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Hogwarts; Year Two

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“Aunt Tasha! Aunt Tasha! Draco’s mum said he could visit us once we were back in Scotland!” Harry all but shouted, racing into the common room. Though they’d been planning on going back early in order to pick up Harry’s school supplies, they hadn’t told him how early yet, and this was obviously about to affect that decision.

“Is that what she said?” Natasha asked, offering her hand for the letter, and Harry nodded excitedly, offering the letter up. She scanned it over and indeed, that was what Draco had written. If Natasha had learned anything about Draco this past year, it was that he never lied about what his mother may or may not had said, and it was amusing as it was sweet. The boy clearly adored his mother. “Alright then. Well, Clint and I were going to take you back a few weeks early anyways. Let’s make it July, and then we’ll have time to visit the burrow as well.” she offered, naming where Ron  and his family lived. Harry shrugged, expression dropping slightly. Draco had been the only person who’d written to him - though that didn’t mean he hadn’t heard from Hermione. She’d gotten very upset that he hadn’t answered her letters and rang him by phone. Harry had insisted that he hadn’t even received Hermione’s letters and she’d decided to look into ways letters could get lost when travelling across oceans. Turns out there were more ways than either of them had expected. He’d thought Ron would write him as well but he hadn’t heard a word. Natasha just tugged Harry closer, pressing a kiss to his temple.

“Why don’t you give Hermione a call? See if she wants to do a play date when we arrive.” Harry rolled his eyes, but nodded happily.

“It isn’t called a play date anymore, aunt Tasha. We just hang out. We’re too old for playdates.” and Natasha smiled, though something in her ached that her little boy was growing up so fast.

“Of course, sorry. Call Hermione and then let your uncle Tony know that we’re leaving early. He and Bruce were supposed to meet us closer to September but they may change their mind now.” Harry nodded, hurrying off, Draco’s letter in hand. Natasha’s smile fell then, as she thought about Steve and Sam who hadn’t been around in weeks, chasing any and all leads around the world to try and find the Winter Soldier. James. She remembered him - bits and pieces - not enough to form a clear picture, but the absolute terror that had always slid through her at the thought of the Winter Soldier had faded to make way for affection. She couldn’t help but wonder just what those feelings meant. She’d read his file - knew he’d been in Russia, and at the right time to have helped trained the Red Room girls. She wondered if she was one of them - if that was one of the few times she too had broken free of her training before her final, daring escape. All she knew was that while she was afraid of the Winter Solder, while his name almost paralyzed her - the name James gave her a whole different set of feelings she wasn’t completely comfortable with. Shaking her head, she rose.

“Jarvis, have we heard from Steve yet?”

“Not yet, agent Romanov. Would you like me to try and contact him for you?”

“Yes. Let him know we’re leaving early and if he wants to see Harry off before he goes back to school then to meet us in Scotland.”

“Right away agent Romanov.”

“Oh and Jarvis?”

“Yes?”

“Pass the message along to Sam too.”

“Of course.”


 

Harry couldn’t wait to go back to Scotland. Even when they were on uncle Tony’s jet and flying across the ocean, he was restless with excitement.

“Hermione said I’m to give her a ring as soon as we’ve landed. She hasn’t been to Diagon Alley this summer yet either and she thought it would be far more fun to go together.”

“Sounds like a plan, Harry.” and Harry just beamed at her before dropping two cards onto the pile between him and his uncle Clint.

“Pick up 7, uncle Clint.” and the archer in question huffed out a breath but did just that.

“Hey, if you’re getting to hang out with Draco this summer, think that means you’ll get that flying lesson?”

“He said he would - though he doesn’t know if he’ll be allowed to bring the brooms to our house. He was going to invite he round but he’s a bit nervous about it.” Natasha nodded in agreement, she’d gotten that vibe too. It would seem while Draco’s mother commanded his love and respect, his father cast more of a fearful shadow, and Draco was far warier of doing what his father didn’t immediately approve.

“Ah well. I mean, we could always just get you your own broom. Then he would only have to worry about his own.” and Harry rolled his eyes.

“You can’t just buy me a broom. Their expensive. and what if I’m terrible at it?”

“Then we give it away to someone who isn’t.” Harry just huffed out a breath, shuffling the cards in his hands around before dropping an 8 of spades down.

“You may change your mind when you see just how much brooms cost these days. Change it to diamonds.” and Clint grumbled unhappily, shuffling his own cards around. Natasha watched them both fondly, but her thoughts had gone ahead. While she understood why Harry wished to go back for a second year, she was warier than she had been last year. After all, with everything that had happened, everything her nephew had been through, she didn’t think it was surprising that she didn’t trust the school much at all. And yet - Jarvis had kept her up to date on the going ons at the school, the surveillance system she’d hidden around still active. It looked like all those tests Harry and Tony had done really did work - not to mention the fact that Arthur had been just as happy to help figure such things out. She’d heard rumour over the summer that Arthur had in fact manage to spell a car to be almost - not alive, but nearly sentient. Tony had, of course, been nearly over the moon, though Molly had been quick to scold them and remind them that getting caught spelling muggle objects was in fact a criminal offence and they needed to be very lest they both end up in Azkaban. That had earned all of their curiosity and Molly had then explained that Azkaban was the wizarding prison, guarded by Dementors who could suck out your soul. Natasha supposed that it made sense they needed something with an ultimate sort of power like that to guard people who could do nearly anything with magic, but it didn’t make it any less chilling. She knew what it felt like to have everything that made you ripped out and reshaped. It wasn’t something she would wish on most people. Regardless, she still had full surveillance at the school, still kept in contact with professor McGonagall, and was fairly confident that they hadn’t figured out a way to block her off school grounds yet. She looked back over at Harry and smiled. While it made her nervous, she had more than enough faith in her nephew as well. He was smart and intuitive, and he knew well enough that asking for help was a strength not a weakness. He would be just fine.

>>>

Settling back in in Scotland was easy. The house had been kept up under Jarvis’ watchful eye and all they had to do was unpack whatever belongings they didn’t have on site. Since the travel itself was long and exhausting, all three of them dropped off to sleep almost immediately, curled up together on the expansive couches in the living room. They woke together as well, hours later, and the new found energy had Harry on his feet and racing for the phone to call Hermione. Clint just groaned, tilting his face against Natasha’s thigh, eyes squeezed shut.

“I’m getting to old for this.” and Natasha laughed, running her fingers through his hair.

“Come on, up. Let’s get something to eat.” when Clint just groaned again, she pinched his shoulder. “Jarvis said that Molly had some soup sent over when he notified her of our arrival.” that had Clint up and off the couch and almost racing to the kitchen. Natasha laughed. If there was one thing they all shared, it was a love for Molly’s home cooking. She would have to remember to find another way to thank her. She followed Clint into the kitchen, knowing she would have to make sure to get her own bowl before Clint ate it all.

 

Harry found them in the kitchen, frown on his face. He accepted the bowl of soup that Clint offered him, settling down at the table with them.

“Hermione spoke to Ron yesterday to let him know we were coming back to Scotland. He told her he’d been writing to me all summer.” Both Clint and Natasha exchanged glances. It was odd that the only letters that had managed to arrive were Draco’s, and they’d honestly believed that Ron had just forgotten, after all they imagined most 11 year old boys weren’t all that interested in letter writing - but this changed things. “Apparently his mum also wants to meet with us all in Diagon Alley. Hermione thinks it’s a good idea since her parents are still get a bit nervous about doing the shopping.” then he brightened. “And Fred and George are coming.”

“So we know something odd will happen.” Natasha drawled, and Harry grinned.

“Oh, also, since there’s been an issue with our letters, Mrs. Weasley asked Hermione to pass on that we’re all invited round for tea this weekend. We can floo over and she’ll expect us at 2 on Saturday.” Harry’s grin widened. “And seeing as there’s been a problem with the letters we’ll have no excuse not to come.”

“And miss Molly’s cooking? Never.” Clint teased, and Harry was relaxed again. Natasha, however, exchanged a look with Clint over his head. The lack of letters now that they knew they existed, was a problem. One thing they’d learned was that this sort of magic was consistent and difficult to disrupt. If letters were going missing, chances were very high that it was from an outside stimulant. Natasha couldn’t help her eye roll. Barely back and already the strangeness had begun.