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The Ilvermorny Champion

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Friday, October 30th, 1994

Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was currently standing on the front steps of his beloved castle. Around him, the students and staff were congregated, as they waited for the arrival of their guests, the representatives of Beauxbatons School of Magic, and Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Originally Durmstrang Academy had been invited instead of Ilvermorny, however after the Headmaster Igor Karkaroff had been arrested on suspicion of murder, Durmstrang was forced to back out. A shame that was, Albus thought. It was rumored that Quidditch superstar, Viktor Krum, would have been chosen as one of the contenders. Such publicity would have been excellent for Hogwarts!

Alas, it was not to be. So, instead, Ilvermorny, a school from the United States, had thrown their hat into contention, and had been immediately accepted. Never before had a non-European school been invited to the Triwizard Tournament. Albus threw his support in for Ilvermorny's invitation – such a historic move would make up for the lack of Viktor Krum, when it came to publicity.

One of the rings on Albus' left hand, vibrated intensely. The ring was keyed to the wards around Hogwarts, and warned him whenever something passed through the wards.

“Aha!” Albus said, jovially, “Unless I am very much mistaken, the delegation from Beauxbatons approaches!”

“Where?” said many students eagerly, all looking in different directions.

There!” yelled a sixth year, pointing over the forest.

Something very large was hurtling across the deep blue sky toward the castle, growing larger all the time.

“It’s a dragon!” shrieked one of the first years.

“Don’t be stupid,” said first year, Dennis Creevey, “it’s a flying house!”

The young Creevey boy's guess was closer.

As the gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and the lights shining from the castle windows hit it, they saw a gigantic, powder-blue, horse-drawn carriage, the size of a large house, soaring toward them, pulled through the air by a dozen winged horses, all palominos, and each the size of an elephant.

The front three rows of students drew backward as the carriage hurtled ever lower, coming in to land at a tremendous speed — then, with an almighty crash the horses’ hooves, larger than dinner plates, hit the ground. A second later, the carriage landed too, bouncing upon its vast wheels, while the golden horses tossed their enormous heads and rolled large, fiery red eyes.

A boy in pale blue robes jumped down from the carriage, bent forward, fumbled for a moment with something on the carriage floor, and unfolded a set of golden steps. He sprang back respectfully.

Albus smiled as Beauxbatons Headmistress, Madame Olympe Maxime, stepped out of the carriage. The woman was very large – no matter how much Madame Maxime had vehemently denied it, Albus knew the woman was half-giant. No matter how much she denied it, Albus knew the truth. After all, he had a half-giant on his own staff – Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts Groundskeeper.

Albus noticed there were several students whispering and murmuring as they looked at the woman. He winced, as he realized some of the murmurs could be mistaken as disrespect, which would send a bad message to the Beauxbatons delegates. Indeed, Madam Maxime was looking rather disconcerted at the reaction from the students. So Albus started to clap, applauding for such a magnificent entrance. He sighed in relief, as the applause was contagious, and his staff, and most of the students applauded too.

Albus smiled when Maxime's expression softened. The Beauxbatons Headmistress walked forward, and Albus met her in the middle. When she offered her hand, he kissed it gently – due to her size, he didn't even have to bend very far to reach it.

“My dear Madame Maxime,” he said. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”

“Dumbly-dorr,” said Madame Maxime in a deep voice, “I ’ope I find you well?”

“In excellent form, I thank you,” said Dumbledore.

“My pupils,” said Madame Maxime, waving one of her enormous hands carelessly behind her.

Albus smiled as several boys and girls approached their Headmistress. They were shivering, which was unsurprising, given that their robes seemed to be made of fine silk, and none of them were wearing cloaks. Albus did not like the way they were looking at his grand castle, with such apprehensive looks. He did, however, notice that at least two of the girls were Veela. He wasn't surprised, having been warned that Veela might attend.

“Has Ilvermorny arrived yet?” Madame Maxime asked.

“They should be here any moment,” Albus said. “Would you like to wait here and greet them or would you prefer to step inside and warm up a trifle?”

“Warm up, I think,” said Madame Maxime. “But ze ’orses —”

“Our Groundskeeper will be delighted to take care of them,” Albus said, “He has an affinity for handling creatures as wondrous as your horses.”

“My steeds require — er — forceful ’andling,” said Madame Maxime, “Zey are very strong...”

“I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job,” Albus said, with a smile.

“Very well,” said Madame Maxime, bowing slightly. “Will you please inform zis ’Agrid zat ze ’orses drink only single-malt whiskey?”

“It will be attended to,” said Dumbledore, also bowing.

“Come,” said Madame Maxime imperiously to her students.

The Hogwarts crowd parted to allow her and her students to pass up the stone steps. Albus sighed as he watched Madame Maxime step into the castle. Truth be told, he hated Olympe Maxime. She was a rude, overbearing woman. It would have been far better had Beauxbatons been the one to drop out of the tournament instead of Durmstrang.

“Albus!” Deputy Headmistress, and Transfiguration Professor, Minerva McGonagall hissed at him, “You never told me Beauxbatons delegation was bringing Veela!”

“My dear, Minerva,” Albus said, raising his eyebrows as he looked at his Deputy, “I have never thought you one for such bigotry against Veela!”

Minerva stammered indignantly. “I am not against Veela, Albus! I'm simply afraid of what their presence might mean for some of our male students here. Many of which are in the early stages of their teenage hormones, and haven't had time to get a handle on them. They could fall victim! If something were to happen, it could cause --”

“I assure you all precautions will be taken, Minerva,” Albus said, trying to maintain his jovial grandfather tone, while passing along a no-nonsense attitude to his Deputy. “Those Veela students are contenders for the Triwizard Tournament. Insulting them could also cause international problems.”

Minerva grumbled under her breath. “Of course you are right, Albus. But I will be watching them around the students!”

“And I welcome you to do so,” Albus said, praying the conversation ended right there.

Minerva huffed. Albus sighed and turned back around. His Deputy was a long-time friend of his, but her personality clashed with his on several issues. At least the issues were small and petty. If she disagreed with him on some of the larger issues, actions would have to be taken. He could not afford such disagreements in the long run.

Albus' thoughts were interrupted as his ring vibrated again. He looked around for the cause, and he suddenly heard a very loud noise coming from behind him. He ran forward onto the Grounds, parting the students. Then he turned around and saw a very large object flying over Hogwarts castle. Albus' eyes widened as he saw what appeared to be some kind of Muggle flying craft slowly hovering across the Grounds, about fifty feet in the air.

“Whoa!” Dennis Creevey said, “It looks like a Blackbird!”

“That doesn't look like a bird to me!” another student said.

“No! A Blackbird!” Dennis' brother, Colin said, “From X-Men!”

The craft started to descend vertically, onto the Grounds of Hogwarts, just feet from the Beauxbatons carriage. When it landed, the large door at the back of the craft lowered to form a ramp. The first person to step out was a tall woman with flowing auburn hair. Albus' eyes widened as he looked at her. He recognized her almost instantly.

He had to blink several times as he looked at the woman, because he was sure he was seeing things. It could not be possible. This woman was thought to have perished exactly thirteen years previously, along with her husband and infant son. The woman stepped out, walking down the ramp, onto the grounds, and the students behind her followed in two queues. The woman was holding onto the hand of a young teenaged girl, whose auburn hair matched the woman's. Leading the pack of students was a dark-haired teen. Albus' jaw dropped as he saw the boy.

There was no mistake. Albus could not deny what was in front of him. The boy -- whom looked like a teenaged version of his father – was surely Harry Potter.

Lily Potter, and her son, Harry – both of whom were thought to have been killed exactly thirteen years previously – were now standing on the Grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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Friday, October 30th, 1994 – Fifteen Minutes Earlier

Lily Potter, Potions Mistress of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was currently seated on a long bench of seats in the cargo and passenger area of the large craft known as the Thunderbird.

The Thunderbird – a large hovercraft helicopter – had been built a decade ago by Professor Winston, Headmaster at Ilvermorny. Professor Winston, a Muggleborn, had named the craft after his much loved House Thunderbird, of which he had been a part of when he was a student many years ago. Professor Winston had been the pilot of the plane for much of the past decade. However, a year ago, he had been struck with an illness, and the illness had recently become worse, and had taken a toll on the man's body, so he couldn't make the trip from the United States to Scotland.

He had asked Lily Potter, and her two best friends – all three of whom had grown up in Great Britain – to represent him and Ilvermorny since he could not attend. Lily and her friends had agreed happily.

Seated on either side of Lily were her two children. Harry, fourteen, and Rose, twelve. Even though he was only fourteen, Harry was one of the chosen delegates for the Triwizard Tournament. Though the other delegates were all sixteen years or older, Harry had been chosen for a reason. He had placed third in the Tournament of Champions, in which the top-ten contenders would be chosen as delegates for the Tournament. Harry's sister, Rose, was only there because her family – mother, brother, and honorary Uncles -- were all going.

Seated to the right of Harry, and also across the large space, were the other nine contenders for the spot of Ilvermorny Champion in the Triwizard Tournament.

Lily smiled as she looked over at Harry, who was staring down at his lap.

“Nervous, Harry?” she asked.

“No, not at all,” Harry said – and he looked as if he had truly meant it – “Actually, I'm thinking about Dad. I know I don't have to tell you that it has been thirteen years. Thirteen years tomorrow. I guess it is just... coming back to Great Britain after all these years – it feels like we're closer to him than we ever were.”

Lily smiled as she blinked back tears at the mention of her late husband, father of her two beautiful children, and love of her life, James Potter. It wouldn't do to break down in front of her students or children.

Thirteen years ago tomorrow, she thought solemnly.

October 31st, 1981. Halloween. Lily Potter remembered it well. She had started the evening cuddled up with her husband on the loveseat in their Godric's Hollow cottage. Their fifteen-month old son had been asleep in his swing. What neither she or her husband had known at the time was that she was also a month pregnant with their daughter, Rose. After some cuddling, Lily had decided it was time to cook dinner. She had pondered taking Harry up to his nursery, to put down to bed for the night, but Harry had been in a stage where he was very clingy to his mother. So she had brought Harry with her into the kitchen, and let him sleep in a baby carriage.

James had been in the kitchen, fixing salad, as Lily fixed pork-chops, when it happened. The front door burst open, and a monstrous wizard, known as the Dark Lord Voldemort, entered their house.

“It's him!” James growled, as he started casting his wand around, tossing about spells and charms. “Lily, Operation GTFO, Plan B.”

“Plan B?!” Lily cried, “James, no! You promised!”

“I promised to protect you and Harry!” James said, “And I will keep that promise!”

Plan B. It was something Lily had hoped would never have to come to pass. If they had done Plan A, James Potter would be alive now. But he had chosen Plan B. Both plans were similar, except for the ending. Potter Cottage – the name of the house the Potters had been living at – had been rigged with several runes which had traps, enchantments and wards in place if Voldemort or his Death Eaters attacked.

It was incredibly lucky Lily and Harry had been in the kitchen, instead of up in Harry's nursery, or they likely would have never survived the attack. Inside the kitchen, had also been the entrance to the basement. The last time Lily had ever seen her husband, was when he had kissed her, then forced her and Harry into the basement. What happened after, Lily could only guess. The corridor between the front door and the kitchen had several runes full of shields and traps. It would give Lily and Harry enough time, while James distracted Voldemort. That was where Plan B began. Plan A would have seen all three of the Potters going into the basement.

Down in the basement there was a secret door that nobody but Lily and James knew about. Not even their friends -- one of whom had been their Secret Keeper, Peter Pettigrew – had known about the door. The door led into a very long tunnel that had been dug out by dwarves underground and had led deep into the forest behind the house. Lily, holding the carriage with Harry inside, had ran as fast as she could down the tunnel. When she reached the end of the tunnel, she knew she was far outside the reach of any possible Anti-Portkey, or Anti-Apparation Wards. She sent out several messenger Patronuses to her friends – another part of Operation GTFO. Then she grasped the carriage firmly in one of her hands, and the necklace around her throat in the other.

She called out “GTFO”, the signal for the voice-activated Portkey. As she and Harry left Godric's Hollow, she could hear a very loud explosion, and an earth-shaking rumble around her. Potter Cottage had exploded, due to certain runes inside the house. But that was part of James' Plan B – blow up the house with Voldemort inside, and the threat against James' family would be gone forever. Exactly what James had promised – that his family would be safe. He would be gone, but his family would be safe.

James Potter had been instantly killed by the explosion. Later it was discovered that Peter Pettigrew – the traitorous Secret Keeper of Potter Cottage – had also been at the Cottage, and had been killed as well. However, while Lord Voldemort's body had been disintegrated, there were rumors and whispers that Voldemort had somehow survived Death, and had escaped somehow.

The Portkey that had taken Lily and Harry Potter to France, where their good friend Sirius Black had a safe-house, which he had received from an inheritance. The morning of November 1st, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and other friends had met Lily and Harry at the safe-house. During the following week, there had been several developments.

First, the Potter solicitor – and dear family friend – Ted Tonks had closed the Potter Accounts, with permission from Lily Potter, at Gringotts London Branch. James Potter's Will had also been locked up inside the Potter Family Vault until due time when Lily and her son would return to Great Britain. Both of these decisions turned out to be a very good thing. Rumors had spread that Lily and Harry had been killed, in the same attack that killed James Potter, and had apparently brought the end of Lord Voldemort.

Soon it had been discovered by Ted Tonks that Albus Dumbledore had started this rumor. The Potter solicitor had discovered this after the Potter Account Manager at Gringotts, Ragnok The Sixth, had told him of a meeting between the Goblin and Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore had tried to take control of the Potter Accounts, and also James Potter's Will.

Why Albus Dumbledore had taken these actions was unknown to Lily. He had no permission to do so. This discovery had turned her against the man who she had once looked up to as a mentor.

A week after the rumors began of her and her son's deaths, Lily and Harry, and her two good friends, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin, had fled Great Britain and Europe, and had moved to the United States. They had been living in the States ever since. Even though Lily and Harry had not changed their names, the news of their survival had not reached the shores of Great Britain – aside from Gringotts, of course. The Goblins had records which told them Lily and Harry Potter were alive, but due to instructions from Potter solicitor Ted Tonks, they were keeping that secret from everyone.

When Harry had turned eleven years of age, he had been invited to attend Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Upon hearing of this invitation, Lily and her two friends had applied for Professor roles at Ilvermorny, and had successfully been hired.

Lily Potter was one of two Potions Mistresses, teaching the younger Years at Ilvermorny. Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were hired upon as two of five Defense Professors. Unlike Hogwarts, Ilvermorny had several different class types when it came to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Remus was the Dark Creature Defense Professor, and Sirius was one of two Duel Training Professors. Unlike Great Britain, there were no prejudices toward werewolves in the United States. So Remus – a werewolf – was able to keep his job as a Professor much longer than he would have if ever had decided to do so in Great Britain.

Lily's reverie was broken as she realized she was still in the middle of a conversation with her son.

“I happen to agree with you, Harry,” Lily said, smiling at her son, “It does feel as if we're closer to your father, doesn't it?”

“Yeah,” Harry said. “Do you think he'd be happy with me? I mean – being the youngest contender for the Ilvermorny Triwizard Champion role? I mean – I doubt I'll be named the Champion, but --”

Harry blushed and Lily smiled.

“Of course he'd be happy with you, Harry,” Lily said, “Like your godfather, Sirius, your father would probably think it would be a great prank. After all, neither Hogwarts or Beauxbatons knows you have been given special permission to become a contender, even though you're only fourteen. That will shock everyone!”

Harry laughed, then shrugged. “Like I said, I doubt I'll be chosen. Everyone here is far more talented.”

“That is nonsense, big brother, and you know it!” Lily's daughter, and Harry's sister, Rose, said. “You placed third in the contention Tournament!”

“Yes, Rose, third,” Harry said, “That means there are two others far better than me. They have a better shot.”

Lily sighed. “The placement in the tournament doesn't matter, Harry, or Professor Winston would have only brought the champion of the contention Tournament to Hogwarts.”

Harry shrugged. “I guess. Just don't get your hopes up. I've already come to terms with the fact that I'm simply here to support the Ilvermorny Champion and be a spectator for the tasks.”

Lily merely smiled and shook her head. She decided not to argue any more. Her son didn't understand that while he placed third in the contention tournament, he had done so while at fourteen years old, beating all but two sixteen and seventeen year old students. Even though two others had beat him, it didn't mean he wasn't as impressive, or skilled, or as powerful as them. He was the underdog of the contention tournament, and everyone thought he wouldn't have a chance of even been chosen as a contender. But now, even most of Lily's fellow Professors thought her son was a shoe-in for Ilvermorny Champion.

Lily wasn't sure what she thought about that. After all, the Triwizard Tournament was extremely dangerous. It had been banned for nearly two centuries, and there was a history of several deaths of past champions during the tournament. She knew if her son was chosen as Champion, there was a good chance he would seriously injured or worse. She would love if he was simply a spectator for the event. But she also knew her son was skilled and talented. In her mind, there was no denying he would be the Ilvermorny Champion.

“Pilot Black and Co-Pilot Lupin to Professor Potter,” Sirius Black's voice rang overheard, breaking Lily's thoughts, “ETA is ten minutes. Repeat. Ten minutes to Hogwarts.”

Lily brought her wand to her throat. “Ten minutes. Loud and clear. Thank you Pilot Black.”

Lily smiled as her children and the students around her reacted happily at hearing they were nearly at their destination. Lily cleared her throat loudly to get the attention of all the students. They went silent and looked at her.

“Listen up,” she said, “In ten minutes we're going to arrive on the Grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You may know that Professors Black and Lupin, and myself, were all students at Hogwarts during the seventies. All three of us are well acquainted with the castle, which is why Headmaster Winston asked the three of us to accompany you as chaperones.

“I expect when we arrive, we might be greeted by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, his staff and the students of Hogwarts. Once we are allowed into the castle, we will enter the Entrance Hall, and wait for instructions. When it is time, we will make our way into the Great Hall. All students present will be seated together at one of the four specific tables, though the exact table has not been specified yet.

“When the Feast is over, we will return here to the Thunderbird. By then Professors Black and Lupin should have taken care of the living arrangements for us. None of you are to submit your names for contention until tomorrow morning. Am I understood?”

Harry and the rest of the contenders nodded.

“Excellent,” Lily said. “There is something else you need to know that has been kept quiet until now. For the past thirteen years, Great Britain's wizarding society has been living under the belief that myself, and my son, Harry were killed on Halloween in 1981.”

Most of the students looked shocked and concerned.

“There will likely be a lot of reactions, and a whole lot of unnecessary fuss,” Lily continued, “over the appearance of myself and my children. Please do your best to ignore it. If any of the Hogwarts or Beauxbatons staff or students speak to you about such a topic, direct them to me, Professor Black, or Professor Lupin. I do not want to hear about an international incident started by any of you, whether it be because of me and my family, or anything in general. Have I made myself clear?”

There were several nods, and murmurs of assent.

“I am not ordering you to ignore the Hogwarts and Beauxbatons students, ladies and gentleman,” Lily said. “One of the goals of this tournament is to promote International Magical Cooperation. If you want to make friends, feel free. If, perhaps, one or two of you, end up taking a Hogwarts or Beauxbatons student to the Yule Ball in December, I would not be against that --”

She grinned as several of the students chuckled.

“But please – do not be the cause of any international incident,” Lily said, “I would be most displeased with you.”

The students chuckled again, and nodded.

“Only one of you will have the honor of being the Ilvermorny Champion in the Triwizard Tournament,” Lily said, “The rest of you will be here in support of your Champion, and as spectators for the Tasks. I don't want to hear any complaints against the contender who is chosen Champion, no matter which of you it will be. We are all here to support each other. There may be rivalries amongst your Houses at Ilvermorny. But we are not at Ilvermorny right now. We'll be at Hogwarts from tonight until late June. Between now and then, these are your Housemates. Professors Black, Lupin, and myself, your Heads of House. We stand united. We are Ilvermorny!”

Lily grinned as the students – Harry and Rose included -- raised their fists and cheered.

The cheering stopped ten seconds later as Lily raised her hands. She picked up a small backpack which was resting between her legs, and opened it. She reached into it and handed a vial to her daughter, then to her son, and took one for herself. She then gave the backpack to Harry.

“Pass the bag to your neighbor, Harry,” Lily said, then she addressed her students. “These vials are filled with what is known as a Time Lapse Draught. Consider them a Jet Lag Cure. They will keep your sleeping schedules the same, even though we now have a six-to-seven hour time difference between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny. You can drink it now, and it won't make you drowsy or sleepy until your normal bedtime.”

She brought the vial to her lips and drank down the Draught. Her children followed in suit, and the students did the same, as they took a vial from the backpack. The Draught tasted like a sugary drink, and wasn't disgusting at all. Lily Potter took pride in brewing – and teaching her students how to brew – Potions and Draughts that were more delectable to the pallet, instead of those disgusting-tasting Potions she had been used to in wizarding Great Britain during the decade she had been there as a witch.

When the last student drank their vial, Lily summoned the backpack and all the vials, and stored them.

“Pilot Black and Co-Pilot Lupin to Professor Potter,” Sirius' voice rang overheard once again, “ETA is five minutes. Repeat. Five minutes to Hogwarts.”

Lily brought her wand to her throat. “Five minutes. Loud and clear. Thank you Pilot Black. Let us know when there is one minute to ETA.”

“Loud and clear, Professor Potter,” Sirius said.

Lily smiled and looked around at her children and students.

“When we set down,” she said, “You are to line up in two rows from youngest to eldest amongst you. So Harry and Rose, you will be at the front of the two lines. I will, of course, be leading everyone out. Leave your belongings, except what you have on you, in here.”

When Sirius announced one-minute to ETA, Lily stood and instructed the students to get into lines. She stood in the front center, watching the students line up. As the Thunderbird began its landing, Lily turned to the large door. Rose clutched her hand in her mother's, who looked down at her daughter with a smile.

“You nervous, Rosie?” Lily asked.

Rose shrugged and gave a small nod.

“Don't worry,” she said, “I think you'll love Hogwarts. I'm sure you'll make some friends.”

“I miss my friends,” Rose said, sighing.

“All your friends still have those mirrors you gave them, right?” Lily asked.

“Yes, Mom,” Rose said, “And I have mine.”

“Well, there you go,” Lily said, “As long as you count for time differences between here and Ilvermorny, you can still speak to your friends through the mirrors. Distance doesn't affect the mirrors.”

Rose nodded and smiled. “Okay.”

Lily smiled and squeezed her daughter's hand. “Well, there you go. I'm sure you'll have loads of fun while you're here. As long as you behave yourself.” She looked at Rose, then to Harry. “Both of you.”

“Come on, Mom,” Harry said, “We're much better than Uncle Sirius!”

Lily sighed and smiled. “Well, I can't argue with that.”

“Thunderbird has landed,” Sirius' voice rang overhead, “Students of Ilvermorny, welcome to Hogwarts!”

The rear door of the Thunderbird lowered, and turned into a ramp. Lily inhaled and exhaled, walked out of the Ilvermorny and stepped back onto British soil for the first time in thirteen years.

 

Chapter Text

Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Hand-in-hand with her daughter, Rose, and leading her son, Harry, and the other nine contenders for the title of Ilvermorny Champion, Lily Potter walked in the direction of the large crowd. Lily smiled as they were greeted with applause from the Hogwarts staff and students. Standing at the front and center of the group was the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. A smirk crossed Lily's face as she noticed that Albus was looking at her in shock.

"Lady Potter?" Albus said, in a soft voice, "Is it really you?"

"Greetings, Headmaster Dumbledore," Lily said, "It has been a very long time."

"It has," Albus agreed, "Where is Headmaster Winston?"

"I'm afraid his illness recently took a bad turn," Lily said, "He requested that I be here in his stead. I am the Potions Mistress at Ilvermorny, and as I grew up in Great Britain, and attended Hogwarts, he decided I was the best choice to replace him in this position. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, my friends and fellow Professors, at Ilvermorny, have also accompanied us."

Lily noticed Albus' eyes widen for merely a moment. He then nodded and glanced at Rose, then Harry. Lily frowned as she noticed him staring at Harry for much longer than he had looked at Rose. Lily cleared her throat. Albus looked away from Harry, then looked around at the other Ilvermorny students.

"I only count nine delegates," he said, "Were there complications getting a tenth, as was requested?"

"No," Lily said, "You merely miscounted. Harry is also a delegate."

Albus' eyes widened once again. But before he could say anything, Lily reached into her robes, and removed a folder of parchment, and handed it to him.

"My son has been permitted by both Headmaster Winston and the MACUSA," Lily said, "to take part as a contender for Ilvermorny Champion."

Albus sighed and took the folder. "There could be issues with that, but we can discuss this later with the other judges. May I invite you and your son to my office after the Feast?"

Lily frowned. She had rather her son didn't spend too much time in Albus Dumbledore's presence, but she knew this was necessary, if Harry was to be allowed in the Tournament.

"Of course," she said.

"Excellent," Albus said. "Beauxbatons has already arrived and are waiting for us. So how about we head on inside?"

Lily merely nodded once and motioned for the Ilvermorny students to follow her, then followed Albus through the center of the crowd of students. Albus stopped next to a woman Lily recognized as her former Transfiguration Professor, Minerva McGonagall. But, as Albus whispered something to Minerva, it was the man standing next to Minerva that caught Lily's eye. The man had aged some since Lily had seen him last, but there was no mistaking the man who she had, at one time, called her best friend. Severus Snape was staring at her, shock and rare emotion marring his expression. As Albus led her and the Ilvermorny students into the castle, Lily merely nodded once at Severus, who simply continued to stare at her.

Lily smiled as she entered the Entrance Hall. It had over sixteen years since she had stepped into this Hall. She could remember the last time she had been here. Eighteen years old, hand-in-hand with her future husband, James Potter, as they exited Hogwarts for the very last time as students. She could remember the boat ride she, James, their friends and fellow year-mates, had taken across the Great Lake, in the exact opposite route they had done so getting to Hogwarts in their first year. She could also remember their last trip on the Hogwarts Express, where James had asked her to marry him in front of their friends. Of course, she had said yes.

Lily blinked out of her reverie as Albus introduced her to the very large woman, Madame Olympe Maxime, the Beauxbatons Headmistress. She barely listened as Albus explained to Madame Maxime that Lily was there in stead of the sickly Headmaster Winston. During these introductions, the Hogwarts staff had lead the students of Hogwarts into the Great Hall.

"If you will excuse me Madame Maxime, Lady Potter, delegates of Beauxbatons and Ilvermorny," Albus said, "I must make my way into the Great Hall. My Deputy Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, will be with you shortly to guide you into the Great Hall."

Lily merely nodded once. Albus bowed his head slightly, turned and stepped into the Great Hall. As she waited, Lily studied the Beauxbatons contenders. She quickly counted under her breath, and found there were eleven students there. However, while most of them appeared to be sixteen and seventeen, Lily also noticed a young girl – who appeared to be the same age as Rose – hand-in-hand with another girl. It was easy to see that the two girls were sisters – and Lily also had a feeling that the two girls were Veela. The younger of the two was likely there in support of her sister, much like Rose was there in support of her brother.

Lily found it rather interesting that a Veela was a contender for Beauxbatons Champion. While Lily held no ill will against Veela, she knew it was a risk for Veela to be around so many students, especially young boys who were going through the early stages of hormones. Lily made a mental note to talk with the male students of Ilvermorny. And ask them to watch themselves around the Veela. It would probably be better if her students simply avoided them, if only to prevent any issues.

Lily was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't notice her daughter, Rose, admiring the younger of the two Veela. She probably would have noticed soon enough, however the doors of the Great Hall had opened, and Lily's focus was turned to Minerva McGonagall.

"Greetings," Minerva said, "I am Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress, and Transfiguration Professor, Minerva McGonagall. I welcome you all to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Lily smiled as she reminisced back to her very first day at Hogwarts, when Minerva had given a welcome speech to her and her fellow year-mates.

"A section at the closest end of two of the tables have been made available for your students to sit for the Feast," Minerva continued, "Beauxbatons will be sitting at the Hufflepuff table, and Ilvermorny will be seated with the Ravenclaws. Madame Maxime -" her voice faltered and betrayed her emotions as she looked at Lily with a smile, "Lady Potter – the two of you are, of course, welcome to sit with the Hogwarts staff at the Head Table. Madame Maxime, please lead your students inside first."

As the large woman led her students inside the Great Hall, Minerva walked over to Lily.

"Lady Potter," she said, "I could not believe my eyes when I saw you. I thought I had seen a ghost."

"Seeing ghosts isn't out of the ordinary here at Hogwarts if I remember correctly," Lily said, grinning;

Minerva laughed lightly. "Very true. If you and your students will follow me."

Lily nodded once and motioned for her students to follow.


Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Harry followed his mother through the tall oak doors, and into the large room known as the Great Hall. His eyes widened as he looked around the Hall. He had to grudgingly admit that it was larger, and more grand than the Great Hall at Ilvermorny. But he still favored the homely feel back at Ilvermorny.

His eyeful explorations of the Hall was interrupted by the elderly woman, Minerva McGonagall, clearing her throat. He turned to the table they had stopped at. Two students – apparently belonging to Ravenclaw – were sitting at the end of the table, where apparently the Ilvermorny students were supposed to sit. There was a large space between the two Ravenclaws and their house-mates.

"Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood," McGonagall said, "Just what are you doing at this end of the table? It was instructed that this section was off-limits."

"We couldn't find any seats down there, Professor McGonagall," a bushy-haired brunette girl said, with a frown, "Nobody would budge over and let us sit with them. So we had to sit down here."

Harry frowned as he looked at the two girls. It appeared that the girls were the outcasts of their house. Sitting beside the bushy-haired brunette was a blonde-haired girl with large eyes, a necklace made of bottle-caps, and what appeared to be radish earrings hanging from her ears. The girl's appearance alone would probably explain why she was seen as an outcast. It was rather eccentric.

"Be that as it may," McGonagall said, "I would ask that you join the rest of your House."

"That isn't necessary, ma'am," Harry said, "We would be happy if they would join us this evening."

McGonagall stared at Harry for a moment, then looked at the two girls. Harry smiled when his mother looked at him in approval. Minerva sighed and nodded.

"As you wish," she said. "However, I expect both of you to be on your best behavior toward our guests."

"Yes, ma'am," the brunette said.

Harry sat down at the end of the table, across from the two girls, and Rose sat next to him. The other nine Ilvermorny students sat down on either side of the students. Lily waved at her children in temporary farewell, before following McGonagall across the Hall.

"Hello, Harry Potter," the blonde-haired girl said.

"Luna," the brunette groaned, "That's not Harry Potter. Harry Potter died thirteen years ago. You know that."

"I'm afraid rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated, Miss," Harry said, grinning.

The brunette looked at him with wide eyes. "S-so you – you're really –?"

"Harry Potter," Harry said, "Yes, ma'am. And that auburn-haired lady is my mother, Lily. Perhaps you also heard that she had died."

The brunette nodded, then she cleared her throat. "I am sorry for being so rude. I'm Hermione Granger."

"I'm Luna Lovegood," the blonde – Luna – said.

"Rose Potter," Rose said, "Harry's sister – who is very happy that the death rumors were exaggerated. If they were true, then I wouldn't exist, because Mom was unknowingly one month pregnant with me on that Halloween night in 1981."

"I'm very happy you exist too, Rose," Luna said.

"Me too," Harry said. "Luna Lovegood, huh? Is your House part of the Great Alliance?"

Luna nodded. "It was. My Daddy said the Great Alliance was disbanded in late 1981."

"Mmm, not disbanded, per se," Harry said, "Simply made stagnant."

"What is the Great Alliance?" Hermione asked.

Before Harry could answer, he was interrupted by three sharp dings at the other end of the Hall. He looked toward the table where the staff were seated. He noticed that his mother was seated to the left of the Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. The Beauxbatons Headmistress was sitting next to Lily. Harry also noticed two other empty chairs. He knew his Uncles Sirius and Lupin wouldn't be attending the Feast – as they were tending to the Ilvermorny living arrangements – so he wondered who would be seated there.

Albus Dumbledore was standing at the center of the staff table. It was eerie how fast the Great Hall – which had been filled with chatter – had gone silent as soon as the sharp dings had sounded. Obviously Dumbledore had a great presence that commanded silence.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and — most particularly — guests," said Dumbledore, beaming around at the foreign students. "I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to Hogwarts. I hope and trust that your stay here will be both comfortable and enjoyable."

At the table behind Harry, where the Beauxbatons were seated, one of the Beauxbatons girls gave what was unmistakeably a derisive laugh. Across from Harry, Hermione looked as if she wanted to say something rude to the Beauxbatons student, but she seemed to decide against it, as she remembered that she was surrounded by foreign students.

"The tournament will be officially opened at the end of the feast," said Dumbledore. "I now invite you all to eat, drink, and make yourselves at home!"

Harry's eyes widened as the table in front of him was suddenly full of several types of food. Along with the British and French types of food, Harry was happy to find things he recognized.

"Oh, God bless America!" Harry said, "I thought I'd be forced to eat British food!"

"And what exactly is wrong with British food?" Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows as she looked at him.

"It makes me gassy," Harry said, as he started to pile American food onto his plate, including a cheeseburger, a slab of pork ribs covered in barbeque, wedge fries, and macaroni and cheese, "You wouldn't like me when I'm gassy."

Hermione stared at him in disbelief. One of the Ilvermorny students near them, who had heard Harry, snickered. Rose, however, laughed out loud and Harry joined her.

"Oh, good," Hermione said, "So you're joking with me."

"No, he is definitely not," Rose said, still giggling.

Hermione looked from Rose, back to Harry. When Harry simply shrugged, she huffed.

"How can you dislike British food?" Hermione asked, "You're British, aren't you?!"

"I am not!" Harry exclaimed, "I'm a Yank, and proud of it!"

"Yeah!" Rose said, and the Ilvermorny students nearby made noises of agreement.

"B-but you born in Great Britain," Hermione said, "And your mother and -"

"You seem to know a lot about me, Miss Granger," Harry cut in.

Hermione's cheeks turned red and she stammered, and looked down at her meal.

"My mother and honorary Uncles may have spent most of their lives in Great Britain, that is true," Harry said, "But I've spent the past thirteen years in the United States. Rose was born and raised there. A few years back, I asked Mom – yes, we say 'Mom', and not 'Mum' – why she was raising us as Americans instead of British. She told us there was a chance we likely wouldn't step foot back on British soil for a very long time. If it wasn't for Ilvermorny being invited to the Triwizard Tournament, we'd probably still be in the United States. So Mom and our Uncles raised us American."

"I see," Hermione said, "I apologize for being so presumptive. That was right rude of me."

"You'll have to excuse my friend, Harry Potter," Luna said, "She just has a case of the Wrackspurts. It tends to happen a lot."

"Luna!" Hermione groaned; before Harry or Rose could ask what a Wrackspurt was, she continued, "So... you were going to tell me about the Great Alliance?"

"Ah, yes, the Great Alliance," Harry said. "It was a political powerhouse amongst your Wizengamot in the seventies, and the very early eighties. My Grandfather, Charlus Potter, founded the Great Alliance. The Alliance consisted of several families, or Houses – Potter, of course, Longbottom, Bones, Abbot, Greengrass, MacMillan, Boot, Patil and Lovegood." He nodded at Luna, when he said the last. "Houses Patil and Lovegood are Minor Houses and therefore they do not have a seat on the Wizengamot, but the rest of the Houses in the Alliance do."

"Wow," Hermione said, "Aside from Luna, the other houses all have children whom are students in my year. Padma Patil is my dorm-mate. She and Terry Boot are both in Ravenclaw."

"I'm afraid a few of those Houses have moved on to other Alliances," Luna said. "House Longbottom – who was once a very close ally with the Potters – is now in an Alliance headed by Headmaster Dumbledore. I know House Weasley is in that Alliance as well, and there are likely others which skipped my mind at the moment."

"Probably due to Wrackspurts," Hermione muttered.

"Oh, definitely!" Luna agreed, "Years ago the Weasleys were a Minor House like mine, but Headmaster Dumbledore worked his influence, and now the Weasleys are Noble House, and therefore Lord Arthur Weasley sits on the Wizengamot. House Boot and MacMillan also left the Great Alliance, and formed their own. The other Houses, however, including my own, would likely be most happy to continue the Great Alliance if it was brought back."

"I see," Harry said, before taking a large bite out of his hamburger.

The truth was, he wasn't exactly too interested in the Great Alliance, or British politics in general. It didn't matter much to him since he didn't hold much stake in Great Britain anyway. But it was always nice to know that House Potter still might have some friends in Great Britain.

"So is your mother the Headmistress of Ilvermorny?" Hermione asked.

Harry laughed. "Not even close. She's simply a lowly Potions Mistress. Headmaster Winston, a first-gen, is very ill, and could not make the trip. So he asked my mother to take his place here. He figured she would be a good choice since she lived in Great Britain most of her life, and attended Hogwarts."

Hermione nodded. "What did you call your Headmaster? A first...?"

"First-gen," Harry said, "You would call him a 'Muggleborn'. Americans believe the word 'Muggle' is very rude. I mean in British terms, calling someone a 'mug' literally means they're a stupid, or gullible person. Calling someone a Muggle is a great insult, Hermione."

Hermione's eyes widened. "Oh, Merlin. How did I never realize that? My own parents are – are – ugh, I can't say it now because it sounds like an insult!"

"We call them No-Maj," Rose said.

Hermione's expression brightened. "That is a much better term! I like that!"

"So you're a first-gen then?" Harry asked.

"Yes," Hermione said, "I like that term too. Better than Muggleborn. First-gen... like first generation of witch or wizard."

"Exactly," Harry said, "My mother is a first-gen too. She was the first witch in her family – at least she was the first in several generations."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, "She had magical ancestors?"

"Maybe," Harry said, shrugging, "There is a running theory that first-gens had ancestors who were magical, and then at one point had a child who was a Squib, who then went onto have children of their own. Children of most Squibs rarely ever show magic, so they're usually just referred to as No-Maj. A first-gen – you go with the theory – is simply a child lucky enough to have been given magic after it had skipped several generations."

"So one of my ancestors could have been a witch or wizard who had a Squib for a child?" Hermione asked.

"If you believe the theory," Harry said, nodding, "Anyway, Mom doesn't exactly know because she never took a Blood Test, which is a test given by Goblins at Gringotts that would inform you about any magical ancestor. She never took one in America because there was really no point. American blood tests only show ancestors who were American. Only British tests would show the British ancestors."

Hermione nodded. "So is that why the two of you are here? Simply because your mother is in charge of the Ilvermorny delegates?"

"That's why Rose is here," Harry said, "I, however, am a contender for the Ilvermorny Champion."

"But that is impossible!" Hermione exclaimed, "You're – what – fourteen? Headmaster Dumbledore said only seventeen year olds can compete."

"Ilvermorny had a contention tournament in September," Harry said, "The top ten students, no matter their age, would be allowed to be in contention. Headmaster Winston and the MACUSA – that is the magical Congress in America, much like your Wizengamot – allowed it. I was the youngest to compete, but there were students between fifteen and seventeen also competing. In the end, four sixteen year olds, and five seventeen year olds made it in. And so did I. I took third place in the tournament."

"Third?!" Hermione asked, "Out of how many students?"

"About thirty or so," Harry said, shrugging.

"Wow," Hermione mouthed silently. "That's brilliant!"

"If you say so," Harry said, with another shrug. "Headmaster Winston and the MACUSA promised I would be a contender for the Ilvermorny Champion. And here I am. More than likely, I'll be a spectator and someone older than me will be the Champion. So it really doesn't matter that I am so young."

"Oh, you'll be the Champion, Harry Potter," Luna said, smiling.

Harry blinked, and smiled softly. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Luna. But I have already made my peace. There's nothing wrong with being a spectator and supporting the Champion."

"No there isn't," Luna said, "I'll be happy to spectate you performing in the tasks. I will support you too, along with the Hogwarts Champion."

Harry sighed and shrugged. It appeared there was no point of changing Luna's mind about her believing he'd be the Champion. He knew she was probably merely supporting him because their Houses were in an Alliance, but it was nice all the same.


Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Lily, currently seated between Albus Dumbledore, and Beauxbatons Headmistress, Madame Olympe Maxime, was munching on wedge fries as she watched her children talking to the two Ravenclaw students. She was mostly trying to avoid looking toward Severus Snape, who was seated a few chairs down from her. It had been a very long time since she had spoken to him, and she didn't know what she wanted to say to him now, so she merely tried her best to say nothing.

"Minerva," Lily said, turning to look around Albus toward the Deputy Headmistress, "Would you please tell me about those two girls speaking to my children. The blonde looks oddly familiar for some reason, and I can't place it."

"The blonde would be Luna Lovegood," Minerva said, "Daughter of Xenophilius, and the late Pandora Lovegood."

Lily inhaled sharply, and mentally kicked herself. Pandora. How could she have forgotten? Pandora had been one of her most dearest friends in Hogwarts. She remembered getting a letter – during her time at Potter Cottage back when her husband was still alive – from Pandora announcing the birth of her daughter, Luna. Then, less than five years ago, she had seen an article in the Daily Prophet – she had a subscription of the newspaper which delivered day-old issues to her every day – that informed her that Pandora had been killed in a Potions accident at her home in Ottery St. Catchpole.

Now she knew why the blonde looked so familiar. Luna was almost identical to her mother.

"The other girl is Hermione Granger," Minerva continued; oblivious to Lily's reverie, "A Muggleborn, much like yourself."

Lily winced at the term 'Muggleborn'. She loathed that term. First-Gen was a far better term.

"She is also known as the smartest witch of her generation," Albus said, with a light chuckle, "Much like you were, Lady Potter."

Lily flushed at the compliment. However, she also realized Albus was probably trying to butter her up. The man was manipulative – Lily had known this since the day she found out he had tried to take over the Potter Account at Gringotts. The man would say one thing, but mean another. She wasn't going to fall for it.

Lily smiled as she looked at the brunette, the First-Gen Hermione Granger. If Albus' comment about the witch was anything to go by, along with the fact that the girl seemed to be getting along well with her own children, Lily felt she might come to like the young brunette witch.

Lily wanted to continue the conversation about both of the young witches – including why they were sitting alone at the end of the table when Lily, her children and students had arrived – but she was interrupted by a noise behind her. She looked over her shoulder and found that two men had entered through a doorway at the back of the Hall. They made their way over to Albus.

Even though it had been thirteen years since she had been in Great Britain, Lily recognized Bartemius Crouch, Senior. Lily could still remember the rants her husband, James, had about the man. James used to say it was Crouch's fault he hadn't been able to become an Auror. That was probably true. Bartemius Crouch had been the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement back then, after all.

"Bartemius, Ludo," Albus greeted, "You're rather late to the festivities. I expected you to be here before the Feast began."

"Blame that one on Barty, here," the man named Ludo said, "Apparently there were complications with the Goblet of Fire."

"That was not my fault, Bagman!" Crouch snarled. "There were two rookie Aurors who – for some damn reason – didn't recognize me at first. They were guarding the Goblet, and had to check through Amelia Bones before they could allow me to collect the blasted artifact!"

"I trust it is here now?" Albus asked.

"Of course, of course," Ludo said, "I handed it off to that endearing caretaker chap of yours. He is a very interesting man, is he not? By the way, where is Headmaster Winston, Albus? I do not see him."

"I'm afraid his illness has taken a turn for the worse," Albus said, "He asked one of his Professors at Ilvermorny to come in his stead. Perhaps you recognize her? Lady Lily Potter, may I introduce you to Ludo Bagman and -"

"Bartemius Crouch," Lily said, "Senior, right? I remember you well."

Both Crouch and Bagman's eyes widened as they looked at Lily.

"Aren't you supposed to be dead?" Crouch asked Lily.

"Barty, what a thing to say?" Ludo exclaimed, before turning to Lily, "My apologies for my friend's outburst, Lady Potter. He's had a rather rough night."

"Apology accepted," Lily said, "It is very nice to meet you."

"I imagine the two of you would like to take your seats," Albus said, motioning to the empty chairs, "You'll want to get something to eat before the food disappears. You must try the hot dogs. American delicacy!"

"I would rather not eat a dog, thank you very much," Crouch muttered as he turned and walked to his seat.

Lily did her best not to snicker. Obviously the old grouch didn't know what hot dogs were.

"You'll have to forgive Bartemius, Lady Potter, Madame Maxime," Albus said, "He's been overworked lately what with the Triwizard Tournament, and the fiasco at the Quidditch World Cup."

"Ah yes, the fiasco," Lily asked. "I heard a bit about it, but I'm afraid I don't know the whole tale."

Albus sighed heavily, and started in on the tale.


Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Harry, Rose, Hermione and Luna were chatting animatedly about the differences between life in Great Britain and America, as much of the food on the table disappeared, only to be replaced with desserts. Harry's mouth watered as he collected a slice of apple pie, and some fudge brownies. He added a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pie.

"Good Merlin, that is a lot more dessert options than I am used to here at Hogwarts," Hermione said. "I would think much of it is American or French, but I know my fair share of French desserts."

"Let me guess," Harry said, grinning, "there is more American dessert options here than British and French combined."

"I'm sure you're exaggerating," Hermione said.

"No, I think he's right," Luna said, before munching on a doughnut and swallowing the bite, "I thought doughnuts were breakfast food, however."

Rose shrugged. "We Americans tend to go overboard on desserts. Doughnuts are usually breakfast food, but I imagine your house-elves decided it is a dessert since it a sweet pastry."

Hermione grumbled as she chewed on a British dessert Harry couldn't name.

"You'll have to excuse Hermione," Luna said, "She has a – er – differed opinion on house-elves than most magicals do. She threatened to go on a hunger strike when she discovered house-elves were working in Hogwarts. But when she remembered she needed to eat to live, she started something called spew."

"It isn't spew, Luna!" Hermione growled, "It is SPEW. The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare!"

"Sounds like spew to me," Harry said, chuckling; he sobered as Hermione glared at him, "I'm serious, Hermione. You might call it SPEW, but most will refer to it as spew. Therefore, they will make jokes of it, and you'll never get the respect it deserves."

Hermione frowned. "I suppose you might have a good point there."

Once the golden plates had been wiped clean, Dumbledore stood up again. A pleasant sort of tension seemed to fill the Hall now. "The moment has come," said Dumbledore, smiling around at the sea of upturned faces. "The Triwizard Tournament is about to start. I would like to say a few words of explanation before we bring in the casket —"

"The what?" Rose muttered to Harry.

Harry simply shrugged.

"— just to clarify the procedure that we will be following this year. But first, let me introduce, for those who do not know them, Mr. Bartemius Crouch, Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation" — there was a smattering of polite applause — "and Mr. Ludo Bagman, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports."

There was a much louder round of applause for Bagman than for Crouch, and Harry realized why. Even in America, the name Ludo Bagman was popular amongst those who loved the sport of Quidditch. Obviously the students were excited to have a Quidditch star in Hogwarts.

"Mr. Bagman and Mr. Crouch have worked tirelessly over the last few months on the arrangements for the Triwizard Tournament," Dumbledore continued, "and they will be joining myself, Lady Potter, and Madame Maxime on the panel that will judge the champions' efforts."

There were several mutterings and whispers around the Hall as soon as Harry's mother's name was mentioned. It seemed that most of the students in the Hall didn't know exactly who Harry's mother was until Dumbledore had mentioned her.

At the mention of the word "champions," the attentiveness of the listening students seemed to sharpen. Perhaps Dumbledore had noticed their sudden stillness, for he smiled as he said, "The casket, then, if you please, Mr. Filch."

The man named Filch, who had been lurking unnoticed in a far corner of the Hall, now approached Dumbledore carrying a great wooden chest encrusted with jewels. It looked extremely old. A murmur of excited interest rose from the watching students.

"The instructions for the tasks the champions will face this year have already been examined by Mr. Crouch and Mr. Bagman," said Dumbledore as Filch placed the chest carefully on the table before him, "and they have made the necessary arrangements for each challenge. There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways... their magical prowess — their daring — their powers of deduction — and, of course, their ability to cope with danger."

At this last word, the Hall was filled with a silence so absolute that nobody seemed to be breathing.

"As you know, three champions compete in the tournament," Dumbledore went on calmly, "one from each of the participating schools. They will be marked on how well they perform each of the Tournament tasks and the champion with the highest total after task three will win the Triwizard Cup. The champions will be chosen by an impartial selector: the Goblet of Fire."

Dumbledore now took out his wand and tapped three times upon the top of the casket. The lid creaked slowly open. Dumbledore reached inside it and pulled out a large, roughly hewn wooden cup. It would have been entirely unremarkable had it not been full to the brim with dancing blue-white flames.

Dumbledore closed the casket and placed the goblet carefully on top of it, where it would be clearly visible to everyone in the Hall. "Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet," said Dumbledore. "Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward. Tomorrow night, Halloween, the goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their schools. The goblet will be placed in the entrance hall tonight, where it will be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete.

"To ensure that no underage student yields to temptation," said Dumbledore, "I will be drawing an Age Line around the Goblet of Fire once it has been placed in the entrance hall. Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line."

Harry frowned as he stared at the Hogwarts Headmaster. That announcement could cause issues for his own entry. He then caught his mother looking at him, and when she caught his eye, she merely smiled and winked. Obviously this meant she would be taking care of the problem.

"Finally," Dumbledore continued, "I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet. Now, I think it is time for bed. Good night to you all."

"My fellow Ilvermorny students," one of the eldest of the Ilvermorny students said, "We'll wait here for Professor Potter, and let the rest of the Hall clear out."

Harry, Rose, and the other Ilvermorny students nodded and murmured in assent. Harry turned to Hermione and Luna.

"Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood," he said, "It was lovely to meet the two of you. I hope this isn't the last time we'll have such a wonderful conversation."

"I think we'll be great friends, Harry Potter," Luna said.

"I would be happy to continue our conversation at another time," Hermione said, "I have so much to ask you about Ilvermorny. Oh, and Harry... do please call me Hermione."

"Of course," Harry said.

Hermione smiled, and Harry noticed a slight blush in the brunette's cheeks. Harry made a mental note to later discover the reason behind the blush.

Harry and Rose said 'good night', which was returned by Hermione and Luna, before the Ravenclaw girls stood and joined the queue out of the Hall. Harry frowned, as he noticed several students staring in his direction. Obviously they now realized exactly who he was.

Harry secretly waved his wand under the table, casting a mild Notice-Me-Not Charm, on himself and his sister. The modified version, which had been taught to him by his mother, allowed him to give permission to those who could pass the charm. Harry gave permission to his fellow Ilvermorny students and mother, to pass through the Charm. At once, those students who were staring at him now looked away and headed out of the Hall. Once the last of the students were out of the Hall, leaving only the Ilvermorny students and the adults inside, Harry stopped the Charm.

Harry's mother and Albus Dumbledore made their way over to the Ilvermorny students.

"Students," Lily said, "Please head toward the Thunderbird. Professors Black and Lupin have set up the living arrangements, and will give further instruction when you arrive. Harry, you are to come with me. We have to speak to the other Tournament judges about your entry as a contender."

"What about me?" Rose asked.

"Go find Uncles Sirius and Remus, Rosie," Lily said, "Harry and I will be with you soon enough."

Rose nodded. She stood with the rest of the Ilvermorny students, aside from Harry, and left the Great Hall. Harry then stood and followed his mother and Dumbledore out of the Hall.

Chapter Text

Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Harry Potter was currently standing in the tallest room he had ever seen. Albus Dumbledore called it the Grand Staircase – Harry decided it was an appropriate name what with the numerous stairs. Several flights of stairs were moving around. Also, there were hundreds and hundreds of moving portraits adorning the walls – the inhabitants of the closest portraits were smiling and waving at him as he passed.

“This is awesome!” Harry exclaimed, as they traversed the first set of stairs, “I wish we had one of these in Ilvermorny.”

“Truth be told, I think it is quite unnecessary,” Lily said.

“Oh?” Albus Dumbledore asked.

“During my time here as a student, I was truant to class a total of two times, Professor,” Lily said, “I would have been on time if it hadn't been for these stairs. Both times, they brought me to the wrong levels, and I had to find another way to get from that floor to another floor, and I was late because of it. Plus they are rather dangerous.”

“They have their faults, of course,” Dumbledore said, “But I believe once one masters the secrets of the Grand Staircase, then it is a piece of cake – as Muggles say – to traverse them!”

Harry's mother made a noncommittal sound. Soon they were making their way through the corridors of the second floor, on their way to the Headmaster's Office.

“Albus,” Lily said, “Please tell me you did not invite Severus Snape into this meeting in your office.”

“I am the only representative of Hogwarts in the meeting, Lady Potter, I assure you,” Dumbledore said. “However, I am sure Severus would be happy to speak to you if you give him a chance.”

“I'll think about it, Albus,” Lily said. “I'm just not ready yet.”

Harry frowned as he looked at his mother. He remembered stories his mother and uncles had told him of Severus Snape. According to his mother's stories, Severus Snape was her first magical friend, and she had met him a couple years before she had received her Hogwarts letter. Then at the end of their fifth year, they had a really bad argument that had brought an end to their friendship.

Uncles Sirius and Remus spoke of a man who had basically bullied Sirius, Remus and his father, James – though Remus did admit that they did give as much as they had received in terms of bullying. They also referenced to a really bad event at the end of their sixth year, but Harry suspected they hadn't told him the entire story.

They also mentioned that Severus Snape was one of Voldemort's Death Eaters. But it sounded as if Snape was a Hogwarts staff member. Surely Albus Dumbledore wouldn't have hired a known Death Eater as a Professor?

Soon they arrived at a statue of a frightening-looking gargoyle.

“Fizzing Whizbees,” Dumbledore said.

Harry jumped slightly, as the gargoyle sprang to life, and side-stepped. The wall the statue had been guarding seemed to melt in on itself, revealing an archway, which revealed a circular staircase. Harry and his mother followed Dumbledore up the stairs. Soon they stepped into the Headmaster's office.

Harry explored the office with his eyes. He had visited Headmaster Winston's office a handful of times in the three-plus years he had been a student at Ilvermorny. While Dumbledore's office was quite extravagant, Harry was partial to Headmaster Winston's, which was inviting, warm and homely. Headmaster Winston's office had two chairs and a sofa near a fireplace in one corner of the room, and every meeting he had with students would take place there.

He thought it was far more inviting then simply sitting at a desk. Obviously Dumbledore didn't share this belief, given that the mahogany desk in the back-center of the room seemed to be the central figure of the room.

Aside from the desk, there were three other distinctive features in the room.

Like the Grand Staircase, the room was adorned in portraits. Harry remembered his mother once telling him that the portraits were of the past Headmasters and Headmistresses of the school. Ilvermorny had what was called a Hall of Heads, where – instead of portraits, there were busts of Headmaster and Headmistresses, whose heads were very talkative.

Sitting on a perch near Dumbledore's desk was a magnificent-looking phoenix. Harry had only ever seen one other phoenix before in his life, and that had been during a Care of Magical Creatures lesson. The last distinctive feature was the famous Sorting Hat, which dated back to the Founders of Hogwarts. Lily, Sirius and Remus had told the story of their meeting with the Sorting Hat, when they were all Sorted into Gryffindor, but Harry preferred Ilvermorny's method of Sorting. He admitted he might have been biased.

Madame Maxime, Bartemius Crouch and Ludo Bagman were already present in the office. Minerva McGonagall was also there.

“Thank you, Professor McGonagall, for escorting our guests here,” Dumbledore said, as he crossed the room toward his desk. “You may be excused.”

Minerva bowed slightly and proceeded to leave the office. Dumbledore conjured five chairs near his desk, one of which was large enough to support Madame Maxime. Harry and Lily crossed the room and sat down in two of the chairs. Ludo Bagman took another chair, and Madame Maxime sat down in the larger chair.

“Thank you, Albus,” Crouch said, “But I prefer standing.”

“Of course,” Dumbledore said. “We are here to discuss an unexpected twist when it comes to possible contenders for the Triwizard Tournament. Lady Potter informed me that Ilvermorny chose their ten contenders through a very creative way. Lady Potter, I believe you will tell the story far better than I.”

“Thank you, Albus,” Lily said, “With the permission of Headmaster Winston, and the MACUSA, Ilvermorny students between the age of fourteen and seventeen were allowed to take place in the contention tournament which took place in September. My son, Harry, here, was the only fourteen year old wizard to place his name in the tournament. Roughly twenty-nine other students, ranging from fifteen to seventeen participated. The top ten students – no matter their age – would be invited to submit their names into the Goblet of Fire. Out of thirty students, four sixteen year old students, and five seventeen year old students made the list. As did my son.”

“Let me get this straight,” Crouch said, “You expect us to grant your son to place his name in the Goblet of Fire? A fourteen-year old?”

Harry bristled at Crouch's words. Obviously the old grouch didn't believe Lily's story.

“If Headmaster Winston and MACUSA believed Mr. Potter was qualified enough to be a contender,” Dumbledore said, “Then I believe that is enough of a reason for us to accept him as a contender for the Ilvermorny Champion. Mr. Potter? Do you believe you qualify to be a contender?”

“Out of thirty students in the tournament,” Harry said, “I placed third. Personally, I think there are at least two other contenders who have a better chance than me, but...”

“Mr. Potter, you underestimate yourself!” Bagman exclaimed, “Third place in a tournament of thirty – and all your opponents were older than you? Some three years older, the same age as those would be your opponents if you were chosen as Ilvermorny Champion? Mr. Potter, I think you deserve to be a contender, and perhaps even the Champion!”

Harry blushed and smiled at Bagman.

“Madame Maxime?” Dumbledore asked, “You've been silent. What do you think?”

“I do not know Monsieur Potter, Dumbly-door,” Madame Maxime said, “But eef 'e is 'ere as a contender, zan zere must be a reason. Eef 'e becomes Champion, I would 'aff no complaints. If ze Goblet chooses 'im, zan 'e is the rightful Ilvermorny Champion.”

“Well said, Madame Maxime,” Dumbledore said, “Bartemius?”

Crouch snorted. “Let him put his name in the blasted artifact. If the Goblet accepts him, then there is no reason for complaints. If the Goblet chooses him over nine older, obviously more talented students --”

Harry bristled again. Hadn't he proven he was more talented than at least seven of his fellow contenders?

“-- then he is far better than I expect him to be,” Crouch continued.

Harry did his best not to react. That was definitely a back-handed compliment.

“I assume you agree that your son should have permission to enter his name in the Goblet, Lily?” Dumbledore asked.

“Of course I do, Albus,” Lily said.

“Excellent,” Albus said, clapping his hands together, “A unanimous decision then! After Lady Potter informed me of this new change, I was considering all possibilities. As we know, Ilvermorny has a fourteen-year old contender, as well as sixteen year old contenders. One of my decisions, unfortunately, would upset you Madame Maxime.”

“What decision eez zis?” Madame Maxime asked.

“I was considering allowing sixteen year old students to enter their name,” Albus said, “Unfortunately, all your students are seventeen years old --”

Maxime snorted. “If Monsieur Potter can achieve a spot as a contender, zen obviously age eez not a problem. I am content wiz my ten seventeen-year old students. If you wish to permit sixteen year olds – in addition to Harry Potter -- in the Tournament, and the other judges agree, I'll allow it.”

“Show of hands?” Dumbledore asked.

All five judges raised their hand – Crouch, surprisingly, was far more cooperative this time.

"Very well," Dumbledore said, "I will pass along the announcement to the Hogwarts Heads of House so that they may inform the sixteen year olds of the decision. I will simply modify the Age Line to allow sixteen year old students and older.”

“And what about Harry?” Lily asked.

“Mr. Potter, do you have your wand?” Dumbledore asked.

Harry nodded and removed his wand from his robes. Dumbledore conjured a piece of parchment, which seemed to be shimmering.

“Tap your wand on this parchment, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore said, “It will temporarily place a copy of your magical signature on it, and I can transfer the signature to the Age Line to accept you.”

“Hold up!” Lily exclaimed, “A lot can be done with the possession of somebody's magical signature, Albus. I want your promise that you will only use it for the Age Line and no other reason.”

“I give my sincere promise that I will use it for this simple reason, Lady Potter,” Albus said, “Then I will destroy the parchment and its ashes.”

Harry watched as his mother stared at Dumbledore for a moment, studying him.

“Fine,” Lily said, “But if I get any indication you broke your promise --”

“Warning well received, Lady Potter,” Dumbledore said; he indicated the parchment, “Mr. Potter?”

Harry hesitated for a mere moment before he tapped the tip of his wand onto the parchment. It shone with sparkles, then returned to its previous form.

“Thank you, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore said, “If there are no other questions or comments, I believe this meeting is finished.”

“I need to speak to you after this meeting, Albus,” Lily said, “Aside from that, no other comments.”

Dumbledore nodded, then looked around at the other judges. None of them had questions or comments. Albus excused the other judges and they stood and left the office.

“How may I help you, Lady Potter?” Dumbledore asked.

“The summer before my husband died,” Lily said, “You spoke to James and made a request of him. You asked James if you could borrow his Invisibility Cloak, and you never returned it.”

Harry's eyebrows raised. He had heard stories of his father's Invisibility Cloak from his mother and Uncles, but they never told him what had happened to it. Why did Dumbledore borrow his father's Cloak? His mother and Uncles told him that Dumbledore could become invisible without it.

“I believe it is time it is returned to its rightful owner,” Lily continued.

She looked at Harry with a smile, and his eyes widened. Was she really giving him his father's Invisibility Cloak?

“Unfortunately I do not have it nearby at this moment in time,” Dumbledore said, “But if you give me until Sunday evening, I promise to return your husband's Cloak. As I'm sure you understand, I will be very busy between now and tomorrow evening.”

Lily sighed heavily. “Fine. You have until Sunday evening. And Albus? I know exactly what my husband's Cloak looks, feels, and smells like. As do Sirius and Remus. We will know if it is the wrong one.”

“Of course,” Dumbledore said, “If that is all, I have much to do this evening before I can call it a night.”

“It is,” Lily said.

“Then I have one last thing to say to both of you, and then you can leave,” Dumbledore said, “Thirteen years ago tomorrow night, I received some horrible news that absolutely gutted me. Two of my greatest students, and their child, had been murdered by Voldemort. I am now beyond happy to know that the two of you survived that tragic night. I can only imagine what you went through that evening. James' sacrifice will always be on my mind. He was a true Gryffindor, the bravest of the brave. I will raise a glass to him tonight, thanking him for protecting the two of you.”

Lily cleared her throat, and Harry knew she was likely trying not to cry.

“Thank you Albus,” Lily said, “That means so much to me.”

“To us, sir,” Harry said.

Albus smiled. “You are very welcome. Welcome back to Great Britain, Lily and Harry Potter. I very much hope you will enjoy your stay.”


Friday, October 30 th , 1994

Twenty minutes later, Harry and his mother walked the short trip between the steps of Hogwarts, toward the Thunderbird. Standing near the Thunderbird were five separate tents. As they approached the craft and the tents, Harry's Godfather/honorary Uncle stepped out of the back of the Thunderbird, and down the ramp. He grinned when he saw Harry and Lily.

“Was beginning to wonder when you'd return!” Sirius said, “What do you think of Hogwarts, pup?”

“Sirius, I think I outgrew the nickname 'pup' this summer,” Harry said.

“You'll always be my pup, pup!” Sirius said grinning.

Harry sighed and shook his head. Then he grinned. “Hogwarts is pretty incredible, but it makes one miss Ilvermorny.”

“That it does,” Sirius said, with a great sigh.

“Anyway,” Lily said, “Give me a report on the living arrangements, Sirius.”

“It is just as we discussed before we made the trip, Lily,” Sirius said. “Five wizarding tents – which, as you know, means they're bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. The closest tent is the House Potter tent.”

“House Potter?” Harry asked.

“It is where you, Rose, your mother, and Remus and I will be sleeping,” Sirius explained. “As for the older students – well, we have three girls and six boys. So that was pretty easy to divide them up. One girl for every two guys.”

“Sirius!” Lily growled.

“Alright, alright, of course I'm joking!” Sirius said, hastily, “Keep your panties on! One of the tents is for the girls. Then two of the other tents have three boys a piece. And the final tent is the classroom tent, complete with the portable library, and three separate small classrooms. Each residential tent has three bedrooms. While the other tents have one bed per bedroom, the House Potter tent has two beds per room. Remus and I have claimed a room; Lily, you and Rose claim another room, and Harry will get another room for himself. Of course, pup, you are most welcome to invite someone into your room --”

“Sirius!” Lily growled in an I'm-warning-you voice.

“Lily, your son is fourteen,” Sirius said, “And there's a really good chance he'll become Champion. The girls will flock – ow! Merlin, woman!”

Harry snickered. Lily had whipped out her wand and had hit Sirius in the chest with a Stinging Hex. His godfather would never change.

“Behave, or the next hex goes below the belt,” Lily warned Sirius.

Sirius winced and crossed his legs. Harry couldn't blame him.

“I think that is it with the living arrangements,” Sirius said, “The Thunderbird will remain here for the evening. Tomorrow I'll figure out a better place to park it. And that is everything I can think of. Let's go inside and I'll give you the grand tour.”

Harry followed his mother and Sirius into the tent. Harry grinned as he looked around. He had been in his fair share of magical tents over his lifetime. Every year since he was seven years old, his mother and Uncles has taken him and Rose on annual camping trips at several parks around the United States. By far, Harry's favorite had been the Rocky Mountain National Park. Due to the appearance of the tents looking normal on the outside, and the wonder of Muggle Repelling Charms, the magical tents could be used around the No-Majes in the parks, which made for a lovely, and comfortable vacation.

The three bedrooms were spread out at the three corners of the tent – the fourth corner being the doorway. The kitchen was nestled against one wall, and the bathroom against another wall. The dining room/living room was located in the very center.

They found Remus and Rose sitting at a table, having an animated discussion, and drinking from cups of hot cocoa.

“There you are!” Rose said, grinning, when she saw her mother and brother; she pointed to the farthest corner in the tent, “Harry, your bedroom's over there. Have a look, get in your pajamas, then come join us for some cocoa.”

“Yes, bossy,” Harry said.

Rose stuck out her tongue. Harry crossed the tent, and stepped into his bedroom. While the other two bedrooms had two beds a piece, Harry's room had one bed. Though, Harry doubted the beds in the other rooms were as big as his. It seemed to be two beds magically merged together. Harry realized Sirius must have done it on purpose – given his earlier hints about Harry having 'room-mates'.

Harry found his two trunks at the end of the bed. One of the trunks was solely for his school belongings, while the other trunk had clothes and other personal items. Harry opened the personal trunk, and rummaged through it, until he found his pajamas – which were adorned with the mascot of his Ilvermorny House, the Wampus. Sirius had given him the pajamas for his birthday, and the first night he wore them, he realized why they had been Sirius' gift. He had been woken several times by the loud growls of the animated mascots. He complained to his mother the following day. Lily used Charms to silence the mascots, then she screamed at Sirius for costing her son crucial sleeping hours for a simple gag gift.

Harry dressed in his pajamas, then left his bedroom and headed to the dining room and sat down at the table. Like Harry's pajamas, Rose was also wearing pajamas that represented her Ilvermorny House, Pukwudgie; the outfit had animated mascots all over the fabric.

“So, Harry,” Remus said, “Rosie was just telling us of a First-Gen witch you and her met during dinner. According to Rose, this witch might just very well have a crush on you.”

Harry blushed and glared at Rose.

“What?!” Rose asked, “She was blushing at times when looking at you. Surely you caught it once or twice! You're good at catching those type of things!”

“Exactly,” Sirius said, “And who do you have to thank for teaching you how to catch such behavior?”

Harry ignored him. “Even if you're right, Rosie. I'm sure she has a boyfriend already.”

“Harry, she was sitting with Luna at the very end of the table,” Rose said, “Do you not remember the large space between them and the rest of their House?”

Harry shrugged. “So her boyfriend is from a different House. Mom, didn't you tell us that there is an age-old rule that students can only sit at their House tables during the big Feasts.”

“And then they can sit at other tables during normal meals,” Lily said, nodding.

“Of course you know that rule, Lily,” Sirius said, with a snort. “I lost count of how many times Amos Diggory joined our table in fourth year just to sit with his girlfriend – you.

Lily blushed, and Harry and Rose grinned at each other. They had heard the story before.

“And I lost count of how many times James nearly blew a gasket watching you and Diggory flirt,” Remus said, grinning.

Sirius laughed. “That had been an interesting Gryffindor-Hufflepuff Quidditch match. James absolutely plowed Diggory into the ground going for that Snitch. He volunteered for Seeker once what's-his-face – the current Seeker at the time got injured – a week before the match, simply so he could take on Diggory.”

“Wasn't there a rumor James hexed the Seeker so he could take his place?” Remus asked, “He never confirmed whether that was true.”

Lily cleared her throat. “Enough about our school-aged antics, boys. We're discussing Harry's new friend.”

“I concede that you have a good point, big brother,” Rose said, “But what if Hermione and Luna are alone tomorrow at breakfast? It will be a normal meal.”

“We'll see what happens,” Harry said, “You might be wrong, after all. She might not have been blushing because of a crush.”

Rose snorted into her cup of cocoa.

Harry smirked. “You know, Rosie – if I remember correctly, I noticed this evening that there was somebody you were admiring from afar.”

“Harry!” Rose squealed.

“What is this?” Sirius asked, “Does my sweet, little, innocent Rosie have a crush?”

“I don't want to talk about,” Rose said, “They'll never accept me anyway.”

“'They'?” Remus asked, smiling, “Not 'he'?”

Rose blushed as red as her hair. Harry, Lily, Sirius and Remus shared smiles. During the previous summer, Rose had called for a private family meeting. She announced that she was bisexual – attracted to girls more than guys, but not enough to simply be a lesbian. That had caused a long discussion. By the end, it was understood that Rose was mature enough to make her own decisions, but she also knew she had a role as the Heiress of her House. While Harry was the Heir Apparent, Rose was still an Heiress, and had a responsibility. In the end, it was agreed that further discussion on the topic could wait until Rose had a boyfriend – or girlfriend, if it happened that way.

“Fine!” Rose huffed, “It's a girl.”

“Hmm,” Lily said, “Is it Hermione's friend, Luna?”

Rose shook her head. “She's sweet, but she's not my type.”

“I know who it is,” Harry said, in a sing-song voice. “I don't know her name, but I know who it is.”

“It doesn't matter,” Rose said, frowning, “I don't have a chance with her. Everything I know about her tells me that.”

“Everything you know about her?” Remus asked. “So you did meet her.”

“I meant... her kind,” Rose muttered.

“Ooh,” Lily said, grinning, “I think I know who it is. Is she a Beauxbatons student?”

“Mom!” Rose said, her face as red as her hair once again.

“Come on then,” Sirius said, “Tell us. Don't keep us in suspense!”

“You can tell them, Mom,” Rose grumbled.

“One of the Beauxbatons delegates is a Veela, I suspect,” Lily said; then grinned as Sirius and Remus' eyes went wide, “If I am correct it was her sister I saw holding her hand in the Entrance Hall. Her sister – also a Veela – appears to be Rose's age.”

“She's definitely a Veela,” Rose said. “And everything I know about Veela tells me she's straight as my wand.”

“Perhaps not,” Remus said, “Veelas attracted to the same sex are very rare, but it does happen.”

Rose huffed. “I doubt I'm that lucky. Besides... there's no real point, is there? We're heading back to the States next June. She'll be in France. I'm much too young for a long-distant relationship.”

She sighed, drained her mug of cocoa, then stood and walked off toward her bedroom.

“Poor kid,” Sirius muttered. “I'd hate to say it, but she does have a point.”

“So you're telling me I should give up on Hermione before I even begin?” Harry asked.

“Ha!” Sirius barked out a laugh, as he pointed at Harry, “So you do like her!”

Harry blushed and shrugged.

“Harry,” Lily said, with a soft smile, “If you like her, and she's single, then you should give it a chance.”

“Really?” Harry asked, his ears perking up.

“Well, I might be a little biased,” Lily said, “I heard from a couple of the Hogwarts Professors during the Feast that, not only is Hermione a First-Gen, but apparently she's also the smartest witch of her generation.”

“So you're saying she's just like you,” Remus said, grinning.

“I'm saying, Harry, if it works out,” Lily said, “Then I approve of your choice.”

Harry smiled and sipped at his cocoa. He let his thoughts about bushy-haired brunette girls wash through his mind, as Lily explained to Sirius and Remus about what had happened in Albus Dumbledore's office. By the time he was finished with his cocoa, the conversation was over. Lily then ordered him to bed, because he needed to be up early to submit his name into the Goblet with the other Ilvermorny contenders.


Friday, October 30 th , 1994 – Late Evening

Lucius Malfoy was laying on a couch in a sitting room at a large Manor House in Little Hangleton. Nearby, a disturbing sound that was somewhere between a hiss, a growl and a snore was keeping Lucius up when he so desperately wanted to sleep. But he couldn't sleep yet. Any minute now his Master, the Dark Lord Voldemort – who was responsible for that grotesque snoring – would wake and demand to be fed. If he was asleep, he would be woken up by a Cruciatus Curse cast by his Master. He had been woken up once by his Master this way, and it was the first and last time that would happen if he had his say.

As he lay there, staring at the ceiling, he pondered how his life had come to this.

It had all started with that infernal diary. He remembered the day, three summers ago, when he had decided to fob it off to someone else. During the Spring Solstice months before the day in question, the Muggle-loving fool, Arthur Weasley, had weaseled his way into the Wizengamot and had become a Lord. His first task as Lord, and member of the Wizengamot Council, was to propose a law which made it a crime to own artifacts that could lead to Muggle-baiting. Lucius had been shocked to find that the law had passed.

However, the aftermath of the vote wouldn't come into motion for several months. During July of the same year, surprise raids had started. Friends and Allies of House Malfoy were becoming victims of raids. So Lucius had to get rid of the artifacts that were now illegal to own. After his third visit to Borgin and Burke's in Knockturn Alley, in which he had sold off several artifacts to the pathetic shop owner, he had then visited Flourish and Blott's in Diagon Alley, with his son, Draco. A chain of events had taken place, ending up with Lucius placing that damnable diary in the cauldron of Lord Arthur Weasley's only daughter and youngest child.

Lucius' intentions with the move was that he had expected Arthur Weasley to have taken the diary from his daughter, then Lucius would simply work his so-called political magic, and get Lord Weasley arrested for the same crime he had created earlier that year. Alas it was not to be.

A few months after that Diagon Alley visit, Lucius learned from his son that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened. After some internal debates, Malfoy realized that infernal diary must have had something to do with it. Mudbloods were getting Petrified every few months. Lucius was quite pleased with that, so he had let it continue. Then in June of '93, the Chamber of Secrets threat had been solved.

Ginny Weasley had been taken down into the Chamber of Secrets. Albus Dumbledore's golden boy, Neville Longbottom, and the twin sons of Lord Weasley had found the Chamber of Secrets. A Parselmouth was needed to open the entrance, so Longbottom had called for the support of his Great-Uncle, and Unspeakable, Algernon Croaker – who was a Parselmouth. Together, Longbottom, Croaker and the two Weasleys had entered the Chamber of Secrets, defeated a Basilisk, and saved Ginny Weasley. None of the Mudbloods had died during the threat, and they had all been cured. Even worse, that diary had been destroyed. Algernon Croaker had stabbed it with a Basilisk fang!

But things would get even worse for Lucius Malfoy. It had been discovered that he was responsible for the diary being in Ginny Weasley's possession, which ended up possessing her, causing the Chamber of Secrets fiasco. The young Weasley bitch was found innocent, and the DMLE had started an investigation against Lucius. Lucius had worked his political magic to delay the investigation. But it was all for naught. In early June of the current year, Lucius had been arrested by Amelia Bones, and sentenced to life in Azkaban. But Lucius never stepped a foot in that ghastly prison. No... en route to Azkaban, as he was escorted by two Aurors – John Dawlish and Kingsley Shacklebolt – Lucius made his move. He killed John Dawlish, injured Shacklebolt, and escaped. He was a fugitive, but at least he wasn't surrounded by Dementors.

Lucius had heard whispers of his Master – the Dark Lord Voldemort – hiding out in Albania. So he had taken a trip to Albania – a long one consisting of walking and flying on brooms. A few Imperius Curses and discussions later, he finally discovered where the rumors of his Master's last known location had been. Soon enough, he had found his Master. His Master's first task was to help him create a homunculus. A horrible experience that had been, but in the end it worked. He still had nightmares about it. His Master's next order was to find some particular information, and he had soon succeeded, torturing the information out of Bertha Jorkins, before his Master killed her. The late Jorkins had given some very good information.

Now, after a series of long months and tiresome events, Lucius was now his Master's caretaker. The only time he was allowed to leave the Manor they were now staying at was to get supplies and nourishment. Aside from that, Lucius was a prisoner. He was forced to take care of his Master, nursing him with the venom of his Master's familiar – the great snake, Nagini.

He was also forced to listen to his Master boasting about the fact that he, Lucius, was not his Master's most faithful, most trusted follower. No... according to his Master, there was another who deserved that title.

Lucius shivered as he heard Nagini hissing nearby. Then he heard rustling in the chair that his Master was sleeping in, followed by more hissing.

“Lucius!” Voldemort hissed, “Get up and go to the door! Nagini says my most trusted, most loyal, most faithful follower has returned to me to give a message. Greet him.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Lucius said.

He stood and made his way over to the door. Just as he opened it, his Master's 'most faithful' follower – Barty Crouch, Junior -- stepped inside.

“Barty,” Voldemort hissed, “You have returned to me.”

“Of course I have, my Lord,” Barty said; he moved in front of Voldemort's chair, and knelt down, bowing.

“I trust you have news?” Voldemort asked.

“Yes, my Lord,” Barty said, “Shocking news. I'm – I'm almost wary to report the news, because I feel it will only pain you, and slow the progress you have made.”

“Tell it to me anyway,” Voldemort said, dismissively, “If you are correct, then it is simply more work for Malfoy.”

Lucius shivered, and hoped his Master hadn't caught this reaction.

“Today, I discovered the most shocking news,” Barty said, “Lily and Harry Potter are alive.”

“What?!” Voldemort growled. “Give me my wand, Barty!”

Before Lucius could react, he was stricken with a Cruciatus Curse from his Master. He fell to the floor, as extreme pain coursed through his body. Only after thirty seconds, did the pain stop.

“Malfoy,” Voldemort snarled, “I thought you told me Lily and Harry Potter were dead!”

“I-I thought they were, my Lord!” Lucius spoke through the aches he was feeling, “The past thirteen years have been filled with rumors and discussion of the deaths of the Potters. The blood-traitors mourn their passing every Halloween! If I had heard differently, I would have told you, my Lord!”

“Of course you would,” Voldemort sneered. “What else have you discovered, Barty?”

“The Potters were living in the United States of America these past thirteen years, my Lord,” Barty said. “Apparently the Potter bitch was pregnant when you killed her husband, and she had another bitch of her own, a girl, Rose. She looks just like her mother. The blood-traitor Black, and the werewolf, Lupin, had joined them.

“When Harry Potter turned eleven, he began attending Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Potters are here because Harry Potter has been given permission to be a contender in the Triwizard Tournament. There is a chance he could be Ilvermorny Champion, even at fourteen!”

“How good a chance?” Voldemort asked, “Good enough that you don't have to manipulate the Goblet like you have for Longbottom?”

“I-I believe so, my Lord,” Barty said, “But if I am wrong, I will accept any punishment you give me for upsetting and wronging you.”

“Hmm,” Voldemort said, “Do nothing to risk discovery. As long as Longbottom is in the Tournament, I will be pleased. If Potter is in the Tournament, we will change our plans if we have to, to account for both.”

“As you command, My Lord,” Barty said.

“You may leave, Barty,” Voldemort said, “You have done well this evening. Continue to please me, and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.”

“I vow to please,” Barty said.

He bowed again, then stood. He sneered at Lucius, as he walked by him and left the room.

“Get up, Lucius,” Voldemort said, “It is time for my feeding. Be sure not to disappoint me any further.

Lucius mentally grumbled as he stood. Ever since Barty had come into the picture, Voldemort seemed to have forgotten all that Lucius had done. He was the one to find his Master! He was the one to get the information from Bertha Jorkins, which kicked off his Master's grand plan. He was the one who had found Barty. But it was Barty who his Master called 'most loyal'.

Lucius crossed the room to his Master, wondering if his life could sink any lower than it already was.

 

Chapter Text


Saturday, October 31
st, 1994


Early Halloween morning, Harry was awakened by a loud clap of thunder that sounded as if it was directly above the tent. Immediately as he woke, he grabbed his wand out from under his pillow, sat up and pointed his wand forward. After a few moments, he realized exactly what what the sound was.

“Thanks, Sirius,” he muttered to nobody but himself, “That training you put me through this summer has made me scared of a little clap of thunder.”

During the previous summer, Sirius had put him through a boot camp of sorts to prepare him for the contention tournament that had taken place in September. Every weekend, Sirius woke him up at the crack of dawn. However, it wasn't a simple nudge on the shoulder, or Sirius telling him to get up. He had been woken up with everything from a pail of ice cold water, to a tickling hex, and several things in between. It wasn't until the Sunday of the second of eight weeks of training that he had learned to put his wand under his pillow. It took two more wake-up calls, before he had been able to wake up before Sirius could come into his bedroom and wake him up.

Ever since then, he had slept with his wand under his pillow, and woke up at the sound of anything threatening. However, he had never woken up due to thunder in the weeks since his training.

He was answered with another loud clap of thunder, this one louder than the last. Then he began to register the other sounds. It was raining – pouring heavily, if the sounds of the raindrops hitting the roof of the tent were any indication. Harry groaned. If the rain didn't stop in the next few minutes, he was going to get soaked on his way into the castle. Maybe his mother had a Rain-Repelling Charm up her sleeve that she hadn't taught him yet. If the sound was any indication, it appeared to be a downpour, and he doubted an umbrella would aid him even if he had one.

Suddenly, the curtain – which separated Harry's bedroom from the rest of the tent – was pulled back by Rose Potter.

“Big brother!” she said, “It is time to –!”

She stopped and pouted when she saw that Harry was awake.

Aww!” Rose whined, “You're awake already! I was going to jump on your bed and wake you up.”

“You were, hmm?” Harry asked, “And what if I was in the middle of getting dressed, and I was naked when you walked in here unannounced?”

Rose's face went as red as her hair, and she made an 'eep!” sound. She made an even bigger “eep!” sound when Harry grabbed her hand and pulled her over to him. He started tickling her around the waist, and she began shrieking with giggles as she collapsed onto his bed.

“S-stop, Harry!” Rose giggled, “I-I'm --”

“Ticklish?” Harry asked, as he continued his playful assault, “I am well aware of that!”

“I'm sorry!” Rose giggled.

Harry stopped and backed away. “You're sorry?”

“I'm sorry... for coming in.... unannounced,” Rose said, as she tried to regain her composure after her brother's onslaught of tickling.

“What is all the commotion in here?!” Lily asked, as she appeared at the curtains.

“Uncle Sirius told me to wake Harry up,” Rose said. “But when I opened the curtains, he was already awake. And – and --”

“And when she came in unannounced,” Harry said, “I decided to tickle her so she would reconsider ever attempting such a thing again. What if she had come in when I was getting dressed?”

Rose made yet another 'eep!' sound, and stood up, then ran past her mother and into the main area of the tent. Lily merely grinned and shook her head, as she watched her daughter. Then she turned back to Harry.

“Well, I was going to make sure you were awake anyway,” she said, “You need to be ready in about fifteen minutes, so that you can join the rest of the Ilvermorny delegates to submit your name into the Goblet of Fire. There's a blank slip of parchment on the table in the dining room. Write your first and last name, and the name of your school.”

“Alright,” Harry said; there was sudden and very loud clap of thunder above them, “Er... what about the storm? It sounds as if it is pouring! We'll be soaked before we get inside!”

Lily merely smiled. “We'll manage.”

Before Harry could say anything else, his mother backed out of the room and shut the curtain, blocking his room from the view of those in the rest of the tent. Harry grinned and shook his head, as he began to change his clothes.

Family. What would he ever do without them?


Meanwhile...

Gryffindor Tower – Dormitories and Common Room

“Fred! George! Wake up!” Lee Jordan yelled, “You won't believe what is going on!”

Fred Weasley groaned as he opened his eyes. “It is too early, Lee. Come back in half-an-hour!”

“No!” Lee said, “This is a matter of life and death!”

“Lee,” Fred's brother, George, who had also been woken up by Lee, “If this is some kind of prank, you're going to be walking into the Great Hall today in a dress!”

“I don't know if it is a prank or not,” Lee said, “But if it is, it is Dumbledore's prank, not mine!”

The mention of their Headmaster's name and the word 'prank' had Fred and George wide awake now. The Weasley twins put on their trainers and grabbed their wands, then followed Lee out of their dormitory, deciding whatever was going on, it was more important than showing up in their Common Room in anything aside from the pyjamas they were currently wearing.

Fred followed George and Lee down the stairs and into the Gryffindor Common Room. There was a large crowd of students around the noticeboard.

“Budge over, budge over!” Lee ordered to the younger-year students, as he led Fred and George to the noticeboard.

As they reached the noticeboard, Lee pointed at one particular piece of parchment. Fred and George read it together.

Attention Sixteen Year Old Students!

Due to a last-minute decision made by Headmaster Dumbledore, and the four other officials of the Triwizard Tournament, the previous rule which only allowed seventeen year old, and older, students to submit their names into the Goblet of Fire has been amended.

Students Sixteen Years of age and older now have permission to submit their names into the Goblet of Fire. The Age Line will now allow students Sixteen Years old and up.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are chosen as Champion, you CANNOT back out. Before you submit your name into the Goblet of Fire, make sure this is a serious decision. The Triwizard Tournament is difficult and dangerous, and there is a moderate risk of life and limb involved.

Good luck to all who submit their name into the Goblet of Fire.

Thank you,
Professor Minerva McGonagall

Head of Gryffindor House
Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress

“Wicked!” Fred and George exclaimed in unison, giving each other a high-five, as they finished reading the notice.

“We don't have to use the Aging Potion now!” Fred said.

“Which is probably a good thing,” Lee said, “Because I had doubts it would ever work.”

“Come on, Fred!” George said, “Let's get upstairs and get dressed! Lee, you better wait for us before you submit your name into the Goblet of Fire.”

“Oh, I'm not entering,” Lee said.

Fred and George stared at Lee, as if he was mental.

“You're JOKING!” they exclaimed in unison.

“Nope,” Lee said, shrugging, “I'm not as mad as the both of you. “Besides, why would the Goblet pick me when one of you are obviously the better choice.”

Before the twins could reply, they heard a loud snort. Their year-mate, and fellow member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina Johnson, appeared behind them.

“Problems, Angelina?” Fred asked.

“Nope,” Angelina said, “I just don't think either of you are the right choice for Hogwarts Champion.”

“Oh, yeah?” George challenged. “And who would be a better Champion? That prat, Diggory?”

“Nope,” Angelina said, grinning, “Me.”

Fred and George shared a glance, then laughed. Angelina scowled.

“What's the problem with me being Champion?!” she said, glaring dangerously at them.

“Nothing!” Fred said, quickly.

“Nothing at all!” George said.

Before Angelina could retort, the Weasley twins hurried off back toward the stairwell that led to their dormitory.

“Johnson doesn't have a chance,” George said, as soon as they were out of hearing range as they ascended the stairs.

“Against us?” Fred asked, “Oh definitely not!”

“Though, I admit, she'd be a better choice than the prat, Diggory,” George said.

“Really?” Fred asked.

“Yeah,” George said, then grinned, “She's more attractive than him, so that gives her points already.”

Fred laughed and agreed with his brother. The twins gave each other high-fives again and headed back up to their dormitory.


A few minutes later...

Hogwarts – Entrance Hall

Roughly twenty minutes after he had woken up, Harry stepped into the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts with his mother, sister, and the other delegates of Ilvermorny. Owing to his mother's Rain-Repelling Charms, Harry was quite dry, which was miraculous given the fact that there was a literal monsoon happening on the Grounds of Hogwarts.

In the very center of the Entrance Hall, the Goblet of Fire was set upon a perch. Surrounding the Goblet was a bright blue line of magic, the Age Line. Crowded around the Entrance Hall were numerous Hogwarts students of all ages. Lined up along the wall near the large oak doors to the Great Hall were Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Bartemius Crouch, Ludo Bagman, and several Hogwarts Professors.

“Make way, make way!” Dumbledore said loudly, with the aid of a Sonorous Charm from his wand, “The Ilvermorny delegates wish to enter their names into the Goblet of Fire. Clear them a path, and allow them through!”

Much like the biblical Moses had parted the Red Sea, the announcement of the Ilvermorny delegates' arrival had cleared a path of students between them and the Goblet of Fire. Harry remained behind with his mother and sister, gripping the slip of parchment tightly in his hand, as he watched the nine other delegates queue up and make their way toward the Goblet of Fire.

Harry jumped slightly as he felt his mother's hand clutch his shoulder.

“Nervous, Harry?” Lily asked.

Harry swallowed. “I suppose I am.”

“You don't need to do this if you don't want to,” Lily said. “There's nothing wrong with simply being a spectator and supporter.”

“N-no,” Harry stammered, then cleared his throat, “I'm going to enter. If I don't, then all that training I did this summer for the contention tournament, and then the contention tournament itself, would have all been for naught.”

“Very well,” Lily said.

Harry grunted slightly as Rose jumped at him and hugged him around the waist. Her head came up to just under his jaw.

“Good luck, big brother,” she said.

“Thanks, Rosie,” Harry said, rubbing the top of his sister's head.

Rose giggled and backed away.

As each of the nine older delegates submitted their name, they stepped away from the Goblet, then lined up on either side of the path to the Goblet. When it was Harry's turn, there were four Ilvermorny students on one side of the path, and five on the other side. They all looked at him encouragingly.

“They're showing their support for the youngest delegate,” Lily whispered into Harry's ear.

Harry blushed at his mother's words. He inhaled and exhaled, then walked down the path toward the Goblet of Fire. Around the Hall, there were murmurs and whispers from the Hogwarts students. Then there was a hushed silence as Harry neared the Age Line. Harry inhaled and exhaled again, then stepped over the Line.

“Hey!” one of the Hogwarts students snarled. “How is he able to get past the age line! He's – what – fourteen years old?! That's not bloody fair!”

Harry turned to the owner of the voice and saw a ginger-haired student who appeared to be his age, standing just outside the Age Line and glaring at him. Before Harry could say anything, he was interrupted by one of the Hogwarts staff.

“Ron Weasley!” Minerva McGonagall, “Fifty points from Gryffindor and detention for a week for your outburst and utter disrespect toward an Ilvermorny delegate!”

The red-head – Ron Weasley – sputtered, though he was still glaring at Harry.

“But Professor!” he said, “If he's able to enter, why can't others his age?! I should be able to enter my name!”

McGonagall walked over to Weasley, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in the direction of the Grand Staircase. The ginger-haired boy could be heard sputtering, stammering and complaining as the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts dragged him up the stairs.

Harry heard someone clearing their throat, and he turned and saw Albus Dumbledore standing where Ron Weasley had been. Dumbledore placed his wand at his throat.

“Attention!” he said, his voice magnified for everyone to hear, “Harry Potter may be fourteen years old. However, he placed third in a contention tournament beating out twenty-seven students all of whom were older than him, including seven of those students who just entered their name into the Goblet of Fire.”

Harry felt his face heat up, as the Hogwarts students around the Hall began to whisper and murmur at this announcement. All of them were staring at him, wonder and shock lighting up their expressions.

“The Headmaster of Ilvermorny,” Dumbledore continued, “and the Magical Congress of the United States of America has given Harry Potter permission to enter his name. Bartemius Crouch, Ludo Bagman, Madame Olympe Maxime, Lady Potter, and I made a unanimous decision last night to support the same decision.”

He smiled, took his wand from his throat, and looked at Harry.

“Please proceed, Mr. Potter,” he said, “And good luck.”

Harry smiled, then turned to the Goblet of Fire. He inhaled and exhaled, then placed his clenched fist over the Goblet's opening, and dropped the slip of parchment into it which had his name and school. He sighed in relief when the Goblet didn't spit the parchment back out. He turned and stepped back across the Age Line. Rose started clapping, and it was contagious, as the students around the Hall started to applaud. Harry blushed furiously as he strode past his fellow Ilvermorny delegates, which followed him in suit back to his mother.

“Attention Ilvermorny students,” Lily said, “Professors Black and Lupin have set up breakfast for us in one of the tents. You're welcome to join us or you may go into the Great Hall and join the Hogwarts students if you wish.”

As one, the nine older Ilvermorny students started off back out onto the Grounds. Harry decided he, too, would join the others in the tents. Even though he wanted to find Hermione Granger – and discover whether or not she had a boyfriend – he didn't want to encounter another student like that Ron Weasley again. What was that idiot's problem anyway?

He decided to ignore it and stepped back into the monsoon on the Hogwarts Grounds. It wasn't as if he was ever going to have to deal with that ginger asshole again anyway. Right?


Early Afternoon – Hogwarts Library

Harry had spent much of the rainy morning inside the designated Classroom Tent, where he had been looking through the Portable Library that had been brought along. He had been looking for books on specific subjects, but could not find what he was looking for. So he had asked his mother about the books. She told him there was a good chance that the appropriate books were in the Hogwarts library.

So after lunch – which, like breakfast, took place in the dining area of the Classroom Tent, Lily led Harry through Hogwarts and toward the Library.

“I could have found the library myself, if you had just given me directions, Mom,” Harry said, when he and Lily were standing outside the library.

“What – you didn't want to be seen walking around with your mother?” Lily asked, grinning.

Harry blushed. “I didn't say that...”

“I'm in the castle for another reason besides escorting you,” Lily said, “I need to speak to one of the Hogwarts staff members about something that concerned me.”

“Regarding that Ron Weasley idiot?” Harry asked, with a scowl.

“Harry,” Lily said, sternly, “You shouldn't speak like that, especially about students of Hogwarts and Beauxbatons. We're supposed to be promoting International Magical Cooperation, remember?”

Harry frowned, and nodded. “Sorry, Mom.”

“That's alright,” Lily said, “Truth be told, I agree with you. That boy is definitely an idiot... and loud, and very rude.”

Harry raised his eyebrows, then grinned when his mother smiled at him.

“The incident with the boy will likely be brought up,” Lily said, “But no, I have other business. So how about you head into the Library. Think you can find your way back onto the Grounds afterward?”

“Yes, Mom,” Harry said.

“Alright,” Lily said, “If the librarian is the same one who was here when I was a student, her name is Madam Pince. She's very protective of the books she lords over in the library. So be very respectful towards her and the books.”

“I will,” Harry promised.

“Good boy,” Lily said, “Go on. I'll see you soon.”

Harry nodded, said farewell to his mother, then headed off into the library. Fifteen minutes later, he had a stack of five books in his arms – which was apparently the maximum limit of books that could be checked out at one time, according to the notices around the library. Harry was about to head over to the librarian's desk, when he saw Hermione Granger sitting at a table, and reading a book. He approached her table and cleared his throat. Hermione jumped slightly.

“Do you mind –?!” she started; then she blushed as she looked at him, and realized who he was, “Oh. Hello, Mr. Potter. I'm sorry for being rude. You startled me.”

“That is alright, Miss Granger,” Harry said, “I apologize for startling you. May I sit here with you?”

Hermione's cheeks went pink again, and she nodded. “Alright. But only if you call me Hermione. I could swear I asked you to call me that already.”

“I promise to refer to you by your first name from now on, Hermione,” Harry said, as he sat down; he looked at her, as he set the books down, “As long as you call me Harry.”

“Alright,” Hermione said.

“Great,” Harry said, “May I ask you a question, Hermione?”

“You already did,” Hermione said, grinning, “But you may ask me another.”

Harry did his best to hide a snort. That was another comparison between his mother and Hermione. His mother loved to use that phrase. It appeared his mother was correct when she said she'd like this girl.

“Why are you here in the library on Halloween of all days?” he asked.

“Oh – um – well, it was supposed to be a Hogsmeade weekend,” Hermione said. “But that has been postponed until next weekend due to the absolutely terrible weather. I'm sure you noticed the storms.”

Harry laughed. “Yeah, I noticed.”

“I thought you might have,” Hermione said, with a smug smile, “I saw you walk into the Entrance Hall this morning with the rest of the Ilvermorny delegates, when you entered your name in the Goblet of Fire. I was rather surprised you were rather dry for having just walked through a monsoon.”

“Rain-Repelling Charms,” Harry said, “Mom's really good with her Charms.”

“Oh?” Hermione asked, looking intrigued, “Maybe she can teach me some of what she knows? I mean, all I know is Impervious when it comes to repelling rain, but that doesn't keep me dry!”

“No, it wouldn't, would it?” Harry said, smiling; “I'll talk to Mom and see if she can give you some pointers.”

“I'd like that, thank you,” Hermione said.

“So you were there to watch me enter my name?” Harry asked, “Wish I would have known that. I'd have joined you in breakfast instead of eating with the other Ilvermorny delegates.”

“That's alright,” Hermione said. “Anyway, since it is raining, I figured I'd use this free time to catch up on my studies,”.

“Surely you have something better to do with your free time,” Harry said. “I thought you would be in a secluded corner of the castle snogging your boyfriend.”

A very red-faced Hermione stammered and mumbled under her breath as she looked down at her book.

“Pardon, Hermione?” Harry asked, “I didn't hear that.”

“I – um – don't – don't have a boyfriend,” Hermione stammered.

“Between boyfriends then,” Harry said.

Hermione blushed again. “No. I've – um – never had a boyfriend.”

“Girlfriend?” Harry asked, “I mean, in the romantic sense?”

“No!” Hermione huffed; her blush worsening.

Hmm, Harry thought, Well, at least she is straight, if not, perhaps, bisexual. And very single, it appears. Which is quite surprising.

“Surely you've gone with someone on a date to the village?” Harry asked.

Hermione blushed and shook her head. “Usually I visit by myself. I've never been on a date.”

“Surely, you jest!” Harry exclaimed, nearly raising his voice above library-acceptable volumes. “Is everybody inside this castle blind?! How has nobody asked someone as beautiful as you on a date?”

Are you really telling me I have a shot at being your first kiss?! Harry decided it was probably not a good question to ask out loud.

Hermione frowned. “If you're going to tease me, then I rescind my invitation to let you sit with me.”

“I am not teasing you, Hermione!” Harry said, quickly, “I'm completely serious.”

Thank God Sirius isn't here, Harry thought, This would be a really bad time for name puns!

Hermione stared at Harry for a moment, then smiled lightly. “Really? You're not teasing me?”

“Of course not,” Harry said. “Wampus honor.”

“Wampus?” Hermione echoed.

“My House at Ilvermorny,” Harry said, indicating the patch on his robes. “You're a Ravenclaw of Hogwarts, I'm a Wampus of Ilvermorny.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, then she stammered, “S-so... you – you really think I am beautiful?”

“Definitely,” Harry said, nodding.

Hermione hid her face behind her bush of hair, and looked down at her book.

Shit, Potter, you're embarrassing her, Harry thought to himself, If you don't take the initiative here, you're going to lose your chance, and she might never talk to you again. Especially if she still believes you're teasing her. You'll never hear the end of it from Sirius if that happens.

“Hermione?” he asked, “Have you heard about the Yule Ball?”

Hermione looked up at him again and nodded. “When I heard that the Triwizard Tournament would be taking place here at Hogwarts, I did my research. A Yule Ball is part of every tournament. It is a dance... a social event.”

“Indeed it is,” Harry agreed, “I know there is nearly two months to go before the Ball, but I am compelled to ask now before someone else does, and I lose my chance. Hermione Granger, would you do me the great honor of accompanying me to the Yule Ball?”

Hermione blinked. “L-like a – a date?”

“Yes,” Harry said.

Hermione's cheeks went pink. “Harry, I... I barely know you. Besides, what would your girlfriend say?”

“I am single at this moment, actually,” Harry said, “But you make a good point. We barely know each other. So I am changing my proposal. Would you do me the great honor of being my date to Hogsmeade next weekend? I will wait for your answer to my Yule Ball invitation until the end of the date. We can get to know each other during our date, and then you can make your decision.”

Hermione teased her bottom lip with her teeth; even though she appeared to have buck-teeth, the action was still something Harry found extremely sexy.

Finally, Hermione smiled. “I would love to accompany you to Hogsmeade on a date next weekend, Mr. Potter.”

Harry sighed in relief. “Fantastic. I do hope whatever happens this evening doesn't bring complications to our date. I mean – on the off-chance I'm chosen as Champion – it could be seen by some as you betraying the Hogwarts Champion by being seen on a date with an opposing school's Champion.”

“Harry, I said I would accompany you on a date,” Hermione said, smiling. “And I will. I promise to go on that date with you no matter what happens this evening. It doesn't matter whether you become Ilvermorny Champion or not. And if it turns out you do become Champion – well, I'll just tell anyone who asked, that you asked before you became Champion.”

“Great,” Harry said, “I very much look forward to our date. I can't believe I'm lucky enough to get this chance. Are you sure you're not joking with me? Our date isn't going to be interrupted by a jealous boyfriend – or girlfriend – decking me, right?”

Hermione giggled – a beautiful sound. “No Harry. I promise I don't have a boyfriend, or a girlfriend – at least in the romantic sense, that is.”

Huh, Harry thought, It would appear not offended at the idea of having a girlfriend. Interesting. And hot!

“Yet?” Harry asked, grinning.

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “I'm not going to answer that, Mr. Potter.”

“Damn,” Harry muttered, jokingly.

Hermione then smiled. “At least not until the end of our date next Saturday.”

Harry grinned. There was hope! “I will hold you to that.”

Hermione smiled, then she frowned slightly. “Please don't take offense to my question, Harry. But do you really believe you'll be chosen as Ilvermorny Champion?”

Harry sighed. “I don't know. My mother and sister and Uncles do, but they're my family. Of course they're going to say that. Your friend, Luna, seems to think I'm going to be the Champion. Would I be happy to be the Champion? Oh, definitely. But I've made my peace with the fact that I will likely be a spectator. Do you want me to be the Champion?”

Hermione bit her lip again. Harry groaned under his breath as he felt his boxers tighten. If she didn't stop doing that, he was going to be in trouble!

“Like I said, I barely know you, Harry,” Hermione said. “So I don't know whether or not you're Champion material. But if you were chosen as a contender for the Champion, then you must be talented enough to get a shot at being chosen. Ranking third in a contention tournament of thirty? That is impressive! So, yes, I'd be happy if you were chosen. But... I'd rather you be a spectator.”

“Oh?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Hermione said, then blushed, “Forgive me for being so assuming. But if our date goes well, then there's a good chance you'll be my date to the Ball. I would hate for you to get hurt during the First Task. You might not be healthy enough to dance with me.”

“Hermione,” Harry said, “If you happen to be my date, and I get injured, I would spin you around while sitting in a wheelchair if it meant I could dance with you.”

Hermione blushed prettily again. “While that sounds fun, I'd very much like you to be standing and healthy.”

“Then I will endeavor to do exactly that, Miss Granger,” Harry said, smiling.

Hermione smiled. “I haven't said I'll be your date to the ball, Mr. Potter.”

“Might I remind you that you're the one who was so assuming,” Harry said, his smile turning into a grin.

Hermione huffed. “I'd very much like to return to my studies now.”

“Then I will leave you to it,” Harry said, “I need to check these books out and return to my tent anyway.”

And possibly relieve the tension in my boxers, Harry thought privately.

“A tent?” Hermione asked, blinking.

“A wizard's tent,” Harry said, “One of five actually. Very spacious. If our date goes well, perhaps I'll invite you to explore the tent.”

Hermione stammered. “I very much hope you're not implying what I think you're implying, Mr. Potter.”

“You're being assuming again, Miss Granger,” Harry said, in a sing-song voice, while he grinned.

Hermione huffed again, and looked back down at her book.

“If we don't talk before then,” Harry said. “Then I will see you next Saturday in the Entrance Hall.”

“The carriages usually leave at ten in the morning,” Hermione said, still looking at her book.

“Then I will see you at a quarter-til,” Harry said. “But I hope we will meet again before then.”

“I'm sure we will,” Hermione said, smiling as she briefly looked at him again.

Harry smiled and stood. “Good luck with your studies. Farewell.”

Hermione said farewell, and Harry walked over to the librarian, Madam Pince. She looked at him suspiciously, and he merely smiled and placed his books on the desk between them.

“Don't you have your own library?” the librarian asked.

“We did bring a portable library with us,” Harry said, “But it is nothing as grand as your own. You have a wider selection of books here.”

Madam Pince huffed at Harry's attempted flattery. “I hope you do not break that young girl's heart, Mr. Potter. She's one of my favorites.”

“Why would you believe I am a heart-breaker, ma'am?” Harry asked.

“I knew your father,” Pince said, “He and that Black scoundrel broke their fair share of hearts whilst they were students. Sometimes more than once.”

“With all due respect, ma'am,” Harry said, “You may have known my father, but you do not know me.”

Madam Pince huffed. She stamped the inside cover of each book, then handed them back to Harry.

“Books are to be returned in exactly one month or less,” she said, “and I expect them to be in the same condition as they are now.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Harry said.

Madam Pince's eyes followed him suspiciously as he walked out of the library.

“Bitch,” he muttered under his breath, when he was out of hearing range.

He whistled a jaunty tune as he headed off back in the direction of the Grand Staircase. He needed to find his family. He hadn't even been at Hogwarts for twenty-four hours, and he already had a date. That had to be some kind of record!


Meanwhile, in the Library...

Hidden behind a bookshelf, a fourth-year Ravenclaw witch was staring at Hermione Granger with narrowed eyes. She had heard the entire exchange between Granger and Harry Potter.

Ever since the Feast the previous evening, where Headmaster Dumbledore had revealed that the Ilvermorny official was none other than the long-thought-dead Lily Potter, there had been rumors about whether or not one of the Ilvermorny students who had accompanied her was Lily's son, Harry Potter – who also was thought to have died in an attack by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named on Halloween night in 1981.

The rumors had provided good evidence. The boy was fourteen years old, and looked a lot like James Potter. The rumor had been confirmed earlier that morning when Headmaster Dumbledore had revealed that Harry Potter was the youngest Ilvermorny delegate. Harry Potter was fourteen years old, and had been legally permitted to enter his name into the Goblet of Fire. Apparently he had placed third in a contention tournament of thirty students, all of whom were all older than him! Harry Potter must be really powerful and talented! At least that was what the rumors were.

Not only was Harry Potter apparently a powerful and talented wizard, but he was also the Heir Apparent of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, a very powerful and old House thought to have gone extinct on Halloween of 1981. There was no question that Harry Potter would be one of the most eligible bachelors in Wizarding Great Britain!

The Ravenclaw witch narrowed her eyes at that thought. No self-respecting pureblood witch would just sit there and let what she had just watched happen. She couldn't believe her eyes when Harry Potter had asked out that know-it-all Muggleborn bitch, Hermione Granger, on a date to Hogsmeade. Potter also had interest in taking that bitch to the Yule Ball! Well that simply could not happen!

The Ravenclaw fourth-year witch was about to walk over to Granger, when she changed her mind. Now wasn't the time for a confrontation. Not here in the middle of the Hogwarts Library where Madam Pince was present with her ever-watchful gaze that seemed to cover every inch, and spot ever incident inside her Library.

The Ravenclaw witch made a decision. She would seek out her group of friends, and together they would confront Granger. They would convince her not to go on a date with Harry Potter. Or else!

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, October 31 st , 1994


Ten minutes after leaving her son at the Hogwarts Library Lily Potter walked through one of the first floor corridors of the castle, en route to Minerva McGonagall's office. At least, she hoped the office was in the same location. It had been roughly seventeen years since she had been a student at Hogwarts – but even back then Minerva had the same three positions she had now. So Lily was quite sure the office was in the same place.

She arrived at the door to Minerva's office, and rapped her knuckles against it. She smiled in relief when she heard Minerva's voice, inviting her in. Lily opened the door and stepped inside. She was rather surprised, and amused to find Minerva's office hadn't changed much in seventeen years.

“Lady Potter, this is a surprise,” Minerva said, getting to her feet, “Do come in. How may I help you?”

“Well, first, you can call me Lily,” Lily said.

“As long as you call me Minerva,” Minerva said, with a small smile. “I assume you're here to talk about the young man who complained about your son's entry into the Tournament?”

“Well, that was one of the topics on my mind, but not the most important,” Lily said. “I wanted to bring this up during the Feast last night, but never had the chance. It has to do with those two Ravenclaws that were sitting with my children. Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger, I believe?”

“Filius Flitwick is still the Head of Ravenclaw House, Lily,” Minerva said, “Perhaps it would be best to discuss this with him, as they are in his House. Shall I Floo him and ask him to meet us here? We can talk about the other topic while we wait.”

“If you believe it would be best,” Lily said.

Minerva offered Lily a seat, before she walked over to the fireplace on the left side of the office. Lily sat down in one of the chairs on the nearest side of Minerva's desk. Minerva, meanwhile, had stuck her head into the Floo. Lily smiled as she looked around the office.

She noticed a bookshelf standing against a wall behind Minerva's desk. On one of the shelves were several pictures. From where she was sitting, Lily could see that one of the pictures was of her and her late husband, James, standing on either side of Minerva. Her eyes stung with tears as she remembered posing for that picture. It had been during the first meeting with Minerva, as she and James talked with the Head of Gryffindor about their Head Student duties.

Minerva returned to her desk and sat down, breaking Lily from her reverie.

“Filius is making his way here now,” Minerva said, “He should be here in five-to-ten minutes.”

“Thank you,” Lily said.

“You're quite welcome,” Minerva said, “Now let us talk about the incident in the Entrance Hall this morning. I'm sad to say that the young man who confronted your son was one of my Gryffindors, a fourth-year trouble-maker and problem-child by the name of Ron Weasley.”

“Weasley,” Lily said, “The name sounds vaguely familiar.”

“He's the youngest son, but not the youngest child, of Arthur and Molly Weasley,” Minerva said, “The Weasleys have six boys, and then a daughter, which is the youngest of the children – she's in her third year, this year. Ginny Weasley has had a few problems of her own here at Hogwarts, but nothing like her youngest brother.”

“Molly Weasley,” Lily said, thoughtfully.

“Formerly Prewett,” Minerva said, “You may remember her twin brothers who died in the war, Fabian and Gideon. They were members of Albus' Order of the Phoenix. Along with yourself, James, and his friends, I believe.”

“Yes,” Lily said, nodding, then smiled, “I remember the Prewett boys. They talked a lot about their sister, and her family. Yes, now, I remember them mentioning the Weasleys. That is why the name sounds familiar. They were trouble-makers themselves, if I remember.”

Minerva snorted. “Nah, they were jokers, much like your dearly-departed husband and his friends were. There's a difference between jokers and trouble-makers. Ron Weasley's older twin brothers are trouble-makers and jokers, but Ron himself is a problem-child. Truth be told, the boy should be at least one or two years back in his education. He's not a very bright boy, and his highest grades he's ever achieved was an Exceeds Expectations in a nonsense class like Divination. The rest were a handful of Acceptables, and lower grades.”

“If he's done so poorly, why is he a fourth year student?” Lily asked.

“Albus Dumbledore,” Minerva snorted. “For several reasons. One, he doesn't believe in letting students fall back a year in their education. Two, Ron's father, Arthur, is a Lord and a member of the Wizengamot. The Noble House of Weasley is in an Alliance with Dumbledore. If Ron is outed as a bad student, it could bring issues into the Noble House of Weasley. At least that is what his mother, Molly, says anyway.”

“So Albus is letting Ron skim through his education,” Lily said, “so the boy does not harm the reputation of one of his Allied Houses?”

“Correct,” Minerva said. “And it doesn't stop there. As I am sure you can tell, due to his outburst in the Entrance Hall, Ron Weasley is a loud and rude child. I've also had several complaints from students about the boy's eating habits. But the last time I said anything to the boy about it, I received a lecture from Dumbledore, and a Howler from Molly Weasley the following day telling me to be more respectful toward her children, lest the House of Weasley forms a blood feud with me.”

“Wouldn't that be her husband's decision?” Lily asked.

Minerva snorted again. “Molly Weasley has her husband by the short and curlies if you know what I mean. Arthur may be the Lord Weasley, but Molly is the Lord of the house.”

“So her husband is whipped,” Lily said.

“Understatement of the year,” Minerva said, snorting yet again; she sighed heavily. “To be perfectly clear. I did not punish Mr. Weasley because he complained about your son entering the Tournament when he is so young. To be honest, most of the students in that Entrance Hall – those whom were below sixteen years old – probably agreed with Ron about that subject.”

“I suppose you're right,” Lily said.

“I punished Mr. Weasley,” Minerva continued, “simply because he was breaching etiquette when it comes to respecting the guests of Hogwarts. I explained precisely that to him this morning.”

“Do you believe my son doesn't deserve to be in the tournament?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I never said that, Lily, and I never will,” Minerva said. “Harry's accomplishment is excellent. Though I can't say it is surprising, given who his parents are, and who he was raised by. Originally this tournament was supposed to only have students seventeen and older entering. But due to that contention tournament Ilvermorny had – which, I admit, was a brilliant idea – half of Ilvermorny's delegates are under seventeen. Then, as you know, Albus allowed sixteen year old students in Hogwarts to enter, just so there wouldn't be any complaints. I'm not saying that fourteen year old students should be allowed too, because Harry entered. I'm just saying...”

Minerva sighed and looked right at Lily. “I don't envy you for allowing your son to be a contender – and possibly the Ilvermorny Champion -- in this Tournament, Lily. The Tasks of this tournament were created with seventeen year old students in mind. If your son is chosen... well, I wish him the best of luck, Lady Potter. And I hope you and those Marauders of yours have trained him well.”

Before Lily could reply, there is a knock on the door of Minerva's office. Minerva waved her wand toward the door, and it opened. Lily smiled when saw Professor Filius Flitwick – Charms Professor, and Head of Ravenclaw House – step into the office. Lily stood as Filius closed the door.

“Professor,” Lily said, as she stood.

“Oh, you don't need to stand for me, Lady Potter,” Filius said, chuckling, “And do please call me Filius. I believe, as one of my favorite students ever to step into my classroom, you deserve that right.”

“As long as you call me Lily,” Lily said.

“Of course!” Filius said.

He walked over to the empty chair next to Lily, and conjured a footstool in front of the chair. He stepped up the footstool, then conjured books on top of the chair, and sat on top of them. Lily did her best not to laugh at this action.

“It is so good to see you after all these years, Lily,” Filius said, “When I saw you walking toward the castle last night, with your children, I nearly fainted from happiness. I am so glad the rumors of your death were only rumors. I only wish the rumors of your husband's death were just that – rumors.”

“Don't we all,” Lily asked, rhetorically, with a grim smile.

“Yes,” Filius said, with a sigh. “Now, Minerva said you wanted to talk to me about two of my students?”

“Yes, sir,” Lily said. “Last night, when Minerva led myself and my students over to the Ravenclaw table, two of the young Ravenclaw witches were separated from the rest of their House. Perhaps you noticed. The girls said they were pushed away from the rest of their house-mates. Forgive me, Filius, but that sounds to me like bullying, and I am quite concerned.”

“The two witches are Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood,” Minerva said, “If that helps, Filius.”

“Yes,” Lily said, “And I am only bringing up this concern, because my own two children have taken an interest in the young ladies. I see the bonds of friendship forming between your two students, and my children.”

“I am afraid there have been some signs of bullying targeted at the two girls in question,” Filius said, “I've noticed it before. However, when I spoke to Headmaster Dumbledore about it, he told me to leave it alone.”

“Why ever did he do that?” Lily asked, “If the two girls have been bullied --”

“He's under the impression that the two girls would take care of it themselves,” Filius said.

“If you wouldn't mind, would you clarify more about the bullying?” Lily asked. “I'm only asking because I want to know if it is something my children would be involved in.”

“Of course it is right for you to be concerned,” Filius said, with a sigh. “I shall begin with Miss Granger. Hermione reminds me of you, actually, if you would believe it. She is a prodigy, there is no better word for it. She is one of the top – if not the top – students in every single one of her classes. The only classes she had trouble with were Defense, Divination, and Muggle Studies.”

“Muggle Studies,” Lily asked, in disbelief, “But she's a –!”

“Yes, she is,” Minerva said, “However, according to Miss Granger, Muggle Studies should have been called Muggle History.”

Lily sighed. “Are you telling me that class is still teaching things that went out of style half-a-century ago? Minerva, I complained about that very thing when I was a student! I left after one year of that class, because it disgusted me!”

“Miss Granger is much the same way,” Filius said. “When I said she had trouble with it, I meant she simply was hoping for lessons on modern topics. She had issues in Divination simply because she believes the Divination Professor is a fraud.”

Minerva snorted. “I can't blame her.”

“As for Defense,” Filius said, “She had issues with the class, but even then she was one of the top five students in her year in that class. So, like I said, she's a prodigy, a top student. Unfortunately, that's not a good thing, if you'll believe it. Even amongst the brainy Ravenclaws, Miss Granger is considered too smart.”

“She's a prodigy, while the rest of the Ravenclaws are mid- to high-level geniuses,” Lily guessed.

“Yes,” Filius sighed. “She's also a Muggleborn among half-bloods and purebloods. So that makes it even worse. Because of that, her year-mates and house-mates have turned away from her, when they should be friendly with her. There hasn't been any physical bullying yet... only emotional and mental.”

“But there may come a time,” Lily said.

“Yes,” Filius said, “There may come a time.”

Lily frowned. “And Luna Lovegood?”

“Luna Lovegood is something different,” Filius said. “She appears to be a mild-leveled Seer, an Aura Reader, and a Natural Occlumens.”

“Wow,” Lily breathed.

“Yes,” Filius said, “Then there is the fact that she witnessed her mother's death.”

“Oh, God,” Lily said, softly, as she frowned, “I never knew.”

“It was quite traumatic, as you can guess,” Filius said. “She rarely talks about her mother's death. I believe her abilities – at least her Aura Reader ability – manifested from that traumatic event. Maybe there some residual effects from the accident that caused her mother's death. She has spoken of several imaginary creatures. One of these creatures she talks about is called a Wrackspurt. Which is a tiny mosquito-like creature that ventures into your brain through your ears and makes your brain go fuzzy. According to Miss Lovegood that is.”

Lily realized what Filius was implying. “So when she sees Wrackspurts, what she is actually seeing is...”

“Magical Auras as a result of emotions,” Filius said. “The other creatures she speaks of also has to do with Auras coming from the earth and various other things. During the weeks and months after she received this ability, she started speaking of these creatures she invented. She started discussing the creatures with her father, Xenophilius, who is the owner and editor of the newspaper the Quibbler. Xenophilius was so inspired by his daughter's stories, he started writing articles in his newspaper about them. When readers of the articles complained that they weren't real, Luna was very upset. Xenophilius promised her that they would find real concrete proof that her imaginary creatures really existed.”

“And because of her father's influence,” Lily said, “She's spent the last five years believing these creatures truly exist, when in reality, they are the result of magical auras.”

“Precisely,” Filius said. “But she doesn't understand that. She became an outcast amongst her Ravenclaw house-mates when she started spouting off stories of creatures that didn't exist. They became frightened of her, when she started telling them they had Wrackspurts in their brains. Those students started bulling her – emotionally and mentally. There were rumors they also stole things from her. But Luna never complained, and all her belongings always come back to her.”

“And so...Hermione and Luna?” Lily asked.

“They became friends when they realized that they were mutually outcasts,” Filius said. “Hermione doesn't know what to think of the creatures Luna talks about. But she never, ever, makes fun of Luna, and even defends her from the bullies – which are usually mutual between the girls.”

“Filius – Professor Flitwick,” Lily said, “May I give you a piece of advice?”

“Of course,” Filius said.

“You need to solve this bullying issue quick,” Lily said, “Or there are going to be problems. Not from me, but from my children. My children do not like bullies, and they value friendship. Also – well – Harry has a... ah... romantic interest in Hermione Granger.”

“Really?” Minerva asked.

“I believe he's going to ask her on a date before too long,” Lily said, smiling. “I don't think I need to tell you what will happen if Hermione becomes Harry's girlfriend, and he discovers she's being bullied.”

“I imagine he's a lot like his father in that aspect,” Minerva said.

“Exactly, ma'am,” Lily said. “Exactly.”

Filius sighed. “I believe you're right, Lady Potter. I promise to look deeper into this. It is time I act instead of watch, like Albus advised me to do.”

“Good,” Lily said, “Now if you will excuse me, I need to go back to my students. We need to prepare for the events of this evening.”

“Of course,” Minerva said.

Lily stood, said farewell to the two Professors, then turned and walked out of the office.

Four summers ago, Sirius and Remus had sat down with her and they discussed whether or not they should move back to Great Britain, so that Harry could attend Hogwarts. Sirius and Remus were all for the idea, but Lily was adamant against it. Now that she was hearing about the bullying – and, in essence, Albus Dumbledore's refusal to have the staff put an end to it – as well as the fact that the education was basically sub-par to Ilvermorny, she was quite happy she had made the decision for her children to attend Ilvermorny.


The House Potter Tent – Hogwarts Grounds

Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time Harry had returned to the Hogwarts Grounds, though with the gray clouds still covering the sky, it wasn't assured whether there would be any more before the end of the evening. So there was no risk of getting the library books wet unless he dropped them onto the wet earth. He was very careful holding onto them as he headed into the House Potter tent. Rose and Uncle Remus were sitting at the dining room table playing a game of wizard's chess. Harry crossed the tent and headed into his room. He set four of the books on his trunk, and kept one of them, as he walked back into the living room. He whistled the Ilvermorny School Song as he sat down in one of the very comfortable chairs.

“Someone's happy,” Remus said, as he grinned in Harry's direction, “Is there something you would like to tell us, cub?”

“I do,” Harry said, “But I think I should wait for Sirius, and perhaps Mum. Where is Sirius?”

“You didn't see the Thunderbird, did you?” Remus asked.

“Now that you mention it,” Harry said, “I did notice.”

“Sirius is moving the Thunderbird to a more permanent parking spot,” Remus said.

Harry snorted. “I can't imagine where he would park it.”

“Me either,” Remus said, grinning, “Guess we'll have to ask Sirius where he parked it.”

“Checkmate!” Rose squealed.

“Again?!” Remus asked, “What is that? The third time today?!”

“Fourth!” Rose said, giggling.

Remus sighed. “Sirius is better to play against. At least he lets me win.”

Rose giggled again.

“Hello, family!” Sirius announced his presence; he raised his eyebrows as he looked at the still giggling, Rose, “Why is my little Rosie so giggly?”

“I beat Remus four times in a row,” Rose said.

“I think she cheats,” Harry said.

“I do not!” Rose growled.

“I'm sure he's just joking with you, Rosie,” Remus said, “And no, you don't cheat. You're just that good. So, Sirius, where did you park the Thunderbird?”

“I'm not telling you!” Sirius said, as he plopped down onto the sofa a few feet away from where Harry was sitting.

“Why?” Remus asked.

“Because you'll yell at me,” Sirius said. “The Full Moon is in two days, and I know well enough not to anger you around the Full Moon.”

Remus narrowed his eyes. “Why would I yell at – oh, Sirius, you didn't!”

“Didn't what?” Sirius asked.

“Please tell me you didn't park it on the roof of the castle,” Remus said.

“Of course not!” Sirius said; then he sighed. “That was my first choice, though, but there are no flat spots big enough up there.”

“So where did you put it?” Rose asked.

“Why did you have to ask?” Sirius replied, “You know I can't resist my little princess.”

Rose giggled. “Because you wouldn't answer Remus.”

“Point,” Sirius said.

He stood up and walked over to Rose. Then he bent toward her and whispered into her ear.

“The Forbidden Forest?!” Rose shrieked.

“Rosie, you traitor!” Sirius exclaimed; he tickled her around the waist making her squeal.

“Sirius,” Remus said, sighing.

“She lies!” Sirius exclaimed, backing away from his honorary niece, “I'm innocent!”

“Sirius,” Remus repeated.

“Fine!” Sirius huffed, “Yes, I put it in the Forbidden Forest. I even found a nice little clearing. It looked as if it was recently cleared away, probably by Hagrid, so I landed it there.”

“Why would you put it there of all places?” Remus asked, “We'll be lucky if it is able to fly if it stays there until June!”

“You're exaggerating,” Sirius said, “Besides, in addition to the enchantments already covering it, I added my own. Nothing will hurt it.”

“Sirius,” Remus said, “This is the Forbidden Forest we're talking about.”

“And you say that like it is a bad thing,” Sirius said. “It will be fine. I assure you. Let's talk about something else. Anything else.”

“Harry seems really happy for some reason,” Rose said.

“Sirius is right, Rose,” Harry said, “You're a traitor.”

Rose stuck out her tongue. Harry sighed as his sister and both Uncles joined him in the living room. Sirius and Remus sat on the sofa, while Rose took another chair.

“So is there something you want to tell us, pup?” Sirius asked. “You're happy for a reason.”

“Hermione was in the Library when I checked out the books,” Harry said, indicating the book in his lap. “She was there doing some studying.”

“Really?” Sirius asked, “On a Saturday? On Halloween? Why wasn't she in a broom closet with her boyfriend?”

“I asked her basically the same thing,” Harry said, “And she said she didn't have a boyfriend...”

Sirius, Remus and Rose were all grins by the time Harry finished his story.

“So let me get this straight,” Sirius asked, “You asked her to the Ball. But she said she barely knows you. So you asked her to Hogsmeade, so she can get to know you, so then you can ask her to the Ball.”

“Basically,” Harry said, shrugging.

“And you didn't even get a kiss out of it?!” Sirius asked.

“Sirius,” Harry said, sighing, “I don't think she's ever been kissed.”

“Even better!” Sirius said, “You could have claimed her first kiss right there! Someone's bound to wise up and steal her first kiss before your date!”

“I don't think she's that kind of girl, Sirius,” Remus said, sighing.

“No, she isn't,” Harry said. “And I will only kiss her if we have a nice time next Saturday, and she lets me.”

“Have you forgotten everything I taught you?!” Sirius asked.

“Yes,” Harry said, “And I am much better because of it.”

Remus snickered. Rose giggled. Sirius huffed.

“I'm feeling very unloved today,” Sirius said, with a pout.

“Of course we love you, Uncle Sirius,” Harry said, “We just also know you're a dog.”

“And what exactly is wrong with that!” Sirius demanded, “Just because you're --”

“Hello, family!” Lily said, interrupting Sirius, as she stepped into the tent. “Looks like I missed something. What's going on?”

“I beat Remus four times in a row at chess,” Rose said, “Sirius is feeling unloved today. Oh, and Harry has a date with Hermione Granger on Saturday, and there is a chance he's going with her to the Ball.”

Sirius and Harry both muttered “traitor” again. Rose stuck her tongue out in response.

“You have a date with Hermione, Harry?” Lily asked, as she sat down in the last vacant chair. “I left you in the library to check out books, and now you have a date? Tell me everything young man!”

Harry sighed and started telling the same story he told his sister and honorary Uncles.


Ravenclaw Common Room

Hermione Granger was currently sitting at one of the tables in the private library/study area in the Ravenclaw Common Room. She was working on the last half of a Potions Essay that Professor Snape had set during the previous day's lesson. As she dipped her quill in the vat of ink, she hummed happily as she thought about what had happened in the Hogwarts Library. She could not believe she had been asked out on a date.

Nobody had shown interest in her like that in the three years and two months she had been at Hogwarts. Of course, up until last year, she wasn't interested in anything beyond friendship with anyone. But aside from Luna Lovegood, nobody else wanted to be her friend. Everyone either ignored her, or did much worse to her.

And then the previous evening, she had met two people and had the longest conversation she had with anyone aside from her parents and Luna Lovegood. Even though Harry and Rose Potter didn't precisely say they wanted to be her and Luna's friends, she could still feel as if they were her new friends. Rose Potter was a brilliant and fun young teenager, but it was Harry Potter who had caught her eye. By the time the Feast was over, Hermione had fallen for Harry Potter. She had never fallen for someone so fast.

Then she had cried herself to sleep last night, because there was absolutely no chance that Harry Potter would ever be interested in her in a romantic sense.

And then there was the scene in the Hogwarts Library. Harry Potter had asked her to the Yule Ball! Hermione was so shocked, that she thought Harry was teasing her when he called her beautiful. She had been so afraid he was joking, that she had gone on the defense, saying she barely knew him, even though she had such a long conversation with him the previous evening. And Harry had agreed with her, and yet, he still asked her on a date! He had asked her to join him on a Hogsmeade weekend, so that they could get to know each other, and then – if she was okay with it – he would ask her to the Ball again.

By the time Harry had left, Hermione had almost melted into a pile of happy, nervous goo in the library. She had forced herself to stay seated, so she wouldn't have run off to find Harry before he could get to far, so that she could tell him she would go to the Yule Ball, and wherever else he wanted her to go. Hell, the way her hormones had been rampaging during her discussion with Harry, she had nearly ran after him just to kiss him!

But that was silly. She wasn't that type of girl. She wouldn't kiss before the end of the first date, and maybe even the second! And yet, she wanted to kiss him already. There was an entire week – minus a few hours – before she would be going on a date with Harry Potter, and she wasn't sure she could survive it. Her hormones would definitely not survive it!

“Relax, Hermione,” she said to herself, “Calm yourself. It is just a date.”

“Talking to yourself, Granger?” a voice said, “That is a sure sign of insanity.”

Hermione jumped slightly, nearly upturning her vat of ink. She turned her head and saw Mandy Brocklehurst standing there. Mandy wasn't alone. Su Li, Cho Chang, and Marietta Edgecombe were also standing there. Hermione groaned under her breath. These four girls were her biggest problem in not only Ravenclaw, but Hogwarts as a whole. They were bullies to her and Luna.

“She probably has a bout of Wacky Sparks,” Cho Chang said, “Or whatever Loony calls them.”

Wrackspurts,” Hermione muttered.

She was trying not to lose her composure at the fact that Chang was insulting her best friend. It was nothing new after all. Just one of the weapons the bullies used.

“You realize the fact that you're correcting Cho about an imaginary creature is quite pathetic, right?” Marietta Edgecombe said. “They're imaginary, Granger. You can call them Wacky Sparks, Wrackspurts, or Jock Straps, and they'll still be imaginary.

“And what is wrong with imagination?” Hermione asked.

“Nothing,” Su Li said, “As long as you don't take it seriously like Lovegood does. No normal person spends so much time on imagination, Granger.”

“What do you want anyway?” Hermione asked, “I am working on homework. Go bother someone else.”

“I was watching you in the library, Granger,” Mandy said.

Hermione tensed up. Had Mandy seen or overheard her discussion with Harry?

“You need to leave Harry Potter alone,” Mandy said.

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked. “For your information, Harry is the one who met with me. Both times we met, he was the one who sat with me. Last night, he discovered Luna and I were alone. Why were we alone? Because you, Mandy, wouldn't budge over and let me and Luna sit with you. Would Harry have sat with Luna and I if you had let me sit with you guys?”

Mandy frowned. Hermione wasn't finished.

“If Harry and his sister hadn't sat with me,” Hermione said, “he likely wouldn't have spoken to me in the library today. So thank you for not budging over last night, Mandy.

Mandy narrowed her eyes. Hermione merely smiled.

“I don't know why it is any of your business anyway,” Hermione muttered.

“Of course it is our business!” Mandy growled, “You don't get it Granger, do you? Harry is the Heir Apparent, and future Lord of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. One of the oldest, most respected Houses, which until yesterday, was feared to have gone extinct.”

“You forgot to mention it was a pureblood-driven House before his mother got her hooks into James Potter,” Marietta Edgecombe said. “Potter and his sister are the half-blood Heirs of a pureblood House.”

“What Marietta is trying to say, Granger,” Cho said, “Is that House Potter doesn't need another Muggleborn like you tainting its bloodline. It is utter disrespect, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Excuse me?” Hermione repeated, “Harry asked me on a date, Chang! He didn't ask me to marry him!”

“He also asked you to the Yule Ball,” Mandy said.

“Then he changed his mind, and asked me to Hogsmeade instead,” Hermione said, in a half-truth.

“And if the date goes well, you'll be on his arm at the Yule Ball,” Mandy said, “And that will just not do. You think we are bullying you, Granger? The Yule Ball is going to be a public affair. Harry Potter's return to Great Britain will be big news. What do you think is going to happen if you accompany Potter to the Yule Ball, and Wizarding Great Britain finds out? You'll be drowning in Howlers and hex-letters so much that you'll likely have to leave Wizarding Great Britain just to get away from them.”

Hermione frowned, trying to fight the tears. She was starting to believe what the girls were saying.

“Do yourself a favor right now, Granger,” Cho said, “And go turn Potter down. If you're so hormonal that you need to shag somebody, find a Muggleborn like you. Justin Finch-Fletchley's single, and attractive. You might even gain a bit of respect for dating amongst your own level instead of ours.”

“Excuse me!” a voice said.

Hermione was quite surprised when Padma Patil pushed through the girls and stood in front of her.

“Go away, Padma,” Mandy warned. “You're not involved in this.”

“I'm not?” Padma asked, “May I remind you, Brocklehurst, that my family is in an Alliance with House Potter. One of the few who stuck around in the Alliance when it appeared House Potter went extinct.”

Marietta laughed unexpectedly. “Oh, I see. Good game, Patil. You're trying to claim Potter before we can.”

“Of course not, you stupid bint!” Padma snarled. “I'm not interested in Harry Potter.”

“Yeah, quit lying to yourself, Patil,” Mandy said, “Of course you are.”

“Even if I was,” Padma said, “At least I'm not trying to poach him.”

Mandy, Cho, Marietta and Su all gasped at Padma's words.

“Yeah,” Padma said, “You're trying to poach him. You didn't realize that? You girls put the moron in oxymoron! Stupid Ravenclaws, all of you! If Potter has shown interest in Granger, then you have to let it take its course. I was listening to this entire conversation, and Hermione's right. All she is doing right now is going on one date with Potter. True, it could become more. By this time, next Saturday, Hermione could be Potter's girlfriend.”

Hermione blushed deeply, and smiled lightly.

“Of course, there is a chance their date could also go horrible,” Padma said.

Hermione frowned. She didn't need to hear that right now.

“But you are not to interfere in any of it,” Padma said, “Or it could be seen as poaching, which is a serious offense. Possible time in Azkaban, and definite consequences for your Houses. Blood Feuds would only be the worst of it! Potter could challenge all of you in an Official Duel for Satisfaction right now. Given that he is a contender for the Ilvermorny Champion, I have no doubt he could wipe the floor with every one of you. Yes.... even you Su Li. Even you.”

Su Li scoffed. Hermione smiled lightly at this slight. Su Li was the top student in Defense, and if the rumors were anything to go by, she was also a Dueling Champion in the Teen circuit.

“As long as Potter's interested in Granger, then they're both off-limits,” Padma said, “Whether it be dating, shagging, or your nonsensical bullying! Potter is my Ally, and if Granger is in Potter's best interests, then so is she! Leave her alone or deal with me. Oh, and leave Luna alone too. Because she's also an Ally of House Potter and House Patil. Go on ladies.”

“This isn't over, Granger,” Mandy muttered, “Turn Potter down. Or else!”

“Brocklehurst!” Padma snarled.

Mandy sneered and walked off with her friends. Padma sighed turned and sat down in another chair at Hermione's table.

“Padma,” Hermione said, “Thank you, but... I didn't need help.”

“Yes, you did,” Padma said, “No! Don't say a word, Granger.”

Hermione frowned.

“Those girls have been bullying you for years now,” Padma said, “I've put up with it, because I haven't had any good reason to be able to defend you. I'm sorry, but if I had done anything before now, I'd be an outcast, just like you and Luna. Don't say you didn't need help, because you did. This wasn't about how you're embarrassing them because you're the top student of our year. This wasn't about pride, Granger. This is about Pureblood Politics, and Pureblood Heritage. And with those two subjects, you stand very little chance without someone who can back you up.”

“Someone like you,” Hermione said, when she found her voice again. “Well, sorry. I could just have Luna help --”

Padma snorted. “Luna may be a Pureblood, but she's not going to garner any respect around here because of her beliefs. I'm sorry, but it is true. And it isn't just Politics and Heritage here. Anger those girls any further, and it will go beyond words. You're going to get hexed and cursed before too long. You'll end up in the Hospital Wing or worse. Mandy might very well be on her way to hexing you in the back.”

Hermione frowned. She couldn't deny Padma's words. Mandy's last threat rang in her ears.

“If they had started something with you,” Padma said, “Something beyond words, I mean. You wouldn't have had a chance. First, it was four-on-one. Second, there were two fifth years. Last, but not least, there is Su Li. Hell, Granger, one-on-one, Su Li would wipe the floor with you. She's won the Chinese Dueling Circuit Championships these past two summers. And they were the only two summers she ever competed professionally. She's undefeated in the professional circuit, if you need me to make my message any clearer. Still think you don't need my help? Still want to fight your own battles?”

Hermione frowned. “Harry...”

Padma gave an unexpected, encouraging smile. “There you go, Granger. Using that smart brain of yours. Yes. Potter. Tell him about this poaching threat. Either he, or Lady Potter or – hell – if I heard correctly, Sirius Black, the new Lord Black once he takes up his title, is back in Great Britain. Any one of them will help you against the poaching threat. You may think you're a tough girl. Maybe you are. But you're also smart. Use that brain of yours and know when to get help.”

Padma sighed and stood up. “Think about what I said.”

“Thanks, Padma,” Hermione said. “Um... are we friends now?”

Padma stared at her for a moment. “Maybe.”

Leaving that mysterious response up in the air, Padma turned and walked away. Hermione capped off her tub of ink, rolled up her still unfinished scroll of homework, and placed everything in her knapsack. She stood and headed up to her dormitory. It was thankfully empty. She placed her knapsack under her bed, climbed into bed, and wrapped the curtains around giving her privacy. Then she laid down and let the tears flow as she stared at the ceiling of her four-poster bed. She needed to think about things.

Lately, she found she did her best thinking when she cried.

 

Chapter Text


Saturday, October 31
st, 1994

Even though it wasn't pouring rain like it had been during the morning, there was a light mist falling over the Grounds of Hogwarts. However, due to the Rain-Repelling Charm, Harry Potter was quite dry as he strode toward the castle with his mother, sister, Uncles, and his fellow Ilvermorny delegates. The Charm, his mother's own invention, was quite an interesting piece of magic. It was as if he was holding an invisible umbrella above him. The rain fell around him, but never once touched him.

Minerva McGonagall was waiting for them as they stepped into the Entrance Hall.

“Good evening,” Minerva greeted the students and staff of Ilvermorny, “Once again, I invite you to sit at the Ravenclaw Table this evening. Lady Potter, you're welcome to join myself, my fellow staff, and the Tournament officials, at the Head Table. Professor Black, Professor Lupin, you may join either us at the Head Table, or you may sit with your students.”

Sirius and Remus whispered to each other for a moment, then looked at Harry and Rose, then back to Minerva.

“I believe we'll sit with our students, ma'am,” Remus said.

“Very well,” Minerva said. “To begin the evening, we will have another Feast, much like we did the previous evening. Then after the Feast, the Goblet of Fire will choose the three Champions of the Triwizard Tournament. If you are chosen as Champion, you are to head through the door behind the Head Table to meet with your fellow Champions, and the Tournament officials for more instructions. Good luck to each of you, and I hope you enjoy the evening whether or not you become the Champion of your school. Make your way in please. Mr. and Miss Potter, may I speak with you before you enter?”

Harry and Rose nodded, and walked over to Minerva. Their mother and Uncles also remained behind.

“Mr. and Miss Potter,” Minerva said, “Miss Granger and Miss Lovegood have requested to sit with you again at the Ravenclaw Table. They asked me permission first, and I, in turn, am asking you.”

Rose's smile told Harry that she was fine with the idea.

“Hermione and Luna are quite welcome to join us again, ma'am,” Harry said.

Minerva smiled. “I thought you might say that. Follow me, please.”

Harry and Rose followed Minerva into the Great Hall, with their mother and Uncles in tow. When they entered the candlelit Great Hall it was almost full. The Goblet of Fire had been moved; it was now standing in front of Dumbledore’s chair at the Head Table.

Once again, they found Hermione and Luna sitting at the very end of the Ravenclaw table, except this time they were sitting across from each other instead of together. There was enough space left to fit two more people on either side of the table. Rose nudged Harry and nodded to Hermione. Harry didn't need to ask to know what she meant. He walked over to Hermione's side of the table and sat down next to her. Hermione blushed prettily and smiled, which told Harry she probably had been saving the seat next to her for him. Sirius sat next to Harry, while Rose and Remus sat next to Luna.

“Behave yourselves,” Lily said, “I'm speaking to you, Professor Black.”

Harry, Rose, and Remus snickered as Sirius looked quite scandalized. Lily merely grinned at Sirius, before following Minerva to the Head Table.

“Greetings!” Sirius said, to Hermione and Luna, “Which one of you two gorgeous young ladies is my godson's girlfriend?”

Hermione sputtered and stammered. Harry gave a world-weary sigh.

Date, Sirius,” Harry said, “She's my date next Saturday to Hogsmeade. Not my girlfriend.”

“Right,” Sirius said, grinning, “My mistake. I'm guessing he's talking about you, Miss?”

He pointed to Hermione, who blushed and nodded.

“Hermione Granger,” Hermione said, “It is nice to meet you...”

“Sirius Black,” Sirius said, “Harry and Rose's Godfather and Honorary Uncle, and Defense Professor -- Beginning and Intermediate Dueling division – at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, at your service. My good buddy here is...”

“Remus Lupin,” Remus said, “Harry and Rose's Honorary Uncle, and Dark Creature Defense Professor at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

“I'm Luna Lovegood,” Luna introduced herself, with a smile.

“It is very nice to meet the both of you, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood,” Remus said.

Their conversation was interrupted by three sharp dings. As one the occupants seated at the House Tables turned toward the Head Table. This time, Lily was sitting between Dumbledore and Minerva this time, while Madame Maxime was sitting on Dumbledore's other side. Dumbledore, however was standing at the moment.

“Before the Goblet of Fire makes its decision on whom our three Champions of the Triwizard Tournament will be,” Dumbledore said, “We will first fill our bellies with another wonderful Feast of dishes from Great Britain, France, and the United States of America. I know each and every one of you are eager to find out who the Champions are, but sustenance is more important.”

Dumbledore's lips twitched when several students muttered in disagreement.

“Without further ado,” the Hogwarts Headmaster said, “Let the Feast begin!”

As the table in front of him filled with various foods, Harry was quite relieved to see several American dishes.

“Harry,” Hermione whispered, so that only he could hear her, “I need to speak to you about something important. But I don't want to do it in public. Can I speak to you in private after the Feast?”

“Er... if I am chosen as Champion, I might be rather busy after the Feast,” Harry said.

“Oh, right,” Hermione said. “Well, don't worry. If you're chosen, then it can wait until tomorrow. You'll have too much on your mind this evening if you're picked as Champion.”

“I will do my best to find time to speak to you, Hermione,” Harry said, “Especially if it is important.”

Hermione smiled and nodded. The pair began piling their plates with much different varieties of food than their neighbor.

“Er... Professors?” Hermione asked Sirius and Remus, “Did you say you were both Defense Professors. And that you are teaching different subjects?”

“You have permission to call us by our first names, Remus and Sirius, Hermione,” Remus said, smiling, “And yes, you heard correctly. Unlike here at Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has five different Defense classes, separated into divisions. There is the Dark Creature division, which, of course, teaches students in their first and second years of education how to identify and defend oneself against various Dark Creatures.”

“Only two years?” Hermione asked. “Is that enough time? I mean, personally speaking, I've spent the first three years of my education in Defense learning about Dark Creatures. And we haven't even managed to get to creatures like Inferi. I asked our Defense Professor last year, Emmeline Vance, about them, and she said Inferi aren't usually taught until sixth year!”

Harry and Rose's eyes widened as they looked at Hermione.

“You're joking!” Harry exclaimed.

Hermione frowned and looked at Harry, shaking her head.

“I am going to wager a guess,” Remus said, “and say that the Defense curriculum here at Hogwarts hasn't changed much since Sirius and I attended as students. Hermione, the difference between your curriculum here at Hogwarts, and Ilvermorny curriculum – when it comes to Dark Creature Defense – is that, for some reason, the British Ministry of Magic believes you need to learn about every single creature listed in Newt Scamander's book. There's one main issue with that. Can you name it, Hermione?”

Hermione bit her lip. Harry had to take a sip from his glass of butterbeer, so he wouldn't focus on what she was doing, and lose himself. She didn't understand how much that turned him on. Hermione sighed and shook her head.

“Harry?” Remus asked, “Can you answer it?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said, as if he was answering one of Remus' questions in class, “Unless you are interested in a career such as magizoologist, you're probably not going to encounter half of those creatures in Scamander's book.”

“Exactly,” Remus said, “At Ilvermorny, in addition to my teaching role, I sponsor a Club which focuses on those creatures I don't normally teach in class. Students who are interested in magizoology, or similar fields, usually join the Club.”

“Ooh!” Luna said, smiling, “I would be very interested in that Club!”

Remus smiled. “And you would be a most welcome member, Luna. But most students aren't interested in Dark Creatures once they're finished with their second year of education. I only teach my students about the Dark Creatures that are more common, the creatures they need to know about. Inferi, Dementors, Giants, Vampires, Boggarts, Veela, Dragons --” he paused, “-- Werewolves, et cetera.”

Hermione frowned. “So... Red Caps, Hinkypunks, Pixies, Grindylows?”

Remus laughed. “Pixies are taught during the very first lesson for first years, because they're so simple to handle. Grindylows, as well as Mermaids, are usually covered on a field trip when we go to one of the lakes near Ilvermorny. Red Caps and Hinkypunks are Club-type lessons. You're hardly ever going to encounter them unless you're out looking for them.”

“Merlin,” Hermione grimaced. “We spent a whole month on Red Caps and Hinkypunks alone.”

“No offense, Hermione, Luna,” Rose said, “But I am so thankful I attend Ilvermorny.”

Harry nodded in agreement.

“So the students at Ilvermorny are done with Dark Creatures after second year,” Hermione said to Remus, “Unless they join your Club.”

“Yes,” Remus said. “Third Year is the Curses and Hexes Division. Unforgivables are taught, though there is no Practical lesson about that topic of course. Several Curses and Hexes are taught so students know how to defend oneself against them.”

“Then Fourth and Fifth Year, you're with me,” Sirius said, “Beginning then Intermediate Dueling. Mind you, I'm not just teaching students how to duel on your league-standard dueling platform. No! We duel in classrooms, in corridors, on the Grounds, and in the nearby Forest. We duel in all kinds of weather too. Sunshine, rain, snow.”

“But that is so dangerous!” Hermione gasped. “Dueling on the platforms is so... coordinated and....”

“Safe?” Harry asked.

“Moderately safe,” Hermione said, nodding.

Sirius snorted. “Interested in joining the Dueling Circuit, are you, Hermione?”

“Er... no, not at all,” Hermione said, shaking her head.

“Really?” Sirius asked, “So why do you think every duel you're going to be involved in, in the future, is going to be on a league-standard platform then?”

Hermione's eyes widened. Harry, Rose, Sirius and Remus all nodded with grim smiles.

“Now you see,” Sirius said, “I don't teach students how to duel in the Circuit, Hermione. I teach students how to duel in real life.”

“Like in battles and wars?” Hermione asked, quietly.

“Nah,” Sirius said, “That is where the Battle Strategy Division comes in. My lessons teach students how to win a duel, but not just on the Circuit. Battle Strategy teaches you how to work together with others in the heat of battle and war.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, “S-so Ilvermorny is a military academy?”

Harry, Rose, Sirius, Remus, and those Ilvermorny students who heard Hermione laughed out loud. The rest of the Ilvermorny students joined in when their neighbors told them what Hermione had said. Hermione looked at them questioningly.

“Hermione,” Remus said, “Ilvermorny is simply a school like Hogwarts. It just has a much more advanced curriculum than Hogwarts.”

Hermione nodded slowly. “I am now beginning to understand that.”

During the rest of the meal, Harry, Rose, Sirius and Remus discussed the differences between Ilvermorny and Hogwarts with Hermione and Luna. Luna looked quite impressed with Ilvermorny, but Hermione looked envious. By the time dessert had appeared, Harry noted Hermione looked rather downhearted and disconcerted.

“We've upset you, Hermione,” Harry said, “I'm sorry.”

“No, I'm not upset at you,” Hermione said, “At any of you. I'm... I'm upset at the seemingly substandard education I've been dealing with for the past three years here at Hogwarts. When I got my Hogwarts letter, I was anticipating learning about a whole new world. Now it feels as if I'm learning only a percentage of it. I'm seriously thinking about transferring to Ilvermorny. I don't think my parents would allow it though.”

“Hermione,” Remus said, “While I would very much welcome you at Ilvermorny, I want you to put a lot of thought into that. Right now, you're just thinking about the wonders of Ilvermorny we've been telling you about. You need to think about the pros and cons, the life-changing decisions, and all of it. I'm not trying to scare you...”

“I know,” Hermione said, “Thank you, Professor. Like I said, my parents...”

“If it is your decision in the end to transfer,” Remus said, “Then Sirius, myself, and Harry and Rose's mother would speak to your parents about it. We'd call it a recruitment meeting.”

Hermione smiled and nodded. “I'll take my time and think about it. Thank you, sir.”

At long last, the golden plates returned to their original spotless state; there was a sharp upswing in the level of noise within the Hall, which died away almost instantly as Dumbledore got to his feet. On either side of him, Lily and Madame Maxime looked as tense and expectant as anyone. Ludo Bagman was beaming and winking at various students. Mr. Crouch seemed to be studying different students, and Harry wondered if the man was trying to figure out just who the Goblet would pick as the three Champions.

“Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision,” said Dumbledore. “I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions’ names are called, I would ask them please to come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through into the next chamber” — he indicated the door behind the staff table — “where they will be receiving their first instructions.”

He took out his wand and gave a great sweeping wave with it; at once, all the candles except those inside the carved pumpkins were extinguished, plunging them into a state of semidarkness. The Goblet of Fire now shone more brightly than anything in the whole Hall, the sparkling bright, bluey-whiteness of the flames almost painful on the eyes. Everyone watched, waiting. A few people kept checking their watches...

“I wonder which school's Champion will be named first,” Hermione whispered to Harry. “Ilvermorny, you think?”

“That would be nice,” Harry said, “It'd be great to – what's the term you Brits use?”

“Rip off the plaster?” Hermione suggested.

“Right,” Harry said, “It'd be nice to rip off the plaster and get it over with. Anticipation and suspense sucks, you know?”

Hermione giggled and nodded.

The flames inside the goblet turned suddenly red again. Sparks began to fly from it. Next moment, a tongue of flame shot into the air, a charred piece of parchment fluttered out of it — the whole room gasped.

Dumbledore caught the piece of parchment and held it at arm’s length, so that he could read it by the light of the flames, which had turned back to blue-white.

“The champion for Ilvermorny,” he read, in a strong, clear voice, “will be Harry Potter.”

It took a few moments for Harry to realize what the Headmaster of Hogwarts had said. It wasn't until he felt the sharp pats on his back from Sirius and Hermione, that Harry realized Dumbledore had said his name. As Harry stood, much of the Great Hall was roaring in applause, but none was louder than Hermione, Luna, Rose, Lily, Sirius, Remus, and the Ilvermorny delegates. None of the other delegates looked disappointed. They were showing their support.

Harry swallowed and swung his feet around so that he could stand up. He cleared his throat and walked down the aisle toward the front of the Great Hall. Lily was waiting for him, blocking his path to his destination, and when he reached her, she grabbed him in a hug.

“I'm proud of you,” she whispered into his ear, “Head on through that doorway. I'll be with you shortly.”

Harry nodded as he backed away. As he walked past Dumbledore, he noticed the man smiling at him. Harry nodded at the Hogwarts Headmaster respectfully, then headed toward the door. Bartemius Crouch was staring at him. Ludo Bagman was still clapping joyfully, even though much of the applause had died down. Madame Maxime had a mildly surprised expression on her face, but when she caught his eye, her expression changed and she smiled. Harry merely nodded respectfully again, and headed toward the door.

Various other Hogwarts Professors glanced at him. Minerva was smiling at him. The dwarf Professor looked something between happy and concerned. The dark-haired sallow-looking Professor was glaring at him for some odd reason, and Harry wondered if that was Severus Snape. Then there was another man with a wooden leg, and an odd magical eye spinning around in one eye-socket. The eye stopped and looked at him. Then the man's gnarled lips upturned in what Harry thought was a smile. Harry merely nodded again. He arrived at the door, pushed it open, and walked through the doorway.



Great Hall – Hogwarts

Lily Potter watched her son as he made his way toward the door at the back of the Hall. A storm of emotions were clouding her mind. She was proud of her son, and thrilled that he had been picked as the Champion of Ilvermorny. But she was also afraid. She remembered Minerva's words earlier that day about how the Tournament was meant to be played by seventeen year old wizards and witches. Minerva seemed to think that it was far too dangerous for someone Harry's age, no matter how talented he was.

Lily regained her composure. She knew Harry was prepared for this, and so was she and her friends, Sirius and Remus. They had prepared for this evening. They had made plans just in case Harry would be named Champion. The night was far from over. Plans needed to be enacted, and steps to be taken, when they returned to the tents.

As Harry stepped through the doorway and into the adjoining room, Lily noticed that Sirius had moved to stand at a wall near the door. When he caught her eye, he nodded at her, and so did she. Earlier that evening they discussed what would happen if Harry was named Champion. She and Sirius would both join Harry in the post-Choosing meeting. Remus would escort Rose and the rest of the delegates back to the tents after the ceremonies.

Lily turned her attention back to Dumbledore as the Goblet of Fire spat out the name of the next Champion.

“The champion for Beauxbatons,” said Dumbledore, “is Fleur Delacour!”

Lily looked toward where the Beauxbatons were seated, and was slightly surprised to see the two Veela girls hugging. The elder of the two Veelas stood from the table and headed in her direction. Lily nodded – so the older Veela's name was Fleur Delacour, and she had been chosen as the Beauxbatons Champion. A passing thought told Lily that the Delacour name seemed vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place it. Lily shrugged the thought away. It probably wasn't important.

Lily smiled encouragingly when the young Veela passed by her. She noticed the young woman had a slight haughty demeanor about her, and she deduced that Fleur Delacour must be a highborn in France. Highborn were known to carry such an expression, especially after earning something as important as the title of Beauxbatons Champion.

Lily watched as Fleur embraced her Headmistress, before the young walked off through the doorway into the same room as Harry.

The Goblet of Fire turned red once more; sparks showered out of it; the tongue of flame shot high into the air, and from its tip Dumbledore pulled the third piece of parchment.

“The Hogwarts champion,” he called, “is Angelina Johnson!”

The Gryffindor table erupted in roaring cheers and applause, as the rest of the Great Hall attempted to echo in the same response, but never earning the same crescendo. A dark-skinned, athletically-built, young woman stood. Two girls, and a couple of ginger-haired twins – Ron Weasley's twin brothers, Lily realized, remembering Minerva talking about them – stood with the Hogwarts Champion and hugged and patted her on the back. Lily was reminded of the closeness between James, Sirius Black, and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team in her time, and she wondered if this group was this generation's Gryffindor Quidditch Team.

Angelina finally escaped her friends' grasp and headed toward her Headmaster. When she reached him, she shook his hand, and he shook her offered hand with both of his. He quietly congratulated her, and she made her way toward the door. Minerva met her at the door, and Professor and student embraced in a hug. Angelina then headed through the doorway.

The applause for Angelina went on so long that it was some time before Dumbledore could make himself heard again.

“Excellent!” Dumbledore called happily as at last the tumult died down. “Well, we now have our three champions. I am sure I can count upon all of you, including the remaining students from Beauxbatons and Ilvermorny, to give your champions every ounce of support you can muster. By cheering your champion on, you will contribute in a very real —”

But Dumbledore suddenly stopped speaking, and it was apparent to everybody what had distracted him. The fire in the goblet had just turned red again. Sparks were flying out of it. Whatever was happening, Lily knew it wasn't supposed to be happening. The three Champions were chosen. The flames were supposed to die out until the next Triwizard Tournament began. Lily looked around at the officials and Hogwarts staff. It was easy to see none of them thought this was normal. They were staring wide-eyed and shocked at the Goblet. Albus Dumbledore was slowly making his way toward the Goblet.

A long flame shot suddenly into the air, and borne upon it was another piece of parchment. Automatically, it seemed, Dumbledore reached out a long hand and seized the parchment. He held it out and stared at the name written upon it. There was a long pause, during which Dumbledore stared at the slip in his hands, and everyone in the room stared at Dumbledore.

And then Dumbledore cleared his throat and read out – “Neville Longbottom.”

The Great Hall seemed to exhale as every single occupant in the Hall gasped as one. Then there was a great, pained shrieking sound coming from a ginger-haired girl. Lily turned to the direction of the shriek, and saw a girl clutching onto a boy, who looked pale and scared.

Two of Lily Potter's dearest friends were Frank and Alice Longbottom. Lily was proud to say that Alice was one of her best friends. Lily and Alice experienced pregnancy together – they had their baby showers on the same day, they shopped for baby clothes and supplies together, and helped each other with their child's future nursery.

Neville Longbottom was born one day before Lily gave birth to her son, Harry. Alice had named Lily the godmother of her son, and in turn, Alice was named Harry's godmother. After James' death, and Lily had escaped Godric's Hollow with baby Harry, and her future daughter in her womb, she had met with Sirius and Remus in France. They had tried to contact the Longbottoms, but to no avail. The Longbottoms were hidden behind a Fidelius Charm. Five days after the escape from Godric's Hollow, Lily had received terrible news. Frank and Alice had been attacked, and tortured into insanity by some of Voldemort's Death Eaters. Neville had survived uninjured, and was now the ward of his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom. It was Frank and Alice's attack which finally made Lily, Harry, Sirius and Remus decide they needed to leave not just Great Britain, but Europe as well. It was then they moved to America.

Lily Potter had not seen her godson since his and Harry's first birthday party which the Potters, Longbottoms and their friends had celebrated together. Only a few days later, James, Lily and Harry moved into their Godric's Hollow safe-house.

Lily hadn't even spared a thought about Neville or his parents since she had returned to Great Britain. It had been over thirteen years since she had seen her godson, and yet she could still point him out. Just as Harry look like his father, James, Neville looked like a young Frank Longbottom.

At the Head Table, Professor Dumbledore had straightened up, nodding to Professor McGonagall.

“Neville Longbottom!” he called again. “Neville! Up here, if you please!”

Neville whispered something to the ginger-haired girl, before he stood up. No longer did he have fear in his eyes. He looked resolute as he turned to Albus, and walked toward the Head Table. Meanwhile, Lily walked over to where Sirius was standing.

“What's going on, Lils?” Sirius asked, “I thought there was only supposed to be three names. Why did the Goblet spit out the name of Frank and Alice's boy?”

“I have absolutely no idea,” Lily said, in a monotone voice.

Neville did not walk up to Albus, to shake his hand. He glared at the man, who merely stared back at him. Neville continued to glare at his Headmaster, as he turned and walked along the table. Lily stared at her godson, as he headed toward the door.

When Neville walked through the doorway, the students in the Great Hall started to shout.

“He's a cheat!” one student said.

“Longbottom's not even sixteen!” another student said.

“SILENCE!” Dumbledore yelled.

“I believe we should meet with Harry,” Sirius whispered to Lily, “I don't think we want to be in here right now.”

Lily agreed, and followed Sirius as the Hall gradually began to quiet down. Lily caught Severus looking at her and Sirius, but she ignored him, and followed Sirius through the door as Dumbledore began to speak to the students. Beyond the door was a flight of stairs going downward. Lily and Sirius descended the stairs and headed into a small room adorned with more paintings. Harry was standing alone in a corner of a room, and was staring at Neville, who was talking in whispers with the Hogwarts Champion. The Veela Beauxbatons Champion was watching Sirius and smiling prettily. Lily rolled her eyes when Sirius grinned at the Veela, and she jammed her elbow into his side. Sirius groaned, and apologized quietly to Lily. The Veela tittered quietly.

Meanwhile, Harry smiled when he saw Lily and Sirius, as they walked over to him.

“Mom, Sirius,” Harry said, “What's going on? That boy – Neville, I think the Hogwarts Champion said his name was – said he was named as the fourth champion. I thought there were only supposed to be three.”

“There were,” Lily said, “Nobody knows why Neville's name was chosen. Dumbledore even looked shocked. Something went wrong.”

“I'm sure it will be taken care of shortly,” Sirius said, “For now, let's focus on you. Congratulations, pup! Ilvermorny Champion. Your girlfriend was staring at you, with a pretty smile, as you walked through the Great Hall. She might have been staring at your --”

“Sirius!” Lily warned.

“But... anyway,” Sirius grinned, “Congratulations!”

Date, Sirius,” Harry said, “She's my date next Saturday. How many times do I have to say that? And thank you. How did the other delegates take it?”

Before Sirius could reply, there were footsteps coming from the stairway they had descended earlier. Lily turned and saw Ludo Bagman appear with a large grin. He walked over to Neville, and clapped him on the shoulder.

“Extraordinary!” he muttered, “Absolutely extraordinary! Gentlemen... ladies,” he added, approaching the other Champions, as well as Lily and Sirius. “May I introduce — incredible though it may seem — the fourth Triwizard champion?”

The Hogwarts champion looked rather emotional at this announcement. Lily realized that Angelina and Neville were both Gryffindors. Obviously Angelina knew Neville somewhat.

Fleur Delacour, however, tossed her hair, smiling, and said, “Oh, vairy funny joke, Meester Bagman.”

“Joke?” Bagman repeated, bewildered. “No, no, not at all! Neville’s name just came out of the Goblet of Fire!”

Fleur frowned. “But evidently zair ’as been a mistake,” she said contemptuously to Bagman. “ ’E cannot compete. ’E is too young.” She cleared her throat and looked at Harry with a stunning smile. “No offense to ze Ilvermorny Champion, o' course.”

“Well... it is amazing,” said Bagman, rubbing his smooth chin and smiling down at Neville. “But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. Then there was the – er – modification for sixteen year olds to add their name in, and of course, Mr. Potter, here – the Age Line had to accept him. There could have been some – er – flaws, I suppose.”

He chuckled nervously. “But as Neville's name’s come out of the goblet. I mean, I don’t think there can be any ducking out at this stage. It’s down in the rules, you’re obliged... Neville will just have to do the best he —”

The door behind them opened again, and a large group of people came in: Albus Dumbledore leading Madame Maxime, Bartemius Crouch, and several Hogwarts Professors into the room.

“Madame Maxime!” said Fleur at once, striding over to her headmistress. “Zey are saying zat zis little boy is to compete also!”

Lily snorted softly. Little boy? Neville was barely shorter than her own son, and both boys were taller than average boys their age. Lily figured this must be some way of the Beauxbatons Champion demeaning her fellow competitor.

Madame Maxime had drawn herself up to her full, and considerable, height. The top of her head brushed the candle-filled chandelier, and her gigantic black-satin bosom swelled.

“What is ze meaning of zis, Dumbly-dorr?” she said imperiously.

“I'd like to know the answer to that myself,” Sirius said, “After all, Dumbledore, this is a Triwizard Tournament. Tri... meaning three. And two Hogwarts Champions to boot! Lily, you seemed to forget to tell me about the rule in the rulebook where two students in the hosting school were allowed to compete.”

“I'm sure Lady Potter can tell you, Black,” Bartemius said, “That there is no such rule.”

“Well, how am I supposed to know that, Crouch?” Sirius asked, “Now that I think about it, I would like three Tournament rulebooks. Yes, three. For myself, Lily, and Harry. By evening's end. So we can check through all the rules. Wouldn't want to find any more surprises like this one now that my godson is competing in the tournament!”

Severus Snape snorted. When Lily and Sirius glared at him, he turned away.

“I will make sure to have three rulebooks delivered as soon as possible, Mr. Black,” Ludo Bagman said, nodding. “In fact, after we are done here, I'll have my own personal house-elf deliver them to you.”

“Thank you,” Sirius said, “We'd appreciate that.”

C’est impossible,” said Madame Maxime, whose enormous hand with its many superb opals was resting upon Fleur’s shoulder. “ ’Ogwarts cannot ’ave two champions. It is most injust.”

“Did something go wrong with the Age Line, Albus?” Lily asked. “Mr. Bagman referenced possible mistakes with the last-minute modifications to allow sixteen year olds, and my son to enter their names into the Goblet.”

“It is possible, of course,” Albus said; Minerva made to say something, but Albus raised his hand to stop her; he then walked over to Neville, and asked, in a calm voice, “Mr. Longbottom, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?”

“No,” Neville said; like he did in the Great Hall, he was once again glaring at his Headmaster.

“Did you ask an older student to put it into the Goblet of Fire for you?” asked Professor Dumbledore.

“No!” Neville repeated, resolutely.

“Ah, but of course ’e is lying!” cried Madame Maxime.

“He could not have crossed the Age Line,” said Professor McGonagall sharply. “I am sure we are all agreed on that —”

“Dumbly-dorr must ’ave made a mistake wiz ze line,” said Madame Maxime, shrugging.

“He did not make a mistake!” Minerva defended Albus, angrily, “Really, what nonsense! Neville could not have crossed the line himself, and as Professor Dumbledore believes that he did not persuade an older student to do it for him, I’m sure that should be good enough for everybody else!”

“Mr. Crouch... Mr. Bagman,” Lily said, “you are our objective judges. What do you say?”

Bagman wiped his round, boyish face with his handkerchief and looked at Mr. Crouch, who was standing outside the circle of the firelight, his face half hidden in shadow. He looked slightly eerie, the half darkness making him look much older, giving him an almost skull-like appearance.

“Rules are rules,” Crouch said. “We must follow the rules, and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the tournament.”

“Well, Barty knows the rule book back to front,” said Bagman, beaming and turning back to Lily, Sirius and Madame Maxime, as though the matter was now closed.

“And before any of you continue with the rubbish excuse that you want to submit more names of your delegate into the Tournament,” Crouch said, “Hear me out. The Goblet of Fire's flame has gone out, and it will not return until the start of the next Tournament.”

“-- een which Beauxbatons is not competing!” Madame Maxime thundered dangerously. “I haff half a mind to take my Champion away from here.”

“Nonsense,” Crouch scoffed. “You can’t leave your champion now. She’s got to compete. They’ve all got to compete. Binding magical contract, like Dumbledore said.”

“Heh!” a man Lily recognized as Auror Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, half-laughed, and half-growled, “How convenient!”

“Convenient?” Sirius asked, “I'm afraid I misunderstand, Auror Moody.”

“Ex-Auror Moody now, Black,” Moody said, grinning, “It is very simple. Someone put Longbottom's name into the Goblet, knowing he would have to compete if it came out. You're a man with a smart, strategic mind. If you put Longbottom's name in, how would you do it?”

Sirius paused and stared at Moody, then he looked at Harry.

“My godson had to put his first and last name, and the name of his school on the slip of parchment he entered,” Sirius said, “All the Ilvermorny students did the same thing. Were the other entrants required to do the same?”

“Yes,” Albus said.

“There you go,” Sirius said. “The Goblet chose one name for each school. All the culprit had to do was put Longbottom's name in, and add a different school. Durmstrang, maybe. The Goblet would spit out his name, and only his name, for the school.”

“Pretty convincing strategy, Black,” Crouch said, “Maybe you put Longbottom's name in.”

“I trust every single person inside this room,” Dumbledore said, before Sirius could reply to Crouch. “I do not want to hear any more accusations thrown around. How this situation arose, we do not know. It seems to me, however, that we have no choice but to accept it. Both Angelina and Neville have been chosen to compete in the Tournament. This, therefore, they will do...”

Maxime whined. “Ah, but Dumbly-dorr —”

“My dear Madame Maxime,” Dumbledore said, “if you have an alternative, I would be delighted to hear it.”
Dumbledore waited, but Madame Maxime did not speak, she merely glared. She wasn’t the only one either. Bagman, however, looked rather excited.

“Well, shall we crack on, then?” he said, rubbing his hands together and smiling around the room. “Got to give our champions their instructions, haven’t we? Barty, want to do the honors?”

Crouch merely glared at Ludo.

“Oh, right, this is my job!” Ludo said, tittering nervously; he turned back to the Champions. “Let's see... the first task...

“The first task is designed to test your daring, so we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard...”

He grinned at Angelina and Fleur.

“Or witch!” he added. “Very important, yes! The first task will take place on November the twenty-fourth, in front of the other students and the panel of judges. The champions will face the first challenge armed only with their wands. They will receive information about the second task when the first is over. Owing to the demanding and time-consuming nature of the tournament, the champions are exempted from all exams except for OWLs or NEWTs which are, of course, important for the future. I think that only qualifies for you, however, Miss Delacour.”

Fleur smiled prettily. Bagman grinned and turned to look at Dumbledore.

“I think that’s all, is it, Albus?” he asked.

“I think so,” said Dumbledore; he was not looking at Bagman, but at Crouch, with mild concern, “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"

“No, Dumbledore, I must get back to the Ministry,” said Mr. Crouch. “It is a very busy, very difficult time at the moment... I’ve left young Weatherby in charge... Very enthusiastic... a little overenthusiastic, if truth be told...”

“You’ll come and have a drink before you go, at least?” said Dumbledore.

“Come on, Barty, I’m staying!” said Bagman brightly. “It’s all happening at Hogwarts now, you know, much more exciting here than at the office!”

“I think not, Ludo,” said Crouch.

Albus turned to Madame Maxime, Lily and Sirius. Madame Maxime. had already put her arm around Fleur’s shoulders and was leading her swiftly out of the room. Harry could hear them both talking very fast in French as they went off into the Great Hall.

“Lily and I must be getting back to our tents too, with Harry, Albus,” Sirius said, “We have much to talk about before we go to bed. Bagman?”

“Hmm?” Bagman asked, “Ah, yes, the rulebooks! Waspy! Three Triwizard Tournament Rulebooks please!”

A house-elf appeared next to Bagman carrying three large books.

“Hand them to Mr. Black, over there,” Bagman told his house-elf.

The house-elf walked over to Sirius, who took the books and thanked the house-elf. The house-elf bowed to him, then returned to Bagman.

“Er... Mr. Bagman?” Angelina asked. “Can Neville and I have one of those books too?”

Dumbledore cleared his throat. “Miss Johnson, Mr. Bagman is a busy --”

“Nonsense, Albus!” Minerva interrupted the Headmaster, “I'm sure Ludo would be happy to give Miss Johnson and Mr. Longbottom each a rulebook.”

Bagman smiled and spoke to his house-elf. Two more rulebooks appeared in the elf's hands, and he handed them to the two Hogwarts Champions. The Champions thanked the elf.

“Angelina, Neville,” Albus said, “I'm sure you want to be getting to your Common Room. The Gryffindors are likely preparing a grand celebration, and it would be a shame to deprive them of this excellent excuse to make a great deal of mess and noise.”

Lily and Sirius led Harry, as they followed Neville and Angelina back into the Great Hall. The Great Hall was deserted now; the candles had burned low, giving the jagged smiles of the pumpkins an eerie, flickering quality.

Lily cleared her throat. “Neville Longbottom?”

Neville and Angelina turned to Lily, Sirius and Harry, looking expectant.

“Do you know who I am, Neville?” Lily asked.

“Lady Lily Potter,” Neville said, “Grandmother told me stories about you, and your husband. She told me you're my godmother. Is that true?”

“Yes, it is,” Lily said.

“Oh,” Neville said, “Well – er – I already have another godmother. My future mother-in-law, Molly Weasley.”

Lily frowned. “'Future mother-in-law'?”

“Yes,” Neville said, “I am – er – betrothed to her daughter, Ginny.”

“Oh!” Lily said, shocked, “I didn't know. Congratulations. Would Ginny be the young ginger-haired girl I saw with you tonight?”

“Yes, ma'am,” Neville said.

“She looked quite concerned for you, Neville,” Lily said.

“She is,” Neville said, “And I really should go and find her now.”

“Of course,” Lily said, “I know you're an unwilling participant, and if you ever need our help, do not hesitate to ask.”

Neville raised his eyebrows, then shrugged. “I'll think about it. It is nice to meet you, Lady Potter.”

“It is good to see you again, Mr. Longbottom,” Lily said. “Good evening.”

Neville nodded, and turned with Angelina. The pair of Gryffindors headed out of the Great Hall.

“Nice lad,” Sirius said, as he, Lily and Harry made their way out of the Great Hall.

“So that's my god-brother you told me about,” Harry said. “I had forgotten his name.”

“Don't know how important that is anymore, now that he seems to have another godmother,” Sirius said.

“I can't believe he's betrothed,” Lily said. “Alice never mentioned anything like that.”

“I don't think Frank and Alice penned that Betrothal Contract,” Sirius said, “Harry? Weren't you telling me earlier this afternoon how that friend of yours – Luna Lovegood – was telling you about some of the changes in the Great Alliance?”

“Yeah,” Harry said, “Yeah, Er... House Longbottom left the Alliance, and are now part of Dumbledore's Alliance, with the Weasleys, I think?”

“I see,” Lily said, “So, Sirius, you think Dumbledore convinced Frank's mother to pen a Betrothal between Neville and the Weasley daughter?”

“If he believes it would strengthen his Alliance,” Sirius said, “Then yes. It seems like something he would do.”

Lily nodded. As she, Harry and Sirius headed onto the Hogwarts Grounds, she thanked the heavens her son wasn't involved in such nonsense as Betrothal Contracts.

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, October 31 st , 1994


Much like the previous evening, Remus and Rose – the latter dressed in her pajamas – were sitting at the dining room table with mugs of hot cocoa, when Lily, Harry and Sirius returned to the House Potter Tent. Harry retreated into his bedroom to change into his own pajamas. Sirius sat down at the table with the three Triwizard Tournament rulebooks, while Lily made mugs of hot cocoa for herself and Harry. As she sat down at the dining room table, she found Remus and Sirius already skimming through the rulebooks, and rolls of parchment, quills and vats of ink sitting on the table.

“I see, Remus, that you were already predicting we were going to discuss the initial stages of preparation tonight,” Lily said, motioning to the supplies on the table.

“Lily, how long have we known each other?” Remus asked, “I know you don't like to waste time, especially when it concerns your children. Of course I predicted we were going to spend the rest of the night preparing for the Tournament. I predicted that as soon as Albus named Harry as Ilvermorny Champion.”

Lily smiled at her long-time friend. As Harry walked over to the dining room table, Rose jumped up and hugged him.

“Congratulations on becoming Champion, big brother!” Rose exclaimed.

“Thanks, Rosie,” Harry said.

Rose backed away moments later and the siblings sat down at the table.

“You know, I half-expected to walk in here and find the rest of the delegates waiting to congratulate me,” Harry said, “Like some kind of party or something. Are they... okay... with me being Champion?”

“Of course they are, Harry,” Remus said, smiling when a look of relief crossed Harry's face, “They're very happy with you. Yes, they're kind of jealous and envious, as is expected. But leave no doubts that they're going to support you as the Ilvermorny Champion. You didn't hear it from me, but I think they are actually planning some kind of celebration for you, to take place in the Classroom Tent tomorrow evening. They predicted, correctly, that you would want to spend this evening with us.”

“So... I shouldn't plan on having dinner in the Great Hall tomorrow night?” Harry asked.

“Not unless you want to face nine angry sixteen- and seventeen-year old Ilvermorny wizards and witches,” Remus said, grinning.

Harry grimaced. “Duly noted.”

“Alright,” Lily said, “This discussion is going to take a while, so let's get started so we can have a relatively normal bed-time.”

“I think the first thing we need to discuss is the unexpected fourth Champion, Neville Longbottom,” Sirius said.

“Wait... fourth Champion?” Rose asked, “But... Professor Dumbledore told everyone in the Great Hall that he would do everything he could to make sure Neville wouldn't be in the Tournament.”

“Yeah, well,” Sirius said, “Either he lied to everyone, or decided there was nothing he could do about it.”

“I'm going to take an educated guess,” Remus said, “and assume that Neville didn't enter his own name into the Goblet of Fire?”

“No, I don't think he did,” Lily said, shaking her head, “He looked absolutely shocked and afraid when Albus said his name. He also denied it himself.”

“He could have been lying,” Rose said.

“I could tell there were a few people inside that room who thought Neville was lying,” Sirius said, “Including the Beauxbatons Headmistress. But I don't think he was lying.”

“I believe Madame Maxime is simply upset that Hogwarts now has two Champions,” Lily said. “No, I firmly believe that somebody else entered Neville's name into the Goblet of Fire.”

“Yeah,” Sirius said, “And I am quite sure they made it so there was no question Neville would be in the Tournament. It is quite likely that whoever placed Neville's name in the Goblet did so by also naming him the only representative of a fourth school – like Durmstrang, for example.”

“But why would they do this?” Rose asked, “What's the point?”

“Assassination-by-proxy,” Sirius said.

“Sirius!” Lily scolded her friend.

“What?!” Sirius retorted, “You know I'm right. Obviously someone wants Neville Longbottom dead. Instead of risking themselves by trying to murder the boy, they place him in the middle of the Tournament, with three dangerous Tasks! They're hoping he gets killed in the Tournament!”

Lily frowned as she saw Rose's hands shivering so much that her mug of cocoa was vibrating.

“While I believe you're right, Sirius,” she said, “You didn't need to spell it out.”

“But there has to be contingencies for this very thing, right?” Harry asked, “I mean – anybody could enter anyone's name into the Goblet. They could have entered an eleven year old's name!”

“If there were contingencies,” Sirius said, “I think they would have been named in the post-Choosing meeting, Harry. I'm willing to bet there is nothing in these rulebooks that states contenders must submit their own name into the Goblet of Fire. You heard Bagman and Crouch. All they said was that the boy had to compete. It's complete bull, of course, but there you go.”

“So there is nothing we can do?” Harry asked.

“We can do what we've already done, Harry,” Lily said, “We've already offered to help Neville. He just has to make the decision to accept our help.”

“You want to help another Champion win the Tournament?” Rose asked.

“Not win, Rosie,” Lily said, “Survive.”

Rose frowned and nodded.

“Enough about Longbottom,” Sirius said, “Harry's the Ilvermorny Champion. We need to focus our time tonight on him.”

Lily stood up and headed into her bedroom. A few moments later, she returned with a notebook of parchment. Inside the notebook was a checklist of prepared notes.

“I've been skimming through this Tournament rulebook these last few minutes,” Remus said, “And it is filled with jargon and stuff that – for me – could be a foreign language. That's how very little of this stuff I can understand.”

“Let me guess,” Sirius said, “Typical Ministry of Magic mumbo-jumbo?”

“Yes,” Remus said, “I'm sure if I took the time to dissect the entire rulebook, I would come to understand it. But between the lessons I have prepared for Rose, Harry, and the rest of the students here – and helping Harry prepare for the First Task – I don't think I could set aside enough time. I probably wouldn't be finished by the time the First Task comes around, and that doesn't help any of us.”

“So what do you think we should do?” Lily asked.

Remus smiled and looked between Lily and Sirius.

“When was the last time either of you spoke to Ted and Andromeda Tonks?” he asked. “Ted is still the House Potter and House Black Solicitor, right?”

“Well, if he isn't, I'm sure he'd like to take up the role again,” Lily said. “As I'm sure you remember, the Tonks were some of the few people who knew Harry and I survived that evening. So I think Ted was likely planning for the time he would be House Potter Solicitor again.”

“Sirius, you need to write to your cousin and her husband tonight before you go to bed,” Remus said.

“Why tonight?” Sirius asked.

“Because you and Lily need to meet Ted no sooner than sometime tomorrow,” Remus said, “Breakfast or lunch, perhaps, at the Leaky Cauldron. I can't go, because someone needs to be here to be chaperone for the other students.”

“Diagon Alley?” Lily asked, “Why do we need to go there? The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade is just as good for a meeting place.”

“Because you're also likely going to be visiting the Daily Prophet Headquarters in Diagon Alley,” Remus said, “We're lucky there was no article in today's Daily Prophet about the glorious return of Lily and Harry Potter, back from rumored death. Tomorrow, however, we may wake up to an article. After all, the Champions for the Triwizard Tournament were chosen this evening, and one of them is Harry Potter.”

“Why is that so important?” Harry asked, frowning.

“Harry, you're well educated in the history of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter,” Remus said, “You know how important House Potter is to Wizarding Great Britain. Until yesterday, Wizarding Great Britain thought you and your mother were dead.”

“Right,” Harry said, slowly.

“Harry,” Remus said, “You and your sister are the last generation of the House of Potter. If you and your mother had died as a baby on that Halloween in 1981, if Rose – sorry Rosie – if she never existed --”

“Oh,” Harry said, “House Potter would go extinct.”

“Exactly,” Remus said, “These past thirteen years, Wizarding Great Britain believed House Potter was extinct. Now the Heir Apparent of House Potter has returned, and he's the Ilvermorny Champion to boot! The Daily Prophet is going to latch onto that very quickly.”

'Why is that a problem?” Harry asked.

“Oh,” Sirius said, “I believe I understand what you're saying, Remus. Harry, unlike the United States, there are no libel and slander laws in Wizarding Great Britain. The Daily Prophet has a history of slandering names and reputations.”

“Exactly,” Remus said, “We need to nip this in the bud before it even begins. We need to control the media. If I remember correctly, House Potter and House Black share a total of forty-percent ownership of the Daily Prophet. According to what I read in the Daily Prophet today, Barnabus Cuffe is the current Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper. Even though he's not a journalist, he does write articles from time to time. I read one of the articles he wrote for today's issue. It was rather impressive, and respectful. That is who we need when it comes to your media presence during the Tournament, Harry. We promise him exclusivity – only Cuffe can interview you, or anyone else, affiliated with Ilvermorny. Only he can write articles about Ilvermorny's part in the Tournament.”

“And if he refuses?” Sirius asked.

Remus grinned and waved his wand. A moment later, a very colorful magazine appeared in front of him on the table.

“Luna Lovegood gave me this magazine before Rose and I left the castle,” he said, “It is called The Quibbler. Luna's father is owner and Editor-in-Chief. As far as I can tell Xenophilius Lovegood, and his daughter, Luna, are the only two journalists for this magazine. There may be guest journalists from time-to-time, but the Lovegoods seem to handle ninety-percent of the work. With that said, according to Luna, the Quibbler is the main rival of not only the Daily Prophet but also Witch Weekly and Teen Witch Weekly , both of which are affiliates of the Daily Prophet. How do you think Barnabus Cuffe would react, if we tell him we've decided to give exclusivity to the Quibbler, which is owned by one of House Potter's Allies?”

Sirius barked out a laugh. “He'd do anything he could to change our minds. Which means he'd accept pretty much any decision we propose.”

“Precisely,” Remus said, grinning. “Tomorrow, the two of you – and Harry and Rose, if you allow them – will meet with Ted Tonks – either for breakfast or lunch – and discuss all of this with him. He could help us not only with the media coverage, but I think he could also tackle this rulebook far better than we could. Then you meet with Barnabus Cuffe in the Daily Prophet Headquarters.”

“I like it!” Sirius said; “What say you, Lily?”

Noting that both Harry and Rose looked happy with Remus' idea, Lily smiled.

“It is a very well thought-out idea, Remus,” Lily said, “Let's work with it. I'm sure Ted will be happy to help us. And yes, Harry and Rose, you're both allowed to join us.”

Harry and Rose cheered.

“I will start writing a letter to my favorite cousin and her husband right now,” Sirius said, grabbing a blank piece of parchment. “Good thing we brought a few owls with us. Hopefully one is ready for an overnight delivery.”

“Next on the Agenda,” Lily said, looking at her check-list. “Headmaster Winston had several meetings with the judges and officials of the Triwizard Tournament, before he had to back out due to his declining health. So I think we can trust him when it comes to the schedule he laid out. Remus, when you were skimming through the rulebook, was there anything about a 'Weighing of the Wands'?”

“Ah, yes!” Remus said; he flipped through several pages and landed on one. “Weighing of the Wands. Sometime during the first week after the three – or, in this case, four – Triwizard Tournament Champions are chosen, there will be a Weighing of the Wands ceremony. A wand-expert will be on hand to make sure each Champion's wand is functioning and legal.”

“There should be no problems with that,” Sirius said.

“In addition to the ceremony,” Remus said, as he read, “The media will get their first chance to interview the Champions, and there will be a photo op.”

“Excellent!” Sirius said, “So we have until the Weighing of the Wands ceremony to convince Barnabus Cuffe.”

“Which could mean anytime between Monday and Friday,” Lily said. “I doubt it would be as early as tomorrow, or we would have been informed during the post-Choosing meeting. Your idea to meet with Barnabus Cuffe tomorrow is looking better and better every moment, Remus.”

Remus smiled. “Between tomorrow and the Wand Weighing ceremony, we'll do a test interview with you Harry, to prepare you for incoming interviews. We'll ask several questions which might come up, and you can figure out answers for them. We'll help you with that, of course.”

Harry grimaced. “I suppose they're going to be unavoidable?”

“Yep,” Lily said, “Sorry, son. We'll make sure you're ready. No worries. Next up, the First Task. I have a note here from Headmaster Winston. He says, and I quote 'While the first task is set to test a Champion's skills and abilities in the face of the unknown, it is rare that all Champions go into the task without knowing what they are facing.'”

“So what he is trying to tell us,” Remus said, “Is that there are no rules against discovering what the Task is before Harry has to face it.”

“Sounds like it,” Lily said, “Headmaster Winston also says that, traditionally, the first task usually has to do with some kind of magical creature. The Champions are supposed to get past the creature, and retrieve something in the arena that will help them out in the Second Task. In the past, there has been... my god!”

“What?” Harry, Rose, Sirius and Remus asked at once.

“In the past, they've brought in Nundus, Manticores, and Hydras,” Lily muttered. “They wouldn't – they're not --”

Harry and Rose went very pale as they stared at their mother.

“I don't think we need to worry about something as dangerous as Nundu or Manticore, Lily,” Remus said. “We have to remember, the last Tournament was roughly two centuries ago. Back then, the rules regarding such dangerous creatures were a lot different than they are today. While I'm sure the creature will be dangerous, I don't think we have to worry about something along the level of the XXXXX Category.”

“So,” Sirius said, “Between tonight and November 24 th , all we have to do is figure out what Harry's facing. Then we can prepare for it. Easy enough.”

“It may be easier than that actually,” Remus said.

“How?” Harry asked.

“We'll write out a list of possible creatures you might have to face,” Remus said. “Then we'll figure out a range of strategies and prepare you for them. I'm sure we can think of some strategies that would work out no matter what creature you're about to face.”

“Good thing we have an expert on Magical Creature Defense with us,” Lily said, grinning.

“And if it turns out that the Creature I'm facing is one we've discussed,” Harry said.

“Then we'll obviously continue to prepare that strategy,” Remus said.

“I like that idea,” Lily said, “We'll be vigilant between now and the First Task, and see if we can discover the Creature. If we can't, then with our plan, you should be prepared enough anyway. Next... okay, the Second Task won't take place until late February. But between the First and Second Task, there is the Yule Ball at Christmas.”

“Christmas?!” Sirius asked, “As in Christmas Day? Good Merlin, do these people have any respect for family tradition? Christmas Break is for students to go home and celebrate the holidays with their families! I mean, we could have been planning something ourselves, but now we have to spend Christmas here for the Ball?”

“Well, we didn't have any plans otherwise,” Harry said.

Yet , Harry,” Sirius said, “We don't have plans yet. I think we should expect invitations to at least one or two social parties during Christmas Break, if not more. Once the news that House Potter and House Black have returned gets out, there will be other Houses – and not only just our Allies, mind you – who will want to mingle with us, and talk politics and Alliances and everything else. If we're invited to social parties, it would be rude of us to turn all of them down. So I think we should prepare to attend one or two. Also...”

“Also what?” Lily asked.

“Also,” Sirius said, “There may be several offers between now and then for Betrothal Contracts for the both of you.”

He pointed at Harry and Rose, who looked pale again.

“Don't worry,” Lily said, “We'll deny all Betrothal Contracts. Won't we, Sirius?”

“Huh?” Sirius asked; he looked up from the letter he was still writing, “Oh, yeah, of course, of course. There shouldn't be any problems when it comes to Betrothal Contracts.”

“'Shouldn't be'?” Lily echoed, glaring at Sirius.

“I'm being cautious, Lily!” Sirius exclaimed. “Betrothal Contracts are a nasty business!”

Lily huffed. “Let's move away from that topic. I forgot how much I hated Pureblood Politics.”

“These possible social parties you mentioned, Sirius,” Harry said, “They're not going to interfere with the Yule Ball, right?”

“I highly doubt it,” Sirius said, “The Yule Ball is not exactly a secret. It is the biggest social event of the year. If, on the off-chance, we do get invited to one on that same day, we'll decline it.”

“Why do you ask, Harry?” Lily asked, grinning, “Are you looking forward to the Ball?”

“He's expecting to take Hermione to the Ball,” Rose said, giggling.

Harry groaned. “Don't jinx it, Rosie! I don't even know if we'll have a nice time on our date next Saturday!”

“I don't think you'll have a problem with that, Harry,” Remus said, smiling, “Hermione looked quite pleased that you chose to sit with her this evening. I'm sure she's looking forward to the date. So I am quite sure you'll have a nice time.”

“Hey, that reminds me!” Rose said, “What were you and Hermione talking about in whispers earlier tonight during the Feast?”

“Oh,” Harry said, “Hermione wanted to talk to me in private about something. She said it was important. But I told her if I was chosen Champion then I wouldn't have a chance tonight. I imagine she was already back in Ravenclaw Tower by the time the post-Choosing meeting was over. I'll just find her tomorrow sometime.”

“We may not have a chance tomorrow, Harry,” Lily said, “It appears we have plans to go to Diagon Alley.”

Harry shrugged. “We won't be there all day. Even if we leave tomorrow morning, I'll talk to her when we get back.”

“I think I know what she wanted,” Sirius said.

“What?” Harry asked.

Sirius grinned. “I bet she wanted to kiss you to see whether or not going on a date with you is worth it!”

Harry sputtered. Rose giggled. Remus snickered.

Lily smacked Sirius over the head with a rolled up piece of parchment.

“Behave, Sirius,” Lily said, “Okay. We need to continue, or we're never getting to bed tonight. Alright... the Second Task...”


A few minutes earlier – Gryffindor Common Room

Neville Longbottom was quietly fuming as he walked through the seventh floor corridors toward Gryffindor Tower with Angelina Johnson. His fellow Champion in the Triwizard Tournament, Angelina Johnson. When the Goblet of Fire spat the fourth piece of parchment out, Neville didn't need Headmaster Dumbledore to call his name. He already knew it was his name. Even though he hadn't entered his name into the Goblet, he knew it was his name on that piece of parchment.

Why wouldn't it be? It was the icing on the cake that promised yet another eventful year for him at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Two out of the past three years had been quite eventful and dangerous for Neville.

During his first year at Hogwarts, there had been the whole Philosopher's Stone fiasco.

On Halloween during his first year, a troll had invaded the castle. Neville had heard from Parvati Patil that Ravenclaw student Hermione Granger had been hiding in a bathroom, and didn't know about the troll. Apparently his fellow Gryffindor first-year Ron Weasley had insulted her, causing her to hide in the bathroom. Ron's older brothers, Fred and George, offered to find Hermione – to apologize for their stupid brother – and Neville joined them to find her. They had ended up in a girl's bathroom with Hermione and a troll. Together, Neville, Fred and George had defeated the troll, saving Hermione. Professors McGonagall, Snape and Quirrel – the Defense Professor that year – had found them in the bathroom moments after they defeated the troll. Fred and George saw that Snape was limping, and they privately told Neville that they figured out why he was limping. Apparently he had tried to get past a giant three-headed dog.

So began an investigation between Neville, Fred and George as to what the dog was guarding. During the beginning weeks of second term of their first year, Hermione Granger found them doing research in the library about what the dog was guarding. So she joined in. With her help, they discovered it was the Philosopher's Stone. They soon suspected Snape was going after the Stone. In June of their first year, Neville, Fred, George, and Hermione went to rescue the stone from Snape – actually, it turned out to be Quirrel. Neville was shocked to discover Voldemort was on the back of Quirrel's head, like a leech!

During their confrontation, Voldemort slipped out the information that Neville was destined to defeat him, so Neville had to die. Dumbledore had arrived in time to help Neville, and Voldemort escaped from Quirrel's body, whom he had been possessing. Quirrel died as soon as Voldemort left him.

Dumbledore later told Neville that Voldemort simply wanted revenge on Neville for surviving an attack against some of his followers. When Neville asked what Voldemort meant by 'destined', Dumbledore said Voldemort was lying to him.

Neville's second year would be just as interesting. The Chamber of Secrets had been opened. Muggleborn were being targeted and Petrified by a creature. Fred and George Weasley convinced Neville to join them in this investigation. Unknown to them, Hermione was also doing her own investigation with her friend, Luna Lovegood. The events culminated in June when Hermione Granger had been Petrified, and Luna had discovered a wadded up book page in Hermione's petrified hand. She gave it to Neville, and Neville found out the creature was a Basilisk, and that it was using pipes. Luna had even suggested talking to Moaning Myrtle, who had died during the last Chamber of Secrets incident. Talking to Myrtle led Neville, Fred and George to finding a sink in the bathroom Myrtle resided in. The sink had a snake etched into its faucet.

Neville's Great-Uncle, Algernon, was an Unspeakable, and also a Parselmouth (something Neville was quite relieved he didn't inherit from the Croaker bloodline) so Neville contacted him to help out. On the day Algernon had come to Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley had been taken to the Chamber. So Neville, Uncle Algie, Fred and George all went into the Chamber. There they were confronted by a ghost-like figure of a boy named Tom Marvolo Riddle. Riddle told them that Ginny had opened the Chamber of Secrets, and she had been writing in a diary. Riddle possessed her through the diary. Riddle then told them that he was Lord Voldemort. He then summoned a Basilisk, which was quickly defeated by Algernon Croaker using the crow of a rooster he had brought with him. Uncle Algie then stabbed the diary with a Basilisk fang, and Ghost-Riddle disappeared. Ginny had survived, and was found innocent of any crimes concerning the Chamber of Secrets. Neville's Gran, Augusta Longbottom – who was also named Ginny's godmother, sponsored Ginny and paid for her to attend Mental Healer counseling to help with the trauma.

Lucius Malfoy was later discovered to have given Ginny the diary and was later arrested. During the most recent June, Malfoy was sentenced to life in Azkaban, but en route to Azkaban, escaped custody and has been a fugitive ever since.

Third year was a surprisingly normal year for Neville Longbottom. Nothing of interest happened. Unless you counted the Defense Professor that year, Emmeline Vance, romancing a seventh year student much of the year, ending up pregnant by said student, and giving her resignation when the relationship and pregnancy was discovered. But that had nothing to do with Neville Longbottom.

But it appeared Neville's fourth year would be like his first two. Eventful and very dangerous.

“Neville?” Angelina Johnson asked.

Neville broke from his reverie. “Hmm?”

“I believe you,” Angelina said, “I believe you didn't enter your name. I wish I know who was responsible, but I don't. If anybody believes you put your name in the Goblet, I'll help dissuade them from that belief.”

“Thank you, Angelina,” Neville said, “That means a lot to me.”

“I know Lady Potter said she would help you during the tournament,” Angelina said, “But so will I.”

“Thanks,” Neville said.

Neville got a shock to find himself and Angelina facing the Fat Lady already. He had barely noticed where his feet were carrying him. It was also a surprise to see that she was not alone in her frame. Neville recognized the witch who was now sitting smugly beside the Fat Lady. She had a portrait in the same room where the post-Choosing meeting had taken place. She must have dashed through every picture lining seven staircases to reach here before him. Both she and the Fat Lady were looking down at him and Angelina with the keenest interest.

“Well, well, well,” said the Fat Lady, “Violet’s just told me everything. Who’s just been chosen as school champion, then?”

“Balderdash,” said Angelina.

“It most certainly isn’t!” said the pale witch indignantly.

“No, no, Vi, it’s the password,” said the Fat Lady, and she swung forward on her hinges to let Neville and Angelina into the common room.

“Congratulations, both of you!” Violet said.

Neville merely nodded and followed Angelina into the Gryffindor Common Room. The blast of noise that met Neville's ears when he stepped inside almost knocked him backward. Next thing he knew, he was being wrenched forward by about a dozen pairs of hands, and was facing the whole of Gryffindor House, all of whom were screaming, applauding, and whistling.

“Everybody leave Neville alone!” a familiar voice, at least to Neville, shrieked.

Neville smiled when his Betrothed, Ginny Weasley, pushed her way through the crowd and pounced on him, hugging him.

During the start of the previous summer, Ginny's mother – and Neville's godmother, Molly Weasley had invited Neville and his Gran, Augusta, over to the Burrow for dinner with the Weasleys. During the dinner, Augusta and Molly together announced a Betrothal Contract between Neville and Ginny made when both were very young. At first, Neville was quite shocked, and rather reluctant. But a week after the announcement, Ginny had written him a letter saying that she had fancied him for a few years now even though he was technically her “god-brother”. Augusta suggested to Neville that he ask her on a date, and start courting her. So during four Saturdays of the summer, Neville and Ginny went out on dates – each date at the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley, with dessert at Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. Either Augusta or Molly was a chaperone every time, but they had always kept a marginal distance.

By the second date, Neville had gotten the courage up to ask Ginny to be his girlfriend, and they had their first kiss. Aside from those original dates, they had also spent time at the Quidditch World Cup together – Neville had been invited by the Weasleys – and they had gone on a date during the Hogsmeade weekend in September. It had been Ginny's first trip to Hogsmeade, and she loved it.

“You okay, Neville?” Ginny asked, her voice muffled into his chest.

“I will be,” Neville said; he wasn't sure if that was a lie or not.

Ginny's twin brothers, Fred and George, pushed through the crowd.

“Angelina!” the twins roared.

“We're so happy you're the Champion!” Fred said.

“You and Neville!” George said.

“If it couldn't be us,” Fred said.

“We're glad it was you!” George said.

“How did you do it, Neville?” Fred asked.

“How did you enter your name?” George asked.

“I didn't,” Neville said, “I didn't enter --”

Those students who heard him started jeering and muttering – obviously very few believed him.

“SILENCE!” Angelina Johnson roared over the crowd of Gryffindors.

Miraculously, the Common Room went silent almost immediately.

“Neville did not enter his name into the Goblet of Fire,” Angelina said; she glared at several Gryffindors when they scoffed and murmured, “Neville and I were both there in the Post-Choosing meeting. You weren't. We were. I was there when Neville was interrogated by Headmaster Dumbledore about whether or not he entered. Neville said he didn't enter. Several adults, including the Beauxbatons Headmistress, and Professor Snape didn't believe Neville. But Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall do and that should be enough!”

“So what happened?” Neville's dorm-mate, and fellow year-mate, Dean Thomas, asked. “Why is Neville in the tournament?”

“Because somebody thinks the Tournament is going to kill me,” Neville said, dully; he winced when Ginny whimpered into his robes – she had not let him go since she pounced on him.

“Be serious, Neville!” Seamus Finnegan – another dorm-mate -- said.

“He is, Finnegan!” Angelina said, “Professor Moody thought the same thing --”

“Yeah, well, Moody's a paranoid bugger!” Lee Jordan said, “Of course he's going to think that!”

“There was a theory,” Angelina said, “That somebody wrote Neville's name and the name of a completely different school – like Durmstrang – and put it into the Goblet.”

“Blimey,” Fred said, “If there was only one student named for a fourth school --”

“-- then that student's name would automatically come out!” George said.

“Why didn't we think of that?!” Fred and George yelled in unison.

“Fred and George are correct,” Angelina said. “That's the theory anyway. So as you can see, Neville's innocent here. I don't want to hear anyone here accusing him of cheating!”

“That goes double for you, McLaggen!” Katie Bell said, “We all heard you tonight in the Great Hall, calling Neville a cheat!”

Cormac McLaggen blushed furiously, as everyone glared at him, and he hurried off up the stairwell toward the boy's dormitories.

“Neville's a Gryffindor,” Angelina said, “Like all of us. We're all going to support him as Champion...”

“Both of you!” Parvati Patil said, “You're both Champions!”

Angelina smiled as the students yelled in agreement with Parvati.

“Fine,” she said, “Both of us. The other three Houses are going to be jealous. We need to convince them that, if either of us win, it is a win for Hogwarts! Everyone needs to know that Neville is a Champion, but is in this tournament involuntarily. Don't let anyone call him a cheater!”

There were murmurs and mutters of agreement.

“Now go on and give Neville his space,” Angelina said.

“Come on, Neville,” Ginny said; as the others walked away, “Let's go cuddle in front of the fireplace.”

“Not tonight, Ginny,” Neville said, “I'm too tired. I'll spend time with you tomorrow. All day if I can manage.”

Ginny frowned. “Neville --”

“I need time to myself, Ginny,” Neville said, “I need time to think. I'll make it up to you tomorrow.”

“You better,” Ginny said, frowning.

Neville pecked her on the lips. When she tried to deepen the kiss, he smiled and kissed her again. Then he backed away.

“Sweet dreams, Ginny,” Neville said.

“Good night,” Ginny said, smiling, “Love you.”

It was the first time Ginny ever said it to him. But Neville barely registered it as he walked past her and headed up the stairs to his dormitory. When he arrived at his dormitory, he found Ron Weasley sitting on the end of his bed with his arms crossed, and glaring at him.

“Already getting ready for bed, are you?” Neville asked, “I thought you'd be downstairs celebrating.”

“Why would I celebrate you becoming Champion, Neville?” Ron asked.

“I don't care whether or not you celebrate for me,” Neville said, “Angelina deserves it, however.”

“I don't care about Angelina, Neville,” Ron said, “Why didn't you tell me?”

“Tell you what?” Neville asked.

“Why didn't you tell me you found a way to enter your name into the Goblet of Fire?” Ron asked, “I'm your dorm-mate! Your friend! Your god-brother! You know I wanted to enter too! You were there when I complained this morning when Harry Potter was able to enter! You should have told me!”

“Ron,” Neville said, “I didn't enter my name into the Goblet of Fire.”

“You're lying!” Ron snarled.

“I'm not lying!” Neville shot back.

“Yes, you are!” Ron growled. “You don't need to lie to me! If you don’t want everyone else to know, fine, but I don’t know why you’re bothering to lie, you didn’t get into trouble for it, did you? That friend of the Fat Lady’s, that Violet, she’s already told us all Dumbledore’s letting you enter. A thousand Galleons prize money, eh? And you don’t have to do end-of-year tests either. Could have helped me enter too, though...”

“I didn't enter my name into the Goblet, Ron!” Neville repeated, “I do not want to be Champion! Why would I need a thousand Galleons? House Longbottom has a fortune already – not that a load of Galleons mean tripe to me!”

Unlike you it would appear, he thought coldly, as Ron muttered darkly under his breath.

“I don't have a chance in this tournament,” Neville continued, “More than likely, I'm going to get killed! You think I want that?!”

“So you're still determined to lie to me,” Ron said, “Even after I told you I'm not going to get you in trouble. You know what. Fine.”

Neville glared at Ron as the boy backed up onto his own bed. Why didn't Ron believe him? Out of everyone, Neville thought all of the Weasleys would believe him. House Weasley was allied with House Longbottom, after all!

“I think I'm going to write to my mother tomorrow,” Ron said, “I doubt she's going to want a rotten liar and a cheat for a son-in-law anymore. I think I'll suggest to her that she cancels the Betrothal Contract between you and Ginny.”

“Ron,” Neville said.

“Consider your Betrothal Contract terminated,” Ron said, then he snarled, “That means stay away from my sister, Longbottom! And stay away from me!”

Before Neville could say anything, Ron yanked the curtains around his bed. Fuming, Neville walked over to his bed and laid down on it, without bothering to undress. This was not his fault.

He picked up his pillow, so he could beat it and make it more comfortable. He found his Invisibility Cloak – which he had received from Albus Dumbledore – for Christmas during his first year of Hogwarts. He stared at the Cloak, as an idea swept through his mind. He took the Cloak, covered himself with it and stood up, then headed back out of his dormitory.

No, this wasn't his fault. And it was time to get answers from the one person who Neville blamed more than anyone else!


Several minutes later – Albus Dumbledore's Office, Hogwarts Castle


Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was in a quandary.

He was relaxing in his comfortable leather chair behind his magnificent mahogany desk, and currently sipping from a glass of dazzling oak-matured mead. Sitting on the desk in front of him was a bottle one-quarter filled with the remainder of the mead. Ludo Bagman had just left his office moments before, after drinking his way through half of the bottle. Bagman had spent the last half-hour or so getting Albus' opinions on each of the four Triwizard Tournament Champions. Given that Ludo Bagman was a well-known gambling addict, Albus had easily deduced that Bagman was going to bet on one of the Champions to win the Tournament, and the man obviously needed pointers. In the end, Bagman had chosen Ilvermorny Champion Harry Potter, though it was a close choice between him and Neville Longbottom.

When Albus asked Bagman why he was choosing one of the two youngest competitors instead of the older two, Bagman said he usually liked to go for the underdogs.

“Nobody should ever count out an underdog, Albus!” Bagman had said, “I was considered an underdog, and look how my career went!”

Albus seriously doubted Harry Potter was an 'underdog', but he wasn't about to tell Bagman that. Nor did he tell Bagman that he had to agree with the man. Harry Potter had a good shot at winning the Tournament. A shame, he had to admit, since he was the Ilvermorny Champion. But Harry Potter was obviously a skilled, talented and powerful young man. How could he not be, having been raised by Lily Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin – each of whom were excellent and talented students when they attended Hogwarts. Plus, there was the fact that Harry had placed third in a contention tournament, beating out twenty-seven students all of whom were older than him. An impressive feat!

However... Albus had to admit that Neville Longbottom also had a good shot at winning. Not because he was skilled and talented. He was barely above average in his age-range when it came to that category, and definitely nowhere near the best student in his year group. But he had a good chance because of something completely different.

Albus had a secret. A secret he wasn't about to tell anybody. While he wasn't responsible for entering Longbottom's name in the Goblet of Fire, he did know exactly who had done it. Longbottom's name had been entered by a servant of Voldemort, using Polyjuice Potion. Being Headmaster had many advantages. One advantage was that he was alerted when someone was using Polyjuice Potion in his school. Obviously Voldemort had ordered his servant to guide Longbottom through the tournament. The end-game was questionable. Whether Voldemort wanted Longbottom to die, or whether Voldemort was setting up a trap for the boy, Albus didn't know. At least, not yet. But it was obvious that Longbottom was in the Tournament for a reason.

Like Albus, and everyone else in Great Britain, Voldemort was obviously under the assumption that Harry Potter was dead. In June of 1992, after Neville had told Albus about his confrontation with Voldemort, while rescuing the Philosopher's Stone, Albus had realized that Voldemort had changed his mind about who was prophecized to defeat him. Since Harry Potter was dead, and Neville Longbottom alive, there was no other way about it. Neville Longbottom was the Chosen One.

Albus, of course, had predicted this even before Neville had survived the attack on his family on November 5 th , 1981. When he had heard that not only had James and Lily Potter been killed on that Halloween in 1981, but Harry Potter too, Albus had deduced he had been wrong about the prophecy. The Chosen One was Neville.

Upon hearing about the Potter's deaths, Albus had visited Gringotts. He had planned to convince the Goblins of Gringotts to turn over the House Potter fortune to him. He planned to use the fortune to fund the war when Voldemort inevitably returned. But the Goblins had refused. They had closed the House Potter account, and the House Potter Vaults, until the Potter Heir returned to open them. Once a year, for the past thirteen years – on Harry Potter's birthday, in fact – Albus met with the Goblins in hopes to convince them that House Potter was extinct. But it was to no avail. Each time they told him they were waiting for the Potter Heir. Now Albus realized that the Goblins knew Harry Potter had survived that Halloween night in 1981.

When Neville Longbottom survived the attack by Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange and Bartemius Crouch, Junior, Albus predicted that Voldemort would target Neville as the Chosen One of the Prophecy. So Albus convinced Augusta Longbottom that he could help her raise Neville. It turned out that Augusta's brother Algernon Croaker – an Unspeakable – had told her that Neville was prophecized to defeat Voldemort. This was unfortunate for Albus. He had wanted to raise Neville as a boy who would sacrifice himself when it came time, so that Albus could defeat Voldemort in the end.

But Augusta opposed him. She planned on training her grandson, preparing him for his destiny. In the end Albus agreed, deciding his plans might still work out anyway. In a way, Albus' plans did sort of work out. Neville wasn't the hardened warrior his grandmother wanted him to be. He was barely an above-average student, and definitely not the top of his year. At fourteen, as a Triwizard Champion, he was nowhere near ready to face Voldemort. Albus' plans could still go forward.

Long before Neville became a student at Hogwarts – back when he was still a toddler – Albus convinced Augusta Longbottom to remove House Longbottom from the late Charlus Potter's Great Alliance. Albus knew what the Goblins of Gringotts didn't. House Potter wasn't returning. The Great Alliance was done. Albus was wrong, of course, but back then he thought he was right, and he had convinced Augusta anyway. Augusta did as was asked, removed her family's House from the Great Alliance, and she joined Albus' new Alliance, which would rival the Great Alliance's power. House Weasley soon joined the Alliance, and upon Neville's second birthday, Albus made his next move. He convinced Augusta Longbottom and Arthur Weasley – through Arthur's wife, Molly – to pen a Betrothal Contract between Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley – the youngest child and only daughter of House Weasley.

Albus' plan regarding the Contract was simple. Neville and Ginny would marry, and Neville would impregnate Ginny, before the boy had to confront Voldemort. When Neville died, the pauper House Weasley would inherit House Longbottom's fortune. Arthur Weasley was far more malleable than Augusta Longbottom. Once House Weasley had House Longbottom's fortune, Albus would simply remove House Longbottom from his Alliance.

With the Longbottom fortune, his political power, and immense popularity after he destroyed Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore could meld the British Wizarding World to the paradise he wanted it to be.

But a new problem had arisen as of October 30 th , 1994. Harry and Lily Potter had returned to Great Britain, alive and well. With the addition of Rose Potter, House Potter was flourishing! Neville Longbottom was no longer the prophecized Chosen One. Harry Potter, the real Chosen One, was alive. And he was talented, skilled and powerful. Even if Albus wanted to get Harry Potter under his influence, there was no way the boy would be a martyr. The boy had a family and a sure future. Plus there was the fact that he was now a citizen of the United States of America. Why would he care for Great Britain when he hadn't lived there in thirteen years, and barely remembered it? Great Britain wasn't his home. Voldemort's terrible tyranny didn't reach American shores. Harry Potter's life and future wasn't threatened by Voldemort.

Albus smiled at that thought.

“At least, as far as Harry Potter knows, that is,” Albus said. “I wonder what would happen if I informed him and his mother of the Prophecy, of the reason Voldemort killed his father, and nearly killed him, his mother and his unborn sister – at least unborn at the time. I wonder what would happen if I told him he was destined to defeat Voldemort once and for all. If, without him, Great Britain and everyone in it, would be doomed. Could he live with the consequences? Or would he decide to remain in Great Britain and fight Voldemort?”

Harry Potter, student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Albus raised his glass in a toast, at the very thought, and gulped down his drink.

As he filled his glass with more mead, the small statue representing the larger gargoyle which guarded his office sprang to life.

“Neville Longbottom is requesting entrance,” the statue said.

“What's he doing here?” Albus asked, “He should be celebrating with his fellow Gryffindors! Not breaking curfew to come see me! Fine! Let him in!”

Albus poured the mead back in the bottle, capped the bottle, and placed the bottle and glass in a desk drawer. He relaxed in his chair, composing himself in his grandfatherly Headmaster role. When Neville knocked on the door of his office, Albus waved his wand toward the door, which opened. Neville walked into the room and slammed the door behind him. He marched toward Albus, glaring at him.

Oh, dear. Albus thought internally, I do believe Longbottom is mad at me.

“I am surprised to see you here, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “I thought you'd be celebrating with your Betrothed and the rest of Gryffindor.”

“I don't feel like celebrating,” Neville said.

Yes, Albus thought, He is definitely angry.

“I saw Ludo Bagman walking away from your office,” Neville said.

“Oh?” Albus asked, “And he didn't see you?”

“I was under my Cloak,” Neville said.

Ah, the Invisibility Cloak, Albus thought, I'm going to need that back before he leaves. It belongs to Harry Potter, after all. I would be in a heap of trouble if Lily discovered I had given her husband's cloak away, even if it was to her godson. Angering Lily Potter is not on my top ten list of things to do. More like a bucket list. Because it is likely the very last thing I'd ever do if that ever happened.

Which was also why he had only used that piece of parchment with Harry Potter's magical signature on the Age Line, and did nothing else with it. Even though he wanted to. If he had used it for other things, and Lily Potter found out, he would have problems with her. Like Augusta Longbottom, Lily Potter was not a witch you wanted to cross.

“I assume you were meeting Mr. Bagman to discuss how to remove me from this Tournament?” Neville asked.

“I'm afraid, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “That there is no possible way of removing you from the Tournament. It is a binding magical contract --”

“I didn't sign a contract!” Neville growled, “I didn't even sign my own name!”

“You did, actually... unknowingly,” Albus said.

He pushed a strip of parchment across the desk. Neville walked over to the desk and grabbed the parchment and looked at it. He turned pale.

“This – this is my – my writing,” Neville stammered, “The word 'Durmstrang' is not my writing. But my name is in my writing. How –?”

“How indeed,” Albus agreed. “It could have been ripped off of an assignment you did. Or it could have come from a letter you wrote to the Ministry of Magic. We do not know. But, as you said, it is your writing.”

“Do you recognize who wrote 'Durmstrang'?” Neville asked.

“No,” Albus said, “Sadly, I do not.”

“This isn't right!” Neville said, “I didn't put this parchment in the Goblet! I shouldn't be the Champion!”

“No, you shouldn't,” Albus said, “But you are.”

“I don't want to be in this tournament, Dumbledore!” Neville said.

“Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “I am your Headmaster, and you will respect me.”

Fuck that, Dumbledore!” Neville growled; Albus blinked; the boy had never sworn at him. “I told you this would happen! I guess your suggestion of putting me in Divination gave me foresight! When I heard the Champion Choosing Ceremony would be on Halloween, I told you my name was going to come out of that Goblet, and you promised me it wouldn't happen! You promised me!

“Ever since I stepped foot in this Merlin-be-damned school, things tend to happen to me on Halloween! First year, the troll – Hermione Granger would have died if Fred, George and I hadn't saved her! Second year, the Chamber of Secrets opening, and Mrs. Norris petrified. On Halloween! Third year, nothing too bad, except for Malfoy cursing me so bad he put me in the Hospital Wing! Today is Halloween, of course something was going to happen to me.

“Dear boy, you can't count the first two years at Halloween as something happening to you, ” Albus said. “You made the choice to save the Granger girl. And Mrs. Norris' Petrifaction had nothing to do with you. Now, please be seated, Mr. Longbottom. At least do this old man the courtesy of not having to look up to face you properly.”

Neville continued to glare at him. He huffed and sat down in a chair.

“You must compete in the tournament, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “If you refuse, I'm afraid you will lose your magic. You'll become a Squib.”

Neville's jaw dropped. “Surely you can do something about this!”

“If I could, I would, I assure you,” Albus said, “But I cannot.”

“I'm – I don't stand a chance!” Neville exclaimed, “I'm going to be killed! Whoever put my name in the Goblet wanted to kill me --”

“We will discover who is behind this, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “This, I promise you. Actually, you can be a lot of help with that.”

“How?” Neville asked.

“By competing in the tournament,” Albus said, smiling. “They put you in the tournament for a reason, after all.”

“Yeah, to kill me,” Neville huffed.

“Perhaps,” Albus said, “Or perhaps... they placed you in the tournament, hoping you would win.”

What? ” Neville asked.

“Yes,” Albus said, “There is a possibility that the person behind this will do their best to help you win. You just need to compete, and let myself, and your fellow Professors, and the judges, be on the lookout for anyone taking a particular interest in you.”

“The Ilvermorny delegates!” Neville gasped. “Lady Potter, and that bloke she was with. They offered to help me this evening! And the bloke – he – he mentioned Durmstrang! Which is on this parchment! I bet it is him!”

Albus raised his eyebrows. So Lily Potter and Sirius Black were offering to assist Neville in the Tournament. Though it was an interesting development, it wasn't so surprising. Lily was one of Neville's Godmothers, in addition to Molly Weasley, who had been given the title by Augusta Longbottom, after both ladies agreed the Betrothal Contract. Lily and Sirius Black had been friends of Neville's parents.

“While I am quite sure they're innocent, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “I would urge you to be cautious around them, just in case you're right. It may turn out, however, they're just simply wanting to help you.”

Neville frowned. “Or they might be trying to kill me.”

Albus merely shrugged. While he knew Neville was wrong, it would be interesting to watch the boy's actions around the Ilvermorny Champion, his family and the delegates. If Neville discovered he was wrong, Albus would simply say 'I told you so'. So he found no fault there.

“Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “Professor Moody has volunteered to train you for the tournament.”

“I have my own tutors,” Neville said. “Gran, Uncle Algie, and others. They'll be of more help.”

“But they're not readily available,” Albus said, “Professor Moody is. And, as I said, he was already volunteered. As you know, he's an ex-Auror. He is the Defense Professor --”

“One of my Defense Professors tried to kill me,” Neville said, “Another one was a complete fraud. I'm not very trusting with them. Another might have been flirting with me.”

“Neville,” Dumbledore admonished.

“Alright, probably not,” Neville said, “But you can't deny what she did with that Hufflepuff. The proof is in the baby they had this summer. And the wedding my Gran couldn't help but gossip about with her friends. She didn't even go! She just read it in Witch Weekly!”

Albus cleared his throat, stopping Neville. He didn't want to be reminded of that whole fiasco. Never before had Riddle's DADA Curse done that to a Professor to remove them from the post before! Thank god it was an adult being impregnated by a student, and not the other way around, with a Professor – like Lockhart – impregnating a student!

“I trust Professor Moody, Neville,” Albus said. “You should too.”

“I plan to write to my Gran anyway,” Neville said, “I'll get her advice. If she says Professor Moody can help me, then I'll trust her.”

Albus sighed. Neville was supposed to be trusting him, more than his Gran!

“Very well,” Albus said. “Is that all?”

“I guess so,” Neville said, slumping his shoulders. “May I be excused?”

“Not just yet, Neville,” Albus said, “I'm afraid I need the Invisibility Cloak back.”

“What?!” Neville yelped. “But you gave it to me!”

“I gave it to you,” Albus said, “Because I thought the owner wouldn't come back to claim it. But they have, and I have to give it back to them. The Cloak belonged to James Potter, and Lily Potter has asked for it back so she can give it to her son.”

Neville frowned and took the folded Cloak from his robes. He placed it on Albus' desk.

“That Cloak was the only reason I was able to get to your office tonight,” Neville said, “I would have been caught otherwise. I'll surely be caught going back.”

“That is your fault, Mr. Longbottom,” Albus said, “If you're caught, then the next time you'll remember not to break curfew. You're excused.”

Neville stood and proceeded to leave the office. Albus huffed, reached into his drawer and took the bottle of mead and glass back out. He filled the glass a quarter of the way and drank it all, then filled the glass halfway and set both the bottle and glass on his desk.

He knew now that he no longer had Neville Longbottom's complete trust. He suspected such when the boy was glaring at him earlier that evening after his name came out of the Goblet. He suspected it more when the boy stormed into his office, looking angry. And by the end of the meeting, Albus knew – he had lost all influence he had on the boy. The boy no longer trusted him.

Albus shrugged. Oh well. It no longer mattered, did it? Harry Potter, the true Chosen One in the Prophecy, was alive. Neville Longbottom no longer mattered. Albus now hardly cared whether or not the boy survived the tournament. Competitors die in the tournament, after all. The Ministry of Magic wouldn't blame him on that, would they? After all, it was the Ministry, not him, who wanted this godforsaken tournament!

His focus was now on Harry Potter. Now he just needed to bring the boy into his influence. The task would be a difficult one, perhaps a more difficult task than the three Harry would be facing in the Tournament. But Albus knew he needed to succeed.

The Greater Good demanded it, after all.


Riddle Manor – Little Hangleton

“Speak, my loyal follower,” Voldemort hissed.

“Your plan worked, My Lord,” Bartemius Crouch, Junior said, as he bowed in front of his Master, “Neville Longbottom is in the Tournament. And so is Harry Potter.”

“Well done, Bartemius,” Voldemort said, “Let us now discuss our next move...”

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, November 1st, 1994


The following morning, Harry was awoken by the sound of the curtain opening. He opened his eyes and sat up, grinning when he saw Sirius with a large glass of ice water.

“Is that drink for me, Uncle Sirius?” Harry asked, innocently.

Sirius huffed. “I never should have taught you how to be vigilant in your sleep.” He grinned, showing there was no heat in his words, “However... you didn't grab your wand. I could have been an attacker. So I have to take points off for that.”

“You should be thankful,” Harry said, grinning, “I could have banished those ice cubes into your boxers, you know.”

Sirius barked out a laugh. “Very true. You need to get up. Don't worry about breakfast, however. We're meeting Ted and Andromeda Tonks at the Leaky Cauldron for breakfast in about an hour or so.”

“An hour?” Harry asked, “So why did you wake me up now?”

“One,” Sirius said, “Because we have to walk to the front gates of Hogwarts so your mother and I can take you and Rose to the Leaky Cauldron via Side-Along Apparation. We're leaving in about half-an-hour.”

“I know how to Apparate, Sirius,” Harry said.

“Of course you do,” Sirius said, “Even if you knew where we're going – which you don't – unlike the United States of America, you have to be seventeen – and have a British Ministry-appointed license -- to legally Apparate in Great Britain. Yes, even American citizens who can legally Apparate at fourteen if they know how.”

Harry snorted. “Brits are so old-fashioned!”

“Easy, pup,” Sirius said, grinning. “You're talking to someone who lived in Great Britain for nearly twenty-two years.”

“You still agree with me,” Harry said, echoing Sirius' grin.

“True,” Sirius said, shrugging, “Second reason. Because you just received what appears to be a rather important letter. And – well – there's a couple articles in the Daily Prophet you need to read.”

Harry groaned. “Let me guess. It is pretty bad.”

“There's reasons we're meeting with Barnabus Cuffe today, pup,” Sirius said, “These articles are just the newest two.”

Harry groaned again. That didn't sound good at all. “I'll be out in a few minutes. Let me get dressed.”

“Your mother has asked you to wear a semi-formal outfit,” Sirius said, “You'll be officially representing House Potter today.”

Harry yawned and nodded.

“You don't look very awake, pup,” Sirius said, grinning, “Do I need to splash you?”

Harry raised two middle fingers in his Godfather/Honorary Uncle's direction. Sirius barked out another laugh and backed out of the room, closing the curtain as he did. Harry sighed as he started to change into clothes. He really wanted to talk to Hermione to see what was so important. But it sounded as if he wouldn't have a chance until he returned from Diagon Alley. Hopefully she would forgive him.

Five minutes later, he left his bedroom, wearing semi-formal robes which had the House Potter crest laying on the left breast area of the robes. Lily, Sirius, Remus, and a very tired looking Rose were all sitting around the dining room table. When Harry sat down in the vacant seat, he found an envelope on the table in front of him. He picked it up and turned it over; his eyebrows raised when he saw the seal.

“Gringotts?” Harry asked, looking around at his family.

“Yes,” Lily said, “Which means it is very important. Sirius and I each received one too, so we have an idea of what it is, but you need to read it to make sure.”

Harry nodded and broke the seal. The envelope transformed into a piece of parchment in his hands. He began to read it.

To Mr. Harry James Potter, Heir Apparent of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter,

According to our Records here at Gringotts London Branch, at approximately eight thirty-seven on the evening of the thirty-first of October in the year nineteen ninety-four, the laws of magic, and the laws of the British Ministry of Magic, recognized you to be legally an adult.

In accordance to British Ministry of Magic law, I am happy to pronounce you as Lord Harry James Potter, Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. You are required to meet with me, Keeper Ragnok the Sixth, House Potter Account Manager and Vault Keeper at your earliest convenience. During the meeting, you will receive the Signet Ring of House Potter, and a discussion regarding House Potter business will be discussed between yourself and me. This includes, amongst other topics, re-opening the House Potter Accounts and Vaults which were closed on 1 November 1981. As it appears you have not taken an Inheritance Test on Great Britain soil, I would invite you to do so during the meeting.

You are welcome to invite those whom you trust to take part in the meeting.

I look forward to meeting the new Lord Potter.

May your Lordship be long and prosperous,

Keeper Ragnok the Sixth

Account Manager & Vault Keeper – Ancient And Most Noble House of Potter
Gringotts, London Branch


Harry blinked rapidly as he finished the letter, wondering if he had read the contents wrong.

What?!” he asked, more to himself than to his family.

“What's wrong, sweetheart?” Lily asked.

Harry handed the parchment to his mother, who took it. Harry watched his mother as she began to read the letter. He was quite surprised when she merely smiled by the time she finished. She was supposed to be shocked! This was shocking news!

“Hmm,” Lily said, “Well, it seems our suspicions were correct. Harry is now Lord Potter, Head of House Potter.”

“You don't sound surprised,” Harry accused.

“We're not surprised, pup,” Sirius said, “Actually we were expecting it. Well, we were expecting it if it turned out you were named Ilvermorny Champion. Which you were. So we expected this.”

Harry stared at Sirius.

“The Triwizard Tournament was originally meant for seventeen year old students and older, Harry,” Remus said. “Only those students of age – those seen as adults in the eye of the Ministry of Magic -- could be named Champion. So... when the Goblet of Fire spat your name out, it created a binding magical contract, created by the British Ministry of Magic. Because you were named Champion, the Goblet of Fire deemed you of age.”

“So I am now seen as an adult in the eyes of the Ministry of Magic,” Harry said.

“Well, at the very least, magic and Gringotts sees you as an adult,” Sirius said, “The Ministry of Magic could try to appeal the decision.”

Harry nodded. “And because I am now considered an adult, I've received the title I would have inherited when I turned seventeen – when I became an adult. Lord Potter, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

“Are you okay with this, Harry?” Lily asked.

Harry shrugged. “I suppose I am just surprised, Mom. I never expected this. Ever since you and Sirius taught me about Ancient and Noble Houses, and our family's part in them, I knew I'd eventually take my place as Lord Potter. But --”

“You didn't expect it until you were seventeen,” Rose said.

Harry nodded. “So it appears we have to meet with our Account Manager today.”

“We're going to meet with him after we speak to Ted and Andromeda,” Lily said.

“But before we go to the Daily Prophet?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Sirius said, “I, too, have been summoned to Gringotts. It appears my late father played a prank on me that I didn't know about. When my mother died a few years ago, I officially, and unknowingly, became Lord Black, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. I thought I would never get the title, because I was kicked out of the family. It turns out that my father never actually kicked me out. Only my mother did. Mother died believing I wouldn't inherit the title of Lord Black. Ha! Anyway, as I believe I told you in the past, House Potter and House Black share the same Account Manager and Vault Keeper.”

“Ragnok the Sixth,” Harry said.

“Indeed,” Sirius said, “During our meeting, we can discover exactly how much of the Daily Prophet we actually own. Then we can flaunt that information in front of Barnabus Cuffe.”

“Flaunt however you want,” Lily said, heat in her voice, “The Daily Prophet deserves it!”

“Er... what?” Harry asked.

Remus slid the Daily Prophet over to him. “The Potters grace the front page, Harry. Both articles. Take a look.”

“It might inspire you during our meeting with the Daily Prophet today,” Sirius muttered.

Harry nodded and picked up the newspaper. The right side of the top-half of the front page had a large picture of the Goblet of Fire next to an article. The headline of the article, written in large bold letters, read:

“QUADWIZARD” TOURNAMENT? GOBLET OF FIRE NAMES
FOUR CHAMPIONS! TWO CHAMPIONS ARE MINORS!

Harry began reading the article on the left side of the page.

Written by Rita Skeeter – Daily Prophet Journalist


Traditionally, the Triwizard Tournament pits three skilled wizards and/or witches,
seventeen years old or older, against each other in three dangerous and life-
threatening tasks. However, during the Choosing Ceremony in the Great Hall of
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Goblet of Fire spat out four – yes,
readers, you read that correctly –
four names on Halloween evening, Sunday. But
the surprising twists do not stop there. Two of the named Champions are only
fourteen years of age. Yes! Two Minor-aged children have been entered into a
tournament meant for students aged seventeen years and older!

In addition to one Ilvermorny Champion, and one Beauxbatons Champion, two
Champions were named for the Host School, Hogwarts. Never before has a Host
School been allowed two bites at the apple during the Triwizard Tournament. Is
this an evil ploy by Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, in hopes to have an
advantage over Beauxbatons and Ilvermorny? I'll let you decide that, readers.

The four Triwizard Champions are (in alphabetical order by school):

Beauxbatons: Fleur Delacour (17): The eldest daughter of French Minister of Magic
Pierre Delacour, Fleur is a Veela. Will she use her Veela abilities as an advantage in
the Tournament? Perhaps she will use her abilities to capture the influence of her
two male competitors, both of whom are minors. Only time will tell.

Hogwarts: Angelina Johnson (17): Sixth Year Gryffindor, and Chaser on the Gryffindor
Quidditch Team at Hogwarts. Will her talents on the broomstick assist her in the
Tournament? Only time will tell.

Hogwarts: Neville Longbottom (14): Fourth Year Gryffindor. The Heir Apparent of the
Ancient and Most Noble House of Longbottom. House Longbottom is closely allied
with Albus Dumbledore's own Alliance. Will Albus Dumbledore help out his young
Champion in the Tournament? Only time will tell. A little additional interesting tidbit,
readers. Neville Longbottom is in a Betrothal Contract. One must wonder how little
Virginia Weasley (13), Neville's betrothed must feel about her Champion's chances in
the Tournament.

And last but not least...

Ilvermorny: Harry Potter (14): Yes, you read that correctly, readers! Harry Potter,
believed to have been murdered by You-Know-Who on Halloween of 1981 is alive
and well! Even better than alive. He is the Ilvermorny Champion! More about Harry
Potter, the return of him and his family – including his mother, Lily, who is also alive,
in the article below this one, also written by yours truly!

You can expect more from yours truly about the Triwizard Tournament and its four
Champions throughout next June! Next weekend: Exclusive Interviews with all four
Triwizard (Quadwizard?) Champions!


Harry snorted softly. There was no way he was going to be interviewed by this woman. She was obviously a gossip-monger. He steeled himself and started reading the second article, which was obviously about him and his family.

LILY AND HARRY POTTER ALIVE! ALL ABOUT THEIR
TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO WIZARDING GREAT BRITAIN!

Written by Rita Skeeter –
Daily Prophet Journalist

Thirteen years ago today, the British Wizarding World woke up to news that
was both tragic and triumphant. The Dark Wizard we all know as You-Know-Who
was finally defeated after his terrible reign of darkness, which resulted in the
deaths of countless witches, wizards, Squibs Muggles, and magical creatures of
all ages.

It was reported back then that James and Lily Potter and their fifteen-month old
son, Harry, had been killed during the same attack that killed You-Know-Who, and
long-time friend of the Potters, Peter Pettigrew, who was believed to be visiting the
Potters at the time of the attack. It was believed that the Ancient and Most Noble
House of Potter – one of the oldest families in Wizarding Great Britain – had gone
extinct due to one terrible attack. For thirteen long years, Wizarding Great Britain
believed Lily and Harry Potter were dead.

Readers, I am thrilled to report this is not true.

For the past thirteen years, Lady Lily Potter, and her son, Harry, the Heir Apparent
of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, have been living across the pond
in the United States of America. But that is not all. You see, Lily Potter was pregnant
the night her husband was tragically murdered. Several months after she escaped
with her son to America, Lily gave birth to daughter, Rose, now twelve. Lord James
Potter's two best friends, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin joined the Potters in
America.

While in America, Harry Potter became a student at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft
and Wizardry at the tender age of eleven. Lady Potter, Black and Lupin all became
Professors at Ilvermorny in the same time period.

At the moment, it is unknown to this journalist how fourteen year old Harry Potter
became a contender in a Triwizard Tournament meant for seventeen year old students.
But this journalist promises to discover that information soon, readers. What is known
is this: on Friday evening, October 30
th , the three Potters, Black, and Lupin made their
triumphant return to Great Britain, by landing in some type of Muggle flying machine
on the Grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Nine Ilvermorny
students were accompanying them. Lady Lily Potter is one of the judges for the
Triwizard Tournament, taking place of the reportedly ill Ilvermorny Headmaster.

Readers can expect more information about House Potter from yours truly in the
coming days. We at the Daily Prophet welcome House Potter back to Great Britain!


Harry scoffed as he set down the newspaper.

“There is no way I am letting that woman interview me,” he said, “She sounds like a gossip hound!”

“She also doesn't fact-check very well,” Lily said, “I know for a fact that Neville's Betrothed is named Ginevra, not Virginia. We're lucky she didn't get anybody else's names wrong.”

“Yeah!” Sirius said, grinning in the youngest Potter child's direction, “She could have called Rose 'Tulip' or 'Dandelion'!”

Rose glared playfully at Sirius.

“Where did she get all this information anyway?” Harry asked. “I didn't see any reporters here last night. Or the night before – she mentioned our arrival in the Thunderbird.”

“Technically, she called it a Muggle flying machine,” Remus said, with a wry smile.

“Given how backwards the British wizarding society is,” Lily said, “That's actually fairly impressive coming from her.”

“There isn't actually that much information there, Harry,” Sirius said. “Anybody inside Hogwarts could have written a letter to the Daily Prophet, giving Rita Skeeter a scoop. Or Ludo Bagman or Bartemius Crouch could have told her.”

“Or Dumbledore,” Lily muttered.

“Or Dumbledore,” Sirius agreed. “Notice some of her information is vague. Other bits are reaching or guesswork. It doesn't matter. That is the last article she'll ever write about us. Barnabus Cuffe will be taking over all articles for us or the Daily Prophet won't be writing about us at all. Especially not this gossip-monger.”

Harry, Lily, Remus and Rose all nodded in agreement.

“Well,” Lily said, “It is better to be early than late. So I think we should head off to the Leaky Cauldron now. You're in charge until we come back, Remus.”

Remus nodded. “I imagine we're all going to get several pieces of mail thanks to Rita Skeeter's articles. What should I do with them?”

“Burn 'em!” Sirius said, in an obvious joking matter.

“Separate them all into stacks for each person,” Lily said, “If there are any Howlers, however, the children are not to receive them.”

Remus nodded, then grimaced. “And what about any dangerous stuff, such as hex-letters? There is bound to be one or two. Or more.”

“You know how to spot them,” Lily said. “Dismantle the hexes and any other dangers, but keep the evidence. We can take them to the DMLE if they are life-threatening.”

“Good plan,” Remus said.

“Er... Remus,” Harry said, “Hermione might come by looking for me. She did say she had something important to talk to me about.”

Remus grinned. “If she or any other visitors come by, I'll take note, and tell them you will get back to them as soon as possible.”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“Time to go,” Lily said, “Come on, kids – yes, that includes you, Sirius.”

Sirius huffed as Harry and Rose snickered.

“Do both of you have your wands?” Lily asked her children, who nodded, “Good. Harry, pocket your Gringotts letter, just in case you need it.”

Harry did as asked and stood up. Lily summoned her purse, and led Harry, Rose and Sirius out of the tent. Harry gave a great sigh of relief when he found that it wasn't raining. The walk to the Hogwarts Gates took about fifteen minutes. Once they stepped outside the invisible ward line, Harry and Sirius Apparated together, while Lily traveled with Rose. They appeared in an alleyway across the street from the Leaky Cauldron.

“Well, this does bring back memories,” Lily said, as she walked across the street toward the Leaky Cauldron with Harry, Rose and Sirius, “You might be interested to know this isn't your first visit to the Leaky Cauldron or Diagon Alley, Harry.”

“Oh?” Harry asked.

“Your father and I brought you here when you were just a baby, not even one year old,” Lily said, smiling.

Harry nodded. He noticed, with interest, that the crowd of No-Majes who were walking down the street, who were looking at the shops near the Leaky Cauldron, were looking from one side of the dingy restaurant, to the other side. Obviously, due to various Muggle Repelling Charms and other enchantments, No-Majes couldn't see the Leaky Cauldron unless they were accompanied by witches and wizards – usually the witch or wizard had to be holding the No-Majes' hand. What was also interesting was that none of the No-Majes seemed to notice when Harry, Lily, Rose and Sirius seemingly vanished from the middle of the sidewalk as they entered the Leaky Cauldron.

The Leaky Cauldron was dingy, but Harry couldn't deny that it had an inviting, welcoming atmosphere about it. A few Patrons of the restaurant were enjoying an early breakfast while talking to neighbors, or reading the newest issue of the Daily Prophet. Harry grimaced as he noticed a witch reading the article about him and his family, and he wondered if any of the Patrons would recognize him. After all, his mother always told him he looked like a young James Potter, who was rather famous amongst the British wizarding society due to the popularity of his House, and the Great Alliance.

Thankfully nobody seemed to take more than a passing glance at him and his family as they headed over to the bar, where a man was washing a glass. Harry thought the man was in his sixties, but due to Magicals living far longer than No-Majes, one could never be sure about somebody's age. When the man saw Lily, emotions lit up his face and he smiled.

“Lady Potter,” the man said, “You are a sight for old eyes. I could hardly believe it when I got your letter earlier today. But the Daily Prophet seemed to confirm that you survived that horrible night.”

“It is good to see you too, Tom,” Lily said, smiling.

The man – Tom – looked at Harry, with raised eyebrows, and he smiled. “Lily, this can't be the little baby boy you and James introduced me to about fourteen years ago. Can it?”

“This is indeed my son, Harry,” Lily said, smiling at Harry; she then smiled at Rose, “And this is my daughter, Rose. Harry, Rose, this is Tom, the barman and owner of this fine establishment.”

“Flatterer,” Tom said, grinning, “It is wonderful to meet the next-generation of the House of Potter. And, Sirius Black, you rascal. I'd recognize you anywhere.”

“Good to see you too, Tom,” Sirius said, “Is my cousin, Andromeda, and her husband here yet?”

“Indeed!” Tom said, “They just arrived a few minutes before yourself. They're in a private room and asked me to lead you there when you arrived. Come, come!”

Harry and his family followed Tom around the bar and over to a nearby door. Tom opened the door, and Lily led Harry and her family inside. The private room was small and simple, with a large table, and chairs placed around the table. Even though Ted and Andromeda Tonks had met him when he was a baby, Harry only recognized the Tonks because of a picture Sirius had showed him once.

When Andromeda saw them, she shrieked happily and jumped up from her seat. The next couple of minutes were spent with Andromeda hugging all three Potters, and her cousin, Sirius, and babbling about how happy she was to see them, and finally able to officially meet Rose whom she just about smothered with hugs, and commented how beautiful she was. Harry couldn't laugh when Rose blushed at the compliment. After all, Andromeda had also commented on how he was 'as handsome as his father', which made him blush too..

All the while, the barman, Tom, was waiting for the chaos to die down. He was ready with menus when Sirius and the Potters finally sat down at the table. After everybody gave their requested meals (Harry requesting a loaded omelet with a side of bacon, and orange juice), Tom left the room.

“Nymphadora will be so jealous we're meeting with you today,” Andromeda said, “When we received your letter last month about how you were coming back to Great Britain for the Tournament, Nymphadora was quite excited for the chance to see her cousin, and the Potters. Especially you, Harry. Do you know she held you when you were a baby? I have a picture of it in Nymphadora's bedroom. It is so cute. However, Nymphadora is currently in her last year at the Brighton Auror Academy, before she officially becomes an Auror in June. Those barbarians don't even let the trainees rest on Sundays! So, alas, she couldn't be here.”

“I'm sure we'll be able to see her sometime during Christmas Break,” Sirius said.

“Of course,” Andromeda said. “She'll be very happy to hear that. Look at me. I'm babbling about family. Obviously you're here for a very important reason. So I'll let you get to it.”

“Well, to begin,” Lily said, “I suppose we should clear the air about something. Ted, are you still willing to be the official Solicitor for the Ancient and Noble House of Potter?”

“I ask the same for House Black,” Sirius said.

“I wasn't aware I never stopped being the Solicitor of House Potter and House Black,” Ted said, grinning. “Of course I am still willing!”

“Excellent,” Lily said, “Because we need your expertise. I assume you read the Daily Prophet this morning and know that my son has been chosen as Ilvermorny Champion for the Triwizard Tournament.”

“Yes, indeed,” Ted said, grinning in Harry's direction, “Congratulations, young man. That is quite the accomplishment. Are you ready for the Tournament?”

“There's a lot of work to be done before the First Task comes around at the end of the month, sir,” Harry said, “But I wouldn't have entered my name if I wasn't ready to be Champion.”

“Good answer,” Ted said, approvingly.

Meanwhile, Lily was removing one of the Tournament Rulebooks from her purse. Obviously the inside of the purse was a lot larger than it looked, given that the book was roughly the same size as the purse itself.

“This is the official rulebook of the Triwizard Tournament,” Lily said, as she set the book in front of Ted. “It was given to us by Ludo Bagman himself. Sirius, Remus Lupin and I skimmed through the rulebook last night, and we couldn't make heads nor tails of most of it.”

“Let me guess,” Ted said, with a smile as he eyed the book, “It is full of Ministry mumbo-jumbo.”

“Yes,” Sirius said. “Even I can't translate it, and I grew up learning all about that type of stuff.”

“Thirteen years away from home has clouded your mind, cousin,” Andromeda said, grinning.

“Forgive me if I consider that a good thing,” Sirius said, with a smirk.

“So I assume you're hoping that I will be able to have more luck translating the book?” Ted asked.

“Yes,” Lily asked. “Are you familiar with the Muggle book series called 'For Dummies'?”

Ted laughed and nodded. “I assume you want me to turn this into 'Triwizard Tournaments For Dummies'?”

“Pretty much,” Lily said.

“I will do my best,” Ted said. “Next request?”

“One of the tidbits we were actually able to translate,” Lily said, “is this: when the British Ministry of Magic suggested bringing back the Triwizard Tournament, they added, removed, or modified several rules for the Tournament. One of the rules they made was that only contenders who were of age – who were considered adults – could become Champion. However, what they didn't take into account for was the MACUSA – the Magical Congress of the United States of America – allowing students aged fourteen years and up to participate in a contention tournament to decide the top-ten contenders for Ilvermorny Champion.

“In the end, amongst the Ilvermorny contenders, there were five seventeen year olds, four sixteen year olds, and one fourteen year old – Harry. When my fellow judges heard that students under the age of seventeen were allowed, they – and I – decided unanimously to agree with the MACUSA decision. Albus Dumbledore went as far as to allow sixteen year olds to enter their names into the Goblet of Fire. However, a seventeen year old won out for Hogwarts in the end.”

“But what about Augusta Longbottom's grandson?” Andromeda asked, “Neville, I believe his name is. The Daily Prophet said he is also Hogwarts Champion.”

“Unfortunately, he is,” Lily said, “However, he says he did not enter his name into the Goblet, and we believe him. Apparently someone else entered his name into the tournament, and possibly under a different School than the three entered into the Tournament.”

“But why?” Andromeda asked.

“Assassination-by-Proxy,” Sirius said, frowning.

“They did it in hopes the Tournament would kill the boy?” Ted asked.

“It is a theory,” Sirius said, nodding, “He is the sole Heir Apparent of the House of Longbottom. It could be due to some type of grudge against the House.”

“Augusta Longbottom is a strong voice in the Wizengamot,” Andromeda said, nodding. “It does sound plausible that someone could want to silence her by threatening her Grandson. After all, Augusta is merely Proxy for the House of Longbottom. If her grandson is killed before he can have an Heir to his House, then the House will go extinct.”

“And House Longbottom would be removed from the Wizengamot,” Sirius said. “Removing Augusta's strong voice.”

“Plausible,” Ted said, nodding, “Definitely plausible.”

“We're getting off track a bit,” Lily said, “Anyway – there was no chance to change the rule about Champions having to be of age' to be chosen. So, when Harry's name came out of Goblet of Fire, the artifact basically considered Harry of age – an adult. This morning, we received some letters from the House Potter Account Manager at Gringotts. According to the letter, when Harry was chosen as Ilvermorny Champion, he officially became Lord Harry James Potter – Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. After this meeting, we're to meet with Keeper Ragnok the Sixth to confirm Harry's new position.”

“How do you feel about that, young man?” Andromeda asked Harry.

“As I explained to Mom and Uncle Sirius,” Harry said, “I expected to become Lord Potter when I turned seventeen. Three years early is a bit of a surprise, but I am willing to take on the title now if it is expected of me.”

Andromeda smiled approvingly. “You remind me so much of your grandfather, Harry. Your father wasn't as – shall we say – eager to take the responsibilities of his House. But Charlus Potter was a proud Lord Potter. Aunt Dorea – your Grandmother – loved to brag about her husband in letters to me. In fact, aside from Sirius, Dorea was the only family I was in contact with after my dear parents demanded Uncle Orion and Aunt Walburga to remove me from House Black when I married Ted.”

“Cousin, I think you'll be pleased to know that by the end of the day I will officially be Lord Black,” Sirius said. “You and Nymphadora will be rightfully returned to House Black.”

Andromeda stared at Sirius. “But I thought Uncle Orion removed you--”

“Nope,” Sirius said, grinning, “He never officially kicked me out of House Black. Only dear Mum did. She died believing I was never going to be Lord Black – and I'm sure she died with a smile because of that thought.”

“Well, that explains why dear Cissy believes her son, Draco, is the future Lord Black,” Andromeda said, “Auntie Walburga would have told her he would earn that title. What a relief! That little cretin, who I unfortunately call nephew, does not deserve to grace the title of Lord Black. Thank you, Sirius. I could never repay you for this.”

“You and Nymphadora already have by being the two members of the House of Black I can still call 'family',” Sirius said, smiling.

“Thank you, Sirius,” Ted said, “This means so much to my wife and daughter, so, of course, it means so much to me. So, Harry as Lord Potter. I assume that news is going to grace the Daily Prophet soon enough. Are you expecting any opposition against Harry's new title?”

“You tell us, Ted,” Sirius said, “How will the Ministry of Magic and the Wizengamot feel about it?”

Ted chuckled. “It would depend. How interested is House Potter in bringing back Charlus Potter's Great Alliance?”

Harry suddenly found everyone looking at him, and he realized it was up to him to answer.

He cleared his throat. “I recently learned that the Great Alliance isn't as 'Great' as it used to be. Some of the Houses have broke away from the Alliance.”

“Yes,” Ted said, “House Longbottom is now in Dumbledore's Alliance. House Boot and House MacMillan have started their own Alliance. I can't speak for the other Houses. That will be up to you to speak to them. If I remember correctly, most – if not all – of the Houses have children who are students in Hogwarts at this current time.”

“Yes,” Harry said, “I recently spoke to Luna Lovegood, who confirmed that.”

“Well, there you go,” Ted said, “Meet with the next generation of the Great Alliance – more commonly known as the 'Children of the Great Alliance' -- and see what they have to say. They may not be Heads of their Houses, like you, but they're more readily available to talk to you than their parents are. Through them, you could send a message regarding the future of the Great Alliance. As for opposition in the Wizengamot. Well, if the Great Alliance has any chance of returning, the Dark Alliance and and those in the Neutrals who are closer to the Dark Alliance than the Light – you might find opposition from them.”

“What would you suggest?” Harry asked.

“Replace those Houses who left the Great Alliance,” Ted said, “I'm sure House Black would join the Great Alliance. House Tonks – though we're simply a second-generation Minor House – would also be willing. But House Tonks is simply a Minor House, not a Noble one. I don't have a seat on the Wizengamot, so I'm not going to be of much help. You need to find some Allies amongst the Wizengamot who have seats and are willing to join the Great Alliance. Heck, some of your House's Allies may have Allies of their own who might consider joining the Alliance.”

“I know this is overwhelming, Harry,” Lily said, “So we'll discuss all that later.”

Harry nodded. It was definitely overwhelming.

“Is there any other important issues regarding Lord Potter and the House of Potter?” Ted asked.

“Yes, now that you mention it,” Lily said. “Owing to the articles in the Daily Prophet, we're expecting a lot of post to greet us when we return to Hogwarts. Post ranging from simple letters welcoming us back to Great Britain, to Howlers from people who just like to rant. Then there is the Betrothal Contracts that we'll likely just cancel and ignore. And then there is the unfortunate possibility of hex-letters and other dangerous post. Ted, if we were to send you the dangerous letters, perhaps you could work with the DMLE to discover who is behind the dangerous letters, and perhaps bring them up on criminal charges.”

“I would be happy to do that, Lily,” Ted said.

“Thank you,” Lily said, “If we receive any, we'll remove the hexes and dangers and send them to you.”

“I look forward to it,” Ted said, “Truth be told, I'm more interested in the idea of the Betrothal Contracts. You may be surprised when I tell you I wouldn't be so quick to deny them.”

“Ted,” Lily said, “I am quite against Betrothing my children to someone they don't even know. I also believe they deserve to find their own true love, like I did with James!”

“I respect that, Lily,” Ted said, “I'm merely stating this: many of those offers of Betrothal are going to be from Houses who very well may be looking to ally their House with yours. Those who are willing to forget the Betrothals, but are interested in an Alliance might very well be the future members of the Great Alliance you're looking for.”

“It is a good idea, Lily,” Sirius said.

Lily sighed. “I suppose I'll consider it.”

“That is all I can ask,” Ted said, “Also... if some of the Houses get a little – defensive – about you denying their children the – shall we say – 'honor' of being Betrothed to your own children, tell them to come to me. I'll be able to handle it.”

“Are you sure, Ted?” Sirius asked, “You'll likely be faced with people who – er – aren't exactly supportive of – er – Muggleborn.”

“You don't need to worry about that, cousin,” Andromeda said, “Ted has faced many of those in the past, and he graciously allowed me to give them a piece of my mind! They know not to mess with me. And now that I'll officially be back in the House of Black, that message will come across ten-fold!”

Sirius grinned. “I'm pleased to see you're still intimidating after all these years, Andie.”

At that moment, Tom returned with platters of meals. He set the meals in front of those who requested them, and left the room after the guests thanked him.

“Is there anything else on the agenda of Solicitor business?” Ted asked, as everyone started in on their meals, “Or will the rest of the discussion be of innocent topics?”

“One last piece of business,” Lily said, “And it will be as important as the rest. We're planning on confronting Barnabus Cuffe in the Daily Prophet today.”

Ted raised his eyebrows. “I assume this is about Rita Skeeter's articles in this morning's issue?”

“Just the latest reason,” Lily said.

“I am required to tell you that slander and libel laws still don't exist in Wizarding Great Britain, Lady Potter,” Ted said, “There is nothing I can do against Rita Skeeter in terms of what she wrote in the Daily Prophet. The British Ministry of Magic has always felt it is up to the public to decide what they want to believe or disbelieve what the Daily Prophet and other media outlets write or say.”

“We're well aware of this, Ted,” Lily said, “But we still have a plan of attack against the Daily Prophet. If we're correct, House Potter and House Black owns forty-percent of the Daily Prophet. We believe that would scare Barnabus Cuffe enough to do anything we ask.”

“It is possible,” Ted said, “Depends on what you wish to ask him.”

“We're going to request,” Lily said, “that Cuffe takes exclusivity on anything regarding members of House Potter, House Black, and Remus Lupin – and possibly others in the future. Not Rita Skeeter, not the other staff of the Daily Prophet, but Barnabus Cuffe himself. Only he can write articles about us.”

“And since Harry is part of the Triwizard Tournament,” Ted said, “Only Barnabus could write about it. Well, at least Harry's part in the Tournament. I can already foresee readers will be glued to the Daily Prophet to get more on the – what did Skeeter call it – 'Triumphant Return of House Potter'?”

“She promised more on the story in the coming weeks,” Sirius said.

Ted smiled. “I see. If she doesn't give out what she promised, readers could be calling for her head. That is an excellent strategy. A great work-around of the slander and libel laws. The question is... are you going to give Cuffe an offer he can't refuse?”

“Yes,” Sirius said, “House Potter is closely Allied with House Lovegood – who owns and writes most of the articles in the Quibbler. The Quibbler is the leading rival against the Daily Prophet and its sister magazines. If we give exclusivity to the Quibbler regarding House Potter --”

“That would seriously cut down what the Daily Prophet could write about the Triwizard Tournament,” Ted said, “Since the Head of House Potter is one of the Champions. If I was Cuffe, I would definitely agree to that.”

“Now here is where you come in, Ted,” Lily said, “Would you be able to actively work against the Daily Prophet? Whether it be that Barnabus accepts exclusivity, or whether it turns out the Daily Prophet is barred from writing articles about House Potter, House Black and Remus Lupin due to possible exclusivity to the Quibbler?”

“There is no actual laws barring exclusivity in the media – only slander and libel,” Ted said, “It is one of those little words we Solicitors love to use – loopholes. The Daily Prophet, Ministry of Magic and the Wizengamot wouldn't be able to fight you on this. It isn't illegal, after all. Besides, the Daily Prophet has made deals for exclusivity in the past. Only they, and their sister subscriptions can have sit-down interviews with certain people like the Minister of Magic. The Ministry of Magic approved this for obvious selfish reasons.”

Sirius laughed. “And now because of that loophole, we can do the same exact thing... legally.”

“Exactly,” Ted said, “So yes... I would be able to actively work against the Daily Prophet. If Barnabus Cuffe agrees to exclusivity, I would painstakingly read every word, article and page in the Daily Prophet every day to make sure they aren't breaking the agreement. If the Quibbler gets exclusivity, I would make sure that there are no articles regarding any information that you would deem exclusive elsewhere. That is part of the job of me being your Solicitor.”

“Excellent,” Lily said. “I believe that is all we have to talk about regarding your solicitor duties. If you work up the paperwork, and send us it along with the bill, we'll be happy to sign agreements and pay you. Also, we'll write to you about everything that comes up regarding the topics we've discussed today.”

“I will fill out the paperwork by this evening,” Ted said, “And begin reading through this rulebook. It should only take me a few days to translate it into easy reading.”

“Thank you, Ted,” Lily said, “We knew we could count on you.”

“I'm always happy to help my favorite clients,” Ted said, grinning.

The rest of the conversation during breakfast consisted of catching up between the friends. Since they hadn't had much conversation besides an occasional letter in thirteen years, there was much to discuss during breakfast. Andromeda and Ted were eager to learn about growing up in America, and going to Ilvermorny, and Harry and Rose were happy to talk about it. The entire discussion lasted about an hour-and-a-half before it was decided that Harry, Lily, Sirius and Rose really needed to be getting to Gringotts.

With promises to meet each other again as soon as possible – and plans for Andromeda and Ted to attend Harry's First Task of the Tournament at the end of the month – the meeting ended, with happy hugs, and the Potter family and Sirius headed out of the Leaky Cauldron, and into Diagon Alley.

 

Chapter Text

 

Sunday, November 1 st , 1994


Even though the Potters, Sirius, and Remus were residing at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for nine months of the year, they also had a home away from Ilvermorny which they spent the summers, and certain holiday breaks at, when they weren't on camping vacations. For the extended Potter family, home was in a No-Maj neighborhood in rural Boston, Massachusetts.

Unlike in Europe, wizarding marketplaces were not in “alleys”. Instead in each of the large cities around the United States, there was a 'one-stop-shop', which was usually either a shopping mall, or a tall building where witches and wizards could find everything they needed combined in one building. The buildings were, of course, wrapped in Muggle-Repelling Enchantments and other enchantments, so that the ignorant No-Maj, who didn't know about the Wizarding World, couldn't trespass into magical buildings.

Boston was just one of several cities which had one of these 'one-stop-shop' buildings. Harry and Rose had been there several times in their short lives. The only wizarding establishments in Boston aside from the marketplace was the Boston branch of Gringotts, and the wizarding version of the Boston City Hall, which housed the local Aurors, DMLE, lower magical judiciary systems, and other Departments. Wizarding City Halls like Boston's were located in every major American city.

Suffice it to say, Harry and Rose were rather amazed to find that Diagon Alley was an open-air marketplace in the middle of London, England. As he walked down the cobbled pathway through Diagon Alley with Lily, Sirius and Rose, Harry was doing his best to get a look at the names of every single shop he passed. He recognized some store names, which obviously had franchises that reached American shores. But several of the shops were privately owned, and he didn't recognize them at all.

“I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunities to explore Diagon Alley before we have to return to the United States in June,” Lily said to her two children, “But at the moment, we need to go to Gringotts.”

As she named the bank, she pointed to the building. Harry was only mildly surprised to find that Gringotts, London Branch looked almost exactly like its sister branch in Boston. Remembering his education in respecting Goblin customs, Harry pointedly looked away from the two sword-and-shield wielding Goblins guarding the front doors of Gringotts, as he walked past them and followed his mother and sister into the bank with Sirius tailing behind him. Much like the outside of the bank, the Atrium of Gringotts also looked nearly identical to its sister branch in Boston.

A Goblin met them as they entered the Atrium.

“How may Gringotts assist you today?” the Goblin said; Harry noted with interest that the Goblin only spoke directly to Sirius instead of looking at Harry, his mother or his sister.

“Keeper Ragnok the Sixth requested to meet with representatives of House Black and House Potter,” Sirius said, “We are here to answer that request.”

“Follow me, please,” the Goblin said.

Harry followed close by his mother and sister as the Goblin led them and Sirius across the Atrium. They arrived at a counter, where a Goblin was seated behind. The two Goblins spoke in their native language, Gobbledygook, for a few moments. Then the Goblin, which led Sirius and the Potters to the other Goblin, walked away. The Goblin at the counter turned to the Potters and Sirius.

“Greetings House Black, House Potter,” the Goblin said; he looked at Harry, then Rose, “To those whom are not familiar with me, my name is Keeper Ragnok the Sixth, and I am the Account Manager and Vault Keeper of both House Potter, and House Black. Would I be right to assume that you have no issues with combining the two meetings I had planned for House Potter and House Black together?”

“You would, Keeper Ragnok,” Sirius said.

When Keeper Ragnok looked at him, Harry did his best not to blush when he realized the Goblin was expecting an answer from him.

“You would, Keeper Ragnok,” Harry said, then added, “Time is money, after all. We should not waste either.”

Keeper Ragnok chuckled lowly. “No, we should not, young Potter. Very well spoken. If you will all follow me, please.”

Once again, Harry and Rose remained close by their mother as they followed the Goblin and Sirius across the Atrium, over toward a door, a nd into the adjoining room. The small room had a table, a few chairs and nothing else.

“Be seated,” Ragnok said.

The Goblin sat down on one side of the table, while Harry, Lily, Rose, and Sirius sat down in four chairs on the other side.

“Thank you all for answering my summons so quickly,” Ragnok said, “I believe we should begin with House Potter, since there is much to discuss. Thirteen years ago today, Ted Tonks requested an urgent meeting with me. He announced that, while James Potter had been killed, his wife and infant son survived. Of course, it was unknown at the time that House Potter had not only survived, but would continue to flourish with the birth of young Rose.”

Rose softly blushed when the Goblin said her name.

“Ted Tonks needn't have informed us that you and your son had survived, Lady Potter,” Ragnok said, “As you may know, we have ways of knowing when our clients have died, and while we had been alerted that James Potter had tragically lost his life, we had no indication the same would be said for his wife and son. However, saying that, I was happy to have the confirmation James' family survived, when Mr. Tonks handed me a letter written by you, Lady Potter. As per your request made in that letter,-- the House Potter Accounts and Vaults were immediately placed on lock-down until we had permission from a member of House Potter for them to be opened again. Also, per your request, the Final Will and Testament you penned with your husband was placed in the House Potter Family Vault and could only be removed by a member of House Potter.

“Your letter had come at a very good time, Lady Potter. Because the following day, Albus Dumbledore met with me and requested I turn over the House Potter Accounts, Vaults and Final Will and Testament to him. Apparently he was under the belief that not only did James Potter die on that tragic Halloween evening, but so did his wife and son. Dumbledore believed that House Potter had become extinct – I believe that belief was shared with much of the British wizarding society. I, of course, knew Dumbledore was wrong, but I wasn't about to confirm that to him without the permission of House Potter. Permission I didn't receive.

“Albus Dumbledore has been quite persistent these past thirteen years. Every year on July 31 st – young Harry's birthday, as you obviously know – Dumbledore met with me to once again attempt to convince me House Potter was extinct, and that the Lord and Lady Potter would want their former Headmaster to take charge of the House Potter accounts.”

Lily sighed. “How dare that – that interfering old fool! He knows that, had House Potter gone extinct, there were several others aside from Albus Dumbledore who James had chosen to take charge of House Potter. The Potter fortune would have been divvied up amongst our Allies, businesses we had partnerships in, and charities. Albus Dumbledore was quite low on that list, not on the very top!”

“Something we here at Gringotts are well aware of, I assure you, Lady Potter,” Ragnok said, “If House Potter had gone extinct, you could rest assured that the House Potter Account would have been properly and delicately handled.”

“Thank you, Keeper Ragnok,” Lily said. “I assume since my son has been named Lord Potter that he has more of a voice than I do when it comes to House Potter accounts?”

“Young Potter,” Ragnok said, to Harry, “I turn that decision over to you.”

“Until I finish my education,” Harry said, “My mother will have an advisory role, and fifty-percent decision-making power when it comes to House Potter accounts.”

Harry was relieved when both Lily and Sirius looked at him approvingly for making that decision.

“A smart and excellent decision, and one I much agree with,” Ragnok said. “Lady Potter, is there any thing you would like to begin with before we get down to business?”

“Yes, Keeper Ragnok,” Lily said, “Mine and my husband's Final Will and Testament. Is there any urgent business regarding the Will due to my husband's death?”

“As I am sure you know,” Ragnok said, “Your husband stated in his Will that if he were to pass on, and you were to survive his death, you would take control of all House Potter assets, until your son became of age. As we know, due to a loophole, that time has come. I do not think your husband's Will would override the decision your son just made to share decision-making with you.”

“What about Inheritances?” Lily asked, “I know my husband wanted to give away several items and a small percentage of the Potter Fortune in case of his death.”

“Given that the Inheritances have been sitting pretty – as you humans like to say – for thirteen years,” Ragnok said, “I don't think there is any real urgency for there to be an Inheritance and Will Reading Ceremony. You are welcome to plan the Will Reading on your own time and convenience. It could take place tomorrow, or in the days following your death – hopefully, many years from now. It hardly matters to me.”

“Very well,” Lily said, “I will think hard about it and contact you later about my decision. You may proceed with your plans for our meeting.”

Ragnok snapped his fingers and Harry jumped slightly as a piece of shimmering parchment – similar to the one he had seen in Albus Dumbledore's office – appeared in front of him. Two more pieces of parchment appeared in front of Rose and Lily.

“Lady Potter,” Ragnok said, “According to my records, you have never taken an Inheritance Test on British soil.”

“I never saw any reason to, Keeper Ragnok,” Lily said, “I'm first-gen – Muggleborn, after all.”

“There has been a recent influx in Muggleborn Inheritance Tests in recent years, Lady Potter,” Ragnok said, “These days, we encourage Muggleborn – or first-gens, as our American brethren like to call them – to take the Tests. Call it satisfying curiosities.”

“With all due respect, I believe you're not telling us everything, Keeper Ragnok,” Sirius said, “Something tells me you know more than you speak of.”

“I merely ask Lady Potter to take her Inheritance Test first before her children,” Ragnok said, “It may prevent any – ah – possibly nasty surprises.”

“Go on, Mom,” Harry said, “I'm rather curious now. It might be nothing. But what if it isn't?”

“Something tells me I'm afraid of what I'm going to find out,” Lily said. “But very well. I will take the Test first.”

Harry, Lily and Rose jumped when a knife appeared in Keeper Ragnok's hand. If Harry hadn't been educated in Goblin customs, and knew that even touching a wand in Goblin territory was considered a threat, he might have reached for his wand.

“The Inheritance Test is a Blood ritual,” Ragnok said, “The Ministry will tell you that Blood rituals are very Dark. Nonsense... it is all about the intentions of the user. Some of these rituals are good, some are done for evil purposes. If a Blood Quill or Blood Blade –“ he waved the knife in his hand – “is ever used on you outside of this bank, it is probably being done for evil purposes. Gringotts is the only location in which all of these types of rituals are legal, and only with a Goblin present. Now, with that said, Lady Potter – take the knife, and slice open your palm on your right hand. Do not fret, the cut will heal when the process is complete. Then drip the blood over the parchment in front of you. Young Potters, be watchful of what your mother is doing. You will be doing this shortly.”

Lily took the handle of the Blood Blade when it was offered to her. Harry watched as his mother did as requested. He winced slightly when his mother sliced open her palm. Her blood trickled onto the parchment, then the cut healed. Harry tried to look at the parchment, but it was blurry – so obviously it was only meant for his mother's eyes. Harry watched his mother's expression as she read it. It went from curiosity, to wonder, to shock.

Lily started to mutter, and Harry could barely hear his mother's words.

“Pureblood.... Ravenclaw... adopted?!” Lily exclaimed. “Keeper Ragnok, what is this?!”

Ragnok placed his hands together as if in prayer, and he looked at Lily.

“In early January of 1960,” Ragnok said, “A group of magical mercenaries were hired by a man known as Tom Marvolo Riddle – these days he is better known as Lord Voldemort. Riddle was hunting down artifacts of the Hogwarts Founders. He was collecting them. The mercenaries tracked down a young couple in St. Mungo's. Apparently the mercenaries were posing as Healers. They stunned the couple, kidnapped them, and brought them to Tom Riddle. They were never seen again, though it was thought they were tortured for information about Rowena Ravenclaw's lost artifacts, and then killed. The young couple's names were William and Victoria Byrd. William was a descendant of Rowena Ravenclaw.

“The reason the Byrds were at the St. Mungo's was because Victoria had just given birth to a young girl. They didn't even get the chance to name her. Soon, it was thought that the parents had abandoned the baby, so the Healers brought the baby to a Muggle orphanage. Only a week later, was the baby adopted by a young couple who already had one daughter. The young couple were named --”

“The Evans,” Lily whispered, blinking her eyes, “I was the baby in St. Mungo's.”

“It would appear so, Lady Potter,” Ragnok said, “I wasn't exactly sure until your Inheritance Test. You, Lily Potter, are a pureblood witch born of the Minor House of Byrd, and descended from Rowena Ravenclaw.”

“S-so,” Lily stammered, looking at her children, “Harry and Rose are...”

“Purebloods,” Ragnok said. “Also, descended from Rowena Ravenclaw.”

“Oh,” Lily said.

“Are you going to faint, Mom?” Rose asked.

“No, sweetheart,” Lily said, “I am.... overwhelmed... but I'm not going to faint. My parents... m-my adopted parents just never cared to tell me. Of course they were killed in a car accident before I turned eighteen – of age in the No-Maj world – so perhaps they had been waiting until I turned eighteen. It would have been nice to know. I might have even taken an Inheritance Test back then.”

She cleared her throat. “So... I assume I am Lady Ravenclaw in addition to Lady Potter. Or is Harry...?”

“In the Ravenclaw Line, ever since Lady Rowena herself,” Ragnok said, “The Lady of the bloodline always takes the title of Lady Ravenclaw. So you are Lady Ravenclaw until your daughter becomes of age. It will be your daughter's role to pass on the Ravenclaw name. How about your children take their Inheritance Tests before we continue this discussion?”

Lily nodded. The Blood Blade was passed to Harry, then Rose, who each gingerly sliced their hands and blood trickled over the parchment before their cuts healed up.

Harry watched in awe as the blood seeped into the parchment, then disappeared. Then words began to form, in red ink, or rather, in Harry's blood. Harry then began to read the parchment as the words formed.

Inheritance Test – Harry James Potter

DOB: 31 July 1980
Parents: James Charlus Potter (deceased)
and Lily Marie Evans (adopted – original surname: Byrd)

Blood: Pureblood

Official Titles of Lineage:

Ancient and Noble Houses:
House Potter – direct descendant - father
House Peverell – direct descendant – father
House Black – descendant – father/grandmother
House Gryffindor – direct descendant – father
House Ravenclaw – direct descendant – mother

Minor House:
House Byrd – direct descendant – mother


The only two surprising Houses were Ravenclaw and Byrd, though those had been explained in the earlier conversation. His mother had told him about Peverell, Black, and Gryffindor, though the fact that the Potters were descended from Peverell and Gryffindor wasn't common knowledge in Wizarding Great Britain, because the Potters rarely ever boasted about it. Harry assumed his sister had the same Inheritance Test, though instead of 'direct descendant', she was probably second-in-line to him.

“Is there any significance to the fact we're descended from two Founders?” Harry asked Ragnok.

“I assume you're asking if you have any percentage of ownership of Hogwarts?” Ragnok asked.

Harry shrugged and nodded.

“Back in the 1500s,” Ragnok said, “the Wizengamot voted that the ownership of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade was to be handed over to the British Ministry of Magic, unless descendants of all four Founders together claimed rightful ownership to Hogwarts. You would not be able to claim ownership simply because you're the descendant of two of the Founders. As it is, both the Slytherin and Hufflepuff bloodlines have been confirmed to have died off. So unless the Wizengamot changes the law, the Ministry of Magic will continue to own Hogwarts.”

“Fine with me, to be honest,” Harry said, “We live in America. We attend Ilvermorny. We have no present connections to Hogwarts.”

Lily, Rose and Sirius nodded in agreement.

“Very well,” Ragnok said. “As confirmed by your Inheritance Test, you can claim the titles of Lord Potter, Lord Peverell, and Lord Gryffindor. As your sister is traditionally Lady Ravenclaw, then it is preferred she also claims the Ravenclaw descendant's House, Byrd, though as I mentioned, House Byrd is a Minor House.”

“Fine with me,” Harry said again, looking at Rose, who nodded.

“As I assume you know,” Ragnok said, “Sirius is the assumed Lord Black, to be confirmed in the near future. So it is up to him as to where you fall in line for the title of Lord Black.”

Harry nodded. “Er... so what does it mean to be Lord of three Houses?”

Ragnok leered at Lily and Sirius, then back to Harry. “You were never educated in the art of extending bloodlines?”

Harry blushed. “You mean that my children will inherit all three titles.”

“Yes..., but not the way you are thinking, I assume, Lord Potter,” Ragnok said, “I take it Lady Potter and – the assumed – Lord Black never taught you about the history of Polygamy in the wizarding world.”

“Polygamy?” Lily asked; looking from Ragnok to Sirius.

Sirius groaned. “I never expected it to be brought up. I assumed Rose would inherit one of the titles, and there would be no need for... I didn't expect five Houses! What Keeper Ragnok is trying to say Lily, Harry... is that in order for your children, Harry, to inherit your titles, they must have separate bloodlines through... their mother.”

“Oh, good Merlin, Sirius!” Lily said, “You can't be saying that to pass on not only Potter, but Peverell and Gryffindor, he'd have to marry three women? That makes no sense! He wouldn't have three titles to his name! James would have had to marry more women than just me!”

“The Last Generation Loophole under the Pureblood Heritage Act,” Sirius said. “It was passed after Voldemort's supposed downfall, and Andromeda let me know about it – ah – years ago in a letter. I might have mentioned it to you back then.

“As we discovered today, you're a Pureblood, Lily – so was your husband. So your children are Purebloods. So they fall under the Pureblood Heritage Act. According to Andromeda, the Last Generation Loophole is well known amongst Purebloods. Because Harry is the only surviving male Potter in the Ancient and Noble House of Potter, he is required to marry one wife per House he Lords over. Potter, Peverell and Gryffindor. That is, if he wants to pass on the Houses to his bloodline. Otherwise, he would be responsible for three Ancient and Noble Houses – three very old, very famous Houses – going extinct.”

Harry groaned. “So I'm doomed to marry three witches.”

“'Doomed' is a harsh word, Harry!” Sirius said, grinning.

“If I'm lucky, I'm going to have a girlfriend – one girlfriend! – next Saturday,” Harry said, “I'm not prepared for three!”

“Perhaps you would be pleased to know that I can make that decision easier for you, Lord Potter,” Ragnok said.

“How?” Harry asked.

“By way of an active Betrothal Contract,” Ragnok said.

“What?!” Lily asked, through her teeth, “What active Betrothal Contract?! James never told me about a Betrothal Contract!”

“Possibly because he never knew,” Ragnok said. “He did not create the Betrothal Contract. His grandfather – Lord Potter's Great-Grandfather – Fleamont Potter created the Contract. It was created after Fleamont saved the life of the Lord of the other House in the Betrothal Contract. The Lord owed him a life-debt. Back then, life-debts were usually dealt with Betrothal Contracts. It was decided that the firstborn son of House Potter, and the firstborn daughter of the other Lord's House would be Betrothed. However, both Houses only had sons – that was, until this generation.”

He snapped his fingers, and a piece of parchment appeared in front of Harry.

“The Contract has been updated for this Generation's Heirs,” Ragnok said.

Harry nodded, and began to read the parchment.

Betrothal Contract

Boy:
Name: Harry James Potter
DOB: 31 July, 1980
Parents: James and Lily Potter


Girl:
Name: Daphne Illiana Greengrass
DOB: 25 February, 1980
Parents: Castor and Illiana Greengrass


Harry swallowed. “Daphne Greengrass – her House is in an Alliance with House Potter. They're members of the Great Alliance.”

“Daphne's Great-Grandfather Cygnus Greengrass owed your Great-Grandfather Fleamont a Life-Debt,” Ragnok said, “And the Contract was created. It has been passed on to you and Daphne Greengrass. Miss Greengrass is a Pureblood – she's your age, a fourth year student in Slytherin at Hogwarts. House Greengrass is a Neutral House and they have a seat on the Wizengamot. They have a second daughter, Astoria, who is not in any known Betrothal Contract at this moment in time. So she would be available for a Line Continuation Contract. So Daphne would be available to take on the Ladyship of one of your Houses.”

Sirius groaned. “Slytherin. Why did she have to be in Slytherin? Keeper Ragnok, you said the Contract is active? I assume notification of the Contract is on its way to Miss Greengrass' parents?”

“The House Greengrass Account Manager would have sent the notice out as soon as Lord Potter was notified of the Contract,” Ragnok said. “As is required by Gringotts Law.”

“So that's a yes,” Sirius said. “I assume there is no way to get out of the Contract?”

Harry didn't like the grin Ragnok was giving him.

“None,” the Goblin said. “All the requirements have been set. A son of House Potter and a daughter of House Greengrass are alive, healthy and of able mind and body to bring forth the next generation. Your two Houses are still in a trusted Alliance. If we received any notification that was not still confirmed, I would have let you know. There is no reason for the Contract to be disqualified, or passed on to a future generation.”

Harry groaned. “Great. Just great. Hermione's probably never going to forgive me. Here I am set to go on a date with her, and I am Betrothed to another – a Slytherin in Hermione's year. She probably knows the girl!”

“Why is that a problem, Harry?” Rose asked. “It sounds as if you have to marry two or three girls. You could still court Hermione, and she could be one of your wives!”

“Polygamy isn't practiced in the No-Maj world, Rose,” Lily said. “And as Hermione is a first-gen...”

“Oh,” Rose said, in realization, “Well, you just have to convince her – if it comes to that, that is.”

Harry inhaled and exhaled. For Merlin's sake, all he wanted was to go on a date with Hermione! Now he was going to have to tell her he was Betrothed to a witch Hermione probably knew much better than he did! He'd be lucky if the worst thing she did to him was turn down his proposal for a date!

“We will discuss this as a family,” Lily said, “And we'll work on contacting Miss Greengrass and her family as well. For now, let's move on.”

At that moment, Ragnok snapped his fingers and a mahogany box appeared on the table. He opened it, and Harry saw a pair of rings laying inside.

“This box, Lord Potter,” Ragnok said, “was taken directly from your Family Vault. I'm sure your mother would recognize it. These two rings are Signet Rings. The Potter Signet Ring will open the Potter Family Vault. The Peverell Ring is said to have powers of its own, but I do not know what those are. The rings also signify your seat in the Wizengamot at the Ministry. You can now claim three seats, Lord Potter.”

Harry nodded. “The Gryffindor Ring?”

“Lost, unfortunately,” Ragnok said, “Though there is a seat in the Wizengamot you may claim. Instead of using your ring, a drop of blood would confirm your seat to the Wizengamot. House Ravenclaw also has a seat on the Wizengamot. Lady Potter, you may claim said chair. and your daughter would take that seat when she becomes of age.”

Lily and Rose nodded. Harry opened the box, and his mother shuddered beside him.

“I haven't seen these two rings in thirteen years,” Lily said, her voice shivering with emotion. “They were on your father's finger when – when he died.”

“Upon the Lord's death,” Ragnok said, “The rings return to the House Vault until the next Heir can claim them. It is now your right, as Lord Potter and Lord Peverell to wear them."

Harry nodded, staring at the rings.

You can make two rings blend into one,” Ragnok said, “or keep them as they are. Then when you need to show the ring to someone, just summon the ring to your finger.”

“Alright,” Harry said.

He picked up the Potter Family ring, then placed it on his ring finger. He placed the Peverell Family ring on his next finger, and studied them. The Peverell ring had the sign of the Deathly Hallows on it, and the Potter Ring had the House Crest he recognized – a Griffin spreading its wings above two swords, which were pointing to the left and right of the ring. With a single thought, the two rings merged together in a flash of bright white light.

“The rings have accepted you as the Lords of your House,” Ragnok said, “Congratulations. Is there anything else I can do in terms of House Potter?”

“May I have the information regarding House Potter properties, and business partnerships and stocks?” Lily asked.

Ragnok snapped his fingers and two thick folders appeared in front of Lily.

“Does House Potter still have a partnership with the Daily Prophet?” Lily asked.

“House Potter owns fifteen percent of the Daily Prophet,” Ragnok said, “And its sisters, Witch Weekly and Teen Witch Weekly. I can guess you're going to ask, Lord Black, so you may be interested to find House Black owns twenty-five percent of the same company.”

“Forty percent,” Sirius said, “Just as we predicted.”

Lily nodded. “That is all the issues I have for now. We have no plans to visit our Vaults today, but we may do so in the near future.”

“Very well,” Ragnok said, “Let us move onto House Black business.”

House Black business didn't take nearly as long as the House Potter business. Sirius was confirmed Lord Black. He was pleased that he had no Betrothal Contracts to his name. Though Harry did notice with amusement his godfather also seemed a tad disappointed about that too. He figured Sirius was just hoping it would be an easy way to find a girl.

When asked who would inherit the title Lord Black, Sirius stated: “Unless I have an Heir of my loins between now and the time I pass, then the line of inheritance will be thus: Harry James Potter, Rose Lily Potter, Nymphadora Dorea Tonks.”

He was given his Ring and folders of property and partnership information.

“Notifications will be sent to surviving members of House Black before sundown to inform them of the new Lord Black,” Ragnok said.

“Brilliant,” Sirius muttered, obviously unhappy with this news, “Looks like I'm going to be showered with letters and Howlers. Mostly Howlers, probably. I am, after all, the white sheep of the Black family.”

With that proclamation, Keeper Ragnok signified that the meeting was done. Harry, Lily, Rose and Sirius thanked Keeper Ragnok, and after collecting their folders of information, proceeded to leave Gringotts.

“Okay,” Lily said, in a low voice only her family and Sirius could hear, “A lot of surprises and revelations discovered. What do we reveal to the public, Sirius?”

“We won't be able to regain our Wizengamot seats until mid-December during the Winter Solstice session,” Sirius said, “So it is unnecessary at this moment in time to announce the Ravenclaw bloodline. Hell, it isn't exactly common news that the Potters are descended from Gryffindor, so there is no need to announce that either. That you and your children are purebloods is something I would announce, as well as the fact that you were adopted, and originally born to House Byrd. You could have family you never knew you had, Lily.”

Lily nodded. “And Harry becoming Lord Potter?”

“It will be discovered one way or another,” Sirius said. “We should do it ourselves.”

“Very well,” Lily said, “Time to find out whether all this news will be in the Daily Prophet or the Quibbler.”

“Let's go play with Barnabus Cuffe!” Sirius said, grinning.

The new Lord Potter, and his family started off in the direction of the Daily Prophet Headquarters.

 

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, November 1st, 1994

The Daily Prophet Headquarters in Diagon Alley was easily one of the most noticeable buildings, if you judged by the outer décor. Only Gringotts rivaled in that category. The“Daily Prophet” logo appeared at least four different times on the building's face, including on its front windows, and above the doorway, as well as higher up along the wall.

The most surprising décor on the front of the building – in Harry's opinion – was the “news ticker” over the large front windows, which had news headlines moving horizontally before apparently disappearing into thin air. The British wizarding world was so old-fashioned and out-dated, that this “technology” was quite advanced. It was commonly seen in American wizarding buildings – as well as American No-Maj news buildings, but quite surprising to be seen in Diagon Alley. The ticker mostly showed off either headlines of the recent edition of the newspaper, or important tidbits in the articles. Harry grimaced as his name came across with “14 Year Old Ilvermorny Champion”, as well as “House Potter's Triumphant Return!”.

Harry followed his mother and sister into the Daily Prophet Headquarters, as Sirius tailed behind them. The Entrance/Reception Room of the Daily Prophet Headquarters was rather small and simple, and resembled a waiting room at a doctor's office. There were several chairs sitting against walls nearest the front door. Vendors were selling editions of the Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly, and Teen Witch Weekly.

Near the opposite side of the room, there was a reception desk, with a witch – obviously the receptionist – sitting there, reading the newest edition of Witch Weekly, and smacking her lips, as she chewed on some Drooble's Best Blowing Gum. Behind the desk, there was a door with the words “Barnabus J. Cuffe – Editor-In-Chief, The Daily Prophet" etched onto a golden plaque. There were also two other doors on the left and right side of the room.

“We wish to speak to Barnabus Cuffe,” Lily said, as they approached the desk.

The receptionist, young enough that she couldn't have been out of Hogwarts for very long, blew a bubble and popped it.

“Do you have an appointment?” she asked, in a bored monotone voice – she turned a page of the magazine, not even bothering to look up at Lily.

“That depends,” Sirius said, “Do two Ancient and Most Noble Houses, who own a combined forty-percent of the Daily Prophet, need an appointment with the Editor-In-Chief?”

The receptionist choked on her gum and looked up from her magazine.

“Would you please tell Mr. Cuffe,” Sirius said, “that representatives of House Potter – including the new Lord Potter – and Lord Black are here to speak with him? I happen to think he'll be pleased to meet with us right away.”

Harry hid a snicker as he watched the receptionist stumble as she stood up from her chair. She bustled over to the door, knocked on it, waited for a moment, then peered inside. After a few moments, she backed away and turned around.

“Mr. Cuffe will see you now,” the receptionist said.

“Thank you, ma'am,” Sirius said, with a wink.

This time Harry couldn't hide a snicker, as the receptionist blushed visibly. Harry followed his mother and sister through the doorway, with Sirius once again tailing them.

Harry stepped into an extravagantly-looking office. Near the back of the room, a magnificent mahogany desk stood, with a man in his mid-forties, dressed in business-attire robes, standing behind it beaming at them all. The walls were adorned with what appeared to be articles of past Daily Prophets, as well as moving pictures all of which had the same man with several people who were obviously celebrities and VIPs in Wizarding Great Britain. Behind the man's desk, there were shelves filled with trophies, medals and awards.

“Greetings!” the man said, “My name is Barnabus J. Cuffe, and I am the Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Prophet. But perhaps you know that already. You can call me Barney – most people do! Please be seated, and do introduce yourselves.”

There were already two chairs on the nearest side of the desk. Barnabus waved his wand and conjured two more identical chairs. Harry and Rose sat in the center chairs while Lily and Sirius took the outer chairs.

“It feels strange that we have to introduce ourselves, Barney,” Sirius said, “After all, our names our plastered all over one of the articles on the front page of today's edition of your newspaper. But as introductions are proper, I suppose we will oblige. Pleasure to meet you, Barney. Lord Sirius Orion Black, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black.”

Lily and Rose introduced themselves next. When Harry introduced himself as “Lord” Harry James Potter, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, Barnabus looked absolutely shocked.

“Lord Potter – at fourteen years of age?” he asked, leering at Harry.

“When my name came out of the Goblet of Fire,” Harry said, “I was officially entered into a Tournament meant to be played by students who were deemed of age – adults. According to magical law, Gringotts law, and the law of the British Ministry of Magic – though we suspect they may argue against point – I have been officially deemed 'of age'. Therefore, by law, I became Lord Potter, as was to be my privilege when I became an adult, since my father cannot take the title as he is no longer with us. We just met with my Account Manager at Gringotts, where my new title was confirmed.”

Harry raised his hand showing off his Lord Potter Signet Ring.

“Well, I can't find any faults in that information,” Barnabus said, “And I do agree the Ministry may not be happy that a fourteen year old wizard – an American citizen, no less – has claimed the title of Head of a long-thought extinct House.”

“My son has also been given the title of Lord Peverell,” Lily said, “Head of a House that was also thought to have gone extinct, simply because none of the Potters – until now – have decided to give out that information.”

Harry summoned forth the Lord Peverell ring as well. They would not be revealing the Gryffindor or Ravenclaw information yet.

“I-I see,” Barnabus stammered, “I assume it would be alright to announce this news in a future article in the Daily Prophet?”

“That would depend on where this conversation goes by the end of our meeting,” Sirius said, “And now we've finally arrived at why we are meeting with you, Barney. This morning we woke up to find two articles in your newspaper with information about either my godson, Harry, here, or members of House Potter, and House Black. Frankly we were quite surprised how the information got to be in the Daily Prophet.

“We were not aware of any media – the journalist in question being one Rita Skeeter, I believe – being present for the Choosing Ceremony last night nor the arrival of Ilvermorny and Beauxbatons on Friday evening. Miss Skeeter's article about – how did she put it? – House Potter's 'Triumphant Return' had specific information about Ilvermorny's arrival, as well as House Potter. We were not met by Rita Skeeter about this. So I don't know where she got her information from.”

“I'm afraid I am not permitted to give out sources or company secrets, Lord Black,” Barnabus said.

“I completely understand, Barney,” Sirius said. “However, given Miss Skeeter's reputation, perhaps you wouldn't be surprised to find we disapprove of the way she wrote those articles about us.”

Barnabus cleared his throat. “Lord Black, if you're trying to accuse one of my journalists of libel and slander – well – I know you've been across the pond for thirteen years. I don't know how libel and slander is handled in the United States of America, but here --”

“We're well aware that there are no laws that state libel and slander are illegal, Barney,” Sirius interrupted. “Something tells me you had something to do with that.”

“Of course not!” Barnabus exclaimed in outrage. “That is quite the accusation. Quite --”

“Yes,” Harry said, “Quite slanderous of my Godfather, is it not? Is that the word you were going to use? According to you, that word doesn't exist in Wizarding British laws.”

Barnabus frowned.

“Then it wasn't you,” Sirius said, “Perhaps it was one of your predecessors in the Editor-In-Chief position.”

Barnabus sputtered. “What do you want, Lord Black? Why are you here?”

“Just as libel and slander are legal, so is exclusivity,” Sirius said. “We're here to offer you exclusive rights to media coverage of House Potter representatives, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and anyone else we deem fit in the exclusivity category.”

“Well, why didn't you say so?!” Barnabus said, his expression brightening. “The Daily Prophet would be --”

No!” Sirius interrupted loudly, making Barnabus jump, “No, no, no, you misunderstand me, Mr. Cuffe. I didn't say the Daily Prophet! I said you, Mr. Cuffe.”

“I am the Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Prophet, Lord Black,” Barnabus said, pointing to the nameplate on his desk.

“But you're also the occasional journalist,” Lily said, “You write articles for the Daily Prophet.”

“From time to time, yes,” Barnabus said.

“While your articles would be welcomed in the Daily Prophet, Mr. Cuffe,” Sirius said, “They would have to be written by you. All articles about House Potter representatives, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and possibly others in the future, would have to be written by you.

“And if I refuse?” Barnabus asked. “Lord Black, your godson – the Lord Potter – is a Champion in the Triwizard Tournament. My journalist Rita Skeeter is the lead journalist behind the Triwizard Tournament. I already gave her that privilege!”

“Well,” Sirius said, “Then either you'll have to revoke that privilege, or Rita Skeeter will only be writing about three of the four Champions. She wouldn't be able to write about Lord Potter's part in the tournament.”

Harry grinned as a thought crossed his mind. “I could always meet with my fellow Champions, and convince them to agree to exclusivity rights too, Mr. Cuffe. That would put an end to Rita's coverage of the Tournament. And it would be completely legal, all because the British Ministry made it legal for your newspaper to have exclusive one-on-one interviews with their Minister of Magic.”

“Barnabus, are you familiar with the Great Alliance – founded by my late husband's father?” Lily asked.

“Of course I am!” Barnabus said.

“Then perhaps you're aware of the Houses in the Great Alliance,” Lily said. “Houses which are in Alliances with House Potter. One of those Allies is House Lovegood – perhaps you know Xenophilius Lovegood, owner and Editor-In-Chief of the Quibbler?”

Barnabus blinked and stared at Lily.

“Given that House Lovegood is in an Alliance with House Potter,” Lily said, “It would be most proper to offer exclusivity rights to the Quibbler, so that we can help them gain popularity. If the other Champions agree with us on exclusivity – and we take it to the Quibbler – well, that would mean that... wow, only the Quibbler would be able to write about the Triwizard Tournament.”

“Isn't the Quibbler chief rival of the Daily Prophet and its sister subscriptions, Mr. Cuffe?” Harry asked, innocently. “The Triwizard Tournament is the most important event between now and next June. Citizens of Wizarding Britain would flock to read and subscribe to the media source that is giving the details out about the Tournament.”

“Big brother, that is rude to say to the Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Prophet,” Rose said, grinning and obviously deciding to get in on the fun, “I mean, if the Quibbler gets exclusive rights, then you just told Mr. Cuffe that his chief rival is about to become more popular than his own newspaper!”

Barnabus stammered. He took a handkerchief from the front pocket of his robes and wiped his brow.

“Fine!” Barnabus exclaimed; then he cleared his throat, “I will take over as lead journalist for the Triwizard Tournament, and all articles involving House Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin --”

“And anyone else we ask of you?” Lily asked, “Mostly it would be Allies and friends of ours whose reputations we wouldn't want damaged by Rita Skeeter's quill. Unlike Miss Skeeter, you, Barney, are a great journalist. You know how to respectfully handle information, and give out truth instead of gossip. You write the facts, Mr. Cuffe. We appreciate that. With you taking over the articles about us, we wouldn't have to worry about contacting our solicitor – Ted Tonks – to speak to you about respecting members, friends and allies of two Houses who own a combined forty-percent of your company.”

Barnabus wiped his brow again. “I would be honored to take charge of the articles.”

“Excellent!” Lily said, “Our Solicitor – Ted Tonks – will meet with you soon to discuss the exclusive rights and bring up the important paperwork. I'm sure he'll also discuss with you how he'll painstakingly read every word and article in each edition of your newspaper to make sure you don't bend or break our deal.”

“I'll be happy to meet with him,” Barnabus said.

“We'll also talk to the other Champions about exclusivity too,” Lily said, “And with that our meeting is done. We'll be seeing you at the Weighing of the Wands, won't we? After all, you'll want to be there for exclusive interviews and photos.”

“Yes, I will be there,” Barnabus said, sighing. “Are you sure there isn't anything else I could do for you? Interviews about the Lord Potter and Lord Black status?”

“I tell you what,” Lily said, “You prove to us that you are holding up on your part of the deal. And we'll sit down with you for an interview that will knock the socks off of the British Wizarding world. Maybe even directly after the Weighing of the Wands ceremony.”

Harry grinned, realizing his mother had no plans at the moment to discuss her 'adoption', or that she – and in essence her children – were actually purebloods. That would be part of the future interview.

“I look forward to it,” Barnabus said.

“And we look forward to seeing no more articles about us from Rita Skeeter,” Sirius said, “We better go and let you return to your work. I'm sure you need to be meeting with Miss Skeeter to inform her she's no longer in charge of certain stories.”

Barnabus paled at that. Harry, Rose, Lily and Sirius stood up, said their farewells, then left Cuffe's office and the Daily Prophet Headquarters.

“And that is how you handle Pureblood Politics, kids,” Sirius said, grinning, “So, Lily, I take it you changed your mind about informing Great Britain of your pureblood background?”

“Not at all,” Lily said, “That will be revealed in an interview with Mr. Cuffe once he proves he can be a good little boy.”

Sirius laughed. “Of course! I should have realized that.”

“Yes, you should have,” Lily said, “Come on, kiddies, we need to find an Apparation-safe area and return to Hogwarts.”

“Aw!” Harry complained, “Can't we explore Diagon Alley more?”

“Not today, Harry,” Lily said, “We need go see how Remus is holding up the fort without us. We may have more post to deal with. And you, Harry, need to speak to Hermione, especially if she's waiting to tell you something important.”

“You have some important things to tell her yourself, pup,” Sirius said, “Such as this new Betrothal Contract, and other bits of information. You need to find out if she still wants to go on that date with you.”

Harry grimaced. Sirius had said all that in a non-joking matter, which meant he thought the topic was quite serious and important. If it was serious and important for Sirius Black, then it was definitely important for Harry Potter. He only hoped the conversation went well with Hermione. He really wanted to go on a date with her – Betrothal Contract be damned!



Hogwarts Grounds

Meanwhile, the young witch in question was currently walking out of the front doors of Hogwarts, and onto the Grounds. She could see the grouping of five wizarding tents, and realized this must be where the Ilvermorny representatives were staying. But more important – where Harry Potter was staying.

Hermione really needed to talk with Harry about the Ravenclaw bullies and what Padma Patil had discussed with her the previous day. Harry needed to know that those Ravenclaw bints – especially Mandy Brocklehurst – appeared to be trying to poach him – she still wasn't clear on what that meant. They had tried to dissuade her, scare her from going on a date with Harry Potter!

Hermione Granger thought of herself as a strong and smart woman. But last night she had a revelation that terrified herself with how true it was. Hermione Granger was book-smart, she was not 'street smart'. Padma Patil had said it best, even if the truth had hurt. Hermione knew very little about Pureblood Politics and Pureblood Heritage. Harry Potter – while a half-blood – had grown up as the Heir Apparent of an Ancient and Most Noble House. So it was assured he had been taught Pureblood Politics and Heritage, and information about Wizarding Houses by his mother and “Honorary Uncles” – whether they were purebloods or not, they had experience in the wizarding world. So Harry must know several things Hermione didn't.

Hermione didn't like not knowing things. She needed to know things. And if Harry Potter and his family knew things she didn't – well she was just going to have to learn from those who knew.

As she arrived at the grouping of Ilvermorny tents, she found one of the older Ilvermorny students, a witch, performing some magic Hermione didn't recognize. This sadly reminded her of the apparent substandard education Hogwarts had opposed to Ilvermorny.

“Erm... hello?” Hermione asked, shyly.

The witch stopped casting and turned around. She leered at Hermione, then gave a soft smile.

“Ah, I recognize you,” she said, “You're Potter's friend, right?”

Hermione bit her lip, wondering if “friend” was the appropriate term for her and Harry. She barely knew him, and yet they had three long conversations as of now. She barely nodded, though it wasn't a confident nod.

“Yes,” Hermione said, “I'm looking for Harry. Which tent is he staying in?”

The witch pointed at the nearest tent. “That has been deemed the House Potter Tent. But if you're looking for Potter, you won't find him in there right now. He, Rose, Professor Potter, and Professor Black are in Diagon Alley right now.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, frowning, disheartened, “I see.”

“But Professor Lupin is inside,” the witch said, “I'm sure you can talk to him and arrange a meeting. Come on, I'll escort you inside.”

Hermione nodded shyly, and followed the witch into the tent. Hermione had seen a wizarding tent before, and this one was just as magnificent, if not more-so. She was suddenly blinded by a bright, white flash. She shrieked, thinking someone was attacking her.

“Oh, dear,” Remus Lupin said, “I am so sorry about that. I didn't realize I had visitors.”

When Hermione could see again, she noticed that Remus was standing at a table, pointing his wand at a large pile of what appeared to be post.

“Welcome Miss Moore,” Remus said, “And – ah – hello, Miss Granger. It is nice to see you again.”

“She's looking for Harry, Professor,” the witch – Moore – said.

“Yes, I assumed so,” Remus said, smiling, “Come in, Miss Granger. You're excused, Miss Moore.”

Moore turned and walked out of the tent. Hermione slowly walked over to Remus. The Professor smiled softly and stored his wand in his pocket.

“I will refrain from using magic at the moment,” Remus said, “I apologize once again for scaring you. Due to the articles in the Daily Prophet regarding Harry and his family, we've been receiving post all morning directed to all of us, though more toward Harry, and Professors Potter and Black. And I'm afraid some of the post is hex-letters and dangerous stuff. So I've been having to – ah – dismantle the dangers. That bright flash was part of that.”

“That's horrible!” Hermione exclaimed, “Why would people send such dangerous post?”

“There's a lot of unpleasant people in this world, Miss Granger,” Remus said, “Some of whom reside in Great Britain.”

Hermione gave an unladylike snort. “Well, I can't deny that.”

“We were expecting this type of post and were well-prepared for it,” Remus said, “So it isn't much of a bother – at least for us. These dangerous letters will be sent to the DMLE for possible criminal charges.”

“Well, that's good,” Hermione said.

“Yes, it is,” Remus agreed, “What can I do for you, Miss Granger?”

“Well – er – as your student said, I'm – ah – looking for Harry,” Hermione said.

Remus smiled softly. “Yes, I was forewarned of such by Harry. He was expecting you.”

“He was?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Remus said, “He was expecting you to come by looking for him. Believe me when I say he really wanted to talk to you this morning. He understands you have something important to tell him.”

“Yes,” Hermione said, “Quite important.”

“Well, unfortunately, he isn't here at the moment,” Remus said, “He, his sister, Professor Potter and Professor Black have all gone to Diagon Alley. Unavoidable visit, I'm afraid. They were summoned by Gringotts for a meeting, and the Goblins of Gringotts do not like to be kept waiting. Plus they had other business they needed to tend to. But they should be back soon enough. I'm sure once I tell Harry that you were looking for him, he'll go and look for you immediately.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Um... well, tell him I'll either be in the Hogwarts Library or the Ravenclaw Common Room. If I'm in Ravenclaw Tower, then obviously he can't enter, so – er – I'll see him at mealtime.”

“Very well,” Remus said, “I will pass along the message. It was nice to see you again, Miss Granger.”

Hermione nodded, and echoed the response. She asked to be excused, and when given permission, turned and started off back toward the entrance/exit of the tent.

“Miss Granger?” Remus asked; Hermione turned back to Remus, “Harry may very well hex me for saying this. But I know he is very much looking forward to your date next Saturday.”

Hermione blushed and smiled. “Good. So am I, sir. Er... good luck on that... dismantling thing.”

“Thank you, Miss Granger,” Remus said, leering at the stack of post, “I may find I'll need it.”

Hermione chuckled softly, and left the tent.

Ten minutes later, she was walking through the second floor corridor toward the Hogwarts Library, when her day suddenly became much worse. She heard a voice yell an incantation, and was blinded by a very bright white light. Then she felt a pain centered around her mouth.

She was just thinking about how familiar that voice was when her world went black.



The Daily Prophet

Rita Skeeter was happily humming to herself as she made her way toward the direction of the Entrance Room of the Daily Prophet Headquarters, and Barnabus Cuffe's office. She had just received a memo from Cuffe saying he wanted to meet with her about something important.

She figured it had something to do with the schedule pertaining to the Triwizard Tournament, which she was the lead journalist for the Tournament, when representing the Daily Prophet. She knew the next important event regarding the Triwizard Tournament was coming up – the Weighing of the Wands. Perhaps Ol' Barney had figured out when the event was taking place.

Or perhaps he wanted to meet with her, to congratulate her on her two front-page article in that morning's edition of the Daily Prophet. She had expected such a compliment before now, but obviously Barney was a busy man, so she couldn't fault him for that.

“He's expecting you,” the receptionist – Rita couldn't remember the young woman's name – said when she saw Rita. “Head on inside.”

Rita smiled at the receptionist, walked over to the door to Barney's office, opened it, and stepped inside.

“Miss Skeeter!” Barney said, “Come on in. Shut the door behind you, and take a seat!”

Rita did as asked, and sat down in one of the two chairs on the nearest side of the desk.

“Is this about the schedule for the Triwizard Tournament, Barney?” Rita asked, “Because I'm still waiting for the schedule from Ludo Bagman or Bartemius Crouch. The Weighing of the Wands is coming up, and I am not prepared! I need to know if I have to change other plans.”

Barney sighed. “Miss Skeeter, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. I have to take you off the Triwizard Tournament detail.”

“What?!” Rita shrieked, dumbfounded and flabbergasted, “You can't do this, Barney! You promised me! This is my story! Who are you giving it to?! Nobody but me deserves it!”

Barney frowned. “Nobody, you say? What if I told you it is I who is taking over the coverage of the event.”

Rita laughed. “Oh, thank goodness, you're joking with me. Barney, you bad boy! That was a good one! Barney, I know you miss writing articles – I don't know why, since you write a few every week. But you belong in this office! This is you, Barney! Leave the article-writing to me and the others!”

“I'm afraid I cannot do that, Rita,” Barney said, “I am not joking here. A few minutes ago, I had a meeting with Lily, Harry and Rose Potter, and Sirius Black.”

Rita's eyes widened. “Well, why didn't you say so? Are they still here? I could sit them down for an interview!”

“Rita, shut your yap and listen to me!” Barney thundered.

Rita blinked. Barney had never been this way with her. She was the star reporter of the Daily Prophet. Barney respected her for that!

“The members of House Potter and Lord Sirius Black sat me down and made me an offer I could not refuse,” Barney said. “They've given me exclusive rights to articles about them, Remus Lupin, and any friends and allies they deem under the category of exclusive. Not you, and not any other journalists, Rita. Only I can write the articles.”

“But Harry Potter is the Ilvermorny Champion!” Rita exclaimed, “That would mean that --”

“Yes,” Barney said, “It would. Because only I can write about Harry Potter – or in this case – Lord Potter --”

Rita spluttered and coughed at that revelation.

“-- then it is only prudent that the job of the Triwizard Tournament coverage be turned over to me,” Barney continued, “Otherwise, you'd only be writing about three of the four Champions – and that is if House Potter and Black don't convince the other Champions to give me exclusive rights too. So, I have no choice but take over the coverage.”

“But Harry Potter being given the title of Lord Potter is big news!” Rita growled, “Big! That should have been my story! Mine! Why did you agree with this?! You could have shot them down! You're Barnabus Cuffe!”

“Two reasons,” Barney said, “One, House Potter and House Black make up a combined of forty-percent ownership of the Daily Prophet.”

Rita gulped. That was news to her. Barney would never have denied a deal from someone with that much power in the company.

“Two, House Potter is in an Alliance with the Lovegoods,” Barney said. “The Lovegoods, as I'm sure you know, own the Quibbler, our chief rival.”

Rita snorted. That rag didn't deserve such an honor of being chief rival to the Daily Prophet and its sister subscriptions!

“So House Potter could have turned exclusivity over to the Quibbler,” Barney said, “Which meant the Daily Prophet couldn't write not just stories on House Potter, Black, Remus Lupin, and anyone else they choose, we also couldn't write about the Triwizard Tournament, because Potter's the Ilvermorny Champion. The Quibbler would be the leading source for the Tournament, and we'd take a big dump in the ratings. Now do you see why I had to agree to exclusivity? Why I had agree with taking over the reins for the articles?”

Rita nodded. She hated it, but she saw the reasons why.

“I'm sure you'll find other stories you can write about, Miss Skeeter,” Barnabus said. “You're excused.”

Rita stood, and exited the office, grumbling under her breath. She wanted to scream out loud to the heavens! She was Rita Skeeter! She should not be denied the privilege to write about House Potter and Sirius Black, and the Triwizard Tournament!

She wouldn't let House Potter and Black win so easily. She would find something she could legally write that wouldn't break exclusivity rights. She was going to do some digging. Fortunately she had all the tools of the trade she needed to get what she wanted.

House Potter and Black would rue the day they messed with Rita Skeeter!



House Potter Tent

After the long, fifteen minute walk from the front gate of Hogwarts to the Ilvermorny tents, all Harry Potter wanted to do was sit down with a glass of ice cold water and catch his breath. But when he walked into the House Potter tent, with Lily, Rose, and Sirius, he didn't know his already long day – and it wasn't even eleven in the morning yet! – was about to get much longer.

When he stepped into the tent, he found Remus standing near the dining room table, which was piled with several pieces of mail. The mail wasn't the most surprising thing in the room however. Luna Lovegood was standing beside Remus. Her usual dreamy expression – which Harry had gotten used to in the last two conversations he had with her – was gone. She now looked very stressed.

“Harry!” Luna said, “There you are! Hermione's been attacked! She's in the Hospital Wing!”

Harry Potter swore so loud, the Ilvermorny students in the Classroom Tent – who were meeting to plan their celebration party in Harry's honor – heard him.

 

Chapter Text

Previously on “The Ilvermorny Champion”...

When [Harry] stepped into the tent, he found Remus standing near the dining room table, which was piled with several pieces of mail. The mail wasn't the most surprising thing in the room however. Luna Lovegood was standing beside Remus. Her usual dreamy expression – which Harry had gotten used to in the last two conversations he had with her – was gone. She now looked very stressed.

“Harry!” Luna said, “There you are! Hermione's been attacked! She's in the Hospital Wing!”

Harry Potter swore so loud, the Ilvermorny students in the Classroom Tent – who were meeting to plan their celebration party in Harry's honor – heard him.


Sunday, November 1st, 1994

“WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK!” Harry Potter growled.

“Harry James Potter!” Lily exclaimed in a scolding tone.

“Sorry, Mom,” Harry muttered, “I've just had a long morning filled with revelations – some of which I'm not at all happy with – and now one of my newest friends has been attacked and is in the Hospital Wing! Where's the Hospital Wing, Luna? Take me there right now!”

“I'd be happy to take you, Harry,” Luna said, “But there's no need to be so urgent. And no need for such language either. Hermione's actually not that bad off. She was hit with a Teeth-Growing Hex, and then stunned. Apparently she was on her way to the library, because she was on the second floor corridor. Luckily, I had left the library when I did, because I found her Stunned in the middle of the corridor. I revived her and brought her to the Hospital Wing. She was calm enough to tell me to come here and speak to Professor Lupin.”

For someone who had given the breaking news in such a stressful manner, now Luna was sounding quite calm as she gave her explanation.

“Luna,” Lily said, “I think you should have said that right away.”

“I was about to, when your son swore, Lady Potter,” Luna said, smiling.

Harry huffed. “Hospital Wing. Now.”

“I think I'd like to go too,” Lily said, “Rose, you're of course welcome to come. I know Hermione is your new friend too. Sirius?”

“Something tells me I should go with you,” Sirius said, sighing.

“We'll be back soon, Remus,” Lily said, “We have much to talk about.”

“Take your time,” Remus said, “I've been divvying up the letters and dismantling the dangerous ones, and I'm sure there are more to come. So I'm sure I'll be busy enough that you'll be back before I know it.”

“It was nice to see you again, Professor Lupin,” Luna said.

Luna then walked past Harry and left the tent. Harry followed behind her out of the tent with Lily, Rose and Sirius tailing him. They were met by a couple of the older Ilvermorny students.

“We heard Harry yelling,” one of the students, a seventh year Ilvermorny boy, said. “We came to see what was wrong.”

“Harry just received a bit of distressing news, but it was a misunderstanding,” Lily said.

Harry snorted, glaring only half-playfully in Luna's direction.

“A bit of a misunderstanding,” Lily amended. “Everything is fine now. We'll be back soon. Thank you for your concern, Mr. Samson.”

“Alright,” Samson said, “Yo, Harry! Don't plan on joining your girlfriend for dinner in the castle tonight. We're having a celebration, Ilvermorny style, tonight in the Classroom Tent and -- ow!”

The witch standing next to Samson smacked him upside the head. Harry scarcely recalled that the witch and Samson might have been dating.

“Be nice Stephen!” the witch said, then smiled at Harry, “You can bring your girlfriend along if you want, Harry.”

Harry was about to say Hermione was not his girlfriend, and there was a very good chance she likely wouldn't be going on a date with him either. But he noticed Luna had gotten bored of the conversation and had decided to start off to Hogwarts without them. He merely nodded, gave a halfhearted reply indicating he would attend the celebration, and then he headed off to follow Luna. He faintly heard Lily say something to the older Ilvermorny students, before she, Rose and Sirius followed to catch up to Harry and Luna.

“Luna?” Harry asked, as they neared Hogwarts, “Do you know who attacked Hermione?”

“I have my suspects,” Luna said.

“Hermione didn't tell you?” Harry asked.

“I think she was trying to,” Luna said, “But she was talking so fast – I think due to stress and panic – and I couldn't understand much due to her hexed teeth. If she knows who it is, I'm sure she'll tell you when she can.”

Harry nodded. As he followed Luna into Hogwarts, and they trekked through the castle toward the Hospital Wing with his family, Harry's thoughts were whirling through his mind. Harry hated bullies and cowards. It was obvious that both Hermione and Luna were mistreated by their fellow students, if not outright bullied. And now someone had attacked Hermione. No matter whether his relationship with Hermione remained “just friends” or went beyond friendship, Harry still considered Hermione his friend. And nobody messed with Harry Potter's friends and got away with it.

Whoever attacked Hermione was going to pay. Now that he was Lord Potter, the opportunities were nearly endless. Duels of Satisfaction was just one of the possible outcomes. It didn't matter whether it was a wizard or witch. Either way, they were responsible for this cowardly attack, and when it came to that, there were no gender lines!

The trip from the tents to the Hospital Wing on the second floor took nearly twenty minutes. When Harry entered the Hospital Wing, he found Hermione sitting up in a hospital bed, speaking to the Hogwarts Healer, and actually looking as if she hadn't been harmed at all. When she saw Luna, Harry and his family, he grinned and waved at them. The Healer turned and smiled warmly when she saw Lily and Sirius.

“Hello, Lady Potter, Mister Black,” the Healer said.

“It is Lord Black now, actually, Poppy,” Sirius said. “But you, my dear, can call me Sirius.”

“Harry, Rose,” Lily said, “This is Madam Poppy Pomfrey, the Hogwarts Healer. She was also the Healer when we attended here.”

“That makes me sound so old!” Madam Pomfrey said, with a world-weary sigh; she smiled at Harry and Rose, “It is very nice to meet the both of you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” Harry said, as he walked over to one of the empty chairs near Hermione, and sat down, “How are you, Hermione?”

“Miss Granger is just fine, Mr. Potter,” Madam Pomfrey said, “She was attacked with a Densaugeo Hex, as well as a Stunner. But nothing else besides that happened, thankfully. Miss Granger and I both believe the Stunner was just so the culprit could get away without being identified. The Densaugeo Hex was the intended attack, meant to embarrass Miss Granger, and perhaps send a message.

“Miss Granger, I need to contact the Headmaster, and your Head of House. You may talk with your friends until Professors Dumbledore and Flitwick arrive. Please stay in bed. I'm still concerned about possible side-effects of the Stunner. Not probable, mind you. Merely caution.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Hermione said.

The Hogwarts Healer bustled away.

“How are you, Hermione?” Harry asked again.

“I am fine, Harry,” Hermione said, “Like Madam Pomfrey said. Actually I'm even better than fine.”

She opened her mouth and showed her teeth. She no longer had her bucked teeth, something which Harry commented on.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Madam Pomfrey told me to tell her when they were back to normal, and well... I let her make them equal to the rest of my teeth. So it was an improvement.”

“It could have been much worse, Hermione, if you don't mind me saying,” Lily said, “Luna told us she found you Stunned in the middle of a corridor. Someone could have... taken advantage of you.”

Harry narrowed his eyes and frowned.

“Possible, but that wasn't my attacker's intention,” Hermione said. “As Madam Pomfrey mentioned, the attacker did it only to embarrass me, and then she Stunned me, so she could run off without being identified.”

“She?” Harry echoed, “Sounds as if you do know who it is.”

“I recognized her voice,” Hermione said, sighing, “Mandy Brocklehurst.”

“And who, may I ask, is Mandy Brocklehurst to you?” Sirius asked.

“She's my fellow Ravenclaw – a dorm-mate and year-mate,” Hermione said, then she frowned, “She's also part of a group of bullies who've messed with me and Luna over the past couple of years.”

“Bullies?” Harry asked, frowning.

“Until today, they were just verbal insults and threats, Harry,” Hermione said, “Nothing too bad. I usually put up with it.”

“But something happened that made this Brocklehurst girl attack you,” Lily said, “Something recent. What?”

Hermione frowned and looked at Harry. “This is what I wanted to talk to you about, Harry. Mandy Brocklehurst overheard you asking me out to Hogsmeade yesterday. Obviously, she had been nearby hiding behind a bookshelf. She confronted me with the other bullies --”

“Who?” Harry asked.

Hermione sighed. “Cho Chang, Marietta Edgecombe, and Su Li.”

“Su Li, the Dueling Champion?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione asked, “You know her?”

“I've heard of her,” Sirius said, “A couple of my students at Ilvermorny dueled her in competitions, and talked about her. I had no idea she was a Hogwarts student.”

“Mandy, and her three friends,” Hermione said, “They confronted me yesterday afternoon. They – um – tried to dissuade me from going on a date with you, Harry. Told me to turn you down. They said that because you're the Heir Apparent of an Ancient and Noble House, that I don't deserve to go on a date with you. That girls like those four should be going out with you, and not a... a Muggleborn like me.

“Pureblood supremacy bullshit!” Sirius muttered.

“Sirius!” Lily scolded him for his swearing.

“Thirteen years since I've been in England, and nothing has changed,” Sirius said, ignoring Lily, “Why am I so surprised? It's been this way for decades – no, centuries. Why should it stop now?”

“Anyway,” Hermione said, when she realized Sirius had stopped ranting. “Padma Patil – a fellow Ravenclaw in my year – she defended me. Actually, she defended you, Harry, more than me I think, since her House is allied with yours.”

“Good for her,” Lily said, approvingly. “For defending you and her Ally.”

“Padma told the girls that if I was going on a date with you,” Hermione said, “Then that meant it was House Potter business, and Padma had a right to defend me. She – er – told the girls that if they interfered while – um – you were interested in me, then they would be guilty of... poaching, I think?”

“I like this Patil girl already,” Sirius said, “She's a wise one. Poaching, Hermione, while pureblood nonsense, is actually one of those good pureblood nonsensical things. It can be good, or it can be bad. In your case, it is pretty good. It protects you while – as you said – Harry is interested in dating or courting you. If there is any chance – no matter how miniscule – that you'll be Harry's wife, nobody can interfere with that, because they would be interfering with Harry's choice when it comes to extending a bloodline.”

Hermione blushed pink as she looked in Harry's direction. Harry wondered if he still had a chance with her. Of course... he hadn't told her the bad news yet.

“And yet you believe Mandy still attacked you?” he asked. “Even after she was told off by Padma?”

“Out of the four girls,” Hermione said, “Mandy was the only one, after Padma defended me, to still tell me to turn you down. I recognized her voice, Harry. How could I not? I've listened to her rants and insults for three years now. I know her voice. It was her.”

“She's not going to get away with this,” Harry said, “None of them are!”

“Harry,” Lily said, “You should let the proper authorities handle this. If Hermione's Headmaster and Head of House are coming to speak to her --”

“I am Lord Potter, Mom!” Harry said, “That should mean something! It is my right to do something about this! You heard Hermione. These girls tried to poach me! Do you really think they'll be the last ones?!”

“You're Lord Potter, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“Long story,” Harry said, dismissively, “I'll explain it later in more detail.”

Lily frowned, but it was Sirius who spoke up. “What do you want to do, Harry?”

“I want to put Hermione under House Potter Protection,” Harry said; he glanced at Luna, “Heck, Luna too, for that matter.”

“Harry,” Sirius said, “While I commend you for a good idea, House Protection is a very titchy business. Technically, Luna doesn't need it. Her House is already in an Alliance with you.”

“It would still send a message more than anything,” Harry argued.

Sirius nodded. “That it would. As for Hermione – wasn't it you who told me Hermione's simply going on a date with you? She's not --”

“Maybe not,” Harry interrupted before Sirius could embarrass him and Hermione both by saying 'wife', 'betrothed', 'intended' or anything like that, “But she's still my friend. Both Hermione and Luna are my friends. And – I'm sorry, girls for saying this – but it looks as if they've both had a history of bullying, and that is something I will not stand by idly for, and ignore!”

“What is House Protection, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“I'll take this one, pup,” Sirius said. “I've dealt with it before. Hermione, House Protection is sort of like an unofficial Alliance. Actually, in some ways, it is better than an Alliance. With an Alliance, you're not always guaranteeing that you're going to defend each other. Most Alliances have to do with Pureblood Politics. It just ensures that those Houses you're Allies with are going to vote on all the same laws, topics and what-not that you're going to in the Wizengamot, and you'll vote for the stuff that your Allies do too. Sure, some Alliances will defend each other. Some will stand by your side and fight alongside you to the death. But not everybody.

“That is House Protection, Hermione. If you're under House Potter Protection, Harry will fight for you. He'll fight for and beside you. He'll fight the battles you yourself can't win. When you're attacked, like today, he'll stand by your side, and defend you, even in the aftermath of the battle. If you're under House Potter Protection, anyone who threatens you – verbally or physically – is subject to hell from House Potter. House Potter could participate in a Duel of Satisfaction, or create blood-feuds with those who harm you. Verbal threats aren't as bad. Poaching and stuff like that goes under that category.

“Basically, Hermione. Under House Potter Protection, nobody would mess with you. Because if they did, they'd face House Potter wrath. I'm sure Harry would let everyone in this castle know it too.”

Harry grinned malevolently and nodded. Oh yes, ideas were forming in his mind quite nicely.

“What would have to happen to be placed under House Potter Protection?” Hermione asked.

“Hermione,” Lily said, “You need to put some thought into this. I know there are possibilities where your relationship – which is friendship now – with Harry could go. But right now you're just friends who might be going on a date.”

Might? Hermione mouthed soundlessly, questioningly toward Harry.

Harry merely smiled at her, and wished she hadn't caught onto that detail.

“You need to be sure this isn't a decision you're going to regret,” Lily said, “This needs to be a decision made with your heart and brain in control. Not your hormones.”

Hermione blushed pink. “Even if we only stay friends, why would it matter whether or not I'm under House Potter Protection, Lady Potter? We'd still be friends. Sure, anyone who really knows me knows that I would tell you that I believe I could defend and fight for myself. A few days ago, I would say the same thing. But I've come to a few realizations and revelations about myself. I'm nowhere near smart or strong enough right now to deal with Pureblood Politics, or Pureblood Supremacy. And obviously, I'm not ready to defend myself physically given that I was attacked and defeated before I could even react.”

“As part of the House Potter Protection,” Harry said, “I would help you improve in all of those categories.”

“And I'd be happy to help,” Sirius said.

Lily sighed. “Well, of course I'd help. This is just a decision that needs thought.”

“No,” Hermione said, “I've already decided. It doesn't matter whether I'm just Harry's friend or... or it turns to something more. Harry's my friend, and nothing will change that.”

Harry smiled. That gave him some hope.

“Tell me what to do,” Hermione said.

“Me too,” Luna said. “I want this in addition to the Alliance my House has with House Potter.”

“Luna,” Lily said, “I think you should first speak to your father --”

“Daddy has given me permission to make my own decisions, Lady Potter,” Luna interrupted, kindly, “I think he would approve either way. The only thing he wouldn't approve of is delaying the decision because I had chosen to get further approval.”

Lily blinked. “Well, I can't find any arguments there. Very well. You take this from here, Sirius. I just hope we don't come to regret this.”

“Do you have your wands handy, ladies?” Sirius asked.

Hermione picked her wand up from her bedside table. Luna removed her wand from her robes.

“You first, Hermione,” Sirius said, “Harry, you will repeat the words after me, then you will Hermione. What is your middle name, Hermione?”

“Jean,” Hermione answered.

“Thank you,” Sirius said, “Touch your wand tips with each other.”

Harry and Hermione did so.

In a clear, carrying voice, Harry repeated Sirius' words as he said them. “Miss Hermione Jean Granger, I, Lord Harry James Potter, Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter, offer you the protection of my House. Do you accept?"

Hermione held herself importantly, “I, Hermione Jean Granger, accept the protection of House Potter, my Lord.”

“So mote it be,” Harry finished the vows.

The tips of their wands shone with bright white light, and Harry felt a warmth rise throughout his body, to his extremities. Hermione's eyelids fluttered. Then he did the same with Luna, and felt the same sensation, and Luna mimicked Hermione's movements.

“As Lord Potter, I welcome you to the protection of House Potter, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood,” Harry said, unguided.

“Wow,” Hermione whispered, “That was... intense.”

“Indeed it was,” said the voice of Albus Dumbledore.

Harry turned toward Dumbledore's voice, as did Hermione, Luna, Lily, Rose and Sirius. Dumbledore, Madam Pomfrey, and the half-goblin Professor Flitwick – Hermione's Head of House, Harry recalled – stood there.

“Were those actions absolutely necessary, Mr. Potter?” Dumbledore asked.

“It is Lord Potter, Mr. Dumbledore,” Harry said, rising to his feet; Dumbledore looked quite shocked and astonished at this news, “And those actions were very necessary, yes. I don't know what kind of bullshit rules and guidelines you have going on in this school, Mr. Dumbledore, but in Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, nobody goes around hexing students! And rarely is there any long-term bullying, because bullying – even simple verbal bullying – doesn't go unpunished for very long! It would appear that Hermione and Luna have been bullied about as long as they have been students here! Did you know about this, sir?”

He pointed to Hermione and Luna's Head of House. “Did you know about this, sir? If you're the same Professor Flitwick Mom, Sirius and Remus told me about, then you've been Head of Ravenclaw House since before they were students here. Are you going to tell me you didn't notice any of the bullying your two students went through?”

“We did notice it, Mist – Lord Potter, excuse me,” Dumbledore said. “But I felt that letting students handle such issues teaches them to be stronger emotionally, mentally, et cetera, et cetera.”

“So you simply let Hermione and Luna handle multiple incidents of bullying,” Harry said, “Until finally, finally, you're here because she was hexed and Stunned? 'Oh, no. A student is in the Hospital Wing! I better make sure it isn't too bad'. You're lucky it isn't too bad. Hermione was Stunned and left in the middle of a corridor. A young teenage girl. A first-gen – excuse me, Muggleborn – who is obviously a target for that reason alone, left Stunned in the middle of a corridor. Something more serious could have happened to her!”

“Lady Potter,” Dumbledore said, “Are you going to stand here and let your son talk to me like this? I thought you raised him better than that.”

“Lord Potter is the Head of the House – my House, Albus,” Lily said. “He has every right to say what is on his mind.”

“And as a mother and her son?” Dumbledore asked.

“I would applaud him for what he is saying to you,” Lily said, “And say I agree with him. Why are you attempting to hush my son up, by speaking to me? Why are you not speaking to him, answering his very good points. Embarrassed to find that he has made some good points, Albus?”

“What has happened is quite unfortunate,” Dumbledore said, “Appropriate steps will be taken, of course --”

“Yes,” Harry said, “Yes, they will. Because you apparently witnessed it, Mr. Dumbledore, you now know that Hermione is under House Potter Protection. Which means everything regarding this incident becomes my business. I want to speak to Mandy Brocklehurst.”

“Mandy Brocklehurst?” Flitwick echoed.

“She's the one who attacked Hermione,” Harry said.

“Proof, Miss Granger?” Dumbledore asked.

“I recognized her voice,” Hermione said.

“I'm sorry, Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said, “That is not enough evidence.”

“Bullshit, Dumbledore!” Sirius exclaimed. “Check her wand for recent spells! Use your Pensieve and get a memory from her! I know you have a Pensieve! Get her to tell you the truth! This is serious business, Dumbledore! Hermione is under House Potter Protection. If your investigation and punishment does not live up to Lord Potter's expectations, he is in his absolutely legal rights to take it over! Harry knows how to handle punishment for those who hurt his friends and those under his Protection. He's well educated in that, Dumbledore. He will take care of it, if you don't.”

Dumbledore sighed and nodded. “Very well. Professor Flitwick, collect Miss Brocklehurst and bring her to my office.”

“Cho Chang, Marietta Edgecombe and Su Li too – do I have that right, Hermione?” Harry asked, looking back at Hermione.

“Yes, my Lord,” Hermione said.

“You have permission to call me Harry,” Harry said.

Dumbledore cleared his throat. “What do those three ladies have to do with this?”

“They attempted a poaching,” Harry said, “They tried to dissuade Hermione from going on a date with me.”

Dumbledore's eyes widened. Harry was quite sure he wasn't reacting to the poaching accusation. It appeared the bullies weren't the only one who disapproved of him going on a date with Hermione. He made a mental note to investigate this later.

“Padma Patil was an apparent witness and helped Hermione with that confrontation,” Harry said, “Bring those girls, and Padma, as well, to your office. I'd like to talk to them, and thank Padma, Ally to Ally.”

“You intend to go to my office?” Dumbledore asked, “I did not invite --”

“Well, invite us,” Sirius said, “All of us. If Lord Potter wants to talk to these girls about these incidents, he has that right, as they are being accused of crimes against those under his Protection.”

“Professor Flitwick, please find the girls in question,” Dumbledore said, “We will meet you at my office.”

Flitwick nodded, turned and left the Hospital Wing.

“Lord Potter,” Dumbledore said, “I hope I can persuade you to change your mind.”

“Mr. Dumbledore,” Harry said, “I hope I can remind you that interfering with House business is a serious offense and can lead to something as serious as a blood feud.”

Sirius and Rose snickered. Lily smiled in approval at Harry. Dumbledore frowned.

“Madam Pomfrey,” Harry said, “Is Hermione cleared to leave this wonderful room you lord over? I wish for her and Luna to accompany us to Mr. Dumbledore's office.”

“Let me check with my patient, Mist – Lord Potter,” Madam Pomfrey said, “Then I can answer that. Give us privacy.”

“I want Luna there with you,” Harry said. “House Potter Protection precautions, you understand.”

Madam Pomfrey looked bewildered at the suggestion, then sighed and nodded.

“I will keep constant vigilance like Professor Moody likes to say,” Luna said

“I'm sure you will,” Harry said.

He stepped away from the bed, as did Rose. Madam Pomfrey closed the curtain around herself, Hermione and Luna.

“You're excused, Albus,” Lily said, “We know where your office is. Is the password still Fizzing Whizbees?”

Dumbledore huffed quietly. Obviously he didn't like being dismissed. He turned and left the Hospital Wing.

“That was quite enjoyable,” Sirius said. “What is his goddamn problem, anyway?”

“I don't think he likes being told what to do in his own castle,” Harry said, “If it were up to him, Brocklehurst and those girls would get away with a slap on the wrist, even though Hermione could have been badly injured or worse. I'm going to make sure they get more than a slap on the wrist, even if I have to stand against Albus Dumbledore on this.”

“I'm not surprised,” Lily said; she crossed the short space between herself, and her son, and hugged him, “I'm very proud of you, Harry. You handled yourself very well. I am sorry I doubted you when it came to House Protection.”

“It's alright,” Harry said, “Thanks for what you said to Dumbledore when he turned the conversation over to you.”

“I knew exactly what he was doing,” Lily said, “He wasn't going to fool me. Thinking he can make me change your mind. Ha bloody ha! I haven't been able to change your mind since I stopped changing your diapers!”

“Mom, language!” Harry said, blushing at the diaper joke, as he backed away, ignoring Sirius and Rose's snickers.

Hermione and Luna exited the curtains, followed by Madam Pomfrey.

“Cleared to go,” Hermione said.

“Excellent,” Harry said, rubbing his hands together, “Let's go make life hell for some bullies.”

Given that the Headmaster's Office was on the same floor as the Hospital Wing, the trip took less than five minutes. Surprisingly, Professor Flitwick and the girls were waiting for them near the guardian. All of the girls looked quite shocked to see Harry, and all but Padma looked rather angry when they noticed Hermione and Luna were with him.

“That was quick, Professor,” Lily said.

“Luckily I caught them all on their way to the Great Hall for lunch,” Flitwick said, “The Headmaster is already upstairs. I was waiting for you, as an – ah – precautionary measure. Fizzing Whizbees!”

The guardian side-stepped, revealing the stairs behind it.

“Go on, ladies,” Flitwick said to the girls behind him.

Harry watched every girl as they started up the steps, wondering which one was Mandy Brocklehurst. It was almost laughably easy to pinpoint her, though. Two of the girls were of Asian heritage, so Harry was able to deduce they were Chang and Li. Padma was obviously the Indian girl. So it was one of the other two. Harry picked the one that glared at Hermione when she headed up the stairs. It was a fifty-fifty chance either way.

When Flitwick followed the students, Harry followed him, leading his group. Soon, everyone was standing in the central floor area near Dumbledore's desk.

“I'm just going to get right to it,” Harry said, deciding to take charge before Dumbledore could, “Alright ladies, do me a favor and tell me who is Mandy Brocklehurst. First girl to point her out might get to go on a date with me.”

Rose and Sirius laughed when all the Ravenclaw girls – including Hermione and Luna – pointed to Mandy. Harry was happy to say he had gotten it right.

“Hermione wins!” Harry said; not that anyone else had a chance – except, perhaps, Luna. Not that he was going to say that, of course.

Hermione grinned, and Sirius snickered.

“Miss Brocklehurst, front and center please,” Harry said.

Mandy frowned. When Professor Flitwick cleared his throat, Mandy stepped away from the group and moved to a more empty part of the floor.

“Do you have your wand, Miss Brocklehurst?” Harry asked.

“Lady Potter!” Dumbledore said, “Please kindly inform --”

“I'm not going to attack her, Dumbledore!” Harry exclaimed, “I just want to know she won't attack me. Does anyone in this godforsaken castle know what common sense means?!”

“It is in my pocket,” Mandy said.

“Thank you!” Harry said, giving a world-weary sigh, “Now, kindly say Densaugeo.”

“What?” Mandy asked.

“You heard me,” Harry said.

“Headmaster,” Mandy said.

“Miss Brocklehurst, do you know who I am?” Harry asked.

Mandy blushed. “Harry Potter, Heir Apparent of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

“Close, very close,” Harry said, “I am Lord Harry James Potter, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

Mandy's eyes widened, as did her friends. Padma merely looked impressed.

“Do you know what I can do as Lord Potter?” Harry asked, “For example, I can place somebody under House Protection. In fact, earlier, I placed Hermione and Luna under House Potter Protection.”

Mandy's expression turned fearful.

“Ah, so you know what that means,” Harry said. “Excellent. Now say Densaugeo.”

“Densaugeo,” Mandy muttered.

“Louder, Miss Brocklehurst!” Harry commanded.

“Densaugeo!” Mandy exclaimed.

“Hermione?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Hermione said, “It was her, Harry.”

“You hear that?” Harry asked Mandy, “It was you, Mandy. Why am I telling you that? You know it was you, of course. You attacked Hermione! You hexed her and Stunned her, leaving her in the middle of the corridor, where she could have been assaulted in any manner of ways by other unsavory types aside from yourself!”

“Why are just sitting there, Headmaster?” Mandy asked, “Potter can't do this!”

Harry growled and walked over to Mandy, staring her right in the face. “Oh, I think you'll find I can do this. Why did you do it? Hmm? Jealous of Hermione, are you? Jealous of a Muggleborn witch far smarter and far prettier than you? Jealous that I chose her to go on a date with. Jealous that this is the only time you'll ever get this close to me? That the only memory you'll have of me being this close, is me being pissed off at you?! Say it, Mandy! Say you did it!”

“I did it!” Mandy said.

Harry grinned and backed away a few paces. “You did it? You did what?”

“I hexed her,” Mandy said, “I hexed her and Stunned her and left her there. She deserves it, the little Mudblood – aah!”

Harry was now a foot away from Mandy, only this time his wand was out and pointed at her face.

“Lord Potter!” Dumbledore growled, “Back away from my student this instant!”

“Sirius?” Harry asked.

“He won't do anything,” Sirius said, “I have my wand pointed at him.”

“As do I,” Lily said.

“Miss Brocklehurst,” Harry said, “Not only did you just insult a friend of mine, you said a word that used to torment my own mother when she was your age. Do you think I am going to just stand here and let that pass? I don't know how you were raised, but your parents must have done a pretty piss-poor job if they taught you it was okay to use insults like that. If they taught you it was okay to bully, and attack somebody unannounced. To look down on others you believe are lower than you.

“I, on the other hand, was taught better than that, Mandy. I was taught how to respect people. I do respect people. Especially my friends. But I also lose respect for those who don't deserve my respect. Those like you. I was also raised with my future in mind. A future where I would be Lord Potter. So I am well aware of what I can legally do to you. Are you?

“Mr. Dumbledore. What's going to be your punishment for her? A slap on the wrist? Loss of points? One detention? No, don't answer me. You've lost your right to punish her. She attacked someone under the Protection of House Potter --”

“She wasn't under your protection when Miss Brocklehurst hexed her, Lord Potter,” Dumbledore said.

“Semantics!” Harry growled. “She'd do it again! Or one of her friends would. I have to send a message here and now! This happens no more!”

“Lord Potter,” Dumbledore said, “I believe you are a young man who knows how to show mercy. And right now I would ask you to prove that to me.”

“Mercy? Fine I can show mercy,” Harry said, “I'm going to let you choose your punishment, Mandy Brocklehurst. One month of suspension, out-of-school, from Hogwarts, and expulsion from House Ravenclaw. Or you participate in a Duel of Satisfaction against me!”

Mandy glanced at one of her friends. Harry didn't need to look to know who she was looking at.

“No, no, Miss Brocklehurst,” Harry said, “There will be no replacements, stand-ins, or seconds. So don't even think about pitting me against your Dueling Champion friend. I'd wipe the floor with her, but right now I'm focused on you. You attacked Hermione. So it appears you can duel. Is that your choice? If so, then it would be a public Duel in the Great Hall in front of everyone. Good way to send a message, isn't it?”

Sirius laughed. Harry knew his Godfather had already known his strategy. He didn't want to duel Mandy. He could wipe the floor with her, but he didn't want to. He hoped she'd take Option A. He was just trying to play against her sense of pride and vanity.

“The f-first o-option,” Mandy stammered.

“So mote it be,” Harry said. “You heard her, Dumbledore. I want notification of the punishment being meted out by tonight. If Mandy is still here, and a Ravenclaw, tomorrow, then it is me against her in the Great Hall in a Duel of Satisfaction. I don't think you want to be responsible for Miss Brocklehurst's expulsion from not only Hogwarts, but Great Britain as well, on your hands.”

He probably couldn't do that. Probably. But it was fun to see Mandy's look of horror. Harry turned to Mandy's friends.

“Miss Chang, Miss Edgecombe, Miss Li,” Harry said, “Greetings.”

The three girls winced visibly. They just witnessed the verbal beat-down and punishment of their friend. A punishment not delivered by their Headmaster, but by the young man in front of them. What would happen to them?

“I'm going to seriously hope for your sake you had no prior knowledge of Mandy's attack on Hermione,” Harry said.

Cho, Marietta, and Su shook their heads rapidly.

“Good, good,” Harry said, “That's very good. So you're only guilty of bullying Hermione and Luna – both of whom are under my Protection – for a long period of time. Oh, and then there is that attempt at poaching yesterday.”

The three girls winced again.

“Professor Flitwick,” Harry said, “I'm going to let you decide their punishments. Not Dumbledore. You. Oh, except for one thing. All three girls are no longer Ravenclaws.”

“Lord Potter,” Dumbledore said, “That is too harsh for --”

“Either they're no longer Ravenclaws,” Harry said, “Or I am inviting Hermione and Luna to reside in the Ilvermorny tents from now until we leave. I believe we have another residential tent, don't we, Sirius?”

“Yes, we do,” Sirius said. “Hermione and Luna will be quite comfortable.”

“They can be Ravenclaws, Harry,” Hermione said, softly. “I like the second option better.”

“Are you sure?” Harry asked. “You'll still attend your classes, of course. You'll just be living in the tents.”

Hermione nodded.

“Me too, my Lord,” Luna said.

“I am fine with that, Lord Potter,” Professor Flitwick said.

Harry glared at Dumbledore, who frowned and nodded.

“Then I will leave the punishment for those three to you, Professor Flitwick,” Harry said; he turned back to the three bullies, “Congratulations, girls. Hermione, the girl you bullied for three years, just gave you permission to remain in Ravenclaw. A prime example of who is the better person amongst all of you.”

“Professor Flitwick,” Dumbledore said, “Please escort Miss Brocklehurst back to Ravenclaw Tower so she can collect her things, then bring her back here. Miss Chang, Miss Edgecombe, and Miss Li, you may go down to dinner. You too, Miss Patil.”

“Miss Patil stays here,” Harry said, “I'd like words with one of the Allies of House Potter.”

“Before you go down to lunch, girls, you will speak to me,” Professor Flitwick said, “We will discuss punishments before you go. Follow me girls.”

Professor Flitwick and the four Ravenclaw girls left the office.

“Hermione, Luna, Miss Patil, please come over here,” Harry said.

The three girls did as asked.

“Mom,” Harry said, “Privacy bubble.”

“Only if you promise to behave, Harry,” Lily said, grinning.

“Mom!” Harry gasped; why did she have to embarrass him in front of these girls?!

Sirius snickered. Hermione and Padma blushed visibly. Luna merely smiled dreamily.

“One Privacy Bubble incoming,” Lily said, “Meanwhile, the rest of us will have words with Albus.”

There was a flash of sparkles, and Harry knew the bubble was over them, though they couldn't see it.

“Privacy Bubble,” Harry said, “As you can probably tell, you can't see the bubble, and you can barely hear the voices outside the bubble, but it is indistinguishable muffled sounds. Same goes for inside the bubble too. The downside is we can still be seen – though we're as blurry as they are, so it doesn't help in battle situations.”

“Brilliant!” Hermione exclaimed, “I've never heard of it.”

“Well, no you wouldn't have,” Harry said, “It is my Mom's invention. She's good at spell-crafting in addition to Potions and other talents. She hosts a Spell-Crafting Club at Ilvermorny. Anyway, Miss Patil, it is a privilege to finally meet another Ally of House Potter.”

“I am honored to meet you too, Lord Potter,” Padma said, “And I am interested to know how you've come upon the title so early.”

“Aren't we all,” Hermione quipped.

“Long story, and I'll explain it soon enough,” Harry said, “Which brings us to one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you. Of the remaining members of the Children of the Great Alliance, how many do you know?”

“All of them,” Padma said.

“Excellent,” Harry said. “Then you can do me a favor. Please get in contact with all of them between now and next Sunday. On Sunday, I'm inviting all of the Children of the Great Alliance to my tent, to have a meeting regarding the Great Alliance, and to get to know all of you a bit better.”

Padma blushed, and Harry sighed.

“I meant that in a much more innocent way than it sounded,” he said, shaking his head, “That's what I get for growing up with Sirius Black. Second reason I wanted to meet with you. To express my deep gratitude. Hermione told me what you did for her and me yesterday. You respectfully defended one of your Allies, and Hermione at the same time, and I thank you for that.”

“No big deal,” Padma said, shrugging.

“Yes, it is,” Harry said, “But if that is how you want to look at it, then I will respect that. Third on the agenda. Will you be okay in Ravenclaw Tower? Or do you want the same option as Hermione and Luna? Those tents have three bedrooms after all.”

“I'm fine in Ravenclaw Tower,” Padma said.

“Even with Su Li as a dorm-mate?” Hermione asked.

“My House is Allied with House Potter,” Padma said, “Su Li isn't going to mess with me, not after she just witnessed what went on in here. I'll be completely fine.”

“And that's all I have,” Harry said.

“Aw!” Luna whined, “So there was no reason for your mother to tell you to behave?”

“Luna!” Hermione squealed.

“Well, poo,” Luna said, pouting playfully.

Harry blinked. Did Luna just flirt with him? He wasn't sure one way or another. Luna Lovegood was a confusing young woman!

“Finite!” Harry said.

The bubble popped – figuratively – giving them clear site of the others, and vice-versa.

“You done there?” Lily asked, “Good, so are we. If Hermione and Luna are joining us, we need to go to Ravenclaw Tower, and let them pack. Albus... adieu. And thank you for returning House Potter property.”

Harry blinked at that last declaration. He figured it would be explained soon.

“And do remember what we said to you, Albus,” Sirius said, “You would do good to take it seriously.”

Harry and the girls followed joined Lily, Sirius, and Rose as they left the office.

“Miss Patil,” Lily said, as they headed down the corridor toward the Grand Staircase, “You're welcome to join us or head off to the Great Hall for lunch.”

“We're going to be headed to the Great Hall either way,” Harry said.

“Are we?” Lily asked.

“Yes,” Harry said, “What better time to give an announcement to the whole student body of Hogwarts than during a meal time?”

“I'm not even going to ask,” Lily muttered.

“So what did you mean by House Potter property, Mom?” Harry asked.

“Did you forget the discussion we had with Albus the other evening,” Lily said, “regarding something he borrowed from your father before he died?”

Harry's look of realization made Lily smile. She took a silvery, shimmery fabric from her robes.

Hermione gasped. “Is that... an Invisibility Cloak?”

“This once belonged to my husband, and his father before him,” Lily said, “It has a rich history, but unfortunately, that is a House Potter secret. I am going to pass it along to Harry, as his father would have done. But first...”

Lily waved her wand along every inch of the Cloak. She grumbled and muttered several times.

“Tracking Charms?” Sirius guessed.

“And others,” Lily said, “That goddamned bastard. Sorry, Harry. Can't give it to you just yet. We need to know exactly what Dumbledore did to this.”

“Should have known,” Sirius said, “He gave that to you far too easily.”

“Yep,” Lily said, “And I didn't say a word about it, because I didn't want to give away any indication I suspected what I had.”

The large group went quiet as they headed toward Ravenclaw Tower. When they arrived, Lily and Rose went inside with the girls to help them, while Harry and Sirius stayed outside.

“So... three girls and you under a privacy bubble,” Sirius said, “Anything happen?”

“Nothing like that happened,” Harry muttered.

“I need to check you for Memory Charms,” Sirius said, “You show symptoms of forgetting everything I ever taught you!

Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Pup,” Sirius said, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder and looking – well – serious, “Your father would be goddamned proud of you. I am,proud of you. In the last hour or so, you have shown that you deserve the title of Lord Potter, even at fourteen years old. You commanded the stage in the Hospital Wing, and Dumbledore's Office – both of which are environments which you rarely ever want to tick off the one who lords over the place.

“You handled that confrontation with Miss Brocklehurst perfectly. You got her to admit what she did. Yes, you did threaten her, but you never harmed her. No one could fault you for that. Hell, Alastor Moody, who is currently in this castle, would have applauded your performance. He has been known to do that when he was an Auror, and people respected him for it!

“You were the Judge, Jury and Executioner, and when it comes to House Politics and bylaws, you had every legal right to do what you did and more. Though, I would question that 'expulsion from Britain” bit.”

“That was sort of a joke,” Harry said, grinning, “Interesting that Dumbledore didn't question it though.”

“Which means he fears it could be done,” Sirius said, nodding, “Interesting indeed. Anyway, I could tell you didn't want to duel that girl. Probably because you'd wipe the floor with her.”

“Easily,” Harry said, “And I'm not saying that to be cocky.”

“You're saying it because it is fact,” Sirius said, “I know. Even though that Dueling Champion, Li, would put up a spectacular duel with you, you would probably beat her. Brocklehurst wouldn't stand an ice cube's chance in hell. Simply because everything I've taught you, and everything you've learned at Ilvermorny reaches far and above what anybody in this school could do. Hermione was correct to be angry at the substandard education Hogwarts has to offer. I'm angry too. I wish I went to Ilvermorny instead of this bloody school. The experiences outside of class is something I would never want to change, but education-wise, Ilvermorny's where it is at.”

Harry nodded in agreement.

“So... what do you have planned for the Great Hall?” Sirius asked.

“Now, Sirius,” Harry said, “Why would I ruin that surprise?”

“Fine, keep your secrets,” Sirius said, “But promise me one thing.”

Harry looked at him expectantly, wondering if his Godfather was going to go out-of-character, and tell him to be nice.

“Make sure Snape is there first,” Sirius said, “Because I want to see the look on his face.”

Harry merely grinned.

Several minutes later, Harry and company, including Hermione, Luna and Patil – Hermione and Luna with their belongings in tow – arrived at the Entrance Hall. Harry grinned when he heard the loud chatter in the Great Hall.

Excellent.

“Showtime,” Harry said.

Harry led the group into the Great Hall and studied the Head Table. Dumbledore wasn't there. Neither was Flitwick. McGonagall and most of the other staff was there. Including Snape. Good.

None of the Ilvermorny or Beauxbatons students were there, however. Even better. He didn't want to make a show in front of them. They did nothing wrong. They didn't deserve what was about to happen.

Harry pointed his wand to his throat. “Sonorous. Students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! May I have your attention!”

Most of the students turned toward him.

“Mr. Potter!” McGonagall exclaimed, standing up. “What is the meaning of this?!”

“Let Lord Potter speak, Minerva!” Sirius yelled.

Now all the students were looking at Harry. McGonagall's eyes were wide as she slowly sat down. Near her, Severus Snape was glaring at Harry. Harry ignored him and walked to the end of the Ravenclaw table. He stepped up to the top of the table.

“I am Lord Harry James Potter,” Harry said, “Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

He raised his hand, so that his House Ring could be seen.

“I have been here at your school for less than two days!” Harry said, “And in that time I discovered something that appears to be a school-wide secret! Which is something that surprises me, given that my mother and Uncles – each of whom were students here at one time – told me that secrets don't get kept long in this castle. Here's the secret!”

Harry glared at the Ravenclaw table.

“THE HOUSE OF RAVENCLAW IS A HOUSE OF BULLIES!” Harry screamed, his voice ringing through the Hall owing to the Sonorous Charm.

There was cries of outrage from much of Ravenclaw table.

“SILENCE!” Harry exclaimed. “Cho Chang. Marietta Edgecombe, Su Li. Stand up and be recognized.”

The three witches stood up immediately, and without hesitation. There were surprised murmurs from those at the Ravenclaw table. Of course they were unaware of what the three girls had witnessed earlier, so they didn't understand why the three girls complied so easily.

But they would. Soon enough.

“Bully! Bully! Bully!” Harry pointed to each of the girls in turn, then waved a general hand, motioning to everyone at the table, “All of you are bullies! All of you at this table! Bullies! Now! None of you may have committed what is usually seen as an act of bullying. At least, by Hogwarts standards that is! Which are pretty piss-poor standards!”

More cries of outrage. Some of the Hogwarts staff were glaring at him.

Time for a reality check for even the smartest people in this castle, Harry thought.

“Let me tell you this!” Harry exclaimed, “In Ilvermorny, where I come from, ignoring the bullying – letting it happen without reporting it – is as bad as bullying! In Ilvermorny, all of you would be bullies! Every last one of you at this table. This table! And everyone at the Staff Table!”

More glares from the supposedly professional staff members of Hogwarts. Harry couldn't fault them, though, given the current events. Still, they could have set better examples for their students.

“For three years, and a couple of months,” Harry said, “these two lovely girls here --”

He pointed to Hermione and Luna.

“-- have been bullied in Ravenclaw House!” he continued. “Bullied by those three witches who stood up. And another witch who is now suspended from this school for a month – and is no longer a Ravenclaw!”

Much of the Hall gasped as one.

“Mandy Brocklehurst is that witch!” Harry said, he pointed to Hermione again, “Earlier today she hexed Hermione, then Stunned her leaving her vulnerable in the middle of a corridor! Anything could have happened to her! I'm sure you can all use your imagination as to what could have happened to her!”

Some of the witches seated near him went green in the metaphorical gills. McGonagall and many of the Professors stopped glaring. Now they looked horrified. Reactions were the same around much of the Hall.

“Here's another revelation for all of you!” Harry said, “Listen to me, and hear every word I say! Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood are under the official Protection of House Potter!”

Several students gasped and looked shocked.

“I'm sure many of you know what means,” Harry said, “Especially those of you who are part of a House, be it Minor, Ancient, Noble, or a combination of the above! For those of you who don't know what that means, let me spell it out for you. DO NOT FUCK WITH THOSE UNDER MY PROTECTION! DO NOT FUCK WITH HOUSE POTTER!”

Sirius snickered nearby. Harry would have smiled, but he didn't want to send the wrong message to students of Hogwarts. If he smiled, they probably would believe he was joking, which was far from the truth.

“Here's your possible punishments if you do,” Harry said, “Duels of Satisfaction between me and those who cross me! And they won't be private. They'll be public! So everyone can witness your embarrassment and your crimes! Another possible punishment: blood feuds! No, I am not joking! And that is just the worst of what I could do to you. Suspension or expulsion from this school, and also being placed in DMLE custody is some of the other possibilities. A few minutes ago, I suspended Mandy Brocklehurst from this school for a month, and kicked her out of Ravenclaw. Not Dumbledore! Not Professor Flitwick! Me! A lowly American citizen who has visited your school for a Tournament. I did it! That is the power I hold!”

Harry jumped back down onto the floor.

“Do not cross me or those close to me,” Harry said, glaring at everyone in the Great Hall. “So mote it be. Finite.”

Harry walked out of the Great Hall, followed by his family, Hermione and Luna. Padma remained behind, but she was all grins as she looked at him. Harry smirked when he heard applause begin from somewhere in the Hall and it only escalated from there.

“You know I have to punish you for your language, Harry,” Lily said; then she hugged him. “There. A hug from your Mom in front of cute girls. Sound punishment.”

Harry merely grinned as Sirius, Rose, Hermione and Luna chuckled.

“I am so very proud of you, Harry,” Lily said.

“Thanks, Mom,” Harry said, “Let's go back to the tents. I have a long discussion with Hermione and Luna that can no longer be postponed.”

Hermione and Luna looked confused. Harry merely smiled. Then his smile turned into a grimace once he turned away from them. He wasn't looking forward to the coming conversation.

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, November 1 st , 1994

As Harry, Lily, Rose, Sirius, Luna and Hermione headed back toward the grouping of Ilvermorny tents, Sirius told the two Hogwarts students to leave their belongings in the House Potter tent for now. He would set up the tent soon enough, but he and Lily had things that needed to be discussed with Remus.

“Take your time,” Hermione said, “It appears we're going to be busy anyway, and I'm far more interested in the conversation Harry has planned.”

“You may take your conversation into your bedroom, Harry,” Lily said, “But you will keep the curtains opened.”

“Mum!” Harry groaned.

“I understand that you wish to have a private discussion, Harry,” Lily said, “I do. I will place a Silencing Charm over your bedroom, but the curtains will remain open.”

“You should probably agree with your mother, Harry,” Luna said, “She has a fine point. You're a young man inviting two young witches into your bedroom after all.”

Harry sputtered – it was bad enough his mother had to embarrass him, but now Luna was in on it!

“Fine!” Harry said, “Do what you want!”

“Thank you, I will,” Lily said, “And thank you, Luna.”

“You're quite welcome,” Luna said.

Harry sighed and stepped into the House Potter tent. Remus looked mildly surprised to see Hermione and Luna accompanying them.

“Hello again, Miss Granger,” Remus said, “I was quite concerned for you. Luna told me you were attacked earlier. Is everything alright now?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said, “Thank you for your concern.”

Remus smiled, then looked rather confused as he watched Harry leading the two girls into his bedroom.

“No worries, Remus,” Lily said, “Harry's promised to keep the curtains opened. They're just going to have a much-needed conversation, and so are we. Rose, you're to stay out here with us. Harry's already going to have enough on his hands without you distracting him.”

“Aw!” Rose complained.

Harry smiled and walked into his bedroom with Hermione and Luna. He made sure to keep the curtain open.

“Thank you, Harry,” Lily said, “Silencing Charm up in three... two...”

Harry didn't hear her say “one”, so he knew the Charm was up. He crawled onto the bed and sat down on his pillow, giving the girls enough room to sit down. When he motioned for them to sit down, Hermione went slightly pink, and Luna merely smiled dreamily, but both girls sat down on the end of the bed.

“You put quite a show on in there, Harry,” Hermione said. “Not just in the Great Hall, but in the Hospital Wing and Headmaster Dumbledore's office too. Um... how much of it was you being serious, and how much was – um --”

“-- me blowing smoke out of my backside?” Harry asked.

Hermione glared playfully. “Thank you for that pleasant metaphor, Harry. But I was actually going to say... how much of it was you putting on a show?”

“Well – I suppose to answer your first question,” Harry said, “I would say that I'm never Sirius. I'm always Harry.”

Hermione blinked. It wasn't until Luna started giggling that Hermione finally got the joke.

“Oh, god,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “I do not envy you having to grow up with those kind of name puns! That is horrible! It is borderline child abuse!”

“Perhaps from your perspective,” Harry said, grinning. “Perspective. Now that is a great word. And it helps me answer your question. Depending on the perspective of each person who heard my message, I could have been serious or putting on a show. The whole point of my performance over the past hour or so was that I was sending a message. I am Lord Potter. More-so, I'm a fourteen year old wizard who is now a Lord. Two of the four bullies are older than the others, right?”

“Chang and Edgecombe are fifth years, if that is what you mean,” Hermione said.

“Then they're older than me in age,” Harry said, “That's the point I'm trying to get across. To some people, age is a big factor. To the older students in the Great Hall who were listening to me, at first sight, I probably wasn't going to be a big deal to them. If I just walked in there, walked up to the front of the Great Hall, and gave a speech like I'm Headmaster Dumbledore, I wasn't going to send a message to those who are older than me. Nor would I send a message to those who believe they're stronger or better than me. 'Hey, it's a fourteen year old with a big mouth and nothing to show for it.' I wouldn't have gotten my point across very well in that case, would I? That would be a pretty piss-poor performance from me.”

“So you had to put on a show,” Hermione said, nodding, “Otherwise, you wouldn't get your point across.”

“Precisely,” Harry said, “You said you wanted to learn about Pureblood Politics, and all of that jazz. That's just one of the lessons. I've never watched a Wizengamot or MACUSA council session, or courtroom session. I think either the sixth or seventh year students in Ilvermorny get to watch Pensieve memories of old MACUSA sessions in Wizarding Politics class. But I have a pretty good imagination. There are two kind of people when it comes to Politics. Those who say something, and those who do something. Anyone can puff up their chests, give a good speech, and look good doing it. But if you don't show something for it, you're not going to be very successful. That is why Voldemort --”

Hermione and Luna both winced visibly. Harry took note of that for later. He didn't want to interrupt his own speech for something as simple as that.

“-- and his Death Eaters were so successful in the Great War,” he continued. “They didn't just walk into the Wizengamot and start yapping jaws, and showing nothing for it. They took what they wanted by force, and command and power.”

“You can't be saying we should follow in their footsteps!” Hermione exclaimed, aghast.

“Of course not,” Harry said. “What they did was sick and cowardly. However, they did send a message. Alright, maybe Voldemort is a bad similarity. The Great Alliance, then. From a simplistic perspective, one could argue that the Great Alliance was a true definition of those who puff out there chests, and talk pompously in a room of Lords, Ladies and Politicians. I would say it is a good argument, only I would add this. Why is the Great Alliance so famous? Why do people recognize it? There were many Alliances, and many powers in the Wizengamot. Why was the Great Alliance so famous? Because they showed power. They spoke, but they also proved that they were a force.”

“But aren't those who seek power considered Dark?” Hermione asked, in a small voice.

“Sirius once told me,” Harry said, “That during the Great War, Voldemort liked to boast on and on that there is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it. My view of power is summed up in a different quote. 'With great power, comes great responsibility.' If you wish to show power, you have to show that you can handle it responsibly. Notice that with all the power I showed today, I never once threw an offensive spell out. I never attacked anyone. The only spells I used enhanced my voice so everyone could hear me, then canceled the charm when I was finished.”

“But you threatened people,” Hermione said, “With Duels and blood-feuds. And you pointed your wand at Mandy Brocklehurst's face.”

“Yes, I threatened people,” Harry said, “But again, there's my point. Threats are just words. Words are not very dangerous, barring, of course, those used in incantations. The danger behind the threats is what people decide to do with them. My threats could have gone absolutely nowhere. But they didn't. People believed that I was serious. Mandy Brocklehurst believed my threats so much that, not only did she hang herself with her own noose, she also decided her own punishment. I didn't want to duel her, Hermione. I wanted her suspended and expelled from Ravenclaw House. That punishment – meted out in front of the three people she calls her friends – was a much more powerful message than defeating her in a duel.

“Notice how Chang, Edgecombe and Li cowered so easily after what I did to their friend? They didn't want that happening to them. Yes, House Protection helped. But again, House Protection is just words. But the idea behind it is what caused such a reaction in the Great Hall. The idea of what it meant caused fear, and also gave a powerful message. However, saying that, I wouldn't be a very good Protector if I had nothing to show for it. What if I challenged someone to a Duel of Satisfaction and then lost? There goes any messages of power I have – they don't mean nothing if I don't back it up with actions.

“Then there was the students and staff in the Great Hall. Hermione, maybe you haven't realized this. But do you know how outnumbered I actually was in that room?”

“You weren't alone in there, Harry,” Hermione said, quietly.

“No,” Harry said, “No I wasn't alone. You're right. I had my family who would have helped had wands been turned on me. I had some friends, and House Allies who also might have helped me. But I would still have been outrageously outnumbered. And yet I sent my message across without a wand pointed at me, and nothing more than facial expressions and a few words of outrage and disagreement as opposition. And even though there were those who disagreed with me, I still got the message across. When I walked out, I left to loud applause.

“Nobody will harm you – either of you – ever again. Nobody will bully you. Nobody will insult you. Nobody will attack you. That was the whole point. Well, sorry, I should say almost nobody. There may be a few dimwits in there who didn't completely understand my message. Believe me, girls – none of those who ignored my first message will ignore the next one if they decide to cross any of us. And most of them won't get the same treatment Mandy Brocklehurst did. They already received a first warning. I don't like giving second warnings – it means my first was ignored or not taken seriously.”

Hermione nodded, biting her lip thoughtfully. Harry focused on his Occlumency abilities, so certain parts of his body wouldn't embarrass him in front of two girls, both of which were attractive in their own right. How did Hermione not know what she did to him when she did that? And this wasn't in a public library or the Great Hall! This was in his own bedroom!

“Okay,” Hermione said, “So I'm beginning to understand. Now that you're Lord Potter, you have privileges that you didn't have before. If you weren't Lord Potter, then --”

“Then your Headmaster would have said a lot more than he did,” Harry said, “He would have been able to make several decisions that I don't think any of us would like when it comes to those who bullied you, and when it comes to you in general. And there was very little I could have done about it. Also, I couldn't place you under House Protection.”

“But why are you Lord Potter?” Hermione asked. “I was under the impression such titles and responsibilities weren't given unless you were seventeen years old.”

“Not seventeen, Hermione,” Luna said, “That's just a general assumption, because seventeen is when most wizards and witches are considered of age.”

“'Of age' is the important thing, not a certain age,” Harry said, “You have to be seen as an adult. The Triwizard Tournament was originally meant to be played by Champions who are seventeen years old or older. Those who are of age, considered adults. That was what your Ministry of Magic – the Ministry of the Host School -- decided. But what your Ministry didn't know was that the MACUSA had decided any student of Ilvermorny fourteen and older could be contenders for the Ilvermorny Champion. Your Ministry didn't foresee that a fourteen year old would be made Champion. So when my name was spat out by the Goblet of Fire, in accordance to your Ministry of Magic, I am considered of age, an adult.

“Because the House of Potter originated in Great Britain, it doesn't matter whether or not I'm an American citizen. I was first in line – heck, the only person standing in line -- for the title of Lord Potter. So when the Goblet of Fire spat out my name, I was considered of age by the laws of magic, Gringotts, and the British Ministry of Magic. Of course, the Ministry could try to appeal the decision. But we could and would fight it, and we could probably win. And as long as I am Lord Potter, I'm going to behave like Lord Potter.”

“So that's why you visited Diagon Alley?” Hermione asked. “To go to Gringotts and confirm that you're Lord Potter?”

“One of a few reasons,” Harry said, “But it was probably the most important.”

He grimaced and cleared his throat. “Unfortunately, while at Gringotts, something happened. Revelations were brought forth. A family secret was revealed that my father, and maybe even my grandfather, didn't know about.”

“What secret?” Hermione asked.

“Before you can understand that, I must tell you this first,” Harry said. “I am not just Lord Potter. I am the Lord of three Ancient and Most Noble Houses, and second-in-line for at least one more. Besides Lord Potter, I am also Lord Peverell and Lord Gryffindor.”

“Gryffindor?!” Hermione echoed; flabbergasted.

“Ooh, Peverell!” Luna said, grinning, “My Daddy will be very pleased to know he is in an Alliance with a descendant of his three idols.”

Hermione blinked, and visibly shook herself from the shock that Harry was Lord Gryffindor – that he was descended from one of the Founders of Hogwarts! She glanced at Luna.

“Sorry,” Hermione said, “Three idols?”

“Cadmus, Antioch and Ignotus Peverell,” Luna said, “The Three Brothers, who inspired Beedle the Bard's Tale. I know I've told you that story before.”

“Yes, yes,” Hermione said, “You've told me the story of the Deathly Hallows. And I told you I don't believe in that rubbish. I'm sorry, Luna, but I don't.”

Harry shook his head. He would have to explain it to her another time. But that time wasn't now.

“Are you familiar with the Last Generation Loophole of the Pureblood Heritage Act, Hermione?” he asked, bringing the conversation back to where he needed it to be.

“Um... I might have seen it referenced once or twice,” Hermione said, “But I ignored it because I'm a Muggleborn, so it doesn't concern me. I do know that the Pureblood Heritage Act was made to preserve magical bloodlines after so many Houses were thought to have gone extinct after the Great War. I know it was also a pretty bigoted law. They were trying to preserve the pureblood bloodlines more than anything else.

“Betrothal Contracts were in a big influx after the Act passed. I think that might have been how Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley became Betrothed. And also Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. Though there has been rumors that the Malfoy-Parkinson Contract could be canceled due to Lord Malfoy's current situation.”

Harry felt hope again rise in his chest. “And what are your opinions on Betrothal Contracts?”

Hermione blew out a breath. “While I understand they are necessary to assure the preservation of magical bloodlines, I also think they're rather barbaric. They remove free will from so many people who should be able to find love on their own. Finding love – finding someone to spend your life with – it should be a natural choice, and not something that should be made with quills, ink and parchment. I know that a good majority of those Contracts were made when those in question were not even old enough to put together coherent sentences, never mind the fact that they weren't old enough to make their own choices.”

Hermione stared curiously at Harry. “Why do you ask?”

“I will answer that shortly,” Harry said. “One of the most popular sections of the Pureblood Heritage Act is known as the Last Generation Loophole. It has to do with those males who are healthy, and of able mind and body to produce the next generation of Heirs. But not just any particular male in that category. No, those males who have more than one Lordship to their name. Someone like me.”

“Wait, stop right there!” Hermione said, “The Act is called the Pureblood Heritage Act. It targets Purebloods! Why should that matter to you? You're a half-blood!”

“No, I'm not,” Harry said.

“Yes, you are!” Hermione argued, “Your father's a pureblood, and your mother --”

“-- is also a pureblood,” Harry cut in.

Even Luna's dreamy expression had turned to one of complete shock, as she stared at him with wide eyes.

Hermione sputtered. “B-but – she's Muggleborn! There – there was a book on the Fall of House of Potter. I don't know whether or not you know about that. But in the book, it said Lady Lily Potter grew up with Muggle parents and a Muggle sister!”

“Yes,” Harry said, “She grew up with a Muggle family. But she was adopted. Something she didn't learn until just today.”

And so Harry told Hermione and Luna the same story about the Byrds that Ragnok the Sixth and told him and his family. Hermione and Luna's jaws had dropped by the end of the story. Hermione was torn between distraught at the fact that Lily's parents had been so horribly murdered, when they had a very new baby, and shocked that Lily – and her children – were descended by the Founder of her House.”

“You – your mother – you're – Rowena Ravenclaw is your ancestor?” Hermione stammered.

“It would appear so,” Harry said, nodding.

“Descended from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw,” Hermione said, “Pinch me. Ow! That was figurative, Luna!”

“I know,” Luna said, grinning, “I just wanted to make sure you weren't dreaming. Though it would be fun to be a part of someone else's dream.”

Harry laughed. “Never, ever change, Luna.”

“So,” Hermione said, slowly, staring at Harry, “Because you're apparently Pureblood, you now have to follow the guidelines of the Heritage Act.”

“Yes,” Harry said, sighing, “Most importantly the Last Generation Loophole. Because I am Lord of three Houses, I –“ Harry inhaled and exhaled “-- I am required to marry one girl per House. So three witches. But as far as I can tell, only one of those has to be Pureblood. If I don't marry one witch per House, then I can't extend the bloodline for those Houses who I don't have a Lady to represent the House. I would be responsible for it going extinct. Lady Potter, Lady Peverell, and Lady Gryffindor must be three separate women, all of whom are capable of bearing children.”

“B-but,” Hermione stammered, “That's Polygamy, which is --”

“ – legal in wizarding society, Hermione,” Harry said.

Hermione blew out a breath. “Of course it is. Why wouldn't it be? Wizarding society is completely backwards and old-fashioned! So of course Polygamy is legal!”

“There's more,” Harry said.

Hermione huffed. “Of course there is.”

“I still haven't told you the family secret,” Harry said. “My Great-Grandfather, Fleamont Potter, once saved the life of a fellow Lord, thus creating a life-debt. The Lord was named Cygnus Greengrass.”

“Greengrass,” Hermione echoed, “Related to Daphne Greengrass, and her sister, Astoria? The same Greengrass in the Great Alliance?”

“The very same,” Harry said; then he blew out a breath, “Back in my Great-Grandfather's time life-debts were commonly settled with Betrothal Contracts. From what I understand, when the Contract was set forth, one – and maybe both – Lords didn't have children yet. So my Great-Grandfather didn't know the Contract wouldn't become active in his life-time. The Contract was very specific. The eldest son of the House of Potter would have to marry the eldest daughter of the House of Greengrass. Two more Generations passed – all sons, no daughters. Then Daphne Greengrass was born. Then I was born.”

Hermione blinked and frowned. “So you're in a Betrothal Contract with Daphne Greengrass.”

Harry inhaled and exhaled. “Yes. She will become one of my three wives. But here's the rub. I haven't even spoken to Daphne yet. Even if you knew one thing about her, you'd know more about her than I do. Soon enough – though no meeting arrangements have been made yet – I have to meet with Daphne and her parents to set up the details of the Contract. ETA of wedding date, expected number of children, et cetera. More than likely, Daphne and I wouldn't marry until we're at least seventeen, and maybe not until after we finish our education.

“Hermione, this is what I want you to understand. I have no plans in the near future to ask Daphne Greengrass to be my girlfriend. She's only my intended – one of three wives. Hell, she might have a boyfriend. I have no idea.”

Hermione murmured under her breath.

“Pardon?” Harry asked.

“It is rumored that Daphne Greengrass has a girlfriend actually,” Hermione said. “In the romantic sense. There's been no confirmation though. But it seems like more than just rumor-mongering. Sure, they've been seen accompanying one another in Hogsmeade, but they've been best friends since before they even became students. So they could either on dates, or just normal visits with their best friend.”

Harry blinked. That was unforeseen. And also very, very interesting.

“So... what does that mean for the Contract if – you know – she's a lesbian?” Hermione asked.

“Absolutely nothing,” Harry said, with a snort, “She'd still be required to marry me and give me the required number of children that is agreed in the Contract. It is horrible when you look at it from that perspective, but there you go.”

“So you can't marry her sister instead?” Hermione asked.

Harry shook his head. “Daphne's the eldest daughter, as was agreed in the original Contract.”

“So she doesn't even have to be attracted to you, nor does she even have to fall in love with you,” Hermione said, then snorted. “Figures.”

Harry sighed. “Hermione. I need to know something from you now. How do you feel about all of this?”

Hermione cleared her throat. “You want to know if, after all of this, I am still agreeable on going on a date with you?”

Harry winced at her tone and nodded.

“Let me get this straight,” Hermione said. “You have to marry three women. One of them has to be a Pureblood. So... that's Daphne, so that is taken care of. So the other two wives --”

“Could be Pureblood, half-blood, first-gen – Muggleborn – or No-Maj – Muggles,” Harry said. “The latter is frowned upon, because there is a small chance the children might not be magical. First-gen, or Muggleborn, while also frowned upon, it is for a different reason.”

“Because Muggleborn are frowned upon in general,” Hermione nodded, “So you would be legally allowed to marry a Muggleborn at least. You said you have no plans on making Daphne Greengrass your girlfriend anytime soon?”

“Well,” Harry said, “I would favor courting her at the very least for several months before we get married. But no – I don't intend on doing so anytime soon. Especially if she isn't single.”

“So at this moment in time,” Hermione said, “Even though you're in a Betrothal Contract, you're also single?”

“Very much so,” Harry said.

“And allowed to go on dates with other girls aside from Daphne Greengrass,” Hermione continued.

“Allowed and very willing,” Harry replied. “I would even settle with going out with only one girl, if turned out she'd become my girlfriend.”

Hermione blushed pink. “Harry... I'm still agreeable on going on that date with you.”

Harry blew out a breath and wondered whether or not he had been holding it in since he had gotten wind of his Betrothal Contract.

“But what about the three wives thing?” Harry asked.

“Are you going to ask me to marry you in the near future?” Hermione replied, with a raised eyebrow.

“Of course not!” Harry exclaimed. “I-I mean not that I wouldn't ever think about --”

He stopped when Hermione raised a hand to quiet him.

“Then I have quite a while to think about the – as you put it – 'three wives thing',” Hermione said, “There is no reason to think about it if we're only going on a date. Ask me again if it comes to the point where I'm your girlfriend for several months. I don't want to think about it now, or answer you now, because you wouldn't like my answer... and neither would I... probably. I told you... I've come to realize I know very little about the Wizarding world. I need to learn a lot more about it before I make any decision like that in the future.

“For now, we're going to have a first date. And then we'll see where life goes after that.”

“Brilliant,” Harry said, “This might not be the most appropriate time to ask, but would you be open to moving the first date up a bit. To like... tonight?”

Hermione's eyes widened. “Why tonight?”

“The other Ilvermorny students are going to throw a party in my honor,” Harry said, “An Ilvermorny Champion celebration party. I've already had two of my fellow Ilvermorny students tell me I'm allowed to bring my girlfriend.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “So you haven't even known me for forty-eight hours, and we haven't even gone out on a date yet. And there's already talk amongst your mates that I'm your girlfriend.”

Harry winced. “Um.... yes?”

“It appears you have quite the reputation, My Lord,” Hermione commented with an innocent smile. “Just how many girlfriends have you had?”

“Two,” Harry said, then added, “and-a-half.”

“And-a-half?” Hermione echoed, blinking.

“Much like you have Hogsmeade Villages,” Harry said, “Ilvermorny students also have visits to a marketplace. However, American wizarding marketplaces are far different from British marketplaces. Actually, in this case, Hogsmeade is far better than the marketplace near Ilvermorny. It is a shopping mall, not an open-air market town like Hogsmeade. So all visits are to the wizarding mall. Mind you the mall near Ilvermorny is a three-leveled very large building with everything you can find in Hogsmeade, and probably so much more. The only downside is the lack of the open-air atmosphere.

“Anyway... like Hogwarts, we have once-a-month visits to the mall starting during our third year. So I asked out a girl on a date for the first visit, and by the end of the date, she was my girlfriend. We dated from September to the end of December. Then she went home for Christmas Break. And then when she returned from Christmas Break, I find out from her older sister, whom I also got along with – as a friend, mind you – that the girl cheated on me during Christmas Break.”

“Ouch! That's horrible!” Hermione exclaimed..

“Well, as you can imagine, I broke up with her immediately,” Harry said. “It was an ugly break-up. The usual, you know. Hexes thrown, rumors spread, comments made toward me about the size of certain parts of my body.”

Hermione's jaw dropped, and her eyes bulged.

“Wow,” Luna said, “Your ex-girlfriend was a right bitch!”

Hermione nodded, not bothering to correct her friend about her language. Harry, on the other hand, was rather surprised at his blonde friend's language. He didn't expect that from her.

“Yep,” Harry said, “Don't know where she got that information. I never showed her certain parts of my body! Anyway, I got over it quick enough to have a rebound date on the very next outing to the mall. History repeated itself. I had a new girlfriend by the end of the first date. She remained my girlfriend throughout the rest of the term – and then she broke up with me, and it was far better than the last break-up. Even with the options of Floo Travel, Portkeys, and Apparation, she didn't want to do the long-distance thing during the summer. We lived several hundreds of miles apart.”

“So there's the two girlfriends,” Luna said, “What about the 'and-a-half'?”

Harry smiled. “Ah, yes. Rebecca – or Becky, as she likes to called. I've known Rebecca since we were five years old. She's a No-Maj, a Muggle. She lives basically across the street from my house in Boston, Massachusetts. Close enough where I could go and play with her when I was young, and my mother and Uncles wouldn't ground me for going too far from the house.”

“Aw,” Hermione cooed, “So you were childhood sweethearts?”

“To be sweethearts,” Harry said, “We'd have to be boyfriend and girlfriend at some point in time. Nothing was ever made official. It wasn't until this past summer however, in early July, that I realized just how attractive she was. I admit, I fancied her – still do, I suppose. And I have suspicions that she fancies me too.”

Harry sighed and frowned. “In early July of this year, her grandmother passed away. They had the... the wake or whatever it is called... at her house. Her grandmother visited at least four times a year when I was younger, and I was well-acquainted with her. So I went over to her house during the wake and comforted her. I did what any good friend would do.”

Harry chuckled. “And while I was comforting her, and helping her soothe her grief, she kissed me. And it is the first time she ever did anything like that. I was surprised, and figured it was the grief playing on her mind. So I backed away, and then she kissed me again. So, I kissed her back. While we never went on an official 'date', and while there wasn't any titles between us, we still did what any young couple did. Held hands, kissed occasionally, spent time together. It lasted until I had to go back to Ilvermorny. I don't even know if she's going to consider continuing all that next summer. My family suspects something happened between me and Rebecca, but they haven't said anything, and nobody at my school knows.”

“Whether or not she was your girlfriend, that was still quite sweet,” Hermione said, smiling, “So this 'reputation' you have – it stems from the two girlfriends you had during your third year – one which ended quite horribly.”

“If I have a reputation,” Harry said, grinning, “it is that I date a girl, and she's my girlfriend at the end of the first date.”

Harry tried not to wince at how bad that sounded. He would have to blame Sirius for that one. It was probably his Godfather's fault.

“I suppose we'll see if your reputation holds by the end of our first date,” Hermione said, echoing Harry's grin.

“This evening?” Harry asked.

“This evening,” Hermione echoed; then peered at Luna, “Will your mates believe both Luna and I are your girlfriends if you bring both of us?”

“If they do, then I'd correct them, and tell them you're my good friends,” Harry said. “And nothing more.”

Yet, Harry thought internally. He was feeling better than he had all day. Hermione still wanted to go on a date with him – and she was actually playfully teasing him about his 'reputation'. That was a very good thing!

“As long as everyone is clear on that,” Hermione said.

“Alright,” Harry said, “I think I'm done with my explanations. Is there anything you two wish to ask?”

“Loads!” Hermione said, eagerly.

Then Luna's stomach rumbled. She giggled. As did Hermione.

“But that can wait for another time,” Hermione said, “Is there anywhere to get lunch around here, or do we have to go back into the school?”

“The classroom tent is also the cafeteria,” Harry said, “Which might be occupied with the other students still planning my celebration.”

“Well,” Luna said, smiling. “We could always go to the Hogwarts Kitchens.”

“Luna,” Hermione said, sighing, “They're off-limits to students.”

Harry's eyes brightened. “If they are, then that rule changed in the years since my parents went here. My father and his friends broke curfew at least once a week just to visit the kitchens. I'm game! Take us to the kitchens, Luna!”

Hermione looked disapprovingly, but when she saw Harry looking eager, she gave in and agreed.

 

Chapter Text


Previously on “The Ilvermorny Champion”...

Remus smiled, then looked rather confused as he watched Harry leading the two girls into his bedroom.

“No worries, Remus,” Lily said, “Harry's promised to keep the curtains opened. They're just going to have a much-needed conversation, and so are we. Rose, you're to stay out here with us. Harry's already going to have enough on his hands without you distracting him.”

“Aw!” Rose complained.

Harry smiled and walked into his bedroom with Hermione and Luna. He made sure to keep the curtain open.

“Thank you, Harry,” Lily said, “Silencing Charm up in three... two...”



Sunday, November 1 st , 1994


Lily waved her wand in a complex pattern and placed a modification of the known Silencing Charm around Harry's bedroom. It was a combination of Silencio, Muffliato – which she had learn from her childhood friend, Severus Snape – and the Privacy Bubble. Unlike the Privacy Bubble, you could be seen behind the modified Silencing Charm, but not heard. Perfect for mothers who want to make sure their sons behave with two girls in their bedroom, but also want to respect their privacy – at least when it comes to conversations.

“... one,” Lily said.

She smiled when she couldn't hear Harry's conversation, but could see him and his friends. They were separated at a comfortable and appropriate distance from each other. Harry might have argued about such things, but Lily knew he was only doing it because he thought she was embarrassing him in front of his friends. She might have been, but she was also being a mother.

Because that is what she did best.

“Rose, you can join our conversation,” she said, then she motioned to the living room area, “But please be seated one of the couches or seats over there. It appears Remus isn't finished dismantling the dangerous letters, and I don't want you anywhere near them.”

“Yes, Mom,” Rose said, then sat down on the rocking chair.

“Lily,” Remus said, glancing at Harry's bedroom, “Are you sure you trust your son in his bedroom alone with two girls?”

“He might have been raised by Sirius,” Lily said, as she and Sirius joined Remus at the kitchen table. “But he was also raised by you and I. He knows how to respect girls, and knows the limits when it comes to girls in his bedroom.”

“Oi!” Sirius complained, “I believe I've been insulted!”

“You have,” Remus quipped, with a grin, “And I suppose I must agree with you, Lily. As long as we can keep on eye on him and the girls.”

Sirius snorted. “I didn't see either of you complaining every time Rebecca visited the house last summer.”

“You know full well I made sure Harry and Rebecca were where one of us could always see them,” Lily said.

“Not when he was over at Rebecca's house,” Sirius said, grinning.

“I trusted Rebecca's parents to take care of that part,” Lily said. “Besides, none of us can be sure what Harry and Rebecca were doing. For all we know, they still think the other has cooties!”

Sirius snorted. Loudly. “Really, Lily? Last summer... after Harry had two girlfriends in two terms of school... you think he still believes girls have cooties?”

“Harry didn't know those girls since he was five, Sirius,” Lily said, “Not like Rebecca. Friends from childhood act differently.”

“Oh, really?” Sirius asked, “Because I know for a fact that Snape didn't think you had cooties!”

“I'm not discussing Severus with you, Sirius,” Lily said. “Especially in front of my daughter.”

“You've told me about Severus, Mom,” Rose said.

“Not everything,” Lily said, “Some things will have to wait until you're older. Sirius, we have far more important things to discuss right now, not to mention we have to catch Remus up with everything we witnessed while we were in the castle. And we have this mountain of letters to go through. Now behave or I'm tying you up in that chair, placing you under a Privacy Bubble, and setting all the Howlers we receive on you – one at a time!”

Sirius pouted. “You play unfair, Potter.”

Lily smirked. “I think after more than two decades of knowing me, you'd know that already, Black.”

Remus cleared his throat. “I'm quite interested in hearing about what you witnessed in the castle. Sounds pretty important.”

Sirius snorted again. “Words won't express what we witnessed in the castle in the past hour, Moony. Not enough to give it the credit it deserves.”

“Well, we're going to have to try,” Lily said, glancing again at Harry's bedroom, “Because we don't have time to visit our Pensieve. Not right now anyway.”

“Come on,” Sirius said, “We could give Harry and the girls the privacy they deserve. They won't even know we're gone!”

No, Sirius,” Lily said, glaring at Sirius.

Remus caused a distraction by eliciting a loud grunt. “Merlin, that has to be the sixth envelope with undiluted bubotuber pus we received already. And the third one with an exploding hex on it.”

“Let me guess,” Sirius said, “Open the envelope, and the pus explodes everywhere – on your hands and face. I might have to check whether or not dear cousin Bellatrix is still in Azkaban. She loved those types of letter-hexes.”

“Yeah, well, the trend seems to have gotten popular sometime in the past thirteen years,” Remus muttered. “Even after dismantling the exploding hex, you still get the rancid smell of the pus. Distract me from this for a few minutes. Tell me what happened in the castle.”

So for the next ten minutes or so, Remus sat there in various stages of expressions – shock, disbelief, humor, pride – as Lily, Sirius, and occasionally Rose, commented on what had happened over the past hour in Hogwarts. He did not comment or ask questions until they were finished.

“So... it was Harry's idea for the House Protection toward those two girls?” Remus asked, as he nodded in the direction of Harry's bedroom.

“Yes,” Lily said, “At first I thought it was an immature reaction. You know, something he wanted to do just because he is now Lord Potter. But he really put a lot of thought into this, Remus. He must have been thinking about his entire strategy between the time we left the tent with Luna, and arrived at the Hospital Wing. Then he simply modified his ideas to work with the current situations.”

Lily chuckled and shook her head. “I don't think James would have ever been able to do that. He was fairly good with battle strategy. Harry and I – and Rose – would have never survived that Halloween night if James wasn't good at battle strategy – he was the brains behind Operation GTFO. But thinking up a strategy involving crime and punishment, and then adapting for things he didn't expect or foresee? James couldn't have done that as efficiently as Harry.”

Sirius nodded. “I agree with that. The pup impressed me in there. Hell, in Dumbledore's office, he foresaw Dumbledore opposing him – remember, when Harry threatened Mandy after she said that word? He pointed his wand at Mandy's eyes, and Dumbledore thought he was going to attack her. Harry commanded you and I, Lily, to take offense against Dumbledore – commanded, as if it was second nature. And he's never done that before! To him, he might have thought he was asking us to do it, but it was a command more than a question.”

“I'm not surprised that Dumbledore thought Harry would curse the girl, especially if she said that word in front of him,” Remus said, “We all remember how James reacted to that word. Obviously Albus thinks Harry is just like his father.”

“He may look like James,” Lily said, “But he's also a combination of the three of us, because of what we taught him.”

“Yes,” Remus said, smiling, “Yes, he is.”

Lily sighed, sadly. “We have to face the facts. Harry's no longer the timid little boy who doubted himself when we told him of his future as Lord Potter. Today he is Lord Potter. And not just because he was given the title. When he heard his friend was attacked – I saw a change in him I've never seen before. I saw my son turn into Lord Potter, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. And I watched him as he commanded the presence of every person he spoke to today. But... he also took care to listen to our advice, be it good or something that criticized him. Even against the criticism, he held himself well and argued well. True, he may have used some rather uncouth language at time, but most of it was to get his point across. I would do the same thing in his position.”

Sirius and Remus nodded.

“Hear, hear, Lily,” Sirius said, “He may be even more suited to the title of Lord than I am, and I'm over two decades older than him!”

Remus cleared his throat. “If I may, I think we are overestimating Harry, actually.”

“Really?” Sirius asked.

“Harry's always been defensive of his friends and family,” Remus said, “It is in his nature. But we have no idea how he is in front of a force like the Wizengamot. We can't raise our expectations of him just because of one impressive outing as Lord Potter. He has strengths, but I've also found weaknesses. Like James, Harry easily loses his temper – that is evident if what you said about his scenes in Dumbledore's office, and in the Great Hall live up to my imagination. I'll, of course, know if I'm right when I view your memories of it in the Pensieve.

“There's also one other thing. Something neither of you might have thought of, and neither of you will like. It sounds to me as if he was targeting not just the bullies, or those who ignored the bullying – but everyone. Even the ones who would have had no chance to witness the bullying. According to you, he was telling everyone not to mess with him.”

Remus sighed. “Some people will think of him as the bully because of his performance. I know you don't like to talk about some of the things that went on here during our days as students. I could peek my head out of the tent, and look at the exact spot where that confrontation with Severus took place after our OWL exams.”

Lily shuddered. She didn't like to think about that event. It was bad for everyone involved. Lily peered over at Rose, who was looking at their conversation with curiosity. They had told her much about their time at Hogwarts – including some of the Marauders' antics, some of which could be seen as bullying. But they hadn't told Rose yet about that event between Severus Snape, James, the Marauders... and her. They had only been able to tell Harry as recent as the previous summer. And his reaction to it was so bad, they had decided not to tell Rose yet. Harry's reaction to Mandy Brocklehurst's use of that word showed that it still affected him.

“We know what bullies are,” Remus said, “Because we used to be the bullies. From what you told me, Harry's toeing the line between bullying and Protecting.”

Sirius frowned. “He did go a bit overboard, I do admit. He sent his message across well, but there was a bit of grandstanding – and, okay, maybe bullying, in there too. Stuff like that isn't very welcomed in settings like Wizengamot Councils.”

“No,” Remus said, shaking his head, “No, it isn't.”

“Then that is what we will teach him,” Lily said, “He still has a lot to learn, and we'll teach him. We'll study, through our memories in the Pensieve, all of his actions that took place in the castle, then we'll sit down and give him the pros and cons of it. We'll treat it just like any other lesson we had with him and Rose when we taught them about Pureblood Politics and all of that as they were growing up.”

“I agree,” Remus said, nodding, “It will give us a better idea of his mind-set when it comes to his new position.”

Lily and Sirius nodded in agreement. Rose merely watched her mother and Uncles' discussion with interest.

“Next subject,” Lily said, “We need to seriously discuss Albus Dumbledore.”

“Uh-oh,” Remus said, “What happened?”

Lily reached into her robes and retrieved the Invisibility Cloak. Remus' eyes sparkled.

“James' Invisibility Cloak,” Remus said, “So Albus had it?”

“Well,” Lily said, “He had it today .”

“You think someone else had it aside from Albus?” Remus asked.

“On Friday evening,” Lily said, “When I asked Albus to give me James' Cloak, he said he didn't have it close by. Tell me, Remus – if you were Albus, and you had this Cloak in your possession, where would you put it – especially during the school term?”

“In my office,” Remus said, “Or the Living Quarters.”

“Given that his Living Quarters are in upstairs from his office,” Sirius said, “Which, mind you, can be entered from his office, that is pretty 'close by', isn't it?”

“So someone else had it,” Remus asked, “Who? Severus?”

Lily passed the Cloak over to Remus. “Use those heightened wolf senses of yours.”

Remus took the cloak, pressed it against his nose and inhaled.

“I smell Albus on it, of course,” Remus said, “And yourself. And someone else who seems... slightly familiar.”

“Could it be Neville Longbottom?” Sirius asked.

Remus slowly nodded. “That is why it seems familiar. It smells a bit like Frank Longbottom, so it makes sense it would be Neville. Neville had this in his possession?”

“It would appear so,” Lily said, frowning, “Albus had no right to give it to anyone else.”

Remus rubbed his chin. “If anyone had the right, it was Neville.”

“Excuse me?” Lily asked.

“Lily,” Remus said, “Albus thought you and Harry were dead. If he couldn't give it to you, who better than to give it to your godson? Sirius and I were 'missing' according to the word around here. So he couldn't give it to us. So he gave it to Neville as an Inheritance of sorts. A gift from his godmother.”

Lily sighed. “Well, I suppose I can see your point there. Fine, fine, I can't blame him for that. What I can blame him for though is at least two things. That Cloak is riddled with several different Charms that we will need take a look at. Tracking Charms and others.”

Remus nodded as he looked at the Cloak. “We shall be able to detect all the Charms and do away with them. Let's not discuss those Charms until we find them. And the other issue with Albus?”

“I could detect disapproval of at least two things from Albus when it came to Harry,” Lily said. “Albus didn't like that Harry's already Lord Potter. And he doesn't like that Harry's going on a date with Hermione.”

Remus nodded and looked thoughtful. “In the case of his disapproval about Harry's new title, well... perhaps he just believes Harry isn't old enough, mature enough, to be Lord Potter. That just comes back to him not knowing Harry. There's a lot of people who are going to be of the same mind-set, Lily.”

“While I agree with you, there has to be more to it than that,” Lily said.

“There probably is,” Sirius said, “Chilled Butterbeer, anyone?”

“Ooh, me, me!” Rose said.

Remus and Lily nodded. Sirius summoned four ice-cold butterbeers from the ice chest, and handed them around. Rose took hers then returned to her seat.

“As for Albus' disapproval of Harry dating Miss Granger,” Sirius said, “I think we can blame that on the Pureblood Heritage Act.”

“One problem, Sirius,” Remus said. “Harry isn't a Pureblood. The Pureblood Heritage Act is for Purebloods.”

Lily and Sirius peered at each other. Remus took a long sip from his butterbeer.

“Actually,” Sirius said, “He is. Lily discovered something at Gringotts today. She's adopted. She's actually a Pureblood.”

Remus turned his head just in time, because he spat out his butterbeer in surprise. Sirius and Rose laughed.

Remus coughed and stared at Sirius, then Lily.

“He's joking with me,” he said, “Right, Lily?”

“Nope,” Lily said, “I am the daughter of two purebloods who were kidnapped – apparently at St. Mungo's on the day I was born, then – and this is guesswork by Ragnok – tortured, interrogated and murdered. According to Keeper Ragnok, they were murdered by mercenaries working for Tom Riddle – also known as Voldemort.”

“Voldemort hired mercenaries?” Remus asked, “Why?”

“Because he was hunting Founder's artifacts,” Lily said, “You see, my father was descended from Rowena Ravenclaw.”

Remus coughed again. “ What ? Okay, I'm just going to stop drinking this until you're done with the surprises. Are there any more surprises?”

“Yep,” Lily said, “Harry's Betrothed to Daphne Greengrass due to a Life-Debt Betrothal Contract between James' Grandfather, and the Lord Greengrass at the time. The Contract requirements weren't met until Harry and Daphne were born.”

“And then there's the fact that – since he is the Lord of three Houses – Harry has to marry three wives thanks to the Last Generation Loophole,” Sirius said,

Remus coughed again. Loudly.

“Uncle Moony?” Harry asked, “Are you alright?”

Harry, Hermione and Luna had stepped out of his bedroom.

“He's fine, Harry,” Lily said, “We've just told him about some of the news we learned at Gringotts.”

“That would do it,” Harry muttered, then he cleared his throat. “Hermione, Luna and I just realized we haven't had lunch yet. So Luna's taking us to the Hogwarts Kitchens.”

Sirius grinned. “A lunch date with two girls?”

Lily pointed her wand at Sirius, and hit him with a minor stinging hex. He yelped in pain.

“You can go,” Lily said, “As long as you bring Rose with you.”

“Fine,” Harry said.

Rose squealed and followed her brother and their friends toward the door of the tent.

“Behave!” Lily said, in a sing-song voice to her children.

“We will!” Harry and Rose said in unison, before they left the tent with the girls.

Remus cleared his throat and looked between Lily and Sirius.

“I think you two need to explain everything to me,” Remus said, “And I mean everything !”

Lily and Sirius grinned at each other, then started in on their tale about their visit to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley.


Albus Dumbledore's Office – Half-an-hour later

Albus Dumbledore sat down in his comfortable leather chair, at his mahogany desk, with a tired sigh. His Potions Master and Spy, Severus Snape was standing near his Pensieve staring at it. Albus and Severus had spent much of the past hour inside the Pensieve, watching Albus' memories of Harry Potter's confrontation with him in the Hospital Wing, and the whole fiasco with the seven Ravenclaw girls in that very office. Also, Albus watched Severus' memory of Harry's outburst in the Great Hall Albus was quite glad he was not there to have witnessed it first-hand.

When he woke up that morning, Albus had not predicted how bad his day would get, and it was only in the early afternoon! The only thing he had predicted was that he would be meeting with Lily and Harry Potter, in order to give them back the Invisibility Cloak. That task was done. However, it had not happened how he had wanted it to. He had planned a nice sit down meeting, where he would give them back the Cloak, explain to them why he had given it to Neville Longbottom, then he'd try to figure out what their intentions were for Neville Longbottom.

Then if he felt the conversation was going his way, he would have told them about the Prophecy. He couldn't know where the conversation would take him afterward, because it was hard to predict. Even then, his plans had all gone down the toilet! He was now going to have to work harder to get Lily and Harry Potter's trust. He knew from Harry's behavior toward him today, that the boy did not trust him at all. There was no way he'd be able to speak to them about the Prophecy anytime in the next few days.

But there were several months before they had to return to America. He had plenty of time.

His bad day had begun when Madam Pomfrey had written him a note telling him Ravenclaw fourth year Hermione Granger had been attacked by somebody, with a Teeth-Growing Hex and a Stunner. She was alright, with no major injuries, nothing Madam Pomfrey's able hands and skills couldn't fix. But Albus had wanted to visit her anyway, so he talk to her and see if she knew who attacked her. If it was a Slytherin, or an important child of a Pureblood family, Albus wanted to convince her that she wouldn't press charges, nor would she raise a fuss with their foreign guests. Especially Harry Potter or his family – Albus was aware of Granger's growing friendship with Harry Potter.

Albus should not have been surprised when he found Professor Flitwick waiting for him near the Hospital Wing. Nor should he have been surprised to find the Potter family, Sirius Black and Luna Lovegood in the Hospital Wing. After everything he had witnessed concerning Hermione Granger over the past couple of days, he should have predicted this.

What he couldn't have predicted was that he'd be walking in on Harry – now Lord Potter – performing a House Protection Vow with Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, with the aid of Sirius Black.

“How the bleeding hell is Lily's son Lord Potter?” Severus asked, unaware Albus' were moving along similar paths. “He's fourteen years old! The brat shouldn't have gained the title yet!”

“The Triwizard Tournament originally accepted those students considered of age and adults,” Albus said. “I now realize there was no time to change the Goblet of Fire from not recognizing Harry Potter as of age due to his involvement in the tournament. As an adult recognized by the laws of magic, so too would Gringotts recognize this, and they would contact Harry about him being Lord Potter. Obviously Harry and his family spent time in Diagon Alley and Gringotts this morning going over the terms of him taking on his title.”

Albus' eyes widened. How did he not realize this? If Harry Potter received a notice from Gringotts concerning Lord status, then either Neville Longbottom, or his Gran, Augusta, would receive the same thing. Neville fell under the same loophole Harry did! That was not good. Neville was angry with him. If Neville became Lord Longbottom, there was a chance the boy would remove his House from his Alliance – and possibly ask Lord Potter to return to the Great Alliance. Albus could not afford that. He needed to nip this in the bud before Neville went to Gringotts.

But first he needed to finish his discussion with Severus. Somehow he knew the conversation wasn't nowhere near over.

“So Lily's son is Lord Potter,” Severus muttered. “Obviously the brat has already decided to bandy about and play with his Lord privileges. House Protection with a Muggleborn? Overriding your privileges of Headmaster toward student to punish said student. Using his privileges to threaten and bully the whole student body and staff that if they challenge him, he'd start blood feuds and Duels of Satisfaction with all of them.”

Albus winced. He didn't need to be reminded of all of that. Only minutes before he had met with Severus, he had finished up being host to the parents of Mandy Brocklehurst. He had invited them to his office through his Floo Network – something he had the power to do. Mandy had ranted to Albus that he needed to overturn Harry's decision in a way where she wouldn't have to be in a Duel of Satisfaction. The Lord and Lady Brocklehurst were actually supporting Lord Potter's decision – this shocked Albus greatly. They agreed to the one-month out-of-school suspension, and to their daughter's removal from Ravenclaw.

Lord Brocklehurst had been furious with his daughter when he had heard that she tried to poach the new Lord Potter. He ranted to his own daughter how Lord Potter could not only ruin Mandy, but their entire House if he wanted to. Mandy had been horrified to find that her father was embarrassed by her. She left Albus' office with her parents looking extremely downtrodden. Albus had offered the Brocklehursts to leave through the Floo. But Lord Brocklehurst wanted his daughter to take a walk of shame out of Hogwarts.

This left Albus wondering what Miss Brocklehurst's attitude would be like when she returned. He also wondered which House she'd be chosen to go to, since she couldn't go to Ravenclaw.

“Obviously Potter has learned a lot from his father's friends, Black and Lupin,” Severus continued, “Especially Black. Lord Potter's attitude was likely inspired and coached by Black. It is just what he'd do while he was a student here, Albus. Create a fuss in the Great Hall. Notice that Black silenced Minerva when she tried to stop Potter. Attention-Seeking Black helping Attention-Seeking Potter.”

“And what about Lily?” Albus asked, peering at Snape through his glasses.

“What about Lily?” Severus echoed through his teeth.

“Did you simply decide to ignore Lily's actions toward me in the Hospital Wing?” Albus asked. “How she beat down my request to silence her son, and even encouraged him? How about in this very office? She pointed her wand at me, allowing her son to threaten Miss Brocklehurst with his. And she did it at Harry's command.”

“He asked Black to do it!” Severus said, “And Black did as the brat wanted, because he loved the opportunity of being an Attention-Seeker. Black hasn't changed since his days as a child and he's taught his best friend's spawn to act like he did... and still does!”

“No, Severus,” Albus shaking his head, “He might have been posing a question, but I could easily see it as a command, even if he did not. He commanded Black, and Lily followed in suit. Lily never admonished him once. Not even when he used uncouth language – which I'm sure she's against as all mothers are when their children use such words – did she admonish him the Great Hall. She stood there beaming at him, thrilled by what she saw.”

Albus didn't voice his suspicions that Lily might have admonished her son once they were out of the Great Hall. In the Great Hall, she may not have wanted to embarrass her son during his moment. But afterward... well, she was a mother, after all. Mothers never liked when their children used such uncouth language.

“I am aware of that last fact,” Severus said, “I was watching her so I wouldn't have to watch her brat!”

He sighed and pinched his nose. “What irks me is that I can't blame Black and Lupin for her behavior, because she would never let them change her behavior. Which only means she approved of whatever her late husband's friends taught her son over the last thirteen years.”

Severus clenched his fists and stared at the empty floor where Harry Potter and several others stood earlier that morning.

“Potter's actions toward Brocklehurst,” Severus muttered.

“What?” Albus asked.

“Potter was surprisingly low-tempered during much of his confrontation with Brocklehurst,” Severus said, “Until she uttered that word. Then he moved faster than he had elsewhere in the memories, and his wand was pointed at her eyes. Then he told her... Merlin-be-damned! He knows !”

“What?” Albus asked again.

“Lily told her son,” Severus seethed, “Sometime in the past thirteen years she told him about that day my friendship with Lily ended. She told her son about the moment I called her that word after being bullied by James Potter and his friends! She told him!”

“Are you so surprised?” Albus asked, “Perhaps it was recent when she knew Harry would be coming here. Perhaps, she, and her husband's friends told him and her daughter all about their days at Hogwarts and some of the people they would meet such as you and me.”

“Do you think she told him,” Severus said, in a soft voice, “Of how I... felt about her? I know she knew of my feelings for her.”

Albus raised an eyebrow. Felt... or feel, Severus? Present or past tense? Albus sighed. Severus always went beyond his reach to deny his greatest strengths.

“It is possible, of course,” Albus said.

Severus clenched his fists again. “What are you going to do about Potter gaining the title of Lord and Head of his House?”

Albus stared at Severus. “I don't follow you.”

“Come on, Albus,” Severus said, “You can't tell me you're alright with Lily's son being Lord Potter. He stood in the Hospital Wing and in this very Office – your Office! – telling you what to do. Something – I can admit – he has the right to do because he is Lord Potter and those under his Protection were being harmed and bullied. He suspended one of your students for a month, and expelled her from Ravenclaw! He nearly expelled three others from their House, and would have done so if Granger hadn't decided to she wanted to join Potter in his tents. Four purebloods, punished by Potter because they bullied a Muggleborn! You wouldn't just sit here and let that happen! Especially since he overruled you meted out punishments which is your job! What, Albus, are you going to do about it?”

Albus sighed and pinched his nose. “The Wizengamot is the only capable power that can prevent Harry from taking his title before he turns seventeen. The Light Alliance – even those who vote with me when it comes to laws and decisions I want made and passed – aren't going to stop him, because he's bringing back another vote on their side!”

And possibly more than one depending on how many Houses he is now Lord of, Albus thought internally.

“As much as I'd like to, I can't vote against Harry,” Albus said, “Nor can I convince my Allies too. Not only would I lose his and Lily's trust to the point where I wouldn't be able to get it back, it would bring questions forward I can't answer! The same goes for those in the Neutral Alliance who ally themselves with the Light when it comes to votes and decisions!”

Which is why I need to get to Augusta Longbottom and convince her to deny Neville's adult status, Albus' internal thoughts continued.

“So Potter is going to run amok around Hogwarts whenever something doesn't go his way,” Severus said, “The little hypocrite is going to bully everyone, even though he rants on and on about punishing bullies! Simply because he is Lord Potter. Granger and Lovegood are untouchable. How many more students will be under House Potter Protection by the end? The Children of the Great Alliance? Two of which are my Slytherins, Daphne and Astoria Greengrass. Do I need to tell you what my Slytherin students will do if the Greengrass sisters fall under House Potter Protection! Do I, Albus?

“One wrong move that any student does to anyone connected to Potter, and we're going to have Duels of Satisfaction in the Great Hall! Do you really want this to happen in front of the Ilvermorny and Beauxbatons Students? The Ministry representatives? The media? We're lucky none of them were in the Great Hall!”

Albus sighed. He needed to stop Severus' rants before he got going. He couldn't delay urgent meetings any longer.

“I will strive to take care of all of it, Severus,” Albus said, “I assure you.”

Severus huffed. “Maybe we'll get lucky, and Potter will die in the First Task.”

Albus frowned. “That crosses the line, Severus. I thought you wanted to mend your friendship with his mother. What if she got wind of that?”

Severus winced visibly. Albus smirked – he knew exactly how to hurt even the the hardest of brick walls when he wanted to.

“Food for thought,” Albus said, “You may be excused. I am very busy today, and cannot be a gracious host any longer.”

Severus nodded, then turned, his cloak billowing as he walked over to the door. Before Severus could open the door, it opened by itself. Minerva McGonagall stepped inside. Albus groaned under his breath. He couldn't meet with Minerva! He needed to contact Augusta! Severus left the office, and Minerva walked over to her.

“I assume Severus was here to inform you about the incident in the Great Hall?” Minerva asked.

“Yes, Minerva,” Albus said, “In fact, I viewed the scene in my Pensieve, so you don't need to tell the story to me. I assume you agree with Severus on the matter when he says Harry – Lord Potter – was being too harsh in the Great Hall? I saw how he called you and the rest of the staff bullies. Severus went as far as to call Lord Potter a bully.”

“Harsh he may have been, Albus,” Minerva said, “But he brings up some pretty good points. We've been ignoring bullies and other similar issues for far too long. Nearly the entire student body was in the Great Hall to hear Lord Potter's tirade. By dinner, everyone will be talking about it. Several students applauded Lord Potter! Many think he has very good points!

“We'll be lucky if the issues of bullying aren't voiced in the Daily Prophet in tomorrow's edition! Students are also wondering just how different Ilvermorny is than Hogwarts. Whether or not – if you believe it – Ilvermorny is better than Hogwarts! We're lucky the Beauxbatons students weren't there to witness the scene!

“Albus, we need to do something about the bullying and the other issues. I had terrified Gryffindors meeting with me since Lord Potter's tirade, afraid they had done something, or could do something, that would put themselves in a Duel of Satisfaction or a blood feud with House Potter!”

Albus pinched his nose. He was getting a migraine. “I am very busy right now, Minerva. Call a Staff meeting for tonight after dinner. We'll discuss it there.”

Minerva huffed. “Oh yes. We will most certainly discuss it there.”

She turned and walked out of the office before Albus could officially excuse her. Albus groaned, stood up and walked over to his Floo.

Hopefully his meeting with Augusta would go better than the last few hours of his day had been.

 

Chapter Text


Sunday, November 1 st , 1994


Growing up being raised by three former students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, one tends to hear several stories about the wonders and fun one could have in the castle – especially if those telling the tales were troublemakers. Sirius and Remus – though the latter would deny it vehemently, if you accused him of it, while the former would take it as praise and thank you for it – were troublemakers in their Hogwarts days. Harry and Rose loved listening to their Honorary Uncles' stories of fun, mischief, and pranks that the two Marauders had with their late, and much loved, father.

Harry and Rose relished in the tales of their Honorary Uncles and father sneaking out of Gryffindor Tower, breaking curfew, and prowling through Hogwarts to certain destinations. One of those destinations was the Hogwarts Kitchens. Hearing Sirius Black utter the words “Tickle the Pear” might mean something quite a bit different to those who didn't know any better. But Harry and Rose finally discovered what their Godfather really did mean when they saw their friend, Luna, literally tickling a pear, on a portrait that had a bowl of fruit on a table.

When the pear giggled, so did Harry and Rose. And when the portrait swung open, revealing a door way which led them into the Hogwarts Kitchens, full of House-Elves and delicious aromas, the Potter siblings felt as if they were in one of the tales that their Uncles had told them.

A House-Elf bounded over to the young teens when he saw them. The elf was wearing a pillow-case and looked very happy to see them.

“Missy Moon!” the House-Elf said, “Missy Moon's Miss Grangy! Dobby is so happy to see you! You brought friends, Missy Moon!”

Harry stared at the elf, trying to figure out what the elf – Dobby – had called Luna and Hermione.

Missy Moon... moon... ah! Harry thought, nodding, Luna's another word for moon! And Grangy? Perhaps the elf wasn't good with names, first or last? Or perhaps he had misheard Luna when she had originally introduced her friend.

“Hello, Dobby, my friend,” Luna said, kindly, “These are my two newest friends, Harry and Rose Potter.”

“Dobby is honored to meet Missy Moon's Harry and Rose!” Dobby said, grinning at the Potter siblings, “What can Dobby do for you?”

We're all here because we missed lunch, Dobby,” Luna said, “Would you, perhaps, have any leftovers from the meal?”

“Dobby would be happy to serve Missy Moon and friends!” Dobby said; he motioned to a nearby table. “Please be seated. Dobby will serve Miss Moon and friends in moments!”

As Harry sat down at the table with Hermione, Luna and Rose, he noticed that Hermione was frowning as she looked around at the elves. He remembered the night he met Hermione and Luna, and remembering Hermione's opinion on House-Elves. He also remembered her talking about SPEW.

“Dobby used to belong to the House of Malfoy,” Luna said, “But when Lucius Malfoy got arrested this summer, Lord Malfoy apparently accidentally gave Dobby a piece of clothing during his arrest, setting Dobby free in the confusion. I think Dobby tricked his Master into doing it, but he denies it.”

“How can House-Elves trick their Masters?” Rose asked, “I've never heard of that being accomplished.”

“Oh, Dobby didn't like his Masters,” Luna said, “Every day, they treated him unkindly, and he wished to leave. I think it was his constant wishes that granted him his freedom.”

“If Dobby is free,” Harry said, “Then why is he working here?”

“Oh, he's simply volunteering to help out a friend of his,” Luna said.

The elf in question approached their table, and placed platters of food samples left over from the afternoon lunch.

“Dobby?” Luna asked, “Where is Winky? I don't see her.”

Dobby peered sideways toward a pile of blankets Harry had not noticed before. Luna stood and walked over to the blankets, then moved them. Harry's eyes widened when he saw a sleeping House-Elf – possibly female – snoring and surrounded by several butterbeer bottles. Harry winced as he saw the bottles. Butterbeer wasn't healthy for House-Elves.

“Dobby,” Luna said, “I told you. You shouldn't be embarrassed about Winky. She's going through a difficult time and she needs comfort and help. Letting her get drunk on butterbeer, and feeling sorry for herself isn't going to help her. Neither is ignoring her and covering her with blankets.”

“Dobby promises Missy Moon to strive to help Winky,” Dobby said, “Enjoy your meal, Missy Moon and friends. Dobby must be getting back to post-lunch clean-up.”

Dobby walked away. Luna sighed, shaking her head, and sat back down at the table.

“Winky used to be Bartemius Crouch's elf,” Luna said, “He gave her clothes this summer, and she hasn't taken it very well at all. She still believes he is her Master. Dobby found her and brought her here, to work in the castle.”

“House-Elves shouldn't have to work at all!” Hermione complained, “This is why I founded SPEW. So I can work toward a future where they can have better lives!”

“Still haven't found a better name for it yet?” Harry asked.

Hermione glared at him.

“I'm going to regret saying this,” Harry said, “But would it surprise you to know that my family has a House-Elf back in Boston?”

Hermione's eyes widened, and her eyebrows narrowed. “You own a House-Elf?”

“'Own' is a pretty harsh term, Hermione,” Harry said, “We consider Chrys – that's her name -- part of the family. She joined the family as a elfling and Rose and I playfully refer to her as our little sister. That is how we feel about her when it comes to her part in the family. I can see you have a pretty low opinion on house-elves. Not low in the sense that is how you look at them, but low in the sense that you know very little about them.”

Hermione frowned. “I've been doing my research. Reading books...”

“By which authors?” Harry asked. “Some books about House-Elves don't shine the greatest of lights on them. Simply because the Author of the book didn't write it to give a good opinion of House-Elves, they wrote it for the money. They didn't bother with unbiased opinions or facts. You rarely ever find books that tell the best things about House-Elves. For example... did you know Hogwarts could be considered sentient in some ways owing to how much magic it has? Mom, Sirius and Remus told me about Hogwarts' defense system with the various coat of arms. Magic like that has to come from somewhere, doesn't it?”

“The castle's been around for a thousand years or so, Harry,” Hermione said, “With how much magic is cast every single day in this castle, there is no reason why it wouldn't collect some of that magic to power its own defenses, wards, et cetera and so forth.”

“Listen to yourself, Hermione,” Harry said. “You just said magic gets cast every single day. Students go home for the summer. So does much of the staff. Who, then, is giving the castle magic to sustain itself during that time?”

Rose pointed a finger at various House-Elves bustling around the Kitchens.

“The House-Elves?” Hermione asked with wide-eyes.

“Hogwarts just doesn't have a large number of house-elves because they can cook food and clean, Hermione,” Harry said, “House-Elves unconsciously sustain magical residences, with little to no harm to themselves. The magic they donate, they regain while they sleep. The British Ministry of Magic likely has two or three times the number of House-Elves stationed here, because it is so big.”

“Hermione,” Luna said, “Remember the tales of how House Weasley used to be paupers before they ascended into being a Noble House? Even now, they're still probably the poorest Noble House in Great House. Why do you suppose that?”

“Didn't Malfoy once say the Weasleys have more children than they can afford?” Hermione asked. “Harsh, but it seems like it could be accurate.”

“It isn't just the children,” Luna said. “They don't own a House-Elf because Molly Weasley doesn't want one. And yet, their House has to sustain magic, or it would probably fall over. Wards are expensive, even with their eldest son – a Curse Breaker and Ward Builder – doing much of the work on them a few times a year. The Wards they have to use to power not only the defense of their residence, but the magic to sustain their own home, are quite expensive. They would save a lot of money by buying a house-elf to do one of the Ward's jobs for them.”

Harry nodded in agreement. “That is why you find it common for most rich Houses to have one, if not several House-Elves. We own one, because we live in a two-story home with four bedrooms. Manors use several House-Elves. Witches and wizards need House-Elves as much as House-Elves need us.”

“So what you're saying is,” Hermione said, “is that SPEW would never become accepted, because it would be costly.”

“SPEW would probably put Wizarding Britain into an era similar to America's Great Depression,” Harry said.

Hermione's eyes widened, and she uncharacteristically swore. “Oh bollocks.”

“Now do you see why nobody wants to join your club?” Luna asked.

Hermione nodded slowly as she looked down at her meal.

“I know when you first think of House-Elves, it is easy to see slavery,” Harry said. “Freeing House-Elves isn't the answer. Giving them pay-days and vacations might be acceptable. But don't be offended if none of the House-Elves want pay-days and vacations. It isn't in their nature.”

Hermione merely nodded again. Harry knew she didn't like where the conversation had gone, so he decided it was time for a change of subject. The conversation turned to their childhoods. Hermione and Luna's childhood stories were as interesting as they were different. Hermione raised in the No-Maj world, while Luna was raised as a witch in Wizarding Britain. For nine years, Luna had both of her parents, and then her mother had died in an accident. That her mother had died was the only thing Luna mentioned of the event. Neither Harry nor Rose pressed for details.

They knew Luna's mother had died, because their mother – was friends with hers – and their mother had locked herself in her bedroom for several hours when she got the news, from a day-old edition of the Daily Prophet, of the death of Pandora Lovegood. Their mother had told them that her friend had died in an accident, and her daughter was there to see it. But they listened to Luna as if that was the first time they heard the news, because Luna was their friend.

In return, Harry and Rose entertained Hermione and Luna with more stories of their childhood. One particular story had to do with how their House-Elf Chrys was well-skilled in Glamour Charms, and could look like a human child. She usually posed as Harry and Rose's cousin who likes to occasionally visit, whenever Rebecca or other No-Maj friends visited.

“Rebecca never once has asked why our 'cousin' Chrys is always visiting at the same time Rebecca comes over,” Harry said, grinning, “Nor has she never asked why she's never met Chrys' parents. We think it has to do something with Chrys' magic.”

Luna giggled at that, and even Hermione gave an amused smile.

“I've always wanted to ask an American wizard or witch this,” Hermione said. “Did... You-Know-Who's threat ever reach American shores?”

Harry sighed. “First of all, Hermione, his name is Voldemort.

Hermione and Luna winced.

“To answer your question,” Harry said, “His threat never reached American shores, but the tales of the Great War did. Luckily for my family, America knew what happened to Voldemort on Halloween of 1981, but they didn't know we had a part in it. If they did – the fact that we're alive probably wouldn't be news today here in Great Britain. It would be old news.”

Hermione nodded. “I suppose that makes sense. After all, before you went to America, I can't imagine House Potter was as well-known there as it is here.”

“It wasn't known at all,” Harry said, “Which is why Mom, Sirius and Remus decided we should live there.”

“Why did you never return to Great Britain before now?” Hermione asked.

“Because we fell in love with America,” Harry said, smiling.

Rose nodded in agreement. Hermione nodded and smiled.

“You know, I'm rather confused as to why you're afraid of Voldemort's name, Hermione,” Harry said. “You didn't grow up hearing about him from your parents like some half-bloods and most purebloods in Britain did. Half-bloods – those who grew up in the wizarding world -- and Purebloods fear Voldemort's name for one simple reason. Do you know what a Taboo is?”

“I've seen it referenced,” Hermione said.

“Voldemort,” Harry simply said.

He then cringed visibly and looked over his shoulder. Then he turned back and grinned at Hermione's confused expression.

“If the Great War,was still going on,” Harry said, “Voldemort or his Death Eaters would have appeared behind me, because I said his name. Well... perhaps not, because the wards around here are so strong. That is an example of the Taboo. It puts a sort of Tracking Charm on a word. If you link that Charm to a... a ring for example.” He lifted his ring and showed it to Hermione. “The ring would become warm or glow bright. You say a keyword, and you're instantly taken to the location the Taboo was said. Now imagine a Taboo on the word Voldemort.”

“That's why the name is feared?” Hermione asked.

“That is why the name used to be feared,” Harry said, “According to what my mother and Uncles told me about the aftermath of the evening Voldemort disappeared due to my father, the Taboo was done away with by Unspeakables of the Department of Mysteries. That was back in November of 1981. Thirteen years later, whenever Voldemort's name is said, people react badly. Why? Because even thirteen years after Voldemort's death, disappearance, what-have- you, his influence is still around because witches and wizards have not been able to move on. However, first-gens, like you Hermione, never grew up with that fear. So why do you fear his name?”

“Because he's not dead, Harry,” Hermione said.

“Yeah, that's what my parents told me over the years,” Harry said. “But where's the proof?”

Hermione frowned. “You don't know about the Philosopher's Stone incident, do you? The night Voldemort appeared for the first time in over a decade.”

Harry's eyes widened. Meanwhile, Rose grabbed his arm with her nearest hand and it was obvious she was shaking.

“Tell us everything, Hermione,” Harry said.

His mother and Uncles were going to need to hear about this.


Slytherin House – Fourth Year Girls' Dormitory

Fourth Year Slytherin Daphne Greengrass was sitting cross-legged on her bed, staring at an envelope in front of her. The envelope was from her father, the Lord Castor Greengrass. She had received the envelope during lunch, and she had not opened it yet.

In addition to the arrival of the post from her father, lunch had been quite interesting in other ways. She had been enjoying lunch and talking with her fellow Slytherins about the Triwizard Tournament, listening to Draco Malfoy jeering Neville Longbottom – even though Longbottom couldn't hear him – and discussing that he was thinking of making badges that said “Longbottom Stinks”. He was considering putting “Angelina Johnson – The TRUE Hogwarts Champion”, but he really hadn't wanted to show favor for a Gryffindor. Draco's Betrothed, Pansy Parkinson had asked Draco who he was supporting if not Hogwarts, and he had mentioned something about possibly supporting Harry Potter.

And it was as if Draco's words had summoned the Ilvermorny Champion. Harry Potter had walked in with his family. But what was surprising was that Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, and Padma Patil had joined him. Well, Daphne didn't find it too strange Lovegood and Patil was seen with Potter. Their Houses were Allies of House Potter – just like her own House was. But what was Granger doing with Harry, aside from being Luna's friends. There had been rumors that Harry Potter had asked Granger on a date to Hogsmeade Village the following Saturday. Had those rumors been true?

Then Harry Potter put on an impressive show of power and command. Revealing he was now Lord Potter was something Daphne had found very, very interesting, and she had planned on telling her father about that. That the new Lord Potter had placed Granger and Lovegood under House Protection was absolutely shocking. That was, until, he explained why he had done it.

Looking back at it, Daphne had to admit she probably would have done what Potter did, had she been in his position. The fact that Granger had been Stunned and left in the middle of a corridor – that chilled even the nicknamed “Ice Queen of Slytherin” herself. No witch – not even a Muggleborn – deserved to be left in such a vulnerable situation.

“You still haven't opened that envelope, Daphne?” a very familiar voice asked.

Daphne smiled warmly when she heard that voice. She looked up and saw Tracey Davis step into the room. Tracey was Daphne's girlfriend, in every sense of the word. Both in friendship, and in the romantic sense. Daphne considered herself bisexual, but she knew Tracey was what one would call a “Witches' Witch” – a 'safer' phrase in wizarding society than “lesbian”.

Tracey was a rarity. Most daughters of Pureblood Houses wouldn't dare to be anything beyond bisexual. They had their Houses and bloodlines to think of, of course. Luckily for Tracey, she had an older brother who was now married with a child on the way. The House of Davis would successfully continue onto the next generation, without Tracey's help – barring anything bad happening to Tracey's brother or his child.

Daphne didn't have that luxury. She was the eldest daughter of a House with no sons. She was destined to be the wife of a Pureblood wizard, and bring in the next Generation, bearing the surname of the House she married into. Her sister, Astoria, was doomed to a Line Continuance Marriage, where she'd have to marry someone who already had a wife, keep her surname, and her children would carry on her name.

But for now, Daphne was happy to have Tracey as her girlfriend. Daphne considered herself and Tracey lucky. Their relationship was still relatively secret in Hogwarts. Oh, there were rumors of their romantic relationship. But Daphne and Tracey had been careful. They didn't kiss and snog where someone else could see them. And if they held hands while walking through Hogsmeade Village during dates – why wouldn't two girls, who were best friends since the tender age of four, hold hands? Girls who were best friends – and showed no signs of romantic feelings – did it all the time! So they were fine with rumors.

As long as Daphne's parents didn't find out, everything was fine. She shivered at the thought. They wouldn't support the fact that she was attracted to witches – even if she was also attracted to wizards. She had a duty to do as the eldest daughter of her House. One that didn't support anything pertaining to a witch's attraction toward witches.

“The last time Daddy wrote to me,” Daphne said, “It was to tell me Greenie died.”

Greenie had been Daphne's personal nanny House-Elf. Greenie had been purchased by Daphne's father as a birthday present for Daphne's first birthday. The House-Elf was only a couple months younger than she was. She had grown up with that elf. Greenie had been her first best friend. She loved Greenie. Daphne cried for hours when she received that letter.

“The letter before that,” Daphne said, “It was to tell me Grandmother was ill in St. Mungo's with Dragonpox. I'm lucky Gran is still alive. What if... what if this letter is to tell me she's dead?”

“Daffy, you're being cynical,” Tracey said.

Daphne glared at Tracey. She hated that nickname. The first time she ever met Tracey, the girl misheard her when she introduced herself. Tracey thought her name was Daffy. Over a decade later, the name still stuck!

“Your father can give you good news, you know,” Tracey said.

Daphne looked around to see if any of her other dorm-mates were there. When she detected nobody, she turned back to her girlfriend.

“If this is bad news,” she said, “I'm not kissing you for a week.”

Tracey smiled in a way that made Daphne tingle in certain places. “Really? Can you resist me that long?”

“I will do my best,” Daphne said, with another glare.

Tracey rolled her eyes. “Just open it, Daffy.”

Daphne cleared her throat, and snatched the envelope from the bed. She turned it around and found the House Family Crest pressed into a wax seal, confirmation it was from Lord Greengrass. She broke the wax, and the envelope transformed into a piece of parchment. She inhaled and exhaled and started reading the letter.

“What the bloody fuck?!” Daphne exclaimed when she finished the letter.

“What?!” Tracey demanded, as she stood from her own bed, then crossed to Daphne's and sat down on the end, “Is it your Gran...?”

Daphne offered the letter to Tracey who immediately took it and began to read. Daphne looked away from Tracey. She didn't want to see her girlfriend's reaction.

When Daphne was seven years old, her father had taken her to Gringotts in London to meet with the House Greengrass Account Manager. Before the visit, her parents had discussed several topics with her. One topic was the Pureblood Heritage Act. It was during this topic she also learned about Betrothal Contracts. Several Pureblood Houses in Wizarding Britain were taking advantage of the Act, Lords of Pureblood Houses were Betrothing sons to daughters of other Pureblood Houses.

Tracey's brother was in a Betrothal Contract because of this. Tracey had not been Contracted yet. “Yet” was the important word. Being a lesbian didn't matter if you were placed in a Betrothal Contract. A witch didn't need to fall in love with her husband – love and attraction wasn't a necessity. Being of able mind and body to bring in the next generation of wizards and witches was. Oh, sure, Tracey's father, the Lord Davis, had received offers for Betrothals to his daughter, but he hadn't answered one yet. Again... “yet” being the important word.

As for Daphne Greengrass, when it came to Betrothal Contracts, that was a whole new oddity in itself. Occasionally around Greengrass Manor over the past several years, envelopes would arrive at the Manor. However, before Lord Greengrass, his wife, daughters or house-elves could even touch the envelope, it would burn up and disappear. Not every piece of post did this. Only some of them did. Daphne's father seemed to know what the letters were, but he never said anything about them. But every time the letter burned, Lord Greengrass would look at Daphne with the same strange expression.

It was as she sat in bed, that Daphne now realized what those letters were over the years. They were offers of Betrothal Contracts for her. And now she knew why they burned up. Daphne was already Betrothed. None of the other Contracts could be accepted.

When Tracey finished the letter she set it down on the bed and stared at it. That she hadn't immediately ran out of the room crying and screaming was rather encouraging for Daphne.

“Well,” Tracey said, glancing at her girlfriend with a wry smile. “Am I not getting any kisses from you for a week?”

“He knew, you know,” Daphne said, “He knew about the Contract.”

“Potter?” Tracey asked.

“My father,” Daphne said, through clenched teeth.

“Oh,” Tracey said. “So you think he knew about the Betrothal Contract penned between your Great-Grandfather, and Potter's Great-Grandfather?”

“Those letters that randomly showed up at Greengrass Manor, then went up in flames before they could be read,” Daphne said, “Every time they burned up, Daddy gave me this... look. Actually, no. Not every time. It started after the second incident. Because shortly after the first incident, I bet whoever sent the first Contract contacted my father, and asked him why he hadn't gave a reply, be it acceptance, or be it denying the Contract.

“So Daddy realized that the letter was a Betrothal Contract. And he knew why the letter burned up. Because I was already in a bloody Betrothal Contract! I can't be Betrothed to two boys, Tracey!”

She nearly shouted those last two sentences. But she had kept herself calm. Just what she needed. One of her room-mates – like Pansy – finding out she was in a Betrothal Contract.

“Well, Potter confirmed today he is Lord Potter,” Tracey said. “Which means he visited Gringotts since returning to his homeland. Possibly as recently as today. I imagine his Account Manager let him know about the Contract --”

“And once he learned of the Contract,” Daphne said, “The House Greengrass Account Manager sent out notification of the Contract to my father.”

“And your father wrote the letter about it to you,” Tracey said, nodding.

“Out of all the Children of the Great Alliance,” Daphne said, “I never expected I would be the one to be Betrothed to one of the sons of the Alliance.”

“Daphne,” Tracey said, “Longbottom, Boot and MacMillan are no longer members of your Alliance. And until Friday – everyone thought Potter was dead. So...”

Daphne threw her pillow at Tracey. “Shut up, you hag! You know what I mean!”

Tracey laughed and threw the pillow back at Daphne, who caught it. “You expected to get Betrothed to someone like Nott or Zabini?”

“I thought I was lucky enough to escape the Betrothal Contract Curse,” Daphne said.

“'Curse' being that everyone and their sister seems to be getting offers of Betrothal Contracts these days,” Tracey said, nodding; then she sighed deeply. “One of these days, my father is going to accept one of those Contracts. And the only way to stop that is to announce I'm a effing Witches' Witch, and face the music.”

“Tracey, I know where your mind is right now,” Daphne said, “I'm not effing breaking up with you because of this bloody Contract. Rumor is Potter's got his eyes on Hermione Granger – why, I don't know – so it appears he may have a girlfriend soon. He ain't looking for another one. And if he asks me, I'll tell him I am happily taken!”

Tracey smiled softly.

“According to the letter,” Daphne said, “Daddy says he plans on asking Lord Potter and his mother to meet him next Saturday in Hogsmeade for a meeting to discuss the Contract. With any luck, I won't have to get married until I finish my education here at Hogwarts. Even if I am required to let Potter court me, there is nothing that says he has to court me starting as soon as the Contract is agreed upon. I'm not breaking up with you, Tracey. Are you... breaking up with me?”

Tracey grinned. She cast her wand, and the curtains around Daphne's bed closed, hiding them both from view. Tracey then crawled up toward Daphne, pounced on her and claimed her lips. Daphne sighed, happily, and just as happily returned her girlfriend's kiss. Thirty seconds later, she backed away.

“Does that answer your question?” Tracey asked, huskily.

“Yes, it does,” Daphne said, “I'd love to snog you for the next several hours, Trace. Merlin, would I! But I need to find Potter, and introduce myself. And clear the air with him about a few things too. You're welcome to come along and introduce yourself too.”

“No thanks,” Tracey muttered, “Not right now. Daphne? Does this mean your father's letter was bad news or good news?”

Daphne didn't know the answer to that. So she smacked her girlfriend playfully with her pillow, then retreated from her bed, leaving her dormitory and a giggling girlfriend behind.


Hogwarts - Entrance Hall

Harry entered the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts with Rose, Hermione and Luna, with full intentions of returning to the Hogwarts Grounds and the Ilvermorny Tents. He really needed to talk to his mother and Honorary Uncles about what Hermione told him about Voldemort.

He feet away from the large oak doors that separated himself from the Grounds of Hogwarts, when he heard a loud voice.

“Potter!” the female voice called to him, “Hey! Potter!”

Hermione swore under her breath. Obviously she knew who the voice belonged to. Harry turned and found a very attractive blonde-haired Slytherin witch walking over to him from the direction of the dungeons. She looked at him, and Rose, then she looked at Hermione and Luna.

“Granger,” she said, “Luna.”

“Hello, Daphne,” Luna said, kindly.

Harry's eyes widened. So this was his Betrothed, Daphne Greengrass. Well, that explained why she called Luna by her first name. Given that their Houses were Allies, they might have grown up knowing each other. Calling Hermione by her last name on the other hand. That irked him.

Daphne looked at Harry. “Greetings, Lord Potter. I am Daphne Greengrass, eldest daughter of the Noble House of Greengrass. Your Betrothed.

Harry gulped. She said the last word in a whisper. She had received word of the Betrothal Contract. Well, this would prove interesting.

“Can I talk to you in private?” Daphne asked.

“I don't think that is wise,” Hermione said.

“Granger, Lord Potter is my Ally and my Betrothed,” Daphne said, in a low voice, obviously fearing eavesdroppers. “I'm not going to do anything to him. He's safe with me.”

“I'll grant your request,” Harry said, lowering his voice too, “If you grant mine.”

“Which is?” Daphne asked.

“Call Hermione by her first name,” Harry said, “I don't like when people use last names in friendly conversation. It doesn't send a friendly message across.”

Daphne stared at Harry for a second. Then she nodded curtly, and looked at Hermione.

“You'll get your boyfriend back safe and sound, Hermione,” Daphne said. “I'm sure you can survive a few minutes without being able to snog him. I need to talk to him about something important. Okay?”

Hermione went pink at the term 'boyfriend', and then red at Daphne's mention of snogging. “Fine.”

“Go back to the tents,” Harry said, “All three of you. I'll be back soon.”

“And if Mom asks where you are?” Rose asked.

“Tell her the truth,” Harry said, “I'm with my Betrothed.”

Rose sighed and nodded. She glanced at Daphne for a moment, before she turned and led Luna out through the doors. Hermione glanced between Harry and Daphne for a moment, before she, too, followed Rose and Luna.

“What do I call you then?” Daphne asked. “Lord Potter... My Lord ?”

“Harry,” Harry said, smiling.

Daphne shrugged and nodded curtly. “Follow me, Harry.”

“You shouldn't be so mean to Hermione, Daphne,” Harry said, as he followed Daphne as she led him across the Entrance Hall and back into the dungeons. “I know rumors have been spread around. But, for your information, we haven't even gone on a date yet. She isn't my girlfriend, so obviously we haven't even kissed yet.”

“Could have fooled me,” Daphne said, “She was defending you from another girl like a jealous girlfriend.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Daphne, I'm sure you embarrassed her.”

“Well, I'll leave it to you to apologize to her then, shall I?” Daphne asked. “You're her Protector, aren't you? Comfort her and tell her you're sorry about how the big bad Slytherin girl treated her, and maybe you can even get that first kiss you want.”

“Yes, I am her Protector,” Harry said, “You would do well to remember that.”

“Yes, yes, I was there when you basically told everyone to be nice to her,” Daphne said. “Message well and truly received.”

Harry sighed. He already didn't like where this conversation was going. Plus he was going to have to probably deal with Hermione complaining to him about Daphne. Daphne was Betrothed to him! If he wanted his relationship with Hermione to be successful to the point where he hoped it would go, that meant Hermione and Daphne were going to have to get along. That wasn't starting out well.

Soon, they walked into a room. Harry was rather surprised to find it was a bathroom. Even more surprised to find there were no urinals. Daphne walked around the bathroom, opening doors to stalls, and obviously looking to see if they were alone.

“This is a girl's bathroom,” Harry said, when Daphne walked back over to him.

“Oh, really?” Daphne asked, “I hadn't noticed. What, My Lord. Are you afraid to be seen in a Witches' Bathroom? I chose to bring you in here, because it is the best and closest available room that provides privacy.”

“Anybody could walk in here,” Harry said.

“Would you feel better if we stepped into a cubicle?” Daphne asked, raising her eyebrows and grinning.

Harry snorted softly. Cheeky little witch. Two could play this game.

“Well, it depends,” Harry said, slowly, “The last time I walked out of a cubicle in a witches' bathroom, I had lipstick kiss marks all over my face, and neck. Are you offering to recreate that memory?”

Daphne blinked. “I don't wear lipstick that leaves marks.”

Harry laughed. “Nice to meet a girl who can keep up with me. Can we begin the main reason why you dragged me in here? I'd like to get back to my tents.”

“Before Gran – Hermione comes looking?” Daphne asked. “Or Mummy ?”

“I'm just going to forget that you said that,” Harry said.

Daphne snorted. “Whatever makes you happy. Here's the rub, Harry. During lunch – before you made a scene in front of most of the Hogwarts student body and much of the staff – I received a letter from my father. I read it a few minutes ago, and then I came looking for you. The letter informed me of a time when your Great Granddaddy saved mine and then decided to do the selfish thing and create a Betrothal Contract with him that wouldn't become active in their lifetimes.”

“Selfish?” Harry echoed, “Life-Debts bred Betrothal Contracts back then. As far as I can tell neither of our Great-Grandfathers had children at the time. Fleamont Potter obviously believed he had just cemented the next two generations of his bloodline and the Greengrass bloodline. Greengrass, who he had recently made an Alliance with that still exists today.”

Daphne sighed. “Fine. It isn't selfish. Not entirely.”

“Then why did you say that?” Harry asked.

“Because I'm bloody upset and things tend to spit from my mouth when I'm upset, Potter!” Daphne snarled.

“My Godfather, Sirius Black, always told me Slytherins think before they talk,” Harry said; Daphne's only answer was a glare. “Why are you upset?”

“Because I'm currently in a relationship!” Daphne said, “I don't need a Betrothal Contract in my life.”

Harry raised his eyebrows. “Did you not hear what I told you about Hermione? I am very close to having a relationship of my own, Daphne. I have no intentions of courting you anytime soon, so you can keep courting your girlfriend and I got no problem with that.”

“How the fuck do you know I have a girlfriend, Potter?” Daphne demanded.

“Aside from the fact that you just told me?” Harry replied with a grin.

“I swear to Salazar, if you weren't in an Alliance with my House, I'd hex you where you stand,” Daphne said.

Harry chuckled. “I actually believe you. Daphne, I didn't know you had a girlfriend. I only heard rumors.”

“Gran – Hermione told you, didn't she?” Daphne asked.

“If your confrontation with her didn't hurt my chances,” Harry said, “There's a chance she'll be my girlfriend. So I told her about the Betrothal Contract, so I could know if she's still interested in dating me. She asked me if I'd have to court you because you're Betrothed to me. I told her you probably had a boyfriend.”

Daphne snorted. “And she told you there were rumors I had a girlfriend, not a boyfriend. Figures.”

“Yes, she told me there was a rumor of you dating a girl,” Harry said, “though she wasn't sure, because apparently the girl is also your best friend. Hiding your relationship in plain sight by frolicking through the village like best friends. Nice one, Daphne. Do you kiss in plan sight too?”

Fuck you, Potter,” Daphne snorted. “I'm not going to be responsible for your next wet dream.”

Harry laughed out loud. “I might have to say a prayer to Great Granddaddy and thank him for starting the chain of events that led me to this moment. I found my soul-mate.”

Daphne blushed furiously. Then she looked away when she realized she was blushing. Harry laughed under his breath. He had finally broken through her brick wall exterior! Yes, Sirius was definitely going to enjoy this when he told him about it later.

“I have no problems with you having a girlfriend, Daphne,” Harry said, “A friend told me recently that love, and finding someone who loves you is a natural thing in life. I am sorry the Betrothal Contract has to interfere with that.”

Daphne shrugged. “There's a reason I'm bisexual, and not a lesbian. I knew I could never have a long-lasting romance with a witch. I have a duty as the eldest daughter of my House. Now it appears my duty is to give the House of Potter its next generation.”

Harry decided not to mention yet that she may not be Lady Potter, but Lady of one of his other two Houses. She was already close to blowing her gasket, and the news that she'd be one of three wives might make Mount Daphne erupt.

The way she was treating Hermione told him that she wouldn't be happy at the moment that there was a chance – no matter how big or small at the moment – that Hermione could be not only one of three wives but also Lady Potter, which Daphne just assumed she would be. He would let that news break another time. Even though he knew she'd likely be just as mad at him then.

“However, saying that,” Daphne continued, “My girlfriend knows about our Contract, and she still wants to be my girlfriend. I have every intention of being with her for as long as possible, Potter. So don't even think of courting me until a few months before the wedding. Because, if you expect to court me any sooner than that – sod our Alliance, I'd hex you anyway!”

Harry chuckled. “Message well and truly received.”

Daphne sighed. “The other reason I wanted to speak to you was that my father wants to arrange a meeting with you and your mother for next Saturday in Hogsmeade. He said he was sending you and your mother a letter too. I expect he wants to come to a mutual agreement as to what time to meet him next Saturday. I'm expected to join the meeting. So try to arrange a time that doesn't interfere with my planned date with my girlfriend. My... my parents don't know I have a girlfriend, and I don't want them to know yet. Keep that in mind.”

“I'm also planning on having a date – hopefully with Hermione – next weekend,” Harry said, “So I understand your concerns. I will do my best to arrange a good time. Any suggestions?”

Daphne sighed. “I suppose noon would work. I could do a late lunch with my girlfriend then.”

“I will do my best to persuade your father for a noon meeting,” Harry said.

“Thanks,” Daphne said, “Thanks for... for being understanding about me having a girlfriend. Like I said, I'm bisexual, so there probably won't be any issues regarding failed attraction between me and you, when it comes time for us to be married.”

“Are you saying you're attracted to me?” Harry asked, grinning.

“I'm not satisfying your ego with an answer, Potter,” Daphne said.

Harry chuckled. Then a thought crossed his mind. “Have you spoken to Padma Patil today?”

Daphne raised an eyebrow. “No. Why?”

“I gave her the task of speaking to all the current members of the Children of the Great Alliance,” Harry said, “But since we're talking, I can give you the message instead of her. Next Sunday, I'm inviting the Children of the Great Alliance into my tent for lunch, so I can formally meet all of you, and we can have a discussion regarding the Great Alliance.”

“Wouldn't it be better to speak with the other Heads of House?” Daphne asked.

“No,” Harry said, “For one, the Children of the Great Alliance are here and more readily available. Two. We're the future of the Alliance. We all need to be acquainted with each other, and learn to work together, so we can prepare for that future.”

“I grew up with every single member of the Children of the Great Alliance, Harry,” Daphne said, “Except you. We went to social parties together, and during most of them, we hung out together to get to know each other. So we're well acquainted.”

“Then I guess I have some catching up to do,” Harry said. “One of the things I want to do is discuss new Houses in the Alliance. We'll take suggestions – we need to make up for those we lost.”

“I have a suggestion already,” Daphne said, “My girlfriend's House. I'm keeping her identity a secret from you until next Saturday – you'll likely know it then. She's part of a Neutral House, and Noble, like mine.”

“Invite her to the meeting,” Harry said, “We'll take a vote amongst the members about whether or not to send an offer to the Lord of her House.”

“Alright,” Daphne said, “Do I have to bring my sister?”

“I'm bringing mine,” Harry said.

“Fine, she'll come along,” Daphne said, “I just don't think she's ready.”

“Then it will be a great learning moment for her,” Harry said.

Daphne nodded. “Point. Is that all?”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“Good,” Daphne said, “I'm done here. You leave first. I don't want to be seen walking out with you. People would get the wrong message if they saw us together.”

“So you're okay with them seeing me walking out of here,” Harry said.

Daphne feigned a look of deep thought, then nodded. “Yep. Pretty much.”

Harry chuckled. “It was very nice to meet you, Miss Greengrass.”

“You too, Lord Potter,” Daphne said, then added after a moment, “Good luck with Hermione.”

Harry was rather surprised at that. Maybe there was a chance for Hermione and Daphne to co-exist. Hopefully Hermione felt the same way. He didn't want to think about the alternative.

Harry bowed his head lightly, turned and left the bathroom. Thankfully nobody saw him. He headed back toward the Entrance Hall. He had a lot of things to tell his family. And he needed to make sure Hermione wasn't mad at him. And if she was... maybe he'd take Daphne's advice.



Earlier That Afternoon – Longbottom Manor

Augusta Longbottom, Neville Longbottom's grandmother, and Lady Regent of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Longbottom was making her way toward the sitting room of Longbottom Manor. One of the Longbottom House-Elves had just told her that Albus Dumbledore's Head was in the Floo.

Augusta had an inking she knew what Albus wished to talk to her about, so she steeled and prepared herself for the conversation. This would be the second conversation she would have with Albus via Floo Network in two days. Yesterday, she had a very late evening meeting with him, where Albus had announced to her that Neville had found himself to be the Fourth Champion in the Triwizard Tournament. Albus told her that he suspected there was foul play done, and that he didn't suspect Neville entering his own name.

Augusta had ranted to Albus, demanding that he find a way to get her grandson out of the dangerous tournament. Albus told her that there was no way that could be done. He also told her that he had planned for Alastor Moody to help Neville throughout the tournament. Augusta had accepted Moody's help, but had also said she would be arranging her own tutors to come to Hogwarts to help Neville. She could tell Albus wasn't happy about that, but in the end he gave in.

She stepped into the sitting room, and smiled kindly when she saw Albus' head in the Floo, looking at her with a kind smile of his own.

“Good afternoon, Albus,” Augusta said, as she crossed the room over to the Floo, “What may I do for you?”

“Greetings, Augusta,” Albus said, “I was wondering if you had received any interesting letters from Gringotts today?”

Augusta smirked. How predictable Albus Dumbledore could be.

“I have,” Augusta said, “My Account Manager informed me that Neville was now qualified for the title of Lord Longbottom, because he's entered in that Merlin-be-damned tournament of yours!”

“It isn't my tournament, my dear,” Albus said.

“You still agreed to let Hogwarts take part, Albus,” Augusta said. “I suppose you believe I should tell my Account Manager that I'm not allowing Neville to take on the title of Lord Longbottom until he becomes seventeen.”

“I do, Augusta,” Albus said. “I don't think he is ready. I believe he's too immature at the moment. He's also too preoccupied with the Tournament. He already has a title of one of two Hogwarts Champions to contend with. He's not ready for another title like Lord Longbottom. Also... I happen to believe that there could be a real threat to Neville's life in the Tournament. Someone might have entered him to kill him.”

“Yes, I thought of that myself,” Augusta said.

“Becoming Lord Longbottom may only paint a bigger target on young Neville's back,” Albus said. “I am hoping he'll be ready to face the Tasks in the Tournament. I have no hope that he'd be prepared for other dangers. It would be too overwhelming for him.”

Augusta sighed. “Albus, I'm not going to make my decision right this moment. I'm going to write to my Account Manager and tell him, I will give him my decision a week from today. I am going to speak to Algernon about it, and some of my trusted friends, and then I'll speak to Neville face to face next Saturday in Hogsmeade about it. On Saturday, after I speak to my grandson, I'll make my decision, and then I will inform you about it. Whether I will be telling you Neville isn't ready to be Lord Longbottom, or whether I will be telling you I will be taking Neville out of Hogwarts, so he could visit Gringotts with me on Sunday, to accept his new title, I do not know yet.”

Suddenly, one of the Longbottom House-Elves appeared.

“Sorry for interrupting you, Lady Longbottom,” the elf said, “But Lady Molly Weasley is attempting to contact you via the Floo Network, and is being blocked.”

“Thank you, Aggie,” Augusta said; the elf bowed and vanished, “As you heard, I must end this meeting now. Adieu, Albus.”

Albus frowned and nodded. “Very well. All I can do is ask you to think wisely and carefully about this. I will see you soon. Adieu, my Lady.”

Albus disappeared from the flames a moment later. Half-a-minute later, Molly Weasley's head appeared.

“Greetings, Molly,” Augusta said, “Sorry if you had trouble getting in. Albus was just speaking to me in the Floo.”

“Apology accepted, Augusta,” Molly said. “Have you received any letters from my youngest son, Ronald. Or perhaps a letter from your grandson about Ronald?”

“No, I have not,” Augusta said, “Should I have?”

“Oh, dear, I hope not,” Molly said, “I assume you already know about your Grandson being in the Triwizard Tournament?”

“Yes, Molly, I do,” Augusta said, “Albus told me last night, quite soon after it happened. He assured me that Neville didn't enter his name into the Goblet of Fire, and that someone with dangerous plots toward my grandson is responsible. Though Albus does not know who it is.”

Molly sighed. “Arthur had told me that was probably what had truly happened. I wanted to believe that too, but these days it is hard to know what to believe. Ron told me that Fred and George entered their names into the Goblet of Fire too, so I thought they might have convinced Neville to do the same! I intend to send Howlers to Fred and George about my disapproval of them doing something so dangerous. It is good to know Neville isn't as foolish as my own sons. But the dear boy. This is terrible.”

“It is,” Augusta agreed, “We'll handle it as we usually do. What does this have to do with Ron?”

“Ron wrote to me a very angry letter,” Molly said. “He believes Neville was lying to him when your grandson told him he didn't enter his name into the Goblet of Fire. Ron called your grandson – his own god-brother – a liar and a cheat. He told me that Neville doesn't deserve to marry Ginny. He told Neville to stay away from Ginny.”

“And what do you feel?” Augusta asked.

“Neville is a sweetheart!” Molly said, “He always has been. I have always approved of him being my daughter's future husband, and I still approve. I will writing a stern letter – maybe even a Howler – to Ron telling him to apologize to Neville. I will also send dear Neville a letter to assure him that I don't share Ron's sentiments, and that I still approve of him and Ginny being a couple – they're so darling as a young couple, are they not? Innocent, of course, but preparing for that next step when they're old enough. I wish Arthur and I had been as lucky as them to be together when we were their age. It wasn't until we were sixteen that we knew we were perfect for each other.”

“Should I write to your son about my own disapproval toward his actions?” Augusta asked.

“No, no, he'd only take it badly,” Molly said, “He needs his mother's stern, but loving, voice, to help him see the error of his ways.”

“Very well,” Augusta said.

“Augusta, if you need any help with Neville being in the Tournament,” Molly said, “Arthur and I are here for him. It is our duty as his godparents. Charlie said something about the First Task weeks ago. I could see if he knows anything about it.”

“I appreciate and accept the offer,” Augusta said. “Did you hear that Neville's other Godmother is back from the dead?”

“Yes,” Molly said, sighing, “I have. I want to write her a letter about Neville concerning godmother status, but I am having difficulty how to put it into words. Ah well. I am quite happy the Potters are alive. I will be encouraging my children to try and make friends with Harry and his sister. It could do well for the Light Alliance in the future.”

“Yes, it would,” Augusta agreed, “I am going to encourage Neville to do the same. Is that all you needed? I am quite busy.”

“Of course, of course!” Molly said, “I am busy around here too, even without no children around. Much knitting to be done for Christmas! I am still angry the children won't be coming home for Christmas. But, alas... the Yule Ball will help them for the future regarding social events. I will speak to you later. Remember, if you need anything especially regarding Neville's part in the Tournament, do not hesitate.”

“I will not,” Augusta said. “Farewell, Molly.”

“Farewell, Augusta,” Molly said.

Molly's head vanished from the flames. Augusta sighed and headed back to her private office. She had letters to write, and things to think about.

 

Chapter Text


Harry and Rose were currently sitting in the sitting room of the House Potter Tent. Lily, Sirius and Remus were sitting at the dining room table, and had been opening and reading their letters – though they had left Harry's and Rose's letters alone; there were a several for Harry, and only a couple for Rose – while the two Potter Siblings had been eating lunch in the Hogwarts Kitchens with their friends. Now the adults were all looking at Harry and Rose as they told them the same story Hermione and Luna had told them of Voldemort's recent appearances in Hermione's first and second year as a Hogwarts student.

Meanwhile, Hermione and Luna were now in their tent which had been erected between the time the girls returned with Rose, and Harry returned from speaking with Daphne. The two Ravenclaws were getting settled into their new bedrooms and 'living quarters'. Harry had yet to see Hermione, nor Luna, since he had returned from the castle, and he hoped Hermione simply wasn't avoiding him.

The end of Harry and Rose's story was met with a minute of silent thoughts by their mother and Honorary Uncles. Voldemort was a touchy subject amongst the Potters, Sirius and Remus. James Potter's sacrifice, saving Lily, Harry
and an unborn Rose at the same time, still loomed through their thoughts often. Rumors that Voldemort hadn't been killed in the explosion that killed James Potter and – unknowingly to James and Lily at the time – Peter Pettigrew -- who had been the Potters' Secret Keeper, and betrayed them by telling the Secret of their location to Voldemort – had been taken as just that: rumors.

Amongst the three adults “what ifs” and other questions had been asked and discussed. What if he had survived? How would he have accomplished it? Had he somehow been able to escape Potter Cottage before the explosion that demolished the house went off? If so, then how did he know Lily and Harry – who had been two of his three targets – were gone? Or had he just hoped they had died in the explosion when he couldn't kill them? Question after question with very few answers.

Harry and Rose had been told that Voldemort was 'most likely' dead, but that there were rumors he had survived. But because there was no news of Voldemort causing terror again like he had during the Great War, there was a good chance he was dead. And if not, then he was very weak to the point where he couldn't cause terror.

“So let me get this straight,” Remus said. “Voldemort was on the back of the Defense Professor's head, and when the Defense Professor died, Voldemort escaped in some kind of vaporous form?”

“That is basically what Hermione said Neville told her,” Harry said. “She believes Albus told Neville that.”

“Well,” Remus said, sighing, “That explains a lot. Voldemort spent the years between getting blown up and meeting the Defense Professor as either a vaporous being, or a Leech. Probably a Leech, meaning he Leeched himself onto others to survive, possessing them. Probably going from host to host until his possession sapped their strength. I'm going to say he probably used creatures he found in forests to possess.

“Then the Defense Professor somehow came upon him and Voldemort Leeched onto him. I don't know whether it was by chance, luck, or it was planned. Then he targeted the Philosopher's Stone hoping it would help him return to a human form.”

“Luckily, Neville, Hermione, and the Weasley twins stopped him,” Sirius said, “We might have to talk to the Weasley twins to get their version of it. And perhaps Neville. Especially since it looks like the Weasley twins, and Neville were involved in both incidents when Voldemort attempted to return.”

“But the Chamber of Secrets incident wasn't really Voldemort, was it?” Harry asked/

“If what you said Hermione and Luna told you – once again, hearing about it from Neville – was true,” Remus said, “Then I think Voldemort was involved in a few ways.”

“What do you mean?” Lily asked.

“We learned – from what Hermione and Luna told Harry and Rose,” Remus said, “that Tom Marvolo Riddle – Voldemort – opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago, when he was just a teenager, only a couple years older than Harry. We also know Lucius Malfoy was originally behind the entire plot this time around, which would later lead to his arrest. You, Sirius and I know quite well that Lucius Malfoy is a Death Eater.”

“The question is whether Malfoy was doing it for himself or for his Master,” Sirius said.

“And whether or not he gave Ginny Weasley that diary knowing it would lead to the opening of the Chamber of Secrets,” Remus said. “It was an illegal, Dark artifact after all. Malfoy could have just been trying to get Lord Weasley in trouble by giving the man's daughter a Dark artifact. Lord Weasley has a seat on the Wizengamot, on the Light Alliance. People have done worse to remove opposing votes from the Council. That Ginny opened the diary, was possessed by it, and opened the Chamber of Secrets could have been an unfortunate coincidence.”

Remus sighed. “And then there is that diary. From what you told us, Harry, that Hermione told you, Neville's story is that the diary did several things. First, it wrote back to Ginny using Tom Riddle's personality when she wrote in it. Second it possessed her in a way that it gave her the ability of a Parselmouth. But the possessions weren't strong enough until she continuously wrote into it. Literally poured her soul into the diary through her words.

Then Tom Riddle appeared as a manifestation in front of Neville, his Great Uncle Algernon Croaker, and the Weasley twins. A Manifestation that threatened to take over Ginny's body and mind completely, spoke conversations -- not memory recordings, mind you, but
actual conversations – with Neville, Croaker and the Weasley twins, and then he commanded a Basilisk.”

“That's no normal manifestation,” Sirius said, “And it appears it came from a diary. A diary... that was destroyed by a Basilisk fang which then destroyed the Riddle manifestation and snapped Ginny Weasley out of her possession. There are very few pieces of Dark magic that need something as dangerous and potent as Basilisk venom to destroy it. And if it the one I'm thinking of, then it explains why Voldemort survived when James blew the monster up. What is more horrifying is that if he is still around, then the diary wasn't the only one. Which means there could be several.”

“If I'm following the same line of thought as you,” Remus said, “It isn't the type of discussion we should have with Harry and Rose in the room.”

Aw, Uncle Moony!” Harry complained.

“No, Harry,” Lily said, “If Remus said it isn't for your ears, then I'm in agreement. You may be Lord Potter, but that doesn't mean you're old enough for everything, young man.”

Harry sighed and nodded. He knew he couldn't win against his mother when it came to arguments like this.

“I believe we'll leave the rest of the topic about Voldemort for when young ears aren't listening,” Lily said, ”Thank you for telling this to us. It is quite important, and definitely something we needed to know. If Voldemort is still out there, then this just means we have to be vigilant, and look for the signs of when he could show up next.”

“I agree,” Sirius said, “Now, Harry. I'm interested in your conversation with Daphne Greengrass.”

“Have you received a letter from Lord Greengrass, Mom?” Harry asked.

“I have actually,” Lily said, “I recognized the surname, of course, and read it, feeling it could have something to do with the Betrothal Contract. I was correct. Lord Greengrass has requested a meeting for next Saturday, but has asked us to confirm a time for the meeting. He says that we can invite anyone involving the five of us in this room right now.”

“Daphne believes she has to be at the meeting too,” Harry said, “Which now that I think about it, it is probably appropriate that she is in attendance. Anyway, she – um – has a date planned and she doesn't want the Betrothal Contract meeting to interfere with it. She's asked that we request the meeting for noon.”

“A date, huh?” Sirius asked, “So she has a boyfriend?”

Harry cleared his throat. “A girlfriend, actually.”

Lily, Sirius, Remus and Rose looked at him with expressions of surprise.

“As Lord Potter, I am deeming that as an House Secret,” Harry said, “Daphne told me that her parents know nothing about her relationship with her girlfriend. She was very secretive about it, not even mentioning the girl's name to me.”

“Not hard to understand why,” Sirius said, “She's afraid of her parents' reaction.”

“So... is Daphne... a lesbian, Harry?” Lily asked, slowly. “I'm only asking out of concern for the Betrothal Contract.”

Harry shook his head. “Bisexual. She confirmed to me that she would be fine with marrying me. Said something about no issues when it came to proper attraction and all that. Only she told me she doesn't want me to court her until a few months before the wedding. It appears she wants to keep this girlfriend as long as possible.”

“Hmm,” Sirius muttered, looking thoughtful.

“I know I'm going to regret this,” Lily said, “But what are you thinking about, Sirius?”

“I'm simply wondering how close Daphne is with this girl, Lily,” Sirius said, “How serious their relationship is.”

“Serious enough that she doesn't want me to court her until closer to the wedding date,” Harry said, “She seems very close to this girl, especially if how defensive she was about the relationship was anything to by. She's... she's scared to lose the relationship, I think. Why, Sirius?”

Sirius cleared his throat. “I haven't talked about certain parts of my family history. Everyone here knows how touchy I am about it. One of those topics I never touched upon is one of my Great-Aunts – my father's Aunt. She was burned off the family tapestry, booted from her House, and rarely ever talked about amongst the family for one reason only. She was a Witches' Witch.”

Harry noticed his mother and Remus looked surprised. Even they hadn't heard about this.

“After she was kicked out of the family,” Sirius said, “She must have tried to mend fences. Because, she settled down with a husband, just so she could have a child with the bloke. Extending bloodlines. Important even without Heritage Acts. It was her duty of course. She thought it would get her back into the family's good graces. But here's the rub the family couldn't forgive. She also had a girlfriend when she married her husband. Her girlfriend became what is known as a Wife's Consort. Once she realized she wasn't going to get her name and face back on the tapestry – after she gave her husband an Heir – she spent the rest of her life romancing her Consort, raising her son, and basically ignoring her husband. Her husband was just fine with that – after all, he had his own Mistress.”

“Goodness, Sirius,” Lily said, “Why did you never say anything?”

Sirius shrugged. “Like I said – you know I don't like bringing up family history.”

“So why bring it up now?” Harry asked.

“The Witches' Consort thing?” Remus asked.

“Daphne could go somewhat down the same route as my Great-Aunt,” Sirius said, he then looked at Harry, “only... there's a better chance she might have a better relationship with Harry than my Great-Aunt had with her husband.

“But I could just be blowing smoke,” Sirius said, 'I'm making assumptions here. We don't know where Daphne's relationship with her girlfriend could go. For all we know it could end in heartbreak, especially if the girl is a Pureblood – considering who Daphne is, it is very likely – and the gets involved in a Betrothal Contract.
But... if she doesn't, and their relationship survives... there's no reason Daphne can't have a Wife's Consort. Hell... or she could be Harry's second or third wife. And there you go! Problem solved for both Harry and Daphne!”

“Thank you for suggesting a way to help Daphne, Sirius,” Harry said, “But I don't think that is going to happen. Like you said, her girlfriend could end up in a Betrothal Contract. Which seems likely, if she's a Pureblood, due to the Pureblood Heritage Act.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Sirius said, “You could always talk to Daphne about it, and see what the situation is. We may find Daphne's girlfriend may be agreeable with it. If so, then we construct a Consort Contract, and there's that problem solved. We would simply add the possibility that she could be one of your other wives.”

“'We'?” Harry asked, “Wouldn't that be more of Daphne's job?”

“Wife's Consort is still a member of the House the Wife married into,” Sirius said, “Which means you would still be her Lord, even if you're not in any sort of relationship with her. So it would be up to you, because it concerns your Betrothed. That is an unfortunate loophole in the whole thing. A husband could deny their wife a Consort, because it means their wife isn't... more focused on them. It might not surprise you that there are those – even those whom are part of a Betrothal Contract Marriage -- who don't like it when their Wife has someone on the side. It is, unfortunately, the wizard's decision in the end.”

“After all, that is why magical societies are usually coined the
wizarding world,” Harry said, echoing a phrase he had heard several times from his mother and Uncles. “Many wizards tend to believe they have more power than witches do.”

“Exactly,” Sirius said.

Harry nodded. “What do you think, Mom?”

Lily looked at Sirius and adopted a thoughtful expression.

“Sirius' idea – while a bit odd and potentially problematic – does have merit,” Lily said.

“Really?” Harry asked, surprised; his mother was supporting his Godfather's crazy idea.

“For all we know Daphne's girlfriend is a true Witches' Witch,” Lily said. “Which means there's a possibility she will have a lot of issues when it comes to her family. A Consort Contract seems like it could work, if the girl doesn't become one of your wives. If we could help her in anyway, then I'd support it.”

Lily looked over at Rose. “After all, I put a lot of thought into same-sex relationships in wizarding society once it started to affect us closely. So I have a soft-spot for others in Rose's position.”

Rose blushed and smiled.

Harry, of course, knew what his mother meant. Ever since Rose had come out as bisexual, her sexuality had been openly and respectfully discussed amongst the family. Unlike a portion of the wizarding world, there were no issues amongst those types of topics in the extended Potter household.

“Do Wife's Consorts really exist, Uncle Padfoot?” Rose asked.

“Yes, they do, sweetheart,” Sirius said.

“Awesome,” Rose said, her expression brightening.

“That eager to find a girlfriend, are you?” Harry asked, grinning, “Didn't you say you liked the sister of the Beauxbatons Champion?”

Rose squeaked and slapped her brother playfully on the chest. Lily, Sirius and Remus chuckled at the sibling's antics.

Harry cleared his throat. “We don't even know who Daphne's girlfriend is. Daphne was... well, she was very... cautious when discussing her girlfriend with me. I think we need to give it some time before we discuss anything with them.”

“I agree,” Lily said, “But we'll always keep the option open. I just have a bad feeling when it comes to the reaction of the parents of Daphne's girlfriend, especially if my worries are correct.”

“You mean if she's a true Witches' Witch,” Sirius said.

“Yes,” Lily said. “If she goes the route your father's Aunt went. Kicked from the family.”

Sirius' expression brightened. “Such an event could be easily remedied, but we'll leave that be unless it becomes necessary.”

“Alright,” Lily said, “So we'll be watchful. This concerns an Ally and a future family member – Daphne – of House Potter, so it concerns the rest of us. We'll help her however we can.”

There were four nods of agreements from the others in the room.

“I'll write back to Lord Greengrass and confirm our requested meeting time for next Saturday,” Lily said, “With that said, I think we need to discuss options. You're the future husband, Harry, and it was your Great-Grandfather who originally offered to start the Contract. So your preferences will be heard. Preferences such as ETA of wedding date... number of desired children. Any anything else.”

“Wedding... anytime after both Daphne and I finish our education,” Harry said, “I suppose if I needed to set an actual date. Well, Rose will still be in school, and you will all be teaching. So either the following Christmas Break after Daphne and I finish our education, or the following summer. Gives us plenty of time for Courting either way. Children... at least one son, I suppose. No maximum requirement of children. And then there is one other thing. Daphne moves in with me no later than one month after her education ends so we can begin the courtship. As for which House she'll represent. She's a Slytherin, so Gryffindor is probably out of the picture. Potter... maybe, but I'd like to leave that for a wife I find naturally, and not through a Contract. So... probably Peverell.”

“Very well handled,” Sirius said, “I believe Lord Greengrass would be happy with that. I'd add two things, but leave it unsaid until it becomes necessary. First, Daphne has permission for Wife's Consort, if it comes to that. Second... House Greengrass is in the Neutral Alliance. If anyone is going to understand how to handle a House once predominantly Dark it would be Daphne. On the off-chance I don't settle down with someone and have an Heir... Daphne would be a fine Lady Black.”

“Sirius,” Remus said, “If you want an Heir to your name, you have a pile of Betrothal Offers sitting in front of you! There's no reason you have to assume you're shoveling off your title to Harry. Harry doesn't need a
fourth title or wife anyway!”

“Daphne's girlfriend could be the
fourth wife, and we could avoid the drama of the Wife's Consort!” Sirius argued.

“Harry doesn't have anyone for his Third wife option, Sirius,” Lily said. “we already discussed that. So that is still open.”

“I'm just talking possibilities!” Sirius argued.

Lily sighed and shook her head. “You just don't like commitment when it comes to romance, Sirius.”

Sirius huffed. “Fine. I'll take a second look at these Contracts. But don't yell at me if I choose someone a decade younger than me. Anyone older, and you throw in a risk of gold diggers, and black widows. No offense, Lily. Ow!”

Lily had hit him – again – with a minor stinging hex.

Harry cleared his throat. “The Wife's Consort part of the Contract – would there be a way to do so without Lord Greengrass' knowledge?”

“Sure,” Sirius said, “If you don't want to make the Contract official until Daphne's seventeen and can finalize the Contract without her father's permission.”

“Of course, then you're risking angering not only your future father-in-law, but also an Alliance member,” Remus added.

Harry groaned. “Well, we don't want to do that.”

“Which means you need to talk to Daphne
and her girlfriend before the Betrothal meeting,” Lily said. “So you can know whether we can add the Wife's Consort option onto the Contract.”

“Great,” Harry muttered. “That will go bloody well.”

“Language!” Lily scolded, “I blame you for that Sirius. That word is a British swear. Where else would he know that one?!”

“From you or Remus?” Sirius asked innocently, then yelped when Lily got him with another stinging hex.

Harry chuckled. “Are we done here? I need to speak to Hermione about something.”

“We're done for now,” Lily said. “Are you going to her tent to speak to her?”

“Yes, Mom,” Harry said, “And I promise you I'll behave.”

“I believe you,” Lily said, “Don't let me regret that though. I want you back here in less than half-an-hour. You have letters you need to read and possibly reply to.”

“Yes, Mom,” Harry said.

“I'll know where Hermione and Luna's tent is,” Rose said. “I'll take you there, and distract Luna.”

“Distract Luna how?” Harry asked as he stepped out of tent with Rose, and out of his mother's hearing range.

“Well,” Rose said, “I was thinking I'd snog her a bit and we'd play house.”

Harry stammered and looked at Rose. She merely grinned.

“I knew that was what you meant by that question, big brother,” Rose said, “I do not fancy Luna that way. I told you that.”

She then smiled. “Are you making sure whether or not I'm going to steal her from you?”

“Rose!” Harry yelped.

Rose laughed, “Come on, Hermione and Luna's tent is over here.”

“Where did my innocent little sister disappear to?” Harry asked. “You've been rather open about the subject of romance and girls these past couple of days. Especially in there with the whole Witches' Consort thing. I thought for a moment Mom was going to tell you off for that, even though I know she's supportive of your – er --”

He paused. He
really didn't want to say the word 'sexuality' to his sister.

“ – beliefs in that topic.” he continued, deciding to go with the safe terms, “You're twelve, Rose. Just because I am Lord Potter, and I have a Betrothal Contract to my name, doesn't mean you need to grow up too so suddenly.”

“The girl I fancy lives in France, Harry,” Rose said. “If there is any chance I could be with her, I have to take it before the end of the tournament, before we return to America. Or I'll probably never get another chance. After all, we have vacation homes in France. Long-distant letters, and occasional visits would still work out for a relationship while we're young. Not every one is like Cassie and you.”

Cassie was Harry's second girlfriend who broke up with him due to long-distance issues.

“Touche,” Harry quipped, “So you want to take the chance when the opportunity is there – even though you're only twelve?”

“Yes,” Rose said, simply. “And that's all I'll say about my future love-life. We need to go save yours.”

“'Save mine'?” Harry asked, then winced. “Hermione's not happy about what happened between her and Daphne, and she blames me... right?”

“A bit,” Rose said, nodding. “She was fuming after she left the castle. Fair warning. We're here.”

Rose stepped into the tent. Harry inhaled and exhaled, and followed his sister inside. The tent was almost identical to the House Potter tent. Hermione and Luna were in the living room – Hermione on a sofa, and Luna in a chair. When Harry caught Hermione's eye, she crossed her arms and looked at him. Yep. She was a bit angry with him.

“I need to talk to you, Hermione,” Harry said, “In private.”

Hermione merely nodded.

“Come on, Luna,” Rose said, “Show me your new bedroom.”

Harry deliberately grinned in Rose's direction, and she raised a middle finger at him, before following Luna into the Ravenclaw's new bedroom. Harry merely laughed. Hermione looked confused, as she glanced between him and Rose.

“Secret joke between siblings,” Harry explained.

“Must be nice,” Hermione said, “I don't have any of those.”

Harry took a chance by sitting next to her on the sofa. When she didn't hex him or push him off, he relaxed.

“You're angry with me,” Harry said, “I can tell.”

“Only a bit,” Hermione said. “Was it wrong of me to try to stop Daphne from speaking to you privately?”

“That depends,” Harry said. “Daphne was right when she said she's one of my Allies. There was no chance of her harming me. And yes, I know why you were so defensive. My mother and Honorary Uncles told me all about the House of Slytherin and its students. I do not blame you for believing Daphne might have had bad intentions for me, since she's a Slytherin.”

“I didn't believe that, Harry,” Hermione said, “I'm being honest. Believe it or not Daphne is one of the nice Slytherins.”

“Nice?” Harry asked, blinking. “She called you by your last name. She... she made you look like some kind of cheap and easy girl. Obviously she was under the impression you were obsessed with snogging me or something.”

“Harry – with all the experience you've had with girls,” Hermione said, “what with two-and-a-half girlfriends, and growing up with your sister and mother – you still don't understand how their minds work. Daphne made those comments because she's jealous of me.”

Harry blinked. “Really?”

“Did you tell her that you can marry three girls, including her?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Harry said, “The conversation wasn't going that way. I decided that was something to discuss when I earned her trust and friendship.”

“Does she know we're going on a date?” Hermione asked.

“She's heard rumors about it,” Harry said, “So I confirmed them.”

“Then she believes I'm trying to steal you from her,” Hermione said. “You're in a Betrothal Contract, and yet you're going on a date with me. At the moment, she knows two things. She's Betrothed to you, and she's going to be your one and only wife. And yet you're focused on another girl who isn't her. She's jealous.”

“A solid argument,” Harry said, “But there is one big hole in it. The rumors about her having a girlfriend are true.”

Hermione's eyes widened. “Oh.”

“Yes,” Harry said. “So if she was jealous of you, wouldn't she be hoping I would court her since we're Betrothed? She literally said if I don't wait to court her until a few months before our wedding, she would hex me. She's dedicated to her girlfriend right now. She's not jealous of you. She was annoyed because you were standing between her and a important discussion with her Betrothed. Actually... I think she was encouraging me to date you.”

Hermione blinked. “What?”

“She told me, and I quote,” Harry said, “'Comfort her and tell her you're sorry about how the big bad Slytherin girl treated her'. 'Her' means you, by the way.”

“How is that encouraging you to date me?” Hermione asked.

“She also said I might get a kiss out of it,” Harry said.

Hermione blushed. “Oh.”

Harry decided to cut her a break. “So why are you angry with me?”

“Because you pushed me away without getting my opinion about it,” Hermione said. “I'm going on a date with you, and you let her walk all over me. You're supposed to be my Protector.”

“What if I told you I was giving you a chance to defend yourself?” Harry asked.

Hermione frowned. “Well, all I did, was do as what both of you asked and walked away.”

“I defended you after you left,” Harry said, “I told her she embarrassed you. And that we haven't even gone on a date yet, so she shouldn't have teased you about snogging me.”

Hermione smiled. “Thank you, Harry. You also did ask her to call me by my first name. You're forgiven.”

“Awesome,” Harry sighed in relief.

“But know that there is a chance – however small at the moment,” Hermione said, “that she and I are going to have to get along in the future, if things go down that road. We have to learn to co-exist. I can't do that if you keep protecting me from her, nor if you keep pushing me away from her.”

“We can worry about that later,” Harry said, “After I tell her the 'three wives thing'.”

Hermione nodded. Then she leaned over to him and kissed him on the cheek.

“There,” Hermione said, “There's the kiss for 'apologizing for the big bad Slytherin'.”

Harry grinned. “Is there more where that came from?”

Hermione playfully glared. “When is the celebration party?”

“Um... seven maybe?” Harry said, “I haven't actually found out.”

“You do that,” Hermione said, “That's me telling you to 'shoo', by the way. I need to figure out what I am going to wear to the party – to our first date.”

“Already?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” Hermione said, “Now go! Rose? We're done. Distraction over.”

As Harry stood up, Rose walked out of Luna's bedroom with Luna.

“That was a fun distraction,” Luna said.

Harry blinked. “Um... do I need to ask?”

Rose and Luna giggled.

“Told you he'd react funny if you said that,” Rose said. “Luna was showing me her latest articles for the next edition of the Quibbler.”

“I figured she would be interested in it,” Luna said.

“Oh?” Harry asked. “What is it about?”

“The history of Veelas who were Witches' Witches,” Luna said, with a tone of discussing the weather.

Harry coughed. “Yep. Right up Rose's alley!”

“Oi!” Rose complained. “You're going to pay for – hey! Get back here!”

Harry had run out of the tent before Rose could say anything. He knew all too well never to make her angry. She was definitely her mother's daughter.


The Ilvermorny Tents

Later that evening, Harry was waiting patiently outside the door of Hermione and Luna's tent. He was dressed in one of his formal robes, appropriate for a celebration like he was the one he was about to attend. On the left breast of his robes were the three Crests of the Houses was now Lord of – the House Potter Crest was in the center, and was the biggest of the three. And the smaller Peverell and Gryffindor Crests were on either side of the large one.

As Harry waited for his date, he thought about what had taken place over the past couple of hours. When he returned to the House Potter tent after his discussion with Hermione, he had started in on reading his post. Many of the letters were a combination of welcoming him back to Great Britain and congratulating him on becoming Ilvermorny Champion. Some of the letters also had offers of Alliances. He wondered if they already knew he was Lord Potter, then he realized it was possible they decided to ask him instead of his mother. The British Wizarding World still thought she was a first-gen, which wasn't true, but also the undeniable fact that she was a woman. So since he was 'the man of the house', he had been contacted about Alliances, instead of his mother. As had been alluded to that afternoon, some Purebloods and Half-Bloods were just sexist like that.

His mother suggested he write the names of the Houses who offered Alliances onto a piece of Parchment, and they would discuss it later. Those who simply wrote congratulations on becoming Ilvermorny Champion, and/or were welcoming him back to Great Britain, Harry replied to and set them aside to send them out later with the owls.

Luna had exited the tent earlier. She playfully joked that she was Rose's 'date'. Rose, who had been waiting with Harry, blushed pink, then took Luna's arm in hers and marched her over to the Cafeteria/Classroom Tent where the celebration was taking place. Lily, Sirius and Remus – the chaperones – were already in the tent as well.

The tent flaps opened, and Harry cleared his throat and took on an appropriate stature as expected of Lord Potter greeting his lady. Hermione stepped out of the tent. While Harry's outfit was formal, Hermione's outfit was casual. She was wearing a No-Maj style t-shirt and jeans that showed off curves which were seemingly nonexistent while in her bulky school robes.

“Wow,” Hermione said, when she saw him; she gazed at his outfit, “You look very dashing, My Lord.”

“And you look very beautiful, Miss Granger,” Harry said. “Your school robes don't do you justice at all.”

Hermione blushed pink. “I think that's the point. They're supposed to be modest.”

“How is the British Wizarding society so old-fashioned?” Harry asked, “American Wizarding society isn't anywhere near as bad.”

“Definitely needs to be investigated,” Hermione said, “Did you know there is no such thing as a two-piece bikini in Witches' Swimwear options at British clothing stores?”

“That... somehow doesn't surprise me,” Harry said; he offered a hand, “Shall we go? We're missing my own party.”

“We shall,” Hermione said, then took his hand in hers.

The pair walked over to to the Cafeteria/Classroom Tent. Music coming from inside the tent could be heard as they neared the opening. American style of Wizarding Pop Music was playing – and it was much more modern-styled than music on the British Wizarding Wireless.

“Ladies first,” Harry said.

Hermione smiled and, still hand-in-hand with Harry, led him into the tent. They were met with loud applause and cheers from the Ilvermorny students, Harry's family, and Luna. Hermione let go of his hand and joined in the applause. The tent was decorated quite nicely. On the long cafeteria-style table, there were several dishes of food usually found during Ilvermorny Feasts, as well as a few finger-foods for those who didn't want to sit down with a spoon, fork and knife to eat a meal. Above the table was a large banner in Ilvermorny colors, with words that read:

CONGRATULATIONS LORD HARRY POTTER – ILVERMORNY CHAMPION”

Obviously word had gotten around the Ilvermorny camp that Harry was now Lord of his House. The music lowered, and Harry winced slightly as he realized they were expecting a speech. When the music quieted down, so did the cheers and applause.

Harry cleared his throat and looked around at the group. Sure, in front of a massive group of strangers in the Great Hall, he was able to give a commanding speech, but now in front of his own peers – though none were his class-mates – he had stage-fright. Typical.

Then he looked at Hermione, and he calmed down instantly.

“When I got the letter in early August,” Harry began, “Regarding the Triwizard Tournament, and contention tournament at Ilvermorny, I had doubts about the whole thing. Sirius – Professor Black – he spent much of August putting me through a boot camp to prepare me for the contention tournament.”

Sirius grinned and bowed comically.

“I think all of you – the Ilvermorny students at least,” Harry said, “have had the pleasure of being taught by him. So take those lessons and double the intensity. No! Triple it! That is what he put me through. It was tough, but by god, it worked! Because when it came time for the contention tournament, I no longer had any doubts. Even though I should have been scared – terrified – that I was the only fourteen year old in the tournament, facing twenty-nine older students, I wasn't. Not a bit. There were a few people who doubted I would even place in the top ten. Raise your hands if you were one of them. Come on. Don't be shy!”

Several laughed, including Remus, Sirius and Rose. And when four seventeen year olds raised their hands, the other Ilvermorny students jeered them until Harry raised his hand to stop them... but also for another reason.

“Yep, I'm raising my hand too,” Harry said, “Because I doubted myself too. I'm sure all of you were shocked when I placed third in contingency. Believe me, I was shocked too. Standing here as Ilvermorny Champion, I am still shocked. Still in disbelief. I stand by what I've said in the past – as recent as Friday. There are some here who deserved being Champion more than me. I know... some of you will say I underestimate myself, given my age – especially when you're two or three years older than me. But I would have been content – happy even – if I was a spectator. Either way, I had earned my spot in the top ten, and had the privilege of joining all of you here at Hogwarts for the tournament.”

He glanced at Hermione who went slightly pink, when she caught his eye. “Especially because if I stayed at Ilvermorny, I wouldn't have had the opportunities to meet the people I have in the past couple of days. I suppose my point is that even though I am Champion – I can't do this alone. I'm going to be getting help from my mother, and Professors Black and Lupin – but I will need your help too. This celebration is a good start. Your support would help me a lot. Because we're ten – eleven, sorry, Rosie – Ilvermorny students in place where we're outnumbered by a lot. Can you all scream loud enough to be heard over the Hogwarts students?”

The Ilvermorny students cheered in response.

“Well, that answers that,” Harry said ,”At the very least, I'll recognize all of you! Thank you for your support. Now this is a celebration. Let's celebrate!”

Harry grinned when everyone applauded and cheered. Lily, Sirius, Remus and Rose beamed at him. But it was Hermione he was looking at, and her smile was the brightest of them all in his opinion.

Five minutes later, he was seated at a circular table, with Hermione, Luna, Rose, and a few Ilvermorny students.

“So, Harry,” Samson – the same boy who had spoken to him earlier that day, “We've heard rumors of you having a bit of fun at the expense of the Hogwarts staff and students.”

“Oh?” Harry asked, “And where did you hear those rumors?”

Samson's girlfriend – Serena, Harry remembered – snorted softly. She pointed at the two other Ilvermorny boys sitting at the table. Harry realized one of them was Serena's twin brother.

“Alex and Sebastian,” Serena said, the latter being her twin brother, “for those who don't know their names – these two idiots told us they were going off to the castle to do some exploring. Turns out they were actually trying to find a couple of British witches to woo. During their search – which failed, mind you –“

Alex and Sebastian glared at Serena.

“Should I let you two tell the story?” Serena asked, then glanced at Sebastian, “What about you, brother?”

“A couple of boys saw our school robes, and realized we're Ilvermorny students,” Sebastian said. “So naturally, they asked us if we knew you, Harry. We told them the truth – you're Professor Potter's son, and Ilvermorny Champion – that's as much as we'd tell them. Then the boys asked us... er...”

“They asked us if you were all talk and no action,” Alex said, frowning. “Naturally, we thought they were just taunting an opposing school's Champion. So we told them 'no'. What else would we tell them? We couldn't let them insult our Champion!”

“And then they told us what happened during their lunch,” Sebastian said, “Dude... if they were telling the truth... you just sent a powerful message to your fellow Champions. That's awesome.”

Harry shrugged and looked at Hermione, then Luna. They smiled, and he smiled back, then looked back at the Ilvermorny students.

“Hogwarts has a serious bullying problem,” he said, “Nothing that happens here would ever be allowed in Ilvermorny. Hermione, she --”

He paused and looked at Hermione.

She cleared her throat. “A girl in my year who bullied me. Today, she hit me with a Teeth-Growing Hex, and Stunned me, leaving me vulnerable in the middle of a corridor.”

“Good Merlin!” Serena said, aghast.

“The Hogwarts Headmaster was likely going to simply punish the girl with a slap on the wrist,” Harry said. “Hermione and Luna were targets of bullies since they started attending school. When I asked Dumbledore about it, he said he wanted Hermione and Luna to handle it because it would make them stronger mentally and emotionally.”

The four older Ilvermorny students at the table looked disgusted.

“Hermione and Luna are under House Potter Protection,” Harry said. “And the scene I made in the Great Hall was to get my point across that nobody should mess with them.”

“Well, you made your point if those two boys were anything to go by,” Sebastian said. “Good for you. Show these Brits how we Americans do it.”

“Even those who are British-born!” Serena agreed with her brother, raising her bottle of butterbeer in toast..”To Harry Potter, the British-born American who is going to wipe the floor with the British!”

She glanced at Hermione and Luna, then winked. “No offense to you two, of course.”

“A great man once said 'The British are coming!'” Alex said, “Well, I am modifying that. “The Americans are coming!”

Laughter and cheers rang out around the tent.

The celebration lasted two-and-a-half hours. There was much fun, conversation and celebration during the entire thing. It ended when Lily announced that it was nearing curfew. Everyone needed to be going to bed, because the first day of the planned classes would begin tomorrow morning – and Hermione and Luna needed to be up in time for their classes in Hogwarts.

Harry walked hand-in-hand with Hermione, slowly, toward her tent.

“So?” Harry asked, “How did you like that?”

“That was the best party I've ever been to,” Hermione said, then sighed, “At least filled with teenagers. Admittedly, that isn't too surprising. I never liked joining Ravenclaw's parties when they won a Quidditch Match. I was usually off studying or doing homework or something. So this is easily the best party I've ever been to. Americans truly do know how to throw a good party.”

“I am glad you liked it,” Harry said. “I'm rather surprised there wasn't dancing going on.”

“I'm rather glad,” Hermione said.

“You don't dance?” Harry asked.

“I dance well enough,” Hermione said, “But there was bound to be slow dancing, and I'm saving that experience with you for the Yule Ball.”

“Oh,” Harry said; then he realized what she said, “You mean --”

“My answer to your Yule Ball invitation yesterday is 'yes', Harry,” Hermione said, smiling, “I would love to go to the Yule Ball with you. And if you're up to it, I would be happy to going on dates between now and then too.”

“So, next Saturday in Hogsmeade,” Harry said.

“You're still my date to Hogsmeade,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Is this a bad time to tell you,” Harry said, “that part of our date will be interrupted by a Betrothal Contract meeting at noon? You're probably not invited. Sorry.”

“That doesn't bother me,” Hermione said, “I will plan to go shopping for girl stuff with Luna that you won't be comfortable with while we shop and explore the village.”

“Best date ever!” Harry exclaimed.

Hermione's laughter rang through the night, and it was a beautiful sound.

“And we're here,” Harry said, rather disappointed; he didn't want the night to be over.

They were at the tent. As Harry tried to figure out if he should just say good night, or something else, he realized then and there he really wanted to kiss her.

“Harry,” Hermione said, “I know what you want to do. And you have my permission --”

Before she could finish her sentence, she was interrupted by Harry softly placing his lips on hers. She remained still for just a moment, before she moved her lips against his. Harry placed a soft hand against her cheek and continued to kiss her. The kiss lasted for about thirty seconds before Harry backed away.

“Wow,” Hermione whispered, opening her eyes and looking at him.

“Hermione,” Harry said, “There was only one other girl I've ever kissed who wasn't my girlfriend. And that was my childhood best friend. I'd like her to keep that honor. Which means... would you do me the great honor of being my girlfriend ,Miss Granger?”

Hermione blew out a breath. “Yes, Harry. I would love to be your girlfriend. Especially if it means I can kiss you again. You really know how to give a girl a first kiss she'll remember.”

Harry grinned and leaned toward her and kissed her again. She happily kissed him back.

“I suppose that reputation of yours holds some merit,” Hermione said, grinning as she backed away. “Girlfriend after the first date.”

Harry echoed her grin. “I better go before Mom sends a search party. I will see you tomorrow. Good night, Hermione. I wish you the sweetest of dreams, and know that I sound selfish if I hope they're all about me.”

Hermione chuckled softly. “Good night Harry.”

Harry gave her a quick peck on the lips, and she smiled and retreated into her tent. Harry backed away, keeping an eye on the tent just in case she came back out. When she didn't, he turned and headed toward the House Potter tent. When he stepped inside, Lily, Sirius and Remus were sitting in the living room, and Rose was standing at the door of her and Lily's bedroom. They were all looking at him, expectantly.

He gave a deliberate look of slight disappointment. and crossed the tent. He stepped into his bedroom, then turned and looked at his family, who had rather disappointed looks on their faces.

“Hermione's my girlfriend, by the way,” Harry said, “Did I forget to mention that? And yes, we kissed. Good night everyone.”

Rose cheered, Sirius raised a fist in celebration, and Lily and Remus smiled. Harry smiled at his family, then stepped backwards into his bedroom, and closed the curtains.

Three minutes later, he crawled into bed in his pyjamas and laid there, staring at the ceiling. He let his thoughts wander about Hermione, their first date, and everything that happened in front of Hermione's tent.

He wandered off to sleep, dreaming of Hermione and a future that was beginning to look more promising as each moment passed.

 

Chapter Text


Monday , November 2 nd , 1994


Hermione Granger was lost in her thoughts as she walked throughout the dungeon corridors on her way toward the Potions Classroom for the first lesson of the day. All morning, ever since she had woken up for the first time in one of the Ilvermorny tents, Hermione had been unconsciously rubbing a thumb or finger against her lips at random times, and thinking about the kisses she had with Harry.

Hermione's first-ever 'time of the month' had come while she was at Hogwarts a couple short weeks before Christmas Holidays of her first year. She had written to her mother about it, then during Christmas Break her mother had sat down and given her an important Talk about boys. Her mother was a dentist, and like many parents who work in the medical field, Emma Granger got very clinical about her talk. It was rather awkward, but Hermione, ever the information sponge, listened to everything.

Ever since that somewhat awkward conversation, she had always dreamed of having her first kiss. But there was absolutely no boy in Hogwarts who had caught her fancy. Thank goodness that an American wizard – British-born though he may be – literally flew into her life and chose her to be his girlfriend.

Hermione giggled to herself for what seemed like the hundredth time since Harry became her boyfriend. Hermione never considered herself to be very giggly or fancy-free. But being the girlfriend of a very handsome wizard was giving her a very safe, and very welcoming buzz.

Hermione's morning had been rather fun already. After dressing into their very modest school-robes, Hermione and Luna had shouldered their knapsacks and had left their tent and were immediately met by Harry and Rose waiting outside their tent. Hermione and Luna had expected to go into the Great Hall for breakfast, but Harry had invited them into the Classroom/Cafeteria Tent for breakfast, which they accepted gratefully.

Hermione knew she wouldn't be able to take all meals with the Ilvermorny students. She had to face the Ravenclaw House sometime, so she could figure out how the situation was following Harry's outburst in the Great Hall the previous afternoon. But she had accepted breakfast in the Ilvermorny tent for one simple reason. So she could spend more time with her new boyfriend. After breakfast, Hermione and Harry had shared a kiss before they had to go their separate ways for classes. Hermione could still feel Harry's kiss on her lips.

“Hermione!” a voice called out.

Hermione jumped out of her thoughts, and turned around. Padma Patil was standing there. Hermione realized they were in the middle of the dungeon corridor.

“Wow, Hermione, you really must have been deep in thought,” Padma said, “I called your name three times.”

Hermione blushed pink. Padma smiled, and obviously noticed.

“Do those deep thoughts have to do with homework?” Padma asked, then grinned, “Or with certain a foreign Champion known as Lord Harry Potter?”

“Maybe,” Hermione answered, simply.

Padma laughed lightly. “Alright, keep your secrets.”

“What do you want, Padma?” Hermione asked, “We're going to be late to class, which is never good with Professor Snape.”

“Then let us walk and talk,” Padma said; “First, I wanted to know if you'd sit with me during Potions today?”

Hermione raised her eyebrows, shocked. “Really?”

“It would give us time to talk about things while we work on today's Potion,” Padma said. “I think you should be caught up on a few things, since your absence since yesterday afternoon from the castle in general has caused you to miss out on several things.”

“Well, as you know, Luna and I are now sleeping in one of the Ilvermorny Tents,” Hermione said. “Last night, I went with Harry to an Ilvermorny Celebration in his honor as their Champion. So I missed dinner in the Great Hall. And I missed breakfast because --”

“-- you were with Harry?” Padma asked, raising her eyebrows and grinning.

“-- and Luna and Harry's sister,” Hermione said, “And the rest of the Ilvermorny students.”

“Well, you missed an entertaining breakfast,” Padma said, “Not as entertaining as lunch yesterday, mind you, but it was still entertaining. First, Malfoy's been handing out badges that say 'Longbottom Stinks'. Interestingly enough, he hasn't thrown his support in for Angelina Johnson yet, but you know, Slytherin and Gryffindor rivalries. The badges got confiscated... from everyone. Summoning Charms in the Great Hall by Professors McGonagall and Flitwick. Badges flying from all four tables. Malfoy got two weeks detention with McGonagall for... get this... 'bullying Neville'.”

Hermione's eyes widened, then she smiled. “Harry's message got through?”

“Ooh, yeah, it did,” Padma said. “Anyone who had badges – nearly two dozen in multiple year-groups -- were placed in a combined mass detention for this evening, for accepting the badges, and not reporting them to the staff. Five from our year – Parkinson, Crabbe, Goyle, Zachariah Smith, and Ron Weasley – it was most out of any of the years.”

“Malfoy's minions, and the Hufflepuff and Gryffindor Idiots,” Hermione said, then whistled, “Changes, they are a-coming.”

“Looks like it,” Padma said. “Then something else happened in the non-bullying category. Fred, George and Ron Weasley got Howlers from their mother.”

“Oh, god!” Hermione said, giggling. “Those are horrible! I don't think their mother even needs to amplify her voice!”

Padma grinned. “Fred and George's Howlers were all about how foolish they were for entering their names into the Goblet of Fire, and how dangerous of a decision it was. What if they had been picked? They could have died!”

“Their mother's words?” Hermione asked.

Padma nodded. “Yep. Then Ron – well, it seems that on Saturday, he must have really effed something up between him and Neville, because his mother's Howler was all about telling him off for calling Neville a 'liar' and a 'cheat'. Explains why he got caught with one of Malfoy's badges. She explained to him – and hell, anyone in the Hall who heard it – that Neville wasn't responsible for putting his own name in the Goblet. Then she yelled at him for trying to break up Neville and Ginny, by asking her to cancel their Betrothal Contract.”

Hermione shook her head. “That boy is such an idiot, I swear. Why he hasn't failed back a year, I do not know.”

“Because very few students have ever fallen back a year at Hogwarts,” Padma said, “Even idiots like Ron Weasley. Well, after the Howler was done, Ginny starts yelling at Ron about her part in Molly's letter, and that girl has her mother's pipes. Ron was laughed out of the Great Hall, though he ran off because Neville and Ginny were threatening to hex him all the way to the Hospital Wing. All they got was a warning from McGonagall, but since no hexes were actually thrown, it was just for causing such a public fuss.”

“Wow,” Hermione said, grinning.

“And it doesn't end there,” Padma said. “Headmaster Dumbledore then stood up and told everyone that Neville didn't enter his name into the Goblet. Interesting how he waited for that news to get around already, before announcing, instead of doing so yesterday morning at breakfast. Isn't it?”

“Mmm, yeah,” Hermione said. “Interesting.”

They were now standing outside the Potions Classroom, which surprised Hermione. She couldn't believe she had been so lost in gossip with Padma Patil, that she didn't know she had arrived to the classroom. Since when did Padma Patil – hell, anybody – gossip with her?!

Hermione pondered this as she followed Padma into the classroom, and she smiled when they sat down at the same pair of desks. She was trying to hide the blush in her cheeks – blush from the simple fact that someone was actually happy and willing to sit with her in class.

Harry Potter had already changed her life in several ways, and he'd only known her a bit over two days! What did she do to find such a perfect boy for a boyfriend?

Snape and his billowing cloak entered the classroom and headed toward his desk. He waved his wand at the blackboard and wrote several lines on it.

“Next week,” Snape drawled, “You will be working on a Shrinking Solution. It is a very complicated brew. Therefore, I am going to give you something a little less complicated this week, in hopes that perhaps it will prevent a few disasters next week. This week, with those seated beside you, you will be brewing the Antidote to the Shrinking Solution. The instructions are up on the board, and also in your books. Miss Granger?”

“Yes, Professor?” Hermione asked.

“I trust you and Miss Patil are able to get along?” Snape replied.

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“Good,” Snape said. “Because I would not want such a long-lasting Alliance between House Potter and House Patil broken because you couldn't get along with her, and Lord Potter got word of it. Lord Potter might decide to blame me because of the seating arrangements I am not responsible for. Do make sure you continue to get along.”

The entire classroom was silent, and many of Hermione's classmates were staring at her. Obviously they were thinking about her being under the Protection of House Potter, as well as the incident in the Great Hall the previous afternoon.

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“Now get to work,” Snape said. “ Everybody.

Hermione and Padma quickly put together a strategy on what to do, and decided Hermione's Cauldron would be used. So while Hermione unpacked her Potions equipment, Padma collected the ingredients from the supply closet needed for the Potion not usually found amongst a student's personal supply.

All the while, Hermione was thinking of Snape's message to her. She wasn't sure if he had been insulting her and Harry, or what his intentions were. She thought back to Padma's explanation of the punishments meted out for bullying earlier that morning at breakfast. It appeared all the staff, perhaps Snape, were trying to do their best to avoid any more incidents that would offend Harry.

Hermione smirked privately. Yes. Changes were indeed coming to Hogwarts.


Hogwarts Grounds Near Ilvermorny Tents

Harry and Remus – or rather, Professor Lupin at the moment, since Harry was currently in a one-on-one lesson with him – were standing on an open patch of earth on the Grounds near the Ilvermorny Tents. Inside the Classroom Tent, Professor Potter was having a one-on-one Potions lesson with Rose.

A hundred feet away from Harry and Professor Lupin, Professor Black had the sixth and seventh year Ilvermorny students together for a lesson on Advanced Dueling Strategy. The twins Sebastian and Serena were currently partnered in a two-on-two duel against Serena's boyfriend, Samson, and Sebastian's best friend, Alex. Serena and Sebastian were a dueling force in Team Dueling. Whether or not it was because they were twins – which was rumored to give them certain magical advantages when working together – they never confirmed it. There was a reason the twins placed first and second, and Harry placed third, in the contention tournament. Their skills at dueling was just one reason.

It was the first round of classes of the first modified three-Professor Ilvermorny lesson plan.

Professor Lupin was looking more pale than usual. And for good reason. Tonight was the Full Moon. He would be fine to handle three classes, then he would have to prepare himself for the transformation that evening. Harry's mother was so skilled at brewing the Wolfsbane Potion so well that they even improved her friend's life when it came to his transformations. Once his mother had joked that she would put it on the market, except it would be copyright infringement. It was the same Potion – she just did a better job at brewing it than its inventor, Damocles Belby.

“During our lessons between today and the First Task, Harry,” Professor Lupin said, “We're going to work on strategies against various creatures you may be facing during the Task. Once we figure out exactly what you're facing, all lessons will be focused on that Creature. Until then, we're going through the – ah – usual suspects of Magical Creatures. The first... Dementors.”

Harry blinked. “You really think they're going to pit me against Dementors in front of a crowd of spectators, most of whom are innocent students?”

“A good question,” Professor Lupin said, “Now let me ask you one of mine. Where are most of the Dementors located at the current moment in time?”

“Azkaban Prison,” Harry said.

“And who owns the most control over Azkaban Prison in the world?” Professor Lupin asked. “I'll give you a hint: it isn't the International Confederation of Warlocks.”

“The British Ministry of Magic,” Harry answered, after a moment of thought.

“Ten points to Wampus,” Professor Lupin said, grinning.

Harry laughed. Unlike Hogwarts, Ilvermorny didn't have a House Points System. Houses did enough to create enmity between students. It didn't need the extra ingredient of House Points added into it. Less enmity created more peace. More peace created less incidents. Less incidents made them a much better school than the one currently standing several yards behind Harry.

But since they were at Hogwarts, Remus – Professor Lupin – decided to be funny.

“Yes,” Professor Lupin said, “The British Ministry of Magic. Because Voldemort used Dementors so heavily in the Great War, the British Ministry of Magic was given control of them – and Azkaban Prison, where their main nest was – from the ICW in hopes to remedy the Dementor threat around Great Britain. It worked... somewhat. But the British Ministry of Magic never gave back that control. Now, as the Host Ministry behind the Host School of the Triwizard Tournament, I believe there is a good chance that they might send a swarm of Dementors for the First Task.”

“A Swarm?” Harry asked, “Not one or two?”

“Anyone skilled enough could fight off two Dementors, Harry,” Professor Lupin said, “It takes a powerful wizard or witch to survive a swarm.”

“More like a team of powerful wizards and witches,” Harry muttered.

“Mmm, that is true,” Professor Lupin said, then he winked, “But the Triwizard Tournament is supposed to be entertaining .”

Harry snorted. “Great. Now I'm terrified you're right.”

“That's perfectly alright, Harry,” Professor Lupin said, “That is what the next couple of lessons are for. I know you're quite familiar with the Patronus Charm because I taught you it. So let's see it. If I remember correctly,you have a recent happy memory to use for a good Patronus.”

Harry blushed lightly. He removed his wand from his robes and pointed it in front of him. Then he closed his eyes, and let a vision of his first kiss with Hermione float to the front of his mind. He could feel her kiss on his lips.

“Expecto Patronum!” Harry exclaimed.

He opened his eyes, and they widened in surprise. The silvery feline creature in front of him was familiar to him. There was just one problem.

“That's not my Patronus!” Harry exclaimed. “My Patronus is Prongs – Dad's Animagus!”

Professor Lupin smiled. “Have you cast a Patronus since completing your recent achievement?”

Harry didn't need Remus to clarify he meant by 'recent achievement'. It was staring at him in the face. He shook his head slowly.

“If I remember correctly,” Professor Lupin said, “After your achievement, you commented that it was the happiest you ever felt in your life. You were so proud of yourself. Happiness and pride like that can change a Patronus. I think we both know why it changed into this.”

Harry nodded slowly.

“It is a strong Patronus, Harry,” Professor Lupin said, “But here's the real challenge. Can you pull off several Patronuses at once. A Swarm of Patronuses against a Swarm of Dementors?”

Harry's eyes widened. “Is that even possible?”

“Rare, but possible,” Professor Lupin said, “But you're not just going to be going up against a Creature during the First Task. You're going to be going up against your competitors, for important points. A Swarm of Patronuses would absolutely blow away the judges, by how impressive it is.”

Harry nodded. He could almost picture the scene. But could he do it?

“And now you know your main assignment for the next couple of lessons,” Professor Lupin said, “Let's get to work, shall we?”

 


Hogwarts – Great Hall

For the first time since breakfast the previous morning, Hermione was planning on having a meal in the Great Hall. It was lunchtime, and she had just finished up with an excellent Ancient Runes lesson. But the lesson wasn't the most interesting part of her time in the class that morning.

Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis – Daphne's rumored girlfriend – were two of her class-mates in the Mixed House lesson. And Daphne was actually being nice to her. Not only did Daphne call her by her first name, she also apologized for her behavior in the Entrance Hall the previous day.

“Harry already apologized for you, Daphne,” Hermione had said.

“I'm sure he did, because I asked him to,” Daphne said, “But I'm also apologizing on my own. So I'm sorry for my behavior. It was rude of me. I was focused on the planned conversation with Harry, but that is no excuse for being rude to you..”

“Is this about me being under House Potter Protection?” Hermione asked. “Is that why you're apologizing?”

“You don't need to be Protected to receive apologies, Hermione,” Daphne said.

“Nor do you need to be Protected to accept them,” Hermione countered. “I accept yours.”

And then the girls parted ways and sat on opposite sides of the classroom. Tracey was mostly indifferent to Hermione, but she did call her by her first name at one point. Though there was that moment Tracey did glare at her, before Daphne had noticed and stopped her. Hermione realized Tracey might be mad at her for bandying about the rumor of their possible romance so freely, if only to Harry. When their relationship went public, she'd apologize to Tracey for that.

Hermione's reverie was interrupted as she saw Harry waiting outside the Great Hall, his hands clasped together behind his back, and smiling at her. However, it was a tired smile.

“Hello, Harry,” Hermione said, “Are you alright? You look rather tired. You seemed awake at breakfast.”

“Tough tiring lesson with Remus,” Harry said, “Then an equally tough, tiring lesson with Sirius. I don't recommend it to anyone who didn't grow up with them. Maybe I'll tell you about it. Where's Luna?”

“Hospital Wing,” Hermione said.

Harry coughed and narrowed his eyes. “What?!”

“Calm down, Harry,” Hermione said, “Her time of the month started today. She's there for this month's care package. Madam Pomfrey helps her, because her father has no idea what to do about it.”

Harry coughed again. “Do me a favor. Next time don't speak so bluntly when you mention the Hospital Wing. Give a wizard a heart attack, why don't you?!”

Hermione winced. “Sorry. Are you escorting me to the Cafeteria Tent again? Because I was looking forward to British food today.”

“Cheeky, Miss Granger,” Harry said, grinning, “I would not deprive you of your British delicacies. I was actually hoping to join you.”

“Only if you agree to sit with Padma,” Hermione said, “She invited me to sit with her for lunch.”

“I would be happy to sit with her,” Harry said, “I was planning on speaking to her anyway. I'm pleased to see you're welcomed back amongst your classmates. Has Su Li caused any problems in class with you?”

“None at all,” Hermione said. “Very refreshing. Let's go on inside.”

“Holding hands, or no?” Harry asked.

Hermione sighed. “Not right now. I like our privacy. It is alright for the Ilvermorny students to know, because they were doing some welcomed teasing.”

“And Hogwarts students might not be so welcoming,” Harry said, frowning.

“Perhaps – or perhaps they'll just surprise us,” Hermione said, “But I like the privacy. But don't even think that gets you out of sitting next to me.”

“Never crossed my mind,” Harry said, smiling; “Lead the way.”

As soon as Hermione and Harry stepped into the Great Hall, most of the students in the Hall were looking in their direction. At least there weren't that many – third through fifth years dined together for Lunch on Mondays. Hermione wondered whether they were just staring at Harry, or both of them. She ignored the stares, and led Harry over to the Ravenclaw Table, where they sat down across from Padma. Hermione found Su Li sitting, not with the fourth years, but with Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe. All three girls were ignoring her and Harry. Hermione was just fine with that.

“Good afternoon, Miss Patil,” Harry said, as he started dishing food onto his plate.

“Good afternoon, Lord Potter, Hermione,” Padma said. “I'm surprised to find you eating British food. Rumor is you seem to loathe it.”

“Rumors spread like wildfire around here,” Harry said, “It must be a real fine treasure hunt trying to find the true ones.”

“This one is true, Harry,” Hermione quipped.

Harry sighed and shook his head. “Thanks for revealing a dark secret of mine.”

Hermione giggled. Her boyfriend had a wonderful sense of humor.

“Please call me Harry, Padma,” Harry said, “You assisted Hermione in a time of need. You have earned that right.”

“There's also the fact I'm one of your Allies,” Padma said, with a smirk.

“True,” Harry said, “But my reason means so much more to me. Though you do bring up a reason why I am sitting here with you – aside from dining with Hermione, that is. Have you had any luck with the task I asked of you yesterday?”

“Some,” Padma said, “My sister Parvati, Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbot knows and have agreed to attend. Oh, and Luna of course. I haven't talked to Daphne Greengrass and her sister yet. Maybe I should.” She glanced across the Hall. “She is here Should I go speak to her now?”

“Not necessary,” Harry said, “I found myself in the pleasure of her company yesterday. Long story. I invited her and her sister. She accepted for both of them. She's also bringing a friend. I suggested such, after I told her we need to bring in more Allies into the Alliance.”

“I could ask around,” Padma said.

Harry shook his head. “We'll take suggestions and make decisions on that next Sunday.”

“Right,” Padma said, “Sunday. You told me what day and where. But not what time, so I didn't pass that message around.”

“Lunch,” Harry said, simply.

“Duly noted,” Padma said.

“Egad, I just realized!” Harry exclaimed, “Am I the only wizard in the Children of the Great Alliance?”

“Did you just say 'egad', Harry?” Luna asked, as she sat down on Hermione's other side at the table.

“Hi, Luna,” Hermione said, “And yes, he did.”

“Yep,” Padma answered Harry, “You're the only wizard amongst a veritable coven of witches. Neville Longbottom, Terry Boot and Ernie MacMillan were the only other boys, and their Houses left the Alliance. Before you came back from the dead, we called it the 'Witches' Alliance'. Children of the Great Alliance is a mouthful.”

“Surrounded by witches,” Harry said. “How very lucky I am.”

Hermione cleared her throat, and glared at Harry. She didn't want to hear him talking about being alone in a room with several witches who weren't her! And yes, she was aware of how much she sounded like a jealous girlfriend.

“That includes you, Hermione,” Harry said.

Hermione blinked at that. “You don't mean you're inviting me into – Harry! I'm not even in a House!”

“Yes, you are,” Harry said, “Under the Protection of House Potter, you're a member of House Potter.”

Hermione blushed pink. “Oh.”

“Even if that weren't the case, so what?” Harry said. “You're a very smart witch. The Great Alliance deserves a smart mind like yours. Luna and Padma – no offense, ladies – are in a Minor House, and as such hold no seat amongst the Wizengamot Council. But they're welcomed into the Great Alliance because of the support and advice they can give. Why should you be any different? And don't say the 'M' word.”

“Magic?” Padma asked.

“Muggleborn,” Luna said.

“Oh,” Padma said.

Harry cleared his throat. “Blood does not matter in the Great Alliance. And it never will!”

Hermione smiled at her boyfriend. “Thank you, Harry. I would be honored to join.”

Harry merely gave her a dazzling smile that made her heart flutter.


Hogwarts Grounds – Late Evening

Hermione, Luna and the Ilvermorny students were all in bed, in deep slumber. That is, all except for Harry Potter. He was standing near the doorway of the House Potter tent, with his mother and Sirius standing in front of him

“Promise me you will be careful this evening, Harry,” Lily said.

“I promise, Mom,” Harry said.

“You'll stay close to Padfoot at all times?” Lily asked.

“Yes, Mom,” Harry said, annoyed, “This isn't my first time doing this, Mom! You know that!”

“This is your first time in the Forbidden Forest, Harry!” Lily said, “It is far more dangerous than the other locations. I don't even know how the Centaurs will react – Merlin, I should have thought more into this. No. Not tonight, Harry. Next month. Too many unknown risks tonight!”

“Lily!” Sirius exclaimed. “The Centaurs accept me. They'll accept him. He's going to be with me all evening. He won't be out of my sight.”

Lily sighed. “Maybe I should just give Rose a Potion that will put her out for the night, and go with you.”

“Chrys isn't here to watch her,” Sirius said, “You are.”

Lily growled under her breath. Then she grabbed her son and hugged him.

“If you come back with any injuries, you're grounded until you're married,” Lily said.

“Is Hermione ready to walk down the aisle yet, pup?” Sirius joked, grinning.

“Sirius,” Harry groaned as he backed out of his mother's hug. “We'll be fine, Mom. I'll see you later.”

“Fine,” Lily said, “Be careful. I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom,” Harry said.

“And I love the both of you,” Sirius said. “Come on, pup. Before we miss Moony's howl.”

“I'm not a pup!” Harry exclaimed.

He chased after Sirius into the dark night of the Hogwarts Grounds. The Full Moon was shining bright down onto them and the Forbidden Forest in the distance. Good. Very good.

“No,” Sirius said, sighing, “No, you're not. You go first.”

Harry grinned, and sprint forward onto the open Grounds. Then he jumped into the air.

And landed on four paws.

Harry Potter was an Animagus. He had been training with Remus, Sirius and Lily in secret during much of his third year at Ilvermorny. It had cut some good snogging time with his girlfriends, but it was so worth it. A week before the final Full Moon of the school term, Harry achieved his first transformation.

And Shadow was born.

Shadow was a very appropriate name. Because Harry's Animagus was a legendary Shadow Panther. Black as a shadow, the only difference from legends old, was that Harry had green eyes like his human form instead of black.

Shadow bounded across the grounds toward a spot he had found.

“Shadow!” Sirius yelled, “Get back here!”

Shadow smirked and dove into the shadowy darkness behind one of the Ilvermorny tents. Shadow Panthers were named so because they could Shadow Jump – literally vanish into one shadow, and leap out of another. Shadows were chilly and pitch black. You didn't want to spend very long in them. To do so was quite dangerous. When you jumped through one shadow, you needed to have another one in mind for the destination. One that wouldn't disappear by the time you got there. Which was why, for safety reasons, you wanted a second shadow in mind just in case.

Shadow's destination was Sirius' shadow that crawled upon the ground in front of him. Shadow leapt out the – well, the shadow and landed on the ground in front of the man. Sirius yelped in surprise.

“God damn it, Shadow!” he exclaimed, “You do that every time, and I still haven't gotten used to it. Why couldn't you be a dog or a house cat?!”

Shadow smirked again. Magical Creature Animagi were very rare. Sirius was one, a canine of superstition known as the Grim. Neither Sirius, Remus nor Lily ever thought Harry would also achieve a Magical Creature form. How very wrong they were.

In addition to Harry's Shadow, and Sirius' Padfoot, there was one other Animagus amongst the family: Tiger-Lily – Lily's Animagus form – a Bengal Tiger. Moony – Remus – was a werewolf. Rose was the only one who couldn't turn into an Animal yet, and she was absolutely jealous that she had to wait until her third year, just like her brother had.

“Don't tell this to your mother, or I will prank you every day for a week,” Sirius said. “But your mother was right to worry. There are several dangers in the Forbidden Forest. Centaurs are just one of them, and at least they can be diplomatic when they want to be. None of the others will be diplomatic. They'll just try to kill you. So stick close to me and relative closeness to Moony. I don't think I need to tell you this – but while his bite may not turn you when you're Shadow, it still hurts.”

Shadow snorted. He had heard that before. Moony had only lunged at him once – during their first Full Moon Run. And that was because the wolf wasn't familiar with Shadow. Shadow had dodged easily by traveling from one shadow to another. Moony had respected Shadow ever since.

“I believe your father is looking down on us tonight, Shadow,” Sirius said, looking into the sky, “Wish he could join the Marauders in the Forbidden Forest like the old days, except this time his own son is coming along. Prongs will be riding with us tonight. In spirit.”

Shadow nodded solemnly.

“Enough sap!” Sirius said.

He barked out a laugh, ran forward, leapt into the air, and transformed into Padfoot. Shadow ran over to him and leapt about ten feet in the air over the Grim, landing a few feet away on his other side. Padfoot gave an annoyed bark. Shadow could almost hear the words “Show-Off” in Padfoot's bark.

Then Moony howled.

Padfoot howled into the night, and Shadow gave a loud yowl.

And Shadow Panther and Grim raced off into the deep dark of the Forbidden Forest to play with Moony.

 

Chapter Text

Tuesday , November 3 rd , 1994


Early Tuesday, about six-o-clock in the morning, Harry and Sirius entered the House Potter Tent, slightly tired, but happy and healthy, after their Full Moon Run with Moony the previous evening. They had run through the Forbidden Forest for about four hours before they headed to the Shrieking Shack to sleep for the evening. They had only gotten about four hours of sleep, but it was worth it.

They had frolicked through the forest, and while they heard the Centaurs and other creatures off in the distance, none ever approached them. The moonlight through the trees had given provided several shadows for Shadow to jump through, and he enjoyed himself greatly. The various small harmless critters and birds didn't like it much though. Most scurried when he appeared suddenly from shadows.

Lily was sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for them. Lily jumped up from her chair, strode over to Harry, hugged him, then started casting Diagnostic Charms on him.

“Mom, I'm fine!” Harry complained.

“Hush, Harry,” Lily said, as she ran her wand around his body, “Or I'm going to make you strip naked in full view of Sirius and I – and maybe Rose if she wakes up and comes out of her bedroom while you're naked.”

Harry sputtered. Sirius snickered and walked over to the tent's small kitchen and poured a couple mugs of coffee.

Lily sighed in relief when she was finished. “Well, the only thing wrong with you is the lack of a good night's sleep. I bet I got more sleep than you did, and I stayed up for a while, worried about you!”

“Harry's class schedule has Remus teaching his first class today,” Sirius said. “Remus is probably going to be asleep until lunchtime. Harry can sleep during the time when he usually would have his first lesson.”

“Can't I have breakfast first?” Harry asked, as he sat down at the dining room table; he muttered his thanks to Sirius when his Godfather gave him a mug.

“Do you only want to eat because you'll be eating with Hermione?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

Harry sipped the coffee, then nodded. “She has Astronomy this evening at midnight, and she'll be sleeping in tomorrow since she doesn't have class until ten-o-clock. So I'll miss breakfast with her tomorrow. I can't miss it today. We decided breakfast would be the one meal we wouldn't miss with each other, because it gives us privacy until our relationship becomes public to the Hogwarts students.”

“Privacy how?” Lily asked. “You had breakfast with Luna and Rose yesterday.”

Harry took another sip of his coffee, then smiled. “A goodbye kiss before we separate for classes.”

“I don't remember you being this sappy with your first two girlfriends,” Sirius said.

“Hush, Sirius,” Lily said, “I think it is very sweet. If she's awake now, you can have breakfast with her, Harry. However...”

“What?” Harry asked.

“How are you going to explain the dark circles under your eyes?” Lily asked.

Harry groaned. Hermione had noticed he was tired yesterday. She'd surely notice today.

“Glamour Charms?” Harry replied.

“So, you'd be lying to her?” Lily asked.

“I can't tell her about Shadow yet,” Harry said, “It is a House Potter Secret.”

“Maybe not for very long,” Sirius said, “Remus was discussing practicing strategies with you using Shadow for the Tasks.”

Harry sighed. “If it turns out I'll be using Shadow. I'll tell her. As long as I'm not doing any blatant lying about it, she should forgive me for not telling her, especially since it is a House Secret.”

“Glamour Charm then,” Lily said, “But you have to cast it.”

Harry nodded. He was okay with facial Glamour Charms. Hiding the dark circles under his eyes were simple. After finishing his coffee, he changed his clothes into something proper for breakfast with Hermione, went over to the bathroom and cast a Glamour on his eyes. Promising he'd be back soon and then he'd take a nap for a few hours, he left the tent and headed over to Hermione's.

He called her name when he arrived at her tent, and smiled when she answered him. When she appeared from her tent, he gave her a kiss in greeting. They had a nice breakfast, and Harry told Hermione about Remus' lesson the previous day. Hermione was astounded he could do a Patronus, and she nearly jumped up to find Remus and ask him if she could learn from him. The only saving grace that stopped Hermione from finding out Remus was “ill” at the moment, was her surprise at seeing Harry's Patronus. She remained in her chair and grinned at the Patronus. When she asked him what it was, he told her it was a panther, and felt bad for the half-lie.

They parted ways after breakfast with a brief, wonderful kiss. Owing to the Glamours, she had never noticed he hadn't gotten enough sleep the previous evening. Harry slowly walked back to his tent, as he watched Hermione's retreating figure head up toward the castle. Then he stepped back into the tent. Rose could only greet him with a good morning, before Lily shooed him off into his bedroom. Shortly after, he dozed off, beginning his nap, with thoughts that he didn't like how wrong it felt lying to Hermione.



Tuesday afternoon after classes, while Harry and Rose were hanging out with Hermione and Luna, Lily, Sirius and Remus sat down at the dining table and studied the Invisibility Cloak. They found several disturbing Charms. Tracking Charms that would let the caster know where the Cloak was at any particular moment. Eavesdropping Charms allowing for the caster to listen to whatever was in the Cloak's vicinity. Lily was quite happy she had predicted that the day she had received it, and had placed a Muffling Charm on it, which prevented the Eavesdropping Charms to work. There was a Charm that Remus discovered let the caster look be able to see through the Cloak at all times – even though the Cloak was supposed to be legendarily impenetrable against that.

“Unless done with the Elder Wand which is rumored to have helped create it,” Remus said. “Albus has the Elder Wand.”

“Makes sense,” Lily said. “Certainly confirms James' suspicions. Does it belong to Harry since he is Lord Peverell?”

“Could he summon it from Albus with his Peverell Ring?” Remus asked, then shrugged, “It is possible. I don't know if we want to find out yet or not though.

Lily, Sirius and Remus spent the next hour dismantling the foreign charms on the Cloak. Lily gave it to Harry later that evening – after lecturing him to be careful with it. And to not go into any witches' bathrooms or places he was forbidden to go. Sirius was hit with a stinging hex after saying “You can go to those places as long as you don't get caught.”

On Tuesday evening after dinner in the Great Hall, as Harry, Hermione, Luna and Rose were on their way toward the Grounds of Hogwarts, Minerva McGonagall had met them, and told Harry that the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony would be taking place at nine-o-clock on Friday morning. Harry and Lily were to meet with Minerva at a quarter to nine, where she would lead them to the designated room. Harry promised he would tell his mother that, and that is exactly what he had done when he returned to the tent.

But first he had spent a few minutes outside Hermione's tent talking with her, and sharing a few kisses before she had to go into her tent. She needed to work on homework for a bit, and get a brief nap, before she needed to go to the Astronomy Tower at midnight.

After hearing the announcement of the date for the Weighing of the Wands, Lily, Harry, Sirius and Remus discussed their promised interview with Barnabus Cuffe. They decided to keep the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw bloodlines a secret, so they could use it as a surprise at the Winter Solstice Wizengamot Council Session they had already planned on attending. Lily's adoption story – and her, Harry and Rose's true blood-status would be revealed, however.

They decided to offer Cuffe to interview them right there in the House Potter tent after the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony. Harry was elected to write the letter to Cuffe that invited him to the interview.

Wednesday afternoon, after classes, Lily, Remus and Sirius sat down with Harry and gave him a test interview with questions that Barnabus Cuffe might ask. By the end, Harry felt he was ready.

Thursday morning, Harry received a reply from Barnabus Cuffe saying that he happily agreed to the invitation and looked forward to the interview. Thursday afternoon, he met privately with Daphne, catching her before she went into the Great Hall for lunch. It was quite the interesting discussion...

“My family and I request to meet with you and your girlfriend sometime tomorrow,” Harry said.

Daphne's eyes widened, then she narrowed her eyebrows dangerously. “I understand why they might want to meet me before the Betrothal Contract. But why my girlfriend?”

“How serious is your relationship with your girlfriend?” Harry asked. “If given a chance, would you want to be with her for a lifetime? Serious enough that you would reveal your relationship to both your and your girlfriend's parents by Saturday?”

“Why are you asking me this?” Daphne asked.

Harry decided to get to the point. “Ever heard of a Wife's Consort?”

Daphne's eyes widened to the size of saucers. Then she stammered. “I... I need to talk to my girlfriend. I'll send you my owl to your tents this evening with a letter – whether it be accepting or declining your invitation.”

Harry merely nodded, and Daphne walked away, looking uncharacteristically emotional.

Later that evening, Harry received a letter from Daphne. She agreed to a meeting at eight-o-clock on Friday evening in the Ilvermorny Tents. She confirmed she would bring her girlfriend.


Friday, November 6th, 1994

Dressed in one of his best formal outfits, Harry walked with his mother toward Hogwarts Castle. Sirius and Remus had given the students the day off of class for “Ilvermorny Champion business”, and they were preparing the House Potter Tent for the interview with Barnabus Cuffe. Rose was also practicing a test interview with her Honorary Uncles, in case Barnabus asked her anything.

Only the House Potter crest was on the left breast of Harry's robes; He didn't want to publicly reveal his Lordship of one of the other two Houses until the interview with Barnabus, and the other until mid-December.

Out of the corner of his eyes, Harry noticed in the distance the Beauxbatons Headmistress Madame Olympe Maxime and her Champion, Fleur Delacour, walking toward the castle. Judging by how fast Fleur's lips were moving, it appeared she was talking in rapid French. Fleur caught him looking at her and Harry could see a light smile upturn her lips.

“I wonder what Hermione would say if she caught you staring at the Beauxbatons Champion,” Lily said, as they approached the front doors of the castle.

Harry blinked and looked away from Fleur. “I wasn't staring. I was – ah hell – it sounds bad either way. I was reading her lips, and realized she was talking in French to Madame Maxime.”

“So you were staring at her lips?” Lily asked, grinning.

“See!” Harry said, sighing, “It does sound bad when you say it.”

“I won't tell,” Lily said, “Actually I was testing you. I was rather surprised you were able to answer me. If I'm correct, Fleur was using a mild Allure on you.”

“'Allure'?” Harry asked, “Oh, right... she's a Veela. I almost forgot. But, if she was using an Allure...”

“Then you were able to resist it,” Lily said, “Like a side-effect of your Occlumency skills. Well done. I wouldn't think too much on the reasons behind her Allure. She's probably just trying to make you slip up and embarrass yourself during the Weighing of the Wands. Means she's rather intimidated by you.”

“Interesting,” Harry said, “If you're right.”

“If I'm right,” Lily agreed. “You ready?”

“Yes,” Harry said, “From what we've read, the Weighing of the Wands is going to be the easiest thing I do today. Show my wand to the expert, and then take a few pictures. Barnabus' interview will be far more eventful.”

“Did you give your wand a proper cleaning?” Lily asked.

Harry winced at his mother's – probably unintentional – innuendo. “Yes, right before we left the tent.”

And thinking of Hermione when you did it, Pup! Harry could almost hear Sirius in his head.

“If I am correct,” Lily said, “The Wand expert is Garrick Ollivander. He's the best expert in the world. He hasn't seen me since I was eleven years old, but I have no doubts he'll know exactly who I am. So he'd notice anything off about your wand, even if he didn't make it.”

Harry merely nodded, unsure how to reply. Harry and Lily reached the door the same time as the Beauxbatons Headmistress and Champion.

“Madame Potter,” Madame Maxime said, “My Champion would like to speak to you and your son in private before we enter ze castle.”

“Very well,” Lily said, rather warily.

“More personal zan Triwizard business,” Madame Maxime said, obviously noticing Lily's wariness.

She then backed away and Fleur walked over to Harry and Lily.

“Bonjour, Madame Potter, Lord Potter,” Fleur said, “I am meeting you as a request by my sister, Gabrielle. Madame Potter, my sister has – ah – noticed your daughter from afar. Ze same age as Gabrielle, non? Twelve?”

“Yes,” Lily said “Rose is twelve.”

Fleur smiled. “Gabrielle is not wanting to go to ze 'Ogsmeade Village tomorrow. She 'as 'oped zat Rose may stay on ze Grounds instead of go to ze Village too. If so, zan Gabrielle has requested a... ah... picnic with Rose on ze Grounds tomorrow afternoon. It can be near your tents if you wish. Gabrielle would simply like to get to know someone her age.”

“I will speak to my daughter when we return to the tents,” Lily said, “And talk to her about your sister's invitation. Whether she accepts or not, I'll send a letter to you by owl.”

“I will be watchful for ze owl,” Fleur said, “Zank you, Madame Potter. I will see you shortly.”

She turned and walked with her Headmistress into the castle.

“Did Gabrielle just ask Rose out on a date through her sister?” Harry asked.

“She could just want to get to know somebody her age,” Lily said. “Like Fleur said.”

“Or she could have been lying to her sister,” Harry said, “And is hoping for a date without her sister's knowledge.”

“I suppose Rose will just have to find out,” Lily said. “We'll tell her to try not to get her hopes up. But it did sound like a date request. Gabrielle choosing a picnic over a visit to the village.”

“While several couples are on dates in the village,” Harry said. “Yes, including me and Hermione.”

Lily sighed. “I expected Rose to be the one to ask Gabrielle out. This is quite surprising. But if it is a date, then Rose is getting her wish. Come on, Harry. We'll discuss this later. We shouldn't keep Minerva waiting.”

Harry nodded and walked into the castle's Entrance Hall with his mother. Minerva was waiting there with Madame Maxime and Fleur.

“Follow me, please,” Minerva said. “I will explain what I can as we make our way to the designated room.”

Minerva led them, not toward the Grand Staircase, but through a corridor on the other side of the Entrance Hall. As she led the foreigners, she explained the basis of what was going to be happening – a wand-expert would be checking the wands to see if they were in proper working order, then the Daily Prophet would be taking some photos of each Champion and the judges. Basically what Lily and Harry knew already. The only thing Minerva didn't know was that Barnabus would be interviewing Harry and his family in the House Potter Tent, so of course that went unsaid.

Soon they reached a door. Minerva opened the door, and Harry followed Fleur, Madame Maxime and Lily into what appeared to be an unused classroom. Ludo Bagman, Barnabus Cuffe, an unidentified Daily Prophet cameraman, and Angelina Johnson – one of the Hogwarts Champions – were already there.

“Ah!” Ludo said, brightly when he saw them, “Here are the Beauxbatons and Ilvermorny Champions and their beautiful school representatives. The fourth Champion is not here yet, and neither is Headmaster Dumbledore, nor is the wand-expert whom I believe is being escorted by Albus. Make yourselves comfortable. They should be here momentarily!”

“Lady Potter,” Barnabus said, “Would it be alright if I speak to you momentarily?”

“Now, now, Barney!” Ludo said, chuckling, “No need to be so quick with interviews yet!”

“It is alright, Mister Bagman,” Lily said.

“Thank you, Lady Potter,” Barnabus said, “How about we move away from eavesdroppers? Your son is welcome in the discussion too, of course. No, no pictures yet, Bozo.”

“Er... Bozo?” Harry asked, when they were away from prying ears.

“A nickname,” Barnabus chuckled, “His real name is Bob Zonko III. So, Bozo for short.”

“Zonko?” Lily echoed.

“Yes, the eldest son of that Zonko,” Barnabus said, “By birthright, he should be the next owner of the joke shop when his father passes. But he's a Squib, so his father gave that privilege to Bozo's brother. So I hired Bozo. Anyway. I was pleased with your invitation for an interview. Would I be right to assume that you wish to lead me and Bozo to your Quarters after the ceremony here?”

“Yes, sir,” Lily said, “That is the plan. Our whole family will take part.”

“Wonderful,” Barnabus said, smiling at Lily, then Harry. “I look forward to the interview.”

He bowed respectfully, then walked back over to his cameraman. At that moment, Albus Dumbledore entered with Neville Longbottom and an elderly wizard, who had a mysterious aura about him. Harry realized this was the wand-expert

“Wonderful!” Bagman said, “We're all here now!”

“Bartemius couldn't make it, Ludo?” Dumbledore asked.

“No, unfortunately not,” Ludo said, with an annoyed sigh, “Busy man, he is. Very busy, indeed. He'll be here for the First Task, though. That is a guarantee. Let us get underway then!”

“May I introduce Mr. Garrick Ollivander?” said Dumbledore, motioning to the wand-expert, as the man sat down in a chair. “He will be checking your wands to ensure that they are in good condition before the tournament.”

“Mademoiselle Delacour, could we have you first, please?” said Mr. Ollivander.

Fleur Delacour swept over to Mr. Ollivander and handed him her wand.

“Hmm,” he said.

He twirled the wand between his long fingers like a baton and it emitted a number of pink and gold sparks. Then he held it close to his eyes and examined it carefully.

“Yes,” he said quietly, “nine and a half inches... inflexible... rosewood... and containing... dear me...”

“An ’air from ze ’ead of a Veela,” said Fleur. “One of my grandmuzzer’s.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Ollivander, “yes, I’ve never used Veela hair myself, of course. I find it makes for rather temperamental wands... however, to each his own, and if this suits you...”

Mr. Ollivander ran his fingers along the wand, apparently checking for scratches or bumps; then he muttered, “Orchideous!” and a bunch of flowers burst from the wand tip.

“Very well, very well, it’s in fine working order,” said Mr. Ollivander, scooping up the flowers and handing them to Fleur with her wand. “Miss Johnson, you next.”

Fleur returned to her Headmistress' side, as Angelina walked over to Mr. Ollivander.

“Ah, now, this is one of mine, isn’t it?” said Mr. Ollivander, with much more enthusiasm, as Angelina handed over her wand. “The hair from the tail of a particularly kind female Centaur – she actually resides in the Forbidden Forest. Her clan, especially her father, disapproved of its use, but I did save the Centaur's life once while I was collecting ingredients one day – with Albus' permission of course.

“So it was sort of a life-debt. It was either some of her tail-hair or a Betrothal Contract. Oh, oh, I'm joking! I would have never done that! Ha! That gets the same reaction every time I tell the tale! No... she agreed to giving away a few strands of her tail-hair... wow, that was... nearly three decades ago. Time flies...

“Hmm... cedar. Ten inches. Supple. In fine working order, as it should be. You take care of it, I am happy to see.”

“Yes, sir,” Angelina said, “I always respect my wand.”

“I am happy to hear so, Miss Johnson!” Mr. Ollivander said.

He sent a stream of silver smoke rings across the room from the tip of Angelina's wand, pronounced himself satisfied, and then said, “Mister Potter, if you please. Or is it Lord, now, if the rumors tell me correctly?”

“It is,” Harry said.

“Congratulations, lad, on a deserving title,” Mr. Ollivander said, “I have a wonderful memory, Lord Potter. I remember the day your mother walked into my fine shop.”

He smiled over at Lily. “It is so good to see you alive and healthy, my Lady. My condolences on your loss.”

“Thank you, Mr. Ollivander,” Lily said, with a kind smile.

Harry offered his wand to the expert, who took it, and studied it.

“Ah,” Mr. Ollivander said, nodding, “A wand from the Noble Collection. I admit myself jealous of some of the ingredients Nathaniel Noble is able to collect. I really should go to America to collect some. But I'm afraid Nathaniel wouldn't be so happy about that. You don't steal from another wand-maker's zone. Improper, that is. Immoral.

“Ah, yes, and this is just one example of Noble's talent. A combination of two woods! Two! So astounding. The first is deadwood, very brittle. You know, Lord Potter, if this wand was just made out of deadwood, the wand would have broken after about a year's use.”

“Yes,” Harry said, “Mr. Noble said the same thing. So he used --”

“Shadowthorn,” Mr. Ollivander interrupted, “To remedy the brittleness. Yes, yes – a fine approach. An interesting combination indeed. And... hmm... the hair from the mane of a Wampus. Very tricky to obtain. The Wampus is rare to catch anyway. And they must be alive at the time the hair is removed, for the hair to work right in the core of a wand. A shame they reside mainly in North America. Twelve inches. Nice and springy. Good for spell-chain systems in dueling. You treat it regularly?”

“Just cleaned it today,” Harry said.

“Very good,” Mr. Ollivander said. “If this wand ever breaks, come by my shop in Diagon Alley. I am sure there is one there which has your name on it.”

Harry merely nodded. He hoped it wouldn't come to that. He loved his wand.

“Avis!” Mr. Ollivander exclaimed, and giving proof of the spell-chain he spoke of, he used different styles of the Avis charm, as several different species of birds flew out of the end and through the open window into the watery sunlight.“In fine working order. Which leaves... Mr. Longbottom.”

Harry walked back over to his mother, who smiled. He smiled back, stored his wand in his robes, watched Neville hand his wand over to Mr. Ollivander.

“I remember the day you walked into my store, Mr. Longbottom,” Mr. Ollivander said. “Well, walk is the wrong word. Run may be the better word. With your Gran, Augusta, hurrying after you. Lady Longbottom yelling you already had a wand. And I told her, how could you have one? You didn't come to me! And, ah, I had sensed your father's wand on you. It would have never worked well for you, my boy. I said that then and I stand by it. Where is that wand, may I ask?”

“Um... above the fireplace in the sitting room of my Manor,” Neville said, “Beside a photo of my father.”

“A fine place to put it,” Mr. Ollivander said, “I do hope one day he can hold it once again. It belongs in his hand. That's where I put it after all. I still remember the day. Just like I remember the day I placed this wand in your hand. Let's see. Containing a single hair from the tail of a particularly fine male unicorn... must have been seventeen hands; nearly gored me with his horn after I plucked his tail. Cherry... Thirteen inches... pleasantly springy. Treated well?”

“Yes, sir,” Neville said.

“Mmhmm,” Ollivander said.

He made a fountain of wine shoot out of it, and handed it back to Neville, announcing that it was still in perfect condition.

“Thank you all,” said Dumbledore, “Gryffindors, you may go back to your lessons now — you might as well go to the second-scheduled lesson of the day, as the first is almost over...“

The man named Bozo cleared his throat loudly.

“Photos, Dumbledore, photos!” cried Bagman excitedly. “All the judges and champions, what do you think, Barney?”

“Er — yes, let’s do those first,” said Barnabus Cuffe, “And then perhaps some individual shots.”

The photographs took a long time. Madame Maxime cast everyone else into a shadow – the Shadow Panther inside Harry wanted so badly to appear, jump out of the shadow and scare everyone -- wherever she stood, and the photographer couldn’t stand far enough back to get her into the frame; eventually she had to sit while everyone else stood around her. Fleur was smiling pretty, looking beautiful, standing behind her Headmistress' chair. Angelina and Neville were standing on either side of their Headmaster, and Lily stood between Harry and Ludo Bagman.

Harry never liked taking pictures – outside of family pictures that is -- but he smiled as well as as he ever did.

Then there were individual photos, and photos with the Champions and their respective School representative. Interestingly enough, to Harry, Neville didn't look very pleased to be standing next to his Headmaster. Something to take note of for later, Harry decided.

Finally it was time to leave. Albus Dumbledore was very shocked, rather confused, and slightly angry when Barnabus Cuffe and Bozo didn't accept his offer to escort them out of the castle. Instead the Daily Prophet representatives left with Harry and Lily, leaving a thoughtful Dumbledore in their shadows, staring at them as they made their way to the Entrance Hall.

Ten minutes later, Harry and Lily led the Daily Prophet representatives into the House Potter Tent. Remus, Sirius and Rose were there waiting, and they jumped up when they saw Barnabus Cuffe.

“An enchanting tent, you have!” Barnabus said, looking around. “Makes for some nice photo backdrops, though perhaps it would be better to take them outside on the Grounds with view of the castle.”

“Ah, but our Champion doesn't attend Hogwarts, Barney,” Sirius said, “So why should the castle be in our photos?”

“An excellent point,” Barnabus said, nodding. “Bozo! Look for a good place to take photos in here while I do the interview.”

Bozo nodded. Barnabus sat down in a chair when offered, and Lily, Harry and Rose sat together on the longer of the two sofas, while Sirius relaxed on the other sofa, and Remus sat in the remaining chair.

“I'll be using a Dicta Quill, you understand,” Barnabus said, as he removed his supplies from his briefcase, “Makes for better interviews.”

“As long as it doesn't write down words we don't say,” Sirius said, “Then we're fine with it.”

“No, no, that's what a Quick-Quotes Quill does,” Barnabus said, then went quite red in the face, “Not that we have any of those, mind you. Ahem... how should we begin this?”

“I assume you're writing two separate articles?” Lily asked. “An article about the Triwizard Tournament, and then our family's interview?”

“Yes, of course,” Barnabus said.

“Then you may start with Harry's interview as Ilvermorny Champion,” Lily said, “And then we'll give you some information for the other interview, and you can ask questions you take from the information. And others, of course.”

Barnabus adopted a thoughtful look, then he nodded. “I can agree to that.”

“Excellent,” Lily said, “You ready, Harry?”

“Yes, Mom,” Harry said, “You may begin, Mr. Cuffe.”

“Barnabus, or Barney please, Lord Potter,” Barnabus said, “Especially if you insist I call you Harry.”

Harry nodded and relaxed back onto the sofa.

“Ilvermorny had a most interesting way of choosing its contenders for the Tournament,” Barnabus began the interview. “Not done before in past Tournaments. Would you please describe that for the British readers who would have never heard of such a strategy, and how you found yourself in contention which lead you to where you are now?”

So Harry began with the day he received a letter from Ilvermorny which announced the contention tournament, which allowed wizards and witches fourteen years old and up to compete. Then he discussed how Sirius had helped him train for the tournament using the boot camp strategy. Then he discussed the contention in some length, and how he was the youngest to compete, and how the rest were older. Then how he placed third in the tournament.

“I find it curious, Harry,” Barnabus said. “Am I to understand that the MACUSA allowed someone as young as fourteen to enter a contention tournament that would place them in a dangerous tournament meant for seventeen year olds?”

“Perhaps they decided the Ilvermorny students are taught a better curriculum,” Harry said, shrugging, “And decided that someone as young as fourteen had a better chance in the Tournament then someone as young as fourteen would when taught at Hogwarts or other schools.”

“Is that a slight against Hogwarts Champion Neville Longbottom?” Barnabus asked.

“Why would it be?” Harry countered, “I didn't single out Neville. I spoke of schools in general. I don't believe in slighting others who don't deserve it. I am just giving my honest opinion.”

“Third place in the contention tournament is impressive,” Barnabus said, “But you didn't place higher than that. So why are you the Champion and not those two students who placed higher?”

“My mother told me a few days ago that if the point of the tournament was to pick the Champion who would be in the Triwizard Tournament,” Harry said, “Then only the Champion would have placed their name into the Goblet of Fire. All ten delegates had an equal chance, just like the numerous Hogwarts students who had a chance. I don't know why the Goblet picked me out of everyone.”

“Do you believe there was perhaps some foul play in it?” Barnabus said, “Like the rumors of foul play in Champion Longbottom's case?”

“Of course not!” Harry exclaimed. “I entered my name into the Goblet of Fire. Neville did not! I was surprised when my name came out. I don't know why the Goblet picked me. Ask me that after the Tournament is over. Maybe I'll have the answer then.”

“I will mark my calendar, Lord Potter,” Barnabus said. “And how do you think your chances are in the tournament?”

“I consider myself to have enough talent to compete,” Harry said. “Much of that comes from the lessons I learned from my mother, and Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. They're still teaching me and training me. I suppose it depends on how I stack up to the other Champions in the end. Do I believe I have a chance to win? Yes. Will I win? I don't want to spoil it for your readers. Save that for the post-Tournament interview, Barnabus.”

Lily, Rose, Sirius and Remus chuckled. Barnabus gave an amused smile.

“You are a pleasure to interview, Harry,” Barnabus said. “And how do you feel about your fellow Champions?”

“I don't know them at all, sir,” Harry said. “I can't begin to answer that right now.”

Barnabus nodded. “I heard an interesting story from Rubeus Hagrid, Harry. He says you had a rather interesting time last Sunday in the Great Hall of Hogwarts during lunch. He says you put on a show.”

“What does that have to do with the Tournament, Barnabus?” Lily asked.

“Were you putting on the show to intimidate your fellow Champions, Harry?” Barnabus continued.

“It had nothing to do with the Tournament,” Harry said. “It was House Potter business. So I hope you can accept my answer of 'no comment'.”

Barnabus blushed lightly and nodded. “I think that is the end of that interview. Thank you, Harry.”

“You're welcome,” Harry said, “I look forward to rereading my interview word for word – at least those questions I did give an answer for – so I can review how I did.

Barnabus chuckled and nodded. “Of course, of course! Let us move on to the other interview. You said you had some things to tell me first before I asked some questions?”

“Yes,” Lily said. “Let us start with some tidbits from our meeting at Gringotts that we can give you. Mind you, we can't give you out every piece of information. And we have some secrets we like to keep. So if there are tidbits we reveal later that aren't revealed today, I hope you won't raise a fuss about it.”

“Of course I won't!” Barnabus said, “I am quite familiar with the need for confidentiality, and when to give out the right information at the right time. Explain whatever you feel the readers of the Daily Prophet are ready to know.”

“Well, first off we'll start with some information that shocked even me,” Lily said. “I came across some personal revelations that nobody told me about in all my years of life. I, Lady Lily Potter – and my children Harry and Rose – are Purebloods.”

Barnabus' eyes widened and he glanced at his Dicta Quill, obviously to make sure it was working correctly, and writing what was said.

Lily told Barnabus nearly everything Keeper Ragnok had told her about her adoption from her parents' kidnapping to their rumored murder – though keeping out the information about Ravenclaw and the reason for the kidnapping being the interrogation about Founder's Artifacts – and then her going to an orphanage under the name of “Jane Doe” until her parents – those she knew as her parents – adopted her and named her Lily.

“Your parents never told you that you were adopted?” Barnabus asked.

“Never,” Lily said. “Not even after they found out I was a witch. I guess they were planning to tell me when I turned eighteen – considered of-age in Muggle society. Sadly they died in an automobile accident before my eighteenth birthday. I never saw reason to take an Inheritance Test until Keeper Ragnok suggested so last Sunday. Nobody ever told me my children are Pureblood, even during the yearly Hospital Check-ups in America.”

“Thank you for revealing this to me, Lady Potter,” Barnabus said. “I am sure it will cause waves amongst the readers. Any more shocking announcements?”

“A Potter Family Secret until now,” Harry said, “I am the Lord of three Houses, though I respectfully choose to keep one of those Houses a secret for strategic reasons. I am Lord Potter and Lord Peverell.”

“Peverell as in the name of the famous Three Brothers which inspired Beedle The Bard's Tale?” Barnabus asked.

“Yes, sir,” Harry said; he showed Barnabus the his Lord's ring as proof.

“A Pureblood Lord of Three Houses,” Barnabus said. “Am I correct to assume you fall under the category of those affected by what is known as the 'Last Generation Loophole' of the Pureblood Heritage Act?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said, “I am required to marry three women to extend the bloodlines of all three Houses.”

“Women?” Barnabus asked. “Not Witches?”

“Nothing in the Pureblood Heritage Act prevents me from marrying a Muggle, Barnabus,” Harry said. “I am only required to marry one Pureblood of the three.”

Barnabus nodded and quickly checked his Quill's process again.

“Any particular young women on your mind, Harry?” Barnabus asked, “Do you have a girlfriend? Or are you a single bachelor?”

“No comment until it is publicly revealed in a style of my choice – which isn't the media,” Harry said. “No offense, Barnabus.”

“None taken, Lord Potter,” Barnabus said, “Any other nuggets to reveal?”

“Aside from the fact that I have officially become Lord Black, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black,” Sirius said, “Nothing more.”

Barnabus nodded, glancing at his Quill again.

“I assume you will be claiming the rightful seat of House Black during the Winter Solstice Session in the Wizengamot, Lord Black,” Barnabus said, then glanced at Harry, “But even as a Lord, you're still fourteen years of age, Lord Potter. Only those seventeen and older may take their seat. Do you have a Proxy in mind?”

“My mother,” Harry said, “will be Proxy. I won't reveal exactly how many seats she'll be claiming for strategic purposes.”

“That should make the political minds of the Wizengamot nervous,” Barnabus said, grinning. “I like that. Makes for better articles. And what about you, Lord Black? Do you have an Heir to your name back in America who will be the future Lord of your House? Do you have a Lady waiting for you?”

“No,” Sirius said, then grinned, “But I am currently looking for anyone interested in the job.”

“What about you, Lady Potter?” Barnabus asked. “Did you find love after the tragic loss of your husband?”

“No,” Lily said. “My dearest loves are my children, and my late husband. Nobody else has been able to find any room in the space they take up in my heart. I don't know if that will change in the future, but unlike Lord Black I am not actively searching.”

Barnabus nodded. “Tell me about your lives in America. The three of you teach at Ilvermorny, is that right? Why did you stay in America? Why did you never return to your homeland until now? Why did you let nobody know you were alive and well?”

Over the next few minutes Lily, Sirius and Remus answered those questions, and a few more.

“Miss Potter, I hope you don't mind I ask one question,” Barnabus said, turning to Rose; who blushed and shook her head. “This is your first time in Great Britain, is it not? How do you find it? To your liking?”

“I haven't explored very much of it yet, sir,” Rose said. “I believe a famous person once said 'It is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to stay'. I feel the same way.”

“Wasn't that quote referring to a cemetery, Rose?” Harry asked, grinning.

Rose grinned. “Yes, big brother. I believe it was.”

Harry, Lily, Sirius and Remus laughed. Barnabus simply looked confused.

Barnabus cleared his throat. “I believe that completes the interview I had in mind. Let's take some pictures, and then we'll be done.”

“Yes, I am sure you have interviews with the other Champions to get to,” Harry said.

Barnabus stammered. “Ah, yes. Other interviews. I actually am a very busy man today! I will be writing to the other Champions this afternoon, and if I get answers to the questions, I'll add them into the article! If not, there will be a follow-up article with them. Bozo!”

Several pictures were taken. A Group photo of everyone, plus Barnabus. Then single pictures of everyone. Lily with Harry and Rose. Harry and Rose together. Sirius and Remus together. Sirius and Lily together – for what reason, Barnabus never commented – and the children with Remus and Sirius. Then Barnabus with one-on-one pictures with Harry, Lily, and Sirius – those were for this personal collection. Remus wasn't asked, and Lily didn't allow Rose to have one with Barnabus – Harry figured she was just being a mother.

Finally, after receiving incentives of future interviews if the articles were good reads, Barnabus and Bozo left the tent and started making their way off the Grounds.

The extended family sat down at the dining room table with bottles of butterbeer.

“Good interviews?” Harry said.

“You did very well, Harry,” Lily said, “Very good answers.”

“Some which might come back to bite you, though,” Sirius said. “Not revealing your status with Hermione and Daphne, for example.”

Harry shrugged. “What is the worst that can happen? I'll just turn down the girls that ask, be it face-to-face, or letters.”

“A fine idea,” Remus said, “And the fact that you revealed the claim to numerous seats in the Wizengamot, without revealing who they were? Was that on purpose?”

“Yes,” Harry said, “Barnabus was right. It would make the political minds of the Wizengamot nervous, and that could work in our favor.”

Sirius barked out a laugh. “Mister Padfoot approves of Mister Shadow's line of thinking!”

“What I wouldn't give to be in Albus Dumbledore's mind when he reads the articles,” Lily said. “You should have seen the look on his face when he heard Barnabus was coming with Harry and I. He knew we were going to be interviewed.”

“Do you think he wanted to prevent it?” Remus asked.

“Probably,” Lily said, “Or at least come with us to witness the interview so he can know what we revealed before anyone else does.”

Sirius laughed. “Which was quite a lot. Ooh, I cannot wait to see the articles tomorrow, and look at some of the reactions of those around Hogwarts. Pureblood Lily and the Potters! Harry, Lord of multiple houses, future husband to three wives!”

Harry groaned. “Why did we agree to reveal that?”

“Because you already revealed it to your girlfriend,” Lily said, “And we're revealing it to Daphne tonight. So no surprises for those who will and may be your future wives.”

“Right... that meeting is tonight, isn't it?” Harry said. “That will be interesting. But I am curious about one thing. Rose... which Marauder coached you to give that quote in your answer. You're not one to give quotes out in speeches.”

Rose grinned and looked at Remus.

Remus smiled shyly. “I thought it might be fun. Plus it gave Rose something to say.”

“Never question why Moony is a Marauder,” Sirius said, laughing. “He may be a stickler for rules, but he is a Marauder. We didn't just let him in because it gave us an excuse to become Animagi.”

Remus glared at Sirius playfully.

“There was something else I wanted to say to Rose,” Harry said, feigning a look of deep thought, “What was it? Darn... can't remember.”

“Harry!” Rose whined, “Your memory is excellent. Quit teasing me, big brother!”

“Ooh, right!” Harry said, “Mom and I were approached by Fleur Delacour. You remember her, Rose. Your crush is her younger sister.”

Rose went pink and her eyes widened as she looked at Harry. “What did she say?”

“Well, it depends on whether or not you want to go to Hogsmeade tomorrow,” Harry said.

“Why wouldn't I?” Rose asked.

“Oh,” Harry said, feigning disappointment. “Then I guess Mom needs to write to Gabrielle and tell her you decline going on a picnic with her on the Grounds tomorrow. Hogsmeade Village is probably a better – mmmph!”

Rose had covered Harry's mouth with her hand.

“Gabrielle invited me on a picnic tomorrow?” Rose asked.

“Yes, she did,” Lily said, since Harry couldn't answer.

“Like... a... a d-date?” Rose asked.

“Maybe,” Lily said, “But it may just be a friendly invitation. So don't get your hopes up. Should I tell Gabrielle you accept?”

Rose moved her hand away from Harry's mouth so she could raise them in celebration as she squealed in happiness.

“Yes, yes, yes!” Rose squealed.

She stood up, and babbled incoherently of needing to find something to wear for the picnic.

Harry, Lily, Sirius and Remus laughed. Then Sirius wiped fake tears from his eyes.

“My little princess is going on a date,” Sirius said. “At twelve! She beat you Harry, when it came to age, at getting a date!”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Because you embarrassed the one girl I tried to ask out that year, by congratulating me in front of the whole House! No wonder she said no!”

“I forgot about that,” Sirius muttered, then waved a dismissive hand, “Stop taking the focus off of Rose, Shadow. It is rude. A date at twelve. No one ever doubt my teaching skills again! Here is proof that I taught her so well!”

“Unfortunately,” Lily said, though she was grinning. “Okay... I need to write a letter to Fleur and her sister telling them Rose accepts the invitation.”

“Understatement!” Harry and Sirius said in unison; then grinned at each other.

Lily smiled. “Also, we have an important meeting tonight with Daphne and her girlfriend. This could be life-changing stuff for not only Daphne and her girlfriend, but for Harry too. So let's discuss it, while I write the letter.”

And so they did. Harry was becoming very nervous as the meeting approached. He knew Daphne was very secretive and cautious about her girlfriend. How would she – and her girlfriend – react to their ideas?

 

Chapter Text

Friday, November 6 th , 1994


Dressed in the same outfit he wore for the Weighing of the Wands, Harry was standing outside the House Potter tent, as he waited for Daphne and her girlfriend. In the distance, he could see two girls walking toward him. One of them had blonde-hair, so he knew it was the two Slytherins.

As he waited for them to approach, he thought about his girlfriend. He had just finished up having dinner with her in the Ilvermorny tent, where he discussed the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony, and the interview with Barnabus. They also discussed plans for what they should do at Hogsmeade. Soon it was nearing eight-o-clock when Daphne and her girlfriend had planned to come to the House Potter tent.

Harry escorted Hermione back to her own tent, and had a nice kiss. When Hermione tried to tell him 'good night', Harry promised he would come see her before she went to bed. She told him she'd meet him in the same spot at nine-thirty – which would give Harry ample time to meet with Daphne and Tracey, and Hermione enough time to do homework – where she could only say good night with a kiss. Hermione giggled and promised she would. Harry had then pecked her on the lips, and watched as Hermione retreated to her tent. Then he walked back to his tent, where he was now standing.

Harry's reverie broke, as Daphne and her girlfriend walked up to him.

“Lord Potter,” Daphne said, “Good evening. This is my girlfriend – and best friend since we were four – Tracey Davis.”

Tracey Davis was a beautiful brunette with striking blue eyes, behind horn-rimmed glasses, which were looking at him with a critical gaze. She was slightly shorter than Daphne, but was just as attractive as her girlfriend.

“Nice to finally meet my girlfriend's Betrothed,” Tracey said.

“Tracey,” Daphne said, “You make it sound like he has been deliberately avoiding you.”

“I suppose I have,” Harry said, “If only to keep a respectful distance until Daphne introduced you, Miss Davis.”

“You can call me Tracey,” Tracey said.

“If you call me Harry,” Harry said, “ Both of you. Same goes for those you'll be meeting, after proper greetings and introductions.”

Tracey nodded. “Is Granger in there?”

“Tracey!” Daphne scolded.

“Sorry,” Tracey said, “Is Hermione in there?”

“No,” Harry said, “This is only a meeting between the two of you and me and my family. Shall we go inside?”

“Yes,” Daphne said. “We can't be here very long. We don't need anyone in Slytherin House noticing we're gone too long. Library excuses only go as long as someone doesn't notice we're not there.”

“Then I promise to keep our meeting as short as possible without too much exposition,” Harry said.

He motioned toward the tent, and the Slytherins hesitated for a moment before they stepped into the tent. Harry followed them in. Dressed formally, all four members of Harry's extended family stood from their seats in the sitting room as the girls and Harry entered. Harry's family introduced themselves, then Tracey and Daphne followed suit.

“You may sit together on the sofa if you wish,” Lily said, “Would you two like bottles of butterbeer?”

The girls accepted the offer and sat down on the offered sofa. Harry sat down with her mother and sister, while Remus and Sirius sat down in the chairs. Lily summoned several bottles of butterbeer and set them on the coffee table separating the sofas and chairs, and each person seated took one.

“If you don't mind,” Lily said, “I think I'll begin this meeting. First of all, we thank the both of you for coming this evening. I know how secretive you are about your relationship. So much so that your parents do not know. Am I correct?”

Daphne and Tracey slowly nodded.

“Do not give up hope on the chance that your parents will accept your relationship,” Lily said. “I know there are those who do not approve of such relationships, because they do nothing to help better future generations of Houses and bloodlines, especially amongst purebloods. Everyone inside this room finds that belief utterly disgusting, and say 'so what?'”

Daphne and Tracey raised their eyebrows as they looked around at everyone nodding in agreement with Lily.

“Perhaps it would encourage the both of you to know that my own daughter, Rose, is bisexual?” Lily asked, “And is actively interested in starting a same-sex relationship of her own? Something we accept happily?”

Daphne and Tracey looked shocked as they looked at Rose who smiled kindly. Rose had given permission to her mother to inform Daphne and Tracey about her sexuality.

“So as you can see,” Lily said, “There is hope that your parents will accept your relationship. Tracey – I can call you that, right?” Tracey nodded. “If you were to send owl post to your parents inviting them to meet you at Hogsmeade tomorrow, would they come, and would you be alright with doing that.”

Tracey cleared her throat and looked at Daphne. “I wrote to my parents earlier today and told them I wanted to say something very important to them. They... they haven't answered back yet.”

“If they meet with you tomorrow,” Lily said, “Would you be up to asking them to meet with us when we also meet with Daphne's father for the Betrothal Contract?”

Tracey nodded. “I could ask them, but I don't know if they would accept.”

“Have you decided whether or not you're going to tell your parents about your relationship tomorrow?” Lily asked.

“We... we wanted to make that decision after we met with you,” Daphne said. “We wanted to know why you were so interested in talking to us, and why you suggested we reveal our relationship to them.”

“Tracey,” Lily said, “Do you believe your father will place you in a Betrothal Contract?”

“I wouldn't be surprised if he made it my birthday present for my fifteenth or sixteenth birthday,” Tracey said. “My fifteenth birthday is in January. But... if I reveal my sexuality, and my relationship, I believe he may tell me I am Betrothed by this time next week, and that I have accept to be courted by the boy right away. My older brother is married, and has a child on the way. The next generation of the House of Davis is already beginning. But my father will want me to do my part in bringing forth the next generation.”

“So... your father hasn't accepted a Betrothal Contract yet?” Sirius asked, “There's absolutely no Contract with your name on it that is official?”

“None to my knowledge,” Tracey said. “Why?”

“Because I'd like to offer you a Contract,” Harry said.

Tracey frowned. “A Betrothal Contract?”

“Not if that isn't what you want,” Harry said. “No... it would be a Consort Contract. Not my Consort. Daphne's when she becomes my wife. A Wife's Consort. But since I am her future husband, and you accept the Contract, you would be a member of my House. Therefore it is my job to pen the Contract, not Daphne's nor her father's.”

“What would I be required to do as a Wife's Consort?” Tracey asked.

“Not much,” Harry said, “Dedicate yourself to being involved with Daphne for what will likely be the rest of your life.”

“So you want no children from me?” Tracey asked.

“You'd never even have to kiss me, if you didn't want to,” Harry said; “Forget all the other intimate stuff. I would never visit your Quarters if you didn't want that, and if Daphne wanted to spend several nights with you, she would be welcomed to do so, encouraged even. However, if you ever want a child – even if you want to raise them more with Daphne than I, and let the children have two mothers – I would do my part. As a Wife's Consort, your children would take the Davis or Greengrass name, even though they would have my blood. But they would always be a member of my House.”

“Harry,” Daphne said, “Husbands whose wife also have a Wife's Consorts, always end up with a Mistress on the side.”

“Yes, unless said wife is not their only wife,” Harry said.

Daphne and Tracey's eyes widened in shock as they looked at him.

“Harry,” Daphne said, “Are you telling me...?”

“I am a Lord of three Houses,” Harry said, “Lord Potter, Lord Peverell... and Lord Gryffindor.”

“Gryffindor?!” Tracey yelped.

“I do hope your Slytherin pride isn't hurt by that,” Sirius said, grinning.

Tracey snorted. “Words only said by a true Gryffindor.”

“Thank you for that compliment, Miss Davis,” Sirius quipped.

“Three Houses,” Daphne said, “Three wives. So is that why you got your eyes on Hermione?”

“Hermione's my girlfriend,” Harry said, grinning at Daphne and Tracey's mild surprise, “She has been since Sunday evening. Whether or not she'll be my wife is her choice, and I am likely not to know her decision for several months, maybe years. But yes, she's very, very high on the list of possible wives. She'd be a fine Lady Potter.”

“So I'm not going to be Lady Potter?” Daphne asked.

“I'm following in the footsteps of my father, his father, et cetera,” Harry said, “And marrying someone of my choice, and they'll be Lady Potter.”

Daphne nodded. “So Peverell or Gryffindor.”

Tracey snorted. “Don't need to ask which one you would choose.”

“Gryffindor?” Sirius asked grinning.

Sirius laughed, and Harry grinned when the Slytherins glared at him.

Sirius cleared his throat. “There's something else I wanted to talk to you about, Miss Davis. And know this is just a very slim possibility, but it is an open offer. On the possible chance that something life-changing happens to you tomorrow regarding your family. Life-changing in a bad way.”

“Such as?” Tracey asked slowly.

“Your father disowns you when you announce your sexuality to him,” Sirius said.

Tracey looked quite emotional and also horrified. “Oh. Well... it has been on my mind as a possibility. Why do you bring that up?”

“Because if it happens,” Sirius said, “I would offer you a blood adoption into the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. Officially you would be my daughter. If I don't marry and have an Heir, you would officially be first-in-line for Lady Black.”

Sirius cleared his throat again. “However, saying that, it would come with a... proviso.”

“Oh?” Tracey asked.

“Harry's offer to you about children would not just be a suggestion,” Sirius said. “If I don't have a wife, with the chance of an Heir on the way, I would ask you to bring forth the next generation of the House of Black... and I'd ask you to do so with Harry. Though his offer of the child still having two official mothers would still stand.”

Tracey stared at Sirius in silence for a long minute, obviously thinking. She had to remove her glasses because tears were coming to her eyes.

“I have a question,” Tracey said. “If I become your adopted daughter, what would happen for my future? Such as the rest of my education. Where I live. So-and-so.”

“Well,” Sirius said, “It would be up to you with much of it. If you want to continue to be a Hogwarts student, you could do so. Though you'd be living with us in America when we return. If you want to go to Ilvermorny instead, we would help to transfer you there.”

“Daphne, if you wish to change schools if Tracey does,” Harry said, “I would – with your permission – force a proviso in the Betrothal Contract that requires you to be a student in the same school as me.”

“Then I could go to school with Tracey still,” Daphne said, “And... live with you during the summers?”

“And you'd be able to visit your parents for a vacation if you wish,” Harry said.

“While we're still here at Hogwarts until June,” Sirius said, “And the adoption strategy takes place, I'd ask you to live in the same tent where Hermione and Luna are currently living.”

“Daphne,” Harry said, “You'd get the same offer if that happens.”

“If Tracey gets disowned and becomes Lord Black's daughter,” Daphne said, “It would definitely be better for us to no longer be in the Slytherin dungeons. Hell... we might accept your offer once our relationship becomes public even if our parents accept our relationship. Oh, Merlin! What will happen if my...?”

“If your parents disown you,” Harry said, “You would live with us.”

“Blood adoptions for both of you girls would be rather strange,” Sirius said, “Especially if you're going to be... married. I know my House has a history of in-House marriage, but this would definitely be a first!”

Tracey and Daphne giggled. Daphne looked at Remus.

“What about you, Remus?” Daphne said, “In the blood adoption sense.”

“That wouldn't be wise,” Remus said, slowly.

“Why?” Daphne said.

“Because, Miss Greengrass,” Remus said, sighing. “I am a werewolf.”

Daphne's eyes widened. “Oh. I see. That's... cool.”

Tracey slowly nodded. “Yeah. Cool.”

Remus smiled wryly. “Thank you for thinking so. And not running out of here screaming.”

“You can't be too bad if Lady Potter allowed you to help her raise her children,” Daphne said, smiling.

“Nope,” Lily said, “He isn't that bad at all.”

Remus went slightly pink at that.

“So,” Sirius said, “Do you accept my offer, Miss Davis? If things go very south, tomorrow? I do hope they do not. But on the off-chance.”

“I accept your offer, Lord Black,” Tracey said, “If things go south, you have permission to inform my parents of your offer to me... even before they try to disown me. Maybe it will make them think twice.”

“I would be happy to do that,” Sirius said.

“So do the both of you accept the idea of a Consort's Contract?” Harry asked. “I understand you're fourteen and this could be expecting way too much of both of you.”

“Harry,” Daphne said, “I'm a fourteen year old witch with a Betrothal Contract. I had a feeling I'd be in a Betrothal Contract at one point in time ever since my parents told me about the Pureblood Heritage Act. I learned to prepare for commitment at the tender age of seven years old. Tracey and I both sat down on the same evening we became a couple, and we promised each other we wouldn't let Betrothal Contracts and boys ruin our relationship.

“You saved both our lives yesterday, when you mentioned the words 'Wife's Consort' to me. We wouldn't be agreeing to go public with our relationship – heck, I would not have brought Tracey here and revealed my girlfriend to you – if both of us weren't ready for commitment. Even at fourteen.”

“What I have with Daphne,” Tracey said, “I cried myself to sleep the night I realized my relationship with her was only temporary. I'd get a few months or a few years of fun, with her, before my father forced me into a marriage with a boy who I would never be attracted to. Who I would forced to have their children – and go through the steps that made that possible, which as I'm sure you can guess is not something I'm eager to do – and live the rest of my life with in what would probably be an unhappy marriage.

“Harry – Lord Potter. If I had to sacrifice a year or two of intimacy with anyone, just to produce a child or two, so that I could spend my life with my best friend... I'd do so. And right now, you're the only boy I'd do that with. Because you're the one that gave us this offer. I don't see myself falling out of love with the one girl whose been there for me since the age of four. I want to be a Wife's Consort of Daphne... I've wanted that for so long. I just never realized it until Daphne told me those words yesterday.”

“Even if it costs you your family?” Harry asked.

“Family who doesn't accept me one-hundred percent isn't family,” Tracey said, venomously.

“I completely agree,” Lily said. “I know exactly where you're coming from. Except for me, it is that I'm a witch. Of course... the difference between me and you, is that the person who I'm speaking of, isn't truly my sister by blood.”

“What do you mean?” Daphne asked.

“And that's where our next announcement comes in,” Harry said, “We wanted to tell you this before you could see it in the Daily Prophet. My mother was adopted when she was a week old. She's a Pureblood witch – and so are my sister and me.”

Daphne and Tracey's jaws dropped.

“That explains why you have to marry three women,” Daphne said, “I was rather confused. Because the Last Generation Loophole is a Pureblood law in the Pureblood Heritage Act. You're a pureblood.”

“So I have to follow the laws of the act,” Harry said, nodding.

“Ho-lee Merlin,” Tracey quipped. “How long have you know this?”

“Since last Saturday,” Lily said, “I knew nothing of my adoption until then.”

She then explained the same story she had told Barnabus Cuffe earlier that day, except with the addition of the Ravenclaw information. Daphne and Tracey's jaws dropped.

“So you're descended from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw?” Daphne asked, looking at Harry.

“Yes,” Harry said, “But due to House Ravenclaw bylaws, Rose will be Lady Ravenclaw when my mother passes away in the distant future. She will pass on the Ravenclaw title and bloodline to her children.”

Rose smiled and nodded. “And I would be happy to do so. Even if I am someone's Second Wife.”

Tracey whistled. “Any more revelations? Are you Lord Slytherin too?”

“Because I would be your Lady Slytherin!” Daphne said, grinning.

“Nope,” Harry said, “Only the descendant of two Hogwarts Founders.”

“I have a question I just thought of,” Tracey said. “Daphne invited me to the Children of the Great Alliance meeting. What would happen if I am disowned tomorrow?”

“The House of Black will be joining the Great Alliance,” Sirius said, “You'd sit at the table as the future Lady Black.”

Tracey nodded. “So either way I'm invited on Sunday.”

“Yes,” Harry said.

“I'll be here,” Tracey said.

The second-to-last topic they discussed was their plans regarding the Betrothal Contract. Daphne accepted every one, including that she'd move in with him immediately after finishing her education. They also agreed to adding the Wife's Consort Contract into the Betrothal Contract, and – on the off-chance Tracey became part of the House of Black, Daphne agreed to the earlier stipulation that she'd attend the same school as her Betrothed.

The last topic was discussing the strategy that would reveal Daphne and Tracey's relationship to their parents, which included inviting Tracey's parents into the Betrothal meeting, then creating a 'confrontation' that would either end with Lord Davis accepting Tracey's lifestyle, or Lord Black announcing he would be adopting her.

Then Harry offered the two girls one last thing. House Potter Protection. After half-a-minute's thought, both girls accepted, though they both also said they could and would protect themselves, and didn't expect him to protect them in every confrontation. Harry promised he'd only step in at the most heated confrontations. Then they performed the ritual that brought both girls under his Protection.

When the meeting was over, Harry escorted the Slytherins out. Almost immediately as soon as they stepped out of the tent, Daphne shocked Harry by pouncing on him and hugging him.

“Thank you for what you did for us tonight, Harry,” she said, as she held her head on his shoulder, still hugging him. “You gave us a gift tonight. Whatever happens tomorrow, I owe you a debt that cannot be repaid. Thank you. We will always have your back, and if we're ever mean to you again, remind us of this evening.”

Daphne kissed him on the cheek, then backed away.

“I hope you don't expect me to hug you,” Tracey said, “And definitely my lips are going nowhere near you. But I support everything my girlfriend just said. Thank you.”

“You're both welcome,” Harry said.

“We'll see you tomorrow at the Three Broomsticks,” Daphne said.

“Good luck to us all,” Tracey quipped.

Harry and Daphne laughed and agreed. They exchanged farewells, then Daphne and Tracey headed back toward the castle. Harry watched them until they stepped into the castle. Then he looked at his wrist-watch. Nowhere near Hermione's requested time to meet her. He told Lily he was going to visit Hermione. She told him to be on his best behavior, and be back before ten-o-clock. He agreed and walked over to Hermione's tent. When Hermione told him he could come in, he walked in and found her sitting at her dining room table, working on homework.

“I hope you don't mind me visiting you until, at the latest, ten-o-clock,” Harry said.

“Of course not,” Hermione said, “Luna's taking a bath. So if you have to go to the bathroom, you'll have to return to your tent.”

“Or pee on the Grounds,” Harry joked.

“Harry!” Hermione admonished him, before giggling.

Harry grinned, walked over to the table, and bent down to her for a sweet kiss. It lasted for about thirty seconds before Harry backed away and sat down at the table.

“Ten-o-clock, huh?” Hermione asked. “If you behave – which means no more pee jokes, mister – I might let you tuck me into bed.”

“If I did that,” Harry said, “I wouldn't be allowed ten feet from this tent. Wide berths all around, or I'd be in danger of stinging hexes from Mom.”

Hermione giggled. “We'll settle for a good night's kiss then. So... how did your meeting with the Slytherins go?”

Harry gave a summary of the entire meeting. Hermione was wide-eyed and hadn't looked down at her essay since he began his explanation.

“I... I don't know what to comment on first,” Hermione said. “How big is the chance Tracey's father could disown her tomorrow?”

“I have no idea,” Harry said. “I don't know Lord Davis. If he's a bigot – ninety-percent, and that is a kind percentage, because I would hope there would be a chance he'd choose his daughter over his beliefs. But... Tracey won't be without a family no matter what happens. She'll just either be a Davis or a Black by the time she goes to bed. Well... maybe not officially a Black. Only the Wizengamot Council can make a Blood Adoption Ceremony legal, and the next session isn't until the middle of December. But she'd be considered a Black if her father disowns her.”

“So... there's a possibility Tracey and Daphne could be my room-mates?” Hermione asked.

“I think you should count on it,” Harry said. “They fear retribution in the Slytherin House once their relationship goes public.”

Hermione nodded. “I'd be happy if they're my room-mates – as long as they respect Luna and I.”

“They will,” Harry said. “There's nothing they wouldn't do for me after tonight. They told me so. They know you're my girlfriend, and they would do nothing that would make me angry.”

Hermione smiled. “So... Tracey would be Daphne's Wife's Consort in the future. What does that mean for you?”

“Not too much,” Harry said. “Sirius' proviso would require I become sperm donor for one or two children by her. Aside from Tracey's children being members whichever of my Houses Daphne marries into, if they merely see me as Uncle, and Daphne and Tracey their mothers, I would be just fine with that. I think I'd have enough children who call me father. Uncle would be fine by me. But other than that... she wouldn't have to enter my bedroom if she didn't want to. And Daphne would be welcomed to spend as many nights with her as she'd want, because I wouldn't be lonely what with the two other wives I'm expected to have.”

Hermione nodded again. “And Daphne...”

Harry didn't need her to make herself clear. “I wouldn't start courting her until the day after she finishes her education – be it at Hogwarts or Ilvermorny. And I wouldn't care if she has a girlfriend while I court her. Because I would hope I'd have one too.”

“So neither of the girls would interfere in... our relationship,” Hermione said.

“Courting doesn't mean required intimacy, Hermione,” Harry said, “If Daphne doesn't want to be romantically involved with me until our honeymoon, she has that right. Tracey... I feel I might have to drag her kicking and screaming into my bed if it comes to the point where she wants or has to start conceiving a child. But...”

“But..,?” Hermione asked.

“I am required three wives,” Harry said. “We both know what that means.”

“If I end up being your second,” Hermione said, “There's going to be another girl involved romantically with you sometime between now and a few years from now.”

“Unless a Betrothal Contract comes into the picture,” Harry said, “Two of the wives will be chosen as naturally as they should be.”

“Will you be actively searching for another girl during our relationship?” Hermione asked.

“Only after I know,” Harry said, “that I have your complete trust and permission to do. Otherwise I'd feel as if I am cheating on you. But know that as long as you accept me, as long as I have the honor of being the love-interest in your life, I will never ignore you for the benefit of somebody else.”

Hermione smiled. “I can live with that. Love-interest, huh? Not using 'specific words' such as boyfriend?”

“Nope,” Harry said, smiling, “It sounds way too... too...”

“Permanent?” Hermione asked.

"Or maybe not permanent enough," Harry said. "There may come a time where that promise I just gave you goes beyond the title of boyfriend. But for the foreseeable future, I am honored to be your boyfriend."

Hermione grinned. "You better do a good job of it, My Lord. Do you know how many girls in the history of romance ever got married to the only person they ever dated?”

“Probably a lot less than those on the other end of the scale?” Harry replied.

Hermione nodded. “Just something to think about. Remember... you're my first boyfriend.”

“And I will always cherish the fact that mine were the first lips to touch yours in a romantic way,” Harry said, smiling.

Hermione giggled. “I really should be finishing this essay.”

“Definitely,” Harry said, “This is our first weekend as a couple, and I would hate for homework time to cut down on – what do you Brits call it – snogging time?”

“'Snogging time'?” Hermione asked. “We have not snogged yet. Snogging, by definition, is a kiss lasting a lot longer than what we've been doing.”

“You're right,” Harry said. “Just tell me when and we'll find out if we're good at snogging.”

Hermione sighed and shook her head. “I'll find some free time in my calendar. Now, stop distracting me. Be a good 'school days' type boyfriend and watch me while I work on my homework.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Harry said.

Hermione grinned and resumed her homework. It lasted for about a minute. Because after a minute, she started chewing on her bottom lip, and Harry groaned. Out loud.

Hermione jerked her head up and looked at him. “Are you alright?”

“Mmm,” Harry said, “I don't know. I have been keeping a secret from you since the day I asked you out. And it is the perfect time to tell you.”

“While I am doing homework?” Hermione asked.

“Especially if you're doing homework,” Harry said. “Are you aware you bite your bottom lip?”

Hermione nodded slowly. “I've had that habit since I was in primary school. It happens when I'm deep in thought.”

“So,” Harry said, slowly, “You did it last year – the first year of prime dating time?”

“Yes,” Hermione said. “What's your point?”

“Good Merlin, how am I your first kiss and your first boyfriend?!” Harry asked. “Do you not realize how attractive you are when you bite your lip?”

Hermione blushed a deep red. “What?”

“You bit your lip in the library when I was working on asking you out,” Harry said, “And I had to refrain from kissing you in the middle of the library. That is how cute you look while doing that.”

Hermione continued blushing and covered her face with her hair as she looked down at her homework.

“And now I've embarrassed you,” Harry said, “I'm sorry.”

“It is alright,” Hermione said, “I've just never realized until now how attractive you really find me. You're the first ever boy to look at me like that. Like I'm attractive. Believe me, I've looked. Absolutely nobody else looked at me like that. Even when I – you know – started developing in certain parts of my body. My buck-teeth, and my wild hair were what people noticed, and I knew they didn't find it attractive. After all, who would kiss a beaver? I'd probably make their lips or tongue bleed if they tried to kiss me.”

“Hermione,” Harry said.

“What?” Hermione asked.

“You had buck-teeth on the day I asked you out,” Harry said. “You still have that wild mane of hair. Are you still going to believe nobody found you attractive even with those features?”

Hermione blushed again. “Why are you so good to me?”

“It might take several years to explain that,” Harry said.

“That was rhetorical,” Hermione said.

“Oh, good,” Harry said.

Hermione waved her head around, moving the hair away from her face. Then she – deliberately – chewed on her lip again. And Harry leaned over to her and kissed her again. Not a moment later, they were interrupted by a surprised squeak. Harry backed away, and looked away as soon as he heard the bathroom curtains close.

“Luna?” Hermione asked. “Were you just about to walk out of the bathroom in naught but your skin like you've done twice this week?”

“Yes,” Luna said, behind the curtain, in a voice Harry could barely hear.

“Harry's looking away,” Hermione said, “I'm sorry I didn't tell you he was here. He didn't see anything, did you, Harry?”

“My eyes were closed and my lips were preoccupied,” Harry said, grinning.

“Charming, Harry,” Hermione said. “Wrap yourself in a towel please, Luna.”

A few moments later, Harry heard curtains open, the sound of footsteps, then curtains close elsewhere. Harry turned back around.

“I'm going to have to wean her out of some of her habits,” Hermione said, grinning, “before our Slytherin friends become our room-mates.”

“Just don't blame me if she turns up naked one of these days in my plain view,” Harry joked, grinning to make his joke clear.

Hermione sighed and shook her head. “You're incorrigible.”

“That is the first time someone' has ever used that word for it,” Harry said. “But I've been called worse.”

“Yes,” Hermione said, “You told me as much when it came to your ex-girlfriend. I promise not to hex you, start nasty rumors, or insult certain body parts of yours if our relationship ever turns south.”

“Um... thanks,” Harry said. “I hope that is a big 'if'.”

Hermione merely smiled and resumed her homework. A minute later, she once again bit her lip.

“Speaking of weaning,” Harry teased.

“You wouldn't dare,” Hermione said in a mock-threatening voice, still working on her homework.

“Oh, definitely not,” Harry said. “Far too cute to make you stop.”

“Stop distracting me,” Hermione said. “Or I'll postpone our second date so I can do my homework.”

“Duly noted,” Harry said.

Luna chose to come out at that moment, dressed in a sun-yellow sleeping gown. She was carrying a text-book, homework and writing supplies.

“Good evening, Miss Lovegood,” Harry said.

“I will do my best to refrain from being nude in your eyesight in the future,” Luna said, looking at him with the same dreamy expression she usually had, as she laid out her homework things.

Hermione snorted softly, but continued her essay.

“Um... thanks, Luna,” Harry said.

“Just be sure to tell me if there ever comes a time when being nude in your eyesight becomes appropriate,” Luna said.

Hermione snickered softly. Harry blushed. He could never tell if Luna was flirting with him, or if she was saying these things in a way she thought was regular conversation.

“I'll... be sure to do that,” Harry said.

All conversation stopped as Luna joined in on working on her homework. Harry relaxed in his chair, arms crossed, as he watched the girls do their work. He felt quite happy to just stay there, spending time with Hermione, even if they weren't talking about anything.

This went on until ten minutes till ten. Hermione had finished the homework she been hoping to finish. She put away her homework, then walked back over to Harry. She took his hand, pulled him up from the chair, and led him outside their tent. Then she kissed him, and it was one of the first times she took charge. Harry relished in her kiss. Hermione did not back away until she had to breathe – she had not perfected breathing from her nose while kissing.

“I will see you tomorrow for breakfast,” Hermione said. “Be here to escort me to breakfast early enough that I have enough time to prepare for our date before we have to go to the carriages.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Harry said.

This meant he would need to be up quite early, if he wanted to read Cuffe's articles and, perhaps, discuss them with the family if necessary.

“I will see you then,” Hermione said. “Good night.”

Harry smiled and kissed her again – a short, but sweet kiss.

“Sweet dreams, Hermione,” Harry said.

This had become one of their rituals over the past week. They had gotten so used to it. But neither wanted the ritual to end. Harry's eyes followed Hermione as she retreated back into the tent. Harry smiled and returned to his tent. He said good night to his family, then headed into his bedroom. Once in his pajamas, he crawled into bed.

A lot of things were going to be happening tomorrow. He only hoped he would be ready for it all. And that everyone in his life would make it out unscathed.

 

Chapter Text


Saturday, November 7 th , 1994


Harry was awoken by a vibrating pillow. It wasn't a Sirius Black prank, however. It was Harry's own Alarm Charm.

During Sirius' “boot camp” in which the man had a knack of waking up Harry very early in the morning in the rudest of ways, Remus gave him a tip on how to wake up before Sirius had a chance to enter his bedroom. Sirius thought Harry had quickly learned how to sense someone coming near him while he was asleep – it was true, he did learn that eventually – but at first it was due to the Alarm Charm. All Harry had to do was vision the exact moment in time he wanted to wake up in his mind, and cast the charm on his pillow. Then the pillow would vibrate at that precise moment of the day.

It was six-o-clock in the morning, around the usual time the Daily Prophet arrived at the House Potter tent. There were four hours to go until the carriages would begin leaving for Hogsmeade village. Harry figured he had an hour to read the Daily Prophet articles, and talk with his family, before he had to meet Hermione as promised for breakfast.

Harry yawned as he stepped out into the main area of the tent. Lily, Sirius and Remus were awake, and at the table, sipping on mugs of coffee and talking quietly. Harry spotted the Daily Prophet newspaper in the middle of the table. He walked over to the kitchen, poured himself a mug of coffee, then walked over to the table and sat down.

“A pajama kind of morning, is it, Shadow?” Sirius asked.

“I believe Hermione's of the opinion,” Harry said, “that she doesn't want to reveal to me what she's going to wear to our date until I pick her up for the date. And because I am meeting her for breakfast in about an hour, I think she'll probably wear her sleepwear to breakfast. So I am doing the same thing.”

“Harry,” Remus said, “You didn't bring that many formal outfits. And you're going to have to wear one for the Betrothal meeting. I think Hermione's seen you in every formal outfit you have.”

“I know that,” Harry said, “She does not.”

Lily smiled. “I think that means we're going to have to find you a new outfit for the Yule Ball. Something she hasn't seen you in.”

“Which means I have to find something in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley,” Harry muttered. “Which means I have to resort to British fashion.”

“It is a British Ball, Harry,” Lily said.

Harry nodded, then eyed the newspaper again; he grimaced when he saw his own face looking back at him, “Any of you reading that?”

“Take it,” Sirius said. “We've taken a look at it already. Besides, it is your mug on the front page.”

Harry glared playfully at his Godfather. He sipped from his mug of coffee, set it down, then picked up the newspaper and straightened it out so he could see it properly. Like last Sunday, both front page articles focused in some ways on him. The headline in large bold letters above the article and his picture read:

THE WEIGHING OF THE WANDS CEREMONY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
WITH THE ILVERMORNY CHAMPION LORD HARRY JAMES POTTER!

Harry grimaced at the title. It was clearly obvious Barnabus Cuffe had either not interviewed the other three champions yet, or had decided not to include them in the front page article. He began to read the article:

Barnabus J. Cuffe – Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Prophet reporting

Some of our readers may have been looking forward to another
tantalizing article from the one-and-only Rita Skeeter when it comes
to reporting on the Triwizard Tournament.

However, I'm afraid I must disappoint. I, Barnabus Cuffe, will be
taking over the reins for the reports on the Triwizard Tournament.
But don't let that discourage you! I am happy to announce that I
have been guaranteed some revealing one-on-one interviews with
the Champions of the Triwizard Tournament. For the next four days,
you will find an exclusive interview with one of the four Champions.
Today we focus on Ilvermorny Champion, Lord Harry James Potter.

Yes, that is right, the young Champion has gained his Lordship! You
can read more details about that in my other front-page article, where
I interview Lord Potter, his family, and a couple men who he calls
his “Uncles”. This article solely has to do with The Weighing Of The
Wands Ceremony, and the interview with Lord Potter, with his views
on the Triwizard Tournament.

We begin with the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony. Friday morning,
I was invited to the Ceremony, as the only media representative on
hand. It was quite the honor. All four Champions, and four out of
the five judges were in attendance. Bartemius Crouch was mysteriously
absent. Also in attendance was Garrick Ollivander, the famous wand-
maker, who owns a quaint little shop in Diagon Alley in London. The
famous wand-maker was given the honor of 'official wand-expert' for
the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony. And who better then he? Nobody!

During the ceremony, wands were weighed, and found in working order,
Garrick Ollivander told some interesting tales about the two wands he
had the privilege to make, and even had some insight into Lord Harry
Potter's own fascinating wand made and bought in America! For more
information on the Champions' wands, and the stories behind some
of them, turn to Page 2!

After the wands were weighed, pictures were taken of the Champions
and Judges, including the picture of Lord Potter next to this article.
You may feast your eyes on all those pictures, and meet the Champions
on Pages 8 and 9.

After the Ceremony, I sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview
with Lord Harry Potter. The entire interview can be seen on Page 2. In
the interview, you can read about how he came to become one of the
two youngest Champions in Triwizard Tournament history, what he feels
about Champion Neville Longbottom's mysterious entrance into the
Tournament, and his own chances at winning the entire thing!

Lord Potter is a fine young man, and I am honored to have had the privilege
to meet him. It was one of greatest interviews I've had the pleasure to
host. I take this opportunity to once again thank the new Lord and
wish him the best of luck in the Triwizard Tournament!


Harry turned to page two, and skimmed through his interview with Barnabus. It was word-for-word of all the questions he had answered, and the 'no comment' answers he gave were not added. Harry was quite fine with that. He wasn't sure how he had done, but reading Barnabus' words that he, himself had said now made him happy at his performance.

He turned back to the front page, then began reading the second article, which had to do with him and his extended family. The article was at least twice as long as the first, and the interview wasn't even on the front page!

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LILY, HARRY, AND ROSE POTTER
AND SIRUS BLACK AND REMUS LUPIN; THE 'EXTENDED POTTER
FAMILY' TELLS ALL AND REVEALS SEVERAL SHOCKING TRUTHS!

Barnabus J. Cuffe – Editor-in-Chief,
The Daily Prophet reporting

On Friday morning, I, Barnabus J. Cuffe, had the distinct honor and
privilege to sit down with what has been coined the 'extended Potter
family': Lily, Harry and Rose Potter, and the children's “Uncles”,
Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, in what would be one of the most
revealing and shocking interviews I would ever have the privilege
to take a part of.

Thirteen years ago, Lily and Harry Potter fled Britain after the tragic
death of the much loved and remembered Lord James Potter. With
Sirius Black and Remus Lupin tagging along, they moved to the
United States of America. Eight months later, Rose Potter came into
this world, and the Potter family thrived when nearly everybody
in their homeland thought they had perished.

“We had suspicions that [You-Know-Who] might have somehow
survived the night my husband defied him for the very last time,”
Lady Lily Potter said, in part of the interview I had with her and
her family, “If he hadn't survived, then we feared his followers
would come after us, if it was discovered we had survived the
attack which ended in their 'Master's' Death.”

Keeping the safety of her children in mind, Lady Lily Potter
made no plans to return to Britain until she could confirm
her children would be safe once they returned. While Lady
Potter never confirmed their identities, she says there were
some in Great Britain who knew she and her son had survived
the night her husband died. But everyone else believed she
and her son were dead, and her late-husband's House extinct.
To Lady Lily Potter, she was just quite fine with that, thank you
very much.

“Family means everything to me,” Lily said.

Family. Lady Potter revealed some shocking truths about her
family to me yesterday. Truths she only found out less than
a week ago. After taking an Inheritance Test for the first time
at Gringotts in London, Lady Lily Potter – believed to be a
Muggleborn witch – is actually a Pureblood Witch adopted
by a Muggle family at an orphanage, when she was barely a
week old, and didn't have a real first name. Her parents were
reportedly kidnapped from St. Mungo's on the very same day
Lily was born, and believed to have been tortured and murdered.

There you have it, folks. Lady Lily Potter, and her children, Harry
and Rose, are Purebloods. Which means Harry Potter falls under
the Last Generation Loophole in the Pureblood Heritage Act. Harry
is not just Lord Potter, but also Lord Peverell – the same Peverell
whose Three Brothers inspired Beedle The Bard's famous tale –
and another House which Harry has chosen not to disclose at
this moment in time.

“I respectfully choose,” Harry had to say, “to keep one of those
Houses a secret for strategic reasons.”

Further into the interview, Harry told me that his strategy is centered
around the Winter Solstice Wizengamot Council Session which
is taking place next month. Harry, only fourteen, is not legally allowed
to claim his seat in the Council, nor vote on decisions, until he
becomes seventeen. So he chose is mother, Lady Lily Potter, as
Proxy for those seats. When asked how many seats, Harry said:

“I won't reveal exactly how many seats she'll be claiming for strategic
purposes.”

It would appear our young Lord is already digging his heels into the
tantalizing world of Pureblood Politics, and is trying to create some
mischief for the Wizengamot Council Session.

Those who are familiar with the Last Generation Loophole, may have
already figured it out, but the young Lord of three Houses, is required
by law to marry three women, who will be the three Ladies of those
houses. In Harry's own words, he said that he is only required to marry
one Pureblood witch, and this journalist believes that Harry may have
eyes on either Muggleborn witches, or even a Muggle girl. Nowhere
in the Pureblood Heritage Act prevents Lord Potter from making that
choice. As for whether Lord Potter is actively searching for candidates
for those three wives? That answer is still up in the air. Harry's own words:

“No comment until it is publicly revealed in a style of my choice – which
isn't the media. No offense, Barnabus.”

I took no offense to that. I hope the young ladies reading about the young
Lord don't take offense either. Don't get your hopes up, ladies. Lord Potter
may not be an eligible bachelor! If he was, he would have said so, I believe!

To those ladies too old for a young lad like Harry Potter, do not fret. Lord
Potter's Godfather, Sirius Black, the recently confirmed Lord Black, Head
of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black is, in fact, a confirmed bachelor.
When asked if he had a Lady and family waiting for him back home in America,
Lord Black had this to say:

“No. But I am currently looking for anyone interested in the job.”

Lady Lily Potter on the other hand is not actively searching to replace her
late husband, commenting that the late James Potter, and her children, hold
much of the space in her heart.

As for whether or not the 'extended Potter family' have plans to stay in Britain
for a while. I believe the young and mischievous Rose Potter said it best:

“It is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to stay.”

You can read the full interview on Page 2, as well as several pictures of the
'extended Potter family' on Page 10.

Harry turned to Page 2 again, and read through the interview, which was once, again word for word, which was fine by him. He turned back to the front page, and frowned as he looked at the article again. Something irked him as he looked at it.

“Something wrong, Shadow?” Sirius asked.

“I don't like the way Barnabus said something in this article,” Harry said. “He didn't lie, but it sounds as if he was making a bigger fuss than need be.”

“Which part?” Remus asked.

“This part,” Harry said, “'this journalist believes that Harry may have eyes on either Muggleborn witches, or even a Muggle girl. Nowhere in the Pureblood Heritage Act prevents Lord Potter from making that choice.'”

Remus smiled. “Yes, we saw that too. You believe it could cause problems. Cause people to start talking.”

“Talking about how that law needs to be changed?” Sirius asked.

“Especially since the article specifically says I may have my eyes 'on a Muggle girl',” Harry said, “I never actually said that. But it might not be a lie.”

“If someone brings it up to the Council,” Sirius said, “We'll fight it. They're not changing it just so you can't have a chance to court Hermione long enough to marry her. No way.”

Harry nodded. There was a brief distraction, when an owl flew into the tent, dropped a scroll of parchment in front of Lily, then flew away. Lily opened the scroll, and read it.

“From Ted Tonks,” Lily said, then glanced at Harry, “I wrote to him last night while you were visiting Hermione, after Daphne and Tracey's visit. We decided we need a Solicitor if things go south with Tracey's family. Ted has confirmed that he'll meet us at half-past-eleven in the Three Broomsticks so we can prepare for the noon meeting.”

Harry nodded. “Good. He'll be a welcomed voice.”

“We thought so too,” Lily said.

As Harry waited for the clock to tick to seven-o-clock, he talked with his family about the articles, and his Hogsmeade plans – in addition to the meeting with Houses Greengrass and Davis – while he flipped through the newspaper, and looked at all the pictures of both the Wand Weighing Ceremony, and his own family, while trying not to focus on whether or not he took some good pictures, nor that every wizard and witch who had interest in the Daily Prophet would be seeing these pictures and the interviews by day's end.

During the conversation, however, something happened that made Harry, Lily and Remus stop what they were doing. Sirius received owl post, and he grabbed the envelope from the and opened it as the owl flew away. Sirius looked at it... and went absolutely white in the face.

“What's wrong, Sirius?” Lily asked.


“It is an offer for a Betrothal Contract I had not foreseen,” Sirius whispered.

“One that seems to have scared even you,” Remus said, “Who is it?”

“The one person our age who I'd actually probably accept a Contract from,” Sirius said. “The one person I never expected to get an offer from because I thought she would have found somebody in the past thirteen years. The one person who got away.”

“Ooh,” Lily said, grinning, “You mean the one person who you had the guts to ask to marry you, and she rejected you for her career.”

Harry grinned. He had heard this story before.

Sirius went pink in the cheeks and nodded. “I believe I might have found Lady Black. Amelia Susan Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She got the job she always wanted. And now she wants me.”


Hogwarts – Headmaster's Office

Meanwhile, Albus Dumbledore slammed a closed fist in agitation on the picture of Harry Potter, which continued to smile up at him from his front-page picture in the Daily Prophet. Fawkes squawked, the Sorting Hat huffed, and sleeping echoes of Headmasters and Headmistresses swore at him when the noise woke them up.

Albus Dumbledore was absolutely seething. So many revelations, so many secrets about Harry Potter and his family that he did not know were now revealed for every single person in Great Britain to see. Albus had foreseen an interview with Barnabus Cuffe and Harry Potter coming. After all, why would the man and his cameraman agree to walk out of the castle with Harry and his mother? But Albus thought the man was just interested in an interview regarding the Triwizard Tournament. That was only half the truth.

Harry and his 'extended family' had also participated in another interview, one that was sure to make waves across Great Britain in ways that could change society in a way Albus couldn't foresee, and perhaps in ways he didn't want to see. Albus knew he should have gone with his gut and demanded to Lily and Harry Potter that he participate in the interview, with the excuse that he was responsible for Barnabus Cuffe's safety whilst at Hogwarts. But he had not wanted to lose their trust any further. Such a request might only make them angry, and he couldn't afford that.

That Lily Potter, and her children, were actually Purebloods was not something Albus was prepared for. He would have never foreseen it coming. There had been no indication, no hints of Lily's blood-status. Nor that she had ever been adopted, nor that she was born at St. Mungo's. Adopted by the Evans under a “Jane Doe” status, before finally receiving a true first name, explained why her true family history had never been discovered. Lily's real parents were kidnapped on the very same day Lily was born, likely before they could fill out any forms and records for the child. The information would have not made it to the British Ministry, but Gringotts likely would have had it due to their own styles of magic and the way the Goblins worked.

Part of Lily's revelation about her true parents confused Albus. Why had Voldemort hired mercenaries to track her parents down? She never said why. Did she know? Why was Voldemort interested in a couple from a Minor House, even if they were Purebloods. Were they a couple who had previously defied him, refused to have joined by his side, and escaped before he could kill them, then he had finally tracked them down? Or was it something more?

Albus was missing something important. Some key piece of information. He believed himself an expert in all things Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort. Now he couldn't figure out why Voldemort had hired mercenaries, when the man's modus operandi would have seen him stalking through St. Mungo's with his Death Eaters, terrorizing the whole hospital just to find a couple of targets. Of course, that had been 1960, and Voldemort was not yet the threat he had been.

Albus was perturbed. He needed to investigate this. Surely there were Healers still at St. Mungo's who were on hand on the day of Lily's birth. Perhaps the answers lay there.

Albus made mental note to contact St. Mungo's later – or perhaps he'd go to the Ministry to search for records of Healers stationed at St. Mungo's on the day Lily was born. Even if they had retired, he should be able to find them.

Satisfied with his plan, he moved onto the next issue. Harry Potter's part in the Last Generation Loophole of the Pureblood Heritage Act. If Harry was a Pureblood, that meant he had to follow the Act.

Harry was now the Lord of three Houses. Potter and Peverell were obvious, but the third. Albus didn't know. Fleamont, Charles, and finally James – all three of whom he had known – never confided in him the secret third House. It was a House Potter Secret. Family Secrets were almost impossible to discover without being told from one of the Family members. Albus thought back to the interview. Harry had plans to reveal the House in the Winter Solstice Session, claim his seats, and give his mother Proxy. She was a Pureblood, so she would be allowed. There was no doubt the Great Alliance would be returning soon.

Another part of the interview and Barnabus' article intrigued Albus, but also angered him. Harry had to marry three wives. But Harry seemed to have plans to only marry one Pureblood of his three wives. Muggleborn and Muggle wives were options for him. Albus had thought that with Harry's birth, that House Potter had lost its Pureblood history. But House Potter was still Pureblood. Unless Harry had his say.

“Granger,” Albus muttered, “The signs are clear. Harry and Granger are now a couple.”

His ingenious spy system around the castle had spotted Harry and Granger share a kiss in a hidden corner – or rather, they thought it was hidden – of the castle. But a portrait had been nearby, and portraits always answered to their Headmaster.

“By law, Harry has a right to marry Granger,” Albus said; then he smiled like Dr. Seuss' Grinch. “Unless the law is changed, to the point where all who fall under the Last Generation Loophole must marry Purebloods. But it cannot be I who suggests the change. I need to speak to one of the 'usual suspects' who would be willing to parrot the law. Whether it will pass or not, is the question. But even if it wouldn't, it would still throw doubts upon the society, and perhaps encourage them to jeer Harry's relationship with Granger.

“An anonymous hex-letter or Howler in the Great Hall to Granger might put her romantic interests away from Harry. But the timing and the planning must be right. It has to wait until the whole of society learns Granger is with Harry So there are more suspects than those inside Hogwarts... or Harry would tear a hole through Hogwarts looking for the one responsible.”

Albus had already started making headway into the problems voiced by Harry when he had raged through Hogwarts the previous Sunday. Albus had hoped it would allow Harry to trust him more, by letting Harry see that he was trying to help spread the boy's message. If Harry believed a student was responsible for the letter toward his girlfriend, all trust would be lost.

Rose Potter's quote in the article about Britain being a “nice place to visit, but not to stay” was something that played in Albus' mind. Her views were likely shared with the whole family. If Harry did not stay in Britain... Albus' plans would fall to pieces.

Albus sighed and tapped his fingers. He needed to get down to breakfast. He had plots and plans to take care of today. He hoped he could perhaps find a way to influence Neville Longbottom to decline his Gran's offer of Lordship. The boy needed to focus on the Triwizard Tournament.


Hogwarts – Dungeons – Potion Master's Office

The Hogwarts Potions Master, Severus Snape, poured a vial of Calming Draught into his morning tea, stirred it into his mug, and sipped from it. He basked in the calming influences of the Draught. He didn't even trust his Mastered Occlumency skills to calm him down at the moment. Not right now. Not after what he had read in the Daily Prophet. He slid a finger across the face of the beautiful auburn haired woman who had haunted his dreams since he was a young teen just discovering the fascinations of girls and women.

He could not believe his eyes when he read Barnabus Cuffe's words, or the words of Lily Evans – Potter, Severus forced his thoughts to correct itself, even though he didn't want to. After all, Lily wasn't an Evans was she. Not by blood. It turned out she had been adopted, and named, by the Muggle couple who had found her in an orphanage when she was a week old. Lily, it turned out, was a Pureblood.

How had Severus not foreseen this? He remembered that horrible sister of Lily's, who looked nothing like her. How could someone so kindhearted, so sweet, and so loving, have an absolute hag for a sister. She wasn't Lily's real sister. Now that made a great deal of sense.

Lily's revelation of her blood-status brought one thought far closer to the front mind than anything else. The one thought, the one memory, he had tried to do away with by putting it away in Albus Dumbledore's Pensieve. But even memories which were stored away had a knack for returning, especially those which affected you most. Severus deemed this as is 'Worst Memory'. The day he called Lily a Mudblood, the day he lost the friendship of the greatest person he had ever known.

“Does it matter?” Nine-year old Lily once asked, as she and Severus laid on the banks of a pond and watched butterflies, “Being a Muggleborn?”

“No,” Severus had said.

It had been a lie. Of course it mattered. More than one such as innocent and sweet as young Lily needed to know. And that lie was revealed the day he called her that word.

And now it could have prevented had he known Lily's secret that even she wasn't privy too. Lily was a Pureblood. Her blood-status made her better in the eyes of the British Wizarding World than even him. And yet since the day since she had officially entered the Wizarding World, every step she took insulted those who believed she was Muggleborn, someone who wasn't welcomed in their world. Now she was the Lady in a House whose bloodline on her late-husband's side was one of the longest-lasting in Wizarding Britain. When her son was born, it was thought that Lily had been responsible for giving birth to the child who had stopped a House from being Pureblood no longer. Lily had simply done her part to extend the House's Pure line even further.

October 31 st , 1981. Severus remembered the day. The day the he strode down the Godric's Hollow Lane and found a house absolutely destroyed, and the only recognizable body was Peter Pettigrew who was dead, the entire front of his body charred from facing the explosion that had brought down the house, and as far as Severus had known, had killed the last of House Potter.

But not Voldemort. Severus' Dark Mark had twinged the very same night others believed Voldemort was dead. Severus knew better.

To Severus, he had lost the only girl he had ever been in love with. Dear, sweet, kind, Lily was dead. And Voldemort was responsible for it.

Severus had gone to Albus Dumbledore, yelled at him about how the man had promised to protect the Potters, and had been lectured back at how they had trusted the wrong person.

“The wrong person?” Severus asked.

“Sirius Black,” Albus said.

“I do not think so,” Severus said.

“I am surprised at you,” Albus said, “Defending Black?”

“No,” Severus said, “Presenting more damning evidence. Peter Pettigrew is dead.”

“He could have been in the house during the explosion,” Albus said.

“No,” Severus said. “He was blown across the street from the explosion, the front of his body charred. No markings of the Killing Curse. Pettigrew was not there before Voldemort arrived, and killed by Voldemort when he arrived. Pettigrew had come with Voldemort. He had stood in the Potter's front yard, and waited for his one-time best friends to be killed. Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper.”

“You call him Voldemort now?” Albus asked.

“I will only call him the Dark Lord in front of those who believe I should be doing so,” Severus said. “Voldemort has betrayed me. I begged him to spare her life. And he didn't. She's gone. Dead. Her son too. The House of Potter is extinct. Because of him. I will end him, Albus.”

“No... Neville Longbottom will end him,” Albus said. “I was obviously wrong about the Prophecy. And so was Riddle. But you can play your part.”

“And I will,” Severus said, “This I swear.”

“So mote it be,” Albus said.

And from then on, he had become Albus Dumbledore's spy, and Potions Master. Waiting for the time when he would help to get his ultimate revenge on the monster who stole his girl away. Not James Potter. James Potter was dead.

Voldemort was not.

And no longer were Lily and Harry Potter.

Severus didn't know if he would ever regain Lily's friendship. But he would never experience another day like he had that October night. Voldemort would die before he could finish the Potters off.

Severus raised his cup in toast.

“So mote it be, indeed,” he muttered.


Hogwarts The Great Hall

Breakfast in the Great Hall of Hogwarts was an interesting affair. It was the day of the Hogsmeade Village. Students – those third years and higher -- would usually be discussing their plans for the trip to the Village. This was not the main topic of the breakfast discussion.

The two front page articles were the main discussion. The main point of gossip was the fact that Harry Potter was rumored to be the most eligible Pureblood bachelor, with three wives in his Future. The Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter – once thought to have gone extinct, as well as had their Pureblood lineage history destroyed when a Muggleborn gave birth to Harry Potter – was now available to continue its Pureblood history and bring forth another generation of powerful Pureblood Potter wizards and witches.

Several girls of all ages inside the Great Hall – some of whom even had boyfriends and dates they had been looking forward to having fun with at Hogsmeade, until this article came out – were fantasizing of being the next Lady Potter. The fact that they would have two other wives was not that bizarre. It was not common, but it happened. While sharing their future husband's bed was not a popular option, it still meant they would be in his bed. Even sharing him was a tantalizing option.

“Figures,” Cho Chang scoffed, as she stared at Harry Potter's face on the front page of the newspaper, “There's a chance he could continue his Pureblood legacy, and now it's possible he's giving that option to the Mudblood.

“Cho!” Marietta hissed, “Not so loud! You know that word --”

She went silent when Cho glared at her. “Yes, I know that word has now been barred, thank you very much for reminding me, Marietta. Another privilege taken away from me, in addition to looking down upon those less deserving than me, and being courted a Lord who I deserve to marry. Another privilege lost. So much for Pureblood Heritage changing Wizarding Britain for the better. Potter has the legal right to marry Granger, or Lovegood, or even a Muggle! That's not right at all.”

“What do you believe is right?” Su Li asked.

“In a perfect world,” Cho said, “Potter would marry the three of us. Which is what should happen.”

“Yeah,” Su Li said, “And now you messed it up by backing Brocklehurst.”

“Hey!” Cho hissed, “You suggested we be friends with her, cousin. She's your dorm-mate!”

“Careful, sweetheart,” Su Li said, smiling, “You know not to make me mad.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Cho growled. “Save your 'Dueling Champion' Speech for the next time you do something stupid to tick Potter off.”

Over at the Gryffindor table, a Hogwarts Champion was talking to two of her friends.

“What do you think, girls?” Angelina asked Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet. “Think Lord Potter would like to start a Quidditch Team of children with three Gryffindor Chasers?”

Katie Bell giggled. “That would be the day, wouldn't it? Please, you've heard the rumors Potter's with that Ravenclaw fourth-year. Also, he's American, Angie. I'm sure he has one or two American witches in mind who he's grown up with. Besides... anyone who he picks would likely be required to move to America and attend Ilvermorny with Lord Potter, so he could court them. My parents would never support it.”

“Mine either,” Alicia said. “There is way too much competition in America than there is in Britain for the family business. Much more profit in Britain. Nope. The Minor House of Spinnet is settled down in Britain, and so is the only child.”

“But we wish you the best of luck, Angie,” Katie said, “You got more of a chance than we do, because you're one of the Champions.”

“Yeah,” Alicia said, then grinned,“Just don't outclass him in the Tournament. That is an instant turn-off.”

Angelina groaned. “Well, there goes my fantasies.”

“Fantasies?” Fred Weasley asked, sitting down across from Angelina, “What fantasies?”

“Tell us your fantasies, my lovely,” George said, sitting down next to Angelina, “I will fulfill them.”

Angelina rolled her eyes.

“Sorry, boys,” Katie said, “You couldn't fulfill this one. Your name isn't Harry Potter.”

“But it could be,” George said.

“Yeah,” Fred said, “We have figured out a way to get back into the Tournament. Harry Potter was chosen as Champion. So we change our names to Harry Potter. Boom. Champions in the Tournament.”

Angelina rolled her eyes. “You just love your mother's Howlers, don't you?”

“Yes we do!” Fred and George announced in unison.

A few seats down, Neville Longbottom and his Betrothed, Ginny Weasley, were torn between reading the Daily Prophet, and listening to the conversation amongst the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. They were also ignoring Ginny's other brother, Ron, who was glaring at Neville while pigging out on his breakfast. The only comment Ginny had made about her youngest brother, was that it was the first time she had seen him multitask at anything, and the first time he had some focus on something more than the food in front of him.

“So what do you think of the articles, Ginny?” Neville said, before drinking from his glass – he had been avoiding Goblets since Saturday – of orange juice.

“Harry Potter's rather handsome,” Ginny said, “I hadn't noticed.”

Neville choked on his juice, and spluttered “What?!”

“You asked,” Ginny quipped.

“I asked about the articles ,” Neville said.

“Oh, right... they're great,” Ginny said, “Better than Rita's work anyway. Say, when are you going to be interviewed by Barnabus Cuffe?”

Neville grumbled. First he had suspicions that Harry's Godfather had put his name in the Goblet, and now his Betrothed, and girlfriend, was crushing on Harry Potter himself. And here he had serious thoughts of speaking to Potter's mother about perhaps getting some help with the Tournament. Yeah, he'd meet with Harry. To tell him to stay away from Ginny!

“Mr. Longbottom?” a voice said.

Neville turned and found Headmaster Dumbledore standing behind Ginny, and smiling at him.

“I see you've read the fascinating article between Barnabus Cuffe and Ilvermorny Champion Harry Potter,” Dumbledore said, “Barnabus also said he was going to be showing interviews with the other Champions, including you.”

“Oh, yeah,” Neville said, “He wrote to me yesterday. Gave me a list of questions to answer. So I answered them and sent them back to him. I expect it will be in the Prophet by Tuesday. I hope you approve of my interview, sir?”

“I think it was very nice that you gave an interview, Neville,” Dumbledore said. “I look forward to it. It shows how focused you are on the Tournament, Mr. Longbottom. I trust you are? Focused, that is.”

“Yes, sir,” Neville said, “It is all I can think of.”

Aside from that meeting with Gran concerning possible Lordship, Neville thought.

“Hey!” Ginny said, “What about me?”

“And Ginny,” Neville added to Dumbledore.

“Yes,” Dumbledore. “Between the Tournament, your girlfriend, and classes, you have plenty to focus on, Mr. Longbottom. I advise you not to place any more distractions on your plate. It would make your life much too busy. Remember that. Focus and few distractions will help you get through this Tournament.”

Neville blinked. “I... thank you for the advice, sir. I'll remember that.”

Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses. “Have a wonderful time in Hogsmeade today, both of you. It should be a lovely day for a growing romance.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ginny said, “We will.”

Dumbledore smiled again and walked toward the table. Neville watched the man, with thoughts washing through his mind.

I do need to focus on the Tournament, Neville thought, And classes. Both are very important. Something needs to go. Ginny or early Lordship status. I'll discuss those two options with Gran today. She should help decide which is far more important to my future.

“So an interview in the Prophet by Tuesday!” Ginny said, smiling, “I cannot wait to read it. Are you going to make me wait, or will you give me a sneak peek?”

“What would you give me in return?” Neville asked.

Ginny grinned and leaned over to his ear. “A sneak peek. If you know what I mean.”

Neville blushed red, and grinned like a fool. He coughed and stammered. “I-I'll think about.”

“You do that,” Ginny said, “You look very handsome in photos. Not as handsome as in real life, but very handsome. Did I ever tell you that? I get tingles from thinking how envious girls are of me when looking at these pictures of you. Though I wish I could make everybody else's pictures of you blackened out. Only I deserve the honor of gazing at you.”

Neville was still blushing smiling as he saw her looking down at a photo of him in the newspaper. His girlfriend/Betrothed always knew how to cheer him up. That helped him a little with the thoughts moving through his mind.

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, November 7th, 1994


At half-past-nine, Hermione Granger walked out of her bedroom, after making sure she looked beautiful and proper for her date with Harry. Just as she had for her first date with Harry, she was dressed in a Muggle t-shirt and jeans, both of which showed off her curves, but not being too revealing.

“Luna!” Hermione said, realizing her best friend was not waiting for her, “Are you ready?”

“You go on ahead with Harry, Hermione,” Luna said, sticking her head out of the curtains from her bedroom, “I'll catch a carriage on my own.”

“Are you sure?” Hermione asked, “Harry wouldn't mind. And you'd likely end up in a carriage with somebody you don't know.”

“Doesn't matter,” Luna said, “Nobody would do anything. They know I am under House Potter Protection.”

“If you're sure,” Hermione said. “Meet me at the Three Broomsticks at noon. Harry has that Betrothal meeting to attend, which means you and I will have time to do something together. We'll do some girl-focused shopping, things Harry won't want to shop for.”

Luna smiled. “I'll see you at noon. Have fun, Hermione. Don't do anything I wouldn't do.”

Hermione smirked. “Says the girl who struts through the tent in naught but her skin.”

Luna's giggles were loud enough to be heard even as she closed the curtain, retreating back into her bedroom.

Hermione shook her head, smiling, and headed out of the tent. She was not surprised at all to find Harry waiting for her. She happily accepted a sweet kiss from him, which she returned. It lasted only for ten seconds, but she didn't mind. There would be plenty more today, she knew.

She had always heard the sitting area near the Shrieking Shack was a nice place for romance. Of course... she knew those rumors mostly had to do with a more... adult-style of romance, nothing she was anywhere near ready yet, of course. But maybe she could have her first snog with him there. That sounded nice. Perhaps as a reward if their date went well. Heck, she realized from the way he described what was going to happen during the Betrothal Contract meeting, he might need a way to wind down if it did get really heated. So a nice snog would probably help a lot.

“You look so beautiful,” Harry said, then grinned, “Try not to bite your lip, or I might do things we'll both regret.”

Hermione echoed his grin. “Promise? You look handsome, by the way.”

She noticed he was wearing the same clothes he wore the night his name came out of the Goblet. But she wouldn't tell him that. He probably only brought a few formal outfits. She was quite sure he hadn't planned to go out on too many outings requiring such clothes. Just formal events, definitely not dates, aside from, perhaps, the Ball. She was fantasizing so much about what he might wear for the Yule Ball, she barely felt him take her hand and start leading her across the Grounds.

She looked over her shoulder, looking around for Harry's family. “None of your family is coming yet? I thought Rose might accompany us, and maybe your mother as her chaperone.”

“I didn't tell you, did I?” Harry replied. “Rose has a date.”

Hermione blinked and stared at him in surprise, then she remembered she was walking, and focused on not tripping as she walked, and bringing him down with her.

“A date?” she asked, “With who? She's twelve!”

“The sister of the Beauxbatons Champion,” Harry said. “She's twelve too.”

Hermione nodded. He had told her about his sister's sexual preferences. She thought it was rather cute.

“The little blonde girl who was hanging around the Champion?” Hermione asked; he nodded, she did too, “I see. Who asked who out?”

“Gabrielle – through her sister, Fleur,” Harry said, then laughed, “Which is funny, since Rose was trying to decide on how to ask her out. I don't actually know if it is date. Gabrielle invited her on a picnic on the Grounds. Even suggested somewhere near the tents, for Rose's sake.”

“Beautiful day for a picnic.” Hermione said, smiling, “They'll have fun. You don't know if it is a date?”

Harry shrugged. “I guess Rose will have to find out for herself. However... Gabrielle did ask her to have a picnic on the same day couples are going on dates in the village.”

Hermione giggled. “So it may be a date. How cute. Do you think they would be a good couple?”

Harry shrugged again. “Rose knows that distance would separate them. But... she understands she's too young just yet for a real proper relationship. So long-distance letters, and occasional visits are fine with her for now.”

“Occasional visits?” Hermione echoed.

“Vacations,” Harry clarified, “We have actually never been outside of the States before, except for that time we went to Hawaii, which is technically part of the States. So a change in scenery would do some good.”

“Hawaii is a State,” Hermione said, sticking out her tongue.

“Cheeky,” Harry said, grinning. “I know that. It is just not in the continental America. Anyway. Gabrielle and her sister are the daughters of the French Minister of Magic, Pierre Delacour. I think they may live in Nice, France, when they're not in Paris. Which would be nice – no pun intended. We have a Chateau in France I've never been too, but Mom and Dad were there for their honeymoon.

“Nice is nice – no pun intended,” Hermione said, then stuck out her tongue again, “Especially since the words are pronounced differently. If you go, I'd love to come along.”

“I would definitely not stop you,” Harry said. “So yeah... occasional visits – vacations to Nice, so Rose could hang out with Gabrielle. Between that and long-distance letters, they should be okay for a while if things get serious between them.”

“Oh, yeah?” Hermione asked, “And what about us? Long-distance wise.”

“Aah, and there's my mad-genius plan,” Harry said, laughing in fake malevolence. He cleared his throat. “I'm planning on convincing you between now and June how Ilvermorny is better than Hogwarts, so you'll attend, so the only distance I'd have to worry about would depend on which House you're in, and how far I'd have to walk to meet you each morning.”

Hermione smiled. “I'll certainly give it a lot of thought. There's also convincing my parents.”

Harry waved a dismissive hand. “Let Mom, Sirius and Remus convince them.”

“Right – recruitment meeting,” Hermione said, remembering Remus saying that once, “Where are they by the way?”

“Remus is staying here with Rose and any of the Ilvermorny students who stay behind,” Harry said. “Mom and Sirius will go down around eleven or so.”

Hermione nodded. “So no chaperone for our date?”

Harry snorted. “I didn't have chaperones for my past two girlfriends. Definitely none for us. Mom isn't that smothering.”

Hermione grinned. “Unless we give her a reason to be.”

“Ooh, definitely,” Harry said, nodding, “And then we'll have stalkers, rather than chaperones.”

Hermione laughed out loud. She absolutely loved her boyfriend's sense of humor. As she stopped laughing, she realized they had gotten very close to the carriages. Hermione narrowed her eyes as she noticed several girls looking envious in her and Harry's direction.

Yeah, he's mine, bitches, Hermione thought.

Hermione was well aware how much she sounded like a jealous girlfriend. But in Harry's own words, he had said he wouldn't be interested in other girls until she trusted him enough to do so. She trusted him... but she wanted him to herself as long as possible. Daphne – and in essence, Tracey, though she didn't worry Hermione too much – was already close enough to her boyfriend. And she was only starting to get used to that.

Speaking of the two Slytherins. Hermione spotted Daphne, and saw her looking at them. She nodded toward a carriage. Harry saw them too. The girls stepped into the carriage.

“I believe we have some riding buddies,” Harry said, “You want to join them?”

Hermione nodded. Harry led her over to the same carriage, and helped her inside. As she sat down across from Daphne and Tracey, she saw him staring at something to his right.

“What's wrong, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“Huh,” Harry said, as he stepped inside and sat down next to Hermione, “I always wondered how the carriages were pulled.”

“They pull themselves,” Hermione said, “Like always.”

“No they do not,” Daphne said.

“There's no horses or anything pulling them!” Hermione argue. “Oh, you mean magic. That's what I mean too.”

“Not magic,” Harry said, “Thestrals.”

Hermione's eyes widened. She had read about Thestrals. The creature you could see if you had seen somebody die.

“Ooh,” Hermione said, nodding. “Er... who did you –? Merlin, never mind. That is so rude of me!”

“Long story, Hermione,” Harry said, “And that's all I'll say for now.”

Hermione nodded, and clutched Harry's hand in hers. “So they're really Thestrals.”

“Listen closely, as the carriage starts moving,” Tracey said.

As if on command, the carriage began moving. Hermione focused on her hearing.

And then she heard a very light horse's snort. Followed by the clip-clop of horseshoes.

Her eyes widened. “Holy shit!”

Harry chuckled when Hermione covered her mouth, after she swore. She started blushing profusely.

“Wow,” Tracey quipped. “Hermione does know how to swear.”

“That was a Thestral?!” Hermione asked, after lowering her hand.

“Mmm, yep,” Daphne said. “If you want more proof, Harry can help you pet one of them when we arrive. You can feel them, you can hear them --”

“And you can ride them,” Tracey said.

“-- you just can't see them,” Daphne said, “Unless you saw someone snuff it. Don't ask us either, Hermione.”

“I won't,” Hermione said. “That was so very rude of me. Um... by the way. I'd like to apologize to the two of you for telling the rumor of you two being a couple to Harry. He and Luna were the only ones I told. I swear.”

“It doesn't matter,” Daphne said, “We understand why you did it. And Harry's knowledge of it gave us quite the gift. I assume he told you about it?”

“Yes,” Hermione said. “I wish you two the best of luck today. Whatever happens, I'm here for you.”

“Thank you, Hermione,” Daphne said.

Tracey echoed her girlfriend.

The four friends discussed their plans for Hogsmeade as the carriage made its way to the village. When the carriage stopped. Harry stepped out first, and helped all three witches out. Tracey hesitated briefly when Harry offered her his hand, but she took it, and he helped her out. He respectfully let go from her hand as soon as she was on solid ground.

“My parents sent me a letter at breakfast finally ,” Tracey said. “They'll be at the Three Broomsticks at ten minutes til noon. Daphne and I will inform them that I want to join the Children of the Great Alliance meeting tomorrow, but I wish for my father to get permission from you, Harry. My father – selfish as he is – will probably expect you want something in return, because he tends to believe others are just as selfish.”

“Then I will tell him all I want is for him to listen to your explanation,” Harry said. “That should begin the events.”

“Harry – Lord Potter,” Tracey said, “I apologize upfront for anything my father will say to you during the meeting. I apologize to you and your family. Please pass along the message.”

“I will,” Harry said.

“Harry?” Tracey said, “Remember something important – and pass it along to Lord Black. The House of Davis is a Noble House, nothing more.”

Harry smiled, “Thank you, Tracey.”

“We will see you later,” Daphne said.

“Be seeing you,” Harry said, “Enjoy yourselves, and remember --”

“If anybody says anything about us that we can't handle,” Daphne said, “Tell them we're under your House Protection. We know, Harry. But we can take care of ourselves.”

"I know," Harry said; but he also knew there was a reason they wanted to leave the Slytherin dungeons.

“Good,” Daphne said. “Enjoy yourselves.”

She turned and the couple walked into the village hand-in-hand. Harry offered Hermione his hand, she took it, and led her into the village.

“Harry,” Hermione said, “I am the one leading you around, remember? You know nothing about the village.”

“Right,” Harry said, “Lead away, Milady.”

Hermione started leading them into the village. “Harry... what did Tracey mean by her House being Noble, nothing more?”

“It means Sirius and I – as Lord Black and Potter, respectively – hold more respect on the metaphorical political beanpole than Lord Davis,” Harry said, “If he starts getting mouthy, we can remind him who his betters are. It would give us the upper hand.”

“Which could help Tracey in the end,” Hermione said, nodding.

“Well,” Harry said, “It is still up in the air. If Lord Davis disrespects Tracey, I will defend her.”

“Try not to lose your temper, Harry,” Hermione said.

“No promises,” Harry said. “Remember my lecture about power... and age? Lord Davis is much older than me.”

Hermione nodded. “He will look down upon you, even though you have a higher House than him, because of your age.”

“Sometimes a temper can be a good thing,” Harry said, “If you can control it. Enough about that. I'm dedicating too much time away from our date to that. I don't want to dedicate any more. This is about you and me. Take me to your favorite shops. Those you won't be going to when I'm busy elsewhere.”

Hermione smiled, and led him deep into the village, as they began their second date.


Hogwarts Grounds Near Ilvermorny Tents – About an hour later


“Do you remember how to tell whether you are under a Veela's Allure or not?” Lily asked.

Rose groaned. She was currently standing outside her tent with her mother and Uncles Sirius and Remus. Gabrielle would be walking over to the tent any minute now. She kept looking toward the Beauxbatons Camp to see if she could see Gabrielle. But the young Veela was not approaching just yet.

Rose was wearing a white, flower-print pinafore dress, and sandals. She was so thankful the weather was good for it. She had spent twenty minutes in front of the mirror in her bedroom, and had to go through all her training bras to find one that could hide behind the shoulder straps of her dress. She had been so happy when she started developing in her chest, but the Merlin-be-damned training bras were so annoying! She kept adjusting the straps so they'd be hidden behind the straps of her dress.

Finally, her mother felt sorry for her and made the bra straps transparent with magic. She could still feel them, but as long as she didn't shrug much, she wouldn't have to adjust the straps much. At one point, she had even asked if she could go bra-less. The look on her mother's face immediately made her say she was joking, even though she wasn't.

“Yes, Mom!” Rose said, annoyed, “Really? You think she's going to put me under an Allure? If you thought that, why did you accept in the first place?”

“Don't mind your mother,” Sirius said, then grinned, “She's just being... your mother.”

“Lily,” Remus said, “I am sure Gabrielle won't hurt her. The girl won't even be able to summon flames until she completes her next Ascension at thirteen years old. At twelve, her Allure isn't that dangerous. Rose has begun her Occlumency training as of last summer, and her training has prepared her with enough defense to notice an Allure.”

Remus chuckled and shook his head. “Really, Rose should be flattered if Gabrielle even tries to put an Allure on her. It means she holds some attraction to Rose. Which means she is attracted to witches.”

“See!” Rose said, “I'd welcome her Allure! I'm sure I can protect myself enough to not be... intoxicated against it, I think is the right word.”

“Yes, Rose,” Remus said, “Very good.”

Lily sighed. “Fine, fine. Promise you'll be watching them, Remus.”

“I promise,” Remus said; Rose frowned, and Remus smiled, “I will not spy, or eavesdrop, Rose. I'll be a chaperone, just as a precaution. I will not interfere with any of it.”

Rose sighed and nodded, resigned to her Uncle's decision. “Fine. Are you satisfied? You need to go or you're going to be late!”

“She's right,” Sirius said, “Come on, Lily.”

Lily gave Rose a quick hug, then walked off toward the direction of the gates with Sirius.

Remus cleared his throat. “Your date approaches.”

Rose looked toward the direction of the Beauxbatons Camp and saw Gabrielle walking over, unchaperoned to them.

“Oh, bother,” Rose said, suddenly, nervous. “What if she doesn't speak English well? I don't speak French! I didn't put much thought into this – I was focused more on –“

“How cute she is?” Remus asked.

“Uncle Moony!” Rose squeaked. “That makes you sound like a pervert!”

Remus chuckled. “I am sure she knows your main language is English. Wait and see how her English is. She may surprise you. Don't be so nervous. Be yourself. Get to know her, and let her get to know you. And Rose? She may just want to be friends.”

“I know,” Rose said, sadly, “I'm ready for that.”

Remus smiled. “I'm sure you'll have a nice time either way. I will be watching through one of the tent's windows, but – once again – only in the chaperone sense. I'll be doing teacher duties much of the time.”

“So... request the blanket to be in the view of a window,” Rose said.

“Please,” Remus said.

He then stepped into the tent. Rose inhaled and exhaled, and turned to Gabrielle. A few moments later, Gabrielle arrived. She was carrying a picnic basket.

“Good morning,” Gabrielle said, “My name is Gabrielle Delacour. Thank you for accepting my invitation.”

Rose blinked. Gabrielle's English was perfect. Better than her sister's!

“Hi,” she said, shyly, “I am Rose Potter, Heiress of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. Thank you for offering. I was happy to accept.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Rose,” Gabrielle said. “Where would you like to have our picnic?”

Rose led Gabrielle over to an open area of the Grounds about twenty feet from her tent, in plain view of the window. Gabrielle removed a blanket from the basket and spread it out on the ground. It was the color of the Beauxbatons School Flag. Gabrielle sat down.

“Please be seated,” Gabrielle said, “Wherever you want. You may sit beside me if you wish.”

Rose went slightly pink, and sat down a few feet from Gabrielle. She crossed her legs, as she had been trained to do as a proper young Lady of her House, when she was wearing a dress like the one she had on today. She patted the hem of her dress down onto her lap, and watched as Gabrielle started taking food from her basket.

“My sister and I visited the Hogwarts Kitchens earlier today,” Gabrielle said, “And the polite House-Elves there filled my basket with lunch foods. I didn't know what you would approve of, so I requested common American cuisine, and some French delights as well. I hope it is to your liking.”

“I am sure it will be,” Rose said. “Gabrielle, your English is incredible. You speak so plainly. I can still hear your accent, of course. But the dialect is perfect. Your sister is – um --”

“Less experienced in the language?” Gabrielle asked.

Rose nodded.

“When my father heard about the Triwizard Tournament,” Gabrielle said, “And discovered my sister's intentions of becoming a contender, he talked to me about it. I begged... begged him to let me go with my sister. But I spoke no English then. It was all French. My father told me I would be meeting several English wizards and witches who knew no French. So I dedicated myself to studying English. I wanted to be perfect so my father would have no reason to stop me from going. In the end, I did better than my sister's teachings. I could go, but I had to promise to help my sister with her English.”

Rose giggled. “That's so awesome! Good job! I was so afraid you'd be speaking to me in French and I don't know French.”

“I would not have invited you on a picnic if you could not understand me, Rose,” Gabrielle said. “That would have been pointless, and rude of me.”

Rose chuckled. Yes, I suppose so.”

“Bon appetite!” Gabrielle said, motioning to the spread in front of them.

Rose's mouth watered as she looked around at the food. There were things for deli sandwiches, as well as some finger foods. Even the French food was finger foods, especially the dessert.

“Even I know what that means!” Rose said, grinning, then started to make a deli sandwich.

“I did not want to bog us down with silverware,” Gabrielle said. “It would make a picnic too complicated. It makes it easier to eat and talk. And it isn't too filling.”

“I heard French witches were rather picky about that type of thing,” Rose said.

“Perhaps,” Gabrielle said, “But that is not what I meant. It means we can we can eat as much as we want as long as we want. I don't expect us to be done in an hour and – poof – picnic over! No, no! I want to spend an afternoon with you.”

“Oh,” Rose said, blushing pink. “I would love to spend all afternoon with you. I've got nothing else planned.”

Gabrielle smiled. “I suppose you're wondering why I invited you on a picnic?”

Rose finished putting together her sandwich and bit into it. She chewed and swallowed.

“Well,” she said, “It was either one of two things. You wanted to be my friend, and get to know someone your age. But...”

“But...?” Gabrielle asked.

“There are a lot of kids your age around here,” Rose said, “I mean – a friendly lunch with one person is cool, but if you wanted to make friends, a group outing might be more fun. It is what I would do. So... you asked me for a specific reason.”

“Yes,” Gabrielle said. “Do you know what that is?”

Rose gulped and cleared her throat. “Is it because of the way I kept looking at you whenever you were in the same area as me?”

“You are a smart young witch, Rose Potter,” Gabrielle said, “And you are very cute. That is two things I like about you.”

Rose blushed pink. Did Gabrielle just call her cute? Wait... Gabrielle liked her?

“You also know what you want,” Gabrielle said, “You're very straight-forward. My mother says I am rather straight-forward too. Rose, I believe you know what I am.”

“A... Veela,” Rose said, “Like... half-Veela.”

"There is no half- or quarter- when it comes to Veela, Rose," Gabrielle said. "You are either Veela, or you are not. We Veela mate with humans because it means our off-spring will be also be magical. But, only our daughters would be Veela, there are no male Veela. In some Veela colonies long ago, Veela did rituals that prevented them from having sons.

"Why?" Rose asked.

"It did nothing to further our kind," Gabrielle said, "and men were not welcome as permanent  in some colonies -- you'll understand why soon. It is out of practice mostly these days." Now, do you know one of the Veela's abilities. A couple hints. It is nothing to do with the Allure, and I am too young to create Fireballs until my next Ascension at thirteen, and Avian Transformations, when I complete the following Ascension at seventeen. So what can I do?”

Rose thought back to her studies about Veela. She frowned and shook her head.

“You don't know?” Gabrielle asked. “That is alright. From the moment of their First Ascension – at the age of eleven, Veela have an ability that make them aware of a person's attraction toward them. It gives us early warning about whether we start friendships with them or not. If we are wary of their attraction, we avoid that person. If they get too.. forceful – that is where our Allure helps. Allure does not just make a person's attractions rise and inhibitions lower. If we do not like the person, our Allure will scare them away.”

“Cool,” Rose said.

“It is very useful,” Gabrielle said. “Now, attraction does not immediately mean romance. It just could mean they have the slightest feeling for you. An eleven year old can fancy you, but may be too immature to do anything about it. So it rarely ever matters. Mostly at the age of eleven, it is a time of training that ability. As you can guess, it is in a Veela's nature to be beautiful. And I admit... also vain. Vanity is a weakness in Veela. We always want to feel beautiful and be beautiful to attract a mate. Because we are creatures of love, and lust, and sexuality. It is in our nature.

“So... most Veela always find it easy to spot when somebody is attracted to them. This is thanks to what is known as – in English, you would call it an Attraction Sensor. My sister told me she counted at least three dozen boys of all ages attracted to her beauty in the Great Hall on the first night we were there. When she was picked as Champion, that count nearly doubled.”

“Good Merlin!” Rose exclaimed.

Gabrielle snorted. “How many of those felt any desires of true fancy and love for Fleur, do you think? How many felt lust?”

“Most of them for the latter category?” Rose guessed.

“Yes,” Gabrielle said, “Thankfully Veela can sort out those categories. That is the benefit of the Attraction Sensor. It is like different colors. Red for lust, pink for fancy and feelings of love. She said she counted three boys who felt any fancy for her. She didn't say whether she was attracted to them. Now! Here's the real question. How many boys did I count as attracted to me?”

Rose frowned, disheartened. She didn't want to know. Because that would mean...

Gabrielle made the universal hand signal for 'zero'.

“Zero?” Rose asked. “That can't be right. I imagine several boys thought you cute, even if you are a little young.”

“I wouldn't know,” Gabrielle said. “Because my Attraction Sensors have never shone on boys. Never. It took me several months to know why. It took me that long to ask my mother. She looked at me in disbelief, and thought I was joking. I told her I was not. So she took me on a trip, and and brought me to a beach. It was in France, and um... some of the common beaches there are... nude beaches.”

“She took you to a nude beach?” Rose asked, in disbelief. “Did she make you...?”

“Yes,” Gabrielle said. “But only once. So she could make a point. I was so nervous I didn't notice a crucial piece of information. I did as mother asked, figuring it was a training thing, and she'd be there to protect me. The problem was... there were no boys there. Mother showed me a sign, and on the sign it said... 'Lesbian Celebration Day – Girls Only Allowed'.”

Rose's eyes widened.

“Five teen girls of various ages lit up in red auras when I strode onto the beach in naught but my skin,” Gabrielle blushed. “Red, not pink. Mother asked me what I was seeing. I told her 'red colors, Mama'.”

“Lust,” Rose said.

“Yes,” Gabrielle said. “However, it was likely none of them were really serious about their intentions. Even fantasies fall under the category of lust. For example, Rose... say you were a color in my spectrum... say pink... fancy, or a feeling of love. I could also sense whether or not you were having a dirty fantasy about me at that moment in time. So there would be spots of red if that happened. Lust.”

Rose blushed. “Is that a bad thing?”

“Non,” Gabrielle said, momentarily reverting back to native tongue, “Sometimes it is useful. Forgive me if I – ah – speak in hypothetical tongue for a moment. Such an ability would be quite useful when we're older. Combine that ability, with my ability to sense when you are... ah... horny? It will let me know when it is the appropriate time to have some fun with you. But that is for when we are older. I would never encourage you to do such things at our age.”

“Hypothetically?” Rose asked; she could hardly breathe; Gabrielle seemed to be flirting with her... at least that is what she thought was going on. Damn her inexperience!

“Of course,” Gabrielle said, grinning. “Definitely hypothetically. Where was I? Ah, yes, those lovely girls on the beach. In the girls' defense, they didn't know how old I was, just that I was beautiful to them. Sometimes Veela can't help to be attractive, even at the tender age of eleven. But that is why Mom was there. To keep anyone from approaching me. She told me I could put my bikini back on. Mother said nothing, and let me swim. I noticed those girls admiring me. But I was still confused. Back then, I was so... ignorant. So... oblivious. Until we went back home. And mother explained to me the definition lesbian, and its association with our kind. Before that moment, the word 'lesbian' was almost forbidden in my dictionary. It was not something Veela normally discuss unless the subject comes up for a reason.”

Rose's heart was beating. Really, really fast.

“Now, Rose,” Gabrielle asked, smiling. “Would you like to know how many girls I saw light up in the Great Hall? Well, I am afraid I cannot tell you. I must keep that a secret. Mother told me not to give that away, because it is such a personal thing. I could only speak of it if I spoke to a girl who lit up in a color, and I could only tell them about their color.”

“Me,” Rose said, blushing; she was beginning to understand. Gabrielle had not been speaking in hypothetical tongue. That was just a cover. Everything began to make sense now.

“You,” Gabrielle said, with a smile. “And you... lit up pink.”

“Oh, Merlin,” Rose whispered. “Gabrielle, I... if I had known, I --”

“You would still be pink,” Gabrielle said. “Nobody can help what they feel. It is the choices we make. Do you remember what I said about a Veela's choice when it comes to choosing what to do about the colors they see?”

“You can avoid them if you want,” Rose said.

“Am I avoiding you?” Gabrielle asked.

“No,” Rose said.

“No,” Gabrielle said. “I have a confession, Rose. I lied to my sister. I told her I wanted to get to know you as a friend. My sister does not know my secret. Mother has not told her yet. I will tell her depending on how this picnic goes. Rose... my intention was for this picnic to be a date. If that is not what you want, I understand. Sometimes I read the signs wrong. I am a young Veela. I am still training.”

“You didn't read the signs wrong,” Rose said; she inhaled and exhaled; she had prepared for this moment, but never thought it would come. “I was attracted to you from the moment I saw you. But I knew it was rare for Veela to be a lesbians.”

“Mother doesn't know if I am a lesbian,” Gabrielle said, “She says I might be bisexual. But... Veela who are bisexual – our wiring is different. We don't notice whether boys are attracted to us. The colors in that case... means we are attracted to them.”

“That is highly useful,” Rose said.

“Yes, but it is for a specific reason,” Gabrielle said. “But to understand that, you have to understand the story my mother told me about Veela who were lesbians and bisexual.”

Anticipating story-time, Rose relaxed on the blanket and picked at some of the food, taking bites, but concentrating on Gabrielle.

“Would it surprise you to know,” Gabrielle said, “that the most famous story of lesbian and bisexual Veela originates out of the island of Lesbos in Greece?”

Rose raised her eyebrows, though she wasn't all that surprised. “Didn't the island get its name from the ancient celebrations of lesbianism that took place there?”

“Mmm, yes,” Gabrielle said, nodding. “What most don't know, is it was Veela, who participated in those celebrations. Several centuries ago, there was a secret, hidden encampment consisting mainly of Veela who were lesbians. Some were bisexual. The completely straight ones were booted out.”

“What?” Rose asked. “That's so cruel! Why?”

“Well, booted is the wrong word, sorry,” Gabrielle said. “Encouraged to go out and start their own covens and camps. No straight Veela could stay, you see. For a reason. We'll get to that part soon. Those who were bisexual were chosen as mothers of the encampment. The camp was run by the local Queen Hippolyta. She was bisexual. In fact, many of the Veela were related to her in some way. But to them, it was in no way inbreeding. Because Veela are women, and can't impregnate each other. Inbreeding, no. Incest, yes. But not siblings... cousins.

“Hippolyta started a tradition passed along amongst the bisexuals. At the start of every season, a group of chosen bisexual Veela would go out amongst one of the villages on the island, and power up their Allures. Really power them up. They would lure a group of men back to camp. Then there was a week-long celebration. An orgy of sorts. Where they would celebrate fertility. Bisexual Veela made love to one man they chose, not more than one. Only one. And they would also make love to the lesbian Veela. When the celebration was done, the men would leave, and forget they were ever there. They never came back, and the Veela didn't want them.”

“So... is that why straight Veela weren't allowed?” Rose asked.

“Because they wouldn't participate in the orgies,” Gabrielle said. “Or if they did, it would be with the men, and that would take away from the reason the men were there. So they were 'encouraged' to leave to prevent such a thing. Also, like I said, it encouraged them to go out and start their own families.”

Rose nodded. She understood that.

“Life went on. The Veela did what they usually did. Jobs, took care of the camp, took care of the children conceived and born from past celebrations, and so and so. A couple weeks after the celebration was when the bisexual Veela started to show symptoms of pregnancy. There would be another week long of celebrations, except this time there were no men. All women. Just celebrating a successful fertility ceremony, and making love. And several months later, another group of children for their camp were born. By the time those children were born, two seasons passed, two more bisexual hunting parties were pregnant after fertility ceremonies.

"No boys were born. Remember the ritual I told you about? Hippolyta's invention. It is known as Hippolyta's Curse, when Veela have no sons. Hippolyta's colony had all daughters. All Veela. Few witches, because back then on the Isle of Lesbos, it was hard to tell between Muggle and wizard. Most wizards didn't reveal their abilities out of fear. But all wizards and men fell under the powerful allure, that held them in the erotic trance for a week. Mostly it was a game of roulette.”

“So the Veela raped the men?” Rose asked.

Gabrielle sighed. “I didn't say Hippolyta was famous for her beliefs or lifestyle. But she is mine and Fleur's so many-many great Grandmother. Many Veela these days originate from those Veela who were booted from the camp because they were straight.”

“Wow,” Rose said, “That is incredible. Kind of sad in some ways, but also... erotic. Are there encampments like that these days?”

“Yes, but they do not follow Hippolyta's beliefs,” Gabrielle said, “It is easier to find wizards these days. Especially volunteer wizards. So there is less rape involved. My mother told me this story, because there was a chance I might be invited to live at one of these encampments when my sexuality comes out. But that is only once I reach my Avian Ascension, and childbirth becomes possible for me. And also, most of those colonies, covens and camps don't invite Veela like me... if I am already committed to a mate.”

“Oh,” Rose said, “Do you want to be committed to a mate?”

“Very much so,” Gabrielle said. “I would even become a second-wife, if my female mate were to marry a husband. However... this is where my story comes in. I would want my female mate to marry a man I am attracted to. Because those I am attracted to, are those who would truly accept me for what I am. A Veela bisexual who wants a female lover.”

“Would your mate have any choice in the man?” Rose asked.

“Very much so,” Gabrielle said. “If my mate is not attracted to the man, I would not choose them.”

“Did you know I am bisexual, and not solely a Witches' Witch?” Rose asked. “When you noticed me?”

“No,” Gabrielle said. “But I thank the gods that you are. Because that makes me feel so much better about my attraction for you.”

Rose blushed. “Gabrielle... um... I don't know if you realize this. But I am going back to America in June. If we... start anything... and we last that long... we'd have to resort to long-distant relationships for a while. Letters, and vacations. My family has a Chateau in Nice.”

“So does mine,” Gabrielle said.

“So I could visit for vacations,” Rose said, “Or... perhaps you could visit me. I'm just saying...”

“Rose,” Gabrielle said, “I know we are young. I am not expecting you to be so dedicated to me right away. I would wait as long as it takes before we can be together for life, if that is what you would want. Because you are my ticket from moving into a Veela Colony of bisexuals and lesbians..”

“You make it sound like a prison,” Rose said.

Gabrielle said. “To those who don't want to go there... it is. But Veela who are lesbians... are – how you say – the black sheep of the species? The elders – those who are in charge of the laws of Veela – enforce these colonies, in the belief that lesbian Veela would choose to find love with others of their kind in the colonies. Bisexuals are more respected – as long as we provide a daughter or two to further the species.”

“Good Merlin,” Rose said, “Even amongst Veela – creatures of love -- same-sex relationships are frowned upon.”

Gabrielle shrugged. “Blame it on Granny Hippolyta and her Harem. Most of us do. Rose... if I do not ask, I am going to regret it. Even though we are only twelve, that does not matter to me. Would you like to be my girlfriend?”

Rose grinned. “I would love to be your girlfriend, Gabrielle.”

If Rose expected her first kiss due to this declaration, she didn't get it. Gabrielle merely smiled, and resumed eating. Rose wasn't too disappointed. There was still plenty of time on their date for a first kiss. She happily joined in as Gabrielle offered to play a little game of get-to-know-you-better.



The Three Broomsticks

At ten minutes to noon, Tracey and Daphne walked into the Three Broomsticks. They found both sets of their parents talking to each other near the bar where the owner/barmaid was serving drinks. Tracey inhaled and exhaled. Time to get the show started.

“Daphne, there you are!” Lord Castor Greengrass said as they walked over to their parents. “Lord Potter and his family are already in the private room. Madam Rosmerta told me where we're supposed to go.”

“Hold on, Daddy,” Daphne said, “I'm sure you're wondering why Lord Davis is here?”

“I was about to ask you that question, daughter,” Tracey's father, Lord Derrick Davis said. “I understand Daphne is here for a Betrothal Contract meeting. But why I am here?”

“Lord Potter has invited me to a Children of the Great Alliance meeting tomorrow afternoon,” Tracey said, “But he knows you make such decisions, and he wants you to give me permission to him face-to-face. I believe he might even offer House Davis a spot in the Great Alliance.”

“Lord Potter told me that he is looking for Houses as new members,” Daphne said.

“Since Lord Potter is here to meet with Daphne,” Tracey said, “As she is my friend, she has given us permission to begin the meeting with the request.”

Lord Davis stared at Tracey, then turned to Lord Greengrass.

“You are part of this Great Alliance, are you not, Lord Castor?” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” Lord Greengrass said, “I have not given any notice of resignation, so if it is truly returning, then my House stands with the Alliance. I'm sure yours would be a welcomed voice and House.”

Lord Davis sighed. “What is there to lose? This will be quick either way. And it could be profitable. Let's go. Lead the way, Lord Castor.”

Tracey glanced at Daphne, who smiled when she saw her looking. Tracey smiled, then inhaled and exhaled as she followed the adults with Daphne toward the meeting room.

Whatever was about to happen... Tracey knew; it would change her life forever.

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, November 7 th . 1994


Harry Potter sipped from his bottle of butterbeer as he stared at the mahogany surface of the table in front of him in deep thought. Seated on either side of him at the elongated table were Lily, Sirius, and their Solicitor Ted Tonks. Five minutes ago, he had found them out in the main part of the Three Broomsticks restaurant – which, in his opinion, was far more beautiful than the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. Sirius had already arranged for a private room, and that is where they currently were. Across the table were four chairs, and that is where Daphne Greengrass and her father – or perhaps both parents – would be seated. But if their plans worked, then Tracey Davis and her parents would also be there – if only temporarily.

Harry smiled as he thought back to how his day had gone so far. Hogsmeade was a beautiful village. It would be hard to appreciate the wizarding shopping malls back in America when open-air markets like Hogsmeade were the absolutely perfect location for a romantic date. Especially when the weather was perfect, like today. However, there was one major problem Harry noticed about Hogsmeade, and he voiced it to Sirius and his mother.

“Why isn't there a security presence in Hogsmeade?” Harry asked.

Ted Tonks was the one to answer, and looked shocked at the question. “Because we're in an era of peacetime, Harry. No threats have been made.”

“Isn't Lucius Malfoy a known escaped fugitive from Azkaban?” Harry asked, remembering seeing an article about that very thing in the Daily Prophet.

“He has not been sighted anywhere near Hogsmeade,” Ted said.

“He is a wizard!” Harry exclaimed, “He can Apparate! Or Floo! Or ride a broomstick. He doesn't need to walk here!”

Ted frowned. “You do make good points. But why are you so worried about him?”

“He isn't, Ted,” Lily said, “He originally spoke of security presence. In America, hired security at all entrances of any magical building, during all working hours, every day. Round the clock for government buildings.”

Harry nodded. “And more are hired when it is known that students from Ilvermorny are visiting the shopping mall. Especially when two-thirds of the next generation of young witches and wizards are going to be in the area. I haven't even seen a chaperone. Have you?”

Ted frowned. “I suppose you do make a good point, Harry. During the Great War, Hogsmeade was subject to two devastating attacks by.... by Voldemort and his followers.”

“Yes,” Sirius muttered, “I remember one of them very, very well.”

Lily sighed. “I suppose the British Ministry simply doesn't feel the need to start a panic by placing security around the village.”

Harry snorted. “If just seeing security starts a panic, I'm starting to see why many people are so afraid around here.”

“The war still looms heavily on many minds, Harry,” Sirius said – well, – seriously. “A healthy amount of fear and paranoia is good sometimes. Ask Alastor Moody. He is an expert on paranoia, though he knows no fear. Besides, it is probably better that people are paranoid given what we know.”

“Given what we know,” Harry echoed, “Why the lack of security?”

“Because nobody else knows it,” Lily said. “And we can't – forgive the pun – go on a witch-hunt spreading information around like that without proof.”

Harry conceded the point.

“There was another thing I thought of whilst I was on my date with Hermione,” he said.

“Something besides Hermione?” Sirius asked, grinning.

Harry nodded. “Yes, but my focus was only off her, because she was having a restroom break. We know we want to make some provisos in this Betrothal Contract. Add a possible Consort Contract to it. Daphne's title of 'Lady' will probably be Peverell, not Potter. But... is that possible? I mean Great Granddaddy Fleamont made the contract with House Potter in mind.”

“Betrothal Contracts that pass two generations before they become active,” Ted said, “those with specific instructions, usually. While they can't be destroyed or ignored – their provisos and details can be changed to suit modern laws and beliefs. You have nothing to worry about. Don't worry about the deal made by Fleamont Potter and Cygnus Greengrass. The only detail that cannot be changed is the First Son marries First Daughter proviso. The original agreement. Everything else became outdated.”

“Well, that's a relief!” Harry chuckled.

Suddenly, the door to the room opened. Harry made to stand up, but Sirius placed a hand in his shoulder, keeping him seated. Harry had wanted to stand to greet Daphne and Tracey, and he had told Sirius this earlier, but Sirius said Lord Davis would take it the wrong way. Standing in greeting was one of respect. Lord Davis was a Noble House – and had to earn respect from an Ancient and Most Noble House. So only Ted Tonks stood in greeting, as he was part of a Minor House.

Daphne, Tracey, and four adults entered the room.

“Lord Black, Lord Potter, Lady Potter,” Daphne said, once the door was closed, “May I introduce my parents, Castor and Illiana, the Lord and Lady Greengrass of the Noble House of Greengrass.”

Harry thought Tracey might introduce her parents. But before she could speak, her father did.

“Lord Black, Lord Potter, Lady Potter,” Lord Davis said, “A pleasure to meet you. I am Lord Derrick Davis of the Noble House of Davis. This is my wife, the Lady Elizabeth Davis.”

“A pleasure to meet you Lord Davis, Lady Davis,” Sirius said. “Lord Castor, Lady Illiana, it has been many years. Please be seated.”

First names. Harry smiled. Which meant Daphne's parents were well met with Sirius. Lord Greengrass and his wife sat together on one end of the row of chairs, while Daphne took a seat across from Harry.

“It is nice to see you again after so long, old friend,” Lord Greengrass said, “Lady Lily, a delight. My very late, but nevertheless meaningful condolences on the loss of Lord James. We were in mourning for a week after it happened. As is tradition for family and friends.”

“Thank you, Lord Castor,” Lily said, “I am glad to see you well. And you, Lady Illiana. This is my son, Lord Harry James Potter.”

Lord Greengrass smiled at Harry. “It is good to see you again after so many years. You were but a baby in your mother's arms when I saw you last. And now you look just like your father.”

“Nice to meet you, Lord Greengrass,” Harry said.

“Please,” Lord Greengrass said. “First names. Or Lord Castor and Lady Illiana if you must. Remember, you rank higher than myself. My House is two generations from being Ancient and Most Noble. Nearly there. But we are still humble while we wait. So Lord and Lady are not necessary, though respected amongst Allies, of course.”

“Yes, as I was taught,” Harry said.

“I am glad your mother and Godfather taught you in your father's stead then,” Lord Castor said.

Lord Davis cleared his throat. He looked rather agitated – perhaps because he had not been offered a seat?

“Lord Potter,” he said, “my daughter tells me you have invited her into a upcoming meeting for the – ah – Children of the Great Alliance, was it?”

“I have, Lord Davis,” Harry said.

“I would give her my permission,” Lord Davis said, “But I also ask that perhaps you grant the House of Davis into your Great Alliance.”

“I will think on it,” Harry said. “But we believe in a majority vote, Lord Davis. My fellow members of the Alliance would have to accept in majority in a meeting tomorrow. However, as incentive, I might be able to encourage it, if you do me a favor.”

“I am listening, Lord Potter,” Lord Davis said.

“There is a reason your daughter brought you here to interrupt a Betrothal Contract meeting,” Harry said, “Instead of discuss with me a proper time for a different meeting. Because she has a request that has to do with the Betrothal Contract meeting.”

Lord Davis glanced at his daughter, then looked at Harry.

“Are you interested in agreeing to a Contract between my daughter and yourself, Lord Potter?” Lord Davis asked; he actually looked interested – Harry gave him credit for that.

“Yes,” Harry said, “But not a Betrothal Contract.”

“What kind of Contract then?” Lord Davis asked. “Lord Potter, I read Barney Cuffe's article about you. I know you have positions open for three wives. Even with the Contract involving Lord Castor's daughter, you have two open positions. There is no need for a Consort or Concubine Contract for my daughter.”

“Ah, but there is desire for a Consort Contract,” Harry said. “But not for me. For Daphne.”

Lord Castor and Lady Illiana's eyes widened as they turned to Daphne. Daphne held her head high.

“Excuse me?” Lord Davis asked. “I fear I misunderstand your intentions, Lord Potter.”

“Perhaps you have not heard of the Wife's Consort Contract?” Harry asked.

“Wife's... Consort?” Lord Davis asked, in disbelief. “Lord Potter --”

“Tracey?” Harry interrupted, “Your father is confused. Perhaps you can calm his confusion?”

“Father, Mother,” Tracey said; she inhaled, then exhaled. “I have been involved in a romantic relationship with another witch for about a year now. You should know her. She is my best friend.”

Lord Castor and Lady Illiana looked toward Daphne.

“Daphne?” Lady Illiana asked, “Young lady, is this true? You know better. You knew from the age of seven you had possible Contracts.”

“I am quite agreeable on the Contract between Lord Potter and I, mother,” Daphne said. “It doesn't concern me much, as I am bisexual, and admit to some attraction to Lord Potter.”

Harry tried his best to hide his blush.

“But I am also attracted to my best friend,” Daphne said, looking at Tracey. “And we have been together, a couple, for roughly a year now. Tracey is an admitted Witches' Witch, and therefore has requested to Lord Potter to take part in this, so she may take her place by --”

“What place?!” Lord Davis demanded loudly.

Lord Davis was absolutely fuming. His face had been turning red and purple ever since his daughter told him she was in a romantic relationship with a witch. But he had been interrupted several times before he could speak. But now he spoke.

“My daughter has no place in Daphne's future with you, Lord Potter!” Lord Davis began his rant,”'Witches' Witch'! Absolutely rubbish! Teenage fantasy rubbish. There is no such thing as a Witches' Witch! It is just what some girls who are one of many wives of husbands like to say, so they can get off with their sister-wives to entertain their husband!

“They say it to feel better about themselves, and hold their head up high so they're not embarrassed in front of those who would sneer at them. Some teen magazines like to encourage the practice, so of course teens are listening to the fantasy. Tracey, you are not eligible for a Line Continuation, you won't be a sister-witch, nor a Consort, nor will you have one. I won't allow it. So there is no need for such practices.”

“But,” Tracey stammered.

“No!” Lord Davis growled. “You have a duty to your House. You've known that since you were seven! And yet you've been engaging in silly practices with a girl? No offense to your daughter, Lord Greengrass. None whatsoever. I do not speak for her. I am sure you already have your own lecture ready.”

“What duty?!” Tracey asked, “The next generation of our House is on its way! I don't need to do my duty!”

“Do not raise your voice to me, young lady!” Lord Davis snarled, “You do have a duty. To bring forth the next generation of your future Husband's House! At home, I have several Contract offers waiting with your name on them. I just need to pick the best one that will help prosper our House! That will take less than a week. A week from now, you will be Betrothed, and you will accept to be Courted by your future husband! You will do away with this... relationship... with Lord Castor's daughter! It is disgusting! You should be ashamed of yourself! Because I most certainly --”

“Lord Davis!” Sirius barked, standing up.

Harry smirked. Sirius had told him one should only stand if they needed to rise themselves above those better, if such didn't know they were better. He also said it was Pureblood Politics nonsense, but it worked with those who dedicated their lives to it.

“WHAT?!” Lord Davis growled.

Sirius stared dangerously at Lord Davis. “Excuse me? Do not raise your voice to me. You are the Lord of a Noble House. I am a Lord of an Ancient and Most Noble House that has been around since before the Great Granddaddy of the founder of your House was was even sperm!”

Harry snickered softy. Daphne and Tracey were doing their best not to.

“I know, Lord Black,” Lord Davis said, as he stared at the table, “I apologize. Do you have something you wish to say to me?”

“Yes,” Sirius said. “As you may know, I was nearly disowned from my own House. I was disowned by my dear Mother, but not by my Father. But my mother kicked me out of the house, and I had to live elsewhere. So I know the signs of somebody who could be threatening to disown their own child from their House.”

“Ridiculous,” Lord Davis said, “I am just reminding my daughter of her duty --”

“Yes,” Sirius said, “Her duty. To be the dutiful wife of a husband, who would use her at his every whim.”

“When they are married,” Lord Davis said, “That is their business.”

“Don't you even know your own daughter?” Sirius asked. “Witches' Witch being fiction? What rubbish! Do you want me to use the proper term? Lesbian.”

Lord Davis curled his lip. “My daughter is not --”

“She is!” Sirius said, “She has been in a romantic relationship with her girlfriend for several months --”

“A year, Lord Black,” Tracey said.

“A year,” Sirius said, “A year she has kept this from you. Do you know why? Because she is afraid of your reaction. And from what I've heard, she was right to be. Do you know what a lesbian is?”

“A woman who lays down with women,” Lord Davis said.

“Such a simplistic definition,” Sirius said. “A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to women. And not men.”

“She doesn't need to be attracted to her husband,” Lord Davis said. “Has thirteen years away from your homeland made you forget about the common life of Betrothal Contract marriages around here? Not even half of those married from Betrothal Contracts are happily married. That is not the point. They have a duty. My daughter does not need to be happily married, or love her husband, or be attracted to him, to lay down with him or give him children from her womb. Many wives might not love their husbands, but they would raise their children, and be happy about it.”

“That is what you expect for your daughter?” Lily asked.

“I expect her to do her duty, Lady Potter,” Lord Davis said.

“I should challenge you to a duel where you stand,” Harry suddenly snarled.

He couldn't take it any more. Lord Davis' vision of his daughter was nothing more then a broodmare and mother.

“Excuse me, young man?” Lord Davis asked.

“He is Lord Potter, Lord Davis,” Sirius said, “Also of an Ancient and Most Noble House. Are you going to disrespect him because of his age?”

“He just threatened to duel me!” Lord Davis said.

“Because you are upsetting somebody under my House Protection,” Harry said, “Yes... your daughter.”

“What?” Lord Davis asked. “I never asked --”

“You didn't need to,” Harry said. “Apparently you are below me, after all. I will challenge you to a duel if you continue to disrespect a friend of mine, and also one under my Protection. I don't care if she is your daughter. In fact, that really shouldn't matter. Because you don't care about her happiness, her life. You don't love her enough to let her make her own choices. She's an object to you. A tool to help further your Alliances and your House. I won't allow it. So either challenge me out on the street in Hogsmeade... or disown your daughter immediately. Because when you lose to me – that is my price. But not the only price. When you lose, I will go in front of the Wizengamot, and call for your House to be dropped to below Minor, and its expulsion from Britain! Do not test me!”

Lord Davis shook his head. “You say you care for my daughter, and you want her to be disowned. You may be a Lord, but you are uneducated. I don't know what they teach you at Ilvermorny, but obviously it isn't enough. You obviously don't know what would happen if she is disowned. She'd lose everything. Everything!”

“No,” Harry said, “She'd gain something. A real family who supports her.”

“I am offering her a Blood Adoption into the House of Black,” Sirius said. “That would be an Ascension from your House to mine. If you're worried about her losing a dowry, or Inheritances. I'd give that to her. I would give her what she deserves. Not what I think she deserves.”

“Your answer, Lord Davis?” Harry asked.

Lord Davis stared at Harry for half-a-minute, and Harry stared back, knowing he was being challenged to see who was the stronger-willed person.

“I, Lord Derrick Vernon Davis,” Lord Davis began, then turned to his daughter, “disown Tracey Elizabeth Davis from the Noble House of Davis. So mote it be.”

Harry looked at Tracey, whose eyes fluttered, as the magic from the vow coursed through her. When her eyes returned to normal, she did not look sad. She merely smiled at her father, then walked over to Daphne, and hugged her. Lady Davis looked emotional, but had never said a word during the entire confrontation.

“Have a House-Elf deliver all of her belongings from your residence to me, Lord Davis,” Sirius said.

Lord Davis sneered. “Do you really believe –?”

“We could take it to the Wizengamot, Lord Davis,” Ted Tonks, speaking for the first during the confrontation. “Nothing that personally belongs to her falls under dowries or Inheritances lost due to her being disowned. If this goes to the Wizengamot, it would go to her anyway, and you would be heavily fined. If it was destroyed in the mean-time, you could face prison time, or be subject to punishment by House Potter or House Black, as they have both offered her a position in their Houses.”

“Fine,” Lord Davis snarled, “I want nothing that belongs to her anyway. She has nothing to do with my House anymore!”

“I will expect it by the end of the afternoon,” Sirius said. “Remove yourself from this room. We have other business to tend to.”

“Come, Elizabeth,” Lord Davis said, “We're leaving. Now! Goodbye and good riddance Tracey No-Name!

Lady Davis did as asked, not looking twice at her disowned daughter, as she stepped out of the room. Daphne had stood and was by her girlfriend's side before the Lord and Lady Davis had even opened the door to leave. She pulled Tracey against her, and Tracey cried into her shoulder. Harry wasn't sure if it a cry of was sadness, or relief.

“Tracey Black,” Sirius said, looking at Tracey, as he finally sat back down. “Never Tracey No-Name. Ever.”

Tracey looked at Sirius with a tearful smile, then buried her face back in her girlfriend's shoulder.

Lord and Lady Greengrass stared at their daughter comforting her girlfriend. Lord Greengrass then cleared his throat and turned to Harry.

“Lord Harry, did you know about my daughter's... relationship with Tracey?” Lord Greengrass asked.

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“You seemed well-prepared for this confrontation with Lord Davis,” Lord Greengrass said. “Very well-prepared.”

“Last night,” Harry said, “I met with your daughter and Miss... Tracey. We discussed what would happen today. We discussed – to use a grand chain of metaphors – all the paths we might wander down, and even those not traveled, and those we hoped would never be even constructed. Let's just say this was one of those we hoped wouldn't be constructed. But we planned for it.

“Lord Greengrass. I do not want a repeat of just happened. We're in an Alliance. According to Daphne, you never left that Alliance, even when the rumors sprang forth that the House of its founder was extinct. You kept it going, as did some of our Allies. I thank you for that. I consider your daughter a friend. What happens between now and the end of this meeting will tell me whether or not you also deserve that title.

“You heard the offer earlier. Daphne has agreed to everything we will discuss in the Contract, as well as the added proviso of Wife's Consort. My House Solicitor and good family friend, Edward Tonks --”

Ted smiled. “Call me Ted. Everyone does.”

“-- has told me that everything but the reason I'm Betrothed to your daughter can be changed in the Contract,” Harry continued. “I don't think I need to tell you what your daughter feels about her girlfriend. You can see it. How they feel about each other. They chanced being disowned for their beliefs to bring forth this announcement to you. Tracey got disowned for it. They did not make this decision with loose tongues and hormones. Both convinced me, my mother, and Sirius that they want this. Even at fourteen years old.

“They want what, you ask? A Wife's Consort Contract added into the Betrothal Contract. Only necessary,that we discuss it here because the Wife is Daphne. Now, there's nothing you need to worry about when it comes to betterment of Houses and new generations. Daphne's agreed to bear at least one child, perhaps more, by me. You'll have your grandchildren you wish from your eldest daughter.

“And perhaps you'll have more than just Daphne's. There is a possibility of Tracey accepting to have a child or two. But while it would be from me... your daughter and Tracey would be their mothers to her children, while I would be the favorite Uncle who stays around and never leaves. 'Daddy'... maybe when the truth is revealed when they're older. But I will have enough children who will call me Daddy.”

Illiana had tears in her eyes and was looking at Daphne and Tracey with smiles. She stood, walked over to the girls and wrapped them both in hugs.

“Well, I think my wife just spoke for me,” Lord Castor said, “You, Lord Harry, are a well-spoken, well-educated and – if I may – a very intimidating young man.”

Sirius snickered. Ted chuckled. Lily smiled.

“Only to those who decide to cross me or those I care about,” Harry said, shrugging, “At least when it comes to that third part.”

“I've always looked at Tracey as a daughter,” Lord Castor said, gazing at the girls and woman in his life. “I suppose as... Wife's Consort... she'd be a daughter-in-law.”

“I believe so,” Harry said, “So can I call you a friend, Lord Castor?”

“You can call me anything that doesn't make me your enemy,” Lord Castor said, grinning. “I would not want to be on the wrong side of your gaze in the Wizengamot Council. I would not survive. I'd be happy to agree to the Wife's Consort Contract proviso.”

Daphne and Tracey squealed. They walked over to Lord Castor, hugged him around the shoulders and neck, at different times. Daphne kissed him on the cheek, and the girls sat down as did their mother.”

“One question, however,” Lord Castor said, “Before we begin with the Contract discussion. How exactly will Tracey become Miss Black? The Winter Solstice Session is over a month away, and only the Wizengamot can make a Blood Adoption Ritual legal. Lord Davis will likely have a contingent ready to argue against it, in simple revenge against both of you, Lord Potter, Lord Black, and Tracey.”

“We'll be ready,” Sirius said. “Until then... I have already planned contingencies. I will be speaking to Albus Dumbledore and her Head of House, Severus Snape – though I don't look forward to it – about her name change, even before the adoption comes around. I will not have anyone call her Tracey No-Name. I made a promise I'd be here if she was disowned. She will also remove her things from Slytherin House, and bring them to a tent – wizarding tent, of course -- at our Quarters, where two of Lord Potter's friends – also Hogwarts students are already staying.”

“Which brings up something else,” Harry said. “Daphne? Would you like to talk about that?”

“Yes, Lord Potter,” Daphne said. “Daddy – before very long, mine and Tracey's relationship will be known around Hogwarts. Around Slytherin. They will not like that.”

“No.... they won't,” Lord Castor said, frowning. “Too many whelps – mind my language – from the loins of Dark Pureblood supremacists and bigots. I imagine you want to escape to the same tent in question as Tracey?”

“Yes, Daddy,” Daphne said.

“You have my permission,” Lord Castor said.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Daphne said.

“Let us begin the reason we're here,” Lord Castor said.

Lily removed a large scroll of parchment from her purse and placed it on the table. It was the Betrothal Contract.

“Three generations ago,” Harry said, “My Great Grandfather, Lord Fleamont Potter, saved the life of your Grandfather, Lord Cygnus Greengrass. It created a Life-Debt, which bred this Betrothal Contract. Little did he know, it wouldn't become a reality until Daphne and I were born. The First Son and First Daughter Clause is still active. But everything else is open to discussion.”

“As you are my daughter's husband,” Lord Castor said, “You may bring up your provisos.”

Harry inhaled and exhaled, remembering the discussions.

“Wedding date is open for discussion,” Harry said, “But it won't happen until after Daphne and I are finished with our seven-year education. My sister will still be a student – so it will either have to be during Christmas Break the winter after we finish our education. Or the Summer months after.”

“I am fine with the Summer after,” Lord Castor said. “Makes for a better honeymoon, and more time to prepare wedding. Also, better weather. Exact date can be left until after my daughter's education is done.”

“Unless Daphne permits otherwise,” Harry said, “I will not begin courting her until exactly one month after our education ends. Then I ask that she moves in with me, where ever it be I am living at the time.”

“A long courtship,” Lord Castor.

“Maybe even longer if we begin it sooner,” Daphne said, “It is fine with me. Either way, I'm sure Harry will allow me to stay with Tracey.”

“Of course,” Harry said, smiling at the girls, “There's a good place to continue. Wife's Consort. I'm not exactly educated in the details behind how that comes to be. But I imagine it will become official on our wedding date.”

“Fine by me,” Lord Castor said, “Though I move to offer a contingency. If my daughter's relationship with Tracey ends before the date of your wedding, the Consort Contract proviso will be terminated.”

Harry glanced at the girls. They nodded.

“Fine by me,” Harry said. “Now... Daphne's future title. I'm sure Granddaddy Fleamont wanted her to be Lady Potter. I believe he either forgot the tradition, or ignored it, but before and after him, Lady Potter was given to a girl whom Potter men fell in love with, without the aid of Contracts. The Tradition continues.”

“Of course,” Lord Castor said.

“I have two other titles,” Harry said, “One you probably know from Barney Cuffe's article. Lord Peverell. The other is a House Secret I am turning into an Alliance Secret as of this moment, because it will bring forth the betterment of the Great Alliance. I am also Lord Gryffindor.”

Lady Illiana raised her eyebrows in shock. Lord Castor whistled. “Quite the weight on your shoulders there, Lord Potter. I'm going to say Daphne already knows --”

“-- and has turned her nose up to it,” Lady Illiana said, “As she has done to things she dislikes since she was in nappies.”

“Mum!” Daphne squeaked, going red in the face.

“Hush, daughter,” Lady Illiana said, “I have pictures. Your husband will probably want to see them sometime.”

Harry grinned when Daphne glared playfully at him.

“I am offering the title of Lady Peverell,” Harry said.

“A fine name to pass on to my grandchildren,” Lord Castor said. “I accept.”

“Excellent,” Harry said.

He looked at his mother, who had been penning everything on the Contract as the discussion continued. Then he looked at Daphne.

“Expectations of number of Children?” Harry asked.

“My daughter, Astoria, will be in a Line Continuation Contract,” Lord Castor said. “It is up to her to bring forth the next generation of Greengrass. But my wife dreams of many grandchildren to smother and play with.”

“As do I, Lady Illiana,” Lily said, grinning.

“At least one son to pass on your Lord Peverell title to, Lord Harry,” Lord Castor said. “If you have three daughters, and then a son – then that's four children. After a son, you can have as many children with my daughter as you can handle.”

“One last thing,” Harry said. “However, this isn't really Contract stuff. Daphne and Tracey's future education. Either way, I think we both know they'll be together. Sirius, you're going to be Tracey's future Daddy --”

Sirius grinned at Tracey, who smiled prettily.

“And may God help both of you!” Lily quipped, to laughter.

“-- what say you, Sirius? If the girls want to stay at Hogwarts?” Harry asked.

“I would be happy if Tracey were able to live with you Lord Castor,” Sirius said, “During the final week of summer before schooling begins. And any holiday breaks, except most of summer and we split up Christmas and vacations.”

“And if Tracey chooses the school of her soon-to-be father,” Lord Castor said, “Then I imagine Daphne will want to join her future husband and Consort?”

Daphne nodded.

Lord Castor sighed. “I would like to copy Lord Sirius' offer for his future daughter, and take it for mine.”

“Very well,” Harry said, “Anything else you'd like to add?”

“Nothing I can think of,” Lord Castor said. “You know how to handle Betrothal Contract meetings, Lord Harry. I give you that.”

“Which is odd,” Harry said, “Since I never expected to find myself in one.”

“Life works in mysterious ways,” Lord Castor said, glancing at his daughter, “I came here expecting to plan a time when my daughter would get a husband. I really didn't expect she'd also be getting a Consort. Why not just make her one of your wives?”

“Because she doesn't want to marry me, Lord Castor,” Harry said, glancing at Tracey, “She wants to marry your daughter.”

Tracey and Daphne grinned. Lord Castor nodded.

“And... done!” Lily said, “This should be passable to Keeper Ragnok and your Account Manager, Lord Castor. Would you like Ted to look at it, as a middleman?”

“I trust your abilities, Lady Lily,” Lord Castor said.

“Then all it needs is your signature, my son's, and mine and Sirius' as witnesses,” Lily said. “Tracey, you will likely have to sign it when – sorry – your surname becomes official.”

Tracey nodded. The signatures were signed, and the Contract was finished.

“My son or I will present this to Keeper Ragnok soon,” Lily said, “And he should be able to give a copy to your Account Manger --”

“Steeltooth,” Lord Castor supplied.

“I believe our meeting is finished,” Harry said.

He stood and offered a hand, which Lord Castor shook and accepted. Lord Castor and Lady Illiana hugged Daphne – and Lady Illiana hugged Tracey too. Then Daphne's parents left after proper farewells.

“Harry, Tracey, Daphne,” Sirius said, “Meet me at the House Potter Tent when you return from your dates. We will meet with Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor Snape.”

Tracey went emotional again, and walked over to Sirius. She hesitated slightly, then hugged him around the waist. Sirius froze for a moment, before patting her on the back.

“Thank you, Sirius,” Tracey said. “I will never, ever be able to repay you for this. Ever.”

“You're welcome, Tracey,” Sirius said, “A great man and equally great wife and son took me in when I ran away from home and thought I was disowned. I promised I would never see someone treated how I was. Even worse that it is a fourteen year old girl. You will always have a home, Tracey.”

Tracey sniffled, hugged Sirius for a few more moments, then backed away. Harry noticed a slight look of shock on Daphne's face as she looked at her girlfriend. He wasn't sure what that was all about.

“Harry,” Lily said. “You know I don't like to repeat myself. But I am going to repeat what I have said... countless times in your lifetime. You have made me so very proud today. Standing up for Tracey in front of Lord Davis – and in essence Daphne in front of her own father – I knew I didn't need to step in. You handled yourself very well.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Harry said. “Are you going back to the tents yet?”

“I promised your sister I wouldn't interfere in her picnic,” Lily said. “Walking past her picnic to go into the tent – might be interference. I haven't visited Hogsmeade in a long time. I'm going to do my own exploring.”

“And I would be happy to accompany you,” Sirius said.

“Just don't call it a date,” Lily snarked. “You got your own to set up already.”

Sirius grinned. Harry stood, as did Lily. Harry hugged his mother, then his godfather, and shook Ted's hand.

“Ted, thank you for your help with Lord Davis today,” Harry  said.

“Don't mention it, Lord Harry,” Ted said, “Though a bit of luck with the Missus might help. I promised I wouldn't get into a yelling match without her here with me. And she ain't here.”

Harry laughed. “Good luck. If anything, tell her you did me a great favor.”

“She'll accept that,” Ted said, “Thanks.”

“Now, go on,” Lily said. “I am sure Hermione is waiting. We'll see you later. All three of you.”

Harry grinned. Daphne and Tracey said goodbye, and they headed off out of the private room.

What none of them saw was a water-beetle, hiding in a plant outside in the corridor. She knew her target was inside the room. But the room was muffled, so she couldn't hear a word. The parents of her target had stormed out earlier, the father calling her target a “Merlin-be-damned Witches' Whore!”

Rita Skeeter in Animagus form followed her target and who appeared to be the target's same-sex romantic partner. The partner being someone that she couldn't touch, article-wise, due to damn exclusivity because she was a House Potter Alliance member. But the other one...

It was time to follow a couple witches on their Hogsmeade date. Rita Skeeter had found her next story!

 

Chapter Text

Saturday, November 7 th . 1994


Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley were sitting in one of the private meeting rooms at the Three Broomsticks. His Grandmother, Augusta, would be there any moment. They had spent the last two-and-a-half hours walking around Hogsmeade Village, holding hands, and visiting shops. Once or twice, after Neville had offered to by something for her, Ginny had accepted then she had dragged Neville down alleyways in between shops for a nice little snog in reward.

“Neville,” Ginny said, “Are you going to tell me about that interview you had?”

Neville sighed. “I will after the meeting with Gran,” Neville said.

Ginny grinned. “Did you say anything about me?”

“Maybe,” Neville said, in a sing-song voice.

“Well, I hope so,” Ginny said, “Because if you did, I might just have to take you up to the Snog Spot near the Shrieking Shack for that sneak peak I promised at breakfast.”

Neville's cheeks heated up. Before he could answered, the door of the room opened. He and Ginny instantly stood as Neville's Gran walked into the room, the stuffed vulture on top of her nearly brushing the top of the doorway. Augusta raised her eyebrows in surprise when she saw Ginny.

“Miss Weasley?” Augusta said.

“Yes, Lady Augusta?” Ginny asked.

“This meeting is only for House Longbottom ears,” Augusta said. “So unless you have both been keeping a secret from me, you need to leave. Neville will see you shortly.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Ginny said.

She pecked Neville on the cheek, then walked out of the room, curtsying to Augusta as she passed her by.

“I am happy to see your relationship is still strong, Grandson,” Augusta said, as she sat down across from Neville. “It is strong, am I correct?”

“I think so,” Neville said. “Though sometimes...”

“Sometimes what?” Augusta asked.

“This morning she called Harry Potter handsome,” Neville said.

“Lord Potter is a very handsome young man,” Augusta said, “Like his father and Grandfather before him. Why should that make you have doubt about your relationship with Ginny? Do you believe Ginny fancies Lord Potter?”

Neville frowned and shrugged.

“Ginny was testing you, Neville,” Augusta said, “She wanted to know whether you'd get jealous. Did you pass or fail?”

“I think I failed,” Neville said.

“And yet she seems very happy now,” Augusta said. “Your picture was in the Daily Prophet several times too. I should know. All of them are now in my scrapbook. Did she look at them?”

“She said I looked handsome,” Neville said, “Not as handsome as in real life, but handsome. She was envious that others could look at them.”

“Then she feels the same way about you that she did before she called Lord Potter handsome,” Augusta said. “Ginny does not fancy Lord Potter any more than any of the other silly girls do up at the castle. But I can tell by the way she kissed you that she wouldn't do anything to betray you. Sometimes we females like to tease boys we love. That is all.”

Neville blushed and smiled.

“And yet I still sense doubt in you, Grandson,” Augusta said, “So what is wrong?”

Neville sighed. “Something Headmaster Dumbledore said.”

“And what did that old codger say that made you doubt Ginny?” Augusta asked, narrowing her eyebrows.

“Nothing – he approves of my relationship with her – he encouraged me to focus on her,” Neville said, “But that's just it. Focus! He said I need to keep my focus dedicated to few things. The Triwizard Tournament, and classes. They take up so much time this year. And after them, Ginny takes up the rest aside from personal hygiene and sleeping time.”

“So?” Augusta asked, “What is the issue?”

“You're here to talk to me about obtaining my Lordship, aren't you?” Neville asked, “That is what you explained in your letter?”

“Yes,” Augusta said, “I am here to see whether you will accept it now or later.”

Neville frowned. “I'd have to choose Ginny or my Lordship, Gran. I need your help.”

Augusta sighed. “Do you remember when we used to take those metaphorical rides on Time Turners?”

“We hop in time one year from that moment in time,” Neville said, grinning. “Even though that is impossible.”

“Let's take another ride, Neville,” Augusta said. “It is November 7 th , 1995. What are you focused on in your life if you choose Ginny?”

“OWLs, Classes and Ginny,” Neville said.

“OWLs and Classes can fall under the same subject with enough focus, Neville,” Augusta said.

“You're right,” Neville said. “So that brings some focus elsewhere.”

“Another ride,” Augusta said, “This time you chose your Lordship. No Ginny. Hmm... between now and then. I could see the Betrothal canceled if that happens. So what is going on now, Lord Neville?”

“OWLs and Classes,” Neville said, “Lord Longbottom duties.”

“Not old enough for Wizengamot Council, Grandson,” Augusta said. “How many duties are you really handling, right now?”

“Not enough to take up too much time,” Neville said.

“And Ginny?” Augusta asked.

“She might have a new boyfriend,” Neville said, “and the rest of my focus is pining over her, and jealous of her boyfriend.

“Is it Lord Potter?” Augusta asked.

“No,” Neville said, “He's at Ilvermorny. Too long-distance for Ginny.”

“Do you have a girlfriend?” Augusta asked.

Neville shook his head.

“Why?” Augusta asked, “You're Lord Longbottom. Get another Betrothal!”

“Ginny isn't just a Betrothal girlfriend!” Neville argued. “Don't you understand that, Gran! I --!”

Neville blinked, as a realization poured over him.. Augusta smiled.

“Back to reality,” she said. “Can you make your choice now?”

“I am going to wait to claim my Lordship until after the Tournament, Gran,” Neville said, “Will Keeper Lockjaw accept that?”

“I think he might even say it is a mature decision,” Augusta said. “As would I. Ginny is not something that can wait a year. Your Lordship is. You can get your Lordship back. Ginny...”

“Once she's gone, she's likely gone,” Neville said.

“I believe this meeting is over,” Augusta said. “Go see Ginny. And Neville? Make sure she isn't joking with you before you raise your temper at her in the future.”

“Yes, Gran,” Neville said.

“Now come around here and hug me,” Augusta said.

Neville smiled, rounded the table, and hugged his Gran.

“Go and win this Tournament, Neville,” Augusta said, “Neville Longbottom Lord Longbottom, Triwizard Champion. A good name. One I can be proud of.”

Neville blushed, and his resolve strengthened.

“Now go and see Ginny,” Augusta said. “I will see you for the First Task.”

“Bye Gran,” Neville said, “I love you.”

“I love you, Grandson,” Augusta said.

Neville smiled and hurried from the room. Ginny was sitting on a bench down the corridor. Neville walked over to her, pulled her from the bench, and kissed her better than he ever had.

“Wow,” Ginny said, after backing away a minute later. “Hi Neville. Good meeting?”

“I love you, Ginny Weasley,” Neville said.

Ginny grinned. “I love you, Neville Longbottom. Now take me to the Snog Spot.”

“What about the sneak-peak?” Neville asked.

“Ooh,” Ginny said, “You're getting a sneak-peek.”

Neville grinned and led Ginny out of the Three Broomsticks. Neville had felt he had definitely made the right choice.


Hogsmeade Village

“Hermione?” Luna's voice came from the other side of the half-door.

Hermione was currently standing in front of a mirror in one of the changing rooms of the “Whimsical Witches Clothing Store.” She was trying on bras that would give her chest a bit more of a lift. She remembered Harry talking about her curves being hidden in her school robes, and she wanted to improve that. She was standing sideways, trying to imagine wearing her robes and seeing if it improved it.

“Mmm?” Hermione asked.

“Harry's done with his meeting,” Luna said, “Luckily, I was following a Flutterby around the store, and it went outside at the same moment Harry came upon the store. I told him you were in here. He asked me why you were in a Boy's Clothing Store.”

Hermione sighed. Enchantments were around the shop that made Witches be able to see and walk into this store, and Wizards go into another. She couldn't wrap her mind around that magic. Alternate Dimension Enchantments?

“Did you tell him what the store was to witches?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Luna said. “I told him he needed to turn into a witch if he wanted to come and find you. He's cute when he blushes, isn't he?”

“Yes, yes he is,” Hermione said. “So he's waiting for me?”

“Yes,” Luna said.

“Bugger,” Hermione muttered under her breath. “Tell him five minutes.”

She twisted her waist, checking all sides from the front.

“It should be enough,” she said to herself, “Hmm... at least it would approve my casual wear.”

Satisfied, she put her shirt back on, picked up her shopping bag, and walked out. She grabbed three more identical bras, placed them in the bag and walked over to the counter. She placed everything on the counter.”

“All of this,” she said; then she pulled down her neckline to show the bra, “Plus this one. Sorry. I just had to put it on.”

“Witches have walked out of here wearing more than just bras they just bought, dearie,” the receptionist said, “As long as you buy it.”

She paid when the receptionist gave her the cost, collected her purchases, then headed out of the shop. Harry and Luna were talking. He smiled his dazzling smile when he saw her.

“Notice anything new?” Hermione asked.

“I don't see any new clothing you're wearing,” Harry said.

“You can't see it,” Hermione said grinning.

She turned to her side, to show off her profile and curves. Harry's eyes went to the right spot... then immediately moved back to her eyes. Hermione grinned. Success!

“Hermione,” Harry said, “You know you didn't need to do that.”

Hermione pouted. “Don't I look good?”

“Cheeky witch trying to catch me up with a trap question,” Harry quipped. “You looked good before, you look good now.”

“I'm glad you approve,” Hermione said, “Besides, it is more for a less modest look while wearing my school robes. Several girls do it.”

Harry sighed. “Hermione. I'm not looking at those girls. I am looking at you. Don't ever feel you need to change for me. You'd change what made me notice you.”

“Should I go ask Madam Pomfrey for my buck-teeth back?” Hermione asked.

“Your decision,” Harry said.

“I kiss better without them,” Harry said.

“Really?” Harry asked, “Who did you kiss when you had them?”

“My pillow?” Hermione joked.

Harry laughed out loud, then pulled her to him and kissed her. She grinned and kissed him back.

“Hmm,” Hermione said, when she was done, “Much better than a pillow!”

“I'm going to go find that Flutterby,” Luna said, “Bye!”

Hermione did a double-take. She had forgotten her friend was there. She was too focused on Harry. And now she felt really, really bad.

“You don't have to go, Luna,” Hermione said.

“But the Flutterby would miss me,” Luna pouted.

“Fine,” Hermione said. “If you find it, come back and find us.”

“Okay,” Luna said, “Oh, and the Snog Spot is occupied right now.”

“Snog Spot?” Harry echoed.

Hermione blushed. She had planned on going there. “How do you know?”

“Saw Neville and Ginny going up in that direction,” Luna said.

“Neville and Ginny?” Hermione asked, “They're... fourteen and thirteen!”

“What's so bad about that?” Harry asked,“They're just going to... wherever this place is to snog it sounds like.”

“Ginny said something about a sneak-peek,” Luna said, thoughtfully.

Hermione blinked, then decided she didn't want to know. “Thanks, Luna.”

“Do you want me to come find you, even if you are at the Snog Spot?” Luna asked.

“Would we be doing something besides snogging?” Harry asked.

“It's a nice place to relax after winding from a bit of fun,” Luna said.

“How do you know?!” Hermione demanded.

“I heard someone say they went up there to sit and talk with their friend after shopping,” Luna said.

“... and relax after having fun,” Hermione realized.

“A fun time shopping,” Luna said, “What did you think I meant?”

“Go find that Flutterby, Luna,” Hermione said, sighing, “Before it takes so long, you miss the carriages.”

Luna grinned. She waved goodbye and walked away.

“The Snog Spot isn't a place to snog, is it?” Harry asked.

“It is,” Hermione said, then winced, “And more.”

“Were you going to take me there?” Harry asked, feigning innocence.

“Not to do the 'more' stuff,” Hermione said, glaring playfully at him. “Besides, it isn't very private. Anyone can walk up on you.”

“How do you know?” Harry asked, grinning.

“Um,” Hermione said, “Mandy Brocklehurst has told so many stories in my hearing range about the Snog Spot, that I'm quite sure she's a slut in all the ways that doesn't count loss of virginity?”

“Wow,” Harry said, “Been keeping that one in very long, Hermione?”

“Yep,” Hermione replied, “Because you've been distracting me... by being nice, then being my boyfriend, then a nice boyfriend. And then there is the kisses. And classes. And homework. And kisses.”

“You said 'kisses' twice,” Harry supplied.. “I think I better continue to distract you. Your mouth is too cute to be dirty.”

Hermione back-handed him in the chest playfully.

“Violent,” Harry said, grinning, “Were you really wanting to snog me?”

“Impress me for a couple more hours and I might snog you in a carriage,” Hermione said, “More private than the Snog Spot. It is your turn to lead me around the Village.”

Harry took her hand that wasn't holding her shopping bag, and they started walking down the street as Harry looked around at the storefronts, choosing a shop.

“We haven't gone to the candy store yet,” Harry said. “It might not be as full as it was when we first got here.”

“Well, I am hungry,” Hermione said, “and exploring is better than sitting down and eating.”

“And you like chocolate,” Harry said.

“My parents are dentists,” Hermione quipped.

“And...?” Harry asked.

“And I like chocolate,” Hermione conceded, “But only because I rarely get any at home.”

“Chocolate it is,” Harry said. “Do you want to hear about what happened with Daphne and Tracey?”

“Is it going to make me mad?” Hermione replied.

“Mad how?” Harry asked, slowly.

“Challenge anyone to a duel?” Hermione asked.

Harry frowned and opened his mouth, then closed it. Hermione sighed, and decided to save him.

“I'll let Tracey and Daphne tell me,” Hermione said. “And see if your challenge was justified. Tell me one thing. Did Tracey and Daphne at least get out of it unscathed?”

Harry sighed. “She's disowned from her House, a couple steps closer to spending her life with the girl she loves, a couple steps from becoming Tracey Black – unofficially she is Tracey Black. Daphne's Betrothed to me, and in a Wife's Consort Contract with Tracey. Is that a yes or no?”

“Are they happy?” Hermione asked.

Harry nodded.

“Then it is a yes,” Hermione said. “I'll find out everything else from them. It sounds as if you had a successful meeting.”

“Now, entertain me with a couple hours of shopping, and you'll get that snog in a carriage,” Hermione said.

Two hours later, the couple shared their first snog in a carriage as it made its way back to Hogwarts. Luna had found her Flutterby, said goodbye to it – which was apparently her whole point of finding it – and had rode in a carriage behind them, with the excuse she didn't want to interrupt their snogging. Hermione was pleased to say she had succeeded for once in breathing through her nose. And she really, really liked French kissing.

She also liked giggling afterward at Harry's green-in-the-gills expression when Luna asked Harry whether it would be a normal kiss or a French kiss when Gabrielle and Rose had their first kiss. Hermione wasn't sure how Luna had known she and Harry had a French kiss. It would be the only reason her friend would mention it.

Later that evening, Hermione would realize Luna's Flutterby antics were her having trying to have fun by herself when her best friend was on a date. The “Flutterby” had probably led her all around the village – like Hermione would have if she had accompanied Luna. Hermione vowed to invite Luna to accompany her and Harry next time. Even if it meant less snogging. She didn't want to lose her best friend because she had a boyfriend.


Hogwarts Grounds near Ilvermorny Tents

The American and French finger foods from the picnic baskets were all finished, as was the six-pack of butterbeer. Rose and Gabrielle were now laying spread across the picnic blanket, with their heads near each other, and they were watching clouds roll across the sky. Rose hadn't gotten that first kiss she wanted yet, but she hardly cared. She had spent the last three hours getting to know her new girlfriend. Gabrielle entertained with stories of Beauxbatons. She was an excellent story-teller, which was obvious after the Hippolyta story. Rose talked of Ilvermorny, and growing up in Boston.

“May I ask a personal question, Rose?” Gabrielle asked.

“Sure,” Rose said.

'”When did you know you were bisexual?” Gabrielle asked. “You don't have to answer.”

“You told me when you knew you liked girls,” Rose said ,”So I am okay answering. It was around the second week of my first term at Ilvermorny last year. I was sitting in my bed, doing homework. And suddenly one of my room-mates walks out of our dormitory bathroom, with a towel around her waist. She's the eldest in our year, so she was starting to develop. And... I was staring at her. Another girl, one of my friends, called my name. Apparently she called it three times before I stopped watching my half-naked dorm-mate walk across the room.

“Thankfully, my best friend didn't realize what was going on. She just thought I was thinking about an answer on my homework. I'm not even attracted to my dorm-mate. But...”

“It made you realize you had been staring,” Gabrielle said.

“Not at first,” Rose said. “It took me a week.”

“Or you just refused to believe it at first,” Gabrielle said. “Doubted yourself. 'I was jealous of her early developments while I'm still flat-chested.' 'She surprised me by walking out topless, and I just stared in shock'.”

Rose giggled. “Then I started catching myself staring at other girls.”

“And boys?” Gabrielle asked.

“No boys I like right now at my school,” Rose said, “So... no. It took me a week to realize that I was staring at girls. And three more days before I finally spoke to my family about it. Thank Merlin they were at school with me. Because they helped me realize it was okay to feel what I feel. I would have exploded had I had to wait until Christmas Break to speak to my family about that. Letters wouldn't have said it right.”

“We are both lucky we had family nearby when our revelations hit us,” Gabrielle said.

“Yes,” Rose said. “Gabby? What... what are we... exactly?”

Rose felt Gabrielle move, and suddenly, Gabrielle's face was above her, blocking her view of the clouds.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“You asked me to be your girlfriend,” Rose said, “My mother has girlfriends. She calls them girlfriends. But I know they aren't the romantic type. Now I am wondering what type of girlfriend I have and...”

Rose stopped talking. Gabrielle's lips were suddenly on hers. Rose's brain went fuzzy. Gabrielle's lips were so very soft. Rose moved her lips back and forth and kissed Gabrielle back. At least she hoped that was what she was supposed to do. The kiss barely lasted five seconds, before Gabrielle backed away... it felt like longer...

“Wow,” Rose whispered. “I have that type of girlfriend.”

“I am sorry I made you doubt my intentions, Rose,” Gabrielle said. “I was not sure if you believed you were old enough to be kissed. Or I'd have kissed you when you said you'd be my girlfriend.”

Rose pecked Gabrielle on the lips, and backed away.

“Does that answer your question?” Rose asked.

“Oui,” Gabrielle said.

Rose's heart fluttered. She liked it when her girlfriend spoke French.

Gabrielle laid down horizontally next to Rose, and laid her head back down on the blanket. Then Gabrielle gently grasped her hand in Rose's closest one. Rose grinned. This was the first time they had held hands. Rose looked up at the clouds again, and wondered if they were as soft as her girlfriend's lips.

“I see a cloud that looks like one of your tents,” Gabrielle said.

Rose smiled. Off and on for the past hour as they laid on the blanket and talked, they randomly pointed at clouds that looked like different shapes.

“That one,” Rose said, pointing, “Looks like a mermaid.”

Rose felt Gabrielle's hand squeeze hers tight, and the Veela's body shivered.

“Gabby?” Rose asked, turning to look at her girlfriend, “What's wrong?”

“Veela and Mermaids are mortal enemies,” Gabrielle said. “We're creatures of fire. They're creatures of water. They... there are mermaids in the lake down there. On the first night we were here. Fleur and I were both awakened by a horrible sound. It was a mermaid's song. Several mermaids. Above the water, it is just a screeching sound. Horrible. I crawled into Fleur's bed, cuddled up to her, and we knew... Fleur and I knew... they had sensed our presence; They were giving us a warning.”

“A warning?” Rose asked, frowning.

“Do not go near the water, Veela,” Gabrielle said, “For you are made of fire.”

“So... Veela can't swim?” Rose asked.

“Oh, we can swim,” Gabrielle said. “We're just unwelcome in a mermaid's encampment.”

“Unwelcome?” Rose asked.

“I believe it was an Italian who once wrote 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” Gabrielle said. “Good motto for Veela who wish to swim into mermaid encampments.”

“Oh,” Rose said.

“Thestrals,” Gabrielle said.

Rose squinted at the clouds. “I don't see it.”

“Because you haven't seen death,” Gabrielle said, “They're pulling the carriages.”

Gabrielle was sitting up. She was still holding onto Rose's hand, but with her other, she was pointing. Rose sat up, and saw the carriages. Then she saw her mother and Uncle Sirius get out of a carriage. A few carriages away, Harry and Hermione... then Luna, in a carriage behind them. Then Rose spotted Daphne and Tracey. Good. Rose wanted Gabrielle to meet them...

Wait. Why were Harry and Sirius following Daphne and Tracey into the castle when her mother, Luna and Hermione were heading their way? Harry and Hermione were usually joined by the hip during their free time, ever since they started dating. Rose had hoped she and Gabrielle could be the same way. Something was wrong. And it had to do with Daphne and Tracey. The meeting, perhaps?

“Is our date over?” Gabrielle asked.

“Maybe,” Rose said, “But I don't want you to go yet. Can you stay?”

“Until Fleur comes and gets me,” Gabrielle said.

“Good,” Rose said. “Because I want my family to meet my girlfriend. And two of them seem to be delayed in returning.”

“Do you think it would improper to let your mother know we're girlfriends from a distance?” Gabrielle asked, grinning.

“How?” Rose asked.

Gabrielle licked her bottom lip. Rose had to look away so she wouldn't kiss her girlfriend.

“Yes!” Rose hissed, with little heat, “Very improper!”

“Shame,” Gabrielle said, grinning, “It would have been a memorable introduction.”

“Introducing you as my girlfriend isn't?” Rose asked, raising an eyebrow.

Gabrielle shrugged, and smiled. “It'll do.”

“Mischievous little Veela, aren't you?” Rose giggled.

Gabrielle's response was merely a wink.

Soon Rose introduced her girlfriend to her mother, Remus, Luna and Hermione. Rose blushed when Remus said he knew it after he saw Gabrielle kiss her. Lily hit him with a stinging hex – which she rarely did to him – and told him he shouldn't have watched something so private. When Remus stammered and said he had looked out at them at the wrong moment, it only made Lily glare at him. But her expression softened when she saw her daughter laughing with her new girlfriend at Remus, right along with Hermione and Luna.

Hermione and Luna then went back to their tent, to prepare for their new dorm-mates' arrival, and to put away their purchases.

The sight of Rose and Gabrielle leaning against the back of the sofa, pointing at clouds out the window, and talking in whispers was a heartwarming sight for Lily. She knew her daughter may be young for romance. But to Lily, it almost didn't resemble romance. It reminded her of a time when two children were pointing at things, smiling and whispering, and giggling. It had been butterflies instead of clouds. Of course... those two kids she remembered never did anything like kiss... though one wished they had, while the other would never echo their friend's feelings...

She only hoped her daughter's relationship went better than how the relationship of those two children had turned out.

She knew Gabrielle was at least bisexual, if not a lesbian. It was good that her daughter found someone she could identify with. She'd have to watch them, of course, and perhaps talk to Rose about it. But somehow she knew this was good for Rose. How could it not be?

Rose looked absolutely happy. And there was nothing better to see for a mother than her child happy.

 

Chapter Text


Saturday, November 7 th . 1994

Sirius stepped out of the Thestral-drawn carriage, following Lily as she stepped out too.

“Ooh, how cute is that, Sirius?” Lily asked.

Sirius almost proved all the times she insulted his lack of loquacity by saying “huh?” when he saw what she was obviously looking at. His Goddaughter, Rose, was sitting on a picnic blanket so close to a blonde-haired girl that it appeared they were holding hands.

“They're still having a picnic?” Sirius asked. “How long have they been there?”

“They probably finished eating long ago,” Lily said, “And are just talking and getting to know each other. Ten Galleons says they're girlfriends already.”

“You really think so?” Sirius asked.

“Look how close they are,” Lily said. “Holding hands. Hmm... if you were passing time on a picnic with fluffy white clouds in the sky, what would you do?”

“You don't want to know, Tiger-Lily,” Sirius quipped.

“As twelve year olds!” Lily exclaimed.

“Ooh, right,” Sirius said, “Lay down, and look up and look at the sky?”

“And look for shapes in the clouds,” Lily said.

“Something you and Snape did way back when?” Sirius asked.

“Hush,” Lily said, “You better be nice to him.”

“I better be nice to him?” Sirius asked. “You're avoiding him!”

“He still feels something for me that I never have and will never return, Sirius,” Lily said, “So I have my reasons. You're helping two of his students – one who is this close to being your daughter -- inform him and Albus of a deep secret and informing him they're moving out of the dorms he lords over. This is about Tracey and Daphne, not me. Speak of the devil, there they are. Kids!””

Sirius turned and saw Tracey and Daphne with Harry, Hermione and Luna, and when they heard Lily, they headed in their direction.

“Guess we all arrived at the same time,” Harry said, “You see Rose and – what's her name – Gabrielle?”

“Don't you tease her, Harry James!” Lily scolded, “Nor you Sirius Black! Rose has found somebody to spend time with – even if she's just a friend.”

“We'll behave,” Sirius said. “Harry, Tracey, Daphne. We need to go see Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor Snape.”

“Now?” Lily asked.

“Yes, now,” Sirius said. “Before other students notice us, and rumors start to go around. Somebody had to see Lord Davis fuming as he stormed away from the room. Sorry, Tracey.”

“Doesn't matter,” Tracey said. “Have you received my things from my house?”

“Not yet,” Sirius said, “If they're not here in a couple hours, I'll... do something I'll likely regret is what I'll do. I need to take my mind off of bigots. A man who hates my guts will change the scenery nicely. Come on kids.”

“Hates your guts?” Tracey asked, as Sirius led her, Daphne and Harry into the castle.

“You don't want to know,” Sirius muttered.

It was not even something he had told Harry yet. 'Oh, hey, Shadow. I once nearly led Severus Snape into Moony's den, and Moony nearly turned Snape or killed him, if your dear old dad hadn't saved his life!' Yeah... that would go real well.

When they arrived into the Entrance Hall, Sirius was shockingly relieved to find Severus there with Minerva waiting for students to come in.

“Black,” Snape said, “What are you doing with two of my Slytherins?”

“If you would escort me, my godson and your two Slytherins to the Headmaster's office, I can explain,” Sirius said.

“You can explain now,” Snape said, narrowing his eyes.

“Professor Snape,” Tracey said. “Please listen to him. This isn't life or death. But it is close. And it could affect the House of Slytherin greatly if not remedied quickly.”

Snape looked at Tracey, and frowned. He then nodded, turned and led them up to the Grand Staircase without a word. Silence. Sirius didn't like it. It was too eerie. But he didn't trust words coming out of his mouth in front of his godson, his soon-to-be daughter, and her girlfriend, especially when his arch-nemesis from his teenage days was there with them. So he let silence reign. His thoughts were loud though, as he tried to figure out how to explain all of this to Albus and Snape.

“Ice Mice,” Snape said, as soon as they approached the stone gargoyle, before heading up the stairs first.

Harry and the girls followed Snape, and Sirius followed behind them. Soon, they entered Albus' office. Albus was reading a letter, and looking particularly happy about something. Sirius wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Sever – Professor Snape,” Albus amended to proper decorum, once he saw the two Slytherin students following behind Snape with Lord Potter and Lord Black. “This is an unexpected visit. Lord Potter, Lord Black, I was thinking of writing to you, but here you are. I wanted to congratulate you and your family on some excellent reading material on the front page of the Daily Prophet. May I ask why you are seeking my presence.

“Miss Davis,” Snape said; he paused when he heard Tracey hiss, and looked at her, “Pardon, Miss --”

“Do not use that surname around me ever again, Professor Snape,” Tracey interrupted. “It does not belong to me anymore.”

Sirius noted Snape's eyes widening in surprise as he looked upon Tracey. Albus was staring at Tracey.

“Albus,” Sirius said, “I better not be seeing any attempts at trying to divulge Tracey's news before she can tell it.”

Snape's expression was back to a glare. “What does she have any concern –?”

“If we may all sit down,” Albus interrupted, obviously noting Sirius' glare at Snape.

“I think I'll stand,” Sirius said.

“As will I,” Snape said.

Three chairs appeared on the closest side of Albus' desk. Daphne sat in the middle with Harry and Tracey on either side. Sirius stood behind the chairs.

“This afternoon,” Tracey said, “I was officially disowned by Lord Davis from the Noble House of Davis.”

Thanks to his slightly-enhanced hearing due to his Animagus, he could hear Snape curse under his breath.

“I am so sorry, my dear,” Albus said, “What would ever give him cause to do that?”

“I revealed to him that I am a Witches' Witch,” Tracey said.

Severus cursed under his breath again. Sirius also noted a look of realization on the man's face. Snape seemed to already be getting the point of the meeting.

“I also revealed to him,” Tracey said, “That I have been in a secret romantic relationship with another witch for over a year.”

“I am that witch,” Daphne said. “I am bisexual, but the reason for admitting that to you and Professor Snape is still as important as Tracey's own reason.”

“Their relationship will never be completely accepted inside Slytherin House when it is revealed, Albus,” Snape said. “They are lucky to have kept it a secret so long. There are students in Slytherin – many of them – who were raised by their families to look down upon girls in Miss – Tracey's situation. That she is not interested in any of them romantically – and never will be – will be an issue. Not to mention that she is also disowned.”

“She may no longer be a Davis,” Sirius said, “But she is not a No-Name.”

Snape turned to Sirius. “What did you do, Black?”

“Tracey and I have agreed to take part in a Blood Adoption,” Sirius said. “It only needs to be approved by the Wizengamot during the next council session – which is the Winter Solstice.”

“And if it isn't approved?” Snape asked.

“I have no doubts it will be,” Sirius said. “I will do everything I can between now and then to make sure of that.”

“Perhaps I could be of some assistance?” Albus asked.

“If I need your assistance,” Sirius said, “I will ask for it. I am not asking right now.”

“Severus, do you fear for the safety of these two girls?” Albus asked.

“I fear I would not be able to persuade the Slytherins to leave them alone,” Snape said.

“What do you suggest?” Albus asked.

“Move them into Living Quarters,” Snape said.

“Unnecessary,” Sirius said. “Tracey will be living in the same Ilvermorny Tent as Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood. As will Daphne. She has been given Lord Castor Greengrass' permission.”

“Proof?” Snape asked.

“I could have my father write you a letter, Professor,” Daphne said, “Either way, I will be joining Tracey in the Ilvermorny Tents tonight.”

“Mr. Dumbledore?” Harry asked.

“Yes, Lord Potter?” Albus asked, “You've been surprisingly silent. Comments?”

“Daphne and Tracey are under House Potter Protection,” Harry said.

Snape snorted. “Of course they are. Are you going to leap onto the Slytherin table tonight during dinner, and rant to the Slytherins are they are all bullies?”

“Isn't that your job, sir?” Harry asked.

Sirius, who had opened his mouth to tell Snape to leave his Godson alone, now closed it. If he could cheer out loud without letting Snape and Albus hear it, he would. Bravo, Shadow!

“It is,” Snape said, “Which is why I would ask you to let me do it.”

“Go right ahead,” Harry said. “Will you be the one responsible for revealing to the whole castle of Tracey and Daphne's secret? Because I think you would need their permission first.”

“I can send a clear enough message without revealing who the message is about,” Snape said.

“Really?” Harry asked. “So it isn't going to be obvious it is the two Slytherins sleeping in one of my tents, and no longer living inside Slytherin House?”

One of Snape's eyes twitched.

Sirius decided this was a memory Lily and Remus would have to see for themselves. A simple explanation did not work well enough!

“Professor?” Sirius asked Snape, “Your reply?”

“How would you do it then... Lord Potter ?” Snape asked.

Harry shrugged. “I wouldn't. It isn't my job. My job as Tracey and Daphne's Protector is to make sure they're not affected by the aftermath of their secret being revealed. That is going to be difficult in itself. They won't be sleeping in the same House as those who you yourself have deemed as threats to them, sir. But they will be in classes. And I can't do anything to protect them there.”

“Lord Potter,” Albus said. “You seem to be doing your best to improve International Magical Cooperation by helping Hogwarts with some of its errors that Ilvermorny has fixed. What would Ilvermorny do in this situation?”

“I can hardly compare, sir,” Harry said. “The students of Ilvermorny have known about bullying and other threats being illegal since they arrived at the school. Your improvements in the rules around here have been up for less than a week. The students haven't adapted enough. And that isn't if you count the nurturing those students your Professor mentioned have experienced all their lives toward looking down upon everything that my Protected represent when it comes to their secrets. There is no comparison between Ilvermorny and Hogwarts in that. Hogwarts has to deal with the blow back of this. You are the Headmaster. Can you think of something?”

“The obvious complete removal from the school for both girls,” Snape said.

“Ignore the situation, and harm the girls' education because of their sexuality?” Harry asked. “Ignoring the situation doesn't improve it. What if Tracey's not the only Witches' Witch around here? Going to remove them all. A Hogwarts Holocaust! Punish all homosexuals and bisexuals! Throw them all out of the school! Make a ward that lets none of them in! How about your guests? What if one of them falls under that category? There you go! You suggest removing these girls from this school, and offend a possible Witches' Witch amongst Ilvermorny or Beauxbatons when the truth is revealed! So much for International Magical Cooperation!”

“Nobody will be removed from these Grounds based on their sexual preference, Lord Potter,” Albus said. “That is a promise. Severus. You will find a way to handle any and all students who are offended by what might be discovered about the two girls in front of me. Or I will handle it. Which means Slytherins will be removed from this school. And it won't be these two. I won't have our foreign guests insulted or offended by homophobia! Especially if it concerns them personally! Take care of it!”

Snape's expression seemed pained. “I will do my best, Headmaster.”

“Tracey... I'm going to need a surname to use for you during your lessons until your situation improves,” Albus said.

“Black,” Tracey said, “Tracey Black.”

Snape's disgusted sneer couldn't wipe the large grin from Sirius' face.

“Do you have any issue with that, Severus?” Albus asked.

Snape's “No” sounded a bit forced in Sirius' opinion.

“I will inform the rest of the staff of your chosen surname,” Albus said, :A house-elf will have your belongings taken from your dormitory, and placed in the Entrance Hall when you arrive there, Miss Greengrass, Miss Black.”

“Thank you, sir,” Daphne said.

“Excuse me,” said a voice.

Sirius' eyes turned to the Sorting Hat. He had not heard that voice in a long time but he recognized it still. Everyone aside from Harry looked at it too, for they recognized it as Sirius had. Harry only looked when he realized who was speaking.

“Before Miss Greengrass and Miss Black leave,” the Hat said, “I would like to remedy their situation when it comes to remedying their problems involving classes and taking meals in the Great Hall.”

“How would you do that?” Albus asked.

“I would like to offer them a Re-Sorting,” the Hat said.

“Nonsense!” Severus sneered, “They are Slytherins --”

“Don't make those disgusting facial expressions at me, boy!” the Hat said, “Or I'll Re-Sort you in Gryffindor where you belong! Lord Potter schooled you in the debate you had with him. He left you speechless. Why? A common case of talking before you think! Gryffindor indeed!”

Sirius snickered. Harry whispered to him. “I think he just insulted you too as a Gryffindor, Sirius.”

“He insulted Snape too,” Sirius said, in a carrying whisper, “So I forgive him.”

“If you think we need to be Re-Sorted – er – sir?” Daphne said, “We'll take up your offer.”

“Excellent!” the Hat said, “Now get over here, Gryffindor Snape! And place me upon Miss Greengrass' head!”

“Headmaster,” Severus said.

“Do as the Hat asks, Severus,” Albus said, “I am most curious, I must admit. I've always said we sort too early, after all.”

Severus huffed. He snatched the Hat from its shelf, then walked over to Daphne, and gently put it on her head.

“Hmm,” the Hat said, “Well, you are a natural Slytherin. But you're as loyal as a Hufflepuff, smart as a Ravenclaw, and as brave as a Gryffindor – especially for confronting a great fear! Hmm... oh, I've always wanted to do this. I just never had a chance. Headmasters and Headmistresses have always been picky about House Points, and always petty when I tell them it only breeds enmity nobody needs. How many songs have I sung which says so?! But no.... they tell me to sing about the Founders! And the Houses! And...”

Albus cleared his throat. “Miss Greengrass is waiting.”

The hat scoffed. “See... always hushing me up. Daphne Greengrass.... I Re-Sort you to.... HOGWARTS!”

The color of Daphne's tie changed to a mixture of all four House colors, with the Hogwarts Crest at the top. Albus and Severus stared at the hat in disbelief.

“Hogwarts, Hat?” Albus asked.

“Hogwarts,” the Hat echoed, “She can sit at whatever House table she wants to, sit with whichever side with whichever House in her classes sits. You could even change her schedule so she doesn't even have to deal with the Slytherins. And since she is moving to the Ilvermorny Tents, well, she can sleep there for now. If she comes back to Hogwarts next year, she'll have her own Quarters. Gryffindor Snape! Miss Black's head now!”

Snape was still staring at the hat, confused at its declaration. He sighed and placed the hat on Tracey's head.

“HOGWARTS!” the Hat said almost immediately, then as Tracey's tie changed to match Daphne's, “Everything I said goes for her too.”

Albus sighed. “Well, if you're sure. Anyone else you wish to sort?”

“Miss Granger and Miss Lovegood,” the hat said, “By Monday before classes, if you please. Mister Potter?”

“I'm a Wampus, Mr. Hat,” Harry said. “And not a hat person.”

“Very few who sit under me ever are,” the hat said. “Yet they wear those black monstrosities that resemble Dunce caps!. I believe your godfather once transfigured every one of those caps during a Start-Of-Term Feast to Dunce caps. Didn't he keep your hat normal, Gryffindor Snape?”

“The Marauders were trying to blame me,” Snape said.

“Finally acknowledging a Marauder Prank, Snape?” Sirius asked.

Snape narrowed his eyes.

“Thinking before you act again, Gryffindor Snape,” the hat said, “Place me back upon my shelf! Before I change your tie and crest!”

Snape grumbled, but did as requested.

“Thank you, Severus,” the hat said.

“Finally you call me by my proper name,” Snape said.

“Yes, because you reverted back to your Slytherin roots,” the hat said. “Grumbling and complaining when you don't get your way.”

Snape glared at the hat. Sirius laughed out loud. Harry, Daphne and Tracey snickered.

Albus sighed again and shook his head. “Is there anything any of you wish to tell me?”

“Astoria!” Daphne yelped. “I completely forgot – I am the worst sister.”

“I had wondered what you were going to do about her, Miss Greengrass,” Snape commented.

“Does she know about your sexuality, Miss Greengrass?” Albus asked.

“No,” Daphne said, “Bugger.”

“I suggest you tell her, before she finds out from somebody else,” Severus said.

“She's going to have to join us in the tent,” Daphne said.

“No problem,” Sirius said, “Aside from sleeping arrangements. I suppose Hermione and Luna could sleep in the same bedroom, and Astoria could have her own. If you two are rooming together, that is.”

We'll discuss it before bed,” Daphne said.

“I will have a house-elf find her and have her meet you in the Great Hall,” Albus said, “With her belongings.”

“I'm sure she'll be happy about that,” Daphne said, sarcastically.

“Please keep us informed of what is happening regarding preventing backlash toward Miss Black and Miss Greengrass,” Sirius said. “Perhaps a casual announcement that they are under House Potter Protection would be a good start.”

“Severus?” Albus asked. “What do you think?”

“I will consider it... Lord Black,” Snape said.

“Please tell me if it requires a school-wide announcement, Severus,” Albus said, “And not just based in Slytherin.”

“Yes, Headmaster,” Snape said.

“You are all excused,” Albus said.

Two minutes later, Sirius, Harry, Tracey, Daphne and Snape were in the corridor.

“Miss... Black,” Snape said. “I am truly sorry what happened to you concerning the House of Davis. If you had come to me about this before now, I may have been able to prevent this.”

“I am coming to you now,” Tracey said. “Prevent others from giving me the same disrespect Lord Davis gave me this afternoon.”

“I will do my best,” Snape said. “I will attempt to modify both of your class schedules to where your contact with Slytherin House is minimal, and you will have new schedules by Monday. Have Miss Granger and Miss Lovegood bring your sister when they wish to be Re-Sorted, Daphne. You, of course are welcomed to be there to watch.”

“Thank you, sir,” Daphne said.

“Try to be a better father than Lord Davis, Lord Black,” Snape said. “Miss Black may not survive such another disappointment.”

“You do not have to worry about that, Snape,” Sirius said.

Snape nodded curtly. “Excuse me. I must gather my Slytherins and decide what to tell them. Your belongings should be in the Entrance Hall ladies. Tell me if anything is missing.”

“Yes, sir,” Daphne said, and Tracey echoed her.

Snape's cloak billowed as he turned and headed down the corridor.

“That went better than expected,” Sirius said.

“Harry,” Tracey said. “What is a... Hollow Cause?”

Harry exchanged a glance with Sirius that basically said “What the hell?!”

Sirius sighed as he tried to figure out how to explain that to Tracey and Daphne, and how to explain to Harry how British wizards and witches didn't know about one of the worst events in the history of the world.



Sunday, November 8 th , 1994

Sunday. Noon. Harry stepped into the House Potter Tent with Hermione on his arm. That had been Sirius' advice as a proper introduction to the Lord of the Great Alliance, and his girlfriend, to the Children of the Great Alliance. Be the very last of the Alliance to sit down. Well, not exactly the last. Two would be introduced when the meeting began – one was Hermione.

The other was Tracey. However, the planned explanation about what happened the previous day was already happening inside the tent. Daphne and Tracey were explaining it already. It was originally planned for Tracey to have closed herself behind the curtains of Rose and Lily's bedroom, then reveal herself and do the explanation. But gossip and news moved as fast as a Snitch around Hogwarts. Professor Snape had revealed Daphne and Tracey's relationship, and Tracey being disowned – and that they were under House Potter Protection – to the Slytherins before dinner the previous evening. By dinner... everyone in Hogwarts knew. Though none knew the entire story. So the Patil twins, Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot had come down fifteen minutes earlier than expected to get the story.

Harry and Hermione had been in Hermione's tent with her dorm-mates when Sirius had come in saying the Alliance members were concerned for Daphne and Tracey. So Daphne, Tracey, Astoria and Luna went into the House Potter tent to explain the story. Hermione wanted to go, but Sirius told her that, as Harry's girlfriend, they needed to make an entrance, and to arrive nearly 'fashionably late'.

The small dining room table was now an elongated rectangle to fit every single member of the Children of the Great Alliance at the table. The only adult in the tent was Lily. Sirius and Remus were in the Classroom Tent working on “Teacher Duties”. Lily was serving plates of lasagna and salad, and bottles of butterbeer. She had insisted on staying as chaperone, but would maintain a respectable distance from the meeting.

Daphne was sitting at one of then ends of the table. Her future husband was Lord of the Great Alliance, and as such she had that right. Her sister Astoria sat at her left. Harry had “officially” met Astoria that morning. He had met her after the meeting in Dumbledore's Office, but only as “Lord Potter”. Last night, Daphne and Tracey explained everything to her. That morning, she met him, and hugged him, saying she was happy to meet her “future brother-in-law”. Tracey sat to Daphne's right, as her future Consort.

When Lily had served every seat at the table, and Daphne and Tracey's story wound down to a close, Harry walked over to his end of the table with Hermione. He pulled back the chair to his right, and Hermione sat down. Rose was seated on his left. Harry remained standing. Around the table, the other members sat. Luna Lovegood, Padma and Parvati Patil. Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot.

Harry thanked his mother for the meal, and the rest of those seated joined in thanks. Lily smiled, accepted the thanks, then walked over to the living room, and sat down in a chair, and started working on “teacher duties”. Respectable distance indeed...

“You have all been getting to know one of the newest members of the Children of the Great Alliance, Tracey Black,” Harry said; Tracey stood in introduction, as everyone toasted her, “I suppose my sister, Rose, and I would fall under the category of necessary introductions. I think you all know who I am. Lord Harry James Potter, of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

After Harry was toasted, he continued. “As for my sister...”

He looked at Rose, and she stood. up.

“Rose Lily Potter,” Rose introduced herself, “Heiress of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter.”

Harry led a toast as those around the table followed, raising their bottles of butterbeer. Rose sat down.

“Now,” Harry said, “All of you were present one week ago in the Great Hall around this moment in time, for my... outburst.”

There were amused smirks from everyone at the table.

“I announced two ladies were under my Protection,” Harry said, “The first – though she was second to take the vow – volunteered, though she did not need to, as an Ally of House Potter. Luna Lovegood.”

Luna smiled from where she was seated.

“The second,” Harry said; he looked at Hermione, who stood up “Hermione Granger. As my Protected, she qualifies as a member of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. As such, she qualifies as a Child of the Great Alliance. Also, as my friend and girlfriend, I'd welcome her even if she wasn't my Protected, because she's got a smart mind useful for Alliances like ours. Welcome, Hermione, to the Great Alliance.”

He toasted her with his bottle of butterbeer. Hermione blushed as all the girls toasted her, and she sat down. They started in on their lunch.

“Tracey,” Harry said, “Have you discussed your soon-to-be-father's plans during the Winter Solstice Session?”

“Just that he plans on asking for the Blood Adoption Ritual,” Tracey asked.

“Tracey is a part of our group,” Harry said, to the group, “Because Lord Sirius Black is going to reclaim his House's Seat at the Winter Solstice Session. He will announce his House's relocation from the Dark to Light Alliance. And he will also ask my mother and House Seat Proxy, for permission to grant him permission into the Great Alliance. My mother will, of course, accept. But that doesn't matter much today. Lord Black and Tracey are already members. The Acceptance in front of the Council is just political showboating.

“Then Lord Black will ask for the Council to grant him permission for the Blood Adoption Ritual with Tracey. We already have reason to believe Lord Davis will object, just to be petty toward me, Sirius, and Tracey for embarrassing him. He'll gather Allies and supporters to vote against Sirius and Tracey.

“Between now and then, all of you here – bar Hermione, Tracey and my sister – need to contact your families about this. Luna, Padma, Parvati, your Houses are Minor. Yes. But I'm sure your families have Alliances of your own in the Wizengamot that might be able to help us. That goes for all of you. Gather Alliances, those who have seats on the Council. This is for two future members of the Great Alliance, of a powerful House politically speaking and otherwise.”

Several nods were given around the table.

“One of the reasons I called this meeting,” Harry said, “was to try and gather more Alliances. Before Tracey was disowned, we had hoped House Davis would be in the Alliance. That was not to be. My Family Solicitor – Ted Tonks – his wife is Lord Black's favorite cousin. The Tonks House could join the Alliance, but they're minor, so we have no more votes in the Council with that. We do have some good minds however. So... any suggestions?”

“We could try to convince Houses Longbottom, Boot and MacMillan to return,” Luna said.

Susan shook her head. “Auntie Amelia's tried and failed. I know it could be different what with news of the House of Potter back from extinction. House Longbottom is with Headmaster Dumbledore. Houses Boot and MacMillan are in their own Alliance, and trying to gather to a point of making themselves our equals. Apparently the Lords Boot and MacMillan are trying to steal Great Alliance strategies. They're nowhere near enough votes to equal us.”

“They went back to Neutral Alliance when they left us,” Daphne said. “They were originally there, but went Light when Harry's Grandfather formed the Alliance and started looking for Allies. Now they leave and return to the Neutrals. The problem is... they may become a problem in the future. If they gather enough amongst the Neutrals to vote with them, that stops Neutrals going the way of House Greengrass – supporting the Light Alliance, with most of the votes.”

“And the Light Alliance will begin losing those Neutral votes that could help against the Dark Alliance voting,” Harry said, “If Boot and MacMillan wanted, they could bring Dark Alliance members into their Alliance and...”

Padma groaned. “They'd get the power to vote against us.”

“We seriously need more votes,” Parvati said, “The Great Alliance used to be a powerful threat. Unstoppable.”

“So remind everyone again of that threat,” Hermione said. “Luna... you could run a series in the Quibbler about the Great Alliance. Weekly articles – interviews with each House of the Alliance – the children, not the adults. Each House would discuss goals, new laws they could work on passing. Between now and the Winter Solstice Session – with that news going out. We could garner votes for the Great Alliance. And House Black may not be the only House who requests your mother grant them a part of the Great Alliance, Harry.”

Harry smiled at Hermione, and noticed the nods and grins around the table.

“Luna?” Harry asked.

“I would be happy to do that if everyone agrees to do interviews,” Luna said.

“One problem,” Rose said, “Exclusivity to the Daily Prophet.”

“This has nothing to do with what we promised to the Daily Prophet,” Harry said. “We never promised Great Alliance exclusivity. We just can't be interviewed. Everyone else but Sirius can.”

“It would work,” Luna said.

“If it doesn't I'd just speak with Barney Cuffe, and discuss the deal,” Harry said; he raised his hand. “Show of hands.”

Unanimous vote. A few minutes were spent on the schedule of interviews. As they continued the lunch meeting, each member around the table discussed things they would like to be seen in the future of Wizengamot Council meetings. Laws brought forth. What laws should be shot down.

Harry went last.

“As you all probably read in the Daily Prophet interview with me, Rose and our family yesterday,” Harry said, “I discussed three Houses – having to marry three wives. During Daphne's discussion with you earlier, she revealed herself as the first – the future Lady Peverell. The future Lord Potter will be someone I choose without Contracts. My parents fell in love naturally. So will I and my Lady Potter.”

Rose giggled when most of the eyes around the table moved to Hermione, which made her blush.

“I'm not saying anything,” Hermione said. “Harry's just my boyfriend, and that's as far as he is in the romantic aspect for the foreseeable future.”

“So... what's the name of this other House?” Susan asked.

“Gryffindor,” Harry said, simply.

Parvati Patil, the one Gryffindor, dropped her fork on her plate. The others stared at him.

“Really?” Susan asked.

“Yes, I am Lord Gryffindor,” Harry said.

“Any choice for Lady?” Parvati asked.

“No,” Harry said, “And that is where the issue comes in.”

Luna looked on dreamily, while Padma, Parvati, Susan and Hannah blushed,.

“I think you said that wrong, Harry,” Hermione said.

“I'm not looking for a Lady Gryffindor at the moment,” Harry amended; very slight looks of disappointment – Harry rolled his eyes when Rose giggled. “Heck, the title Lady Potter is also in possible jeopardy.”

“Er... how?” Padma asked.

“Oh, Merlin, I'll say it,” Hermione said, with an agitated sigh. “Several girls were looking at me jealously while I was on a date with Harry yesterday. Several pureblood girls jealous of a Muggleborn on the arm of Britain's newest eligible bachelor. The Last Generation Loophole only says Harry has to marry one pureblood.”

“Which is me,” Daphne supplied.

“Pureblood, half-blood, Muggleborn, Muggle,” Hermione said. “He could chose any of those. Harry made the mistake of spelling that out in his interview. Barnabus Cuffe decided to showboat with that fact. Now... out of all those girls who looked at me jealously – who are envious of me – how many would do anything to break us up?”

“A good majority, probably,” Padma said.

“How many have parents or relations on the Wizengamot Council?” Hermione asked.

“Several,” Susan said.

“What if someone decides to bring forth an idea to modify the Last Generation Loophole – you could really get specific: Ancient and Most Noble Houses must marry Pureblood witches to continue the assurance that the Houses are untainted by Pureblood like they have been for many generations.”

“Hell, they could simply say,” Harry said, sarcastically “Anyone with the initials 'Harry James Potter' must marry purebloods!”

“So I take it you want that shot down so badly it never comes back for a possible vote?” Susan asked.

“You bet I do!” Harry exclaimed.

“If Tracey's Blood Adoption passes,” Daphne said, “We should be able to deny this one.”

“Not necessarily,” Padma said. “Not all girls jealous of Hermione are going to be members of Dark or Neutral-Dark Houses.”

“Well,” Luna said, grinning, “You could always go back into the Great Hall, and go all 'Angry Harry' and command all those girls to never mention any of that to their families.”

“Or you'd duel them all!” Parvati said, grinning.

Harry shook his head as titters and giggles echoed around the table. He even saw his mother crack a smile.

“Only as a last resort,” Harry snarked. “And I'd charge money for audience. At least I'd get profit out of it.”

More titters and giggling.

The meeting lasted another half-hour, and consisted mostly of the girls getting to know Harry, Rose, and Hermione as new members of the Alliance. When asked, Tracey said they all already knew what mattered to her in her life. All of the members were surprised when Rose told them she was bisexual, and even more surprised when they told them who her girlfriend was.

“But don't spread it around,” Rose said. “Veela lesbians and bisexuals are frowned upon in their society except in certain circles.”

The group was agreeable and happy for Rose.

Finally, the meeting came to an end.

“So concludes today's meeting of the Children of the Great Alliance,” Harry said. “That title needs shortening.”

“We did call it the Witches' Alliance,” Daphne said. “We could still use that.”

“Sure if Harry turned into a witch,” Hermione said, grinning.

“You and Luna sharing jokes, sweetheart?” Harry asked his girlfriend.

It was cute watching Hermione blush and glare playfully at him at the same time.

“Or Harry's Harem!” Luna said.

“Luna!” Hermione growled, then sighed, “Might I remind you, Harry's sister is involved in this group.”

“Harry's Harem plus Rose?” Luna amended.

Harry sighed when the girls tittered and giggled yet again.

“CGA for short works for me,” Harry said. “Ladies, I have already written to some of your families. I've personally thanked Daphne's parents. I want to thank all of you and your families for keeping the Great Alliance going strong even though you thought the House of its founder was extinct. From the bottom of my heart... thank you.”

“It was mostly our idea,” Padma said, grinning. “After all, we'd be a powerful coven of witches once it came our turn to rule over the Great Alliance!”

“Yeah,” Susan said, “So even the political part went south, we'd still have the power.”

Harry wasn't sure whether they were joking. So he simply thanked them again and the meeting broke up, as certain girls talked to others. Harry relaxed in his chair and sipped from the last of his butterbeer.

“So... Hermione,” said Parvati, who was closest seated to her. “Which of us – in addition to Daphne and whatever Tracey's part is in the whole deal – would you want as a sister-wife?”

Hermione sighed. “Why don't you just all roulette date Harry?”

“Or go with Luna's idea,” Rose said, grinning; she had been listening in, “Harry's Harem.”

“Not helping, Rose,” Harry said, “Go find Gabrielle and look for white cotton pillows and rabbits in the fluffy clouds.”

“Mom, he's making fun of my relationship with Gabby!” Rose whined.

“Harry James” Lily scolded, still focused on her work. “I thought I told you not to do that.”

Harry rolled his eyes.

“Don't roll your eyes at me, young man,” Lily said; she hadn't looked at him – he never figured how she could do that.

Rose stuck out her tongue at Harry, stood up and walked off.

“Pillows and rabbits?” Parvati asked.

“Yep,” Harry said, grinned. “They'd be looking until the clouds disappeared.”

Hermione and Parvati groaned.

“I give up,” Hermione said. :You can have him, Parvati. He's yours.”

Parvati shook her head. “Not if he's making jokes like that for the rest of my life! You better find him a better joke book.”

“Christmas gift taken care of!” Hermione exclaimed.

Women, Harry sighed, and gulped down the last of his butterbeer.

 

Chapter Text

Monday, November 9 th , 1994


Harry yawned as he stepped out his bedroom in only his pajamas. As his usual tradition over the last few days, he walked over to the coffee pot, and poured a mug of coffee. He then walked over to the dining room table, sat down, and reached for the Daily Prophet – it wasn't there. Then he realized Sirius wasn't there earlier. Remus and Lily were sitting there, looking at the morning post.

“Daily Prophet hasn't arrived yet?” Harry asked.

“Hmm, nope!” Remus said.

“Owl must be late,” Lily said.

“Where's Sirius?” Harry asked.

“Got another letter this morning from Amelia Bones,” Remus said. “So he left to go to lunch – breakfast! Sorry...”

“Lunch or breakfast?” Harry asked.

“Breakfast of course,” Lily said, “He has classes today. He'll be back by then. He promised.”

Harry sipped on his mug of coffee. He was being pranked. His mother and Remus' answers sounded very scripted. He took another sip, and stretched his other hand backward toward his ear, and grabbed his wand. He pointed his wand in the air.

“Accio Daily Prophet!” Harry exclaimed.

The Daily Prophet flew from Remus and Sirius' bedroom. Harry grabbed it, then stood up and backed away before his mother and Remus could grab it.”

“Daily Prophet Owl is never late,” Harry said. “What am I going to find in here? Where's Sirius?”

“Walking Padfoot,” Remus said, “Even put the leash on.”

Padfoot. Which means he left in a hurry to get to past the Anti-Apparation Wards.

“Harry,” Lily said, “Even if we told you, you're not going anywhere. Sirius is taking care of it. It is his business, not yours.”

Harry frowned. Sirius' business, not...

“Tracey!” Harry said.

“He's taking care of it, Shadow,” Remus said.

“Both Daphne and Tracey get the Daily Prophet, Remus!” Harry said, “I can go in there and – you didn't take their papers, did you?”

Remus and Lily stared at each other. Harry sighed.

“You didn't take it from them – because you didn't know, they had subscriptions” Harry said. “Quit playing games. If Sirius kept me here, it means he wants me to help Tracey. If she's awake, and has read whatever was said about her – I'm going to go there facing screaming or crying girls. Let me know what I'm prepared for!”

Remus took a square of newspaper colored parchment from the pocket of his robes, and put it on the table.

“There is a hole in this newspaper, isn't there?” Harry grumbled.

He picked up the square of parchment, and put the newspaper down.

“Before I read it,” Harry said, “How many pages was this into the newspaper? If Tracey is reading from front to back. Will she find it?”

“It is in the Daily Prophet's Teen Witch Weekly preview article page,” Remus said. “She was planning on hiding it there from Barnabus Cuffe. But someone else amongst the Teen Witch Weekly staff decided a Rita Skeeter article should have a preview in the Daily Prophet – to sell more magazines.”

“Rita,” Harry seethed.

He turned over the parchment so it showed the article. He was already fuming at the blaring bold title.

FOURTEEN YEAR OLD WITCH DISOWNED
FOR BEING A WITCHES' WITCH, DATING
FELLOW HOGWARTS FEMALE CLASSMATE!

Rita Skeeter --- Guest Journalist, Daily Prophet

A lovely Saturday Afternoon at Hogsmeade Village
attracts all kind of students from Hogwarts, looking
to shop for candy, jokes, and plenty of other goodies.
But many students aren't just looking for candy, jokes
and goodies; they're looking for love!

A fourteen-year old Slytherin witch named Tracey is one
of those looking for love. In all the very wrong and very
scandalous places, it turns out. Such as amongst her
own dormitory! That's right. Tracey is a Witches' Witch
dear readers.

Why am I not revealing her last name, you ask? At the
moment, she has none. Tracey No-Name, formerly Davis
was disowned from the Noble House of Davis for being
a Witches' Witch.

Tracey No-Name was seen holding hands and sharing
kisses with an unidentified Slytherin witch.


There was more. But Harry had ripped the article in shreds, deciding he couldn't read any further.

“'An Unidentified witch,'” Harry hissed. “She knew who it was.”

“Of course she did,” Remus said, “But House Greengrass is a known Alliance member. Tracey isn't. Rita believed she had full reign of writing Tracey. But – oh – she is wrong. And Rita is going to pay for that. Sirius will make sure of it.”

“Now go make sure Tracey is okay, Harry,” Lily said. “Do I need to go with you, so I know you're going in there, instead of Shadow going toward the gates?”

“Sirius can take care of this one,” Harry said. “I have my own problems to deal with. Like making sure Tracey isn't going to do something stupid today.”

“We're already planning on removing her from class today,” Lily said, “Daphne too. And perhaps her sister.”

Harry nodded. If Snape told the Slytherins, then they knew who the unidentified Slytherin was. Neither Tracey nor the Greengrass girls would be welcome in class until tempers calmed. Harry stood, and rushed out of the tent, then hurried to the coined “Hogwarts Five” tent.

“Can I come in?” Harry asked.

“Yes!” rang three different voices.

Harry stepped into the tent. Hermione and Daphne hurried over to him. Astoria was slouched on a sofa, looking upset. Luna was standing near a curtain... dancing.

“What is Luna doing?” Harry asked, looking at the dancing blonde.

“Sending Tracey happy vibes,” Luna said.

“She's a real moon-child, that one,” Hermione quipped.

Harry laughed, then sobered. “I assume you read the article. As did Tracey. Where is she?”

“Bedroom,” Daphne said.

“Behind the curtain Luna's dancing near,” Harry said, nodding in realization.

“She won't let anyone in,” Daphne said, “Besides you.”

“Me?” Harry asked, shocked.

“I already know the story she's going to tell you,” Daphne said. “I've known it since... well... I can't say. I've already talked her ears off about it over the years. But it has all come rushing back.”

“Why me?” Harry asked.

“You or Sirius,” Hermione said.

“Sirius is... dealing with Rita,” Harry said, “Don't ask me how. If he didn't even come to comfort Tracey, then it can't be anything good he has in store.”

“Harry,” Daphne said, “You're not going to like what Tracey's going to tell you. None of it. Just listen to her. Don't... don't touch her. Sit on the other bed. Don't... comfort her unless she touches you first.”

“Okay,” Harry said, “Again. Why me?”

“You protected her from Lord Davis,” Daphne said, “She trusts you... enough that she can tell you. I think she just wants to tell it to someone new. Hermione, Astoria, Luna... she's not ready for them to know.”

Harry nodded. He inhaled and exhaled, then walked with Daphne over to the curtain. Luna backed away, but continued to dance.

“Tracey,” Daphne said, “Harry's here.”

“Come in, Harry,” Tracey said, her voice barely high enough for him to hear.

Daphne parted the curtains, and Harry stepped into the room. Tracey had her knees against her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs, and her chin resting on her knees. Her eyes were red and blotchy, and her face was also red. She didn't have her glasses on.

“Sit down on that bed,” Tracey said.

Harry moved onto the bed, and sat down on the bed, then slid back onto it.

“I am so sorry, Tracey,” Harry said, “Sirius is --”

“-- taking care of it,” Tracey interrupted. “I know. I hope he kills her.”

“Even if it means he goes to Azkaban?” Harry asked.

“Damn it,” Tracey muttered. “Why would he have to go to Azkaban for doing a civil liberty to the entire world?”

Harry chuckled. “Daphne said you wanted to tell me something. Take as long as you need. My mother and Remus are going to make sure you, Daphne and Astoria won't be expected in class today. I won't be expected either, as long as I am helping you. I will be here as long as you want me in here.”

“I want to tell you why I am a Witches' Witch, Harry,” Tracey said. “Daphne is the only other person who knows. Most girls like me... experts will tell you its something with the... metaphorical wiring in your brain. That they were wired differently than straight girls. Me... mine doesn't work like that. Mine is a defense mechanism. Do you know why I support Sirius' proviso of children from my... my womb?”

“Because you want to be a mother?” Harry said.

“I can be a mother to yours and Daphne's babies or any of your wives' babies,” Tracey said. “That just means the children see me as a mother who takes care of them in addition to their own mother. I want to have children from my womb. I want to... to have sex with one boy – eventually – and it will probably be with you. I want to... so I know.”

“Know what?”” Harry asked.

“That I am not fucked up for life,” Tracey said.

“Are you telling me you believe your – Lord Davis' speech the other day?” Harry asked.

“This has nothing to do with his speech,” Tracey said. “My father played very little part in this. I don't have proof beyond guessing to say more than that. You know I've been best friends with Daphne since we were four. At least it feels like that long.”

“Yes,” Harry said.


“Starting when we were six, she'd sleep over once a month,” Tracey said, “At eight, twice a month.”

“That's not that much,” Harry said.

“Thank Merlin it wasn't more,” Tracey said; starting to rock back and forth, “Thank Merlin it was random, and – and it wasn't more. My – my brother – not my brother anymore – not for a while. Not to me. Trevor. His name is Trevor, and that's all I'll use now. Not brother. Trevor is... he's seven years older than me. When I was six – one night, I was asleep in my bed, and I had this really weird dream. Like I was being tickled. On my waist, on my chest, below... I woke up and... my pajamas and panties were down. I.. thought I had tried to stop the tickling, and pulled them down.”

Harry's eyes widened. He was starting to realize...

“The dreams would be reoccurring,” Tracey said. “Same tickling dreams. And I'd wake up. Pants were down. Happened once, maybe twice a month. Kept happening. But only for... for five different months. June... July... August.... December... Easter holiday. When I was eight, it was the first time in memory, I woke up in the middle of the dream. And it wasn't a dream. My – Trevor – he – he was doing the tickling. My waist, my chest... below. But it wasn't... tickling. Rubbing. I heard a whisper... and I went back to sleep. It wasn't until I became a student, I realized. Sleeping charms. He... never caught. Restriction for Underage Wizardry... not caught with our Manor Wards. No...

“Sometimes, I'd... wake up, and find my waist was... sticky. I thought it was glue. Like from my art set. It went on until... I was nine... and Daphne... Daphne stayed over during summers, June that year was last time. Then Daphne and I had sleepovers at each other's houses and... I insisted, but Daphne... dear sweet, innocent Daphne, who didn't know why, still helped me insist! She helped me! All because I wanted to get away, or have her there protecting me! Thank Merlin, he's a coward, and didn't try to go for us when we were together.

During those months. One week here, one week there. Two weeks here... two weeks there. I never said why. And it never happened again. Middle of school year, first year, had my first time of the month. I cried like a baby when Madam Pomfrey said everything was fine down there. When she noticed nothing wrong. I'm – he – he never – I'm still a virgin.”


Harry wanted so bad to go and comfort her. She reminded him of Rose. Sitting there, upset in her bedroom, when storms were going on. Harry and Rose's bedrooms were next to each other. Harry's bed and Rose's bed shared walls. And he heard Rose crying every time. He would go into her bedroom, comfort her, until she stopped crying, stopping being scared... and he'd wait till she slept, kissed her forehead, and went back to bed.

How could someone...?

“How could someone do that to their sister?” Harry muttered. “Rose... I'd...”

He slammed his fists against his eyes to stop the incoming tears. And he saw red.

Harry lowered his hands and looked at Tracey. “Where is this asshole ?”

“Harry,” Tracey said. “Trevor – he...”

“He what?” Harry asked, “Is his baby a girl? Huh? Six years from now... he won't be at Hogwarts. No months he's away at Hogwarts stopping him. Where is this asshole ?”

“Harry,” Tracey said, “I wanted --”

“You wanted what?” Harry asked. “Daphne said you wanted to talk to me or Sirius. Sirius wouldn't let you lie to him. So why me?”

“I had hoped I'd –“ Tracey said, then sighed, “Not today.”

“Not today what?” Harry asked.

“Do you know why I could hug Sirius that day that he and I became a family?” Tracey asked. “Because my – Lord Davis never, ever did what – he never did. I'm sure of it. I hugged Sirius and it gave me hope. But it was false hope. Because Sirius isn't – you're his age. I want to... to be able to touch you, and have you touch me – you took my hand for a moment in Hogsmeade to help me from the cart and – I thought – but... I was just distracted. I was not thinking of your hand... so it didn't matter... I was thinking of Daphne, and --

“Do you know why I fell for Daphne? Not because she was my best friend. Because she saved me. By encouraging her parents and my – and Lord and Lady Davis to have sleepovers. And it was those sleepovers that – that created the wire in my brain. The defense mechanism. Fall for the one person you trust, Tracey. Even if she's a girl. She won't hurt you. She's not a boy. Girls are safe. Daphne is safe. Those thoughts just played over and over, and Tracey the Witches' Witch was born. But... Harry, I'm not entirely a Witches' Witch. I am trying to go to a point where a boy – a boy I will trust, who will not hurt me, or do something I won't want. And you're the only boy that qualifies. This is why I told you. Because you are my only chance at being able to trust a boy again. I... can't even get near any boys. And nobody but you and Daphne now know why. Daphne's helped. She's.... helped keep boys from going to close to me.

“I still freak out. One time, a boy's cloak accidentally touched mine, when he walked by my desk in Potions, and I nearly upended the Cauldron. Daphne stopped it. She knows how. I will never stop being in love with her. She's the person I trust to keep me safe. And I want you to be in that category. Won't be for a while. I pictured you coming in here, and sitting there. I pictured me going over to you and crying into your shoulder. And I want to. But I feel as if my... my butt has a sticking charm on it.”

Harry chuckled lightly. “I understand. Tracey? Why didn't you want Daphne in here?”

“Because I knew you'd ask me to help you find Trevor,” Tracey said. “Daphne – Merlin, I love her – but she's not a Gryffindor; the hat, it might have said – but she's not brave enough to even speak of confronting him. Unless she had another voice.”

“Mine,” Harry said.

“I can't deny both of you at the same time,” Tracey said, “Please don't ask me to. He's – he's got a baby coming – his wife really loves him, even if it is a Betrothal. I would know if she didn't love him. It isn't Love Potions or... anything evil. She loves him, she's got a baby on the way... and her parents are dead. If I get any inkling he'd do it again, I'd do something. But this is for her. For her baby. Until I know there is a time when he doesn't respect her or that baby, I can't allow anyone to hurt them – yes, them. She'd be a pariah, she and her baby if he's gone. No one,... Sirius might try to help, but... I can't. I'm sorry. Not until I know he'd hurt them.”

“There's more, isn't there?” Harry asked.

“Don't make me say it,” Tracey said.

“The newspaper article,” Harry said.

“Get out,” Tracey said.

“You don't want another article that reveals a secret,” Harry said.”

“OUT!” Tracey cried. “Please! If you want to help me trust you. Out.”

“I am so, so sorry,” Harry said.

He stood, and walked out of the room.

“It isn't her story that has her hiding, Daphne,” Harry said, “It is the secret that is upsetting her. The revelation in the newspaper. Everyone knowing. If it happens again...”

“Oh, Merlin,” Daphne said, hoarsely. “Thank you, Harry. I... I never understood. I do now. You've helped both of us again.”

“I'll do everything to help her,” Harry said. “But if Sirius finds out about this. She won't be able to stop him. He'd...

“He'd go to Azkaban.”


Diagon Alley – The Daily Prophet.

Sirius Black kicked open the front door of the Daily Prophet Headquarters. He wanted to get somebody's attention so they would tell him to go. And wouldn't you know it, Barnabus Cuffe was talking to that pretty receptionist.

“Sirius,” a voice said, that wasn't Barnabus'.

Sirius turned and looked toward the voice. Ted Tonks was sitting in a chair, looking at him.

“I knew you'd be here,” Ted said, “As soon as I saw that article – her name --”

“Don't try to stop me, Ted,” Sirius said; he turned and saw Barnabus looking at him in fear. “Where is she?”

“Lord Black,” Barnabus said, “I'm taking care of this. This isn't your --”

“Not my problem, Cuffe?” Sirius asked, “You're goddamned lucky I had enough wits after reading that article that I decided to come alone, instead of wait for my Godson! Unidentified Slytherin Witch. Do you know who that is? Daphne Greengrass.”

Barnabus' eyes widened. “I didn't know...”

“Tracey is going to be my adopted daughter, Cuffe,” Sirius said, “Tracey is already my daughter.”
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