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.
It was Sunday, and Severus was spending the day with his old friends and others, doing homework and exploring the castle and grounds. As Harry had no essays or tests to grade as of yet – there had only been two days of classes, none of which had repeated, and the previous disgraced professor had not set summer homework – he decided to do some ‘exploring’ of his own. He knew the school quite well from his own attendance days, but the inhabitants were not as familiar.
The exploration, done under Death’s Invisibility No-Longer-Cloak, would serve multiple purposes. It would allow him to work on his version of the Marauder’s Map, it would allow him to find an out-of-the-way but accessible spot to place the cleansed diadem under runic wards, it would allow him to search for magic tied to the Defense Curse, and it would let him watch and listen to the students and adults without being seen. As much as possible, he wanted to avoid the maxim that he had learned in muggle primary – the act of observation automatically changes what is being observed.
Harry began his wanderings in the first-floor main courtyard. It was a lovely day and many people were scattered around the grounds. Harry listened in on the conversations occurring among the groups in nearby and found them very tame and innocuous – what happened over summer, schoolwork, giggling over boys or girls, playing games, Quidditch. The most interesting thing he heard was three fifth years talking about his Defense lesson the previous day. It was flattering and made him happy that he was already reaching students who hadn’t known him before with his ideas on magic, but it wasn’t important overall.
He moved his wanderings further from the building and came across four first years from Slytherin being confronted by two sixth years. The older students were lecturing the younger about proper friendships and throwing around pureblood supremacy rhetoric. The younger four rolled their eyes and the smallest one said, “Magic is magic. Blood politics are stupid.”
One of the sixth years pulled his wand and pointed it at the child. “Listen here, you filthy little half-blood, your father is a disgrace to wizarding kind and should have been killed before he sullied his ancient bloodline with your whore of a mother’s filthy blood.”
The first year sneered, held his empty hand out, screwed his face up in concentration, and found his hand full of the wand that had been pointing at him a second before. He dropped it behind him on the ground. “Magic is magic, dumbass, inbred idiot.”
The four first years began walking away and the other sixth year tried to curse them from behind. Showing excellent situational awareness, the eleven-year-olds dodged and spun around. All three waved their hands at the older students and dirt flew up from the ground and pelted them, leaving their faces and the arms and hands they put up to protect themselves badly scratched.
“Your pure blood is just the same as anyone else’s when it pours out of your body. My father is brilliant, and my mother has more power in her pinky then you do in your whole body. Magic is magic, everyone’s blood is red.”
The sixth years gaped at the first years as they walked off, this time unattacked. Harry grinned and listened to the two sixth years grumble and start to plan a retaliation when a fellow sixth year approached. It was Randolphus Gramm, the older brother of two of Harry’s students from primary. He was the sixth-year male prefect for Slytherin and came from an old pureblood line.
“I warned you, Flint. I used to parrot thoughts like yours, too, and when my little brother came home two years ago asking if he could visit one of his friends who lived in the muggle world, my father began spouting off those same phrases about mudbloods and filth and no son of his would be a blood traitor. He cursed my little brother with a pain curse and when he let up, my eight-year-old little brother deliberately raised his hand, screamed out “Rise!” and sent my father hurtling up at the ceiling of our entrance hall twenty-five feet up. The impact broke my father’s back, two bones in his left arm, and both legs. After he was healed at Saint Mungo’s, the aurors arrested him for child abuse and my little brother taught me the lessons he was learning about magic at primary.
“Magic is magic. It responds to our will. Accidental magic is misnamed. Spells are shortcuts. Pretty much every kid who has been to primary doesn’t need a wand, doesn’t need to know a spell, they can control pure magic with their wills alone. And I know several older kids with siblings in primary, like me, have learned to do it, too. I admit, I’m not as good but I have to get over my mental blocks about wandless magic being too hard and such. But times are changing. I warned you both. And Humboldt, five points from Slytherin for trying to curse a first year from behind.”
Harry smiled as the two Slytherins scurried back to the castle. It was slow going but this was proof that it was working. Tom Riddle would find it increasingly difficult to find recruits among the youth at Hogwarts.
Harry continued on wandering further out from the castle and came across a familiar spot, both for his own time at Hogwarts, and in the memories he received from Severus. It was a tree, the tree Harry was under in his first year when he figured out Hagrid getting a dragon’s egg was odd, the tree Severus went to study under after his OWL exam that cost him his friendship with Lily. And once again Severus was under this tree, book out. However, Harry saw that the differences were strong. Lily sat next to him, leaning against his right side and Jack was up against Severus’ left side while Pralina was sprawled across their laps, her head tucked against Lily’s stomach, her book balanced on Lily’s raised outer knee. It warmed Harry’s heart to see the four of them, missing only Fredicus to complete the picture.
As Harry lost himself in reminiscing, he missed the trouble approaching from the castle until it crossed his line of sight. James Potter, Harry’s future father, swaggered up to the relaxing group. Harry knew that James had been called on the carpet several times in primary over his attitude and bullying tendencies. He had calmed down in his final year and Harry had hoped it would continue. But it didn’t appear that his hopes would be realized.
Harry suspected that James felt that in a new environment he could be the king again as he was at home. The Gryffindor boy was brash, loud, and spoiled beyond belief by his elderly parents. James was, as Lily had put it in Harry’s past future, an arrogant toerag.
Lily rolled her eyes as she looked up from her book. “What do you want, Potter?”
“You and Herrington should be hanging out with me and my mates, not these losers. You’re too pretty to be around greasy gits like them. Come hang with us. You can put your head in my lap.”
“Severus, Jack, and Pralina are my friends, and you’re the one who’s a git, Potter. Get lost and stay that way.”
“You’ll regret not hanging out with me, Evans. I’m way better than Snivellus or Puffy-boy.”
Jack snorted. “Snivellus? Puffy-boy? Is that the best you can come up with? Guess we know why you aren’t in Ravenclaw, Potter.”
Severus arched an eyebrow at the Gryffindor. “Indeed. Snivellus implies a crybaby or perhaps someone with allergies or who has an odor. I barely know you, and you have certainly never seen me cry. I rarely even get a cold, so I don’t sniffle from runny noses, and I am very hygienic. Not sure you can say the same. I can smell the onions you had at lunch from here.”
Pralina looked over the top of her book, lounging on her friends. “And Puffy-boy, okay, lame. Yes, Jack is in Hufflepuff, but so are dozens of other guys. And Jack is like, really thin, so you can’t say it is tying his House to his looks and him being overweight or having a round face, ‘cause he doesn’t. You’re just a fool and a wannabe bully, so listen to Lily and get lost, Potter. No one here wants your attention.”
James growled and spun on his heel, “You’ll be sorry for this!”
Harry bit his lip and watched as the boy stormed off, debating if he should follow but deciding to stay with his son.
“What an arse,” mumbled Lily.
Jack nodded. “I don’t get his issue. He’s so arrogant but he didn’t do great in Charms on Friday.”
Pralina sighed. “I met him before, at some pureblood parties when I was little, before primary, when my parents made me go so I could socialize with other kids. He’s always been a bully. His parents spoil him and give him whatever he wants. My mother says it’s because it took them a really long time to be able to have a kid and they probably can’t have any more. And when they try to deny him, I saw him, he like fake cried and threw a wobbly right there in the ballroom. I mean, he was like seven or eight, and I felt embarrassed just seeing it. But his parents completely caved, and he got what he wanted.”
Severus leaned back further against the tree. “I’m surprised primary didn’t stop that kind of behavior. I mean, our teachers wouldn’t have stood for it.”
Pralina shifted so she was sitting up facing her friends. “They probably did but if his parents didn’t enforce it at home? He leaves those teachers and comes here where, to be honest, there is a lot of freedom. Even for you, Sev, and your dad is a professor here. And Potter likely assumed he could act like at home and everyone would fall in line.”
Lily face-palmed. “Hopefully he got the message. But somehow, I doubt it. He doesn’t strike me as the type to let things go, especially if he’s as spoiled as you say.”
Severus shrugged. “Time will tell. Let’s not waste any more time talking about him. It just feeds his arrogance to get our attention.”
The others nodded, looking thoughtful before resettling in and reading their books.
Harry continued his wandering and hoped that James would let it go, but suspecting that his own suspicions and Lily’s were correct. In the original timeline, James Potter had been a spoiled, selfish prat until late in his sixth year or early in his seventh.
Harry still couldn’t fathom how he was made Head Boy with Lily as Head Girl. James had been smart, but he was a troublemaker who constantly got detention and lost points. And he hadn’t even had the experience of being a prefect to mold him into a leadership role. The Gryffindor male prefect from their year had been Remus.
And that showed how much Harry was successfully changing things. Remus was cured of his disease and in Ravenclaw, Sirius was a Hufflepuff, and Peter, the other Marauder-who-would-have-been, the only other boy from their original timeline who was a Gryffindor was now in Slytherin.
James wasn’t alone in his dorm room, though. Primary had caused the expansion of students able and willing to attend Hogwarts, rather than being homeschooled or sent abroad and rather than only four boys in the 1971 incoming first years Gryffindor dorm, there were seven of them, only one who was sorted that way in the unaltered timeline, and three who had been in other Houses. The remaining three had not attended Hogwarts then but now they did. Harry’s planning was working, and it made him happy, even as he worried over James’ future.
Harry made a habit of his invisible wandering over the next two weeks, doing it mostly on the weekends, but also watching over the castle and its inhabitants during the week when he had time. Exactly two weeks after watching James Potter get turned down by Lily and verbally smacked down by Severus and his friends, the group was once again out on the grounds, though in a different spot. And the composition of the group was a bit different.
Harry had decided to work on eroding House barriers and prejudices by assigning group projects “randomly” in all of his classes. He planned to change the groups every two months. Some of the groupings were mostly random, only rigged so that no group had members only from a single House. But some of the groups were very deliberate on Harry’s part, whether in who was in a group or who wasn’t in the same grouping.
James Potter and Peter Pettigrew were not in the same group though they shared a DADA class and Harry planned to make sure they never were. Even though Peter was changing through Harry’s direct and indirect machinations, Harry had no desire for his father to become friends with him. He just couldn’t chance it. There was too much bitterness there on his part regarding Peter’s actions in Harry’s own childhood – Godric’s Hollow, Sirius, Cedric – to be fair to him. He wouldn’t kill him or even sabotage the boy’s life, but he wouldn’t put James in the possible line of fire, either.
One of those deliberate groups that were together was Severus’ group. It was made up of Severus, Lily, and Remus Lupin from Ravenclaw and Sirius Black from Hufflepuff. They had been meeting for the past week in various places while they planned their project and, consequently, got to know one another. Because a group of four eleven-year-olds without direct supervision wouldn’t spend all of their time doing schoolwork, even if three of them were in the House of Wit and Learning.
This day found the four on the edge of a courtyard where there was a grouping of stone benches. Harry had passed them half an hour before and they had been working on their project and chatting about life, laughing and joking around. Nothing harmful seemed to be in the works and it was fairly straightforward, so he had moved on. But now, he was running back, visible to all, as he had seen a determined James Potter mounting a broom he shouldn’t have had as a first year, aiming it towards Severus’ group and pulling on an invisibility cloak.
Now, this cloak was once known as Death’s Cloak but when Harry, Master of Death, had arrived in the past, it became a regular, though powerful, invisibility cloak. It would begin to lose its powers over the course of James’ lifetime – assuming Harry was successful in prolonging that lifetime to a wizard’s normal lifespan and not have it cut short at twenty-one.
Harry was a fast runner but he couldn’t keep up with James on a broom and arrived too late to stop the Gryffindor’s “prank”. From a distance, he saw an arm appear about fifteen feet above the group with an extra large potions vial in its hand. He watched as the hand poured the vial out over the boys in the group before vanishing beneath the cloak once more.
By the time Harry was on scene, the three boys were screaming in pain as the improperly brewed potion ate through their clothes and began burning their skin. He wandlessly cast three quick stasis charms on the boys, keeping the potion from doing further damage until they could be treated, and a Patronus messenger spell. Harry then raised his hand into the air and called out, “Accio invisibility cloak!”
Two seconds later, a shocked James Potter was revealed hovering over the scene twenty feet up on a broom. Hadrian motioned for him to land. The boy scowled but obeyed the professor.
As he landed, Poppy Pomfrey, the school nurse hurried over, having been summoned by Harry’s patronus. She began to treat the three boys as Lily stood next to them, crying and shaking.
Minerva McGonagall soon followed in the path of the running healer, knowing from years of experience that such a sight meant very bad things.
Hadrian held James Potter’s cloak in one hand and his broom in the other. James had his arms crossed over his chest and was pouting and trying to justify his actions. “It was just a prank, bit of a laugh. They’re just a bunch of pansies, screaming ‘cause their clothes went invisible.”
Hadrian narrowed his eyes. “They were screaming before they were in stasis because the potion you poured on them was acidic and didn’t not make their clothes invisible, it ate through them and then began to burn their skin. If I hadn’t been here, the potion would have burned holes in their skin and likely their organs after that. You would be guilty of murder, Mister Potter, not just the torture you have inflicted.”
James gaped at him. “No way! The potion recipe said it turned cloth transparent. You’re lying! When I tell my parents about this, you’ll get fired!”
Hadrian sneered at James. “Oh, your parents will certainly be hearing about this, Mister Potter. And I certainly won’t be fired but you will be lucky to not be expelled.”
Three days later, a meeting took place regarding the attack. Although Dumbledore had wanted it to be in his office, there were simply too many people involved for it to work logistically. James Potter, his parents Euphemia and Fleamont Potter, Severus, Harry, Remus Lupin, his father Lyall Lupin, Sirius Black, his father Orion Black, Lily Evans, Minerva McGonagall, Albus Dumbledore, and Madam Poppy Pomfrey were in a conference room on the first floor.
James had spent the last two days in detention when he wasn’t in class, at meals, or asleep while Severus, Remus, and Sirius were healed of their traumatic injuries. When informed of the prank, as he called it, Dumbledore had attempted to brush it off as childish playfulness and simply take points from James.
Hadrian had then informed him that if he did not deal with this child sociopath, the aurors would be brought in. As a lord and parent of a minor who was severely injured, he could do much more than that and the headmaster knew it. But Harry knew the old man still hoped to make it all a minor matter and be seen as James’ rescuer by the child.
Harry planned to thwart him. James Potter would grow up and learn to be a decent human being or Harry would be forced to take drastic measures. There were many on the table thanks to his position – both in the wizarding world and metaphysically as the Master of Death. He didn’t want to get the latter involved but to protect Severus, he would. James Potter would learn the line between pranking and bullying, between being an entitled, spoiled brat and a productive member of society, between a potential murderer or rapist and someone who understood consent of all kinds and the meaning of the word “no”.
Professor Dumbledore opened the meeting, “It is so good to see you all here, back at Hogwarts. Though this matter is really such a minor thing, I apologize for the inconvenience of your coming. Young James – such a bright young wizard, so talented – pulled a prank and people have overreacted to it, I’m afraid.”
Hadrian stood up. “I’m going to interrupt this nonsensical monologue, Headmaster. You are not going to ignore this or downplay the severity of what occurred. For those of you who do not know me, I am Lord Hadrian Peverell and began as the professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts on September 1. I witnessed the event in question and my son, Severus, was one of those injured by Mister Potter.”
Orion Black leaned forward. “I do not understand what happened. I got a letter from Headmaster Dumbledore stating that my presence was requested due to a problem with Sirius and a prank. I was under the impression that Sirius had done something. Was he working with Mister Potter?”
Hadrian scowled at the twinkling eyed headmaster. “No. I cannot believe the depths this once great school has sunk to.” He turned to Orion and Lyall. “Were neither of you informed that your sons nearly died two days ago?”
The men gasped. Orion shook his head, “No! What do you mean? Did they do something dangerous?”
“Two days ago, your sons, Sirius and Remus, my son Severus, and their friend and classmate Lily Evans, were working together and talking on the grounds. I was walking around the grounds getting some fresh air after I finished grading and I witnessed James Potter mount a broom, which as a first year he shouldn’t have, and cover himself with an invisibility cloak, which as a student he shouldn’t have. I hurried after him as he flew off, catching glimpses of the broom’s bristles or a foot every so often. When he was above the group contains our children, I saw his hand come out from under the cloak and pour a potion onto the three boys. Within seconds, they were screaming and as I arrived and cast stasis charms on them, I heard Mister Potter chuckling from above me. I summoned his cloak and made him land. Madam Pomfrey can give you the specifics of their injuries.”
Poppy nodded as the men looked to her. “The potion poured on the boys acted as an acid, essentially. It ate through the fabric of their clothes, vanishing them, and proceeded to eat through the first few layers of skin beneath the clothes, vanishing them as it went. If Professor Peverell had not cast the stasis charm and halted the progression of the potion, by the time I arrived it would have burned off and vanished sixty percent of their skin, many of their muscles, and would have reached their ribs, lungs, and hearts. They would have died shortly thereafter, in agonizing pain, as they would have been beyond even magical medical help. As it is, many of the portions of their skin that were affected have permanent scars, the potion acting like a Black Arts Curse. Fortunately, I suppose, Mister Potter has a decent aim and poured on their bodies, not their heads or faces.”
Lyall Lupin turned to his son and pulled him into a hug. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Remus sniffled. “I didn’t have a chance. We just got out of the hospital wing two hours ago and none of us could hold a quill until this morning.” He held up his hands and showed the scarring, deep lines along the palm and lighter lines along the fingers.
Hadrian sat down. “By the time I cast, they were all trying to wipe the potion off with their hands. It is only the fact that Miss Evans was on the other side of the stone bench that stopped her from having the same issue.”
James piped up. “I wasn’t aiming for Evans. I wasn’t pranking her, just the losers she hangs out with.”
Hadrian sneered at the boy. “I meant that she, too, would have been trying to wipe off the potion from her friends and have gotten it on her hands.”
Fleamont looked at James with horror. “You admit you did this, James? You almost killed these other boys, your classmates?”
“It was a prank. Snivellus probably had something on his robes, potions or something that changed it. It’s his fault. I warned him to leave Evans alone.”
Professor McGonagall sat forward. “You warned who, Mister Potter? And when was this?”
James pointed at Severus. “Snivellus. Saw you cry now, didn’t I, Snivellus? And his other friends, the ‘Puff and the snake. I told them a couple of weeks ago, when I asked Evans to ditch them and hang with me and my mates. Though I was willing to let the snake hang out with us, too, until she was a bitch to me. But they weren’t there this time. Instead it was these other losers. I don’t really know them, but I figured the prank would be a warning to them to leave Evans alone.”
Lily smacked the table, “I told you then that I didn’t want anything to do with you, Potter! You’re a bully and a creep! And a murderer!”
James leered at Lily, an odd look on his young face. “I like you, Evans. You’ve got spunk. You’ll learn I’m the best in this school. You’ll be begging me to take you.”
Lily scowled. “Not even under Amortentia.”
Albus tried to intervene. “Now, now. We can see Mister Potter didn’t me anything bad by it, he was just trying to get Miss Evans attention. Boys will be boys, and Miss Evans is quite attractive. I’m sure Mister Potter isn’t the only one who will want her attention.”
Hadrian tilted his head and looked at the old man askance. “Are you blaming Miss Evans for the fact that Mister Potter nearly murdered her friends? Are you implying that she should have given in to his blandishments because – what – he wanted her? How often do you condone non-consensual actions and behaviors? Headmaster?”
Albus spluttered. “W-what? No, of course not. I simply meant that Mister Potter is young and hormonal. All boys go through that phase.”
Hadrian shook his head. “No, Headmaster. All boys may go through puberty, but they don’t all stalk girls, threaten their friends, and attack others to get a girl to like them.”
Albus subsided as Hadrian continued, “I would like to know several things from Mister Potter. First, how did you bring a broom to school? Second, where did you get an invisibility cloak? Third, you keep claiming the potion was a prank one, who gave it to you and told you that?”
James sat back with his arms crossed. “The broom is mine and I’m a great flyer, and the rule about no brooms is stupid and for muggleborns and poor kids who can’t afford a broom to fly on. So my dad shrunk it and put it in a password protected hidden space in my trunk. The cloak is a family heirloom and I wanted it so I could prank people and get around the professors and stuff and go where I wanted to. Dad let me bring it. And no one gave me the potion. I brewed it. It was Gratley’s Trans Vanish potion. It should have made their clothes transparent.”
Orion and Euphemia gasped. Hadrian sighed. “That isn’t what that potion does, Mister Potter. Where did you get the recipe? I know it wouldn’t be in any student potions books. And the ingredients? Several of them are restricted.”
James rolled his eyes. “I used my cloak to go into the Restricted Section of the library. And Mom sent me the ingredients when I asked her for them.”
Hadrian turned to Euphemia. “One hopes that you didn’t ask why he wanted those ingredients, Lady Potter. Then again, that would mean you didn’t even ask your eleven-year-old son why he would need Class Two and Class Four Restricted potions ingredients. I’m not sure which is worse parenting. The potion didn’t do what it was supposed to do, either what Mister Potter believed it was meant to nor thankfully what it was actually meant to. Which isn’t surprising. It is a complex brew to make, and he is a first-year student. It is surprising that the mistakes he made during the brewing didn’t kill him, but only made the potion less lethal to others.”
Euphemia looked away. “I didn’t ask. I didn’t even think to ask why he wanted them. He – we – we spoil him. I know that. It took so long to have a child, we indulged him, and we know he’s gotten a bit out of hand, but –”
“A bit!” Orion yelled, his arm around Sirius. “He was so jealous of a girl he barely knows that he nearly killed my son for doing a school project with her!”
“She’s mine.” James smiled. “The moment I saw her, I felt it. She belongs to me. She doesn’t belong to Snivellus. Just me. I haven’t gotten to spend as much time with her as I want because she was sorted wrong. Headmaster Dumbledore told me he thinks there’s something wrong with the Sorting Hat but that he can have her re-sorted next year into Gryffindor to be with me.” He looked at Lily. “You can’t tell me you don’t feel it, the tingle, the pull in your magic?”
Lily narrowed her eyes. “I control my magic, it doesn’t control me. If I felt something, it wouldn’t mean anything. You’re insane and evil and black as the bottom of a mine. I want nothing to do with you and I have no desire for a re-sort. Ravenclaw is great for me and I don’t care what the headmaster of the school says. If I ask for or agree to a re-sort, I want to be checked for potions and spells because that’s the only way it would happen. I swear!”
A bright blue light glowed around Lily for five seconds before disappearing. The adults in the room nodded and smiled, except for Dumbledore whose only outer change was a dimming of his twinkle.
“What was that?” Remus asked.
Hadrian smiled. “Magic heard Lily’s promise and felt her utter sincerity. It took it as a vow. The light was Magic’s acceptance of her vow of truth.”
Albus waved his hands and smiled. “Yes, yes, very impressive. Foolish but very powerful light show, my dear girl. Girls change their minds all the time at your age and I’m sure you’ll realize James just wanted your attention. His magic is telling him that you belong to him. And as a muggleborn you may not realize enough to understand what you magic is telling you.”
Lily sneered. “I may be only eleven, and I may be muggleborn, but as I said, I control my magic, it doesn’t control me!”
Hadrian nodded. “Well put, Miss Evans.”
Albus humphed into his beard. “Well, Mister Potter is a pureblood and is used to listening to his magic, so—”
Hadrian interrupted. “What he is used to is getting whatever he wants. If he feels it should be his, then in his mind, it is. Whether or not his magic is responding to Miss Evans in some way, doesn’t justify his frankly illegal behaviors. By all rights, he should be expelled, his wand snapped, but I know you would find some way around that, Headmaster. However, I will not let this be, and I suspect neither will Mister Black and Mister Lupin.”
Hadrian turned to Minerva. “I suggest that Mister Potter’s punishments be taken one at a time and served consecutively. First, for smuggling a broom into school and using it, second for the possession and use of the invisibility cloak, third for the breaking into the Restricted Section, fourth the brewing of an illicit potion, fifth the attack on the three boys which resulted in potentially fatal injuries, and sixth the unapologetic bullying he has conducted in this room to Severus and the harassment of Miss Evans.”
Minerva nodded. “I agree. First of all, the broom and cloak will be confiscated. You will get them back at the end of the school year. I won’t send them home now with your parents as they’ve demonstrated that they can’t be trusted not to assist you in smuggling them back in to the school. Professor Flitwick will examine your trunk’s special compartment and remove the hidden features in some way.”
Albus shook his head. “He’s just a boy, Minerva, youthful hijinks.”
Hadrian snorted. “He’s a budding sadistic psychopath. He claims he was trying to make their clothes transparent. And yet when the potion obviously failed and they were screaming in pain, he was laughing. Laughing! He didn’t try to help, he didn’t even fly away from the scene of his crime to escape detection. He sat on his broom under his cloak and laughed at their agony. And even now, he finds it amusing and taunts my son over his tears. Stop trying to lessen this, Albus, or I will escalate it over your head.”
Minerva nodded. “Very well. First, for the smuggling and use of smuggled items, 150 points from Gryffindor. For the stealing of a restricted book, 50 points from Gryffindor. For the bullying and harassment even in front of professors and other adults, 30 points from Gryffindor.
“The remaining is too large a problem for simply points. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from now until the end of the school year, Mister Potter will have detention, he will be on probation and any further detentions he receives will be tallied. If it is more than one rightfully deserved detention a month, he will be expelled and not welcome to return to this school for his second year. The same if he loses more than twenty points a month, average.
“Also, Mister Potter will pay to replace the ruined clothing. I can’t tell you how to parent, Lord Potter, Lady Potter, but if you wish to visit your son in Azkaban before he is even of age, keep up with what you’ve been doing. I am frankly ashamed Mister Potter is in my House.”
Minerva turned to face James. “You will leave Miss Evans and any of her friends alone unless they approach you. I will inform your professors that you are to be seated away from any of them in your shared classes.”
Hadrian leaned forward. “And don’t try to get your little sycophants to do it in your place. The first time one of them harasses someone, I will make sure their parents know what happened here. And I think Minerva should make an announcement of the reason for the point loss in the Great Hall at dinner tonight to avoid gossip getting things wrong. And to avoid Mister Potter – or anyone else,” his eyes flicked to the headmaster, “trying to spin the story to put him in the right and the others in the wrong.”
Minerva nodded. “Agreed.”
It was mid-October and Harry was meeting Orion Black at the Three Broomsticks for a discussion of Sirius. Normally, Harry met with parents in his office or a school meeting room but considering Dumbledore’s current feelings towards anyone involved in the James Potter “prank” incident, the change of venue was necessary.
Harry arrived fifteen minutes early and approached Rosmerta, so much younger but still just as gorgeous as when Harry first met her. He had long suspected that she had some type of creature blood in her close ancestry – veela, siren, fae. It would explain how the unprepared young men from Hogwarts always were caught in her web. It wasn’t as strong as Fleur Delacour’s allure would be, but it was something.
“Good evening, fair Rosmerta.”
The bartender smiled at him. “Lord Peverell! They don’t need you patrolling the halls tonight?”
Harry smiled. “No, though duty still calls. I’m meeting a parent of one of my students this evening. I hoped to be able to rent one of your fine rooms and have refreshments sent up, nothing too heavy.”
Rosmerta smiled. “Of course, here’s the key to Room 3. It’s at the back so the noise from the bar shouldn’t bother your meeting. I’ll send up some appetizers, a sampler, and drinks once the parent arrives. Who should I be looking out for?”
“Mister Orion Black. Ask him what he prefers to drink before you send him up, I’ll just have two butter beers. He should get here within the next ten minutes or so.”
“Sure thing, Lord Peverell. Just drop the key off when you’re done with the room. I hope his son isn’t in trouble?”
Harry shook his head. “No. There were some problems with another student who was bullying others, and Sirius was one of his victims. I believe Orion wants to talk and make sure Sirius is coping well in aftermath.”
Rosmerta looked sad. “Of course. The poor boy. And after everything he’s been through with his mother in jail for what she did to him, poor little boy. I hear about such terrible bullying when the kids are in here for their weekend trips. I don’t know why it is allowed. I think it leads to Dark things after they leave school.”
Rosmerta leaned close across the bar, lowering her voice. “Did you hear about the attacks on the Lansorius family and the Broadbeams? Some horrible people in white masks and black cloaks attacked them, cursed them bad. Only three survived from the Lansorius, though one was cursed so badly he’s probably never leaving Saint Mungo’s. And only one survived at the Broadbeams, a little girl, four years old. The family house elf hid her. And before they left each place, they put this mark in the sky, a snake and a skull. Horrible things. Just terrible. I don’t know what the world is coming to. I just don’t.”
Rosmerta stood back up straight. “Well, listen to me rambling on. You go along, I’ll bring the food up after Mister Black arrives.”
Harry nodded and made his way upstairs. The Death Eaters has begun their terror tactics. Both families were Light, historically. And strongly opposed the pureblood political agenda that Tom favored. They were coming out of the darkness, away from the random worrisome attacks on muggles and muggleborns, moving into the wizarding world proper.
It was actually late from what Harry knew of the previous time. These attacks had occurred in 1970 and marked the true beginning of the Blood War for most of England. But from how Rosmerta talked, they had only just now happened. And it was late 1971. Ripples from his arrival and the moves he had made in the political and educational spheres, Harry supposed.
Harry entered the room and waved his hand, shrinking the bed and placing it in the closet and transfiguring two arm chairs and a table between them near the fireplace which he lit. He cast wards on the room, anti-spying, anti-scrying, silencing, privacy, anti-animagus – keeping Rita in mind, though she was too young, it didn’t negate someone else with a similar gift.
Harry finished his last ward and three minutes later the proximity alert sounded, and Orion Black entered the room, followed by Rosmerta with a tray of finger foods and the requested drinks – two bottles of butterbeer for Harry and a large ale for Orion. She placed the tray, featherlight, on the little table and closed the door as she left. Orion sat and picked up his ale, looking at the bottles with a raised eyebrow.
“Simple taste when I’m not looking to really drink, that’s me. Just because you grow up, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste just as good. And it won’t get me drunk. I am due back at the castle in a few hours, and I dislike the aftertaste of sobering potions.”
Orion grinned. “Understood, I hate the nasty things, too. I think they taste that way on purpose to punish you for overindulging.”
Orion took a sip of his ale. “How is Sirius doing? Has he fully recovered? I know Madam Pomfrey says he has other than the scars but, he’s stubborn, my son. If he was still having problems, I think he wouldn’t want to bother anyone.”
Hadrian nodded. “I understand. I’ve got one with those tendencies myself. Sirius is as physically healed as he can be. The scars may fade a bit over time, or they may not. Curse scars are…odd. And these were made by an incorrectly brewed potion, at that, so there’s no telling other than time.
“But he has been diligent about using his skin cream on them. It loosens the skin so it has nearly its normal elasticity, and the scars don’t impact as much on things like wand or quill grip. The nerves, however, well, Madam Pomfrey worked diligently with a healer from Saint Mungo’s on all of the boys to keep the worst of the problems to the palm rather than the fingers. There is slight loss in the fingers but mostly along the finger and not at the tips. The palm, all around the scars is numb, the further from the scar itself, the more feeling.”
Orion closed his eyes and his grip on his glass tightened. “And all that boy gets is point losses and detention.”
Hadrian smirked. “Dumbledore would not have allowed harsher punishment. I think Minerva was amazed that he didn’t protest more than he did. But she isn’t used to a parent with more power than Dumbledore being onsite. He understood that if he had gotten his way completely, I would have summoned the aurors and had Potter arrested. I truly considered it anyway. But putting him in front of the Wizengamot, and him saying he felt drawn by his magic, and Lily being a muggleborn and James an heir to a powerful family, it could have gone either way. And if they had let him off without even a slap on the wrist, the precedent would have been horrendous.
“But trust me, I have plans for young Potter. Many of his detentions will be far beyond unpleasant. I wanted to curse that boy, but he is just that – a boy, a child, only eleven. His parents did him no favors growing up. Indeed, in a way their lack of boundaries and discipline was a type of abuse. I’m not Dumbledore with his second chances and third and fourth and fifth for all – if they are of use to him in some way. But I have faith that it is possible for a child to grow into a better person if given the opportunity, reason, and a suitable shake to their world view.”
Orion sighed. “I know. I just – Sirius has already been through so much, and I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t help him. Walburga is an evil bitch, and thanks to family magic and the marriage vows – it is hard to know he was hurt again, and I can’t do anything.”
Hadrian drank deeply of his butterbeer. “I do understand in a way. My son, Severus, is blood adopted. My family magic drew me to him when I arrived back in the United Kingdom. He was a little boy and his parents, they hurt him so much. But he is doing so much better, just through knowing he has my support. I’m sure Sirius is the same. You are working to make up for what happened when he was young, and I could see how much he loves you.”
Orion swallowed. “Thank you.”
Hadrian nodded. “There is one thing. I have a type of mage sight. And I have noticed that Sirius, when he casts magic or draws it in, he has a – I suppose the best word would be a shadow on his magic, his core.”
“Is it from the potion? Do the other boys have it?”
Hadrian shook his head. “No. I first noticed it in our first Defense class, which was well before the attack. Well, that is to say, I first recognized it at Hogwarts then. The thing is, I also noticed it in both Sirius and Regulus when I guest-lectured in their primary. I thought it might have to do with your ex-wife and her actions and would heal over time. But it is still there in Sirius and – I wouldn’t reveal this except for the fact that you are Heir to Lord Black. I have another member of your family in my seventh year NEWT class – Narcissa Black – and she, too, has a shadow on her core and her magic as she casts. I have a theory, but I would like to test it to an extent. Would you be willing to cast a spell so I could See? Just an incendio or aguamenti, perhaps. But magic leaving your body, not just a lumos?”
Orion stared into the distance for a few moments before he nodded and drew his wand. He took an empty bowl from the tray on the table and pointed his wand at it. “Aguamenti!” The bowl slowly filled with water until it neared the rim and Orion ended the spell, and sliding his wand away, he glanced at Hadrian.
Hadrian met Orion’s questioning gaze and nodded. “I see the shadow in your magic, as well. I’ve heard – gossip, tales, what have you that floated through the wizarding world after your ex-wife was arrested and jailed. Rumors of a curse on your family.”
Orion’s lips twisted. “The Black Madness.”
“That’s what they called it, yes. I think what I can See is that curse. It is more than just a quirk of your line. It is a curse or a poison within the family Magic Well. Otherwise it wouldn’t affect Narcissa, as well as you and your sons. I strongly feel that if I saw any Black family member who is still connected to the Family Well cast magic, I would See the shadow. I urge you to talk to your father, Lord Black, at Yule and contact the goblins for use of ritual space and have a coven cleanse as many of your family as possible. The more that are ritually cleansed, the more likely the cleansing will reach the Well.”
“Fuck. I just thought – fuck. How long has this been, how many generations have been under a curse?”
“I can’t know for sure but as it impacts Narcissa’s branch, it is further back then her father and yours. A hundred years? Two? When did your family members start to slip from Grey or Dark to True Black Magic practices? When were the first indications of the Black Madness? That would indicate near the correct time. It could have taken affect immediately or it may have needed a generation or several to build up, gradually spreading to each family member.”
Hadrian nodded. “They have the best and cleanest ritual cleansing spaces. If you don’t have a trusted conclave, I offer mine to cleanse your family. Your patriarch can contact me if he feels the need.”
Orion nodded and drank gulps of his ale. “Thank you, Lord Peverell. You may have saved my entire family.”
“Hadrian. Just Hadrian.”
“Thank you, Hadrian.”
It was a month until the end of year exams and seeds planted by his classes over the year and even from years before with the younger students who attended primary were bearing more fruit. Lucius Malfoy made an appointment to discuss things with Hadrian. They met after class hours in Harry’s office.
“Have a seat Mister Malfoy. What can I do for you today? I know you don’t need tutoring assistance.”
Lucius sat, his back straight, his chin up. “No, Professor. I believe I will do quite well on my NEWT exam. I wanted to talk to you about some things you brought up in class over the year. I am a pureblood, Heir Malfoy, and I was raised to believe things about purebloods and muggleborns and half-breeds and creatures. I am superior to them, I am more powerful, I am more important. My father believes these things, my mother, my family for generations. And coming to Hogwarts, being around others not of pureblood extraction, barring some anomalies, a rare few outliers, nothing changed my opinions. Not then.
“But, in the last few years, the climate of the school has changed. Traditional ways that the Houses have interacted and socialized or more often not socialized, have morphed. I didn’t really notice at first, and when I did, I simply passed it off as childhood friendships which would fade over the years and pressures of different Houses. But they didn’t. The first class of students who had the opportunity to attend wizarding primary school was less concerned with House affiliation, they were more open, smarter it seemed, and more powerful – pureblood, half-blood or muggleborn. I’ve tried to ignore it, to fit it into my world view but after being in your class – I think I began to understand.
“All year, you’ve been teaching us what we need to pass our exam. You’ve made it clear when a topic or spell or theory was the Ministry approved response to something. But you went further, you showed us more about magic, about the truth of what it is, about what we are in relation to it. You’ve demonstrated the laws of magic are not immutable. We control our magic, we are our magic. Wands are a tool not a crutch. Every member of our Defense class has cast at least a half dozen spells wandlessly. I know you know that.”
Hadrian smiled. “Yes, Mister Malfoy. Magic is a living force, but we do not need to be helpless before it. We work with it, we live it, we immerse ourselves in it and we benefit in many ways.”
Lucius nodded. “Yes. I understand. I’ve seen you in the Great Hall in the morning sometimes, at breakfast. I know you get the Daily Prophet. I’m sure you’ve read about these attacks that have been happening to muggles and muggleborns and blood traitor purebloods.”
Hadrian inclined his head. “Yes. I’ve read about them, Mister Malfoy, and the mark they leave behind, the snake and the skull. And the increasing violence level, the hidden faces except one. The one calling himself a lord and his minions. The papers have taken to calling them Death Eaters.”
Lucius bit his lip briefly before recovering his mask of stoicism. “I said earlier that my father is very entrenched in the pureblood ideology. The…Death Eaters and their leader, they attack using that as a standard. I will be graduating in less than two months. My father wishes me to join this ‘rebellion’ group once I have done so.”
Hadrian cocked his head. “And you, Lucius? Do you wish to join this Dark Lord and be a minion?”
Lucius shook his head. “No. The man is powerful, I don’t deny that. He is captivating and his rhetoric is compelling. Four years ago, even three years ago, possibly even last year, I would have had no hesitation. But what he offers is not something I want now. It isn’t something I need now. But –”
Hadrian sat forward. “But?”
Lucius looked down. “If I return home, I will not likely have a choice. My father will force me to submit to the Dark Lord, one way or another. He will threaten Narcissa, use her against me in some way, or possibly take my choice away entirely.”
Lucius inclined his head once.
“What do you want from me, Lucius? Why did you come to me?”
“I don’t know what to do. I know you helped Narcissa and her family. It was too late for some of them but so many it helped. I can’t – I won’t go to Dumbledore. I don’t trust him. He’s too powerful but pretends that he isn’t. Just a harmless, old schoolteacher. But I trust you. My magic says I can trust you.”
“I believe I can come up with something, Lucius. Keep you and Narcissa safe and out of the clutches of a madman.”
“Thank you, Professor Peverell.”
“It is my pleasure to help you. Tell me, does your father know the Dark Lord, personally?” Hadrian held up his hand palm out. “I’m not asking if he is one of those raiders, those so-called Death Eaters. But has he personally met the man?”
Lucius nodded. “Yes. He has known him for decades. They went to school together. He evidently tried to get what he wanted politically first but –”
“Yes, he went more than a bit mad. Do you know his name, Lucius?”
Lucius’ eyes darted around. “Yes. But Father says the Dark Lord is working on a charm that will know when it is spoken and be able to track it, even through wards. Father says I should only call him the Dark Lord.”
Hadrian chuckled. “Yes, he is trying to get his name so feared that people will only use labels for him, instead. But I meant his birth name. Your father went to school with the man and his self-styled moniker isn’t what they called him in class.”
Lucius shook his head, his brow furrowed. “I never even wondered.”
“Well, I’ve done some research into various archives and papers and such. I find it – interesting that your father is so willing to bind you – and possibly has bound himself to this man, when your father believes so ardently in blood politics. Because the so-called Dark Lord isn’t a pureblood. My sources say he isn’t even truly a half-blood by some measures. My source told me that his mother was a squib, essentially, and his father was a muggle that she love-potioned into marriage. According to my source, he was born and grew up in a muggle orphanage when his father abandoned his pregnant mother after she stopped the potions, and she died in childbirth. So, the pureblood ‘revolution’ is being led by someone who is somewhere between half-blood and muggleborn. And muggle raised, as well. Ironic. And yet, if the violence continues to escalate, my source, who had proof of these claims, plans to release them to the public, to try to blunt his recruitment efforts.”
Lucius gaped. “I – My father must know at least some of that, if it is true. I can’t – I don’t – Merlin! And muggle raised?”
“Yes. It should give him a unique insight into muggles and their capabilities that few wizards have. If he hasn’t gone too mad to see it and use it. I have tried to help my classes with that.”
“Yes. I still can’t comprehend how advanced they have become. They truly have been to the surface of the moon? And their weapons, the new clear ones, they have hundreds?”
“Yes, they’ve been to the moon and back several times, now, with more missions planned. And their nuclear bombs could wipe London off the map entirely with one hit. Two of the largest muggle nations – the United States of America and the Soviet Union, which is Russia plus a number of other nations which they conquered more or less – are in the midst for what they call a Cold War, which is mostly spying and skirmishes in other countries. Because they know if they fight directly and use those weapons, then both of their countries and most of the world will be destroyed.”
“And if they knew about us? If we were exposed because of the attacks?”
“They would kill us all.”
The third year of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts had just wrapped up less than a week ago and Harry was exhausted. But he had a job that he needed to do, so he was in Diagon Alley outside Gringotts under Death’s Invisibility No-Longer-Cloak.
Harry truly enjoyed teaching and was glad the curse had been so easy to nullify. It did reinforce his belief that the Dumbledore of Harry’s time had deliberately left the curse in place in order to manipulate the position. Though a case could be made for the fact that by then it had been around so long it was more deeply entrenched in the magic of the castle wards, while Harry had caught it early, just a few years after it was cast. But that case was valid only if you believed Dumbledore didn’t realize he was losing his professors every year to a curse rather than bad luck for over a decade. Harry didn’t find that idea credible. The first few years, perhaps, but not long enough for the curse to get too entrenched to be easily removed – ten years.
Harry had spent the last two years spreading his messages about the advances of the muggle world and its dangers, as well as magic and the connection witches and wizards had to it. The majority of the school now regularly performed wandless magic, in class and out.
The Ministry, or more specifically, certain members of the Wizengamot, had tried to get it declared illegal and Dark to perform any spell beyond those taught in first year wandlessly, especially as it was nearly impossible to track with the Trace. It didn’t even come close to passing and the Minister had berated them harshly for the attempt, considering the increasingly violent war going on. There had been over a dozen cases of families with children who had been underestimated and wandlessly defended their homes from Death Eater attacks.
In response to the failure of these raids and the failure to stop it in the political realm, Tom had increased the ferocity of his raids, sending larger groups and accompanying them personally more often. The press and the public had begun using the monikers You-Know-Who and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named due to the Taboo on his nom de plume, Lord Voldemort. The Taboo wasn’t as robust as during the Second Blood War when he had control of the Ministry and all of their resources, but it worked often enough to terrify the majority of the wizarding world.
Seemingly in response to this new trend, Tom’s true name and background were released to the public just two months before. Harry loved that particular move of his, as the phrasing and cadence of the press statement by the ‘anonymous source’ was pure Dumbledore. And based on the response, Tom certainly believed the old man to be the one to reveal him.
Harry had spent portions of his summers when Severus was visiting his various friends – the once dour man had become a bit of a social butterfly after starting Hogwarts and his friend group had grown considerably after the potion attack – searching where he could for the diary and the cup.
Lucius was never given the diary to keep safe as Harry had kept his word and the young man was able to escape being marked. The day before Lucius graduated Hogwarts, Harry had taken him on as an apprentice. Lucius spun it to his father as learning ancient magic from The Peverell rather than just being a body and a wand on raids. And he couldn’t be marked as the apprentice bond wouldn’t allow it.
Lord Abraxas Malfoy and Tom both bought the tale and Lucius and Narcissa married that summer. By the fall, they were out of the country, presumably at a Peverell home learning ancient magic.
A week ago, Harry had asked Lucius to send a seemingly rare artifact to his sister-in-law Bellatrix, in the hopes she would place it in her vault. It was rare – or it appeared so – but it wasn’t something that Tom would care about, being exceptionally Light in nature. Harry also hoped that fact would lead Bella to her vault rather than displaying it.
Thus, his current status as unbreakably invisible outside the bank. He’d been waiting over three hours when his hopes paid off. Bellatrix Lestrange – a marked Death Eater though no one in the DMLE knew it – came striding through the bricks from the Leaky Cauldron. She made her way to the bank and Harry followed her inside undetected – and without needing to resort to confundus charms or the Imperius Curse.
As they entered the tunnels, Harry made sure it was a two-row cart that came along the tracks. Bellatrix and her goblin escort sat in the front and Harry slid into the rear. He enjoyed the ride much more than he had the first time he approached the Lestrange vault with Hermione polyjuiced as Bella and Ron transfigured to look Bulgarian. The goblin used the clankers to scare the dragon guarding the vault and the witch entered with Harry on her heels, unseen.
Once out of sight of the goblin escort, Harry cast a charm to slow Bellatrix’s movements down while changing her perception of time so that it didn’t appear odd to her. Once she was slowly making her way to an alcove in the vault, Harry began looking around for the cup or the diary or as unlikely as it seemed, both of them. Tom did have fewer followers, let alone trusted ones, this time around at this point as several had refused like Lucius and others had left and run after his true history was discovered.
The unlikely option didn’t occur and after five minutes, Harry found only Helga Hufflepuff’s cup on a shelf. He could feel the soul fragment within it and removed it as he had the others he had found and cleansed. While he wanted to arrange for it to be found, like he had Ravenclaw’s Diadem – not that anyone had done so yet – he couldn’t chance her noticing its absence at any point before Tom was taken out for good.
Harry made his way to Bellatrix, who was only beginning to reach into her bag for the artifact when he found her and removed the time spells. Within three minutes, they were leaving the vault, having spent less than ten inside. And Tom was down to a single horcrux – his adolescent diary.
Orion Black poured out two tumblers of fire whiskey and walked over to Hadrian, handing him one. Orion sat down next to Hadrian on the long sofa and leaned back against the arm, sipping his drink. The two men were in Orion’s private lounge in his wing of Castle Black. He and his sons had moved from London not long after Walburga’s arrest to escape the memories and associations of the House. Orion’s father, Lord Arcturus Black, had welcomed them in and allowed them privacy to an extent.
Sirius, Severus, Jack, Fredicus, and Remus were one floor below them, the location of Sirius’ bedroom and playroom – updated to be suitable for just turned teenagers. Regulus was currently visiting one of his friends because he didn’t want to be around his older brother when he was joking around with his older friends.
“How is the summer going so far, Hadrian?”
“Fairly well. I’ve accomplished some of what I have been trying to get done since I arrived in the United Kingdom, so I am feeling pretty good about life and how it is progressing. And I’m not due at Hogwarts for any meetings for another three weeks, I finalized and submitted my lesson plans and book lists back in June. I am just enjoying the lazy days of summer, as one should when they spend some ten or so months a year surrounded by children and teenagers at a boarding school that doesn’t have an adequate number of adults per child. Severus and I have been on the island for the most part, he enjoys spending time with just us as father and son when we aren’t at school.”
Orion nodded. “He still finds it hard to strike a balance between professor and father?”
Hadrian shrugged as he sipped his drink. “Not exactly. But at Hogwarts he doesn’t feel it appropriate to come visiting to me too much. Severus has a good heart and he doesn’t want to rub it in his friends’ faces that his family is there when they hardly get to see their own.”
“Ah. So, even when you’ve been off, you’ve been spending time with a teenager.”
Hadrian huffed a laugh. “I suppose so. But it isn’t like Severus is clingy. This is far from the first time this summer he’s been visiting friends. He’s even been over here a few times. And he’s had friends over to the island, and when that happens, I am to make myself scarce, mostly. He’s not a little child anymore.”
Orion smiled wryly. “I know the feeling. With both Sirius and Regulus off to Hogwarts for most of the year – I was at loose ends until my father turned over some of the Black interests to me. But I at least get plenty of adult company. I can’t imagine you socialize much at that school. I can’t see you being chummy with McGonagall or Dumbledore.”
“I socialize a bit, in the teachers’ lounge and such. And Filius Flitwick, we duel and talk about magic and spells.”
Orion placed his drink on the side table. “Hmmm. Sounds fascinating. Not what I meant though, Hadrian.”
Hadrian smirked. “I know. Feeling frisky this evening, Orion?”
Orion nodded. “You knew what I was going for when I poured your drink and you took it. You accepted. Are you being a tease, Hadrian?”
Hadrian shook his head. “Maybe I was just in the mood for something harder than I’m used to.”
Orion leaned forward and took the glass from his friend. “Exactly.”
Orion pulled Hadrian’s head close and their lips met, not quite frantically but decidedly firm and assured. Lips and tongues dancing against one another before Orion broke off and pulled Hadrian to his feet, leading him to the bedroom door.
Harry had known exactly what was going to happen before he left his house. It wasn’t the first time he and Orion had spent time in bed together.
They didn’t have some epic romance. It wasn’t ‘twoo luv’. They were two friends with issues who were compatible sexually. Orion was more than a little gun shy on the relationship front after the whole mess with his cousin, and wife, Walburga. These days the man could be described in the future muggle terminology of demisexual and aromantic. He needed some type of emotional connection – like a deep friendship – to be attracted to someone but had no interest in romance and love.
Harry himself had realized several years before he began teaching that due to his status as Master of Death and his trust issues from his first life, he was firmly aromantic. Not asexual. Harry enjoyed sex a good bit but had absolutely zero interest in a relationship or dating or, Merlin forbid, marriage. Several of his friends over the years had become friends with benefits. None of them expected monogamy from the other, just a good time, stress relief, getting off, knocking boots. Bluntly, Harry had two or three fuck buddies he could see when he wished. And currently, Orion was one of his most hot and heavy.
Once inside the bedroom, Harry wandlessly cast privacy charms on the doors and silencing charms on the room. If the kids needed them, the elves would be able to inform them.
Orion slowly stripped out of his clothes, each piece a show. “Who’s teasing now, Orion?”
The older man grinned. “Just making sure you’re getting the full experience, Hadrian darling.”
The strip tease completed, Orion lounged on the bed with an eyebrow raised. Hadrian knew exactly what he was asking and took him up on the challenge. He wouldn’t be outdone by his lover, Gryffindor forward. He waved a hand, and music with a heavy beat and deep bass filled the air. Hadrian began to dance, moving closer to the bed then backing off, his hips swaying and his hands caressing his body as he slowly removed each layer of clothing. His suit coat thrown across the room, landing draped artistically across the arm of a chair, his waistcoat slowly unbuttoned then shimmied out of joining the coat. His hands slowly worked each button on his shirt, gradually exposing his muscular chest. He turned his back and looked over his shoulder at Orion as he slid the shirt down his back and off, floating it to the chair.
Hadrian slowed down the stripping, allowing the music to inform his dance as he teased his friend and lover. He ran his hands over his chest, tweaking his nipples, then down to his waist and over his clothed legs and crotch. After several minutes he finally unhooked his trousers and slid them down his legs, again turning his back as his ass wiggled to get them off rather than pushing with his hands.
Hadrian took three steps forward and wandlessly banished the rest of his clothing, licking his lips as Orion’s heavy-lidded gaze met his. The older man groaned. “You make me feel like such a dirty old man, Hadrian.”
Hadrian smiled and climbed onto the bed, crawling up it from the foot and kissing and biting Orion’s skin as he did. When he reached the midway point, Hadrian licked around Orion’s balls and sucked them into his mouth. Orion fell back against the headboard, his hands clenched and unclenched. Hadrian smiled around his full mouth and began lightly sucking until Orion grabbed his head and pulled at his hair. Hadrian moved his attention to Orion’s cock, licking up, mouthing the tip then licking down the other side. When Orion’s entire cock was wet, Hadrian took a deep breath and with one hand wrapped around the base, took Orion’s length into his mouth, sliding it deeper, angling it until the tip was at the back of his mouth and then he swallowed, taking it into his throat.
Orion gasped and groaned, his hands grabbing Hadrian’s hair and pulling. Hadrian backed off and Orion pulled his head close again. Harry wandlessly cast a charm to fully relax his throat and to allow breathing through his nose even when his throat was full of Orion’s cock. Orion bucked his hips up from the bed and fucked Hadrian’s face, using his grip on Hadrian’s hair to adjust the pace. Hadrian closed his eyes and placed his hands on the bed on either side of Orion’s hips for leverage. His lips and tongue working on the cock in his mouth and his throat swallowing around it. Finally, with a loud yell, Orion came, and Hadrian swallowed before backing off and licking his lips.
Orion blinked up at him, “Merlin, your mouth is lethal. The French have it right, the little death.”
Hadrian smiled down at his lover, amused by Orion’s pillow talk. After a few minutes both men caught their second wind and Orion shifted downward to lay more prone on the bed. He spread his legs and lifted his hips. Hadrian cast a spell to prepare him and another to slick his fingers up. He slid them into the loosened hole and slowly massaged the inside until Orion gasped and his spent cock jerked. Hadrian manually spread him and teased his prostate until the other man was once again hard.
Hadrian slicked his cock and lined himself up, loving the limberness of his older friend. He slid inside and began to fuck his friend, leaning down to kiss him. Orion grasped Hadrian’s biceps and Hadrian changed his angle until he was hitting Orion’s prostate on nearly every inward stroke. Hadrian took his time, wanting Orion to come again and knowing it would be a little while. Hadrian’s stamina held out easily, as his powerful magic obeyed his will. Finally, Orion began pushing up, his feet against the bed and Hadrian’s angle was forced to go deeper and with three more strokes, Orion came on their chests and Hadrian followed directly after.
Hadrian collapsed on top of Orion, kissing him deeply and gently, a thank you and expression of their love for one another. The two men snuggled together on the bed, Hadrian spooning against the back of Orion as they drifted to sleep.
Harry approached the Riddle House from the rear. He entered through a door on the opposite side of the building from the caretaker’s cottage and cast spells to hide signs of his presence from anyone, muggle or wizard, who was outside of the building. Considering that his casting of Homenum Revelio came back as empty, that meant it hid him from everyone.
It was mid-April 1978 and Harry had lately begun to feel heavily the pressure of time on his back. Severus and his year mates would be graduating Hogwarts in less than two months and Trelawney’s prophecy would be uttered sometime between mid-summer of 1979 and spring of 1980.
If Harry had not managed to end things by then, it would get much more complex, as technically, he no longer fit the criteria. His body, though greatly resembling his original, was not birthed in late July 1980, as the seventh month died.
Tom had increased his level of violence and large raids were occurring once a month, while small attacks varied from four or five a week to every other week depending on who was attacked and the time of year.
Dumbledore had formed the Order of the Phoenix and fought to protect some targets but as before, it was heavily ineffective as few of the members were good fighters and those that were had been hamstrung by Dumbledore’s insistence on non-lethal casting.
Harry had to admit though, some of the members ignored his strictures if the odds were bad enough against them. This had led to some Death Eater fatalities that did not occur in the original timeline.
Three Order members had been ambushed by over a dozen Death Eaters in mid-March when they were trying to assist Minerva’s brother in setting up wards around his home. In the original timeline, Robert MacGonagall had been killed, as had two of the Order members. This time, those Order members used harsher spells against their attackers and incapacitated six of them, and two succumbed to their wounds and died before they could escape. Robert and the Order members survived but Augustus Rookwood and Abraxas Malfoy didn’t.
Tom was so enraged by these deaths – his insider in the Department of Mysteries and a major financial backer – that he organized a daytime raid on Diagon Alley that had not occurred in Harry’s history. Nearly thirty Death Eaters and Tom himself had begun near Saint Mungo’s Diagon entrance and continued towards the Ministry. Dozens of people were killed and even more maimed or injured.
One of the dead was a young mother just leaving the hospital to go home with her newborn twins. Molly Weasley died under spells cast by Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange. According to reports, rather than attempt to draw her wand, she turned her back and hunched over to protect the babies in her arms, taking the spells herself to keep them from dying. Harry couldn’t deny that Molly always did love her children, even if she was overbearing. Upon seeing his wife fall, Arthur Weasley, normally mild-mannered, had lost his mind and dueled the Lestrange couple both at once. His emotional casting actually succeeded – just as Molly’s once had against Bellatrix in the future – and he scored fatal hits on both of them within seconds of one another.
Arthur was injured in his fight which had lasted nearly ten minutes and when taken to be healed, the reasoning for his extreme reaction was discovered. Molly Weasley had been potioning him with love potions and obedience potions since he was a teenager. After a full purge and healing, Arthur was able to go home to his five sons. Ron and Ginny would never be born in this timeline. Harry found it karmic revenge that he had no direct and barely an indirect hand in.
Assuming Harry’s baby self was born, he would never have to worry about the plots that killed him the first time around. And Harry was working to make sure that his parents wouldn’t have a reason to be targeted in the first place.
James Potter never formed a group like the Marauders this time around. He lost many of the more sycophantic groupies due to his punishments in his first year.
Eventually, Harry had gradually broken though the boy’s arrogance and entitlement through creative detentions and frankly some mild post-hypnotic type suggestions that he implanted through subliminal messaging within music that he played during those detentions. They weren’t anything evil or even things that would impact him harshly. But they made him stop and think more, they made him less hot headed, a bit more empathetic.
Frankly, Harry viewed it as therapy to deal with the boy’s sociopathic, leaning towards psychopathic at times, tendencies. It didn’t force him, it wasn’t mind control, it was just nudges. Some people would still feel it was a horrific thing to do but Harry felt no remorse.
James Potter nearly killed three children when he was eleven years old because he was jealous. And he found pleasure, sadistic amusement, in their pain. By the time he was a third year, James had mellowed and begun focusing on himself as a decent human being. And Harry had removed the spells and suggestions.
At the beginning of fourth year, under nothing but the urges of his own growing maturity, James had approached Severus, Sirius, and Remus and apologized sincerely for his attack on them. They weren’t friends but the boys, showing their own maturity, had forgiven him.
During fifth year, James had approached Lily and Severus with an idea for a project that could potentially heal the remaining scars left by the potion. With Severus’ potion skills, James’ transfiguration knowledge, and Lily’s expertise in charms, assisted by Remus and Sirius on the research front, Remus cross-referencing and Sirius providing access to the Black library, they successfully completed James’ idea at the end of their sixth year.
The scars were gone, those from the potion attack and for Remus, even the left-over scars from his time as a werewolf. Severus even used it on the remaining scars that Tobias’ beatings combined with Eileen’s potions had cursed him with. The nerves had regenerated, and the skin was normal.
Over the summer, Lily had gone to see James several times and, she told her friends, she had admitted that her magic had always been pulling towards him. And now that he seemed to be a good man, she was willing to see why. They had begun dating in late August and her friends had given him a shovel talk when their seventh year had begun. So, the birth of Harry James Potter was certainly possible as Harry could see the soulmate bond between Lily and James as it solidified.
Which led to his time crunch and visit to Riddle Manor. He was still trying to find Tom’s diary horcrux. He had searched here before, six years before, but it hadn’t been present. But a recent throwaway comment by Orion had started a train of thought that had culminated in Harry dwelling on the muggle axiom, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’
In his original timeline, Tom hadn’t hidden a horcrux in his late father’s house. The diary had been given to Lucius Malfoy to keep safe behind his manor wards. But Lucius had escaped being marked this time and with his father’s recent death, Tom had lost any chance of coercing the new Lord Malfoy. Lucius, no longer his apprentice for two years though still a world traveler, had allowed Harry to access his manor when his father died. Harry had checked to see if Tom had given Abraxas the diary. He hadn’t. He may have given it to someone else but so many who had been marked in Harry’s past, had refused one way or another in this present. Tom was unlikely to have a trusted follower to give such a responsibility to, now that Bellatrix had died.
So, Harry had decided, with the muggle axiom running constantly through his mind, even into his dreams, to try Riddle Manor again. He searched the decaying structure for over two hours before entering the dining room. And after he left, Harry smacked himself up the head repeatedly, metaphorically speaking, for not beginning there, rather than working from the top down. It was the room where Tom Riddle, Senior and his parents were found dead, after all. The place where Tom overcame his muggle heritage by murdering it in cold blood and framing his maternal uncle for the crime.
The diary was in a drawer in the sideboard behind wards that dampened its magical signature. The compulsion to write in it was strong but nothing Harry wasn’t able to overcome. He used his power to remove the soul piece from the little black book and put everything back as he had found it.
Harry sat at the Head Table, on the right end, furthest seat from Dumbledore’s throne-like chair. He served himself toast and buttered it, placing it on his plate before tapping it with his finger in a specific pattern. This prearranged signal to the kitchen house elves caused his sunny side up eggs to land on top of each slice of toast, exactly as he liked it.
The students didn’t get such special treatment, it would be too difficult for the elves, so they scooped from bowls of scrambled eggs or platters of poached eggs or took soft boiled eggs in egg cups.
Harry added two slices of bacon and a sausage link and took a little plate and put some fried, shredded potatoes on it. It was a good-sized breakfast and Harry only ate this way on the weekends. Weekdays he generally had oatmeal or cereal and fruit.
Filius finished dishing up his own breakfast and poured out his tea. “Last Hogsmeade trip of the year, Hadrian. Are you on duty this weekend?”
Hadrian nodded. “Yes. I have chaperone duty in the village. You?”
Filius snorted. “Second trip in a row that Minerva assigned me to stay in the castle to supervise.”
Hadrian nodded as he took a bite of sausage. While teachers were permitted to go to Hogsmeade any time they didn’t have other duties, most took advantage of the specific weekends when the students third year and up were permitted to go.
It seemed an odd choice to want to go during such a crowded time, but the majority of the shops in Hogsmeade had odd hours. Most of their business – bar a few like the pubs – came from those weekends. Most wizarding folk who didn’t live in or near Hogsmeade went to Diagon Alley and its surrounds to do their major shopping. As a result, stores in Hogsmeade were only open a few days a week and only during the middle of the day or by appointment, right after the dinner hour to accommodate Hogsmeade residents who worked elsewhere. The rest of the time, they simply had owl orders that they processed.
This oddness led to professors and staff taking advantage of the full open days that Hogwarts’ weekend trips created. However, students still needed a level of supervision in the village and the Deputy Headmistress created a patrol schedule for the teachers for the year. Three teachers on Saturday and three on Sunday were assigned to patrol the village while the students were there. They didn’t have to walk a beat like a bobbie, but they needed to be seen and available at all times.
Other professors were assigned the duty to be available within the school for the first and second years and any older years that didn’t go to the village or who returned early. This meant, of course, that they couldn’t take advantage of the stores for that Hogsmeade weekend as they were to remain in the castle both days. Oddly enough, Minerva never took that duty and only took Hogsmeade duty on certain trips, never the trip just before Yule nor the last trip of the school year. It paid to be the one making the schedule.
Hadrian finished up his breakfast as the majority of the students were coming in and said his goodbyes to Filius. “Good luck with the little ‘uns, Filius.”
“Ah. They’ve been through this eight times, or sixteen for the second years. They know how it goes by now. Can you stop by the bookstore and pick me up a copy of Dueling Tournaments 1978, Europe? I think it is Volume 264. It comes out today and they always refuse to owl them, even just up to the castle.”
Hadrian nodded. “Sure thing. I’ll pick it up first thing, so I don’t forget.”
“Thanks. Good luck with the hormonal teens. Last Hogsmeade weekend, three weeks and two days until exams, they’ll be losing their minds.”
Hadrian grinned wryly. “Thanks for that.”
Hadrian left the Great Hall and made his way to the staff lounge where he and the other two teachers on duty – Septima Vector and Silvanus Kettleburn – would use the floo to go to the Hogsmeade train station. They used this method so that they arrived in the village before the first carriage full of students. The carriages let off at the station, so they were there to greet them and make sure they knew who was on duty.
A few hours later, Harry wandered through the wizarding village, still occasionally expecting things to be there as he remembered from his teen years even though he had been teaching at Hogwarts for seven years now. Some of the stores might eventually appear as their owners created them but one major point of interest for the village would never be there this time around.
Harry’s circuit of the area took him past the field where the Shrieking Shack would have stood for the last eight years if Harry had not cured Remus – and every other werewolf – of their curse. But Remus had been cured when he was eight or so, and thus Dumbledore hadn’t needed to build a secure place for him to transform while he attended Hogwarts. The grounds of Hogwarts were also safer, as the Whomping Willow which had guarded the tunnel to the Shack was not planted either.
As he rounded the curve to head back towards the village and the pub where he was going to grab lunch, he heard the sounds of multiple apparitions ahead of him followed by screams. Harry ran towards the main thoroughfare of the village and saw over thirty Death Eaters firing curses into the students and village residents as they tried to escape.
Harry came upon James Potter and Lily Evans dueling three masked opponents while trying to shield seven third years behind them. Harry went invisible and came in behind the masked figures and hit them each with a slumber charm before breaking their wand hands and both legs on each assailant. As they fell, he removed his spell from himself and urged the teens to take the younger students and get into the basement of one of the shops.
“Professor Peverell, thank you,” gasped James.
“It’s my job to keep you safe. Take the kids and get into a shop. Make sure everyone there, whichever you choose gets into the basement. All of the buildings in Hogsmeade have thick stone walls around their basements. Just make sure everyone is ready with bubblehead charms and water spells in case they set the building on fire. Everyone needs to hunker down, they’ve blocked off the route to the train station and the carriages, trying to get back to school just gives them an easier target.”
Lily nodded. “We understand. We’ll spread the word.”
“Just try to keep everyone as calm as you can and treat any injuries. Good luck.”
James stood straight. “Good luck to you, Professor Peverell.”
Hadrian nodded and resumed his invisibility as he worked his way towards the center of town where most of the Death Eaters and most of the students were clustered. On his way, he took out any cloaked figures he saw in the same manner as he had the first three.
When he reached the Three Broomsticks, he saw Dumbledore lifting his wand to duel the newly appeared Tom Riddle himself. The old man stood before the pub packed mainly with students and faced the terrorist leader. “You won’t get past me to them, Tom. You’ve gone too far, targeting our world’s future.”
Tom laughed. “You’re a fool, old man. They’re just collateral damage, more or less. You see, I’ve heard these rumors that you’re the only man I fear, and I would never attack your private fiefdom you’ve turned Hogwarts into because of it. I’d say those rumors are wrong, old man. I find you exceedingly annoying, like a fly you can’t seem to swat, but in no way do I fear you.”
“You should, Tom.”
“No, I shouldn’t.” Tom raised his wand and began casting incredibly destructive spells. Dumbledore was matching him but was distracted trying to shield the pub from the misses and unable to move position without leaving it unprotected.
Harry slid behind the old man as he removed his invisibility. “I’ve got the shield Albus.” Harry knew that ideological differences aside, Albus would trust him to keep innocents safe.
Albus’ shoulders relaxed a fraction as he moved forward, transfiguring rubble into knives which he banished at Tom. Tom proved his power by stopping all nineteen in mid-air and transfiguring them into flaming arrows which he banished back at Albus. Those which were well-aimed Albus turned to a fire whip which hurtled at Tom. The arrows which went to the sides hit Harry’s shielding and disintegrated, the fire snuffing out.
Tom allowed the flaming whip to begin to wrap around him but before it could contract, he transmuted it to a giant basilisk made of water. He commanded it to attack. Albus superheated the air and the water evaporated but in making the thick fog, he missed the bone breaker that Tom had sent in the snake’s wake. It struck Albus’ left hip.
“You’re old and slow, Dumbledore! I fear nothing!”
Albus groaned but moved forward, all of his weight on his right leg. Harry knew that Tom was correct. Albus wasn’t as powerful as he had been twelve years ago before Harry had arrived. Losing the power boost the Elder Wand had granted the old man, its bearer until the Master of Death had entered this timeline, had greatly damaged Albus’ ability to face Tom one-on-one in this type of duel.
“You may not fear me, Tom. But you do fear. No matter what rituals you’ve done to yourself, you’re still human, Tom. I remember you as my student, Tom. How very much you begged to not return to the orphanage in London. To stay away from the German bombs. You feared then, Tom. Then and now, you fear the same thing. Death, Tom, the next great adventure comes to all of us.”
“It won’t come for me, old man. I’ve taken steps to assure it. But I’m perfectly happy to send you on to your own adventure, here and now, Albus. You must tell me how it goes – oh, no, you won’t be able to, I’m immortal, I will never die.”
Tom began casting curses, faster than could be followed. Harry made out several more bone breakers, an organ buster, a withering curse, and a blood freezing curse. Albus was unable to dodge, his broken hip preventing it but he shielded well and cast what he could in between the barrage.
Finally, Tom seemed to tire of his tactic and cast a spell that couldn’t be blocked by a magical shield, the Killing Curse. Albus was unable to dodge and the block of stone he summoned from a nearby building was moving too slow to intercept when Fawkes flew into the space between the dueling wizards and allowed the green light to strike him, killing him and causing him to burn.
Tom seemed to anticipate this happening, perhaps a similar event had occurred in a previous meeting between the two wizards, as a second green light had followed close on the first, this one intercepted by the stone Albus had summoned. But Tom had always been smart, and he understood tactics. A third green light left his wand while Albus was still blinded by the dust of the stone and just as the bone breaker had gotten through the foggy steam and hit Albus, so did this curse. The green light struck the man dead center and Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore fell to the ground, dead.
Tom threw back his head and laughed, loud and long. His few remaining followers joined in his merriment but it was short lived. Seeing the Headmaster fall triggered several students, mostly Gryffindors but a few from every House, and led by a black-haired Ravenclaw, to attack the cackling terrorists. Within five minutes of Dumbledore’s death, all of the remaining Death Eaters were incapacitated, some dead, some simply unconscious or unable to move or cast for some other reason.
Enraged, Tom turned to strike them down, forgetting about Harry in his anger. Harry made him pay for that distraction, striking him with a bone breaker aimed at his back. It struck true and the terrorist leader fell, unable to feel his legs. Harry approached the downed but still dangerous man, motioning for the students to take over shielding. Harry cast a nonverbal muffling charm as he stood over his fated nemesis.
Tom looked up at him. “Do you want to cry? Did you love him? Your sainted Headmaster.”
Harry laughed. “Hated his guts, Riddle. He was nearly as bad as you at times.”
Tom’s eyes showed his confusion. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not going to really monologue for you, Riddle. Albus Dumbledore was an ass. You killed him. Hooray for you. Now it’s your turn.”
Tom smiled. “You can kill me but I will return. I am immortal.”
Harry shook his head. “No one is immortal, Riddle. Not even if they had a diary, a ring, a locket, a cup, and a diadem.”
Tom gaped at him in a panic. His left hand grabbed for the inside of his robe and he twisted it. When nothing happened, Tom grabbed for his ear and holding it said, “I will return!”
Harry shook his head. “You put up anti-apparition wards, Riddle. Didn’t you think someone might throw up some anti-portkey wards to keep your little idiots from escaping justice? Your insurance policy is gone, Death comes for all. Goodbye, Tom Marvolo Riddle, enjoy your next adventure.”
Harry raised his wand, the true Elder Wand, and Tom’s rose as well. Tom cried out his go to favorite spell, “Avada Kedavra!” Harry shifted sideways out of the way and cast a simple cutting curse, overpowered, as the green light passed over his shoulder. Tom Riddle’s head parted ways from his body and the Dark Lord lay there dead, no screaming spirit escaping, confirming for Harry that Tom had not suspected the destruction of his horcruxes and he had not made another unknown one.
The students lowered the shields and Severus approached. “Is it over? Did you really kill You-Know-Who?”
Harry nodded. “He’s dead. And you know I hate that hyphenated nonsense. Call him Tom or Riddle. But he’s dead, so call him a corpse.”
The students turned to one another and began hugging each other and crying their relief as people emerged from the nearby buildings, staring at the corpses in the middle of the road. Harry backed away, his arm around his son and cast a shield over the two dead men to prevent tampering until the aurors finally arrived.
Hadrian looked to Madam Rosmerta. “Were the floos blocked?”
She nodded. “But I had a mirror, a communication mirror. Sometimes my patrons get a bit out of hand and I can’t reach the floo. I don’t know what’s taking so long.”
“Riddle put up anti-apparition wards. And I put up anti-portkey ones so they couldn’t escape when injured. Riddle’s would have fallen when he did, so they should be here soon.”
Hadrian looked at the students around him. “We need some runners, lots of the stores and buildings are going to have people hiding in the basements. Some of you need to go door to door and let them know it’s over. And does anyone know Aberforth well?”
The owner of the bookstore stepped forward. “I’ll go. He should hear about his brother from a friend.”
Hadrian nodded. “Exactly what I had in mind. Thank you.”
As the man made his way down the lane, apparition pops sounded from the direction of the train station and distinctive red-robed aurors ran towards the group.
Half an hour later, all but a skeleton crew of the wartime large auror corp was in Hogsmeade or at Hogwarts taking statements from villagers, students, and professors, processing the downed Death Eaters, scanning the scene and checking wands for spells cast, and preparing the bodies of the fallen of both sides for processing by Ministry Healers.
Most of the statements were relatively short as many had done little more than run and hide. Some had fought off a few Death Eaters or witnessed others doing the same. The longest interviews were those from anyone present in the center of town during the penultimate fights between Albus Dumbledore and Tom Riddle and then Hadrian and Tom.
Hadrian clearly and carefully told his tale of his trip through the village after hearing the screaming to the Head of the Department of Law Enforcement, Bartemius Crouch, Senior. The militant man was surprised but pleased by his tactics in subduing the Death Eaters, not expecting someone considered to be in the Cult of Dumbledore to be so ruthless.
Hadrian shrugged. “The slumber spell won’t end with a typical Renevate, unlike a Stupefy. It is actually a healer’s spell and requires a healer’s wake spell to be lifted, something few if any terrorists would know or even suspect. And if they are woken, the anti-portkey ward would keep them from escaping that way just as Riddle’s anti-apparition ward kept villagers from escaping. And few people have the ability to run on two broken legs and few adults can cast with any degree of accuracy with their non-wand hand. I didn’t kill them, therefore they could be healed, interrogated, and put on trial for their crimes. But they weren’t likely to be a problem in the battle again. Headmaster Dumbledore tried his best with his vigilante group – which I knew about but wasn’t a member of, by the way – but I never agreed with his tactics. And just because someone is your boss, doesn’t mean you agree with their every decision, either at work or otherwise.”
Crouch nodded thoughtfully. “I’d ask you to come talk to my aurors but I suspect our problems will die down now. Tell me about the duel between Dumbledore and You-Know-Who.”
Hadrian rolled his eyes. “Honestly? Still? He’s dead. I get operational security and all, but he can’t attack people who use his anagram now and he never could track people who used his real name. Can you imagine sending out squads of goons every time his spell picked up someone using the name Tom while talking? I know a good fifteen Toms off the top of my head, at least eight of them in my classes that I teach at Hogwarts, and another four in classes I guest lecture in at the wizarding primary schools. And Tom runs the Leaky Cauldron, too. The same issue arises when using his real last name. Trying to attack everyone who tells a riddle? The Ravenclaw door knocker would be in trouble as would all sphinxes. As long as you didn’t use both names together to refer to him, there is no way he could have tracked it before today. And his corpse definitely can’t do what his living body could. So if using his made up name bothers you, call him Riddle. Or Tom.”
Crouch’s lips got increasingly thinner and pinched through Hadrian’s speech, but he nodded. “Force of habit.”
“I get it, this war can’t have been easy on your department. I’m just saying, you can break that habit now. It was a bit of an annoyance for me, I didn’t mean to lecture. Hazard of teaching, I suppose.”
Crouch relaxed at the apology. “So, tell me about the duel between Albus and Riddle.”
Over an hour later, Crouch released Hadrian to see to his son and other students, but not before mentioning the likelihood of his receiving an Order of Merlin, First Class for his actions.
Hadrian sighed at the thought, and went to see Severus who was waiting for his turn with an auror. “Hey, little prince.”
Hadrian sat next to Severus and leaned against his side. “Dad, are you alright? They aren’t being crazy, right? They aren’t arresting you for killing that monster?”
Hadrian placed his arm around his grown son. “No. Decidedly not. Crouch thinks I’ll be getting an Order of Merlin.”
Severus nodded and laid his head against Hadrian’s. “You deserve it.”
Hadrian snorted. “Whatever. They’ll be ready to question you soon. You’re kind of in a legal grey area. Not your actions today but your legal status. You’re eighteen years old and of age with wand rights but you’re still attending a magical secondary school and haven’t taken your NEWTs. That makes you a minor of sorts. It is different for those few still homeschooled after their mandatory primary education. Once they take their OWLs, they have wand rights at home and once they are seventeen, they are adults across the board with wand rights anywhere. My point is that I can come in with you as your father and guardian until you graduate Hogwarts, if you want me to do so. If you don’t, they don’t require my presence to question you.”
Severus sighed. “I’d like to handle the questioning myself, but I want you in the room.”
“I wouldn’t have interfered and answered for you, Severus. Even if you were still underage, I wouldn’t have done that, and the aurors wouldn’t have let me. But I will certainly be there for you to have moral support from my presence.”
Ten minutes later, Crouch called for Severus and Hadrian followed him in, explaining his legal right to be there as long as it was Severus’ wish. Crouch acquiesced and Severus took the seat that Hadrian had occupied for quite a while.
“Tell me what happened today in Hogsmeade, Mister Peverell.”
Severus took a deep breath. “It was the last Hogsmeade weekend of the school year and for me and most of my friends, the last one of our Hogwarts career. The wonder has worn off over the years of visits, but we weren’t going to miss this one. We made a schedule, and some went to various stores. We met up for an early lunch at the Three Broomsticks around eleven because it gets ridiculously crowded and takes quite a while to be served once it is noon. After our meal, several of our group split off to do their own thing, like James and Lily were going to the bookstore and then for a private walk. I think James had a picnic planned for midafternoon. I went to the apothecary to get replacement ingredients for my NEWT practice. Then I was on my way to Honeydukes for some sugar to keep me hyped up while studying.
“Before I got there, the Death Eaters apparated in and started casting at people. There were so many kids around. I know they aren’t babies, and once upon a time I was that age, but they looked so young and scared. I grabbed as many as I could and pushed them into any open stores. I told them to stay away from windows and the front walls, in case spells brought them down. I found a little girl, a third year Slytherin girl bleeding in an alley between Scrivenshaft’s and Devore’s Swords. She had been hit by a cutting curse, it just missed her jugular vein. I stopped the bleeding and helped her through the alleyway door to Devore’s.
“By that time, Headmaster Dumbledore and Riddle were dueling. There were a few Death Eaters just standing around and watching, but one was holding a fourth year Gryffindor under the Cruciatus. They were maybe eight feet from Devore’s front door. The boy was screaming, I could see it, but someone had silenced him so I couldn’t hear it.
“I grabbed a sword from a rack and went back into the street. Dad has trained me in swordcraft since I was a kid. I thought it looked cool, and after my early childhood – before my adoption, I wanted to have more than just my magic to protect me. I’m able to cast with my right and wield a sword with my left. The Death Eater’s back was to me and he wasn’t even really paying attention to the boy he was cursing. He was watching his master duel. I took his head off with the sword. One swing. That was all it took. I remember thinking that Sir Nicholas’ ax must have been seriously dull to have been unable to behead him after nearly fifty hits.
“I dragged the boy inside and turned back around to the street. I saw Dumbledore fall to Riddle’s Killing Curse and when the Death Eaters all just began laughing, so many hurt, dead, and they were amused by it all. I lifted the sword and yelled something, ‘For Hogwarts and Avalon’, I think. And suddenly there was a group of students behind me and we were running into the fray and striking down the Death Eaters, with magic, with swords, with anything we could.
“Then my dad stepped forward to duel Riddle when he was going to attack us. We took over his shielding of the buildings behind him and he took Riddle out when the man tried to cast the Killing Curse on him even though Dad had already paralyzed him from the waist down. It was horrible and I’ll never forget it. I killed today, Director Crouch. At least the one and likely more in that last melee. I’m not even out of Hogwarts yet. My NEWTs are next month, assuming they aren’t postponed. But I was in a battle today.”
Crouch nodded. “You saved lives today, Mister Peverell. Both directly like the little girl in the alley and indirectly by taking out the threats. They wouldn’t have shown you or anyone else any mercy. You did the right thing, but it won’t feel that way for a long time. And that’s a good thing. Killing should bother you. The ones that don’t care or worse, enjoy it, those are the evil ones. You, you’re going to have problems sleeping, likely for weeks or even months. Nightmares, dreams, memories. You’ll find yourself being sensitive to your surroundings. You may lash out verbally at friends and loved ones. You may lose your appetite or not feel like getting out of bed. My advice – let the people around you who care about you help you. Many of them will be in similar straits. Help one another, lean on one another and if you need more assistance, ask for help.”
Severus nodded. “Thank you, I will. I – I will.”
Harry entered a ritual room at Gringotts and began tracing out specific runes within the circle on the floor. He was preparing for a ritual that had been over a decade in the making, or if one looked at it another way, centuries in the making.
Within the hour his personal conclave would arrive and then Severus and his own, brand new, personal conclave. Before Harry’s arrival in the past, ritual magic and conclaves had been dying out. They weren’t illegal but they were no longer taught at Hogwarts as they had been until Dumbledore took charge. The most they got was mentions in Arithmancy class, Ancient Runes, and as historic events in History of Magic. Thus, those raised in the muggle world, whether muggleborn or half-blood, knew nothing about them, and then magical raised felt slighted and didn’t share information. And conclaves – or covens for witches – made up of all the same type of people were much weaker than ones with mixtures of pasts, Houses, and core type.
But with the beginning of the wizarding primary system, it no longer depended on Dumbledore’s allowance to teach anything, and the basics of the Magics of rituals led by covens and conclaves were prominently featured in the curriculum. Indeed, the children were taught basic rituals that they could safely do alone or in small groups, usually for the holidays.
And with this instruction of children came a resurgence of magical rituals and reformation of ancient covens and conclaves. Dumbledore tried to stop it with his influence over the teens at Hogwarts, but by the time they reached him, the children were steeped in the tradition. The Wizengamot had slapped the old man down harshly when he had tried to make rituals – even minor personal ones – forbidden at his school. He nearly lost his position over that nonsense before he backed down and allowed rituals. But his attitude and the minimum he gave to those who wanted to do larger rituals that required more space and time, caused most to wait until they left Hogwarts to form or join personal or larger conclaves or covens.
Harry finished drawing the needed runes, information that had come to him with his arrival and ‘memories’ of his past as Hadrian Peverell. Within minutes Orion Black and his cousin Alphard walked into the room and stood against the walls after exchanging nods with Hadrian. They were quickly followed by Lucius Malfoy, Hadrian’s former apprentice, Filius Flitwick, Hadrian’s friend and fellow professor, Jonder Jervin, the former head of the Children’s Welfare Department and current head of the Wizarding Primary School Division, and Reginald Herrington, father of Severus’ classmate Pralina and member of the Wizengamot. They were Hadrian’s personal conclave, finalized as such six years before after the ritual which cleansed the Black Family Magic Well.
The men ringed the room, not knowing exactly why they were here but knowing it would be a joint ritual with a younger personal conclave and trusting Hadrian’s judgment as the leader of their conclave.
Severus entered the ritual space, leading his friends and conclave behind him. The choice of members had been entirely his own and had been debated in Harry’s presence for over a year, though he had never given his opinion to his son, not wanting to sway him. By Severus’ right shoulder was Sirius Black and to his left was Jack Grant. Behind Sirius’ right was Remus Lupin and on Sirius’ left shoulder was Fredicus Yaverian. To Jack’s right shoulder was Xenophilius Lovegood and to his left was James Potter.
Severus led the young men into the room and they spaced themselves between the older men around the walls. Hadrian gazed around and met the eyes of each participant before raising his chin.
“I welcome you all here today and thank you for your attendance with such minimal information as I provided.” Harry’s eyes met his son’s and he smiled. “Twelve years ago, I came to this place and performed a ritual to take you into my family as blood, though you already held that place in my heart, Severus. Here you became Severus Prince Peverell and left behind who you had been before. During that ritual I was given a vision and instructions by Magic itself and I have spent a dozen years following those instructions to prepare myself, you, and the world for this day.
“There were conditions that needed to be met in order for this to occur, and they have all been passed. The ritual we will perform today as joint conclaves will be a simple one of magical communion and cleansing. But Magic will reveal its Will as we submerge ourselves in it.”
Severus looked steadily at his father. “These conditions, I presume one was my age?”
Hadrian nodded. “You needed to be of age and an adult in every way, without ambiguity. Meaning out of school, with full wand rights.”
Severus inclined his head. “And I graduated Hogwarts two weeks ago and received my NEWT results yesterday, so that condition is met. I’m going to be a Ravenclaw and deduce something. Was one of the conditions the reason you suddenly became an educational reformer? When I first came to live with you after you rescued me, before the full adoption, I had tutors. I was happy and adjusting and in retrospect, you seemed content with that situation. But shortly after the adoption, you suddenly had this idea for the primary schools and pushed hard to get support and laws for it.”
Hadrian smiled widely. “Ravenclaw intelligence indeed. Yes. The establishment of the primary system wasn’t mandated directly by Magic, but it was the best way forward to meeting the burden of the requirement: bringing Magical connection to the entire wizarding population. Dumbledore was too obstructionist to work differently.”
Severus tilted his head. “He was another condition, wasn’t he?”
“Yes. The two Dark Lords needed to be neutralized in some way before this ritual could occur.”
“I had no plans for Dumbledore’s death. I was working on neutralizing his power in the government and world. It was a slower process than I would have liked but he was losing ground with those in power and starting to be seen as old-fashioned and hidebound by much of the public. Barring any unforeseen issues – which is what happened – I think I would have gotten him out of the way from all of his positions within another decade.
“Riddle was obvious. He needed to be securely in jail, unable to escape or dead, whether by my hand or someone else’s. I let Dumbledore duel him. I couldn’t have really done more than I did. Riddle would never have dueled me while Dumbledore was capable of facing him. The man was there in order to do so, and put to rest the rumors that he was afraid of Dumbledore. I gave Dumbledore as much help as I could by removing the distraction of shielding the innocents in the building behind him. He would have had no chance at all if I hadn’t done that.”
Severus looked around the circle and many of the men present nodded in agreement. “So, Fate helped with that condition?”
“I suppose you could say that. Fate or chance or simply the confluence of events as the war escalated culminating in the meeting between the heads of both sides.” Harry shrugged. “It doesn’t much matter other than the fact that neither of the Dark Lords, and yes, Dumbledore was a Dark Lord no matter how much he flaunted his Light Lord credentials, neither of them are an issue now. And I spent the last decade ensuring the final condition was met – that Severus be raised happy, healthy, and safe.”
Severus blinked back tears. “You did that, Dad. The best day of my life was the day Tobias hit me in the market. I love you, Dad.”
Harry smiled through his own tears, “I love you, too, Severus.” He turned to the others. “Shall we begin?”
The men, young and older, nodded in unison and paired off based upon position to the cisterns in the alcoves of the room. They removed their robes and stepped into the cleansing waters, allowing the magically purified water to prepare them for the ritual ahead.
Each man emerged from the cisterns and took their places, skyclad, at points in the circle. Hadrian motioned with his head for Severus to take his place opposite Hadrian’s own spot. Once in place, Hadrian began.
“May Magic bless our unified purpose.”
The conclaves chanted as one: Et faciam vos fieri magicis sanos et subicere possis.
The runes lit beneath their feet and dim white light bathed them before shifting in shade to match each man’s aura. The light level began to grow, centering on the interior of the ritual circle, and coalesced into a translucent bubble of swirling magic colors. It floated and bobbed as the magic around each man entered it and when the light from each stopped, it began to approach Severus.
Hadrian was lifted from his feet and drawn to hover before his son in magic. Severus fell to his knees and the bubble dissipated, leaving behind a gleaming crown. Hadrian reached forward and grasped the crown, lowering it to the head of the young man kneeling before him. “In Magic’s will, and in accordance with your own rebirth at a time when you were most needed, I crown you, Severus Prince Peverell, The Once and Future King of the Magical Realm of Avalon and all its peoples. Reborn to us.”
Every man fell to his knees as Severus rose to his feet and a gleaming sword, thought a myth, pulsing with magic, appeared in his hand. Hadrian knelt at his son’s feet and bowed his head. “Your Majesty. What will you?”
Severus blinked three times and looked around the circle. “Rise, my father. Magic tells me you have more to reveal to Us.”
“I do. Magic has shown me the gateway to Avalon, our home, safe from the muggles and their bombs and wars and science.”
“Rise Merlin reborn and show Us and our Knights our new home.”
Hadrian got to his feet. “Not Merlin reborn. At least so far as I’ve been told. You, however, Your Majesty, are Arthur Pendragon reborn. That I was told. Magic led me to you, you’ve always known that, even the Ministry knows that. If you had stayed in the Snape home, brought up by Eileen and Tobias, no wizarding primary just muggle schooling, your heart would have been much darker, much easier to sway. If your time at Hogwarts had been isolated due to your upbringing and necessary cunning from it, a sorting into Slytherin, Dumbledore in charge, favoring the Gryffindors in the House rivalry, few if any friends, blood politics mounting as the war did?
“You could have been ripe pickings for Riddle. And if he had marked you as he usually did his minions with a modified slavery bond? You never could have taken the crown and if he had known your heritage, the reason that the Prince family took that name? He could have petitioned Magic and used his bond on you to take that heritage and doom the world.
“And if Dumbledore had known, he would have manipulated you and used you for his vision of ‘the greater good’, even after the adoption. So, magic led me to you. Our people need protection, we need Avalon.
“The muggles grow more dangerous with every passing year, their technology in weaponry and their technology in communication. They’ve been in space, to the moon, they have artificial machines – satellites orbiting the planet, some have cameras. If the cameras become more sophisticated, will wards still work? From that far away without an active mind to fool?
“Avalon is our saving grace, Your Majesty. My son. It isn’t what myth and legend would have us believe. I’ve been shown the way to get there and there is room enough for every magical being on the Earth that wishes to go. The logistics can wait but verifying your return, the Once and Future King was prophesied he would return at the time of our world’s greatest peril. They will follow you to safety.”
Severus looked around at the two conclaves, kneeling, eyes wide, tears on some cheeks and nodded. “Show us the way to Avalon, safety from the muggles, more than wards.”
An hour later, Hadrian led his son the king and the first new knights of the Round Table to Glastonbury Tor. They all stood in a group centered on Severus, and Hadrian told his son what to do.
“Take your sword and press the tip into the mound, then find your core and channel your magic down the sword. It was designed to do this, to act as a focus when needed. As you channel your magic, desire that we are taken to Avalon’s gateway.”
Filius looked around. “So this isn’t Avalon’s gateway up here? I thought perhaps Avalon was underground. It would hide it from space cameras.”
Hadrian shook his head. “No. I’ve been here twice by Magic’s will. The entrance to the gateway is here, under the mound, well under the ground that is the mound itself. If that makes sense? The gateway isn’t within the mound. If the mound were flat, the gateway is under the spot where the mound is.”
Severus nodded. The new king took a deep breath and removed Excalibur from his back where it had been sheathed. He placed the tip lightly in the ground and they all saw the purple light move down the blade as he called for it. There was a flash of darkness and a disorienting sensation and all fourteen were underground, the cavern lighting from nowhere as they arrived.
Hadrian left the circle and they followed him to a side passage. It led to a larger cavern with a large stone archway set flush against a solid wall. Every time he saw it, Harry couldn’t help but think of the Veil of Death. It was very alike. Just without the eerie curtain.
“Lay your hand on the arch and channel your magic, Severus. It will open the gate and allow us access to our Home.”
Harry had been to the cavern twice since his arrival in the past, though never physically. Magic had pulled his astral form here and shown him what needed to be done. The first trip was the night after the adoption ritual. He had been shown visions of what the muggles would have reduced wizards to after his death in the future. It had been horrific. And then Magic took him to the gateway and had shown him visions of what lay beyond.
The second time was the night after Tom and Albus had died. Magic had shown him exactly where the cavern was and how to access it. It had then granted him further visions of Avalon as a carrot to the dreams of muggle warfare that were his constant stick over the last decade.
Severus laid his hand on the side of the arch and purple light flowed into the stone, bathing it until it glowed brightly from all sides. Then the light reached out across the gap of the arch and a portal formed. Severus lifted his hand and stepped back.
“It won’t destabilize.” Hadrian waved a hand. “Not until you reverse the process.”
The men looked at the view that filled the arch and were awed, jaws dropping. Sirius stepped forward. “Allow me to go first, Your Majesty.”
“Don’t you trust the magic, Sirius?” Severus frowned.
“I trust Magic, but I wish to protect you. I – I am your right hand. Your knight. I need to test this before you follow, Sire.”
Severus drew in a deep breath. “Are all of you feeling – odd compulsions or draws on your magic?”
The men, including Hadrian, nodded. “Just as you are, my not so little king. Magic wishes to survive and grow and thrive, and it can no longer accomplish that here. It wishes to keep us safe and whole. But we don’t know enough, even I don’t have a close enough connection to Magic to understand easily. Perhaps there were once those who did. Perhaps Merlin, perhaps King Arthur, perhaps the knight of the Round Table, perhaps everyone or near enough, and it had been lost along with so much else over the centuries. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But Magic is prodding us along as much as we can understand.”
Severus nodded and inclined his head at Sirius. “We will follow upon your signal, Sirius.”
Sirius’ shoulders straightened and his chin rose as he strode forward, hesitated for a bare moment and crossed the invisible threshold. It was nerve wracking for Harry, to see the young version of the man who would be, once had been, his godfather, go once more through a magical stone archway.
Harry fought off the memories as Sirius stopped and they saw him look around. He stepped forward and his eyes rose to the sky before he faced them and gestured with his hand, calling for their arrival.
Severus stood still, looking at the portal and the others lined up behind him. Severus looked over his shoulder and pulled his father to stand next to him. “You will come through with me, Dad. Equal. If not for you, none of this would have happened. You gave me and us this chance to live and thrive and you will be the second through the portal to Avalon, along with me.”
Hadrian nodded and placed his hand on his child’s shoulder, now higher than his own. “Then let us proceed to Avalon.”
Severus smiled and stepped forward, Hadrian a beat behind, and they crossed the portal, the new knights following. Once across, they all followed Sirius’ example and stood gazing at sky, a lovely blue with two shaded moons and a giant glowing gas giant planet hovering above snowcapped mountains over a large forest.