfectly correct, the Unforgivables would be the answer to the question I posed. However, it would get you an Acceptable. To get that Exceeds Expectations, the second half of the answer is required. Can anyone tell me how to expand the answer to possibly an Outstanding? Mister Malfoy?”
“The three Unforgivable curses are considered the worst of them by the Ministry of Magic. The use of them on a human is a guaranteed life sentence in Azkaban. The Unforgivables are the Imperius Curse which gives total control of the victim to the caster, the Cruciatus Curse, which causes pain along the entire nervous system at one time and can lead to a mind fracture if held under it too long, and the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, which is instant death and is unsurvivable. None of these curses can be blocked by a magical shield, only a physical one.”
“Well stated, Mister Malfoy. Eight points to Slytherin, and that would certainly be an Outstanding grade answer. It had examples which were explained, but you stayed on topic and didn’t wander to adjacent ideas that were not relevant. Now, Mister Malfoy pointed out several interesting things about the Unforgivables. Which one is a main reason for their status? Miss Sandoval?”
“The fact that they are unblockable.”
“Correct. Three points to Ravenclaw. But there are other spells that can only be blocked by physical shields, why are there only three Unforgivables? Yes, Miss Black?”
“Because they have no counter. The Imperius cannot be broken by another. The Cruciatus victims who lose their minds are forever lost, and the pain and nerve damage can only be healed with time, potions simply help mask the damage.”
“Correct, five points to Slytherin. That is what the NEWT examiners will expect to see in your essays. The truth is a bit more complex. The Imperius can be broken, either by the victim if their will is great or their self-knowledge is high, or by someone else if their power levels are higher than the caster. If the caster has a higher power level than the victim and/or greater magical control, it is harder to break. And when someone is under the Imperius, there is no outward sign. Some say that a poorly cast Imperius shows in the eyes, but that is hogwash. Although researchers are working on it, there is currently no spell to test for the presence of the Imperius. Now, one you may not be able to answer. Why were these spells created?” Ten seconds passed before a Gryffindor raised their hand, tentatively. “Take a stab at it, Mister Langdon.”
“So evil dark wizards could try to take over?”
“No. And I expect this class to be logical, not inflammatory. I won’t take points today because I don’t think you were trying to be, but in the future, keep it in mind. Dark does not equal evil. In society today, it is often confused so, through ignorance or malice, but it isn’t so. When we begin covering new information in a month or so we will discuss how Dark magic isn’t even dark. We began this discussion today by stating that Dark Arts were spells and such that were deemed illegal by the Ministry. It has nothing to do with evil or good. Anyone else want to try and answer my question?”
The class looked around at each other and you could hear the metaphorical crickets chirping.
“Okay, both the Cruciatus and the Imperius were originally created to be healing spells and were used that way for hundreds of years. The Imperius was used to help patients with bad obsessive thoughts and behaviors which harmed themselves or others, addictions, self-harming, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, severe depression. The Cruciatus was used with paralysis victims to stimulate magical healing of their nerves once things like a broken spine were healed. The Killing Curse was a farmer’s best friend. It killed livestock painlessly. However, over time people began to pervert the use of these spells until now, very few even know their benign or even helpful origins. Our time is almost up for today, so I will leave you with this thought, Magic is all about intent.
“For your homework, I want a list of five Defense spells you learned in each year you were here and a two foot maximum essay describing how one from each year could be perverted to harm or kill. You have until next week to turn it in and I want original ideas. I don’t want everyone to have the same answers. Think creatively, think broadly, think narrowly. Be logical. Class dismissed.”
The NEWT students gathered their things and began to leave the classroom, some in a rush, others talking in low voices and glancing back at Hadrian as he leaned against his desk, smiling.
Harry watched as his last class of the day entered the room. It was the first-year class of Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. He started Thursdays with the most advanced students and ended it with the least, with two mid-range classes in between. But, though the first years were new to Hogwarts, they weren’t new to him. He knew them all to some extent, thanks to wizarding primary, whether they were pureblood, half-blood, or muggleborn. The only ones he wouldn’t know were those who moved to the UK from another country within the last four months. And there were no such children in this year’s class.
The students came in and settled down in the horseshoe of desks, mostly segregated by House but not entirely. A few sections had a mixed group who were friends from primary, like how Jack Grant was seated next to Severus with Lily on Severus’ other side. Severus was in the second desk from the opening of the horseshoe and Jack was in the first.
Hadrian smiled at the class as they quieted. “Good afternoon and welcome to your first Defense Against the Dark Arts class of your Hogwarts career. I recognize everyone from my lecture circuit, and I have a pretty good memory, so let’s see if I can do the roll without you raising your hands.”
Harry proceeded to accomplish just that, with a twist. As he said each name and pointed at the correct student, he wandlessly and wordlessly turned their wand hand yellow – for the Hufflepuffs, or blue – for the Ravenclaws and their non-wand hand blue – for the Hufflepuffs, or yellow – for the Ravenclaws.
The students laughed and giggled, and Severus rolled his eyes at his father’s antics as his hands were changed and the professor remarked, “I think I know this one, name seems familiar, Severus Peverell.”
When the roll had been called, Hadrian put the parchment down and smiled at the colorful class. “So, everyone’s here. Good start to the year. You wouldn’t like to find out what kind of punishment I give for cutting my class. Legitimate excuses for missing, like being in the infirmary, are one thing. Just not coming because you feel like napping or something else as foolish is another story and will bring penalties upon penalties.
“This class is a very important one for your life – literally. What you learn in this class could truthfully one day save your life or the life of someone close to you. You all have had me as a teacher before, even if only for a week or so at a time, and you know that I take my subject very seriously and expect you to do the same.
“Which isn’t to say that DADA can’t be fun, too, as evidenced by your colorful hands. So, your first task is one you should be able to do already as I went over it in my lecture last year, and the year before, and the year before. What am I talking about?”
Ninety percent of the class raised their hands and Hadrian chose the last one to do so. “Mister Black?”
“The Finite spell?”
“Are you asking me a question or telling me an answer?”
“Telling, Professor. Sorry. The Finite spell, Finite Incantatem.”
“Correct, three points to Hufflepuff. And well done with expanding on your original answer by giving the incantation. Take another two points for that decision. You have all heard lectures on the Finite spell and you know how it works.
“Normally when I have you using your wands, we would be next door.” Hadrian points to the door in the wall to his right. “That is the practical room for this class. But this isn’t really ‘casting’ as you are cancelling a spell. So, first I want you to use your wand to Finite the color of your left hands – right hands if you are left handed. You all know the incantation and pronunciation, and Mister Black just refreshed your memories if you forgot. Go.”
As the students began getting their wands out of pockets, bags, or holsters, Hadrian waved his hand at the chalkboard behind his desk on the right. The name of the spell, its definition, and the incantation appeared.
Within five minutes every non-wand hand in the room was back to its normal shade. When the final student completed the task, Hadrian smiled. “Well done. See, this class isn’t that bad. Now though, you have a problem. Anyone care to tell me what it is? Miss Evans?”
“The Finite spell requires a touch or at least a point at the spelled object – or person. And wands don’t bend like that so we can’t change our wand hands with our wands.”
“True. Three points to Ravenclaw. Who can provide a solution that will keep you from leaving here with colorful hands?”
The class looked at one another and then a lone student raised their hand. “Miss Bordleigh?”
“We could work in pairs or groups and help each other.”
Hadrian grinned. “An utterly Hufflepuff answer, you are a credit to your House and have shown that the Hat got it right for sure with your sorting. Three points to Hufflepuff. That is certainly true and working together to solve problems is often a wonderful strategy. And in the future, we will definitely utilize it. However, for today everyone is working alone. You can’t assume that in life you will always have someone else there when you are in a troublesome situation. Whether it is that you are legitimately alone or that those you are with are unable to help, due to their incapacitation or lack of ability or knowledge. So, how can you leave here with normal colored skin? Mister Black?”
“We can ask the professor to reverse the spell, since he’s the one who cast it?”
Hadrian smiled. “Cheeky. But again, that is looking to another for the answer or assistance. Let’s put it this way, how would you solve this problem if I sent you to the practical room by yourself and said you can’t come back until the spell is cancelled or class is over? And if you waited until class was over, you would get a zero for the day and keep your colorful hand. Miss Dryden?
“We could use our wand with our non-dominant hand.”
Hadrian nodded. “It is an idea, two points to Ravenclaw, but you have dominant hands for a reason. Very few people are ambidextrous with their wands, even if they are ambidextrous otherwise. And those who are still tend to be much less accurate or powerful with their non-dominant hand when casting. And it takes lots of practice to work at all, except for the very rare few.”
The class looked around at one another and then, as if a switch was thrown, nine hands went up at once. “Mister Peverell, you were the first to raise your hand, albeit by a fraction of a second. What is your answer?”
Severus grinned. “You said people aren’t ambidextrous with their wands. But our channels run equally through both hands, so we should wandlessly use the spell with our non-dominant hand.”
Hadrian smiled at the class. “How many of you who raised your hands have a different answer?”
No one raised their hands. “Good. Ten points to Ravenclaw and two points to everyone else who had their hand up with the same answer. Because Mister Peverell was correct. You can use wandless Magic equally with either hand. Don’t get caught in the trap of wands being a crutch. I have seen all of you use spells from primary without wands. You didn’t have wands until a month or two ago. Don’t blind yourselves to the truth. Wands are a tool, helpful but they are not where the magic comes from. You are. The wand is made from magical materials, but it isn’t magic. You are magic. Use the spell and cancel the color. Go.”
Within thirty seconds every student had succeeded in doing the spell and were back to normal. “Well done. One point to everyone for belief in yourself and your magic. This class will be split between theory and practical. Some days will be entirely theory, some days entirely practical, and some days, like today, a mixture of both.
“You will have an essay due every week, to be handed in during your first class with me that week. The topic and length will always be on the chalkboard to the left of my desk for the first ten and last five minutes of class.
“Regarding length, and I am primarily looking at you Ravenclaws, although it holds true for everyone – when I say I want twelve inches, I mean I want twelve inches. It isn’t an optional number. Twelve is not fifteen, is not nine, and is certainly not twenty-four. I will give you a half-inch leeway either direction as long as you don’t use the leeway every essay.
“Plan your essays as you’ve been taught. Write them with the tools you’ve been taught to use. And that includes handwriting size. If you turn in an essay with handwriting that is an inch large or so small and cramped I need a magnifying spell to read it – or anything along those lines you will get a failing grade on it. I don’t care if it is the most erudite paper since the Founders. It will receive a Troll grade. You do not have an essay due for this first week but read the first two chapters of your textbook before our next class, which is Monday morning. Class dismissed.”
The class exited chattering excitedly about the lesson and Severus waited until they all left before approaching his father.
“How was your first day?”
“Not too bad, I guess. It is different.”
Hadrian nodded. “But not bad?”
Severus shook his head. “Not so far. But I miss you.”
“I miss you, too. Come to my quarters for lunch on Saturday?”
Severus smiled and nodded. “Sounds great. I have to go. I have homework to do but –”
Harry opened his door and his son entered, giving him a hug. “I’ve missed you. It is weird. We’ve only been here for a few days and I see you every day, but I’m so used to spending time with you when I want, and now I can’t.”
Harry placed his arm around his son’s shoulders and guided him to the sofa. They sat down and Severus laid his head on Harry’s shoulder. “You can always see me if you need to. Even if only due to homesickness. I’d rather not get accused of giving you special privileges, but as long as you don’t skip class or break curfew – or rather, don’t get caught breaking curfew ,because if you have a bad night or nightmare, you can come to me if you want. But if you make it obvious that you are using this privilege too much, the other students will be jealous. They don’t have the option to see family during the school year – even those with family in the village – unless they are third years or above and coordinate a visit to meet up during Hogsmeade weekends. So, it is a balancing act. You can come visit as much as you need or want to, just be subtle about it as much as you can.”
Severus nodded against his shoulder. “Alright. I get it. Would I be this bad if you weren’t here? If I was a normal student who could only use owl post or holidays to see you? Or is it that I can literally see you but not see you at the same time? Did that make sense, Dad?”
Harry nodded and ran his fingers through Severus’ hair. “It was a bit convoluted but yes, it made perfect sense. And the answer is I don’t know for sure, but it is likely you would have a generous degree of homesickness. You don’t like change, little prince. And you still have worries about losing the life we’ve built as a family. That’s a legacy the Snapes left in you – a fear of abandonment to a degree. Over the years you’ve come to trust that I would not willingly leave you, but you know that life isn’t fair or all unicorns and fairies. So, I think that if I weren’t here teaching, you’d probably be a bit worse off in some ways, better in others. My presence is helping because I am here, but it isn’t helping because it is a big change in how we interact, at least in public. But it isn’t horrific because you are used to having to treat me as a teacher from my guest lecturing.”
Severus sighed. “Okay. I just – things are hard. I’ve only had two days of classes so far and they’re fine. I still haven’t had History or Transfiguration or Astronomy at all. And we haven’t had too much homework. But the dorm! I don’t like people in my space and there’s five of us in my dorm room. And I don’t get to see my friends who aren’t in Ravenclaw very much outside of classes I might have with them.”
“Sometimes friendships drift apart. But if you want to keep them, any kind of relationship requires work to remain healthy, Severus. Whether it is familial, romantic, or platonic. You have Lily with you in Ravenclaw, and you have the opportunity to make new friendships with your roommates and year mates. Don’t squander what could be a lifelong friendship because you dislike the idea that it is different. Just remember, when you first started primary, you hated having to be around kids all day instead of having a personal tutor. But then you met Lily, Jack, Pralina, and Fredicus and became friends. Be open to that happening again. Don’t shut yourself off due to fear.”
Severus slid his arm around his father’s waist and squeezed. “I’ll try.”