1st September 1985
“Luna!” Harry’s voice filled the trunk-forest. “Luna! Lunch!” He lowered the picnic basket to the almost paved area near the small pond at the end of the trunk’s stream.
“Comin’ Unca Harry!” Luna’s lispy voice came from a clump of bushes. “Unca Harry, are there any nargles here?”
“Probably not, Luna.” Harry answered. “Not yet, anyway, this forest and meadow are new, Unca- Uncle Sev, Aunty Mione, Uncle Remus and I only made it a few weeks ago.”
“Oh, okay.” The little blonde girl skipped across the stream and plopped down beside Harry. “Do I have to go to the feast? I wanna stay here.” She pouted.
“Of course, you can stay here, Luna… I thought you might like to show your mum and dad your room and this space?”
Luna’s face lit up and she flung herself across the blanket, her little arms encircling Harry’s neck and squeezing as tight as she could.
“Yes!” She screamed, almost in Harry’s ear, causing him to wince. “Yes, please, Unca Harry.”
Sirius held back his smile, by the slimmest of margins. The expressions on the students’ face were priceless. So many smiled, but so many looked just resigned, so many things were changing. New classes, new rules, new teachers. The Ravenclaws looked like they’d died and gone to heaven, the Gryffindors on the other hand…? Most of them looked like it was their worst nightmare, made real.
Oh, it was the best prank ever!
30th October 1985
“Alright there, Bill?” Harry asked the redhead.
“Yeah…” Bill whispered in awe.
“What’s up?” Harry frowned.
“So… much… room…” Was the still awed whispered answer.
“Ah… Too much?”
“No!” Bill spun and gasped at the same time. “It’s wonderful! And it’s mine?”
“Yep, yours. All yours. And you don’t have to share it, either.” Harry added.
Bill looked around the trunk-room. It was huge, at least a half-dozen yards across by nearly twice that long. At one end was a seemingly small, but in reality quite large, closed off area, that on investigation Bill found to be a bathroom. He had his own bathroom. Beside that was a pair of massive wardrobes and screens, that faced away from the open space, making a squared off area that was obviously to be used as a bedroom, given the large four-poster bed it held. Forward of there, most of the space was a sitting area, but at the opposite end was another partitioned off space, this time shelves took the place of walls or screens. Behind them was a well appointed study space, a desk and chair against one wall, a large notice board hanging from a second and the third was again, covered in shelves. On the floor was a large open box and Bill could see the covers of some of his old school books.
“My books? But…” He hesitated. “Um…? What about my brothers? Mum and dad don’t have a lot of money, so my books…”
“Not anymore, Bill. Your grandfather didn’t realise that your parents weren’t getting your allowances.”
“Yes, allowances.” Harry sighed. “Look, the Weasley’s might not be the most wealthy of families, but even they have an allowance for their children’s educations. The fact that your parents didn’t get that allowance for you or Charlie? They’ll be back-paid for it. The allowance covers all school related expenses, books, wands, a trunk, potions supplies, uniforms. All of it.”
“Wow.” So much as changing, Bill’s head was spinning.
“Yeah, so you get your books back, Charlie said they were yours before they were his and he’s more than happy to have a new set.” Harry chuckled.
“He would be.” Bill grinned.
“Percy’s already asking if he can access part of his allowance to buy books for pre-study. Your mother wasn’t too pleased, but she told him to make a list or to send a letter to Professor McGonagall, asking for a recommended reading list.”
“That’s good. Perce needs to know what’s coming. He might not start studying, now, but he needs to know or he gets panicked.”
“Ah. Good to know, I’ll ask Professor McGonagall to make up his file, now, and add a note to that effect.”
“Thanks.” Bill couldn’t believe, sometimes, how helpful Harry and Sirius were, not just with him, but also with his whole family.
“No worries. Now, I’ll leave you to sort yourself out. You come out to the sitting room whenever you’re ready, Bill, and we’ll have dinner together. Yeah?”
16th November 1985
The trunk-forest rang with laughter as Remus lost his footing and went, arms waving, head first into the pond. He leapt to his feet and howled his objection to being wet and cold. Spying a red head, he took off in pursuit, two strides into his chase he morphed into his wolf-form and loped after said redheaded boy. Two minutes later, he held a screaming, laughing twin upside-down over the same pond he’d been dunked in.
“No, no, no. Please, Unca Remus, no.” The boy laughed as he screamed, Remus’ fingers digging lightly into his side, tickling him.
Another laugh caught Remus by surprise and he turned his head slowly to face the raven headed woman.
“Hermione?” He asked. “Something you’d like to say?” He gently placed the boy on the ground, letting him slump in relief.
“No…” Hermione denied.
“No…?” Remus stalked the young woman, his movements slow and subtle, drawing him closer to her with each passing second. “Are you sure about that?” His voice was low and almost menacing. It was also seductive and before Hermione realised the danger she was in, Remus was within arms length.
“Oh, shi-” She cut herself off as Remus’ arms closed around her, one about her shoulders and the other under her knees. He lifted and her arms flapped wildly, before grasping at the ex-werewolf’s shoulders desperately.
“Are you absolutely sure?” He asked as he stood on a boulder and held her above the pond.
24th December 1985
“I still think you should remove Alioth immediately after birth.” Hermione muttered.
“I can’t, Mione.” Harry argued. “There’s just too many people about.”
“Obliviate them?” She asked.
“Not without drawing attention from the muggle authorities. That many people not remembering the last so many hours? And the documentation? Even the muggles will notice it… and if I miss just one person…? Or one document…?”
“But why wait until May? I don’t understand, Harry.”
Harry sighed. “Alioth is born in four days. Right?” Hermione nodded. “Due to his mother’s drug addictions, both he and her will stay in the hospital for some weeks, at least three, before being released. There’s too much of a paper trail for me to take him, then. Right?” Hermione nodded again. “After being released, the NHS will be visiting them on a daily basis. Again too much of a paper trail. Right?” Hermione thought for a bit before nodding. “That won’t begin to ease until April.”
“So why not take him then?” The young witch asked. “Why wait?”
“Paranoia. His mother will stick to the NHS program for another few weeks before beginning to relax. When the visits fall to one a week, she’ll start taking the occasional hit.”
“How do you know?” Sirius asked his husband.
“Her diary. She kept a pretty good diary, really. She listed what she took and when. It won’t be until the evening of the 14th of May that she’ll to take a full dose and because she’s been restricting herself to less than ¼ doses, she’s going to overdose. But due to Alioth’s crying up to this point, the house will be empty, no one likes sharing a space with a whinging baby and because of her lack of interest and hence, care of him, Alioth was a whingy baby. She wrote that there were days that she put earplugs in just to get a bit of relief for the incessant noise.”
“Ah…” Hermione huffed. “So, they won’t be found until… When?”
“Some time late on the 15th.” Harry answered.
“We’re going to go and get the whingy baby, then?” Sirius frowned.
“Kinda.” Harry grinned. “Look, babies cry for a reason, Siri. In his case Alioth was crying for attention, attention he needed to survive, attention he wasn’t getting.”
“So… If we give him that attention… he’s less likely to cry.” Sirius reasoned out.
“Exactly.” Harry leant over and gave Sirius a kiss on the cheek.
“So how are you going to do it?” Hermione asked.
“Remove Alioth?” Harry asked in response. “I’m going to get Gringotts to create another living golem.”
“But it was so painful for you, are you sure you should be putting a baby through that?” Minerva asked.
“Ah, but I don’t have to, not to the same degree. The Harry Potter golem needed to be exact, it needed to be physically and magically exact. But for Alioth? It doesn’t have to, it only needs to be physically close. Not even exact, as long as it looks like him and carries his blood, that’s enough. After all, muggles can only go on blood and appearance, they have no way of identifying a living golem.”
Hermione huffed. “So all you’ll need from Alioth… and the other kids… is-? How much?” She cut herself off.
“A quarter of a cup, 2 fluid ounces.” Harry answered.
“Gods. That’s a huge amount to take from a six month old baby, Harry.” Severus whispered.
“It is, even more to take from newborns and we’ll be doing that with both sets of twins.” Harry agreed. “But… we’ll be doing the bloodline conversions at the same time, so they’ll be getting it back almost instantly.”
“Um… I have a question?” Lily’s portrait asked.
“Go ahead, Lils.” Sirius waved.
“What are you going to tell the public? Where are they going to think you got these children from?”
“Oh, well… We don’t plan on hiding much.” Harry started.
“We’re going tell the truth… in as much as where the kids came from.” Sirius went on.
“So, in effect, we’re rescuing them from a life in a muggle orphanage.”
“A life like Dumbledore forced Tom Riddle to suffer through.”
“And you think the public will allow this?” James asked.
“Yep.” Harry grinned.
“They already have, Prongs.” Remus put in. “Alice and Frank have just adopted a little girl from Leeds.”
“And Amos Diggory? He and his wife… what’s her name, again, Mione?” Harry trailed off.
“Juliet.” Hermione replied.
“Right. Juliet. So, Amos and Juliet Diggory have adopted an older boy, he’s about five or six, I think. Cedric’s delighted to have a brother.” Harry went on.
“It’s all being done via Gringotts. As they’re the only ones capable of creating the golems and doing the bloodline conversion rituals, they got the job. They are given the names of all the muggleborns and muggle-raised, they do the investigation and determine the safety risk to each child. People who want to adopt can go in and apply, Gringotts assess them and match them up with a child or add their names to waiting lists, if a match isn’t available. Some people have requirements and if Gringotts agree, they’ll match them.”
“Requirements?” James asked.
“Well, take Kingsley Shacklebolt, for example. He’s black, his family came from the British West Indies back before Grindelwald’s war. So he’s applied for a black child from a similar background.”
“Oh, I get it! Trying to match child and prospective parent, physically, not just magically.” James crowed.
“Yes, exactly. Given what Dumbledore did to Riddle, the Wizengamot are backing the movement. No one wants another Riddle or another death like Harry Potter’s.” Hermione stated.
“And because you lot are on such good terms with Gringotts, they’ll give you any children you want.” Lily smirked.
“Yeah, but we’ve gone one step further. We’ve identified, to Gringotts anyway, the children we want. No one, not even the new parents know who the child was before their bloodline conversion, so we don’t need to give out any details, but we can say that in the case of Alioth, he is blood related to Sirius, so as his nearest magical relative, Sirius is given the first offer of adopting him.”
“And the others?” James asked. “Weren’t some of them related, too?”
“Yes, James. Braxten and Helaine are related to Harry, one via you and the other via Lily.” Hermione answered.
“So, how… what… Will you tell the public?”
“Kind of. We plan on saying that there is an existing blood relationship, so like Sirius, I will be the first to be offered the chance to take them.”
“And the others?”
“Marcus and Tristan are twins, as are Anica and Talitha. Both sets of them are mind-linked…” Harry smirked. “And how many sets of mind-linked siblings are there?”
James blinked at Harry and turned to look at Lily.
“Did you ever think our son would end up such a Slytherin?” He asked.
“No…” Lily sighed. “I blame your grandmother, she was a sneaky conniving bitch.”
“She was.” James agreed, nodding.
17th May 1986
Harry laid the tiny bundle in Arcturus’ arms.
“Here he is.”
“Alioth Regulus Black.” The older man sighed and a tear ran down his face, as the baby grasped at his finger. “He’s beautiful, Sirius.”
“He is. But he’s got a set of lungs on him like mother.” Sirius warned and Arcturus winced.
“That’s a Black trait, Cassiopeia, Cedrella, Walburga and Alphard were all like that.” He suddenly smirked. “So were you, every time Walburga or Cygnus picked you up, you started screaming like they had you under a Cruciatus.”
20th June 1986
“Alright, Bill, Fred, George. You’ve got three options for emergencies. First is a portkey.” Sirius held up what looked like a leather cuff. “This will take you to one of three places. The shrieking Shack. The Folly. Or the Marauder’s Den. Activation pass-phrases are ‘werewolves are cool’ for the Shack, ‘crazy is beautiful’ for the Folly and ‘pack’s honour’ for the Den.” He handed each boy a cuff. “Luna-love, we haven’t forgotten you.” He held up broad silver bracelet and gently clasped it around her slim wrist.
“Second is to floo out, head for any of our places or Gringotts. Boys, if need be, if wards won’t let you portkey or floo, then the third option is up. But… only if the other’s won’t work.” Harry handed each boy a leather necklet and on them were tiny pendants in the shape of brooms. “Grab the broom, break the strap and the broom will unshrink. You three boys can all fly well, but it’s a last resort, got it? Oh, and whoever is closest gets to bring Luna.”
The boys all looked at the necklets and quickly slipped them over their heads.
“Good boys, now don’t panic, we don’t expect there to be any issues but, we’d rather be over prepared than get caught in a situation you can’t get out of. These will give you extra options.”
“Cool…” Fred and George exhaled together.
“Just remember… only in emergencies-” Sirius warned.
“… and don’t forget Luna.” Harry added.
“We won’t, Uncle Harry.” All three boys assured the two wizards.
“Good, good. So… You’ve got your bags?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.” Four voices chimed.
“Yes, Uncle Harry.”
“Luna? Birthday present for your mother?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.”
“I’ve got the broom for Charlie.” Harry leant the broom against his leg and stroked a sleeping Alioth’s back.
“We know, Uncle Harry.”
“Bill? Book for Percy?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.”
“Fred? Chess set for Ron?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.”
“George? Puffskein for Ginny?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.”
“Sirius? Anniversary gift for Molly and Arthur?”
“Yes, Uncle Harry.” The three boys, Luna and Sirius all answered.
“Why couldn’t we have got married on the summer solstice, like Molly and Arthur did?” Sirius whined quietly in Harry’s ear as they followed the four children from the room that they were using as an entrance foyer to their personal quarters, while they stayed in Minerva’s house.
“If we had wanted that, Sirius, we would’ve had to wait for another 10 months.”
“Oh… Um, no. I’m good with august.”
“Yeah, figured that was going to be your response.” Harry shook his head in amusement.
4th June 1988
“They’re going to be blonde, Harry, I just know it.” Sirius moaned, looking at the day old twins, Marcus and Tristan.
“Sorry, love, but not a chance.” Harry smirked, sometimes Sirius forgot that Harry had time travelled.
“Are you sure? They look they’re going to be blonde.”
“Trust me, by the time they get to Hogwarts, they’ll be darker than you.” Harry chuckled as Sirius sighed in relief.
“Hey.” Sirius objected. “They’re ours, they should look like us, not Remus.”
“Don’t worry, darling, no one’s going to think you cheated on me.”
“Me?!” Sirius squawked.
12th August 1988
Sirius entered the staff room and looked around for his husband and brother-in-law. Spotting them sitting in a window-seat, their heads together, Sirius took a deep breath and crossed the room, stopping in front of them.
“Hey, Siri.” Harry gave him a smile, before pausing, his head tilting and a frown settled on his face as he saw the almost sombre expression Sirius was wearing. “Siri?” Harry stood and took a step towards Sirius.
“I…” Sirius paused. “I’ve been asked to…” He trailed off, again.
“Spit it out, Sirius.” Severus rose to join his brother.
Sirius took another deep breath. “I’ve been asked to approach you about a contract.” He said in a rush.
Harry and Severus blinked in surprise.
“A contract? For whom?” Severus asked.
“By whom?” Harry asked at the same time.
“Remus. He wants to ask Hermione to marry him, but… this is Remus, he’s concerned that he might not be considered… suitable.” Sirius took one look at Harry’s face and added. “Please don’t hit him, he’ll take it the wrong way.”
Harry huffed. “I won’t hit him… hard, anyway. How could he possibly think he’s not suitable?”
“It’s the werewolf thing, Harry.”
“But… he’s not a werewolf anymore.” Harry argued.
“Yeah, but he was. For years. That conditions you to thinking a particular way and self doubt was always one of Remus’ big issues.”
“Fine.” Harry huffed a sigh. “I won’t hit him. Any ideas what he wants in this contract… or should we ask our grandfathers to help?”
“There’s only one thing that I know he wants. He would like to take Hermione’s name.” Sirius paused. “His parents loved him, but after Greyback bit him, they isolated him from other people, he wasn’t allowed to play with other kids and they moved house every few months, mostly to camouflage Remus’ condition. It must have been a very lonely childhood.” He explained. “He did say it was hell of a shock when Dumbledore turned up and told the family that Remus was accepted to Hogwarts.”
“So, why would he want to take Hermione’s name, then?” Severus asked.
“He muttered something about, leaving the past behind and moving into a happy future…?” Sirius answered with a dubious expression.
Harry and Severus exchanged a long speaking look.
“Alright. I’ll send word to our grandfather, while you send a letter to Lord Black and ask if he’ll represent Remus. Assuming they both agree, tell Remus, we’ll get an appointment for this weekend at Gringotts.”
“Thanks.” Sirius beamed at the two men before bouncing out of the room.
Severus turned to Harry. “You planned this.” It wasn’t a question. “I’ll put money on you planning this.” Harry just grinned. “Have you already written their contract?”
“Nope.” Harry smirked. “I thought I’d leave that for you and Sirius to hash out.”
“Oh, thank you very much.” Severus replied sarcastically.
“You’re next.” Harry said and sprinted from the room.
It took Severus a couple of precious seconds to realise just what Harry had said. He snarled and leapt after his brother.
“Come back here, you brat!” He yelled, ignoring the gobsmacked looks the students gave him, as he ran after a laughing Harry.
1st September 1989
“You know they’re going to end up in Gryffindor, Sirius.” Severus was adamant.
Harry laughed as he listened to Severus and Sirius argued over the twins’ sorting.
“They might have been in Gryffindor last time, but Harry changed things. They could go to Slytherin, you never know.” Sirius argued.
“No, mutt. They’re yours, I’m not having your demons terrorising my House.” Severus objected.
“Don’t worry, Sev. They’re going to Gryffindor.” Harry assured his brother, while his husband pouted.
“Gryffindor!” The Hat yelled from it’s perch on Fred’s head, he stood and waited while George sat and the Hat shuddered. “Gryffindor!” It yelled, again.
“See?” Harry nodded and waved to the boys, as they made their way to the Gryffindor table to sit across from Charlie and Percy.
“Thank Merlin for that.” Severus sighed in relief.
15th January 1990
“Tinrilla says she’s going to be okay, but we can’t take her home until tomorrow.” Harry gave a weak smile to the waiting witches and wizards.
It was 3am and he desperately wanted to sleep, but with Helaine struggling for every breath, he couldn’t bring himself to leave her. Now that Tinrilla had finished tending to the five month old baby girl and assured the girl’s soon-to-be-father, that all she needed now was rest, quiet and a half dozen hourly potions, Harry let himself relax.
His comment on Helaine’s condition was met by sighs of relief from almost everyone in the waiting room. The only exceptions being, Nathaniel who was quietly snoring, leaning against Severus’ shoulder and Sirius, who had leapt to his feet and was standing at Harry’s side, intently staring at his husband.
“So… tomorrow?” He asked.
“Yeah. Tinrilla says she still needs another half dozen potions, hourly on the hour, just to be absolutely certain there’s no ongoing issues from the dust… or any other pollutants she may have breathed in. We can collect her any time after 9am.”
Sirius smiled and drew Harry into his arms, he rested their heads together and just breathed with the man who had quickly become the centre of his world.
“Tomorrow.” He whispered.
9th July 1990
“Oh, good grief… Grab him!” Hermione yelled, pointing at a crawling Braxten, who was incredibly close to the edge of the Grand Staircase in the Great Tower.
Sirius took one look, yelped and leapt across the landing, his hand closing around a fist full of baby foot, he skidded for a few feet, while a cackling Braxten continued to squirm, reaching for the stairs and his other father.
“Come here, kiddo.” Harry leant down as he reached the top of the stairs and scooped a smiling Braxten up into his arms. “Are you giving your Papa a hard time, little man?”
He was answered by a happy baby babbling at him.
“He’s giving his Aunty Mione a heart attack, is what he’s bloody well doing.” Mione grumbled.
“Oh, Mione.” Harry shook his head. “He’s just getting used to us, of course he wants to explore.”
“I know, I know. I’m just not… I’d just got used to Helaine toddling about and Braxten is barely crawling and I’m having to look where I put my feet all over again.” Mione sighed.
“It won’t last long, Mione, just another few weeks and he’ll be up and running, you watch.” Harry grinned. “At least it’s holidays.” He assured her.
“Thank god for small mercies.” She replied fervently.
“Amen, to that.” Severus agreed.
All four shuddered at the memory of Harry’s 7th and 8th year girls’ reaction to Helaine’s arrival at Hogwarts.
2nd December 1990
“It’s time, my little love.” Pandora hugged Luna and handed her to Sirius.
“Do you have to? I don’t want you to go, Mummy.” Luna pouted.
“I don’t particularly want to go, either, but the Sight can not be denied, my love.” Pandora’s hand rested on Luna’s silky blond hair.
Luna sighed. “Okay, Mummy, but I’m going to miss you and Daddy.”
“I know little love, but Daddy will come back to you, eventually. It will take a while, but it will happen. In the mean time, I want you to keep a dream diary to share with Hermione and Daddy.”
“But what about my day diary? Who do I share that with?”
“Whoever you want, my love, whoever you want.”
“So I can share it with Fred and Bill?” Luna chirped.
“Of course, you can.”
“Okay.” Luna lay her head on Sirius’ shoulder. “Bye-bye, Mummy.”
“Goodbye, my sweet angel.” Pandora turned away, quickly, so Luna couldn’t see the tears fall from her eyes.
6th January 1992
“Happy birthday, my dears.” Minerva smiled at the triplets and their children.
“Thank you, Máthair.” The three answered together.
“I have a special gift for you. Courtesy of Ragnok and Gringotts.” She held up a small note.
“Oh?” Hermione handed her newborn daughter over to her husband, Remus, and pulled a plate across the breakfast table towards her.
“Gringotts have just signed a contract with the ICW to Side-Step the Wizarding World from the Muggle world.”
All the adults at the table sat up straight and looked at Minerva.
“Really?” Hermione gasped. “They figured it out?”
“Indeed they did. They presented their case to the ICW on the 2ndof December, along with their findings and examples of the Stepping Stones – as they’ve taken to calling them. They had to demonstrate the Stones for the ICW, on a place of the ICW’s choice. Then there was the linking system and how it works, where they’d place them and how to protect them. They heard back from the ICW, just yesterday. Ragnok asked me to keep it to myself for a few weeks. They didn’t want you to get your hopes up, just in case.” Minerva answered.
“Oh, wow.” Harry whispered.
“And what was the ICW’s response, Máthair?” Severus asked.
“It’s approved-” Minerva started, but was drowned out by the delighted chatter. She huffed and tossed a silencing charm at the table. “Thank you. As I was saying… It’s approved. The ICW will notify the Wizarding World in general in a month or two, but the Muggleborns and their families will be notified first, starting within the next week. While that’s happening, Gringotts’ branches worldwide will be making and laying the Stones, un-activated, all across the world. The ICW want them to be activated in a wave from Greenwich, across each time-zone at, just to make things confusing, ten after midnight on the 1st of July, this year.”
“And the Muggle-linking system?” Hermione asked. “What did they come up with for that?” Her idea of using a stabilizing portal, wound up being discarded as too cumbersome.
“I’m sure Ragnok can give you a better overview than I can, but… They’re going to go with a set location, something that is in a blind spot as far as muggle security cameras are concerned. And as far as spreading the Side-Step shielded areas, their Rune-Masters have come up with a way to allow muggles to step through out of the wall of the shield, but not back. In some cases, those of muggle hospitals and the like, one step cross a room is all a muggle needs to take to exit the shield, but there are going to be some people that will have to be physically moved. Infants, the aged, the infirm and those in muggle prisons, etc.”
“Wow.” Harry said again.
“King’s Cross’ platform 9¾ is going to be the primary link site in London. But they’re planning sites in a number of places. Scotland will have sites in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Ireland will have similar places in Belfast, Cork and Dublin. Wales will have Cardiff and Hollyhead. England will have Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Liverpool, Norwich, Plymouth,
Southampton and of course London.”
“Wow.” Harry said for a third time.
“It’s a long term project. As newborn muggleborns and half-bloods are identified, their circumstances are investigated and depending on what’s found, they may be removed. Just as we’re doing now, but in addition to this, those in happier circumstances will be contacted immediately. As will the families of existing muggleborns, half-bloods and our students. They’ll be given an introduction and overview of the Wizarding world and what we’ve had to do to protect the Statute. Previously graduated muggleborns and half-bloods will also be contacted and informed. They’ll be given the opportunity to re-enter the Wizarding world. All those that return, will be given the opportunity to bring their families with them. Ragnok said that in a couple of cases, that of squibs with magical children, the parents were more than happy to return, some were absolutely delighted.” She sighed. “Some thought they were banished to the muggle world and weren’t happy about it, so coming back was like coming home, for some.”
“Will squibs be told, Máthair?” Severus asked.
“I… I have no idea, Severus. I dare say, you could send Ragnok a note and ask.” Minerva answered.
“I think I shall. I know a couple of squibs that run a potions nursery, not that far from Cokeworth. I’d not like them to be left without a market for their products.”
“Hmm… It might be an idea to ask about sponsoring. For squib and for in-the-know muggles, too, dear.” Minerva added.
“I shall, Máthair.” Severus nodded.
“Máthair? The linking system? How does it work? Do you know?” Hermione asked.
“Ah… From what I can gather – and please understand, that much of what Ragnok said was beyond my comprehension. I gather that Gringotts used canal locks as a basis. Enter from one end and you’re in a closed room-like space. That space is cycled from the time-base you entered from, to the time-base you exit into. It takes a few minutes to transfer from one to the other, so it will only happen so many times a day. At most on an hourly basis.”
“And how many people can… transfer(?)… cycle(?) at a time?” Harry asked, finally entering the conversation.
“As many as will fit within the space. That will depend on what spaces are used. The King’s Cross platform we know can accommodate the Express, so I would expect quite a few there.”
“What about the Express itself? Could that be used?” Sirius asked.
“I’ve no idea. Perhaps we could ask Ragnok to send someone to give us a better understanding?” Minerva suggested.
“Yes, that would be good.” Harry nodded, as Hermione conjured a scroll of parchment.
1st September 1992
“Was there ever any doubt?” Harry smirked.
Sirius and Severus huffed together.
“I suppose not.” Sirius muttered.
“Never mind, Siri, we’ll still see her every day.” Harry assured his husband.
“And Filius is her Head of House, so he’ll keep an eye on her.” Minerva added.
“I suppose so.” Sirius pouted.
“Harry? You took Luna to the Express didn’t you?” Severus’ wife, Abigail, asked.
“I did. I know the Side-Stepping’s done, but the Express is part of the Hogwarts’ experience and I wanted her to have that.”
“Of course, you did.” Abigail nodded. “How’s Xeno doing? Is there any improvement?”
“There is, thankfully. Not a dramatic one, but any improvement is a good thing.” Harry answered. “I just don’t want him to go backwards, now.”
“We can only have faith in Pandora and her Sight. He’ll pull through it in the end, Harry.” Hermione offered what comfort she could.
“True, Mione, true.”
“And Bill?” Poppy Pomfrey asked. “I expected to see him here, tonight. Ginevra’s due to be sorted, shortly.”
“Yeah… Where is he, Harry?” Sirius frowned, looking at the family table.
“Blimey, you lot aren’t very observant, are you?” Harry’s smirk was bad in full force.
“Whatever do you mean?” Minerva asked.
“Bill is here.” Harry responded.
Minerva looked over to the staff’s family table, but her frown joined Sirius’ when there was no sign of the apprentice Curse-Breaker.
“Harry…?” Sirius stretched the name out, his tone promising retribution.
“Where… is… Bill?”
“Ruin my fun, why don’t you?” Harry muttered quietly before speaking slightly louder. “What House was Bill sorted into?”
As one, Hermione, Sirius, Severus, Abigail and Minerva all turned to look at the red and gold draped table. In the middle of the redheads of Percy, Fred, George and Ron, there were another pair of heads with red hair, both shaggy and loose. Bill hunched down, keeping quiet and trying not to draw attention, while Charlie chatted quietly with the twins’ dorm-mates, as they waited for their sister’s sorting. Ginny was likely to be last, as the first years were sorted by birth date, not name, and her birthday of the 11th of August, was less than three weeks before the start of the new school year.
“Cole Spencer.” Professor Hamilton called the second to last student forward.
The boy hesitantly came forward and sat on the stool, the entire school waiting to hear the Hat’s choice.
“Slytherin!” The Hat called out and the boy smiled in relief, he was glad to get into Slytherin, that was the potions Masters’ House and he really liked potions.
“Ginevra Weasley.” Professor Hamilton smiled as Ginny leapt forward and almost bounced passed the stool.
The Hat twitched and yelled out. “Gryffindor!”
As Ginny handed the Hat back to Professor Hamilton and headed for her brother’s, she was a little disappointed that Bill and Charlie couldn’t be there. Only to squeak in surprise as she sat opposite what she thought was Fred and George, to discover that it was actually Bill and Charlie.
“Billy? Charlie? When did you get here?” She gasped.
Bill grinned and let Charlie answer for them both.
“Came in with Ronnie, didn’t we?” The apprentice Dragon-keeper answered.
“Can you stay? How long can you stay?” Ginny babbled.
“Just til the weekend, Sprite. I’ve got to meet up with a teamat the Welsh Reserve, Monday morning, we're going to transport a nest of Welsh Green kits to Romania.” Charlie answered.
“Bill? What about you?”
“I have to meet my new mentor at Gringotts’ main branch at 2pm on Monday, after that, we're off to Egypt.” Bill said. “But Uncle Harry got me and Charlie new trunks yesterday and he linked them to the foyer trunk, so we can come home anytime we have free time.” He paused and thought for a moment. “Just have to remember the time differences, Charlie. Don’t turn up in the middle of the night and expect polite welcome. If you do, it better be an emergency or you better go straight to bed. Otherwise…?” He shuddered as he remembered stumbling through the trunks half-drunk and exhausted. Harry was not impressed and let it be known.
Charlie watched Bill’s face as he spoke and decided that whatever had happened, a few drinks weren’t worth the price he suspected it would cost.
“Cool. So, you’ll be home for Christmas. Yay!” Ginny grinned and turned to the blonde boy beside her. “Hi. I’m Ginny. What’s your name?”
“I’m Colin.” The boy answered.
“Creevey?” Asked Bill.
“Cool. Your family Side-Stepped, didn’t they? How’re they settling in?” The eldest redhead wanted to know. “I got to help with their relocation.”
“Wicked.” Colin breathed, before shaking himself and answering. “They’re good. Mum’s working at the Muggle Resource Centre, she gets to help the incoming muggle parents with their relocation and re-establishing themselves job-wise. Dad was a milkman back in the muggle world and he’s doing much the same, here. Most of the deliveries are done by floo, so he’s having to learn how to use that, but some are still done in person, so he still gets to do the rounds. Only here, he gets to use a flying carpet. It’s so cool.” The bubbly blonde chattered away.
Up at the staff table, Sirius watched Ginny and Colin chatting and smiled.
“Looks like Ginny’s made a friend.” He nudged Harry’s shoulder.
Harry looked down at the girl that Dumbledore and Molly had planned that he would marry, glad that was no longer his fate. He was even more glad that Molly had stopped drugging Arthur with amortentia, even if Arthur wasn’t concerned about it, the actual potion itself was a poison. With it no longer in his system, the now deputy director of the Muggle Resource and Relocation Department was in far better health than he’d been for a number of years. Molly and Arthur had gone through a short rough patch when Molly had admitted to using the potion on Arthur, but after thinking on the matter for a few days, Arthur decided that he was happy enough being married to Molly that as long as she stopped using the potion, he saw no reason to take any legal actions. He did, however, bluntly inform all seven of his children that if he heard of or caught them using a mind-controlling or restricted potion on someone, he would personally front the Wizengamot and bear witness against them.
“Harry?” Sirius leant in. “Who’re you going match Ginny up with?”
“Not real sure, just yet. There’s a couple of options, but I don’t wanna get it wrong.” Harry hummed in thought. “But I do think that Lavender and Cedric would work well. I’ll let you know about Ginny in a few months.”
Severus just shook his head at his brother’s comments.
23rd June 1993
Harry sat at the staff table in the Great Hall, watching as Fred and George sat their Charms exams. Both twins bent over their desks, their quills scratching away feverishly. It was their last OWL exam and they were giving it every bit of their attention.
Harry watched closely as Ken Towler and Adrian Pucey seemed to reach stalling points. Both boys frowned and Ken chewed on the feathers of his quill, before his eyes widened and he began to write again. Adrian huffed and snorted for a few more minutes before inspiration struck and he, too, set quill to parchment again.
Ten minutes before their two hours were up, Fred and George, on opposite sides of the room, put their hands up at exactly the same time and waited for Harry and Professor Hamilton to collect their parchments. They quickly and quietly handed over their exams and quills, anti-cheating quills provided by the Wizarding Examinations Authority, especially for the exams.
Harry went to hand Fred’s exam to Professor Hamilton, but raised a finger to Fred before he did so, indicating for Fred to wait. Once Hamilton had both twins’ exams, Harry glanced around the room and noting that no one else was requesting his attention, he quickly crossed back to the Great Hall’s main door and the waiting twins.
“Alright, boys?” When both nodded tiredly, he went on. “Good. If you want to head up to our quarters you can. I’ll even let you take Lee along with you, seeing as he’s just handed his exam to Professor Hamilton.”
“Can we go for a swim, Uncle Harry?” George asked, quietly as Lee joined them, the chocolate-skinned boy rubbing his wrist.
“If you can con Remus or Siri into joining you, sure.” Harry answered.
All three boys smiled a genuine smile and headed off to the DADA rooms.
1st June 1994
“My word, they’re so small.” Minerva whispered.
“They might be small, Máthair, but don’t mistake it. They’ve got the Black lungs.” Harry warned.
“Yeah, my ears are still ringing.” Sirius put a finger in his ear and wriggled it about, his other arm holding Talitha securely to his chest.
“Yeah, the only one that wasn’t a screamer, was Braxten.” Harry agreed.
“Oh, dear. I’ll have to going hunting, then, and find my muffs.” Minerva sighed.
“Yep.” Harry nodded and gently moved Anica from his chest, over to Minerva’s waiting arms.
“Were the others this small?” She asked.
“No, Anica and Talitha are smaller than the boys or Helaine.” Harry answered.
“By a long margin.” Sirius added.
“Should we be worried about that?” Hermione asked.
“Tinrilla seems to think they might be premature by a week or two, but it’s not detrimental. They’ve had all the relevant potions and their health is stable, now. They might be small, now, but they’ll grow. If we do right by them, Tinrilla says they should grow up without any ongoing problems.” Harry assured his sister.
“Thank heavens for that.”
12th February 1995
Sirius held his hands over Luna’s eyes as Harry lead her into their private dining room. Harry paused and Luna could hear people moving about.
“Ready?” Harry leant down and whispered in her ear.
“Yes, Uncle Harry.” She chirped back.
Harry’s hands lifted away from her face and for a split second she was almost blinded by the chandelier’s light. Then she saw her gift.
“Daddy!” She screamed in delight and darted over to leap into his arms.
“Hello, little love.” Xeno buried his head in her glorious pale hair.
“Hello, Daddy.” She squeezed her arms around his shoulders as hard as she could, she never wanted to let him go.
The rest of the family watched on, smiles on every face, even Anica and Talitha were smiling, they just didn’t know why. Leaving the two blondes to soak in the other’s presence, the family took their seats and started handing around the plate of food. Eventually Luna and Xeno parted and sat side by side.
“Thank you, Uncle Harry. Thank you, Uncle Siri.” Luna beamed at them.
“Yes, thank you, Harry, Sirius.” Xeno gave them a watery and bittersweet smile.
“Xeno, you are our little moon’s father. There’s always a seat at our table and a bed in our home for you.” Harry answered for them all.
1st September 1996
“Oh Lord. I can’t watch.” Sirius covered his face with his hands and lay his head down on the table.
“Aw, come on, Siri. It’s not every day your son and Heir get’s sorted.” Harry teased.
“Oh, shut up. What if he’s a ‘Claw?” Sirius grimaced. “Or worse… A ‘Puff?”
“Sirius Orion Black, get it together. Alioth is a Son of House Black. He is the Heir-Dependent of House Black. I think it’s pretty safe to say he’ll either take after his father or his great-grandfather. Personally? I’m going with Slytherin.” Harry chided.
“Oh, give it over, mutt.” Severus muttered. “This is Alioth we’re talking about. He’s more Slytherin than Harry. I can’t see him going anywhere else.”
“Neither can I.” Harry grinned.
Down between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables, in the middle of a huddle of 11 year olds, Alioth Black waited patiently for Professor Hamilton to call his name. He knew he’d end up in Uncle Sev’s House, the Hat had called him the ultimate Slytherin many times. He had ambitions, lofty ones, at that. He planned on being the first ever Black to be Minister for Magic. He knew that his Dad and Aunt and Uncle were the ones to tell Gringotts about the Stepping Stones and he wanted to make his family proud.
Time to go.
Alioth took a deep breath and stepped away from the other students, he tossed his dads a quick grin as he turned and sat on the Sorting Hat’s stool.
‘Well, now… What do we have here?’The Hat’s voice filled his head.
‘Hello Evermond.’ Alioth thought back. ‘Where are you going to put me?’
‘Oh, like there could ever be any doubt, young Black. There’s only one place you belong.’
‘And that is?’
‘Slytherin, of course!’ The Hat yelled the House name out loud, but continued the comment silently, to be heard only in Alioth's mind.
“See, I told you so.” Alioth heard his Dad tease Papa.
“Oh, shut up.” Came the reply.
Alioth just snorted and headed for the Slytherin table and his cousin, Portia. 
10th March 1997
Minerva sighed and handed the slip of parchment to Hermione.
“You’d best pass that along, Mione.” She said.
“May I read, Máthair?”
“Of course, dear.”
Hermione opened the folded parchment and read the brief message.
“Ah.” Was all she said, but she did nod as she left the Headmistress’ office.
“Oh, Albus. You idiot.” She sighed.
Hermione left the stairs and walked along the third floor corridor, heading for the Defence classrooms. Reaching the original classroom, she glanced inside, but knowing that Harry had a free period, she entered the room and made her way to up to the office. As she passed the first landing, she heard the chimes ring in the office and knew they would be ringing in Harry’s trunk.
A few seconds and she could hear his footsteps echo on the timber floor above her head. a few more seconds and her brother joined her in the DADA office.
“Mione?” He asked. “What’s up?”
“Máthair gave me this. Asked me to pass it along.” She handed over the parchment.
Harry frowned, but opened it and read the short missive.
“I see.” He flopped down into a seat. “I… I gotta say I’m surprised.” He muttered.
“In all honesty, Mione? I thought he’d died before the Side-Step.”
“Ah. I hadn’t… I knew he was still alive, but every time I thought about him, I’d remind myself that he was no longer a threat to my family and distract myself with something else. I guess that over time I got good at not thinking about him.”
“I’m a bit the opposite, Mione. I think about him a lot. I just remind myself that we’re making our world safe for our children, something that he should have done and didn’t. I remind myself that we don’t need him to live and be happy. Sometimes I think that he wanted to destroy our world and other times I wonder if he just got in over his head and couldn’t admit he was wrong.” Harry sighed.
“Well, he’s gone, now.” Hermione’s sigh matched his.
“And no matter which way you look at it? That’s not a bad thing.” Harry flicked the parchment into the air and with a semi-silent ‘incendio’, let it burn to ash.
2nd May 1998
Harry and Hermione stood on the astronomy tower’s platform and watched the sun set over the Black Lake.
“We did it, Mione.” Harry whispered.
“Not we, Harry. Not really. You started this and you finished it.” She answered.
“With you at my side, all the way.”
“You didn’t really think I was going to let you do it alone, did you?”
“I’d have got nowhere without you.”
“Too right, you wouldn’t have.” She agreed. “Is there anything else we have to do?”
“Nope. We’ve destroyed Voldy. Saved Sirius, Severus, Remus and Fred. Protected our world from the muggles. We’ve got a system to protect the muggleborns. We’ve saved Alioth, Helaine, Braxten and the twins. We’ve ensured that the purebloods aren’t going to breed themselves out of existence. We’ve restored Hogwarts to the premier school in Europe and we’re getting close to being the top school in the world, again. Our kids are healthy, happy and well educated.” He smiled and turned his face to the setting sun. “If we do nothing else…? I’m good with that.”
“Yeah… I think I am, too.” She leant against him and rested her head on his shoulder. “It’s time to step back and let someone else take on saving our world.”
Harry laughed. “You know…? I think it can get along on it’s own for a few years. Maybe by then Alioth will be Minister, that’s where he’s aiming to be.”
“A Marauder’s pup as Minister for Magic.” Severus joined his brother and sister. “God help us all.”
“It could be worse.” Harry grinned.
“And how, brother mine, do you figure that?”
“Sirius could have decided he was going to be Minister instead of our Animagus Professor.”
Severus didn’t reply, but he did shudder.
“Yeah, Alioth as Minister isn’t so bad, now is it?”
Severus snorted. “At least he’s a Slytherin.”
“You know something, Sev? I think Siri would actually agree with that.” Harry laughed.
“Alright… That’s enough with the maudlin thoughts. There’s ice-cream and children inside waiting for us.” Severus overrode his siblings.
“Let’s go get it, then.” Harry grinned at Severus and Hermione.
“Let’s.” Hermione lead the way off the tower.