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Blinded by Lies

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A/N- Here we are once again, my friends. This story has over 150 planned chapters and while I don’t think that the chapters will be near as long as they were in The Prophecies, it still leaves me with an epic sized story. Lordy, is all I can say.
Before we begin, I want to cover a few things. First off, this is going to be an ultra-slow burn Harmony story. It will follow our heroes through all their years at Hogwarts and Harry won’t get with Hermione until sixth year. If you can’t hang with something for that long, I completely understand. I love me a slow-burn and still find myself frustrated at times when I have to wait a ridiculously long time. Let’s face it, this one is going to be a long wait.
Secondly, this story is going to be modeled off what happened in canon but won’t follow it to a tee by any means. Not to mention, it’s been ages and ages since I read the series Harry Potter and since I’m old, I’m sure that I’ve forgotten something along the way. If you have any questions on if I meant to change something or if I just forgot what the hell I read five years ago, feel free to ask.
This story is extremely AU and while I have tried to fashion it after canon, merely tweaking the story to fit this craziness, I’ll try not to let it get too boring. There are three parts, the first being before Hogwarts, the second being during their school years, and the final part being during the war. This fic is going to frustrate me to no end and will probably take me the better part of a year, if not longer, to write so if you decide to embark on this journey with me, I hope you’re in for the long haul.
Finally, while I have taken this story and made it my own, the original idea from Part One was given to me from a fan, Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle. All kudos go to her for starting me down the dark and winding path.
Now I’ll be bringing this ridiculously long A/N to a close (my longest one to date, ever!). Hope you enjoy the story.
Disclaimer: None of this story belongs to me except the twist on the plot. I’m sure that the plot has been done before and the characters belong to our queen. I haven’t made a single knut off this story or any other, my bank account tells no lies.
Part 1
Chapter 1
October 31, 1981
Sirius couldn’t place the reason why, but he knew deep in his heart of hearts that something wasn’t right. He had spoke with James just that morning and while he was going stir crazy from being cooped up in Godric’s Hollow, all had been well. He had been able to hear Lily screeching at James to get his damned head out of the fireplace and help her catch the cat, something about Harry had used accidental magic and charmed it purple.
This was a normal day for the Potters. They bickered and argued like they had been together for a hundred years rather than just a few but made up just minutes after a spat. Harry was the light of their lives and meant more to them than the ridiculous amount of gold in James’ vaults at Gringotts. It was par for the course for Sirius to admit that Harry was the light of his life as well.
Voldemort had them all in hiding. Sirius was still going on missions for the Order of the Phoenix, so he was more of a move every night kind of hiding. Remus was constantly off with the werewolf packs which was what originally had sparked the hint of mistrust in their furry friend. It was James and Lily and Frank and Alice that had gotten the raw end of the deal, having to go completely into hiding because of a prophecy that Sirius had yet to hear in entirety. James had told him that he had heard it from Dumbledore but was under oath to not repeat it to a single person. Sirius hadn’t taken offence. Some things were bigger than hurt feelings.
Since Dumbledore had cast the fidelius charm on the Potter’s cottage in Godric’s Hollow, James had instantly volunteered Sirius for the job of secret-keeper. While Sirius was honored and pleased at his friend’s trust in him, he knew that he went out far too often, consorting with the enemies too often, to feel like that was the safest option. Since they had started to doubt Remus’ loyalties, Sirius suggested that they use Peter since he mostly stayed home and took care of his ailing mother. While disappointed, James and Lily admitted that his idea had merit.
For a year now, they had stayed safe in the little cottage. They were able to go out into the small garden behind the house but that was the extent of it. James especially was losing his mind since he was used to nightly adventures with his friends at Hogwarts in the form of Prongs. Sirius was unsure who Frank and Alice had used as their secret-keeper but since he received an owl from them every month like clockwork, it was clear that they were doing fine in their confinement as well.
It was because of this sense of unease that he found himself flying his motorbike to Godric’s Hollow, just to check on his friends and godson. The last thing that he wanted was to ignore the feeling and then discover that something terrible had happened. Sirius guided his bike to the ground, completely astounded and horrified at what he saw before him in the rising moonlight.
The upstairs of the cottage was blown to pieces, the room that was his godson’s open to the elements. He could see Lily laying on the ground, her vibrant red hair spread around her like an oriental fan. He landed in the back garden and rushed inside the house to feel his heart get ripped out of his chest.
His oldest and best friend in the world, was laying in a pile of rubble, eyes closed with glasses askew on his face. His wand was nowhere to be seen and it was clear that he wasn’t breathing. This didn’t stop Sirius from rushing to his side and gathering James in his arms, hauling him to his chest, and letting out the most mournful sound he had ever heard. It took him a moment to realize that it had come from himself. His best friend was still, however, already gone from this world.
Suspecting that Lily was dead as well, Sirius rushed upstairs to throw himself down at her side too, checking for a pulse like she had taught him to so many months before. Unlike James, her eyes were wide open and the glassy, unseeing haze he saw in them turned his stomach. Unable to hold his dinner in, he turned and retched on the nursery floor, filled with loathing for himself. Peter had betrayed them and there was nobody to blame for that but himself.
Stumbling to his feet, narrowly missing the pile of sick next to her body, Sirius turned to see that Harry was sitting in his crib, silent, just watching the scene unfold before him. There was a scar on his forehead now in the shape of a lightning bolt that Sirius had no idea of how it got there. He went to the crib and Harry grinned up at him, standing so he could hold his hands up.
“Up, Siri, up.” Sirius hadn’t been able to refuse his godson a request yet so was happy to lift him out of the crib where he had clearly watched his mother be murdered before him. The toddler’s hands twisted in his long, black curls, tugging them until it forced a laugh from Sirius’ hoarse throat.
“’Pin me, Siri, ‘pin me.” Sirius let out another choked laugh before he untangled his hair from Harry’s chubby little hands.
“Not right now, pup. We have to get you somewhere safe and I need to catch me a rat.”
As much as Sirius hated to leave Lily there on the floor by herself, he had no choice. He wanted to lay her next to James, so he could have the illusion that they had died a peaceful death together, but he couldn’t set Harry down in this mess and do that. The last thing he expected was for someone to come crashing through the same door he had entered through. His wand came up quick as a snitch only for him to realize that it was Hagrid, already wiping his eyes on a pink and white checkered tablecloth. Sirius lowered his wand only for Hagrid to speak.
“Dumbledor’ tol’ me that there was sometin’ going on at tha Potter’s. I came as fas’ as I could.” Sirius knew that this was a golden opportunity that he couldn’t believe was being handed to him. Walking forward, the animagus held his godson out to Hagrid.
“Take Harry with you to Hogwarts. I’ve got to find Peter, I’m going to kill him.” Hagrid took the infant but turned confused eyes to Sirius. He growled his frustration.
“Don’t worry about it now, Hagrid, I’ll explain everything later. I need you to get Harry to safety and keep him for me until I come get him.” Sirius didn’t wait for a reply before turning to head for the door. As he left the cottage, he called over his shoulder.
“Use my motorbike, it’ll be safer than the broom you came on.” Now that the wards were broken, Sirius didn’t even make his way out of the back garden before apparating away.
His first stop was the shit hole flat that he was staying in at the moment. He used a charm to pack all his things. He knew that there was no way he could bring Harry there. His ancestral home, Black Moor, was empty and had been for a couple years; he would take Harry there to raise him and nobody could contest it since he was the heir. Once the charmed bag was shrunk down and stuffed in his pocket, he decided that Peter was a creature of habit, that had been proven several times through the years. Knowing that the wizard wouldn’t willingly abandon his mother, he apparated to the garden that they always used when visiting Peter.
It was clear that the rat wasn’t expecting anyone to come find him in his home; this made absolutely no sense since he never left unless he only left when he had no other choice. It was clear now just why that was, too afraid of getting caught in his lies and duplicity. Peter was seated at the table with his frail-looking mother, spoon feeding her soup. Sirius had trouble putting the friend who betrayed his best pal and the son who took such good care of his mother together. Before he could speak, Sirius lunged forward and grabbed hold Peter. Before Sirius realized what was happening, Peter had apparated them out of his mother’s house and onto some random street in Hogsmeade.
His “friend” managed to drop his wand the second they landed, throwing himself away from Sirius. There were a few people on the street, walking briskly to wherever their destination was. Sirius could see the absolute fear in Peter’s eyes and he was sure that it was because he looked as insane as his family was rumored to be. He was glad. The rat deserved to feel terror before he died at Sirius’ wand.
“Pick up your wand, rat. I wouldn’t want anyone to say that I killed you in an unfair duel.” Peter shrank visibly, not reaching for his wand in the slightest, hoping that it would stave off the impending end. Sirius just chuckled darkly before casting a slicing hex at his ex-best friend. It hit him right across the chest and blood poured down his robes.
“Last chance, rat. Get your wand or die on your knees.” Peter started to bawl, and Sirius couldn’t take that. He reached out and kicked him, knocking him on his arse in the mud. Sirius raised his wand, more than ready to deliver the last blow.
“I hope you rot in hell, Peter. You sure won’t be going to where James is.” He knew the spell though he had never used it before. The animagus knew that you had to mean it, that you had to gather all the hate inside you and fuel the spell. There was plenty of hate but for a moment he hesitated. In that moment, however, he thought of James and Lily and all the crazy and beautiful memories they had together. He thought of Harry and how he would grow up not knowing his parents, how Sirius would have to be a poor stand-in. His resolve was strengthened.
“Avada kedavra.” The jet of green light left his wand but not at the angle that he had anticipated. Someone had thrown themselves into his back at the last possible moment, shoving him forward just enough to skew the spell. Rather than hit Peter, it slammed into someone standing in the shadows. The young man dropped like a rock, the same lifeless look in his eyes that Lily had had.
Sirius was struck silent and still at just what he had done. After a few moments, he turned to see a woman behind him, auror badge clearly pinned to her robes. Her face was stricken, many emotions crossing her features before she focused on Sirius.
“That was my partner, you fucking killer!” Peter was still crouched on the ground, sobbing, but Sirius wasn’t surprised when the woman ignored him. Her wand came up and she started blasting spell after spell at him, determined to bring him down. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Peter reach for his wand and disappear with a soft pop.
Sirius knew that he was in trouble. He had killed an auror and it wouldn’t matter that he had meant to kill Peter. He had used an Unforgivable, successfully at that. It wasn’t a good situation and he had to do some quick thinking if he was going to get out of it, so he could retrieve Harry. He realized that he had a way out of this, but it was going to cost him in the popularity department. It would mean flouting the ridiculous pureblood laws that he had claimed to hate his entire life.
Even though he was furiously sending spells back at the woman auror, his mind was working through what he would need to do. It was a good thing that the woman was clearly new in her job because a seasoned auror could have easily taken him down with how distracted he was. Deciding that his only course of action was to make his way to St. Mungo’s, Sirius flashed the woman a haunted look before disapparating away.
The animagus appeared outside the muggle entrance to St. Mungo’s. This wasn’t something that he wanted to do, at least not for this reason. He had been aware that his brother Regulas had been seeing Lucius Malfoy’s younger sister Erise. He had been aware that when his brother went missing and was assumed dead, she had been heartbroken. What he hadn’t been aware of was the fact that they had had a daughter.
Sirius had received a missive from St. Mungo’s earlier that day regarding his niece. Apparently, the Order had learned of Erise’s location and tried to blast their way in, for what purpose Sirius wasn’t sure. He hadn’t been made aware that they were even searching for Lucius’ sister, but he supposed when he thought about it he wasn’t surprised. The blasting curse they had used had caused debris to lodge itself in Erise’s chest. While it did say in the missive that the Order members had done their best to save her life, he knew that they didn’t count losing her as a true loss. She had merely been an untapped vessel of information.
Their daughter had been injured. He had to admit that he was surprised that they had taken her to St. Mungo’s rather than himself to begin with. Perhaps because they didn’t think that he would take her? While he didn’t consider himself father material, he would never have turned away his brother’s child. Even though Regulas had made bad decisions, he felt sure that the younger Black had regretted his decision. He had meant to go to St. Mungo’s and claim his niece the next day but due to recent events, he couldn’t afford to wait.
Sirius blew through the doors, not bothering to speak with the Welcome Witch. His missive had told him exactly where his two-year-old niece was located. While he hated what he was about to do, it was necessary. He couldn’t afford to let Harry go who knew where. He figured that he should probably care about his niece more than his godson but since he hadn’t even known of her existence, it was hard to focus on her now. As much as he knew it wasn’t right, she was a means to an end. He knew that he would grow to love her with time, but Harry was his main concern.
There was an ancient pureblood law that had never been repealed. He remembered being disgusted about it when his father had been tutoring him to take over his Wizengamot seat. No matter the crime committed, if the pureblood in question was the sole parent of a pureblood child, Azkaban would be forfeited. At the time it had sickened Sirius. Why should a person be spared punishment for his crimes just because he was pureblood? It made him sick that he was about to capitalize on it.
Sirius made his way to the sixth floor, meeting nobody’s eyes along the way. Nobody seemed too bothered to see him there probably recognizing him by his signature raven curls and grey eyes. When he reached the main desk, he flagged down the pretty young mediwitch that was walking by.
“Excuse me, miss, I was sent a letter today about my niece being brought in. Erise’s Malfoy’s daughter.” Recognition flashed in the young mediwitch’s eyes before she openly checked him out. Under normal circumstances, Sirius would have set up a date with her after flirting shamelessly but tonight he was in no mood. When she realized that he was uninterested, her face was schooled into something more professional.
“Right this way, sir.” Sirius followed the young woman through the corridors until they reached a room at the end. Sirius could hear a young girl screaming, calling for her daddy and her mummy. Lights were flashing in the corridor and he realized that in her distress, her magic was flaring. The mediwitch gave him a grim smile.
“I hope you can do something with her. She won’t let any of us near her. Every time we try she somehow stuns us. We’ve never seen accidental magic so strong.” To be truthful, Sirius was surprised at this. While it was true that all purebloods were inter-related somehow, it didn’t always mean that their magic was weak. However, it was a fact that it was a strong possibility if you bred with someone related too closely to you. His mother and father were second cousins, no last name change needed when they had married. One would think that they would be destined to be weak of magic or touched by insanity, but he and Regulus were neither. Both were rather strong wizards, much stronger than most in their family.
Bellatrix was a prime example. Her parents were related but further down the line. While she was an exceptionally strong witch, she was mad as a hatter. Narcissa was weaker but completely sane. Andie was powerful and had all her mental faculties. While Sirius knew that his family was related several generations back to the Malfoys, it wasn’t recent enough to play a part in his niece’s magic. It was probably a case of inheriting her father’s and mother’s strength in magic and it manifesting early. It also meant that he was going to have a rough few years. Sirius steeled himself to get stunned when he tried to approach his niece.
The animagus pushed open the door and spotted three mediwitches trying to calm the child. The looked harried and frustrated, eyes tired and hair falling around their shoulders. Sirius glanced at his niece and was stunned. He couldn’t focus on anything but her for several seconds.
She was beautiful.
She couldn’t be any older than two with a chubby heart-shaped face. Her eyes were a brilliant icy blue, the signature color of the Malfoys. It was like a punch to the gut, however, to see her raven curls, just past her shoulders. It was like looking in the mirror. It was so clear that she was a Black it was no wonder that his brother had kept her hidden from the world. She would surely have been a target. Even though he had come in to adopt her to keep himself out of prison, he felt an affinity for this child. She was alone in the world and terrified, missing her mother and father. How often had he felt completely alone growing up, terrified of his own family? A fierce surge of protectiveness welled up within him and he had to fight it down, so he wouldn’t scare her. Her little voice was the sweetest sound he had ever heard.
“Daddy?” Sirius was unsure what to say. Should he allow her to believe him to be her father, knowing that she hadn’t seen him in a year, since he was going to adopt her anyways? Should he tell her he was her uncle? Would she even know what an uncle was? The oldest mediwitch made the decision for him.
“Yes, honey, that’s your daddy.” Her eyes lit up and she held her arms out for him to lift her, much as Harry had just hours prior. There was still a trickle of blood down one of her cheeks and a massive bruise forming on one of her arms. Unable to help himself, he walked forward and lifted her into his arms. She instantly burrowed into his chest, her thumb going into her mouth for a moment before speaking.
“Bad men hurt mummy.” He was astounded that this child could speak as well as she did. Harry only managed short sentences and they were rarely the full word. He called Sirius Siri for Merlin’s sake. He wasn’t sure what to say in return but decided that he had to try to make the little girl feel better.
“I know, sweetness. You’re going to stay with me, alright?” He couldn’t help himself. He ran his fingers through her beautiful black curls and nuzzled the top of her head. She nodded her head against his chest. Sirius chuckled softly at her before speaking.
“You’re hurt, sweetness. Let’s let these nice ladies heal you. I’ll stay here with you the whole time.” He took a seat and perched his niece on his lap, gesturing for the mediwitch to come forward and heal her. It took a matter of minutes for the young girl to be healed and the mediwitch smiled softly at him.
“I take it you’re Sirius Black?” He nodded, aware that his niece’s eyes were drifting closed.
“What’s her name?” The woman gave him the oddest look but answered him nonetheless.
“Her aunt and uncle told us that her name is Hermione Alula Black and that she is two years old, her birthday is September 19th. They wanted to take custody of her, but pureblood law says that a child goes with the father’s family. You don’t know her? Why would she call you daddy?” Sirius raked a hand through his hair.
“I didn’t even know she existed until I got the missive about her. She probably thinks I am her father, Regulus and I always looked like twins even though there was a year between us.” She narrowed her eyes at him.
“Are you equipped to handle a child?” Sirius nodded.
“I have friends that will help me.” She gave a firm nod before standing.
“We must sign some paperwork to release her into your care.” Sirius nodded and stood, cradling Hermione in his arms. He was handed off to a matronly woman that looked to work in administration. He followed her into a small and stuffy office and took the seat she indicated for him. As much as he was already in love with his niece, he needed to get her back to Black Moor, so he could perform the much-needed blood magic.
“Since you are the girl’s blood relative, you don’t have to sign any custody papers like you would if you had adopted her. You’re just signing papers stating that you are willingly taking her into your care.” Sirius nodded and grasped the quill in his hands, briefly looking at the parchment before him. With a flourish, he signed his name and title, a title that he rarely used unless it would benefit him. Even though he had been disinherited, the Wizengamot had reinstated him since he was the last Black and they were loathe to let an Ancient and Noble House die out. The older woman smiled at him after checking his signature.
“That’s all, Lord Black. You’re free to take your niece. We wish you the best.” Sirius gave her a small smile even though the last thing he felt like doing was being cheerful. His best friend in the world was dead, a woman he considered to be his sister murdered, and his godson orphaned. The betrayer had escaped since the auror had intervened. His sense of urgency to get to Black Moor was renewed.
Sirius stood and wrapped his cloak around his niece, heading towards the lift. He exited St. Mungo’s as swiftly as he had arrived. Once back out on the muggle side of the entrance, he made sure that the coast was clear before twisting on the spot. When he landed, he was standing in the foyer of the Black ancestral home. He never understood why his mother refused to live there; she had always preferred Grimmauld Place. Sirius had always loved Black Moor. In the later years of his parents’ marriage, his father had stayed there while his mother retained residence at Grimmauld.
Hermione didn’t wake through the apparition, something that surprised him. Sirius stalked into the library, setting the little girl down on the couch before the fire that the elves had set. He wasn’t sure how they knew that was where he would go when he arrived, but he appreciated it nonetheless. While he had always hated Kreacher, his mother’s personal elf, he had always found his father’s elves to be a delight.
His father had once been a proud man. Sirius had idolized him until he turned thirteen when his mother had goaded him into punishing Sirius with the Cruciatus for talking about his Gryffindor friends. It had been clear that he hadn’t wanted to, he had never been a demonstrative man, but Sirius had never doubted that he loved his sons. However, he did as his wife asked to keep the peace because his mother had the talent of making everyone’s life complete and total hell. While he understood his father’s actions now, to an extent anyways, that hadn’t mattered at age thirteen. He had been betrayed and felt like his father didn’t love him anymore. That had been the beginning of the end for him. He had a feeling that his mother had been behind him being disinherited as well. Uncle Alphard had confirmed it before he died.
Sirius went to the fireplace and threw in the floo powder found on the mantle. He called out for Gringotts, and urgently asked for the Black account manager to come through. Once Furybolt stepped through, Sirius sighed in relief. He had no idea when the aurors would come calling but he wanted the adoption finalized when they got here. Sure, he would still have to pay exorbitant fines for using an Unforgivable, but it would save him prison time.
“Furybolt, thanks for coming. I need you to perform a blood adoption tonight.” The goblin narrowed his eyes at him.
“You want to engage in blood magic? Your father told me that you were most staunchly opposed to such things.” Sirius sighed and raked his hands through his hair.
“I am, Furybolt, but I also am in a bit of a predicament. James and Lily Potter were murdered tonight. They were betrayed by Peter Pettigrew and I went after him. An auror tackled me as I shot off the curse to end him and it hit another auror. I must make sure that I’m not in Azkaban, so I can be here for my godson. He was still alive, and Voldemort was gone. I’m not sure what happened but I know that he is at the middle of it. That means I must blood adopt my niece. This beautiful little girl was Regulus’ daughter. Her mother was killed today by the Order. I’m already her legal guardian but that won’t be enough.” Furybolt nodded his head in understanding.
“I understand. The ritual isn’t difficult or time consuming. As you know, the adopted party usually takes on the genes and blood status of the person adopting them. Since she is already genetically belonging to your family, I doubt anything will happen in that regard. Her magic may strengthen since she’ll have your magic in her system as well as her mother and father’s. This will also increase her chances for the famous Black insanity. However, since you and your brother were free of it, I imagine things will be fine in the end.” This worried Sirius for a moment but decided to take the goblin’s word. He nodded his acceptance and the goblin produced a silver bowl and a dagger. He nodded towards Hermione.
“Put your niece in a deeper sleep so she won’t wake when I cut her hand.” Sirius produced his wand and muttered the somnus spell. Nothing changed in Hermione but to put her in a deeper slumber. Furybolt took her hand and slashed her palm, the blood running freely into the bowl beneath her. Once the required amount of blood was collected, the goblin waved his hand at her palm, healing it completely. There would always be a small scar there. Sirius knew that he was next and held his hand out willingly. Furybolt cut a deep cut through his palm, the blood pouring from the cut and into the bowl, mixing with Hermione’s in a hiss of smoke. Once his cut was healed, the goblin began to chant.
“Ego hunc sanguinem esse meum sanguinem nostrum sanguinem non praevalebunt.”
Furybolt said it several times over and while Sirius wasn’t quite sure what it meant exactly, he could feel the invisible ties between himself and his niece tighten even more. Her outward appearance didn’t change except maybe shedding some of her baby fat. He couldn’t stop himself from reaching out and stroking her hair again, reveling in it’s silkiness. So much like his own. He was drawn from his thoughts by Furybolt speaking in English again.
“Take her hand in yours, palm to palm.” Sirius did as he was bid and watched with rapt attention as the goblin poured the blood concoction over their joined hands. Since it had been smoking, he had assumed that it would be hot but was instead pleasantly cool. Hermione smiled in her sleep. The goblin chanted a few more times before he waved his hand and vanished the blood. He gestured for the two of them to part, so Sirius set her hand back down on the couch.
“It’s done, Lord Black. Hermione Alula Black in now officially your daughter and your official heir until you produce a son. I can assume that there will be a large withdrawal from the Black vaults sometime tomorrow.” Sirius gave a tired nod.
“Yes, I’m sure that the aurors will be along at some point tomorrow. I can’t wait.” Furybolt chuckled before standing and making his way to the fireplace.
“I must return. I’ll be hearing from you tomorrow then. I wish you the best with your daughter.” Without waiting for a response, Furybolt stepped into the flames and was gone.
Sirius sat down on the couch at Hermione’s head. He was a father. He had a daughter. While he had been around for much of Harry’s life, he wasn’t entirely sure that he could raise her on his own. He didn’t know the last thing about raising a child, much less a daughter. He had never even had a serious girlfriend, playing the field and moving from girl to girl as they struck his fancy. With a sigh, he called for the head elf.
“Candy.” An older elf appeared before him.
“Master.” He smiled at the diminutive elf.
“My daughter and I will be living here for the foreseeable future. We’ll sleep in here tonight, but can you have the others prepare rooms for the both of us? Also, send a voucher with one of them to get her some clothes. I’m not sure what size she is but I’m sure you have a better idea then I do.” Candy nodded emphatically.
“Yes, master, I’s will have Kiki go tomorrows. Yous rooms be ready in morningtime.” Sirius smiled at her softly.
“Thank you, Candy.”
The elf popped out of the room and Sirius settled onto the couch. He waved his wand, enlarging it enough to be a bed for them both. While he would have preferred a bed, he knew that none of them were ready and didn’t want to wait. He snuggled into his daughter, wrapping an arm around her middle and pulling her against his chest. He summoned a blanket and covered them with it, not cold with the fire going but he was sure that she would be.
His mind went to the sight of his friends, dead on the floor, the scar on little Harry’s forehead. He needed to get things squared away with the Ministry and then he would make his way to Hogwarts to claim Harry. He was sure that he was stuck in the Hospital Wing with Poppy or in Minerva’s quarters. They would all be heartbroken and would want to keep the last living Potter close.
While everyone around the nation was celebrating the defeat of Lord Voldemort, Sirius was laying on the makeshift bed, sobbing as quietly as he could at the loss of his friends. It was clear now that he could trust Remus, that he had been undeserving of their suspicion. Vowing to find him after the Ministry and apologize, Sirius tried to sleep. While he had lost so much, he had also gained a daughter. The last link to his brother. The muggles always said that when a door closed, another opened. Sirius vowed to try to think of it that way when things just became too much.
A/N- There we are, first chapter done! I can’t say how often I’m going to be able to update this story since it’s summer and my life is insane, but I promise to do my best. Let me know what you think, reviews make me smile.
Ego hunc sanguinem esse meum sanguinem nostrum sanguinem non praevalebunt = I take this blood to be my blood, our blood will prevail.
This translation is thanks to google translate, if it’s wrong, I apologize!
Next up, the aurors at the Ministry and meeting up with Remus. Should be interesting!
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Here’s the next chapter, y’all! I hope that everyone enjoyed the first chapter. Thank you to everyone who has already followed, favorited, and reviewed my story. You da bomb! Your support so far has been overwhelming. Anyways, I won’t go on and on, I’m excited to get started.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. I haven’t made a dime off this story; my bank account wouldn’t lie.
Chapter 2
November 1, 1981
Sirius was caught in the middle of waking and sleep. He hadn’t slept well at all, he had fitfully tossed and turned into the wee hours of the morning. Honestly, he wasn’t surprised. His best friend had been murdered, the traitor had escaped, and he had taken a life. He couldn’t recall seeing the face of the auror that he had killed but he had dreamed of the woman’s face as she watched her partner fall. All in all, it hadn’t been the best of nights.
Hermione had slept soundly all night; she was obviously a cuddler, snuggling into Sirius every time he shifted away from her. It made him wonder if his brother had ever slept with her like he was; this thought didn’t make him feel any better. His brother was assumed dead and he knew that Moldyshorts was behind it. He wished more than almost anything that he and Regulus had been able to settle their differences before he died.
He could tell that the fire in the library had died awhile ago. The air was cool, and his nose was cold. He forced himself to open his eyes and make sure that Hermione was still asleep. When he saw that she was snuggled into his side still, he smiled softly at the sight of her.
Hermione was beautiful. Sirius still couldn’t believe that she belonged to his brother. Never in a million years did he think that Regulus would flout pureblood tradition and have a child out of wedlock with the Malfoy daughter. He supposed that his mother would have eventually approved since it would have been a favorable match for both families, but she would have howled for ages over the embarrassment and scandal the child would cause the family. He reached out and fingered one of her silky black curls before calling for Candy. When she appeared before them, Sirius tried to smile at her.
“Please light the fire, Candy. I don’t want Hermione to get too cold.” The elf gave an enthusiastic nod before snapping her fingers. Flames jumped to life and Sirius sighed in comfort. The heat pouring from it already was warming him. Just as he sat up, Hermione rolled to her side, her eyes fluttering open. She didn’t seem to care that she was in a place she had never seen before; her eyes focused on Sirius and she smiled at him as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
“Daddy.” He reached out and stroked her cheek, smiling softly at her.
“Morning, sweetness. Are you hungry?” She struggled to sit up on her own so Sirius reached out to help her. She gave him a resolute nod. It made Sirius wonder if she had even eaten the day before since they weren’t able to get near her at St. Mungo’s.
“What do you like for breakfast?” Hermione grabbed his hand and started playing with his fingers, tracing their lengths with her own fingers.
“Eggs and bacon.” He was still surprised that she was able to speak as well as she could. He figured that Erise must have taught her on her own or hired a very private tutor for the girl. Sirius turned to Candy.
“Can you find some eggs and bacon for breakfast? I’m not sure what you are prepared for here since I’ve been gone so long. Whatever you need to run the house, charge it to the vault.” Candy gave another enthusiastic nod.
“Yes, master. Candy sent Dip and Dot out last nights after you arrived. The manor is stocked and ready for Master and young Mistress. Candy will have Tippy makes yous breakfast.” Sirius was impressed that the elves had already stocked the manor for them to live there. He would have thought that it would at least have taken a day or so. Of course, this probably just meant that they had stayed up all night to do so. The animagus returned his attention to his daughter.
“Let’s get us get a bath before we eat.” Hermione began to whine but Sirius just raised his eyebrows at her. It was a move reminiscent of his father. Whenever he or Regulus had started to whine about something, his father would have raised an eyebrow at them, signaling that they would be punished if the whining continued. He suspected that Regulus had done the same because Hermione instantly ceased her whinging.
Hermione jumped from the couch and stood, waiting for him to join her. When he was upright, Hermione took his hand and looked up at him, silently telling him that he would have to tell her where to go. Sirius had no idea what rooms had been prepared for the two of them, so he decided to head to his old room. There was an ensuite bathroom that they could both bathe in.
As they left the library, Hermione swung their hands, counting to herself. What she was counting, Sirius had no idea, but he wasn’t going to say anything. If it made her feel better, he was okay with letting her continue. They climbed two sets of stairs before Sirius led her into the room that he had called his own since as far back as he could remember. Deciding that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with bathing his daughter on his own, he called out for Candy again.
“Can you please get one of the younger elves to come and help me bathe Hermione? Make sure that they bring something suitable for her to wear.” He regretted saying that the second it was out of his mouth. He knew what the elves would consider suitable clothing and he didn’t want his daughter to be drowned by propriety before she could even read. He let the order stand, however. When the aurors showed up, it would just concrete the defense he was going to use with embracing the pureblood ideals. Candy nodded and popped out of existence, Hermione laughing at the elf joyously. An elf that Sirius had never met before appeared, eliciting more laughter from his daughter.
“Master, I’s Sipsy. Candy sends me to help with young Mistress. Sipsy is a brand-new nanny elf and I’s would loves to take care of master’s heir.” Sirius smiled at the young elf. She would be perfect.
“I’ve never given a baby a bath and while I realize that Hermione isn’t technically a baby, I’m not sure that I would be doing it right. Can you help me?” Sipsy was nodding enthusiastically. Sirius had to smile to himself. The elves were all so happy that they were home. It wasn’t a well-known fact, but elves loved taking care of children and the Black elves were no different.
Sipsy moved to the bathroom and began running water, pouring a potion in that made bubbles appear. She was humming softly to herself, in her own world. Sirius was a little surprised when Hermione tugged on his hand.
“What is that thing?” He still couldn’t believe her grasp of the English language.
“That’s a house elf. They are here to help us, but it is our duty to never take advantage of them. They’re part of the family and should be treated as such. Therefore, when Sipsy tells you to do something, you are to obey her. She wants to make sure that you’re safe and taken care of.” His daughter cocked her head to the side for a moment before speaking.
“She’s here to help us so we need to be nice to her. I understand, daddy.” He ruffled her hair and smiled down at her.
“I’m glad, poppet. Make sure that you always listen to Sipsy.” She nodded resolutely. Sipsy turned back to them and motioned for Sirius to start undressing his daughter. While he was mildly uncomfortable with undressing a small child, he knew that there was nothing sexual about it. She was his daughter and even though she didn’t come from his loins, the protectiveness and sense of duty that he felt for her assured him that nobody would look at him twice for bathing his daughter.
Hermione was quite agreeable to helping him undress her. While Sirius was quite adept at undressing grown witches, undressing a small one made him feel out of his depths. He was sure that if James was alive he would be rolling in laughter. Thinking of James made his heart clench in despair. His best friend was gone. When he had originally got the missive from St. Mungo’s he had been thrilled that his niece and his godson would grow up together. Now, he only had to wait for the aurors to arrive, so he could take his licks and then claim his godson from Dumbledore.
Sipsy took over completely when it came to bathing his daughter. Sirius made to come help but was shooed away by the bossy little elf. He wouldn’t complain. He really had no idea what the hell he was doing. Hermione was playing with the bubbles, splashing water all over Sipsy but the elf didn’t seem to mind. She gently chided his daughter but laughed when she tried to rub the bubbles on Sipsy. Realizing that he was no longer needed in the bathroom, he moved into the bedroom to start going through his things and reminisce about times past.
He was surprised that Sipsy had her in there for another twenty minutes. While he was sure that Hermione was clean long before then, he assumed that she had let her play in the water to make her feel more at home. Sirius made a mental note to send Sipsy out for bathtub toys. He knew that Harry enjoyed them immensely. Once she came out of the bathroom dressed in a long dress that looked extremely proper, he sighed in relief. Her hair was dry and combed back, half of it held back by clips. It was clear that Sipsy knew exactly what to do with her curls.
Once they were out, Sirius instructed Sipsy to take Hermione to breakfast, so he could bathe in privacy. While he wasn’t ashamed of his body in any manner of speaking, he didn’t feel right with his daughter waiting outside the loo for him to clean himself. He showered off quickly, dressing in the clothing befitting the station of Lord Black. He even made sure to wear one of his father’s robes that were embroidered with the family crest. After all, it was only a matter of time before the aurors arrived, demanding his audience. He would rather be prepared.
Once he was out of the shower and dressed, he made his way to the dining room. Hermione was perched on a booster seat at the formal table, feeding herself eggs, bacon, and kippers. When she caught sight of him, her eyes lit up.
“Daddy!” He chuckled softly and took the seat next to her rather than the head of the table. While it would have been unacceptable if there was company, it was perfectly fine to happen when it was just the two of them. Sirius dug into the plate that appeared before him, not realizing that he was hungry until the food was set before him.
Once he began, Sirius couldn’t stop. It was quite clear that he had not anticipated the hunger from the day before. He could admit that it was a day from hell, James was dead after all, Lily too, but he had eaten only hours before arriving in Godric’s Hollow. He couldn’t help but feel a little guilty at the fact that he was enjoying breakfast while James and Lily were dead. Especially when it was his fault.
He finished long before Hermione had, watching her do her best to feed herself with undisguised amusement. She was so advanced in so many things but when it came to eating she was at the same level as any other two-year-old. When she finally tired of feeding herself, she turned to her father.
“What happened to mummy? The bad men hurt her.” Sirius reached out and stroked her cheek again, unsure of what exactly to tell her.
“Did mummy ever tell you about heaven?” He severely doubted it since Erise was a pureblood and heaven was a muggle thing, but he was surprised when she nodded her head yes. Sirius heaved a deep sigh.
“The bad men hurt mummy. She didn’t want to leave you, but she had to go to heaven. She wanted me to take care of you, so I could love you in her stead.” Even though he wasn’t quite sure that she understood what he was saying, she nodded, tears in her eyes.
“Mummy isn’t coming back then?” His heart broke at the saddened look on her face.
“No, poppet, she went to heaven and left you with me. Do you think that we can get along?” Hermione nodded emphatically.
“Yes, daddy, we’ll be best friends.” Sirius felt his heart swell at her words. Before he could answer her, Candy popped into existence at his side.
“Master, peoples are trying to get through the wards. Should Candy lets them through?” Sirius heaved a deep sigh.
“Yes, let them through.” He turned to Sipsy. As much as he hated to do it, he had no other choice.
“Once the aurors arrive and see Hermione, I want you to apparate to Malfoy Manor with her. Do not leave her for anything. Tell them that I’ll be along once this mess is cleaned up. If they try to keep my daughter from me, I’ll press official charges.” Sipsy nodded solemnly. She understood exactly what was going on; while Hermione was a Malfoy by birth, she was the Black heir and should be protected as such. There was a resounding knock on the front door, several rooms away from the dining room. Sirius gathered his strength, squared his shoulder, and lifted his chin.
“Show them in, Candy.” The elf didn’t respond, just disappeared from where she was standing next to him. Just moments later, there were footsteps outside the door. The door opened and six aurors filed in, wands held aloft, steel in their eyes.
“You’ve under arrest, Sirius Black, for the murder of Auror Matthews. We’ve been ordered to bring you into the Ministry for questioning.” Sirius nodded and stepped forward. Hermione, however, understood their words and burst into tears.
“No, daddy, you can’t go.” Sirius flashed the men a dirty look for bringing his daughter to tears. He knelt before her and pulled her into his embrace.
“Don’t be scared, poppet. I’ll be back by dinner. You’re going to go see Auntie Cissa and Uncle Lucius. When I get home, I’ll come get you and you can see your new room.” The auror behind him snorted but was silenced by one of the others elbowing him. A happy look overtook his daughter’s face.
“I love Aunt Cissy and Uncle Luci. I get to spend all day with them and Draco?” Once again, he couldn’t believe how well she spoke. Much to his confusion at her love for her Death Eater relatives, he nodded.
“Yes, sweetness. You get to spend all day with them. I’ll come get you this evening.” She threw herself into his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck. He kissed the side of her head before shooing her back to Sipsy. Once she was there, he beckoned Sipsy forward. When she reached him, he whispered.
“Stay with her at all times. If I don’t return tonight, keep her safe. I’m not sure if she’ll be in danger at the Malfoy’s but don’t let any harm come to my heir.” Sipsy nodded reverently.
“Sipsy will protect young miss with her life. Bad Malfoys won’t touch her.” Sirius nodded his approval, standing to face the aurors. Once he was facing them, he spoke aloud.
“Sipsy, take your mistress to her family at Malfoy Manor. She doesn’t need to see this.” Behind him, he heard a pop and knew that his daughter was gone. Now that the young eyes were gone, one of the aurors stepped forward and punched him in the stomach. Sirius couldn’t keep his breath as he dropped to his knees. The older man bent at the waist to hiss in his ear.
“That’s for Auror Matthews. We know you’re guilty, Auror Montrose saw you kill him. You’ll get far worse than that in Azkaban. Hope you enjoyed telling your daughter goodbye; that’s the last time you’ll see her.” Sirius kept his temper, as difficult as it was. He knew for a fact that he wouldn’t go to Azkaban but that didn’t mean that he didn’t deserve it. He felt terrible for the aurors life that he had taken but there was nothing that he could do about it now.
Sirius allowed them to haul him to his feet, magically binding his hands behind his back. While the situation was going to be embarrassing, being dragged into the Ministry of Magic bound, there was nothing that he could do about it. It was going to have to take his testimony, that of Furybolt, and then an audience in front of the Wizengamot to make sure that he was set free.
-O-
Lucius was sitting with his wife at the dining room table, eating their breakfast in silence. He knew why the silence was present. His sister had been murdered by the Order of the Phoenix the day before and his beloved niece had been taken from them.
Erise had been in love with Regulus since they were thirteen years old; while he wasn’t thrilled that they had conceived and bore a child out of wedlock, he knew that secrecy was key. Lucius and Narcissa were targeted so many times just because of Lucius’ reputation as a Death Eater. Being the sister of a well-known Death Eater and being a Death Eater, himself made the whole family more of a target, especially since they didn’t have safe wards to hide behind.
Regulus had never been a favorite of Lucius. He was quite sure that the younger man wasn’t loyal to the Dark Lord, but since his sister was with him, there was no way that he would ever speak of his suspicions. When Regulus had disappeared, Lucius was quite sure that the Dark Lord had caught him in his thoughts of betrayal, but they never heard anything about his death. Being a traitor was something that the Dark Lord would have boasted about.
Lucius adored his niece. While he loved his wife and his son more than he could say, he had been more than disappointed when the healers had told them that Narcissa would never carry another child to term. He was grateful for his heir, but he couldn’t help but admit that he had always wanted a daughter. There hadn’t been a Malfoy daughter before his sister in over two hundred years. He would have loved to carried on the tradition.
For this reason, Hermione was the light of his life. While he loved Draco with all his heart, there was definitely something to be said for daddy’s girls. He knew that she had a daddy, but he hadn’t been seen in a year. He had filled in for the position since Regulus had disappeared without a word. He knew that his sister was heartbroken, but she did her best to keep her heartbreak to herself.
Hermione spent just as much time at the Manor as she did with her mother in their modest home. Lucius had offered them money, so they could afford a better place but Erise had refused. She wanted a small and cozy home, something that Hermione could be comfortable in always. While he hated to see them fending for themselves, Lucius had respected her decision.
Hermione was quite taken with Draco even though she was almost a full year older than him. Erise had gotten her a tutor early on, training the girl in language and many other areas. He intended for Draco to have the same, determined to make sure that his son would be second to none, except maybe his niece. Narcissa was just as in love with Hermione as he was; she was her only niece (that she claimed, the metamorphmagus didn’t count in their opinion) and she hoped to keep her for herself to raise as her daughter.
They had been brokenhearted when the aurors had taken Hermione from them after the attack on Erise by the Order. It was clear that they hadn’t meant to kill her, but it also broke their heart to realize that their sister was gone forever. Hermione was the only link they had to Erise; the fact that she was going to be sent to Sirius Black set an ill feeling in his middle. He was a member of the Order and the last thing that he would do was let his niece visit their Death Eater relation. Narcissa immediately wanted to renounce their ties to the Dark Lord, especially since he had apparently been vanquished by the Potter boy. Lucius was leery, not wanting to be the victims of retaliation. Narcissa was currently nagging in his ear.
“Lu, he won’t let us see her if he thinks that we’re following the Dark Lord. We must renounce him or we’re going to lose our niece forever. Sirius doesn’t have a hard heart; if he thinks that we’ve changed, he’ll allow us to see her whenever we want.” Lucius raked his hand through his long blond hair, a sign of emotion that he rarely allowed himself.
“I know, Cissy, but what about those that will strike against us? Your sister would show us no mercy even if it is to keep the Black heir safe.” Narcissa slammed her silverware down with a hard look upon her face.
“I don’t give a fuck. Hermione is your niece through your sister and my cousin through my cousin. I want to make sure that I get to have a say while she grows up. If I have to say that we were under the Imperious, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. She’s the only daughter I’ll ever have. Don’t you dare try to take her away from me. You will do what you must to keep her around and you will treat Sirius with as much respect as you have to for him to let her spend time here. I won’t have her and Draco growing up apart.” Lucius was surprised to hear her curse; she was the consummate lady and cursing was most certainly not listed in her abilities. Therefore, he nodded since it was clear that if he decided otherwise she would never forgive him.
“Very well, my dear.” He had no sooner spoke before there was a pop behind them. When Lucius turned around, Hermione and an unknown elf was standing behind him, his niece smiling.
“Uncle Luci, Aunt Cissy! Daddy told me to come see you today.” Lucius was beyond confused since he was aware that Sirius had been made her custodian. While she had Malfoy blood in her veins, her eyes proved that, it was a proven fact that children went to the father’s family, so they could take their places as heirs. As much as this irritated Lucius, he understood it. While Hermione would be responsible for bearing the heir of the house that she married, her second son would be the heir to the Black fortune so long as Sirius never had any more children. While he wished that Hermione could have married Draco, they were simply too closely related. Therefore, he hoped that they could be raised together, something that most Malfoys never seemed to get to do.
“Hermione, love, what are you doing here?” She threw herself into his arms and he didn’t hesitate to hug her close and kiss the side of her head.
“Bad men came for daddy, just like they hurt mummy. He told Sipsy to bring me to you and keep me safe.” Lucius couldn’t believe that Sirius Black had sent his niece to their house for safety. Surely, he had to think that they were the epitome of danger and evil? Just who had taken him from his niece? Sipsy seemed to realize that they would have questions.
“Master had to gos with men with badges. He tells me to bring young Mistress here and hims be by to pick hers up tonight.” Lucius didn’t miss the fact that Black hadn’t trusted his niece with them alone, sending one of his elves along for the ride. While he would normally have been offended, he wasn’t in this instance. He wouldn’t have allowed his niece to go anywhere that he wasn’t one hundred percent sure that she was safe.
“I assure you ….” He trailed off because he had no idea what the elf’s name was.
“Sipsy.” He continued.
“Sipsy, we have no intention of harming our niece. She means just as much to us as our son Draco does.” While the elf took his words at face value, he could see that she doubted his word. That was fine. He would just prove that they were safe for his niece to be around. There was no way that he was going to give her up without a fight.
“Please join us, Sipsy. Hermione and Draco haven’t seen each other for a couple days and they’re likely to spend hours together. Feel free to move around our home without hindrance.” While it made him grit his teeth that he had to grant an elf this kind of freedom, it was necessary for Black to believe that his niece was safe with the. As much as he hated it, it was a price that he was willing to pay.
-O-
Sirius couldn’t believe the willful ignorance of the aurors that were questioning him. He had told them the story from step one, feeling that there was something off the evening before. They hadn’t believed him when he told them that Peter was the secret keeper and the traitor that betrayed his best friend to the Dark Lord. They sure hadn’t believed that he hadn’t meant to kill the auror that fateful evening before.
Sirius wasn’t sure what else he could say to make them believe him. He had told them innumerable details, things that they surely would have been able to check on with any of James and Lily’s friends. They had flat-out called him a liar when he told them that Peter had escaped when his killing curse had hit the young auror. He was unsure of what exactly he could say to prove his point so at the end, he just remained silent.
The Wizengamot had been pissed when they learned of his blood adoption of his niece. Furybolt had been called to testify that he had indeed performed the blood magic required for Hermione to be his daughter. Once they heard his testimony, chaos had ensued. While Sirius was more than thrilled that there was nothing they could do about him killing the auror, he still felt terrible that he had taken a life. Before he had been called in front of the full Wizengamot meeting, he had vowed that he was going to do whatever he could for the young auror’s family.
“Lord Black, please tell us exactly what happened last night.” Sirius sighed. This was perhaps the fiftieth time he had been told to recount the events as he knew them but so far, they hadn’t been recognized. He raked a hand through his hair, determined that the members of the Wizengamot would hear the truth.
He explained how he had been best mates with James Potter, how he had been asked to be their secret keeper for the fidelius charm but had refused because he would be the first guess. Sirius had detailed how he had gone after Peter and tried to kill him after betraying his best friend and almost killing his godson. Even though he was most ashamed, he had told them how the female auror had slammed into him, throwing his killing curse off to hit the auror that was across the street from him. It had taken all he had to keep the tears at bay while he told the story.
Not that any of it mattered. They hadn’t believed a word that came out of his mouth except for him saying that he was indeed guilty of killing the auror with the killing curse. They had all wanted prison justice then but had been denied by Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody. He had insisted that he go before the Wizengamot to learn of his fate.
Sirius now stood chained to the chair before the Wizengamot, ankles and hands both bound. He had never been happier that he had sent Hermione to the Malfoys. Lord Greengrass was speaking, a more pompous arse Sirius had never cared for before.
“We’ve all heard the testimony of not only Lord Sirius Black but the goblin Furybolt. Do we all agree that he falls beneath the old law Merlin number 4385?” He could tell how much the other members hated to acquit him but there was little else they could do. He was the Black heir, the second most wealthy family in the wizarding world, and he had more than a fair alibi. Even though nobody looked thrilled, every single member of the Wizengamot raised their hands. Lord Greengrass spoke with a sneer.
“We, the Wizengamot, find Sirius Black innocent of crimes against Merlin and humanity. We order that he raise his daughter with clear determination of our traditions. We also find that the defendant pays a total of 500,000 galleons for the use of an Unforgivable curse on the night of October 31, 1981.”
Even though the fine was a little steep, Sirius was more than happy to pay it. Even though it hadn’t been ordered of him, he was going to find something nice to do for the auror’s family that had been affected. While he felt terrible for his actions, he also knew that no recompense would be welcomed so he would have to be sneaky.
The depth of the fine should have worried him. It was half a million galleons, something that would worry any other family in their world. However, they were only a short bit behind the Malfoys in wealth and half a million galleons wouldn’t do a thing to his vaults. If anything, it would see the purebloods investing in his businesses because they were sure that he was on their side. While he had no intent of publicly claiming their loyalty, he wasn’t going to tell them that he was one hundred percent loyal to the light. That would be like kicking your own mother in the teeth. While he would have loved to do that to his own mother, he knew that feeling that way simply wasn’t normal. His mother had been a special kind of evil.
The chains suddenly left his wrists and ankles, letting him know that he was indeed a free man. Lord Greengrass spoke again.
“Please remand the agreed upon fine to the Ministry by the end of the day.” All the Wizengamot members rose from their seats and began to file out the doors. Sirius heaved a sigh and started for the door himself, the entrance that the public used. He didn’t see a single person from the Order of the Phoenix. He had thought that Dumbledore or Remus would come and see how his trial turned out but there wasn’t a single person there to support him.
Sirius quickly left the Ministry. He still had to make his way to Gringotts to pay his fine and he hoped to have time to go see Remus before he went to pick up Hermione. He hoped that she was doing alright at Malfoy Manor. He headed across Diagon Alley to Gringotts, ready to get this whole ordeal over with.
The animagus stepped into the wizarding bank, scanning the large room for Furybolt. Seeing that he was with someone, he made his way to his account manager’s queue. He waited at the required distance, noticing that it was Walden Macnair ahead of him. Once Furybolt realized that he was waiting, the goblin hurried Macnair along, though he didn’t look much very happy about it. Furybolt waved him forward.
“First, let us get business out of the way. Then I will give you information about what occurred last night in Godric’s Hollow.” Sirius perked up at these words. He slid the paperwork from the Wizengamot across the counter to the goblin. The goblin shook his head.
“Half a million galleons? You should have fought that. They only gave Peregrine Parkinson a hundred thousand galleon fine for the same thing. They capitalized on the fact that you’re the second wealthiest wizard in our world.” Sirius knew that he was right, but he had no urge to fight the Ministry on it.
“I know but I did kill an auror. I’ll pay my fine, so nobody can say that I was shown favoritism. Besides, we both know that all the rich bastards that do business here are going to invest further in the Black family businesses. It may be half a million galleons, but it’ll repay itself quick enough.” The goblin chuckled to himself.
“That’s true enough. I expect you to make that back in just a month’s time.” The goblin steepled his hands under his chin. Sirius waved his wand, silencing the area around them so nobody could accidentally overhear them.
“The word amongst the goblins is that the wizard known as Lord Voldemort learned of the Potter’s location through a source unknown to us. He struck your friend down first. We don’t know the details of how, just that he was killed first. Ragnok himself told us that the Dark Lord tried to kill young Potter, but Lily Potter cast herself in front of the curse meant for the boy. Once he turned his wand to young Potter, the killing curse rebounded, leaving the scar on his head that you told me about. It is believed by all that he is gone for good, but that isn’t so. There is dark magic involved, the darkest. We are unsure as to what exactly, but our records show that the Dark Lord is still alive. Dark magic is the only thing that could have saved him after being hit by the killing curse.” Sirius cocked his head to the side.
“How is it that Harry survived then? For a killing curse to rebound off him, leaving only a scar?” Furybolt tutted softly.
“His mother cast herself in front of him, taking the curse meant for him. She willingly sacrificed herself. That produces protection. Sacrificial love is one of the strongest protections in our world.” Sirius nodded his head slowly, taking in the words of his account manager. After almost a full minute contemplating the situation, he gave the goblin a grim smile.
“Thank you, Furybolt. The information is appreciated. One last thing before I go. Can you lock down the Potter vaults except for Harry’s trust account? I know that with both Lily and James dead, I’m in charge of their finances until Harry is of age. I don’t want anyone thinking that they can start dipping into their vaults because they’re dead.” Furybolt nodded.
“Absolutely. I know you rally behind Albus Dumbledore, but I wouldn’t trust him completely. He was trying to convince James Potter to help finance your side of the war. I wouldn’t want him to think that he could do so now because James is gone.” This really didn’t surprise Sirius. Once he had accepted his title as Lord Black, Dumbledore had broached him about funneling money into the Order of the Phoenix to help fund the war. He had agreed to a small amount, but it obviously hadn’t been enough for the wizened old wizard.
“Again, thank you.” Sirius didn’t wait for a response before turning and leaving the bank. He was ready to go see Remus and apologize for mistrusting him.
Knowing that Remus still lived at The Den, his parents’ old house in the middle of nowhere, Sirius stepped off the steps and apparated. He was already keyed into the wards there so he apparated to just outside the front door. He knew that the wards would alert Remus to the fact that he was there. It didn’t take long at all for the front door to fly open and for Remus to step through, fury written upon his features.
“You dare come here after your treachery?!” Sirius was silent in his confusion. Treachery? After a couple false starts, he finally spoke.
“I’m not sure what you’re on about, I wanted to come tell you how sorry I was that I was doubting your loyalties. I need your help. I have my niece and I’m going to get Harry, I know I can’t –.” He was cut off by Remus’ roar.
“You betrayed James and Lily!! They’re dead because you handed them to Voldemort, you gave away the secret of their location!” Sirius should have seen this coming. The aurors at the Ministry hadn’t believed him and neither had the Wizengamot. He had expected his friend to know him better than that, but he supposed that he hadn’t seen Peter betraying James either. Maybe they were both blinded by lies. He held his hands out, trying to calm down his friend.
“I didn’t betray them, Remus, I swear it. We switched at the last second, Peter was the secret keeper, not me. I would never have turned them into Voldemort. James was my brother in every way but blood. Lily was like a sister to me. Harry is my godson, I love him. You can’t honestly think that I would be capable of a betrayal such as this.” Remus just seemed to get angrier.
“I went to Peter’s this morning to make sure that he had heard the news. His mother was there and told me that you showed up there last night and you both apparated away. He hasn’t returned. I heard you killed that auror too. I bet you killed Peter and hid his body, so you could spin this story.” Sirius couldn’t believe the things that his friend was saying to him. When he spoke, it was spluttering in indignation.
“I did try to kill Peter because he betrayed James and Lily. An auror hit me from behind and the curse went astray and killed the auror. Peter disappeared when she started to attack me.” Remus snorted, obviously not believing a word out of his mouth.
“I don’t think so. You killed Peter and you betrayed James and Lily. If I have anything to say about it, you won’t ever see Harry again. I’ll be damned if you sacrifice him just as you did his parents.” Now Sirius was furious.
“You can’t keep me from him. I’m his godfather and I was named to take over custody of him if anything happened to James and Lily.” Remus snorted again.
“Keep telling yourself that. Get the fuck off my property and don’t ever come back. If you do, I’ll kill you. Once you’re gone, the wards will no longer admit you.” Sirius couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Sure, he had killed the auror, but he had never thought that his friend would turn on him in this time of strife. They needed to stick together. He must have hesitated too long because Remus growled again.
“Get out, Black, and don’t ever come back.” Sirius knew that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with Remus this day, so he grasped his wand and disapparated.
Sirius landed in the foyer of Black Moor and was surprised how the manor was already starting to feel like home. He hadn’t even been able to tell Remus that Voldemort wasn’t dead at all. He sat in one the high-backed chairs by the floo and raked his hand through his hair. How was he going to care for two children without Remus? He could only hope that Minerva or one of his other friends from the Order would help him. Frank and Alice perhaps? With Voldemort gone, they would be free to leave their home once more.
Realizing that he didn’t have time to wallow in his self-pity, Sirius pulled his hand from his hair and stood. He still had to go brave the Malfoys and get Hermione back. He really wasn’t looking forward to this but knew that it had to be done. A stray thought hit him like a ton of bricks. There was every chance in the world that if Remus believed the worst of him that everyone else would too. There could possibly not be a single person he knew would be willing to help him. It was sobering to consider.
Refusing to let that thought settle in his head, he stuck his hand in the pot of floo powder and tossed it into the fire. Once the flames turned green, he stepped inside and called out for Malfoy Manor. To his complete surprise, it went through. He had to wonder why his father had an open floo connection to Malfoy Manor, but he didn’t pause to consider it. He wanted to see his daughter. An elf appeared before him, dressed in a tea towel.
“Comes with Snitch. I’s take you to master and mistress.” Sirius figured that that would be the only way he could manage to find his way in a decent amount of time so he conceded. He followed the small creature through the corridors, past numerous rooms, until they stopped in front of a door that was shut.
“This is Master Draco’s play rooms. They’s waiting for yous.” Sirius nodded his understanding before heaving a deep sigh. He was going to have to face up to his cousin and her husband eventually; he might as well get it over with early. He pushed the door open to find Hermione sitting on the floor next to Draco, trying to teach him how to count. Lucius and Narcissa were sitting on a sofa a few feet away, both with books in their hands but keeping an obvious and careful eye on the children. Narcissa rose to her feet and smiled at him. Sirius was so taken aback that he almost didn’t answer when she spoke.
“Sirius, it’s good to see you after so long. I’m sorry to hear about your friends.” Sirius couldn’t help but to snort at her words. Afterwards, he realized just how rude that must have seemed.
“It was your all-powerful lord that killed them. Are you really that sorry? Wouldn’t that be treason or something?” His cousin’s face froze for a moment before she lowered her gaze.
“Most of us don’t care about blood status. No, we don’t want the mudbloods ruining good family names, but it’s always been about preserving traditions and the old ways. People like Dumbledore want to just shuffle the mudbloods into our world and change it to fit them. If they want to be a part of our world, they should fit to us.” Sirius hated to admit it but Narcissa had a point. Too many times had Dumbledore brought muggleborns into their world without a single thought as to if they would fit in. There were many old customs and traditions that he had grown up doing but it was now frowned upon by the new order. Still, he couldn’t agree with her completely.
“You may want to preserve our ways, but you really think that you’re better because of your blood. Lily Potter was the consummate muggleborn and her magic was ten times stronger than your own, don’t even deny it. How do you explain that?” Narcissa had a deer in the headlights look before she pulled the emotion from her face.
“I never said that we were right to follow the Dark Lord. We regret it actually. If our families hadn’t been embroiled in the war on either side, Regulus would still be here, and the Order never would have tried to raid Erise. We know they wanted information on Lucius. This war cost us both family and nobody cared that we were on opposite sides. The only thing that we can do from here is to change for the better and make sure that we never make those mistakes again.” Sirius couldn’t help but want to believe his cousin.
When they were younger, Sirius had always loved Narcissa. She was a couple years older than him and always made time to play with him and Regulus while Andie and Bella had always blown them off. There weren’t many members of the Black family left and if he had the chance the get close with one of them, he was going to do his best to make sure that it happened. While he didn’t trust her completely, he could see that she was genuinely contrite. However, that did not extend to Lucius.
“What about him? He of the same opinion as you, cousin?” Narcissa shot Lucius and pointed look and Sirius could tell that this conversation was killing the elder Malfoy. He gritted his teeth but ground the words out to where they sounded mostly civil.
“I can’t say that I agree with you on the opinion that muggleborns aren’t weaker in magic. Most of them are. Lily Potter was an anomaly and you know it. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t realized the error of my ways. My baby sister is dead because the Order wanted information on me because of the support I gave the Dark Lord. I know that they didn’t show up at her home and try to kill her, that it was an accident, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be their friends either. I don’t want to become a part of your merry band of idiots that follow the old man blindly but I’m more than willing to admit that I was wrong for following Lord Voldemort.” Sirius couldn’t believe that he had gotten the man to give as much as he had.
While Lucius hadn’t agreed that blood superiority was a sham, he had admitted that he should never have followed the psychopath Lord Voldemort. Sirius couldn’t even dispute his words; most muggleborns weren’t as strong in magic as their half-blood counterparts. Lily Potter had always been strong, and he had wondered more than once if she was the descendant of a squib. However, this still didn’t mean that as stronger wizards that they were better. This being said, he knew he wasn’t going to get Lucius to admit to that. Probably ever. Sirius scratched his chin.
“So, you’re wanting to call a cease fire between our families? Is that what this is about?” Narcissa had the decency to blush a little at his words.
“To an extent, yes. Lucius and I can’t have any more children and Hermione has become like our daughter. We love her and she’s the only piece of Erise that we have now. Losing her from our lives isn’t worth following the Dark Lord or playing political games with the Black family. We recognize that she is yours to care for and we don’t want to contest that. We just want to be a part of her life.” As much as Sirius wanted to tell her to fuck off, he couldn’t. If changing loyalties for a child wasn’t the purest of reasons, he didn’t know what was. However, he was going to make Narcissa work for it.
“If you want to pull our family back together again, you need to reach out to Andie. I’m not saying that she’ll respond but if she does, I want you to try to get close again. Our parents were arseholes, disinheriting us because we didn’t do exactly what they wanted. If you want me to believe that you’re willing to be tolerant, prove it. Reach out to your blood traitor sister and invite her and her muggleborn husband into your home.” Sirius felt that it was fair but Narcissa looked horrified.
“Siri, you know what Bella will do to her if she ever finds out. How could you want that to happen to Andie? I didn’t agree with her marrying the mudblood, but I never wanted to lose a sister over it. Bella will kill them.” Sirius had to admit that she had a point. While it would be acceptable for Narcissa to embrace Sirius with open arms, it would be quite another if she were to do that to her sister that had openly defied her family by marrying a muggleborn. He supposed that he would have to concede just a little on this point.
“Bella will be caught sooner or later. Once she’s in Azkaban, you reach out to Andie. Until then, no more saying mudblood. That’s the last word that I want coming out of my daughter’s mouth.” Narcissa looked confused.
“Daughter?” Sirius raked a hand through his hair.
“I went after Pettigrew last night for betraying James and Lily. I shot a killing curse but was hit in the back by an auror. My curse hit an auror rather than the rat. I had to adopt Hermione with blood magic to keep myself out of Azkaban. She’s my heir now until I have a son.” Lucius did not look pleased at the fact but remained silent on the matter. Narcissa took several seconds to process it but nodded her head in understanding in the end.
“It was all you could do. Pay your fine, do something nice for the young man’s family, and try to move on. Hermione needs you.” Sirius still couldn’t get used to this version of his cousin. Since she had grown up, she had never been so open or accepting. He decided to lay it on the fact that she was now a mother.
“That’s what I plan on doing. For now, though, I need to get Hermione, so we can head home and get some sleep. I’m knackered and she’s still realizing that her mother isn’t coming back.” Narcissa nodded.
“Any time you need time for yourself or advice on anything, please call on us. We both love her as if she were our own.” Sirius was still leery about the situation but realized that if his situation was as dire as it could be, he would probably need their support. Therefore, he nodded gratefully.
“Thank you. I’m sure that I’ll have her over here several times a week. I may love her already, but I never planned on being a father before I was thirty. I have no idea what I’m doing.” Narcissa chuckled softly.
“I understand. Anytime you need us.” Sirius knelt before Hermione and tucked a curl behind her ear.
“Ready to go home and see your new room, poppet?” She began nodding her head enthusiastically.
“Oh yes, daddy! I hope it’s purple and silver.” He chuckled at her enthusiasm. Narcissa bent and kissed the top of her head.
“I assume that home is Black Moor since the elf accompanying her had the family crest on it’s clothing?” He nodded before remembering to call for the elf. When he made to, Sipsy appeared from the shadows. Sirius smiled at her.
“You’ve done well, Sipsy. Go on home and we’ll be there in a few minutes.” Sipsy nodded without a word and disappeared with a pop.
Narcissa and Lucius both guided him back to the foyer where he had flooed in from. Hermione was bouncing in excitement at the thought of getting to see her new room. After grabbing a handful of floo powder, he turned to meet the Malfoy’s eyes.
“Thank you.” He wasn’t sure if he was saying it for them watching Hermione that day or if it was because they wanted to help him out with his new daughter. Regardless, he felt it needed to be said either way. He didn’t wait for them to answer, just threw the powder and watched the flames turn green. Sirius and Hermione flooed away in a whoosh, leaving bewildered but happy Malfoys behind them.
A/N- There we have it, folks. Number two is in the books. I hope that you enjoyed it. Thank you for your continued support. Leave me a message after the beep and let me know what you think.
Next chapter, Sirius goes to Hogwarts to see Dumbles.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Here we go for round three, my lovelies! Thank you, thank you to everyone out there reading and reviewing, you guys make my day! I hope I do this chapter justice since a lot of you have been asking about it and making guesses as to what will happen. Anyways, I won’t go on for forever, I know you want to read this as much as I want to get it written!
One last thing…I really hate to put my stories on an update schedule because my life is insane, and I would hate to disappoint you all if I missed one. I’ll try to post an update every two weeks at the absolute longest.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. I haven’t made any money from this story or any others that I’ve written.
Chapter 3
November 2, 1981
Sirius came awake with a groan. The sunlight was streaming through the heavy curtains, the beam of light landing perfectly in his eyes. If he hadn’t known any better, he would have thought that Candy had done it on purpose. Throwing the curtains open had been her favorite way to wake him when he was a child.
He stood from the bed and made his way to the loo. Candy had placed him in the master suite of the manor, Hermione just two doors down from him. The night before he had had Dip and Dot start on reading the room next to hers for Harry. While he hadn’t explained Harry coming to live with them, it was clear that his daughter understood that there was something else going on. She hadn’t asked about it, but he doubted that that would last.
After relieving himself, he decided that a shower was in order. Today, he was going to take Hermione to Hogwarts, so he could retrieve Harry. While he was nervous as all hell, he was also excited. He felt terrible for just hoisting the young tot off on Hagrid; it hadn’t been one of his best decisions since it had led to the death of a young auror but there was nothing for it now. He would retrieve his godson, and all would be well even if Remus wanted nothing to do with him.
Sirius stepped under the spray and began lathering his curly locks. His mind strayed to the conversation the night before with his cousin and her husband. He was unsure of just how much he could trust them, but he understood he’d never find out if he didn’t at least try to trust them. There was no way that he would trust them completely any time soon, but he decided that he could trust them with Hermione’s safety. Their love for her had been shining clear and bright in their eyes whenever they had spoken of her.
The animagus rinsed off and crawled out, toweling off since he had left his wand on the table by his bed. He threw the towel back on the rack before walking out into the room naked. When he walked into his closet, he was astounded. Gone were his ripped jeans and muggle rock band tee shirts. Gone was his beloved leather jacket and steel-toed boots. In their place was trousers, oxfords, sweaters, and suits. Robes lined one wall just by itself, making Sirius cringe. Dressing like a Lord had always been his least favorite part of being the heir. It seemed as though Candy had made sure that if he was claiming the title that he dressed the part.
“Candy!” The elf appeared before him. When she saw him standing in his closet starker’s, a furious look on his face, a smirk crossed her features.
“Yes, master?” Sirius was trying to rein in his temper, but he had a feeling that it wasn’t going to work. While he didn’t have the Black family insanity, he did have an explosive temper that usually did him more harm than good.
“Where did you put my clothes?” Candy began rifling through the clothing hanging before him before pulling out a lovely charcoal grey pair or trousers, a white oxford, and a set of robes matching the trousers perfectly.
“I’s gived them away. You’re lord of the manor now, you have young miss to teach and train. Candy will not lets yous bring the house I love so much shames just because yous want to dress like a muggle. Yous dress proper or Candy will dress yous.” Sirius shouldn’t have been surprised. Candy had always been an overbearing elf, determined that she knew best for the Ancient and Noble House of Black. Candy was one of the reasons that his mother had hated it at Black Moor. Not only did she refuse to take orders from his mother, she continuously told her that she shouldn’t be so terrible to her children. Deciding that it just wasn’t worth the fight, Sirius sighed and took the clothes in Candy’s hand.
“Overbearing nag. What would you do if I told you to punish yourself?” He had never once seen Candy punish herself. Of course, he had never heard his father tell her to either. While she was bound to Regulus and Sirius as well, they would never have dreamed of ordering that of Candy. She would have tanned their hides. The head elf snorted.
“Candy wouldn’t dos it, of course. First duty of house elf is to care for master, master’s family, and House. Dressing like street urchins isn’t taking cares of the House, it’s bringing shame. Candy won’t punish herself for doing hers job.” Sirius barked out a laugh at her words. Leave it to the overbearing elf to have her own opinion on the matter and then make her word law. She popped out of existence before he could say another word.
With a heavy sigh, Sirius began to dress in the clothes that Candy handed him. Once he was finished, he turned to stare at himself in the mirror. While he hated looking like a pompous git, he could admit that he looked damned good. The grey made his eyes pop and the clothes fit him perfectly. He was unsure how they had filled his closet in two days’ time with perfect fitting clothes, but he wasn’t going to complain. The last thing he wanted to do was go get fitted for these hideous clothes.
Sirius exited his room after sliding his wand up his sleeve. He stopped two doors down and opened it quietly, hoping to see that Hermione was still sleeping. No such luck, however. She was sitting on her bed, pillow propped behind her, with a book in her hands. He had no idea where she had gotten the book, he assumed that one of the elves had given it to her, but the fact that she was trying to read was amazing. She closed the book rather abruptly and then held her hand out. He was confused for several seconds before a book came whizzing by his head.
Hermione had summoned a book from the library wandlessly. He could only chalk it up to accidental magic but to see it so controlled wasn’t something that he had expected. It reminded him that she had been stunning mediwitch’s in St. Mungo’s. He was going to have to get a tutor for her quickly, so they could begin working on her control. Otherwise, who knew what she would do accidentally if she was in ever in distress. When she caught sight of him, she squealed in pleasure.
“Daddy!” She bounded from the bed and wrapped herself around his legs until he bent to give her a proper hug. He held her close and kissed the top of her head.
“Morning, sweetness. How long have you been awake?” She shrugged her shoulders as she pulled away from him. Sirius couldn’t help but chuckle at her.
“You want to go with me today and meet some new people?” She nodded enthusiastically.
“Oh yes, daddy, I love meeting people. Mummy always told me that nobody could see me except for family and my Madam.” Sirius couldn’t help the stab of guilt at her words. She was a young child. She should never have been locked away from people just because her mother and father were high profile in the war. Sirius called out for Sipsy and when the elf appeared, he turned back to his daughter.
“Get you a bath with Sipsy and let her help you get dressed. I bet she can do your hair pretty. Then we’ll eat breakfast and go meet some new people.” His daughter bounded to the bathroom, excited to get the bath out of the way so she could move on to new adventures. Sirius only hoped that it would go well.
Leaving Hermione in Sipsy’s capable hands, Sirius headed down to the dining room. Once he took his seat, Dot brought the Daily Prophet and a cup of black coffee. The elves had learned early on that while most people preferred tea, Sirius adored coffee. The headline caused him to slosh his beloved coffee all over his hand.
Lestranges and Crouch Jr. Torture Longbottoms to Insanity!!
By Roger Dunleavy
After the fall of Lord Voldemort Halloween night to little Harry Potter, everyone thought that they were safe. While it wasn’t common knowledge, Frank and Alice Longbottom, top aurors for the Ministry of Magic, were hidden away under the fidelius charm. They let the charm lapse just yesterday morning and by six o’clock last night, they were patients in St. Mungo’s.
Rodolphus, Rabastan, and Bellatrix Lestrange, accompanied by Barty Crouch, Jr., found their way to the home of Frank and Alice Longbottom. The pair met the four Death Eaters in the front garden of their home, leaving their year-old son in the home in the company of an elf.
Both aurors were tortured for no other reason than to find their fallen master. When Frank was rendered insane from the repeated use of the Cruciatus, the four Death Eaters turned their wand on Alice. Both aurors held strong for longer than a person would anticipate, but in the end, it just wasn’t enough.
The highly gifted pair of aurors now reside in the Spell Damage ward in St. Mungo’s. Whether they will be allowed to return home is unseen at this point. Their one-year old son, Neville, has been sent to live with his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom, who refuses to comment for this article.
All three Lestranges and Crouch, Jr. have been capturedt and remanded to Azkaban to wait until they will stand trial for their crimes against humanity. The Wizengamot set the trial date for November 17, 1981 in an emergency meeting just last night.
All of us here at the Prophet will keep young Neville and Madam Longbottom in our thoughts.
Sirius couldn’t believe it. Frank and Alice had been tortured by his sick and twisted cousin. She had driven their minds to the edge where they just couldn’t handle it anymore and had taken their lives from them. Sure, they were still alive and breathing, but the very essence of who they were was gone. What they had done to two of his oldest friends was worse than death.
Sirius was pulled from his thoughts by Hermione arriving, the thundering of her feet outside the door to the dining room. He could hear Sipsy scolding her so when she came through the door, her head was hung low, moving at a more sedate pace. He could hear Sipsy whispering to her.
“Yous can’t run like that, Miss. Yous could fall and break yous neck. What would yous daddy do if yous was to get hurt like that?” Hermione didn’t reply, merely nodded before Sipsy continued.
“When you and yous daddy comes home, Sipsy will takes you outside and yous can run all yous want.” Her head came up and she threw her arms around a startled Sipsy. Neither spoke a word, Hermione just walked over to the seat she had claimed as her own, crawled up into it, and waited silently. Only seconds passed before the meal arrived.
The pair ate quickly, neither one of them wasting time when it came to filling their bellies. Sirius had always been serious about eating since his mother’s favorite punishment for him when he was a young boy was to refuse him food when he misbehaved. When he had been at Black Moor, the elves would sneak him food after everyone had gone to bed but when it had occurred at Grimmauld Place, he was forced to starve. Kreacher seemed to hate everyone aside from his mother and his younger brother and would laugh at him being punished.
Once the meal was finished and cleared, Sirius called for Dip to bring them their cloaks. They would be apparating and since you couldn’t apparate onto Hogwarts land, he was going to have to shoot for the front gate and then walk across the grounds. Hermione was beyond excited at the thought of going somewhere new.
Since Sirius was the Lord of the manor, he was able to apparate through the blood wards. As his heir, Hermione would be able to as well. Since this was possible, they only had to stand from the table, grasp hands, and disappear with a pop. Once they landed outside the gates of Hogwarts, Hermione was uproariously laughing. Sirius was confused beyond measure. Side-along apparition was terrible; it always left him nauseous. However, Hermione seemed to find it delightful. He would probably never understand his daughter. She jumped up and down and tugged on his arm.
“Again, daddy, again!” Sirius could only shake his head at her exuberance. To appease her, he disapparated them to ten feet behind where they had originally appeared. Her peels of laughter reverberated off the trees that surrounded the gates. He raised his eyebrow at her when he saw that she was going to ask him to do it again.
“We’ll do it again when we leave.” She quieted and nodded, clearly appeased at his promise.
The gates swung openly silently which Sirius took to be a good sigh. Surely if Dumbledore believed that he was a traitor, he would never have let him into the school during term time. Of course, it was also after nine in the morning and all the students would be in class.
Sirius bent to pick up Hermione and carry her. While she was rather accomplished intellectually, she was still just a two-year-old little girl. Her legs weren’t long enough to keep up with his strides across the rugged terrain of Hogwarts grounds. She had no qualms about riding in her father’s arms through the chilly morning air. When they caught sight of Hogwarts for the first time, she gasped and pointed.
“Look at it, daddy! It’s amazing. Where are we?” Sirius chuckled but kept on walking.
“That’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. That’s where your Aunt Cissy, Uncle Lucius, and I went to school. When you turn eleven years old, you’ll come here too. The best times of my life were spent at Hogwarts.” An excited gleam appeared in her eyes.
“Can’t I go now? I promise to be good and always listen to my teachers.” Sirius barked out a laugh.
“No, poppet, you have to stay with dreary old dad for now. Don’t worry, your time at Hogwarts will come soon enough.” She looked devastated but simply nodded.
Sirius continued his trek across the grounds, finally getting close enough to the castle to see that there were two people standing just outside the Entrance Hall. He instantly recognized Albus and Minerva though he could have sworn that he could feel someone’s eyes on him. The pair stepped forward so Sirius set Hermione down on the ground next to him. He moved forward to meet them but held Hermione back with a hand out to the side. The looks on Albus and Minerva’s faces weren’t very welcoming. Sirius decided to break the ice.
“I’ve come for Harry. I should have never sent him with Hagrid, but I wanted Peter to die for betraying James and Lily like that. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.” Albus didn’t say anything but Minerva said enough for all of them.
“You lying, conniving, piece of dragon shite! You killed Peter Pettigrew, turned the Potters into your lord, and when you killed an auror, you found a child to adopt so you could escape prison. All you ever did was tell everyone how those laws were outdated and complete rubbish, now you’re using them to your benefit. You’ve played us all like a fiddle. You won’t ever lay hands on Harry Potter, that much I can promise you.” Sirius was surprised at the level of venom in her voice. It was clear that she truly believed everything she was saying, and he was unsure what to say to make her believe him.
“Minnie, I wouldn’t lie to you about this. I’ve never supported Voldemort, James was my brother. I’m Harry’s godfather for Merlin’s sake. You know that’s a magical bond that can’t be broken. I would break it if I handed the Potters to the dark lord. Everyone knows that he wanted Harry.” Dumbledore finally spoke.
“You’re a traitor, Sirius. Nobody can find hide nor hair of Peter Pettigrew to corroborate your story. His mother tells us that you showed up there and looked ready to do him harm. You killed an auror. What other conclusion am I supposed to draw from these facts? If you think I’m letting you go near Harry Potter, you’re sadly mistaken.” Now Sirius was getting well and truly pissed. His voice raised enough to be heard clearly over the howling Scottish wind.
“I expect you to come up with the truth, which is what I’m telling you. I did show up there to kill Peter. I did shoot the killing curse but the auror intervened and my curse hit another auror. Peter disappeared. He’s the one who handed James and Lily to that psychopath, of course he’s going to go into hiding. I did use the laws protecting the purebloods by adopting my niece that you and the Order orphaned so I could still be here for Harry since I know that James and Lily named me his guardian if anything were to happen to them. You can’t keep me from Harry anymore than you could take Hermione from me.” Albus pulled his wand, brandishing it wildly. Sirius wondered just what was wrong with him; the old wizard was usually calm and collected even when he was angry. This was totally odd behavior.
“That whelps mother was collateral damage. We wanted information on Lucius, not for her to die. She’s the one who got too close when we blasted in her door. We dropped her off at St. Mungo’s, I thought that was more than generous considering who her parents were. You’ve said yourself that your brother was a Death Eater and a cold-blooded killer. Erise couldn’t have been much better if she had a child with him outside of wedlock.” This Sirius couldn’t stand for. His own wand slid out of his sleeve while stepping in front of Hermione. The last thing he wanted was for her to be hit if Albus threw a curse.
“Look in my fucking head, you stubborn fucking bastard! You’ll see that I’m not lying. I have control of James and Lily’s estate, I have custody of Harry. You tell me where he is right now, or I’ll bring you up on charges before the ICW.” Albus shot him a disdainful look.
“You’re forgetting something, Mr. Black. You’re an animagus. The animal inside you clouds your mind and it’s almost impossible to read you, just the same as Remus. Go ahead and take me before the ICW, who do you think they’ll believe when I tell them that you betrayed the boy’s parents and sent them to their deaths and now you want their son, the boy who saved us all? They’re going to laugh in your face.” Sirius went cold at his words. It was likely that Dumbledore was right. While he knew that he would win if it was before the Wizengamot, he was completely unsure about the ICW. The International Confederation of Wizards was well-known for being fair and just. Since Dumbledore was the Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot, he couldn’t be tried there. Therefore, that left the ICW. Still, Sirius had to try.
“You’re just a controlling fucking prick that is pissed he couldn’t get his hands on all the Potter fortune. The goblins told me that you wanted James to funnel money into the war effort. My money wasn’t enough? Are you sure that the money went to the war effort and not your own personal vault?” While he truly didn’t think that Dumbledore would steal the money for his own personal gain, he didn’t care. If he could damage Dumbledore’s reputation, he would.
Out of nowhere, two curses flew out of Dumbledore’s wand. Sirius had his wand in his hand but was nowhere near fast enough to cast a shield at such a short distance. The first was a cutting curse that landed on his knee, slicing a tendon he was sure since he dropped to the ground, unable to bear weight. The second was obviously some sort of binding spell that flew right over the top of him and hit Hermione behind him.
Ropes wrapped around her several times over, getting tighter and tighter as she struggled. Sirius was struggling to his feet, so he could go to her and help her. Minerva was screaming at Albus, telling him that he couldn’t hurt a child no matter who her parents were. However, this wasn’t needed since Hermione was well and truly angry now. Sirius wasn’t sure what she was going to do but he had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be pretty.
In the end, Hermione Black screamed.
Her piercing cries echoed off the walls and turrets of the castle. The ropes disappeared from around her and Albus’ wand was blasted out of his hand. He took another step forward as if to retrieve it, but Minerva laid a hand upon his arm, holding him back. When she finally quieted, she stepped forward in front of Sirius.
“You won’t hurt my daddy again.” Sirius could see a grudging respect in Minerva’s eyes but only loathing in Albus’. He struggled to his feet fully, blood running down his leg in a small river.
“Don’t worry, that will be a charge against you also, Albus. Cursing a minor child, almost an infant when you’re the Headmaster of a school, charged with protecting so many young children. Don’t worry, they won’t need my memory. They can take Hermione’s.” There was a brief flash of fear in the older wizard’s eyes before his face went calm again. He turned his own wand to his leg, splinting it so he could bear weight on it enough to get them off the grounds of Hogwarts.
“Leave, Mr. Black, before I call for the aurors to escort you off the premises. Sirius snorted at his former Headmaster.
“Not a problem. I’ll see you in court.”
Hermione took his hand when he turned, walking slowly so she kept pace with him. Sirius had to repress a chuckle when she turned and stuck her tongue out at Albus and Minerva. There was hissing behind him, so he was sure that neither one of them appreciated the move, but he didn’t care. The old fuck had cursed his daughter, intentional or not. He had everything he had gotten coming to him.
The trek that had taken only ten minutes before was taking almost half an hour now that he was injured. They had just reached the gates to have them swing open, allowing them to leave, when a silvery grey patronus appeared before them. For a moment, his heart leapt in his throat.
A doe. Lily’s patronus.
Was it possible?
His hopes were shattered when the unforgettable voice of Severus Snape resounded in the cold air.
Meet me at the Three Broomsticks in private room number three in twenty minutes.
Sirius sighed. The last thing in the fucking world he wanted to do was meet with Severus bloody Snape on his own. He was aware that the Death Eater had turned spy for the Order. He was also aware that he was the one who had leaked the prophecy to the Dark Lord. He was quite sure that Severus didn’t know that he knew. When Albus had met with Severus that dark and stormy night to discuss their terms, Sirius had been frolicking in the night air with James in their animagus forms. James had been a hundred meters away, too far away to hear their whispered conversation. Sirius, however, had heard everything. It was out of respect for Dumbledore that he had kept his mouth shut about the conversation to absolutely everyone. Now, it seemed, he was going to have to deal with him about something. However, the timing seemed far too perfect for it to be anything other than the conversation he had just had with the Headmaster.
Sirius reached down and grasped Hermione’s hand again, twisting on the spot to reappear in front of the Three Broomsticks. Hermione’s laughter rang out and even though Sirius couldn’t imagine feeling worse than he did, he smiled. His godson was gone, he had no idea where he was, everyone thought that he was a traitor, and his knee was fucked up. He wasn’t sure if things could get worse. Of course, when you threw Snape into the mix, it was always possible.
Hermione stayed by his side as they made their way to the bar. Rosmerta was looking as busty and beautiful as ever. Sirius had been trying to hook up with her for ages only for her to laugh at him and tell him that he was far too young for her. He was quite sure that she couldn’t be more than ten years older than him. Regardless, now wasn’t the time. He was injured, his daughter was present, Snape was on his way.
He asked for the key to room three, throwing a few coins out to pay for it’s use. He told her that a professor would be along to meet with him and send him on his way when he arrived. She seemed genuinely surprised that he didn’t try to hit on her like always, but her confusion cleared when she peered over the counter and saw Hermione.
Sirius didn’t hang around and allow her to ask questions. He took Hermione by the hand again and led her up the stairs to the private rooms. The stairs were murder on his knee and he swore that if Severus didn’t have anything worth hearing to say, he was going to castrate him. Sirius had never dealt with pain well.
Since it took him ages to get up the stairs and then find room three, they had only sat down for a handful of minutes before Severus knocked on the door and breezed in. Both men were silent as they sized each other up. It was Hermione that surprised Sirius.
“Uncle Sevvie!” Sirius was noticing that all Hermione’s favorite people had eeee after their names. Cissy, Luci, Sevvie, daddy. It’s a good thing he already loved her because otherwise it would drive him mad. Her familiarity with the potion’s master astounded him, however. Hermione flew across the room and into Snape’s arms, hugging him close. While Severus did appear to be a little uncomfortable, he returned her hug. When they broke apart, Sirius gritted his teeth.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Severus raked a hand through his lank hair before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a vial and handing it over.
“Pain potion. Until you can get to St. Mungo’s and fix that.” Sirius couldn’t help but mistrust him just a little. He was still a Death Eater after all. He opened the vial and sniffed it first, bringing a smirk to Severus’ lips. When he realized that it was indeed pain potion, he quaffed it quickly before handing the vial back. The pain immediately eased, letting Sirius breathe easier.
“Now tell me what the fuck is going on here.” Severus sighed this time.
“There are things about me that you don’t know, things I’ve done -.” Sirius cut him off.
“I know you’re a Death Eater, I know that you’re spying for Dumbledore because you heard the prophecy and told Voldemort. Pretty sure you turned spy because you still love Lily and wanted to protect her.” The look on Severus’ face was priceless.
“How…how did you…. how in the fuck did you know?” Sirius shrugged.
“I’m an animagus. I was outside and heard your whole conversation with Dumbledore that night. This doesn’t tell me what we’re meeting for right now or why my daughter calls you Uncle Sevvie.” It was clear that the name embarrassed him by the pink tinge to his cheeks. Severus sighed again.
“When you and your brother had your falling out, Regulus and I became best friends, much like you and Potter. When Hermione was born, he and Erise named me her godfather, much the same as Lucius and Narcissa did when Draco came along. I’m honor bound to protect her, just like you are for Lily’s boy. I could no sooner harm her than you could harm young Potter.” Sirius knew what this meant. Snape believed him.
“You mean that you believe me?” Severus nodded, rolling his eyes.
“Anybody far enough removed from the situation would realize that you would never do something that would harm your godson even if you had turned traitor. Albus obviously doesn’t have any godchildren, otherwise he would understand.” Sirius knew exactly what he was trying to say.
“You’re saying that even though you hate me, you’re willing to put our differences aside to be close to Hermione?” Severus gave only a sharp nod in answer. Sirius considered him for a few moments. It was true that the man could be lying about it all, but Hermione had called him that ridiculous name. She obviously loved him, not something a normal child would do if he didn’t care for them in return. He did understand that if he was indeed her godfather, he would never harm her and do whatever he could to protect her. It was his turn to sigh now.
“Alright, I’ll give you the same deal I gave Lucius and Narcissa. No words like mudblood around her. You drop the superiority bullshite. You always protect her, even if it’s with your life.” Severus looked affronted.
“I would never let harm come to her if I could prevent it. I don’t love many people, but I love your daughter.” For some odd reason, Sirius believed him.
“You can see her whenever you like. We’re living at Black Moor, just floo ahead and I’ll make sure the wards will accept you. She’ll be at Malfoy Manor quite often so long as the pair of them abide by their word. You’re more than welcome to see her there.” Severus breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Thank you, Black.” Sirius snorted.
“We’re practically family, you know. Don’t you think we should graduate to first names?” Sirius really hated to think of the man as family but seeing the look on his face at his words had been hilarious. It was through gritted teeth that Severus nodded.
“Absolutely, Sirius.” Sirius nudged his daughter over to go sit on the potion master’s lap like she had been wanting to since he had arrived before speaking.
“So, what’s the story on Dumbledore? Do you know where Harry is? Do you have any information that would help me in this custody battle?” Severus wrapped his arms around his goddaughter and sighed.
“The old man refuses to tell me where young Potter is. I know that Minerva and Hagrid are aware, but they refuse to speak of it. I do know that he will do everything in his power to keep the boy out of your hands. He truly does believe that you’ll kill the boy or hand him over to Death Eaters.” The potion’s master paused for a moment.
“As for his story, I’m not entirely certain. He trusts me to gather information but not to keep his secrets. I know that he had been hoping to get Potter to finance the war. I’m not sure if that’s really what he was doing or if it was going to his personal account like you said. He’s just so bloody Gryffindor that I’m not sure I could see him doing something so underhanded.” Sirius snorted.
“Don’t let that act fool you. He’s more Slytherin than you are. Did you forget that he blackmailed you into spying for him and then he failed to keep James and Lily safe? To me, that sounds like something the dark lord would do.” Severus was quiet for several seconds.
“I suppose I can see that, but I really don’t think he’s taking the money for himself.” Sirius conceded this point.
“I agree, I don’t think he wanted the money for himself. That doesn’t mean, however, that I wouldn’t trust him to go about the money in an honest way. Sure, it might be allocated for the war effort but who’s to say that anyone aside from Albus would have access to it? It would guarantee that we kept him in power, something he obviously delights in.” Severus nodded.
“I could see that. He conned me into agreeing to protect Potter with my life after Lily was killed. He told me that it was my fault, that I had put my trust in the wrong people.” Sirius felt the familiar lick of shame.
“It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. They both wanted me to be their secret keeper, but I told them to use Peter because everyone would suspect that it was me. If I had been in hiding it would have been different but since I was still going out on missions, it wasn’t a good plan. We should have used Remus.” Severus hummed his agreement.
“Does the wolf agree with Dumbledore?” Sirius started to bristle at the man’s use of the word wolf but remembered that the wolf in question thoroughly hated him now. Instead, he hung his head and nodded.
“Remus sincerely believes that I turned James and Lily into Voldemort. There’s no reason for him to believe otherwise when Dumbledore is telling him he’s right.” Severus gave a resolute nod.
“It seems we’re at an impasse. I’ll keep my ears open for you in return for seeing Hermione whenever I’m able.” Sirius shook his head.
“I don’t expect you to keep spying past these questions. If I know Dumbledore he’s made you take oaths. The last thing I want is for you to get caught up in one of those and end up dead. Then I’d have to figure out how to tell Hermione.” Severus snorted.
“Alright. I’ll be round in a few days. I don’t get many days away from the idiot children.” Sirius openly laughed now.
“Speaking of idiot children, can you direct me on how to get in touch with the tutor Hermione had? She’s already got a great start and I’d loathe for her lose it.” Severus gave a sharp nod.
“I’ll owl you the information tonight.” There wasn’t much else to say.
Severus stood and allowed Hermione to hug him again before he bid them good day. Once he was gone, Sirius turned to Hermione and smiled at her.
“You doing alright, poppet?” She gave an enthusiastic nod.
“Yes, daddy. We need to fix your knee.” Sirius chuckled even though he didn’t have much to chuckle about.
“Alright, you bossy little thing. Let’s go turn our key in and we’ll go to St. Mungo’s.” Hermione nodded happily, eager to allow him to take his time on the stairs.
One thing was for sure; Sirius had much to consider and the first thing on the list was getting his family solicitor on a case against Dumbledore.
A/N- Boom, another chapter down. Now I want to point out that while Dumbledore is planned to be light in this story, he’s definitely not going to be the good guy he’s portrayed as in canon. He’s going to be shady and a real prick because he really does think that Sirius is a traitor. Once the truth comes out, it will get better but trust me, bridges will be burned for them to be friends. Anyways, I’ve rambled enough. Let me know what you think! Reviews make me smile.
Next up, Sirius goes to court before the ICW.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back again, my friends. I know that some of you have made comments about Remus, Minerva, and Dumbledore being OOC, that they would never react the way they did. While this is true, I put in the summary that this was AU. They all feel betrayed and Sirius is an easy scapegoat. These characters are only going to get worse as the story goes on so if that isn’t your thing, no offense taken at you moving on. I promise you, all these characters that are acting irrationally are going to be on the side of the light, they’re just going to be flawed, much like you and I are. If you can handle my portrayal of the characters, I’ll see you on the other side. Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing, you’re seriously awesome.
Side note: You guys are getting this chapter earlier than usual but it’s because I work the next three days and can’t guarantee I’ll be able to give y’all a chapter in that time frame. Happy Friday!
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing, I haven’t made any money. I work like a dog and sweat my ass off daily so all the money in my bank account is mine by honest means.
Chapter 4
December 1, 1981
Sirius couldn’t deny that he was nervous beyond measure. Today was his court case in front of the ICW, or International Confederation of Wizards. While he was as prepared as he could be, he also was aware that Albus Dumbledore was a well-respected wizard in many countries. It was going to be difficult to discredit him.
Sirius had called upon the Black family solicitor, a Mr. Silas Toomey, the day after his encounter with Albus. Sirius was quite certain that the man disbelieved him as everyone else in his life but in the end, it didn’t matter. He was going to fight tooth and nail for custody of Harry no matter what he believed.
Mr. Toomey had a plan, of course. He wouldn’t be the Black family solicitor if he hadn’t. While Sirius considered himself far more forgiving than the rest of his family, it was quite apparent early on that if the man didn’t put forth all his effort into winning this case, he would be out of his arse so to speak. Since their solicitor couldn’t afford to lose the Black family as clients, it was a given that he would do anything short of avadaing someone to win.
The animagus tried to distract himself from his nervousness with thoughts from the past. Even though there was a constant ache in his chest where James, Lily, Remus, and Harry belonged, he had done his best to focus on the positive. First was Hermione, his beautiful and incredibly intelligent daughter. They had only gotten closer since he adopted her, and he could say without a doubt that she was the light of his life. He had taken Severus’ owl several days after their meeting, the one containing the name and contact information of one Madam Cambridge.
Madam Cambridge came highly recommended from numerous pureblood families, she had produced the recommendations at their first meeting. Since Narcissa had expressed interest in her tutor as well, Sirius had allowed her to attend the meeting. She had been working with Hermione for a year already and while he didn’t want Madam Cambridge to know that he was loathe to switch from her now, he still wanted to make sure that she was the best choice for his daughter.
While he was pretty much set on Madam Cambridge, he also checked out numerous other tutors in the wizarding world. Even though some of them already had charges, Sirius was arrogant enough to know that the name Black would have most of them renouncing their charges to flock to his door if only he said the word. In the end, he had decided that Madam Cambridge was the best there was to offer. So perfect, in fact, that Narcissa had begged her to take Draco on as well and teach the children together. For quite the hefty increase in pay, Madam Cambridge had agreed happily.
Hermione flooed to the Malfoys every other day now for lessons. On the days she didn’t, Narcissa flooed Draco over and left him with one of their elves. Sirius found that he didn’t mind his tiny cousin being there several times a week. He had indeed gotten closer to Lucius and Narcissa, if for no other reason then their children growing up together and getting along. While he hadn’t confided in his cousin and her husband in anything other than his upcoming trial, he was getting along famously with them and they had stood by their word.
Narcissa had been upset to hear that Bellatrix was found guilty by the Wizengamot for torturing the Longbottoms to insanity. Sirius suspected that her upset was not because her oldest sister was sent away but because she had inflicted the worst punishment possible on someone. Narcissa was a softy at heart and she was quite against unnecessary human suffering. For this reason, Sirius couldn’t help but wonder how she had gotten mixed up with the Dark Lord.
Bellatrix had been convicted, of course, as had Rodolphus, Rabastan, and Barty Crouch, Jr. While none of them had been sentenced to the Kiss, they had all four been convicted of life in Azkaban. Both fates were horrible, and Sirius really couldn’t wager which one was worse. Narcissa had cried when the sentence was handed down, both in attendance. Sirius had comforted her as best he could, Bella was her sister after all, but in the end had smirked his cousin’s way as she had been led off by aurors.
Since Bella was now in Azkaban, Narcissa had to hold up her end of the bargain. She had owled Andromeda the very next day, begging for her to meet with her in her home, that she wanted to rekindle their relationship. What Sirius hadn’t expected was for Andromeda to owl him and ask his opinion. He had only tweaked the truth a little when he told his older cousin that Narcissa was genuine and that he had already mended bridges with her.
Sirius hadn’t been present for their first dinner. From what he heard from both parties, he was happy that he had agreed to keep Hermione and Draco overnight that night. It had been explosive at first, literally and figuratively. With emotions so near the surface, both women had lashed out at the other, ending in a duel of epic proportions. In the end, it took Lucius stunning them both, binding them to chairs so they could talk without hexing each other.
Apparently, it had taken hours for the two to air their grievances with each other. Lucius had been pissed off fire whiskey by the time they were no longer fighting but it had all been worth it. While they weren’t perfect, they were both willing to try to make their newfound relationship work.
Sirius had been invited to the next “family” dinner. When presented with Andromeda and Ted Tonks, not to mention their metamorphmagus daughter, Lucius had seemed downright thrilled to see Sirius, which the Gryffindor was more than amused at. The dinner had gone smashing, however, and as a family, they were well on their way to mending all their fences.
Severus had held true to his word, showing up the weekend after they had met. He had stayed the whole weekend and while it was awkward that first time, the following two weekends after that had been just fine. It made Sirius wonder just how their lives could have been different if they had managed to put their differences behind them back in school. In all actuality, it was a good guess that James would have never married Lily because she would have been with Snape. As much as he hated himself for thinking it, he was glad that the pair had had a falling out. James had loved nobody aside from Lily and Sirius would never begrudge the man who was his brother in everything but blood his happiness.
To his knowledge, Remus was still holed up at the Den. He hadn’t heard any news of him on the streets or in the Ministry. Lucius had told him that all had been quiet on his front as well. Since Sirius had started to take over managing the Black estates and businesses, he heard quite a bit but never anything about Remus. Dumbledore was a different story. It was made clear to everyone through the Prophet that he would be going before the ICW against Sirius for custody of Harry Potter. His godson’s location was never leaked, however, and it was driving Sirius mad.
These thoughts brought him back to the present, the fact that he was getting ready to walk into a courtroom housing thousands of people that had come to watch the battle between the betrayer of the Potters and Dumbledore. Hermione was standing next to him with Narcissa on one side, Lucius on her other, both holding her hands. They had decided to leave Draco in the safety of Malfoy Manor with their army of house elves to watch after him. Hermione had balked at leaving him there by himself, but Sirius had assured her that it was safer for him there rather than with them. Only then had she capitulated. Narcissa gave him a soft smile.
“I’m hoping for the best for you, Siri. It would be wonderful to raise Hermione and Draco with young Harry Potter. He needs to grow up and know that he has a heritage and a legacy.” Sirius grinned at her for the use of his childhood nickname.
“Thanks, Cissy.” Lucius gave him an encouraging nod before they led Hermione out of the private chambers and out into the gallery where they would watch the proceedings. Sirius watched them leave and couldn’t help but consider just how he had ended up where he was today. In the only words that he could come up with, Peter Pettigrew. With a scowl, he turned toward the door he was supposed to take. Heaving a deep breath, he stepped through and strode to the defendant’s table and took his seat next to Mr. Toomey.
It was clear that his solicitor could tell that he was nervous. While he didn’t offer any words of comfort or encouragement, it was clear by the look on his face that he expected to win this battle. Dumbledore had chosen to not have representation, feeling that his position as Supreme Mugwump would be good enough to protect him. While Sirius wanted to be irked at the absolute arrogance of his opponent, he still couldn’t help but worry.
The gallery was full. There were thousands of people gathered to watch this battle play out in person and Sirius couldn’t blame them. Even though court proceedings did absolutely nothing for him, he probably would have turned up too just to see what happened in such an epic battle.
After watching the gallery long enough to spot Hermione and the Malfoys close to the front, he turned back to the scene before him. There was a collection of a hundred different wizards, most with a country name before their person. The Supreme Mugwump of the ICW was an ancient man, one as old as Dumbledore if it was to be believed. Dumbledore was across the aisle from them, seated at a table all by himself, a satisfied little smile on his face. Sirius couldn’t help but to want to punch it from his features. When the doors the enormous room closed, the Supreme Mugwump brought the room to order.
“We’ve been brought here today by Lord Sirius Orion Black, who is pursuing the custody of his godson Harry James Potter, heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. He is bringing charges against Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot of Britain for kidnapping, assault against a child, and misappropriation of funds. We’ll work our way through each of these charges today and then it will be left up to the esteemed body of the ICW to make their ruling. I hold the veto power as befitting my station.” Sirius took a deep breath, trying to calm himself, as the Mugwump, a man by the name of Percival Chalmers continued.
“Mr. Toomey, would you prefer to bring your case first?” Silas rose to his feet as he addressed the Mugwump.
“Absolutely, sir. The first charge we’ll bring before the court is misappropriation of funds. I would like to enter into evidence paperwork from the goblins of Gringotts, Britain branch. In this paperwork, there is proof that a total of 200,000 galleons were donated by Lord Black to the war effort in the name of the Order of the Phoenix. There is also proof in there that Albus Dumbledore tried to withdraw 500,000 from the Potter vaults after their deaths, citing that James Potter had given his consent before he died. When the goblins researched the account Dumbledore had begun for the war effort, they found that it no longer existed. I would like to call Epoxymoch to the stand first to testify for Gringotts.” Silas turned to one of the doors after handing the information to the man in charge of handing evidence to the governing body.
“Epoxymoch.” The door swung open and a rather ancient looking goblin appeared before stepping up to take his seat next to the Mugwump. Silas gave him an encouraging smile, which he sneered at.
“You were the goblin that was called upon to investigate these charges. We in no way hold the goblin horde responsible if a guilty verdict is found today. Could you tell us your findings?” The goblin showed his rows of tiny razor-sharp teeth before folding his hands under his chin.
“My findings are as follows. Lord Black did indeed donate a sum of 200,000 galleons into an account that existed for the war effort. He and Albus Dumbledore signed a very basic contract, stating that the funds were to be used for the Order of the Phoenix, getting people into hiding, things of the like. That much is fact. The contract is in the stack of parchment you hold now.” The witches and wizards were now shuffling through their parchment to find the one he was speaking of.
“It is also fact that Albus Dumbledore attempted to withdraw 500,000 galleons from the Potter vaults after their death, citing on the parchment in your stack that he was given permission to do so before James Potter was murdered. Since he could have possibly pushed that through due to his standing in the Wizengamot, it is only the intervention of Lord Black that this did not occur. He requested through his own account manager that all Potter vaults be frozen until such time that he could go over them since he was made custodian of them until young Harry reaches the age of his majority.” There were soft gasps from the gallery and Sirius felt a slight thrill. Witches and wizards hated to be stolen from, especially wealthy people, and there was a good portion of those sitting on the ICW today. Epoxymoch continued.
“I also tried to bring the balance of the account in question and found that it had been dissolved shortly after Albus Dumbledore tried to funnel more funds into it from the Potter vault. It was merged with his own personal vault, the balance there in the parchment you are holding in your hands. Also included is an itemized list of withdrawals from his personal account and to whom they were paid to.” Every single witch and wizard was poring over their copy of the parchment. Dumbledore sat there at his table, alone, hands folded serenely on his lap, eyes twinkling. Sirius wanted to punch him in his crooked nose. Mr. Chalmers spoke.
“It shows in these records that Mr. Dumbledore hasn’t spent a thing from his vault except for large amounts of common staples, sent somewhere unspecified. These charges are congruent with feeding and clothing those hidden in safe houses, the very reason that the money was donated. The money that Lord Black donated has been used in the manner that it was meant to be. Epoxymoch, please step down, I’d like to hear from Lord Black for a moment.” The goblin seemed pleased to be free to leave, hopping down without a word. Silas turned his way and urged him with his eyes to take the witness stand. Once seated, he waited patiently for the Mugwump to speak.
“When you signed that contract with Mr. Dumbledore, did it state that the money would remain in the account that you put it in?” Sirius gritted his teeth.
“No, sir. It stated that the funds I donated would be used to help the war effort.” The man put the parchment in his hands down on his table before meeting his eyes.
“It is quite clear in the parchments your solicitor handed up that there have been no withdrawals from Mr. Dumbledore’s account that haven’t been war related. That does not constitute misappropriation of funds.” Sirius nodded but couldn’t help but answer back even though he probably shouldn’t.
“Maybe we should change the charges to attempted theft. He still tried to take money from James and Lily’s vaults after they were dead. It very well may have gone through if I hadn’t frozen their accounts until I could sort them out.” The Mugwump glared at him.
“Very well. Amend the charges and I would like to have Mr. Dumbledore up here to hear his side of things.” Sirius stood and caught sight of Hermione cheerfully waving at him. While he didn’t wave back, he flashed her a grin. Dumbledore stood and made his way to the seat Sirius had just vacated. Mr. Chalmers met his gaze.
“Mr. Dumbledore, it is clear that you have stood by your word regarding the money that Lord Black donated. What do you have to say regarding the money you attempted to get from the Potter vaults after their deaths?” Dumbledore stroked his beard for a few moments before answering.
“I had spoken with James the day that they were murdered regarding their contribution to the war effort. He had agreed to donate 500,000 galleons and have his account manager handle the transaction, much the same as Lord Black’s had. I was under the impression that this transaction had already been handled, just needed my signature. I would never have stolen from James and Lily Potter.” Sirius got a funny feeling in his gut when he saw the gleeful look cross the Mugwump’s face for just a moment after Dumbledore spoke. He wondered if they knew each other. Mr. Chalmers nodded.
“Very well, we’ll vote later on your innocence or guilt.” Dumbledore returned to his seat and Mr. Chalmers turned to Mr. Toomey. He hoped that Silas was ready to bring his a-game.
“Continue with the next charge.” Silas stood and ran his hands down the front of his robes, smoothing them out.
“The next charge we will bring against Albus Dumbledore is assault against a child. As Headmaster of Hogwarts, this is a serious charge. I would like to call Lord Black to the stand, as well as a mind healer.” Mr. Chalmers nodded, and Sirius stood again, re-taking the witness seat.
“Please tell us what happened, Lord Black.” Sirius took a deep breath and vowed to remain calm. This was the one charge that he was sure of, he just needed to play his cards right.
“I had gone to Hogwarts with my young daughter Hermione to speak with Mr. Dumbledore about the location of my godson. We got into an argument and he pulled his wand. Mine stayed in my pocket for a few minutes, not wanting to escalate the situation. When I saw that he didn’t care that I had my two-year-old daughter standing behind me, I pulled my wand but didn’t cast. He was so angry that he cast a cutting curse at my knee, slicing the tendon in two, which sent me to the ground. His second curse was some form of an incarcerous, which sailed over my head and hit my daughter.
Hermione was so livid that she exploded out of the ropes holding her and disarmed Dumbledore with her accidental magic. Minerva McGonagall had to restrain him to keep him from retrieving his wand and doing who knows what to my innocent daughter.” He was quite certain that the Mugwump and Dumbledore knew each other now. The faint tensing of the man’s jaw gave it away. Silas nodded at Sirius, taking that as his sign to move away from the witness’ seat. The rest of governing body remained silent as they watched things play out in front of them. Silas called for the mind healer.
“Healer Ainsworth.” A matronly woman came through the doors and settled in her seat to look out at everyone in the gallery. It was clear that she was used to testifying, something that Sirius really didn’t want to think about. Silas smiled softly at her.
“Thank you for coming, Healer Ainsworth. You are employed at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, correct?” She gave a sharp nod.
“Yes, sir. Have been for nigh on fifty years.” Mr. Toomey smiled again, this one looking somewhat like a shark going after its next meal.
“I understand that you drew a memory from little Hermione Black’s mind the day that she was assaulted. Due to Lord Black’s status as an animagus, he is unable to submit to legilimency, our usual form of verifying the truth. Therefore, after he was healed in your wonderful facility, the records being part of the parchment packet you all have mind you, you were called in to remove the memory of what happened.” Healer Ainsworth nodded.
“Yes, I was requested the remove the memory from her mind, not only for the purpose of this trial but because Hermione Black has already suffered the loss of her biological father and watched her mother die before her eyes. Lord Black was concerned that she would begin having nightmares.” Silas gestured for someone to bring forth the pensieve. Once it was set on the table in the middle of the room, Silas turned back to Healer Ainsworth.
“Please tell us about the memory we’re about to see.” The older woman leaned forward and folded her hands on the table, a no-nonsense air about her.
“First off, what you won’t be able to tell by viewing this memory is the terror Hermione Black felt at watching her father fall before her and the absolute fury she felt for the man who had cursed not only her father but herself as well. Her reaction is extreme, the strongest accidental magic I’ve felt in decades, but then again, she is only two years and watched her mother die only days before this even happened. There is no expecting a child that young to exert control while facing the level of terror that she was.” The man running parchment between all the members of the governing body retrieved the memory that Healer Ainsworth had turned in before the start of the trial and poured it into the pensieve. After a quick spell, the memory was projected for the whole room to watch.
Sirius couldn’t help but turn to watch his daughter’s face as the memory played out. Since he had requested the memory be removed, Hermione only had knowledge of it in the very back of her mind. Watching what happened would likely affect her and not in a good way. He tried not to worry since he had spoken to Lucius and Narcissa about it beforehand, hoping they could stave off her reaction.
The whole of their conversation was there for everyone to see. The memory had started just as they were reaching the castle and didn’t end until Sirius was hobbling away after bandaging his bleeding knee. There were gasps at not only Dumbledore cursing Hermione but at her display of accidental magic. There were, however, several mistrustful glances Sirius’ way, probably because he had admitted to killing in auror on accident in the memory.
He caught Hermione’s eye after the memory was over. She looked pale and was clinging to Narcissa, but she hadn’t reacted violently as he had feared she would. For that, he was grateful. The last thing he wanted was to terrorize her more. He hadn’t even wanted to bring her with him today, but the Malfoys had insisted that it would help in the long run, show him as a responsible family man no matter what he had done before.
When the memory came to an end, the room was silent. Sirius wasn’t sure if it was because they watched Dumbledore attack a child or if it was because of her display of accidental magic from nothing but screams. Finally, the Mugwump turned to Healer Ainsworth.
“Is that level of accidental magic possible? I’ve never seen it before.” The matronly woman took a deep breath.
“It is. I haven’t seen it in decades, like I said before. It was in a young man that unfortunately died from dragon pox in the 1960’s. Believe it or not, he was a muggleborn. In the case of Hermione Black, her father, Regulus Black, and her mother, Erise Malfoy, were both extremely gifted when it came to magic. When Lord Black adopted her through blood magic, she inherited magic from his genes as well. To put it bluntly, a normal witch or wizard has magic from two parents. Miss Black has magic from three.” The room remained silent and Sirius shot another look at his daughter. She was now seated in Lucius’ lap, snuggled into his chest, realizing that they were talking about her. He had no doubt that Lucius was whispering to her that she was most certainly not in trouble if the tears on her cheeks were anything to judge by. Mr. Chalmers waved Healer Ainsworth down from the stand.
“I’d like Mr. Dumbledore to give his testimony of this event.” Sirius watched as Albus stood and took the seat that Healer Ainsworth had vacated. Mr. Chalmers didn’t look as confident as he had before.
“Please tell us why you would bind a child like that.” Dumbledore sighed and looked contrite. Sirius couldn’t tell if it was genuine or not. He liked to believe that his old Headmaster wouldn’t want to hurt a child but now that he thought Sirius was a traitor, he was unsure of just what the old wizard was capable of.
“I never meant to hurt the child. I was angry at Lord Black, the very reason that I sent the spells his way. I didn’t expect him to drop and I had already sent the second spell at him. I never wanted to harm Hermione Black no matter who her parents were.” Sirius wanted to snort but refrained. There were a few sympathetic looks in the governing body but most were still hard-faced. Mr. Chalmers nodded and dismissed him.
“We will vote later in the day as to your innocence or guilt.” Dumbledore took this to mean that they were moving on and stood, returning to his seat at the table opposite of Sirius. The Mugwump continued.
“Let us continue on with the final charge of kidnapping.” Mr. Toomey nodded and stood.
“I would like to call Lord Black to the stand.” Sirius was getting extremely tired of getting up and down, but this was the last time. He hoped. Silas gave him an encouraging nod.
“Tell us why you wanted Mr. Dumbledore charged with kidnapping.” Sirius took a deep breath and began.
He told them how he and James had grown up together, how both their families were prominent purebloods. He told them of their Hogwarts years together and how their bond had only grown closer. He was the best man at James’ wedding, he was named godfather to their only son, and he stopped and visited them as often as he could once they went into hiding. He couldn’t help but tear up at the part where he had found James and Lily, cold and dead in their cottage in Godric’s Hollow. He told them how Hagrid had arrived and since he was so consumed with getting revenge on Peter Pettigrew, he sent the infant on to Hogwarts for looking after until he could retrieve him.
Sirius was completely honest about the death of the auror on that fateful Halloween night. He kept the tears at bay, that just wouldn’t do, but he knew that the emotion bled through into his voice. He told them about the missive from St. Mungo’s and how he saw adopting Hermione as his daughter as a way to escape prison and be there for Harry now that he was an orphan. He made sure to include the ruling of the Wizengamot and the ridiculously high fine that he paid with no qualms.
Since the gallery and governing body had witnessed the confrontation between himself and Dumbledore, he touched on it only briefly, just enough to explain that he wanted Harry to come home with him more than anything, so he could make sure that he had the life his parents would have wanted him to have. Mr. Toomey had produced the parchment needed from Gringotts stating that James and Lily had indeed made Sirius not only the custodian of their vaults, but the only person that should gain custody of Harry in case of their deaths. It was clear to Sirius that when the paperwork had been drawn up, James had still doubted Remus, or he would have made the list as well. While it still would have killed Sirius to release his godson to Remus, at least he would know that Harry would be loved and treated well. At the end, Sirius couldn’t help but add one last quip.
“I’m well aware that I’m not able to have a legilimens look through my memories, but I’m willing to submit to a wand oath or veritiserum to prove my innocence.” There was a collective gasp throughout the room. Most of the governing body looked on with approving expressions but Mr. Chalmers looked irritated. It was him that spoke.
“Even though there are precedents where we have used veritiserum, we try not to do that anymore. A tolerance can by built up to the potion and a person especially gifted in occlumency can overcome it. We do not permit wand oaths or Unbreakable Vows in this court room because they result in the loss of life and loss of magic. Our world is sparsely populated as it is; we would never think to endanger our numbers. If you are unable to submit to legilimency due to your status as an animagus, we must simply take your word against that of Mr. Dumbledore’s.” Sirius wanted to rage at the fact that the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards was in Dumbledore’s pocket, but he knew that there was nothing else that he could do except rely on the governing body of witches and wizards to believe the truth when they heard it. Sirius stepped down only for Mr. Chalmers to call Albus to the witness stand to defend himself.
“Tell us why you are not guilty of kidnapping.” Dumbledore folded his hands serenely in his lap and gave the room a soft smile.
“I am the one who cast the fidelius charm on the Potter’s home. While I was not there to see Lord Black take on the role of the secret keeper, he is the one that I fed into the spell since James told that was who they were going to use. This means that Lord Black had to give their location away to the Dark Lord and to let young Harry go with Lord Black would surely mean his death or turning to the dark side to take over where Lord Voldemort left off.” Sirius could not believe the words that came out of his mouth. How could he seriously believe that he would turn Harry into the next Dark Lord? It was so preposterous that he was struck silent for several moments before he began hissing in Silas’ ear.
“You ask him if Lily Potter could have changed the spell, Professor Flitwick always praised her for her work in charms. He wanted to take her on for a mastery.” Mr. Toomey nodded and stood.
“Mr. Dumbledore, your charms professor, Master Filius Flitwick, wanted to take Lily Potter on as an apprentice, correct?” The Headmaster’s eyes narrowed at his words.
“Yes, he did. He claimed that she was the most talented student that he had seen in years.” Silas nodded understandingly.
“Is it true then, that Lily Potter could have changed the spell when they realized that their choice in having Lord Black as their secret keeper wasn’t well thought out?” Rage flashed in Dumbledore’s eyes. Sirius could tell that he was gritting his teeth when he answered.
“I suppose that it is possible but let’s be honest. A woman with no formal training altering a spell that I cast without my knowledge? It doesn’t seem likely.” Sirius knew that they weren’t going to get much better than that. There was a small amount of doubt and he could see it reflecting in the expressions on those making up the governing body. Mr. Chalmers cleared his throat and spoke before anyone else could.
“Thank you for your testimony, Mr. Dumbledore. We’re going to adjourn so we may deliberate on the charges.” Dumbledore stepped down and re-took his seat at the table opposite of him. Since Mr. Toomey was sorting through parchment in front of him, Sirius stood and made his way through the gallery to find Hermione and the Malfoys. When he kneeled before Hermione, she threw herself into his arms.
“I’m not in trouble, am I daddy? Uncle Luci told me that I wasn’t, but I acted terribly.” Sirius chuckled as he hugged her close.
“Uncle Luci is right, poppet, you’re not in trouble at all. You helped daddy that day and you deserve a treat. How about ice cream for dessert tonight?” Sirius had learned that it was her absolute favorite, so she was quick to nod her head up and down.
“Oh, yes please, daddy.” He kissed the top of her head and turned to his cousin and her husband. It still astounded him how easy it was to get along with the pair of them.
“What do you think?” Lucius raised an eyebrow at him for a moment before speaking.
“I think you’re going to lose and not because of your solicitor. The Mugwump is obviously in Dumbledore’s pocket.” Sirius hated to have his fears confirmed but couldn’t fault the man for telling him the truth. He had no idea what to do if he lost so his voice was small when he spoke.
“What the bloody fuck am I going to do if I don’t get Harry? They’ll turn him against me quicker than a snitch.” Narcissa reached out and patted his hand.
“You can’t stop them. We’ll make sure that Hermione and Draco befriend him when they go to Hogwarts and tell him the truth. I know you planned on hiding nothing from your daughter anyways.” This wasn’t his preferred plan of action, but he realized that it was all he had. Nodding to his family and kissing Hermione on the top of her head, he stood and returned to the table that Silas was still occupying.
The wait was long and nerve-wracking. Sirius called upon every bit of training that his father had instilled in him in not showing his emotion, but it was difficult. Dumbledore seemed perfectly at ease over at his table. The gallery seemed to be waiting in bated silence, Sirius knew that they wanted to see just what charges would stick to the “most powerful wizard in the world”. When the governing body and the Mugwump filed back into the room, Sirius noted that there were more than a few sour expressions. He only hoped that this boded well for him. Mr. Chalmers stood and faced the room at large.
“In the case of attempted theft of funds from the Potter vault, the ICW finds Albus Dumbledore guilty. A fine of 50,000 galleons will be levied against his personal vault.” Sirius couldn’t fucking believe it. He got a fine and it was to be taken out of the vault that his money was sitting in. Mr. Chalmers continue.
“In the case of assault against a minor child, the ICW finds Albus Dumbledore guilty. Whether by accident or design, you still cursed a two-year-old child. Not only will there be a fine of 50,000 galleons for the offense, an additional 50,000 galleons will be awarded to the child to be put in trust until she is of age to access it.” Sirius wanted to laugh now. He was sure that there was somebody out there just wanting to make Albus’ life a complete hell. Sure, two hundred thousand galleons in that vault belonged to him, but that meant that one hundred fifty thousand galleons had been awarded to either the ICW or Hermione. While it wasn’t ideal, he’d rather them have it then Albus. Mr. Chalmers looked nervous when he spoke again.
“In the case of kidnapping, the governing body finds Mr. Dumbledore guilty since there are clear stipulations by his birth parents as to who the primary caregiver of their son should be.” Sirius felt his heart leap in joy before the man continued to speak.
“However, as Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, I hold the right of veto. In this case, I do. Whether Lord Black is telling the truth or not, it is best that he not be associated with Harry Potter, the Vanquisher of the Dark Lord. If there were other Death Eaters looking for him, Lord Black is the first place they would look. I order that he be remanded to his muggle relative’s home and cut off from wizarding society until he reaches the age to attend Hogwarts. Only anonymity will keep him safe. Lord Black, you may not contact him at all until he contacts you. Our world can’t have you putting our hero in danger.”
Sirius felt like he had been kicked in the gut. Even though the panel of a hundred witches and wizards had felt Dumbledore was guilty, the Mugwump had overrode him, sending Harry to Petunia, a horrible excuse for a human. He wasn’t allowed to contact his godson until he contacted him, and everyone knew when that would happen. Never. Albus would sink his hooks in him at the first possible second and poison his godson against him.
Sure, they had won on the attempted theft charge and the assault against Hermione but what Sirius had really wanted to win was the custody of his godson. He was sure that James and Lily were cursing him from the beyond, pissed that he had failed to secure custody of their son. Rather than wallow in his grief in front of the masses, he stood and made his way over to the table Dumbledore was at.
“I hope you reside in the darkest pits of hell until you realize the mistake you’ve made here today. Then, I hope that those you’ve fucked over will give you what you truly deserve.” Dumbledore just smiled that serene little smile of his before speaking.
“Spoken like a true agent of the dark. Harry will be safe from you, I guarantee it.” Dumbledore glanced over at the Malfoys, who were keeping Hermione close.
“Don’t worry, he won’t be allowed near your spawn either.” Sirius saw red and there was nothing he could do to hold back his words.
“You come near my daughter at any point in the rest of her life, I’ll fucking kill you and they won’t find the body. Just remember, if this happens, I won’t go to Azkaban, that’s a guarantee. Half the Wizengamot would cheer at your painful demise. They follow the Dark Lord after all.” While he saw no fear in the older wizard’s eyes, Sirius could tell that his words affected him. Of course, this meant that Hermione was going to need protection whenever she left the Manor. He wouldn’t stand for her to be hurt just because Dumbledore wanted him gone. Sirius turned at stalked away from the wizard he used to call Headmaster. When he reached the Malfoys and Hermione he knelt and pulled Hermione into a hug.
“I love you, sweetness. We’re done here. Are you ready to go home and get ice cream?” Before she could answer, Narcissa spoke.
“Let’s go to Malfoy Manor. You can drink just as easily there, Lucius will most likely keep you company, I can watch over Hermione and make sure that she’s taken care of.” Sirius thought for a moment and realized that her idea had merit. He really didn’t want to be alone and he did want to drink himself to a stupor, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the fact that his godson had just been taken from him for good. In the end, he nodded his agreement and allowed his cousin to lead him out of the court room while Lucius followed with Hermione in his arms.
-O-
It was clear to Lucius just three drinks in that Sirius was innocent of everything that he had been accused of. Yes, it was true that he had thought that from the start, but it was only this day that he truly believed it. The man was heartbroken that he hadn’t received custody of his godson.
While Lucius had never been a huge fan of the Potter family in general, he could acknowledge that they were powerful enough in their own right. They were just as Ancient and Noble as his own family or the Blacks; if he had had a daughter he wouldn’t have been opposed to a match with a Potter. To see Sirius so upset, however, cemented his belief that he was indeed innocent.
This meant that his Lord had indeed used the services of a Gryffindor, something that he had sworn to never do. While it wasn’t a huge thing, it still dinged the trust the blond had for the Slytherin heir. Not only was he using Gryffindors now, he was going after children. The latter of the two had Lucius curling his lip in disgust.
As much as he hated the Order the of the Phoenix, they didn’t target children. Sure, Hermione had been injured in their raid of her home but that hadn’t been their objective. They had even sent Hermione to St. Mungo’s for treatment. Lucius knew from first hand experience that the Dark Lord had no qualms targeting, torturing, and murdering children. It turned his stomach.
It was for this reason that he decided that maybe his wife’s cousin had the right of it. Did he believe that purebloods were above mudbloods? Sure. They were notoriously weak in magic. It had nothing to do with their parentage, per se, but the fact that he wanted this offspring to be strong in magic. Breeding with a weak muggle born would not be a smart move in that aspect.
This outlook, however, didn’t mean that only purebloods were powerful. Harry Potter was the perfect example. Lily Evans had been one of the few exceptions to the muggleborn rule. She was powerful and gifted, something that she passed down to her son. The young boy was a half blood and had vanquished the Dark Lord without holding a wand in his hand. It was clear that magic was the factor he cared about now, not so much the blood status.
Sirius drank himself to a stupor, crying at the end for the loss of his godson. While Lucius couldn’t handle such emotional displays all the time, he understood this one. If the Gryffindor had kept Hermione from himself and Cissy, he would most likely have been just as heartbroken as the man before him. It wasn’t something that he liked to think of, therefore, he tried to temper it with thoughts of the future.
He knew that if he and Narcissa returned to the Dark Lord when he returned, Hermione would be gone from their lives for good. Since she was the last remaining link he had to his beloved sister, Erise, that just wasn’t an option. Lucius had a feeling that the Dark Lord would indeed return some day; it just wasn’t feasible that he wouldn’t since they had never found his body. Therefore, this left only one option available to himself and his wife.
Help Sirius in his mission to stop the Dark Lord once he returned.
He hated to side with the Order for any reason, but it seemed that they now had a common goal, even if they weren’t aware of it. Sirius had told nobody but them what the goblins had said regarding their Lord. This meant that they were merely biding their time, hoping that their children would be grown and strong before he decided to return. Lucius didn’t hold his breath on this matter.
This meant that it was imperative that Hermione and Draco had the most extensive education that they could get before the inevitable happened. While he was sure that Hermione would be tasked with protecting Harry Potter, Lucius had no urge to see either of his children injured in this task. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that whatever Hermione’s mission was regarding young Potter, Draco would adopt it. The pair were already thick as thieves.
Lucius chased the last of his fire whiskey down, grimacing slightly at the burn all the way down to his stomach. He left Sirius snoring on the couch, determined to find his wife and reaffirm his love for her after his epiphany.
A/N- I know that many of you saw this coming and I’d like to say that you were right. I did say that this story would be following canon and that most certainly doesn’t mean that Harry would be raised with Hermione and Sirius. Anyways, let me know what you think. Reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, Hermione’s sixth birthday.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back, y’all!! So many of you were upset over me sending Harry to live with the Dursleys last chapter but I’m trying to stick to canon. Obviously, that won’t be possible in many instances, but sending him away was crucial to the story. These next few chapters are going to be filler chapters, showing snippets of Hermione and Sirius’ lives before she goes to Hogwarts. Hang in there. A huge shout out to those that are reading, reviewing, favoriting, and following this story. Y’all are rock star readers! Enough for now, I want to bang this chapter out!!
** Shout out to SereniteRose for being my 100th reviewer. Ya do bomb, girl! **
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing in any of my stories and I haven’t made any money from them. As much as I would love to be a professional author, these stories are written for my entertainment.
Chapter 5
September 19, 1985
Sirius had decided long ago that he was going to play the pureblood front, spy on them and such for signs that the Dark Lord had returned. Today was going to be the final part in this plan.
As much as he hated being a responsible Lord, he was. Sirius attended Wizengamot meetings, listened to new bills and voted accordingly, just as the other purebloods would expect him to. He attended balls and parties, was invited to every major social event on the calendar. Even though he refused to marry at this time, he escorted a beautiful woman to every event, showcasing his proper breeding and upbringing.
It all made him sick.
Sirius hated always having to wear the right thing. He detested always having to be proper. He was always having to pretend that he hated muggleborns and half-bloods alike, which he couldn’t stand. He loathed that he couldn’t just fuck one of the women that he escorted to all those parties; pureblood custom would have demanded that he marry them.
It was for this reason that Sirius now commiserated with Severus, a man that he had grown close to over the years. Severus was constantly playing both sides of the fence, gathering information for Dumbledore and keeping his Death Eater friends from suspecting his duplicity. Severus hated it as much as Sirius did but had no other option due to the oaths he had made to the conniving old bastard.
Sirius did the best that he could to cope with everything. When Hermione stayed with the Malfoys, he would venture out into the muggle world and pretend to be some rich CEO. Women fell at his feet, most were quick to sleep with him. There had been one woman that he had developed feelings for but when he realized that he would soon be embroiled in a blood war and she was all muggle, he cut things off without another word to her. It was harsh, but it was the only way he could cope with it. That had been when Hermione was four. Now he simply made certain that the women knew that he wasn’t going to date them or marry them before he slept with them.
Hermione was none the wiser. She still thought that the sun rose and fell around her father, something that Sirius cherished more than anything. He had been best friends with James and Remus, even Lily to a degree, but they had never needed, had never counted on him. He had been the practical joker all the way, never the one to be counted on when his friends needed something. Looking back, he could see how selfish that had been of him but there was no going back now.
Hermione, however, needed him. She loved him fiercely and she counted on him to be there for her. It was a heady feeling, being wanted and needed, especially when he grew up knowing that nobody in his family needed him or wanted him outside of his duties as the heir. Even though he was trying to fit into the pureblood circles, he had sworn that he would never treat Hermione like some of them treated their children. She would always know that she was loved and wanted.
His daughter astounded him daily. Madam Cambridge still tutored Hermione and Draco together, flooing to Black Moor every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for their lessons. She met with them at Malfoy Manor on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, although Saturdays were only a half day of lessons. Both children read at a level far above their age, not something that surprised him since Hermione had always had an affinity for books. While he was quite certain that there was no way in hell that every book in Black Moor’s library could be read, he knew that his daughter would end up giving it a try. Draco was almost as bad but did allocate time to flying and quidditch.
The pair were learning muggle subjects as well as magic. It was something that he had insisted on. Erise had never told Madam Cambridge to teach her daughter such subjects, but Sirius wanted her to be as educated as possible, so all aspects of the world would be open to her once she graduated from Hogwarts. He really hoped that she wouldn’t flee to the muggle world but if that was what she wanted to do, that’s what she would do. Her happiness was tantamount.
Their lessons in magic were somewhat limited. They were unable to carry wands; therefore, they couldn’t really practice. However, this didn’t stop them from learning theory and practicing pronunciation of spells and wand movements. He was quite certain that they had memorized the spells and wand movements for all the first-year curriculum at Hogwarts.
Sirius had learned early on that there would be a time that Hermione would have to go before Albus Dumbledore and that the man would feel no remorse in rummaging around in her head. Sirius was unable to be read due to his status as an animagus, Lucius and Narcissa were quite accomplished occlumens themselves. However, nobody was as good as Severus Snape. He kept his relationship to Hermione quiet, only telling the Headmaster that he saw her because she was at Malfoy Manor when he visited there on his information gathering missions.
Sirius had begged Severus to teach Hermione and Draco.
While Draco had picked up quicker than they had thought, Hermione still struggled. She was an exuberant child, full of love and laughter that just couldn’t be contained. Since she was only six, it was work getting her to control those emotions. She was doing better but still had a long way to go. Severus reassured him that it would get easier for her as she aged; small children weren’t meant to control their emotions. This had caused a flash of shame to rush through him, sure that he was stealing away her childhood, but Severus had stopped him with a quick reminder that if her mind was open when she went to school, Dumbledore could insert any manner of thoughts into her mind if he so chose.
Sirius could honestly say that he was never a kid person before. He had cared for Harry and then Hermione, but he had avoided other children like the plague. Arthur and Molly Weasley had already had six children that they dragged to every single Order meeting. He found that his little cousin had made the list of children that he cared for.
Lucius and Narcissa hadn’t been kidding those years ago when he had first gotten Hermione. She and Draco were practically attached at the hip. They took turns staying the night at each other’s house and Sirius couldn’t recall the last time that just he and Hermione had done something. Draco was always included in their plans and Hermione was always included in Lucius and Narcissa’s.
They rarely argued, in fact, they seemed to balance each other out. Where Hermione was always laughing, Draco tended to be more serious. Hermione could be emotional, Draco always seemed to think about his reactions first. Hermione excelled in schoolwork where Draco lagged just a little and didn’t let her get too caught up in her studies. If they weren’t so closely related, Sirius wouldn’t have been surprised if they had ended up marrying each other.
Sirius had wanted to make sure that he had no secrets from his daughter. Even though Narcissa and Lucius had told him that she was too young, he had told her all about himself and that Halloween night. He had told her how important it was that she befriend Harry when she went to Hogwarts, her and Draco both, how they needed to protect him because there was going to be another war.
He had expected his daughter to rage at him for killing someone; he had expected her to let her emotions run free and cause a rare burst of accidental magic. None of this happened, however. As emotional and exuberant as his daughter could be, she could also be serious if it was called for.
Hermione had floated into his arms and hugged him tight, told him that since he was sorry for killing the man, she forgave him. She had promised that she would become friends with the boy who should have been her brother and she would protect him if he needed her to. She had insisted that she work harder so she could learn more in her lessons.
This had been three months ago.
Sirius had assured her that she was already doing well in her lessons and that she didn’t need to work any harder. She had seemed flabbergasted when he told her that she was to go outside and enjoy the grounds with Draco, sending Sipsy along for company. In short, Sirius was surprised by his daughter every single day and he loved her for it.
He was getting ready to embark on the last step of integrating himself into the pureblood circles. It was Hermione’s sixth birthday and he was throwing a party for the pureblood elite and their children to attend, somewhat of a tradition in their circles. It was a time for the parents to mingle and the children to make friends with each other. Sirius had always thought that this was the main event in betrothing their children, but he had assured Lucius and Narcissa that there would be none of that going on.
Lucius and Narcissa had been allowed to marry without a contract because they had truly loved each other. This wasn’t common practice amongst their peers, however. Since Sirius thought the whole idea was a complete sham, he had readily agreed when the Malfoys had begged him to allow Hermione to marry for love, as they would be allowing Draco. It was quite progressive of them, not something that they would have agreed to if they hadn’t done it themselves.
His friendship with the Malfoys still astounded him sometimes. Now that he knew Lucius, he found him rather witty and entertaining. His humor was dry but that didn’t matter to Sirius. He could be sarcastic with the best of them. Narcissa was as sweet as he remembered her growing up. That dinner so long ago with Andie had starting the healing of their relationship and the pair were now quite close. Ted still didn’t come around too often but not because he wasn’t welcomed; he was always busy with his legal practice and who knew what else. Sirius wondered if it had something to do feeling uncomfortable in their homes. If that was the case, he never forbade Andie or Dora from visiting.
Nymphadora had been a regular visitor to both their manors when she was younger. She had loved helping take care of Hermione and Draco since she was six years older than them and had always wished for a younger sibling. Now, she had just went off to Hogwarts for her second year, a proud Hufflepuff just like her father.
The funniest part of young Nymphadora going off to Hogwarts had occurred when she had returned for Christmas her first year. She had told them all over Christmas dinner that Dumbledore had asked her what it was like visiting with the Malfoys and the Blacks. When she had told him that they were her family and that she loved them, he had been confused. He had then asked after Hermione, wanting to know if she was like her father. Apparently, the astute eleven-year-old Hufflepuff had realized that he was asking too many questions and told him that if he wanted to know about her family so badly he should owl her cousin Sirius and ask.
The whole table had laughed uproariously at that, the little badger showing her true colors in her strength of loyalty to her family.
Sirius, though, wasn’t surprised at the old man’s interest. While he hadn’t been fired from his job as Headmaster, he had indeed lost much of the support of the pureblood community. Attacking a Black child, one of the closest things to wizarding royalty there was, whether by accident or design, had made him no friends. The charge of attempted theft did nothing for him either; he was seriously mistrusted in all circles except for those made up of half-bloods or muggleborns.
Sirius supposed that he should feel guilty for fucking up his reputation like that when there had been an accord between James and Albus, but he didn’t. You don’t fuck with family, the unofficial motto of the Black line. Dumbledore, most assuredly, had fucked with the Black family. All the more reason to keep the charade of how he really felt about purebloods to himself.
Sirius hadn’t heard a word from Remus since that day outside of his family home. There had been no news around his circles either, nor the Ministry. Even though they clearly weren’t friends anymore, Sirius couldn’t help but hope that the werewolf hadn’t died somewhere with nobody there. He tried not to linger on those thoughts for too long as they only managed to depress him.
Sirius was pulled from his inner monologue by Candy appearing next to him, pressed and dressed in a pristine tea towel bearing the Black family crest.
“The firsts of the guests have arrived, master.” He gave a sharp nod and couldn’t help the flutter of nervousness. While he had gone to every social event of the year since taking up spying, he had never opened Black Moor for entertaining. This was the first time and he could say that he was scared to death that something was going to ruin the day for Hermione. Even though it wasn’t the party he would have wanted, she was very excited at meeting other children.
His daughter was standing at the doorway that led into the drawing room that the children would be occupying. She was next to Draco, dressed in a royal blue set of robes that fit her perfectly. There was no denying that Narcissa had been teaching her how to act with company. Draco was similarly dressed, in black, his robes clearly expensive and tailored. Sirius wasn’t sure how they were supposed to play in these clothes, but it was what society called for. Thoros Nott was the first to arrive, his young son Theodore at his side dressed similarly to Draco. Thoros bowed slightly to Sirius, a show of respect for the Lord of the manor.
“Allow me to introduce my son, Theodore. He’s excited to meet young Hermione and Draco.” Sirius gave the boy a small smile.
“Well, my daughter and cousin are over there by the door. Go meet them, they’re excited too.” Both men chuckled as the boy ran over to the pair waiting impatiently for him.
-O-
Hermione was so excited to meet the other children that her father had invited to her party. She loved Draco as much as she did her father, but she was sure that the more friends you had, the better off you were. Her father had told her so many stories of himself and his best friends and she wanted to be just like him. She clutched at her cousin’s hand when a handsome boy bounded over to them, dressed properly in much the same manner as Draco. He skidded to a halt before them before bowing to Draco and taking Hermione’s hand and kissing her knuckles softly.
She couldn’t help but to chuckle softly. This wasn’t required until they were much older. The boy was trying to impress her, whether it was because he wanted to or because his father had instructed him to she didn’t know.
“I’m Theodore Nott but you can call me Theo.” Hermione curtsied at him.
“I’m Hermione Black and this is my cousin and best friend, Draco Malfoy.” Theo reached out and shook Draco’s hand.
“I hope we can all be friends.” Hermione nodded happily and pulled both boys in to the drawing room that they were going to be staying in while the adults had their drinks next door.
The elves had set up games all over, games that Hermione had never got to play because there weren’t enough people with just her and Draco. Before they could even sit down, another boy appeared, a dark-skinned boy that flashed a bright smile at them. He introduced himself as Blaise Zabini and he hit it off quickly with Theo and Draco. They had just started talking about quidditch and the matches that they had attended with their fathers when a girl a few inches taller than Hermione walked in, her long black hair tied back demurely. Hermione smiled at her warmly.
“Hello, I’m Hermione Black. What’s your name?” The girl rushed forward and hugged Hermione, catching her off guard.
“My name is Pansy Parkinson. I’ve never met another little girl before. I only have my brother and he’s already at Hogwarts.” Hermione smiled at her, forgiving her for being nervous.
“I’ve met my cousin but she’s six years older than me. She’s at Hogwarts too. It’s usually just Draco and I.” The girl’s eyes went to Draco since Hermione pointed him out.
“Oh, he’s so handsome.” Hermione wrinkled her nose even though she knew it was in bad taste.
“Ewww, he’s my cousin. My best friend. I don’t think he’s handsome at all.” Pansy laughed now.
“That’s how it’s supposed to be, silly. I don’t think my brother is handsome at all but everyone else thinks he is.” Hermione nodded, content with her words if she wasn’t required to think of her cousin like that.
While the two girls were speaking, several other children filed in, two boys by the name of Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe, and three girls by the name of Daphne Greengrass, Tracey Davis, and Millicent Bulstrode. Hermione liked them all very much even though none of them enjoyed learning or reading. Draco was the popular one with all the boys and unsurprisingly, Pansy was running the girls side of things. Hermione didn’t mind. They were nice enough and would be good friends but none of them understood her like Draco.
Hurrying over to join in on one of the games they were all starting to play, Hermione let her thoughts drift away while she enjoyed her birthday.
-O-
Sirius watched his daughter through the open door. She had let Pansy Parkinson take over her party, but she didn’t seem too upset about it. Hermione was playing a game with the rest of the girls. Thoros Nott and Gregory Goyle, Sr. stepped up to watch beside him. The three of them were silent for almost a full minute before Thoros spoke.
“Would you be interested in a betrothal contract between my son and your daughter? She would do my House proud.” Sirius knew that it would be coming and was more than ready.
“No, not at this time. If she becomes interested as she gets older, I would love to revisit this conversation then. The last thing I want is my daughter to be bound to someone that she might end up not liking. Make no mistake, she will be a proper young lady, but I want her to be happy above all else. I have no need for added wealth so that leaves her with more options.” Sirius was sure that his words were condescending, but he didn’t care. He wouldn’t be bullied into signing Hermione’s life away just because the other Lords wanted her married into their family. However, he was pleasantly surprised when Thoros nodded.
“I can respect that. As purebloods, we tend to marry for money, power, and influence. You have more than enough of all those things so why should you sacrifice your daughter’s happiness? I would do the same thing if I were in your shoes. If I had a daughter, my Aliana would have killed me if I betrothed our daughter without her input.” Sirius chuckled at his words.
“I remember her in school. Even though she was the most proper young lady, she was a force to be reckoned with. I remember in our third year, she caught me trying to prank some Slytherin first years. She hit me with stinging hexes right on my arse the whole way down the corridor. Who knew she could run in robes like that?” Thoros burst out in laughter, holding his belly and drawing the attention of the children. When he got himself under control, he smiled.
“Aliana was something else. I wish Theo could have known her.” Sirius clapped him on the shoulder.
“Sorry for your loss, mate.” Thoros nodded but dropped the subject. They floated back over to the main body where Sirius took up conversation with Lucius and Severus. Since Dumbledore had no idea that Hermione was Severus’ godchild, he couldn’t speak with her outright until the guests went home. She had been told and had been surprisingly alright with it. Hermione had understood that it was needed in order to keep her godfather safe.
Sirius watched as Narcissa and Posey Parkinson made their way into the room with all the children, probably to make sure that they were all getting along. He could hear Posey making over Hermione in her high-pitched, nasally voice, which made him want to rip his ears off his head. He had no idea how Peregrine could stand her.
Conversation turned to politics as they always seemed to at functions like this. Peregrine Parkinson and Gerald Greengrass joined them, ready to discuss the newest reforms being pushed through at Hogwarts. Sirius barely listened. He really couldn’t give two shits but kept the look on his face that showed it was very important to him.
His mind wandered to what was going to happen when Voldemort did return, and he refused to take the Mark? As much as he liked to think that he was spying on his fellow purebloods, he wasn’t as strong and brave as Severus. The man bore the Mark and the hatred that came with it, all with a stoic expression. Nobody trusted him aside from the Malfoys and himself. This also begged him to wonder what would happen when Lucius was called. Would he return to that life, casting himself and Hermione far from their family? Would Draco be forced to bear the Mark at his father’s insistence? What would Narcissa do?
Sirius liked to think that his cousin would sooner murder her husband than give up the girl that she considered her daughter. He didn’t think that she would ever stand for her only child to bear the Mark either. He and Severus had discussed it at length under the influence of fire whiskey. He was under the impression that Lucius didn’t believe in the cause like he had before, that Narcissa never really had. Both wanted to preserve the old customs and Voldemort had been an easy way to go about doing so. While both thought that they were inherently better than most muggleborns, they had never signed on to demolish a part of their world.
Sirius was pulled from thoughts by Candy appearing next to him.
“It’s times for cakes and presents.” Sirius gave her a sharp nod, the kind that was reserved for when there was company that would frown upon the elf’s bullying of her family. As much as she irritated Sirius some days, he would never allow her to come to harm for doing what she thought was best for his family.
Sipsy herded all the children out of their play room, Dip and Dot helping her. They were all laughing boisterously, at what Sirius was unsure. Once they realized that all the adults were watching them, they quieted back into the children they had arrived as. Sirius wasn’t having any of that.
“Don’t stop having fun on our account. It’s time for presents and then cake.” All the children began cheering, a beautiful flush present on Hermione’s cheeks.
The present opening was insane, to say the least. All the children had wanted Hermione to open their gift first, they wanted to have the one that she loved the most. Sirius remembered those days, what it was like to be young. While she seemed embarrassed as hell, she bore it well and thanked everyone sweetly for their gifts. Candy, Dip, and Dot appeared directly afterwards to clean up the mess, transitioning the room for cake.
Hermione begged them not to sing to her, so they acquiesced. The cake that appeared was enormous and beautiful besides. It was decorated as the night sky with Ursa Major as the focal point, the constellation that her middle name was derived from. Sirius watched as his daughter grabbed Draco’s hand and pulled him to the cake with her, intent on keeping their tradition of blowing the candles on their birthday cakes together. It was Theo that spoke up.
“Hey, that’s Hermione’s cake. You can’t blow out the candles, that’s cheating. Her wish won’t come true.” Sirius nodded as he chuckled softly.
“Right you are, young Theo. However, these two have blown their candles out together since they were old enough to have a cake. She helps him on his birthday. They say their wishes still come true, but we don’t know because they only tell each other.” The adults all chuckled at this explanation, but the children looked confused. Nothing more was said though.
The pair blew out their candles with little fanfare and Sipsy stepped forward to cut the cake. Pieces were passed around to children and adults alike. The children laughed amongst themselves, smearing icing on their faces, reminding Sirius that they weren’t always preprogrammed little robots. A few of the parents didn’t look very happy with it, but most seemed to be fine with it. The adults continued their conversations with each other, the woman all discussing the ball at the Greengrass’ the following weekend. Sirius was slotted to take a young French pureblood witch that Narcissa had introduced him to.
When the children began tiring, their parents began to offer their thanks and gather their offspring. Sirius watched as little Pansy Parkinson hugged Hermione close, promising to be her best friend. His daughter looked at her, perplexed, and he was sure it was because she considered Draco to be her best friend. She remained silent, though, and hugged her new friend back. The other girls are offered her hugs as well and Sirius hoped that she at least kept the friendship of some of the girls. He didn’t want her to have only Draco in her life.
Once all the guests were gone, Sirius sank into the nearest couch while the elves began clearing away the dishes and the mess. Hermione crawled up in his lap and snuggled her head under his chin, her favorite position. He wrapped his arms around her while the Malfoys, Draco, and Severus settled around them.
“Have fun, poppet?” She nodded against his chest.
“I had fun. They were awfully loud though and none of them like to read.” Severus snorted next to him.
“That’s because they’ll grow up to be dunderheads while you and Draco won’t. I think that we’re going to start the pair of you in potions on the weekends come next week. Just think about how far ahead you’ll be compared to your friends.” Hermione drew her eye brows together in deep thought.
“Won’t that make them hate us?” Sirius kissed the top of her head.
“Nobody could ever hate the two of you. You’re perfect.” Sirius knew that he probably shouldn’t tell her that she was perfect, but he didn’t care. She was his daughter and if he wanted to boost her confidence, he would. Hermione, however, lifted her head and smiled.
“You’re silly, daddy.” He patted her on the bottom and shoved her off his lap.
“If you two are going to eat popcorn and read before bed, you better go to your rooms and get baths. Sipsy and Dot will take you. We’ll be up to kiss you goodnight when it’s time.” Both Hermione and Draco were quick to exit the room, neither running as they had been taught. There was laughter that followed them, then faded away as they climbed the stairs together. Narcissa sighed.
“She’s never going to be interested in popularity, that much is certain. She allowed Pansy to just take over her party.” She looked so dismayed that Sirius wanted to laugh. It was Lucius that spoke next.
“She likes to wear pretty things but that isn’t the most important thing to her. She won’t ever be like Pansy Parkinson or any of the other girls. Make no mistake, however, that little spitfire will be a trendsetter. I guarantee you, every father of boys her age will be sending Sirius betrothal contracts. Our little Hermione is the whole package, beautiful, powerful, and intelligent.” Sirius snorted.
“They can send them all they want. Hermione will get to make her own choice in that aspect. Once she settles on a young man that deserves her, I’ll talk to his father and get a contract set up. I hate the blasted things, but it would protect her as my heir.” Lucius nodded his agreement.
“I agree. The same will happen for Draco.”
Their conversation was brought up short when Severus finished off his drink and stood.
“I must return to the school. I have rounds in ten minutes.” Sirius nodded and stood to shake his hands.
“We’ll see you next weekend for the new potions lesson.” The Slytherin gave him a sharp nod and headed for the floo, disappearing in a flash of green. Narcissa was grinning ear to ear.
“You know he’s going to lose his mind trying to teach a five and a six-year-old how to brew potions.” Sirius grinned back.
“Why do you think I plan to attend?”
The room dissolved in laughter as they got more comfortable and finished off their drinks.
A/N- Not as long as normal, but these next few chapters won’t be. These are just little flashes of Hermione’s life before Hogwarts. Seven total. I hope that you enjoyed this little piece of fluff, for that’s exactly what it was. Leave me a line and let me know what you think. Thanks again for reading!
Next up, Hermione spills everything to Draco.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Once more into the breach, my friends. Here we are with chapter six already, I know it hasn’t been long, but I can’t believe that I’m already this far. Just one more chapter and part one will be over. Hermione and Draco are almost headed to Hogwarts! Anyways, thank you to everyone out there that is reading, reviewing, following, and favoriting, you guys are my heroes. You keep me motivated, which is a good thing for y’all! Enough for now, this won’t be a long chapter, but I want to bang it out!
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything to do with this story. Original story idea belongs to Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle and the rest I’m sure has been done before. I haven’t made any money off any of my stories.
Chapter 6
January 3, 1989
Hermione smiled as she saw the ever-familiar foyer of Malfoy Manor come into view from the floo. Her father had just sent her through to come spend the week with Draco, Aunt Cissy, and Uncle Luci. Uncle Luci was trying to get her to call him Uncle Lucius, but Hermione was the first to admit that it was a lost cause. He had been Uncle Luci to her since the day she was born, it would likely never change. Even though he complained, Hermione could tell that he didn’t mean it. He adored the fact that she had a pet name for him, just as he had for her.
Her uncle, the most notorious cold-hearted bastard in the wizarding world, called her his sunshine. Hermione couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t. Even though he wasn’t the most demonstrative of people with his son, his love for Hermione and Aunt Cissy always shone through. Draco was jealous at times and she couldn’t blame him. Hermione always made sure to point out that he was the son, so he was supposed to be manlier in his emotions, just like his father and cousin besides. Most of the time he accepted it.
Hermione was well-aware that Aunt Cissy treasured her. It was clear in every movement, every word the older woman gave her. Her aunt had adored her mother and it showed through word and action every single day. The socialite delighted in taking her niece shopping for every occasion under the sun, spending ridiculous amounts of money on her that truly weren’t warranted. This never stopped Aunt Cissy, however. She just gave and gave with no thought to anyone else, least of all herself.
Hermione was well-aware that her father and aunt and uncle had not always gotten along. Her father had told her the truth about everything, telling her that her aunt and uncle had followed an evil wizard by the name of Lord Voldemort while he wanted to vanquish him. Her would-be brother, Harry Potter, had somehow sent the Dark Lord into the great unknown, how nobody knew for sure. Once the Dark Lord was gone, her aunt and uncle had renounced their beliefs and vowed to fight for the light to keep her in their lives.
For this reason, her aunt and uncle were as close as ever to her heart.
Draco was their son and her best friend besides. They had shared everything since the day that Draco was born, a full nine months younger than Hermione. She had never minded. Her father had reminded her all the time growing up that it was imperative that she remain safe and the only places that he was certain that was possible was at Black Moor, her ancestral home, and Malfoy Manor. While she was allowed out to attend birthday parties and such of her friends, she was always accompanied by at least one elf and an adult that her father trusted. She knew that list was extremely short, consisting of himself, her aunt and uncle, and her Uncle Severus.
Uncle Sevvie, as she still insisted on calling him, was one of her favorite people in the whole world. Even though he was almost always sour and snarky, he never failed to make her feel cared for and safe, the same feelings that she associated with the rest of her family. He lived at Hogwarts with the wizard that had attacked her when she was only two years old; her father had told her that he had tricked her godfather into spying for him.
Hermione knew that her father had been completely honest with her about all things. She knew the deepest and darkest secrets of her family, good and bad alike. She knew that Uncle Luci had tortured and killed people, she also knew that he would do whatever he had to do to protect herself, Draco, and Aunt Cissy from harm. Uncle Sevvie had done much the same as her other uncle but had sold his allegiance to the person that he thought could protect the woman that he loved for his whole life. She knew that there was an empty place in his heart where Lily Potter had once resided.
Her father had admitted to her many years ago that the night that his best friend James had been murdered, he had handed his godson over to one of the men who worked at Hogwarts, so he could extract revenge. His sorrow and regret over the fact that he had murdered an innocent auror on accident still weighed on him heavily. Hermione was not blind to her father’s faults; she just managed to see his good traits as well.
Hermione chose to forgive every person in her life their mistakes they had made. She knew that it probably wasn’t her place, she hadn’t been the one who had suffered at their hands of course, but she couldn’t help but try to ease their guilt. She loved her family and they would always be important to her, no matter their past. Maybe some would call that folly, but she had yet to be proven wrong for having faith in her less than perfect family members. Pip popped into existence next to her.
“Come, Missy Mione, Draco is waitings for you in his rooms.” Hermione laughed softly at the tiny little elf. Pip had been assigned to Draco when he was only three years old. Draco was very attached to him which Hermione found adorable. Not that she would ever tell him that. Best friend or not, he could still get downright moody.
Hermione started for the door, making her way down the corridor past the day room. Aunt Cissy was inside, pouring over magazines, fashion most likely. Uncle Luci was nowhere to be found but Hermione was certain that he was most likely at the Ministry. It was where her father had been headed after he put her into the floo. She stuck her head in the doorway.
“I’m here, Aunt Cissy. Pip’s taking me to Draco now.” Her aunt’s head came up and she smiled brightly at her.
“That’s wonderful, dear. He’s been waiting for you for at least an hour now. I swear, the two of you act like you didn’t just see each other yesterday.” Hermione giggled.
“I know but we can’t help it. Draco is my best friend.” Her aunt raised her eyebrow playfully.
“Trust me, we’re all aware.” She turned her attention back to the magazine for a moment before she spoke.
“Little Pansy Parkinson’s birthday is in two days’ time. Tomorrow, you and I are going to go shopping and find you a new dress.” Hermione groaned softly.
“I just got three new dresses a month ago. Can’t I wear one of those?” Aunt Cissy looked up at her.
“No, you can’t. We can make a day of it. It’ll be fun, I promise.” Hermione sighed and nodded. While she wasn’t completely against shopping, her aunt took it to a whole new level. Where the boys were passionate about quidditch, her aunt was passionate about shopping. Since there were no other females for her to share the experience with, Hermione was almost always dragged along.
“Alright, Aunt Cissy. Could Aunt Andie and Dora come along too?” Her aunt’s eyes lit up, an indicator that she hadn’t considered her sister and niece as shopping partners. She beamed at Hermione.
“Absolutely. I’ll owl them right now. Go on up and see Draco, dear.” Hermione cheered internally. While she loved her Aunt Cissy, she could shop for hours. If Dora came, Hermione could quiz her about Hogwarts, her classes, and her boyfriend Charlie Weasley. They had seen each other several times over the Christmas holidays but they hadn’t had a chance to discuss these things with Draco right there. He always whined that his cousin was dating a Weasley.
Hermione continued on her way to Draco’s room, located on the second floor of the west wing. Hermione had her own room in the family wing as well, right next to Draco’s, but she rarely stayed there. She had ridiculous amounts of clothes in the closets and such, but she usually ended up sleeping in Draco’s room with him. They had shared a room for years so they never thought about it anymore. Knowing that Pip had already informed her cousin that she was there, she didn’t bother knocking before just going in his room.
Draco was stretched out on his bed, a sketch book on the duvet before him. Hermione smiled at him before she kicked off her shoes and crawled up on the bed next to him and took his book away from him. She inspected the drawing he was working on. It was a massive dragon in a multitude of colors with fire shooting out of it’s mouth. Hermione smiled at him again.
“This one is brilliant. I wish I could draw.” He nudged her shoulder with his own before taking it back, a light blush coloring his cheeks.
“You sing way better than I do though. Dance better too.” Hermione shrugged her shoulders.
“I suppose. What do you want to do today?” He laughed at her earnestness.
“Since when do you not want to read?” Hermione shrugged her shoulders, eyes dropping to her hands resting in her lap. Draco instantly knew that something was wrong.
“What’s wrong, Miney?” He rarely called her that name, telling her that it was childish. When he did, it was always because he was trying to convince her to do something that they shouldn’t be doing or trying to get information out of her. She raked a hand through her long black curls.
“I’m just thinking about everything. I’m not sure what Hogwarts is going to hold for me since the Headmaster hates me. You don’t know everything, Drake.” His eyes clouded over in confusion.
“I’m not sure what you mean. What do I not know?” Hermione was unsure of what to do. She wanted to tell Draco everything, but she was unsure if she would get in trouble. The last thing that she wanted was to get grounded because she hadn’t minded her father. Draco clearly saw her hesitation and frowned.
“We tell each other everything, Hermione. Are you mad at me?” Hermione shot her eyes up to his face, instant remorse on her face.
“No, I’m not mad at you at all. I just don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you everything that my father has told me. Uncle Luci and Aunt Cissy might get mad.” Draco cocked his head to side as he considered her words.
“Why would they not want me to know?” Hermione began to knot her fingers in her lap.
“Well, there are a few things about your parents that they haven’t told you. I’m not sure if they know that I know, otherwise it would probably be a huge fight between my dad and your parents.” Draco scooted closer to her.
“Tell me. I won’t tell a single person that I know.” Hermione stuck out her pinky, a type of promise that her father had shown her.
“Pinky promise?” Draco nodded and hooked his pinky with hers.
“Promise.” Hermione turned sideways and fell to her side, pillowing her head in Draco’s lap. His hand began stroking her curls, something he had done since he was old enough to tell her that he loved her hair.
“Well, it all started when our parents were in school. None of them liked each other, mostly because there was a wizard that some of them followed that didn’t want muggleborns to be in our world.”
Hermione told him the whole story of her father and his friends, how they had hated Uncle Sevvie and those like him, how they were mean to him and played pranks on him. She told him his parents had followed Lord Voldemort just like Uncle Sevvie and how her father had been on the other side of the war. The little girl held nothing back, making sure that her cousin knew that his father and godfather had tortured and killed.
Draco seemed to take it well enough. His hands tightened in her hair, but he didn’t lash out or yell. He urged her on, clearly wanting her to continue with her tale. Hermione told him about her father trading secret keepers with Peter Pettigrew and going after him once the Potters were discovered murdered in their home. The boy seemed unmoved when she told him of the auror that her father had killed.
The next show of emotion from her cousin came when she told him about the encounter between herself and the Headmaster on the grounds of Hogwarts. His hands clenched in her hair again as she told him that her father had the memory removed from her consciousness because he was worried that she would have nightmares from being attacked. Hermione enumerated the trial a month after that incident and the charges that Albus Dumbledore had been found guilty of, how he had finagled his way into keeping Harry Potter from her father. Draco finally got tired of sitting up as she finished up, shifting her head out of his lap so he could lay down next to her. He reached out and held her hand.
“So, what are we going to do? I don’t think that this Albus Dumbledore is going to be all that nice to you.” Hermione began to bounce their joined hands on the bed as she contemplated his question. In the end, she decided to be honest with him.
“I want to help Daddy. He misses Harry and he can’t even talk to him unless Harry talks to him first. I want to become his friend, so I can tell him that everything that Dumbledore has told him is a lie. I want to help protect him because if he really did send Voldemort into some state of unliving, his followers are going to want revenge on him. He hasn’t been taught like we have; he was sent to live with muggles. I want to help him learn and protect him until he can protect himself. I don’t think that the Headmaster is going to protect him.” She could tell that Draco was considering her words.
“You know that Dumbledork is going to tell him to stay away from you, tell him that you’re evil just like your dad and my family. I think it’s going to be harder than you’re thinking.” Hermione felt tears prick her eyes but refused to let them fall.
“I know. I’ve just been thinking about it today and it’s depressed me. Everybody that isn’t pureblood is going to hate me because of Dumbledore.” Draco gripped her hand tighter.
“Even if that’s the truth, it won’t matter. Eventually, Dumbledork is going to mess up and everyone is going to know what a liar he is. When they discover that, everyone will like you. What isn’t to like?” Hermione rolled over and hugged her cousin close for several seconds.
“Thanks, Drake.” He laughed softly when she released him.
“I’m going to help you. You won’t be able to do all that stuff by yourself while going to school too.” Hermione nodded, secretly thrilled that her cousin was going to help her on her mission. She felt a tear leak out of her eye which she quickly hid by burying her face in the duvet for a moment. When she turned her face back to her cousin, she smiled again.
“Thanks, Drake.”
The pair didn’t speak after that. They spent the afternoon laying on the bed together, napping and reading together as they usually did when they spent time with each other. Hermione knew for certain, though, that she felt a million times better now that her best friend knew her secrets and he had promised to help her.
It made her heart feel lighter.
-O-
Harry was exhausted. He was eight years old and living with his aunt and uncle. They told him the story almost daily that he had been dumped on their doorstep, a note tucked into the blanket that had kept him from the cold. His parents had been drunks and killed in a car accident that ended up being their fault. Harry wasn’t sure why his family insisted on reminding him of this fact, but they did.
His cousin Dudley was the same age as he was but treated much better. Harry had learned early on that while they both lived in the home, they were by no means equal. Dudley enjoyed his own room and hundreds of toys. He was able to eat all the food that he could stuff into his fat face and watch whatever he wanted on the telly. His friends were allowed to come over whenever he wanted them to and he got to have the most wonderful parties for his birthday.
Harry, on the other hand, lived in a tiny cupboard under the stairs, so tiny that he had to duck inside or hit his head on the stairs above him. He had no toys to call his own, just a few stolen ones that he hid from Dudley, so he could play with them late at night while the rest of the house slept. Harry rarely went to bed with a full belly and was clothed in Dudley’s hand-me-downs, already several sizes too big for him. Harry did all the chores around the house and in the yard, cooking and cleaning like he was their personal slave and he had never received a gift in his life.
His life was horrible, and he knew it.
Every night before he would fall asleep, Harry would fantasize about a different life, one where he was with a family that loved him and wanted him to be happy. One where his aunt and uncle didn’t hit him or starve him. One where Dudley didn’t beat him up with all his friends, laughing at him when he finally cried. He wished more than anything that he could leave number four Privet Drive for forever and never return.
This would never happen though.
A boy at school had told his friends about karma, explaining that bad things happened to people who did bad things. Of course, Davey hadn’t been telling him; Harry had no friends and was reduced to eavesdropping. This made him wonder what he had done to deserve his life.
Harry was quite certain that his aunt and uncle were keeping something from him. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he wasn’t so stupid as to miss the sideways glances that they gave each other when odd things happened around him. Just the other day his aunt had been complaining about his hair being too unruly and had sheared it as close to his scalp as possible with kitchen scissors. It had looked horrid and Harry had cried himself to sleep at the thought of facing the children at school the next day, knowing that they would ruthlessly tease him.
When he woke up, his hair was just as long as it was before Aunt Petunia had cut it.
Harry had been thrilled that his hair was back to normal, but his family had been livid. They had demanded to know how Harry had managed this and when he didn’t have an answer for them, it had earned him a black eye and split lip. He had been told to tell the teachers at school that he had fallen down the stairs.
Once his aunt and uncle had thought that he was no longer paying attention, however, they had turned wary and worried eyes to each other. Harry knew that they were hiding something but for the life of him, he had no idea what. He wondered if the reason his family hated him so was because of the secret they kept from him. Would he ever find out?
Harry sighed and turned back to the task at hand, making dinner for Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and Dudley. The three of them didn’t believe in balanced meals, not that he had ever ate one even close to resembling balanced. There were no vegetables, just the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy. Even Harry understood that this was why both Vernon and Dudley were so heavy. Aunt Petunia usually picked at her meals, citing that her weight was very important to her even though Harry couldn’t help but think the uncharitable thought that his aunt was not an attractive woman.
Harry stood back and watched his family eat, hiding in the shadows for them to finish so he could clean up. Once all the work was done, Harry would be allowed to consume the miniscule amount that his aunt had saved back for him. Harry knew that he was malnourished; he was the smallest boy in his class, even smaller than the girls. His clothes hung off his body and he always inhaled the tiny lunch that his aunt sent with him, not even wanting to spend the money for him to eat a lunch from school.
Once they were finished, he silently cleared the table while the rest of his family moved into the living room to watch the telly. Harry cleaned and rinsed the dishes quickly, his belly gurgling loudly at the prospect of finally getting to eat. The dishes were all put away when he finally gathered his plate out of the refrigerator, wolfing it down. It was always a possibility that Dudley would come in, hungry again, and take his food, leaving Harry hungry for the evening. He had learned long ago not to tarry.
Harry didn’t bother going into the living room with the rest of them. It would only start a fight and he would end up in trouble. Therefore, he headed to his cupboard under the stairs, so he could change into his pajamas. He had school in the morning and would have to be up early to cook breakfast for the family. Once he was ensconced in his little cot, he let the tension leave his body.
Harry fingered the toys that he had filched from Dudley, debating if he wanted to play with them before going to sleep. As much as he wanted to, he knew that there was always a chance that they would be discovered, and he would be punished again. Therefore, he lay there in the dark and dreamed about the future.
Someday he would have a family that loved him, someone that wouldn’t hurt him or starve him. He would move away from the Dursleys and never darken their doorway again. He imagined tons of friends that always had his back and never beat him up. He dreamed of having enough food on his table to fill his belly whenever he was hungry. Harry closed his eyes and let sleep pull him under to the sound of the telly playing in the background.
Someday.
A/N- A shorter chapter than usual but I warned y’all that the chapters in this story might not all be as long as they were in my last story. This was just kind of a filler chapter anyways. Only one more chapter before Hermione and Draco go to Hogwarts, hope you guys are ready for part two! Anyways, leave me your thoughts on the chapter, they make me smile.
Next up, Harry’s birthday before all the children head off to Hogwarts.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Here we go, my friends. Another chapter down, incidentally the last one of part one. After this chapter, Hermione will be at Hogwarts. Even though I wanted to make part one longer, I thought that it would draw out the chapters to an even more ridiculous degree. Therefore, I hope that you all can hang tough with me in knowing that these short little chapters are going to morph into chapters of Hermione at Hogwarts, dealing with Harry straight on. I’ve had a few negative reviews wishing that I had placed Harry with Sirius but for canon events to occur that just wasn’t possible. I hope you all can forgive and forget.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. The original idea belonged to a reader that was kind enough to pass their idea on and have me like it. If there are any mistakes in the chapter, I claim them all.
Chapter 7
July 31, 1991
Sirius swirled the fire whiskey in his glass around, staring into the fire. It was Harry’s eleventh birthday and should have received his Hogwarts letter today. In just one short month he would be shipping his daughter off to reside in the same building as Albus Dumbledore, a worry that floated to the forefront of his mind whenever he wasn’t otherwise occupied.
Hermione and Draco were currently upstairs. Rather than playing games or causing trouble, they were planning which books to bring with them to school. The pair were ridiculously advanced, probably well into their fourth year in spells, history, potions, and the like. They had just recently began practicing with their wands; the wards on Black Moor and Malfoy Manor cloaked the use of underage magic.
The pair had been practicing wand movements since they were old enough to understand instructions to do so, spell enunciation coming shortly after that. Hermione especially was pleased to note that all her practice hadn’t been for naught. Every single spell she had cast with her wand had been successful. Draco had acquitted himself just as well; his spells were just as strong as Hermione’s and perfectly cast.
Sirius was proud of them. Through the years, Draco had become like a son to him. He spent at least three nights a week at Black Moor with Hermione, being the brother to her that Harry should have been. While he would never deny Hermione the company of her cousin, he couldn’t help but be resentful at the fact that it should have been Harry there with her.
Maybe he was just maudlin at missing the last ten years of his godson’s life.
Hermione had assured him time and time again that he had done everything that he could to get Harry and keep him safe. He knew that she was right but there was still that underlying sense of guilt when he considered the fact that Harry had spent his childhood with Lily’s sister. Lily had never had anything good to say about the woman and Severus had told him that she had called Lily a freak from the very first burst of accidental magic. Sirius could only hope that Petunia treated her nephew better than she had her sister.
Severus had become close to him; just as close as James if the truth were told but in a different way. Hermione had drawn them together so many years ago, but they had cultivated a friendship where they had common interests and nurtured it. It was clear that Severus had never had a friend that was as loyal as Sirius aside from Lucius and he seemed to flourish in knowing that he wasn’t the outcast he once was.
Lucius and Narcissa were the ones that had surprised him the most. Both had renounced their bigoted ways, on the surface at least, and held Hermione close to their hearts. They spent ridiculous amounts of money on her and treated her as if she were their own daughter. It was more than he had ever expected, and he was grateful for it.
Sirius had no idea what would happen with them when the Dark Lord returned. He knew that Lucius was Marked and couldn’t expect him to put his family at risk to renounce him. Narcissa had become as close as ever to him through the years; he had relied on her when Hermione had started her cycle, he relied on her to make sure that his daughter had good taste in all things that mattered. She was Hermione’s surrogate mother and he loved her for it.
Lucius doted on her shamelessly. It was clear to the world that he was the apple of his eye, much the same as she was for Sirius. He had his own little pet name for her and was always quick to smile warmly at her, a feat that most people is their world would never believe due to his reputation. There were pictures of her all over Malfoy Manor and he knew that Draco was jealous sometimes. Hermione always pointed out to him that his father loved him just as much, he just wasn’t as demonstrative because he wanted Draco to be a man about it. She assured him that he would feel the same way about his own children someday.
Sirius finished the fire whiskey in his tumbler and poured himself another four fingers. There were two days a year that he allowed himself to get completely pissed: Harry’s birthday and Halloween. Both were for obvious reasons. Hermione usually spent both those days at Malfoy Manor but Lucius and Narcissa had a previous engagement that they had been unable to reschedule. He didn’t mind, really. If anything, it reminded him that he should probably make sure that he didn’t do anything stupid since there were children in the house.
Candy was flitting around the room, straightening up the stacks of books that Hermione had left out the night before. Her room was always immaculate, but she left a mess in the library every time she visited. It drove the elves mad, but he was more than pleased that she wasn’t perfect. For years, she had labored to be perfect in his eyes, unaware that she already was. For her to have one definitive fault made his heart smile.
He took another swing as he contemplated his daughter. She was gorgeous, there was no doubt about that. Her ebony curls now reached her waist, shiny and sleek against the expensive robes that Narcissa insisted on buying her. Her eyes were still icy blue, a reminder of her Malfoy heritage. Her eyes matched her cousin’s perfectly, and if it weren’t for Draco’s platinum locks, they could have been siblings. She was still quite short, but Sirius couldn’t be sure that she wouldn’t hit a growth spurt somewhere along the way. She was only eleven after all.
Just looking at her made Sirius swell with pride. He knew that his brother would have been proud, and he did his best to follow what he thought his brother would have wanted for his daughter. While they hadn’t parted on good terms, Sirius was the first to admit that Regulus would have loved his daughter more than himself and done whatever he could to protect her. Sirius endeavored to live up to his brother’s wishes every single day.
A shriek of laughter broke the silence in the library. Hermione dashed in, her cheeks flushed and expression happy. Draco darted in after her, his pale skin rosy like hers. Hermione laughed again as her cousin darted after her, hands outstretched. His daughter hid behind Sirius, hands on his shoulders.
“Protect me, daddy. Draco says he’s going to tickle me to death because I threatened to turn his hair blue.” Sirius couldn’t help but chuckle. There were times that both children were ridiculously serious but there were also times that they surprised him by being the most playful children he’d ever met. He lifted an eye brow at their exchange.
“Why would you want to turn his hair blue, poppet?” Draco’s cheeks colored further, and his expression was full of warning.
“Don’t you dare, Miney. If you do, I’ll tell Theo that you think he’s the most handsome boy in the world.” Sirius wasn’t sure what to make of this conversation. Hermione, however, was unafraid.
“Go ahead, tell him. It isn’t true, so you’ll just end up looking stupid for telling lies.” She turned to Sirius and smirked evilly.
“Drake has a crush on Pansy and he wants to impress her. I told him that even though she’s my friend, she’s quite daft about most things. He should be focusing on his studies, not impressing girls that don’t even know how to cast a proper spell.” Sirius figured it was something along those lines. Regardless, he had to point out that his daughter wasn’t being very nice.
“I know you think Draco can do better than Pansy and I happen to agree with you. You don’t get to decide that though, sweetness. It’s Draco’s life and his choice. Turning his hair blue just to embarrass him is just mean. Would you want him to turn your hair orange or something just because he didn’t agree with one of your decisions?” He could see his daughter visibly slump at his words.
“No, daddy.” She turned apologetic eyes to her cousin.
“Sorry, Drake. I won’t turn your hair blue.” Her cousin nodded his head and relaxed his stance. Sirius didn’t like seeing them argue.
“Why don’t the two of you go find Dip and see if she’ll get you some ice cream? It seems as though the pair of you need something to distract you and keep you from causing trouble.” Hermione hugged him quickly before rushing forward and taking Draco’s hand in hers, so she could pull him out of the library.
“Come on, Drake. Let’s see if we have chocolate.” Draco nodded and allowed her to lead him out of the library, both intent on their dessert. Sirius could only shake his head. Hermione could be so bossy sometimes, determined that she was always right.
He couldn’t help but wonder if his daughter did indeed find the Nott boy handsome. Theo had been a guest at Black Moor several times through the years, but he had never got the impression that his daughter had a crush on him. Perhaps she hid it well, however. Sirius knew that he wasn’t ready for his baby girl to be interested in boys though. She was only eleven.
Sirius settled back into his arm chair and took another swig of whiskey. He was about to settle further into his contemplation about Harry and missing so much of his life when the floo in the foyer activated. Since there were only a handful of people with unfettered access to his home, he wasn’t worried. He simply threw back the remainder of his whiskey and waited for them to find him. He wasn’t surprised at all when Lucius and Narcissa joined him, Lucius going to the bar before taking his seat next to Narcissa on the sofa. His cousin’s voice was soft.
“It hasn’t gotten any better through the years?” Sirius shook his head.
“No, I know what those muggles are like. Lily never had anything good to say about them and Severus said that her sister was terrible growing up. I know that Harry hasn’t had a good childhood and I can’t help but feel guilty.” Lucius sighed and raked a hand through his hair. He really had turned out to be a good friend through the years.
“You did all you could. I could never have gone to check on him without alerting Dumbledore. Severus probably could have but the boy would never have been able to hide the fact from the old man when he gets to Hogwarts. That would have given away everything. It isn’t ideal in the least but there was nothing else that you could do.” Sirius nodded, his gaze fixed in his lap.
“I know. Doesn’t make me feel any better though. I would kill someone if they treated Hermione or Draco like I know they’re treating Harry.” His cousin and her husband nodded their heads slowly. They did commiserate with Sirius, but they still had no clue what Petunia was like.
“It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing that I can do about it now and that’s what I must make peace with. I can’t wait until this second war is over with.” Narcissa darted her eyes over to her husband for a moment before speaking.
“Actually, that’s what we came to speak with you about.” Sirius was terrified. Was it possible that the Dark Lord had already returned? He wasn’t prepared in the least and neither was Harry. As if sensing where his thoughts had went, Lucius spoke.
“We know what you’ve been doing all this time though you’ve never said a word about it to us. We know that you’re only in the pureblood circles because you want to know when the Dark Lord returns. I understand that. I also understand that young Mr. Potter has no way of knowing what is going on if Hermione doesn’t tell him.” Lucius paused before continuing.
“Narcissa and I are also aware that your daughter told Draco everything a couple years ago. He’s never said a word, but we were able to tell that his allegiances had changed. No longer is he committed to doing whatever it is that I say; he’s now determined that he is going to help your daughter bring Harry Potter onside and show him the truth regarding Albus Dumbledore. It’s for this reason that we are flummoxed.” Sirius really couldn’t say anything. He had had no idea that Hermione had told Draco anything about what he had told her all those years ago. In hindsight, however, he should have seen it coming. When he spoke, it was tentative.
“What are you trying to tell me?” Narcissa reached out and grasped her husband’s hand before letting him take the floor.
“What I’m saying is that we aren’t able to let Hermione go. We remember our agreement all those years ago and know that if we were to return to his side when he returns, it would result in Hermione and Draco being split up. Not only would it kill him, we couldn’t bear to be separated from her. She is like the daughter we never had, and it would kill us to lose her now over something as trivial as blood purity.” Sirius sucked in a breath, unsure of how to proceed. When he finally spoke, he was unsure.
“You’re sure? You know that he will target your family.” Lucius nodded, quite resolutely.
“Yes, we’re sure. We’ve considered it for years. Neither one of us wants to lose Hermione or you for that matter. We’re family and there is nobody else that we would trust Draco’s safety with. If we were to return to the Dark Lord’s ranks, we would never be safe, and neither would Draco. We want to help you spy. When the second war happens, we want to be firmly aligned with the light, even if it’s not through Albus Dumbledore.” Sirius couldn’t even manage to think about how thankful he was that his family felt this way.
His greatest fear had been losing everything that he had gained since losing James and Lily. Sure, he had always imagined that he would lose the Malfoys, Draco too for that matter. He had never expected them to put Sirius and Hermione before their own well-being. Unexpected tears pricked his eyes, but he held them back ruthlessly.
“Are you positive about this? Once you go down this path, you can’t ever turn back.” Both Lucius and Narcissa nodded.
“We’re positive. Even if we stayed with the Dark Lord, he would someday Mark Draco and that’s the last thing we would ever want.” Sirius knew that there was a frog in his throat as he contemplated their words. His voice was hoarse when he finally spoke.
“Thank you. Hermione would have been devastated to lose you. She would never have understood. Thank you.” He realized that he had thanked them twice, but he felt that the situation called for it. The pair rose as one, Narcissa stepping forward to press a kiss to her cousin’s cheek.
“We would never abandon the two of you. You’re family after all.” Sirius returned the kiss to her cheek before smiling.
“You and Lucius have become my closest confidants.” Lucius said nothing, he had never been much for showing emotion when it came to males. The pair stood and left the library, the floo activating proof that they had already left.
Sirius sat and considered their words. No longer was he alone. They had determined that Sirius and Hermione were more important that Lord Voldemort, taking their side over his in the oncoming fight. While he didn’t expect many others to take the same attitude, he could only hope that they would understand their stance. It was no secret, after all, that Sirius was a Gryffindor through and through, repudiating the Dark Lord at all turns. The Malfoys had just made the decision to stand with him. It was a heady feeling.
Sirius considered his position now. He was already better than he had been at the start of the evening. He had never wanted to break from Lucius and Narcissa, had never wanted to take Hermione from her aunt and uncle. Even though he knew that it would make it harder for the Order of the Phoenix to believe him when the truth came out, he felt stronger knowing that the Malfoys were on his side.
Things had to get better, right?
-O-
Harry couldn’t believe what he was reading. The post had been an experience, shooting hundreds of letters through the slots, fireplace, and windows to reach him. He had finally taken hold of one of the letters addressed to him even though his uncle was doing his level best to make sure that he didn’t. To say that he was surprised at what he had discovered would have been an understatement.
Harry Potter was a wizard.
It all made sense now that he had read the letter to him, inviting him to attend a special school for wizards. He had never heard of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but he was quite certain that his aunt and uncle had. This is what they had been keeping from him for years, that he was sure of. He was still a little disbelieving of the fact that magic existed but there was nothing for it now. Even his aunt couldn’t deny that magic existed now that he had seen his invitation.
Harry was unsure how to go about accepting his invitation to school. The letter spoke of sending an owl, something that he had no idea how to do. Therefore, he just hoped that they would assume the best and know that he was coming. This, of course, left him with the problem of getting his school supplies and finding his way to King’s Cross. There was no way that his aunt and uncle would help him out.
Everything was so clear now, why he was able to do things that his peers weren’t. He was a wizard and from the few comments that he had heard his aunt make, it was likely that he would never fit in in their world again. He knew that his aunt had hopes, however, that she could still pass him off as normal. Harry couldn’t help but snort to himself. It wouldn’t happen anytime soon if he could help it.
As shitty as his life was, Harry had been granted an out. If he didn’t show up on the first of September, they would surely send out the cavalry to figure out why he hadn’t been sent along. Sure, his family could lie to the best of their ability, but Harry got the distinct impression that they feared just what he would someday become. It kept with the thought that they had kept his heritage from him in the first place.
He was currently cleaning up after dinner, already being forbidden from eating that evening. Even though he would be starving in the morning, it was worth the fact that he was able to keep the letter from earlier to reread over and over to his hearts content. To him, it was worth the trade.
Harry wasn’t aware of any family that had magic in their genes now; this left only his mother and his father as the culprits. His aunt had refused to answer any of his questions, but this didn’t bother him. There was nothing that his aunt could do to him once he left for school and for the ten months or so that he would be there. He would only have to suffer with the Dursleys through the summer holidays now.
Once the dishes were washed and put away, Harry slipped away into his cupboard and changed into the rags that he usually wore to bed. He laid down on the cot that took up the tiny space he was allotted and threaded his fingers behind his head.
Harry couldn’t help but wonder what the school would be like, if he would have friends there since they would be just like he was. He was thrilled at the idea of friends, though he tried not to get his hopes up. He had learned long ago that if he hoped for something too much, it usually didn’t come true.
His mind was still boggled at the thought of magic being real.
Harry took his glasses off and laid them on the floor next to his bed before rolling over to snuggle under the thin, threadbare blanket that covered his cot. The muted sound of the telly in the background lulled him into a place between wakefulness and sleep; Harry decided that he wanted to dream of Hogwarts.
For once, life was grand.
A/N- Another chapter down, look at me go. Thanks to everyone out there reading and reviewing, you guys are the bomb. I did have a few problems responding to reviews last time so if you didn’t get one, I apologize. Forgive me? Anyways, leave me a message after the beep and let me know what you think!
Next chapter, everyone heads to Hogwarts.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back again, my lovelies. I got a couple days off work and while I still had to adult and do things around the house, it afforded me with enough time to produce this chapter for you. It isn’t often that life works out like that for me but it sure is nice when it does. My continued thanks to those of you out there reading and reviewing this story, you guys are seriously awesome. It’s much appreciated. I have nothing else of import to say so I’ll just get started!
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing and I haven’t made any money off this story or any others that I’ve written.
Part 2
Chapter 8
September 1, 1991
Harry glanced around King’s Cross station, quite certain that there was no Platform 9 ¾. He really should have gotten Hagrid to tell him exactly where he was supposed to board the Hogwarts Express because for the life of him, he couldn’t find it.
The biggest man that he had ever seen had arrived at his house one day just a short week ago and explained that he was there to take Harry shopping for his school supplies. They had visited a place called Diagon Alley and the wizard bank Gringotts. Harry had had no idea that his parents had left him money; he hadn’t known that they were well-off. Harry could only shrug his shoulders. He hadn’t known anything about his parents.
Hagrid had told him that his mother and father had been murdered by an evil wizard called Lord Voldemort. He had explained to him that their oldest friend had turned dark and turned them over to his master, which resulted in the murder of his parents. Harry had been so upset that he had broken a shop window in display of accidental magic. He had been deeply embarrassed at his show of power and apologized profusely, offering to pay the owner for the broken window. The man had simply laughed and waved his wand at the glass, repairing it to it’s former state. It had been the first show of deliberate magic that Harry had witnessed, and it had been amazing.
A group of redheads hurried by, all of them pushing a cart much like he was. He stood back and watched as the woman, a plump and somewhat frumpy sort, ushered her children into the bricks that separated Platform 9 and 10. To watch the children disappear as if they hadn’t been there had been disconcerting to say the least. When there was only one child left, Harry decided to be brave and step forward.
“Excuse me, ma’am, I was wondering if you could tell me how to get through?” The woman, a little girl, and boy that appeared to be the same age as himself turned to see who he was. The boy gasped out loud, pointing at Harry excitedly.
“Look, mum, it’s Harry Potter.” The woman gave him a kind smile and beckoned him closer.
“It’s nice to meet you, dear. I’m Mrs. Weasley and this is Ronald and Ginny. This is Ron’s first year to Hogwarts too.” Harry gave them all a polite nod before turning his attention back to the platform. The woman smoothed his hair down in a motherly way before answering.
“To get onto the platform, you simply run through the barrier between nine and ten. The Hogwarts Express is on the other side.” Harry took a deep breath and nodded. She gestured for him to go first. With a burst of bravery, Harry rushed into the bricks, finding himself on a crowded platform once he came to a stop. Ron came through right behind him, almost crashing into him because Harry had been too busy staring at the huge train. Just moments after Ron came through, Mrs. Weasley and Ginny followed.
Harry stepped towards the train since he had nobody to say goodbye to. Ron was currently being smothered by his mother, the other redheads long gone. Once he got closer to the Express, he wrestled his trunk and owl cage off the cart and began pulling them onto the train. Not sure if there were special places for first years to sit, he flagged down one of the redheads that passed him. The badge on his robes looked very official and Harry hoped that he could help him.
“Excuse me, are there assigned seats on the train?” This boy surely had to be related to Ron. Their hair was the same vivid shade of red, rather pretty actually if it had been on a girl. The boy sniffed at him imperiously.
“No, if you find a compartment that’s empty, anyone is free to sit there.” The boy was already walking off, leaving Harry to wrestle his belongings on the train by himself.
After almost ten minutes, Harry had his trunk and owl cage situated in an empty compartment. He had just taken his seat when the door opened to reveal Ron lugging his own trunk behind him.
“Mind if I sit with you, mate?” Harry flashed the boy a smile and shook his head. He took the seat next to Harry and began fishing around in his pocket, finally pulling out a haggard-looking rat. Harry’s attention, however, was riveted on a man that seemed to be staring at him even though there was a pane of glass between them. Ron was getting ready to speak but Harry spoke before he could.
“Do you know who that man is and why he’s staring at me?” Ron gasped when he saw to who Harry was referring. Even though he was still waiting for an answer, Harry couldn’t take his eyes off the man. A small girl was next to him, smiling up at him before turning eyes to Harry as well.
The girl was very pretty. Even though he usually paid girls no mind, Harry could say without a doubt that the girl next to the strange man was quite stunning. There was a boy next to her, already several inches taller than she was. He thought that they were friends, but the same icy blue eyes shone back at her. They had to be related. The girl had just thrown her arms around a man with long blond hair, most assuredly the father of the boy next to her, when Ron finally spoke.
“That’s Sirius Black, mate, he’s the one…” Ron trailed off and Harry couldn’t help but notice the blush that tinted his cheeks.
“The one who…?” Ron raked a hand through his shaggy hair.
“He’s the man who betrayed your parents to You-Know-Who. That must be his spawn next to him, she looks just like him.” Harry felt the blood in his veins turn to ice.
“How did he not go to prison?” Ron shrugged.
“I don’t know. Mum and Dad always tell me that I’m too young for such conversations. Maybe Percy or the twins would know. We can ask them when we get to Hogwarts.” Harry nodded his head absentmindedly, still watching the man outside the train. He was now hugging his daughter close, kissing the top of her head before laughing merrily at whatever she said. Harry could hear Ron introducing him to his pet rat, Scabbers, but he continued to watch the man and pretty girl.
This could be a very long year at Hogwarts.
-O-
Hermione fought back tears. Today was bittersweet; she and Draco were leaving for Hogwarts, something she had looked forward to for as long as she could remember. It was also the day that she was going to be leaving her father alone for the better part of a year. Sure, there would be holidays and such, but it wouldn’t compare to being home with him all year long like she had been.
They had just arrived at Platform 9 ¾. Hermione and Draco both had their trunks stowed in the pockets of their robes, their shrinking charms quite helpful. She could see her father searching the crowds for Harry Potter, his eyes scanning the smallest children hungrily. It was several minutes before he grasped her shoulder and gestured with his chin.
“There he is, poppet. Merlin, he’s tiny. Have they been feeding him? He looks just like James.” Hermione went on her tip toes and tried to see where her father was pointing.
“I can’t see him.” Sirius knelt next to her and pointed as unobtrusively as possible.
“There, he’s getting on the train now. Merlin, I wish I could go talk to him.” Hermione felt badly for her father. She knew that he wanted to have Harry in his life more than anything.
“I’m going to be become friends with him, daddy. I’ll tell him the truth.” He pressed a kiss to the top of her head while watching the boy through the windows of the train. Hermione was recalled to the situation by her Aunt Cissy.
“Let’s say our goodbyes, the pair of you needs to consider boarding the train so you have decent seats.” Hermione realized she was right and moved to hug her aunt closely. Her familiar jasmine perfume was comforting, and Hermione found that she was going to miss it.
“I’ll miss you, Aunt Cissy. I’ll write every week.” Hermione could see Draco shaking his father’s hand, so polite and formal. She moved away from her aunt to throw herself into the arms her uncle.
“I’ll miss you too, Uncle Luci. We’re definitely coming home for Christmas so make sure you take time off from the Wizengamot to spend time with us.” Her uncle laughed outright, drawing disbelieving looks from those around him. He kissed the top of her head before ruffling her curls slightly.
“We’ll spend all the time in the world together. Now, do well in school and keep Draco in line. I expect to get good reports back on the both of you. If you have any problems, go to Severus.” Hermione grinned at her uncle before nodding and moving to her father.
“I’m going to miss you most, daddy. Promise me that you won’t sit at the manor all day and waste away.” Her father threw back his head and laughed.
“Do you really see Candy allowing that to happen? She would have my hide and you know it. The little demon doesn’t believe in respect.” Hermione laughed now.
“She respects you just fine when you aren’t being stupid. Promise you’ll write me.” Her father ran his hand down the length of her raven curls, curls so much like his own.
“I will write you every week, I promise. You promise that you go to Severus if you have problems and to leave Dumbledore as alone as you can. I fear what sort of retaliation he may have against you.” Hermione was somber as she nodded her agreement.
“I promise, daddy. I’ll stay away as much as I can.” Suddenly, her eyes pricked with tears.
“I love you.” Her father kissed her forehead one last time.
“I love you too, sweetness. Be good and get good marks. I know you’ll make me proud.” Draco reached out and grasped her hand with his larger one.
“Come on, ‘Mi. Let’s board.” With a last wave to their parents, Hermione and Draco both boarded the train, doing their best to find an empty compartment. Once they were ensconced in one by themselves, they removed their trunks from their pockets and returned them to their original size. Her father had explained that the house elves would deliver their trunks from the train to the appropriate common room. After settling in, Hermione turned to her cousin.
“Since when you do you call me ‘Mi?” Draco shrugged, his cheeks tinging pink.
“People are going to think we’re babies if I call you Miney. That a just us nickname.” Hermione nodded. His reasoning was sound. The train began to move, and both moved to the window to wave farewell to their parents until Christmas. She couldn’t help the thrill of excitement that went through her. They were finally on their way to Hogwarts! They resettled in their seats and Draco broached the subject they had talked about thousands of times over.
“What house do you think you’re going to be in?” She wrinkled her nose.
“I’m not sure. I think I have traits of all four houses. Dad was a Gryffindor though, so maybe a lion?” Draco eyed her critically.
“I don’t think so. Sure, you’re brave if the occasion calls for it but you think everything out. You never act brashly. Besides, your real dad was a Slytherin, so was your mum.” Hermione had to give him that one. She never acted without thinking.
“What about you?” He grinned at her.
“I know I’m going to be a snake. There is no doubt in my mind.” Hermione laughed at his confidence. Truth be told, she thought he would be a snake too. Then her fears settled into her chest and her eyes became uncertain.
“What if we aren’t in the same house? We’ve never not been together.” Draco slipped an arm around her shoulders and hugged her close.
“We’ll still see each other all the time. We’re still going to be best friends. We just won’t sleep in the same part of the castle.” Hermione nodded against his shoulder, still not appeased but not completely terrified. To get her mind off being separated from her cousin, she smiled brightly.
“Let’s go make friends with Harry before we reach Hogwarts. We’ll get to him before Dumbledore does.” Draco chuckled as he stood.
“More proof right there that you’re going to be in Slytherin.” Hermione didn’t speak, just followed him out of the compartment.
The pair traveled the length of the Express, peering into the windows of all the compartments as they went. They were near the end when Hermione spotted Harry in a compartment that had three redheads in it. They had to all be brothers because they looked remarkably alike. Draco groaned before she could open the door.
“You owe me for this. Those are Weasleys and they hate our family with a passion. Father told me all about it.” She rolled her eyes at his dramatics before sliding the door to the compartment open. All eyes turned to herself and Draco, making her insides quake slightly when she saw the disgust on their faces. Regardless of her inner turmoil, Hermione flashed them a bright smile.
“Hello, we came to make friends. It’s our first year at Hogwarts and we wanted to spend the train ride with other children our age.” The youngest redhead’s eyes landed on Draco and scowled.
“We aren’t friends with Malfoys.” Hermione drew her eyebrows down in confusion.
“Why not? I’m a Malfoy too and I assure you, we’re earnest in our desire to be friends.” Sneers graced the faces of all the redheads faces now. One of the older boys spoke. He and the other boy appeared to be twins because Hermione could tell no difference between them.
“You sure don’t like a Malfoy.” Hermione could hear the disgust in their voices and she stiffened her spine while raising her chin.
“My name in Hermione Black, daughter of Erise Malfoy. She was a little before your time, so I doubt you know who I’m talking about.” The younger boy spoke again. Harry had thus far remained silent, though he didn’t appear to be desirous of her friendship either.
“Hermione Black. Should have known that the spawn of a traitor would be a Malfoy too.” Now Hermione could feel her hackles rising but a hand between her shoulder blades by Draco forced her to calm herself.
“My father is no traitor. Even the ICW believed him. You were still pissing in your pants at the time, so you really wouldn’t know, would you?” She turned to Harry.
“I’ll still be friends with you. You haven’t been mean.” Harry opened his mouth to speak but Ron beat him to it.
“He doesn’t want to be friends with the daughter of the bloke that got his parents murdered. Can’t you run along and find any snakes to play with? None of us here give a shite about being your friend.” Hermione felt the familiar tears prick at her eyes again, but she refused to let them fall. Draco stepped forward now, anger painted on his features.
“Don’t talk to my cousin like that. She has been nothing but nice to you and you just keep insulting her. I guess that’s what bad breeding will do to a person.” Hermione wished that Draco hadn’t insulted them, but she really couldn’t blame him. His father had charged Draco with protecting her at school and it was a duty that Draco took quite seriously. One of the twins spoke again.
“Maybe you and your cousin should just move along. You’re clearly not wanted here and you’re making a shite situation worse because you won’t take a bloody hint.” Hermione opened her mouth to speak again before a voice behind them startled her.
“Just what is going on here?” Hermione spun around to see a redhead with a prefect badge on his robes staring at them with a disdainful expression. The youngest boy in the compartment spoke again.
“We were minding our own business and they burst in, looking for ‘friends’. We told them we weren’t interested, and they refuse to leave.” While Harry wasn’t nodding, the two older redheads were. The prefect shook his head at what she assumed was their behavior.
“Get back to your compartment and leave these fellows alone. They aren’t interested.” Hermione hung her head and nodded, unsure how she was supposed to befriend Harry when his friends hated her on sight. They hadn’t even tried to get to know her before deciding that they hated her. No wonder Uncle Luci had warned Draco about them.
Hermione and Draco both trudged their way back to their compartment. Once they were seated inside again, Hermione took a shaky breath. They hadn’t even reached school and they had already been chastised by a prefect. One that was partial to the other party, sure, but chastised all the same.
“I don’t understand how they can hate me so much when they don’t even know me.” Draco shrugged his shoulders before tugging on one of her more errant curls.
“I don’t know but we’ll get Potter to be our friend when they aren’t around.” Hermione nodded but she was no longer sure of herself.
“I don’t think he’s going to be friends with us. He didn’t say a word, but he sure didn’t look as though he wanted to be friends with someone that is related to the person he thinks got his parents killed. I think we just lost our chance.” Draco tugged her hair hard enough to make her squeal and then glare at him.
“You aren’t giving up yet. You never give up and you’re not going to start now.” Hermione continued to glare at him but nodded. No further conversation was had about the subject because their compartment door slid open and their friends filed in. Draco looked particularly pleased that Pansy was among them, as was Theo, but Hermione was far happier to see Daphne. While she liked Pansy, Hermione got along better with Daphne since the girl wasn’t quite as outgoing.
Hermione settled back into her seat and smiled at her friends. Maybe the trip to Hogwarts wouldn’t be so terrible after all.
-O-
Harry couldn’t believe that the pretty girl that had been hugging Sirius Black had wanted to be his friend. Her father was responsible for the deaths of his parents and she wanted to become best friends. It was the most absurd thing he had ever heard.
After Percy made her and her cousin leave, the Weasleys all talked about how the Blacks were a dark family and that they couldn’t be trusted. The Malfoys were brought into the conversation and were cited to be extremely rich and snobby. Harry could honestly say that if he hadn’t known who the girl was, he would have accepted their friendship. They were both very nice and hadn’t started hurling insults until the Weasleys had done so. The bullied kid inside him quailed at the treatment of this girl by people she had never met before, but Harry hardened his heart.
Her father had as good as killed his parents himself.
It was for that reason alone that Harry was entirely uninterested in friendship with the pair. He could care less that they had money or that they were reported to be dark. They were only eleven, how dark could they be? The Weasleys, Ron in particular, assured him that he had made the right choice.
Aside from that one altercation, Harry enjoyed his trip to Hogwarts. The Weasleys treated him as if he was a normal wizard, not the freak of nature that his family told him he was on a daily basis. He reminded himself that he wouldn’t have to speak with them until the following June. It was like a dream come true. The train pulled to a stop in a place called Hogsmeade Station and Harry couldn’t suppress the excitement that had been bubbling in him since he had woken up that morning.
It was now dark outside, the day passing quickly when he was surrounded with his new friends. His belly growled loudly since the only thing he had ate that day was a ton of candy that Ron had talked him into buying off the trolley. Fred and George instructed them to leave their things in the compartment, that elves would be along and take their things to the castle. Harry couldn’t have been more grateful; it had been difficult to get his trunk loaded by himself.
They left the train and were ushered to the boats on the lake, Hagrid calling out for all the first years to follow him. In his broken speech, he told them to load into the boats, no more than four in each one. Harry had spotted the girl, Hermione, with her cousin just ahead of them, an excited look on her face. It was at the last possible moment that Harry realized that they were going to get stuck in a boat with them, the group of people they were with fitting four in the boat ahead of them. Harry sighed inwardly. There was nothing for it now.
The pair climbed in the boat, still unaware that Harry and Ron were loading in behind them. When they turned and saw who was accompanying them, Ron sneered. It was hard to tell if they could see it since it was dark outside, but Harry had a feeling that they knew. Ron just couldn’t keep his mouth shut even though the pair hadn’t said a word.
“If you didn’t want to have to share a boat, you should have had daddy dearest buy you one.” Hermione pursed her lips together, clearly disapproving of his statement, but the boy was by no means timid. He was quick to hurl an insult back at Ron.
“We don’t mind sharing with people, we just mind sharing with you. We’re scared ‘dirt poor’ is catching.” Harry could see the tips of Ron’s ears turning red in the reflection of the moon on the lake. He knew that if this continued, it was likely that one or all of them would end up in the lake.
“Just leave it, Ron. They can stay on their end and we can stay on ours.” Ron’s hands fisted at his sides, but he said nothing else.
The trip across the lake was beautiful. Harry could hear something out in the distance splashing in the water, but he didn’t ask what it was. It sounded large and he could only hope that it was friendly. Halfway across the lake, Harry got his first sight of Hogwarts and it took his breath away. This would be his home for the next ten months. It still seemed too good to be true. Hermione grabbed her cousin’s arm and gasped.
“Look at how beautiful it is, Draco. I see why they make us take the boats across the first time.” Hmm. So, Draco was the cousin’s name. While he wasn’t particularly interested, Harry filed the information away for later. The rest of the trip across the water was silent, everyone taking in the view as apparently only happened on your first trip to Hogwarts.
They reached the dock on the other side and Hagrid climbed out of his boat, so he could start helping them out of their own boats. Even though Hagrid helped Hermione out of the boat like he did all the other students that came before her, he caught a slight sneer on the half-giant’s face. Did nobody like the girl aside from her cousin? Once they were all out of the boats, Harry followed the other students as they were led to the main steps of the castle by Hagrid. He held the door open and waited for them all to file in and come to a stop before shouting.
“Wait ri’ here, Perfessa McGonagall’ll be here in a mo’.” Hagrid had just walked away when a very stern looking older woman appeared out of the huge doors to their right. She didn’t glare at them, per se, but it was clear in her expression that she was in no mood for arguing or whining.
“You are about be sorted into your house. They are Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. Your houses will become your family for your duration here. Any triumphs will be shared amongst them, as will failures. Once you’ve been sorted, please take a seat at your house table. You will know which one it is by the cheering.” There was general unrest in all the students, eager to get on with the sorting. The professor nodded her head after seeing that they understood and called for them to follow her.
Harry couldn’t believe the sight of the room she led them into. All the other students were seated in there at four long tables that stretched the length of the room. The ceiling looked like it was night outside, stars and moon shining brightly. He faintly caught Hermione leaning into one of the girls walking with her and telling her that the ceiling was bewitched to look like that. They came to a stop at the front of the room where a stool was set out with an ancient looking hat sitting on top of it. Much to Harry’s supreme surprise, the hat began speaking.
“Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can top them all.

There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a steady mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

So, put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!”

Harry was astounded. He was unsure as to which house he wanted to be in, but he had never expected a hat to be the thing that sorted him. A talking hat no less. The woman that had led them in there began calling out names.

“Hannah Abbott.” Harry watched one of the taller girls shuffle her way to the front of the room. He hair was platinum blond and straight as a pin, hanging down just past her shoulders. The professor set the hat on her head and after only a few moments, it called out.

“Hufflepuff!” The table in the middle of the room went wild and the girl’s cheeks flamed at the attention. She took off the hat and handed it to the professor, so she could hop down and scurry over to her new house table. Once she was seated, the woman called out for the next student.
“Hermione Black.” Harry watched the pretty girl heave a deep breath, clearly nervous as to where she was going to be put. He thought that she was muttering to herself under her breath, but he couldn’t be sure. Now that he could see her with all the other students, she was easily the smallest girl. She took a seat on the stool and then waited as the hat was set on her head.
Whereas Hannah had been sorted in seconds, Hermione was still sitting there a full ninety seconds later, a look of fear on her face. Harry wondered if the hat was going to sort her or not. Whispers were going up around the room and Harry could see her beginning to squirm. Finally, almost a full two minutes from the time it was set on her head, the hat yelled out.
“Slytherin!”
Ron, Fred, and George had explained about Slytherin’s on the train ride. They were usually regarded as evil and dark, the wizard who had killed his parents had been in Slytherin. Hermione was also a Black, a family that was akin to wizarding royalty according to his new friends. While most people would be despairing about being in Slytherin, Hermione grinned happily and handed the professor the hat before getting down and skipping over to her new table on the left side of the room.
As the first snake sorted, their table went wild. He could see a light blush rise to her cheeks, her pale skin showing the color vividly. Once she was seated, Ron leaned over and spoke softly in his ear.
“Told you, evil witches and wizards come from Slytherin. Good riddance.”
Professor McGonagall continued with the list, boys and girls both taking their turns when their names were called. The students went to all four houses, almost equally, and every table cheered when they got a new student. It seemed to sneak up on him when he heard his name called.
“Harry Potter.”
A hush fell over the room, whispers sprouting from every table. Harry knew why they were acting like they were; Ron had explained that he was famous on the Express. With trepidation, Harry stepped forward and took the seat offered to him. The hat was set on his head and he was surprised to hear the hat speaking to him inside his mind.
‘Aw, yes, Harry Potter. A fine, young lad I see, a fine mind with lots of talent. A thirst to prove yourself. Where to put you though. Slytherin would serve you well, you’re ambitious after all.’ Harry began whispering to himself, eyes scrunched together tightly.
“Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.” The hat laughed in his head.
‘Not Slytherin, eh. Better be…’
“Gryffindor!”
Everyone at the Gryffindor table went wild, whooping and hollering their approval of his sorting. The professor gave him a proud smile and he couldn’t help but wonder if she had been a Gryffindor. He handed the hat to her and made his way to his new table, Fred and George beckoning him to sit with them. Since he knew nobody else at the table, he was quick to take the seat offered.
Harry tuned the rest of the sorting out until he heard Ron’s name get called. His siblings applauded happily when he became a lion as well. Without further ado, the Headmaster bid them to eat, huge amounts of food appearing on the table before them. He couldn’t recall ever seeing that much food at one time in his life.
Harry ate his fill, the first time in years. Even though his stomach was aching, he couldn’t make himself stop, a side effect of never getting enough to eat he was sure. Pudding arrived, and he tried something called treacle tart and it was instantly his favorite. Just when he thought that he was going to fall asleep at the table, the Headmaster stood and began speaking.
“Before I dismiss you, I want to remind all students that the Forbidden Forest is just that, forbidden. Classes begin tomorrow morning and you will receive your timetable at breakfast. For those of you not wanting to die a most horrible and painful death, the third-floor corridor is out of bounds.” He paused and smiled serenely out at the students.
“Enough for now, off you trot to bed.” Harry was suddenly exhausted.
He rose to his feet and followed the other Gryffindors out of the Great Hall. The prefects were spread amongst them, showing them the landmarks that would get them to breakfast without getting lost. Harry trudged up seven floors before they came to a portrait of an extremely large woman drinking wine.
“Fairy wings.” It was clear that this was meant to be the password and the door swung open.
He and the other first years were shown around quickly, everyone feeling the effects of the full meal. Once the bathrooms were located, Percy showed them to their room, a large spacious room that housed five beds. Their trunks were sitting alongside them, ready to be unpacked whenever they saw fit. Harry was quick to strip off his clothes and climb into his pajamas; he noted that the other boys followed his lead.
Harry didn’t worry about unpacking, he vowed that he would do it the following day. The boys did take a few moments to introduce themselves since they would be sharing a room for the next seven years of their lives. Even though he was exhausted, Harry couldn’t quite get his brain to turn off enough for him to fall asleep like the others.
It was several hours later before he finally dropped off, nervous and excited for his day of classes the following day. Not a thought was spared for the girl that had reached out to him and tried to be his friend.
-O-
Hermione was unpacking her trunk in her new dorm room. She shared it with four other girls, Pansy, Daphne, Millicent, and Tracey. She had known them all for years so there really wasn’t an awkward stage where she had to introduce herself to anyone. All Draco’s friends had been sorted as snakes as well.
As she put away her belongings in the chest of drawers and wardrobe, her mind returned to the embarrassing display of hat stall. The hat had been stumped as to where to put her, telling her that she would happily fit in any of the four houses. Hermione wasn’t quite certain that happily would fit if she was a Gryffindor, but she felt like it had done a fair job of assessing that she had the traits that all four houses prized.
Once her belongings were put away, the trunk disappeared into storage, she assumed. Deciding that she would shower in the morning, she went ahead and changed into the pajamas she had laid out. The girls around her were doing the same, although Pansy and Tracey decided to shower before bed.
Hermione had told herself that she was going to write her father before bed and tell him where she had been sorted into but when it came down to it, she was far too tired. Besides, she knew that Uncle Sevvie would be flooing her father after the feast and letting him know where she ended up. She could just as easily write him after classes the next day.
Hermione crawled into bed and snuggled down into the fluffy silver duvet on her bed. She reached out and pulled the curtains around her bed, not used to sleeping in the same room as anyone but Draco. She was excited to see her timetable the following day though she didn’t think that the curriculum was going to offer much of a challenge for her.
Her mind drifted to the situation with Harry. The only option she had left available to her was to be persistent. She couldn’t force him to be her friend and he would never listen if she tried. Therefore, like Draco said, she was just going to have to keep trying and not give up.
Vowing to try again the following day, Hermione gave into her exhaustion and allowed sleep to pull her under.
A/N- In case y’all haven’t figured it out, Ron is going to be a bag of dicks in this story too. I just can’t seem to write him as a decent person. The other Weasleys are going to be arseholes too but they won’t be searching for Hermione or Draco to be mean to them. Be patient, eventually life will get better for our characters. Much later, ha-ha. Anyways, let me know what you think, reviews make me smile.
**Sorting hat song was taken from J.K.R.’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Next up, first day of classes.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back once again, my friends. Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!!! Not many of you were very happy with how Harry just capitulated to the Weasleys but remember that he has no friends, has never had friends. He doesn’t want to lose the few that he’s already made. Put yourself in an eleven-year-olds shoes that is in the same situation. Anyways, big thanks to all those that have read and reviewed the story, you guys are rock stars. I appreciate it more than I can say.
** Shout out to leonix2009 for being my 200th reviewer! Thanks for being so awesome! **
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing except the plot twist on this story. Even then it’s probably been done before. I haven’t made any money off any of my stories, trust me, the six dollars I have in my account tells no lies. Adulting sucks.
Chapter 9
September 2, 1991
Hermione was excited for her first day of classes. She had been the first to rise in her dorm, determined to be up and ready so she wouldn’t be late for breakfast. They would be receiving their time table then and she was eager to see just what classes she was going to have. Her father had told her that all first years took the same classes, that they weren’t varied until their third year when electives were available. Hermione had already started studying many of the electives with their tutor at home, so she was unsure as to which ones she would choose when the time came.
Since she was up so early, she was the first one in the common room. She had decided to wait for Draco there, knowing that he would come down eventually for breakfast. She was re-reading her potions text book when the door to the common room opened and her godfather stepped through. Since there were no children around, Hermione had no qualms throwing herself in Uncle Sevvie’s arms. He hugged her back fiercely before releasing her to grin.
“I’m proud of you for making it into my House. I knew that you weren’t going to take after your father.” Hermione laughed.
“Thanks, Uncle Sevvie. Honestly, the hat let me choose because it said that it couldn’t decide. I wanted to make sure that I was with Draco. Who knew that the hat would stall out and have no idea what to do with a student?” Her uncle laughed at her.
“It’s happened a time or two since I’ve started teaching but they’ve never had the hat on their head for as long as you did.” Hermione shrugged at his words.
“Did you tell dad that I’m a snake? Is he alright with it?” Her uncle ran his hand down the length of her curls.
“I flooed over and told your father, Lucius, and Narcissa last night. They were all thrilled that you and Draco made it into Slytherin.” Hermione sent her godfather a sheepish grin.
“I was worried that dad would be disappointed if I wasn’t a Gryffindor like him.” Uncle Sevvie have her an understanding smile.
“I know. Trust me, he’s not.” There was thundering on the stairs coming from the boy’s dorms. Her godfather stepped away from her and assumed his potion’s master persona. Draco, Theo, Greg, Vince, and Blaise all appeared moments later, satchels ready on their backs.
“Good morning, Professor.” He nodded his head at the boys before turning back to Hermione.
“I’ve come to make sure that all the first years make it to breakfast on time. Were the girls getting ready when you came down?” Hermione sighed because she had absolutely no idea.
“They weren’t when I came down, but I’ve been awake awhile. I’ll go up and check on them.” He gave her a stiff nod and she turned to head back up to her dorm. When she pushed through the door, she found that all the girls were slinging their bags over their shoulders and getting ready to make their way down together. Pansy caught sight of her first.
“How long have you been awake?” Hermione grinned at her.
“Awhile. I was too excited to sleep. I’m so ready for classes to start.” Pansy just shook her head as if she didn’t understand.
“You are odd, Hermione.” She shrugged her shoulders as if she had nothing to say for herself. She had learned long ago that it did no good to discuss academics with Pansy.
“Professor Snape is downstairs waiting to make sure we get to breakfast on time. Hurry.” The other four girls hastened their steps, following Hermione back down the stairs to the common room. Once they were all gathered again, Uncle Sevvie spoke.
“Before we go down, I want everyone to listen to me. You are Slytherins and therefore, the rest of the school is going to assume that you’re evil by association. The other students are going to try to get you in trouble. Other professors may favor the other houses over yourself. It’s unfair and I don’t expect you to like it, but I do expect you to not retaliate. I’m known for showing favor to the snakes, everyone will tell you. This is true. However, I also expect you to not get caught causing trouble or getting caught in petty house rivalries. You are Slytherins and you are above that. Don’t let me hear of you retaliating. If you have a problem that you can’t handle yourself, come to me. I can’t guarantee that the other professors will help you. Now, are you ready to head down to breakfast so you can get your time tables?” Hermione nodded enthusiastically, Draco copying her movement. Daphne looked excited as well but curbed her actions. The rest of them nodded but looked much more sedate.
“Follow me.”
Professor Snape took off and led them out of the common room and up the stairs out of the common room. They wended through the corridors until the familiar sight of the Great Hall came into view. Gesturing for them to file in and take their seats, Hermione watched her uncle stalk back the way he had come. She figured that he was going to be entering from the staff entrance.
Hermione and her class of first years took their seats at their house table and began spooning food onto their plates. She wasn’t particularly hungry, she usually wasn’t when she was nervous, but she knew that she needed to eat. The last thing that she wanted was to get a headache during class. Therefore, she ate a small pile of scrambled eggs and a slice of toast with marmalade.
Once most of them had finished their meal, her uncle came down from the High Table and started passing out the time tables to the whole house. Since it was alphabetical, Hermione was near the front of the line. Her father had told her that as they got older, they would get double periods but for their first year, they would all be regular classes. She perused her schedule while Draco leaned over her shoulder.
“All but one of our classes are with the Gryffindors. Do the professors hate us that much? Their hatred of Slytherin is legendary.” Hermione had been surprised to hear Theo speak. Where Draco was usually the outgoing one and the first to speak on any given subject, Theo did make observations occasionally. Just not often enough for Hermione to not swivel her head to look at him.
“Maybe this year will be different. Maybe if we’re nice to them they’ll be nice to us.” Theo shrugged his shoulders, obviously not wanting to tell her that she was being stupid to believe that. Draco squeezed her arm softly.
“Maybe, ‘Mi, but we need to be prepared for the worst. My father said that Slytherins stick together so if they’re mean to one of us, we all stand up for that person.” Hermione knew exactly what he was doing and while she hated that it was necessary, she was grateful. They all knew that Hermione was already widely hated throughout the school due to her father and his supposed actions against the Potters.
Everyone nodded their agreement to Draco’s words and stood, deciding that they wanted to leave early to find their first class. Hermione knew that the other first years were scared to ask for directions but since she most certainly didn’t want to spend the next thirty minutes looking for the Transfiguration classroom, she stopped by one of the older boys.
“Can you tell us how to get to Transfiguration?” The other first years couldn’t believe that she had stopped and asked but they all hung on every word. The boy narrowed his eyes at her.
“What’s your name?” Hermione smiled at him even though he didn’t look particularly pleased.
“Hermione Black, what’s yours?” Suddenly, his face cleared, and he didn’t look put out at all. He reached out and took her hand in his before bending over it to kill her knuckles. Hermione felt her face flame but the other girls behind her were whispering jealously.
“I’m Marcus Flint. I would love to show you and all the other firsties to Transfiguration.” Hermione instantly felt terrible.
“Oh no, I wouldn’t want you to miss your breakfast. Directions are perfectly fine.” The older boy shook his head.
“Absolutely not. My father would have my hide if I let a daughter of the house of Black get lost of her very first day.” Hermione felt her cheeks grow hot again but nodded.
“Very well. I appreciate it very much.” While Marcus stood and gathered his things, his friends watching him with amused expressions on their faces. Marcus had just beckoned for them to follow him when Draco leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“Watch out for him. He heard your last name and realized you’re royalty. He’s sucking up so maybe he can petition for your hand when you get older.” Hermione frowned at his words before meeting his eyes.
“You really think so? I’m only eleven for Merlin’s sake.” Draco nodded sagely.
“I’m positive. Father told me that people were going to react like that towards you. You’re the heir to the richest family in Britain after mine. Everyone is going to want a piece of you. Why did you think Father told me to look after you? It wasn’t because he didn’t think that you couldn’t hex someone seven ways from Sunday if they crossed you.” Hermione considered his words and concluded that he was probably right. She gave a resolute nod at her cousin.
“Thanks, Drake, I’ll keep an eye on him.”
Hermione then hurried up behind Marcus with her friends, eager to get to their first class.
-O-
Harry was near to bursting with excitement at learning magic. Ron had done nothing but complain since they had received their time tables, whinging that he hated schoolwork and they needed to make quidditch a subject. Harry had bore it good-naturedly, laughing at the faces that his friend was pulling.
Even though he was quite certain that he didn’t want to be friends with Hermione Black, he found that he couldn’t take his eyes off her when she had stood with her friends and stopped by an older boy, so she could speak with him. At first, he had appeared annoyed, but Harry watched as his expression changed. He couldn’t help the foreign lurch deep in his belly when the boy had bowed over her hand and kissed it. His eyes followed her out of the Great Hall which Ron noticed right away.
“I don’t blame you, I’d keep an eye on that one too. Who knows if she wants to finish the job of killing you for her dad?” There were several hisses from Neville and Seamus and Ron turned red.
“Sorry, mate. Didn’t mean it the way it sounded.” Harry decided that he didn’t want to fight with his new friends, so he nodded his head in understanding. It was Neville that spoke next.
“Ron, you’re being too hard on Hermione. I’ve known her for years, Draco too, and they’re both really nice. I’ve been to her home and haven’t been treated badly at all.” Harry swiveled his head around, so he could look at the other Gryffindor.
“Why were you at her house? Doesn’t your family care that her father was a traitor to the light?” Neville rolled his eyes.
“I’m a pureblood. Most of the purebloods grow up together after their sixth birthday. I’ve been to all her birthday parties, some of Draco’s too. Hermione is really smart, and she doesn’t mind talking about plants with me.” Neville sighed before continuing.
“My gran knew Lord Black when he was friends with your parents, my parents were friends with all of them. She told me that he would never have sold out your parents to You-Know-Who.” Harry considered his words before speaking.
“She said something about the ICW believing him. Do you know what that’s about?” Neville shook his head.
“No, gran never talks about those days. I only know the part about Lord Black because she was telling Ron’s mum one day in Diagon Alley when I was with her and he passed them. He greeted them both respectfully and Mrs. Weasley started in about him. My gran told her that about Lord Black being friends with my parents and the Potters.” Harry wanted to consider his other friend’s words, but Ron spoke as he stood.
“You believe what you want, Nev. Do you think it’s worth taking the chance of her killing Harry in his sleep?” Harry rolled his eyes again at his friend’s theatrics but remained silent as he followed him. They needed to get to class after all.
Harry was regretting leaving breakfast late. All the Gryffindor first years had no idea where they were headed so in the end they stopped and asked Percy for directions. After he directed them to the third floor, Harry started for class, the rest of them following him, apparently promoting him to leader.
As he turned the corner leading him to the classroom, he caught sight of Hermione and her group of snakes queuing up outside the door. The older boy was bent over her hand again, kissing her knuckles before he bid her farewell. Her cheeks were a lovely shade of pink. Draco Malfoy glared at the older boy, said something that caused his face to harden, and pulled his cousin away by her elbow. He watched the blond boy pull her aside and speak with her, his face going from anxious to happy before he reached out and tugged on one of her curls. Harry almost winced at the shriek she let out. Ron didn’t bother hiding his distaste.
“Merlin, Malfoy, I know you two are cousins, but I think it’s just a bit too close for you to consider her as a prospect. We all know that the Blacks and Malfoys are as inbred as they come.” Since Hermione Black hadn’t thrown any insults and him or his friends since they had met, he was rather surprised when she stepped in front of her cousin and glared at Ron.
“Actually, the Malfoys and Blacks haven’t been paired together for over two hundred years. As a proper pureblood, you should know that. Perhaps your stupidity can be attributed to troll genes, one can never be sure. I haven’t gone on insulting your family, have I? I would appreciate it if you didn’t insult mine.” Draco was openly laughing at Ron now, the rest of the snakes behind them were snickering into their hands. Ron was sputtering, and all the other lions looked angry aside from Neville. Harry couldn’t feel that Ron had deserved her words just a little bit. Hermione hadn’t started anything with him, but she had certainly finished it. Before Ron could speak again, Neville stepped forward and took Hermione’s hand in his, so he could bend over it and kiss her knuckles. The Gryffindors all fell silent as they watched the interaction.
“It’s been a few months, Hermione. I’m sorry that we’ll miss your birthday party this year. Maybe we could get together and study sometime.” He turned to the rest of the snakes.
“You’re all welcome of course. I haven’t seen any of you since Draco’s birthday.” The rest of the Slytherins seemed to not have a problem with Neville, the boys shaking his hand firmly. They spoke for a few moments in the queue before Ron started hissing to the others.
“Bloody traitor.” Harry couldn’t let that pass.
“Ron, that isn’t fair. Those kids have been his friends since he was six. Is he supposed to just drop them because they’re in Slytherin? Would you have dropped me if I had been sorted into Slytherin?” He hadn’t mentioned to Ron just how close that possibility had come to being a reality. His friend sputtered next to him, but in the end, looked defeated.
“No, I suppose not.” Harry gave a sharp nod.
“Then let Neville have his friends. He’s not asking that you befriend them, he’s just telling us that they’re not so bad, that he’s known them for a long time and has more insight into the matter than we do.” Nobody got to say another word because the door opened at the witch who had handled the sorting the night before stepped out and ushered them inside.
The two houses each sat on one side, none of them looking too keen about mixing company. The woman introduced herself as Professor McGonagall, Head of Gryffindor House. Without further ado, she bid them to remove their texts, parchment, and quill from their bags and to take notes. Most of the Slytherins did as they were told, as did most of the Gryffindors. Harry had never been called upon to take notes in muggle school, he simply hadn’t been old enough, but he wrote down the things that the professor had told them were important.
They went over their syllabus for the year and started the lesson on changing a matchstick to a needle. Harry was excited to try the wand movement and incantation, but the bell ended class before they could begin. He was a little disappointed but reminded himself that he had Transfiguration the very next day and there was nothing saying that he couldn’t give it a try that night.
The class dismissed, and Harry watched as Hermione Black went to the front of the room and asked Professor McGonagall for directions to Charms. Harry watched as a flash of dislike crossed her features, but she hid it quickly and gave her short and succinct directions. Hermione then snagged the arm of her cousin and pulled him from the classroom, the others following behind her easily. Since Harry had no idea where he was going, he decided to follow as well, though at a distance.
They found Charms with no problems. The door was already standing wide open so they all filed in and took their seats. Harry once again sat by Ron, pulling out his text, parchment, and quill, assuming that this class would most likely be just like Transfiguration. Their professor, a tiny little man by the name of Professor Flitwick, appeared and started the lesson post haste. Harry repeated the same actions as he had in Professor McGonagall’s’ class, taking notes as well as he could. When he glanced over at Ron’s parchment, it was woefully wanting; there were only a few lines scribbled on the page and his friend was staring out the window. Harry nudged him sharply, gesturing with his chin to pay attention.
They were learning the wand-lighting charm and Harry was excited to see that they had ten minutes to practice before class dismissed to lunch. Wanting to see how everyone else did, he waited before he cast the spell and watched those around him. Ron failed on his first attempt, also his second and third. Neville managed it on the third try, while Dean and Seamus got it on their fourth. Hermione and Malfoy both got it on their first attempt, looking quite bored. Most of the other Slytherins managed it, though not on their first or second try.
Finally, Harry decided that he needed to try before the class dismissed. He gave a wave of his wand, said the incantation as clearly as he could.
“Lumos.”
His wand flickered but then went out. Harry frowned before waving his wand again, putting more concentration into the spell. This time when he spoke the words, his wand lit up and help, illuminating the area around him. Ron flashed him a grin.
“Wicked.” Harry grinned back, proud of himself that he had managed his first spell with no problems. Before he could say anything else, the bell rang, and Professor Flitwick was speaking.
“We’ll continue practicing next lesson, everyone make sure you bring your wands.” Harry gathered his things quickly, shoving it all into this bag so he could hurry out of the classroom. His first spell had been cast, setting him on the path of following his parent’s footsteps. Today was a great day.
-O-
Hermione ate better at lunch than she had at breakfast. Both morning classes had been a success but a disappointment at the same time. Even though she hadn’t had time to change a matchstick to a needle in Transfiguration, she had already practiced it at home once she had gotten her wand. Charms had been a breeze as well, the lumos spell being the first spell she had ever learned at age three. While it was deemed a success, Hermione could already tell that she was going to be bored out of her mind this year. By the look on Draco’s face, he was thinking the same thing.
The Slytherin table was subdued compared to the other three houses, though Hermione still found it louder than what she was used to. She supposed that she would eventually get used to it but until then, she tried to stave off the oncoming headache. Her mind drifted while she waited on the others to finish.
Hermione couldn’t help but feel just a little bit guilty at the fact that she had retaliated to Ron Weasley. Her uncle had been quite clear in saying that they had better not get caught retaliating and then she had done it in plain view and hearing of a professor’s classroom, a professor that clearly didn’t like her. She didn’t miss the expression that crossed her face when she had asked for directions to Charms; Professor McGonagall either really hated Slytherins in general or was such a loyal supporter of Dumbledore that she had believed his story hook, line, and sinker. Though, her father had told her that the woman had been present the day that the old man had cursed her. Now, she could only hope that nobody opened their mouth to her uncle.
Hermione had felt eyes on her throughout both her classes. Out of the corner of her eye, she had caught sight of Harry watching her and she wasn’t sure how to take it. While she was pleased that he was showing interest, the Slytherin wasn’t sure if it was the right kind. It certainly wasn’t a good kind of interest if he was watching her because he was worried that she was going to attack him.
More than anything, she had wanted to tell him the truth, to make friends with him like her father wanted. She wanted to make their family whole again. Neville had had no problems showing that he was friends with her, that he had accepted her, but the rest of the lions still didn’t want a thing to do with her. Her thoughts were interrupted by a boy tapping her on the shoulder. She caught sight of Draco glaring before she turned to see the most stunning boy she had ever seen in her life.
His blond hair hung to his shoulders, not platinum blond like Draco’s but a warm honey blond. His eyes were a brilliant sea green and were focused solely on her. Even though her mouth was dry, she gulped softly, hoping that she wouldn’t be required to speak. The other girls were whispering next to her, what Hermione couldn’t tell though.
“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Thorfinn Rowle and I’m a seventh year. Would you allow me to escort you to your next class?” Hermione knew that her cheeks were flushed, probably down into her neck as well. Before she could answer, Draco stood and faced the older boy down.
“The only way you’re getting near her is with me present. It isn’t proper for you to escort her without a family member since you’re making quite clear that you’re interested in her. You’re aware that she’s only eleven?” Rowle faced Draco with a hard expression.
“I’m more than aware of her age. I’m merely introducing myself and offering my services. There is nothing you can do to stop me, Mr. Malfoy.” Draco lifted his chin and his face went impassive.
“I assure you there is. All I need do is send a single owl to either my father or hers and that will be the end of you. You think either one of those two will stand by and let you manipulate her?” A flash of fear crossed the features of Rowle before he grudgingly nodded.
“Of course, all the first years are welcome to come with us.” Draco gave a nod and helped Hermione to stand. She had finally gained some of her abilities back, so she had little problem gathering her things. Rowle didn’t wait for the others, just took off, assuming that they would hurry after him. Draco took her hand and placed it in the crook of his arm, escorting her so Rowle wouldn’t attempt it. She stuck her tongue out at him, finally drawing a smirk out of him.
Since they were headed to Herbology, Rowle led them to the door that would take them nearest the greenhouses. After telling them to go straight for the big building on the right, Rowle left with a swish of robes. The girls all started exclaiming excitedly.
“Merlin, did you see him? He was gorgeous!” Hermione couldn’t help but agree. However, after seeing how he acted after Draco had called him out, she had a feeling that he was just wanting a chance at marrying her as well. Apparently, most purebloods were superficial enough to only want to marry someone for their money, standing, and power. Once they were well on their way, Draco spoke quietly.
“I heard the boys last night in the dorms after they thought we went to bed. They were comparing numbers and Rowle has been with more than his fair share. You can count on the number being even higher by the time he married you. By the way he was talking, I don’t think that he would remain faithful either. I know that’s a big deal for you.” Hermione nodded.
It was true. Her father had instilled in her, as well as Aunt Cissy and Uncle Luci, that when she married she should be able to expect loyalty from her spouse and she would give it in return. They implored her to only marry for love and hope that it would be a good match. Since she knew that her father didn’t care about blood status, she didn’t figure that her aunt and uncle could say much about her choice when the time came for her to make it.
When they entered the greenhouse, Hermione turned to see that the Gryffindors were following behind them, though further back than she had expected. She and Draco took seats together at the front of the room, getting out their supplies so they would be ready when Professor Sprout appeared. The lions filed in and took seats together much the same way they had when they had attended Transfiguration and Charms. When Professor Sprout breezed through the door, she smiled at the class.
“This won’t do. I promote house unity in my class, so you will be paired with someone from the opposite house. See your pairs on the boards and move accordingly.” Hermione looked up and her heart leapt.
She was paired with Harry!
Hermione stood and moved towards Harry, waiting patiently for Ron to gather his bag and move on. He threw a glare her way, but she steadfastly ignored it as she took his seat. Draco had been paired Ron and she felt terrible for him. Pansy was with Seamus, Daphne with Lavender, Millie with Parvati, Theo with Faye, Greg with Dean, Neville with Tracey, and Vince with Sally. It had worked out perfectly, surprising Hermione. Hermione sent a small smile Harry’s way.
“Hello.” He didn’t glare at her, but he didn’t respond. Nothing else could be exchanged since Professor Sprout launched into her lecture for the day. After going over the syllabus, she started on the bouncing bulb, something that Hermione had covered years ago with her tutor. She took diligent notes even though she had her original set in her wardrobe back in her dorm. She caught Harry trying to read her notes, then look at his own before he started writing again at a rapid pace. His handwriting truly was atrocious.
The bell rang, and Hermione began to collect her things. Harry was doing the same next to her and he had yet to speak a word to her. Deciding that it was now or never, she turned to him.
“I’m glad that we’re going to be partners in this class.” He just stared at her for a few moments, confusion flickering on his features, before he finally spoke.
“I’ve got to go. Ron’s waiting on me.” Hermione knew that her face fell at his words, but he wasn’t there to see it. He had already started in the direction of the door where Weasley was waiting for him impatiently. Draco came to her side and tugged her hair softly.
“It’ll work out, I know it will.” Hermione nodded and turned to her cousin.
“Let’s go to History of Magic. We have it with the Ravenclaws.”
Hermione vowed to herself that before the next day of classes she was going to get her notes from her tutor out and use them instead of taking new ones, taking down any new information in those. It made the most sense. Draco smiled at her and gestured for her to lead the way.
-O-
Harry was confused. He was unsure of how he felt about Hermione Black. He had taken Neville’s words into account, also Ron’s, but he couldn’t help but feel as though he was betraying the memory of his parents by even considering befriending her. He would have to ponder the situation long and hard before he made a final decision.
Sure, he wanted to remain friends with Ron. Harry had never had friends before and Ron and his brothers had been his first. He wasn’t the happiest with how they treated Slytherins, Ron especially, but he supposed that they probably had some reason for it, one that he wasn’t privy to. However, he also liked Neville and he couldn’t see the clumsy boy being friends with someone that wasn’t at the very least a decent person.
They were headed to the common room, Ron spouting that he wanted to play wizards’ chess during their free period. While they hadn’t been assigned homework on their first day of classes, Harry was a little excited to continue practicing the lumos spell and start practicing for Transfiguration. It was rumored to be the most difficult subject in Hogwarts. It simply wouldn’t do to fall behind before they even began.
Ron was insistent, however, citing that they could practice later that night. Since he was already complaining that Harry was paired with Hermione in Herbology, he capitulated. His friend set up the chessboard and explained the concept of the game since Harry had never played before. While Ron didn’t seem to be the most dedicated to school work, he was quite good at explaining how to play the game.
They played for the whole of their free period, Ron beating him both times that they were able to play. Harry didn’t feel as though he would ever get the hang of it, but Ron assured him that his second attempt was much better than his first. Harry decided to give it awhile before he abandoned it completely.
The pair headed down to dinner together, Fred and George walking with them. They were telling him and Ron about the prank that they had pulled on the Slytherins, the first years specifically, promising that they would get to witness it at dinner. Harry wasn’t sure how he felt about that but decided to see just what the twins had done. If their hair turned pink or something like that, he could admit that that could be funny.
They slid into the bench seats at the Gryffindor table and immediately started to dig into their meal. Harry piled his plate high with chicken and potato casserole, the food at Hogwarts being the best that he had ever eaten in his life. Hermione and Malfoy arrived, though they were alone. The rest of the first years appeared to have stopped somewhere along the way, leaving the cousins to make their way alone to dinner.
Harry watched as the pair put food on their plates, laughing together about who knew what. Hermione good-naturedly shoved her cousin with a smile on her face while Malfoy reached out and tickled her side. Just watching them made Harry wish that things could have been different between himself and Dudley. He doubted that they ever would have had that easy camaraderie the pair displayed but just getting along and not hating each other would have been nice.
The whole table watched on the edges of their seats as Hermione Black poured herself a glass of pumpkin juice. She offered it to Malfoy, but he shook his head and gestured to the milk that he had poured himself. The pretty first year took a drink and set it down without realizing that there were now words appearing on her face. Harry couldn’t read them yet but if he knew the Weasley twins the tiny bit that he thought he did, he’d be able to quite quickly.
Suddenly, a Hufflepuff screeched when she saw the words on Hermione’s forehead and cheeks. The whole Great Hall looked up to see just what was happening, but it was quite clear when everyone started staring at Hermione Black. Malfoy was furious, that was plain to see, holding his cousin’s face in his hands to try to see what the words said. Fred (or was it George?) leaned over and guffawed.
“Snake slag in training. I wish that the others would have been here to drink the juice too.” Harry was speechless. He was still trying to wrap his head around what was happening. The rest of the table was tittering apart from Neville. Hermione was now openly crying, her house circling around her protectively, while she buried her face in Draco’s chest. Harry couldn’t help but feel a little guilty even though he knew that he wasn’t responsible for this act and he wasn’t laughing. Neville, however, stood abruptly and shoved his full plate of food at the twins, splattering them everywhere when it came to a halt. His face was red, and Harry had a feeling that this wasn’t going to end well, especially when he saw Professor McGonagall headed their way. Professor Snape was already at Hermione’s side, arm wrapped around her shoulders and speaking quietly with her.
“You two are fucking despicable. I’ve never seen such a display of cowardice, you’re not even deserving of wearing Gryffindor colors. You’re third years and you played a malicious prank on first year Slytherin girls. Hermione Black has done nothing to deserve your actions, all she did was express the wish to be friends with all of you. You insulted her, you insulted her family, and you humiliated her. The rest of you are just as despicable for thinking it’s funny. If I wasn’t determined to make Gryffindor proud for my parents, I’d request a new sorting, so I could distance myself from arseholes like you.” He leaned over even further so he could make sure that the Weasley twins heard him.
“Just because your family has fallen from the pureblood elite doesn’t give you the right to torment those who haven’t. Hermione is a good person and she would never hurt anyone. I’m ashamed to be in Gryffindor right now.” Professor McGonagall had heard every word and she was clearly shocked silent. Neville got out of the bench seat and stalked over to the Slytherin table where Hermione was still wrapped up in the embrace of her cousin and Head of House. He hugged Hermione close when he got there and then turned to follow them out of the Great Hall. Harry was instantly brought back to the happenings at his own table. Professor McGonagall was now speaking low, a sure sign that her anger was red-hot. The twins were quailing in their seats.
“I cannot believe that students in my House would stoop so low as to humiliate a first year in such a way. It makes no matter who the student is or how you feel about them, it is completely unacceptable. Mr. Longbottom said it better than I could. I’m ashamed of my own House right now.” The twins tried to defend themselves.
“It wasn’t supposed to be just her, it was for all the first years.” Fury flared in her eyes.
“Is that supposed to make me feel better? That’s even worse. I may not care for Miss Black, but I will not tolerate my House tormenting an eleven-year-old girl. There is a ridiculous amount of animosity between Slytherin and Gryffindor already and tonight just made it worse. I’m sure that I don’t have to inform you that the Black family is like royalty in our world and you just attacked its princess. What do you think the rest of the pureblood society is going to do about it?” This was turning into a lesson, apparently. Harry was grateful since this was all foreign to him. Ron snorted at her words, however.
“Not all purebloods think that Blacks are royalty. The Weasleys don’t, we think they’re scum. Neither do the Browns, the Abbotts, the Bones, many others. It’s only the dark purebloods that do.” Professor McGonagall raised an eyebrow at her.
“I think you should look around, Mr. Weasley. Does Susan Bones look very happy? What about Hannah Abbott? Yes, I saw Miss Brown laughing, but look at all the other pureblood children sitting at these tables. Most of them don’t look very happy. Mr. Longbottom is an example. His family is as light as they come but he just gave you a piece of his mind and left with Miss Black. Yes, he’s friends with her now, that much is real, but he’s friends with her because his family paid court to hers.” His Head of House sighed and tried to calm herself down. When she spoke again, it was at a normal volume.
“I’m not saying that you have to regard Miss Black as royalty. I think it’s all rubbish. I am saying that you are all foolish if you think that this won’t somehow come back around on you. Not only is it wrong what happened to Miss Black tonight, it wasn’t smart to paint a target on your backs and on the backs of your families. You need to be smarter, especially when the girl has done nothing to any of you.” She squared her shoulders and raised her chin high, the whole of the Great Hall watching with interest. When she spoke, it was loud enough to carry.
“Mr. and Mr. Weasley, you will both serve a month of detention with Professor Snape. The rest of Gryffindor House will spend tomorrow night in detention as well, with Mr. Filch. I think scrubbing the castle down by hand will be a fitting punishment for laughing at your fellow student.” Harry wanted to point out that he hadn’t laughed at all but decided that it probably wouldn’t be wise since the rest of his peers had. The table accepted their punishment silently but not happily. Harry waited until the table started to break up before he stood and started for the door.
He wanted to go to his dorm, take a shower, and crawl into bed. He wanted tomorrow to be a better day. Unsurprisingly, Harry realized that he no longer wanted to practice his spells and decided to do just that.
-O-
Hermione was sitting on her uncle’s lap, cuddled into his chest, as Draco sat nearby watching them with a pained expression. She knew that he felt helpless and that he didn’t like it but there was nothing that she could do about it. Uncle Sevvie was stroking her curls, calming her down.
The words were already gone from her face, but she couldn’t stop the burning humiliation she felt at the whole Great Hall laughing at her. Her house had closed ranks around her, shielding her from the view of others but that didn’t help the fact that everyone knew that she had ‘snake slag in training’ spelled onto her features.
She had just been informed of the punishment that Professor McGonagall had levied against the whole of her house. While she was happy that they were getting punished, she also knew that it had nothing to do with the fact that the stern professor liked her or wanted to protect her. It was done to protect her own house from retaliation, that’s why she had punished everyone. It made it worse when considered that their punishment wasn’t for her, it was to protect them.
Uncle Sevvie was furious, not that she expected him to be anything but. The words had been vanished from her face before they had even left the Great Hall, but he had still insisted on bringing them to his office where she could gather herself and he could comfort her. The fireplace in his office flared and her father stepped out of it. Hermione flew off her uncle’s lap and threw herself into her father’s embrace. He held her tight and sat next to Draco, reaching out to ruffle her cousin’s hair.
“What happened?” Hermione buried her face in his neck while Uncle Sevvie explained. She could feel her father getting tenser and his arms holding her tighter and tighter. When her uncle went silent, her father put his finger under her chin and forced her to look at him.
“Don’t let them see that this bothers you. Cry all you want to Draco and Severus but don’t give them power over you. You’re better than the fucking Weasleys, Hermione. If this is how they treat young girls, I seriously wonder about their upbringing. When I was in school, the only pranking on first years was done by first years. This is unacceptable.” She nodded, her tears finally dry.
“I won’t, daddy. I just don’t know why they don’t like me. I tried to be friends with them, Harry and the Weasleys, but they were mean to me and said that they didn’t want to be friends with us because you’re a traitor and we’re Malfoys. They don’t even know Draco and I, how can they say that?” She was honestly confused about the matter. Her father stroked her hair while he tried to find the best answer.
“They do that because that’s how they’ve been taught to think. They’re doing what their parents have taught them. Their parents all think that I’m a traitor and that I’ll do the unthinkable and have you kill Harry off for me. They know that Lucius was a Death Eater in the first war and have taught their children to hate them for that reason. There is also a long-standing feud between the Malfoys and the Weasleys so that plays into it also. As for Harry, I have a feeling that he didn’t have a very good childhood. He may not have had friends and he’s scared to lose the ones that he’s already made. It doesn’t excuse him condoning this kind of behavior, but I understand it.” Hermione considered his words for several moments before she nodded her head.
“I guess that makes sense. I just don’t think that he’s ever going to be my friend which means that he won’t ever listen to me about the truth.” Her father kissed her forehead.
“Poppet, you don’t have to solve all the problems. I know you want to help and if you can, that’s wonderful. If you can’t get through to Harry, that isn’t your fault. The truth will come out someday and when that happens, I’ll be waiting. Don’t beat yourself up if he won’t listen to you. His mother and father were both extremely stubborn.” Uncle Sevvie snorted.
“That’s the understatement of the year.” They all chuckled softly before her father met her uncle’s gaze.
“I’ll let this slide this time but if something like this happens again, I will destroy the Weasley’s standing in the Ministry. I can take aspersions on my name and character, but Hermione shouldn’t have to pay the price for being related to me.” Hermione sat up and met her father’s gaze unflinchingly.
“I’m proud that you’re my father. You’ve never done me wrong.” He laughed at her now before setting her on her feet.
“I know, sweetness, I’m just saying that you shouldn’t have to suffer because of things in my past.” She knew that her father was getting ready to leave; she had been warned that he wouldn’t be able to stay long so the Headmaster wouldn’t discover his presence.
Hermione hugged him close around the waist, reveling in the firm hug he held her in. She felt him shake Draco’s hand behind her before he released her and stepped towards the floo.
“Stay strong, poppet. Draco, I’ll tell your parents that you’re acting admirably regarding your cousin.” Hermione sniffled just once.
“Love you, daddy.” He took a handful of floo powder and prepared to throw it in the fire.
“Love you too, sweetness.” With a flash of green flames, he was gone. Draco took her hand as they turned to Uncle Sevvie. He smirked at them before standing himself.
“Come on, you two. I’ll deliver you to the common room and I suggest you make it an early night. Today was a long day and I have a feeling that tomorrow isn’t going to be any better.” The pair nodded and followed their uncle out of his office and into the dark corridors of the dungeon.
-O-
Severus was livid. He stalked through the corridors of the dungeons, making his way up to the second floor so he could meet with Albus. Yes, his Slytherins had been the butt of pranks before, hell, he had been for years. Never had one been this humiliating, not one that he was aware of anyways. The fact that it was his godchild that was the victim made him want to kill someone.
He had learned that Minerva had assigned the Weasley twins to him for a month of detentions. While he was thrilled that they would be his, he was also worried that he would seriously curse them for causing his niece to cry into his robes until she had been exhausted. This was unacceptable, and it would not be happening again.
Albus must have known that he would come because he didn’t have to produce the password at the griffin. It merely leapt out of the way when he stood before it. He didn’t bother to wait for the stairs to deliver him to the top, he climbed them on his own in a hurry to get to his employer. When he threw the door open, he found not only Albus but Minerva as well. He slammed the door shut behind him and stalked over to the desk where the pair were conversing quietly.
“You took no points from your house, Minerva? Yet you tell me that I’m the biased one.” She did manage to flush at his words and he couldn’t help but wonder if she had merely forgotten. Not that it mattered. He was out for blood.
“A month of detention isn’t enough for those two fools. They completely humiliated a first year in my house. I don’t claim that my house is perfect, but they don’t attack innocent first years. Hermione Black has done nothing to anybody since she’s been here, and her father is livid. I would call for expulsion.” Both Minerva and Albus looked scandalized. Minerva was the first to recover.
“That’s going too far, Severus, they’re just children. I’ve never punished my house so harshly as I did tonight. Mr. Longbottom was the only one to escape punishment, even though his language left much to be desired.” Severus picked up and trinket off Albus’ desk and threw it at the wall, shattering it completely. He was heaving deep breaths, so he willed himself to calm down. This wasn’t how Slytherins acted.
“Those disgraces made the words ‘snake slag in training’ appear on the face of an eleven-year-old girl. Not just any eleven-year-old girl, Hermione Black, the same girl that the Headmaster has a charge of assault against a minor for. If this went public, how do you think our world would view that this had been allowed to happen?” He knew that he would have to spin it like he was concerned about the Headmaster to get what he wanted. This also seemed to warm both parties up to him. Albus sighed and began twirling his beard.
“I understand the repercussions, Severus. I’m not the happiest with the Weasley twins right now, nor with the rest of Gryffindor house, but I can’t expel the children. Even if it ruins my reputation, I need the Weasleys in the Order. I don’t think that Lord Voldemort is gone for good and we will someday have to resurrect it. That would be near to impossible without Arthur Weasley. He’s well-liked in the Ministry and could net us many allies. You will just have to make sure that they remember the month of detention they spend with you, Severus. It’s the best we can do.” He folded his hands and narrowed his eyes.
“Why does her father know what happened?” Severus couldn’t believe the stupidity of the Headmaster. Even Minerva was looking at him as if he was daft. Severus refused to back down.
“He is her father. It is procedure to inform parents when their children are seriously injured or targeted in some way. I owled him and he responded immediately.” Albus was angry, that much was certain.
“I will handle informing parents about their children. That does not fall in the purview of your position, Severus.” He smirked at the Headmaster.
“Have you informed him yet?” Albus’ eyes hardened at his words.
“Not yet. I had planned on doing so after our discussion, so I could inform Mr. Black as to the punishments those involved would be receiving.” Severus knew he was lying but remained silent. The Headmaster continued.
“If you go behind my back again, Severus, a formal complaint will go in your record. None of us want that.” Severus hadn’t expected any less of a threat, but he decided to hit the Headmaster where it hurt.
“I understand but you should be thanking me. Since I informed Mr. Black about young Hermione, he’s agreed to not retaliate. However, you might warn your precious band of weasels that if a prank of this magnitude occurs again, he plans on ruining your recruiter’s reputation in the Ministry. Not only will the Order be crippled, the family will starve. I doubt that anyone will hire a muggle-lover when his family has brought shame upon him by injuring a young girl who was guilty of nothing.” Albus could tell that he was serious, but Minerva was disbelieving.
“He wouldn’t do that, not over a prank, surely.” Severus snorted.
“Don’t act like you’re so surprised, Minerva. You think he’s a traitor, after all. Why would he have no problems turning over his best friend’s family but then have a problem ruining one of the most high-profile members of the Order of the Phoenix? Maybe you should consider that because frankly, him being a traitor never made sense to me.” He feared that he had said too much but Albus just chuckled.
“You never did want to believe that you and Sirius Black were on the same side at any point in time, Severus. I’ll pass along your message to Arthur and make sure they have words with their children. If that’s all?” Severus gave a sharp nod and turned to leave but decided to get one more jab in at Minerva.
“Don’t worry, both Mr. Black and his daughter are aware that the only reason you punished your house like you did is because you didn’t want anyone to retaliate against them, not because you were truly disappointed in them.” She looked seriously affronted which gave him just a little bit of hope for her.
“Severus, I assure you that I am most embarrassed at what my house has done. I will admit that I don’t like having Miss Black here, I think that she is danger to the other children considering what her father is capable of, but I would never condone for a child to be harmed. I admit, I made their punishments harsher so there would be no retaliation, but I don’t like seeing any child hurt.” Severus arched a brow at her.
“I really hope that’s true, Minerva.” He didn’t wait for an answer before he swept out of the office and headed for his dungeons, robes billowing behind him.
A/N- This chapter turned out to be a monster! I want to point out that the twins are out of the game now. They’re going to get better from here on. I know that a lot of you have left reviews concerned that all the Weasleys are complete douches. That won’t always be the case. No more spoilers though! I hope that you all enjoyed the chapter. Leave me your thoughts after the beep, reviews are love.
Next chapter, a fight breaks out and Dumbles gets his hooks in Harry.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- That last chapter was the longest yet and for those out there that don’t like long chapters, I apologize. Though I can’t say that there won’t be others in this story that won’t be just as long, maybe even longer. We shall see. A huge thank you to those of you that continue to review, favorite, and follow this story. I know that there will be times that your support is going to be all that keeps me going since this is going to be such an epic-sized story. Anyways, enough for now, let’s get started!
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing except the personal plot twist. The characters belong to J.K.R., I only use them for my own nefarious means.
Chapter 10
September 8, 1991
Hermione sighed as she brushed her through her curls. Once again, she was up and awake before her room mates though they weren’t surprised anymore. Hermione had never been one to sleep in overly long, even on the weekends, so she was always the first one awake in the mornings. The older Slytherins had already accepted it and now waved her way when they finally emerged from their dorms in the mornings.
Life was good, well, mostly. Even though her classes were going well, Hermione was bored. Everything they had covered so far was something that she and Draco had learned a long time ago. While she completed her homework and handed it in on time every single day, she wanted something else to fill her time. She loved learning and she felt like she wasn’t going to learn anything for quite a while here at Hogwarts.
Their third day of classes, Hermione had finally sent home a letter to her father requesting that he get with Madam Cambridge and have her assign them things to learn about. She was going out of her mind not learning anything and the last thing that she wanted was to lose her edge. Her father had responded and told her that he would ask but that he had no idea if she would agree since she had only been commissioned for the summer holidays now that they were in school. She was still waiting on a response.
Hermione had further become the subject of ridicule because she gained the most points for Slytherin. While her house mates were more than happy to let her rack up the points for them, it rubbed the rest of the school wrong way. She understood that they all felt like she was sucking up, trying to be teachers pet. They had all made it quite clear that they thought she was looking for favor with all the teachers, but the truth was that she wasn’t. She answered so many questions because if she didn’t there was every possibility that she would fall asleep in class because she just wasn’t challenged.
Hermione and Draco studied in the library every evening after dinner, working on their homework and then pursuing their own interests. Neville had approached them one evening, asking if he could join them and get their help in transfiguration, one of his weakest subjects to date. Hermione had happily agreed and once the rest of their friends realized that the pair was willing to help them with their homework, they had their own little study group. Neville attended three nights a week while the others attended as their assignments came due.
While it wasn’t the stimulation that she was looking for, Hermione still enjoyed her time in the library with her friends. She never allowed them to goof around and she was quick to turn a glare their way if they tried. Most of them respected her and Draco though, only showing when they were serious about getting their homework done.
Hermione still hadn’t had any luck with Harry yet. They had had several more herbology classes and Harry had been distant at every one. Originally, she had thought that he was taking time to consider her before he made a decision, but it didn’t seem like that was the case now. He wasn’t rude to her, nor mean or condescending in any way, but he wasn’t friendly and when she tried to be, he merely ignored her. She had wanted to give up, but Draco kept pushing her to continue trying.
Hermione vowed that she would; she hadn’t forgotten the promise to herself to get her father’s story out there, to make sure that the person who mattered most believed him. She also hadn’t forgotten the promise she had made to herself to protect him if necessary. It wasn’t something that she necessarily wanted to do, she was just a child after all, but she knew that she was more well-equipped to protect him than he was himself.
For the most part, Harry seemed to do just fine in his classes. She noticed that he never got the spells on the first time, but he usually did on the second. She did notice that he seemed to hold back, probably from growing up with those horrid muggles that raised him. If they had made their distaste for magic well-known, he could be repressing his power subconsciously. It was something to consider when he clearly had the most talent of his friends.
His friends. Ron Weasley was still completely horrid to her, but the others seemed to leave her alone. Most of the time, anyways. They still taunted her for answering all the questions right and being a teacher’s pet but those she could live with. Ron was the only one that was down right mean to her when they met in the corridors and classrooms.
He had called her names, insulted her family and name, insinuated that she and Draco were shagging (honestly, who thought of those sorts of things at eleven?), and told the world that if it weren’t for Snape awarding her all those points, Slytherin wouldn’t be in the lead for the House Cup. The truth of the matter was that while a good portion of her points did come from her godfather, a fair portion came from the rest of the professors as well. When nobody else volunteered answers, she would swoop in, answer correctly, and win a grudging five points per question.
Dean and Seamus hadn’t been mean to her specifically other than the comments about her being a know-it-all. They seemed to be friends with Harry but not as close as Ron and his brothers. They did make comments about her other friends, so she assumed that they had only decided to be nicer to her to keep themselves from being punished. Neville was certainly Harry’s friend, they sat together quite often but once again, not as close as Ron. She knew that the rest of their friends were flabbergasted that he came and studied with a huge group of Slytherins, but Neville just shook his head and told them that if they weren’t such prats they would have been welcome as well.
The girls were all friendly with Harry as well, but none as much as Parvati Patil. The girl was gorgeous with her beautiful brown skin and long, dark hair that reached her waist. On days they didn’t have to be in Hogwarts uniforms, she and her twin wore saris, stating that they were far more comfortable than the clothes that British wizards wore. Hermione was most jealous of Parvati, though she would never admit it to anyone other than Draco. She was effortlessly friends with him while Hermione was working her tail end off to get him to pay attention to her, only for him to ignore the fact that she was alive. It was frustrating.
She set down her hairbrush and gathered her bag before heading down into the common room to wait for Draco. He was almost always down before the other boys, so they usually made their way to breakfast without waiting for their other dorm mates. They all met up for breakfast though, and usually made their way to class together.
Hermione was getting along with her dorm mates a little better. None of them really understood her, not like Draco anyhow, but she did consider Daphne to be a good friend. Pansy, Millie, and Tracey were her friends as well but more due to circumstance than anything else. They were worried about fashion, gossip, and hair and makeup charms. While Hermione could appreciate looking nice, it wasn’t the most important thing in her life.
Draco seemed to be losing his crush on Pansy, though he wouldn’t admit it to Hermione. He seemed to get annoyed with her quite easily and had told her to bugger off several times. A hurt look had passed her features, but she had quickly obeyed Draco, which made Hermione just a little sick. Hermione and Draco had been told their whole lives that they would be marrying for love, Pansy had not. She was expected to marry to further her family’s fortune and power and marrying Draco would certainly accomplish that.
The Slytherin plopped down into one of the chairs by the fire. Her aunt would have been horrified at her lack of grace, but nobody was there to see it. She had just pulled her book out of her bag when Draco came down the steps, bag slung over his shoulder. His eyes had shadows under them and Hermione couldn’t help but worry. She went to her feet and met her cousin halfway, pushing his hair off his forehead.
“Are you alright, Drake? You look terrible.” He batted her hands away from his face as he scowled at her.
“I’m fine, I just couldn’t sleep. I’ve had a headache all night.” Her hands went to her hips.
“Why didn’t you go to the Hospital Wing and see if Madam Pomfrey would give you a headache potion?” He rolled his eyes at her before starting for the door.
“Where do you think I’m headed now? Merlin, Miney, give a bloke some peace.” Hermione bit her lip guiltily. She followed behind him a few steps.
“Sorry, Drake. I was just worried. I didn’t mean to come on too strong.” He sighed and slowed down for her to catch up.
“I’m not angry. Let’s just go get my potion so I can eat something. Right now, my head hurts so bad I think I could throw up.” Hermione wrapped her hand around his arm and let him lead her to the Hospital Wing. Once they were there, Madam Pomfrey bustled out and clucked her tongue at them for being out so early. She supposed that she couldn’t blame her; it was only a little after seven.
“Are you two here for a reason?” Her tone was brusque, but Hermione didn’t get the impression that she was irritated with them. Draco was holding his head, so Hermione took the opportunity to speak for him.
“My cousin has had a headache all night, said he feels sick at his stomach. Can he have a headache potion?” With a quick smile, Madam Pomfrey hurried away and returned quickly with two vials in her hand. She handed one to him first.
“This one is a headache potion. Take it first.” Draco was quick to swallow it down and Hermione could tell instantly that it had given him relief. He smiled at the mediwitch before he was handed another potion.
“A pepper-up. It’s obvious you didn’t sleep last night, young man.” Hermione watched in undisguised amusement as her cousin drank it down and steamed at the ears. Once he had handed back the vials, Draco bowed slightly at the mediwitch.
“Thank you, Madam Pomfrey. I appreciate it.” She smiled back but made a shooing motion to herd them towards the door. Once they were back in the corridor, Hermione turned to make her way back down to the Great Hall when she ran into a wall. She felt Draco jerk her back roughly, which caused her to almost stumble, but he caught her round the waist. After glaring at him for a moment, she turned her attention into what she had hit, and her stomach lurched.
All her occlumency shields went flying up.
While she always had basic shielding in place now, it was possible that an accomplished legilimens would be able to peer into her mind, though she would always know when it was happening. Their godfather had made sure of that. He told them that they weren’t quite as good as he was, but he attributed that to the fact that he had decades of practice where they only had years.
Albus Dumbledore, esteemed Headmaster of Hogwarts, was peering down at her with a distasteful look on his face. He was wearing a lurid set of pastel purple robes and a pointed hat that completed his ridiculous ensemble. His hands were clenched tightly at his side as he spoke.
“You might watch where you’re going, Miss Black. One wouldn’t want you to come to injury.” Hermione wanted to snort at his words but decided that she needed to keep the meeting as short as possible.
“Sorry, sir, we weren’t expecting anyone else to be out and about quite this early.” She could feel a gentle probing of her mind and couldn’t help but smirk when he met her eyes after realizing that he wasn’t going to get in.
“That’s illegal, sir. My father told me that it’s against the law for anyone to probe the mind of a child under the age of seventeen without their parent’s express permission. Somehow, I doubt my father told you that it was alright.” The Headmaster gave her a kindly smile.
“I was merely trying to ascertain that you weren’t injured, my dear. We wouldn’t want your pride to get in the way of your health.” Hermione was livid and knew she should keep her mouth shut but just couldn’t make herself.
“I know when I’m injured and when I’m not. I assure you, your mind probes aren’t needed.” He bowed slightly to her before stepping out of their way.
“You should hurry along to breakfast before Mr. Goyle and Mr. Crabbe eat all the sausages.” Draco took her hand in his and began pulling her down the corridor, not giving her a chance to speak again. Taking the chance that Uncle Sevvie might still be in his office, they headed there next, even though it was several floors away. Hermione was still seething but Draco was calming her down slowly with rhythmic strokes across her knuckles with his thumb. When their godfather opened the door and ushered them inside, she let out a sigh of relief.
“What has you two at my door this early in the morning?” Draco turned to her and gestured for her to tell the story. She quickly filled her uncle in and watched his reaction. Fury flitted across his features but was quickly replaced by amusement.
“I assume that you had all your shields in place?” She gave a resolute nod.
“Absolutely. He saw nothing. I know I shouldn’t have told him that I knew but I couldn’t help myself.” Uncle Sevvie bent and kissed the top of her head and then duplicated the gesture on Draco.
“No, it was brilliant. He knows you know now and he’ll be afraid to try again for fear of prosecution. He already has one charge on his record pertaining to you, another would get him sacked. He’s going to assume that if you’re skilled in occlumency that Draco is as well. He’ll watch himself around you both from here on out. Your father, Lucius, and I discussed this not that long ago, trying to decide how long he would wait before he tried. Your father wanted me to tell you when it happened that you did well, keep up the good work, and continue to do your best to stay away from him. I find it’s good advice.” Hermione and Draco both nodded their understanding.
They bid their uncle farewell and headed back towards breakfast where they should have been quite awhile ago. It was almost over when they got there but they were able to eat a plate before it all disappeared. Hermione let her thoughts drift while they ate, Draco making excuses for them to their friends, explaining about his headache through the night. It had been just the day before that the Weasley twins had made their way the Great Hall and stood before her at the Slytherin table.
*Flashback*
Hermione was poring over her Defense Against the Dark Arts text with Daphne as they ate breakfast. The whole school was in attendance, there didn’t seem to be many students having a lie in that day. Surprising, honestly, since most students waited until the last second possible before stumbling their way to breakfast. A hush fell at the Slytherin table and Hermione glanced up to see what the problem was. Hermione saw that Draco was focused on someone behind her, so she turned to see who it was.
Fred and George Weasley, the arseholes who had fed her a potion that made that at hideous phrase appear on her face.
Hermione didn’t stand, she knew that it was rude, but it was less than they deserved. Draco, however, stood from the other side of the table, spine straight and shoulders thrown back.
“Is there anything we can help you with, gentlemen?” Hermione could see that the last thing he wanted to do was be polite to them, but it was expected of him, especially with an audience. Their behavior had to be beyond reproach. One of them, she wasn’t sure which, stepped forward a little before speaking.
“We wanted to formally apologize for our actions a few days ago. We were trying to come up with a fun prank for you guys, something to make everyone laugh, but it ended up being malicious and hurtful. We realize that now and we wanted to apologize for victimizing you.” As much as Hermione didn’t like them at the moment, it was clear that they were remorseful. She really didn’t think that they had thought their actions out, even Uncle Sevvie had confirmed that from their discussions in detention. Draco’s eyes flicked to her and then he cocked an eyebrow, showing her that whatever happened next was up to her.
Since they had come and offered a public, formal apology, Hermione knew that she would have to respond in kind. Hoping that she didn’t regret her decision in the future, she stood, climbed out of the bench seat and turned to the twins. She only came up to their shoulders, still the smallest girl in their year.
“I accept your apology and move that we put this incident behind us. I restore your honor and hope that we can move forward from this as friends.” Both twins looked flabbergasted at her words. Hermione held her hand out and both were quick to continue in pureblood custom, proof that they weren’t completely ignorant of their heritage. First one stepped forward and took her hand before bowing over it and kissing her knuckles, then the other followed suit. Draco seemed reluctant but when they stepped back, he gestured for them to sit.
“Share a meal with us. We don’t bite.”
The twins were quick to sit on either side of Hermione, sandwiching her between them. It was clear that the rest of the snakes were unsure how to take it that the Weasley twins were not only sitting at their table but were displaying pureblood mannerisms that nobody had been quite sure that they had been aware of. To Hermione, it was clear that their parents, while not holding much stock in the old ways, had still passed them onto their children as their heritage demanded. Hermione understood to a point. She thought that most of the customs and such were ridiculous, but her father had insisted that she have the knowledge anyways. She thought it was sound advice. It was always better to know and choose not to use it than to be completely ignorant.
While she had been nervous about Draco inviting the Weasleys to eat with them, her fears were quickly quashed. They were talkative and quite funny once you got past their extremely outgoing personalities. They talked about their pranks and their dreams of opening their own joke shop someday and some of the older students that had been listening in were quick to say that they could see it being a success. When they admitted to having a bit of a problem with one of the potions for some product they were making, Hermione kindly pointed them in the direction of a book that would help them after extracting a promise that they wouldn’t use it on unsuspecting students. They were most grateful.
Neville had joined them for a short period of time, long enough to ask if she could help him with his potions assignment that evening in the library. With a warm smile, she had agreed, and he had went about his way. The twins looked confused and she had explained that a group of them got together almost every night and worked on homework together. As they were leaving, the pair promised that they would stop in sometime and see what it was all about. Hermione didn’t expect them to follow through since they didn’t seem to be academically inclined if didn’t have to do with a prank, but the thought was nice.
Having two less enemies was nice as well.
*End of Flashback*
Slytherins and Gryffindors had Defense Against the Dark Arts this morning, followed by a free period. The teacher was an odd sort, Professor Quirrell. He was the jumpiest person she had ever seen and didn’t seem to be all that knowledgeable about his subject. Most of the snakes made fun of him because he smelled so strongly of garlic and wore a turban. Hermione tried to stay above all that, she didn’t like to be made fun of after all, but she could admit privately to herself that he was her least favorite teacher.
While the other teachers seemed to act like Harry was just another student, Professor Quirrell was constantly singling him out, asking his opinion on things and making references to killing the Dark Lord. It was different to say the least but who was she to say anything? The Headmaster had been the one to hire him, he would have to be the one to do something about his odd behavior.
The bell rang while she was contemplating her upcoming class. Hermione heaved a sigh, braced herself for another useless lesson, and allowed Draco to lead her out of the Great Hall.
-O-
Albus paced the length of his office that evening, waiting for Harry Potter to arrive. It would be his first meeting with the boy and he had to make sure that he knew exactly who he could trust and who he couldn’t. It wasn’t that he didn’t think Harry couldn’t make good decisions on his own, but the fate of their world depended on him making the right decision.
He had kept a careful eye on Harry from afar since the beginning of school. His teachers, all aside from Severus, claimed that he was a quiet, talented boy that was strong in magic. This gave him hope. If they trained him well enough, he could save their world where nobody else could.
His mind drifted to the Black chit. She was a thorn in his side and had obviously been taught occlumency at a young age to be as accomplished as she was. He could break through her shields if he had enough time but there was no way that that could ever happen now that she knew he was a legilimens. It would land him in Azkaban quicker that he could say quidditch. He attributed her skill in the subject to her father hiring someone to specifically keep him out her mind and where she was skilled, he could almost guarantee that the Malfoy boy was as well.
To his surprise, neither child had caused any trouble yet. Albus had expected them to instantly start problems with Harry or try to woo him to their side. So far, Black had been friendly but hadn’t pushed too hard. He had caught her watching him across the Great Hall but other than that, there was nothing beyond reproach.
In the split second she hadn’t had her more extensive shields up this morning when she had ploughed into him, he had caught just one small wisp of thought. Make friends with Harry. Whether it was a wish or an order, Albus had no idea but it was what had prompted this meeting today. There was no way that he could allow that friendship to happen when he knew that Sirius had an ulterior motive.
All those years ago, he had somehow managed to convince the ICW of his innocence. The only thing that had saved him and young Harry was the fact that Mugwump Chalmers had been a childhood friend. He had merely explained the importance of keeping Harry safe, so he could save them again in the future and his old friend had been more than happy to use his power of veto to help him.
The other two charges had been complete dragon shite, however. He truly had thought that the Potters had filed the paperwork to fund the war, so he didn’t think that he should have been held responsible for going after the money once they were dead. As for the charge he received regarding Miss Black, that was shite too. He had meant to hit her father with that spell, not her. He most assuredly wasn’t too broken up about hitting her, especially after she had blown his wand from his hand afterwards but hitting her had not been his intention.
Albus was pulled from his speculation by a knock on the door. He waved his hand and saw Harry walk in sheepishly, hand on the back of his neck. His eyes were darting all around him, probably nervous and thinking that he was in trouble. Albus needed to put him at ease and smiled kindly.
“Please, young Harry, take a seat.” He made sure that he took the seat behind his desk, gesturing for the boy to take the one in front of him. He knew that his eyes were twinkling and could see that it put the boy at ease.
“You aren’t in trouble, dear boy. I just wanted to have a chat with you and see how your year was progressing thus far.” With a relieved breath, he grinned at the Headmaster and he was instantly reminded of James after he had pulled a prank.
“School’s been going good so far. I have a few friends and classes are going well. I’m trying to be careful not to fall behind.” Albus nodded encouragingly.
“I hear you received a detention on the second day of school with the rest of your classmates.” The boy blushed and lowered his eyes but nodded.
“Yes, sir. It was for laughing at the prank the twins pulled on Hermione Black.” The boy was an open book and he could see quite clearly that he hadn’t laughed at the prank, had in fact thought it quite malicious. His thoughts about Hermione Black were teetering on a knife point since he was uncertain if he should accept her hand of friendship or shun her like his friend Ron. The twins seemed to not mind her now that they had spoken with her and Neville seemed quite close with her and the Malfoy boy. It would be something to consider later.
“Yes, that wasn’t the best showing of the Weasley twins charms. Though I understand why they did it.” Harry cocked his head to the side.
“You do?” Albus nodded sagely, noting that he had the boy hook, line, and sinker. He would believe anything he told him at this point.
“Have you heard the tale about your parents and how they were murdered?” Harry shrugged.
“Kind of. Hagrid told me a bit and then Ron told me that Sirius Black betrayed them but that’s really all I know.” Albus sighed for effect.
“Would you like to know?” Harry nodded eagerly.
“Yes, please.” He steepled his hands under his chin in front of his beard.
“Growing up, Sirius Black and your father were best friends. Sirius came from a notoriously dark family but had told everyone that he was shunning them, that he didn’t want to follow Voldemort. He moved in with your dad when he was only fifteen years old.
Once they graduated, your father was already engaged to your mother and they married young. Black was your father’s best man and he played the part seamlessly. It took about a year before Lily fell pregnant with you. They were all in the Order, were all on missions quite regularly, some that went terribly wrong. I have since suspected that Black sabotaged them in the some way, though I’ll probably never know. Your mother became an off-duty member, meaning that she attended meetings and such but didn’t participate until you were born.
When you were born, your parents were so proud. I remember holding you for the first time at an Order meeting, that’s Order of the Phoenix, an organization devoted to fighting Voldemort, and you could just see the pride shining in their eyes. They had made Black your godfather, which means that he was charged with caring for you if anything were ever to happen to both of them. He seemed to be proud as well.
Your parents went into hiding after you were born for reasons that you don’t need to know right now. I cast what is called the fidelius charm on their home in Godric’s Hollow. That means that one person can know the location of the home and are referred to as the secret keeper. They can tell other people where the home is located but nobody else can, the spell prevents it. Your parents insisted on using Sirius Black as their secret keeper, saying that they trusted your life with him.
It held for a year. The night of Halloween in 1981, Lord Voldemort arrived at your home in Godric’s Hollow and struck your father down. He then went upstairs to where your mother was trying to protect you. He told your mother to move aside and she refused. He killed her for not listening and then turned his wand on you. When his curse hit you, however, the curse rebounded and hit him instead. Tell me how you think Lord Voldemort found your home.” Harry swallowed hard, the anguish clear on his face.
“Sirius Black had to have told him, right?” Albus nodded, pleased that the boy was quick-witted.
“Yes, Sirius Black told him.” Harry’s expression was one of pain.
“Why isn’t he in prison? If he was a supporter, if he betrayed my parents, why in the world isn’t he rotting in prison where he belongs?” Albus decided that they needed tea. He discreetly called for an elf and asked them to bring them the hot beverage and when it appeared, he poured a cup for Harry. The boy sipped it and seemed to calm slightly. Albus continued.
“He knew that he was going to be implicated since he was the only person that could divulge the whereabouts of your parent’s home. He went to their other friend Peter Pettigrew’s house and threatened him before apparating him away. Nobody ever saw Pettigrew again after that. Sirius was seen in Hogsmeade where he took the life of an auror and fled the scene.” Albus paused and took a drink of his own tea.
“Sirius had received a missive earlier that day telling him that his niece had been orphaned. Her father had been a Death Eater and her mother was Erise Malfoy, young Draco’s aunt. She had been killed that day and the child had been transported to St. Mungo’s, the magical hospital. Sirius had been named caretaker since he was the last of the Black line. He retrieved her before the aurors could get there and fled to his ancestral manor. There, he adopted his niece through blood magic.
Now what you aren’t aware of is that the system regarding laws in the wizarding world are very old and outdated. What is important to you is that there is a law in effect that states if a pureblood child has only one pureblood parent, that parent can’t go to Azkaban and leave behind an orphan. Complete rubbish, but that was the law. Still is for that matter. Sirius was sent on his way with a half a million galleon fine once the Wizengamot realized that they couldn’t send him to Azkaban for the deaths of your parents or the death of the young auror.
He has since claimed his title as Lord Black and has traveled the pureblood circles, the very ones that he claimed to hate once upon a time. He has embraced the Malfoys, known Death Eaters, and he raised his daughter with their son, cousins though they are. They’ve all been thick as thieves since.” Albus could see the tears that the boy was trying to hide. Since he didn’t want to embarrass him further, he acted like he didn’t see anything.
“Hermione told me on the train that it wasn’t true, that the ICW believed him. What does that mean? Was he really innocent?” Albus growled internally. This was more than he wanted to reveal.
“He came to retrieve you from me a few days after your parents died. He claimed to be innocent and I told him that I wouldn’t be revealing your whereabouts because I was quite certain that he wanted to kill you himself. He had Hermione with him that day, she was only two years old. We dueled over the fact that I wouldn’t give your location to him and one of my spells hit Hermione. She reacted as any two-year-old would. She screamed.
However, her screams were full of magic. My wand was snatched by a wind, her bindings fell to her feet and she stepped in front of her injured father and in no uncertain terms told me that I wouldn’t harm her father again. Even then, she was dangerous and completely devoted to her father.” A look of awe was on his young charge’s face. Albus continued before he could expound on that look.
“Sirius took me to the International Confederation of Wizards. It’s like an international court. He charged me with cursing his daughter and tried to gain custody of you. Since he had the memory of our duel that day removed from his daughter, I was charged with assault on a minor even though it was clear in the memory that I didn’t mean to hit her with the spell. However, I wasn’t angry. My spell did indeed hit her, and she didn’t deserve that.” He knew that he was winning points with him by admitting the truth.
“When it came time for us to present our cases regarding custody of you, it was my word against his. They did find that he was innocent but the Supreme Mugwump suspected that he had paid off numerous members of the governing body. Therefore, he used his power of veto to revoke the charge and let you stay with your aunt and uncle, deeming Sirius unable to contact you until you were seventeen or you contacted him first.”
Albus could see the thoughts whirring around in his mind, taking in all the details and trying to make sense of them. He let Harry sit there for several minutes in silence. Deciding that he wanted to make his point, he spoke again.
“I would strongly advise you to stay clear of Miss Black and Mr. Malfoy. While they may sincerely want to be your friends, there is always the chance that they want to hand you over to the man who caused the deaths of your parents. Believe me when I tell you that that isn’t something that I want to see happen.” Harry nodded jerkily.
“Yes, sir. I can see that’s the best way forward. I’ll just continue to ignore to them both.” Albus nodded happily, his eyes twinkling again.
“Very good, Harry. If you have nothing else to report, I’ll let you be on your way. I’m sure you have more important things to do with your evening besides spend it with an old man.” Harry nodded and left his office in a daze. Albus smiled to himself.
Sirius wouldn’t ever get his hands on the Boy-Who-Lived now.
-O-
Harry wasn’t sure what to think about everything the Headmaster had just told him. Hearing about the deaths of his parents had broken his heart, he had broken down crying for Merlin’s sake. It was Sirius Black’s fault that he was subjected to living with his horrid aunt, uncle, and cousin instead of his parents.
He swiped his arm angrily over his eyes, wiping away the first sight of tears.
Harry stalked through the corridors, angry now as he continued to think about what the Headmaster had told him. Killing his father’s friend and then killing an auror, all so he could adopt his orphaned niece and get out of prison in the end. It was the dumbest thing he had ever heard but he wasn’t surprised. It seemed that fate wanted to punish him for something.
Ron, Dean, and Seamus had apparently come looking for him and met up with him just a few corridors away from the Headmaster’s office. Ron bounded up to him, wide smile on his face.
“Fred and George told us that there is secret entrance to the kitchen and if we find it, the elves will give us food whenever we want it. Want to come help look?” Harry nodded. He needed to get his mind off the meeting with the Headmaster before things started exploding around him.
The four of them searched for over an hour, tickling every portrait they found. It was the only clue that the twins would give them, so they were determined to tickle every single one. Harry was growing tired and bored, however, and was just about to suggest that they call it quits for the night when a group of Slytherins rounded the corner, obviously heading back to their common room. Ron cracked his knuckles and sneered their way when he saw that Hermione was leaning on her cousin’s shoulder, half asleep as they walked. Harry now felt revulsion when he laid eyes on her.
“What have we here? More incestuous displays between first cousins. Merlin, you two need to set your sights higher.” Harry wanted to shake his head in frustration. He didn’t understand why Ron couldn’t just leave the two of them alone. Hermione was just about to step forward when Draco shuffled her behind him and glared at the lot of them.
“Why are you so obsessed with my cousin and I? Which one of us do you have a crush on? I assure you, it isn’t returned by either of us so it would be appreciated if you could turn your wandering eye somewhere else. Maybe the two blokes on your right. They seem to like you just fine.” Dean and Seamus stepped forward menacingly.
“Ron’s not a poofter and he doesn’t have a crush on the traitor. He just doesn’t understand how the pair of you are so close if you aren’t shagging. Maybe that little temporary tattoo on her face was right.” Hermione was trying to get around her cousin, but he was holding her back with his greater height and weight. Draco was livid, she could see that, but Crabbe and Goyle were the ones to step forward first.
“Don’t talk about our friends like that. Hermione is eleven, she isn’t a slag. She was raised better than that.” Seamus laughed.
“Says you. Maybe you should ask Malfoy.” Harry couldn’t believe that it escalated like it did when Goyle stepped forward and punched Seamus right in the nose. Dean threw himself in the fight, as did Crabbe, and the four of them ended up wrestling on the floor before the rest of them. None of the boys moved to stop them. Hermione, however, finally shoved her cousin with all her strength out of her way and ran forward to help pull the boys apart. Dean’s elbow caught her in the face and knocked her on her arse, blood now running down her face to stain her robes. Draco pulled his wand and a loud boom sounded, bringing the four boys to halt so he could bend down and help his cousin up.
“Can’t you ever leave well enough alone? Now look at you, you’ll have to be healed.” Nothing else was spoken before Professor Snape rounded the corner, fury dancing in his eyes.
“What is going on here? Why are you all on the floor and why is Miss Black’s nose bleeding?” Draco stepped forward, obviously the leader of the bunch.
“They stopped us on our way to the common room. Weasley was insulting Hermione and I like usual, insinuating that we’re in an incestuous relationship. We exchanged words, I told him that neither one of us had a crush on him, so he needed to look at his friends. They in turn made a comment about Hermione indeed being a slag and Goyle hit Finnegan. It became a brawl. Hermione got around me and tried to get them apart, but Thomas elbowed her in the face and knocked her down. I sounded the cannon to get them to stop.” Her uncle looked livid.
“Crabbe and Goyle, fifty points a piece from Slytherin for fighting in the corridors along with two detentions to be served with me. Finnegan and Thomas, fifty points a piece from Gryffindor and two detentions to be served with me. Thomas, an additional twenty points for injuring a student that was trying to help you end the fight. Weasley, twenty points for starting the altercation and Mr. Malfoy, ten points for not walking away.” He looked at Potter.
“Ten points from you, Potter, for doing nothing, especially when a girl was injured. Chivalry should not be dead. Miss Black, thirty points for trying to break up a fight involving four people that are larger than you. Everyone get out of my sight aside from Miss Black and Mr. Malfoy.” Harry was grumbling to himself as the four of them made their way back to the common room
It was clear that Snape was showing favoritism, who else would take points for not breaking up a fight after a girl got hurt. He may have been inclined to help Hermione Black before his discussion with the Headmaster, but now he just wanted to be shot of her. No friendship was worth dying for.
Harry didn’t say a word to his dorm mates, just went upstairs and got ready for bed. It had been a shite day and all he wanted to do was cry himself to sleep over the death of his parents and his innocence.
-O-
Severus led them to his office once more. Once safely ensconced inside, his wand appeared, and he pointed it at his goddaughter, stopping the blood flow. A quick cleansing charm siphoned away the blood. He glanced at Draco.
“Is that really what happened?” He gave a nod.
“Every word was true.” Severus nodded.
“Crabbe and Goyle should have let them throw the first hit. If it had happened like that I wouldn’t have taken points. Make sure you tell them to be smarter about it. They’re Slytherins for Merlin’s sake.” Hermione laughed softly.
“I’ll tell them. Thank you for fixing me up.” He pulled them both in for a hug before kissing her head.
“You’re welcome. Now off you go, make sure all your homework is done for my class tomorrow or there will be points to be taken.” Hermione hugged him close and nodded.
“Yes, Uncle Sevvie.” He groaned.
“You’ve got to update that to Uncle Sev, you aren’t four anymore.” She chuckled as she released him and headed for the door.
“I’ll think about it. Love you, goodnight.” Draco mirrored her words but without the love you.
“I love you both. Good night and sleep well.”
The door closed behind them and Hermione ground her elbow into her cousin’s side.
“Don’t do that again. I don’t like being protected all the time.” Draco laughed openly at her.
“Don’t count on it. Your father and mine both expect me to protect you while we’re here. Once we start dueling, then I’ll consider letting you fight your own battles.” Hermione stuck her hand out to shake his.
“Deal.” They shook and started for their common room. Apparently, they had advice to pass on to Crabbe and Goyle. Hermione suddenly grinned.
“You know, they’re your friends so you get to tell them.” He heaved a deep sigh and nodded.
“Only if you beat me to the portrait hole and back.” Hermione took off without warning, laughing as he chased after her.
A/N- Another chapter down, y’all. Hope you all enjoyed it. Did I redeem the Weasley twins in your eyes? Leave me your thoughts, they make me smile!
Next up, the first flying lesson.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Lordy, don’t kill me everyone! I know the last chapter was harsh, but it had to be done! The title of the story is Blinded by Lies…anyways, I hope y’all forgive me. Big thanks to everyone out there that are following, favoriting, reading, and reviewing the story, you guys keep me motivated. I’ll be quiet now, so we can get on with the show.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing except the personal plot twist. There isn’t anything new under the sun, y’all. I haven’t made any money from this story or any others.
Chapter 11
September 15, 1991
Hermione had been dreading today since the day she had received her time table. It was their first day of flying lessons.
While she had been taught to fly at a very young age, her father and uncle had insisted, she didn’t do it well and she detested it. Hermione was quite accomplished at a height of two meters off the ground but any further and she froze up. Draco teased her mercilessly, he still did whenever the situation arose, but she couldn’t help it. She was terrified of plunging to her death after slipping off her broom.
Draco, of course, was an ace on a broom. Hermione was nothing but a ball of nerves every time she watched him, but her father and uncle encouraged him and cheered him on when he did something incredibly stupid above the trees of the family quidditch pitch. Draco owned the best broom that money had to offer while Hermione refused to let them buy her one. As if her cousin could tell that she was worrying internally, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders as they entered the Great Hall.
“You’re going to be fine, ‘Mi. Nothing is going to happen to you, there will be a professor there the whole time. Your father and mine never let you fall, she won’t either.” Hermione nodded her head but remained silent. Nothing he could say would calm her nerves to where she didn’t have to worry about it.
The pair dropped down into their usual seats at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall. Draco instantly began dishing himself up a large breakfast while Hermione spooned a small amount of eggs and a piece of toast onto her own. She had never been a big eater, just eating enough to where her belly wasn’t growling anymore. Draco jumped into a conversation with Theo and Blaise about their lessons that afternoon, so Hermione tuned them out. Since the girls were discussing the new winter line of clothing in France, Hermione paid them no mind either. Her mind flitted momentarily to her homework for the day, sure that she had finished it all.
Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Charms were on the agenda for the day. Since her godfather was determined to help her become friends with Harry, for the first time ever, he had assigned seats and they were forced to sit with someone of the opposite house. Hermione was paired with Harry while Draco was paired with Parvati. Hermione had thought for sure that he would enjoy working with such a beautiful girl, but he did nothing but complain about how stupid she was. Even though it was mean, Hermione couldn’t help but giggle just a little.
Not that Harry was much better. Where he did rather well in his other classes, he was truly terrible in Potions. She wasn’t sure if it was her uncle’s caustic remarks the first day of class or the fact that none of the Gryffindors seemed to enjoy the subject, but he couldn’t brew anything to save his life. Hermione found it endearing. She was terrible at flying and he was terrible at potions.
Hermione couldn’t help but notice that her would-be brother was just a little bit cute. Not in a classic way like Draco or Theo but in a real, down-to-earth way that spoke to her. His hair was unkempt, and his glasses were thick, but the fact remained that he was what Hermione would dub as good-looking. She could never tell anyone, however, not even Draco. The teasing would never stop.
Originally, Hermione had thought that he was starting to warm up to her, he didn’t treat her like the rest of the lions. That hope died after that altercation in the corridor between Seamus, Dean, Vince, and Greg. She wasn’t sure why that had made it change, but it was obvious that it had.
Harry now ignored her completely, even when she spoke directly to him. Their fourth Potions class had seen her telling him quietly that he shouldn’t add the daisy root yet, that it came after the rat spleens. However, he hadn’t appreciated it. He had exploded at her, screaming at her for the room to hear that he didn’t need help from a know-it-all, traitorous, swot. Hermione had been so stunned that she had just stared at him, confused as to what she had done wrong.
Her house had jumped to her defense, all of them righteously indignant that their princess had been spoken to like that. Hermione had ruthlessly held back her tears while her godfather had taken fifty points and assigned detention for not having the sense to listen to advice that would net him a passing grade. The rivalry that had been brewing already exploded full force after that.
There were skirmishes in the corridors now, mostly between Greg, Vince, Seamus, Dean, and Ron, but her snake friends were always extremely careful to never get caught. Twice now, Hermione had left her parchment alone on a table in the library while she fetched a book and come back to find it destroyed, ink spilled over the whole thing. Draco had been shoved into an empty classroom and locked there for hours before Hermione had found him.
This didn’t mean that the Slytherins were innocent, because they weren’t. The girls were vicious, Pansy especially. She had given a hair loss potion to one of the house elves and convinced it to put it in both bathrooms that belonged to Gryffindor first years. Lavender, Faye, Dean, and Ron had all reported to their Head of House completely bald. They had been horrified and Pansy had laughed for days.
Hermione knew for a fact that after Ronald had called her a traitorous hag, Draco had overheard plans that he had made with the other boys to look for the entrance to the kitchens. Draco had told their godfather and later learned that it had gotten all the boys aside from Neville a point loss and detention. The whole situation was ridiculous, and Hermione hated it, but she couldn’t put a stop to everything.
Neville was the only one that remained above it all and by unspoken agreement, both sides left him out of it. He usually sat with his Gryffindor friends at meals but spent time with his Slytherin friends in the library in the evenings. Harry usually didn’t instigate the problems between their house, but he was never one to back down when he was involved by association.
Hermione had written home to her father about it but there really wasn’t anything that he could do about it from there. He had just told her to keep her eyes open and always be careful, that there would always be people out there that wanted to hurt and humiliate her because of who she was. He had been extremely pleased to hear that the Weasley twins had formally apologized for the prank they had played on her as well.
To her surprise, the Weasley twins seemed to have no interest in pranking her or her friends. They had shown up in the library one evening, much to Hermione’s surprise, and worked on potions with her. The rivalry between their houses was already underway and they had promised her that if they weren’t targets, they would refrain from pranking her whole year. They also added the proviso that Ron couldn’t get seriously injured but there hadn’t been anything malicious done to anyone. Yet. Hermione seriously worried about what would happen as they got older.
Breakfast ended before she could ruminate further. She and her friends gathered their bags and started for Potions, one of her all-time favorite classes. However, since she had done all this work years ago it still bored her some. Her father had started sending on work for her and Draco from Madam Cambridge, assigning them research on certain spells and subjects. Draco figured that they were already well into their fourth-year studies in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Spell Theory, and Wards. Of course, the latter two weren’t offered at Hogwarts but Hermione didn’t care. They were interesting subjects and she planned to continue them.
They all started for the dungeons, ready to start with potions. She and Draco were the only ones in class that were advanced, but Theo and Daphne held their own. They weren’t great but with practice they could be. The rest of her friends were just as hopeless as Harry, but she didn’t care, and they didn’t seem to either. Hermione would always be grateful that her godfather had saw fit to teach her and Draco at a young age.
Their group filed in and took their seats, arriving earlier than the Gryffindors. Hermione used to look forward to sitting with Harry but since his change in attitude, she almost dreaded it. She was still determined to befriend him, but the situation was looking more and more bleak every day. Since today was going to be a lecture class, Hermione pulled her notes from her bag along with her quill and ink. Class had become much easier for her since she started using her notes from her younger years when she had originally learned the information. She did glean new information, she had a different teacher after all, but for the most part, the information was the same.
The lions skulked into class only a couple minutes before her uncle was due to arrive, a brave move on their part. Uncle Sevvie got angry when they weren’t prepared and ready to begin when he entered his class. Harry took the seat next to her sullenly and when she met his gaze for just a moment, he glared at her. She quickly turned her eyes to the front where her godfather had just entered.
Uncle Sevvie launched into a lecture about the forgetfulness potion, brewed to make the drinker forgetful. It wasn’t a terribly difficult potion, it was on the first-year curriculum after all, but Hermione still checked that her notes were immaculate. She could feel the glower coming from the other half of the table, more so than usual, and she wondered if he hadn’t slept well or something. She didn’t recall hearing anything from her friends about pranks played on him the evening before.
When her uncle ended his lecture, there were only a few minutes left before the bell rang. Hermione put the lid on her ink and stored it away in her bag, her quill following. She had just restacked her sheaves of parchment when Harry spat out a question at her.
“Are you so much a swot that you take notes before you even get here? Isn’t the point of coming to class to take notes? No wonder they call you a teacher’s pet.” It wasn’t the most malicious thing he had ever said to her, but it still stung. She tried not to answer angrily like she wanted; the last thing she wanted to do was make this whole rivalry worse.
“No, they’re notes from Madam Cambridge, my tutor. I learned all this years ago, I just saved my notes. I use them now, so I don’t have to do the work all over again.” His next words hurt.
“A tutor paid for with money from your traitor father. I know what he did. You can warn him that I won’t rest until I see him thrown in Azkaban, you with him if I discover you’re helping him.” Hermione fought the sting of tears.
“Helping him what? He isn’t doing anything. He isn’t a traitor and he’s an excellent father. You would have had a happy life if you had come to live with us.” Harry sneered her way before leaning over her menacingly.
“Your father is the reason I don’t have a father.” Hermione didn’t even get to say anything in return because he spun around and stormed off only seconds after the bell ringing. Draco was instantly at her side, his hand wrapping around her arm gently.
“What was that? You look like you’re about to cry.” Hermione brushed the lone tear that had escaped from her cheek before she smiled at him.
“He just threatened to put dad in Azkaban, me along with him, if he finds out I’m helping him. I’m not sure with what but it’s clear that Dumbledore got to him. I don’t have any chances left to become his friend.” Draco tugged one of her curls before pulling her out of the classroom.
“Don’t give up hope. It may not happen for awhile but eventually he’s going to start questioning things. When that happens, you’ll be there.” Hermione turned now teary eyes to her cousin and couldn’t help her whisper.
“What if he’s been so mean to me by then that I don’t want to be friends anymore? Dad will be so disappointed.” Draco wrapped an arm around her waist and hugged her tightly from the side.
“Don’t borrow trouble. If it comes to that, we’ll deal with it then. Until then, we’ll just stay out of his way.” Hermione nodded and hugged her cousin back.
She tried to bolster her spirits as they made their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. It was her least favorite class, the professor was quite odd. While she and Draco weren’t dueling yet, they had already learned several hexes and curses, could cast a shield on the fly, and knew about many dark creatures. Not only was the class a joke for her and Draco, it was a joke for the rest of the students as well since their professor seemed to have no idea what he was doing.
Hermione and Draco settled at their table together, pulling their notes from their bags. The rest of the students filed in and took their seats, removing their parchment, ink, and quills. Hermione wished she could just take a nap in this class, but she knew that if she would get caught, she’d get detention and then her father would be disappointed, not to mention Uncle Sevvie.
Harry entered last with Ron and Parvati, the trio laughing quietly about who knew what. It still rubbed her the wrong way that he was such good friends with Parvati when he wouldn’t give her the time of day unless it was to insult or hurt her. They took their usual seats, Ron and Harry together and Parvati with Lavender. Professor Quirrell entered right after and immediately launched into his lecture about vampires.
Since that was one subject that she and Draco hadn’t covered with Madam Cambridge, Hermione took diligent notes, but promised herself that she would fact check everything he told them in the library later. Half the things that he was saying didn’t seem to make any sense. The attention of the whole class seemed to wander though the man didn’t notice. When the bell finally rang, Hermione gathered her things and was one of the first ones out of the classroom. Something about Professor Quirrell gave her the creeps. She just wished that she could pinpoint what it was.
She and Draco followed their friends down to lunch in the Great Hall. It was fish and chips today, one of Hermione’s all-time favorite meals so she loaded her plate more than usual. Pansy and Daphne laughed at her, surprised that she was going to try to take on a plate that size, but she waived them off. Draco was caught in conversation with Greg and Vince, apparently trying to explain to them the potion that they had just learned about in class.
Lunch passed without incident. When Hermione finally ate her fill, she waited for her cousin patiently. Charms was next and while she excelled at it, it wasn’t her favorite. It saddened her heart that the one subject true to her heart, transfiguration, probably wouldn’t be offered to her beyond what she learned at Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster were the only masters in Britain and they both seemed to hate her.
While Hermione earned her fair share of points in that class, it was still obvious that the professor didn’t like her the way she did her own cubs. She tried not to take offense. Her godfather couldn’t stand most Gryffindors; the only one he was interested in knowing at a deeper level was Harry and right now that was off the table. Hermione sighed. She just wished that they were able to act without restrictions.
She and her friends entered Charms with no fanfare. Professor Flitwick was one of the few that didn’t treat Hermione like she was trash because her father was a “traitor”. She wasn’t sure why, but it was reassuring all the same. Ron had told the class one day that she shagged her cousin every night and instead of turning his head like the others probably would have, pretending they hadn’t heard, Professor Flitwick had deducted points and put the redhead in detention. Hermione was more grateful than she could say and had made sure to stay behind and thank her professor after class.
Professor Flitwick had reassured her that he didn’t listen to gossip and no matter what the Headmaster had said, he had attended the ICW court date so long ago that determined that Sirius was most likely innocent. In her gratitude, she had hugged him tight for a few moments before she remembered that she wasn’t supposed to act that way, but the half-goblin had laughed at her softly and sent her on her way. Since, it had become her second-favorite class. If she couldn’t pursue a Transfiguration mastery, she would pursue her second favorite subject.
Today they were learning the softening charm. She added what notes she could to her already immaculate ones, noting that Draco did the same. She was completely flabbergasted by most of the classes’ lack of attention. Harry was one of the few that actually paid attention and attempted notes. Once again, she found herself wishing that he would just listen to her, so he could benefit from extra teaching as well.
The class ended without time to practice the spell, not something that worried Hermione. Since the time she had received her wand, she had taken the time to practice every spell she had ever learned. It had taken a few weeks, but that time had proved to her that she was indeed ahead of her peers in many ways.
Class dismissed without further ado and Hermione couldn’t be more nervous. It was time for their flying lessons and she dreaded it more than anything she could recall in recent history. She allowed Draco to pull her out of class and through the corridors to the door that led them down to the quidditch pitch where the lessons were taking place. She could see Draco’s eyes gleaming when the hoops came into sight; he had made clear that he was planning to try out for the team the next year since first years weren’t allowed. His love for quidditch was surpassed only by his love for her and even though she hated that he wanted to play such a dangerous sport, she hoped that he would make it on the team.
Madam Hooch was already waiting outside for them, brooms lined up on the ground in two rows. For once, the Gryffindors had beat them there, obviously excited for their lesson. Hermione knew that Harry had never flown and since Dean, Faye, and Sally were all muggleborn, they hadn’t either. When it came to the skill of the others, she wasn’t sure, but they seemed excited just the same. It made her smile just a little, seeing people excited for something that scared her to death.
Draco rubbed comforting circles between her shoulder blades, knowing that her level of tension was out of this world. The others, even those in her own house, were shooting them weird looks. Finally, it was Daphne that approached and asked what they were all wondering.
“What’s wrong, ‘Mi?” Hermione scrubbed her face with her hands and Draco started to step in front of her, with a smart retort she was sure. She hurried and answered before there would be hurt feelings within her own house.
“I hate flying. I know how but the thought of falling scares the life out of me.” Rather than make fun of her as Pansy might have, Daphne pulled her into a quick hug and flashed her a sympathetic smile.
“Nobody is going to let anything happen to you, ‘Mi. You’re our friend and we would never let anyone make fun of you either.” Hermione laughed a nervous laugh.
“I don’t know, this is just the kind of thing Pansy would laugh at.” Draco nodded but Daphne shook her head.
“If she does, I’ll prank her myself.” Hermione appreciated the show of loyalty. Daphne had never really acted like she was in awe at Hermione’s last name; they had mostly got along because they both had a love for learning. After learning that she was almost royalty in the pureblood world, it was most welcome to have a friend that didn’t care about her parentage. She was pulled away from her friend by Madam Hooch beginning their lesson.
“I want you all to step up to a broom, Slytherins on one side, Gryffindors on the other. Once there, hold your hand out over your broom and say ‘up’.” Hermione stepped up next to her cousin and did as she was instructed. She knew that she had the confidence to make the broom respond, it was in the air that she got nervous.
“Up.” The broom flew into her hand and Draco turned to smile at her. His had responded even faster. To her surprise she s aw that Harry’s broom slapped into his hand in less that a second. It was a very good possibility that he would be a strong flier. Their professor was encouraging those of them that the broom didn’t respond to immediately. Parvati was one, and she was exclaiming that she wasn’t used to brooms, only flying carpets. Hermione couldn’t help but be jealous. A flying carpet would be an amazing experience.
After several minutes, everyone had their brooms in their hands. There was an air of excitement surrounding them all and Hermione sighed. It seemed as though she was the only one less than excited about flying. Madam Hooch was speaking again.
“Everyone mount your brooms and lift the handle slightly. It will lift you in the air. Do nothing else, I want you to just hover there for a few moments.” Hermione was alright with this. A meter off the ground didn’t bother her. The class was quick to comply, and despite the instructions, Dean Thomas started rising further in the air.
“Mr. Thomas, lower the handle of your broom and come back down with the rest of us. You have not been cleared for that height.” Hermione watched as he did lower the handle of his broom, but it just kept climbing. It was clear that someone had tampered with his broom and she wondered exactly who it was. By the look on Theo’s face, she suspected that it was him.
Madam Hooch was still hollering at him to come down, not realizing that there were other forces at play. Hermione could see the terror on the other boy’s face and she felt for him at that moment. They all watched it happen in slow motion; there was nothing else that she could do. Dean got high enough that he hit one of the outcroppings of the castle and knocked him off his broom. He went plummeting to the ground even though it was only five meters or so. When he landed on the ground, there was a sickening crack of bone.
Hermione watched sympathetically. Her first time flying she had fallen off and broken her arm. Her father and uncle had forced her back on, but the experience remained at the forefront of her mind. Madam Hooch landed and gestured for the rest of them to do so. She quickly checked on Dean and turned on the rest of the class.
“Mr. Thomas needs to go to the Hospital Wing. I’m going to deliver him and return here right after. You are all to wait her and stay on the ground. If I discover one of you has been in the air while I’m gone, you’ll be out of Hogwarts faster than you can say quidditch.” Hermione didn’t doubt her words, but it was obvious that the others did. Hermione could only hope that they would listen.
Madam Hooch stalked off with Dean at her side, his arm cradled against his chest in pain. Everyone else was now on the ground and Hermione couldn’t help a sigh of relief. Ron and Harry seemed to catch the sound and Ron pounced.
“Miss Pureblood Princess isn’t a real witch. She doesn’t like to fly, the most basic of magical functions.” Hermione’s temper flared, and she stepped forward.
“I know how to fly perfectly fine, I’ve been able to for years. The fact that I don’t like to means nothing.” Ron openly laughed at her, but Hermione held herself back.
“How can you call yourself a witch if you don’t like to fly?” Hermione ground her teeth together.
“I’m more of a witch than you’ll ever be a wizard. You skate through classes doing the bare minimum and you think that the world owes you something. Let me tell you now, it doesn’t. You need to start working hard now so you don’t end up a useless excuse for a wizard.” Seamus stepped forward, his wand in his hand, and shot a curse at Hermione. What, she wasn’t sure, since they had yet to learn any, but she easily cast a shield. Rather than Draco step forward and defend her, Theo did, broom in hand.
“You and me, Weasley, a race. If you win, we leave you alone the rest of the year. If I win, you apologize publicly to Hermione.” Everyone was nodding until Harry stepped forward.
“You go against me and if we’re caught by teachers, the deal is null and void.” Theo nodded and stepped forward, hand outstretched. The Gryffindors didn’t seem to understand what that meant, and Hermione began to seriously wonder if they knew anything. Finally, Harry stepped forward and shook his hand. Draco stepped forward and named the terms.
“You both race to the castle, slap the wall, and race back, The first one back wins.” Hermione knew that her cousin had faith in their friend. He had been flying just as long as they had, and he was quite good at it. Both boys nodded, and Draco shot sparks from his wand.
“Go!”
Harry and Theo took off like a bat out of hell, both racing with all they had to the castle wall. Theo, who was a conservative flier, barely hit the wall. Hermione was astounded at the ease in which Harry flew. It was obviously something that came naturally to him. When they hit the castle wall, Harry did some fancy loop that she had never seen before while Theo skimmed the surface of the castle with his fingertips. It was an all-out race back to their starting point, Theo barely winning in the end. Hermione felt triumphant until she looked over at the door leading to Hogwarts and saw Professor McGonagall striding out of the castle, red spots high in her cheeks.
“Just what in the devil is going on here?” The whole class remained silent until finally Parvati spoke.
“It was just a friendly race, Professor.” Professor McGonagall looked around and noticed the absence of Madam Hooch.
“Were you supposed to be flying without Madam Hooch here?” There were several seconds of silence before they all finally shook their heads no. The Gryffindor Head of House sighed and lowered her head before finally raising it and meeting their eyes.
“Thirty points from both Mr. Nott and Mr. Potter. I don’t see any need for detention since this is the first offense but if this happens again, there will be far more consequences.” The rest of the class nodded but their professor wasn’t finished.
“Mr. Potter, please come with me.” Hermione watched as he nodded meekly, sure that he was going to be in trouble. The rest of the class was silent until Madam Hooch reappeared only to quickly dismiss class. Hermione was thankful; the last thing that she wanted to do was face her fear in front of a bunch of people that would only laugh at her. Hermione threaded her arm through Draco’s and pulled her over to Theo’s side. Her friend gave her a confident smile.
“Don’t even apologize. We’re good as far as I’m concerned. I’d have done the same if it was Pansy or Daphne.” Hermione grinned at him, thankful that he was aware of how uncomfortable she would be. Instead, Hermione smiled.
“Actually, I wanted to thank you for what you did. I hate that we’re always in trouble but it’s nice knowing that our enemies have apologized at one point in their lives.” Theo nodded but turned on his heel and made his way over to Vince and Greg. Draco wrapped an arm around her and smiled.
“That was a lesson for everyone. The last thing we want is for someone to get the better of us. That could have easily happened to you.” Hermione felt shame at his words. Would she have let something happen if they hadn’t been so hateful? Her cousin seemed to realize her train of thought and smiled.
Not caring what was going on around them, Draco led her off the quidditch pitch and towards the castle. They entered the Great Hall with no fanfare, though everyone was still wondering just what McGonagall wanted with Potter. The Slytherins took their usual seats and the other grades even commiserated their tough time today.
Dinner appeared before them and Hermione ate the bare minimum since she didn’t have much appetite. She had fully expected for people from the Gryffindor table to come over and make fun of her, but they didn’t. To her surprise, they left the snakes completely alone. Not that she was complaining. Since there was nobody else to complain, Hermione let her fears float away so she could finish her dinner with less stress. This wasn’t meant to be, however. Harry, Ron, Dean, and Seamus all approached the Slytherin table, smiles on their faces. Even though they wore smiles, Hermione couldn’t help but disbelieve them. It was Ron that spoke.
“We wanted to thank Nott from the bottom of our hearts. Since McGonagall caught the two of them racing, she saw the moves Harry had and placed him on the house quidditch team. Youngest seeker in a century, all thanks to Nott.” Hermione couldn’t help but feel righteous indignation at their words. There weren’t any first years allowed on the team and they made an exception for Harry, most likely because of what his name was. Suddenly she was livid.
“You can gloat all you want but it all means nothing. There aren’t any first years allowed on the team and he isn’t on the team because of talent. He’s on there because his Head of House pulled strings with the Headmaster, someone who obviously favors your house. Trust me, this doesn’t gain any of our respect because it’s shady. If it wasn’t, you would be following the rules and fighting a fair fight against those others that are qualified to compete. Not to worry though, if you need something like this to boost your ego, by all means. None of my house is going to take the time to call you pathetic to your face.” Hermione didn’t wait to see what the reaction of the rest of her house was. She stood as regally as she could and stalked away, spine straight and chin raised high. Silence followed her and she didn’t mind. Once they were in the common room again, Theo spoke.
“How are we going to compete with that?” Draco snorted.
“Leave it to us. We’re going to go complain to Professor Snape. If he can’t do anything about it, we’ll believe him. Until then, there’s hope.” The rest of their house nodded before going their own separate ways.
-O-
Severus was livid. Hermione and Draco had just visited his office and told him the entire awful story. While he agreed that they should have all been punished, the fact that Potter was allowed on the school quidditch team was complete bullshite. Quidditch teams were meant for students in second year and above, students that earned their spots, and the fact that McGonagall had surpassed tradition was utter tripe. All it served was her being able to put a decent flier on her team that she thought would excel.
The worst part was that Severus agreed with her.
From the memories that his godson and goddaughter had provided him with showed that Potter was an exceptional flier. Severus would have been pleased to have his team fly against him in the future, win or lose, but the fact that he had made the team in a default manner made him sick.
Severus was on his way to the Headmaster’s office. Not that it mattered. He knew that Potter would be allowed to play no matter what he brought up in defense, but he still had to try for the rest of his house. He knew that Hermione and Draco would understand but the fact that nobody else did irked him. How were they supposed to set an example for the rest of Hogwarts if they proved that there were some that were above the rules?
Severus finally came to the griffin that led to the Headmaster’s office. He was usually more attentive to his younger children and if he had been he would have realized that there was a serious lack of respect at the moment but there wasn’t much that anyone could do now. Deciding to break the silence, Severus spoke.
“Today, our first years had their first flying lesson. It would have set the class right to know that there was nothing that we could hold against them. However, they were threatened with expulsion if they flew without the proper professor. It took several moments to be able to get the children under control. Members of both houses were flying at this point, everyone deserving of expulsion.”. It was clear that Severus was the most passionate about the situation. Once silence fell and had been present long enough, Dumbledore spoke.
“The score is even. There were no detentions, and nobody lost more points than the other.” Severus couldn’t fucking believe it. Somebody had insinuated that it was a fair interaction. He turned to the Headmaster and sneered.
“You’re going to tell me that you’re going to allow Minerva to allow the Potter boy to serve on the quidditch team, throwing all our rules for the last century down the toilet? Take points from my house and tell them that all is well while the other person is rewarded beyond measure?” Dumbledore held his hands out in placation.
“I just know that young Harry needs something to keep his mind off the horrors in his life. Quidditch is a good substitute. You can’t deny him that, Severus.” Severus leaned forward and met the eyes of his employer.
“This is bullshite, Headmaster, and you know it. All you’re doing is fostering hatred between the houses and encouraging them to hate each other. It’s going to be the downfall of our world.”
Severus knew that there was no use in hanging around now that the Headmaster wasn’t even going to listen to his words. He turned on his heel and stalked out of the Headmaster’s office, robes billowing behind him.
Nothing of what he had said had meant a single thing.
-O-
Harry was unsure as to how he felt about his appointment to the quidditch team. Sure, his friends were thrilled. Even Professor McGonagall seemed happy but that meant nothing when he considered the situation at hand. The fact that he was being rewarded a spot on the quidditch team while Nott was in trouble didn’t seem very fair.
Harry wanted to be normal more than anything else in the world. The fact that he was being lifted above all other made him somewhat sick, but he really had no idea what to do about the situation. It was clear that the rest of the school hated him since he had only won the position in a technicality; he wanted nothing more than for them to see that he deserved the position because he had worked hard for it.
That wasn’t what had happened though. Professor McGonagall had awarded him a spot on the team no matter what he said and no matter how he had protested. He supposed that there was nothing he could do about it now. Harry snuggled into his bed and considered his day.
Hermione Black was always at the forefront of his mind. He knew that she didn’t deserve his time or emotions, but he couldn’t help but feel terrible for how he treated her. Dumbledore himself had told him that he was proud of him for how he treated her, but it still made him sick to think that he was anything like Dudley.
Ron and Parvati assured him that he was right, that Hermione needed to keep her distance because of who she was, but a sliver of his soul knew that he was wrong. Still, he wasn’t quite ready to admit that his Headmaster was wrong. Therefore, he continued the path that he had sent him down, hating all those that may have had something to do with the man who was a traitor to his parents.
Harry sighed.
There wasn’t much that he could do about the situation, therefore, he kept his feelings close to his chest and only allowed Ron close enough to see them. While he adored Parvati, there was something about her that he just couldn’t trust. Harry sighed again.
He decided that he wasn’t going to dwell on the situation any longer. Closing his eyes and drawing the darkness around him like a warm blanket, he allowed himself to be drawn into the darkness. When he closed his eyes, his body relaxed, and it was only a moment or two before sleep pulled him under.
A/N- That’s another chapter down, y’all. Hope you enjoyed!! Leave me your thoughts after the beep and let me know what you think. Reviews make me smile.
Next up, a wizards’ duel.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back! Happy to hear that most of you are enjoying where I’m taking this story. There have been a few naysayers but that’s normal. Anyways, thanks to everyone again for supporting me in writing this story. Y’all are the bomb. Now that I’ve rambled on long enough, I’ll get started on the stuff you really want to read.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. The characters are JKR’s, I only use them for my own nefarious means. I’m sure that the plot has been done before by the hordes of fanfiction writers that came before me.
Chapter 12
October 18, 1991
Harry ran a hand through his unruly hair as he and Ron headed to breakfast. He suspected that someone had put itching powder or something of the like in his trunk. It sounded exactly like something that the twins would do. He would have suspected the Slytherins but there was no way that they had been able to get into his dormitory whereas the twins only had to open a door.
Ron was chattering next to him about something that Parvati and Lavender had said. Harry sighed. He liked both girls, he really did, but when they got together they were an unstoppable force of fashion and gossip. It wasn’t something that he particularly liked to listen to.
Parvati had started hanging around himself and Ron over a month ago. She was pleasant enough; the Indian girl was never mean or rude to him. He enjoyed having someone around that wasn’t Ron. Harry knew that Ron was his best mate but when he went off on his tangents that all Slytherins were evil, he just couldn’t handle it.
Since Parvati was always around, he couldn’t help but wonder if she was only feigning friendship because of who he was. He knew that while the boys in his dorm were genuine in their liking him, he knew that the older students that tried to befriend him were only doing so because he was famous or on the quidditch team. Harry snorted. He wished he wasn’t famous at all and simply had his parents.
Thoughts like these were dangerous. Whenever he became melancholy about the loss of his parents or how terrible his life was outside of Hogwarts’ walls, he always thought of Hermione Black. They were rarely charitable thoughts to be truthful.
Harry couldn’t help but feel the sting of betrayal even stronger than before when he realized that everyone outside of his own house seemed to genuinely like the girl. Her father was responsible for his situation, she was trying to befriend him, so she could haul him home to her father to finish the job. Dumbledore had made it clear that since Hermione had no mother, Sirius Black could do anything he wanted and not get thrown into Azkaban. He could murder Harry in front of the whole school and he would only be fined by the Ministry.
He had briefly wondered why the esteemed Lord Black hadn’t done anything else that was illegal, but he quickly remembered Professor McGonagall’s words. The Blacks were like royalty. He wouldn’t want to do anything to tarnish his perfect reputation even though Harry thought that it was already shite. Murder tends to do that to a person.
Even though he rarely had thoughts about Hermione Black that weren’t negative, he couldn’t help but admit that she was beautiful. In fact, she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, even Ron agreed when he could pause his diatribe about her traitor father. Though he would never admit it to anyone, it was Hermione’s face that he saw in his mind when he wanked at night. It was a new development for him, wanking in general, and it made him feel dirty that he imagined the daughter of the traitor responsible for his parent’s death.
Not that there was anything on the twelve-year-old girl to really look at. She was still very much a child and always wore proper clothing. Harry had gone to fetch something for his aunt one day over the summer and had seen a magazine on his uncle’s bedside table. There was a scantily clad woman on the front and Harry hadn’t been able to stop himself from flipping it open and ogling the naked women inside. It seemed far more likely that his mind would return to that instance when he brought himself to completion but that was never the case. It made him sick.
Harry and Ron took their seats at the Gryffindor table, Seamus and Dean already seated and shoveling food into their mouths. Harry served himself at a much more sedate pace; he no longer stuffed himself like he wasn’t going to get to eat again. He had even gained some weight and no longer appeared to be gangly when he looked at himself in the mirror. The proper nutrition had also done wonders for his height. He was still the shortest boy in school, but he had shot up two inches. Neville was standing at the Slytherin table, talking and laughing with Hermione and Malfoy. Harry knew that they had been friends before school, but he still couldn’t piece together why he would want to be friends with someone who’s family had destroyed their own.
Neville had come clean late one night in their dorm room about his parents and what had happened to them. All the boys had listened raptly as Neville told them what he knew of what had been done to his parents. Apparently, Malfoy’s aunt and Hermione’s cousin had taken her husband, brother-in-law, and another ardent follower of Voldemort and tortured his parents into insanity. They were later caught and sent to Azkaban, where they had now resided for the last ten years, but the damage was done and while his parents were certainly still alive, they weren’t capable of acting as true parents should. With a parting retort, Neville laughed and re-joined them at the lion’s table. Harry couldn’t help it when he blurted out the question.
“How can you be friends with them when you know what their family did your parents?” Harry instantly regretted the question when he saw the flash of pain cross his friend’s eyes. His face hardened slightly before he spoke.
“While their family may have done harm to mine, Hermione and Draco did nothing to me. Hermione was two years old, Draco only one.” Ron seized on his words like a dog on a bone.
“I understand that, but you’ve gone over to their houses since you were little. How can your gran let that happen knowing what happened?” Neville slammed his cup down on the table and there was fury etched in his features now.
“Not that I expect you to understand, Ron, but Lord Black has done right by my family. He cast Bellatrix from the family tree and then paid an extremely large amount of money to my family in reparation. Not only did he pay us reparation, he has taken care of all my schooling since he feels responsible for the fact that Bellatrix took away my parents. It wasn’t his fault in any way but since it was his family that caused it, he insisted on doing the right thing.”
This wasn’t what Harry had been expecting him to say. He had expected stuttering, maybe telling them that he just did what his gran told him to do. That would have been the response Ron would have given. It was clear that Ron feared his mother on a very visceral level. Not that he blamed him. He had heard the howler that Molly Weasley had sent the twins after the prank on Hermione Black. It was clear that she was the reason that they had apologized the way they did but they were quick to reassure everyone that since giving her a chance, they did indeed like her a lot. Ron, however, just had to keep pushing.
“You’re letting that traitor pay for your schooling? Well, I guess that makes sense why you’re nice to them.” Neville’s face suddenly went impassive at his words. Harry wondered if it was something that purebloods were taught as children. Every single one of them aside from Ron seemed to be able to turn their emotions off at will.
“I’m nice to them because they’re my friends. Lord Black paid the Longbottom family reparation when I was two years old. A fund was set up for my schooling at the same time. It has never been spoken of since. I attended parties at both their homes and nobody ever treated me poorly. Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix’s sister, was always welcoming and motherly, she never made me feel guilty for my parents landing her sister in prison. For the record, Ron, you might want to start referring to Lord Black by his title. If the right people were to tell him that you were disrespecting him, and yes, I mean Hermione and Draco, he could retaliate on your father. There’s a reason that your mother ordered the twins to apologize no matter how much she doesn’t like the situation.” The twins, who had been sitting just a couple down, leaned over and nodded their heads sagely.
“If you would just give her a chance, I think you’d like her. Yeah, mum made us apologize but we quite like her now. She always helps us when we ask for it, she and Malfoy are really smart. The rest of the little firsties aren’t as bad as we thought they’d be either.” Ron shook his head angrily.
“I don’t recall asking the two of you for your opinions.” Harry couldn’t help but agree with Ron. While he wasn’t going to go out and make war with Hermione and Malfoy, he had every intention of heeding Dumbledore’s advice when it came to befriending Hermione Black.
Ron was the only person that he had confided in regarding what he and Dumbledore had spoken about. Since the redhead hadn’t had the full story on what happened that Halloween night ten years ago, he had hung on every word and told Harry that staying away from the Slytherin pair was probably his smartest move. Harry felt somewhat vindicated; at least someone else agreed with his decision to follow Dumbledore’s advice.
The argument was halted by the bell, dismissing them to their first class. Transfiguration was up first, with the Slytherins of course. Harry couldn’t help but wonder who had decided to put the snakes and lions together for almost all their classes. He and Ron stood, the rest of the boys following suit after snatching one last piece of toast for the way. They traversed the corridors quietly, the tension still vibrating between Ron and Neville. Once they arrived, Neville took his usual seat with Faye and he and Ron took the table next to them.
Harry noticed that the Slytherins were already present; he always wondered why it was that they were always early and always seemed to be prepared the second that the bell rang. Harry could appreciate being punctual and ready for class, but they seemed to take it to a whole new level.
He watched from the other side of Ron as Hermione pulled her text out of her bag, scattering a stack of parchment across the floor as she did so. She huffed angrily and went to her knees to gather her parchment, but Ron managed to snatch a few of them that had landed near his feet. She jumped to her feet and glared at him.
“Please give me back my parchments.” The Slytherin side of the room was silent as they listened to her overly polite tone. Harry saw Malfoy reach out and touch her back, probably trying to calm her down. Ron sneered her way.
“I don’t think that I will. The last thing you need is another O on your homework. Maybe I’ll just burn it and you can take a T for once.” Dean and Seamus were snickering off to the side of them. Hermione’s face went completely impassive.
“That’s a nice thought but those aren’t assignments for Hogwarts. Please return them before I’m forced to take them.” Ron smirked at her before he took the parchment in both hands and ripped them in half. Hermione launched herself at Ron but was stopped by a spell hitting her. Harry turned to see Professor McGonagall standing in the doorway, wand held aloft, expression thunderous.
“Just what do you think you’re doing, Miss Black?” Harry hated that he instantly thought that the color that suffused her cheeks made her look lovely.
“Parchment fell out of my bag when I pulled out my text. I was picking them up and Weasley took some. I politely asked for them back and he refused. Then he tore them in half.” His Head of House swung her gaze to his friend, who did look rather shamefaced.
“I was just funning about, Professor, they could be mended easily enough.” McGonagall didn’t look impressed.
“Twenty points from Gryffindor, Mr. Weasley, for attempting to destroy another student’s property. Forty points from Slytherin, Miss Black, for being caught in the act of trying to harm another student. Anymore incidents and you’ll both be in detention.” The stern woman held out her hand to Ron and he handed them to her. She waved her wand over them, repairing them, before she really paid attention to them. Her eyes narrowed in confusion and then began flipping through them. Harry could see that Hermione was gritting her teeth at the intrusion but remained silent. Her face finally came up and met Hermione’s gaze.
“What are these, Miss Black? They are far too advanced for you.” Harry could see the cold fury at her words.
“They are assignments that Madam Cambridge sent Draco and I. I have to owl them to her today, so I would appreciate having them back.” Harry wondered what was on the parchment.
“Is Madam Cambridge a private tutor?” She gave one sharp nod.
“Why are you learning about spell theory and wards? Ancient Runes and Arithmancy aren’t offered until third year.” The young girl was back to gritting her teeth.
“Draco and I have been learning all of those things for years. Please return my assignments to me.” Professor McGonagall narrowed her eyes at the tone but handed them back to Hermione.
“Why are you still continuing with Madam Cambridge while you’re at Hogwarts?” Hermione seemed to be contemplating her answer. Finally, she gave a matter-of-fact answer.
“Draco and I aren’t challenged here. We want to continue to learn. It’s quite simple.” His Head of House’s eyebrows went up.
“Today, we’re turning parchment into silk. When did you learn that spell?” Hermione raised a single eyebrow. Harry wished that he could do that.
“When we were five. We made sure the spell worked once we got to school.” Harry didn’t quite believe that fully, but he wasn’t going to speak out of turn and land himself in detention. He was still unsure as to why this conversation was occurring in front of the entire class.
“How far have you made it in your studies?” Hermione got a confused look on her face but answered anyways.
“The end of four year. Hence, why we are continuing our education with Madam Cambridge while we are here at Hogwarts.” Harry wasn’t sure that his Head of House even remembered that they were in class because she just kept going.
“Why have you not told anyone that you aren’t challenged?” Hermione quirked her eye brow again.
“Do you really want the answer to that, Professor?” The reply was curt.
“Yes, I do.” Hermione stiffened her spine and raised her chin, her shoulders squaring as she stared down the Transfiguration professor.
“Nobody aside from Professor Snape and Professor Flitwick would do anything about it.” McGonagall instantly looked offended at her statement and began to sputter.
“Of course, we would, we want all our students to do well.” Hermione cocked her head to her side as she scoffed.
“No, you wouldn’t. You think that Draco and I don’t know that all the teachers don’t like us because of who are our parents are? You think we don’t know that the Headmaster hates us? You think we’re unaware that as Slytherins, everyone looks at us like we’re evil? Trust me, we’re well-aware and know exactly what would happen if we were to ask for special treatment. Everyone would say that we wanted an easier curriculum, that since our families are wealthy that we wanted everyone to cater to us. The fact that we’re bored out of our minds holds no bearing. Ma’am.” It was clear that she tacked the ma’am on the end of her spiel because she didn’t want to end up in trouble for disrespect.
Harry could tell that his Head of House was shaken to her core. It seemed that everything Hermione had said was ringing true to her and it made Harry wonder what she was going to do about it. In the short time that he had spent at Hogwarts, he had learned that McGonagall was not a witch to be toyed with and who was a force to be reckoned with when her mind was set on something.
“I assure you, Miss Black, that I will be speaking with the Headmaster about your education.” Hermione shook her head as she took her seat.
“That isn’t necessary, Professor. We’re fine with the arrangement we have now.” Suddenly recalling that they were indeed in class, their Transfiguration professor cleared her throat and strode to the front of the class and began her lesson.
Harry sighed. That wasn’t what he had anticipated happening when he came to class today.
-O-
Hermione was livid. Not only had the ginger git taken her assignments and then tore them in half, Professor McGonagall had questioned and quizzed her about her education as if she had the right to. She turned her assignments in every day and they were always perfect. Beyond that, her education was none of the woman’s business.
While Hermione would absolutely love to get a more advanced curriculum, especially in Transfiguration, she knew that it would never happen. The Headmaster wouldn’t approve it. She was sure that they could probably fight his decision since Uncle Luci was on the Board of Governors, but Hermione really didn’t want to hassle with it. It would be more trouble that it was worth, especially since she was still receiving a quality education from Madam Cambridge.
When the Gryffindor Head of House had promised her that she was going to take the matter to the Headmaster, she wanted to laugh out loud. The woman didn’t have to like her, but she should want to teach her students to the best of her ability without being guided by guilt. Hermione knew exactly the effect her words to the professor had had: extreme guilt that she had let prejudices keep her from doing her job. As far as Hermione was concerned, getting more difficult work for herself and Draco should have been broached ages ago. They’d been in class for almost two months and neither had turned in anything less than a perfect essay or failed to perfect a spell on the first try.
Professor Flitwick had indeed been the only professor to ask them if they were challenged enough. While she had hated lying to the half-goblin, Hermione had told him that they were, that they were extremely diligent in their schoolwork. She knew that he would have to bring a curriculum change to the Headmaster and once again, that was more trouble than it was worth.
Hermione was forced out of her thoughts by the bell ringing. She gathered her text and pushed it into her satchel. Draco led her out of the classroom and turned them towards the Charms corridor. They took their usual seats at the front of the classroom and waited patiently for class to begin. Others were trickling in as the time passed, obviously not eager for class. Draco leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“I can’t believe you took Professor Cat down a peg or two. It was brilliant.” Hermione snorted as the met his eyes.
“Until Uncle Sev finds out. I’ll be in detention for days.” Draco ruffled her hair much to her chagrin.
“I bet he isn’t angry at all. You didn’t lose points, you didn’t get detention, and you pointed out that the whole school is prejudiced against not only us but all Slytherins.” She nodded but they were silenced by Professor Flitwick entering and beginning their lesson.
They were learning the fire-making spell, something that Hermione and Draco had mastered long ago. She still checked her notes against what the half-goblin was teaching them, not adding a single thing to her notes. They were paired off to begin practicing. Hermione and Draco decided to be sporting and pair off with other people, so they could help where needed. It wasn’t something that they normally did but since it was the fire-making spell, they decided that it was worth it.
Draco paired Greg while Hermione paired up with Millie, the worst in their group at Charms. She wasn’t sure if they girl hated the subject or what exactly caused her complete and total failures in that class, but Hermione decided to help where she could. Much to her surprise, Draco had Goyle casting the spell properly on his third try, something unheard of for the boy. While he really did have a sweet personality, Greg wasn’t known for being the most intelligent She knew that other houses made fun of Greg and Vince both, said that they were nothing but boulders, but she didn’t believe that. It just took them longer to grasp things.
Millie was another story. Hermione couldn’t fault her effort, it was clear that the girl was trying her hardest to produce flames, but her magic wasn’t cooperating. When Hermione considered it, she realized that while Millie always did well on her classroom assignments, she always faltered on practical application in almost every class. She was going to have to research and see if she could discover something to help the girl.
Much to the bigger girl’s absolute delight, her spell was successful on her eighth attempt. She laughed and threw her arms around Hermione in glee, thanking her profusely for helping her to cast the spell. Hermione just hugged her back, there wasn’t much else she could do since the girl was hanging around her neck, laughed, and told the girl that she needed to gain confidence.
Professor Flitwick awarded everyone points that had successfully cast the spell. The only ones that hadn’t managed it were Lavender and Pansy, so they were assigned extra practice as homework. Both grumbled to themselves about it but neither voiced complaints. Professor Flitwick dismissed them just moments before the bell rang, telling them that lunch would be served momentarily in the Great Hall. Hermione was excited since she was starving.
Lunch ended up not being in the cards, however, since just outside the Charms classroom, Ron Weasley stepped in front of her, effectively blocking her way. Hermione sighed; the last thing she wanted to do was deal with him being a complete git to her. Draco, however, wasn’t going to take his shite now that they weren’t in class.
“Why can’t you just leave her alone, Weasel? We told you before, she doesn’t have a crush on you. Go talk to the blond, she can’t seem to stop staring at you.” Hermione knew that would piss him off, so she was unsurprised when the redhead drew his wand and let it hang at his side.
“Like I would have a crush on a traitor. Take it back or I’ll make sure I curse you both bald.” Draco laughed openly now.
“You just heard in Transfiguration that Hermione and I are already through most of the fourth-year curriculum. You think you stand a chance against us? It’s not like you’re quickest snitch in the sky anyways.” Ron stepped forward, but Harry held him back, so he could step forward himself.
“Don’t insult my best mate. He didn’t have a thing to say to you. You need to just keep your face out of his business.” Draco smirked at Harry, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Hermione is my business. She’s my cousin and best friend and your ‘best mate’ does nothing but torment her and insult her. Maybe if he wasn’t a complete waste of space, he would know that it’s impolite to treat young ladies as such, especially when she has done nothing to him.” Harry’s chest was heaving, and she could tell that he was angry.
“He treats her that way because she’s a traitor, she was raised by a traitor. When you embrace that kind of life, you have to be willing to suffer the consequences.” Draco laughed again at how angry Harry was.
“Hermione is a traitor? Traitor to who, to what? That doesn’t even make any sense. If you seriously believe that Uncle Sirius is a traitor than you aren’t half as intelligent as I had hoped.” Ron finally spoke again, fury evident in his voice.
“We’ll settle this once and for all. Wizard’s duel, tonight at nine. Trophy room and don’t be late. Bring your second. I hope Harry wipes the floor with you.” Before Draco could retort, Ron grabbed Harry by the shirt and pulled him away from them and down the corridor. Hermione wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry.
“I can’t believe that they want to fight a wizard’s duel. They’ve been taught a total of twenty spells since they’ve gotten here. They can’t be serious.” Draco laughed softly as they started for the Great Hall.
“I think they are, though Harry didn’t appear to even know what a wizard’s duel is. I’m a little surprised that Weasley did.” Hermione couldn’t help but chuckle at his words but sobered quickly.
“I’m your second and you are not going to hurt them. It wouldn’t be sporting.” He rolled his eyes at her.
“I know, Miney, Merlin. Do you think I’m an evil Slytherin too?” She laughed and shoved him in his shoulder.
“Oh hush. I’m starving, and we need to get to lunch.” Draco offered her his arm with a grin.
“We wouldn’t want Princess Black to waste away from hunger.” Hermione shoved him again before taking his arm and letting him lead her down the corridor.
-O-
Severus was nearly growling in irritation by the time he reached Albus’ office. He had received a message from a house elf that his presence was requested in the Headmaster’s office during lunch. He was sure that his Slytherins were being blamed for something, especially since the marked point loss that morning, which put him in the worst mood.
The door swung open to reveal that Albus and Minerva were both present and sitting tensely by the fire together. Severus sighed. Why did he have a feeling that this meeting was about both his godchildren? Deciding that there was nothing to do but get the ball rolling, he took a seat in an armchair before the fire as well. After a few moments of silence, he finally spoke.
“I’m missing lunch. Does anyone want to inform me what this impromptu meeting is about?” The Headmaster gestured to Minerva.
“Minerva called this meeting, not me. I’m just as clueless as you are.” Severus turned his eyes to his colleague. She took a deep breath and met his gaze.
“Did you know that Miss Black and Mr. Malfoy are highly advanced students? There was an altercation in Transfiguration and I found papers that Miss Black said she needed to send off to a Madam Cambridge. I shouldn’t have but I rifled through them after I repaired them and found work on wards, ancient runes, spell theory, spell creation, and arithmancy. When I questioned Miss Black, she told me that she and Mr. Malfoy weren’t challenged so their tutor sent them work to do in their free time.” Severus steepled his hands under his chin and cursed inwardly. He had no idea how Minerva had encountered her assignments from Madam Cambridge but if she knew, Albus would certainly know. Hoping that the children hadn’t spoken of his part in their education, he nodded curtly.
“Of course, I know they’re advanced. Draco is my godson and he’s attended lessons with Miss Black since they were infants. Lucius has always been proud of them and boasts about them every chance he gets.” Minerva stared at him, shocked.
“You knew that they were this advanced? Miss Black told me that they had worked their way through most of the fourth-year curriculum.” Severus nodded.
“Yes, I knew. Not the specific level but I knew they were far above their peers. They don’t want special treatment, so they just do all matters of assignments from Madam Cambridge and owl them back and forth.” Minerva shook her head.
“This is unacceptable. I asked her why they had never said anything that they weren’t challenged, and she told me that nobody would do anything if they knew. She informed me in front of the whole class that she knew that the professors didn’t like herself and Mr. Malfoy and that everyone would assume they wanted special treatment because they’re wealthy. She also insinuated that nobody would do anything because they’re Slytherin and everyone thought they’re evil. I’m here now to demand that they be put in higher classes. There is no sense in them biding their time, wasting their time and money on classes that they have no need of.” Severus smirked. It was cute that she thought she was going to get her way on this when the Headmaster would have to be the one that agree to it. True to form, Albus began stroking his beard.
“Minerva, that isn’t possible. You know as well as I do that if we do that for them, then there will be people out there that want to make the classes easier because their children aren’t as gifted. It’s a double-edged sword. Not to mention that they would be ridiculed not only by their peers but by the older students they would have classes with.” Her mouth fell open in disbelief. She was silent for several seconds before she found her voice.
“That is unacceptable, Albus. Those children aren’t learning a thing and that isn’t right. We’re professors above all else and teaching is what we’re supposed to do. Besides, nobody is going to ridicule a Black and Malfoy, least of all the Slytherins. They’re royalty in our world, you know that. It would simply broaden their horizons. You have to agree to this.” Severus almost felt bad for the witch. She was trying to do the right thing, but guilt was her motivator and that made him just a little sick at his stomach. Albus was shaking his head.
“I can’t, Minerva. If I start showing favoritism now, I’ll have to show it to everyone. They may continue their correspondence with their tutor but that is all I’m willing to do.” Severus hadn’t expected any less. No doubt the Headmaster felt that if the pair weren’t learning anything, it would be less that they could do to Harry. That truly did make him sick. Therefore, Severus sneered at his colleague.
“Dumbledore has spoken, Minerva. You should know by now that he only wants what’s best for his students. By students, that means everyone except my students.” Severus knew that the old man would probably be pissed at his words, but he would blame it on keeping his cover. She pursed her lips and went to her feet.
“I’ll have you know that I expected better, Albus. I expected that we would be better educators than this.” She didn’t say anything else before she swept out of his office, head held high. Albus watched her go before he turned to Severus.
“You know that isn’t the case. You care about all your students.” Severus nodded his head.
“I know, I was keeping up appearances. It wouldn’t do for me to appear to be too friendly or caring. She knows that I care for my students and the others can go hang.” Albus chuckled.
“We both know that isn’t true. You protect Harry with your life.” Severus wanted to snort at the man but thought better of it. He didn’t want to protect the little brat since he insisted on hurting his goddaughter’s feelings constantly. However, he didn’t feel like allowing the Headmaster to get a dig in without getting in one of his own.
“I also know that you filled Minerva full of dragon shite. The only reason you aren’t making sure that they learn anything here is, so they won’t have as much in their arsenal to use against Potter.” Dumbledore nodded his head.
“Yes. We can ill afford for Black or Malfoy to get to Harry. The last thing that we need is to lose him to either. The fight would be over before it begun.” Severus felt vindicated that the man admitted as such to him. However, he questioned him.
“You really think that is their goal? Get Potter to be their friend and then take him home to their fathers to do their worst?” Albus nodded his head again.
“It is my fear. I’m not certain that is their plan but just the possibility is frightening.” Severus made commiserating noises in the back of his throat.
“I suppose. I have never heard of such plans from either. Lucius trusts me, I think that he would inform me of this plan and implore for me to help if I could.” Albus was silent for several seconds.
“That may be true, but I remember well the animosity between yourself and Sirius Black. I’m not sure that he would want to include you in any plans that involve something important to him.” Severus wanted to laugh outright now but held it back. If only the old man knew that they were the closest of friends now.
“I defer to you in this matter, Headmaster. Now I find I must make my way to lunch.” Albus twinkled his eyes at him as he nodded a final time.
“Good day, Severus.”
Severus left with a scowl on his face, robes billowing behind him.
-O-
Sirius was sitting in his library with Lucius and they were discussing the latest bill to come through the Wizengamot. It wasn’t too terribly exciting, but it was better than sitting there by himself. It was just before dinner and the pair were winding down Narcissa arrived.
Sirius was lonely, that much was certain. He missed his daughter and his cousin, the sounds they made in the house even when all was quiet. The elves all doted on him even more now that there was nobody else to care for and it wore his nerves. He was officially counting down the days until the Christmas holidays. Sirius threw back another swig of his fire whiskey as Narcissa flounced in the room in the palest blue taffeta gown he had ever seen. They both stood, and his cousin floated into her husband’s arms, kissing his cheek in greeting.
“Hello, how was the Wizengamot today?” Lucius returned the kiss and Sirius was kept from answering by a tapping on the window of the library. He rose and walked over to the window, throwing it open to allow in an ebony owl with bright yellow eyes. Sirius couldn’t help but worry; this was Severus’ owl. Lucius and Narcissa seemed to realize it as well and looked on nervously. He shoved the bowl of owl treats at his friend’s owl and returned to his chair before ripping the letter open and reading it aloud.
Sirius,
I hope this letter finds you well, well, as well as you can be considering the Wizengamot is in session. I don’t have much to report this week. Hermione and Draco are both doing extremely well in class, though Hermione did lose forty house points this morning because of an altercation with a Ronald Weasley. Apparently, he tore her assignments for Madam Cambridge in half and she went after him. Minerva walked in at that moment and stopped her, only taking points rather than assigning detentions.
Your daughter is a fireball, that much is true. When Minerva mended her parchment, she caught sight of exactly what they consisted of. When she questioned Hermione, she told her that Hogwarts didn’t challenge her or Draco. They went back and forth before the entire class, Hermione finally telling her that she didn’t tell anyone because nobody would do anything about it, not only because they aren’t liked in school due to their parentage but because all Slytherins are assumed evil.
Minerva got indignant and righteous, calling me to Albus’ office so she could demand that they be allowed in more advanced classes. It did nothing to sway his answer, of course, but it was amusing to watch her try to better the educational experience of the children because a twelve-year-old guilted her.
I haven’t spoken to either of them since the incident and if I know Hermione, she’s avoiding me. She probably thinks that I’ll be cross with her because of the forty points she lost and the information that was discovered. I’ll let her stew for a few days before I finally put her out of her misery and tell her I’m proud of her.
I must go to dinner now so I’m ready to patrol the halls and find all the little monsters out breaking the rules. I’ll write you if anything catastrophic occurs but otherwise, expect my owl next week.
Severus
Sirius wanted to get angry at the letter, but he knew that it wouldn’t do any good. He expected Dumbledore to do everything in his power to keep his little girl down. The whole situation was a shit show but it was what it was.
Sirius had wanted to go to the Ministry the second that Severus had told him that Albus had tried to use legilimency on Hermione. While he had been expecting it, it didn’t make it any easier once it actually happened. Lucius and Narcissa had both stopped him but he was shaking in anger at the intrusion. They reminded him that Hermione had kept him out and she had called him out on his actions, ensuring that he wouldn’t do it again. Draco would now be safe as well since Severus had never hid the fact that the two took lessons together and learned the same things.
Lucius and Narcissa arched eyebrows at the letter. There was nothing bad in this one, aside from the fact that Hermione was still being bullied by the youngest Weasley. None of them worried about the situation though. Hermione and Draco had both wrote home and told them that Draco was quick to defend her when she didn’t do it for herself. Lucius was the first to break the silence.
“Our little girl put Minerva McGonagall in her place in front of their whole class. She guilted her into taking action.” Narcissa was grinning and Sirius gave into the amusement of the situation.
“She is a little fireball, that much is true.” He raised his glass of fire whiskey, duplicating it so one could be handed to Narcissa. She and Lucius both followed suit.
“To Hermione and Draco, they’re going to take Hogwarts by storm.” They all drank to the toast, Candy popping in next to Sirius.
“Dinners is done, master. Yous and Malfoys get to dining room before it’s cold.” He chuckled at the affronted look on Lucius’ face. Candy popped back out and Lucius shook his head.
“That elf is a pushy harridan.” Sirius laughed and nodded.
“Yes, yes she is.” He gestured for the two of them to lead the way, leaving the letter from Severus on the table next to his chair. His belly growled loudly.
Dinner was calling.
-O-
Hermione was being as quiet as possible as she sneaked out of the Slytherin common room behind Draco. Draco had told their friends about the duel, laughing about how Weasley had decided it was a good idea. They had all shaken their heads, surprised at the idiocy being shown by the redhead. None of them had the experience to participate in a wizard’s duel.
All their friends had wanted to come watch, but Draco had told them no. The more people that sneaked out, the bigger chance of them being discovered. Being caught out of their common room after curfew to fight a wizard’s duel would most certainly net them detention. They had reluctantly agreed with Draco and made them promise to give details of what happened when they returned.
Draco led them out of the common room and through the dungeons up to the fourth floor where the trophy room was located. Hermione couldn’t help but feel nervous, not for the duel itself, but because she was scared to death of getting caught by someone. There were voices ahead of them and Hermione knew that it was Harry and Ron. They slowed momentarily to listen to their conversation before showing themselves.
“You’re going to do fine, Harry. We’ve learned plenty of spells, just use them and dodge anything he throws at you. If you go down, I’ll take your spot.” Hermione rolled her eyes. The simplest way to explain dueling in the history of. Draco decided that they had heard enough and appeared in the open doorway. He stepped through, Hermione behind him, and Harry and Ron fell silent. Silence held for several moments before Ron burst out laughing.
“You brought Black as your second? A girl?” Draco raised an eyebrow, but Hermione stepped forward.
“You should worry, Weasley. You take several tries in class to get your spells right. I’ve known the spells you know for years. For your sake, I hope that Harry doesn’t fail.” His mouth closed with a snap and Draco laughed out loud before gently pushing her over to the side.
“You stay over there, ‘Mi. If Potter disarms me or knocks me to the ground, you’re up.” Hermione could see Harry gesturing for Ron to do the same thing. Hermione did as her cousin asked and waited passively for them to begin. Draco paced out the distance between them and smirked at Harry.
“We must observe the niceties. First, we bow. Since I’m a gentleman, I’ll allow you to cast the first spell.” Harry nodded and both boys bowed to one another. Hermione watched as Harry lifted his wand and cast.
“Locomotor mortis.” Hermione was a little surprised to see him use the leg-locker curse, she had anticipated the body-bind, but it was executed beautifully. Draco seemed a little surprised that his aim was perfect. Rather than cast a shield, he moved quickly to the side and the spell crashed into a large trophy on the shelf behind Draco. It clattered noisily to the floor, the sound reverberating through the room and the surrounding corridor. They all stood there silent and still, making sure that nobody had heard them. It was only moments later, however, that Filch’s voice could be heard.
“There are students out of bed, Mrs. Norris. Go find them!” Hermione didn’t bother waiting to see if she was going to come their direction. She grasped Draco’s hand dragged him out of the room towards the nearest staircase. Harry and Ron were hot on their heels. Even though they needed to go up rather than down, they launched themselves onto the moving staircase right behind Hermione and Draco.
Since it was only one staircase, it ended when they reached the third floor. Knowing full well that they had to find another staircase to go down or up, both boys followed Hermione and her cousin. There were footsteps coming from the far end of the corridor and she suspected that they belonged to her godfather. The Slytherin made a snap decision that she hoped would keep them out of trouble.
Hermione reached the door and tried to open it, only to find it locked. Knowing that they needed somewhere to hide, she pulled her wand and whispered the unlocking spell. The door swung open and the four of them piled in the room and slammed the door shut. They all waited in bated silence to see if someone burst in the room and assigned them detention. After a full minute of only their breathing filling the room, Hermione sighed and turned around to see the room they had taken refuge in. What she saw surprised her.
An enormous three-headed dog was sitting atop a trap door.
The dog came awake slowly and Hermione was silent, unable to warn any of them of the danger they were in. Not only did the dog look pissed off, it was extremely close. She could see that it was chained to the floor but that did little to make her feel better. The boys finally turned and saw exactly what she did, and Ron screamed.
The dog was no longer calm. It jumped forward, barking and snapping its jaws. Hermione tried to move out of it’s range but since the others were in her way, it was hard to do. Instead of catching her with it’s teeth, it caught the skirt of her uniform and ripped it. She felt Draco and Harry both take hold of her arms and haul her closer to them, further out of reach. Draco’s wand appeared, and he was quick to unlock the door once more, so they could escape before anyone got seriously hurt.
After her cousin shoved her unceremoniously through the door, Hermione looked down and realized that her skirt was torn beyond help. She also saw that her blue silk knickers were on display, along with a red scratch on her upper thigh. She squeaked when she realized that the boys would see everything, trying desperately to cover herself with her hands.
Her squeak caught the attention of Harry and Ron and they were both now staring at her exposed skin. Hermione tried to hide behind Draco, the only boy that had ever seen her in her knickers before and that had been years before. He was checking to make sure that the door was locked securely behind them. When he turned to see why she was dancing around him, he saw her predicament and then realized that the boys were staring at her. He shoved her behind him while he took his robes off and thrust them behind him. Once she was putting them on, he turned angrily to Harry and Ron and raised his wand, casting stinging hexes on them both.
“Ow, what the bloody fuck, Malfoy!?” Ron just got angry.
“We’re telling the professor you did that!” Hermione could see that Harry rolled his eyes and elbowed his friend. Draco answered first, however.
“Go ahead, tell a professor. Make sure you also tell them that you were out after curfew, fighting a wizard’s duel, and got hexed because you were being uncouth bastards and staring at a girl’s knickers when her clothing became compromised.” Ron started to speak but Harry interrupted him.
“We aren’t telling a professor, Ron. Use your head.” He turned to Hermione and she fully expected that he was going to make fun of her. Instead, she was pleasantly surprised.
“I apologize for my behavior, Miss Black.” Hermione made sure that her cousin’s robes were fastened all the way up before she stepped out from behind Draco.
“I accept your apology, Mr. Potter.” She noticed that she got nothing in the way of an apology from Ron. Draco laid his hand on her lower back, turning her towards the dungeons.
“We all need to get back to our common rooms now.” The Gryffindors needed no further urging and turned to go in the opposite direction.
Hermione followed behind Draco back towards their common room, keeping an eye open for the prefects and professors that were still out patrolling. Although, Hermione had a feeling that it was getting to be late enough that there wouldn’t be many people left. When they were only a corridor away from their common room entrance, Hermione pulled her cousin to a stop.
“Did you see underneath that dog?” He raised his eyebrows and shook his head. She couldn’t help but feel contemplative.
“It was guarding a trap door. We were in the third-floor corridor, the one that Dumbledore said is forbidden.” A look of comprehension crossed his features.
“I wonder what he’s hiding down there.” Hermione shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m not sure but I have a feeling it’s dangerous whatever it is.” Draco nodded and put an arm around her shoulders.
“Come on, lets get inside. You know the others are going to want to hear about our adventures.” Hermione giggled slightly before allowing her cousin to lead her towards the Slytherin common room.
Hopefully, it was going to a short tale and she could go to bed.
-O-
Harry and Ron rushed into the Gryffindor common room, out of breath from running from Mrs. Norris. He had never felt any certain way about cats, but that beast was enough to make him hate them for life. Ron was already heading towards the couch, panting, then taking a seat to catch his breath. Harry took a seat next to him, mirroring his actions. Finally, Ron was recovered enough to speak.
“Why did you apologize to her?” Harry rolled his eyes.
“Even if her father is a traitor and I don’t want anything to do with her, it was still rude and wrong of us to do. We shouldn’t have been staring at her like that when it obviously made her uncomfortable.” Ron nodded agreement for once but kept talking.
“Did you see those knickers though? They looked super expensive.” Harry rolled his eyes again only Ron didn’t notice.
“Well, her father in the second-wealthiest man in Britain. The wealthiest man in Britain is her uncle. I’m sure that they are very expensive, especially since Neville said that Malfoy’s mum takes her shopping all the time.” Ron shrugged his shoulders, obviously not sure what else to say. In the end, he went to his feet and yawned.
“Come on, mate, let’s go to bed. We have Potions in the morning.” Harry stood and followed his friend up to their dormitory where they stripped off their clothes and put on their pajamas. Harry flopped down in his bed after a quick goodnight to Ron, pulling his curtains closed.
His mind went to the ridiculous duel that they had tried to take part in. It was clear that he was way out of his league when it came to dueling and would probably stay that way until they practiced it in class. Percy had told them that they would begin in fourth year, which seemed so far away. There was nothing for it though, he would just have to wait. His eyes were growing heavy as he laid there in the dark.
His mind went back to Hermione Black standing there in her knickers and he cursed himself inwardly. Where Ron had been worried about how expensive they were, Harry couldn’t get it out of his mind how perfect that color had looked on her. Her skin was pale, much like her cousin’s, except for the angry red scratch across her thigh. He knew he shouldn’t feel bad about the scratch marring her skin, but he did.
He hadn’t even thought twice about reaching out and pulling her closer to himself and Malfoy. No matter how much he despised her father, he would never wish death or disfigurement on her. Harry knew that he should keep his distance, even if that meant her being injured, but it just seemed wrong to let her get hurt because he and his friend had been stupid enough to call for a duel. Besides, she had saved their hides by finding that room, regardless of what was inside.
Harry yawned and willed his mind to quiet. He was tired of thinking about Hermione Black and her father and he refused to continue when he had to face Professor Snape in the morning. After all, she was quite forgettable, Hermione Black. Harry snorted to himself.
Just keep telling yourself that.
A/N- Holy hells bells, another long chapter! It wasn’t originally going to be this long but what do you do? Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this installment! Leave me a message after the beep and tell me what you think. Reviews are like chocolate and whiskey shots.
Next chapter, an encounter with a troll.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Hey, y’all, I’m back with another chapter. I got a few PMs that complained about me commenting on Harry bringing himself to orgasm at such a young age. I even had one reader tell me that I was a sicko for writing such a thing in a story, that it wasn’t appropriate for such young children. I want to clarify that I googled when boys began bringing themselves to completion and it said ages 10-12. Since eleven fit right in the middle, I went with it. I’m not sick, it’s a fact of life that all people, boys and girls alike, face eventually. If you want to quit reading the story, I completely understand. However, don’t insult me and call me names because I wrote about something that we all go through whether you want to admit it or not.
Anyways, now that that uncomfortable conversation is over with, I’m going to get started. Thank to everyone for your continued support, it means the world.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing except for the personal plot twist. The basis of the story belongs to Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle and the characters are JKR’s. I’ve made no money from story or any other.
Chapter 13
October 31, 1991
Hermione knew that today was going to be a bad day. She had known for years that her father sent her to Malfoy Manor on Halloween and Harry’s birthday for only one reason. He wanted to get completely pissed so he didn’t have to think about what happened on those days.
The Slytherin was aware that Halloween was a hard day for her father; he had lost his best friend in the world that night. The events and mistakes he had made that night had led to him losing Harry to Albus Dumbledore and losing his one remaining friend, Remus Lupin. She understood that the last thing he wanted to do was relive it all; therefore, he drank until he was smashed and then passed out in the library, looking at albums.
Hermione had never spent a Halloween at home; at first, she was sure that her father didn’t want her around for such an important holiday. She had cried into her Uncle Luci’s robes, wailing how her father didn’t want her to be there to make him happy again. Uncle Luci had explained to her once her sobs had subsided that sometimes people needed space to remember difficult and hurtful things. He had implored to her that her father still wanted her and loved her but needed a few nights a year to himself to deal with the mistakes he had made in his life. Even though Hermione had only been six at the time, she had understood.
This year she hoped things would be better since Hermione had contact with Harry; it wasn’t good contact by any means, but she was able to reassure him that his godson was fed well and being treated like a young boy should. Uncle Sev had told her that he was handling this year better than the years before, so she was hopeful that all would be well. This didn’t mean that she was holding her breath though.
Draco came down the stairs from his dorm and saw her seated in the common room. He made his way to her quickly before pulling her into a hug. Hermione didn’t speak, she just hugged him to her tighter, thankful that there was one person that knew that she would be worrying about her father relentlessly. Over a minute went past before he finally pulled away and shot her a winning smile.
“He’s going to be fine, Miney. Don’t worry about him. He’s strong, you know he’s going to do what he does every year, which means that all will be well come morning.” His words really didn’t make her feel any better, but she supposed that they were true. Her father would still be pissed at the end of the night, so she could only hope that the next day he felt better.
Hermione let her cousin lead her out of the common room and through the corridors out of the dungeons. Hermione couldn’t help but be thankful that they were close to the Great Hall, unlike Gryffindor, whose common room was located on the seventh floor. Once they reached the doors to the Great Hall, they pushed inside and took their usual seats at the Slytherin table.
They were the only ones present from their year, not really a surprise anymore. Once everyone had learned their way around the castle, the others rose even later in the morning, hoping to catch just a few more minutes of sleep rather than worry about breakfast. While Hermione normally didn’t eat a lot, she still maintained that she needed food on her stomach to learn at her full capabilities.
Draco served up his plate while she put a small amount of scrambled eggs on her plate along with a slice of toast and a few bites of cut up fruit. It was all she would be able to manage, and she knew that she would eat every bite, unlike Pansy who piled her plate high with food and then only ate half of it. She barely held back a chuckle at the thought of Pansy; it wouldn’t do to anger Draco.
Just three days before, Pansy had received a letter from her father and had shown it to Hermione. In it, he had told her that she needed to turn up the charm around Draco because he was sending a betrothal contract to Uncle Luci. Hermione had told her that it wouldn’t work but she had ignored her entirely. It was for this reason that Hermione had little pity for the girl.
It had been lunch time when Pansy had sidled up next to Draco at their house table and laid her hand on his thigh. Draco had looked at her thoroughly confused as to why she was touching him; Hermione was the only girl to have touched him aside from Aunt Cissy. He threw her hand off him and demanded to know what she was doing.
Pansy had told him in no uncertain terms that they were going to be betrothed in a short time. Draco had looked at her as if she was mad before sending a questioning look Hermione’s way. Pansy scooted impossibly closer to Draco before Hermione had finally taken pity on her cousin and told her that his parents wouldn’t even sign a betrothal contract. The dark-haired girl had looked crest-fallen but had scooted away from Draco in a hurry. Hermione had felt just a little bad after that.
Hermione was pulled from her thoughts by the Weasley twins sitting on either side of her, both pressing a kiss to each of her cheeks. She could tell that they flamed red but there was nothing for it now. Instead, she tried to play off that all was as normal, not that anyone believed it. Draco was shooting her glances that suggested that he was getting ready to tease her.
“What are you boys doing over here this morning? You never sit here and eat.” She knew her voice was slightly unsteady, but she did her best to ignore it. Fred (she could tell them apart now) shot her a grin.
“We just wanted to come and check on the wellbeing of our favorite snake after we heard what happened last night.” Hermione’s blush deepened if it was possible.
The night before, someone (she suspected the Gryffindor boys) had loaded the book she left at the table in the library with confetti. When she had returned to her seat and opened it to continue her reading, confetti had shot in the air and spelled out the word ‘slag’. Everyone in the library had seen it but there was no proof as to who had done it, so it had gone unpunished. Just thinking about it made her shrink in shame. George seemed to realize her embarrassment and laid an arm around her shoulder for a few moments.
“When we said it, we only meant it as a prank, not that we truly believed it. Maybe whoever did it this time did as well.” Hermione chuckled softly at his attempt to make her feel better. Rather than call her out on it, she agreed with him even though she didn’t believe it for a second.
“Maybe.”
The rest of their house filtered into the Great Hall, all of them looking rather tired and asleep. Hermione wasn’t sure how late they stayed up at night, but it was always later than she did. She thanked Merlin every night that she had perfected a silencing charm years ago.
Neville came over and checked in with her, making sure that their plans for studying the following evening were still on. Hermione had agreed but once he left, Draco had teased her about Neville having a crush on her since she was the one that he talked to the most of all their friends. Hermione blushed furiously before telling her cousin that Neville was an upstanding young man and he would never make his interest known so young, unlike a certain witch they knew. Draco had turned a suitable shade of pink and Hermione had felt rather vindicated.
Breakfast dismissed, and the pair headed towards Transfiguration. Uncle Sev had informed them almost two weeks ago that Professor McGonagall had taken her request for them to be in more advanced classes to their Headmaster, but the man had denied her request. Her uncle had also told them his reasoning, but they were less surprised than the Deputy Headmistress. Therefore, when the pair were split into a pair together, they gaped.
Minerva McGonagall, Head of Gryffindor House, had just laid a parchment on their table that they had never seen before.
Hermione couldn’t quite keep her eyes off the parchment. It contained an assignment that they had just sent back to Madam Cambridge, meaning that their professor was going to teach them advanced classes until the Headmaster found out. Hermione wasn’t sure how long it would last, but until he figured it out, she planned on learning as much has she could. In the meantime, she and Draco finished the assignment that Madam Cambridge had just assigned and hoped that the next lesson would bring something that they didn’t know.
Though Draco had been more surprised that she had been, Hermione had insisted that they keep their lessons a secret from everyone aside from their godfather. Even though their heads had been bent together in serious thought, Hermione had made sure to convince everyone that they were discussing a family matter rather than their studies.
Transfiguration ended with no fanfare, the only complaint coming from Lavender Brown for having the class attempt such a difficult spell. Hermione had wanted to snort at the blond; it was clear that she was just lazy since half the class had completed the spell before they had been dismissed. Just more proof that Hermione would probably never get along with Lavender even if she was ever lucky enough to become friends with Harry.
Harry was obviously not too happy with History of Magic. It was no surprise that Professor Binns hadn’t impressed anyone when he had appeared, he began lecturing on the early goblin wars that had plagued society. Hermione took her notes diligently, adding what she could to the notes that she already had wrote down. Class didn’t change any from what it would have been if Hermione and Draco had taken notes for the entire lesson; for this reason, she couldn’t feel bad that the students weren’t listening to her any more than they did if they were in the library and she hushed them into silence.
Once History of Magic concluded, notes and assignment clear in their notes, the bell dismissed them to the Great Hall once more. Lunch was important to Hermione. It was clear that she did better with food on her belly at breakfast and the same was true for lunch. Nothing worth mentioning occurred in the Great Hall and Hermione was grateful. They were headed to Charms next and she wanted to have her head on straight, so she didn’t disappoint Professor Flitwick.
All the first years made their way to Charms together and it reminded Hermione of their first week at school. While boys still asked her occasionally to escort her to class, Draco never let them unless he was invited to come along as a chaperone. Even though it was an outdated practice, she was thankful that her cousin cared enough not to abandon her to the masses. Even though she should be used to the attention the boys showed her, her aunt had warned her how it would be for her someday, they all made her feel uncomfortable.
The group of ten Slytherins entered Charms together, laughing about some inside joke between the boys. Hermione hadn’t been paying attention, so she was left as the only one not laughing as they took their seats. Once seated, she didn’t bother taking her parchment, ink, or quill out; last class, they had spent the entire time lecturing about the levitation charm. Today, they would be putting it to use. Professor Flitwick entered, happy grin on his face, and spoke to the class.
“I’m moving you into groups of four. I want you all to help each other and master the levitation spell before we all leave today.” Hermione groaned inwardly and hoped that her group consisted of all Slytherins. None of the Gryffindors liked her at all and they would make her life hell. Even helping Vince, Greg, or Millie would be preferable. Professor Flitwick waved his wand at the board and the groups appeared.
Hermione groaned.
Not only was she paired with all Gryffindors, she was paired with Ronald, Dean, and Seamus. Draco was paired up with Harry, Pansy, and Millie and she was sure that he was just as unhappy as she was. While he had appreciated that Harry had apologized for staring at her bare skin and knickers after their farce of a duel, her cousin and protector had been less than impressed that the apology was even needed. Draco was the only boy that had ever seen her in her knickers and that hadn’t happened since they were seven.
Hermione knew that none of the boys were going to come to her, so she reluctantly gathered her belongings and moved over to the table that Harry had just left so he could take her seat next to Draco. She slid into the seat next to Ron quietly, trying her hardest to not bring attention to herself. It really wasn’t the best of choices that her professor had put her with Ron; he was the worst of the bunch.
When she took her seat, Ronald sneered at her but remained silent. Dean and Seamus shoved their desks over to push them together before taking their seats. The boys began trying to master the spell, each taking their turn, completely skipping her. It was fine by her; she didn’t need the practice in any way. She listened as Ron and the other boys continued to mispronounce the spell, putting emphasis on the saw part of the spell rather than the o part. Finally, she couldn’t stay quiet any longer. It was a poor choice on her part since Ronald was the one who was trying at the moment.
“You’re saying it wrong. It’s levi-O-sa, not levio-SAW.” His eyes darkened, and he scowled hatefully at her.
“Let’s see you try it then, traitor.” Hermione quailed slightly under his unwavering gaze, but she squared her shoulders and raised her wand.
“Wingardium leviosa.” The feather that they had been given raised from the desk and floated into the air, wafting gently as if it had been caught by a slight breeze. All three boys scowled at her now but were cut off by Professor Flitwick.
“Wonderful job, Miss Black. If you could help the other boys I would appreciate it.” Hermione gave him a shy nod before lapsing into teaching mode like she did with her friends from Slytherin. The only difference was that her friends usually appreciated her help. Before she could continue her initial explanation, Ron spat out the most hateful words at her.
“I can’t believe that we were stuck with the traitor. Tell me, Black, did daddy dearest groom you to be the insufferable hag that you clearly are? Nobody likes you except your house.” Hermione started to sputter her defiance.
“That isn’t true, Neville likes me and so do your brothers, they just ate breakfast with me this morning.” Ron snorted harshly.
“Your father paid Neville off and my brothers are probably getting a payment of a different sort. What male in their right mind would turn down having your legs wrapped around them?” Hermione couldn’t even believe that he was talking like he did; what eleven-year-old said such inappropriate things? Yes, she knew what they meant but only because her Aunt Cissy had made sure that she wouldn’t be left vulnerable against the opposite sex.
“My father paid the Longbottom family reparation for the wrongs Bellatrix had done against their family. It was before Neville could even talk, that has nothing to do with him being my friend. As for the twins, that’s complete rubbish. We’re eleven and sex should be the last things on our minds.” It was at this point that Hermione knew things were going to get so much worse. The glint in the redhead’s eyes warned her that she wasn’t going to like what he said at all.
“Really? That wasn’t what you were saying when you threw yourself at Harry and me. Had your skirt down and showing us your expensive blue, silk knickers. You made quite clear just what you wanted from us. You were just hurt that we wouldn’t touch your ugly arse with Neville’s prick.” Hermione couldn’t believe that he would twist her getting her skirt ripped by the three-headed dog into what he was saying in front of Seamus and Dean. She was also well aware of what would be said once class was over. She would be painted as a slag and there was nothing she could say to discourage the gossip. Ron had played his hand and she had to admit that he had played it well.
Hermione noticed that the other boys were now laughing at her, silently guffawing directly to her face in order to keep Professor Flitwick from discovering what had been said. Suddenly, she realized that their words would be around the school by the Feast that night. Hermione couldn’t hold her tears in and rather than have the whole classroom witness them, she turned and fled, not even bothering to gather her bag before she did so.
Hermione ran for she didn’t know how long. The Charms classroom was located on the fourth corridor and before she realized what was happening, she was ensconced in one of the stalls of the girl’s loo on the first floor. It was one that was off the beaten path and rarely used; she was glad. The last thing that she wanted right now was company and that included her cousin. He would bluster and get angry and that was the last thing that she wanted to listen to.
Hermione considered her life at this point. Her father said that he wasn’t counting on her to get close to Harry and tell him the truth, but she knew that deep down he was. Not only was Harry completely against her now, so were his friends. His friends couldn’t just leave her alone and let her continue with her life as she pleased; they had to do their best to make her life a complete hell. She wasn’t sure why they were so obsessed with making her feel terrible, but it seemed to be the Gryffindor’s favorite past time.
Hermione passed the rest of the afternoon away in the girls’ toilet. Sometimes crying and sometimes feeling sorry for herself, either way she still felt terrible. She knew that it was past the time for the Feast to begin before she finally decided to show her face. If she knew Draco, he was going spare trying to find her. Hopefully he didn’t do anything rash while looking for her. She had just splashed cold water on her face when the door slammed open and a troll lumbered in, club clutched tightly in his hand.
-O-
Draco was about to lose his mind.
He was well-aware that the Weasel had done something to upset his cousin during Charms, he was just unsure as to what it was. She had run away from Charms and left her belongings there, a true showing as to how upset she was. Draco hadn’t bothered with his wand when he realized that his best friend was gone; he had stridden forward and punched the sneering redhead in his face while he was mimicking to his friends about Hermione running off.
Professor Flitwick had lost his patience at that point. He had pulled Draco back by hand, forgoing his wand completely. This didn’t stop Draco throwing him off and going after Weasley again. He was stopped, however, by Theo and Blaise stepping in front of him. Their professor was vibrating in fury.
“Mr. Malfoy how dare you lay hands on Mr. Weasley! You will serve three detentions with me starting tomorrow evening.” Draco knew that his father was going to be disappointed when he heard but he didn’t care. Hermione was his priority.
“Why don’t you ask Weasley what he said to Hermione to make her run out of class crying? Nobody hurts my cousin without answering to me. If you think I’ll get in trouble with my parents, you’re dead wrong. They charged me with taking care of their niece and they will be most displeased.” Professor Flitwick turned his eyes to the Weasel and narrowed his eyes.
“Why did Miss Black leave so upset?” It was clear that he wanted an answer and Ron was not used to lying to professors.
“She got her feelings hurt when we tried to tell her how to do the spell.” It was feeble sounding at best and Draco sneered, the rest of his house along with him.
“Liar. Hermione mastered the levitation spell when she was six years old.” Even though the professor’s eyebrows raised at the information, he turned his gaze once more to the redhead. Weasley stammered for a few moments before he revealed the truth.
“I said that she had made inappropriate overtures and that Harry, and I had rebuffed her.” Draco knew exactly what he was referring to. He could see that Harry looked stunned but that didn’t help. Instead, Draco lunged once again at Weasley, brought to a halt by Greg and Vince this time. Now Professor Flitwick looked thunderous. Draco knew that Hermione was his favorite student.
“Detention, Mr. Weasley, for slandering a student and passing false rumors. Miss Black is eleven, to say she was engaged in the sort of things you insinuated would be utterly ridiculous. You will spend tomorrow evening with Professor Snape. Maybe you’ll learn to respect other students the same way your brothers did.” Ron’s face showed that he wasn’t planning on learning anything from his encounter. Draco couldn’t help but sneer at the redhead, hoping to scare the life out of him if nothing else.
“I’ll make sure to tell my father and Uncle Sirius what happened today. I’m sure that your father isn’t too attached to his Ministry job.” He could see the redhead pale further at his words, but he didn’t care. He didn’t get to comment further since the bell rang and he wanted nothing more than to find Hermione and reassure her that everything was going to be alright.
Draco gathered his things and then grabbed his cousin’s, throwing it over his shoulder as he vowed to look for her. He knew that the rest of their house was concerned about Hermione, but he didn’t think that she would appreciate being found in tears by all his house. Therefore, he turned to the rest of his house and took a deep breath before speaking.
“I know you want to help me look for Hermione but think about how embarrassed she’s going to be when I find her; don’t make her live through that embarrassment with everyone watching. I’ll bring her to the Feast as soon as I find her; trust me, there will be retribution against the redheaded slime.” Everyone looked vindicated at his words but didn’t look happy at him banning them from going after Hermione. It was Theo that spoke first.
“I know that you have first dibbs on retribution, all of us would agree with that, but Hermione is our princess. This can’t be allowed to stand how it is.” Draco nodded.
“I know how you feel and I appreciate it. My family will as well. However, this is a family matter and I will make sure that the Weasel knows what’s going to happen if he’s going to spread lies. I’m going to send a letter home tonight and tell them what he did.” The rest of his house nodded and allowed him to begin looking for her on his own.
Hermione would be disgusted to hear herself described as Slytherin’s princess even though that’s what she was. The name Black was far more important in their world than the name Parkinson or Nott. He knew that she hated the fame and notoriety that came with being a Black, but the fact remained that it was hers by birthright.
Draco began searching. He had a whole free period to search before the Feast began and he hoped to have found her by that point. The Slytherin searched all her usual hiding places; the owlery, the window seat on the sixth floor, and the unused classroom on the fourth floor turned up nothing. He was unsure of where else he could look since Hermione would never have ran to the library or her room upset. The last thing she would have wanted was to have people see her so upset.
Draco cursed to himself about the fucking Weasel. Only he would try to tell his friend that Hermione tearing her skirt and him staring at her knickers was her making an inappropriate gesture to him and Potter. He knew for a fact that while Hermione would feel terrible about the redhead’s father losing his job, his father or Uncle Sirius would make sure that he took a pay cut or something of the like. Maybe a forced vacation. Hermione would chastise him and say that was cruel to punish the family for one of their actions, but she refused to see that that was how his father and Uncle Sirius worked. Family was the most important thing to them and they didn’t like to see or hear about Hermione getting hurt, even if it was just her feelings.
The Halloween Feast had started not too long ago, and Draco still had no idea where his cousin was. Deciding that he might need help after all, he turned to head to the Great Hall. Once he entered, he scanned the Slytherin table, hoping that she had decided to come down from wherever she had hidden and eat. There was no such luck, however. She wasn’t at the table and he didn’t spot her anywhere else in the room. Weasley, however, was sitting at the Gryffindor table next to Harry, shoveling food into his mouth at an alarming rate. Draco could only sneer in his direction; if he were to go to the lion’s table, he would probably punch him in his freckled face again. Instead, Draco took his usual seat at the Slytherin table and the rest of his friends looked at him expectantly.
“Where is she? Is she alright?” Draco scrubbed a hand down his face at the onslaught.
“I don’t know, I couldn’t find her. I checked all her favorite places and she isn’t anywhere that she usually is. She would never go to library.” He turned to Daphne.
“Was she in your dorm?” Daphne shook her head.
“No, she wasn’t there, and it was clear that she hadn’t been there since this morning.” Draco let out a frustrated sigh. Trust his cousin to discover a hiding place that nobody in the bloody school could find. He was surprised when Missy Selwyn, a fourth year Slytherin, leaned over the table to speak over her friends.
“I’m not sure if it was Hermione but there was a girl crying in the first-floor girl’s loo, the one by the staircase.” Draco was about to thank her but couldn’t because the door to the Great Hall slammed open and Professor Quirrell rushed in, hand clutching at his turban.
“Troll in the dungeons, troll in the dungeons! Thought you ought to know.” The students all began screaming, and Draco could barely hear himself think. The only thing he could focus on was getting to Hermione since she didn’t even know that there was a troll loose in the school. Suddenly, Dumbledore’s voice was magnified and yelling at them.
“SILENCE!!!” The room fell silent immediately and the Headmaster took the opportunity to begin issuing orders.
“Prefects lead your house back to your common rooms in the most direct manner. Professors follow me, so we can see to the troll.” Draco wasn’t about to leave his cousin in the girl’s loo.
The Slytherin stood with the rest of his housemates and followed the six prefects. As they left the Great Hall, Draco hung back just enough to duck behind one of the statues and make his way up the stairs rather than down towards the dungeons. Once the stairs stopped at the first floor, Draco bounded off the stairs and headed for the loo that Missy had heard a girl crying in.
Just outside the door, Draco could hear screams, Hermione’s screams, and the sounds of something hitting the wall. Then, taking him completely by surprise, there were shouts that didn’t belong to Hermione. Draco drew his wand and burst through the door and almost dropped it in bewilderment.
Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley were in the bathroom, watching as an enormous mountain troll lifted his cousin off the ground by her hair.
-O-
Harry couldn’t believe the situation he found himself in sometimes. He was in a school for magic and there was a troll loose in the dungeons. He was unsure how big trolls were, but he got the distinct impression that they weren’t good. It seemed as though the professors were all going to take care of the problem, but he still couldn’t help but worry. Suddenly, he realized that there had been one person missing from the Slytherin table.
“Ron, did you see Hermione Black at her table?” His best mate snorted.
“Why would I care about that traitor?”
Harry couldn’t believe his friend. Merlin knew that he was his best friend, a great one, but he could be such a bully sometimes. Just the fact that he had lied to their friends about Hermione making inappropriate gestures to himself and Ron was ridiculous. They both knew that Hermione had only showed them her knickers because the three-headed dog had torn her skirt.
“You should care because Malfoy is already going to tell his father that you have been bullying his niece and he’s going to get your father fired from his job. Dick move on his part but what do you think he’s going to do if his niece gets hurt by a troll because she’s off somewhere crying because you were mean to her?” Harry could see that his words affected his friend.
It was no secret that the Weasleys were extremely poor; Harry didn’t much care and neither did anyone else in Gryffindor house. However, he had to wonder, to himself of course, just why that was. Every other pureblood child came from a family that was at least comfortable, if not wealthy. He was unsure what politics were at work, but he vowed to ask someone soon. Regardless, the last thing that the Weasleys needed was to have Ron’s father lose his job because he’s being a complete prat to Hermione Black. Ron finally figured out that he may be in even bigger trouble.
“What do we do?” Harry stood and followed the prefects out of the Great Hall just as the rest of the student body was. He leaned over to Ron’s side and whispered in his ear.
“Parvati said that there was a girl crying in the loo on the first floor. I’d bet that’s Black. Let’s go warn her to get back to her common room; the last thing we need is for her to get caught unawares by a troll.” Ron was quick to nod his agreement. Without drawing any attention to themselves, they slipped away from the group and started for the stairs that would take them to the first floor.
Harry knew that Malfoy must be losing his mind with worry over his cousin. As much as he didn’t like the boy, it was clear that he cared deeply for his cousin. Harry was also able to admit now that he was slightly obsessed with Hermione Black. Even though he wanted nothing to do with her and had no plans on becoming her friend anytime soon, he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. He couldn’t not think about how brilliant she was when she performed every spell in class to perfection on the first try.
Harry and Ron rushed through the corridors, hurrying to find Hermione in the girl’s loo. It only took them a few minutes to find the loo and once they reached there, Harry was glad that they had come. Hermione was inside, screaming in fear, and there was crunching sounds that sounded suspiciously like porcelain sinks being torn from the wall.
The pair burst through the door, they were Gryffindors after all, and what Harry saw horrified him.
Hermione was being held up be her hair, or maybe the nape of her neck, he really couldn’t tell. Her feet were dangling a good meter and a half off the ground and she was trying her best to get her hair loose from the troll’s grip. Her wand had clattered to the floor beneath her and she was whimpering in pain. Harry faintly heard the door open behind him, but he was frozen when he saw the troll lift his club and swing it at Hermione. It landed on her calf and there was a sickening crunch of bone.
Before he could even react, Malfoy shot out from behind him, wand raised high, and shot he wasn’t sure what spell at the troll. It bounced off it, of course, but it kept the attention off Hermione. The troll howled in outrage and dropped Hermione and she landed in a heap with a cry of pain. Sinks were knocked off the wall and bathroom doors were ripped off the stalls. Water was spurting from the sinks, soaking the room.
Harry watched as Draco ran forward while the troll was momentarily confused by the spells and took hold of his cousin’s robes and began to drag her towards the entrance of the bathroom. Harry couldn’t fault his actions; it was what he would have done if he had been able to act quick enough. It didn’t last long, however, since the troll was now enraged. It reached down and grabbed Hermione’s leg, the same one that was obviously broken since it was sitting at an angle. She screamed in pain, but Harry finally realized he needed to step forward.
Harry didn’t bother casting a spell; instead, he jumped on the troll’s back and began hitting it with his fists. While he knew that it wasn’t harming the beast, he also knew that he was distracting it enough to make it turn loose of Hermione’s leg. It howled in indignation and started thrashing about, doing its level best to throw him off it’s back. Malfoy was now standing off to the side after dragging Hermione further into the bathroom, wand held aloft.
“Hit it in the back of the head with a stunning spell, Potter!” Harry wasn’t sure what a stunning spell was, but he began hitting the troll in the back of the head with his fist. Malfoy growled in frustration.
“Point your wand at the back of his head and yell stupefy!” Draco did this several times over so Harry wasn’t sure what this was going to accomplish but he did as he was told regardless. To his complete and utter surprise, his spell hit the troll and he dropped to the ground which sent Harry rolling close to Hermione and Draco.
The troll was laying on it’s side right where it had fallen. Ron was still standing at the door, dumbstruck and still. Draco was crawling to his cousin, panic written in his features even though Harry was sure that he didn’t want to broadcast his fury. He had Hermione wrapped in his arms and was whispering in her ear, gathering her close to him. Harry couldn’t help but feel just a little jealous before he quashed the feeling. He couldn’t want his mortal enemy.
Before any of them could speak, the door to the bathroom slammed open and the Headmaster, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape all filed in. They were caught off guard at exactly what it was they were seeing but aside from a moment of not knowing what was going on, their expressions were blank. Professor Snape was the first one to speak, although Harry wasn’t sure how. His leg seemed to be bleeding heavily, though he hid it quickly behind his robes.
“What in the bloody hell is going on here?” Harry wasn’t sure that his professor had meant to curse but he had and there was no taking it back. Professor McGonagall spoke next.
“I think what Professor Snape is wanting to know is just why you are all in this bathroom with a troll instead of in your common rooms like you were ordered to be.” Harry was going to speak up and take the blame since Ron had been the reason Hermione was in there to begin with, but he was cut off by Hermione.
“It was my fault. I followed the troll because I thought that I could beat it. The others came to save me from my stupidity. Don’t punish them, it just isn’t fair.” Harry couldn’t believe that she would lie for them. Even though he figured it was more for her cousin, she had included not only himself but Ron as well. It was clear that she had no loyalty to the redhead, but he suspected that she was grateful all the same. Professor McGonagall sounded quite angry when she spoke.
“I’m highly disappointed in all of you. The fact that you saved Miss Black doesn’t mean a thing.” The Headmaster broke in.
“Now, Minerva, you know that it does mean something. They saved Miss Black and I’m sure her father and uncle would be grateful.” Harry wasn’t sure what that meant but he just rolled with it. Hermione, however, narrowed her eyes and spat her words as if they were poison.
“I went after the troll by myself, I wanted to make a name for myself. Draco and Potter came after me hoping to dissuade me from making such a colossal mistake. Once they realized I was in trouble, they stepped forward and helped save me.” Harry could see that Draco was livid with her story, obviously shaking his head in disagreement. However, nobody paid attention to him. When he spoke, it was hesitant.
“Professor, I don’t think that -.” Harry was cut off by the Headmaster.
“If Miss Black is willing to take the blame for tonight’s events, it sounds like a good plan. The last thing that the savior of the wizarding world needs is to be at blame for a young girl being emotional and running into danger.” Harry wanted to barf at his words. They all knew that it was a lie that she had told to keep them safe. The best he could do was keep her wish alive and believable. Professor McGonagall, however, looked livid, believing completely that her house was innocent.
“I am well-aware that taking down a mountain troll is quite the feat. However, it’s a clear violation of the rules since you were all instructed to go to your common rooms.” She turned to the rest of the students and Harry knew that the points losses were coming.
“Miss Black, fifty points for clearly not listening to the Headmaster and following the prefects to your common room. Mr. Malfoy, twenty points for going after your cousin. After all, family comes first, even that is something that a Gryffindor can appreciate. Mr. Potter, thirty points for doing the best you could to stop the troll and casting spells beyond your skill level to save another student.” Harry watched as Hermione bowed her head and snuggled into her cousin’s side, crying harder than she had in ages he was sure. He couldn’t help but feel bad for letting her lie for him. Professor Snape stepped forward and glared at everyone.
“Yes, Minerva, make sure you take points before the girl has even been treated for her obviously broken leg. I’m sure that’s not insult to injury.” Harry could see that his Head of House felt terrible once the girl’s state had been pointed out, but she said nothing. Instead, she had allowed the Slytherin Head of House to take control of his student and levitate her out of the loo. Once they were gone and the Headmaster had left, Harry’s Head of House fixed her gaze upon him.
“I’m very disappointed that you let that girl lie for you, Potter. Filius told me exactly what happened in his class and Miss Black had no idea that there was a troll in the building. I punished her instead of you and Mr. Weasley but know that I’ve never been more disappointed in you both. Gryffindors are always honest and you did your house a disservice today.” Harry hung his head, even though Ron didn’t, at her words. They were all true and he had no excuse for his cowardice. Instead, he nodded his agreement with her words and once she gestured for them to leave, he hurried to their common room.
Even though he deserved it, he couldn’t bear to lose any points from his house, Hermione Black be damned.
-O-
Severus couldn’t remember being this livid, ever. Maybe when the Dark Lord had killed Lily, but it would be a close toss-up.
Severus knew that his goddaughter was lying the second the words fell out of her mouth. He also knew that she was trying to protect not only Draco but Harry as well. He knew she wouldn’t care if Weasley was in trouble but since he was there she was forced to include him in her story.
They were currently in the Hospital Wing, Draco perched on her bed with her and rubbing comforting circles into her back as they waited for the skele-gro to do its work. Severus had already scared away the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall; while he was sure that it wouldn’t matter in the long run, he was quite committed to keeping those that would bother them out of their face. Madam Pomfrey bustled over and met his gaze.
“She’s free to leave as long as she promises no serious activity on that leg for the next forty-eight hours.” He nodded his head and gestured for the two students to stand.
“I understand, Madam. I’ll do my best to keep her as sedate as possible.” She flashed him a smile before helping Hermione gather her things and helping her towards her godfather, even though she didn’t know that tidbit of information. Severus stood and took her hand in his before drawing it into his arm, so he could formally escort her. While it wasn’t required for such an elderly wizard to perform for such a young witch, it was a show of respect, and in his case, love for the witch in question.
“Please allow me to escort you to your common room, Miss Black.” Hermione was quite aware that he was trying to keep the scene to a minimum before he started to pull her towards his office. Once they were all safely ensconced inside, Severus turned his severe gaze to his goddaughter.
“Why would you lie?” She blanched slightly before she finally decided on how she wanted to answer.
“I didn’t want Draco punished for my weakness when Weasley lied about my honor. I didn’t want Harry to think that I hated him like I did Weasley. The best way to go about doing both of those things was to lie about what really happened.” Severus sighed. While she was correct, that didn’t mean that he enjoyed her actions being necessary.
“What did really happen?” Draco shot her a look that clearly asked her how much they wanted to divulge of their adventures. Since Uncle Sev had done nothing to earn their mistrust, she nodded and proceeded to tell him the whole story. It began with Ron’s suggestion of a wizard’s duel and ended with both Harry and Ron staring at her knickers.
Severus couldn’t say that he was pleased when he finally worked out the rest of the story for himself. It didn’t do any good for him to get angry in front of the children, however. The last thing that he wanted was to keep them from trusting him. He realized that there was nothing he could say at the moment that wouldn’t end up sounding petty or judgmental, therefore, he remained silent. Severus rolled his shoulders when Draco spoke next.
“I’m going to write father tonight. Weasley needs to learn his place and as much as I hate to say it, Potter does as well. If he’s going to hang around Weasley, he needs to know what can happen to him, especially if his friends are so bloody stupid.” Hermione looked panicked for a few moments, her hands clutching at the fabric on her cousin’s chest.
“Drake, please, don’t have Uncle Luci fire their father. It isn’t his fault that his son is a complete cad.” Draco sighed and rubbed his hands down his face in a clear motion that said he was only capitulating because of Hermione.
“I’ll only suggest that they give him a pay cut or force him to take a vacation, that you don’t want him to be majorly punished since it’s only one person in the family that’s a complete idiot. I think I’ll pass on, however, that his family should know that their lack of serious punishment is due to your interference.” Hermione was nodding happily so Severus stood and urged them to do the same.
He escorted the pair back to their common room, knowing full well that their friends were waiting on news from them. Severus knew that his godchildren would try to downplay the situation, but he couldn’t erase the fact that what happened had happened. He just wished that his goddaughter hadn’t been forced to lie about what had happened, especially since she was likely to suffer in loss of opinion of Filius Flitwick. Severus wondered if he could somehow bring the half-goblin around to their way of thinking. He wasn’t sure, but he was aware that the professor had already chosen his favorite student and it just happened to be Hermione.
Severus didn’t even bother going to Albus’ office; all he would be doing, along with Minerva, would be gloating that little miss perfect wasn’t quite so perfect. The last thing that he wanted to listen to was his colleagues talking about how his goddaughter had got what she deserved. Severus sighed as he settled back into the chair behind his desk and pulled a piece of parchment to him. He would write to Sirius and inform him as to the reasons behind his daughter’s point loss. He knew the man wouldn’t be happy about it, but he still had a right to know. Severus sighed and picked up his quill.
These children were going to be the death of him.
-O-
Draco had just finished telling their friends what had happened to Hermione and they were just as livid as he was. Yes, he was thrilled that he wasn’t in trouble, but Hermione should never have had to have lied about what happened. That irked him more than anything, especially since they had learned growing up that honesty was key. He understood that she didn’t want Harry to hate her more but taking this punishment on as her own was completely insane.
Draco laid his quill down and decided that the letter to his father was the best that it was going to get. He decided to proof read it before he sent it off.
Father,
I know that you’re probably busy so I’m sorry for bothering you so late at night. I wanted to let you know that Hermione was injured tonight when a full-grown mountain troll got into the school and attacked her. She was in the loo crying because the youngest Weasley had told everyone that she had made inappropriate gestures to him and Potter; this wasn’t true, not in the least, but he told them that she showed him her knickers. Know that while he and Potter did see her knickers, it was because her skirt was torn, and they were staring.
Before you start yelling at me, I gave her my robes and Potter apologized for staring, he did appear to feel bad. Weasley took it a step too far and made her run out of class crying. The troll found her in the loo while the rest of the school was evacuating to their common rooms.
I went after her and found her with the troll, holding her up by her hair. Potter felt bad and he made Weasley come with him to warn her. The troll still broke her leg with his club and I feel terrible that I couldn’t stop that. I tried to pull her to safety once he released her, but it turned on her again, lifting her up by her broken leg. I was trying to stun it but it’s skin was too thick. Potter jumped on it’s back to try to distract it and I finally yelled at him to stun it in the back of the head. When it worked, and the troll fell to the ground, the professors arrived.
Even though Hermione had no fault whatsoever in the situation, she lied to the professors and told them that she went after the troll. It made sure that I didn’t get a punishment and neither did Potter or Weasley. This is why I’m writing.
Hermione has already demanded that the Weasleys not be permanently punished; she says that she would feel guilty. I propose, however, that elder Weasley take a pay cut or some sort of forced vacation so they get the point that their youngest needs to be reined in. I’m leaving this in yours and Uncle Sirius’ capable hands. I’ll continue to take care of Hermione as best as I can (as much as she’ll let me).
Thank you, Father.
Draco
The letter sounded fine, so he folded it up to send off tomorrow morning. He was sure that Severus was informing Sirius of the events as he sat there so his letter wouldn’t be a huge surprise. He was more than happy to let his godfather take the heat by being the first one to inform his family of the events that had taken place tonight. He sighed as he rose to his feet and headed for his dorm.
This was not what he had expected to happen on their first Halloween in the castle.
-O-
Harry lay in his bed, hands behind his head and piled under blankets. He couldn’t help but wonder about what had happened that evening. Sure, he had known that he would be facing punishment when he went after Hermione Black; he hadn’t expected any less. The last thing he expected, however, was the girl to lie to all her professors and save not only himself punishment but Ron as well.
Harry wasn’t under the false impression that she was trying to save Ron from punishment. Most likely, she was trying to save her cousin and Harry just got lumped in there as a bonus. He knew that she wanted to be friends with him and this would be the perfect opportunity to win support from him.
It wasn’t going to work, however. Sure, he was slightly obsessed with the girl; he couldn’t keep her out of his mind. This didn’t mean that he was going to rush into her arms and become best mates with her; he knew who her father was, and he knew what her agenda was. Dumbledore wouldn’t lie to him and he was going to do the best he could to remain safe.
This didn’t mean that he wasn’t perplexed by the girl’s actions. He was confused as hell as to why he wanted to be friends with him so badly. Sure, he could understand doing what her father told her and getting close to him, so he could trap him in the end. Harry never would have thought that his would mean taking the blame for something that was clearly not her fault. He shook his head and closed his eyes, determined to get some sleep before classes tomorrow.
Hermione Black was indeed a puzzle that he would figure out someday.
A/N- There we are, folks, another chapter down. Boom! I really didn’t foresee this chapter being that long but look at me go, ha-ha. Let me know what y’all think, I do so like to read your opinions.
Next chapter, first quidditch match of the season.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Here we are again, my lovelies, with chapter 14. It doesn’t seem like I should be this far along in the story. I want to send a shout out to all those that are reading and reviewing, y’all keep me motivated and make me smile.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. Nothing but the personal twist on this story belongs to me and I’ve made no money on any of my stories.
Chapter 14
November 19, 1991
Hermione had settled into her new routine nicely. Almost three months at school had let her know just how far advanced she was. She was still bored out of her mind in all her classes but comforted herself with the thought that Madam Cambridge was still sending them advanced assignments. Her father and Uncle Luci had also promised that they would start teaching them dueling when they returned home for the summer holidays.
Professor McGonagall had managed to give them advanced assignments for all of two weeks. One day, they suddenly stopped, and Hermione instantly knew what had happened. Somehow, the Headmaster had discovered what she was doing and put a stop to it. Uncle Sev had then told them that Dumbledore had done a random check of the assignments turned in by the pair in all their classes. The Transfiguration professor had reluctantly handed over their advanced assignments, knowing that she would likely suffer an official complaint since she had expressly went against his wishes.
Her godfather told them that she hadn’t gotten a complaint in her file, but she had received a stern dressing down at the staff meeting. The other professors had seemed surprised that she was allowing first year students to do fourth year assignments but there was nothing for it now. Even though Hermione knew that the stern professor didn’t like her because of who her father was, she felt compelled to thank her for the effort she had put forth into trying to challenge them.
Therefore, she had left a note on her desk one day after class while she was speaking with one of her Gryffindor students. Hermione never knew if she read it or not but that wasn’t what concerned her. She had left a note and it made her feel better. Draco had shaken his head at her, mirth dancing in his eyes, but let her carry on without a single word.
The atmosphere since the troll incident was tenser than ever. Hermione made sure to never start any arguments and always keep her opinions to herself. Draco tried to do the same, although he found it more difficult when she was being teased and taunted. Ron Weasley remained the worst of the bunch. The other Gryffindors still teased her relentlessly but they weren’t near as ruthless as Weasley.
It had gotten worse when her father had written her and told her that he and Uncle Luci had strongly suggested to Arthur Weasley’s boss that he be given a three-week long vacation. He had told her that the patriarch of the Weasley family had protested, insisted that he didn’t need a vacation, but his superiors had insisted. Once they were made aware of Ron’s actions, she was quite sure that they knew who was responsible for his forced leave.
Hermione still felt terrible for it, however. Ron was the only one that had done wrong by her, even the twins had apologized and made friends with her. The Weasley parents certainly hadn’t done anything wrong to her so it just felt wrong to punish the whole family because their youngest son was a complete arsehole.
Ron still teased and tormented her, but he was careful to make sure he never brought her integrity or virtue into the conversation. She was sure that he had gotten a nasty letter from home and she knew for a fact that the twins had threatened him (they were proud to inform her of just how creative they were when they threatened him), none of these things, however, kept him from being a complete prat. Mostly he made comments about her father being a traitor and her being a suck up to the teachers. It was ridiculous, so Hermione did her best to just let it all roll of her shoulders. She usually succeeded.
Harry was a different story. He never started altercations with the others, but he wasn’t afraid to rise to the occasion if it called for it. He still wasn’t friendly to her, in fact he ignored her very pointedly when they were paired together in class. He wasn’t mean to her at all, which was heartening, but rather he acted as though she didn’t exist. That hurt her more than anything.
Since this was how he wanted things to be between them, Hermione had decided that she would just follow his lead. It was clear that he wasn’t going to want to be her friend any time soon, so she saw no point in making herself miserable by being constantly rejected. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but it was what she had to deal with. She would protect him from afar if she could and then act as if they shouldn’t have grown up as brother and sister.
Draco nudged her with his elbow, bringing her out of her reverie. Her breakfast was gone and when she looked at his plate, she realized that he was done now too. He smiled at her, likely more than aware of where her mind had went, but he remained silent. He never mocked her or teased her for wanting to be Harry’s friend and being hurt by the fact that she had been so thoroughly rejected.
“Ready to head out there? I want to get a good seat.” Hermione nodded, excitement shining in her eyes.
Today was the first quidditch match and since it always made for a good match, it was Slytherin versus Gryffindor. They had all witnessed the rivalry between the two houses and it was made even worse when you added in the matches. Everyone was talking about how good Harry was at seeking, and even though the Slytherin team didn’t believe it, she could tell that they were worried. He wouldn’t have made it on the team if Professor McGonagall didn’t think that he was talented. The Gryffindor Head of House’s love for quidditch was legendary at Hogwarts.
The group of first years stood and started for the door that led to the pitch. While Hermione didn’t enjoy flying in the least, she had been to enough quidditch matches through the years that she had a certain appreciation for the game. It didn’t come close to reading or learning but it was enjoyable enough. She wasn’t all that pleased that Draco was planning on trying out for the team the following year, she was scared to death that he would get injured, but it was one of his dreams and she would never take that away from him.
The rest of the school fell in behind them, eager to find good seats to watch the match. Hermione had a book tucked into the inner pocket of her cloak, but she wasn’t sure if her friends would allow her to read it. More than anything, she was excited to get outside and breathe in fresh air. Since it had turned cold, she had spent more and more time in the library or her common room as well as her hidey holes throughout the castle.
The group of ten found seats on the front row since they weren’t tall enough to see over some of their classmates. Hermione was squeezed in between Draco and Millie and since they were both bigger than her, they served as a little bit of a wind block. It was almost December and the weather had been frigid for well over a month now.
It took almost half an hour for the whole school to find seats in the stands. Hermione was quite cold by that time so she surreptitiously cast a warming charm on herself when nobody was looking. They weren’t supposed to learn that charm until third year which she thought was just cruel since none of the older children were offering to cast one upon the younger students. Draco nudged her and grinned, and Hermione realized that she hadn’t been as sneaky as she had thought.
All four houses had their own stands and the smallest set of stands were used by the Headmaster and the professors along with any guests that might show to come watch the match. Hermione knew that if Draco made the team Uncle Luci and Aunt Cissy would be there to watch him every time he played. Truthfully, she was a little surprised to see that there weren’t that many parents present in the box currently.
Madam Hooch strolled out on the pitch, whistle around her neck and broom in hand. The students were all sitting on the edge of their seats, vibrating with excitement as they waited for the match to begin. A boy from Gryffindor was commentating the match. Hermione had seen him hanging around with the twins, but she wasn’t sure what his name was. Hermione watched him wave his wand at his throat, casting the sonorous charm she was sure.
“Welcome everyone to the first quidditch match of the season. Today is Slytherin versus Gryffindor, snakes against the lions. Both teams have been working hard so far this year so make sure you cheer extra loud for them.” He paused and turned to Professor McGonagall, nodded and then turned back to the pitch.
“Let’s hear it for the Slytherin team! Captain and chaser Marcus Flint, keeper Miles Bletchley, chaser Cassius Warrington, chaser Graham Montague, beaters Lucian Bole and Peregrine Derrick, and finally, seeker Terrence Higgs.” The Slytherin students all went wild, cheering loudly as their team appeared on the pitch and fell into formation behind Marcus Flint. From the other end of the pitch, the Gryffindor team emerged.
“Here come the lions, cheer loudly! Here comes our captain and keeper Oliver Wood, chasers Angelina Johnson, Katie Bell, and Alicia Spinnet, beaters Fred and George Weasley, and finally our seeker and youngest member in over a century, Harry Potter!” The whole school went crazy at his announcement. Slytherin was subdued since most of them still thought that it wasn’t fair that Harry’s bad behavior was rewarded with a spot on the quidditch team.
Hermione watched as they all mounted their brooms and hovered in the air. Madam Hooch bent down and flipped open the lid to the box that held the balls needed to play. She released the snitch first; all that was visible was a glint of gold before it was gone. She could see Harry and Terrence trying to see where it went but she knew that it was a lost cause.
Next to be released were the bludgers. Since there were only two and they careened around the pitch wildly, it was unsurprising that the beaters followed them even as they headed to opposite ends of the pitch. Finally, Madam Hooch pulled out the quaffle and the chasers all stepped forward, eager to beat the others out for possession. With a sharp whistle, Madam Hooch threw the large ball up into the air and it was a mad dash by the chasers.
Hermione watched as Slytherin took possession of the quaffle, passing it seamlessly between themselves as they headed for the hoops at Gryffindor’s end. Lee was shouting in the background, urging the Gryffindor chasers to step up their game and steal the ball back. This didn’t happen, however, since Fred Weasley (or was it George? She couldn’t tell from this distance.) reached a bludger and smacked it as hard as he could towards Cassius. It caught him right in the elbow which caused him to drop the quaffle, Angelina swooping forward and snatching it from the air just a meter below him.
Hermione shook her head in dismay. She didn’t want anyone to get hurt but she had a feeling that Cassius had a broken bone since he was favoring it now. Hermione watched as Marcus called for a time out and spoke with the chaser; it was only moments later that he waved him towards the ground and the reserve chaser flew up in the air. Hermione hoped that they got plenty of practice time as well, otherwise their team wouldn’t be near as flawless in their teamwork.
The match continued in this fashion for over an hour; Slytherin was in the lead, 120-70. She could see that her classmates were getting overly confident and she hoped that the players weren’t doing the same thing. If Harry caught the snitch, the lions would win. She turned her gaze back to watch the Weasley twins, marveling at how they themselves were like human bludgers. The boy commentating paused her thoughts, however, when he commented on Harry Potter.
“Look at Potter, his broom appears to be jinxed!” Hermione felt her heart drop into her gut when she caught sight of Harry flying high above them. His broom was jerking up and down, shaking like mad, and he was barely holding onto the handle as he dangled above the pitch. She reached out and clutched Draco’s forearm with her hand, her nails digging into his pale skin. He hissed in pain, but she barely noticed.
Hermione scanned the crowd, doing her best to see who could be cursing the broom. Since it had been fine for over an hour, the curse would have to be being applied at that moment. The students all looked on in worry, even her godfather looked like he was sitting on the edge of his seat.
Until she caught sight of a man sitting on the bottom row of the staff stands.
Professor Quirrell was sitting by himself, hunched over and shivering. She wondered why he didn’t bother casting a warming charm on himself but that wasn’t the important thing. What was important was that his eyes were locked on Harry and his broom and he appeared to be chanting to himself. Hermione instantly knew that this was the person responsible for trying to kill Harry.
Without a single word to Draco or the other students that were watching in worry, Hermione flew to her feet and raced down the steps that led to the seats for the students. She wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do when she reached the professor, he was a professor after all, but she knew that she had to do something before Harry plummeted to his death.
Since the staff stands were the closest to the Slytherin stands, she didn’t have far to run. Deciding that she couldn’t do anything out in the open, she hurried underneath the seats, silencing her shoes so nobody would hear her blundering about beneath their feet. She pulled her wand without a second’s hesitation and took a deep breath before she cast the spell at the professor’s robes.
“Incendio.”
Flames erupted from her wand and fire quickly spread on the bottom hem of his robes. She didn’t wait around to see if her plan had worked; the last thing that she wanted was to be discovered as the one who had technically attacked a teacher. Once she was out from under the stands, Hermione high tailed it back to where she had left Draco and the rest of her friends.
After she was seated again, her cousin shot her a confused glance. Hermione didn’t have to worry about explaining her actions when a shout went up next to them. Professor Quirrell was standing, beating his robes with his bare hands. She wasn’t quite sure why he wasn’t using the aguamenti charm to put it out, but she wasn’t going to suggest it to him. Her godfather stepped down from his seat, wand held aloft, and water shot out from the tip of his wand. Professor Quirrell was now drenched and looked extremely pissed off.
Hermione turned her gaze to the sky and noticed that Harry’s broom had stopped bucking and he was able to muscle himself back up onto it. Once he was properly seated again, he sped off. The other students from both Slytherin and Ravenclaw were laughing at the fact that their professor had somehow caught fire. Professor Quirrell was red-faced now that he knew that he was the cause of so much laughter. Draco leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“You set him on fire.” She grinned at him. Her father would be proud.
“He was cursing Harry’s broom. I couldn’t let him fall when I could do something about it.” He nodded his head that he understood.
“He didn’t see you, right?” She narrowed her eyes at him and he held his hands up in surrender.
“Of course, he didn’t see me. I’m not stupid.” Draco laughed now.
“Of course, you aren’t, ‘Mi.” Her cousin bumped her shoulder with his before tuning back into the quidditch match.
Slytherin was still ahead, 180-150. The skill on both teams was apparent, even to someone like Hermione who wasn’t too interested in the sport. The boy commentating made a crude comment about one of the Gryffindor chasers and Professor McGonagall reached out and smacked the back of his head. The boy laughed good-naturedly and continued with his commentary without missing a beat.
Hermione was just beginning to think that the match was never going to end. She was cold, warming charms only did so much after all, she was hungry, and she wanted to finish her homework for Madam Cambridge. She was just getting ready to whine to Draco when the crowd gasped. When she caught sight of Terrence and Harry racing across the pitch at breakneck speeds, her heart dropped into her belly again.
They were high in the air and when they both dived suddenly towards the ground, Hermione dug her nails into her cousin’s arm again. Before she knew what had happened, the pair pulled up at the last second and landed, Harry’s hand clutched over his mouth like he was going to get sick. Terrence was watching in confusion, as were the rest of the spectators. Hermione could see when he began coughing and after the third cough, the snitch popped out of his mouth and landed in his open hand.
The whole stadium fell silent.
“Gryffindor wins, 300-180, Harry Potter caught the snitch!” Hermione could tell that her classmates and house team were disappointed, but they were trying not to show it. Professor McGonagall was jumping up and down in the stands, jabbing her finger at Uncle Sev in triumph. She was unsure what the woman was saying to him, but he didn’t look happy in the least. The Gryffindor team had rushed Harry and lifted him up on their shoulders, Harry’s face cherry red at the show of attention. Theo was grumbling, as were the other boys around her.
“Fucking dragon shite. Potter made the team because of his name. None of the rest of us were offered spots and we’re all fair flyers.” While Hermione was happy for Harry, her father would be proud of him for sure, she couldn’t blame the Slytherins. It wasn’t fair, but she was quickly learning that she wasn’t going to have a fair experience at Hogwarts. She reached out and squeezed Theo’s arm softly.
“Just let it go, Theo. Next year, you can all try out and you’ll give him a run for his money. There’s nothing else we can do about it.” He grinned at her briefly but nodded in the end.
“I know, I just hate it. Just because we’re Slytherins doesn’t mean that we should be hated by everyone.” She moved closer to Draco and threaded her arm through his before she responded.
“My father was a Gryffindor and look at him now. Everyone hates his guts. Life isn’t fair, so we just have to make the best of it.” Theo looked contemplative for a few moments before he turned to Vince and Greg to go over the finer points of the match. This was something that Hermione wanted no part of. She smiled at her cousin and started to pull him towards the castle.
-O-
Harry couldn’t believe that he had caught the snitch.
Sure, he had done well catching it during practice, Oliver had told him time and time again that he was the best seeker he had ever seen, even better than Charlie Weasley, Ron’s older brother that had just graduated the year prior. Just like practice, though, everything and everyone else disappeared the second he started to concentrate on finding the snitch.
His broom, however, had worried him. Professor McGonagall had secured the broom for him and he hadn’t asked her where she had gotten it or how. He supposed that he should have just in case someone was trying to make him fall on purpose. He just couldn’t see his Head of House trying to kill him off but after that experience, he wasn’t sure about anything anymore.
The team finally set him down outside the locker room. They were all laughing and playfully shoving each other, all of them excited to have won their first match. Ron had followed them to the locker room and promised Harry that he would wait outside for him to shower and change. There were murmurs of a party in the Gryffindor common room, but Harry wasn’t sure if they were true.
He showered off quickly, starving now the match was over and the pressure to win was gone. He dressed just as quickly, the team following suit. Even though the girls were a little slower than the boys, they weren’t in the locker room for longer than half an hour. They left the locker room and the pitch as a team, Oliver said it would make more of a statement if they entered the Great Hall together.
Oliver had been correct. Since the meal was already being served, everyone was in the Great Hall when they entered. Cheers and catcalls erupted, making Harry blush again. They took their seats at the table, all of them sitting together, the other lions scooting down to make room for them. Ron congratulated him half a dozen times on playing a good match and Harry thanked him with a grin.
The meal passed by quickly, everyone congratulating the team and telling them what a remarkable job they had done. Harry finally tuned all the well-wishers out, so he could enjoy his meal and finish it in a timely manner. Once the rest of the team was through, they all stood as one and Oliver spoke.
“Celebration party in the common room, everyone. Fred and George, you’re in charge of food and drink.” Percy was there with them and he looked conflicted.
“I don’t care if there’s a party but no alcohol. Nobody on the team should be drinking, you’re all too young.” Harry was pretty sure that Oliver was a fifth year, same as Percy, but he didn’t look too bothered at the prefect’s words.
“Let’s go, everyone.” The whole house trouped after the team and Harry was beginning to wonder how long this treatment would last. While he had enjoyed it at first, it was getting rather uncomfortable.
As one, Gryffindor house made their way out of the Great Hall and into the corridor. It was there that Harry and the rest of their house met a large group of Slytherins headed for the dungeons. Harry cursed to himself; if only they had left a few minutes later, there wouldn’t have been any trouble. He wasn’t surprised when Ron was the first one to pop off. It was getting annoying.
“So, did the Slytherins cry when their team lost?” Harry watched as the snake’s eyes flashed. It wasn’t just the first years this time, there were several third years there too. Harry couldn’t help but notice that Hermione Black was with them, looking quite lovely in her skirt and button up shirt. Theo Nott stepped forward and sneered their way.
“We aren’t sore losers. If this had happened next year, we would have shaken your hands and told you well done. This year, however, it’s dragon shite. Potter had the rules bent for him because he’s the precious Boy-Who-Lived. If it had been myself or Draco, we would have had points taken away or worse. Oh wait, like I did. Only Potter would get rewarded by having the rules broken for him.” Harry felt a stab of guilt at his words. It was true; he had broken the rules the same as Nott had and while Nott had been punished by points loss, Harry had received a spot on the quidditch team. Sure, he had head points deducted as well but that was nothing in the wake of being put on the team. Oliver held his hand out and tried to defuse the situation.
“I understand why you see it that way; if it was the other way around, we would feel the same. Put yourselves in our shoes though. If you were offered such an advantage, would you have turned it down? No, you wouldn’t have. You’re Slytherins and that means you’re ambitious and want to win. It isn’t our fault that Harry was put on the team, I didn’t even get a choice of having him. I doubt that he got the choice to play.” Harry shook his head, not really wanting to make the Slytherins any more of his enemies.
“I didn’t get the choice, I was just told that I was meeting with Oliver and that I was on the team.” Hermione stepped forward just a little and spoke.
“It’s not their fault, guys. Yeah, its not fair that the professors did this, but they didn’t have a choice in the matter either. We’ll make a proper go of it next year.” Oliver nodded at her words, but Ron just couldn’t let her speak without insulting her.
“Why are you talking again? It’s clear you don’t know shite about quidditch, all you do is read and do homework.” Marcus Flint’s little brother Marco stepped forward menacingly.
“Shut your gob, Weasel. Hermione has been to more matches than you have. You’re just jealous that she wins us tons of points and you only lose them.” As if sensing that this was going to be a disaster, Oliver started ushering them towards the stairs.
“Tell your brother he played a damn good game today. If Harry hadn’t caught the snitch, you would have won.” Marco nodded his head respectfully before turning back to his house. Harry let the rest of his house usher him towards the stairs while Fred and George grabbed Ron by the scruff of his neck and started hissing in his ear.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? You know what her father did to dad just because you can’t keep your mouth shut. Hermione is a good girl, a sweet girl. There is no call to be mean to her like you are, even if her father is a traitor. That doesn’t mean that she is.” Ron scoffed openly at their words.
“I’ve learned what I can get away with saying and what I can’t. Obviously, I can’t tell her that she’s a nasty slag. I can tell her she’s nothing but a know-it-all bookworm that has a traitor for a father.” George cuffed him on the back of the head roughly. Ron howled in indignation.
“Just remember that her uncle is a school governor. It wouldn’t take much for him to get you expelled for openly bullying his niece. I guarantee you that Draco would back him up.” Ron snorted now.
“Malfoy can go get hanged. I don’t care what he tells his father.” Harry finally decided to step in before it ended in a brawl in the middle of the corridor.
“Enough, Ron. You need to back off Black. She clearly has power in this place and it’s not worth bringing her wrath down upon you without good reason.” Ron eyed him as though he had never seen him before.
“Since when is being a traitor not a good reason?” Harry groaned in frustration and the twin’s expressions hardened. Fred (or maybe George?) spoke.
“Back the fuck off her, Ron, or we’re going to write home and tell Mum. You know what she’ll do to you at Christmas.” Ron paled and nodded quickly.
Harry wasn’t sure if he would stick by his word, but it was better than nothing.
-O-
Severus couldn’t help but scowl at Minerva sitting next to him at the High Table during dinner. She was still gloating over the fact that Gryffindor won the match today and his snakes hadn’t. Albus was just watching with a small smile on his face, gloating himself on the inside he was sure. Minerva was now enumerating the ways that Potter was going to help their team win not only the Quidditch Cup but the House Cup as well. Finally, Severus could take no more.
“Cease your gloating, you insufferable harridan. The only reason you won that match is because you bent the rules to put a first year on the team, something that hasn’t been done in a century. If I had tried to do that with Mr. Malfoy, you would have been crying to Albus before I even got the question to join out of my mouth.” Minerva halted her words immediately, her mouth hanging open to show her complete surprise. Deciding that he should get all he needed to say out before she realized that she was still able to speak, he continued.
“Yours and the Headmaster’s blatant show of favoritism isn’t going to help anyone. It’s going to create deeper rifts between the houses and when your horrid little lions win the quidditch cup, the rest of the school will resent them because they know that they only won due to Potter being allowed on the team because of who he is. You’re telling the world that you think he’s better than everyone else.” Severus wiped his mouth and took one last drink of his wine before he stood. Albus was no longer twinkling and Minerva was starting to look indignant.
“How can you say that, Severus? He’s an exceptionally talented flier, he needs as much practice as he can get.” He snorted at her words.
“Draco Malfoy has been flying since he was two years old and he’s quite accomplished as well. I don’t see you making allowances for him. I know for a fact that he’s a better seeker than Terrence Higgs. However, he’s abiding the rules, as am I. Anything you say from here on out is just you trying to convince yourself that you’ve just cemented the house rivalries that Weasley is trying to worsen all by himself.” Severus didn’t wait for them to speak again before stalking off.
He left the Great Hall by way of the staff door and started for the dungeons. The last thing that he wanted was to deal with brats in the corridors. He decided that he would take his grading to his quarters rather than his office. There would be less disruptions that way. After gathering what he needed from his office, he moved into his arm chair and pulled his quill out, so he could begin.
Severus sat there for several hours grading, stunned at the levels of idiocy his students had reached. He wasn’t sure how they managed to fuck their essays up as badly as they did but was sure that it had to do with the combination of not listening, quidditch, and hormones. He was almost ready to quit, there were only two essays left, when there was a knock at the door. Severus heaved a sigh, quite sure that it was Minerva coming to gloat some more.
“Go away, Minerva, I’m going to bed.” There were muffled words, but the knocking resumed. He took a moment to gather himself before he stood and wrenched the door open. Rather than seeing Minerva, his goddaughter was standing out there, peering down the corridor to make sure that nobody was watching. He reached out and grasped her elbow, pulling her into the room. Once the door was closed, he pulled her into his arms and hugged her close.
“I’ve missed being able to see you like this all the time, little one.” She buried her face in his robes, breathing him in. She had done that since she was small child. His hands carded through her curls as she pulled back.
“I miss you too, Uncle Sev.” He chuckled.
“At least you’ve quit calling me Uncle Sevvie. It was cute when you were six but you’re older now.” She grinned and nodded before pulling away completely and sitting on the couch in front of the fire.
“Draco knows that I’ve come. The others are still celebrating.” He sat on the couch next to her and laid an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his side like he did when they were home.
“What you brings you here, little one?” She breathed in his robes again before answering.
“Professor Quirrell was the one cursing Harry’s broom. I realized that he was chanting something and keeping eye contact with Harry. I’m the one who set his robes on fire. I crawled under the stands and did it quickly, then ran before I got caught. I’m not sure why he’s trying to hurt Harry, but I couldn’t let it happen.” Severus gave her a small smile.
“I don’t blame you at all. You did the right thing and then you told me. Now I can be on the look out for other things he’s up to.” She nodded, clearly relieved at his words. She blew out a breath and smiled at him.
“Thanks, Uncle Sev. I didn’t want to get in trouble, but I knew I had to tell you.” He ruffled her before standing and pulling her to her feet.
“You better get back to the common room before anyone realizes you’re missing. Make sure you tell them to keep it quiet and it has be over midnight.” She nodded and gave him one last hug before slipping out of the room once more.
Severus sighed. This wasn’t the kind of information that he could just give to the Headmaster. Not only would he ignore it since it came from Hermione, he’d be pissed as hell that it was slandering his personal pick of professors. Therefore, Severus was going to have to do exactly what he had told his goddaughter. He was going to keep an eye on the quirky little professor and make sure he didn’t cause any more trouble.
Severus sighed and steepled his hands under his chin. This was going to be a long year.
-O-
Albus knew that Severus was right. His choice, and Minerva’s, had fostered nothing but animosity between the houses. Not that he would ever admit it. He was well-aware that by making the house rivalry even worse, he was just turning people away from the light side that might make the choice to not follow their parent otherwise.
Albus sat behind his desk and twirled his beard in his fingers. Was he doing the right thing? Was he making the right decisions? He knew that Hermione Black wanted to befriend Harry desperately and he knew that it was so she could lead him to her father. However, after the tale he had told Harry about her and her father, he couldn’t help but wonder if he had done the right thing in turning young Harry so against another child.
Albus shook his head trying to rid himself of these thoughts. He had done the right thing, he was keeping Harry safe from those that would harm him for no other reason than the Dark Lord hadn’t managed to kill him when he was only a year old. He pushed his doubts from his mind and hardened his heart.
Hermione Black was the daughter of a traitor and he would do everything in his power to protect Harry Potter from her obvious charms.
A/N- There we are, folks, another chapter down. Not as long as my last couple chapters but decent-sized to say the least. Anyways, thanks for being awesome and encouraging me along the way. Leave me a message after the beep and let me know what you think. Reviews are love, y’all.
Next chapter, Christmas for our amazing characters!
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I hope that everyone enjoyed the last chapter. I know that there wasn’t much interaction between our favorite characters, but they can’t all be thrillers. Hang tight with me! There won’t be any interactions in this chapter either, it’s pure family and Christmas. Please excuse the lack of descriptions; it’s hard to get in the mood for Christmas when it’s 104 degrees outside, or as my son puts it, hotter than the devil’s butthole. Thanks to everyone that continues to read and review this story; it’s going to be long and there are going to be times that I want to quit. Your reviews make me want to continue.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing but the personal twist on this story. I haven’t made a dime off this story or any others, trust me, if I had I would have quit my job and taken on writing full time!
Chapter 15
December 25, 1991
Hermione came awake slowly, stretching languidly in her own bed. Draco was asleep next to her; they had stayed awake most of the night before wrapping the gifts for their family. Her eyes came open and she stared at the starry sky above her bed. She knew that she was going to be getting out of bed in just a short time, it was Christmas after all, but she doubted that her family would want to get up before the sun rose. Draco snored softly next to her and she sighed.
After the quidditch match against Gryffindor, the taunting and tormenting had lessened considerably. Hermione made sure to always keep to herself unless she was around her own house. Acting like she wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around her seemed to keep the others from speaking to her. It still hurt that this was necessary since she was more outgoing than what she currently acted but it was for the best. Draco was especially perturbed that she had to change her personality just to get through school.
Life had been great since they had returned home. The first few days had been spent at Malfoy Manor with Aunt Cissy and Uncle Luci, her father retrieving her the night before to stay for the rest of the holiday. Draco had come with her since they were still having lessons with Madam Cambridge. Since it was Christmas morning, Aunt Cissy and Uncle Luci would be along soon. Aunt Andi and Dora had declined the invitation to spend Christmas with them, they had decided to spend the holiday with Ted’s family, but had promised everyone they would be over on Boxing Day.
Aunt Cissy had taken her shopping the day after returning from school. Since Uncle Luci had taken time off from the Wizengamot, he stayed home with Draco, doing what she wasn’t sure, but both had laughed as she whined on her way out. It had been hours later that they had returned with enough new clothes to clothe her completely for the next three years. Hermione had insisted that she didn’t need any new clothes, but her aunt had insisted.
Her father had just laughed at her when she complained the night before and told her that it made her Aunt Cissy happy to take her shopping and treat her as a daughter since she wasn’t able to have one of her own. Hermione understood that but sometimes the shopping was just too much. There were times that she just couldn’t help but think that her aunt would be better off with a niece like Pansy. Fashion was very important to her.
Hermione had fun spending time with her uncle as well. He bought her a complete set of first edition classics and they had spent several days holed up in the library of Malfoy Manor reading them. Most people weren’t aware of the fact that her uncle loved to read. Some of her fondest memories of him growing up were them reading together in the library. Sometimes Draco joined them, sometimes he left to go fly with Theo, Blaise, Greg, and Vince.
The Slytherin started when her door opened, and Uncle Luci stepped in, dressed in his best. She couldn’t recall every seeing him when he wasn’t dressed impeccably, with the exception when he would comfort her in bed when she was little and had had a nightmare. Draco was stirring next to her and her uncle chuckled.
“You two are still sharing a room? How do you sleep separately when you’re at school?” Hermione sat up and wiped her eyes before answering.
“It wasn’t that we meant to sleep together last night. We stayed up wrapping gifts and fell asleep.” Her uncle snorted as Draco sat up.
“You aren’t fooling me. Even if you hadn’t been wrapping, he would have stayed in your room. You stayed in his room the whole time you were at the Manor. Tinky tells us everything.” Hermione couldn’t hide the blush that colored her cheeks.
“Draco’s my best friend. We would never do anything inappropriate.” Uncle Luci came forward and sat on the edge of her bed before tugging one of her curls softly.
“I don’t care what those children you go to school with say. Cissy and I know that there is nothing untoward going on between the two of you. You’ve slept in the same room since Draco was born.” Hermione couldn’t resist hugging her uncle for understanding that she and Draco were more like siblings than anything. He squeezed her tight before releasing her and going to his feet.
“Get up and dressed. Your aunt went to go wake up your father. I think you two got off lucky having me wake you up. You know she’s going to pour water on him or something.” Hermione let out a giggle as she bounded out of bed.
“Hurry, Draco, if Dad is getting soaked by Aunt Cissy, I want to see it.” Draco started laughing and Uncle Luci left so they could dress. Hermione took the bathroom while Draco threw clothes on behind her changing screen in her room. When she remembered the gifts they had wrapped, she decided to ask for help.
“Candy?” The elf appeared and smiled at Hermione.
“Whats can Candy do for Mistress?” Hermione hugged the elf quickly before standing again.
“Draco and I wrapped those gifts last night. Can you move them downstairs for us and put them under the tree?” Candy nodded enthusiastically.
“Oh yes, Mistress. Hurry down, Master is taking his showers since Missy Cissy woke him up.” Hermione groaned slightly before she turned to Draco.
“We missed it. He’s already taking a shower.” Draco laughed at her pout as they started for the door.
“Does your father know that you like seeing him suffer at the hands of my mother?” Hermione shrugged as they started down the stairs.
“If he doesn’t, he should. He laughs at me when she drags me shopping. It’s only fair that I get to laugh at him when she torments him.” Her cousin nodded.
“Fair point.”
For as long as Hermione could remember, the Black family Christmas was held in the library. There was parlor that the family had used in the past, her father remembered many Christmas’ in the parlor. Hermione refused, however. She said that the library was cozier than the formal parlor. Nobody ever seemed to mind so it had become tradition.
Hermione and Draco entered the library to find that her father, aunt, and uncle were already there, seated around the tree and drinking tea. Hermione ran to her father’s side and sat in his lap briefly, so she could hug him close. He hugged her back tightly.
“Happy Christmas, Hermione.” She kissed his cheek before standing.
“Happy Christmas, daddy.”
Hermione had handed out gifts to everyone since she had been able to read. The adults had always found it endearing that her favorite holiday was Christmas and insisted on overseeing the entire holiday. Her father had admitted that it had been different this year since she hadn’t been there to oversee decorating or telling the elves what desserts needed to be served with Christmas dinner. It made her feel guilty for leaving her father there by himself, but he had told her to stop. He wanted her to go to school and enjoy the experience and told her that he was more than capable of taking care of himself. Hermione wasn’t quite sure that she believed him completely, but she had let it stand.
Hermione had sat down with her father last night before Draco had flooed over. He had wanted to know everything about Harry and how school really was. She hadn’t lied to him; Hermione had told him everything she knew about Harry, the good and the bad. Her father seemed disappointed in his godson, but he didn’t come out and say it. Once she had told him everything about Harry, he had surprised her into silence.
“I guarantee you that Dumbledore got to him. He told him all the bad things and twisted the truth, so he wouldn’t want anything to do with you.” Looking back, Hermione could see that that could possibly be the truth. He had hugged her close and kissed her temple.
“He’ll come around eventually. Until then, just do your best.”
He hadn’t been impressed when she told him how much the Gryffindors liked to bully her. He had cursed and thrown his whiskey tumbler, swearing to her that he was going to have Lucius do something about it in his capacity as a school governor. Hermione had let him wear himself out before she had taken his hands in her and told him that she didn’t want him to help her yet. He hadn’t been the happiest with the situation, but he had agreed to let it go until she asked for help. Uncle Luci gestured to the tree with a smile.
“Are you going to pass out the presents or do we need to pass the job onto Draco?” Hermione stuck her tongue out at her uncle while her aunt laughed. She went to her knees and began passing out the gifts.
The next hour passed in a flurry of wrapping paper. Hermione lost count of how many gifts she had opened; there had been numerous ones from her aunt and uncle, the same amount from her father. All her friends had sent gifts for both herself and Draco, along with the Weasley twins. There were several small tokens from people her father and uncle worked with, those she had met throughout the years. Those, she suspected, were more for gaining favor with her father.
The next several hours were spent with everyone enjoying their gifts; Hermione had several new books to read, an impossible amount of clothes, most of them from Aunt Cissy, perfumes, a new cloak with a built-in warming charm from Draco. The best gift she had received had been from her father in the form of a pure black kneazle kitten. It had instantly curled up in her lap and fell asleep. Hermione had instantly dubbed her kitten as Tenebris, Latin for dark. He seemed to like it and already answered to it.
Hermione had already almost finished the first book she started reading when the elves called them to dinner. Dip and Dot were quick to serve the meal once they were all seated, and there was more food then she knew what to do with. They ate until they couldn’t move. Once they adjourned to the library again, the mess was cleared away and they settled before the fire to continue enjoying their gifts.
It was times like these that Hermione enjoyed the most; being at home and spending time with her family doing nothing important. It was these moments that made her wonder what her real father and mother would have been like. She had heard more stories than she could count from her aunt and uncle, her father as well. Uncle Sev had the most recent stories about her father but they weren’t always the most pleasant since he had been in the Dark Lord’s employ.
Uncle Sev joined them for the leftovers they had that night. Since it wasn’t the summer holidays, he was required to oversee Christmas dinner before he could follow his own pursuits. He thanked everyone for his gifts and passed out his own in turn. Hermione received a rare text on potions that he promised he was going to start teaching her that summer. Draco had received an autographed jersey that belonged to his favorite quidditch player. Both had been thrilled with their gifts.
Hermione turned her thoughts to the gift that she and her father had sent to Harry, anonymously of course. Her father had told her that it was an invisibility cloak that had belonged to Harry’s father, an heirloom that was passed down from father to son for almost a century. Her father had wanted to just send it, but Hermione had insisted that they send a note, so he would know the history behind such a gift.
It was almost midnight before her aunt and uncle headed back to their Manor, dragging Draco along with them. They insisted on having him home for at least a day to give Hermione time with her father. She suspected that it was also, so they could spend time with just him as well. Hermione didn’t mind; she and Draco wouldn’t always be able to spend all their time together.
After pressing a kiss to her father’s cheek and promising him that they could spend the whole day together the following day, she scooped up Tenebris and carried him upstairs, happy to see that the elves had installed a food and water dish in her bathroom. She changed into her pajamas and crawled under her duvet with one of her books, determined to finish her second book before she fell asleep. Tenebris jumped up next to her and curled up against her belly, purring loudly as he fell asleep.
Hermione finally dropped off at almost two, smile on her face from the remarkable holiday she had spent with her family.
-O-
Harry sat bolt upright in bed, a nightmare sending him out of sleep. After a few deep breaths, his heart slowed, and he scrubbed a hand down his face. It was several moments later that he realized that it was Christmas morning and there were gifts at the end of his bed. Ron was stirring in the bed next to him before sitting up abruptly as well.
“It’s Christmas, Harry, let’s open our presents!”
Harry hurried to the end of his bed and saw his presents piled there. Since he had never received presents before he wasted no time in ripping them open and exposing what he had received. He had gotten a homemade jumper from Ron’s mum; all his friends had gotten him something. Ron had gifted him with seeker’s gloves for when he played quidditch and the twins had gotten him huge box of candy.
He began flipping through the book that Parvati had given him, Quidditch Through the Ages. Harry had read the copy that Hogwarts had but this was the most recent edition. Ron was rifling through his own box of candy that he had received from Neville. Harry was surprised that the boy had given Ron anything at all after all the grief he had given him for being friends with Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy.
Harry slipped his new jumper on and even though it was truly horrid, he was thrilled to have gotten it. He had never gotten anything that someone had taken time to make him. Ron was complaining that his was maroon and he hated that color. They made their way down to the fire and sat before it for awhile before they were joined by the twins.
They all compared gifts for a few hours since they were the only ones there. Percy was around but they hadn’t seen him. The twins joked that he was off patrolling even though there hardly any students in residence. The Weasleys were only there because their mum and dad had gone to Romania to visit their second son who was a dragon tamer there.
Harry learned quickly to not eat anything that the twins had gifted him with. Ron had pulled out a bar of chocolate and inhaled the whole thing. Just moments after he had finished it, he had turned into a snail. It only lasted a minute but when he returned to his human form, Ron was livid. He went after the twins, trying to curse them as they ran from him.
Eventually, Harry gave up watching them and decided to get change out of his pajamas for Christmas dinner. When he got there, there was an owl that he had never seen before waiting on his bed for him, package attached to it’s leg. He hurried to his bed and removed the package. The bird flew away before he could offer it a treat or try to see who it belonged to.
Harry ripped open the package eagerly to reveal a shiny, shimmering cloak. It was thin as parchment and flowed around his fingers like water round a rock. He threw it on around his shoulders, unsure how it was going to be much use if it was too thin to keep him warm. He had just thrown it around him when Ron came in and let out a yelp of surprise.
“Where the bloody hell did you get that?” Harry wasn’t sure why he was so surprised until he looked down and realized that he was now invisible from his neck down. He was silent for a few moments.
“I just got it off an owl that was waiting for me. I don’t even know what it does.” Ron scoffed at his words.
“It’s an invisibility cloak. They’re super rare and very expensive. Somebody must have really wanted you to have a good Christmas.” Harry didn’t miss the jealous look that crossed his best mate’s face.
“Was there a note?” Harry went back to the wrapping and sure enough, in the bottom of the package was a slip of parchment. Harry read it aloud.
Harry,
This cloak belonged to your father, an heirloom passed down from father to son for a century. He would have wanted you to have it.
Use it well.
Ron was grinning and came over to finger the fabric. When he stepped back, his words were slightly in awe.
“We’re going to be able to get away with so much stuff with this.” The twins yelled from the bottom of the stairs.
“Hurry up, we’re going to miss the feast!” Harry folded up the cloak and stowed it into his trunk before putting on the clothes that he had picked out the night before. After he and Ron were dressed, they hurried down and met with the twins.
Together, the four of them went to Christmas dinner. There were only twelve students total, so the professors were interspersed through the students. Harry ended up next to Professor Snape, his least favorite professor since he always managed to somehow denigrate him in class. Dinner passed without incident and the whole table laughed when the Headmaster made Professor Snape set off crackers.
All in all, it was the best Christmas that Harry had ever had.
The students were dismissed from the feast and Harry and the Weasleys all made their way back to their common room. They passed the afternoon away playing exploding snap, wizards’ chess, and other games that Harry had never heard of. Since there were so few students, the Headmaster had informed them they the elves would just be sending leftovers up to the common rooms.
When the food arrived, they ate with gusto, Percy finally appearing right before it was served. He ended up staying the rest of the evening with them, trying to beat Ron in chess. Harry had learned long ago that Ron was impossible to beat at chess, so he and twin sat back and watched as Percy did his best. Harry decided to call it an early night even though they really hadn’t done anything.
He lay there in bed for an hour, letting his mind wander over inconsequential things until he heard Ron come in and flop into his bed. Only minutes passed before snores were heard coming from behind his closed curtains. Harry couldn’t settle, why he wasn’t sure, but since his eyes weren’t even the least bit droopy, he decided to give his dad’s cloak a try. Harry dragged the cloak out of his trunk and threw it around his shoulders once more.
He stole out of the dormitory and then out of the common room, noting that the twins and Percy were also out of the common room. Harry made his way through the corridors, unused to not fighting crowds of students as they made their way to class. Since there was nobody patrolling the corridors, Harry let himself wander aimlessly, looking into rooms that he hadn’t yet.
The Gryffindor found himself on the fourth floor, close to the trophy room, and found a door that led to an unused corridor. After following the corridor, he entered a room that was completely empty aside from a large mirror. Harry was curious as to why it would be in a room all by itself, so he stepped up to it and gazed at his reflection. His reflection remained the same.
For a moment.
Rather than seeing an eleven-year-old boy in the mirror, he saw himself at age sixteen with a man that looked remarkably like himself standing behind him, hand on his shoulder. A woman with red hair and green eyes had her arms thrown around him in hug, laughing gayly. What surprised him the most was the fact that the man from the train, Sirius Black, was standing next to his father, laughing at whatever his father had said. Hermione Black was in front of Harry, looking up at him with a smile on her face and his arms were wrapped tightly around her waist. He watched as his older self bent and pressed a kiss to her neck and she pecked his cheek before he could pull away.
It was like a train wreck.
Harry found himself sickened at the fact that Sirius Black, the man who had handed his parents to Voldemort, and Hermione Black, his only daughter, were in this odd reflection. As much as he hated it, Harry couldn’t look away. The scene before him reflected what his life would have been like if Black hadn’t gotten his parents killed. It was enlightening and depressing at the same time.
Harry was unsure how long he sat there and watched the scene in the mirror. His body was stiff and cold when the door behind him opened. He flew to his feet and stepped away from the mirror, not wanting whoever had come in to see the strange image reflecting back at him. He was surprised to see the Headmaster stepping inside the room.
“Good evening, Harry. I see you found the Mirror of Erised.” Harry nodded.
“It’s rather strange.” Dumbledore chuckled.
“Yes, it shows us our heart’s desire.” Harry wasn’t quite sure what to think about that.
“I saw what I wanted to have in my life reflecting back?” The Headmaster nodded.
“What did you see?” Harry couldn’t help but feel that that was a rather personal question but didn’t see the harm in answering.
“I saw myself around sixteen with my parents.” He left out the fact that Sirius and Hermione Black had also been reflected at him. Dumbledore nodded understandingly, commiserating noises coming from his mouth.
“This mirror is a helpful tool in discovering truths about yourself but not much else. It will be moved tomorrow, I’m afraid. It doesn’t do to dwell on hopeless dreams.” Harry sighed sadly. As much as he wanted to watch it again and again, despite the traitor and his daughter being in it, he understood why the Headmaster was doing this. Harry would be there every night otherwise, watching a version of himself with his parents. Dumbledore spoke again.
“Run along back to your common room. We wouldn’t want young Mr. Weasley to wake up and realize you weren’t there.” Harry nodded and wrapped his cloak back around him. The Headmaster spoke in surprise.
“Where did you get that cloak?” Harry wrapped it around himself tighter, afraid that the Headmaster was going to try to take it away from him.
“I got it from an owl, someone sent it to me for Christmas. Said it was my dad’s and it was passed down from father to son for a century.” The Headmaster’s eyes narrowed but he remained silent. Finally, he nodded towards the door.
“On with you, pip, pip.”
Harry didn’t need to be told twice. He scurried out of the room and through the corridors until he reached his common room. After he slipped in, he made his way to his room and put his cloak in the trunk once more before climbing back into his bed. He laid there contemplating his first Christmas with friends. He considered it for another hour before he finally felt himself dropping off.
It had been the best Christmas of his life.
A/N- There she is, guys, another chapter finished. It isn’t very long and there wasn’t any interaction between Hermione and Harry, but it was kind of a fluff chapter. Sometimes, we all need a little bit of fluff. Hope you all enjoyed! Let me know what you think, reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, our Slytherin duo see a dragon.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Alright, y’all, I’m back with the next chapter. There have been a few negative PM’s and reviews saying that it is taking too long for Hermione and Harry to make up and become friends. I posted in the summary that it was an ultra-slow burn. Harry won’t discover the truth about Hermione and Sirius until third year, they won’t get together until sixth year. I wasn’t lying, y’all. This story has a planned 155 chapters, not to mention others that may get thrown in there as I see fit. I’ll also reiterate that this story is going to follow canon events to an extent; if you have a question, I’m more than willing to answer it if it won’t give away the story line. Please don’t send me hateful messages telling me that Harry needs to pull his head out of his arse and become friends with Hermione. I know he does, but he’s been brainwashed. If slow-burns aren’t your thing, I completely understand that you’re frustrated. This story isn’t for you. For those that want to continue to take a walk on the dark side, welcome. I have Doritos and we all know they’re the best. Thanks again to everyone reading and reviewing this story, you guys are seriously the bomb.
Disclaimer: I own the personal plot twist on this story and that is all. The original idea belongs to Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle and the characters and such belong to our queen, JKR. I haven’t made any money off this story or any others, trust me, if I was, my bank balance would be more than a hundred dollars. Adulting sucks.
Chapter 16
January 18, 1992
Harry woke up abruptly from a rather graphic dream. Hermione Black had been standing before him, naked as the day she was born, beckoning him forward with a small smirk on her face. Her breasts were merely bumps on her chest, but Harry didn’t care. They were lovely, and they were hers, therefore, he had loved them.
His cock was rock hard in his sleep trousers, not something that was unusual anymore. When this had started in the summer, he had been sure that there was something wrong with him; it wasn’t until he had gone in to wake Dudley one morning for breakfast that he realized that maybe it was normal for boys his age; not that Dudley would admit it. They were still enemies and wouldn’t go out of their way to help each other.
Deciding that he needed a cold shower, he rose from his bed and gathered his toiletries and clothes for the day. All five boys shared a bathroom attached to their dorm; there were five shower stalls and five sinks on one side of the room and five stalls with toilets on the other. It wasn’t fancy by any means, but it was functional and got the job done.
Harry stripped off his clothes and stepped under the frigid spray. Goose bumps erupted over his skin, but he held fast; he dreaded the times when he had to bring himself to completion. It was always enjoyable, but he had come to hate the fact that he always pictured Hermione Black. He longed to be able to imagine Parvati naked under her sari, she was beautiful after all, but Hermione’s face always floated to the forefront of his mind.
He washed himself quickly, his cock finally deflating after several minutes of being assaulted with ice cold water. Harry was thrilled that he wouldn’t have to torment himself with thoughts of Hermione again; even though he wanted no part of Hermione Black, he could admit that he couldn’t stop thinking about her, especially after seeing her in the Mirror of Erised.
After he turned off the water, he was quick to towel off and dress. There were sounds coming from their dorm, so he was sure that the others were finally rising and getting ready for the day. Most of them preferred showers at night so they could sleep later but Harry had always been the opposite. Showers woke him up and cleared his mind for the day.
Harry returned to his room and noticed that all his friends were ready for the day and were gathering the books they would need for their classes. He was quick to follow suit. It was Potions today and the last thing that he wanted was to be caught unprepared in Professor Snape’s class. Harry cocked his head to the side when he thought of the surly professor. He acted as though he hated Harry with a fiery passion but there were times that Harry had caught him watching him with a contemplative look on his face. However, his curiosity wasn’t great enough for him to chance asking.
The boys headed down to breakfast as a group, laughing and ribbing each other about who knew what. Once they reached the Great Hall and took their seats, Harry piled his plate high with waffles and bacon. The others followed his example before turning the conversation to the quidditch match coming up the following weekend between Puddlemere United and the Falmouth Falcons. Since quidditch was something that Harry could understand, he was more than happy to join in the conversation.
As usual, Ron was the last one to finish his meal. Harry had no idea how the boy ate so much and didn’t weigh as much as Dudley. He could admit that his friend’s manners were atrocious, which surprised him. The twins and Percy weren’t rude at all when they ate. Harry was getting the impression that since Ron was the youngest boy he was spoiled and allowed to get away with most things. Harry didn’t understand it since he had never been spoiled or favored in any way, but he supposed that if he had been, he would have taken advantage of it too.
Ron really was a great friend. Sure, he had his flaws and he could be a bit of a bully to the Slytherins. He got jealous over the dumbest things, but he was also loyal and kind to those that were close to him. Harry had watched him hold Parvati close in a hug while she cried because she had exploded her cauldron all over herself and boils had erupted on her face. He hadn’t revealed a single secret that Harry had told him and he was always quick to defend the twins when someone spoke badly of them.
Seamus nudged Harry out of his thoughts, gesturing for him to gather his things since Ron had finally finished. He flashed the Irish boy a quick smile as he picked up his bag and followed everyone out of the Great Hall. Potions was up first, and he wasn’t sure what they would be doing so he wanted to be there early, so he could make sure that he was ready for whatever Snape threw at them.
Even though he got fair grades in the subject, Potions was his least favorite subject. Harry knew that Professor Snape’s harsh words were part of the reason, but the other part was that it reminded him of cooking, something that he hated to do since he was forced to do it at the Dursleys. As long as he continued to pass, he wouldn’t complain but if Snape started to fail him because of his obvious dislike, he would go to Dumbledore.
They reached the dungeon classroom and entered, Harry groaning inwardly. He shared a desk with Hermione Black in this class. It was true, she was exceptional at Potions and she did try to help him when he made mistakes. He hated being forced to interact with her; he did his best to ignore her in day-to-day life and being forced to be in such close quarters with her was maddening.
Of course, she was already there, text, ink, and quill lined up on her desk, ready to take notes if need be. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun, curls escaping to brush against her shoulders. Her uniform was perfect, though it usually was. Harry couldn’t remember a time where he hadn’t seen her in a perfect uniform aside from when the three-headed dog had torn her skirt. He felt a blush color his cheeks at the thought of her in her pretty blue knickers.
Harry took the seat next to her and he began to emulate her actions. His text and quill were pulled out of his bag and laid on the desk, but Harry had to dig a few moments to find his ink. With a curse under his breath, he realized that he had forgotten to put the new pot in his bag the night before since he had used the last of his ink in Transfiguration. Since Ron was sitting at the table next to his, he leaned over and spoke as quietly as he could.
“Ron, do you have any extra ink with you? I forgot to put my new pot in my bag.” Ron’s eyes widened at his words. This was the worst class to show up to unprepared. The redhead shook his head. This time Harry cursed a little more loudly. He was just about to turn and ask Seamus when he heard Hermione’s voice. It was reluctant and soft, and Harry knew that he was to blame for that. The last time that she had tried to help him he had told her that she was a swot and didn’t need her help.
“You can share my ink if you’d like. I don’t mind.” Harry spun around to blast her. After his dream this morning and suffering the frigid water because of her, he wasn’t in the mood for her to be nice to him, especially when it was only because she wanted to befriend him and take him to her father. However, his words didn’t get a chance to leave his mouth because the door slammed open and Professor Snape entered, his black robes billowing behind him. Harry heaved a sigh; he would have to share now, or he would land himself in detention.
With a quick nod, Harry watched as she pushed her pot of ink to the middle of their table. It would be slightly inconvenient since he had to reach so far but it was better than a point loss and detention for being unprepared. This, however, didn’t go unnoticed by Professor Snape. He stepped down from the dais that his desk sat on and stood before their desk. Harry didn’t look up but instead focused on his text.
“Well, Mr. Potter, it seems that you have come to my class unprepared. It’s extremely nice of Miss Black to offer to share her ink with you after how you treated her the last time she tried to help you.” Harry raised his eyes and met his professor’s gaze.
“Yes sir.” The dark-haired man turned to Hermione.
“Five points for helping out a fellow student when they could have been more prepared.” Her eyes met their professor’s gaze as well and Harry was surprised to see genuine respect shining in her eyes.
“Thank you, professor.” Professor Snape swept away back to the board, so he could begin his lecture.
Hermione ended up pushing her ink closer to him since it was clear that her notes were already perfect. Harry couldn’t help but wish for a copy of her notes, so he wouldn’t have to struggle like he did at taking them. He would never bring himself to ask, however. Even though it was clear that she knew the lecture from start to finish, she still paid rapt attention and raised her hand politely when she wanted to answer a question.
By the end of class, Slytherin had gained almost forty points and Gryffindor had lost fifteen. It did no good to get angry at the unfairness of it all. He wouldn’t say that Slytherin gaining points had been unfair; Hermione had answered the questions correctly when called upon. It had been extremely unfair for Snape to deduct points from Ron for breathing too loudly.
Harry gathered his things quickly, shoving the ink back to Hermione unceremoniously. He knew that he needed to thank her, she had saved his arse so to speak. She was gathering her things as well. When he shoved the ink her way, she smiled and said nothing. Harry’s voice was gruff when he spoke.
“Thanks for letting me share your ink.” She slung her bag over her shoulder and her cousin appeared at her side, probably nervous that Harry was going to throw insults her way. She smiled again.
“You’re welcome.” Harry watched as her cousin pulled her away and out of the room. Ron appeared at his side, sneer in place.
“I can’t believe you shared her ink. She’s probably got a crush on you now.” Harry snorted at him as he threw his own bag over his shoulders.
“No, she doesn’t. If her father follows Voldemort like you and Dumbledore say, she’s probably already set up to marry one of their friend’s kids, like Nott.” Ron nodded as they left Potions.
“Probably right.”
They chatted about how ridiculous the homework assignment in Potions was, how long it was going to take them to accomplish. Harry really wasn’t too worried; he did a fair job on essays in the class, it was usually the practical work that he struggled in. He commiserated with Ron, however, who was terrible at both. He had told him only once that he should just buckle down and get the essay finished with no whining rather than put it off to the last second and then whine about it, but it hadn’t mattered. Ron hadn’t changed his ways and was therefore only passing by the skin of his teeth.
The pair settled in together once they reached History of Magic. Harry, while finding the class dead boring, enjoyed the subject matter. History had always intrigued him, even in his muggle primary school. It was much more enjoyable to take notes in History of Magic than in Potions.
Professor Binns appeared through the floor and began his lecture forthwith. Harry was quick to put quill to parchment and take notes as best he could. Ron was dozing next to him, not that the ghost noticed. Most of the students were napping to be honest. He, Hermione Black, Draco Malfoy, and Daphne Greengrass were the only ones awake and paying attention.
Harry paid no attention to Hermione during History. He had hit his limit of dealing with her and was quite successful in making sure that she stayed firmly out of his mind currently. Professor Binns assigned them a fifteen-inch essay on some goblin that Harry had never heard of. Once the bell rang, he gathered his things once more and headed to lunch in the Great Hall with Ron.
Lunch was a sedate affair; it usually was after Potions and then History. Everyone was still half-asleep and were running on auto-pilot until food woke them up completely. Harry always thanked Merlin that lunch came after History, otherwise they would surely lose points in another class for not paying complete attention.
As he ate, Harry’s mind wandered to the Prophet from two weeks prior. It had declared that there had been a break in in Gringotts and the vault had already emptied. It just so happened that the vault that had been broken into was the vault that he and Hagrid had visited when they had went school shopping. He wasn’t sure why he couldn’t just forget about it, but he had a feeling that it was extremely important.
He also wondered what the chances were that the small package that Hagrid had removed from the vault was what the three-headed dog was guarding on the third floor. It made no sense for the Headmaster to put something so dangerous in a school, but he supposed that this way of thinking could be due to his muggle upbringing. Maybe it was normal in a wizarding school.
When they finished their lunch, Ron and Parvati were walking closely together out of the Great Hall, laughing about something. Harry and Ron had broken down and told her about discovering the three-headed dog a few weeks ago since she was their friend and they were both certain that she would keep the secret. She had been thrilled but quite frightened at the prospect of facing the beast herself. She had called them brave and Harry couldn’t help but feel his chest swell a tiny bit at her words.
He decided to run his idea by them before heading the Charms; they had a fair bit of time before they were due. Therefore, Harry pulled both of them into an alcove a few corridors down from the Great Hall before speaking. Ron looked intrigued while Parvati just looked confused. Harry took a deep breath before beginning.
“I just had a thought. You both know that I went to Gringotts with Hagrid over the summer, right?” Ron and Pav nodded so he continued.
“Well, the vault that was broken into a couple weeks ago was the vault that Hagrid needed to visit for the Headmaster. He’s the one that emptied the vault. What if whatever was in that vault is now what the three-headed dog is guarding?” Both his friends’ faces went blank for a few seconds. Not the impassive look that most purebloods had mastered but a completely blank look that he hoped meant that they were thinking about his words. Parvati was the first to speak.
“I don’t know, Harry. This is a school. Whatever was in that vault must be dangerous; the Prophet said that the person who broke into it was a follower of You-Know-Who. Why would the Headmaster bring something so dangerous into a school full of children that couldn’t dream of protecting themselves?” Harry had to admit that she had a point, but he still wasn’t convinced that he was wrong. Ron, however, was of the same opinion as Harry.
“I think you might be right. Dumbledore lives here and if he felt that whatever was in that vault wasn’t safe at Gringotts, he would want it where he knew it was safe at all times. What better way to do that then by putting it under a three-headed dog?” Harry nodded his agreement.
“I mean, Pav has a point, it would be dangerous to bring it here but tell me how safe it is to put a beast like that in a school where just anyone could find it. I mean, a group of four first years found it.” Parvati shrugged her agreement to his point. Before they could finish what they were saying, there was a shuffling sound from outside the alcove. Harry put his finger to his mouth, so they would be quiet. He peeked out of the alcove and saw Hermione trying to pick herself up off the ground while her cousin helped her. He wasn’t entirely sure that they hadn’t heard anything, however. He stepped out and his two friends followed him.
“Were you listening in on my private conversation, Black?” His tone was harsher than he had expected it to be, but he wasn’t sorry. What they had been discussing had been important. Hermione didn’t get to answer because Malfoy stepped in front of her, his face twisted in a sneer.
“She tripped and fell. We don’t give two shites about what you and your pet weasel were talking about. You do not get to talk to her like that, especially when she’s done nothing wrong.” Now Ron stepped up, which was always a recipe for disaster. Harry put an arm in front of him, indicating that he wanted him to be quiet. Ron looked disgruntled but listened. Parvati, however, did not.
“Poor little perfect princess fell down. Are you sure you tripped on your own, and nobody sent a trip jinx at you? Nobody can stand you because you’re just so bloody perfect. I’ll have you know, however, that nobody from our house aside from Neville is under your spell. We all think you’re an ugly, stuck-up, swot who has followed her daddy to the dark side. Oh wait, your real daddy was a Death Eater. Proud moment for you, I’m sure.” Harry saw Hermione’s eyes water, but she tamped them back ruthlessly before stepping in front of Draco and into the personal space of Parvati. She looked angry enough to curse her so Harry stepped closer too. Hermione didn’t draw her wand, however, only came close enough to make Pav take a step back which caused her to trip and fall on her arse.
“You ever say such things about me again, Patil, I’ll make sure that your family fortune disappears before you can utter the word quidditch.” Fear was evident on Pav’s face, but Harry couldn’t help but think that she brought it on herself with her unkind words. Hermione then turned to him and Ron, fury still dancing on her features.
“I can handle being made fun of for getting good grades, that just shows you’re jealous. However, if either one of you ever insults my real father again, you’ll regret it. I’ll make sure your reputation is so fucked, you won’t want to step foot outside of your home.” Ron was pissed, sputtering and turning red. However, he remained silent. Maybe he had taken it to heart when the twins told him that the next time he fucked up, it would cost their father his job.
Harry, however, wasn’t quite sure what to make of her threat. He wasn’t sure that she would follow through on it but if they did anything in this very moment, she would. Parvati had pushed her too far and the magic emanating from her was astronomical. The ends of her curls were sparking and there was a hazy quality to her eyes. Even though he was the one being threatened, Harry couldn’t help but find her show of temper and power fucking hot. His dick was rock hard in his trousers (thank Merlin he was wearing his robes) and it begged him to stroke it roughly to completion. Instead, he took a step back and gestured for Parvati to stand.
“We weren’t trying to insult you, Black. Parvati is more than happy to apologize for any words that angered you.” Parvati glowered at him darkly but nodded in the end.
“Please forgive my words, Miss Black. I meant no harm.” Everyone knew that her words were a lie, but it didn’t matter. They seemed to appease Hermione since she stepped back next to her cousin, who put his arm around her shoulders.
“See that it doesn’t happen again.” All three of them nodded and watched Malfoy lead Hermione off through the corridors. They weren’t quite out of sight when he saw her crouch down and Malfoy pulled her robes up past her knees. There was a nasty scrape on her knee and Harry felt terrible. She really had fallen, and he had accused her of lying. Both his friends were whining about Hermione, but he ignored them.
“Come on, let’s get to Charms.”
-O-
Hermione could feel her magic stirring within her after her encounter with the Gryffindor trio. Draco was rubbing insistent circles in between her shoulder blades trying to calm her down. She shouldn’t have been surprised. While most witches and wizards had the magic of two parents dwelling within them, she had three, which tended to make her more volatile when she finally lost control of her temper.
It also worried her because when her father had adopted her through the blood magic ritual, their goblin had warned him that it would also raise the chances of her inheriting the gene that doomed her to madness. While she didn’t think that she felt mad, ever, she was scared that it would crop up as she got older. She doubted that her cousin Bellatrix was completely mad at twelve years old.
Her father had warned her years ago that as a Black, they tended to have short and explosive tempers. From an early age, Hermione had worked on controlling her emotions, something that was helped by her occlumency training with Uncle Sev. Where Draco had excelled at the subject, it had taken her a ridiculously long time to master; several times through the years it had taken her to master it she had just wanted to call it quits and become an animagus, so she wouldn’t have to worry about the subject.
There were only a few occasions in her childhood where she had lost her temper completely. Whereas Uncle Luci and Draco had been appalled, her father and Aunt Cissy had taken it in stride, completely understanding that she couldn’t help her reactions. In fact, her father had told her that her control over her temper was better than his own.
The pair took their seats in Charms and Draco started to pull his materials from his bag. Hermione sighed and started to do the same. Her knee was aching from where she had landed on it when she had tripped. It was scraped pretty good, but she had refused to let Draco take her to the Hospital Wing. It was just a scrape after all.
While she didn’t feel guilty for letting her temper fly at Patil’s words, Hermione did feel badly for letting Draco lie to them. They had stopped outside the alcove when they realized that all three were in there speaking in hushed tones. He had rationalized that no good could come from them coming up with things with nobody knowing any better; they were Slytherins and needed to make sure that they weren’t planning anything stupid. She and Draco had heard every word they spoke, Hermione only crying out when she had tripped on her way away from the alcove.
Professor Flitwick entered before she could speak with Draco about the conversation they had overheard. He bid them to begin working on the severing charm. They had taken all their notes the class before and this one would be purely practical. Hermione sighed. She wanted a challenge more than anything in the world.
Since their professor had learned that Hermione and Draco were so far advanced in all their classes, he tended to pair them with others that needed the extra help and extra time to practice. Hermione usually didn’t mind if she wasn’t put with Weasley. He usually refused to listen to listen to her and was a complete prat to her as well. Thankfully, this class she was paired with Millie while Draco was paired with Weasley.
Hermione worked as hard as she could to make sure that her friend could accomplish the spell before they left that day. Millie worked as hard as she could, only just accomplishing it before the bell rang. She wanted to tell the girl that she may need tutoring, so she didn’t fall behind but she really didn’t feel that it was her place. She knew that her parents were well-off, so she wasn’t sure why they hadn’t procured her a tutor before Hogwarts like her father and Uncle Luci had.
Once they were dismissed from Charms, Draco escorted her out of the castle towards Herbology. It was still one of Hermione’s least favorite classes, but it was only one of the two classes that she was seated next to Harry in. Usually she was excited for the fact that she might win him over with a small act of kindness; today, not so much. She had threatened to ruin his reputation, along with his friends, if they spoke of her real father again.
Her cousin seemed to understand her reluctance but chose not to comment. He escorted her to her seat and took his own, leaving Hermione to pull out her own parchment, ink, and quill. She was sitting there calm and collected when Harry and the Gryffindors walked in. Harry didn’t speak to her, didn’t look at her in fact, before he pulled his own belongings out, readying himself for class.
Professor Sprout appeared and began her lecture over asphodel and it’s uses. As usual, it wasn’t enough to stimulate Hermione’s mind or keep her interested, but she did her best to pay attention anyways. She did manage to add two lines to her notes, information that the professor had given them that she didn’t already have written down. They were assigned a twelve-inch essay on asphodel before they were dismissed to dinner.
Hermione and Draco quietly cast warming charms on themselves as they traversed across the grounds on their way to the Great Hall. It was much colder in Scotland that Hermione was used to, so she got cold far quicker than she did at home. Once they had found their way back inside the castle, Hermione and Draco started for the Great Hall for dinner.
Dinner was a boisterous affair; Pansy and Millie were bragging about the latest prank they had played on the lions. While the rest of her friends laughed, Draco included, Hermione could only shake her head in exasperation. They didn’t seem to realize that if they continued the prank war, they would also continue to be victims. She ate her fill of roast and potatoes before pulling the latest assignment from Madam Cambridge out of her bag.
Hermione was grateful that they were able to continue with their lessons taught by their long-time tutor. However, she got frustrated with the fact that it took several days for the lesson to be taught since they were owling back and forth; she had learned much quicker at home with Madam Cambridge in front of her. Hermione didn’t get to work for long because Draco nudged her with his elbow and leaned over to whisper in her ear.
“Look, Harry and the Weasel are sneaking out of the Great Hall. We should follow them and make sure that they don’t try to get under the three-headed dog.” Hermione groaned but knew that her cousin was right. It sounded exactly like something that Gryffindors would do. She unceremoniously shoved her work back in her bag before turning to Daphne.
“Hey, Daph, will you take my bag to the common room for me? Draco needs my help and I don’t want to have to haul it around.” She nodded her agreement.
“Sure, Hermione. I’ll put it in the dorm on your bed.” Hermione grinned at the girl before stepped away from the bench seat. With a deep sigh, she turned to Draco.
“Lead the way. You saw them leave.” Draco threaded her hand through his arm and escorted her out of the Great Hall as he sometimes did.
It was clear early on that the pair wasn’t headed to the third floor where the dog was located. In fact, Hermione and Draco tailed them to the doors leading them out of the castle. She had a feeling that they were going to visit the gamekeeper, but she wasn’t sure. Draco started to pull her out the door, but she dug in her heels.
“Draco, there is no need to follow them now. They aren’t going to the dog.” Draco reached out and tickled her ribs. Hermione had to bite her lip to keep the giggle in.
“Come on, Miney, don’t be a stick in the mud. Have a little fun.” Hermione crossed her arms over her chest.
“How is trekking all over the grounds in the freezing cold fun?” Draco jogged away from her but yelled over his shoulder at her.
“Because you’d be doing all that with me.” Hermione groaned to herself before following her cousin. He was grinning at her now, but she just scowled at him.
“You’re a pain in the backside.” Draco laughed.
“You love it.” Hermione rolled her eyes and allowed him to pull her towards Hagrid’s hut.
The sun was setting quickly, the oranges and pinks reflecting off the snow on the ground. It really was quite beautiful, but Hermione could admire it from inside; it was downright freezing outside. They could see through the windows of Hagrid’s hut that both boys were inside; both appeared to be studying something on the table rather intently. Hermione slowed down, intent of making Draco return to the castle with her. She was in a skirt for Merlin’s sake. Her cousin sensed her words and spoke first.
“Come on, just one quick peek through the window, then we’ll go back to the castle. I just want to see what they’re studying so hard.” Hermione could admit a little curiosity herself, so she gave a shaky nod, her teeth starting to chatter.
The pair crept up to the window, mindful of the debris that was laying around the house. The last thing they wanted was for Hagrid to know they were there because they had made too much noise. There was a large brick below the window and both stepped up to look in the window. What Hermione saw stunned her into silence.
A baby dragon was sitting on the table, Hagrid, Harry, and Weasley gathered around it, watching it closely.
Hermione hissed at the stream of fire that came from its mouth, almost burning Harry but hitting Hagrid’s beard instead. She clutched Draco’s hand tightly, unsure of how she was supposed to look away from something that most certainly had the potential to be a disaster. The Slytherin didn’t have to look away, however. A violent shiver wracked her body and she stumbled slightly, knocking into Draco, who fell off the brick and into a pile of junk.
Hermione jumped off the brick just in time to see the three occupants rush to the window. Draco was already standing up, so she started to drag him away from the hut, knowing that they were probably going to get in trouble for spying since she knew for a fact that the three of them had seen them. Draco was cursing softly under his breath, but Hermione paid him no mind. What mattered now was getting back into the castle and to their dorm; the last thing they needed was to be caught out after curfew as well.
Once they stepped foot inside the castle, Hermione started to pull her cousin towards the dungeons. He followed willingly, though a little stiffly. She attributed it to him landing on a pile of trash. Once they were in a deserted corridor, she turned his way.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get us caught. I’m sorry you’re hurt, I just couldn’t help shivering. It’s so cold out there.” Draco chuckled at her.
“It’s fine, there’s nothing they can do about it anyways. Maybe now they’ll be more careful rather than just watch a baby dragon where anyone could be watching.” Hermione’s jaw fell open.
“We could get in trouble for spying, of course we need to worry.” Draco shook his head.
“Nope. If they were to complain that we were spying, and somebody talked to us, what do you think they would assume we would tell them? That they had a dragon, of course. That’s highly illegal so I have a feeling that none of them are going to utter a word to or about us.” Hermione felt her stomach unclench at his words.
“You’re right, of course. I didn’t think of that.” Draco threw an arm around her shoulders before making her walk again.
“That’s what you keep me around for…that and I’m devilishly handsome.” Hermione tickled his ribs much like he had just a short time earlier.
“Your ego gets bigger every day. Sooner or later, your head won’t fit through your shirts.” Hermione took off in a light jog, laughing as her cousin chased after her.
-O-
Harry cursed softly to himself as they trooped into the common room. He had just spent the last half hour consoling Hagrid, trying to convince him that Hermione and Malfoy wouldn’t turn him in for having a dragon. Harry hadn’t realized that it was illegal to have a dragon until Hagrid had explained it to him.
His huge friend had waxed on and on about how he loved dragons and how he had always wanted one. Harry personally thought that he was crazy but who was he to judge? Ron had went on about his brother Charlie and how he worked with dragons in Romania, getting Hagrid more upset by each passing minute.
Finally, Harry had told the enormous man that they needed to get back up to the castle, so they didn’t get in trouble for missing curfew. Hagrid had seemed to pull himself together enough to wish them well and thank them for being there with him for such a momentous occasion. Harry shook his head in exasperation as Hagrid was talking to himself about sleeping arrangements for the dragon and making sure that it had the correct food.
Harry flopped down on the couch nearest the fire. It was frigid outside, much colder than winter in Surrey. Ron sat next to him, a contemplative look on his face.
“Do you think they followed us or do you think they knew about the dragon and wanted to see it for themselves?” Even though it sounded a little self-centered, Harry answered truthfully.
“Hagrid said he hadn’t told a soul about the dragon. I think they were following us to see if we were doing anything they could get us in trouble for.” Ron grumbled next to him.
“Too bad we can’t tell on them for spying.” Harry nodded.
“I suppose. It’s not like we can just broadcast what they saw while they were spying.” Ron’s fist clenched.
“If they tell on Hagrid, I’m going to pummel Malfoy’s face. See how pretty he is after that.” Harry rolled his eyes.
“No, you won’t. The last thing your family needs in more trouble because you got in a fight. Just leave it alone for now, we don’t even know if they’re going to say anything.” Ron snorted.
“You know they will.” Harry really wasn’t so sure that they would but remained quiet. He really didn’t want to argue with Ron right now. He turned and slapped his friend on the shoulder.
“I’m tired so I’m heading to bed.” Ron nodded and stood.
“I’ll come with you. We need to get up early, so we can get that essay for Transfiguration finished before class.” Harry groaned as he started for the stairs.
It was always something in this wonderful world of magic.
A/N- Boom shocka locka, another one bites the dust. Hope you all enjoyed this chapter, there was more interaction between our two sets of friends and the plot moved forward. Drop me a line and let me know what you thought, reviews are love.
Next chapter, Ron receives a nasty bite and a plan is formulated to get rid of a dragon.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back! Get excited, lol. I just got off work and decided to bang out this chapter, or at least as much of it as I can. It’s no secret that I live in Kansas and this week the Largest Night Rodeo is in town. Yay me. Since I live here, I’m treated to the PA system keeping my awake until eleven and then I get to listen to the band from the dance until two am. It’s great. We’ll just say that if I didn’t decide to write right now, I’d be sleeping. Anyways, I’ll quit whining, I just needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading and reviewing, y’all, it keeps me so motivated.
**Huge thank you to skyeryder01 for being my 400th reviewer. You’re awesome!**
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing, I’m sure these tropes have been done thousands of times before. I haven’t made any money off my stories. Only in my wettest dreams do I own Harry Potter and Co. If I owned them, Fred and Sirius would have survived, and Hermione would most certainly have ended up with Draco or Harry.
Chapter 17
February 3, 1992
Hermione hummed happily to herself as she came down the stairs from her dorm. Her hair was hanging long and heavy down her back; she had decided to wear it like that since it was so bloody cold in the castle. It made her wonder if there were spells that could produce heat in rooms; it really did make it difficult for her to write essays when she couldn’t feel her fingers.
Once she was in the common room, Hermione pulled out her essay for Transfiguration to check it for mistakes once more. She was quite certain that it was perfect already, but she would only have to wait for ten minutes or so before Draco appeared to head to breakfast with her.
As she checked her spelling and grammar, Hermione let her mind wander to the incident involving the dragon. It turned out that Draco had been correct; neither Harry or Weasley nor Hagrid had uttered a word about her and Draco spying on them. Hermione still felt guilty when she thought about it, but she supposed that they really should have been more careful. Anybody could have been watching and she knew for a fact that if any of the other snakes in her year would have been the ones to see the dragon, they would tattled quicker than a snitch.
Hermione and Draco had decided that they weren’t going to say anything unless they absolutely had to. The last thing that they wanted to do was make the rivalry between the two houses worse. However, she had insisted that the second that the dragon hurt someone they needed to go to Uncle Sev. Draco had agreed and though he told her that the only reason he agreed was because she would be heartbroken if it ate Harry, she knew he would feel guilty for something of that magnitude.
After she finished checking her essay over, she stuffed it back into the folder she had for her completed homework. She didn’t get a chance to pull out her Potion’s essay because Draco came ambling down the stairs, yawning widely. Hermione couldn’t help but notice that he looked like complete shite. She went to her feet and met him by the door, leaving together before commenting.
“You look like you’ve been run over by a herd of stampeding hippogriffs. Did you sleep at all last night?” He shook his wearily.
“No, I had another headache. I’m pretty sure that it’s because Greg and Vince both snore so loud that unless I fall asleep first, I can’t fall asleep at all. It’s started to get better in the last hour though.” Hermione threaded her arm through his and watched him worriedly.
“Should we go to the Hospital Wing? At least you’ll be able to get a pepper-up.” Draco shook his head as he yawned again.
“No, I’m fine. The headache is better, and I think I’ll be fine after I eat.” Even though Hermione didn’t agree with his logic, she just nodded her agreement. The last thing she wanted to do was start an argument with Draco when he wasn’t feeling well.
For the first time ever, Hermione led Draco to the Great Hall rather than the other way around. Even though he was in the proper position to appear as escorting her, she was guiding him because he was so out of it. Once they were in their usual seats at the Slytherin table, Hermione began piling her cousin’s plate high with everything that he usually ate. Rather than get affronted as he usually would, he gave her a grateful smile before beginning to eat.
Hermione served herself and ate at a much more sedate pace than Draco. Other students were beginning to file into the Great Hall and take their seats. After several more minutes, she saw Harry slink in, still half-asleep, and take his normal seat next to Parvati at the Gryffindor table. Hermione still couldn’t help but feel the tiniest twinge of jealousy at the beautiful Indian girl; she was effortlessly friends with Harry while she was cast as his enemy. Deciding that the last thing she needed was to become melancholy at her train of thought, she banished it from her mind.
The rest of the Slytherins entered breakfast just a few minutes later, most of them looking awake and well-rested. Rather than take her normal seat next to Hermione, Pansy sat on the other side of Draco and seemed to take in the sight of him, frowning slightly. Before she could say anything, Neville plopped down in front of them, smile on his face.
“How are my favorite Slytherins?” Hermione grinned at him; Neville really had come a long way since she started tutoring him in Potions. The rest of his grades were decent so while she wouldn’t be happy with them, he had told her more than once that he was thrilled.
“Good, Nev, how are you?” Before he could answer, Pansy started petting Draco’s head since it was buried in his hands with his elbows propped on the table.
“What’s wrong, Drakey? You don’t look very good.” Hermione could only shake her head incredulously. It was as if the talk she had had with Pansy a few months prior had vanished from the girl’s head. Draco shot her a dirty look that she completely missed. Surprisingly, it was Neville that spoke.
“Pansy, you know he hates it when you call him that. He always has. You’re just going to piss him off if you keep calling him that.” Pansy shot him a dirty look but didn’t say anything before turning her attention back to Draco. Hermione wondered if she should step in; that’s what Draco would do for her. With a deep sigh, she turned to her friend.
“I talked to you about that, Pansy. Leave Draco alone; we’re eleven and twelve. The last thing he needs to be thinking about is a betrothal contract, Uncle Luci and Aunt Cissy will agree.” Pansy glared at her now, but Hermione wasn’t scared.
“You don’t know that. Daddy said that Mr. Malfoy said he would think about it.” Hermione knew this was an outright lie, probably told by Mr. Parkinson to his daughter so she wouldn’t give up hope. Hermione felt her anger flare, but she tamped it back down. Pansy was her friend and she didn’t want to lose her because of hurtful words that she really wanted to say.
“Either you or your father has misunderstood. Stop pushing yourself on my cousin, it’s clear he doesn’t feel well.” Even though she hadn’t outright called her a liar when she had wanted to, Pansy still stared holes into her head.
“If he’s so sick, you should have insisted that he go to the Hospital Wing. It’s what a good cousin would do.” The whole table fell silent and Draco finally seemed to realize that something was going on. Neville was fingering his wand under the table, Hermione could tell, while the rest of their table watched in trepidation. The rest of the Great Hall was still blissfully unaware, however, of the tension. She knew that she could never let this slight on the House of Black stand, it would show weakness in a house that really didn’t believe in showing any, Hermione rose to her feet and decided to give the girl a chance.
“What did you say?” Pansy rose also, unaware of the attention that their argument was garnering.
“I said a good cousin would have made sure that he went to the Hospital Wing.” Hermione pulled her wand from the sheath on her arm and let it hang limp at her side. Deciding that she knew exactly what she wanted to do, her wand flicked just a tiny bit while she muttered under her breath.
“Faciem palmis caedebat.”
An invisible hand reached out from her wand and slapped her friend across the cheek hard enough to snap her head to the side. When she turned her face back to meet Hermione’s eyes, there was a bright red handprint across her pale skin and tears were swimming in her eyes. Hermione felt absolutely horrid but knew that she had to remain strong, so her family would remain on top. Her father needed to be portrayed without weakness to gain information when Voldemort returned. She laid her wand on the table, noticing that she had garnered the attention of her godfather and Professor McGonagall. Both were heading her way, so Hermione leaned towards Pansy and whispered to her.
“Don’t you ever insult myself or my family again. Remember who you’re speaking to; we’re friends and I’d like to remain that way but don’t presume to think that if you slight my honor again that I won’t cut you from this group faster than you can say quidditch.” Fear flitted across her features and Hermione knew that her message had been received loud and clear. She had just leaned back away from Pansy and put a contrite look on her face when the two professors swooped down upon them.
“Just what is going on here?” Professor McGonagall sounded livid. Her uncle was staring at her face, so she opened her mind just enough for him to slip in if he was attempting it. Once she felt his presence, she replayed the memory and how she had given the girl a chance to take it back. When she felt him pull away, her barriers went back into place. Hermione turned to the Transfiguration professor. She was just getting ready to explain when Pansy spoke.
“Nothing, Professor. Hermione and I were having a heated discussion and her magic got away from her. No harm done.” Her uncle looked surprised but remained silent. Professor McGonagall looked incredulous.
“You expect me to believe that someone that is almost through with their fourth-year classes doesn’t have complete control of their magic? I find that quite farfetched.” Hermione kept her face impassive before nodding. If only the woman knew that she was already through her fourth-year classes.
“Nobody is perfect, Professor.” The older woman scoffed before meeting her eyes.
“I don’t believe you. Therefore, you will be deducted twenty points for your lies and a detention with me for harming Miss Parkinson.” Hermione kept her face free of emotion, but she was freaking out on the inside. She had never gotten detention before; how was she going to explain this to Uncle Luci and her father? What would Uncle Sev say? Her godfather decided to speak.
“Whatever happened to having proof, Minerva? The victim is saying that it was an accident. Nobody else has said anything about hearing her verbalize a spell. If she’s on par with Draco, she hasn’t mastered non-verbal spells.” McGonagall turned a sharp eye to her uncle.
“Don’t patronize me, Severus. We both know she’s guilty. You just don’t want your star pupil in detention.” Her uncle leaned over and whispered in his colleague’s ear.
“We’ll take this before the Headmaster directly after breakfast.” She glared at him but nodded. Her uncle appeared to glare at her but when she felt his mind probe hers once more, she let him in.
“Come to me after your detention. We’ll talk. I’m not mad.”
Hermione gave the barest minimum of nods before her uncle stalked away, robes billowing behind him like always.
Since breakfast was officially over, Hermione gathered her bag and started for the door, not even making sure that her cousin was following her. He was, however, and caught up with her easily, Neville and the others trailing behind him. Pansy was last, head hanging low in shame. Nobody was speaking to her and Hermione wanted to make clear that she wasn’t going to keep everyone from being her friend. The handprint on her cheek seemed impossibly brighter but for that, Hermione was glad. It would serve as a reminder to those around her that she wasn’t one to be trifled with when pressed.
She was aware that she let Weasley and the Gryffindors talk badly about her father but in the scheme of things, their opinions didn’t matter. She didn’t really care what her friends thought of herself or her father either, but it was important for them to respect her and her family name for the information that it would provide later. Hermione was quite certain that once the truth came out, most of her friends would kick her to the wayside anyways. Just before entering the Transfiguration class room, she turned around abruptly and spoke.
“Pansy had a momentary lapse in judgement and nobody is to shun her.” Everyone nodded sagely before she turned back to the class room door and headed through it. Draco took his seat next to her and rather than let him start preaching to her, she started on him first.
“You can’t hardly keep your head up. After this class, you’re going to the Hospital Wing and getting a potion for your headache and a pepper-up. Don’t cross me right now.” He reached out and rubbed her leg under the table.
“You did the right thing. Don’t feel bad either, you’re a great cousin.” Hermione bit her lip and nodded, unable to respond because Professor McGonagall entered, her wand sparking to bring them all to attention.
“Pass your homework forward and turn to page 117 in your text.” Hermione did as she was bid, wasting no time in following directions.
Class passed quickly; the spell was to learn how to turn a mouse into a snuff box. It was the most ridiculous thing ever but since it was on the curriculum, Hermione had already learned it. All she could think to herself was that it was a good thing that Draco had already mastered the spell since he was hardly awake through the class.
Hermione noticed early on that Ronald Weasley wasn’t in attendance. Harry was in his normal seat, taking notes like he usually did. It was rare to see one of the boys without the other so Hermione couldn’t help but wonder just what had happened to Weasley. She tried to distract her mind; it wasn’t like she would ever find out why the boy was missing class so there was no point in dwelling on it.
Class dismissed with them receiving the assignment of an essay over their next chapter in the text. Hermione sighed to herself. Another boring assignment; she comforted herself with the reminder that she had three assignments from Madam Cambridge waiting for her in her dorm room.
Once they were out in the corridor, Hermione shoved her cousin gently towards the fourth-floor staircase. He growled at her, but she just laughed at him. She pressed a quick kiss to his cheek before shoving him again.
“Go, you stubborn arse. I expect to see you looking better by the time she releases you.” Draco grumbled to himself but followed her instructions. Their group was just getting ready to start for the dungeons when Pansy came forward, eyes cast downward.
“I’m really sorry, Hermione. I didn’t mean what I said, I promise, I was just upset because you seem so sure that Mr. Malfoy won’t sign a betrothal contract. I’m really sorry you got a detention also.” Hermione sighed. She had been hoping to forego this conversation since she knew she was just going to feel worse.
“I understand, Pansy, just don’t let it happen again. I only know what Draco and I have been told our whole lives and that is that there would be no betrothal contracts for either of us until we were sure that we were in love with someone. Both our fathers have been extremely adamant. What do you think would happen if you were married to someone that you hated and forced to have children with them?” Pansy shrugged so Hermione continued.
“You would resent them, hate them maybe. Do you really think that your magic is going to blend well with someone that you resent or hate? Probably not the most conducive for conceiving a child.” Hermione knew that her words were complete tripe, but she could see that her friends were buying it. Right now, she was sure that she could tell them that the sky was purple, and they would believe her. Pansy nodded.
“That actually makes sense.” Hermione gave her a small smile before she turned and started for Potions. What a wonderful day it had been, and it wasn’t even lunch.
-O-
Draco knew that Hermione was right, but he hated admitting it, especially to her. She always got that self-satisfied smirk on her face and he always got the impression that she was laughing at him. Who was he kidding, of course she was laughing at him.
The Slytherin pushed open the doors to the Hospital Wing to see that there was only one student in residence. Weasel. Draco had wondered why he wasn’t in Transfiguration but hadn’t cared enough to eavesdrop or anything of the sort, although honestly, he wasn’t sure that he would have had the energy. Madam Pomfrey was nowhere in sight so he decided to go see if he could make the redhead spill why he was all trussed up in bed, looking like he was in a fair amount of pain. If it was a quidditch injury, Draco was going to laugh his arse off at him. Acting more confident that he felt, he wandered over to Weasley’s bed and waited for the redhead to acknowledge him. When he realized who was standing at his bed, the Weasel sneered.
“What the fuck do you want, snake?” Draco decided to have fun with him since he was so hateful.
“Tsk, tsk, don’t you think you should speak with more respect when it comes to your betters?” Even though Draco really didn’t think that he was better than most people, Weasley was one of the people that he would always see as below him. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was a pureblood but because he was a complete tosser. As predicted, Weasley started ranting at him, his hands waving and pointing at him and random things in the room.
“You think you’re better than me? That’s a bloody joke, you wouldn’t be shite without your daddy and your sweet little cousin.” Draco was sure that he hid his reaction when Hermione was mentioned but he doubted that he had since Weasley latched onto it immediately.
“Your cousin is pretty fit, but I’m sure you know that. Maybe I should overlook the fact that she’s a traitor and date her long enough that she falls for me, that she agrees to let me take her virginity and I impregnate her with my seed before dumping her. Both your families can suffer the indignity of raising a Weasley cast-off.” Draco was livid at his words but refused to let the redhead’s words get to him.
It was in this moment that he realized why Weasley looked like he was in pain; his hand was free of bandages so there was nothing hindering the view of the deep bite in the flesh, oozing green pus. Just looking at it was enough to turn his stomach. When the redhead realized that he was looking at his bite, he hid it under his blanket like he had been caught doing something he shouldn’t have been or doing something extremely stupid.
Then it dawned on him.
Dragon bites were famous for the green pus they produced. Weasley had somehow managed to get himself bit and was now in the Hospital Wing because the pain had become too great. Draco snorted to himself; Hermione was going to just love this, especially since they had vowed to tell someone if the dragon hurt anybody.
Rather than react to seeing the bite, Draco laughed at his words. The redhead’s face turned purple in his rage. He obviously didn’t like the fact that he was being laughed at. Draco left a trace of amusement in his voice when he answered.
“Trust me, if you could ever convince Hermione to love you, I would raise your bastard myself. The problem with your plan is that you’re bloody stupid. Hermione will never fall for you, she would never shag you, and she would never be stupid enough to get pregnant. She’s far smarter than you are so why don’t you just bow out before you embarrass yourself panting after her. It’s already bloody disgusting watching you have a crush on her from afar.”
The redhead was furious but since he couldn’t get out of the bed, he picked up a book on the bedside table next to him and threw it at Draco. Draco was laughing hysterically on the inside; it was so much fun to poke the bear, especially when the bear was Ronald Weasley. He dodged the book easily and scooped it up in his hands, tucking it into his robes.
“Thank, Weasley, I needed something to read.” Weasel growled in frustration but was stalled from responding by Madam Pomfrey appearing. With a last smirk in the redhead’s direction, Draco followed her behind a curtain. Her voice was curt and business-like but not unkind. Draco liked that about her; while most of the professors didn’t like the Slytherins, Madam Pomfrey didn’t seem to mind them.
“What’s wrong, Mr. Malfoy?” Draco hopped up on the bed and let the fatigue hit him once more.
“I had another headache all night. It’s almost gone now but I’m falling asleep in class. Can I get something for both?” She tsked at him, reminding him that he had used it against the redhead across the room.
“You should have come sooner. I fear the pepper-up will keep you awake tonight.” Draco shrugged his shoulders, unsure of what she wanted him to say. She regarded him for a moment before turning on her heel.
“Wait here until I come back.” Draco nodded, and she disappeared from behind the curtain.
To pass the time, Draco pulled the text Weasley had thrown at him from his robe and looked at the title. How to Care for Dragons: A Beginner’s Guide. As if it wasn’t obvious enough that he had been around a dragon; this was like a flaming sign saying that he was guilty. To pass the time, he flipped through the pages only to find that a piece of parchment fell out. Draco bent to pick it up, seeing that it was a letter. He scanned it quickly and grinned.
He had to tell Hermione.
-O-
Harry had just finished dinner and was getting ready to leave to go see Ron. He was waiting on Parvati to finish eating or talking to Lavender rather. Neville was seated on his other side but was having a conversation with the twins. Even though Harry had more important things to worry about, he couldn’t help but to feed his obsession and ask after Hermione Black.
“What happened this morning with Black and Parkinson?” Neville set his fork down and wiped his mouth, his expression grim.
“Are you sure you want to know?” Harry found his behavior odd but figured he was probably going to hear about some pureblood ritual or something. He really didn’t understand those. He nodded at his friend, who sighed.
“Pansy was all over Draco. Hermione told her to stop, that there wouldn’t be a betrothal contract, that she and Draco were going to marry when they loved someone. Pansy not only told her that her father had told her it was possibility, she then told Hermione that she wasn’t a good cousin because she wasn’t making Draco go to the Hospital Wing when he was sick.” Harry wanted to snort; it all sounded extremely petty to him. Neville continued.
“Hermione gave her the chance to take it back, but she repeated it. She cast a spell to slap her in the face, then warned her that she would lose her circle of friends if she ever spoke ill of herself or her family again. Pansy covered for Hermione, but she still got detention and lost points.” Harry was flabbergasted. She really slapped her and threatened to take her friends away because she didn’t like her opinion. As if Neville could read his mind, he spoke again.
“I’ve been warning you all year, Harry. Hermione Black has more power in our world than the Headmaster, all because of who her father is. I’ve known her for years and she is the kindest person you’ll ever meet. She hates it when people are in pain; however, there is one thing you don’t do to a pureblood and that’s insult their family. Just look at how angry Ron gets when one of the Slytherins say something to him. Think of how Lavender gets when the other girls make comment of her mother divorcing. It’s how our world is. She restored Pansy’s honor by accepting her apology and making sure that all their friends knew they were free to continue being friends with her.” It still sounded ridiculous to him.
“We talk badly about her father all the time. Why would she allow that?” Neville smiled at him as if he couldn’t believe he hadn’t put it together yet.
“Her family has already punished Ron’s family and will continue to do so if he doesn’t stop. She can’t threaten you with much because you don’t live in our world. Plus, she wants to be your friend. She already knows that you hate her because of who her father in, so she doesn’t want to give you another reason to hate her.” Harry could see this but had one more question.
“So, she can’t do anything to the muggleborns either?” Neville laughed.
“Oh, I didn’t say that. If she convinced her father and her uncle to make a law saying that you had to meet certain criteria to return to Hogwarts, say have all O’s in their classes, it would affect them most certainly. She’s just smart enough to know that Dumbledore is going to have your back more than anyone because you’re the Savior, the Boy-Who-Lived.” Harry gulped at his words and nodded.
His mind returned to the incident two weeks prior; Hermione had threatened them all when Parvati had insulted her real father. Ron and Parvati had been reasonably cowed, but it was just now occurring to him why they had been. He wasn’t quite sure how he felt about the girl that wanted to be his friend so badly holding so much power. Neville had assured him more than once that she didn’t like wielding the power at all, but it was clear that she would do it if need be. It was something to file away for later contemplation.
Parvati waved him on once she realized that he was waiting on her; Harry was only too happy to comply. He liked Parvati but sometimes she was just too much energy, too much fashion, and too much gossip. He hurried from the Great Hall to the Hospital Wing, hoping that Ron would be finished eating dinner, so they could talk. He wanted to tell him about Hermione Black and what his thoughts were on the matter; surely, he would understand the pureblood aspect better than he did.
It didn’t take him long to find the Hospital Wing since they had been in school now for six months. He knew where all his classes were and could find them in his sleep, though the staircases might pose a problem. Ron was indeed done eating when he pushed through the doors and was instead sitting on his bed and staring into space, a worried look on his face. Harry sat on the bed next to him.
“What’s wrong, mate? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Ron turned his eyes to his friend and Harry could see genuine worry in them. He raked a hand through his shaggy red hair before speaking.
“I fucked up, Harry. Malfoy came in here during Potions and he was baiting me, which means I baited him back. He insulted me, and I threw my dragon book at him, the one that had the letter from Charlie in it. If he finds it, he’s going to know and snitch on us.” All thoughts on the altercation between Hermione and Parkinson flew out of his mind and he began contemplating his friend’s words.
“He kept the book?” Ron nodded miserably. Harry did his best to comfort his friend by punching his arm lightly.
“It’ll be alright. Why would Malfoy want a book on dragons?” Ron snorted.
“You know that Draco is Latin for dragon. Why wouldn’t he be interested?” Harry hadn’t thought of that. However, learning about dragons and learning how to care for them were two different things. He brushed his hair back over his scar before he spoke.
“I don’t think he’s going to read it. We go on with the plan and we’ll use my dad’s cloak. We’ll make sure to keep an eye out for Malfoy and Black. We both know that where there’s one, there will always be the other.” Ron nodded enthusiastically, happy to have a plan rather than the undecided wallowing he was doing before Harry arrived. With a shake of his head and a smile in exasperation, Harry pulled the chess board from his robes.
“Come on, we can play until just before curfew.”
Ron happily complied.
-O-
Hermione headed to her detention with Professor McGonagall. Draco had told her during dinner that he needed to speak with her in private once she returned to the common room and she quickly agreed. It was clear that whatever is was he needed to discuss, it was important.
While Hermione didn’t dread the detention itself, she did dread spending it with Professor McGonagall. It had been clear from the start that the woman didn’t like her, that she didn’t think that she was any better than a dirty traitor. She had only given herself and Draco advanced work because she had made her feel guilty, not because she cared that they were challenged in school. If she had cared, she would have gone to the governors on their behalf and fought the Headmaster’s decision.
Hermione stopped at the door to the Transfiguration class room and heaved a deep breath, preparing herself for what was to come. She assumed that it would be lines; she could live with that. The Slytherin had always wrote fast. Since the door was cracked, Hermione felt that she should knock. There was no sense in getting started on the wrong foot.
“Enter.”
Hermione pushed open the door to find her professor sitting at her desk grading what appeared to be essays. She wasn’t sure from what year and frankly she didn’t care. The last thing she wanted to do was to spend more time than necessary in this detention. She stood before her professor’s desk and waited for her to quit writing. It was several seconds before she lowered her quill and stood, only to come around to the other side of her desk. Hermione was not prepared for what came next.
“Tell me why you cursed Miss Parkinson.” Hermione gritted her teeth and clenched her hands into fists behind her back.
“It was accidental magic, I already told you.” Professor McGonagall hummed softly and began pacing in front of her. Hermione decided that this wasn’t’ what she had signed up for and took matters in her own hands.
“What will I be doing for detention?” The animagus stopped in front of her and grimaced.
“Your Head of House convinced the Headmaster to cancel your detention and re-instated your points that I deducted. Apparently, the Weasley twins were his reasoning. I still want to have a conversation with you.” Hermione glared at her mutinously. She had lured her up here with the promise of detention and then wanted to question her.
“Unless it pertains to my schoolwork or any misconduct, you have no right to have any sort of conversation with me.” The Transfiguration professor looked shocked and then affronted. Her hands were clasped together tightly in front of her when she spoke.
“How far ahead are you in your studies?” Hermione wasn’t about to set herself up. Therefore, she smiled sweetly as she answered.
“Turning mice into snuff boxes.” Her professor growled at her.
“Don’t lie to me, Miss Black. We both know that you’re far more advanced than what you portray in class.” Hermione wasn’t about to bullied by this professor. Her father had told her that she had been his favorite while he was in school but had turned on him when Dumbledore refused to believe the truth. Therefore, she glared at the professor and took a step back from her towards the door.
“If you think I’m stupid enough to hand you ammunition to use against me, you’re barmy.” Now her professor looked offended.
“Miss Black, if you think that I would use this information against you, you’re sorely mistaken.” Now Hermione was livid.
“Professor, I don’t trust you any further than I could throw you. You’ve been Dumbledore’s lap dog since the first war, you refused to see the truth about my father, and you refused to acknowledge that even if it was true, that didn’t mean that I was evil. Are you aware that I chose to be in Slytherin? The hat told me that I would do well in Gryffindor; what would you have done if you hadn’t been able to fall back on the hating me because I’m a Slytherin? Everything I tell you, you’ll run to the Headmaster and tell him. Let’s just say that he’s tried to insert himself in my mind once already; do you really think I’m going to give him information that he can use? Use your head, professor. You and the Headmaster have clearly drawn lines in the sand and you think we’re on opposite sides. You’ll never get information from me. If you want to punish me, feel free. Draco and Professor Snape will inform my father and uncle poste haste and you’ll be without a job for trying to squeeze information out of a first-year student.” Hermione knew she was going to get detention now. Her professor was dumbfounded at her words and it took several moments for her to gather herself and speak.
“I would never tell the Headmaster something that you told me in confidence and I don’t hate you.” Hermione snorted.
“I never once said that you would tell the Headmaster with your mouth. He’ll pluck it from your mind while you don’t even realize that he’s there. As for you not hating me, maybe if you acted like you believed that in public, I’d have reason to believe you.” Hermione stepped closer to the door, more than ready to escape.
“I told Professor Snape I would tutor the other first years after detention and since that isn’t going to occur, I’m leaving.” Hermione didn’t wait to see if her professor nodded or not. She turned and fled.
It didn’t take long for her to find her way to her uncle’s office. She knocked on the door politely and it swung open immediately. She was ushered inside and once the door shut, he gave her a quizzical look. Hermione sighed, sure she was going to get in trouble now.
“I just got back from detention. Or from what was supposed to be detention.” His eye brows rose, and she sighed again.
“Just look.” She lowered her barriers and allowed her godfather in. Hermione replayed the memory in her mind, her uncle watching closely. When she finished, her uncle pulled out and she re-shored her barriers. He rubbed his chin softly, clearly contemplating what he had shown her. It was several minutes later that he spoke.
“I’m proud of you. She was certainly fishing for information though I’m sure she was just curious. You confound her, she has no idea what to think of you. She wants to believe Dumbledore, but she also can see that you aren’t a malicious girl. She even admitted in the meeting with the Headmaster that Pansy probably insulted your family. She’s a pureblood herself, she knows our ways. However, I want you and Draco to watch yourselves around her. The last thing we need is for her to learn something important.” Hermione nodded.
“Are you angry with me for this morning?” Uncle Sev opened his arms to her and she hugged him close.
“No, little one, I’m not angry and neither is your father or uncle. They’re proud of you for doing what needed to be done.” She nodded against his chest and held the hug for a full minute before pulling away. He seemed to sense that she had other things to do that night, so he shooed her towards the door.
“Remember my words, little one. Tread carefully and don’t forget to tell your cousin.” Hermione blew him a kiss before nodding.
With a quick wave, Hermione left the same way she came and made her way to the common room. The second she came through, everyone began barraging her with questions about her detention. She still laughed a little that they Slytherins all called Professor McGonagall Professor Cat. With a promise to tell them after a few minutes, she turned to see Draco waiting for her impatiently. She sat down next to him and cast a silencing charm around them.
“What’s wrong, what’s so important?” Draco brushed hair off his forehead and blew air out of his mouth in one long breath.
“Weasel is in the Hospital Wing, I saw him there earlier today. He has a dragon bite on his hand, I saw it. I knew we were going to have to tell someone but then he threw a book at me. In the book, I found a letter from one of the older Weasleys. Here, read it.” Hermione took the letter and opened it.
Dear Ron,
How are you? Thanks for the letter - I'd be glad to take the Norwegian Ridgeback, but it won't be easy getting him here. I think the best thing will be to send him over with some friends of mine who are coming over to visit me next week. Trouble is, they mustn't be seen carrying an illegal dragon.
Could you get the Ridgeback up the tallest tower at midnight on Saturday? They can meet you there and take him away while it's still dark.
Send me an answer as soon as soon as you can.
Love,
Charlie
Hermione sighed, unsure of what they should do now. Should they tell someone and let them deal with it, getting not only Hagrid, but Harry and the Weasel in trouble? Should they trust that the duo would get the dragon to the tallest tower that late at night with no help whatsoever? After a few moments contemplation, Hermione turned to Draco.
“I think that we should let them try to get rid of it. However, I don’t trust them to get it done on their own. I’m not that confident in them. I think we should follow them and make sure that it gets done.” Draco was nodding slowing, considering her words. Finally, he met her eyes.
“That sound like the plan that has the least amount of collateral damage. Merlin knows the two idiots are just trying to be good friends. Why it never occurred to them to tell Hagrid he needed to tell the Headmaster I’ll never know.” Hermione snorted at his words but remembered her uncle’s words.
She told him about her conversation with Professor McGonagall and then the words from their godfather. He was livid at the fact that she had been tricked into meeting the Transfiguration professor, but she had quickly reassured him that she was fine, and their godfather had told her she had done well. He was quick to cool down which made Hermione smile softly to herself. Just as she was going to comment on how much better he looked, the crowd pressed in closer, wanting answers about her detention. Hermione laughed to herself as she cancelled the silencing charm.
Some things would never change.
-O-
Minerva was still seated at her desk in her class room at almost midnight. She had a tumbler of fire whiskey in her hand and had been contemplating Miss Black’s words since she left.
It was true, she hadn’t attempted to hide the fact that she didn’t like the girl. The animagus hadn’t gone out of her way to see if the girl had been challenged like she had been known to do with her lions in the past. Bill Weasley had been a prime example; he had been a precocious child and had advanced quickly. The rest of her words didn’t make as much sense.
Dumbledore would never lie to her about Sirius being guilty if he wasn’t. The man was nearly infallible, and his instincts were on pointe. Minerva believed that Hermione Black may have been misled because it was obvious that she believed in her father’s innocence. There was also no way in hell that her mentor was ransacking her mind; he was a Gryffindor after all.
What the Slytherin girl had said regarding Dumbledore trying to look in her mind startled her though. How would she know what to look for, let alone the fact the Headmaster was a legilimens? How could she be that skilled in occlumency at the tender age of twelve? The only person she knew that knew the practice of occlumency was Severus. Would he have taught her?
Minerva wanted to laugh at herself. Of course, he wouldn’t have. She was Sirius Black’s daughter and her father was single-handedly responsible for the death of his childhood sweetheart, Lily Evans. She had been certain that he carried a torch for her still, but she had never asked him. The animagus had a strict policy that if someone didn’t bring it up in conversation, she shouldn’t ask about it. This sounded hypocritical since she had just questioned a student about something she hadn’t wanted to talk about, but it was also fact that she had brought the whole subject up in Transfiguration that day Weasley had torn her papers in half.
Minerva threw back the remainder of her whiskey. The contents of her conversation with the young girl would bear further contemplation when she wasn’t quite as inebriated. Vowing to watch the Headmaster closer, Minerva rose to her feet unsteadily and started for her chambers.
It was an afterthought that she needed to make Hermione Black trust her.
A/N- There you are, friends, another chapter down. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks again to everyone reading and reviewing, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Leave me a message after the beep and tell me what you think, whether you love it or hate it.
*Charlie’s letter was taken word for word from Philosopher’s Stone.
Next chapter, a dragon is sent off.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Well, y’all, I survived the rodeo, praise Jesus. My daughter rode in the Grand Entry, so I was forced to attend once but I suppose that I can live with that. The bad news is that I must work the next six days so I’m not sure how quickly I’ll update. I continue to write on my phone during my lunch breaks, but we shall see. Don’t be surprised if it takes an extra few days. Shout out to everyone reading and reviewing, favoriting and following. You guys are seriously the bomb. I’m going to shut up now and let you get on with reading.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing about this story except the personal twist on the plot line. We all know that there isn’t anything new under the sun. I’m a broke bitch so it’s obvious that I haven’t made any money from my stories.
Chapter 18
February 8, 1992
Harry sighed deeply, picking at his dinner. He was nervous for that night, Saturday night, the night that Charlie’s friends would be arriving to pick up Norbert. He wasn’t quite sure if Hermione and Malfoy knew their plans or not, Ron had never gotten his book back, but he was nervous that they would be caught. Not only did he and Ron have a lot to lose, so did Hagrid.
There hadn’t been any further encounters with Hermione Black since he had accused her of listening in on his, Ron’s, and Pav’s conversation. He had thought long and hard about the conversation that he had had with Neville about why Hermione had slapped Parkinson and why she still tolerated the behavior from himself and Ron. The whole concept was still foreign to him, but he could readily admit that the wizarding world was wildly different from the muggle and he was nowhere near well-versed enough to judge.
Harry also admitted to himself, only in the privacy of the curtains around his bed, that Hermione showcasing her power and dominance made him rock hard. He had wanked several times since then to the image of her slapping Pansy and then threatening to ruin her; he wasn’t sure if this made him a deviant (he had heard the term from his aunt while she whispered it to his uncle) but truly, he didn’t care.
Harry wished more than anything that he could get over his infatuation with Hermione Black. He would freely admit that she was the most beautiful girl in school, all the boys in Gryffindor said so, even the seventh years. She was also the most powerful, that much had been evidenced in the sparks from her curls when she was angry and the hazy look the took over her eyes when she had been done wrong. Harry could admit that he saw why she was his heart’s desire even though he knew that it would never happen.
For as much power she held, Harry also didn’t think that she abused it. According to Neville, she had told everyone that Pansy wasn’t to be shunned and had seemingly forgiven her without any repercussions. She rarely retaliated to Ron even though he tormented her worse than anyone, even though Harry had the most reason to torment her. She hadn’t told anyone about the dragon that she had spied on the table in Hagrid’s cabin. Harry didn’t think that she was going to throw away the stiff set of morals just to turn them in for helping out a friend; there was no other way that she could see it as anything but.
Harry was pulled from his ruminations by Ron pushing away his plate. It seemed that their daring escape for Norbert that night hadn’t dampened his appetite in the least. Neville shot them a questioning glance before turning back to his Herbology text in front of him. Dean and Seamus were caught in an animated conversation with the twins and Lavender, Parvati was listening in and laughing. Harry didn’t think that he could handle anymore normal at the moment, so he gestured for Ron to follow him out of the Great Hall.
Since he knew that he would never be able to study while he waited the few hours before the drop off, he pulled Ron to the quidditch pitch. He knew if he went flying for just a little while, it would settle his nerves. Ron seemed amenable, so he followed without complaint. Just as they left the castle, Harry leaned over and spoke softly to his best mate.
“Are you nervous? I know I am. The last time we were out after curfew on purpose, we almost got eaten by a three headed dog.” Ron snorted at his friend before answering.
“Yeah, I’m very nervous. I’m afraid that Malfoy and his pet are going to snitch on us and get us and Hagrid in trouble. If that happens, I don’t think I’ll be able to control myself around them.” Even though Harry knew that his friend needed to reign his temper in, he couldn’t help but agree. Keeping his mouth shut about the matter from here on would be extremely difficult. Still, he needed to remind his friend just what was at stake.
“I know you won’t want to control your temper, but you must. What will your dad do if he loses his job?” Ron sighed deeply before answering.
“I know I can’t lose control, but Merlin, those two tossers would deserve it.” Harry nodded as they reached the broom shed. Since Ron didn’t have a broom, he was relegated to the school brooms and since Harry didn’t want his friend to feel bad about not having one, he used one as well.
The pair took off from the ground and started out by flying around the pitch. Ron appeared to be flying in a very set pattern; Harry suspected that he was imitating what he had seen his brothers do during practice. He didn’t want to worry about quidditch, however, so the Gryffindor left Ron to it. As the evening wore on, more and more students made their way inside. Harry knew that they should as well, it had been drilled into them by Madam Hooch that flying at night wasn’t safe, he was loathe to do so. Flying calmed his nerves.
Finally, once darkness had fallen completely, Harry hollered for Ron to call it a night. They landed in the middle of the pitch and walked the rest of the way to the broom shed, not wanting to take a chance of hitting the dwelling while on their brooms. His nerves returned as strong as before and he sighed.
The pair headed for the castle, Harry knowing that they needed to get to their common room before curfew. There was no way that they would be able to sneak back out later if they were caught being out after curfew already. The corridors were mostly empty on their way to the common room; this fact would be helpful once they were sneaking out. However, it was a Saturday night so there would surely be professors out patrolling until who knew what time.
Once they were back in the common room, Harry and Ron were blasted with music. The older students were dancing to what Harry thought was the Weird Sisters and the younger ones were watching and laughing. Fred and George had somehow managed to sneak in food and drinks, so it reminded Harry of a tame party. It made no matter, though, if this continued, it would be much easier for them to sneak out.
Harry and Ron took seats on one of the couches in front of the fire, Dean and Seamus sat next to them. They proposed that they play a game of exploding snap and while Ron accepted, Harry shook his head. His head wouldn’t be in the game and there was nothing worse than having the cards explode on you. The three boys seemed to enjoy their game and Harry even laughed when Ron ended up with a singed jumper because he had been just a little too slow.
Time passed slowly for Harry; he wasn’t sure why he was so nervous about this, he hadn’t been near this nervous when they had sneaked out to fight the wizard’s duel. Now that Ron was caught up in the game with Dean and Seamus, he didn’t seem nervous at all. Harry could only shake his head; only Ron could get sidetracked from something this important by a game.
Eleven o’clock arrived and Harry nudged Ron. They were meeting Charlie’s friends at midnight and they still had to get out to Hagrid’s and get the dragon before making their way back up to the Astronomy Tower. Harry had already stowed the invisibility cloak inside his school robes so all they had to do was get away from Dean and Seamus. Ron seemed to realize that and took it upon himself.
“I’ve had enough, guys, my mum is going to kill me for ruining this jumper.” He turned to Harry next.
“Let’s go get some of those snacks while these two find someone else to play with.” Dean and Seamus clapped Ron on the shoulder and stood, already heading off to where Neville was talking to the twins.
Harry and Ron started for the door, looking over their shoulders to make sure that nobody was paying attention. The music was still blaring so everyone was focused on that and Harry was grateful. They slipped out of the portrait hole quietly. The Fat Lady sniffed at them when she realized that they were heading out rather than in.
“You know it’s after curfew, if you’re caught, you’ll be in trouble.” Harry didn’t answer her, but Ron rolled his eyes at her.
“We’re aware, we know the time. We’ll be back shortly.” Harry started down the corridor a little way before he threw the cloak over himself and Ron. The last thing he wanted was for the Fat Lady to realize what his cloak did and tell one of the professors.
Once they were headed to the main entrance of the castle, things got interesting. The pair ran into several students on the way, some snogging and some clearly up to no good. They had to duck into an alcove when they passed Professor Snape and then again when they almost ran into Professor Sprout. They finally reached the main entrance and slipped through, heaving sighs of relief that they hadn’t been caught.
The way to Hagrid’s was well-known and well-travelled by the pair. They didn’t trip on the rocks that littered the ground since they knew where they all were. Once the reached the gamekeepers hut, Harry pulled the cloak off himself and Ron. Harry knocked on the door and it swung open immediately. Hagrid was crying, tears rolling down his face while he blew his nose on what looked to be a tablecloth.
“Thanks, ya two, fer doin’ this fo’ me. It means a lot ta Norbert an’ me.” Harry patted his enormous friend on the arm.
“I know, Hagrid. I’m sorry you can’t keep him.” He waved them both in the house and gestured to a crate on the floor.
“I got ‘im settled in there, he’s got ‘is favert teddy and plenty ‘o food.” Harry nodded and waved Ron over.
“I hate to run, Hagrid, but we only have thirty minutes to get Norbert up to the Astronomy Tower. We have to go.” Hagrid nodded and blew his nose again. Harry assumed that he had said his goodbyes to the dragon since he made no moves to the crate.
Harry took one end of the crate while Ron took the other. It wasn’t very heavy, but it was awkward, making the trip to the Astronomy Tower an interesting one. Since the cloak wasn’t big enough for the crate and both of them, Harry decided to throw the cloak over the crate. Hopefully, they wouldn’t run into any professors and if they did, they’d be able to move fast enough to hide before they were caught.
The trip back to the castle took much longer then the trip out to Hagrid’s. They might have been able to go a little faster if they could see. Ron had wanted to use his wand to light the way, but Harry wouldn’t let him. The last thing they needed was for someone to look out one of the many windows of the castle and see someone outside lighting their wand.
They were as quiet as they could be when they re-entered the castle. Norbert was no longer calm inside the crate and was moving from end to end, throwing the weight around. Once they reached the second floor, Harry could hear footsteps heading their direction. As quickly as they could, the pair slipped into an alcove directly across from the griffin that guarded the Headmaster’s office. After just a few moments, Professor Snape stepped to the griffin and muttered something, Harry assumed it was the password since the statue moved and allowed him entrance.
Harry and Ron crept out of the alcove and hurried to the staircase. Professor Snape was the very last person that he wanted to be caught by. They hurried the rest of the way through the castle, finally reaching the Astronomy Tower with only minutes to spare. He wasn’t sure how they hadn’t been caught but he wasn’t complaining.
The pair sat on the crate as they waited for Charlie and his friends. Both were breathing hard and even though it probably wasn’t the smartest place to sit, Harry was beyond caring. He wanted to be back in their dorm, curled up in bed. He didn’t mind helping Hagrid, but this ordeal had turned out to be more trouble than he had expected.
There was wand light off in the distance; Harry nudged Ron, so he could stand and help him haul the crate closer to the edge. Once Norbert was in a better position, they turned their attention back to approaching people. Harry sighed impatiently. They must not be certain which tower was the Astronomy Tower.
Finally, the approaching light was upon them and three people landed in front of them. It was clear that one of them was Ron’s brother; he had matching hair and freckles. However, where Ron was tall and lanky, Charlie was shorter and much more muscular. He had heard stories from Ron and the twins about how Charlie was a womanizer, that he never dated and only shagged girls for a good time. Harry wondered why any girl would shag him knowing that he would never date them and would be with another girl the next day. After seeing him in person, he understood why girls fell for him.
The two friends that he had brought with him were built similarly. Charlie couldn’t have been more than six feet, but his friends were taller. Burn scars littered all their arms and Harry made a mental note to never become a dragon tamer. Charlie stepped forward and hugged Ron tight before ruffling his hair.
“Hey, little bro, haven’t seen you in ages. How are you?” Ron was grinning at his brother.
“We’re good. Didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we agreed to help Hagrid.” Charlie opened the crate just a little to peer inside.
“Where did he even get the egg?” Harry shrugged his shoulders, so Ron answered.
“We have no idea. All I know is that after that bite, I’m ready to be shot of it.” Charlie reached out and took Ron’s hand, so he could inspect it. It was still red and inflamed but the wound itself had closed. The redhead released him and pulled a tube out of his pocket. He threw it to Ron with a grin.
“Put this on it twice a day until it isn’t red anymore. Pomfrey did a good job getting it to close but it’ll stay red and painful for ages without that cream. It’ll still take a week or so, but the pain should be gone.” Ron grinned and shoved the tube into his pocket.
“Thanks, Charlie.” The two men that were with him pulled what looked like belts out of their robes and began lashing the crate to their brooms. Harry didn’t see how hauling a crate between them several hundred feet in the air was safe but who was he to judge? Like Ron, he was just ready to be shot of Norbert. After they were finished, Charlie hugged Ron one more time.
“We really have to go. Tell the twins I said hi and that they need to write more. I’ll come visit over the summer.” Ron hugged him back and nodded before stepping back.
Without another word, the three of them took off and flew away into the darkness. Harry could just make out the crate swinging between the two brooms and he hoped that dragons couldn’t vomit, otherwise they would have a huge mess to clean up. Once they could no longer distinguish the people out of the darkness, Harry and Ron both turned to leave. Before they could even take a step, a familiar voice rang out, fury evident in her tone.
“Just what is going on here?”
Fuck.
-O-
Hermione and Draco watched from an alcove on the seventh floor as Harry and Weasley wrestled something between them. It was clear that there was something there even though they couldn’t see it. Hermione realized that they had thrown the invisibility cloak over whatever held the dragon.
After they watched the pair struggle their load up the steps leading to the Astronomy Tower, Hermione crept up after them slowly, so she wouldn’t make any noise. When she realized that there were people up there with them and they were lashing what appeared to be a crate to two brooms, she came back down to find Draco waiting impatiently.
“We can go. They’re hooking the crate to brooms as we speak.” Draco let out a relieved breath and nodded.
“Let’s go before we get caught.” A voice cleared behind them.
“It’s too late for that.” Hermione dropped her head in resignation. They had come this far and once their mission was accomplished, they’d been caught by the teacher that hated them most in school. Draco turned and stood shoulder to shoulder with Hermione, meeting the gaze of Professor McGonagall.
“What are you two doing out of your common room so late at night? Don’t even think about lying to me either.” Hermione was unsure of what to say. If Harry and Ron told her the truth, she would end up looking like a liar if she had tried to cover for them. Draco turned and looked at her before shrugging his shoulders. Hermione sighed.
“Everyone has told us that you aren’t really accepted in your House unless you sneak up to the Astronomy Tower at midnight. You caught us leaving.” The animagus cocked her head to the side, clearly disbelieving of her words.
“I don’t believe that, Miss Black. What is up in the Astronomy Tower that made you leave your common room?” Hermione knew that she answered too quickly but couldn’t change it now.
“Nothing, Professor.” The woman narrowed her eyes at them.
“Wait here.” Hermione sighed again. She was going to find Harry and Weasley and they were going to think that Hermione and Draco had snitched them out. She could hear them speaking and only moments later both boys followed McGonagall back down to the seventh floor. Weasley exploded.
“I knew you two couldn’t just leave well enough alone!” Harry was glaring at them too and Hermione knew that the hope of friendship was gone now. Even though she wanted to tell them that they hadn’t snitched on them, she refrained. It wasn’t like they would believe her anyways. The animagus turned to the Gryffindors and spoke.
“Why were you two out of the common room? I knew you were gone when I was called by a ghost to come put an end to the party.” Hermione could see Harry trying to come up with a believable reason. In the end, he settled for one that wouldn’t happen in a million years.
“We were doing our Astronomy homework and we needed to come out and see the constellation to clarify a point.” Hermione wanted to burst out laughing. As if Weasley did homework, let alone clarify something to do with said homework. However, she refrained. Professor McGonagall seemed to disbelieve them as well.
“You’re telling me that you two were doing your homework during that party? The party where the music was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think?” Both boys nodded their heads vigorously. The older woman rubbed her temples for a moment before sighing.
“I don’t believe any of you and since you can’t give me a valid reason to be out of your common rooms at midnight, you will all four lose fifty house points and each serve a detention tomorrow night. Let this be a lesson to all of you.” Hermione was surprised that they had all been punished equally. However, the animagus turned to Hermione and Draco and spoke again.
“We will drop these two off at their common room and then I will escort the two of you to your Head of House. I’m sure he’ll be wondering why there is a point loss of this magnitude.” Hermione nodded but couldn’t help but worry.
Her godfather hadn’t been angry at her yet, for any points loss or supposed detention she had received, but she had a feeling that this time would be different. She and Draco should have just gone to him when they discovered the dragon and had him watch the two idiot Gryffindors to make sure that they got the dragon sent off. As if he could feel her worrying, Draco pulled her hand through his arm and patted it. Weasley rolled his eyes at the gesture while Harry silently fumed.
Professor McGonagall lead them down the corridor to where Hermione assumed the entrance to Gryffindor Tower was. When the professor was far enough away, Ron leaned over and hissed in her ear.
“You won’t get away with snitching on us. We will pay you back.” Hermione rolled her eyes at him but remained silent. Draco was sneering at the redhead. Harry pulled his friend away from her, so he could whisper to her now.
“I know you both snitched and it was a low blow. Don’t ever let us catch you doing something wrong or the pair of you are going to go down.” Hermione could see the hatred in his eyes and her eyes pricked with tears. No, Harry hadn’t liked her before but there had never been hatred in his gaze before. The professor came to a stop ahead of them and gestured with her head for the two boys to get in the common room. They muttered the password low enough that Hermione didn’t hear it and once they were gone, Professor McGonagall started off again.
It took them nearly ten minutes to reach Professor Snape’s office. She assumed that he would be in his quarters by now, but the light was still on under the door. Hermione tightened her hand on her cousin’s arm while McGonagall knocked briskly on the door. It swung open to find their godfather glaring at them all. After he waved them inside, he spoke.
“What is going on here?” Professor McGonagall sniffed imperiously before explaining.
“I found your snakes just outside the Astronomy Tower. They gave me some rubbish story about it being tradition to sneak out and visit there but I don’t believe them. Upon further examination, Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley were already in the Tower. I think that there was some sort of altercation that was planned but I have no proof.” Her uncle looked livid.
“What were their punishments?” Hermione quailed under his gaze, shifting closer to Draco. The animagus clasped her hands in front of her as she answered.
“All four of them lost fifty points a piece and they are all to serve a detention tomorrow evening.” Hermione could see a flicker of surprise cross her uncle’s face, but it was gone before McGonagall saw it. She assumed that it was because the professor had punished them all equally.
“Thank you, Minerva, I can handle it from here.” Professor McGonagall bowed her head slightly before turning around and leaving them there alone with an obviously angry godfather. Once the door was closed, he waved his wand and cast a silencing charm.
“What in the fuck were you two doing out after curfew? You know that this will reach the Headmaster’s ears. I can’t believe that you two were so reckless.” Hermione felt tears prick her eyes at his tone but held them back ruthlessly. She couldn’t remember her godfather ever speaking to her like that and she didn’t like it. Draco knew she was upset and began rubbing soft circles in between her shoulder blades as he spoke.
“We should have come to you, but we didn’t want Potter and Weasley to think that we had snitched on them. That idiot Hagrid as well.” Her uncle seemed to stop his pacing for a moment due to his confusion.
“What are you talking about?” Hermione let Draco continue since he had started the explanation. Her uncle still looked angry, but he no longer looked like he wanted to kill someone.
“We followed Potter and Weasley one night out to Hagrid’s. We were afraid that they were going to get in trouble. They ended up watching a dragon egg hatch with the man. We never said anything because we really didn’t want anyone to get in trouble and it would have made the whole rivalry between our houses explode. We promised ourselves that if it hurt someone we would tell.” The livid expression appeared on his face again.
“The day I missed Potions, Weasley was in the Hospital Wing with a bite on his hand. A dragon bite. We exchanged words and he threw a book at me. I knew that we were going to have to come tell you. However, I opened the book and there was a letter in there from Charlie Weasley, making arrangements to pick up the dragon tonight from the Astronomy Tower at midnight. Since they were getting rid of it for Hagrid, we just followed them to make sure that it was really gone. They were lashing the crate with the dragon in it to brooms when Professor Cat caught us.” Hermione watched in horror as her uncle picked up the tumbler he had been drinking fire whiskey from and threw it against the wall. His voice was soft now.
“You’re telling me that that idiot Hagrid had a dragon on the grounds and you two knew about it and did nothing because you didn’t want to get anyone in trouble?” Hermione shrunk into her cousin’s side even further before nodding. Draco answered.
“Yes, professor.” Hermione wasn’t sure if it was the fact that he had thrown something or that Draco had called him professor that forced her uncle to calm down. They never addressed him as professor when they were in private. Her uncle raked a hand through his limp hair before picking up his wand and waving it at the mess, vanishing it from sight. He sounded much calmer when he spoke again.
“I don’t think I need to tell you both how monumentally stupid that was. Dragons are dangerous; they aren’t pets and they can kill people. Everyone was lucky that Weasley only suffered a bite and that Madam Pomfrey could treat it. I don’t expect you to tell me all your adventures; I don’t want you to tell me everything. Sometimes you need to make mistakes to learn from them. For the love of Merlin, if it’s involving a bloody dragon, tell me. You won’t get in trouble. Do you understand?” Hermione nodded her head again and Draco spoke for them both.
“Yes, sir.”
Hermione didn’t like feeling like this; she was a well-behaved child that couldn’t remember her father or either of her uncles ever raising their voice at her. She had never been spanked or anything like what Pansy and Daphne talked about. Sure, the elves weren’t above using a stinging hex on her rear if she misbehaved but she was unfamiliar with this show of temper, especially from her calm and controlled uncle. Her father, yes, but never Uncle Sev or Uncle Luci.
Draco seemed unfazed, however, and she chalked that up to the relationship he had with Uncle Luci. There had been plenty of affection when they were younger but when Draco started to get older, Uncle Luci had gotten more distant. He told her that it was preparing Draco to be not only a Malfoy, but a man. Nobody would take him seriously if he hugged other men and showed them affection in public. Even though he doubted his father’s love for him sometimes, Hermione could kind of understand.
Hermione watched her uncle finally look at them and his eyes widened at what he saw. He turned completely to them and held his arms open to them. She wanted to bolt into them but waited for a moment to make sure that that was really what he wanted. When he didn’t move, Hermione dragged Draco into her uncle’s embrace. She felt him kiss both their heads and then rest his cheek atop her curls. Draco pulled away first, but Hermione held tight to him around his waist. He carded his hand through her curls as he spoke.
“I’m sorry, little one. I didn’t mean to get so angry. I shouldn’t have shouted at you or thrown the glass. It just worried me that not only could the two of you been injured, Potter could have been as well.” Hermione nodded against his chest.
“We’ll tell you next time, we promise.” He snorted at her words before pulling her away from him.
“Let’s just hope that there isn’t a next time.” She giggled just a little and nodded.
“You’re both going to experience a fall out come morning and everyone finds out where the hundred points went.” Draco snorted now.
“We’ll tell them to go get bent. Hermione wins the most points for our house anyways, she has more of a right than anyone to lose them.” Her uncle nodded.
“I agree, just expect it. For now, the pair of you need to get back to your common room and go to bed.” Hermione and Draco both nodded before heading towards the door. Their godfather shot them a smile before they opened the door and showed themselves out. Hermione sighed as the common room came into sight.
It had been a long night.
-O-
Severus stalked through the corridors once more, heading for the Headmaster’s office. While he tried to keep his visits with the man to a minimum, he felt that the situation called for it. A bloody dragon in the school was more than urgent if anyone asked him.
Severus felt terrible for frightening his goddaughter. He had never shouted at her, not even when she was small. While Sirius was known for exploding in anger over various things, Hermione had never been on the receiving end of his anger. She was an extremely well-behaved child and he doubted that Lucius had ever yelled at her either. Seeing her shrinking away from him and into Draco had calmed him down faster than a calming draught would have. It was no secret that Hermione was tender-hearted and even though she would be the first one to show a person who was boss, it ate at her for days and it wore on her conscience.
He muttered the password to the griffin once more. At least this conversation would be more stimulating than the one he had attended earlier. While it was necessary, Severus hated going over the expense reports for not only the school lab and stores, but his personal ones as well. He wasn’t surprised when he saw that while Albus was now in pajamas, he was still seated behind his desk rifling through paperwork.
“What has you calling so late, Severus?” The Slytherin sighed and took a seat in front of the desk.
He told the Headmaster everything that his two young charges had told him. Severus implored to the man that Hagrid needed speaking to, that he was bringing dangerous creatures onto the grounds and then letting two eleven-year-olds make the trek out of the castle and then back at midnight. He couldn’t understand why the man just hadn’t taken the beast to the Astronomy Tower himself. There would have been far less questions asked. When he finished, he sat back and waited for the reassurance that the Headmaster was going to take care of this. Instead, the man smiled at him softly.
“All’s well that ends well.” Severus couldn’t believe this blasé attitude. He couldn’t keep the bite out of his tone.
“You’re telling me that’s your final say on this matter? Potter and Weasley were getting rid of a dragon. What would you have done if your precious Potter had been bitten?” The old fool’s eyes started twinkling.
“Harry and Mr. Weasley were demonstrating exactly why they were put in Gryffindor. They were helping Hagrid because their loyalty is to their friends. I will of course speak with Hagrid, but all is well. The dragon is gone and that’s what matters.” Severus doubted that the man was going to say a single word to Hagrid; he had always been a favorite of Albus’. Rather than sit there and argue (he would just be wasting his breath), Severus stood and headed for the door.
He didn’t say a word before he left. If he did, he would likely explode and tell the Headmaster exactly what he thought of him. It wouldn’t be a pretty scene, that was certain. Therefore, Severus stalked out of the office and through the corridors until he was ensconced in his quarters. There, he poured himself another glass of whiskey before settling in his arm chair. After this glass, he would head to bed. He would write the letters to Sirius and Lucius in the morning.
It had been a long night.
A/N- There you are, y’all, another chapter. I literally banged this out in two hours so if it’s terrible, I apologize. Thanks again to everyone out there reading, I really do appreciate you all. Leave me a message after the beep and tell me what you thought. Reviews are love.
Next chapter, detention and the Dark Lord.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Hey, all, I’m back with another chapter. I got a few PM’s asking me why I’ve made Hermione so passive and why she feared Severus. It’s easier to just answer here. Hermione was raised as a pureblood, not a muggleborn. As a general rule, purebloods treat their women with more care, pamper them so to speak, so she has been sheltered to a degree. She would never dream of letting someone slander her family name and she’s more than powerful, but she’s been taught to let men take care of certain things. Look at how Draco looks out for her and she lets him; the wizarding world is patriarchal, and Hermione has grown up in it. Her backbone only shows when she is pushed.
As for why she fears Severus, that’s because he has always been a favored uncle. He’s taught her and loved her and she’s been a well-behaved child. She’s never had him angry at her before, let alone show his anger in such a demonstrative way. I remember being young and hiding behind my brothers when my dad would yell so I don’t see this as too far-fetched.
Anyhoo, enough for now. Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing, y’all keep me motivated.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything in this story. The characters belong to J.K.R. and the trope has been done a thousand times before. I don’t make any money off my stories, otherwise I wouldn’t be eating hot dogs for dinner tonight.
Chapter 19
February 9, 1992
Harry was still livid. He had been fuming the night before when he had realized that the Slytherins had snitched on them. He had assumed that it would get better as the day went on, cooling his anger, but that wasn’t the case. He and Ron had woken up that morning and by the time that he went to breakfast, their whole house had known that they were the ones that had lost them a hundred points, taking them out of the running for first place in the house cup.
Harry and Ron had tried to explain to Seamus, Dean, and Neville that the Slytherins had snitched on them, that they had been helping Hagrid, but Neville had openly scoffed at them. When he had told them that Hermione and Draco would never snitch on them because they wanted to be friends with them, Ron had lunged for their friend. Harry had managed to pull him back at the last moment but that didn’t mean that the whole house hadn’t seen their exchange. Neville had made sure to tell everyone that Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy wouldn’t have snitched on Harry Potter. Since a good portion of the Gryffindors were purebloods, none of them dared to believe the story that Ron and Harry were telling. None of them wanted to cross the Malfoys and the Blacks.
This had soured Harry’s mood even further. Before, he had only been extremely angry. Now, he was outraged. He knew that the pair had snitched on himself and Ron, they just didn’t want to lose face with the rest of the school to admit it. Ron agreed with him, but the twins just shook their heads at them and told them that they were being stupid. Even Parvati wanted no part in their accusations.
Harry wanted to do something to retaliate to the Slytherins, but he was unsure as to what. He didn’t want to be caught and he was scared to death that if he was, he would lose even more credibility in the school. First and foremost, he wanted to prove his innocence and make sure that the world knew that the Slytherins were really at fault.
Harry tried to put it all out of his mind as he and Ron headed down to Hagrid’s hut. They had just finished lunch and since it was a Sunday, they had the rest of the day free. They should probably be doing homework, but Harry knew that he was too pissed off to concentrate. Therefore, he and Ron had decided to go down to Hagrid’s hut and make sure that he knew that Norbert was sent off with Charlie before they had been caught.
After Harry knocked on the door of the small hut, it swung open to reveal Hagrid wearing his usual garb. He looked like he was getting ready to go out into the Forbidden Forest, but he ushered them in like he had no other plans. After serving them tea, the half-giant started to cry.
“I’m so sorry, I neva’ meant fer ya ta get in trouble fer me.” Harry’s heart stopped for a moment. How did anyone know that Hagrid had even been involved? This was just further proof that Hermione and Malfoy had snitched on him. His voice was hard when he answered.
“It wasn’t your fault, it was the fault of those that turned us in. Or maybe mine and Ron’s for letting them discover the truth.” Hagrid shook his head as he blew his nose.
“No, no, Perfessa’ Dumbledore said tha’ he didn’t discover abou’ the dragon ‘til afta’ you were caught. Perfessa’ Snape tol’ ‘im.” Harry had to stop for a moment to process this. If Hermione and Malfoy had snitched, wouldn’t they have told them about the dragon?
“We know they snitched, Hagrid. Don’t try to keep us from hating them for what they did.” Hagrid looked perplexed at his words. After a few moments, he spoke.
“Who do ya think tol’ on ya?” Harry couldn’t keep the sneer from his expression.
“Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy. They knew when we were taking the dragon to the Astronomy Tower. They clearly told McGonagall.” Hagrid shook his shaggy head.
“No, they din’t snitch. Perfessa’ McGonagall caught them outside the Astronomy Tower; she thought tha they were spying on ya. They din’t say anythin’ abou’ the dragon ‘til they were already caught.” Harry wasn’t sure that he believed this information and from the look on Ron’s face, it was clear that he believed it even less. Harry wasn’t sure what to believe. Hermione Black would lie to save her own skin (she was a Slytherin after all) and Hagrid would parrot anything that Dumbledore told him. Rather than argue with his first friend, Harry changed the subject.
“Well, regardless of what happened, we only ended up with a points loss and one detention. It could have been way worse.” Hagrid nodded.
“Yeah, the Headmaster did decide ta make your detention wi’ me.” Harry couldn’t believe how this just kept getting better and better. He sputtered for a few moments before he finally asked his question.
“How do you know the they didn’t tell on us all?” Hagrid cocked his head to the side.
“Perfessa Dumbledore wouldn’t lie ‘bout somethin’ li’ tha’.” Harry wanted to shake his head in exasperation but decided to just let it drop. At least their detention wouldn’t be terrible since Hagrid was overseeing it.
Harry and Ron left shortly after that, promising to see their large friend that evening. He told them that their detention was scheduled to begin at six, right after dinner, and asked that the pair of them pass on to Hermione and Malfoy the start time. Harry had grumbled about it but in the end agreed.
Since they still had a couple hours until dinner, Harry sighed and turned to head towards the castle. He knew Ron wasn’t going to like his suggestion, hell, he didn’t like it, but it needed to be done.
“We better work on some homework before dinner. Snape and Flitwick will be pissed if our homework isn’t done tomorrow.” Ron cursed under his breath for a full minute before finally agreeing.
“Wish they were all like Quirrell. He never gives homework and when he does, it’s stuff we already learned in class.” Harry didn’t quite agree but nodded anyways.
In truth, Professor Quirrell kind of freaked him out. He wasn’t mean or malicious like Snape, but he definitely watched Harry with a level of fascination that he wasn’t comfortable with. He did his best to pay the man no mind but sometimes it was difficult when he could feel his eyes boring holes in the back of his head. Not to mention, Harry didn’t mind most homework; he loved learning about magic and knew that he was going to miss it once he had to return to the Dursleys.
Once they were back in the castle, they made their way to Gryffindor Tower, so they could retrieve their bags and their assignments. Nobody paid them any mind and he was unsure if it was because they were all engrossed in their own activities or because none of them were speaking to them. Nobody had been happy about the point loss.
The pair started for the library, dreading the Potion’s essay that was due the following day. Harry did well in his essays and such, it was more his practical work that left something to be desired. After they entered the library, Harry regretted deciding to come. Hermione Black and her gang of Slytherin firsties were all sitting at an enormous table with Neville and the twins. They appeared to be working on homework, though Hermione would lean over and correct one of the twins here and there. He remembered that she was advanced in her studies, so he guessed that if someone needed free help with their homework, she would be the one to ask. Harry tried to tell himself that that was the only reason the twins hung out with her but deep down, he knew that was a lie.
Harry groaned. He remembered telling Hagrid that he would inform Black and Malfoy of their detention time. He smacked Ron on the arm and gestured with his head that they needed to just get it out of the way. Ron groaned now, and Harry couldn’t help but smirk at his reaction. They made their way over to the table and waited patiently until he had the attention of everyone since Hermione was the last one to realize that they were there. Harry cleared his throat.
“Our detention tonight is with Hagrid. He wants us out by his hut at six o’clock.” Malfoy groaned now before leaning his head on his cousin’s shoulder.
“We should write a letter home before we go, make sure they know our final wishes if we die.” The rest of the table laughed but Ron got angry.
“What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?” Harry laid a hand on his arm before Malfoy sat up and turned his sneery gaze to the two of them. He spoke slowly as if Ron was stupid and wouldn’t understand otherwise.
“Think about why we all got detention. Excuse me for thinking that I would be completely safe with a person that can make decisions like that.” The sarcasm was heavy in his voice and even though he wanted to disagree with the Slytherin, he couldn’t. Every day since they had discovered that Hagrid had a dragon, he had questioned the sanity of not only himself and Ron for not telling someone but Hagrid for keeping the thing.
“Hagrid is ten times the man that you are, Malfoy.” Malfoy nodded as he smirked their way.
“You’re right, he is ten times the man I am since he’s the size of a bloody giant.” Harry noticed that Neville looked distinctly irritated with them and the twins didn’t look that thrilled either. He was drawn out of his observations when Hermione Black spoke for the first time.
“We’re all working on Potions if you both want to join us. We wouldn’t mind at all.” It was said in the sweetest voice that Harry had ever heard but he knew better. Those two had snitched on them and Hagrid had misunderstood. Therefore, he sneered the Slytherin’s way before responding.
“No, we don’t want to join your bloody study group. I know that Neville and the twins think you walk on water, that you’re just amazing, but you don’t fool me. You’re no different than your father. For someone who wants to be my friend, you sure know how to backstab someone, just like your father did to mine.”
Harry could tell that his words wounded her. Her eyes watered but she didn’t let any of the tears fall. Her gaze fell from himself and Ron to stare at her book, embarrassed to be showing so much emotion. None of the others seemed to realize it, but Harry saw the exact effect his words had on her. Malfoy wrapped an arm around her shoulders before turning his glare their way. However, it was the twins that stood and glared at them.
“You two need to leave. Hermione was kind enough to invite you to stay and learn when you’ve been nothing but terrible to her. She doesn’t deserve this from either of you. If you can’t be nice, get the fuck out of here.” Ron started to sputter in indignation, but Harry decided that none of it was worth the fight. He pulled his friend away from the group until they were settled at a table far away from the group.
The truth was, Harry felt terrible for his words. He had only been that mean to Hermione once before, in Potion’s class, and he had felt guilty then as well. He hated knowing that he had been mean enough to someone that he had almost made them cry. If they hadn’t been in front of a good portion of their peers, he was quite sure that Black would have allowed her tears to spill. Weakness, however, was one of the things that snakes weren’t allowed to show unless it was in front of someone that they trusted.
Harry didn’t speak to Ron as they started their essays. All the redhead ever did was complain about doing schoolwork and after the encounter with the Slytherins, Harry found that he wasn’t the most talkative. The pair worked in relative silence until dinner; Harry had finished his Potion’s essay and most of his Charms essay while Ron was still only a handful of paragraphs into his Potion’s assignment. Harry wouldn’t be surprised if the boy ended up failing the class. He doubted that his parents would be pleased but Harry was determined to stay out of it. The last thing he wanted was to get in the middle of a family matter, especially when he knew so little of how a true family worked.
They adjourned to dinner, Harry starving since he hadn’t eaten well at breakfast or lunch. He was still livid at the fact that he had detention because of two Slytherins but he was past letting it affect his appetite. Ron seemed to agree with him since when they took their seats, the redhead piled more food than Harry had eaten in a week at the Dursleys on his plate.
The pair ate quickly and quietly. Nobody seemed to be ignoring them on purpose, so Harry assumed that they were done being angry about the points’ loss. The twins had told them that they had lost more points for their house than they had made, and the anger always passed quickly. It had been the only nice thing his house had said to them that day. Though after their encounter in the library, he doubted that they would warrant anymore.
Harry let his mind wander to whether the Slytherins were catching any shite for losing a hundred points. Nobody seemed angry at them, everyone had acted like they normally did. It made no sense, though, so Harry decided to brave Neville and ask. The boy didn’t look none too pleased to be interrupted by Harry but was polite nonetheless.
“Yes?” Harry took a deep breath.
“Are Black and Malfoy in hot water with their house? Are they angry like you all are?” Neville snorted at his words before shaking his head.
“No, they aren’t angry at them.” Harry couldn’t believe it. Were they that popular that nobody would say a single word to them in admonition?
“Why not?” Neville took a bite, chewed, swallowed, and wiped his mouth before he deigned to answer him.
“First of all, Hermione wins her house a hundred points every three to four days by herself. Slytherin house has no right to get angry at her. Second of all, they’re royalty and you two have been telling everyone that you’re all in detention because they snitched on you. After the feud that has sprung up, what Slytherin is going to be angry about a points loss when it landed the most famous Gryffindor since Godric himself in detention?”
Harry hadn’t thought about it from that point of view. Maybe he and Ron shouldn’t have spread to everyone that the Slytherin pair was the reason that they were being punished. Honestly, looking back, it had been quite childish. Harry sighed in realization. Even if Hermione and Malfoy had snitched, it wasn’t their fault that Harry and Ron had been out after curfew, carting an even more illegal dragon between them to be smuggled off school grounds. It wasn’t even Hagrid’s fault because they had had the right to refuse to help him. The blame lay with Harry and Ron themselves; they had made the decision to help Hagrid and they had made the decision even after they knew it was likely that they would be ratted out. Harry and Ron had done this to themselves.
For some reason, this realization didn’t make him feel any better. They had acted like spoiled children once they learned they had been caught and had been trying to ruin the reputations of Black and Malfoy since. Everyone had rolled their eyes at them but at the time, Harry hadn’t understood why. Now, he did. While he wanted to tell Ron and clue him in, he knew that he couldn’t without a huge argument on his hands and that was the last thing that he wanted. Therefore, he decided to be decent to Hermione and Malfoy in detention that night.
Dinner passed quickly, Harry eating his fill. Ron was still eating when the food disappeared, and everyone started to get up from their seats. The redhead looked affronted that his eating time had been cut short, but Harry could only laugh at his expression. The redhead had eaten four times as much as Harry and still acted as though he could eat more. It boggled his mind and made him wonder where he stored so much food.
Harry went to his feet while Ron did the same and started for the door to the Entrance Hall. It was detention time and they needed to be at Hagrid’s in only ten minutes. Harry had watched Hermione and Malfoy leave five minutes before they had, probably so they could be early like they usually were for classes. Harry supposed that he couldn’t blame them; it wouldn’t do to be late to detention with someone that really wasn’t your biggest fan.
Even though Hagrid had never come out and badmouthed the pair, he had made sure to say plenty about their fathers. Hagrid had told Harry that his mother and father had been best friends with Sirius Black and he had betrayed them in the end and that if he were to cultivate a friendship between himself and Hermione it would be a betrayal of their memory. Since that was the last thing that he wanted, Harry had vowed to stay as far away from the girl as possible. Harry couldn’t help but wonder if this was coming from the Headmaster since it was right after Christmas break ended; he was scared that the Headmaster had seen what was really in the reflection of the Mirror of Erised. Not that it mattered; he felt the same way, so it was really nothing new.
As predicted, the two Slytherins were waiting for them when they got there. Ron shot them dirty glares, but Harry restrained himself, reminding himself of his epiphany at dinner. Both parties remained on their own sides of the clearing; Hermione was shivering with a thick cloak wrapped around her. Malfoy seemed to be completely warm and when he waved his wand at this cousin, she stopped shivering too. Harry longed to ask them what spell they used but since he had flung hateful words at them the last time they had spoken, he refrained.
The four of them waited together for a short period of time before Hagrid stepped out of his hut and gestured for them to follow him.
“We’re going into the Forbidden Forest. Follow me.”
Harry gulped.
-O-
Hermione picked at her meal, wishing it would speed up and slow down simultaneously. She had detention in just half an hour and it was the first of her life. Her father’s letter rang in her ears, reminding her of his words.
*Flashback*
Hermione seated herself at the Slytherin table, so she could spoon up breakfast for herself and Draco. Her cousin shot her a dirty look, irritated that she was serving him, but she paid it no mind. He served her enough throughout the week that it wouldn’t make a difference if she did it once. The post owls swooped down to the tables they needed to go to and Hermione caught sight of her father’s owl amongst the crowd. Her heart dropped into her belly; what exactly had Severus told him?
When the owl landed before her, she pushed her plate towards the owl, indicating that it should take whatever it wanted from it. After detaching the letter from the owl’s leg, she opened the letter and leaned towards Draco, so he could read it while she did. The pair of them had no secrets and even if he didn’t read the letter, he would know exactly what it said.
Poppet and Draco,
I hope this letter finds you well. Your godfather wrote to Lucius and I this morning and informed us as to what you were doing on your late night excursion last night. While I commend you on your rule-breaking, I really wish that you had chosen something else to break the rules for.
While I most assuredly want you both to have the full Hogwarts’ experience, I also want you two to be smart. Hiding the fact that there is a dragon on the grounds in just foolhardy; the last thing I want is for someone to get hurt. While I know that Severus scared you, Hermione, know that I agree with his sentiment; if there is ever anymore talk of a dragon on the grounds, I expect the pair of you to turn whoever it is in as quickly as you can. Dragons aren’t to be trifled with.
Draco, your father wishes me to tell you that he expects you to continue to look out for your cousin and if she is injured by a dragon, you will get the flailing of a lifetime. Personally, I don’t believe him, but he was quite put out when we read the letter from Severus. Seriously, though, please look out for Hermione. She can be brash and reckless when it serves her; the last thing I need is bad news from the Headmaster. Watch over her as I would.
I love you both and wish you well in your studies.
Dad (Sirius)
Hermione cringed at his words. He was disappointed, he just didn’t want to come out and say it. Her heart clenched at the thought, but she took a deep breath and made herself rationalize it. She and Draco had both admitted that keeping the dragon a secret had been a mistake; her father and Uncle Luci were just reiterating it like Uncle Sev had. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling knowing that you had fucked up but, in the end, it was what it was.
*End of Flashback*
Since the encounter in the library hadn’t gone too terribly bad, Hermione had decided that she would extend an invitation to Harry and Weasley; it had been a huge mistake. While she normally expected bile to fall from Weasley’s mouth, she didn’t have the same expectation from Harry. It had been Harry that had lashed out about not only herself but her father and his traitor status.
Hermione had bore it well, refusing to let her tears fall in front of so many people. Draco had been the only one to realize that she was close to tears and the arm around her shoulders had been much appreciated. The rest of her friends had been appropriately outraged but at that point, Hermione hadn’t wanted to hear anything about how she was right, and they were wrong.
Truthfully, her friends believed that she and Draco had turned Harry and Weasley in because of how mean and nasty they were to them. They had tried to tell them the truth but, in the end, none of them believed them. It ended up being easier to just let them believe what they wanted. Neville and the twins were the only ones that seemed to believe the truth as Hermione told it. None of the Slytherins would ever believe that they had put themselves on the line for the two ungrateful Gryffindors.
Not a single Slytherin had been angry with them; Hermione had expected to hear the worst about herself when everyone realized that their house had lost a hundred points because of herself and Draco. This hadn’t been the case, however. Everyone seemed to realize that Hermione netted them the most amount of points and to piss her off by getting angry would only be detrimental to them in the end.
Her thoughts were ended by the bell bringing dinner to an end. It always irritated her that the school insisted on using the bells even on days when there was no classes. Not only was it irritating to students that had no subjects to study like herself and Draco, it was nerve-wracking for the twins and Neville. Not that it did any good since they were quick to hide any emotion that seemed to goad her into action.
Hermione and Draco headed to their detention, Hermione noticing that Ron took longer than usual to surrender his plate and move on. Maybe during his childhood, he had been starved and had to gain as much weight as possible. Even as she thought of this, it was clear that wasn’t the cast of what happened. It was more along the lines of being greedy and wanting to stuff as much food in as humanly possible. It sickened Hermione, but she held her tongue; it would do no good to say anything at this juncture.
She and Draco were forced to wait for a few minutes before Harry and the Weasel appeared. They were there only moments before Hagrid appeared, bringing the detention to an official start.
The half-giant had just informed them that they were going to go into the Forbidden Forest and Hermione could feel her cousin tense up. They had been told horror stories about creatures in the Forbidden Forest and the last thing that he would be agreeable to was taking them in the Forest itself. Hermione tried to soothe her cousin but at the moment, there was nothing for it.
“You can’t possibly think that we’re going to follow you into the Forbidden Forest. Sorry, but we haven’t been imperioused anytime recently.” Hermione clutched at his arm when Hagrid spoke.
“This is my detention and you’re serving it because you were caught out after curfew. You will do as I say, or you’ll suffer more detentions. The Headmaster will back me on this.” Hermione was sure that the man wasn’t lying; the Headmaster would do whatever he could to further punish them. Therefore, she grasped her cousin’s arm tightly and hoped that he understood the message to just let it be. Even though Draco was glaring at the half-giant, he remained quiet. Hagrid turned his attention back to the others before speaking.
“There is somethin’ ou’ there killin’ unicorns. We’re goin’ ta see if we can fin’ ou’ wha’ it is.” Hermione felt her heart clench at his words. This detention didn’t sound safe at all. It seemed that the Gryffindors were worried now too. Harry spoke tentatively.
“Are you sure this is safe, Hagrid?” The man nodded as they started for the edge of the forest.
“Yea, as long as yer wit’ me or Fang, nothin’ in the Forest will ‘arm ya.” Hermione didn’t feel better after hearing his declaration. It was quite clear that Harry didn’t either. Once they were inside the Forest a ways, Hagrid paused and turned to them once more.
“We’ll spli’ up so this search will go fasta. Ron, ya and Malfoy are going to come wit’ me. Harry, ya an’ Black are goin’ to go wit’ Fang. Just follow whereva’ he takes ya.” Hermione felt her heart race at the thoughts of being separated from the group. Draco saw the apprehension on her face and spoke again.
“Doesn’t it seem dangerous to split up in a Forest that we’re searching because something that is killing unicorns? I think we should all stay together.” Hagrid’s face hardened again before he spoke.
“Fang will keep ‘em safe.” Draco strode over to Hermione and pulled her into his arms. She tried to hide the fact that she was trembling in fear, but she knew that she had failed when he kissed the side of her head. Harry looked away, but Ron was gagging behind them. Draco whispered in her ear.
“If anything happens, you run. Don’t wait around for Potter to save the day.” Hermione nodded against him. Once he moved away from her, he turned to Harry and glared at him.
“If you let anything happen to her out here, I will kill you.” Harry didn’t seem to know what to say to his words, so he remained silent. Ron scoffed openly while Hagrid was speaking to Fang. Hermione moved closer to Harry and took a deep steadying breath. If this is what she had to do, she would do it to the best of her ability. Hagrid had one last bit of advice.
“If anyone runs inta problems, send sparks up inta the sky. The spell is periculum.” Hermione nodded as she started to follow Fang. The boarhound was headed deeper into the Forest and she could only hope that he knew exactly where he was going.
Harry followed after her, the pair of them leaving Ron and Draco behind with Hagrid. Hermione clutched her wand in her hand tightly, held aloft at all times. She knew that she had lots of knowledge, more than enough spells to protect herself in there, but she had never gotten the chance to apply her knowledge. Her father and Uncle Luci had promised dueling practice this summer and now more than ever, she felt that it was a wonderful idea.
They walked for over thirty minutes; Hermione wasn’t quite sure what Hagrid expected them to find, let alone what they were supposed to do if they found something. She doubted that sparks from their wand were going to keep them safe against whatever was killing unicorns. Harry had yet to say a word and while she wanted to take the time to get closer to him if possible, she knew that it was never going to happen. It was this reasoning that found her surprised when he did speak to her.
“Why would you keep the secret of the dragon all that time until you knew we were getting rid of it? It doesn’t make any sense.” Hermione knew that this was her chance to plead her innocence. She forced her voice to be steady.
“We didn’t snitch on you. We promised ourselves that we wouldn’t say anything as long as the dragon didn’t hurt anyone. Then Draco saw Weasley in the Hospital Wing with a dragon bite; he had already decided that we were going to tell Professor Snape. Then he found the letter and we decided that we would follow you and make sure that the dragon was sent off. It was what we had to do since we didn’t want to get anyone in trouble unless we had to. Dragons can kill you, their bites are highly poisonous. Hagrid should have known better than to have two students help him with it and then leave it on your shoulders to get it off the grounds. None of us would have been in trouble if he had taken the dragon up to the Astronomy Tower on his own.” She could see that Harry was mulling over her words. After several minutes, he spoke again.
“Why would you go out of your way to not get us in trouble?” Hermione wanted to tell him the truth but was scared that he would reject her. However, it was never going to happen without taking a chance.
“I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to be your friend. Draco too. I don’t want to give you reasons to hate me.” Harry scoffed at her words before speaking.
“You know why we can’t be friends. Your father single-handedly made sure that my parents would be murdered by his master. Dumbledore told me what really happened. No, I don’t hate you like I should, but we will never be friends. I would never piss on the memory of my parents by becoming friends with you.” Hermione felt her heart clench at his words. Rejectioned again and this time he wasn’t angry when he said it. She was thankful that it was dark in the Forest because it hid the few tears that trailed down her cheeks. She was just getting ready to open her mouth and tell him that her father wasn’t guilty, that it had been Peter Pettigrew when Fang started barking like mad.
Hermione glanced around to see the boarhound running in the direction that they had come from. Harry reached out and took her hand, pulling her after Fang. They made it only three steps before Hermione caught sight of the brilliant white coat of a unicorn laying still and unmoving on the ground. Hermione pulled Harry to a stop and gestured with her head to the unicorn. He started next to her when they realized that there was a figure standing just behind the unicorn. It dropped to it’s knees and cut a slice into the neck of the unicorn. Hermione watched on in horror as the figure began to drink the blood of the unicorn.
Suddenly, Hermione was furious. She shook Harry’s hand out of hers and raised her wand again. She wasn’t sure what spell to use against someone that wanted to drink the blood of a unicorn but decided to go with the spell that Hagrid had bid them to use. Bright blue sparks shot out of her wand and hit the figure directly in the back. With a snarl, the figure raised its head from the bleeding unicorn and then rose to its feet. It started for the pair of them, wand raised.
An unknown spell shot from the wand, hurtling its way straight for Hermione. She was quick to use a shield but, in the end, it wasn’t necessary since Harry tackled her to the ground before the spell could even get close. Hermione struggled to catch her breath, trying to ignore the sharp pain in her side. Harry rolled off her and rose in front of her, wand held up high. The figure continued to advance, and Hermione struggled to get to her feet, sure that her ribs were cracked at the very least.
The figure, out of nowhere, stopped advancing and turned to flee. Hermione didn’t understand why until there was a thundering of hooves from behind them. She finally made it to her feet, dirt and leaves stuck in her curls and in her robes. Harry was still covering her, she wasn’t sure if he had heard the hooves coming from behind them. Hermione was quick to turn and lift her wand, ready to protect their backs if need be.
Two centaurs appeared before her very eyes. Harry spun around to see what her gasp was about; Hermione was uncertain how he hadn’t their approach. When she realized that it was centaurs, she was quick to lower her wand; it was well-known that centaurs didn’t believe in harming children. She shot a smile a smile at them.
“Thank you so much for coming.” They nodded at her words, so Hermione left Harry to deal with them. She hurried to the unicorn’s side, determined to save the creature if she could. She knew a few basic healing spells but hoped that they would be enough to stop the bleeding that was now covering the ground beneath it.
Hermione could hear the centaurs conversing with Harry. He asked them if they knew who the person had been. Hermione really had no idea, but she was just as interested in knowing as Harry. When the Gryffindor shrugged his shoulders, she plainly heard one of the centaurs reveal the answer.
“Voldemort.”
Hermione felt her heart stutter for a few moments. Was it possible? Could he be back already? She knew that someone who drinks the blood of a unicorn had no other choice to live but it came with a hefty price. The drinker would forever live a cursed life, a half-life as Madam Cambridge had told herself and Draco during their studies.
Rather than listen further, they were now discussing where Hagrid could possibly be, Hermione turned her attention to the unicorn. It was clearly coming around, she wondered if the figure had used magic to make it fall unconscious. She could feel the muscles of it’s neck quivering in fear. Hermione bent to the head of the unicorn as she started to softly pet it.
“Sshhh, nothing else is going to happen to you tonight. Calm down, I’m just trying to help you.” Hermione knew that unicorns had advanced healing, but she inspected the wound anyways. It was six inches long and was deep. She continued to pet the animal softly with her left hand while she laid the tip of her wand to the wound. She whispered the basic healing spell that she knew, one that would seal a wound, though not very prettily. If she didn’t do it, nobody else would. The only other people out there at the time being was three other first years and Hagrid, who it was clear didn’t practice magic.
The wound began to close, the blood that had been seeping from the wound being sealed back inside the body. Hermione could feel the eyes of the centaurs and Harry on her, but she paid them no mind. She was almost done when one of the centaurs decided to speak.
“You really shouldn’t heal her with magic. They regenerate on their own quite fast. If you aren’t deemed worthy, your magic could harm her in the end.” Hermione had never heard this before, so she wasn’t sure if she should believe it. Nodding her head at their words, she continued.
“She seems to be fine with my magic. She’s laying here calm and letting me do what I want. If she didn’t like it, she would get up and run off.” It seemed as if this appeased the centaur and they continued to watch in silence.
Hermione was covered in the silvery blood by the time she was finished. After she went to her feet, the unicorn did the same. She expected the animal to run away as soon as she was able, so she was pleasantly surprised when the unicorn nuzzled Hermione’s chest. Even though it hurt her ribs, she rubbed the unicorn’s face before it stepped away and ran off into the forest.
When she turned to face Harry and the centaurs, Hermione found them staring at her in awe. She wasn’t quite sure why but had no urge to ask. She was always stared at for one reason or another. Before they could say anything, a figure crashed through the trees, followed by two other smaller figures. Hermione instantly raised her wand since she wasn’t sure who it was yet, it was dark after all. She realized after a few moments that it was Hagrid, Ronald, and Draco. Fang was following behind them, baying loudly.
Hermione didn’t get to speak before Draco rushed her and pulled her into a tight hug. She whimpered in pain and pulled away, clutching her side where she was sure that her ribs were at least cracked. It was in this moment that Draco looked down at her and saw that she was covered in unicorn blood. His hands began running over her body, a manic look in his eyes, feeling for further injuries. Hagrid was now yelling but she wasn’t sure if he was angry or just riding an adrenaline high.
“Wha’ tha’ bloody ‘ell ‘appened here?” Hermione didn’t want to tell the story, so she let Harry tell everyone what happened. It took several minutes but when he was finished, Draco narrowed his eyes at you.
“Why do you hurt?” Hermione shrugged.
“I cast a shield, but I don’t think Potter knew what it was. He tackled me to the ground, so the curse wouldn’t hit me. He landed on me and I think some of my ribs are cracked.” Draco chuckled softly at her words.
“You’re always getting into trouble, Miney.” She shrugged again but then watched with trepidation as Draco started for Harry. Once he was standing in front of him, he stuck his hand out and waited for Harry to take it. It was clear that the Gryffindor didn’t have any idea what to do but, in the end, he took it. Draco shook his hand firmly as he spoke.
“Thank you for keeping her safe. If you ever have need of something, just let me know. I’ll do my best to help you out.” Harry still looked confused and surprised, but he nodded his head. The rest of them all watched in silence. Hermione could see Ron fuming, but he remained silent. Maybe he had learned a lesson after all. Hagrid began yelling at them all, telling them that they needed to head back to the castle.
Hermione let her cousin lead her back through the Forest, his hand firmly in her own. Since she had no idea if the figure that attacked the unicorn was still out there, she kept her wand in her hand. Draco did the same and it was only a few minutes into the trek that Harry and Ron seemed to come to the same conclusion. It seemed as though the trip went faster but, she was sure that it hadn’t.
Once the castle came into view, Hermione didn’t give Hagrid the chance to keep them there. She just continued to walk towards the castle, Draco right beside her. Hermione could hear the whispers of the Gryffindors, so she wasn’t surprised when Hagrid yelled at them.
“Yer detention isn’ ova yet. Get back here.” Hermione was going to turn around and let the man have a piece of her mind, but Draco was quicker. He turned and stalked back over to the man and started yelling at him. She could tell that he wasn’t worried about further detentions.
“This detention is over! You drag four first years into the Forbidden Forest at night and send two of them off on their own to find whatever is killing unicorns. In what world does that constitute as keeping students safe? The centaurs think that the figure was Voldemort, but hey, let’s not worry about the fact that two students could have been killed on your watch. What do you think my cousin Sirius would have done to you if you had gotten his only daughter killed? What do you think my father would have done to you for getting the light of his life murdered?” Draco’s chest was heaving, and he appeared to just be getting started. Hermione walked over to him before he could start again and laid a soft hand on his arm. He turned and realized that it was her.
“Don’t worry about him, it isn’t worth it. I just want to go get healed.” Realization dawned on Hagrid’s face and the features twisted with shame.
“I’m sorry, Miss Black, I forgo’ that you needed healin’. Detention is ova.” Hermione nodded at the half-giant, showing that she accepted his apology. Draco led her away from the other three and started to walk her through the shadows and towards the castle. She could hear Harry and Ron following them, but they remained quiet enough that she couldn’t hear what they were talking about.
Once they were safely inside the castle, Hermione let Draco pull her towards the staircase that would lead them to the fourth floor where the Hospital Wing was located. There were still students wandering the corridors and Hermione knew that she must look a fright. She was covered in blood and had dirt, leaves, and other debris in her hair. Her robes were stained and ripped at the bottom. Harry only looked marginally better than she did. Hermione was pulled from her thoughts by meeting Professor McGonagall on the staircase from the third floor to the fourth.
“What has happened to you, Miss Black? Aren’t you supposed to be in detention at the moment?” Draco glared at her, but Hermione decided to answer.
“Detention was cut short by the fact that Harry and I were attacked by whatever is in the Forest killing unicorns. We’re headed to the Hospital Wing now.” Concern clouded her eyes, surprising Hermione. The stern woman laid an arm around her shoulders and started to guide her up the stairs, obviously escorting them. Once they reached the Hospital Wing doors, Professor McGonagall produced her wand, waving it. A silvery cat leapt from the tip of her wand and rubbed on her legs. The animagus leaned down and whispered a message to it. Hermione had seen her father cast the patronus spell several times in her life. His large dog was much more intimidating than the little cat.
“I just sent for your Head of House and the Headmaster.” Hermione fought rolling her eyes. As if the Headmaster was going to care that Hermione could have been killed. She wasn’t even certain if he would care that Harry had been in danger. The older woman ushered them into the Hospital Wing and settled Hermione into a bed. She started to protest but was cut off by a single look from the animagus. Madam Pomfrey bustled out to see who had come to visit her and when her eyes landed on Hermione on the bed, her hand flew to her chest in surprise.
“My dear child, whatever happened to you?” There was a silky voice from the doorway that instantly made Hermione feel better.
“That is an answer that we are all interested in hearing.” Hermione wanted to grin at her godfather, but she refrained. Nobody knew how close they were. She really didn’t want to explain it, not that any of it would matter in the end. The Headmaster wasn’t going to do anything about Hagrid being irresponsible and she wasn’t sure that he would even believe the centaur’s words about the figure being Voldemort. Draco seemed to sense that she was reluctant, so he explained.
“We were informed that our detention was with Hagrid tonight. When we got there, he told us that there was something in the Forbidden Forest that was attacking and killing unicorns. Our detention was to go with him into the Forest and split up, sending Hermione and Potter with his dog. I stepped in and told him that it wasn’t safe, that it was Forbidden for a reason, but he told me that this was detention that I was serving, that if I wanted to back out I’d be serving more detentions and the Headmaster would agree with him.” Draco stopped for a moment, so he could take a seat on the bed next to Hermione. She glanced at their godfather and she could see the fury burning in his gaze.
“Potter said that the dog just took off and left them there. They started to follow but then they caught sight of a unicorn on the ground with a figure bent over it, drinking its blood. Hermione shot sparks at the whoever it was, and they fired a curse at her. She was tackled to the ground by Potter, barely missing the spell. She had a shield in place, but I don’t think Potter knows what one does. The figure ran off when the centaurs arrived. Potter asked them who did this, and they said Voldemort. Hermione healed the unicorn, that’s why she’s covered in blood.” The whole room was silent when Draco stopped talking. It was Madam Pomfrey that spoke first.
“Why are you here in the Hospital Wing?” Hermione blushed slightly at the question. How could he have forgot to tell them that.
“When Harry tackled me to the ground, he landed on me. I think my ribs are cracked on one side. It hurts to breathe and move quickly.” The Headmaster eyed her closely, but his voice was controlled when he spoke.
“You’re not trying to say that Harry harmed you on purpose?” Hermione looked at him as if he was stupid.
“I’m not a liar, Headmaster. I would never say that he meant to hurt me when he shoved me out of the way of a spell.” He looked somewhat appeased. Hermione realized that both professors were staring at the Headmaster in disbelief. It was Professor McGonagall that spoke first, fury evident in her voice.
“Are you going to do anything about Hagrid taking four first years into the Forest at night? If that was indeed Voldemort, all of them could have been killed.” Hermione watched as the Headmaster held his hands up trying to placate his deputy. Hermione was drawn from the scene for a moment as Madam Pomfrey ran her wand over her, using a diagnostic spell to see what exactly was wrong with her. The conversation between the professors came to a halt when she spoke.
“You were right, Miss Black. One broken rib and two cracked ones. That boy must have landed hard on you.” Draco snorted.
“That and she’s the tiniest thing ever.” Hermione stuck her tongue out at her cousin but he just grinned. Madam Pomfrey bustled off and returned a minute later holding a potion vial.
“It’s going to taste terrible, but it will mend the bones. You’ll be good as new come morning.” Hermione took the vial and downed it, grimacing at the terrible taste.
“Thank you, Madam. Are we free to go?” She nodded and as she stood, her godfather spoke.
“You need to take those clothes off and burn them, Miss Black. Throw them in the fireplace. It would be dangerous to have unicorn blood on you in the quantity that you do. It could be siphoned off at any point and the last thing we need is for some student to accidentally drink it.” Professor McGonagall was nodding her head sagely at his words. Hermione nodded her agreement as Draco stood and started to follow her out. Their godfather followed them before throwing a comment over his shoulder.
“I’m escorting them back to the Slytherin common room. Might I suggest that you go see if Potter and Weasley are both fine from their detention? Then we all need to meet in the Headmaster’s office and discuss this further.” Her uncle laid a hand on both hers and Draco’s shoulders as he started to propel them towards the door.
It didn’t take them long at all the make their way to the dungeons. Hermione received many odd looks from students, but she tried not to pay them any mind. When they were only a single corridor away from their common room, Uncle Sev pulled them into an alcove that they didn’t even know existed. Once they were hidden in the shadows, he pulled them both into a hug.
“Thank Salazar that the two of you are alright. I can’t believe the stupidity of that brainless oaf. I can’t even imagine what he was thinking.” Hermione snorted.
“I don’t think he was thinking, that was the problem.” Her uncle barked a laugh that reminded her of her father when he was in his animagus form.
“Very true, little one. Trust me, I’m going to make sure that he makes sure this will never happen again. Your father and Lucius are going to be furious when they find out.” Hermione knew that was the truth. However, she didn’t think that they were going to do anything about it yet. She had heard her father, Uncle Sev, and Uncle Luci talking in the library late one night over the holidays that if they ever needed to get Dumbledore out of the castle, if they ever needed to get him fired, it would be much easier if they could say that there had been more than one instance of them not being informed their children had been in danger. This situation fit the bill nicely. This just made it clear how much her father and Uncle Luci trusted Uncle Sev to keep them safe. Hermione grinned at him.
“I’m sure they will but we all know that they aren’t going to do anything about it.” Draco’s eyes widened at her spilling that she had listened in. She had told him what she had heard, of course, but he never expected her to rat herself out to one of the adults. Her uncle raised an eyebrow at her.
“You’re far more of a pest than I realized.” Hermione laughed out loud now before hugging him again. He kissed the top of her head before speaking again.
“Are you sure that you’re fine?” Hermione nodded against him, inhaling the scent of potions ingredients. He ran his hand over her hair before pulling away.
“To the common room then. I have to go make sure that this doesn’t happen again.” She and Draco both nodded as they stepped out of the alcove after making sure that the coast was clear. Her uncle started in the opposite direction before calling out after them.
“Don’t forget about your robes, Miss Black.” Hermione stifled a giggle as she allowed Draco to pull her towards the common room.
A shower and bed were in order.
-O-
Harry sat on the couch in the common room, thankful that it was deserted due to the arrival of their Head of House. She had looked extremely angry but thanked him for rising above his problems with Hermione Black to push her out of the way.
McGonagall had told him that she had stopped the Slytherin pair on their way to the Hospital Wing. Harry felt terrible for breaking Hermione’s ribs but was pleased to hear that she wasn’t angry or trying to say that he did it maliciously. Their Head of House also informed them that the pair had been completely honest in the nature of their detention and she had been disappointed that they hadn’t stopped and told someone when they returned. After making sure that they would be fine for the rest of the night, she took her leave, citing that she had a meeting to get to.
The common room was still empty, so Harry just sat there for a few moments enjoying the silence. Ron was sitting next to him and for once he wasn’t running off at the mouth. He replayed the scene with Hermione before Fang had left them; he had explained that he couldn’t be her friend because it would be betraying his parent’s memory. She had looked heartbroken. It was clear that she had been about to say something, but Fang had cut her off. Even though he wanted to know what she was about to say, it was safer that he didn’t. Even though he felt bad for being mean to the girl, he still believed that Dumbledore wouldn’t steer him wrong; he was the only person that had explained anything to him. Therefore, holding her at arm’s length must continue. Just when Harry was on the verge of dozing, Ron spoke.
“I can’t believe the snakes told on Hagrid like that. They were fine, what’s it matter if they were scared? Malfoy did nothing but pace like a caged dog while we were off with Hagrid.” Harry sighed and wiped a hand down his face, not really in the mood to have this conversation with his friend.
“I don’t blame them for telling on Hagrid. It was dangerous, and we could have been killed. He threatened Malfoy with more detentions if he didn’t go. We should have had the courage to stand up to Hagrid and tell him it was a terrible idea. He was probably pacing because he knew that his cousin, who he seems ridiculously close to, was off with no protection aside from a dog that bailed on us at the first sign of danger.” Ron was quiet for a while, letting his words sink in.
Harry realized that he didn’t think that the Slytherin pair snitched on them anymore. He did believe her words about that; if they had wanted to snitch on them all about the dragon, they would have done it that first night when they caught them bent over the dragon on Hagrid’s table. He was pulled from his thoughts again by Ron speaking.
“I guess you’re right. It was dangerous, and we should have said something.” Harry nodded and went to his feet. Ron was going to talk this to death if he didn’t go to bed.
“I’m exhausted. I’m going to call it a night.” Ron went to his feet as well, yawning widely.
“Yeah, me too. It’s been a long night.” Harry nodded and headed for the stairs.
Maybe a good night’s sleep would make him feel better about the hurt expression on Hermione’s face when he told her they couldn’t be friends. Guilt was no fun for anyone.
A/N- Holy shit, y’all, this monster is done! It took me six hours to write and I still wanted to write more. I decided to cut it off though, we all have other things to do besides read and write. Anyways, everyone reading, and reviewing are the bomb. Thank you. Let me know what you guys think, reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, Hermione discovers what’s under the trap door.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Thank you, everyone, for your amazing feedback from the last chapter. Most of you were happy with it which makes me smile. To everyone that dropped me a review that simply said, “good chapter”, thank you. Even that is appreciated. To everyone else out there that are just reading, thanks for taking the time to read my story. This chapter is going to be shorter but important to the plot. Cheerio!
Side note: I’ve been having problems responding to reviews so if you don’t get a response, I’m not ignoring you. Fanfiction hates me.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this story belongs to me except the way I’ve portrayed the plot and even then, the original story from part one belongs to Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle. It is she that has led me down this dark and winding path. I continue to make no money off my stories.
Chapter 20
March 14, 1992
Harry poked at his breakfast, trying to ignore what was wrong with him. He had been in a slump for a week now and it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Ron and Pav had both questioned him multiple times and even though he knew why he was lying to them, why he was so out of sorts, he told them that it was nothing.
It had been a week earlier that Harry finally couldn’t take the mystery that the three-headed dog presented. He had a theory, especially since Hagrid had told them on numerous occasions that he was very much into rare animals. Harry had begun to wonder if the dog belonged to him, it he knew what the dog was guarding. He and Ron had decided to go down and talk with Hagrid, trying to figure out if the half-giant would give them any information or not.
*Flashback*
Harry pulled Ron along with him as they skived off from Herbology and headed towards Hagrid’s hut. Ron shot him a questioning glance but when he saw the determined look on Harry’s face, he remained quiet and simply followed. Once they were at the door, Harry rapped on it sharply. The door swung open to reveal Hagrid with a tea pot in his hand. When he realized it was them, he stepped back and ushered them inside.
“Wha’ ya two doin’ here durin’ class?” Harry shrugged slightly as the man gestured for them to take seats at the table.
“We wanted to come and talk to you.” Hagrid nodded his shaggy head before setting the tea pot on the table.
“I owe ya both an apology. I shou’ ‘ave neva made ya go inta the Forbidden Forest. I’m not allowed ta host detentions anymore. ‘Onestly, I’m lucky ta still have me job. Hermione Black ended up wit’ broken ribs because she wa’ injured in the Forest under my supervision.” Even though Harry felt terrible that Hagrid had gotten in trouble, he couldn’t help but agree with the Headmaster’s decision. Even if it had been any other student than Hermione, he couldn’t imagine the parents being too thrilled. Not wanting to make his friend feel worse, he nodded his head.
“We understand, Hagrid. We all make mistakes.” Harry took a sip of the tea that his friend had just poured for him.
“We actually came out here because we wanted to ask you about you past pets. Did you ever have a three-headed dog?” His friend’s eyes widened in shock, obviously surprised that Harry was asking. His eyes narrowed slightly.
“Wha’ do ya want to know abou’ Fluffy?” Harry burst out in laughter. Once he had himself under control, he met the gaze of Hagrid again. Ron had stayed silent thus far.
“You named that massive beast Fluffy?” Hagrid nodded.
“When ‘e was a little puppy ‘e was the fluffies’ thin’ ya ever saw. Lovable too.” Harry shook his head in amusement.
“He doesn’t look so lovable now. What is it that he’s guarding? We saw that he was on a trapdoor.” Hagrid’s gaze hardened.
“Now that isn’ none of yer business. Wha’s under tha’ door is between Perfessa Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.” Hagrid grimaced after the words left his lips and Harry cheered internally. It was clear that the man didn’t mean to say those words, therefore, they were important. Harry was quick to reassure his friend.
“It’s alright, Hagrid, we won’t breathe a word.” The half-giant looked grateful as he ushered them to stand.
“Ya two better get going. Ya don’ want ta miss Defense.” Harry nodded, and Ron followed suit. The pair left his hut and headed back up to the castle. There was one thing for sure; Harry was going to have to start researching just who Nicholas Flamel was.
*End of Flashback*
Since that day a week ago, Harry had researched in the library every single day. Sometimes Ron tried to help him but usually he was on his own. He wasn’t sure why this information was so important to him but for some reason it was.
The bell rang, dismissing everyone from breakfast so they could head towards Transfiguration. Harry had his assignment finished but he wasn’t sure how good he was going to be in class today. Ron started for the staircase that took them to their Head of House’s class; just a corridor away, Ron and Pav, who Harry didn’t even know was following them, pushed him into an alcove when nobody was looking. Harry was just about to get indignant when Ron spoke.
“What is going on, Harry? We know that something is up, there has been for a week.” Harry raked a hand through his messy hair before finally meeting the eyes of his closest friends.
“That information that we got from Hagrid? I’ve been researching who Nicholas Flamel is for a week now and I can’t find a single thing about him other than he’s a famous alchemist. Definitely nothing that would have him hiding something in Hogwarts under a three-headed dog named Fluffy.” Ron seemed to understand his frustration, but Pav reached out and gripped his forearm tightly. Her nails were digging into his skin and just as he started to hiss at the pain, she released him.
“Nicholas Flamel is on a chocolate frog card. After classes, we can run up and look at Ron’s collection and see if it tells us anything.” Harry wasn’t all that optimistic, he had been searching the library for a week now, but he nodded his head. It was better than nothing. Ron clapped him on the shoulder as Pav threaded her arm through his much the same way that Hermione did with her cousin.
“Come on, mate, we’ll figure it out. For now, though, we have to get to class or McGonagall will land us in detention again.” Harry nodded and allowed them to pull him to class.
-O-
Hermione and Draco slipped into an alcove when they heard the trio decide to go to class. When she had seen them all slip into the alcove, she assumed that it would be because they didn’t all have their homework done; never in a million years did she think that they had asked Hagrid what was beneath the three-headed dog. Now that she knew it had something to do with Nicholas Flamel, she intended to make sure that she discovered just what it was. Her father and uncles would be most interested if they decided to share the information.
Draco hurried her out of the alcove and towards class. Since she was seated next to him, it was quite easy to whisper to him until McGonagall showed up. Nobody was any wiser when she threw up silencing charms.
“Can you believe that they asked Hagrid what was under that dog? I bet the damn dog belongs to that idiot.” Draco’s tone was acerbic, and Hermione knew that he still harbored a grudge against the man for getting Hermione hurt. He took his vow to her father and his to protect her very seriously. Hermione couldn’t help but agree with him, however. It was clear that the man didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut since he had clearly told Harry and Weasley the clue about Flamel.
“I have a book in my dorm about famous alchemists, Uncle Sev got it for me at the beginning of the year. I think I remember reading about him. I’ll have to make sure that my suspicions are correct.” Draco nodded.
“After dinner, bring it down to the common room and we’ll read it together. I want to know what’s under there really bad.” Hermione couldn’t help but grin at her cousin. He had always been curious and hated being left out of the loop.
When Professor McGonagall arrived, she bid them to turn to the chapter on turning tea cozies into a hat. Hermione was bored, once again, and let her mind wander since her notes were already perfect. She couldn’t help but see her Transfiguration professor in a new light after her godfather had allowed herself and Draco to view his memory of the meeting he had held with the animagus and the Headmaster regarding their detention with Hagrid.
*Flashback*
Uncle Sev pulled them into his office before closing the door behind them. After he gestured for them to take seats before his desk, he waved his wand at the door, warding, locking, and silencing it. He knew that if the wrong person came looking, they would suspect him of something but if it was just a student they would just assume that he wasn’t in. After Hermione and Draco were in their seats, their godfather produced a pensieve.
“I wanted to show you this, so you know exactly where we stand regarding the Headmaster and Minerva. Your fathers have decided that they won’t act yet, they’re going to wait until they need Dumbledore out of the castle permanently. Who knows when that will be but until that happens, I expect the two of you to be diligent about your safety. I shall endeavor to make sure that the pair of you and Potter remains as safe as possible.” Hermione and Draco both nodded, eager to watch the memory they were about to see. Neither were strangers to using a pensieve; they had watched numerous memories through the years, mostly memories of Sirius as he showed them how innocent he was. Their uncle poured the memory into the stone bowl and they were both quick to dip their head in together.
Severus was livid. Not only had his two godchildren been put in danger by being in the Forbidden Forest after dark, Hermione very well may have gone against Voldemort. Her ribs had been broken, granted, it was from Potter throwing her to the ground to keep her from being injured, but the fact remained that if they hadn’t been in the bloody Forest, she would never have needed saving. Not that she needed saving; she had cast a shield to defect whatever curse the figure had shot at her. Potter was woefully ignorant to magic due to his upbringing and had no idea what it was.
He slammed the door open to the Headmaster’s office to see that the Albus and Minerva were already there. Both were leaned over the desk and appeared to be breathing hard, though he hadn’t heard what they had been saying. When they realized that he had entered, Minerva took the chair before his desk while Severus conjured his own. Albus looked incredibly incensed but took his seat as well.
“I take it that you’re here to complain as well, Severus?” Severus snorted at his words.
“I would call that an understatement. Not only was my godson placed in danger, the princess of the wizarding world faced off with Voldemort and had to be saved by the Boy-Who-Lived. Might I mention that if something truly terrible had happened in that Forest, you would be out of this castle before you could say quidditch. Look at what happened to Dippet.” Albus rubbed his eyes for a few moments before speaking more calmly.
“I don’t believe that it was Voldemort that they children faced. I think the centaurs wanted them to think so so they would stay out of their Forest.” Severus snorted.
“We all know that the centaurs don’t have problems with children, it’s the adults that they hate. It’s adults that take their land and treat them like beasts. I wouldn’t like men either if I were them. I don’t think they’re lying at all.” Albus swung his gaze to his Potions Master.
“Have you felt anything lately? Anything from your Mark?” Severus shook his head, unsure of how much he was supposed to say in front of Minerva.
“No, but if the Dark Lord is so weak that he needs unicorn blood, he wouldn’t be able to do anything with his Mark.” Albus steepled his hands under his chin and was silent for a few moments.
“That very well may be, Severus, but I won’t be scaring the children and telling them that they indeed saw Voldemort, not until I know that it’s a fact.” Severus nodded, agreeing with this one statement. He didn’t get to speak again, however, because Minerva exploded in true Gryffindor fashion. If it hadn’t been in defense of the children, he would have chuckled in amusement.
“You need to handle Hagrid, Albus. He put four first years in danger tonight and didn’t even stop to think that Miss Black needed healing. It took her cousin to scream at him and lose his temper before the man remembered. He took them out after dark in a place that the school rules explicitly say is out of bounds. Whether they met Voldemort or not, he took them to help him find whatever is slaughtering unicorns. You can’t possibly tell me that you agree with his choice of detention.” Her chest was heaving again, and Severus hoped that she didn’t end up having a heart attack before his eyes. The Headmaster began playing with the ends of his beard.
“No, I don’t agree with his choice of detention, but what do you expect me to do? He’s half-giant and never finished Hogwarts. He would never find employment elsewhere.” Severus had had enough of this.
“If those two children write home and tell their fathers what happened to them and you merely tell Sirius Black and Lucius Malfoy that you did nothing about it because you felt sorry for Hagrid, you’re going to be out on your arse with him. You need to figure this out or you won’t be at Hogwarts any longer.” Albus’ eyes hardened at his words. Severus knew that he had him when his tone came out as a command.
“You will not tell either parent, Severus. If the two brats say anything to their parents, then we’ll say that the owl got lost. However, I doubt they will. I don’t think that they want to have their parents fight their battles for them anymore than you ever did, Severus. You always took care of things yourself.” Severus stood and made sure that everyone knew that he was dead serious.
“If you want to call anyone brats, make sure it is your Gryffindors. I wouldn’t suggest calling my godson and his cousin brats to anyone ever again. You may have my loyalty, but you will quickly lose it if you insult those I care about.” The Headmaster’s eye brows rose.
“Since when do you care about Hermione Black? Her father is your arch nemesis.” Severus sneered his way.
“I care because she is a student under my protection. She is a Slytherin. She is also Draco’s cousin. If anything were to happen to her, he would be devastated. That makes her very much my business. I don’t even think that Black would complain about me keeping his daughter safe.” Minerva stood and started to push Severus back from the desk, her hand lightly on his chest.
“We all need to calm down. Albus, you have no right to call any student names like that in this school, no matter how much you don’t like them. Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy are your students and you should treat them the same as you do young Harry.” The Headmaster sneered.
“Oh, and you’re so much better, Minerva?” The animagus bristled at his words before standing up straighter and squaring her shoulders.
“I wasn’t any better, no, but I’m trying to be now. It isn’t fair to put the sins of the father on the shoulders of a child.” Now Dumbledore was scrubbing his face with both hands.
“You’re both correct though it has to be this way. Young Harry can’t be allowed to get close to the girl. We can’t take the chance that she isn’t doing her father’s bidding and luring him to her father, so he can finish the job.” Severus snorted.
“Black was never able to not be impulsive. If he wanted Potter so badly he would have blazed through the gates of Hogwarts and killed him already. His eyes were never on the end game.” Severus took a deep breath and changed the subject. He could talk this subject to death and it wouldn’t change a thing in the Headmaster’s mind.
“You need to figure something out for Hagrid.” The old man nodded, looking older than Severus had ever remembered him looking.
“I’m going to revoke his right to supervise and give detention. Will that satisfy the wolves, Severus?” The Potions Master nodded curtly.
“I believe so. Now that that is settled, I find myself exhausted.” Albus nodded and gestured that he was free to leave.
“Have a good night, Severus.” He didn’t respond but nodded respectfully to his employer.
He swept out of the office without another word, hoping that Minerva continued to read him the riot act after he was gone.
Both Hermione and Draco pulled their heads from the bowl, silently considering the memory. After a few minutes, Hermione met her godfather’s gaze.
“McGonagall is really taking my words to heart. Maybe one of these day she’ll actually believe me when I tell her that my father is innocent.” Her uncle bent and pressed a kiss to her head.
“Maybe, little one, but probably not. Even though she sees that Albus has faults, she still believes him to be right about things such as your father. I do believe that she is going to treat you and most of the snakes better now.” Hermione grinned. Her losing her temper had done something good after all.
*End of Flashback*
Hermione was pulled out of her thoughts by Draco nudging her with his elbow. It was time for them to demonstrate their ability to perform the spell they had just learned about. Hermione wasted no time in turning the tea cozy into a stylish women’s hat, earning her five points for Slytherin. Draco quickly followed suit, also earning points. The rest of the class began practicing and Hermione stood to move next to Millie, so she could help her. Draco went to Greg and Vince’s side, so he could help them master it as well.
After most of the students had performed the spell to the standard that their professor wanted, the bell rang, and class was dismissed. Professor McGonagall was quick to leave, citing that they all needed to gather their belonging and head to Defense before they were late. Hermione wasn’t sure what she was in such a hurry for, but it seemed important. Just as she had stuffed her belongings back into her satchel and stood to leave, Ron Weasley came over and sneered at her.
“For someone so smart, you only seem to want to help your friends. Don’t you think that we’re all deserving of your help?” Hermione couldn’t believe his words. Draco stepped forward, but she spoke before he could say anything.
“Maybe if you didn’t treat me like I was scum, I would help you. I tried to be friends with all of you and you all turned me away because you think you know who I am. The only Gryffindors that took my hand in friendship was the twins. Well, Neville, but he’s been my friend since I was six. I help the twins all the time. Maybe if the lot of you weren’t completely hateful arseholes, I would help you.” Hermione knew that it was going to be bad. She should have just kept her mouth shut but she was tired of Ron Weasley and his hateful remarks.
“A traitor like you doesn’t get to tell me that I’m a hateful arsehole. How do you think that I’m a hateful arsehole when your dad is the one that ended up getting Harry’s parents murdered? That’s the definition of hateful arsehole.” Hermione tried to control her magic, she really did, but she couldn’t help her temper sometimes. Her father had warned her time and time again that this would happen but when it did, it still managed to surprise her.
Ron’s bag not only ripped, it exploded, his items and books going everywhere. The force of her magic hitting him threw not only him back against the wall but the rest of the class. Hermione felt bad about catching Daphne and Pansy in the middle of it but there was nothing that she could do about it now. The force of her magic was holding everyone to the wall, even though she could see that they were struggling to life their wands and subdue her. She wanted to embarrass him in much the same way he had embarrassed her but before she could, a hand in the middle of her shoulder blades stopped her.
“Don’t do this, Mia. You’ll regret it and then you’ll be in detention. Right now, you haven’t hurt anyone, and they can’t do anything to you, especially when all the Slytherins tell the professors the things that he said to you. You know we have your back. Stop now before he pisses himself in fear.” Hermione really wanted to continue with her plan of embarrassing him in the worst ways possible, but she knew that Draco was right. She did her absolute best to reign in her magic, the ridiculous output was hard to pull back into her. It took several minutes before the students stuck to the wall were able to move. Pansy and Daphne were quick to cross over and join their friends behind Hermione and Draco. Hermione stepped forward and met the eyes of every single Gryffindor aside from Neville.
“You’re lucky Draco was here. I have a very even temper until I lose it. The way this works is simple. I understand that none of you want to be friends with me. I haven’t continued to push it. If you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone, it really isn’t that hard to understand. By the way, you heard Draco. You can go run and tell all the professors that you want but since the Slytherins are all going to back my story, it won’t get you very far.” Hermione specifically looked at Harry now.
“You need to reign in your dog before he ends up making you all suffer for his stupidity.” Harry seemed to understand her words and the hidden threat in them. He gave her a solemn nod, not exactly what she had been expecting.
“I’ll do my best to get everyone to leave you alone.” She gave him a small smile before turning away from them.
“Thanks, Potter.” She didn’t wait for an answer before stalking out of the classroom. The rest of the Slytherins scurried after her, just a little bit fearful. Once they were just outside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, she turned to Pansy and Daphne with a contrite look on her face.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for the pair of you to get caught up in that. I try to keep from losing my temper for that reason. Magic will just explode out of me and do whatever it is that I am thinking at the moment.” Everyone was watching her and listening to her words as if they were gospel. Both girls came forward and hugged her tight.
“We’re not mad, in fact, we think what you did was brilliant. Maybe the lions will quit being such wankers now. This whole prank war is out of control.” Hermione laughed lightly and nodded as she followed them into the classroom.
-O-
Harry had just finished dinner and was impatiently waiting for Ron and Pav to finish. He really wanted to get up to the common room and look at the chocolate frog card and see if he could learn anymore about Nicholas Flamel. However, since Ron was still shoveling his third plate of food into his mouth, it was likely to be a few minutes.
The Gryffindor was still shocked at the scene in the Transfiguration classroom that morning. He hadn’t been aware that Ron was going to be a prick to Hermione, he had been doing better as of late. As soon as he heard the comment he had made to her about helping, he had wanted to scoff at his friend. She had tried to help both of them and they had both spurned her and been mean to her. He didn’t blame her for not offering her help to them again.
Even though he shouldn’t want to laugh about the girl he dreamt about almost every night insulting all his friends, he had wanted to. The twins and Neville had all told everyone that if they left the snakes alone, they would leave them alone. None of it ever sank in, though, and the prank war was still going strong. Harry could admit now that it was beyond ridiculous but there was nothing else that he could do about it at the moment.
Watching Hermione lose control had been a complete turn on. He could tell that she was embarrassed afterwards but he didn’t care. His prick had been rock hard in his trousers and even though he was able to admit that he had an obsession for the girl, he was unsure why her show of power always got him so hot and bothered. He had asked Neville why she was so powerful, and he had explained that since she already had the magic of two incredibly strong families flowing through her veins due to her parents, her uncle had then adopted her by blood magic, adding his magic as well. Neville told him that she was trying to control the magic of three contributors, unlike the two that they managed.
Harry was interrupted from his ruminating by Ron shoving the plate away from him. Pav was already waiting and sighed in relief when Ron finished. The three of them stood and started for their common room. It took them a good ten minutes to get clear to the seventh floor from the Great Hall, but Harry didn’t mind. It could have been worse. He would have hated to live in the dank and cold dungeons like the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.
Once they were safely ensconced in Harry’s dorm, Ron pulled out his chocolate frog cards and began to rifle through them. After a few seconds, he let out a triumphant shout and thrust it at Harry while he bound the remaining cards back together. Harry pulled the card closer to his face, so he could read it.
Nicolas Flamel is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, an object capable of turning metal into gold and granting immortality with its Elixir of Life.
Harry cursed when he realized that his was exactly what was hidden under Fluffy. He tried to think of why they would be wanting the Philosopher’s Stone to be kept in Hogwarts, but he supposed that there were things he just wasn’t going to figure out on his own. However, he remembered the centaur’s words, telling him that Voldemort was the one feeding on the blood of the unicorns. Suddenly, he knew exactly who would be desperate to have the Stone and break into Gringotts to try to get it. His mind wandered to who could be helping him and the only person that he could think of was Snape. The man was a Death Eater, the twins had told him so. He would want to get it from where it was hidden to give to his master and bring him back. Maybe Hermione Black was in on it as well, Malfoy too. Both their fathers were Death Eaters and would want Voldemort to return. Harry’s voice was steel when he spoke.
“We need to watch the third-floor corridor anytime that Dumbledore leaves the school. I think that Snape is trying to steal the Stone, so he can give it to Voldemort. Black and Malfoy might be in on it too, both their fathers are Death Eaters too.” Ron instantly agreed.
“We have to. If You-Know-Who gets his hands on the Elixir, he would never die. We can’t allow that to happen.” Harry nodded though Parvati looked a little frightened.
“We’ll remain quiet until Dumbledore leaves the school.” All three friends nodded their agreement before Harry handed the card back to his friend.
-O-
Hermione had just gotten back to the common room, Draco hot on her heels, and made her way to her dorm room. After retrieving the book that Uncle Sev had given her at the beginning of the year, she went back down to find that Draco had gotten them a couch by the fire. She settled in next to him and they laid the book in both their laps. Hermione flipped through the pages to find the chapter on Nicholas Flamel.
Once they started to read, Hermione found what was hidden below the trapdoor rather quickly. She waited until Draco looked up at her, trepidation in his eyes.
“You know that we can’t allow this to get into anyone’s hands. Who could they possibly be hiding this from? Who would be stupid enough to break into Gringotts for it?” Hermione closed the book and allowed her mind to drift. She went over all the events that year that had seemed strange from finding the trap door, to the dragon, to Harry’s broom being cursed by Quirrell. When she finally turned to Draco, she knew he wasn’t going to like her theory.
“I think Quirrell is helping Voldemort get the Stone. He was openly cursing Harry’s broom and I truly believe that was Voldemort feeding off the unicorn. Who else would need to? Aside from Quirrell’s actions this year, I can’t think of anyone else that has acted out of character.” Draco considered her words for several minutes before nodding.
“I hate to say it, but I think you’re right. This means that we have to watch Quirrell and make sure that he stays away from the third-floor corridor. I think we should tell Uncle Sev, so he can help us.” Hermione nodded before standing and slipping her book into her robes. The pair left the common room and headed for their godfather’s office. Since the light was on underneath the door, Hermione reached out and knocked. Once he called for them to enter, they came in and took a seat before him. She started when he lifted his brow at her, urging her to begin.
“We know that the Philosopher’s Stone is hidden under the trapdoor and the three-headed dog. We also think that Professor Quirrell is trying to get the Stone, so he can give it to Voldemort. We’re willing to help watch the professor, but we think we’re going to need your help.” Her uncle leaned back in his chair and steepled his hands under his chin.
“You two have far too much time on your hands if you were able to figure this out.” Hermione snorted at his words.
“Are you going to tell the Headmaster?” Severus shook his head.
“No, it wouldn’t do any good. Like you said, we’ll just watch the professor. If he starts for the third-floor corridor while you two are watching, you get either me or Minerva. Scream and shout until she is forced to act. The last thing that we can allow is for the Dark Lord to get the Stone.” Hermione nodded, and Draco did as well. They stood again before Hermione spoke.
“We should go. Our friends gave us strange looks when we left so they’re going to question us when we get back.” Uncle Sev stood as well and hugged her close for only a moment before shooing them on their way. Once they were gone, Hermione sighed. They still had to face their friend’s inquisition.
The night was just going to get better.
-O-
Severus sat and pondered what his godchildren had told him. He couldn’t believe that they had worked it out, he hadn’t even been aware that they knew about the dog. He really wanted to question them about it, but he had told them that he didn’t want to know everything that they got up to. They had come to him in the end and that was what mattered.
The worst part was that he knew they were right. In fact, he wondered if it hadn’t been Quirrell out there with the unicorn, if he wasn’t possessed somehow by the megalomaniac. He couldn’t be sure but there was no way to prove it now. He was just going to have to watch the man as closely as he could. The children would help to the best of their ability and as long as they made sure to come get him, it would be alright in the end.
It had to be.
A/N- Another chapter down, y’all. I’m so happy that you all are continuing to like this story. I know it’s a slow burn but I’m trying to build the plot line too. Anyways, thanks for reading guys! Leave me a message after the beep and let me know what you think. Reviews are love.
Next up, Easter break and discussions with parents.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I finally got a day off, y’all and managed to get another chapter written. I’m still having problems answering some reviews, fanfiction tells me that it’s an invalid message. Does anyone else ever have this problem or does the site just hate me specifically? Thank you, though, to everyone reviewing. You guys are the bomb. I’ll try to get the next update up soon, but I have my daughter’s thirteenth birthday party and ten teenaged girls that are going to be staying the night. Help me now. I’ll quit whining now and get on with the chapter.
**Shout out to roon0 for being my 500th reviewer. As my daughter says, you’re the shiznit.**
Disclaimer: Nothing about this story belongs to me. All hail our queen, J.K.R., for making this wonderful world of Harry Potter possible. I haven’t made any money from my stories. If only.
Chapter 21
April 20, 1992
Sirius sighed happily. Hermione and Draco had arrived home last night for Easter break even though most students stayed at Hogwarts for the holiday. The break was only a week long and most children didn’t feel like the trip was worth taking since two of those days would be spent travelling on the Express. His daughter and cousin, however, had wanted to come home since Sirius had passed on to Severus to tell them the happenings of their detention would only be discussed in person. Sirius still remembered reading the letter from Severus the night that his daughter had been injured.
*Flashback*
Sirius was already in his night clothes, sitting in the library before the fire. There was a tumbler of fire whiskey on the table next to him and a book sitting in his hands. His thoughts were elsewhere, however. The muggle that he had left in her bed earlier that night had cried and begged him not to go, not to leave her. Never in a million years did he think that she was a stage five clinger, but everyone made mistakes.
Sirius knew that he was pig. He was the very definition of a womanizer. He was always honest, always made sure that the women knew that there would be no relationship attached to sleeping with him, but he still felt terrible when the ones that grew attached cried. He may not want a relationship, but he wasn’t heartless.
Truthfully, the hook-ups and one-night stands weren’t really doing anything for him anymore. They had been occurring since his time in Hogwarts and the truth was, they just made him feel even more lonely. He hadn’t had anyone but Lucius, Narcissa, Severus, and Andie for ten years now, no friends, no close confidants. He wanted to settle down and have something meaningful with a witch that didn’t just want him for his money and title.
It just wasn’t possible though. Not only was there Hermione to consider, there was the fact that he had been spying on the pureblood circles for years. He would turn against them quicker than a snitch when the time came but until that time came, he couldn’t be seen with a witch that wasn’t a pureblood. He had to face the facts that until the war was over, he was stuck being lonely.
The animagus was pulled from his ruminations by a tapping on the window. Sirius frowned. It was after ten o’clock, he had no idea who would be sending him a letter this late unless it was Severus. He recalled the letter he had received the night before; he had been disappointed in his daughter and cousin for not telling a teacher about something as dangerous as a dragon, but he didn’t want to give her too hard a time since Severus had told him that she was already beating herself up over it more than any of them could have done to her. He went to his feet and let the familiar black owl fly in through the window. It was indeed Severus’. He was quick to remove the letter and wave the bird to the bowl of treats near the windowsill. Sirius took a seat in his armchair once again before spelling the letter open. What he read floored him.
Sirius and Lucius,
I write with a sense of urgency. There is nothing to be done now but I feel that the pair of you deserve to know what has happened tonight even though the Headmaster has forbidden me to speak of it. Your children had detention over the dragon incident tonight. Dumbledore assigned them to serve it with Harry and the Weasley spawn, all under the supervision of Hagrid. Why this seemed like a grand idea I’ll never know.
The brainless oaf informed them that they were going to go into the Forbidden Forest and find whatever is hunting and killing unicorns; not only is this stupidest idea for a detention for first years in the history of Hogwarts, he then informed them that they were going to split up and Hermione and Harry were going to go with his dog for protection.
Lucius, you would be proud. Draco told him that it wasn’t safe and that it was a terrible idea, but he was informed that if he didn’t participate he would get more detentions and that the Headmaster would back him. Draco threatened Harry that if anything happened to Hermione he would kill him.
I’m sure you can guess what happens next. Hermione and Harry came face to face with whatever was killing the unicorns; they found the figure bent over a body of a unicorn. The dog left the children high and dry and you know Hermione. She can never stand to see people getting hurt. She shot sparks at the figure, how she didn’t end up in Gryffindor I’ll never know. The figure stood and shot a spell at her, she erected her shield, but Harry had no idea what it was. Rather than allow the spell to hit her, he tackled her to the ground before the spell could land.
Apparently, the boy guarded her until centaurs arrived and drove the figure away. The centaurs are under the impression that it was Voldemort. I can think of nobody else that would drink the blood of a unicorn willingly; I fear they’re right. Once Hagrid reappeared, he led the children back to the castle. When he told them that their detention wasn’t over because Hermione and Draco were headed to the castle for Hermione to get healed, Draco screamed at him.
Once again, Lucius, I’d like to think that you would be proud, but you might be horrified at his total loss of control. He told him that they were going to the castle to get Hermione healed and wanted to know what the man would have done if Hermione would have been killed? He questioned him on what he thought the two of you would do if she had been seriously hurt. I admit, I wish I could have seen it.
The oaf apologized and told them that he forgot Hermione was injured. Merlin, we entrust our children to this man. Minerva found the pair on the way to the Hospital Wing and she called for me and Albus after escorting them there herself. After hearing the story, Albus only asked if Hermione was going to try to say that Harry had harmed her on purpose. Minerva was quite put out and I was able to witness myself her screaming at him after the children were safely in their common rooms.
Hermione was fine after a potion. Apparently, when Potter tackled her to the ground, he landed on her. She ended up with one broken rib and two cracked ones. Madam Pomfrey had her healed in a trice so no need to worry.
I’m going to pull the children aside before breakfast and let them know if you want them to send you a letter about it or if you want to just wait to discuss it in person over the Easter holidays. I worry about what could happen if the letter was intercepted, especially since they don’t know any spells to protect their letters yet. Please advise me.
Severus
Sirius was furious. Livid. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to react to something like this; his daughter and godson had been in the presence of Lord Voldemort and Albus fucking Dumbledore had done nothing about it, hadn’t even seemed concerned. He picked up the table next to his chair and threw it against the wall, chest heaving as he willed himself to calm down. His magic was stirring inside him and last thing that he wanted was for it to lash out.
Deciding that he needed a distraction, he clenched the letter in his hand and headed for the floo. It most assuredly wasn’t common practice for him to floo to Malfoy Manor this late, let alone in his pajamas, but the situation called for it. Candy appeared just as the floo sucked him away, ready to clean up his mess he was sure. He would never hear the end of it when he returned home.
Once he landed in the entrance hall of Malfoy Manor, Tinky appeared before him, wringing her hands like she was in trouble. Sirius tried to calm himself once more but knew that he hadn’t succeeded when he heard his tone of voice.
“Inform your master and mistress that I’m here and need to speak with them. I’ll wait for them in the green room.” Tinky didn’t even nod, she just popped away and left Sirius to find his own way to the green room in the dark. He didn’t have to wait long; Lucius and Narcissa both appeared only minutes later, both in slippers and robes just like he was. They looked distinctly disheveled and this thought calmed him further. It was clear that he had interrupted their private time. Lucius strode forward, irritation shining on his pale skin, but Sirius didn’t give him a chance to speak before he thrust the letter in his friend’s hands. Narcissa was quick to lean over and read it along with him. It took several minutes but when Lucius finished he hissed so softly that Sirius almost didn’t hear him.
“Bloody fucking incompetent fools. We let these people take care of our children.” Sirius could see that Lucius was working himself up and that was the last thing that they needed. Whereas Sirius got angry and destroyed things, cooling down afterwards and able to think rationally, Lucius was the complete opposite. His blond friend was in complete control always and quietly seethed, his anger festering until he was able to wreak his revenge with nobody being the wiser. If there was anything that would bring his friend to this state quicker than anything, it was threatening his wife, his son, and his niece. Narcissa was quick to step in, laying a soft hand on her husband’s chest.
“You need to calm down, Lucius. We already discussed and agreed that we weren’t going to act like we knew, that way we could hold this against Dumbledore later if we need to. I know you’re both angry, I suspect there is broken furniture and destroyed books at Black Moor, but you both trust Severus and he would never lie to you about the state of our children. If we were needed, he would have sent a patronus. Do not fret.” Lucius glared at his wife and began pacing.
“How in the buggering hell can you say do not fret? Centaurs are other-worldly, they always have been. They’re in tune with the Fates. If that was indeed the Dark Lord, they would know. Our niece and Sirius’ godson faced him, a girl close enough to our hearts to be our daughter, fired a curse at him and he attacked her. I’m not angry about her injury; Severus assured us that she’s healed and that it wasn’t intentional; Potter should be commended for tackling her out of the way despite that she received an injury. I’m livid that our children were in the Forbidden Forest at night with only an idiot that never finished his magical schooling and a bloody dog. If it hadn’t been for the centaurs, who knows what would have happened to Harry and Hermione.” Narcissa discreetly called for Tinky and asked for a pot of tea. When she returned, she served them all and made sure to add a generous helping to both Sirius and Lucius’ cups. Sirius was finally calm, and Lucius was on his way to being that way.
“Lucius, I know that’s why you’re angry. Trust me, I’m livid that my son and niece were in danger. However, it does no good to let our emotions run away with us to where we can’t make informed decisions. Therefore, you both need to remain calm.” Lucius blew a breath out of his nose and nodded.
“You’re right, Cissy, I apologize.” They sipped at the warm liquid and Sirius let it pool in his belly. Once his cup was almost gone, he turned to his cousin and friend.
“I think that we should tell Severus to tell the kids we’ll discuss the situation when they get home for Easter. It would be folly to put something like this in a letter and have the Headmaster intercept it. He cannot suspect that we know anything.” Lucius was nodding his head.
“I agree. It’s a month until they’re home. We’ll take a day and discuss everything when they first get back. I’m sure that they’ll both have plenty to report.” Narcissa also nodded.
“Let’s send Severus a letter now. If I know him as well as I do, he’s sitting up and waiting for our reply, so he can act accordingly in the morning.” Lucius reached into the side table drawer and pulled out everything he would need to send a reply. He and Narcissa watched him write it, call for an elf, and have them send it off to Hogwarts. Sirius leaned back in the chair in relief.
“I hate this. That sick fuck is responsible for my entire life going to shit. Yeah, I made my mistakes but he’s the one who destroyed everything. The last thing that I want if for him to be near Hermione and Draco.” Lucius nodded his agreement but Narcissa arched a brow at him.
“You say that, but we all know that Hermione and Draco have been working as hard as they can to learn anything they can that might help Harry in the end or protect him until then. This isn’t going to be the only time they’re in danger. We need to make sure that they’re prepared. I definitely think that dueling should be on the agenda for the summer.” Sirius hated to admit that his cousin was right, but the truth was that she was. Hermione would throw herself into danger repeatedly if it kept Harry alive; she knew what the boy meant to Sirius. Draco would surely follow her. Sirius sighed.
“I don’t even want to think about it, Cissy.”
*End of Flashback*
Hermione and Narcissa had just come in from their morning ride; Sirius hosted a great number of horses on the property of Black Moor and since both girls enjoyed riding, they tried to make it a weekly thing. They hadn’t been able to over the Christmas holidays due to the abundance of snow fall on the ground. Come summer, they would resume their routine full-time. Draco and Lucius were playing chess against each other; his friend was trying to teach his son the finer points of subtlety. Sirius had to admit that the boy was already good; he was a Slytherin to the bone.
The five of them adjourned to the informal dining room just down the corridor for an early lunch. They were going to have their talk that day and Sirius wanted to make sure that they were all well-fed and fortified with tea before they broached difficult subjects. Hermione hadn’t come out and said that she knew Sirius had been disappointed in her, but he knew that she knew. What she didn’t know was that it likely hurt him more than it hurt her. He was always so proud of her that this one glaring instance was like a slap in the face.
The elves kept the lunch light; vegetable soup with roast beef sandwiches spread across the table. Hermione picked at her meal, much the same way that Cissy did, he imagined that that was where she had gotten it. Lucius, Draco, and he all cleared their plates and looked satisfied. Once the women stopped acting like they were eating, Sirius spoke.
“Let’s adjourn to the library for tea and this conversation.” Everyone nodded and rose, Lucius escorting his wife and Draco holding his arm out to Hermione. His daughter rolled her eyes at the tradition but held her tongue. He was sure that the last she wanted was a tongue lashing from Narcissa. Once they were all settled in the library, tea in front of them and Candy stoking the fire, Sirius opened the conversation.
“We wanted to wait to talk about this because if you had wrote us and the Headmaster intercepted it, he would have known that there was something going on with all of us. Sure, he’s watchful now but if that were to happen, he would never stop hounding your every move at school. We must all be careful.” Both children nodded sagely. Lucius took over next.
“Tell us about the dragon and how you got detention.” Sirius listened carefully as his daughter and cousin told them the tale of following Harry and Weasley to make sure that they weren’t going to look under the three-headed dog. Once they had followed them outside, they had seen the dragon through the window of the hut. Sirius wanted to shake his head in exasperation as they decided that they weren’t going to tell anyone because they didn’t want to get Harry in trouble. They detailed the bite they had seen on Ron’s hand and then sneaking out to follow and make sure that the letter was legitimate, that it wasn’t just a ruse to throw them off their scents. When they fell silent, Sirius hardened his gaze. He didn’t yell, and he didn’t throw things like Severus had; the man had already informed Sirius that his daughter had shrank away in fear of him.
“I’ve never been more disappointed in the two of you. Somebody could have been seriously hurt or killed. Dragons are not pets and shouldn’t be anywhere around children. We ought to send you to bed without supper.” Lucius hadn’t even started.
“I was sure that the pair of you were smart, that you knew what could happen if you let things like that go on without handling them. You two doing nothing about a bloody dragon on the grounds is no different than Dumbledore doing nothing about the detention that you two could have been killed at.” Hermione didn’t shrink into her cousin’s side like Severus had told them she had done. Instead, she sat up straighter and wiped her face of emotion. Sirius like to call it her mask; she only wore it when she felt like she couldn’t show weakness, or someone was attacking her. He wasn’t sure which was the case today, but he didn’t like it. Narcissa met their eyes.
“What do you two have to say for yourselves?” Draco spoke first so Hermione just kept her spine ramrod straight and her shoulders back. Her cousin was wearing much the same impassive mask as she was.
“We didn’t think about the dangers that the dragon would pose to students; we figured that Hagrid could take care of himself. We should have told Uncle Severus and we have promised him that we will if anything of the like ever occurs again.” Lucius turned to his daughter.
“Hermione?” Her tone was neutral, but her eyes were shining.
“We were wrong and weren’t thinking. It was my idea to not tell anyone, you shouldn’t punish Draco. It was also my idea to follow them. He wanted to do the right thing.” Draco turned angry eyes to his cousin and began hissing so quickly Sirius couldn’t understand him. Hermione didn’t meet his eyes, in fact, she stared ahead like she couldn’t even hear him. She simply kept her eyes locked on Lucius. When his little cousin realized that she wasn’t paying attention to him in the least, he took her hand in his and pleaded her with his eyes.
“It isn’t true, Miney. Don’t tell them that.” Hermione finally turned impassive eyes to her cousin.
“Are you saying that it wasn’t my idea?” Draco started to sputter at her words, trying to come up with the correct answer.
“Yes, it was your idea, but I went along with it. I could have easily told Uncle Sev without you.” Sirius wanted to stop the scene in front of him but wanted to see how it ended. He wasn’t sure if Lucius intended to punish Draco, but he wasn’t going to punish her. He could see how sorry she was. Lucius spoke again.
“Of course, I can’t punish Hermione, but I feel that an appropriate punishment for Draco would be being confined to his room for two days’ time. The pair of you must think before you act, especially in these coming days.” Sirius saw a calculating look on his friend’s face and wondered just why it was there. When he turned back to face his daughter, she was waiting impassively for his punishment of her.
“You will not be punished, sweetness. I know you’re sorry, I just wanted to implore how serious the situation was and how wrong it could have gone.” Her eyes flashed but she remained silent. When she turned back to look at her uncle, betrayal flashed across her features. Lucius spoke again and this time, he was quite sure he knew what his friend was up to.
“I think we should also add that there will only be breakfast served to you, Draco. If you can’t figure out wrong from right at age eleven, there is little help for you in years to come.” Draco bore his punishment well. He gave a resolute nod to his father. Narcissa looked spitting mad but nothing compared to Hermione. Her magic was dancing in her eyes and her curls were swaying slightly in a wind that nobody could feel. Suddenly, her aunt and uncle were slammed into the couch behind them and Lucius’ cup exploded in his hand, tea splashing down the front of him. He hissed in pain, but it was almost unable to be heard over his daughter hissing at her favored uncle.
“You will not punish him in my stead. We made a mistake, we’re eleven and twelve for Merlin’s sake. If you want us to make adult decisions, you can start treating us like adults right now. Holding a mistake against us and treating us like this isn’t right and it isn’t fair. We have been the perfect children up until this one mistake and suddenly, you’re punishing your son as if he burned down the castle.” Tears were pooling in her eyes, but she didn’t release the magic holding them back until Draco pulled her into his side and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
“I’ll be fine, Miney. I swear it, as soon as I’m done, I’ll come over and show you just how fine I am.” She sagged against him and let him comfort her. Her cousin was who she needed now, not Sirius, even though he hated seeing her so upset. Sirius steepled his hands under his chin while he watched Lucius kneel in front of his daughter and take her hand in his.
“Hermione, Draco isn’t going to be punished.” Sirius watched with thinly veiled amusement as his cousin’s head spun to meet his father’s gaze. Hermione met her uncle’s eyes and waited for him to continue.
“I only said that I was going to to get you to react. I hate seeing that mask on your face. I want to see your happiness, your anger, your tears, all your emotions when it’s just us. I know you wear that mask at school. We love you and I never want to see it on your face again, not when it’s just family.” Hermione threw herself into her uncle’s arms and hugged him tightly around the neck.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you or Aunt Cissy.” Narcissa laughed softly behind her husband.
“Sweetie, I’m a Black and grew up with shows of power such as yours. I am perfectly fine, I assure you, as is Lucius.” When she released Lucius, she wiped her eyes.
“I’m really sorry we disappointed you, we both are. Once we came up with a conclusion of what’s underneath the trapdoor, we went straight to Uncle Sev.” Sirius opened his arms now and she floated into them, hugging him close now.
“I know, poppet, you aren’t in trouble. The pair of you made us proud enough of you during the detention to make up for it.” His daughter remained perched on his lap while Lucius answered.
“I want to know how you came to find this three-headed dog and how you came to the conclusion of what was underneath it.” Sirius sat back and listened as the two children told the story of a wizard’s duel gone wrong. They all laughed at the story until they found themselves in a room with Fluffy. They enumerated the events that had happened and just how they had concluded that Professor Quirrell was trying to get the Philosopher’s Stone for Voldemort. Sirius could see Lucius wracking his brain, probably trying to remember if there was a Quirrell in the service of the Dark Lord. When they finally fell silent, Sirius asked them in a serious tone.
“Is that everything? There’s nothing else that’s happened to you at school that we need to know about?” Both teens scrunched up their faces before finally shaking their heads in the negative. Draco vocalized it.
“We don’t think so.” Lucius took over.
“Very well. I understand that you two are going to help keep an eye on Quirrell; if he looks like he’s heading for the third-floor corridor, immediately get Severus. Even Minerva at that point. The Dark Lord must not be allowed to rise; it is going to happen eventually but the later, the better. Potter needs to be more prepared to face him.” Both their faces were earnest as they nodded their agreement. Narcissa grinned.
“Continue the current course of action if someone tries to tell you to go in the Forbidden Forest. I don’t care if you get a hundred detentions for refusing, you don’t go. You write home and your fathers will be there before you can say quidditch. I understand that you tried to say no, that you tried to make the man see reason, but next time demand to see Severus. You will not be in trouble.” Both children were now grinning as they nodded. Hermione was nearly bouncing in her seat.
“Are we finished with our talk now?” All the adult nodded in the affirmative.
“Oh good, I wanted to tell you about this book I read from the Hogwarts’ library.” Sirius groaned.
Some things would never change.
-O-
Harry came down from his dorm in time to make it to Easter dinner on time with the rest of Gryffindor house. Almost all the students had stayed at school, only a handful travelling home to see their parents. Harry was more than content to stay home and enjoy a week off to catch up on all his homework. He didn’t have near as much as Ron did, but he was still loaded from the last week of classes.
Most of the school had stayed at the castle. Harry, Ron, and Pav had gone down to watch all the students that were leaving vacate the castle by means of carriages. He had been surprised to see that Hermione and Malfoy were among their number. Both had been excited, laughing and shoving each other good-naturedly as they shrunk their trunks and stuffed them in the pockets.
Harry had gotten over the Slytherins snitching. Ron still believed that they did but he didn’t. It just didn’t make sense when you reasoned it out. He remained quiet about the matter; it wasn’t worth the argument. Ron had gotten better towards Hermione since the day in Transfiguration when she had immobilized the whole of Gryffindor house. Harry didn’t blame her; they had been terrible to her and he wouldn’t have offered them help in her shoes.
Since it was time to head to the Easter meal, Harry found Ron, who was sitting on the couch next to Parvati. She was crying into her hands and Ron was hugging her close, trying to comfort her. Harry shot him a quizzical look.
“What’s wrong?” He growled out his answer, obviously frustrated and angry.
“Some Ravenclaw third year told Pav that she wasn’t pretty enough to ever find a proper husband, that she would bring shame to her family.” Harry secretly wondered if Parvati had said something first but knew better than to ask. Instead, he rubbed circles on her back as he spoke softly.
“No believing that, Pav, you’re beautiful. The girl was just jealous.” Her sobs were now reaching embarrassing levels.
“It was a boy!!!” Ron shot him a “what did you do that for” look as he continued to rock their friend. Harry started to speak again but Ron held up his hand.
“Let me handle this, mate. I have practice with my mum and my sister.” Harry couldn’t help but feel insulted but knew that Ron hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t his fault that he didn’t have practice in dealing with emotional females. Harry wandered off to walk next to Neville, leaving the pair alone. Neville watched, amused, as the redhead began petting the girl’s hair.
“He’s really good at that. He’s a really good friend to her.” Harry nodded as they left the common room.
“I know you haven’t seen much of it, but Ron is a really good friend. He just has an unnatural hatred for Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy.” Neville snorted as the wound their way through the corridors.
“That would be an understatement. Not that you’re much better.” Harry supposed that he deserved that comment but remained silent the rest of the way.
Once they were seated, the meal appeared on the tables. Ron and Pav slipped in at the last moment, taking seats on either side of him. Neither said anything, just dug straight into the food that Harry had piled on their plates before they got there. He laughed as Ron seemed to inhale the food as fast as he could, so he could fill the plate again before it all disappeared. Pav ate at a much more sedate pace, eating her fill but not making a pig out of herself.
When the plates finally disappeared, Harry was full and happy. This had been the best Easter he had ever had. Ron clapped him on the shoulder as they started back for the common room.
“Let’s go play some wizard’s chess and we’ll start our homework tonight.” Harry grinned and nodded.
It was going to be a good day.
A/N- This chapter wasn’t nearly as long as the couple before, but I warned everyone that that was how this story was going to be. Thanks again to everyone taking time out of their day to read and review my story. Y’all are rock stars. Leave me a message after the beep and tell me what you think. I do so love to hear your thoughts.
Next chapter, Harry and Ron fight and Harry takes it out on Hermione.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- The love you all show me after each and every chapter is just astounding. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are seriously so awesome. I hope that you all continue to enjoy. Enough for now, I’m going to get this new chapter out.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing in this story. I tried to make a deal with the devil, so I could own the wonderful world that we all dabble in, but apparently there’s a restraining order? I haven’t made any money off my stories, I’m still a broke bitch.
Chapter 22
May 26, 1992
Harry rolled his shoulders trying to lessen the tension in the muscles. There was only two weeks left of school and the whole castle had gone study mad. He felt confident that he would pass all his classes but the same couldn’t be said for Ron.
They had just left dinner and Ron was whining about having to return to the library to study. Several hours before dinner had been spent in the library with Harry trying to help his friend study to make sure that he passed his exams. The last thing that Ron would want is to have to repeat his first year, but he wasn’t making the connection that he needed to study if he didn’t want that to happen.
Ron was still grumbling as Harry led him back to the library. Since they had left dinner late due to Ron eating three plates of food, there were only a couple tables left clear in the back by the restricted section. They were further from the books that the pair needed but they were also afforded more privacy since nobody ever wanted to sit there. They took their seats at the one closest to the rest of the tables, Harry instantly digging into his bag and pulling all his study material out. Ron sighed loudly and did the same.
Harry pulled out Potions, the subject that he was the least confident about. He caught the sound of familiar laughter and looked up. Hermione Black was seated at her usual table with Malfoy, Neville, and the twins. He wasn’t sure where the rest of her Slytherin followers were but honestly, he didn’t care. While he was interested in Hermione and didn’t mind Malfoy as much as he thought he would, he could honestly say that he didn’t like the rest of the snakes. They were mean and hateful and while he could admit that the Gryffindors had started the rivalry between the two houses, the snakes now seemed to enjoy tormenting the lions.
He briefly considered going over there and asking if he could sit down and study with them. Hermione was brilliant, and Malfoy wasn’t far behind her. While Harry knew that he wasn’t stupid, he did well in all his classes, he wouldn’t mind learning more. He had even broached the subject with Professor McGonagall; he wanted to be the best wizard that he could be and that meant learning more. Ron had told him that he was barmy, but Harry didn’t care.
He had been sorely disappointed, however. His Head of House had told him that she would speak with the Headmaster and see if there was any way that he could receive extra instruction. Three days after his request, she had told him that the Headmaster had told him that he was learning magic at the perfect rate, that he didn’t want to overload his magic by using it too often. It sounded like complete bullshite to Harry and judging by the look on McGonagall’s face it was clear that she agreed with Harry’s sentiment. When he had made a comment about Hermione and Malfoy having no problems with extending their magic too far, the animagus had gritted her teeth and told him that they had been doing it since they were toddlers, so they were used to it. Realizing that it was a lost cause, Harry had let it go and vowed to study on his own.
Harry shot the idea of joining them down; he knew that he needed to keep his distance from the girl, Dumbledore had been very specific in his talk with him. The man had even pulled him aside after their disastrous detention and told him that while saving Hermione Black was commendable, he needed to make sure that he didn’t fall to her charms. Keeping Harry safe was the priority and the Headmaster was quite certain that befriending Hermione would jeopardize that. After remembering this, his mood soured. Ron was still complaining that they had to have exams and Harry couldn’t take it anymore. He had listened to it for a week now and was done.
“Ron, you’re just a tick away from failing all your classes. If you fail your exams, you’ll have to repeat your first year, which means that not only will you no longer room with all of us, you’ll have to take classes with kids a year younger than you. If you would just stop complaining and study, you would pass and not be made fun of for the rest of your school career.” Ron fell silent for almost a minute, clearly surprised at his friend’s outburst.
“I know exams are important, I’m sorry for complaining so much, I just can’t help but think that our time would be better spent watching Snape. He might not wait for Dumbledore to leave the school. Hell, Black and Malfoy could be telling him when we’re occupied so he can get down that trapdoor when he knows we’re studying.” Harry scrubbed his face with his hands before taking a deep breath to calm down before speaking.
“Ron, I’m pretty sure that Snape wouldn’t sneak down the door in the middle of the day. He has duties in the school and if he went missing, it would be suspicious. I know I said that Black and Malfoy could be involved, but I don’t think they are. Look at them over there. They’re studying with our room mate and your brothers. They aren’t even paying attention to us.” Ron’s face clouded but Harry didn’t understand why. Ron slammed his books closed and gritted his teeth as he spoke.
“Let me guess, you’re falling under her spell too. Dumbledore warned you about this, he told you not to fall for her. Her father is the reason your parents were murdered. Malfoy’s father has raped and murdered countless people under the name of You-Know-Who. Why would children raised by rapists, murderers, and traitors be good people? What kind of good example would they have in their life? You may think that she’s innocent because she’s a pretty face with lots of money, but I’m not fooled. I know she’s hiding something and I’m going to laugh the day that you finally discover that she’s been playing with your emotions all along.” Harry slammed his book shut now, fury painting his features.
“I’m not falling for her charms, I’m trying to look at this logically. They’re twelve years old, how do you think they’re going to help get past that dog? It doesn’t make any sense. They probably don’t even remember about Fluffy.” Ron shouldered his bag and glared at him.
“Don’t count on that. I may hate the little bitch but even I can admit that she’s smart. She’s also a snake so she’s sneaky. You believe what you want, Harry, but I’m going to continue to watch the pair of them like a hawk. You too for that matter, your judgement can’t be trusted.” Without waiting for a response, his best mate stalked out of the library leaving a furious Harry behind.
Harry could hardly believe that his friend had said the things that he had, all because he had a different opinion than he did. He knew that studying at this point was useless, he would never be able to concentrate on potions or anything else for that matter. He shoved his books back in his bag and followed his friend out of the library. Deciding that there was no way that he could return to the common room and deal with Ron while he was still this angry, he decided to just stroll the castle corridors. He briefly considered going to visit Hagrid but since it was already after dinner, well past seven o’clock, he decided that he would wait and visit the following day since it was a Sunday.
Harry had no idea how long he walked the castle. He was quite sure that curfew was nearing, and he was only on the first floor. With a heavy sigh, he started for the staircase that would take him clear to the seventh floor. He wasn’t paying attention so was not surprised when he bumped into someone on the stairs, knocking them to the floor. He was getting ready to offer his hand and apologize when he saw who it was.
Hermione Black.
-O-
Hermione wasn’t sure that she could study anymore. Studying held little to no interest for her, especially since she and Draco were so far ahead in their studies. She still reviewed what would be on her exams but there was no way that she was going to study for things that she had learned years ago. Draco seemed to be of the same mind so after skimming their notes from that year, they moved onto the advanced charms assignment from Madam Cambridge.
The rest of the Slytherins had decided to take the night off from studying; exams were due to start in just a few days and they all claimed that they were burned out. Hermione could relate but she refused to stop just because they were. Draco agreed and accompanied her to the library, citing that he wanted to work on the assignment with her and then check out a book to read before bed.
Neville and the twins had joined them at their table in the library. They were all determined to do their best on their exams, so Hermione didn’t grumble at all when they asked her for help. Neville still struggled with Potions and the twins were always needing help with Transfiguration. They couldn’t help much with the practical application of both subjects since they were in the library, but she was more than happy to lend her knowledge in theory. She had even told them that if they needed to practice any of the practicals, they could all meet in an empty classroom the next day for them to get better.
Neville had instantly agreed, telling them that he needed help with Charms and Transfiguration. The twins also decided to come and practice; they hoped to better their skills o they could start making more complex prank items. Hermione still shook her head when she thought of them opening a joke shop. It was an insane idea, but she knew that they would be great at it.
A half hour before curfew, their study group disbanded and headed to their own common rooms. Hermione wanted to curl up in front of the fire and read one of the books that her father had sent with her when they returned from Easter holidays. He had told her that he had very much enjoyed it and hoped that she would to. It had appeared to be a text on Arithmancy, but she had only glanced at it momentarily before stuffing it in her trunk.
Hermione and Draco had traveled from the fourth floor to the second when she realized that she had left her student robes on the chair she had been sitting in. She screeched to a halt, hoping that she could retrieve it and get back to the dungeons in time to beat curfew. Draco gave her a confused look as she turned to head back the way they had come.
“What are you doing, Miney? You’ll be late and get another detention. We just finally took over first place in points.” She urged him to continue to the common room.
“I left my robes in my chair. I’m going to run and get them, then I’ll be down. If I’m late, it’ll only be me that’s late and punished. There’s no sense in you suffering too.” He gave her a doubtful look but finally nodded.
“Alright, but hurry.” Hermione flashed him a smile and started off again to go back to the library. While she wasn’t running, she was most certainly hurrying faster than she usually did.
Hermione reached the library and hurried back to he usual table to find that her robes were still hanging there. She threw them on over her uniform but didn’t close them. They would only be on for the time that it took her to return to her dormitory. With a quick wave to Madam Pince, she hurried out of the library and through the corridors. There was only ten minutes left before curfew and she was determined to make it. She was on the staircase that led to the first floor when she smacked into something solid and fell backwards onto her bum. Her nose was stinging so she reached up to make sure that it wasn’t bleeding. After she realized that her face was injury-free, she looked up to see what she had run into.
Harry Potter.
For a moment, she thought that he was going to help her. His hand started to extend but he hurriedly pulled it back. Hermione struggled to her feet, wincing at the pain in her backside. After she was back on her feet, she gave him a small smile.
“I’m really sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going. I was trying to hurry and get to my common room before curfew.” It made no sense to her since he had been almost pleasant since their detention together. His lip curled into a sneer and his voice was laced with hatred.
“Why should I believe you? Ron’s right, you’re just trying to lure me in, so I’ll trust you. Let me tell you, Black, it will never happen. I will never be your friend so just leave me alone. Your father is a filthy traitor that deserves to suffer before he dies. With him as a role model, you’ll be no better. Just a mini-Death Eater, learning everything she can from her murdering father. Why don’t you ask him how many women he’s raped, how many people he’s killed? Ask your uncle, I’m sure he’s proud of his loyalty to Voldemort. The sad part is that you could have been something great if you hadn’t been raised by the lowest life forms our world can offer. One day, I promise you, your father and uncle will die slowly, regretting their every move. You’ll be right there with them if you follow in their footsteps. Heed my warning, Black.”
Hermione couldn’t believe the words that had just come from his mouth. How could he think those things? Why would he say them? Why was he so sure that she was evil and going to kill people? She steeled herself against his words and tried to bring her impassive mask forward.
“You know nothing about my father and uncle, you’ve been told lies. My father is innocent, he never served Voldemort and he never will. He didn’t turn your parents in, your father was his best mate. My father may have his faults but turning on his friends was never one of them.” Harry looked at her as if he pitied her.
“I can’t help but wonder if you actually believe the words coming out of your mouth because all I hear is bullshite. Run back to your common room and write him a letter, telling him I know the truth and I won’t be falling for your lies any time soon.” She thought she saw a flash of guilt in his eyes, but it was gone a second later. Hermione was trying to hold back the tears, determined to stay strong. One tear managed to escape it’s confines and she was quick to brush it away.
“I can’t wait for the day that you discover that you’ve been lied to, that Dumbledore has told you nothing but lies. My father loves you, he fought to get custody of you, so you didn’t have to live with your awful relations. I just hope that by the time you learn the truth, it won’t be too late. From now on, stay away from me. I’ve been nothing but pleasant and kind to you and you’ve done nothing but throw insults in my face. I get it, you don’t want to be friends. Trust me, I no longer want to be your friend either. You may think that they only reason I tried to befriend you is to get to you and bring you to my father but really, it’s because we should have been raised together, we would have been if not for the fucking Headmaster meddling in my father’s affairs. We would have been as close as Draco and I are. We would have loved you. I know now that hope is dead. Thank you for clarifying it. If you’ll excuse me, I must go.”
Hermione didn’t give him a chance to speak before hurrying past him on the stairs to make her way to the Slytherin common room. She knew that he heard the first sob escape her mouth, only at the end of the stairs. She didn’t care; she kept going as fast as her feet could carry her.
Hermione didn’t meet any professors or prefects in the corridors on her way to the common room. The large room was almost empty, surprising since it was a Saturday night. She assumed that it was because everyone was exhausted from studying all day, but she wasn’t sure. All she knew was that she wanted to sleep next to her cousin and cry into his shoulder. Nobody got to see her cry except for Draco.
The Slytherin left her bag next to the door leading to her dorm and waved her wand over her clothes. Her uniform turned to pajamas and she turned to start towards the boy’s dorm. The few students that were left awake paid her no mind; they were too engrossed in their studying. She tip-toed into Draco’s dorm, a room she had only visited once before. Blaise appeared to be the only one still awake and when he realized she was in there, he raised an eyebrow at her before pointing to the bed where Draco slept. His curtains were closed so she assumed that he was asleep.
Hermione shot him a grateful smile before slowly pulling the curtains back to her cousin’s bed. To her surprise, Draco was sitting up against the headboard, awake, and reading a book by wand light. He raised his eyebrow at her now before pulling back the covers and letting her crawl in. Hermione wasted no time in snuggling next to him. His arm came around her shoulders and hugged her to his chest, so she let go.
Her sobs were muffled against his chest, but she was still scared that Blaise could hear them. She hoped that her cousin cast a silencing charm. Both his arms wrapped around her and he stroked her hair, much the same way her father and uncles did. It was oddly comforting. She was unsure how long she stayed like that but when her back started to ache because of the angle she was leaning at, she sat up and attempted to wipe her eyes. Her cousin watched her silently, knowing that she would explain when she was ready. Once her face was close to normal again, she sighed.
“I don’t want to be friends with Harry anymore. We ran into each other on the stairs and he said terrible things to me. I told him that he was stupid and that he would regret acting like this when he learned the truth, but he didn’t care. I shouldn’t want to give up on him, Draco, but I do. I don’t want to keep trying to be friends with someone that is so brainwashed they can’t see what’s right in front of them. I just hope that he learns the truth before it’s too late for my father.” Draco pulled her against him again, his hand still carding through her curls.
“Your father wouldn’t want you to put up with this. Just leave him alone. Quit being nice to him. Be civil when you must be. We’ll still protect him if we need to but just forget that you should have grown up together. It’s just going to make it harder to let go.” Hermione nodded at his words.
“Can I sleep here tonight? I’ll get up early and be gone before everyone leaves.” Draco kissed the side of her head.
“Yeah, let me scoot over.” He rearranged himself in his bed and Hermione laid down next to him. He was still seated, determined to continue reading.
“Will my light bother you?” Hermione shook her head, inhaling the scent that she associated with her cousin.
“No, read as long as you want. I’m tired and just want to sleep.” She heard her cousin chuckle softly before he returned to his book. Hermione snuggled deeper into the pillow and tried to put Harry’s words out of her mind. She hadn’t had him in her life for this long, what was a few more years?
-O-
Harry felt like shite. He had seen the effect that his words had on Hermione. He had seen her brush a tear away, hoping that he hadn’t seen it. He didn’t really mean most of what he said; he had been angry because of Ron and had taken it all out on Hermione Black.
He decided to follow her example and hurry to Gryffindor Tower. It was after curfew now and he really didn’t want to lose anymore points for his house. Slytherin had finally pulled ahead of them and the last thing that he wanted was to broaden the gap. Once he reached the common room, he realized that most of the students had already gone to bed. Ron was sitting by the fire, staring into the flames, but the rest of the students that were still awake and studying were the older students.
Harry really didn’t want to deal with Ron at the moment but as soon as the red head noticed that he had entered, he went to his feet. He moved to stand before Harry and he looked contrite. Harry just waited though; if Ron had something to say that couldn’t wait until tomorrow, he was going to have to open the conversation.
“I’m sorry, Harry, I shouldn’t have said any of that stuff. I do think that Black and Malfoy are shady, I think they’re hiding something, but it doesn’t make sense to have two first years going after the Stone. Please forgive me.” Harry couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was getting a full apology from his best mate for starting an argument and then stalking off away from him. Even though the words between himself and Hermione weighed on his mind, he smiled at his friend.
“Yes, I forgive you. If you promise to stop whinging about studying. I don’t want you to fail so you must study. You’ve got to put more effort into school, how will you get a job after school if you don’t know how to do anything?” Ron nodded his head enthusiastically.
“I’ll study with you until exams and I won’t whine a single time. I know I need to focus more on school and I’m going to. I don’t want to go to classes with firsties again.” Harry clapped him on the shoulder and started for their dorm.
He dropped his bag to the floor at the foot of his bed and hurriedly changed into his pajamas. After a quick goodnight to Ron, he buried himself under the duvet and closed his curtains. Once he was alone, he let his thoughts wander.
He regretted saying those things to Hermione. He had let his anger do the talking and now she hated him. Harry shouldn’t care that she hated him but for some reason he did. He had never considered that she would want to be friends because they should have been raised together. He couldn’t even imagine being as close to someone as she seemed to be to Malfoy. Having someone care for you like they cared for each other was something that Harry had never experienced and to be honest, it scared the life out of him.
Harry decided that he would stay away from her like she had asked. It was the least that he could do for her since he had hurt her so terribly. He had heard her sobs as she ran away, hurrying to her common room. If the situation presented itself, he would apologize; he would eat a huge piece of humble pie and hope that she forgave him. This wasn’t who he was, he didn’t want to be like Dudley and his merry band of followers.
For now, he would keep his distance like she had asked him to. Harry wouldn’t start any problems with her and he would do his best to keep the Gryffindors from starting shite with her too. He was sure that he could get Neville on board to help him. Maybe he would be able to apologize before the end of school.
Happy with his decision, Harry rolled over and let sleep pull him under.
-O-
Albus watched the two children interact from the alcove at the top of the stairs. He had been strolling from the library to his office but when he saw the pair run into each other, he had quickly hidden himself, so he could listen into their conversation without being seen.
While he hated that he was promoting Harry to hate Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy, Albus couldn’t take the chance that they would lure Harry in and he would end up dead. He knew that Voldemort would come back, it was only a matter of time, and Harry would need to be alive, so he could defeat him. His words to the girl had been harsh but true all the same. Her father and uncle were responsible for atrocious acts against humanity and they didn’t feel a smidgen of remorse.
The saddest part of the whole scene wasn’t that Hermione had told Harry that he was being lied to, it was that she honestly believed that her father and uncle were innocent. It was clear that she didn’t doubt their words a tiny bit. He almost felt sorry for her for being so naïve, but he tamped that down. She would end up doing her father’s bidding by the time they resurrected Voldemort, that much he was sure of. The further Harry stayed away from the Slytherin pair, the better.
He grinned to himself as he made his way to his office. Since the boy had just solidified where he stood in the upcoming war, he was going to consider his request for extra studies. He hadn’t been convinced that it would be a good idea when Minerva had brought the request to his attention but after he had thought about it, it would probably be a great idea. The boy would be facing the most evil wizard of their time and he would need to be much better prepared than he was. Maybe he would personally assign extra homework for the summer and start extra classes with the boy next term.
That’s what he would do. He would ensure a victory for their side of the war yet.
-O-
Severus wanted to laugh at the portrait in his quarters. It was a picture of Jackson Avery, a past Slytherin from three hundred years ago, and its twin hung in the common room. Whenever there was trouble, or the students were doing something particularly naughty, he would inform Severus that his intervention was needed.
Jackson had just informed him that his goddaughter had sneaked into the boy’s dorm in her pajamas looking quite upset.
Severus wasn’t worried. He knew that if she was upset, she would be sneaking in the boy’s dorm to go sleep with Draco. They slept together all the time at home, they had since they were small children. He knew that there were students that were determined that there was something inappropriate between the pair, but Severus knew that there wasn’t. They had always acted only as siblings.
He wasn’t worried. Draco would comfort her, and she would feel better, then sneak away in the morning before everyone woke up. He was slightly curious as to why she was upset; she was his charge after all. He knew that it had nothing to do with watching Quirrell. The pair had spent much of their time watching his movements and when they were unable to, Severus kept an annoyingly close eye on him. He hadn’t acted as of yet, but he knew that it was only a matter of time. The man would make his move when they all least expected it. The children had promised him numerous times that they would fetch himself or Minerva if they witnessed the man make his way for the third-floor corridor.
Severus finished his glass of fire whiskey and decided to head for bed. Tomorrow would be a long day of patrolling the corridors and the library, making sure that the little monsters were studying and keeping the peace. He would corner his godchildren in the morning and figure out just what had upset her so.
A/N- Thank you again to everyone for reading and reviewing. You guys are awesome. I know this chapter makes Harry seem like a complete asshole, but Harry is going to start being nicer to her. The question is if she’ll be receptive to it. Anyways, let me know what you think about it, reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, Quirrell makes his move and some of our students decide to stop him.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- You guys and your feedback are just amazing. To those of you out there offering suggestions, thank you. I appreciate it. Those of you out there that are telling me that I’m ruining Harry’s character, that I’m ruining the story by making him weak, thank you for expressing your opinion. However, telling me the same thing every single review just gets old. This is my story and I’m going to write it the way I want. If you don’t like my portrayal of Harry, I apologize. I have a hundred other stories on my favorites list that you can go read where his character isn’t ruined. I love constructive criticism, for example, someone pointed out that Hermione has a close relationship with Sirius, Lucius, and Severus but only seems to shop with Narcissa, coming across as shallow. I never considered that and changed it up. Just badmouthing my story isn’t going to get you anywhere but ignored.
On another separate note, fanfiction still hates me and won’t let me respond to every other review. I’m not sure why or what I need to do to fix it. I’ve messaged the site but all they say is that they’ll look at it. If you didn’t get a response, I apologize. I’m not ignoring you, I promise! Anyways, this is longer than I had planned so I’m going to shut up and write now! Enjoy!!
Disclaimer: In my wettest dreams I own Harry Potter and Co. Reality is much more disappointing. I own nothing and have made no money off my stories.
Chapter 23
June 5, 1992
Harry couldn’t put his finger on it, but he knew that there was something that was niggling at the back of his mind, causing him to worry. He had gone through breakfast and lunch trying to ignore the feeling but now that dinner was underway, he could ignore it no longer. Ron and Pav didn’t seem to feel the same way but then again, neither were very observant. Just when he turned his attention back to his meal, it dawned on him. His eyes flew to the High Table and realized that not only was the Headmaster gone, so was Professor Snape.
Thinking back, Dumbledore had been gone all day long.
Harry cursed under his breath, drawing the attention of Ron. His eyes flew to the Slytherin table and Harry could see that Hermione Black and Malfoy both looked worried as well. He wondered what they could possibly be worried about but didn’t dwell on it long. He turned back to Ron and looked at him grimly.
“Look who’s missing from the High Table.” Ron’s eyes flew to the dais of the Great Hall and groaned.
“Dumbledore is gone, and Snape isn’t at dinner. He was here for lunch, he’s probably decided to go down under the trap door to get the Stone.” Harry’s mind was whirring, trying to work out how best to go about stopping a full-fledged wizard that served a madman. Realizing that this wasn’t the place for a conversation such as this, he grabbed Ron and Parvati by the wrists and pulled them to their feet, gesturing for them to follow him. The three of them left the Great Hall quickly, Pav looking more confused than either of them since she hadn’t been included in their conversation. Once they were in an abandoned classroom a corridor away from the Great Hall, Harry shut the door and started speaking.
“The Headmaster is gone, and Snape isn’t here, even though he was here for lunch. He’s gone after the Stone and we need to figure out a plan to keep it safe.” Parvati gave them another confused look.
“I think we should tell Professor McGonagall. She’d be more likely to stop Snape then we would.” Ron nodded.
“I agree, mate. Yeah, we could go down there and fight him, but he’d likely just kill you. He serves You-Know-Who, killing doesn’t mean a thing to him.” Harry wasn’t entirely sure that he agreed but nodded in the end.
“Alright, let’s go wait at her office. When she’s done with dinner, she’ll find us there.” Harry swung the door open and led the other two out of the classroom. He could have sworn that he heard a scuffing sound behind him but when he turned around, there was nobody there. He hurried his friends along through the corridors until they reached the seventh floor. It was purely luck that Professor McGonagall was unlocking her door as they turned the corner. Harry broke into a jog, so she couldn’t get the door shut behind her before he spoke to her.
“Professor, wait, we need to talk to you. It’s important.” She narrowed her eyes at him but gestured for the three of them to follow her. Once the door was closed and silenced behind them, Harry took the seat in front of her desk while the other two stayed on their feet on either side of him.
“What’s so important, Mr. Potter?” Harry took a deep breath and hoped that he could explain this without her thinking that they were barmy.
“We found the three-headed dog on the third-floor ages ago and we worked out that he’s guarding the Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve been waiting and watching because we know that Professor Snape is trying to steal it, so he can give it to Voldemort, so he can come back to life. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Now the Headmaster is gone, and Snape has disappeared. You have to do something to make sure that he doesn’t get it.” Professor McGonagall didn’t look impressed with his explanation. Her lips pursed together, and she folded her hands together in front of her.
“I have no idea how you know about the Stone, but I can assure you that it is safe. The Cerberus is only one safeguard, there are several. I can also assure you that Severus is not trying to steal it to give it to Voldemort. The three of you have let your imaginations get away with you.” Harry couldn’t believe that she wasn’t going to help them. He sounded indignant when he spoke again.
“You’re really not going to do anything about this? I have a bad feeling about this whole thing, Professor, you need to go check on the Stone.” Their Head of House stood and laid her hands flat on her desk, so she could hunch over the furniture slightly.
“I am telling you right now, Mr. Potter, that the Stone is safe. You are not privy to all the information and you will desist in this line of inquiry. I expect you all to get to your common rooms and stay there. Exams have finished so you should be celebrating. Don’t think I haven’t heard about the party that the seventh years are planning.” Harry couldn’t believe it. She didn’t believe them, and she was shooing them away with promises of a forbidden party. Knowing that it wouldn’t do any good to continue, Harry stiffly rose from the chair and headed for the door.
“Thank you for your help, Professor.” Her eyes flashed at his obvious jibe, but she remained silent as they filed out of her office. Once they were several doors down, Harry pulled them into another classroom and closed the door. His features were hard and his voice steel as he spoke.
“If she won’t help us, we have to go after it ourselves.” Parvati’s features twisted in fear, but Ron looked determined.
“If we do that, we’ll lose all our points and our house will hate us. We’ll have detention clear into our second year if we do this.” Harry could tell that she really didn’t want a part of this. Therefore, he took pity on her and laid a hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t think you should come, Pav. We need someone to stay behind and make excuses for us. Tell everyone that we told you that we were going to go flying. Something like that. We need time to get down there and make sure that Snape can’t get the Stone.” Her eyes softened a little but then her face blossomed in worry.
“What about the dog, how will you get past? What about the other protections that Professor McGonagall talked about?” Harry hugged her close for a minute before he spoke.
“I think I can use that spell that Malfoy told me to use against the troll. If it worked on a massive troll, it should work on a dog, right?” Both Pav and Ron nodded. It was Ron that put an arm around the girl’s shoulders and comforted her. He really was better at it then Harry was.
“We’ll be fine, Pav. We’re already behind Snape. He probably has all the protections destroyed by now. Truly, we’ll be back before you know it.” Harry seriously doubted that that was the truth, but he didn’t say anything. Once the girl was calm enough to go sit in the common room without everyone knowing that something was wrong, they sent her on her way.
Harry led the way to the third floor, Ron following closely behind. Harry couldn’t help the butterflies in his gut; he was trying his hardest not to puke. Not only was he worried about facing whatever obstacles were under that trap door, he was scared to death that he was going to get expelled. Staying with the Dursleys year-round wasn’t really something that he looked forward to. Once they were standing outside the door that housed Fluffy, Harry turned back to meet his friend’s eye.
“You don’t have to do this, Ron. You can turn back now like Pav.” His best mate snorted at his words.
“You’re my best mate, we’re doing this together. Besides, you can’t do everything by yourself.” Harry chuckled softly before waving his wand at the door and opening it with a spell.
“Let’s go.”
-O-
Hermione had noticed all day that the Headmaster was not in residence. Her godfather had pulled them aside after lunch and told them the Dumbledore had sent for him, that he needed potion’s expertise wherever it was that he had gone. He implored them both to watch the third floor and go get Minerva the second they suspected that Quirrell had gone down the trap door. When the man hadn’t shown up for dinner, she knew.
Hermione knew that the Gryffindors suspected her godfather. She had caught them talking about it in the corridor one day. She had pretended that she hadn’t heard since doing otherwise would have just ended in a fight. Therefore, when the three of them left the meal abruptly, she knew that she and Draco were going to have to follow so they didn’t do anything stupid.
Sure enough, they were only a corridor away when they merely closed the door for privacy. She shouldn’t complain, Hermione knew that. Silencing charms would have made it much more difficult for her to discover their plans. They were going to go to McGonagall and have her go after her godfather. Of course, they would be sorely disappointed when they discovered that her uncle was innocent.
Hermione and Draco had followed them, silencing charms placed on their feet, to the seventh floor and hid outside Professor McGonagall’s office. She had thrown up a silencing charm, so they could do nothing more than wait. They didn’t have to wait long before the three of them left her office, angry looks on their faces. Once they were in yet another classroom, Hermione discovered that the older woman had refused to believe them and sent them on their way. Where she knew that they had done the right thing first, they were now deciding to go after the Stone themselves. As much as Hermione wanted to call them foolish, she didn’t see any other option. If McGonagall wouldn’t listen, none of the professors would.
Hermione and Draco followed the boys down to the third floor and watched as they unlocked the door. They were trying to be quiet, so they couldn’t discuss their plan until the boys were gone. Since there wasn’t any barking or growling, she assumed that Quirrell had already handled the dog but that didn’t mean that it would last. She turned to her cousin with steely resolve.
“I’m going to follow them down there and try to stay out of sight. I need you to go back to McGonagall and try to convince her that the Stone is being stolen as we speak.” Draco’s eyes hardened at her words and he gripped her shoulders tightly.
“I’ll go down there with them, you shouldn’t be putting yourself in danger like that for those two idiots.” Hermione didn’t often fight with her cousin over him protecting her; she had been raised to know that the men usually took control of situations and they always protected the females that they cared about. Just because she didn’t often fight him didn’t mean that she wouldn’t. She squared her shoulders, crossed her arms over her chest, and glared at him.
“You wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for me and my loyalty to Harry. Besides, you’re a male. Professor Cat is a pureblood. She’s going to be more likely to listen to the scion of a house than a girl that’s smart. We both know it’s true. You can pull the ‘my father will storm the castle’ bit and she’ll believe it.” It was a stretch since she could say the same thing. Her last name would guarantee that somebody would listen. Draco knew it was a stretch too but said nothing to her defense. He nodded grudgingly before pulling her into a rough hug.
“You be careful and get out of there at the first sign of trouble, Miney. I’m not playing around. Don’t let Potter get you in trouble down there. For the love of Merlin, don’t let Weasel make any decisions, he’s a fucking idiot.” Hermione hugged her cousin fiercely before kissing him on the cheek.
“I love you, Drake.” He tugged on one of her curls before smiling.
“Love you, Miney. Now get down there.” Hermione pulled away and nodded. She knew that her cousin watched as she opened the door in front of her with the standard unlocking spell.
When she opened the door, it was clear why there hadn’t been any sounds from the dog. It was asleep, snoring loudly as one of it’s heads lolled back and forth across the door. Hermione groaned to herself. Her father was a dog animagus and while he was always lovable and playful, she remembered encountering one such animal at Pansy’s house that hadn’t been. The dog had sniffed at Hermione for ages before biting her on the leg out of nowhere. It had drawn blood and her father had been furious. Without a single question or comment, he had cast a spell at the dog and left its body there while he apparated her home. The Parkinson family had never said a word about it afterwards.
Hermione was going to have to forcibly move the head of the dog on the door if she wanted to get through. She had been told that dogs could smell fear, so she hoped against hope that it stayed asleep. Edging forward carefully, she tried to stay as far away as possible from its teeth. She moved the massive head as gently as she could, the dog not waking. Once it was moved enough that she could pull the door up, she let go of the head and lifted the door. It was completely dark beneath her. However, she could hear Harry and the Weasel yelling at each other.
“Harry, I can’t hardly breathe! I can’t get out; these vines are squeezing the life out of me.” She could hear them both struggling as she strained to hear their words. They sounded like they were far below her. Harry’s voice came from the other side of the darkness.
“I know, it was squeezing me too. Stop struggling, it’s devil’s snare. I just can’t remember how to counter it. It was clear back at the first of the year and it wasn’t on our exam.” Hermione rolled her eyes. Devil’s snare? That was one of the great protections for the Philosopher’s Stone? Knowing that if Harry didn’t remember what to do, Weasley never would. With a sigh, Hermione produced her wand and cast her spell.
“Lumos solem.” Light erupted from her wand and when she pointed it below her, she could see the plant physically pulling away from wherever the light touched. It released both boys, she could hear it when they dropped to the floor.
“How did we get out of that, harry?” She could imagine the Gryffindor shrugging his shoulders. They must have been deep enough in the plant that they hadn’t seen the light from her spell. Just as she heard them walk away, Hermione sighed and decided to follow them. She grasped her wand tightly, knowing that if she dropped it on the fall, she would be stuck there until one of the professors arrived. Just as she was about to lower herself down, the harp music playing in the background stopped and the snoring came to an abrupt halt.
Hermione was now face to face with three heads of dog that were growling and baring their teeth.
Knowing she couldn’t scream, she slid further to the edge of the door. Just as the closest head snapped his teeth and caught her arm, she threw herself over the edge and fell at least ten feet to the devil’s snare below. She could feel the blood seeping through her uniform shirt but overall, she was fine. Her wand was still clutched tightly in her grip, so she was quick to cast the same spell over again. She didn’t have to suffer the same squeezing that the boys did since the plant shrank from the light. It was at least a five-foot drop to the floor beneath her. She landed wrong and rolled her ankle; she was quick to stand and see if she could even walk on it.
Her ankle was already swelling and even though it was painful, she was able to bear weight on it. Since it obviously wasn’t sprained, she continued on her way, following the boys. She cracked open the door they had gone through to see that the room was full of flying keys. There was a locked door on the other side and a broom in the middle of the room. Hermione understood right away that someone was going to have to fly through the keys and find the right one to unlock the door. It really was a clever protection, especially against someone like her that absolutely hated flying.
Hermione watched with trepidation as Harry mounted the broom and tried to figure out which key it was that he wanted. After several minutes of trying to differentiate between the keys he pushed off the ground and the chase began. Hermione had no idea how he managed it. As soon as his feet left the floor, the keys all started flying erratically, some even chasing after him. She edged through the door and stayed in the shadows, so she would be sure to get through the door while they did. The last thing that she wanted to do was chase the bloody key herself.
It was several minutes before Harry caught the key that he wanted. Once his feet touched the ground, the keys calmed and went back to fluttering aimlessly in the air. The key in his hand was still struggling but that wasn’t a surprise. Whoever set this protection wouldn’t want to make it too easy. He fit the key in the lock and the door swung open. Both boys went through confidently, not paying the least bit of attention to the fact that she was behind them. She slipped in behind them and hid in the shadows as they surveyed the largest chess set that Hermione had ever seen.
Hermione wasn’t particularly gifted at chess. She could play but she always lost. Her father and Uncle Luci laughed at her all the time because it frustrated her to no end. Draco rarely played her anymore because she got so upset. Therefore, she was happy when Harry turned to Weasley.
“We have to play our way across.” Hermione groaned to herself. If it was anything like wizard’s chess, and she had a feeling that it was, it was going to be dangerous. Harry huffed and raked his hand through his hair while he thought.
“Where do you want me?” Hermione could hear the dread in his voice and she wasn’t sure if it was because he was going to have to play or he feared Weasley playing. Weasley’s voice was confident.
“I want you on that bishop. I’ll be the knight. Don’t worry, I won’t make you play.” The amusement in the boy’s voice led Hermione to believe that Harry wasn’t very good at chess. At least they had one thing in common.
Hermione watched from the shadows as the pair played their way across the board. This game was very much like wizard’s chess, the pieces destroying the ones that they took. Hermione gained just a little bit of respect for the redheaded git after watching him play. She would love to see who would win if he played Draco or her Uncle Luci. Both were excellent at the game. Hermione couldn’t see exactly what was happening on the board since she was in the dark, but she heard Harry speak and his voice was full of anguish.
“Don’t do it, Ron, we’ll figure out another way through.” She watched them in the distance. Weasley’s voice was determined.
“I have to do it, Harry, I have to sacrifice myself, so you’ll be free to check the queen. Make sure that you get through the doors before the board resets. Once you stop Snape, come back and take me back up top.” Hermione wasn’t quite sure how he thought that Harry was going to get him back through the devil’s snare and around the three-headed dog, but she kept quiet. Harry started to protest but was cut off by Ron’s command.
“Knight to H3.” Hermione watched as the knight moved in the position to be taken by the queen. A stone sword flashed, and the knight was destroyed, Ron on the ground unconscious.
“Ron!” He started to leave his square but thought twice about it. He remembered that they were playing a game and moved forward to put the queen in check.
Once the queen was defeated, Harry rushed from his square to check on Ron. She understood wanting to make sure the boy was alive; he had sacrificed himself to get Harry across the board. Like she said, a little bit of respect for the boy. After seeing that Harry looked relieved when he stood back up, she assumed that the boy was still alive.
Hermione followed close behind him as Harry went through the doors on the other side of the chamber. The door didn’t close completely so she was able to keep it open long enough to slip in and hide in the shadows once more. She couldn’t believe that the professors had thought that these were protections; first years were getting through them. Once the door shut behind her, she heard snorting in the distance.
Hermione followed a little closer behind Harry now since she wasn’t sure if there was some sort of animal in this chamber that would hurt Harry if he was caught unawares. He gasped softly just a little bit ahead of her but from the sounds of his footsteps, he kept going and didn’t stop. Hermione understood his gasp completely when she released that the snorting was a troll passed out cold on the floor. She wasn’t sure how Quirrell had defeated it, but he had.
The next door didn’t have any protections on it and opened easily. Hermione assumed that the challenge was more to get to the other side alive, not figure out a problem and solve it. She stole through the door after Harry to find a small chamber with a long stone table lined up along one wall. There were potion vials in a line on the table with a slip of parchment in the middle of them. Harry picked up the parchment and read whatever was written on it before talking to himself aloud.
“How in the bloody fuck am I going to get past this?” Hermione knew that she had no choice but to reveal herself now. It was clear that he was stumped, and it wouldn’t do for him to drink one of the potions and die. Once Hermione stepped out of the shadows, flames appeared at both doors, blocking entry or exit. She cleared her throat and Harry whirled around, wand held aloft and pointed at her. She just stared at him, waiting for him to either cast or lower his wand. Finally, he lowered it but appeared angry.
“What the fuck are you doing here? You were in on this weren’t you?” Hermione shook her head and came a little closer.
“No, we didn’t want the Stone stolen either. It’s not Professor Snape though, it’s Professor Quirrell.” Harry scoffed at her, but she could see that he was hooked. He wanted to know why she thought that. She decided to tell him.
“I’ve known Professor Snape my whole life. He’s Draco’s godfather, he would never do anything that would harm children. Professor Quirrell, however, was the one who cast the curse on your broom during that quidditch match and I’m certain that it was Quirrell who got Voldemort into the Forest. I’m quite sure that Professor Snape set up this challenge. Why would he try to protect the Stone if he was just going to steal it?” She could see that his mind was considering what she said but he didn’t appear to be believing it. His wand came up and pointed at her again.
“Why have you been following us? Do you want the Stone for yourself?’ Hermione couldn’t help but be a little offended at his words. Her voice hardened.
“No, I don’t want the bloody Stone for myself. I want it destroyed. Voldemort ruins lives. I followed to help you if you needed it. Who do you think cast the spell to get the devil’s snare to release you?” Harry raised his eye brows in surprise. She could see that he wasn’t happy about having to rely on her, but she could also tell that he was telling himself that he didn’t have a choice. When he lowered his wand again and spoke, his voice was gruff.
“Well, come help me then. I’ll never figure this out.” Hermione stepped forward slowly to make sure that he wasn’t going to use his wand on her after all. Once she was at his side, he handed her the slip of parchment. She read it quickly and then reread it three more times to be sure that she was right.
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here for evermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onwards, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight
Hermione surveyed the vials of potion before picking up the one that take Harry to the other side of the door and handed it to him. There was only enough potion there for one person, so she gave him a small smile before picking up the one that would take her back. She urged him closer to the door.
“That potion will take you through the flames. I can’t come with you, so you’ll have to get through everything else on your own. Mine will take me back through the doors and I’ll make sure that your friend is alright. Hopefully, Professor McGonagall will be down here shortly. Draco was supposed to do whatever it took to get her to come down here.” Harry gave her a strange look before he gulped loudly.
“Thanks, I think.” She smiled his way before uncorking the vial and throwing the potion back. Without any hesitation, she walked back through the flames that guarded the exit. It felt like walking through ice, but she wasn’t complaining. Much better than burning.
Hermione sighed and started to make her way back through the chamber to where Ron Weasley lay injured. She really didn’t want him to wake up with only her there, so she hoped that Professor McGonagall came quickly.
-O-
Harry couldn’t believe that Hermione Black had followed and helped him. He had wondered if it had been poison that she handed him but when he realized that he had no other choice but to trust her, he threw the potion back and found himself pleasantly surprised when she had indeed given him the correct potion.
Harry now found himself standing in a large chamber lit by numerous lanterns. A familiar professor stood before the Mirror of Erised, hands clasped behind him and scrutinizing it closely. What disturbed him the most was that the man had removed his turban and there was another face growing out the back of his head. Professor Quirrell was having a conversation with the other face, pondering how to get the Stone out of the Mirror. He tried to keep quiet, so they wouldn’t notice him but one of the rocks on the floor fell off one of the steps when he tried to move into the shadows. Professor Quirrell turned to stare at him, his gaze harsher than Harry could ever remember seeing. It appeared that Hermione Black was right again.
“Harry Potter come over here and help me. I can see what I want, I can see the Stone, but I can’t get it. You must be the key.” Harry had no plans of going anywhere near that mirror, but a wand appeared in his professor’s hand and whatever spell he cast forced him to float forward. Once he was standing before the mirror, Quirrell whispered silkily in his ear.
“Tell me what you see, young Potter.” Harry remembered the words from Dumbledore over the Christmas holidays.
You see your heart’s desire.
Before it had been his family gathered around him, Sirius Black and his daughter friends with his parents and Harry with his arms wrapped around her. Now, he wanted nothing more than to find the Stone and keep it from Voldemort. He took a deep breath and peered into the Mirror.
Harry could see himself in the Mirror, holding the Stone in his hand pushing it in his pocket. To his great surprise, he could feel the Stone being shoved in his real pocket. He wasn’t sure what kind of magic this was, but he wasn’t going to complain. Now he just had to get away from professor.
“I see myself shaking the Headmaster’s hand, he’s handing me the quidditch cup. My house is behind me cheering.” Quirrell reached out and backhanded him. Harry went flying to the ground, blood dribbling out of his mouth.
“Lies, you tell me lies.” Harry decided that he was going to ask questions of his own.
“Was that you drinking the unicorn blood?” Quirrell grinned an almost feral grin.
“It was. My master needs sustenance to survive.” Harry struggled to his feet, never letting the man out of his sight. Quirrell advanced and when he spoke, he could tell that the words came from Voldemort in the back of his head.
“Help me, young Potter, give me the Stone and I can give you power. All the power you could ever want.” Harry scoffed openly.
“I don’t need power and I would never give you the Stone. You murdered my parents, you’re the reason I’m an orphan. I will never help you.” Quirrell rushed him, snarling, and gripped his shirt. Harry felt him press against him and he knew the second that the professor realized that the Stone was in his pocket. He instantly went to reach for it, but Harry struggled enough that the man dropped him.
Harry wiggled out from between Quirrell and the Mirror and tried to make a run for it when he was tackled from behind. His head smacked painfully off the stone floor and for a few moments, he saw stars. He felt the professor sit on his back and slam his head into the floor again, this time making Harry want to vomit. Quirrell reached down to roll him over, his hand touching the scar on his forehead. Rather than being rolled over, Harry heard screaming. Screaming like he had never heard before. He could hear Quirrell screaming that he was burning alive, but he could tell that it was Voldemort’s voice.
The screams had disappeared by the time Harry’s world went dark.
-O-
Minerva was rubbing her temples, confused as to why the Malfoy boy was in her office going on about the Stone. There was no possible way that anyone could get past their protections. Yet, not too long after Potter and his friends departed with the story that the Stone was being stolen, here was Draco Malfoy claiming the same thing.
“Listen, Professor, I know you don’t believe me. I know that you think I’m crazy. I do know that whether the Stone is being stolen or not, Potter and Weasley went through that trap door. I also know that Hermione followed them to keep them safe. If you think these protections are so great that nobody can get past, then you have three students that are going to get hurt. I can tell you right now that if my cousin gets hurt down there while you did nothing, my cousin Sirius and my father are going to have your job. If you go check on them, you’ll be safe. You have to go down there, Professor.” Minerva wanted to scream. She knew the boy was right. Why in the hell did Albus have to leave and then make Severus follow him? She wearily rose to her feet and gestured for him to follow.
Once outside the door, her wand appeared, locking her office. After that, she waved it and sent off her patronus, the silvery cat carrying a message to both Albus and Severus, telling them that three students had gone through the trap door and they needed to get back to the castle as soon as possible. They reached the third-floor corridor and Draco gestured for her to open the door. She glared at him and gestured for him to stand back. With a wave of her wand, the door unlocked and swung open. To her absolute horror, not only was the Cerberus awake and barking at them, the trap door was indeed open. She turned back to the Slytherin boy and laid her hands on his shoulders.
“I have to get down there. I need you to wait right here and tell the Headmaster and Severus that I’ve gone down there alone. Can you do that?” Draco nodded his head seriously.
“Yes, ma’am.” Minerva wasted no time.
She waved her wand, stunning and binding the Cerberus where it stood. Without a second glance back, she jumped through the trap door to the devil’s snare below.
-O-
Severus was livid. Albus had pulled him away from the school and Severus knew that Quirrell was going to make his move once they were both gone. After hearing the message from Minerva, he knew he was right.
Return to Hogwarts immediately. Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Black have gone through the trap door and are determined that someone is trying to steal the Stone.
Severus knew he couldn’t get angry at his goddaughter. He didn’t know if Potter and Weasley had gone to Minerva, but it was likely that when the students went to her with the story she hadn’t believed them. After the incident with the dragon, Hermione would never throw herself into danger like that for no good reason. He could only assume that they didn’t think they would get any help if they didn’t go through the door themselves.
He was worried sick; Severus didn’t worry about Hermione when it came to the devil’s snare or the logic puzzle. He knew that eventually she would catch the key even if she had to be terrified to do it. What scared him was the chess set. She was truly terrible at the game and hoped against hope that if they made it that far, one of the boys played. Otherwise they would all be doomed to death. The troll didn’t worry him so much, though he assumed that it wouldn’t be a problem if Quirrell had already gone through.
Albus was cursing next to him as they strode to the apparition point in the Ministry. Severus still had no idea what the Headmaster was doing there; he had called Severus to come and identity a certain potion that he had never seen before and perhaps tell him what it did. It had taken him all afternoon and most of the evening to differentiate the different ingredients and try to decide what the brewer had been aiming for. Once they reached the apparition point, Albus held out his arm. Severus took it, understanding immediately that the Headmaster meant to apparate through the wards, something that only a Headmaster could do. They appeared before the third-floor corridor to find Draco pacing before their eyes. Once he realized they were there, the boy rushed over, fear in his eyes.
“Uncle Sev, Hermione went down there. We heard the boys tell Professor Cat that you were going to steal the Stone and when she told them that you weren’t, they left. They decided to go down themselves. Hermione didn’t trust them to get through the protections that the professor told them about. She told me to go threaten the professor and get her to follow them down there since she was going in after them to make sure they didn’t get themselves killed. Professor McGonagall went down by herself about ten minutes ago.” Severus laid a hand on his godson’s shoulder and waited for him to make eye contact with him. Draco understood immediately and lowered his shields in his mind.
Did Quirrell go down there?
Draco gave the barest of nods, obviously fearful for his cousin’s life. He gestured for him to go stand by the wall.
“Wait here for us. Under no circumstances are you to follow us. We will bring Hermione back out to you.” His godson seemed to settle a little at his words. Severus didn’t blame him for being worried. He himself wanted to tan the hide of his goddaughter but he couldn’t in good conscience. They had done everything they could to get adult help and she only followed Potter and Weasley, the former of which their side of the upcoming war couldn’t afford to lose.
Severus saw that Minerva had stunned and bound the Cerberus, making it easier to get to the trap door. He jumped through first, casting a cushioning charm on the ground. The devil’s snare was gone, Minerva had blasted it away he was sure. He didn’t blame her; the plant gave him the creeps. Albus followed him.
The pair went through the open door to find the door on the other side spelled open. He wondered if Minerva did such quick wand work because her lions were down there, or she feared the fact that Draco had surely threatened her with Sirius and Lucius. Regardless, the door was open, so the pair breezed through to find the chess chamber. Severus wanted to shout in triumph when he saw his goddaughter sitting on the ground next to an unconscious Weasley while Minerva ran a diagnostic on him. Severus didn’t wait for Albus to speak.
“Miss Black how far did Mr. Potter get in the chamber?” She sniffed just a little before answering. He wondered if Minerva had yelled at her.
“I got him through the logic puzzle. After that, I have no idea since I had to turn around and come back.” Severus cursed and turned to follow the Headmaster. The troll was just starting to stir so he sent a binding spell it’s way. After going through the door, he disabled the spells that he had set to ensure that whoever came through drank a potion. He couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in Hermione. Of course, she would be the one to solve his riddle.
When they went through the door and entered the next chamber, Severus had to hold back a gasp. Potter was on the floor, face-down, with blood trickling from his head. Quirrell was laying next to him, skin melted off his body, obviously dead. Severus rushed to the boy and cast a diagnostic on him, hoping against hope that he was still alive. As the information flew by, he let out a sigh of relief.
“He’s alive, he’s just unconscious.” After rolling him over, Dumbledore reached down and fished the Stone out of his pocket and put it in his own robes. He smiled at Severus before speaking.
“He kept the Stone safe from Voldemort. See the face on the back of Quirrell’s head? He was possessed. I should have known better than to leave the school and the Stone unprotected. I never suspected Quirrell.” Severus knew the man had to be lying. His two eleven-year-old godchildren had figured it out.
“Take Harry to the Hospital Wing, along with Weasley. I’ll deal with this mess.” He noticed that the man said nothing about Hermione but really, he wasn’t surprised. He bent down and picked the boy up, surprised that he wasn’t heavier than he was. Without wasting any time, he strode through the corridors until he was back in the chess chamber. Weasley was now awake and shooting glares at his niece. Hermione was on her feet quicker than a snitch, sprinting his way. He noticed that her arm was covered in blood.
“Is Harry alright?” Severus didn’t want to scare her, but he didn’t want to lie either.
“I think so but I’m not sure, Miss Black. He’s unconscious. We need to get all of you to the Hospital Wing.” Weasley was asking loudly after his friend but Severus didn’t feel inclined to answer him. Call him petty but the little bastard was terrible to Hermione. Hermione was quick to follow him, favoring her arm. He gave her a sideways glance.
“What happened to your arm?” She sniffed a little again, probably readying herself to get yelled at.
“I had to save them from the devil’s snare and it woke the dog up. It bit my arm before I could jump.” He knew how scared she must have been; since she had been bitten as a child, she had feared most dogs aside from her father in his animagus form.
They traversed through the chambers, Weasley and Minerva following closely behind them. Once they reached the trap door, Severus cast a strong lumos charm that hung above them. He turned to Minerva and gestured for her to step forward.
“I’m going to levitate you up first. I’ll do the children next and you can help get them through the door. Then you can levitate me last.” She nodded her head, readying herself to float through the air.
Severus cast the charm with ease, lifting his colleague up and through the trap door. Once she was safely on the other side, he laid Harry down and cast the same spell on him. It was harder to control with an unconscious person and even though it took a few minutes extra, he got him safely to Minerva. He gestured for Hermione to move forward to go next when Weasley spoke.
“Why is she going next? I’m more injured.” Severus turned a cold gaze to the red head.
“You are fine. If you had any manners whatsoever, you would realize that after the most wounded, it’s women and children that are next evacuated. For the love of Merlin, you sound dumber every time you open your mouth.” The red head didn’t say anything else, so Severus levitated his goddaughter to the top of the chamber and through the trap door. Finally, he turned to Weasley and cast on him without warning. There was a startled gasp that he reveled in hearing but other than that, he was just as quickly to the top as Hermione had been. After they were all safely on the top side, Severus allowed Minerva to levitate himself to the trap door. He hated relying on her for something like that, but he really had no choice. Loss of control had never been something that he enjoyed.
After they were all out of the room, Draco rushed forward and pulled his cousin into his arms. He could hear him berating her but didn’t let go of her for a second. When he pulled away, he inspected her arm through her torn shirt.
“What the bloody hell happened to your arm?” She snorted at his language.
“I had to save them from the devil’s snare and it woke the Cerberus. It got one bite in before I could jump through the door.” He began chastising her quietly. Severus could tell that he was telling her that she was never again to go into danger without him. He cleared his throat and picked Harry back up again.
“Let’s get everyone to the Hospital Wing. There is no reason to stand out here in the corridor for no good reason at all when there are people that need healed.” Draco didn’t need told twice. His arm went around Hermione’s waist and started to pull her towards the staircase. She shot him a look that said help me. Severus chuckled to himself.
Hermione had chose to go down there, she was on her own when it came to her cousin.
A/N- Holy balls, guys, this chapter took me ages to write. I’m not sure why either. I know that some of the things weren’t canon, but they were made that way on purpose. The logic puzzle that Hermione solved is word for word from Philosopher’s Stone. I had to keep that in there. Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed my portrayal! Leave me a message after the beep and tell me what you thought. Reviews are love.
Next chapter, the leaving feast.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- You guys are all so awesome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing so much love for this story. I know that slow-burns aren’t for everyone so those of you that have hung tough, you da bomb! Anyways, enough for now, I want to get this chapter out before I fall asleep.
**Shout out to ZoeyOlivia, my fellow mean girl, for being my 600th reviewer. Love you girl!**
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing in this story except the personal twist on the plot. The original idea belongs to Hermione Lyra Malfoy-Riddle and the characters belong to J.K.R. All hail our queen. I haven’t made a single dime off any of my stories.
Chapter 24
June 9, 1992
Hermione glanced around her dorm room, making sure all her personal items were packed away in her trunk. She would make the final check tomorrow, but she saw no reason to not be prepared ahead of time. The other girls hadn’t started packing yet; they had all told her that they would start packing their things away after the Leaving Feast.
The Slytherin girl had learned from her godfather that Harry had woke up that morning. The Headmaster had been sequestered with the boy for well over an hour afterwards but there was nothing that she could about it. It didn’t matter anymore how much Harry hated her, she had already given up on being friends with him. After a year of trying and failing to get him to see her in a positive light, she was done. Her mind wandered to four nights ago after they had arrived at the Hospital Wing.
*Flashback*
Hermione had just settled into one of the beds, Draco besides her, in the Hospital Wing when Professor McGonagall hurried past her to summon Madam Pomfrey. Ron was grumbling to himself about having to sit in the bed next to Hermione’s. She rolled her eyes at him but kept quiet. Uncle Sev laid Harry down in the bed next to her. Hermione shot him a worried glance, but he could do nothing but brush against her mind softly in comfort. Madam Pomfrey bustled out of her office only to start barking orders.
“Severus put the curtains up between the students, Minerva, make sure that Albus is notified that Mr. Potter is in here. He told me that he always wanted to know if the boy was injured.” Hermione wasn’t surprised at the mediwitch’s words; the Headmaster would want to make sure that Harry was alright no matter what kind of injury he was being seen for. Her uncle was quick to obey and after he had pulled the curtains separating them, he stepped away from the bed, so he could still see in Hermione’s cubicle. He gestured for the mediwitch to come to Harry first.
“You should see Mr. Potter first; he’s unconscious and has yet to wake.” Hermione sat on the bed for over thirty minutes waiting for the woman to finish working on Harry. She couldn’t hear anything that was being said but she watched her uncle’s face and he didn’t seem worried in the least. Right before Madam Pomfrey left Harry’s cubicle, she heard the Headmaster enter the Hospital Wing.
“How is Mr. Potter, Poppy?” Hermione audibly snorted. Her godfather’s lips tipped just the tiniest fraction when he heard her. Who cared about the other two students that had been injured. It was another ten minutes before the mediwitch made her way to Hermione’s side. Ron, however, saw her enter Hermione’s cubicle and started complaining.
“Why does she get to go first again? She has a little cut, she can wait.” Her godfather pinched the bridge of her nose and looked like he was about to explode. Hermione smiled softly at Madam Pomfrey.
“You can help him first. I just have a dog bite and a hurt ankle, I’m not going to die. He was knocked unconscious.” Madam Pomfrey rolled her eyes at Ron’s words but gave Hermione a smile.
“Alright, dear, let me go make sure that he isn’t about to expire.” Hermione snickered under her breath before leaning into her cousin. The adrenaline was beginning to leave her system and she was suddenly exhausted. Draco wrapped his arm around her and pushed her head down on his shoulder.
“Miney, you can’t ever do that to me again. I was so scared that something happened to you.” She nodded against his shoulder.
“I’m sorry I worried you. I really didn’t mean to. I will say, it’s a good thing that those two were down there. If it had been just me I wouldn’t have gotten past the chess set. However, if you had been down there, we would have been great.” He snorted as he started fingering the ends of her curls.
“What did you have to get through down there?” Hermione closed her eyes as she spoke.
“When I first got through the trap door, I fell into devil’s snare. Easy to bypass. A door led me through to a room that was full of flying keys with a broom on the ground. If you wanted to get through, you had to catch the key in the air after it was traveling at the speed of a snitch. After that, there was a life size wizard’s chess set that Harry and Weasley played their way across. That’s how he got knocked out, he sacrificed himself, so Harry could continue. In the next chamber was a troll but it was unconscious. I followed Harry through and there was a logic puzzle. I solved it for him but since there was only enough potion for one person to pass, I went back, and he went on. I have no idea what was beyond that chamber since I went back to Weasley.” Draco was now rubbing small circles in her lower back, relaxing her even further.
“How did you get hurt?” She snorted again.
“The two idiots couldn’t remember how to get past devil’s snare. I cast a lumos spell at it, but the dog heads woke up. I tried to jump down before I got bitten but one of the heads still caught me. I rolled my ankle when I landed after freeing myself from the devil’s snare.” Draco chuckled softly.
“You don’t have very good luck with dogs which is odd considering your father’s animagus form.” She laughed too though it was cut short when the mediwitch stepped around the curtain. Her godfather followed her in, clearly not about to not hear how her medical state was. Madam Pomfrey, however, turned to both Uncle Sev and Draco.
“Sorry, boys, you can’t stay. She’s going to have to remove her shirt.” Draco instantly became indignant.
“She’s my cousin, I’m not leaving her. I’ll turn my back.” The mediwitch crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Draco. Uncle Sev stepped forward and laid a hand on his shoulder.
“Come, Draco, we can stand right outside the curtain. Miss Black will be just fine.” Draco huffed angrily but followed their godfather out of the curtain. Once it was closed behind them, Madam Pomfrey gestured for her to take her shirt off. Hermione was quick to comply. The sooner she was healed, the sooner she could leave. The mediwitch clucked softly when she saw the wound; it was large, swollen, and red. The blood had long since quit flowing and was dried down her arm.
Madam Pomfrey siphoned off the dried blood and began to knit the skin back together. When she was finished, the wound was still raised and red. She turned her wand to her ankle next, clucking again when her spells revealed that it was indeed rolled. With a quick wave of her wand, the swelling disappeared, and the achiness was gone. The mediwitch left without a word so Hermione took that to mean that she could put her shirt back on. She was buttoning the last button when the curtain admitted Madam Pomfrey again, this time holding three potion vials in her hands. Seeing that she was dressed, she left the curtain open, so her godfather and cousin could enter again.
“I want you to drink all three of these. One is to stave off infection, one is for the scars, and one is for the pain. I don’t think you’ll need if after tonight, but the skin is pulled tight right now, not to mention there can be some lingering pain with your ankle. You’ll thank me for it later.” Hermione nodded and started to drink them down. Just as she handed the empty vials to the mediwitch, the curtains around their beds disappeared and the Headmaster was standing before them.
“I think we all need to have a discussion.” Her godfather shot him a dirty look.
“These children have been injured and had a long night. I think this conversation should wait until we have had a good night’s sleep.” The Headmaster huffed and stared from her godfather to herself and Weasley. Finally, he stepped back.
“Very well. We’ll do this after Harry wakes up.” Hermione sighed in relief, she didn’t think that she would be able to recount anything at this point. All she wanted to do was to go back to her dorm, fall into bed, and sleep for twelve hours. Draco helped her up off the bed and Uncle Sev laid a hand on both their shoulders, so he could steer them towards the door. She saw that Professor McGonagall did the same to Weasley. Once they were out of the Hospital Wing, Hermione sighed in relief.
“I’m so glad that neither of them died.” Both her uncle and cousin snorted softly before her uncle spoke.
“Me too.”
*End of Flashback*
Since Harry had woke that morning, she was just waiting for a summons from the Headmaster, demanding to know how and why she was even involved in the retrieval of the Philosopher’s Stone. Uncle Sev had told both Draco and her the morning after that Quirrell had indeed met Harry in the chamber and they had fought over the Stone. He had been successful in keeping it from him, even though their professor had perished in the ordeal. She couldn’t help but wonder how Harry was taking it.
She headed down the stairs to the common room to see that Draco was waiting for her. Since Draco was waiting, the rest of the boys were as well. The girls had gone on, however, citing that they wanted to get good seats at the table. Hermione had no worries about getting a good seat; if there was one good thing about being a Black and a cousin to a Malfoy, it was that everyone always wanted her to sit by them.
Hermione usually didn’t take advantage of the situation; she hated the extra attention that her last name afforded her. Boys still asked to escort her to class, they still offered to carry her bag for her, and even though she always tried to be polite and not hurt anyone’s feelings, it overwhelmed her. She tolerated Draco’s protective behavior at best most days but when he scared off the boys that came onto her, she never minded.
Her cousin offered her his arm as they left the common room and started for the Leaving Feast. Greg, Vince, Blaise, and Theo all followed behind them, chatting happily, laughing, and making plans to get together over the summer. Hermione wasn’t sure if Draco had made plans with them, but she didn’t plan on making too many plans. Her father had promised to teach them dueling this summer and she was going to focus on that. Besides, she didn’t really have much in common with the girls in her year. Daphne was the one she got along with the most but even she could get lost in gossip and fashion talk for hours on end with Pansy.
They entered the Great Hall and headed for the Slytherin table. Everyone was quick to move down and make room for them. Hermione ended up between Draco and Miles Bletchley, who made sure to smile shyly at her. The Headmaster stood and raised his arms, bringing attention of the Great Hall to himself.
-O-
Harry let out a sigh of relief as he took his usual seat at the Gryffindor table between Ron and Parvati. Ron nudged his shoulder with his own, grinning widely. This was the first time that he had seen his friends since he had gone down through the trapdoor. Everyone around him started questioning where he had been the last few days, but he ignored them. Professor Dumbledore had told him that he couldn’t tell everyone what had happened to him; under no circumstances could the public learn about the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry understood but that wasn’t going to make answering questions any easier.
Harry and Professor Dumbledore had had a long talk that morning after he had woke up. It was illuminating and confusing, more confusing than he wanted to admit.
*Flashback*
Madam Pomfrey bustled away after casting all her diagnostic spells over him. She couldn’t believe that he was completely healthy but after four nights under her care, was she really surprised? She had promised him a meal and was going to send off for a late breakfast. Harry settled back into the pillows and wondered how Ron and Parvati were doing. He was just wondering when he was going to get released when the Hospital Wing doors opened, and the Headmaster strolled through, serene expression on his face. He waved his wand and conjured a chair, so he could settle in it next to Harry’s bedside.
“Madam Pomfrey has given you a clean bill of health, congratulations. I’m sure that you have questions.” Harry nodded slowly and after a time, realized that the Headmaster was leaving the space open for him to ask. Finally, he gathered his thoughts and spoke.
“Is Professor Quirrell dead?” The Headmaster started to stroke his beard.
“Yes, he is.” Harry felt a flash of guilt and bowed his head.
“Did I kill him? I don’t remember killing him.” Dumbledore shook his head
“No, Harry, you didn’t kill Professor Quirrell. Voldemort did. There’s a bit of a story involved if you have the time.” Harry nodded his head, still confused as to how Voldemort killed his Defense professor.
“When Sirius Black gave away your parent’s location, Voldemort came and killed your parents. When he reached your nursery, he turned his wand on you. Your mother begged for your life. He refused, and she cast herself in front of you, a sacrifice of pure love. Her sacrifice protected you.
In the case of Professor Quirrell, he was merged with Voldemort. He wasn’t always in control of your professor. Since your mother’s sacrifice protected you when you were young, it continues to protect you to this day, I explained that when I told you why you had to live with your aunt. Specifically, it protects you from Voldemort. When Professor Quirrell hit you in the face, nothing happened because he was in control. When you were fighting over the Stone, Voldemort was in control. That’s why when he touched you, he started to burn alive. It wasn’t your fault that he died; it was Voldemort’s.” It was completely confusing, but he supposed that if he considered it closely, it made sense. Harry nodded.
“Why does he want to kill me so much?” Professor Dumbledore shook his head slightly.
“I can’t reveal that yet, Harry. The time isn’t right. I hope that you can trust in me to tell you the truth at the right time.” Harry wasn’t happy about it but decided he probably didn’t have any other choice. Therefore, he nodded his head. The Headmaster raised his eyebrows and pushed his glasses further up on his nose.
“Do you have any other questions?” Harry fired off immediately.
“Did I keep Voldemort from getting the Stone?” His Headmaster nodded softly.
“You did indeed. However, I have some questions on my own?” Harry nodded, knowing exactly where this was going. Hermione Black.
“Did you confide in Hermione Black or Draco Malfoy about the Philosopher’s Stone?” Harry shook his head.
“No. Ron challenged Malfoy to a wizard’s duel months ago. We almost got caught and all of us found Fluffy and the trap door. I had no idea that they even knew that there was anything under the trap door, let alone what it was.” Harry watched as Dumbledore’s eyes flashed briefly.
“Did she say anything to you before she sent you on through the puzzle chamber?” Harry shook his head in the negative.
“Nothing overly important, just that she didn’t want Voldemort to return either.” Dumbledore leaned clear over in his chair, so he could get closer to Harry.
“Why do you think that is?” Harry wasn’t sure where his mentor was headed with this statement.
“I’m not sure.” His voice lowered even further.
“What do you think the evilest wizard of our time would do to the person whose information led to him becoming little more than a spirit?” Harry couldn’t help but feel that it was a stretch, but he supposed that he didn’t have much of a right to tell the Headmaster that.
“He probably wouldn’t be happy.” The Headmaster smiled softly as he leaned back in his seat.
“Precisely. That’s why they don’t want their master to return.” Harry nodded even though he wasn’t sold.
“I’ll keep that in mind, sir.” Dumbledore smiled again and went to his feet.
“I’m happy that you’re feeling better, Harry. I’ll see you at the Feast.” Harry watched as the elderly man left the Hospital Wing, shaking his head slightly at his ambiguity. Even though he didn’t agree with the Headmaster’s theory, he would accept it for the time being. He still planned on apologizing to Hermione Black, however. Nothing could keep him from doing that.
*End of Flashback*
The Headmaster’s voice cut through the Great Hall, bringing the entire room to silence.
“Another year comes to an end. You will all be headed home on the Hogwarts Express tomorrow to see your families for the holidays. I would have to say that we’ve had a great year. All your minds are full of learning and you’re well on your way to becoming full-fledged witches and wizards.” Harry wished that he would just get on to the point, so he could eat. Sure, he had ate breakfast and lunch but hadn’t ate a thing for the three days before that.
“I’m aware that the House Cup needs awarding. The house points stand as follows: Hufflepuff – 360 points, Ravenclaw – 395 points, Gryffindor – 450 points, and Slytherin at 525 points. However, there are some last-minute points that need awarding.” He paused for effect and Harry took a moment to see how the professors were reacting. Professor McGonagall looked suspicious, Professors Sprout and Flitwick looked confused and Professor Snape looked extremely angry. The Headmaster began speaking again and suddenly, he knew exactly what the Headmaster was doing.
“Ten points to Miss Parvati Patil for loyalty shown to her friends during a questionable moment.” Gryffindor house started applauding. When it died down, the Headmaster continued.
“Fifty points to Mr. Ronald Weasley for the best played game of chess this school has seen in many years.” Again, the lions went crazy, the twins were hooting and hollering like mad.
“Twenty points to Miss Hermione Black for thinking logically at all times.” This time Slytherin went wild and Harry could see that her face was red with embarrassment. He could hear Ron hissing angrily beside him, badmouthing Hermione. Harry was angry as well, more to the reasoning that she wasn’t being awarded as equally as Ron. It was complete bullshite, but he wasn’t going to be able to change the Headmaster’s mind, especially now. Harry watched as his Head of House elbowed Professor Dumbledore with an angry look on her face. He shot her a hateful look before turning back to the crowd of students.
“Ten points to Mr. Draco Malfoy for obtaining help when it was most required.” Again, the Slytherins went crazy but there was a bad taste in Harry’s mouth. Dumbledore didn’t let the Slytherins quiet before he spoke again.
“Sixty points to Mr. Harry Potter for showing bravery and nerve.” The Gryffindors all cheered but the rest of the school was silent. Dumbledore didn’t seem to notice.
“That leaves the points as Gryffindor with 570 points and Slytherin with 555 points. Therefore, Gryffindor wins the House Cup.” Harry was getting pounded on the back by people getting up and rushing to his side congratulating him. Red banners fell from the ceiling, but Harry didn’t feel right about it. When the Great Hall finally got quiet, Dumbledore spoke once more before sitting.
“Let us eat.”
-O-
Hermione was stewing by herself, picking at the food from the Leaving Feast. She had come to Hogwarts knowing that the Headmaster would never be fair to her but the fact that he had been so blatant about it hurt. She wanted to deny it, but she couldn’t, and she wouldn’t even try. Besides, Uncle Sev and Draco would know she was lying in less than a moment. As if sensing her train of thought, her cousin wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed the side of her head.
“I know it sucks but we knew this was going to happen at some point.” Hermione nodded and poked at her pasta.
“Still hurts though. He slapped us in the face publicly. I didn’t think that it would matter to me, but I was wrong. It doesn’t feel good at all.” Draco rubbed circles between her shoulder blades.
“I know. Just think about when the truth comes out though, how we’re going to eventually blast the truth to our whole world. Everyone is going to be looking at Dumbledore and not in a good way.” Even though it made her feel like a terrible person, she brightened just a little. It would be nice to turn the tables on the old man.
Dinner passed quickly and by the time they were being dismissed to head to bed, Hermione was yawning and leaning into her cousin’s side. He was laughing at something that Blaise said, his arm guiding her through the crowds of students. Pansy and Daphne were far ahead of them and they were snickering about something in whispers. Hermione felt an arm on her elbow, pulling on it gently. Draco felt the pressure against her and came to a stop. Hermione turned to see Harry standing there looking extremely uncertain. Draco didn’t drop eye contact and Hermione looked from one to the other.
“You guys go on ahead, Hermione and I will be down there in just a few minutes.” Hermione couldn’t help but wonder how bad this was going to go. Harry didn’t look angry like he did the night that he had spoken such harsh words to her, but she never could tell. Once they were alone, Harry rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
“I have a couple of things that I want to say before we all go home for the summer. First, I want to thank you, Black, for helping me down under the trap door. I never would have got through it if it wasn’t for you. Malfoy, I owe you a thank you for making McGonagall listen and come down after us. Who knows how long I would have laid down there unconscious if you hadn’t.” Draco stuck his hand out and offered to shake the boy’s hand. Harry grasped it, surprised.
“Anytime, Potter.” Harry started scuffing his shoe on the stone floor, his cheeks turning pink in embarrassment.
“I wanted to apologize, Black, for the things I said to you that night. I should never have said them. I don’t think you’re evil, but I also know that we can’t be friends. I had just had an argument with Ron and I took it out on you. I regret the whole scene more than you know. I hope that you can forgive me.” Hermione gave him a tight smile. She would give it to him that he was apologizing but that didn’t change how she felt. He would be sorry until Ron got him going and he took it out on her again.
“Thanks, Potter. I forgive you. Don’t worry, I won’t keep trying to be your friend.” Draco’s fingers tightened around her arm, but she didn’t meet his eyes. Harry didn’t look like he was too pleased with her words.
“I’m really sorry, Black, I’m not trying to offend.” She gave a quick nod, but Draco spoke next.
“It would be nice if we could all get along but it’s insulting that you keep telling her that her father is a traitor, that he wants to kill you, that you can’t be friends because of her family. I get that the Headmaster has told you things that you believe to be gospel but there are things that he doesn’t know. When you’re ready to listen to us and not instantly tell us that our family is full of rapists and murderers, come find us. We want to be friends with you, but we know that can never happen if you keep saying things like that. We haven’t done anything to you and we deserve a chance. I understand you can’t do that right now. When you can, find us.” Hermione was happy that Draco had taken over for her. Harry gave a resolute nod, but she didn’t think that anything her cousin had said had made a dent. Only time would tell.
After Harry walked off, hands shoved deep in his pockets, Hermione turned Draco towards the dungeons.
“Come on, Drake, let’s go enjoy our last night in the castle.”
-O-
Harry was a little disappointed in how his apology went. He had expected Hermione to accept his apology and be meek and mild about it like she usually was. She was, in a way, but her expression had been expressive enough.
Sure, he could tell that she still wanted to be friends, but she had well and truly decided to stop trying to be his friend. It was clear that both Hermione and Malfoy believed wholeheartedly that Sirius Black and Lucius Malfoy were innocent. As much as Harry wanted to not count them as enemies, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to believe that Hermione’s father and uncle were innocent.
Honestly, it was for the best. No, he didn’t believe that the pair was going to intentionally lead him to his death, but he did think that the pair had been lied to and misled. If it had been a different situation, he would have gladly befriended them. Eventually, the truth would come out and they would see that Dumbledore was right about it. Yes, they would likely lash out, but Harry couldn’t fault them for that. He had just apologized for lashing out.
Ron and Pav hadn’t been happy that he had broke away from them. When he had told them that he had thanked the Slytherin pair, he had become almost apoplectic. Harry had rolled his eyes and made his way up to his dorm, cutting off their complaints. It wasn’t like he was going to be befriending the pair anytime soon, so he saw no point in arguing.
Harry snuggled down deeper into the duvet and closed his eyes. Tomorrow he would be leaving Hogwarts and heading back to the Dursleys. The Dursleys. Complete hell on earth and he thought for a moment that he would rather live with a murderous Sirius Black than his muggle relations. He snorted to himself.
He would take Voldemort over his family any day of the week.
A/N- The end of the year is upon us! Lordy, it seems like this first year has taken forever but I guess it’s only been fifteen chapters or so. Anyways, I hope you all liked it. Let me know what you think and if I managed to pull it off. Reviews are love.
Next up, dueling and a robbery at Malfoy Manor.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- For all the love you show me with every chapter I write, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are awesome. I’m still having problems responding to reviews so don’t think for a second that I’ve been ignoring you! Again, thank you.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing in this story except for the personal plot twist. The rest has all been done before, there’s nothing new under the sun, or so my mama tells me. I’ve made no money from any of my stories…maybe someday!
Chapter 25
July 17, 1992
Harry wasn’t sure how he had forgotten how terrible it was at the Dursleys, but it was clear that he had. Doing all the chores, being fed only enough to keep him alive, being beaten to a pulp almost daily by Dudley and his gang. It made him miss Hogwarts even more than he thought possible.
To his surprise, before the students had left school for the Hogwarts Express, Professor McGonagall had pulled him aside. She had handed him a stack of parchment and several books, telling him that the Headmaster had rethought his decision and decided to assign extra work to Harry after all. He was instructed to finish them at his leisure and send them back, so she could send him more. He had already returned assignments twice now; Hedwig had been thrilled with the work.
He had a feeling that he was just jumpstarting the second-year assignments but that was better than nothing; he wanted to learn, and he wanted to do the best that he could. Voldemort was going to come back, the Headmaster was sure of it, and Harry had a feeling that the wizard wasn’t going to just let it go that a child had defeated him. He was going to come after Harry again and he wanted to be as ready as he could be.
Life during the summer holidays was no different than life had been before school at Hogwarts. Sure, his aunt and uncle refused to speak of magic, if he brought up something about Hogwarts they grounded him or backhanded him. Harry had remembered his earlier life lessons quickly after returning.
His family reveled in having their slave return; Dudley ordered him around and when he didn’t move fast enough, he would chase after him and pound him. His aunt would assign him a ridiculous number of chores and make him cook every meal. Harry didn’t remember going hungry being as difficult as it was now that he had experienced eating his fill every single day. He supposed that he had no choice other than to survive. There were only six more weeks before he returned to school. He would survive.
Nights were the worst, especially when he was all out of assignments to work on. His mind would wander to his friends; he would wonder what Ron was doing with all his brothers and if he was getting his homework finished. He had stayed true to his word about not whinging anymore; Harry could only hope that his words would last into the new school year. Parvati had told him that her parents, herself, and her twin were going to make a trip back to India to see family; she seemed excited and even though Harry was ridiculously jealous, he was happy for her.
It was his darkest secret that he wondered what Hermione Black and Malfoy were up to. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to think about her, he had promised himself that he wouldn’t, but in the dark of the night, Harry just couldn’t help it. Her words from that argument between the two of them haunted him. He couldn’t imagine what life would have been like if he had been raised by a family that loved him and wanted what was best for him.
Whenever his mind drifted to her, the next morning he would berate himself for his weakness. If he had been raised by his godfather, he would have been dead. Harry had never told anyone, not even Ron, but he had looked up the outcome of the ICW trial all those years ago. He had discovered that the Headmaster had been correct. Sirius Black had attempted to get custody of him and the court had failed to award it to him. The exact transcript wasn’t in the article of the Daily Prophet but the charges and outcomes regarding his custody had been there for the world to see. It was more than enough to solidify that the Headmaster was right regarding Lord Black, even though he felt he was way off base when it came to his daughter.
More than anything, he wanted to just forget about the girl and concentrate elsewhere. Harry still felt guilty for his treatment of her when she had never done anything to him to suggest that she wanted to trick or harm him. However, her cousin had made things more than clear when he told them that they were done listening to him badmouth their family. He supposed that he understood; if he had loved his family he would never stand for someone to speak badly about them.
Harry sighed as he rolled over in bed, trying to shut his mind down so he could sleep. It was going to be a long six weeks.
-O-
Sirius watched his cousin try to formulate a plan of attack against the dummy before him. True to his word, he and Lucius had started teaching the children how to duel as often as they could. They still took lessons with Madam Cambridge four days a week, Draco constantly had plans with his friends playing quidditch and doing who knew what else. Sirius had played host to several overnight stays for Draco’s friends. Those were the only nights that he spent away from Hermione.
The animagus couldn’t help but worry that his daughter was lonely. She showed no interest in any of the girls that were her age that she went to school with; he wasn’t sure if it was because she wasn’t interested or if the girls weren’t. His daughter was very studious, and he had always known that many of her peers wouldn’t understand her ambitions. She still spent a lot of time with Narcissa, shopping, riding, and doing girl things that Sirius didn’t ask about. Hermione still spent days reading with Lucius and doing potions experiments with Severus. She wasn’t bored by any means, but he worried about her well-being.
Draco had told him when they returned that Hermione hadn’t made friends like he had. Sure, all the girls were nice to her and Hermione considered them all friends, but they never hung out outside of study group in the library and meal times. Draco told him that she didn’t seem upset about it, had told him that nobody understood her, but Sirius couldn’t help but worry. It seemed like all he did these days was worry.
Severus had informed them what had happened when Harry and the Weasley spawn had gone after the Stone; even though Sirius was proud of Hermione, more than he could express, he had been scared to death and livid that the Headmaster had hid a stone that would make the Elixir of Life inside a godforsaken school. It boggled the mind, thinking about what the Headmaster considered appropriate to be around children.
Sirius, Lucius, Narcissa, and Severus had sat down with their children at the beginning of the summer and discussed the events of the school year. Hermione had expressed disbelief at the fact that the Headmaster had never gotten with herself and Draco and tried to figure out how they had known about the Stone in the first place; Severus had volunteered that Harry had told the Headmaster that they had discovered the Cerberus together. Knowing that Hermione was no idiot, he must have assumed that she had made the connection and gone from there. Sirius wasn’t so sure that was what had happened, but he decided that he wasn’t going to worry about it.
Lucius had started to give Draco a hard time about letting Hermione go through the trap door, but his daughter had stood, hands on hips, and told her uncle that she had made him go to McGonagall. Honestly, it had been funny to watch since Hermione rarely put her uncle in his place. Cissy had stayed silent but hid a smile behind her hand, showing that she greatly enjoyed her niece’s show of temper as well.
Their dueling training was going well, as well as could be expected. Draco was already excellent, he employed the spells he knew with ease and almost without thinking; Hermione was different. While she was good, she was an exceptionally strong witch after all, she seemed to hesitate too much. Not that she was scared to throw a spell, that wasn’t it at all. She had confided in Sirius that she was never sure which spells to use that would net her the best outcome. In short, she over thought it.
Sirius knew his daughter well and knew that this was going to continue to be a problem for her. Therefore, he and Severus had devised an exercise that helped her in that respect. They threw spells at her and she literally had two seconds to throw a spell in return. She wasn’t as quick as Draco, but she was getting there. He had high hopes that by the end of summer, she would be just as far along as her cousin. Sirius still struggled with the fact that she even had to learn dueling outside the classroom; he knew that she would need it eventually but that didn’t mean that he had to like it.
The animagus watched as Draco stepped away from the dummy after disarming it. His daughter stepped up to take her turn, determined look on her face. It really rubbed her the wrong way that she wasn’t already accomplished at dueling, she was used to being exceptional at everything she did. Lucius never stopped teasing her about it either which just made her scowl at him and give him the silent treatment while she tried even harder.
Severus had come to stay with him over the summer. He had his own manor in Aberdeenshire, the official Prince seat, but he rarely stayed there. The Slytherin told them that since he was the only one that lived there, it was exceedingly lonely, and the elves drove him mad. The children had stayed with him there several times when they were younger but since school had started, they kept their company at Black Moor and Malfoy Manor. Severus also kept the home that he grew up in as a second residence but refused to take the children to Cokeworth with him.
Sirius had never suspected that Severus was wealthy when they were growing up; he had never worn fine clothing and seemed to have second-hand supplies and books for school. It wasn’t until after they had become friends that he learned that his mother had been disowned for marrying a muggle. Since his grandparents had nobody to leave their legacy to, they decided that a half-blood heir was better than no heir. His mother had already been dead by that time, at the hands of the muggle she had married when Severus was only eighteen years old. He still didn’t act like he was wealthy, in fact, Sirius got the distinct impression that he hated the wealth he had, but he had no right to comment or judge, therefore he kept his thoughts to himself. Hermione had just disarmed her dummy and Sirius clapped for her, causing her to blush prettily.
“Well done, poppet, you’re getting better the more you practice.” Draco snickered softly at the glare his daughter sent his way. He chuckled softly at her irritation. He was just getting ready to have Draco start again when he heard Lucius calling through the house.
“Sirius? Where are you?” Sirius rolled his eyes. He knew for a fact that Candy would have told the blond exactly where they were. Therefore, he remained quiet just to further irritate the man. It was only moments later that he burst into the room, said irritation evident in his expression.
“We have a problem, Sirius.” The animagus called a halt to his daughter and cousin, dismissing them to go shower. He knew that Draco had plans with Theo and Blaise and Hermione was going to go shopping with Narcissa since the woman thought that she needed to start on her school robes shopping. Sirius had rolled his eyes at his cousin; Cissy never thought that Hermione had enough clothes. He never complained though, he was always terrified that if he did he would have to take her.
Both children disappeared, and Sirius led his friend to his study. They usually spoke in the library but since the children were home, they took their personal business to his study. It wasn’t accessible to anyone but the Lord Black unless he gave express permission. Since he had no idea what the problem Lucius spoke of was, it seemed like the best option. Once they were settled in chairs before the fire, Candy appeared and poured them drinks. Lucius downed his and held his tumbler out for a refill, only speaking once it was full once more.
“My wards were breached just a bit ago. I couldn’t figure out how or where, I searched the house and grounds thoroughly. The elves did as well and found nothing. After I realized that I wasn’t going to find the perpetrator, I decided to make sure that all our valuables were still in their proper place. Everything was where it should be except for one item.” He took another healthy drink before Sirius spoke.
“What is missing and why does it have you drinking like this?” Lucius glared at him for a few moments before speaking.
“I couldn’t find an old book, a diary to be exact, that the Dark Lord entrusted to me many years ago when I first took the Mark. I’m not sure what it is but it reeks of dark magic, you can’t even touch it without it seeping inside you. It feels like it’s staining your soul.” Sirius’ mind was whirring, trying to think of something that he had read in the family library that may have sounded like that. He was sure that there was something in the back of his mind, but his family library was huge, the same size as Hogwarts. It would take him forever to find something that described an item like that unless he specifically remembered which book he had read it in.
“Do you know why Voldemort had you keep it for him and didn’t just keep it himself?” Lucius shook his head.
“No, when the Dark Lord tells you to do something, you do it and you don’t question him.” Sirius nodded.
“How did someone breach your wards?” Lucius raked a hand through his long hair, a rare show of emotion.
“I have no idea. We have ancient wards, they protect against just about everything out there. I have no idea how someone got through them, nobody has in a hundred years.” Sirius was worried about the fact that someone had breached his wards; his daughter stayed half her summer there and if Lucius’ wards were so easy to get through, his would be the same. The Black family wards were just as ancient. In fact, when he considered his own wards, always fueled by his magic and reinforced by the elves, he remembered adding one ward when he took over, insisting on adding it due to past events in his life. He looked up at his friend sharply.
“Do you have a ward against animaguses that try to cross in their animal form? Black Moor didn’t have one when I took over the family and made sure I added one because of my history with Pettigrew.” The look of fury on Lucius’ face was enough to answer Sirius’ question.
“That fucking rat breached my wards and took something that the Dark Lord wanted kept safe always. How did he even know it was there?” Sirius held his hands up, trying to slow his friend’s train of thought.
“I’m not sure that it was Pettigrew, he hasn’t been seen since that night in Hogsmeade. I’m saying that if you don’t have wards specifically for an animagus, it could be any of Voldemort’s followers that are an animagus. The Order knew that there were several. As for how, I have no idea.” Lucius cursed loudly.
“He would know that I have it and where it was kept if the Dark Lord told him. He instructed me as to where he wanted it kept and it’s clear that he is trying to return, Hermione and Draco’s jaunt in the Forbidden Forest proves that.” Sirius considered his words for several minutes before finally nodding.
“I think that you’re right. If that diary somehow brings him back, that means that Harry will be in danger at Hogwarts. As much as I hate to say it, the Headmaster doesn’t protect him like he should. If Voldemort were to regain his body and storm the castle, he could kill Harry before he has the skill set to beat him at anything. We need to hire the boy a tutor and convince him to stay out of Hogwarts.” Lucius was nodding but looked skeptical.
“I don’t see that happening. The children told us that his home life isn’t good, that he showed up to school in hand-me-down rags and half-starved. He isn’t going to agree to stay there year-round and most muggles don’t like magic; it makes them nervous. I fear that his relatives would never let a tutor in the house.” Sirius deflated; Lucius was right, of course. Petunia had hated magic when they were small, called Lily a freak and told her that she was an anomaly because she was magical. There was no way in hell that she would welcome magic into her house.
“There has to be something that we can do.” Lucius looked thoughtful and Sirius left him to his thoughts. His friend did his best thinking when he was given the time to follow his thoughts in silence. It was several minutes later when he finally spoke.
“How about we send an elf to warn him, tell him to stay out of Hogwarts? Maybe he’ll heed the warning and stay home. If he does, we can just send a tutor and let the Headmaster fight the battle. If he still returns to school, the elf can watch over him and try to protect him if need be.” Sirius considered his words. It wasn’t ideal by any means, but it was all they had at the moment.
“Which elf will we use? I’m scared that if anyone catches a glimpse of my elves, they’ll be recognized. All the pureblood children have been coming here since they were small. Do you have any that aren’t well known?” Lucius nodded.
“Dobby, we’ll send Dobby. I’ll make sure to tell him to stay out of sight unless it’s necessary or unless he can convince Harry to leave school. It will have to work.” Sirius nodded and rose when he saw Lucius rise.
“I need to head home and erect an animagus ward. I’ll send Dobby to Potter tonight. Surely, it would be better to have him appear at night when it’s less likely he’ll be spotted by the muggles.” Sirius nodded and shook his friend’s hand.
“Thank you. I think we should keep this to ourselves; the children don’t need to be worrying about this until we know for sure what the diary is or until we figure out if Voldemort has been resurrected.” Lucius agreed and started out of the study. Sirius followed him to the floo and bid him a good night; they would be meeting the following evening for dinner with friends.
After Lucius left, Sirius settled in the library and considered this new development. Harry could be in danger and while he wasn’t the happiest with Harry at the moment, he still didn’t want anything to happen to him. Draco had forced Hermione to tell them what Harry had said to her that night outside the library; it had made his blood boil that his godson had made his daughter cry. However, the pair had also told him that he had apologized after the Leaving Feast and seemed sincere. Sirius supposed that while Harry was being a little git, it couldn’t be easy having your mind fucked with on a daily basis.
Hermione had been terrified that he would be disappointed in her for giving up. She couldn’t have been further from the truth and he made sure to tell her that he understood her reasons and didn’t fault her for them. His daughter had thrown herself into his arms and thanked him, why he still wasn’t sure, but he had kissed the top of her head and sent her on her way. He could only hope that the truth came out sooner rather than later, especially if Pettigrew really was the person who had breached the Malfoy wards.
Sirius threw back his drink and stood, intent of finding his daughter and spending some time with her before she went shopping since Draco was going to be with his friends. He missed seeing her all the time and planned to make the most out of the summer holidays with her. He pushed the last hour of conversation out of his mind, trusting Lucius to handle his end without problem.
-O-
Minerva stepped outside onto the porch of her highland home, breathing in the Scottish air deeply, letting it fill her lungs and clear her mind. She usually only stayed at her home for a couple weeks through the summer, choosing to stay at Hogwarts for the rest of the time. This year, however, she felt that she needed some space and time to think.
Albus had refused to let her give Hermione Black and Draco Malfoy advanced work; even though she didn’t agree with him telling Harry Potter that he couldn’t learn anything advanced, it had at least been consistent. Fair to both parties. Then, he had called her to his office the night of the Leaving Feast and told her that he had decided to go ahead and let her send extra lessons to the boy, so he could complete them at his leisure. While she agreed that he needed the extra tuition, it made her sick that the Headmaster was alright with it as long as it was Harry.
It was true, she hadn’t been much better at the beginning of the year; she had disliked Hermione Black on principle, just because of who her father was and his past actions. The detention that had been cancelled still rang in her mind; the girl’s words were like a whip lashing at her proverbial back, demanding attention and consideration.
Minerva most assuredly believed that Sirius Black was guilty; there was no way that James Potter would have trusted anyone else with their secret-kept location, they had been best friends since their first year after all. However, she could admit that the girl’s words made her nervous. Would the Headmaster try to look in her mind with legilimency? Would he do something highly illegal just to figure out what was going on in her mind when the girl hadn’t done anything wrong? Did he ransack her mind and not tell her since he knew that she wasn’t skilled in that art?
Minerva hated to think it of her friend but after witnessing his suspect behavior regarding the Slytherin pair after the Philosopher’s Stone incident, she started to wonder. As the Headmaster, Albus should have been worried about the safety of all his students and he hadn’t cared a whit for Black or Malfoy; that much had been obvious, there was no way to hide that. After witnessing his behavior, Minerva had made the snap decision to return to her family home for the whole of the summer holidays.
The day after returning, Minerva had contacted an old friend of her father’s, older than the hills now. She had inquired as to whether he could put her in contact with someone that would teach her occlumency. Though it had taken a few days, he had come through for her. Every day, she took lessons with Bradley Ossenbaum and he was teaching her how to protect her mind.
It had been highly embarrassing; the man had seen all her private moments since she was essentially terrible at the art. He had just laughed at her and told her that everyone was terrible at it at first. He did warn her that since she was a Gryffindor and ruled by her emotions, it would be more difficult to master. While this disheartened her a little, she was just more determined. Bradley told her that while she still had a long way to go, she was doing much better than he had expected. The kicker was that he had finally told her that since she was an animagus, the lessons weren’t needed unless she wanted more control over her emotions. Minerva had felt a huge bout of thankfulness before deciding to continue the lessons anyways. It was her hope to have become accomplished enough in the skill to keep the Headmaster out of her mind when they returned to school and also keep her calmer when she was angry. The best part of the lessons was that she could now tell when someone was trying to enter her mind.
Severus had left school as well, leaving only Filius and Pomona in residence with the Headmaster. He usually left for a few weeks but had informed them after the Express carted away the students that he was going to be leaving for the whole of the holidays. It was odd to say the least, but she didn’t blame him. He was still young and deserved to be happy. Given the brand on his arm, Minerva wasn’t sure if he would find someone that would be so understanding but she knew that he was a good man, despite the image he portrayed to the students.
Severus and Albus thought that they were sly, hiding the fact that the Slytherin wasn’t bigoted and hateful. Sure, he was snarky and sarcastic, but he had loved Lily Potter when they were children, everyone knew it. His school persona was an act and she had a feeling that it had to do with Voldemort returning; he had spied during the first war, she imagined that the Headmaster wanted him to spy for the next one too.
Even though she knew that someone needed to gather information from the other side, she wasn’t sure that it was best if Severus did it. She didn’t think that he would turn on them, but she worried about how he would withstand the legilimency skills of Voldemort. According to Bradley, they were legendary. Minerva shook her head, trying to clear away the thoughts. It did no good to worry about things that she had no control over.
Taking a seat in the chair in the sunshine, she closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind. After all, Minerva was determined to master occlumency by the time term resumed.
A/N- Another chapter is in the books, folks. Nothing too catastrophic happened, just a little insight as to what summer is like for our characters. There is only one more summer chapter and then it’s on to second year! Hope you all enjoyed and big thanks to everyone out there that is reading and reviewing. Y’all rock. Let me know what you think, like or hate it, I appreciate the feedback.
Next chapter, trip to Diagon Alley.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- As always, you guys are just so awesome. Thank you so much for continuing to show such amazing support for me and this story. I know this chapter wasn’t out as fast as usual but real life is kicking my ass. Enrollment, school shopping, tags and taxes, upcoming surgery on my daughter’s foot. Just one thing after another. Anyways, I’ll shut up and get started. Thanks again.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing except the personal plot twist in this story. I haven’t made any money off this story or any others. My bank balance tells no lies.
Chapter 26
August 15, 1992
Harry laid awake in his camp bed in Ron’s room and just luxuriated in the fact that he wasn’t being forced to get up early and make breakfast. He didn’t have a list of chores a mile long and he wasn’t being physically or verbally abused if he did something wrong. It was heaven on earth, almost as good as being at Hogwarts.
Harry’s summer had been eventful. He hadn’t even heard of a house elf when one suddenly appeared in his room at 4 Privet Drive. His aunt and uncle were having an important business dinner and he had been ordered to his room and told not to show his face under any circumstances. The little creature had been loud even though Harry had warned him several times to be quiet, that he would get him in trouble.
Even though he was irritated with the elf, he went by the name of Dobby, he had listened to what he had come to say. Dobby hadn’t been able to say who he belonged to or anything else really, but he had seen fit to warn Harry that if he returned to Hogwarts he would be in danger. Harry, who really wanted to scoff at the creature’s warning, had instead tried to reason with the elf, telling him that he had to return because life at the Dursleys was terrible.
Dobby had become distraught and started banging his head on the furniture and wailing. Harry had tried to reason with him, but it wasn’t going to happen. The elf burst out of his bedroom and had started for the kitchen where his aunt, uncle, and their guests were talking quietly. Dobby had levitated a jello salad into the air and caught Harry’s eyes. He tried to get him to agree to stay away from Hogwarts, but Harry hadn’t made that promise. The result was jello salad being dropped on the wife of Uncle Vernon’s boss’ head.
Harry had been blamed of course, his aunt and uncle had refused to believe that it was a tiny elf that came to warn him about his school. This had resulted in several knocks from Uncle Vernon and being confined to his room with no food or water for several days. The room had been outfitted with bars on the windows and a little kitty door that they eventually started to feed him gruel through.
Since Harry was locked inside his room, so was Hedwig. He couldn’t send for help like he would have dared if he had had a way to do so. He felt terrible for his owl since she was suffering the same fate as he. Harry had finally resigned himself to living the rest of his summer in his bedroom when the Weasleys had made a daring rescue after they hadn’t heard from him in almost two weeks.
Ron, Fred, and George had arrived in the middle of the night in a flying car. After seeing the bars on the windows, they had quickly tied them to the back of their car and ripped them from the house; Uncle Vernon was going to be furious, but Harry didn’t care. He wanted out of 4 Privet Drive at any cost.
George had come through the window and picked the lock to his room, allowing them to get through the house to the cupboard under the stairs where his trunk and broom were locked away. George made quick work of that lock as well and they were quick to gather his things and make their way back up the stairs. While George shoved his things through the window to Ron, Harry gathered the belongings still in his room and threw them in an old rucksack of Dudley’s. All his school books and homework, his clothes, and his parents photo album were shoved in unceremoniously while George grabbed Hedwig’s cage and shoved it through the window.
They had almost been scot free when Fred, who was behind the wheel, floated the car a little too close to the house and bounced the fender off the siding. Harry heard his uncle let out a loud holler from his room and he knew that they were going to have to hurry to make their escape. George had jumped through the window and Ron helped him into the car. Harry had made it to the sill when his uncle had burst through and lunged for him. Uncle Vernon had caught his ankle but with George and Ron both tugging him further into the car, his uncle had let go. Harry had watched, trying his hardest not to laugh, as the portly man lost his balance and fell out of the window into the bushes below.
Of course, Mrs. Weasley had been livid when she had discovered that they had all sneaked out and stolen the car to retrieve Harry. Her fury had softened when they informed her that Harry had been locked in his room with bars on his windows, a small kitty door as the only access to his room. Mr. Weasley had laughed at his son’s antics, that is, until Mrs. Weasley had smacked him in the back of his head, reminding him that he was supposed to be scolding his children.
This had happened two weeks ago and since then, life had been wonderful. The Weasleys were a loud and chaotic family, not even one of them was capable of sitting quietly and reading. Mrs. Weasley was always in the kitchen cooking something. Her food was unlike any that Harry had ever tasted, even better than Hogwarts’ meals. Mr. Weasley was fascinated by muggles and collected all sorts of muggle items in the shed behind their house. Percy stayed to himself, usually in his room but he was always polite to Harry when they spoke. The twins were insane, but they always were. Harry couldn’t even count how many times they had blown something up in their room and rocked the whole house. Ron was Ron, the same as he was at Hogwarts, maybe a bit more respectful than he was at school. He attributed that to the fact that Mrs. Weasley wasn’t scared to take a spoon to her children if she thought they were being disrespectful or rude.
Their sister Ginny was the only one that could be described as even remotely quiet, but Harry noticed that it was just around him. At first, he had thought that she hated him, but Ron had finally told him that she had had a crush on Harry Potter since she was six. To finally meet him and see him in person was her dream come true. While he thought that Ginny was nice, her devotion to his image was disconcerting. He didn’t like that people liked him for surviving the killing curse. He wanted them to like him for who he was. Therefore, he just avoided her when he could to keep the uncomfortable encounters to a minimum.
Life at the Burrow was amazing. Their days were spent playing quidditch in the orchard and swimming in the pond. Harry still worked on his extra homework and sent it to Professor McGonagall, though it wasn’t completed as quickly as he had done at Privet Drive. When Ron found out, he had told Harry that he was crazy for asking for extra work but when Harry hadn’t relented, Ron had buckled down and finally started his own holiday homework. It had taken him a week but since there was no whinging, Harry was going to call it a win.
Harry was excited since today they were all going to be going to Diagon Alley to get their school supplies. Their letters and lists had arrived the day before and Mrs. Weasley had insisted that her husband take the day off work to help her get all their children and supplies to and from Diagon Alley. He had happily agreed, citing that he had a few things that he needed to get himself.
Harry had read his book list several times over, trying to figure out why there were so many defense books needed and they all seemed to be written by the same bloke. Judging by the titles, it seemed like they were just stories, not anything instructive. After reading this, he was even happier that he was doing extra lessons and could only hope that they would continue once he got to school. Mrs. Weasley pulled him from his thoughts, shouting up the stairs that breakfast was ready and that she wasn’t saving any back for those of her children that did not come down. Harry grinned as Ron didn’t even stir. Harry went to his feet and shook his best mate’s shoulder.
“Ron, it’s time for breakfast. Your mum says she won’t save any back if we don’t get down there now.” Ron sat up quickly and scrubbed his eyes before going to his feet.
“Well, come on. What are we waiting for?”
Harry laughed out loud and followed his friend out of their room and down to the kitchen. Nothing came between Ron and his food.
-O-
Hermione had finished her breakfast and had gone back up to her room to retrieve her book and supplies list. Draco had stayed at Malfoy Manor with his parents the night before and they would be flooing over this morning, so they could all go shopping in Diagon Alley together. They had done it last year and Hermione was glad that they were going to be making a tradition of it.
Her summer had gone well; she and Draco had started dueling and while Draco was very good, well, as good as to be expected, she was terrible. Her father, Uncle Sev, and Uncle Luci had all told her that her problem was that she over-thought her reactions; as much as she hated to admit it, she knew they were right. For a month now, she had only been able to use a list of ten spells and only take one second to decide which of them to use. It had been harder than anything she had done so far except for occlumency. However, under their tutelage, she had gotten better. She still wasn’t as good as Draco, but her father and uncles assured her that she dueled better than most fifth years. Now that they knew what to do, she and Draco had promised each other that they would continue practicing once they returned to Hogwarts.
The rest of her summer had been just like the summer before. She had done her assignments from Madam Cambridge, worked on potions with Uncle Sev, who was staying with them this summer. She had read books with Uncle Luci, went riding with Aunt Cissy, and gone on who knew how many picnics with her father. She had even consented to go to the Ministry with him one day to watch him work.
Draco had spent a lot of time with Theo and Blaise, having them over and playing quidditch and other things. They always tried to include her, but she wasn’t interested in flying on brooms. She had gone swimming with them several times in the lake at Malfoy Manor. Pansy and Daphne had sent her numerous invitations to go shopping with them, but she had always turned them down. She had consented to study with Daphne a few times but that was as far as her social activities went.
Her father had expressed worry that she was lonely. Hermione had wanted to laugh but when she saw that he was being genuine, she refrained. She had told him that she wasn’t interested in shopping, that she only went with Aunt Cissy because it made her aunt happy. She didn’t want to go with other girls her age that cared about nothing else. Hermione would have been happy to go riding with them if they had been interested but neither girl liked horses, quoting them as large beasts that would surely kill them if they were to ride astride them.
Hermione had invited the two girls to go swimming with her at Malfoy Manor. Both had accepted and since Draco had invited Theo and Blaise as well, it should have been fine. However, it ended up being awkward and she wasn’t sure why. After it was over, and everyone had returned home except for Hermione and Draco, he had told her that the girls were likely nervous about being seen in their swimming outfits by boys. Hermione wasn’t sure if he was right, but she supposed that it made sense. Pureblood girls were brought up to be modest and never show too much skin. Hermione hadn’t worried because her aunt would never allow her to wear anything that wasn’t proper.
Hermione has assured her father that she wasn’t lonely, that when Draco was spending time with his friends, she would search out himself or her uncles, even Aunt Cissy. She had told him that her goals in life were much different than those of her female friends which made it hard for them to have anything in common. He had accepted her answer and dropped it.
Hermione had dressed carefully that morning. She knew that her Aunt Cissy would expect her to look the part of a proper pureblood girl. Her robes were an icy blue color that matched her eyes perfectly. Her hair was styled into a messy bun that had her wand shoved through it. Even though she couldn’t use magic in Diagon Alley, she didn’t want to be without her only protection now that Voldemort was confirmed to have returned, at least on the spectral plane. Her father had approved of her dress but had suggested that she cast a cooling charm on her robes since it was the middle of August.
Hermione gathered her list and made her way back down to the library where her father was waiting for her and the Malfoys. The Malfoys were already there, chatting quietly while they waited for her to arrive. Once they all realized that she had entered, her father, uncle, and cousin all rose to their feet, Uncle Luci holding his hand out to help Aunt Cissy to her feet. Her father came forward and offered her his arm, something that Draco usually did. She wasn’t going to complain, however. She didn’t get to see her father much anymore since she had started school and she only had a couple more weeks with him before she started her second year.
They all made their way to the floo and one by one, flooed from Black Moor to the Leaky Cauldron. Uncle Luci was on the other side to help Hermione and her aunt out of the fireplace. Her father came through last and waved at Tom the barman before he offered her his arm again. The adults led them out onto the Alley and through the streets. Her father smiled down at her, the sunshine highlighting just how thick his eyelashes really were.
“Where do you want to go first, poppet?” She rolled her eyes, unbelieving that he even had to ask. Draco broke in before she could answer.
“Absolutely not, we are not going to Flourish and Blotts first. We’ll never get the rest of our supplies.” Hermione glared at her cousin since her aunt had instilled in her that it wasn’t ladylike to stick her tongue out at him.
“I’ll have you know that I wasn’t going to say Flourish and Blotts. I was going to say Magical Menagerie, so I could get more food and treats for Tenebris. I’m almost out.” Draco snorted until his mother smacked him in the back of the head.
“Proper young men don’t snort, Draco, especially not at a girl.” Draco rubbed his head while Uncle Luci and her father exchanged amused looks.
“She’s my cousin, she doesn’t count.” Now Uncle Luci smacked him in the back of the head.
“She counts more than anyone because she’s your cousin. We taught you better, as did Madam Cambridge.” Hermione recalled all the etiquette lessons that they both had to endure and wondered how Draco could have forgotten. Aunt Cissy smiled at her husband.
“Magical Menagerie, here we come.”
The five of them started down the Alley towards Magical Menagerie, all of them going inside so Draco could get treats for his owl and her father could have some sent to Black Moor. Usually Candy took care of it but occasionally, he would surprise the pushy little elf and help her out. Once Hermione had enough food and treats to last her kneazle until Christmas, they left the pet store and consulted their list of supplies that they needed. Uncle Luci peered at Draco’s as he spoke.
“Let’s go to Slug and Jigger’s Apothecary next. Both your potion’s kits must be empty after brewing with Severus all summer long.” Nobody had any complaints, so they stopped in just three shops down and ordered all the ingredients that were listed that they needed.
While Hermione never put much stock in having a lot of money and never judged a person if they didn’t have as much money as her family did, she had to admit that it was much easier to shop when you were wealthy. They didn’t have to worry about counting out money or anything of the sort. Her father would simply sign the bottom of the sales slip, authorizing for the money to be taken from their overflowing vaults. It was a luxury awarded to only the wealthiest.
Hermione had visited the family vaults just once before she started her first year at Hogwarts. It had never interested her before so when her father had insisted that she come she had become confused. It had turned into a conversation that she had never expected to have. Hermione knew that her father saw women and had relations with them; she wasn’t stupid and while she could be described as naïve, it was difficult for her to deny it when he reeked of perfume when he came home late at night. He usually waited until she spent the night at Malfoy Manor, but it didn’t always work out like that.
Hermione didn’t mind that he sought physical release. Aunt Cissy had had a long talk with her just months before about sex, her cycle, her growing and changing body and all the attention that she was sure to garner from the boys not only because of her name and fortune but also because she was an exquisite girl, beautiful inside and out. Hermione had been horribly embarrassed, but Aunt Cissy had made the whole situation easier by telling her that Uncle Luci was talking to Draco about it as well.
Hermione understood about sex and that men thought they needed it often. Aunt Cissy had urged her to save herself for her husband, that he would appreciate her gift to him. Hermione had argued that it wasn’t fair for a woman to save herself but not a man. Aunt Cissy had agreed but reminded her just what she thought her cousin would do if he thought that she was having sex with someone. Her aunt had lamented that the double standard wasn’t fair, but it was how their world worked.
Draco had told her that his father had given him the talk as well. He didn’t go into details but had made sure to tell her that he had been instructed that if he ever had sex with a girl before marriage that he was clear that there was never going to be anything serious between them and that he would only be marrying someone that he loved. It had made Hermione sick at the time but since she had no plans to sleep with anyone anytime soon, it was pointless to complain.
Her father had insisted that she visit the vaults because as his heir it was mandatory that she know the extent of their wealth and meet with their accounts manager, the same goblin that had bound her to her father through blood magic so long ago. Hermione had finally gathered the courage to ask him why he wouldn’t have any of his own children and he had been very frank when he told her that by the time he was free to have a relationship, he would be too old to take care of a small child. She had felt sorry for him until he had reassured her that she was more than enough for him to be happy for the rest of her life, that when she did finally get married, her second son would take the last name of Black and carry on the name.
The sheer size of her family’s vault was mind-blowing; Hermione had never seen something so enormous in her life. When her father saw her dumbfounded expression, he had laughed at her as he explained that the Malfoy family vaults were bigger but just by a little. She had been even more surprised when she learned that Harry’s vault was just a little smaller than their own.
After refilling their potion’s kits, Aunt Cissy insisted that they stop at Twilfitt and Tattings before they stopped for lunch. Hermione groaned inwardly, as did Draco, but both had learned long ago to not complain, otherwise it took even longer. Agatha Tatting stepped away from the rest of the customers as soon as she saw them, insisting on measuring Hermione and Draco first. This was the kind of treatment that being wealthy that she hated. Draco didn’t seem to mind but she wasn’t surprised. Draco never liked waiting.
After Aunt Cissy had chosen the fabric for their uniforms and ordered several for each of them, they left the upscale clothing shop and started for a new restaurant that had opened in the Alley just the month before. They had ate there once before and had been impressed so they decided to give it another shot.
Once they stepped foot into the Wizard’s Trap, a maître d’ rushed forward to seat them at a table that Hermione could have sworn had a reserved sign on. They were handed menus, so she started to peruse her options. They served an array of different foods ranging from classic English dishes to fancy French ones, even a few American dishes that Hermione had never tried. Everyone chose carefully, hoping to enjoy their meal the second time around as well.
Hermione ended up choosing the coq au vin, her favorite French dish. Draco rolled his eyes at her but said nothing, probably for fear of angering his mother again. The meal passed quickly, everyone enjoying their food very much. Her father happily left a generous tip while Uncle Luci paid the bill. After lunch, Draco begged to his father to let him get a new broom, so he could try out for the quidditch team; her father was just as excited to go so Hermione and Aunt Cissy stayed outside on a bench while they waited for the boys to finish their shopping.
They discussed her upcoming year at school. Her aunt warned her that while the boys had been interested the year before, they were going to be even more so now. Hermione had started to grow breasts, just small little nubs at the moment, but noticeable through her robes. Her aunt had spent a small fortune buying her the finest lingerie that she could find in her fledgling size. When her father had discovered the purchases, Hermione knew her face had been burning with embarrassment. She couldn’t remember being as happy as she was when the three boys appeared out of Quality Quidditch Supply, brand new broom in Draco’s hand.
Draco was bragging about his new broom to Hermione, going on and on about how it was a Nimbus 2001 and he was going to fly fast enough to get on the team. While she did try to pay attention to him, her attention was riveted on Flourish and Blotts ahead. It was always her favorite stop and while everyone gave her a hard time about whiling away her day in the bookshop, she was well-aware that if they had visited there first, they would have had to drag her out kicking and screaming. Not really behavior she wanted to exhibit in front of her aunt.
As they neared the book shop, the crowd was larger than normal. Hermione remembered how many people had been in there last year when they had went shopping and the number was almost triple. When they reached the windows, it was clear why. Gilderoy Lockhart, the man who had wrote all the books they needed for their Defense class, was doing a book signing.
Hermione could admit that he was handsome. She had never read any of his books, so she had no idea if he was as brilliant as he was always claiming to be, his quotes were all over that rag Witch Weekly. She wasn’t anywhere near as enamored as the rest of the witches in the store, all swooning and batting their eyes in his direction. Her uncle and father groaned when they saw just what they were going to have to brave inside.
Hermione didn’t let them even get a chance at backing out. She took both their hands and dragged them inside, both protesting under their breath. Once they were all inside, Hermione rushed to get a basket, eager to find all her texts. Maybe she could talk her father into getting her the newest book on Arithmancy and Runes as well.
When she grabbed her basket, Hermione caught sight of the last person that she had anticipated seeing there. Harry Potter and the entire Weasley family. She knew that this situation had the potential to go very wrong, but she was going to do her best to make sure that that didn’t happen. She hurried back to her family and pulled them in the opposite direction of the redheads. The mother seemed to be watching Lockhart closely, fanning herself when he looked in her direction. Her husband seemed to be oblivious next to her. Hermione frowned at the display. Even if Aunt Cissy had found the man handsome, she would never have demonstrated that she did, especially in front of Uncle Luci. She would have deemed it as disrespectful to her husband.
When Hermione glanced over at Draco, she realized that he was watching the same scene that she was. His lip was curled upwards in disgust, obviously unimpressed with the woman’s display. She quickly averted her eye when her father reached out and handed her one of the books on her list. He must have seen the Weasleys were with Harry because there was a sharp intake of air. His hand fell to her shoulder as he whispered in her ear.
“There’s Harry, sweetness, Merlin, look how he’s grown. He’s so much bigger than he was last year when I saw him.” She laid her hand over his and squeezed his fingers.
“I know, Daddy. He’s obviously staying with the Weasleys. It’s too bad that you can’t say anything to him.” Before he could respond, Lockhart realized that Harry Potter was there buying his books.
Hermione watched with extreme distaste as the blond man pulled Harry over to his table of books and threw an arm around him, claiming that he was giving him all his books for free since he was going to be their new Defense professor. She was happy to see that there was a disgusted look on his face. After being forcibly held to the man’s side for a series of photos, Sirius started towards the table. Hermione rushed after him, scared that he was going to get into a fight with the man. Her father was known for his volatile temper.
Uncle Luci, however, wasn’t above acting like the Slytherin he was. He drew his wand and cast at her father’s back, freezing him on the spot. Since he was so close to the table, however, he was still able to see Harry and the scene before him unfold. Her aunt and uncle approached together, Draco and Hermione staying only a few steps behind. Lockhart caught sight of Aunt Cissy and removed his arm from around Harry’s shoulders, so he could come forward and catch her aunt’s hand in his. He bent over it to press a kiss to her knuckles before he spoke.
“My biggest fan has come to get my autograph today. You, my dear, are as lovely as a spring day.” There was clear disgust on her aunt’s hand and she could hear Draco growling next to her. She laid a hand on his arm, calming him. Aunt Cissy jerked her hand out of his while Uncle Luci spoke, his voice low and dangerous. Most people assumed that Uncle Luci never got angry because he never yelled. The truth of the matter was that the angrier he got, the quieter his voice got.
“I would advise you to never touch my wife again, Lockhart. I don’t believe in sharing.” Hermione knew in this moment that Lockhart was a blithering idiot. Even people that didn’t know her uncle were backing away.
“Nonsense, it’s just being friendly. Perhaps she would like a signed photo of myself and Mr. Potter?” Lucius stepped further into the man’s space which caused him to back away.
“I suggest that you release Mr. Potter. I’ve been watching this whole time and he doesn’t look most pleased at being your next claim to fame.” Lockhart was just now realizing that her uncle was serious. He quickly backed away from Harry as well. Since it was clear that the confrontation was over, Aunt Cissy reached behind her and waved her wand, releasing her father from his spell. Hermione heard him growl angrily but lost it in the shouting that was now taking place between Ronald Weasley and her cousin.
“Why would Death Eater scum like you and your family care about Harry? What do you want him for? You’re trying to get him to trust you.” Draco stepped forward, angry sneer on his face.
“You don’t get to talk about my family like that. You are only bringing shame to your family, you ignorant lout.” Arthur Weasley stepped forward and clamped down on his son’s shoulder.
“Ronald, shut the hell up. You have no idea what you’re doing.” Ronald glared at his father but remained silent. The elder Weasley turned to Uncle Luci and looked like he was about to swallow something highly unpleasant.
“I apologize, Lucius, it won’t happen again.” Draco snorted next to her but remained silent as well. Her father was standing behind both of them, hands on both their shoulders, while Aunt Cissy was watching with the hardest expression Hermione had ever seen on her face. Lucius’ voice was dripping with disdain.
“See that it doesn’t. You might invest in an etiquette tutor. His manners are atrocious. If he continues to insult my niece, he won’t like what happens. I have no problems allowing my son to defend her honor. The traditional way, of course. From what I hear of your son’s school work, the duel wouldn’t last long.” Hermione cringed. Her uncle always sounded pompous when things like this happened; she knew for a fact that it was going to infuriate the Weasley family. While she didn’t care about most of them, she could see the twins glaring at her uncle.
Rather than come back with a retort, Arthur lunged at Uncle Luci, his fist swinging and catching him off-guard. His fist hit her uncle in the nose, which exploded in blood that poured down his chin and stained his robes. It was clear that her uncle was going to try to spin this as badly as possible for Arthur Weasley, but it wasn’t possible when the red-haired man started for him again. This time, Lucius wasn’t caught unaware. He caught Weasley’s fist and threw his own, knocking Weasley to the ground. It would have worked out great if it hadn’t been for the fact that Arthur had grabbed the front of her uncle’s robes and dragged him down with him.
Hermione lunged forward, worried that her uncle was seriously injured since they were now rolling on the ground. Aunt Cissy grabbed the back of her robes and held fast, refusing to let her go. Her father stepped forward and pulled his friend off Weasley, throwing him behind him so he could attempt to stem the blood still flowing from his nose. Hermione flew from her aunt’s grasp, so she could hug her uncle close before instructing him to pinch his nose shut to stop the bleeding. Her father was now glaring at Weasley, but the red-haired man didn’t seem to be quailing in the least.
“You don’t fuck with my family and your family has done nothing but. The only honorable ones among you are your twins.” Arthur stepped forward proudly, head held high, so he could make sure that everyone heard his words.
“It’s rich that someone who serves You-Know-Who and turns his best friend over to him is lecturing me and my family about honor. The only reason you aren’t rotting in prison is because you were lucky enough to have your brother die off, so you could adopt his child. Trust me, one day she’ll realize that you’re just lying to her and that you and your friend hiding behind you are nothing but murderers and rapists. Then where will you be?” Mrs. Weasley came forward and started pulling on her husband, doing her best to rally her children at the same time.
Hermione left her uncle to rush into her father’s arms, uncaring that it wasn’t seemly or ladylike in the least. He held her close and kissed the top of her head while Aunt Cissy started waving her wand at Uncle Luci, getting the blood to stop. People were no longer staring since the Weasleys had just departed. Hermione saw Harry cast a long glance behind him, almost like he wasn’t sure what he had just seen. She met his gaze for just a moment before Ron grabbed ahold of his arm and pulled him out of the shop.
Aunt Cissy decided that they were all to head back home to Black Moor while she finished shopping for their books. Her father led her out of Flourish and Blotts as regally as he could; they were Blacks after all. Draco and Lucius followed, Lucius trying to remove the blood stains from his robes. Deciding that they didn’t want to walk the Alley all the way back to the Leaky Cauldron, her father grabbed her, and Uncle Luci grabbed Draco. They apparated just outside the door, landing in the entrance hall of Black Moor.
-O-
Sirius couldn’t believe that this had happened. Not only had he finally seen Harry clearly for the first time since he was a year old, Lockhart had used him to further his career. While he always hated admitting that Lucius was right, he would be the first to thank his friend for his actions today. The last thing that he wanted to do was frighten his godson and make him think that he was coming after him for unsavory reasons.
What surprised Sirius the most was the reaction of Arthur Weasley. The man had always been the most laid-back person he knew aside from Remus, so his reaction was just over the top. Of course, the fact that it was Lucius was probably the reason; the feud between their families was legendary.
Sirius would never doubt his daughter or cousin when they told him how horrid the Weasley boy was. It was clear that the boy hadn’t been raised with manners; if he had, none of the knowledge had stuck. After remembering that the twins had apologized in the formal manner, it was clear that they had been taught; the boy just didn’t employ the knowledge bestowed upon him. Sirius had been nasty when he was a child, that much was certain, but at that point in time, he hadn’t cared about manners and making enemies.
Lucius had already been tended by Candy and shed his robes, so Dot could clean them. Hermione was seated next to him, clearly still worried that he was hurt. Sirius chuckled to himself; his daughter always worried even if it was clear that it wasn’t necessary. Finally, Lucius shooed her away good-naturedly, so she came and sat down on his lap. Her head was laid on his shoulder when she finally spoke.
“One of these days, Harry will know the truth and it will be everyone else that he’s angry at for lying to him. I know it sucks but just keep telling yourself that it won’t be forever.” Sirius smiled above her before he kissed her hairline.
“I know, sweetness. I’m being patient. You be patient as well.” She chuckled softly before she spoke again.
“I don’t care about being his friend anymore. I’ll be nice to him and protect him if I need to, but I’ve given up on being his friend. It doesn’t do to dwell on the impossible. I don’t want to be friends with someone that can be nice one second and then say the worst things imaginable the next. I don’t like feeling how he makes me feel.” Sirius wasn’t sure what to say to that. He was quite certain that his daughter had a small crush on his godson but had never voiced it. The last thing he wanted to do was embarrass her about something like that. He understood why his words had hurt his daughter so deeply. She had grown up hearing about how great of a person he would be, how much Sirius loved him, how powerful he was going to be when he was grown. He had always wondered if she hadn’t been just a little bit jealous.
After that thought, Sirius held his daughter tighter, trying to show her that she was important to him. He was just getting ready to tell her so when the floo activated and Cissa entered the library. Her face was a thundercloud of fury and her back was ramrod straight. Sirius sighed.
This was going to be a long night for himself and Lucius.
-O-
Harry laid in bed that night, considering what had happened that day in Flourish and Blotts. The new Defense professor seemed like a total ponce. He wasn’t sure that the man even knew how to hold his wand, let alone cast with it. He had been unimpressed at best.
Harry couldn’t hide his surprise when Malfoy’s father had stepped forward and told the idiot man to back off him. Most everyone talked about how evil the man was and there he was trying to protect Harry. Of course, he supposed that it could be that the man was just trying to gain favor but that wasn’t how it had seemed at the time.
Sirius Black had taken his breath away and not in a good way. He had been surprised to see the man, even more surprised that he hadn’t approached him, especially after how hard Hermione had tried to be his friend last year at school. The only time the man had spoken was when Mr. Weasley had attacked Lucius Malfoy. Harry supposed that the traitor had reacted as normal people would, protecting those they considered family. That was what Mr. Weasley had been doing though even Harry had to admit that while Malfoy hadn’t made the problem better with his comment, Ron had started it by opening his fat trap.
Harry had seen first hand Hermione’s care for her uncle; she had ran into his arms once Sirius Black had separated Mr. Weasley and Malfoy. He had been cold and hard to everyone else, even kept that expression on his face when his son had spoken, but with Hermione, he was all hugs, kisses on her head, and soft words. She had gone to her father next, who hugged her close and kissed her head as well. It was clear that the girl was adored.
Harry was jealous of that; he wanted a family that loved him like that. He hated that he only had the Dursleys, who treated him no better than a slave. He remembered Hermione’s words to him the night that he had been completely horrid to her.
You would have been my brother and we would have loved you like we love Draco.
Harry shoved the thought from his mind; these were dangerous waters. Dumbledore had been clear when he told him the story of his parent’s deaths and how Hermione Black was involved. He had to stay strong and not focus on the Slytherin girl. The last thing he needed now that he was finally getting extra lessons was a distraction, especially a distraction that he wasn’t supposed to have.
Harry rolled over and tried not to pay attention to Mrs. Weasley screaming at her husband downstairs. Ron was already snoring so there was no hope of conversation. Deciding that he was going to put effort into falling asleep, he closed his eyes and focused on the future.
In just two weeks’ time they would be heading back to Hogwarts. Life would be good once again.
A/N- Boom, another chapter down, y’all. Thanks for reading and reviewing, you guys are the bomb. I love the support you guys show me, it keeps me motivated! Anyways, leave me a message and tell me what you think. Reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, everyone returns to Hogwarts for their second year.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- Once again, you guys are just so awesome. I can’t thank you enough for being so supportive and spreading the love. Your reviews keep me motivated, as do your kind words. I just want to bang out more chapters for you! Anyways, my daughter is getting ready to have surgery on her other foot now, on Friday in fact, and I hope to be able to keep writing since she’ll be doped up for the first few days, but we shall see. If it takes me a few days, thanks for being patient. Enough for now, this chapter is just waiting to be written.
**Huge thanks to Lady Firemane for being my 700th reviewer. You’re awesome, girl!**
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing and I’ll never make any money off this story or any of my others. Everything about this story belongs to someone else. All hail our queen J.K.R.
Chapter 27
September 1, 1992
Hermione was bouncing with excitement. She really wasn’t sure why since the school work wasn’t a challenge and she really didn’t have any close friends to look forward to spending time with. She supposed that it was just the thrill she got from the tradition of attending Hogwarts, something she had wanted to do since she was as small as she could remember.
Draco was watching her with amusement as they readied themselves to apparate onto Platform 9 ¾. They were waiting on her father to put his robes on; he had shed them at breakfast. Candy insisted that he dress appropriately when he left the house after smacking him several times with a rolled-up newspaper. The rest of them laughed at the display while her father scowled and hurried to get his robes.
Once he appeared with his robes on, her father took her arm and threaded it through his elbow. She grinned up at him while he waved his wand, lifting the apparition wards long enough for Uncle Luci and Aunt Cissy to apparate out. Her uncle took hold of Draco’s arm and disappeared with a pop, her aunt following them. Her father waved his wand, replacing the ward and smiling down at her.
“I’m going to miss you, poppet.” Hermione let go of his arm and hugged him close.
“I’m going to miss you too, daddy. Christmas seems like a long time away.” Her father carded his fingers through her curls.
“It’ll be here before you know it. Promise me that you’ll be safe once you get to the castle. I know that Severus will look after you, but I don’t want you taking unnecessary risks. We both know that Dumbledore won’t care if you get hurt.” Hermione nodded against his chest.
“I promise, daddy. I won’t do anything stupid.” Her father chuckled as he released her, pulling her hand back into his elbow.
“Let’s go before Lucius and Cissy start thinking that we’re not coming.” Hermione chuckled.
“Alright, let’s go.” Her father twisted on the spot and they reappeared on the Platform. There were children and their parents bustling all over the platform, yelling at their friends and hauling their trunks onto the train. Hermione wasn’t sure why the parents didn’t just shrink the trunks for their children so they could stow them in their pockets but what did she know?
Hermione kept her eyes open for Harry and the Weasley family. Her father was deep in conversation with Thoros Nott, Uncle Luci joining them. Draco had disappeared to talk to Theo and Blaise and she had no idea where Aunt Cissy was. Hermione didn’t mind; it freed up her attention to make sure that her would-be brother arrived safely. After several minutes of scanning the crowd, Hermione finally caught sight of the Weasley matriarch, but she didn’t see Harry or Ronald anywhere. The train whistle blew, alerting Hermione to the fact that it was time to board the train and start their journey to Hogwarts.
Her father hugged her close, kissing the top of her head, before releasing her with a smile. He didn’t say anything since they had exchanged their farewells before leaving Black Moor. Draco was shaking his father’s hand, but he quickly moved on to comfort his mother and tell her that he would miss her. Hermione floated into her uncle’s embrace, burying her face in his robes so she could memorize the smell of his expensive cologne. His fingers ran through her curls much the same way her fathers had before he kissed her forehead softly.
“Stay safe, Hermione, do well in class and don’t let the others bully you. I know that you’re different than the other girls your age but don’t allow them to snub you.” Hermione squeezed her uncle tightly.
“I won’t, Uncle Luci. The girls are nice to me, don’t worry about that. I’ll make you proud.” He gave her an adoring smile before gesturing for her to hug her aunt while Draco moved to shake her father’s hand. Her aunt hugged her close, smoothing her hair where the others had run their fingers through it.
“Be good, Hermione, do well in class, and make us proud.” She nodded against her aunt’s chest, the silk of her robes soft against her cheek. She could hear her father and uncle charging her cousin with looking after her and keeping her safe. The whistle blew again, cutting the talk off short, which meant that Hermione and Draco were now due to board or miss the train entirely.
Draco grabbed her hand and held it in his, pulling her onto the train. As the Express started to pull away, Hermione stood at the window, waving at her family, knowing that she was going to miss them dearly while she was gone. Once they could no longer see Platform 9 ¾, she let Draco lead her through the train, so they could find a compartment.
Hermione really wasn’t in the mood to sit with all their friends; they would be loud and boisterous, excited to see each other and to head back to Hogwarts. It was true, Hermione was excited as well, but she wasn’t nearly as excited as her friends would be. However, when Draco pulled her into the compartment that housed all their first-year friends, she didn’t argue about joining them. It made Draco happy since he was a far more social being then she was.
While the others caught up with everyone, Hermione dug into her pocket and pulled out one of the new books that her father had allowed her to order from Flourish and Blotts. It was over warding, a subject that she had taken interest in over the summer. They had learned basic warding with Madam Cambridge, but she was anxious to start trying the more difficult wards listed in the book she was now trying to read.
Her friends all groaned when they saw her retrieve a book. Hermione did her best to ignore them; it usually worked any other time they gave her a hard time about always reading or studying. Draco was quick to shush them, informing them that Hermione was the reason that their house had so many points last year and it was in their best interest to not keep her from her studying. Daphne was the only one that showed any interest after his statement, asking her quietly what her book was about. When she explained to the blond girl, Hermione could see that the girl was confused at her explanation but seemed genuinely interested.
The train ride passed with little to no fanfare. The witch that pushed the trolley came around several times, all her friends buying more sweets than they had sense. Hermione only shook her head in wonder as she watched her fellow snakes devour obscene amounts of sugar. Hermione herself had bought a single sugar quill, her favorite, but only for as long as it took her to eat only one. Greg and Vince were trying to hurry and finish their holiday homework, something that Hermione and Draco had finished within the first few days of returning home. She watched on in exasperation, knowing that their grades were going to be terrible since the job was so rushed.
It was nearing dark when Draco stood and suggested that all the boys leave and allow the girls to get into their school robes. They all took their own robes with them, citing that they would find another compartment to change in. Hermione was quick to change, simply sliding her school robes over her every day robes that she had worn to the Platform. Daphne followed her lead but Pansy, Millie, and Tracey all changed completely, folding their robes and placing them in their stowed away trunks.
The boys returned as well, their school robes in place over their usual robes. They took their seats again and everyone started complaining that they were starving, more than ready for the Welcoming Feast at Hogwarts. Hermione’s mind once more returned to Harry and the Weasleys; had she just missed the pair in the crush of people? Had they boarded the train before she caught sight of them? She knew that she shouldn’t worry but she just couldn’t help herself. It was a habit formed many years ago and it was hard to break now that she refused to continue to try to be his friend.
The whistle blew again, and the train rolled to a stop, much the same way that it had the year before. Hermione stood with the others, tucking her book into her robes so she could read at dinner if she needed to. They filed off the train together, excited chatter all you could hear in the dark of the late summer night. Hagrid could be heard off in the distance, hollering to everyone as they approached.
“Al’ righ’, everone’ head ta the carriages. Firs’ years, come wit’ me.” Hermione knew that he couldn’t help it, but his speech drove her half-mad. She had been brought up to enunciate her words clearly and she sometimes had a hard time understanding the half-giant.
Hermione let Draco thread her arm through his and pull her towards where the carriages were standing. As they neared them, Hermione remembered that the students always spoke of the horseless carriages pulling them to Hogwarts. It was in this moment that she realized they weren’t horseless at all. Her other hand found Draco’s forearm, clutching it tightly.
“They aren’t horseless. They’re pulled by thestrals.” Understanding dawned on her cousin’s face and he patted her hand softly. Theo scrunched up his face and looked confused.
“What are thestrals? The carriages look horseless to me.” Hermione let go of her cousin, so she could stroke one on the neck. When it whickered softly, the others startled. Hermione smiled softly as the beast started to nuzzle her shoulder.
“Thestrals are kind of like horses but they look vastly different. You can’t see a thestral unless you’ve seen someone die.” Hermione knew that the question was coming so she wasn’t surprised but that didn’t mean that she wanted to answer it. It was Blaise that asked it of her.
“Who have you seen die?” Draco stepped forward, obviously aware that she really didn’t want to talk about it. Hermione was quick to answer, however. She didn’t want her cousin to fight with his friend over an innocently asked question.
“My mother. An organization called the Order of the Phoenix wanted information on my Uncle Lucius, so they decided to raid my mother and I’s home when I was only two. They blasted in the door and it hit her in the head. They didn’t mean to, but it killed her. At least, I don’t think they meant to.” They were all looking at her with pity in their eyes, something she realized that she didn’t care for in the least. Pansy was the next to speak.
“That’s how you ended up with your dad.” Hermione nodded as she gave the thestral one last pat on the nose. Draco was there next to her instantly, helping her into the carriage. Once she was fully ensconced inside, Hermione heard him hissing at the others. It was completely unnecessary, but she appreciated it nonetheless.
“Nobody is to tease her about this or you’ll answer to me.” Theo was the one she heard respond, probably because his mother had died when he was young as well, though it was in childbirth.
“Mate, we would never tease her about something like this. Even though some of our parents aren’t the nicest, none of us can imagine losing them.” Draco entered next, taking the seat next to her. She gave him a knowing look, but he didn’t meet her eyes. She wrapped his hand in hers and squeezed it, showing that she appreciated his words.
The journey to the castle was relatively short, only ten minutes or so since they were coming from Hogsmeade station. Hermione couldn’t help but think that it was less exciting than the trip across the Black Lake. Conversation about quidditch and dread for their classes ensued but Hermione tuned them out. She watched the scenery out of the window even though she couldn’t see much in the dark.
They pulled up to the castle and everyone filed out of the carriage, the boys helping the girls out with a hand down. Since Hermione had been the first in, she was the last out, only for Draco to hand her down from the step like a proper gentleman. Hermione stopped for a few moments to survey the castle in darkness of the night.
Her second year at Hogwarts had officially arrived.
-O-
Harry was beginning to panic. They had been running late to the Platform already due to something going wrong with the car that Mr. Weasley had tinkered with, giving it the ability to fly. Mrs. Weasley had insisted that she go through first since she had Ginny and it was her first year; she wanted to get the young girl a spot on the train, so she wouldn’t have to worry about it. In the time that he had spent with the Weasleys, it was clear that Ginny was spoiled and got most anything that she wanted.
Harry and Ron had volunteered to come through the barrier to the Platform last since Percy was in a rush to get to the prefect’s carriage and the twins were whinging about not getting a good compartment. The pair had decided to run through together, a bad decision on their part since when their trolleys hit the barrier, they bounced back and flipped both boys onto their arses.
There were several irritated looks shot their way from passing people; Harry had learned long ago to not them bother him. Ron, however, wasn’t used to it and he also wasn’t used to remaining calm. He had instantly started freaking out, telling Harry that they were never going to get through the barrier and that they needed to do something to get to school or risk getting expelled.
“Let’s fly the car to Hogwarts, Mum and Dad can always apparate back home.” Harry considered his friend’s words.
“Ron, that sounds like a terrible idea. Your parents have to come back to the car to take it home, we should just wait for them there. They can send an owl to Professor Dumbledore and tell him what happened.” Ron didn’t look convinced, but he nodded anyways. Harry reloaded his trolley and started to push it towards the exit. Ron was following behind him, watching everything and everyone around him. It was clear that he had never been to the muggle world before aside from last year when they had come through the barrier to Platform 9 ¾. Harry called out for him to hurry up, citing that they didn’t want to miss his parents.
Once outside, finding the car was easy enough. It was a baby blue Ford Anglia, a little beat up, but nothing too terrible. Since the doors were unlocked (Mr. Weasley obviously didn’t know any better), the pair loaded all their belongings into the back seat since they weren’t sure what the Weasley parents were going to do with them.
Harry and Ron stood out in the hot sunlight for over an hour, waiting for the elder Weasleys to return. Ron was growing agitated that they were still waiting, and Harry had to admit that he was getting worried. Did the Weasleys meet friends on the Platform and decided to go somewhere for lunch? Were they going to pick their car up after dark when less people would notice them flying off? Different scenarios played out in his mind, making him even more worried when the two-hour mark hit. Finally, Ron spoke again, anger evident in his voice.
“This was a stupid idea. Obviously, they had other plans and they aren’t coming back anytime soon. I say we take the car before we’re late for the start of term. You know it begins when the Feast starts.” Harry was torn; should he give in to Ron and take the car, probably earning him a tongue lashing like he had never had before from the Weasleys or did he not take it and take the chance of not getting to school on time? His decision was made for him when Ron crawled into the driver’s seat of the car and started it up.
“Get in Harry. We’re going.” Harry heaved a sigh; there was no putting Ron off when he got like this. He opened the door and crawled in, taking a seat in the passenger side. Neither one of them had ever driven the car, let alone flown it, so the take off was jerky. However, Harry had to give it to Ron; he mastered it quickly and got up to a good speed in the parking lot of King’s Cross station. Once they were around back, Ron leaned over and hit the button that made them fly, the very button that Mr. Weasley had fixed just that morning.
The car rose in the air without problem. Harry was surprised to be honest but quickly became worried as they rose over the roof of King’s Cross.
“Make it invisible, Ron, otherwise the muggles will see.” Ron swore loudly as he reached over to hit another button. The car shimmered slightly, indicating that the car was now indeed invisible.
Ron took the car in the direction that the Express usually went, hoping that they would eventually see the train and be able to follow it. The train didn’t travel at such speeds that they wouldn’t be able to catch up to it. It was over an hour later that Harry pointed off in the distance, catching sight of the speeding red train in the distance.
“It’s over there, Ron, we need to veer left.” Ron obeyed, relief clear on his features that they had finally figured out which way they needed to go.
They followed the train for several hours. Harry was getting hungry and thirsty, not to mention he needed to use the loo. Ron was complaining of the same things but there was nothing that they could do without losing valuable time. It was nearing dark when they finally caught sight of Hogwarts in the distance. Rather than continue following the Hogwarts Express, Ron started in the direction of the castle. Harry was unsure where they were going to land the car and just how much trouble they were going to get into for doing so.
Darkness had fallen, and it was clear that they were very close to the castle when a loud clanking noise was heard, and the car started to drop at a rapid pace. Ron was hitting the first button he had pushed over and over, frantically trying to get the car to start flying again, but it was to no avail. Finally, the car gave out entirely and started to plummet to the ground.
Harry was quite sure that he was going to die on Hogwarts grounds. The ground was rushing up at them at an alarming pace and Ron was screaming. Harry could do nothing but focus on the heavy thud of his heart in his chest. He had finally closed his eyes, prepared for the smashing into the ground, when they landed hard on something and then slipped further down. When Harry opened his eyes, he realized that they were in a tree.
The tree, however, wasn’t a typical tree that you would find anywhere else on the grounds. It was angry and was whipping its branches back and forth, doing its best to dislodge them. When they got stuck in the crotch of a rather large branch, a branch the size of a basketball came through the back window of the car and then out through the windshield, grabbing ahold of the car and flinging it out of its depths.
Harry slammed into the dash when the car landed, then the door when the car rolled over. It came to a stop once it was on its wheels again and Harry had never been more grateful. However, he hadn’t been expecting the car’s doors to open abruptly and throw them bodily from the car. Their trunks and Harry’s owl cage followed after them, Harry thanking Merlin that he had sent Hedwig on the day before, so she could get some air under her wings. He landed with a thud, Ron on the opposite side, while the car started up again and drove off into the Forbidden Forest.
Harry sat there for a few moments, considering what had just happened to them. Truthfully, they were lucky that they weren’t dead. That tree hadn’t wanted them in its branches and it had fought back against them with a vengeance. They were surely going to be in deep trouble now. Despite the ache in his back and side, the throbbing in his head, Harry stood carefully and gathered his belongings while Ron did the same.
“Come on, Ron. Let’s get up to the castle.”
-O-
Severus was livid. He was standing in the Hospital Wing with Albus and Minerva, looking down upon an injured Boy-Who-Lived and the Weasley spawn. They had flown and wrecked a flying car on Hogwarts grounds after deciding that since they couldn’t get through the barrier that they would take their transportation into their own hands.
In truth, the Weasley parents had been rabid with worry. When they hadn’t found the two boys on the Platform, they had been sure that a Death Eater had taken them. They had immediately apparated to the castle, alerting Dumbledore and calling for a search. Everyone had flown into action, hoping to find the boys before the one hope for the light side of the war was dead.
Potter had informed them they hadn’t been able to get through the barrier and had decided to go wait by the Weasley family car, so they could have them get ahold of the castle. They had told them that they had waited for over two hours before deciding to take the car themselves, citing that the Weasley couple must have had plans. Weasley admitted that taking the car had been his idea but Potter had not stopped him.
Severus supposed that he couldn’t fault them for thinking that Arthur and Molly had had plans. They had admitted to not returning to their car after they couldn’t find the boys. However, rather than flying a piece of shite car that worked only half the time, they should have continued to wait until someone returned. Then they wouldn’t be in the position they were in now, injured and in trouble in the Hospital Wing.
“Do you have any idea how easily you could have been killed? Not only that, you damaged a decades old tree on the grounds. Hopefully Professor Sprout can mend it. I don’t care that you would have been waiting in that dingy parking lot all day; you should have waited and not been so reckless. To think our bright and shining hope of the wizarding world doesn’t even have the sense to keep his own hide safe.” Albus shot him a dirty look, silencing him with his eyes.
“Harry, Ron, what you did tonight was very reckless and very dangerous. Severus is right, you could have been killed and you did injure the Whomping Willow. However, I understand that you did make the right decision first, you waited for over two hours and nobody returned. While this shouldn’t be a proud moment, I understand why it happened.” Severus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. If that old bastard tried to award them points for such a stunt he was going to tender his resignation and tell him to find someone else to protect the idiot boy.
Severus wasn’t used to being around such reckless behavior; he was the consummate Slytherin and the two children that he dealt with on a regular basis would never have been stupid enough to fly an enchanted car from London to Scotland just, so they wouldn’t be late for classes. The pair of them both kept going on about the barrier not working for them and having no idea why. Albus seemed just as stumped. Severus was not, however.
Sirius and Lucius had told him of their idea to use Dobby to try to dissuade the boy from returning to the castle. House elves magic was a branch all on its own and since he doubted an everyday wizard couldn’t confound the barrier, he assumed it was the elf’s last-ditch effort to keep him home. While he knew that the attempt would never work, he had to give it to he elf that he had tried. Severus couldn’t keep the bite out of his tone.
“I know you aren’t going to award these boys points, Albus. That disgusting display at the end of the year didn’t win you any friends. This would do irreparable damage to your reputation.” The Headmaster’s eyes flashed for several seconds before the anger was replaced with twinkling once more.
“No, Severus, I think that detention is in order. Two nights a piece with Professor McGonagall to be served starting tomorrow.” Both boys looked incredulous, completely surprised that they were getting off so easily. Severus was still seething inside; if it had been Draco or Hermione, they would have been expelled. He knew that it would do no good to say anything, however. Once the Headmaster’s mind was made up, it was made up.
With a single look, Albus indicated that he wanted Severus to follow him. He knew that the Headmaster was angry, and he was going to be scolded but he wasn’t going to lie down and take it. The Weasley parents had already seen both boys and told Severus and Albus that they would support whatever punishment they decided on; they weren’t looking to be lenient on the boys, why should they? Severus followed him through the corridors until they were ensconced in the Headmaster’s office behind closed doors. Albus spun around quicker than he remembered ever seeing the man move, his eyes flashing once more.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that in front of students again, Severus, or I’ll have your job.” Severus took a step forward as he started to laugh.
“You can have my job. Find yourself someone else who will protect your precious Harry Potter like I do and then spy for you on the Dark Lord. Good luck with that.” Severus didn’t wait around to hear what the man had to say. He was only two steps from the door when the Headmaster spoke.
“I’m sorry, Severus, I never should have said that. Please stay and discuss this.” Severus pinched the bridge of his nose before turning and facing Albus.
“You made no friends last year when you awarded 120 points to your old house and only 30 to Slytherin when they were all involved in saving the Stone. The whole school saw your blatant display of favoritism and it did you no favors. To do so again, coupled with the fact that the Malfoys and Sirius Black would love to have you booted out of here, would be the final nail in your coffin. Then who would guide the boy as he got older and strived to fulfill his destiny?” It made him sick to say such things but there was no other way. While he didn’t approve of the methods, Harry Potter was still being protected by Albus Dumbledore and that still carried weight in most circles. With the Dark Lord trying to find a way to implant himself into a body again, it was imperative that the boy was kept safe. The Headmaster sighed and flopped back into his chair looking older than Severus could ever remember seeing him.
“You’re right, of course, Severus. I know the trials that the boy will face as he gets older and awarding those points was a way to boost his confidence. I’ll take your words into consideration next time.” Severus knew that this was likely a lie, but he didn’t voice it. He just nodded his head respectfully before speaking again.
“Both boys are alive and well and have been punished. Let us not speak any further of it.” Albus nodded gratefully. The Slytherin spoke again, this time to make his excuses. He had a letter to write when he got back to his quarters, informing his friend just how reckless his godson had been.
“It’s late and I have much to prepare for class in the morning. I shall take my leave.” His one-time friend gave him a small smile.
“Of course, Severus. I’ll see you at breakfast.”
Severus stood and swept out of the office, robes billowing behind him.
A/N- There you are, folks, yet another chapter. It wasn’t as long as most of my others but some of them won’t be. Nothing catastrophic in this chapter, no interaction between our favorite pairing, but it was needed for the plot. Who could forget the flying car? Thanks to everyone reading and reviewing, you guys are rock starts. Ha-ha, anyways, let me know what you think of it, I do love hearing your thoughts. Reviews make me smile.
Next chapter, an encounter between Harry and Hermione and a birthday.
Love,
Alicia

Chapter Text

A/N- I’m back, guys! To everyone out there that wished my daughter well with her surgery, thank you so much. It went well, and she is now home recovering. Hopefully, her skin graft will heal faster than the last time. Thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, and favorited this story, you guys are just awesome. Enough for now, let’s get this chapter written!
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Harry Potter and Co. but no such luck. I’m sure this idea has been done before by some of the thousands of fanfiction writers that came before me. I haven’t made any money off my stories, if I had, I would have quit my job a long time ago.
Chapter 28
September 19, 1992
Hermione was seated in her usual seat by the window waiting on her cousin to meet up with her to head to breakfast. The girls had all been sleeping still when she had come down; none of them were early risers and took every second they could to sleep. The boys were better about getting up early, though she was convinced that that was only the case because Draco was the one rising early.
Today was Hermione’s thirteenth birthday; her father, aunt and uncle had all sent their gifts to her the night before, so she wouldn’t get embarrassed at the table that morning when the owls arrived, something that she appreciated more than she could say. She already had enough admirers, the last thing that she wanted was for them to discover when her birthday was, so she would never get a moment’s peace on her special day. She was pulled from her thoughts by the stairs creaking slightly. Draco appeared in the doorway, immaculate and as handsome as ever. He rushed her, pulling her to her feet so he could spin her in a circle.
“Happy birthday, Miney! You’re the big 1-3, you’re getting so old!” Hermione couldn’t help but to laugh at his antics. He rarely acted so carefree anymore. When he quit spinning her, she hugged him tight.
“Thanks, Drake. It doesn’t seem like I’m thirteen; it seems like just yesterday that we were having tea parties.” Draco glared at her and shushed her loudly.
“Shut it, Miney, nobody needs to know about those days.” Hermione grinned at him but mimed locking her lips and throwing away the key. Once he was appeased, he offered her his arm.
“May I escort the birthday girl to breakfast?” She curtsied to him.
“Of course, fine sir. Lead on.” Now Draco grinned before threading her hand through the crook of his elbow and pulling her towards the entrance to the common room.
They traversed the corridors quickly since there were hardly any people out and about yet. It was one perk of being up early that they both enjoyed. The pair entered the Great Hall to find that there were only a few Slytherins at their table, all deep into the texts before them, blindly spooning food into their mouths. Since they were all the same age, Hermione had a feeling that one of the classes was being given a test that day.
The pair took their usual seats and spooned themselves up breakfast. While Draco helped himself to a full English breakfast like he usually did, Hermione only took a small portion of eggs, a bowl of fruit, and a slice of toast. She had never been a big eater and when her father had consulted with a healer because of her small size and stature, the man had informed him that she was perfectly healthy, that she would just always naturally be smaller than others her age. Even though she was teased here and there about it, Hermione didn’t let it bother her; Uncle Luci had told her that her mother had been the same way.
Students began to trickle into the Great Hall, all ready to start their day with breakfast. Hermione didn’t usually people watch since she was always reading or studying but today she made an exception. Not that it lasted long since Neville, Fred, and George headed her way, only to plop down on either side of her. Fred threw his arm around her shoulders before kissing her cheek loudly, George following suit immediately after. Neville and Draco watched with thinly veiled amusement as she wiped her cheeks.
“A little birdie told us that today is your birthday. Since we weren’t informed ahead of time, we weren’t able to get you a gift, therefore, we gifted you with kisses from the most handsome men in school. Birds are going to be jealous of you now.” Hermione couldn’t help but to laugh at the ridiculousness of their statements. Sometimes she really couldn’t understand how they were from the same family as Ronald Weasley.
“Thank you, but don’t tell anyone. I don’t want a huge deal made about it.” Both twins looked horribly offended.
“You aren’t going to have a party? What kind of birthday is that?” Draco answered before she could.
“That’s right, now that they brought it up, Hermione’s birthday party is going to be tonight in the Slytherin common room. The three of you are invited.” Hermione groaned and buried her face in her arms while the four boys conversed over her head. When she finally picked her head back up, she glared at all of them.
“I hate you all.” Both twins kissed her cheek again, laughing at her scowl.
“You love us, quit lying. Liars don’t make friends.” Before she could retort, the three of them stood again.
“We’ll see you tonight, Hermione.” Feeling as though she had just lost an argument that had never been started, she turned to her cousin.
“You know I hate parties.” He had a mischievous look in his eye as he answered.
“I know, but they’re good for you. Reminds you that there is more to life than learning and books. You’re going to go and you’re going to have fun. No reading, no pretending that you’re sick, you’re going to eat, drink, dance, and be happy.” Hermione, while annoyed, couldn’t help but to smile at Draco. He was only doing what he thought was best for her and in the grand scheme of things, what was one night of no studying?
Hermione gave him a nod in agreement before returning to her meal. Her friends had arrived and were feeding themselves in a rush even though the bell was getting ready to ring; she didn’t feel bad for them. If they had gotten up earlier, they wouldn’t have had to rush to get any food. Draco was watching their friends in amusement as well, his plate clean in front of him.
The bell rang signaling that it was time for them to head to their first class of the day. History of Magic was up first, one of the worst classes in Hogwarts. Hermione had always found the subject fascinating and loved learning it when it was taught by Madam Cambridge; when it was taught by Professor Binns, however, she couldn’t help but to want to fall back asleep. It was no wonder that everyone dropped the class once they had their O.W.L.s.
Hermione took her customary seat next to Draco at the front of the room; it was all she could do to try to stay awake through the lectures. The rest of the class didn’t even bother to try except for Harry. Even though he struggled to focus on what the lecture was over, he always tried and appeared to take a decent number of notes. It was better than Draco managed, she had to give him that. Draco always fell asleep against her shoulder and when he would start to drool she would nudge him roughly, causing him to snort himself awake. He would always glare at her but would always resume his position once he couldn’t handle the lecture any more.
They were still covering the goblin wars; it had seemed like that was all they had learned the year before. Her father had told her that the first five years of History of Magic would be spent learning about conflicts through the ages; her Uncle Sev had told them that if they pursued N.E.W.T. level, they would start to cover the government and how it was formed, not to mention the first blood war. Even though the ghost bored her to tears, she planned on getting as many N.E.W.T.s as possible when the time came which meant that she would be suffering through seven years of monotonous lecture.
Class passed without anything catastrophic happening. Hermione had added nothing to her notes from when she had learned the same things from Madam Cambridge, but she was proud of herself for staying awake. It seemed that Harry was the only other person that could honestly make that claim. The bell rang, dismissing them to their next class, in this case, Potions.
Hermione wasn’t excited for Potions either. While she loved Potions and had helped her uncle experiment over the summer, the course work wasn’t going to be difficult for her; she had done it all years ago. Her uncle had been forbidden by the Headmaster to give them advanced work, so she was stuck with doing the bare minimum of thinking and doing the assigned work.
Draco escorted her to Potions and dropped her at her seat. Her uncle, during their very first class of the year, had ordered them all to pair up with someone of the opposite house. Hermione had hoped that Harry would consent to be her partner, but he had headed for Draco, refusing to meet her eye. She had sighed, hoping that Neville would agree to partner her. However, Pansy had beat her to it and they were seated together near the back of the room. None of the Gryffindors had wanted to be her partner so she had been the last one standing there with Weasley. It was the first time that she had ever dreaded Potion’s class but certainly not the last.
Weasley wasn’t nice to her in the least; in fact, he questioned everything she did and told her that she didn’t know what she was doing, even though he had yet to receive a passing grade in the class. Her uncle graded by the work they put into the potion, not the ending outcome, especially when the potion was perfect. It would hardly have been fair for Weasley to receive an Outstanding when he had done nothing but complain and criticize.
After that first class, her uncle had held her back and apologized profusely for her ending up with Weasley; he knew the boy wasn’t nice to her in the least, he had docked points numerous times in the past for being mean and hateful to her. She had assured him that it was fine, that she could deal with him for just one class. Besides, it wasn’t like he was trying to harm her, he was just being his usual idiot self.
They were brewing the hair-raising potion that day since they had lectured over it just the day before. Weasley had told her that he knew they were going to fail it, but she had just rolled her eyes. She had mastered this spell when she was eight years old and had no intentions of failing it today. When he saw her rolling his eyes, he raised his hand in the air. The room went quiet as everyone realized that a Gryffindor had his hand up in Potion’s class. Her uncle’s voice was silky and soft when he called on him.
“What do you need, Mr. Weasley? You are supposed to be brewing a potion.” His arm came down and a satisfied look spread across his face.
“I expressed the fear that we were going to fail this potion and Black rolled her eyes at me. She’s going to fail us on purpose just so I won’t pass the class.” Hermione could see Harry bury his head in his hands and Draco’s eyes were flashing. Her uncle clasped his hands together behind his back as he ambled his way over to their table.
“I assure you, Mr. Weasley, Miss Black could brew this potion in her sleep. She has yet to turn in a single potion that wasn’t perfect. As to your grades, they would be better if you would shut your trap and attempt to help her. I suggest you do so now or you’ll find yourself in detention with me tonight.” Hermione caught the barest wink from her uncle before walking back the way he came.
Weasley kept his mouth shut the rest of the period. As always, Hermione did most of the work, but he had agreed to fetch ingredients for them. The potion was perfect and when they turned it in, Uncle Sev had made it a point to inspect the vial of liquid and declare it perfect. Hermione wanted to laugh at the expression on the redhead’s face but had decided against it in the end.
The bell rang again, and they were dismissed to lunch. Hermione let Draco go ahead with his friends while she hung back to walk with Daphne. She suspected that there had been a slight falling out between the two girls since the blond had started walking more with Hermione than her other friend. Nobody had said anything as to what had happened between the two girls, but she supposed that if they wanted others to know they would surely tell them. That was all Hermione needed to know to keep out of it entirely.
After they reached the Great Hall, Hermione took a seat between Adrian Pucey and Daphne, the former trying to start a conversation with her about quidditch and the latter watching with laughter in her eyes. Hermione gently explained that she never watched much of the sport, but the boy wouldn’t leave her be and let her read. He kept telling her that he couldn’t believe that since her cousin was going to be trying out that very weekend for the Slytherin team. Hermione did her best to be polite but swore that she would never sit by the boy again.
The others ate their meals while she pushed hers away. She had been hungry when they entered but being hounded by Pucey had put her off her appetite. Deciding that she was going to have to be rude, she pulled out her book despite the constant chatter aimed her way. It only took a couple minutes for the boy to grow tired of being ignored and turn back to his own friends. When she finally looked up, Draco was silently laughing at her. Rather than be mature, she stuck her tongue out at him.
The bell rang again, signaling that lunch was over. Hermione sighed. That meant that it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts and the bumbling idiot Professor Lockhart.
-O-
Harry started to gather his belongings after the bell rang to head to their first afternoon class. They had Defense next and he dreaded it. The professor from Flourish and Blotts was a complete ninny, he had no idea what he was doing. Harry also strongly suspected that his books were all a lie too.
Professor Lockhart constantly tried to get him to come up to the front of the room and help him act out scenes from his book. He had outright refused several times but that never stopped him from trying. The worst part was that while the other blokes in the class were just as sickened as he was, most of the girls had eyes only for him. They watched him with rapt attention and there were stars in their eyes when they turned in their homework.
Parvati and Lavender were the worst. Harry had caught his friend doodling the words Mrs. Parvati Lockhart in her planner, drawing little hearts around it. Lavender just stared awkwardly, making Harry feel bad that she didn’t realize how stupid she looked. While the girls from Slytherin weren’t nearly as obvious, they still watched him closely. Hermione Black was the one exception.
Hermione almost always pulled out a book from the depths of her bag and would read it instead of listening to the lecture. Since the qui