[This is going to be a fucking doozy. Strap in.]
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly-
[Alright, so every time I go back to this story I debate switching the beginning quote and the ending quote, as the ending quote works far better at the beginning as it describes the Pevensies' feelings when and they get thrown back in England. However, this section of the poem talk about “a birth” and so I always end up leaving it.]
When Harry is five years old, he meets a lad named Dean Thomas on a playground in the middle of the neighborhood. Dean likes football and drawing, and Harry doesn’t know what he likes, not yet, but no one at their school looks like them and they bond over this mutual loneliness. [So, right off the bat you can see the distinction caused by how racism against these two kids affects them. A major driving force of this story, other than the snowball effect of adding Susan Pevensie to what was supposed to be a Dean/Harry friendship fic, was my desire to make an interesting story with as diverse a group of characters as possible.
Because J.K. Rowling certainly can’t be relied upon to do that.]
“You’ve gotta meet my parents,” Dean says after a few hours.
“Sounds like fun!” Harry crows.
Aunt Petunia sneers whenever the Thomases are mentioned. “They're freaks,” she says.
Harry doesn't know why she doesn't like the Thomases. Sure, they're kinda old, and Dean has two moms and a dad, but Ms. Susan is a lawyer and Ms. Claudia brings Harry home newspapers to read and Mr. Abraham makes the best biscuits, so Harry doesn't get it. [Harry doesn’t get that polyamory is considered as “freakish” by Petunia and “normal” society as wizardry would be. He just sees his best friend’s caring parents, that’s all.]
Susan Pevensie has a son. He is everything and nothing like she thought her children might end up being someday, but she is so bloody proud of him. He is brave and noble, wearing his heart on his sleeve. He is just like the Aunt and Uncle he'll never meet, fighting for those he loves and falling in love with everything and everyone. He is the kind of child who would find a magical kingdom in an ordinary wardrobe, would take up Aslan’s call and be called Magnificent. [So, here’s the interesting irony that I tried to tackle in this story: what Susan knows vs. what readers of my series know.
Dean is Lucy of the movies or even the books, hands down. But the terrifying god-like Lucy of this series, the one that develops after Susan has left Narnia, is actually more Harry or Draco than Dean. However, because Susan only knows what happened to her siblings in Narnia and their teenage years in England, she isn’t aware of what they will one day become.
Also, if you want to go with the characterizations developed in this series, Dean is probably closest to Caspian or early Lucy. He doesn’t really fit any of the developed Pevensies.]
His first name is his grandfather's by Abraham. His second is his uncle by Susan. Dean Edmund Thomas bears names given to him by all of his parents, has his mother’s dark features and his father’s bright eyes and his mum’s long hands. [In case this isn’t made clear by the story, Dean is biologically Abraham and Claudia’s. I don’t think I ever specify, as it’s not important to the story as all three of his parents are just as legitimate and important to him as his parents.]
And of course he has to go and make friends with the little lad four streets over, the scrawny Indian lad who constantly looks underfed and underloved. Harry Potter slips into their world with barely a splash, becoming her lad as easily as she took up her crown, all those decades ago.
He looks nothing like her family, with his bright green eyes and brown skin, but the moment he speaks Susan can't help but see the one brother Dean doesn't remind her of. Harry is bitter and wishes for something greater than the life his horrible family is giving him. [There’s a reason why my favorite things I’ve ever written, and that’s because of the way word choice and syntax balance each other out, creating a more lyrical style of writing that really works with the more “overarching” scene descriptions this story favors.]
It is Susan's lot, then, to pick up after bitter boys and sunshine sons, to clean up the messes of younger family members. Even as a lawyer, she still finds plenty of time to be home, to help out a retired Abraham and senior-undersecretary-to-their-MP Claudia. [“Bitter boys” existed nearly from the beginning of this story; “sunshine sons” came later.]
This family is hers, and she will take care of it. [Susan the Gentle is fiercely protective, and she is probably closer to a lioness than even Lucy is. She has built a new kingdom in her family in England, and she will defend it until her dying breath.]
In this world, with this family, Harry gets hugged. Dean and his family make up for the lack of affection they show in public with a wealth of love shown indoors, hugging and kissing each other like soldiers returning from war. [Yay, Harry doesn’t have to suffer touch starvation in this universe, like he so probably did in canon.]
To a lad like Harry, who never gets hugged regardless, being swept into this loving family is everything he could have dreamed of. [This is really important to this version of Harry’s development, that he is truly loved and cared for from a very early age. He is more confident, less unsure of himself, because he has been supported from so young.]
Though Harry grows up raised by two Muggle families, there is still a certain magic in his world from the time he turns five, when he meets Dean, until the day he gets his letter. Ms. Susan's tales of a magical kingdom and Ms. Claudia’s impossibilities (a woman with skin darker still than Harry's being senior undersecretary to their MP? That's crazy, especially if you ask Harry's actual family) and Mr. Abraham's “magic” card tricks bring a bit of wonder into Harry’s life, expose him to impossibility.
Harry Potter doesn't see an actual spell until the day Hagrid comes to him to a small island in the middle of nowhere to deliver a letter of acceptance. And yet- he does see magic. He sees miracles and fairytales and impossibilities. He learns what one can do, if one only puts their mind to it. He learns what magic hard work and ambition can get you, if you only believe. [Because there are many impossibilities, many magics, that have nothing to do with wizardry and everything to do with hard work and wonder. And giving Harry that belief at an early age, once again, counteracts a lot of the abuse he suffers in-canon.]
The day after Harry returns from an island, the promises of a giant ringing in his ears, he finds Dean at the park. “Guess what just happened to me?” he asks.
“Can't be as cool as what just happened to me,” Dean says with a grin.
“Wanna bet, Thomas?” Harry challenges.
“Sure,” Dean says. “And if I'm wrong, I'll read the entire book Ms. Reynolds assigned us for over-the-summer homework.”
“You're on.” [You guys can guess how that bet ends.]
Hagrid and the Thomases end up taking Harry and Dean to Diagon Alley. After the revelation that both of their lads are wizards, the Thomases take things with remarkable aplomb. After all, to Claudia and Abraham, this is nothing compared to finding out their partner was a Queen of a magical kingdom for fifteen years. And to Susan, who lived in Narnia, this is by far the craziest thing she's seen.
They enter Diagon Alley, and everything is so bright and magical and weird .
“We're really not that strange here,” Mr. Abraham says.
“No,” Ms. Claudia agrees, staring at a woman in purple robes holding the hand of another woman in silver, “We're not.” [There are so many small details in this ‘verse that I’m so glad I put in on second, third, even fourth go throughs as I finished other scenes. This scene is important because it establishes the ways in which the wizarding is far more accepting than the muggle world of abnormalities.]
Dean's mother, Claudia, raises an eyebrow at Hagrid’s melodramatic proclamations. “I'm not gonna call a genocidal dictator by anything but his name,” she says matter-of-factly. [Because Claudia is a rational badass.]
When Hagrid says that there's not a wizard who went wrong who wasn't in Slytherin, Susan remembers Edmund. She remembers cunning and ambition used well, thinks of how she and Claudia have used power to work good in their own ways.
“I'll be proud of my lads no matter what house they end up in,” she says matter-of-factly, and both lads look up at her, smiling. [If Harry is going to end up in Slytherin, he needs this reassurance that his family will still accept him, and Susan, rational and logical and the best possible mother, knows that. So she gives that acceptance to her children before they even need to ask for it.]
Harry puts the Sorting Hat on his head and thinks, I want to be great, like Ms. Susan and Ms. Claudia. I want to make a difference. I want the power to help others, to make a difference-
Ah, the Hat says, Better be- [Because a Harry that was raised with ambition as a virtue and evidence that power is a tool for good would definitely have picked Slytherin.]
Harry is sorted into Slytherin. Dean into Gryffindor. [I love the flow of these two paragraphs, the switch from “better be” to where they are sorted.]
This changes nothing between them.
They are still two lads who were unwelcomed until they found each other, who for one reason or another-the color of their skin, the identity of their parents- was bullied and teased by kids their own age. They are brothers, and brothers don't abandon each other over Houses. [This. Is. Important. Because it carries through a major theme of this story, that of family and love over the pretension of house divides. It also shows the fact that Dean and Harry are both outcasts, uncomfortable in their own skin and their own places in life.]
Susan sends congratulations and fairytales about Edmund the Just and Lucy the Valiant. Claudia writes about current events, about the Prime Minister and the Cold War. Abraham sends an extra pair of socks for the lads in blue and orange just to tease them. [Get it? He sends them socks in neither house’s colors because he thinks it’s funny.]
During Quidditch matches, Dean wears a green scarf and a red hat.
Seamus stares at him a bit weird, but eventually just shrugs. “Long as you don't get any points taken from us in class,” he says.
Dean grins, showing the gap from the tooth he lost in a football match with Harry before school started. “Deal. After all, you lose us enough points anyway.”
Seamus slugs him in the arm and Dean laughs. [These two are best friends long before they’re ever in love, just like in canon. Seamus and Dean always read to me like the kind of relationship that just slid from friendship into love, where the basis for romance was always in the best friendship that came before.]
Harry and Dean go to the library to do homework as neither house really will accept the other into their common room. They pull out scrolls and books, whispering answers and jokes to each other under their breath. A few hours into their second visit, they notice a newcomer.
A girl their age is hunched over in the corner, face buried in a book and shoulders hunched. Her characteristic bushy black hair is sticking in every direction, reminding Harry of Ms. Claudia when she's not wearing her weave. [Suck it, J.K. Rowling. Here, the characters are POC, and not just for brownie points.] Harry thinks he recognizes her from the train, and he knows her from Potions class. Hermione Granger, the brightest mind in Gryffindor.
“Hey,” he says to Dean, “You know Granger well?”
Dean shakes his head. “Not well. She tends to keep to herself.”
Harry stops and purses his lips. Both lads know what it’s like not to have friends, to be ostracized and bullied. They understand Hermione Granger’s love of books, of escaping to worlds other than this one.
“Let’s invite her over,” Dean says, reading Harry’s mind, and Harry nods. [Oh, the power of the outcasts. It’s kind of sad that these three eleven-year-olds become best friends because they all know the pain of bullying and exclusion, that this is the reason why Dean and Harry decide to go say hi to Hermione.]
Harry catches a few of his dormmates using the word mudblood to describe Dean and Hermione and immediately goes to the library to look it up. He can tell from their tones that it’s not a good thing, and what he finds shows him no different.
For Harry, who has been called chee-chee and Brownie all his life, has had to hear Claudia and Dean called coon, has heard Abraham referred to as kike , this is a no-go.
There are many ways to go about this. He could threaten to skewer Nott, Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy with a spell, he could rat them out to McGonagall (he might have gone to Snape, but the Potions Professor seems to really hate him), or...
He could go about this in a way they’d appreciate.
A few days later, all of Harry’s roommates (save Blaise, who doesn’t use racial slurs, thank you very much) wake up only to find themselves with bright pink hair and only able to speak in rhymes. They will become laughingstocks around school if they don’t do anything, and to a Slytherin reputation is a very important thing.
After watching his roommates freak out for a few minutes, Harry holds up a small bottle of potion. “I’ve got the antidote right here,” he says, and they all turn and stare.
“You use slurs again,” Harry says, “I’ll douse your food again and smash the antidote, got it?” They all nod hurriedly and he tosses them the antidote. [Because Harry is a Slytherin through and through, and being clever can sometimes translate best to pranks.]
Blaise raises an eyebrow as the other Slytherins grab for the potion. “Not bad, Potter.”
Harry smirks. “I learned from the best.” He doesn’t mention that the best is Ms. Claudia, who taught him from a young age how much politicians value their appearance, how if you want to take down a showman, a politician, then reputation goes first.
From then on, no Slytherin (at least the first-year lads) is caught using slurs. Though some may think about it, they have learned all too well the consequences of such.
(Minerva McGonagall wonders at how the rate of blood slurs has dropped. In all her years of teaching, no one could quite figure out how to get purebloods to stop with such nonsense. She suspects, or at least hopes, that this is an inside job, that someone in Slytherin taught kids to stop being so bigoted.) [There is no way that Draco/Harry could have worked in this ‘verse without this scene to change the direction of things. Harry is a Slytherin, but he is almost more defensive of the downtrodden and marginalized in this 'verse.]
When he writes to Ms. Susan, she laughs and thinks that Edmund probably would have done something all too similar given the chance. [Oh, and she can't be more right.]
“Have you met Seamus?” Dean asks one day, pulling a lad up to the table where Harry and Hermione are sitting.
Hermione recognizes Seamus from all of her classes as one of the Gryffindor lads. Harry recognizes the lad who managed to explode a potion the first Potions class. [Certain things change from the books to the movies to this story, but things always stay the same throughout any incarnation. Seamus’ pyromania, for example.]
Harry smiles. “Sit down, Finnegan. We're doing Charms.”
Seamus groans. “Homework, Dean?”
Dean blinks. “What else, Shay?” [It's as easy as that, in the end. They're eleven and friendship can sometimes come so easily.]
There is a troll, and four children battle it. A little lad with glasses, a girl with buck teeth, a lad who explodes things, and a lad who loves football. They use cleverness to take it down and don't put it down to just bravery; rather, they recognize the importance and value of cunning. [Major motif in this work: importance/appreciation of the Slytherin thinking that Rowling says that Harry has in the books, but always passes over in the books in favor of praising his bravery. For example, Ron's solution in fighting the troll in the books was totally a Slytherin or Ravenclaw answer, but it's treated as something only a hero would come up with.]
Harry sends owls home to the Thomases, and for winter break they send for him to spend Hanukkah with them. He boards the train with Dean, enchanted Christmas crackers in pocket and letters from Hermione and Seamus to the Thomases in hand.
He gives Mr. Abraham an owl he owl-ordered for, so that they could send messages to Dean and Harry without having to wait for one of the lads’ owls. He hands the receipt detailing a year's subscription the Daily Prophet to Ms. Claudia. He gives Susan a small dagger, which is enchanted to stay sharp for much longer than usual. It’s supposed to be used for potions, but when he was in Diagon Alley and saw it he couldn’t help but think of Ms. Susan’s stories of Narnia. [The awkwardness of the line "owl he owl-ordered for" was pointed out to me by a friend, but the information conveyed in it I couldn't figure out how to change and still convey, so it's staying the way it is.]
(She loves it.)
He then gets a gift from each of the Thomases. Ballpoint pens from Ms. Claudia, who complains about the labor intensity of quills, more socks from Mr. Abraham, and a snowglobe from Ms. Susan. Dean gives him a drawing of Harry himself on a broomstick, as he has been Seeker since a small incident back in October involving Zachariah Smith and a Remembrall. [First instance of Zachariah Smith reordering himself in the plot- just a nod, because he's not really important this early on, but still there. I'm really proud of all of the small lines/details in this fic.]
Then, from all of the Thomases: a children's book. Harry opens the pages and finds old drawings of Dean's, of lions and centaurs and glorious ships. In Mr. Abraham’s unmistakable penmanship, Ms. Susan's words scrawl across the page. The stitching on the cover that reads The Chronicles of Narnia is Ms. Claudia’s. [Was not expecting this to become plot-important, but it did.]
Harry doesn't get to sit and stare at the book for too long, though, because the Thomases all tackle him and crush him in a giant group hug seconds after he turns the third page. He laughs and lets go.
(The Dursley's half-pence goes into the vacation fund piggy bank that the Thomases keep for the five of them to go on a trip. Harry finds it a fitting resting place for a gift from the family who really doesn't care about him.) [Yes, Harry goes on vacations with the Thomases, because the Dursleys certainly aren't taking him with them if they can help it.]
When it comes time to leave, the Thomases hand them small gifts for Seamus and Hermione- a football for Seamus, and two books for Hermione (a favorite law book of Ms. Susan's, and a book called The Second Sex recommended by Ms. Claudia), and the lads give them the Finnegans’ and the Grangers’ contact info.
Ms. Susan takes them to the train station. She squats down next to them at Platform 9 ¾, ignoring the arthritic creaking of her knees, and looks them straight in the eye.
“Remember, lads,” she says, that confident half-smile of hers fixed on her lips, “You are not what those silly children say. You are more than what professors deem you and more than what your classmates say you are.
Do not let lions take what you love. Do not let snakes tempt you. You are both extraordinary, and Claudia, Abraham, and I love you.”
Harry exchanges a quick, bemused glance with Dean, but they both nod in agreement with Ms. Susan's speech. They were raised on tales of Narnia, of the importance of skepticism and belief in one's self. This is not the strangest speech they've heard from any of the Thomases. [The self-awareness is almost comical in this scene.]
“Thanks, Mum,” Dean says, hugging her.
“Yeah,” Harry says, taking the next hug. “Thanks, Ms. Susan.”
“No problem, lads,” she says, and slips a couple of chocolates out of her pockets. She hands one to each of the lads, who grin and grab them. “I love you. Go learn!”
They shout gratitude over their shoulders as they run for the train so they can head back to Hogwarts. The Express takes off with Susan still standing at the platform, watching her lads leave. [Susan watches trains leave a lot, but in this 'verse there are far more happy outcomes than in the original Narnia series.]
They never find the Mirror of Erised. By the time they get back to Hogwarts, the Mirror is deep in the room on the third-floor corridor.
But if they had found the mirror, Harry would have seen the Thomases with his family. He would have seen Dean by his side, his parents behind him, Claudia at one shoulder and Susan and Abraham at the other. [Harry's greatest desire has always been family, and in this world his family is more than just his dead parents.]
Ron Weasley apologizes to Hermione for his mean comments in February, and she forgives him. All of her friends do (or at least they appear to. A week after the apology, Ron’s nose turns bright green at lunch. Seamus says, “That’s for Hermione. Now your apology is accepted.”) as well.
Ron is folded into their little group, though his friendship with Harry, Dean, and Seamus is nowhere near as tight as his friendship with Hermione. He's a good friend for Harry, but not a very close one. [I love Ron, but this ‘verse does not work with a close best friend relationship for him and Harry. He does get his development and hero moments, though.]
In the spring, Hermione, Dean, Harry, and Seamus accuse Snape of the theft. They discover Nicholas Flamel and Fluffy, help Hagrid with a dragon and get caught by Zachariah Smith, hunting around for troublemakers.
They end up in the woods with a dead unicorn and the ghost of the Dark Lord. Harry gets saved by a centaur and hugged by his best friends.
These kids are as young as Susan and her siblings were when they first discovered Narnia. With every owl she gets, she sees them growing in ways she remembers all too well. [Oh, to see childhood from the perspective of experience, especially an experience as wild and strange as Susan's.]
In the third floor room, Harry flies on a broom. Seamus wins the chess match. Dean figures out the plants, and Hermione solves the potions riddle. Together, they make their way through things. They make do with the strengths they have.
When Harry faces the Mirror of Erised, he sees his own reflection drop the stone into his pocket. But he also sees all of his friends and family there, the Thomases and Potter's standing side by side behind him.
When he realizes his touch burns Voldemort, he goes in without thought to his own safety. This is necessary for what he wants to happen.
(Necessity looks like bravery sometimes.) [This is going to have a direct parallel in the final Harry/Voldemort fight.]
Harry barely spends a week each summer with the Dursleys before heading to the Thomases’. He attends Quidditch matches and football matches and court cases with the Thomases, sleeps in the guest room, and does his homework. [And he's happy, the most important thing of all.]
When Seamus visits and somehow manages to blow up Abraham’s petunias without any magic, Susan sees Peter. A leader, a reckless lad who could so easily become a soldier, a leader and an excellent worker under the right direction. Fair and smart, whether people realize it or not. Hufflepuff through and through. [It's telling that she labels Peter a Hufflepuff, especially in how right she is. Most would characterize him as a Gryffindor, to be sure, but she's far more accurate than most.]
Dean is Lucy, a Gryffindor who puts their faith into everything and runs headfirst into saving others. A healer above all else, who will sacrifice anything to help people. He falls in love with everything, his sketches detailing everything that people don't notice.
Harry is Edmund, cunning and clever and everything that could have been twisted but wasn’t. A lad who wants to make right by the world, who wants to take power and bend it to his own bidding. A hero who becomes such not by bravery, but through clever words and strategy.
When Hermione visits, Susan finds herself. Whip-smart and questioning everything save the rules she has built her life on, Hermione is just like Susan was before she became Queen. [Susan's evaluations are somewhat off, based off of her biased interpretations, but I think it says something that she sees herself in Hermione.]
Susan sees her family, and she wishes that these children won't have to witness the same destruction that she had to.
(Something deep in her heart knows otherwise.) [The foreshadowing is pretty ominous.]
For his birthday, Hagrid sends Harry a photo album by owl mail. In it, Harry finds photos of his parents’ wedding. He has to look up the names of the clothing in his childhood library, just down the street from the Thomases, but when he figures out what they are he sounds the words over and over until they no longer feel like words anymore. His mother is wearing a saree, the red of her hair bright against the red of her dress . His father is wearing a sherwani, his brown skin dark against the gold and red fabric. [I put so much effort into researching background for Indian and Jewish traditions for this story because I wanted to get it right. It was as important to me to show the impacts of Harry's Indian background and Dean's Jewish background as it was to show how Susan's presence impacted the story. Because characters and cultures don't exist in a vacuum.]
Ms. Claudia sits down next to him as he runs his fingers over the glossy moving photos of the album, skating over his parents’ laughing faces. “You look just like your father,” she says, “Though you have your mothers’ beautiful eyes.” [Aw...]
“Someday,” Harry says, “I’m gonna get married like them, and I’m gonna wear what my father’s wearing.”
“I'll be there for it,” she promises. [Every time I reread this story, I get teary-eyed at this line. Because who's the one person who isn't at his wedding?]
The four (sometimes five) friends eat meals at the Slytherin table, at the Gryffindor table. Harry tells the Slytherins to bugger off, to move over, to let Seamus, Dean, and Hermione (and sometimes Ron) sit down. Dean tells the Gryffindors to stop staring at Harry like he's a monster.
(To be honest, the Slytherins Harry's age are pretty used to Dean coming over. He has since the first day of first year. The rest of Harry's friends, though- that's the strange thing.) [From the beginning, the inter-house divide is slowly eroded away at by these two boys (and Hermione) being too good of friends to let Houses separate them.]
When the attacks start, Harry's heart seizes for both of his best friends. Both Muggleborns, they are vulnerable to the Heir’s plans. Seamus and Ron are safer, as is he.
When he sees Dean and Hermione, he always greets them with a hug. [He always cares about his friends, no matter what 'verse you put him in.]
When he is accused of being the Heir of Slytherin- because he is in Slytherin this time, clever and ambitious, and a Parselmouth to boot- Dean stands up and threatens to curse anyone who touches Harry. Hermione volleys facts like blades and Seamus and Ron end up with more than one detention when they rope the Weasley twins into defending Harry's honor. [And his friends always care so much right back.]
Even Draco Malfoy scoffs and says, “Potter's too good to be the Heir.” [Very first Draco Malfoy reference, and it's very pointed that it's not in a completely negative light.]
Susan owls Mrs. Finnegan, who sends Howlers on her behalf. Claudia, Susan, Abraham, and the Grangers send owl after owl to try and protect the Muggleborns who certainly aren’t being protected by the School’s Governors. Even when they get useless letters back from people with no intent to help, they keep trying.
(When Abraham finds out about Gilderoy Lockhart and his horrible teaching, he gets truly angry for the first time since Dean and Harry can remember. Endangering students, not teaching the correct curricula- a teacher who shows such disrespect for the profession is a sure way to get on Abraham's shit list. Lockhart has good company there- Snape and Quirrell are both there, though for different reasons.
Abraham's letters to the Governors are full of scathing complaints about Lockhart as well as pleas for protection for the kids. As a retired schoolteacher, he knows exactly where to hit an educational institution.) [This is the only time in this entire fic or any of the previous stories in this series that Abraham gets angry, and it's telling that it's over education. To be honest, I modelled him after my stepmom, a teacher herself. But in terms of the greater story, it shows his backbone that would really show during the war.]
Hermione gets petrified, but not before showing the lads her notes on how she thinks the monster was getting around. [Because Hermione's a genius.]
Ron’s little sister ends up in a cave made of bones, her skin bleached white by a ghost. [I like the imagery of this sentence, to be honest.] Harry faces down the Heir of Slytherin, but this time he is a Slytherin. There is green on both of their ties, silver on their socks.
But Harry knows that being a Slytherin doesn’t mean the ends justify the means, doesn’t mean power for power’s sake. He’s grown up with two adoptive mothers who have chased their way into power, who have done it for the betterment of others. Ms. Susan wields her judicial ability to defend the weak; Ms. Claudia uses her legislative power to give power to those less fortunate, to take people out of poverty and into homes. [Though Claudia is not a Slytherin and Susan is Gentle, they are both amazing examples of power for others' sake, and it's very important to show where Harry gets his role models from.]
Being an orphan doesn’t make you lonely. Being a Slytherin doesn’t make you evil. [This is the first major example of just how Slytherin Harry truly is that parallels the books while giving it a new spin, and it's very important to point out that Harry recognizes the differences as well.]
Harry doesn’t pull the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. No- he goes searching and finds a long, rusted blade with one of the skeletons littering the floor and figures out how to lure the serpent out of hiding. Fawkes has already scratched out its eyes- Harry just has to get its weak spot. He figures that it has to be the inside of its mouth.
When he stabs the snake’s mouth, stabs the diary, he isn’t just killing a ghost of the man who killed his parents. He is killing the bad ideas of his House, cutting away the bigotry that he never wants to believe in.
Fawkes’ tears heal him as he’s dying, and Harry can’t help but see their silver color. His house color. [Symbolism even twelve-year-olds can understand and internalize.]
Power doesn’t have to hurt; it can heal as well.
When the Thomases find out that Harry has nearly died again, they have different reactions. Abraham wants to bundle up Harry and never let anyone else hurt him. Claudia wants to call up every authority, demand accountability and safety for a young schoolboy.
Susan, who was Queen once, sees a lad groomed for slaughter. She sees a lad who had the potential to grow up bitter, who is so similar to Edmund in so many ways, who has become a hero whether or not he wanted to be one. [Susan is far too realistic about what's going to happen to her boys, unlike her partners. She has lived through this hero's journey before- she knows a lot of the things that are going to happen.]
Harry can put up with a lot, but Aunt Marge calling his dad a brownie and a sand coon and his mother a bitch is far too much.
When Marge blows up in front of his face, growing as large as the rage he feels toward her, he runs to the Thomases, scared that he's going to be expelled from Hogwarts and stripped of his magic. After Dobby showed up at the Thomases’ last summer, sent by someone (because a house elf never would have known that he spent half of his summer with the Thomases without help), he knows of the potential consequences.
He spends a few hours curled up in Mr. Abraham’s lap, crying about losing the world he loves.
Then, Cornelius Fudge himself turns up on their doorstep.
(Claudia nearly faints at the idea at being able to talk to the Minister of Magic himself, though by the end of the conversation she is sorely disappointed. The man is a spineless fool who doesn't deserve to be an MP, much less Minister.) [I'm really proud of the small details given about Claudia and Abraham throughout the story. They all really show off why Susan fell in love with them, and they make them more sympathetic and meaningful OCs. Claudia's love of politics and disappointment in Fudge really exemplifies her character.]
Sometimes Susan wonders what might have happened if she and her lovers, she and her siblings, had been wizards and witches. If they had had a chance to be sorted, where would they have ended up?
When Remus Lupin wakes up on a train and sees a face far too familiar and far too young above him, he doesn’t judge the green around the child’s neck. He doesn’t speak of seeing the lad’s mother’s eyes, of seeing his father’s glasses.
He sees Harry as a reflection of nothing save his own decisions. [It always ticked me off that no one perceived Harry as such in the books, but Remus always came the closest. So I spelled things out a bit differently.]
Remus gives a lad chocolate before teaching him how to conjure Patronuses and face boggarts, how to hold his own against fear itself. He takes a lad with a green tie and teaches him how to utilize his own strengths- cunning and ambition, cleverness and love- to fight. Remus knows what it’s like to not be what people expect, to not fit into his house and friends perfectly. Harry is not the lad he expected, but he is the lad that Remus learns to love.
(Years later, when Susan Pevensie meets Remus for the first time, she thanks a god she doesn’t believe in that her lad met someone who would not just protect him, but respect him.) [Remus Lupin is my favorite Marauder for a reason, bitches.]
They are hanging out with Ron one day- the lad is really funny, to be honest- playing chess, when his rat goes berserk. They chase the rat around, even getting really close to the Whomping Willow, before a Grim drags Ron down into the willow.
Dean, Ron, Hermione, and Harry end up in the Shrieking Shack with a tailless mouse, a weary Professor, and two men bent on revenge.
Ron’s leg is broken. Dean’s Muggle chess set, sent by Susan, is shattered. Hermione, Dean, and Harry form a protective barricade around Ron, trying to protect their friend from three rabid men. [Three rabid men- rabid describes the vengeful homeless Grim, the werewolf, and the obsessive stalker- oops, I mean obsessive Potions Professor- very well.]
And then the truth comes out.
If someone were to ask Harry where home is, he might say Hogwarts, with pumpkin juice and twisting staircases and green-and-silver common rooms. He might mention libraries and Quidditch matches and ghosts.
He might say a bedroom in the back of a house, an old playroom converted to be his bedroom.
He would, however, probably say the Thomases’, with biscuits and newspapers and law books, with Mr. Abraham’s smile and Ms. Claudia’s words and Ms. Susan’s arrows, fired from the bow Dean got her from the Wizarding Sporting Goods store for her seventy-fifth birthday. [These three paragraphs are very important for establishing Harry's character/priorities in this 'verse, as well as the effect that the Pevensies' love has had on him.]
When Sirius offers him a home, Harry says, “You’ve gotta meet the Thomases. You’d love Ms. Susan- she’s had adventures just like you.”
It’s not that he doesn’t want Sirius- oh by Merlin does he want a family of his own, someone who loved him first. The Thomases aren’t any less than Sirius, but their love is different. Having Sirius in his life, along with them, would be nothing less than looking into the Mirror of Erised.
Sirius smiles. “I’d love that.”
Then Peter Pettigrew escapes, and Harry’s hope of his families (not the Dursleys, but the people who actually care about him) meeting is dashed. [Not even having Susan Pevensie on your side can change too much.]
A large black dog shows up on the doorstep of the Thomases’ house a week before the lads are set to come home.
Claudia opens the door and looks at the giant black dog. “You must be Sirius,” she says, and gestures him in. [But they do end up meeting, because your girl loves a happy ending...psych.]
Claudia wins MP the day before the Hogwarts Express returns to Platform 9 ¾, just in time for the boys to get back. They tackle her with hugs and shriek congratulations, attracting the attention of the other families on the Platform.
Petunia Dursley, there at the Platform to pick Harry up for his week with the Dursleys before he heads to spend time with the Thomases, sniffs. “How improper,” she mutters, but doesn’t say anymore because the freak family a few streets over has somehow gained an MP in their midst. Petunia is shrewd- she’s not going to pick a fight with people who have far more power than she does. [Claudia's been working for this position since she was twenty years old, and this one small scene is the culmination of decades of work. I'm really proud of her.]
A week later, Harry shows up at the Thomases’ door as usual. Dean pulls him inside, grin brilliant, and is greeted by a dog.
The moment the door is closed, Harry shouts “Sirius!” and wraps the dog- now a man- in a hug.
“Prongslet,” Sirius says, and hugs him back. [I want happiness for Sirius so much, and though certain endings never change, the in-between can be made so much better.]
Dean, Hermione, Harry, and Claudia go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys and the Finnegans. They sit in the nosebleed seats and roar their support for the Irish team. Despite not knowing much about Quidditch, Claudia loves the game- between her boys stopping every couple of minutes to explain things to her, to chatting with the Weasleys and Finnegans about the kids, to peppering Mr. Weasley with questions about Magical government, there isn’t a dull moment. [A lot less drama than sitting in the Minister's box, but honestly a lot more fun.]
That night, when Death Eaters invade the camp and send Muggles up into the air, Dean and Harry each make sure to grab one of Claudia’s hands and herd her with them into the forest.
Claudia, in turn, tries not to let her terror show on her face. She is completely useless here, and if her boys end up hurt because of her she’ll never forgive herself.
When Claudia, Harry, and Dean get back home, they have a giant sleepover, parents and Sirius included, for the first time since they were kids. They dig out a bunch of blankets and sleeping bags and cover the living room floor and pop in some movies and popcorn. It’s comforting to spend the night together, all these different generations together, and a far cry from the darkness and despair of the night before. [A common theme in my stories is group cuddling and movie marathons. I may be projecting. Make of it what you will.]
Sirius has spent the last thirteen years in a place where happiness meant insanity. To spend the night so freely with people he is growing to care about is a strange but wonderful experience. Watching Star Wars is a strange thing for the pureblood wizard whose only exposure to the Muggle world was his best friend, but a welcome one.
(And getting to bond with Harry is the best part of it all. To see his godson getting so excited over something so mundane is an experience Sirius feared he would never get to have. And now, while they are in a period of relative safety, Sirius can love this boy with everything he deserves.) [Yes, happiness for the boys!]
Susan recognizes the look in Sirius’ eyes, the one that prisoners of war returned home with after wars with Calormen and the Southern Nations. She resolves to protect him as a member of her own family, a subject of her own little kingdom. [Susan Pevensie will adopt everyone- Harry, Sirius, Hermione, Seamus, Draco, etc.]
Remus visits a few weeks before the end of the summer, having ended up between jobs again. When he and Sirius see each other, they hug for far longer than Susan suspects is platonic. [Because Susan is smart and she’s totally a Slytherin, but she’s also an outsider, so she notices things no one in the series would. I fucking love outsider POV when writing, though Susan’s not entirely an outsider.]
When she catches them speaking low in the kitchen the night before they're set to go to Diagon Alley, she pauses. She isn't too surprised when, a few moments later, Sirius leans in and presses a hesitant kiss to Remus’ cheek.
She then leaves them to their privacy. It's none of her business what they get up into their free time, even if she is incredibly satisfied that the gentle, lonely wolf and the rambunctious Animagus are finally healing. [Susan is the Gentle for a reason.]
Harry gets put into the Triwizard Tournament, and Zachariah Smith makes “Potter Stinks!” badges.
By the second day they’re out, they read something very different. Someone has enchanted them to say Smith Stinks!
Draco ‘fesses up to it within a few days.
“No one messes with a Slytherin like that,” he mutters to Harry at lunch. “Especially not my roommate. Looks bad.”
Harry grins. “You're not all bad, are you, Malfoy?”
Draco rolls his eyes. “You better not go telling anyone that.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t. That was a pretty impressive piece of magic you did.”
If Harry didn’t know better, he’d swear that Draco smiles, the corner of his lips lifting up. [Humanizing Draco Malfoy, once per school year until the main meat of his character arc comes in. I’m really proud of the amount of care and detail that went into developing all the characters in this ‘verse.]
For the first task, Abraham, Claudia, and Susan are in the stands per Harry's dogged requests. If he's gonna be forced to participate in this mad game, then he wants his family there. [Harry gets the supporters that all the other contestants got, because a fourteen-year-old being forced into a death competition for adults deserves to have all the supporters he can get.]
When Rita Skeeter’s article about Hermione comes out, Susan goes straight into the library at Medea Finnegan’s house and reads as many books on Wizarding case law as she can. Then she writes out the paperwork for a suit for libel as well as one for a restraining order and has Medea Finnegan file it. She might have asked Arthur Weasley to do it, as a Ministry employee, but she knows of his standing amongst the more privileged members of the Wizarding community. His reputation as a quack is one that will hurt her suit, no matter how much she likes him. She wants her suit to carry weight if she wants to get rid of this Skeeter pest. [Susan cares, but she's always been the practical one of the bunch. She cares about feelings, but she won't put them above the end result.]
Harry takes Dean as his date to the Yule Ball (the rules never said he couldn't bring his best friend), and Dean brings Seamus. Seamus would have brought Hermione, who would have brought Harry- the four of them have a rather peculiar sense of humor when put together- but Viktor Krum asks her and, well, it's Viktor Krum.
They spend the night dancing and laughing, though of course they overhear things that they shouldn't. They are children full of fairytales and cleverness and stupidity. They will always stumble into things they shouldn’t. [I really, really like the way this paragraph flows. The sentences and the way they’re put together are still one of my favorite setups I’ve ever written, and I love the punch of the last line of the paragraph.]
Harry finds Dean and Hermione under the lake, and he quickly figures out which one is supposed to be for him. Viktor Krum doesn't have many people in this country, much less in Hogwarts, so his Yule Ball date will have to suffice for “the one you would sorely miss.” And Dean is Harry's best friend, so that one is quite easy to deduce.
He doesn't stay to save Gabrielle or Cho Chang. He knows that the Ministry of Magic would never put innocent civilians at risk, even if it doesn't care if the contestants live. [In which Harry is a Slytherin and thinks things through before doing something stupidly brave. Emphasis on stupid.]
When they break the surface of the water, Dean grabs Harry's shoulders and hugs him.
“You won the bloody task!” he shouts, and Harry laughs as they swim toward the docks where the judges, Headmasters, and Thomases are waiting. Abraham looks kind of worried, Claudia proud, and Susan smug. [The three parents in a nutshell, when it comes to Harry and Dean’s heroics.]
Sirius sends letters from the Professor’s Mansion, where he and Remus are staying. He sends them in code, but his happiness is unmistakable even when he’s fretting over the Tournament. Apparently, he and Remus are reconnecting and their relationship is recovering well from the thirteen year separation. [I wanted to give everyone’s favorite old couple some happiness that they didn’t get in canon before shit really hit the fan. They both deserved happiness together.]
Remus sends letters as well, though through a different owl at different times. He is settling in well as well, and the money that the Thomases give him converts to enough money to buy Wolfsbane. [Because fuck it, Remus is my favorite Marauder and he deserved to be taken care of, dammit.]
Harry has never been a crier, but when he holds letters from the godfathers he never thought existed, the backs of his eyes burn a little. Here is the family that was stolen from him and from each other for thirteen years, who are outcasts and ostracized from society like Harry and the Thomases. They are happy , just as the Thomases made him, and they love him. [I’m not crying, you’re crying.]
(Also, Sirius and Ms. Claudia have been developing a very frightening friendship. They seem to be on the same wavelength on literally everything.
Harry is actually kind of scared of the idea of one of the greatest pranksters in Hogwarts history and an impossible MP teaming up.) [So am I.]
Cedric dies in a graveyard, in the shadows of a mansion that looks far too much like the Professor's for comfort, and the Thomases and Sirius in the form of a Grim greet Harry when he wakes up in the infirmary. He leans on Dean's shoulder, hand tight in Sirius’ fur, as he explains what he saw in the graveyard, in a small tower room with a Professor he thought he trusted. [I didn’t want to spend too much time on this scene, but it was necessary. I did like the description of physical comfort within this story, though, and I believe it emphasizes the increased importance of family and Sirius within this ‘verse.]
Draco Malfoy catches Harry in the hallway of the train. “I believe you, Potter,” he says, and Harry can detect the undertone of nervousness to his roommate's voice. [Every time I reread this, it kind of shocks me both that it took until the end of book 4 for Draco to finally have a substantial discussion with Harry, and that he shows up so early so that he can have the beloved character development. His appearance fits rather well, here, if I'm honest.]
Harry looks at the boy who has never been afraid to stand up to him, to sneer and call Harry out on any mistakes he makes. He sees the boy who says my father will hear about this as a threat, yet flinches whenever an owl from his father arrives. He sees a boy who is never kind, never soft, yet defended Harry from Heir of Slytherin claims and Potter Stinks remarks.
“Thank you,” Harry says, and purses his lips. Then, because he recognizes something in Draco, he asks: “Is there anything I can do for you? You seem a bit...off.”
Draco’s face instantly shuts down. Harry nearly curses himself- he knows about Draco’s fear of showing weakness. “Nothing you can do, Potter.”
“I’m here for you, Malfoy,” Harry says. “If you ever want to talk to someone, just owl me.”
Draco stares at him for a minute. “See you next year, Potter,” he says, and walks past Harry.
Grimmauld Place opens up and Abraham is at Molly’s side for the detox. Susan and Arthur are furiously debating laws, and, well, Claudia and Sirius’ unholy friendship is still going strong.
(Harry actually thinks that if they just unleashed Claudia and Sirius on the Death Eaters, they could win easily. The 77-year-old impossible MP and the 35-year-old Animagus are insane together.) [Once this friendship appeared in my mind, I latched onto it with all I was worth and ran it out. It might just be wish fulfillment, but I fucking love the idea. The most stubborn woman I’ve ever written and Sirius Black, as pranking friends? Bitchin’.]
Mad-Eye Moody tries telling them that this isn’t a war for Muggles, that they’ll just get themselves badly hurt.
And Abraham, soft Abraham, looks him dead in the eye. “Those are our children in there,” he says, pointing to the the kids all gathered in the living room around a game of Wizard’s chess. “And this is our world. If we didn’t fight, then we couldn’t live with ourselves.” [Abraham has a strength that is quiet and thus isn't shown often, but here it makes itself known. He is a father and he has two sons and he will let himself break before he lets the world break them.]
“And besides,” Claudia says with a sly smile, “We might just have a few tricks up our sleeves. Just you watch.” [Yeah, Abraham and Claudia both have the potential to be terrifying.]
Susan stares at her partners and her children. She thinks about the randomness of magic and the way that war seems to follow her wherever she goes, whether to London or Cair Paravel or Grimmauld Place.
Harry sometimes catches Sirius staring at photos of his family. No, not staring- glaring. And Harry remembers how happy Sirius was throughout last year, living in a mansion he didn’t grow up in and alone time with a best friend who loved him. Now, he is stuck in the house he grew up in, (was abused in), unable to leave, with people crowding him and an army overtaking his house. [Yeah, I don't exactly have a fondness for Albus Dumbledore and the way that he leaves people in situations where they will be abused/reminded of their abuse.]
In turn, he drags Sirius away from nightmares and panic attacks and into movie marathons with Harry’s friends and Remus. Star Wars is their go-to, but Breakfast Club is a close second.
Harry tries to give Sirius what the Thomases gave him- love and happiness. [Aw…]
Sirius and Claudia become friends with a young woman named Nymphadora Tonks, a Hufflepuff woman who has dragged her Ravenclaw girlfriend Henrietta along with her. The three of them expand the founding unholy friendship into a hellish power trio, planning out guerilla attacks on Death Eaters and combining Muggle political power with wizarding pranks and Metamorphmagus disguise to create a WMD of cunning.
Harry sometimes wonders at how a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, and a Ravenclaw (as Claudia surely is, wise and honest and integrous) came to act so like Slytherins. [Bitch, this is the friendship I need from this series. Screw the Golden Trio- give me Tonks, Sirius, and Claudia taking on and destroying the Death Eaters all on their own. They’d do it, I know it.]
Hermione and Dean get letters naming them Prefect, while Ron gets named Quidditch Captain. Harry receives a similar privilege over in Slytherin. When they get to Hogwarts, they find that Draco and Pansy have gotten named Slytherin prefects. Harry congratulates the two of them. He's happy that they have the positions. Though he may [Shit, I never finished writing that sentence, did I? To be honest, I can’t remember what was supposed to be here, and I’ve never gone back to cut out this half-sentence. I’ve had a number of friends comment on it and I’ve just never gone back to fix it, sorry.]
When Umbridge comes, she zeroes in on Harry and Hermione and Dean. As the so-called “Silver Trio,” they are the most vocal defenders of the claim that Voldemort is back. [Silver because Slytherin, geddit?]
They end up in detention, carving words like I will not tell lies into the backs of their hands. Hermione and Dean refuse to shut up, to be quiet, while Harry tries to figure out more clever ways to get past Umbridge. [Harry’s cultivated his Slytherin tendencies at this point, but his friends are still the recklessly brave Gryffindors they’ve always been. They will always been getting up to trouble.]
Then the idea hits him in the middle of DADA one day, and for the first time that year he actually enjoys the class.
(Turns out that the idea of undermining Umbridge right under her nose is a satisfying one.) [Yeah, Harry’s a fantastic Slytherin, and not just because he’s clever. He’s also plenty capable of being a smug little bastard.]
The DA forms and Ron helps helm it, having more trust and pull with the Gryffindors than Harry does. Muggleborns and Half-bloods alike view Harry wit suspicion, despite his best friends being Muggleborns, despite his title as the Boy Who Lived. He’s a Slytherin, carrying the colours of most of Britain’s most infamous Pureblood bigots.
Ron, however, makes a great leader. With the help of Hermione and his own innate talents, Ron’s become stronger. Still gangly but now far more self-assured, the Weasley boy has gone from the reckless side of Gryffindor to the more ideal version: more heroic, more self-sacrificing. [Weasley is our King, bitches. Ron Weasley is a hero in his own right, and is given a bit more room to show off his heroics when Harry is in Slytherin. Because despite him doing nearly all the same heroic things in this ‘verse as in the original, Harry is a Slytherin and thus is not as easily trusted because he’s got the “budding dark lord” reputation to deal with.]
A side arm to the DA springs up in the Slytherin dorms. In the middle of the night, Harry teaches whatever Slytherins are willing how to conjure Patronuses. Little girls like Astoria Greengrass, braids swinging, learn side by side with older ones like Millicent Bulstrode. Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott snipe at each others’ efforts, though Harry is proud to see that they do help each other out when needed. [Because the Slytherins are children, too, and they deserve to be able to learn how to protect themselves.
Even Pansy Parkinson, on the darkest nights of the year, eyes Harry suspiciously but attempts certain spells.
(In private, he teaches Draco Malfoy. Draco has a hard time finding a happy memory, but as the year goes on, as the Inquisitorial Squad gets more powerful and Umbridge stricter, Draco’s Patronus begins to form. Harry can’t be sure where exactly it comes from, but he’d like to believe that it’s because of their time together.)
When sending letters this year, the boys censor their...extracurricular activities. With the ministry checking owls and them doing things that aren't entirely legal, it wouldn't be smart to let their family know what's going on.
(Which means they can't get the usual advice from Susan. They're on their own.) [The boys are growing up.]
Half way through fifth year, Dean flops onto Harry's bed in the Slytherin dorms. None of Harry's roommates even bat an eye, having gotten used to Dean's presence over the years. “I think I'm falling in love with my best friend,” he groans.
Harry looks up from his plans for the DA. “I thought I was your best friend.”
Dean waves a hand dismissively. “You know what I mean.” Harry chucks his pillow at his friend's head and Dean catches it in his hands.
Across the room, Blaise Zabini snorts. “You know that you can use a spell to get him back, right, Potter?”
Harry rolls his eyes. “The Muggle way’s way more fun.” [To be honest, this is the very first scene I wrote for this fic. And it still works really well and is still one of the best comedic scenes I've ever written, as well as a good showing of their friendship/brotherhood.]
During a Quidditch match with Hufflepuff, a roar goes up in the Gryffindor stands. Harry risks a glance at that section of the spectators, trying to figure out what the uproar is for, and catches Dean and Seamus snogging in the middle of the stands. He grins, happy for his best friend after everything serious that's been happening this year.
Draco zooms by, the Quaffle in hand. “Focus on the game, Potter!” he shouts, and Harry zooms after him and toward the Snitch.
(He does catch, however, the smallest of smiles on Draco's face. It seems like five years of Dean crashing Slytherin stuff has endeared him to the Slytherins more than they've realized.) [Dean and Seamus is shipped by everyone, including the Slytherins Dean has managed to worm his way into the heart of.]
Susan participates in training sessions for the Order. She catalogues how each spell is fired, what movements can create what effects. She compares the strength of a Stunning Spell to an arrow, runs through the battle plans of the Order. She points out flaws in their plans, and at first they ignore her, but when she gets everything right they start to listen to her. [Susan has fought more wars, seen more combat, than any current Auror. She has been soldier and general, archer and strategist. No fucking duh the Order should listen to her.]
Nostalgia of a kind she hasn’t felt in ages wells up in her. She has not been Queen in decades, has not wanted to be Queen in decades, but right now, planning strategies and plotting raids, is just like what she used to do in Narnia. [Susan does not want to be Queen, but she does want to help. And stepping back into the role of General is one that she can do easily, without sacrificing her family.]
Draco Malfoy is the one who warns the DA about Umbridge’s approach. A non-corporeal Patronus shows up during a session and hisses in a garbled tone, Run, you fools! Umbridge is on her way! [And now we welcome in the Draco Malfoy character arc. Everyone hold your applause until the end.]
That night, long after Dumbledore disappears and everyone goes to sleep, Harry pads across the dorm floor and over to Draco’s bed. The curtains around his bed are closed, as always, but Harry silently parts the curtains and slips onto the bed next to the star member of the Inquisitorial Squad. He casts a quick Muffliato so that no one else can hear their conversations. Even as close as Harry’s become with some of his dormmates, Slytherin is still the house where secrets are worth their weight in gold. [Slytherin has its advantages and disadvantages, to be sure.]
Draco stares him down. “What do you want, Potter?” he asks.
“Thank you,” Harry whispers, “You saved a lot of us today.”
Draco’s face slips slightly, betraying his anxiety. “You have no proof.”
“I recognized the shape. Your Patroni are always slightly lopsided, almost like a peanut. Don’t worry- no one else will realize. They haven't spent as much time training with you.”
Draco raises an eyebrow. “Cocky, Potter, aren't you?”
Harry smirks. “Only as cocky as you, Malfoy.” [My boys are trash at flirting, but this is a start.]
There are nightmares and Patroni, pranks and a desperate flight into the bowels of the Ministry.
There, Dean, Hermione, Harry, Ron, Seamus, and Millicent face Death Eaters, small hands clutching at wands and throwing desperate spells. There, they nearly die. [I stan one Millicent Bulstrode, by the way. Don't think it's obvious, but it's here.]
There, Sirius does die. [Some things will never change. Every death from the books still happens in this 'verse.]
By the end of the year, Sirius is dead and there is only one loyal Marauder left.
Susan knows how Remus feels. She understands how it feels to be the last one left, to be the only one alive in their world. On good days, she lets her hair down, gray streaks and all. On bad days or court days, her hair goes up in a strict bun. She has learned control in the years since it was ripped from her fingers, leaving her lost in a prepubescent body on the wrong side of a wardrobe. [This scene is one of the absolute best I've ever written, when it comes to establishing/enriching existing characters. The descriptions by Susan, when explaining how she deals with grief and loss of control, are pretty moving and I'm pretty damn proud of them.]
She sits down next to Remus in the library of Grimmauld Place. “You didn’t fail,” she says softly, trying to channel both Abraham and her own title as the Gentle. “You need to remember that it wasn’t your fault." [Susan has almost a hundred years of experience under her belt. She knows how people like to blame themselves, because she did the same thing.]
Remus looks up at her with weary eyes. The full moon was just a couple of days ago, she remembers. “You sound like you know what you’re talking about,” he says, and she nods.
“A long time ago, I lost my family.” My Kingdom, my friends, my entire world. “For decades I’ve been the only one left. I know what survivor's’ guilt feels like.” [Susan's story does not often get bleak in this 'verse, as strong as she is and as determined as she is to keep going, but here, with this scene, you get to understand just how much she lost, how much of her family she had to build by herself. And it's heartwrenching.]
“I’ve been feeling that for a long time, you know,” the werewolf tells her, and she remembers that the night Harry lost his parents Sirius lost two of his best friends. No, more than that- he lost his lover to Azkaban and lies, that damned Peter Pettigrew to perceived death. [Susan hates Peter, because while she knows traitors, she knows that you have to put in an effort to redemption and making yourself a better person. And while Edmund tried, Peter has led only to the orphaning of Susan's son and the deaths of multiple people. She has no sympathy for him.]
“Tell me about it,” Susan says, and leans back in her chair. “I’m here to listen.”
Gentle people do not just arrive in the world, already made like they are. Gentle people like her and Remus Lupin are made the way they are by a world that tells them that they can't be like that- they choose to be kind everyday that the world is not.
If you try to fight people like them, then you inevitably lose. Maybe not now, maybe not even soon, but at some point down the road you will. Because Gentle people are not soft- they choose to fall in love with people who will die on them, choose to give a young boy chocolate and a home no matter how much he reminds them of what they've lost.
Gentle people have a core of steel, a heart that can take blow after blow and still remain standing. [To be honest, these three paragraphs and this scene of dialogue are still some of the best character work/prose writing I've ever done, and it seems like multiple readers agree with me as this tends to be what gets quoted a lot.]
Harry slumps onto his bed in the Slytherin dorms. He feels drained of energy, almost like he just wants to melt into the bed and fade away.
Sirius is gone. Neville could have been the Chosen One. His parents could still be alive. Neville’s could be sane.
Nothing had to turn out this way. All of this was a decision Voldemort made when he heard a snatch of a prophecy.
This was all pointless . [This is the closest Harry ever gets to being as emo as he was in the books, and it's just for the one paragraph. I'm kind of shocked, considering my own tendency towards angst in my writing, but it really makes sense in this ‘verse. Harry has had so much support and such a larger family in this verse than he got in canon, and for so much longer. He didn't have to suffer alone as an orphan for so much of his childhood. Instead, he got a brother and parents and a life of love...wow, that was a pretty long tangent.]
His mind drifts over those he still has left, and he alights on one of his adoptive mothers.
Harry remembers Susan's stories of everyone she lost to sieges and battles, to disease and frost and desert storms, all because of a prophecy made before she arrived in a world she would save. He remembers how she watched the slaughter of a lion, rode into battle with a weapon made of the wishes of others.
As he tells his best friends everything, trusts them with the truth, he remembers Ms. Susan and a war sixty years ago and a thousand years away. [I know that I overuse the "___years ago and ___years/miles/lifetimes away" in my fics in general, but specifically the "years and years" format, and I have no regrets. I think it's pretty poetic and I love it.]
Harry's sixth year, his crush on Draco Malfoy is finally realized. In the back of a dorm room, Draco reveals the brand he was forced to take. As Draco whispers that his mother is being held hostage, that she’ll be horribly tortured and killed if he doesn’t do the Dark Lord’s bidding, Harry stares at the wrist that he’s seen so many times over the past six years, previously pale skin marred by scarred black flesh. [Parallels. Scarred by the Dark Lord and all that shit. I thought it was cool, so you all have to suffer through it.]
“I don’t know what to do,” Draco admits, and Harry swallows.
“Alright,” he says, “Lemme help you. Hermione and Dean and I can get people to rescue your mom before everything goes down, if you just say the word.”
Draco swallows. “Maybe I will, Potter.”
Draco looks at him and, as everything tends to do with Harry Potter, he has a horribly timed revelation: I really want to kiss Draco Malfoy.
Oh, bloody hell. [Because Harry Potter is and forever will be a disaster bi.]
Hermione snogs Ron Weasley in front of the entire school after he survives a major fall in a Quidditch game. When they break apart, both are blushing but grinning.
(This may have to do with the fact that the entire Gryffindor section is on their feet cheering. And Harry’s on his broom cheering. And like half of the teachers, to be completely honest.) [Because everybody has been waiting for them to resolve their shit for years.]
In a Quidditch locker room after a particularly intense game with the Ravenclaws, Draco presses a kiss to Harry’s lips. This devolves into heavy snogging which ends with their fingers entwined.
“Potter,” Draco says hoarsely, and then swallows. “ Harry."
There are so many scars between them, lightning bolts and dark snakes and I will not tell lies. But Harry likes to think that, at least for this moment, their scars fit together. They fit together. Serpents raised by abusive families who somehow found friends where hope seemed lost. [Once again, foils and parallels. Because I have to do what J.K. Rowling doesn't have the guts to do.]
He grins. “Draco Malfoy,” he says, and leans in for another kiss. They continue snogging for a few more moments before-
Harry leans back from the kiss. “You sent Dobby second year, didn’t you?”
Draco groans but stops trying to kiss Harry. “Couldn’t we talk about this after snogging?”
Harry kind of likes the fact that his kisses can make Draco crave kisses this much, but he wants to know. “Seriously, Draco,” he says, “I’ve always wondered. Dobby couldn’t have known about me spending time at the Thomases without someone deliberately telling him. Not even Snape knew I spend most of the summer at Dean’s. Only my best friends- Hermione, Ron, Seamus- and the Slytherin boys knew that I spent the summer there before the Thomases came to the Triwizard Tournament.” [Because I saw a tumblr post pointing out a small plot hole, and the part of my brain that craves character development leapt for it.]
Draco breathes out a slightly irritated sigh through his nostrils. “Yeah, I did. I knew that you had a home outside of Hogwarts, and I knew that my father had some plan for the year that didn’t bode well for you. If you ended up gravely injured, then I would have felt guilty for it.” He pauses, and then asks: “That good?”
Harry shrugs. “Good enough for me.”
“Can we snog now?” Draco asks, and Harry grins.
[Took me my third reread of this fic to realize all three couples got together during Quidditch games. Oops, I guess?]
When all of this comes out at dinner a few days later, Dean laughs and says, “Glad I found a boyfriend ages ago. Y'all’s drama is too much.”
Hermione and Harry each punch him in the arm.
“You were kind of asking for that, Thomas,” Blaise comments, not having even heard about who Harry is dating. Good. Harry trusts Blaise, he really does (Especially for the serpents in his house), but if him and Draco dating somehow gets back to Voldemort... [Despite the domestic bliss, there is still a war going on, and this is the house of the clever. You have to be careful.]
Dean, rubbing at his arm, shrugs. “That’s how they show they love me.” [I love casual it is that Dean and Hermione are sitting at Slytherin, eating dinner, and the fact that none of the Slytherins even bat an eye at Harry's friends discussing his dating life at the table. I wanted more of that interhouse friendship in the books.]
Dean shoots up in height, towering over his friends. In Harry’s opinion, this only make him and Seamus more adorable as either Dean has to lean over to press a kiss to Seamus’s lips or Seamus has to stand on his tiptoes to kiss Dean. [In which I found the photo of their actors dancing at the Yule Ball and, well, had to include this. Because height differences, y'all.]
When it comes time for Hanukkah to begin, Harry drags Draco down to the Room of Requirement to celebrate with the rest of them. He protests just slightly to begin with, something about muggles, up until Harry looks him dead in the eye and says, “It's tradition, and this is my family. You’re either in, or out.” [The love and dedication Harry has for the Pevensies is clear, but it's not just a dedication to them that leads Harry to this. Hannukah is important to him, an important holiday of his, and this demand for respect is just as much for himself as for the people he loves.]
They enter the Room and find Seamus and Dean playing Exploding Snap on the rug in front of a grand fireplace, Hermione and Ron perched on the lovechair passionately discussing something or other. A Christmas tree is set up in the corner of the grand living room, while the Menorah stands on the long table. [Something for everyone, right?]
Dean sees them first and says, “Harry! Malfoy! You're here!” [I love Dean and his total Hufflepuff air towards interacting with other people. He's the most genuinely nicest people in this story, something he definitely got from his dad.]
Draco's grip on Harry's hand tightens just slightly as everyone else turns to face them. “Um, hi?”
Hermione gestures them forward. "We're about to recite the blessings. The first might is both the shehecheyanu and the brachot prayers." [The inclusion of the Jewish faith and the respect towards it was really important to me when writing this story, and I did as much research for Dean's Jewish background as I did for Harry's Indian background. I wanted to get everything right, because their backgrounds are very important to their characters.]
"Then we'll light the candles and exchange the first night's gift," Dean explains.
Though this is Draco's first Hanukkah with them, he doesn't spend too long on awkwardness. He asks pointed questions to Harry at convenient junctures, not wanting to seem uninformed. Harry happily supplies these answers, not wanting his boyfriend to be ignorant. Knowledge is power, after all.
They share biscuits and socks sent by Abraham, news clippings and pens sent by Claudia, and letters and a chess game sent by Susan. Mrs. Weasley sent scarves and sweaters, while the Grangers sent toothbrushes and Medea Finnegan sent pepper up potions. The gifts form a small pile, shared by all.
(Draco, whose family is Death Eaters, and Harry, who is an orphan, cannot contribute much save themselves.) [For such a feel-good, family-bonding scene, this last line is a pretty big downer of a line.]
A headmaster tells Harry that his duty is to save others’ lives, to be a hero.
Susan knows what it's like for an old, ‘wise’ man to tell you what a hero is like, to prescribe the life that he thinks you should live. She knows what it’s like to feel like you have to listen, because you are the lone survivor, the only remaining hero. [One of many comparisons between Aslan and Dumbledore, and between Susan and Harry. It's very important for the themes of this series, building up the parallels between what happens in Narnia and what happens in England.]
She has learnt since, though, that she doesn’t have to listen. She doesn't have to be the hero he wants her to be, if that means giving up everything that makes her the woman she is.
She writes to Harry, sending words of assurance alongside words of suspicion. She reminds him that he is a Slytherin, that constant vigilance is not just words, that decades ago she was Queen but she never trusted Aslan without reservation. [Susan would make a fantastic Slytherin, through and through, whether she recognizes that or night.]
When Harry enters the Pensieve, learns about Horcruxes, he keeps her warnings at the back of his brain. He has been taught not to believe in thoughtless gods, and he will not start making that mistake now. [I fucking love the phrase "thoughtless gods" and I think I use it too much in this story, but it just works so well for the two universes that are coming together.]
There is a bathroom, and there is blood. [It's a bit of a punchy opening statement, and everyone who knows the books or even the movies knows what scene is coming next.]
Harry and Draco are snogging in the upstairs boys’ bathroom after Potions class, fingers entangled in each others' hair, when they hear a gasp behind them.
“You’re dating him," Zachariah Smith gasps, and Harry can't be sure who the Hufflepuff is referring to, but either way the tone is a disgusted one. [To be honest, I don't know who he was referring to either. I don't know if I ever decided.]
Draco withdraws his wand, anxiety over someone finding out about them running through his veins. With everything that's going on, he's always on edge.
Zachariah’s trembling hand shoots up and he shouts, “Sectumsempra!” Draco’s side opens up, blood spraying all over Harry and Draco. Draco collapses into Harry and Harry screams. Zachariah runs out of the room, screaming for help.
Harry holds his boyfriend on his lap, casting spell after useless spell trying to get the bleeding to stop. Soon enough- in what feels like far too long- the head of Gryffindor, Professor McGonagall, shows up. She begins casting spells at the speed of sound, and unlike Harry’s they seem to be helping. Soon enough Harry can breathe as Draco falls unconscious, his helpless sobs falling into silence. [I stan McGonagall. She's just awesome. And even though Harry's in Slytherin, I still wanted her to get a moment.]
Oh Merlin, Harry thinks, If he dies...
Draco can't die. He just can't . [Harry can't handle anyone else he loves dying.]
(On the ground near the door, Zachariah Smith drops a copy of Advanced Potions.) [Zachariah got Snape's copy of Advanced Potions.]
All the Slytherin sixth years end up in the infirmary to visit Draco at some point, so Harry visiting him isn't the strangest thing in the world especially if you consider Harry's cover story of having ducked out to restroom at the same time as Draco and having been there when it happened.
Once Draco has stabilized and Harry’s brain has calmed down, he thinks about Narnia and the tales that Susan told him. He remembers failed assassinations and Edmund lying dying on a field in Beruna.
He thinks of Edmund and Peter, his father and godfathers, Draco and him. He thinks of Susan's tone of quiet wistfulness, of rash decisions and bloodied hands.
“We were just boys,” he whispers. [The amount of small character moments and introspection in this fic are a lot compared to most fics of mine, and I really like the imagery invoked in Harry and Susan's analysis of the situations around them.]
In the dark of night near the end of April, Narcissa Malfoy takes a walk to the edge of Malfoy Manor’s gardens and vanishes from sight. The Dark Lord rages for days, but when Draco returns to the Manor for the summer his life is the only thing the Dark Lord holds captive. If Draco can escape without losing his life, then he’ll be free.
(His father’s life doesn’t mean much to him anymore.) [Draco's not a dick in this 'verse, but he's not soft either. This line really exemplifies the fact that it was not just the war that destroyed his childhood, and that Harry was not the only kid who was abused.]
Susan Pevensie brings home a guest to the Professor’s Mansion. Narcissa Malfoy, matriarch of one of the most bigoted Pureblood lines of the age, takes one look around the Mansion and purses her lips.
“You need to clean up around here,” she says, and Abraham smiles.
“You’re welcome to help. I hear that wand can be good for things like that. In the meantime, would you like some tea?” [Abraham very rarely shows it, but he has the capability for dry, precise sarcasm.]
Narcissa stares at this man, old in the way that Muggles get so quickly, and makes a decision. She’s in a far different world than the one she has inhabited for over forty years, and she has to learn how to make it until she can see her son again. She knows she’ll need an ally for that- she wasn’t in Slytherin for nothing, after all.
She nods. “Sounds good.”
(And despite herself, it does.) [Narcissa's storyline did not exist when I started writing this story, but her development/arc means a lot to me now. Her couple of scenes with Abraham really showcase her as a three-dimensional mother, but more importantly, as a three-dimensional, logical Slytherin. She is capable of changing her mind about long held beliefs if those beliefs prove to be false.]
Dumbledore dies, and with him most of the Order’s hope.
But not Harry's. He has never set all of his trust in the man, and he knows what he has to do. He knows the strengths of his friends, knows what four children can do with just a little help from the outside. And he has help. He has knowledge of the Horcruxes, the wands of skilled soldiers, the cunning of his house, the lessons of a Queen. He has all the tools he'll need to win this war.
He can't give up, and he won't. [This Harry has a lot more hope in the future than the one in the books did, and for a lot more reasons. He has far more hope than in the books, and it is founded in a good foundation. Going into the seventh book, there is a lot to look forward to.]
When it comes to seventh year, to war, to a time on the run, the Thomases’ house in Surrey and the Professor's mansion (technically owned by Susan, by virtue of the old man's will) become safe houses. Susan gets Seamus’ mom and the Order of the Phoenix to help enchant the buildings, then uses the rest of her time to draw up plans for spying and fighting. She becomes the Order’s de facto strategist.
(For the first time since she was left here in England, she wishes that she had Edmund in this world. He was the strategist, the Great Diplomat and chessmaster. As good as she is, he was far better. He could turn a battle around with a single word, a single pen stroke. She was far better in the fray.)
Claudia uses her powers as MP to sign off on papers for people who need to travel. Abraham bakes biscuits for the lost and covers them in blankets. [In which the Thomas-Miller-Pevensies are the most badass elderly people you've ever met. They use every talent/skill they have to help their children and take down a Dark Lord.]
(Narcissa is reluctant at first, but when a little orphaned wizard, no more than six years old, shows up at the doorstep, she realizes that she cannot wait this one out. She helps the youngest, the oldest, the most vulnerable, find back guest rooms in the Professor’s Mansion. She tells stories to the youngest, uses hands unused to labor to ferry those with walkers and strollers around the house. Her tongue is as whip-smart as always, but she uses it for good rather than evil.)
The Thomases all lived through war before. They remember bombs exploding over top of houses, of clutching siblings and cats and photos. The war that led to a show off between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the Wizarding World wreaked just as much havoc in the Muggle one. [They have lived through World War II. They are no strangers to battle, to turning your home into a safehouse and praying for the world to stop falling around them. Except this time, they won't be sitting ont he sidelines and watching.]
Susan remembers another war, long ago and a world away, where she fired off arrows and directed entire armies.
(In truth, Susan Pevensie is nearly as old as Dumbledore was. She has nearly a hundred years of memories in her head.)
When they send their son off into battle, into a search that seems near hopeless, Susan, Abraham, and Claudia do their best to help him as much as they can. They bring war onto their doorsteps and into their homes, inviting the runaways and fugitives in. These people may not be from the same world as them, but they are survivors just like them. [One thing I wish we'd seen from the original Harry Potter series was Muggle families and allies and what they did to help their kids. All we see is Muggles dying, and I know that you don't need magic to stand up to Voldemort.]
Hermione and Dean say hurried goodbyes to their boyfriends at the Weasley wedding before Apparating away when the Death Eaters strike. Harry doesn't get to speak to Draco as he is stuck at Malfoy Manor, held there until his father gives the okay to send him to school with the Carrows. [Aw, poor Harry and Draco. They're gonna have a hard time in whatever universe they end up in, when they can't be open while a war is going on and their families are on different sides.]
As Dean, Hermione, and Harry end up scraping their way through the English countryside, searching for Horcruxes and Hallows alike, their boyfriends take charge back at Hogwarts, helping in every way they can.
Ron becomes a General. Draco hides lost kids in the Room of Requirement, becoming a spy for the Resistance before getting snatched by his Aunt. Seamus spies and runs and steals food, utilizing his Slytherin and Hufflepuff tendencies to help as much as he can. [Because they may be the love interests of the heroes, but they're characters in their own right. They get the chance to be badasses in their own right.]
And, by their side, Slytherins help. Astoria Greengrass and Millicent Bulstrode spy for the Resistance while Theo Nott works with a few Ravenclaws- Sue Li, Terry Boot- to develop spells to dampen the effects of the Carrows’ punishments. Blaise Zabini helps Ginny, Ron, and Seamus formulate battle plans, helps map out the changing halls of Hogwarts as best as possible.
Even Pansy Parkinson sometimes sneaks treats to firsties, tries to hold out hope. Somewhere in the six years Harry Potter went to class with her, her fear of the unknown, of everything her parents warned about, shifted. By wartime, she is nowhere near a member of the Resistance, but whispers of Harry Potter and his friends cause her to clench her fist in bitter hope rather than hatred. [Gotta be honest, I love this section. Something else I really wanted from the books was Slytherins getting to fight and stand and be scared and understood. They're treated like villains when they're just scared kids like the Gryffindors are.]
The Silver Trio hunts down Horcruxes as best they can, travelling throughout England.
All the while, they pass through graveyards. When they pass through Godric’s Hollow, chasing a slim lead about a Horcrux connected to Gryffindor, they stop for a few seconds by Harry’s parents’ tombstones.
Harry thinks about Ms. Susan, about how she never got to bury her siblings. When they died, they died in Narnia. She’ll never know what happened to them.
If this goes wrong, she’ll have to bury her sons. But will she even know where the bodies are? [This section was originally going to end with just the image of Susan having to bury her sons, but then I realized that with them constantly moving and a war going on, she wouldn't even get that. And it's a pretty sobering thought.]
Dean recites prayers every Friday night, and sometimes Harry and Hermione join in. On Yom Kippur, Dean goes to both of them and apologizes for everything he's done wrong in the past year.
For Hanukkah and Christmas, they each give each other small gifts. Dean gives them drawings of them and their partners- Hermione and Ron curled up on a sofa in Gryffindor Common Room, Harry and Draco flying on brooms through the sky. Hermione gives them books that she'd snatched out of a muggle bookstore at one of their quick food runs- The Hobbit for Harry, and Football Teams of Northern Britain for Dean. Harry bakes them biscuits eight days in a row, making all of Mr. Abraham's recipes that he can remember (more than a few get burned).
In times of despair, of desperation and fear, Dean makes use of what he can to keep him going. His father's faith, his photos of Seamus, the support of his friends- this means a lot. [DEAN'S FAITH IS VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM AND NOT SOMETHING TO BE DISMISSED, BITCHES. I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO TRIES TO DIMINISH THAT IN THIS 'VERSE.
*clears throat* Sorry. But Dean's faith and his Jewish identity is just as important to him as his magic or his black identity or his parents. It makes up a vital part of who he is, as well as vital part of how he always finds the strength to keep going.]
On a particularly dark night when Voldemort’s locket is pulling quite heavily on the three of their hearts, Harry digs out his old copy of The Chronicles of Narnia, the book that the Thomases gave him for Hanukkah his first year. The three of them gather in the middle of tent, lanterns on the ground and the book between them. They turn the pages slowly, reciting well-worn tales that Ms. Susan has shared with them for years.
They make of their world what they can as they fight to save it.
They are no strangers to the power of trios. [This is supposed to be a reference to Susan, Claudia, and Abraham, but I never figured out whether it was obvious enough or not.]
Sometimes, on the darkest nights, Susan will slump down in Abraham's almost eternally empty chair. He is busy sheltering the vulnerable at the Mansion, and she is busy coordinating things at their home in Surrey. Claudia has the freedom to move between, but they don't.
“They are just children!” she'll want to scream. “ We were just children. Why the hell would you ask so much of us?” [I'm still so proud of this line to this day. It's got such an impact, with the way it rips into the soul.]
Her resentment toward Aslan has mellowed over the decades, but she has never forgotten what it felt like to have her kingdom ripped away from her. She doesn't want the same thing to happen to her son's.
She can't let it happen to her sons.
(She may have made her life her own, built a small kingdom of broken parts to rival Narnia, but if this world's gods are as cruel as the last- and it sure seems to be now- then what shall she do? She can do nothing but-)
She will fight as best she can, with every weapon at her disposal. She shall swear at thoughtless gods, pray to no one but herself. [Once again, used 'thoughtless gods' and still loved it, but I think the effect was increased by the second clause, about praying to no one but herself. Because that is the main theme of this series, when it comes to Susan. She is not someone who waits for authorities to tell her what to do- she is a Queen, in whatever world she lives in, and she doesn't need a God to tell her what to do.]
Her children are just that, but so was she. All of these schoolboys and girls are the same age as she was when she fought with armies, led charges against desert countries and sieges against stone castles.
This never should have happened, but she can't change the past. Susan recognizes this.
Susan Pevensie is a Queen, but she is a mother and a lawyer and a lover more. She knows who and what to put her faith in, and-
She believes in them. [*drops the mic*]
When they arrive at Malfoy Manor, Draco’s hands are shaking. When Harry sees his boyfriend for the first time in months, only the reminder of Dean and Hermione’s safety keeps Harry from jumping up and kissing him.
They escape to the Professor's Mansion, where they find Abraham Miller waiting with open arms. He scoops each kid- Hermione, Dean, Harry, Draco, and Luna- into a hug in turn. He fusses over scars and scrawny limbs, helps Griphook and Ollivander into beds. [Because this may be a war, but Abraham is a caretaker and a father before he is anything else. His number one priority will always be taking care of his kids, whether they be his sons, his students, or the orphans living in the manor.]
Then he sits down at the main table with all the kids (kids no longer, save Luna- all of the their birthdays came and went during the war. His boys are adults now). Draco and Harry are holding hands under the table, while Dean's boots are propped up on Harry's legs like old times. Hermione has a book from the Professor's library on the table in front of her while Luna has a pile of biscuits that she's slowly picking all the chocolate chips out of. [I just really like this imagery. The domesticity of it all is a direct contrast to the war plaguing them.]
Abraham hands out mugs of tea. “Your mothers miss you,” he tells Dean.
Dean doesn't cry. “I do too,” he says, “But we have to get the last few Horcruxes.”
Abraham sees Susan's laser sharp focus, Claudia’s stubbornness, in Dean's stance. [He forgets to look for himself, for the quiet strength that Abraham contributes to his son's posture.] The reminder of his partners is a sobering thought. He hasn’t seen Susan in at least three months, and Claudia in one- running the Mansion with Narcissa’s help has taken up too much of his attention. [And knowing that he'll only get to see one of them one more time after this kind of crushes me on the second read-through.]
Speaking of which…
“And you must be Draco,” Abraham says, turning to the boy holding hands with Harry. “I've been hearing stories about you for ages.” [I stan a father with priorities.]
Draco flushes as he realizes that in addition to being Dean's father, this Muggle must be the father figure that Harry always speaks of. This is the man that Harry holds up as one of his three main role models.
Staring at Abraham now, Draco realizes that this soft muggle, this man without a drop of magic in his veins, is one of the most special people in the world to Harry. He must be a man worth knowing. [Draco from the original books never would have even entertained a thought like this at this point in his timeline, but after getting to know and falling in love with Harry, he is able to realize just how important this is.]
He tries to find the proper words to say, but for the first time in his life his grace fails him. “Your biscuits are even better warm,” are the awkward words that come out, loosened by the comfort of Harry's hand and warmth of Abraham's smile. [Because Draco doesn't have to be the perfectly poised Malfoy heir around these people.]
“Why thank you, young man,” Abraham says, and he waits for Draco to set down his mug of scalding tea before asking, “Now, I suspect you would like to see your mother?”
Draco’s jaw drops, and Abraham can see his fingers go white-knuckled around Harry’s. “My mother is here?”
“She’s asleep right now, but yes, she is.”
Draco slumps back. “When I returned to the manor during the summer and she wasn’t there, I thought...but I couldn’t be sure…”
Harry gives his boyfriend a slight smile. “She's safe. You wanna talk to her?” [I feel like I'm missing a sentence here that I meant to type, but it may just have been that it was a suspenseful way to end a scene. *shrugs*]
Later on that night, while Hermione and Luna have buried themselves in the library and Draco is visiting his mother, Harry and Dean stand in front of an old room that they’ve only visited a couple of times in their life. Inside, there is portal to another land, to legends and fairytales and hope.
“You gonna go see the Wardrobe?” Harry asks.
“Might as well,” Dean says, and pushes open the door. [And it always comes back to here, to that damn wardrobe and how it becomes both a symbol for grief and hope in a woman and her sons.]
When it comes time for the Battle of Hogwarts, a nearly eighty year old Susan pulls out the enchanted bow and arrow given to her by Dean for her seventy-fifth birthday and has one of the wizards hiding in her house (a young woman by the name of Nymphadora Tonks) Apparate her and Claudia into Hogsmeade. Claudia and Susan have already helped plan out battle strategies and castle maps- when they emerge from the tunnel in the Room of Requirement, they wade into the fray, taking down Death Eaters.
Claudia is armed with Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes products and a wealth of Wizarding weaknesses as pointed out to her by Order members who had lived with them.
Abraham convinces Narcissa to Apparate him close enough to the battle to hike in. He then makes himself a healer, helping move and patch up wounded bodies. Adrenaline overcomes arthritis, if only briefly, and he runs all over the place, helping and healing and never turning away from the problem, no matter how dire. He comforts the wounded and the dying, the children lost and the families broken apart.
This is their war as much as it is their sons’. [This description is so important, showing just how much these three Muggles can and will do to save the world that their sons hold so dear. They will risk so much.
Also, they're all badasses.]
When Claudia’s body is found among the dead at the pause in the Battle, Susan nods grimly. “She went out the way he would have wanted to,” she says, but clutches Abraham close. [To be honest, once Claudia and Abraham made their way into this story, I knew one of them would have to die. There was no way that all three of Dean's parents would be making it out of the Battle of Hogwarts. Which one it was developed as the story developed.]
Dean stares at his mother's body, at the spell mark burned across her ribs, and reaches for his father’s hand.
Harry sees Ms. Claudia, who spoke loud words and waved protest signs and who always had a mug of tea and a newspaper ready for Harry when he came over. He feels fury like he has never known. When Sirius died, there was no body for the man he had only known for two years. When Dumbledore died, he had Ms. Susan's suspicions and lamb to the slaughter ringing through his head. When Snape died- well, why would he care then? The man was nothing more than his abuser- and so many others’- for years. [This death hurts the most, because this one he's attached to, this one is a woman who raised and loved him and who he loved in return.]
But this- this is the woman who practically raised him, who fed him biscuits and made sure to keep news clippings for him and invited him to Labour meetings, even when he was a little kid. Claudia Thomas was the woman who tucked him into bed on bad nights, who always encouraged him to be better. This is the woman who, when told that she was a Muggle and didn't have to fight, declared that this was her children's war and therefore hers. [Because Claudia's death is just as important, if not more important, to Harry as the other deaths at the Battle of Hogwarts. It is the consequence of a woman with as much bravery and loyalty as any Gryffindor or Hufflepuff in Hogwarts.]
Harry watches his family break around him, clutching at bows and wands and tubs of first aid. He sees Dean and Abraham and Susan holding onto each other, trying their best not to cry.
He swallows, turns, and runs. [Harry can never accept the people he loves dying for him, and he will do anything to stop it.]
When Harry turns the Resurrection Stone, he sees his parents, and Sirius, and Remus, but he also sees Claudia. He sees Dean's mom, one of the two women who basically raised him. [He sees everyone who loves him and who he loves in return, so why wouldn't she be there?]
Lily and James promise they love him. Remus and Sirius promise Harry that his friends- and his boyfriend- will forgive him for leaving them behind. [Because Remus forgave Sirius for leaving, and for eventually dying on him.]
Claudia bends down slightly to look Harry straight in the eyes. Harry, in these last moments, is struck by how much Dean looks like his mother, how he got his insane height from Claudia.
“You’re my son just as much Dean, Harry. I don’t want you to die, but if you believe this is the right answer, then I’ll believe you. Just, promise me something, alright?”
Harry nods. “What, ma’am?”
Claudia smiles grimly. “Give ‘em hell, biscuit. Take down that putrid man and don’t let him hurt anyone else.” [I love this woman so much.]
“I promise,” Harry says, and means it. He won't let her and everyone else in this war die in vain. He won't let his parents die in vain. He will bring them justice.
“And if you somehow survive, tell my family I love them?” [Claudia wants nothing more than for her family- Harry included- to survive.] Harry nods, and Claudia’s small, grim smile transforms into a grin. “And that I got to meet Clement Atlee?” [To the very end, Claudia's heroes aren't wizards or superheroes or lions- her entire life, she's wanted to be a politician so the former Prime Minister of Britain definitely fits the bill.]
Despite everything, despite impending death and Voldemort and a war that Harry never wanted, the joke lifts the corners of his lips into a smile. “Yes, ma'am. I'll tell ‘em.” Despite the fact that he won't live long enough to tell their family anything.
When he faces down Voldemort, he has Dean's drawings and Abraham's smiles and Hermione’s books and Susan's pens and Draco's words and Seamus’ explosions in his mind. He is not dying for only parents and godparents lost; he is fighting for everyone still alive.
Death, right now, is not a surrender; it is a conscious decision. A sacrifice so that everyone can continue on. This is not bravery, except that yes, it is. Being clever, being cunning, can lead to bravery, the courage to take the steps that one sees as necessary. [The moment in the story that bravery has its moment. Most of this story has been an effort in emphasizing the theme of cleverness and giving it the due it didn't get in the original series, but right here Harry (and I, by proxy) acknowledge that in the end, bravery is as necessary as cleverness and both are major portions of Harry's personality.]
If Harry is a Horcrux, then he has to die so that his family survives. [In the end, the decision is nothing harder than a simple math equation.]
Harry lowers his wand as Voldemort raises his. Words that have haunted Harry’s nightmares ever since his first brush with Dementors shriek through the air as a green light flashes across his vision.
When Harry reaches the moment In Between, he doesn't meet Dumbledore. He doesn't land in King's Cross. He lands next to an all too familiar wardrobe and meets a young man who looks so familiar he could have sworn he knew him. [Bitch, of course my favorite character is making a cameo, and for any number of reasons. Thematic importance, a proper culmination to Harry's arc, Edmund and Harry's parallels, the mixture of the two universe, and, of course, my love for Edmund Pevensie as a character.]
“So you're my nephew's brother?” The man asks, and Harry finally places him He looks just like Ms. Susan, though slightly darker in coloring. The gold crown on his head seems to glow in the lighting. [Harry's piecing together the pieces, the little clever Slytherin.]
Harry nods. “Dean's my best friend. Is this heaven?”
The man shrugs. “If you so wish. Through that door-" and he points to the wardrobe- “Is Aslan’s land. There you can find paradise beyond your wildest imaginings. There you can join your family and I, Claudia and all those who have died. However, if you so desire, you may return home.” Edmund holds out a hand toward the door that Harry has exited hundreds of time. “Just out that door. You will return to battle, to your still living friends.” [And here's an extra layer of symbolism- Harry has never in his life even entertained the idea of opening the door to the wardrobe in real life, knowing what happened to Susan on the other side. And now, making that the way to Narnia, to death and to heaven- that's making his decision even more likely to happen in one direction.]
Edmund looks him straight in the eye. “The choice is yours, young man.”
Harry thinks of Dean and Hermione, of years of friendship and chess games and facing down the worst of the world together. He thinks of Abraham and Susan and Claudia, Hanukkahs and trips to the courtroom and biscuits. He thinks of Blaise and Ron and Seamus, of ambition and loyalty and love. He thinks of Draco, of soft kisses under green curtains and Patroni and the feel of Draco's trembling hand in his. He thinks of Hogwarts and courtrooms and libraries. [There was never really a choice, in the end.]
“I want to go back,” he says. “I have to do right by my family. I have to keep my promise to Claudia- give ‘em hell, kid. ”
And this man who Harry knows on the surface, knows what his life was like before Susan was pulled from Narnia, smiles. “My sister-in-law has told me much about you. She has spoke as to how Susan often remarked about how you remind her of me. I cannot say she was wrong.” [Time works strangely in heaven/Aslan's Kingdom/the afterlife. Claudia has had plenty of time to talk to Edmund, despite the fact that she only died a few hours ago.]
Harry smiles. "I'm glad you think so, Your Majesty." Then he has a thought: “King Edmund,” Harry says, and Dean's uncle seems to straighten. “Are you really here? Can I tell Dean that I met you?”
“I am as real as Claudia telling you to relate Clement Attlee to Dean, as real as a Penseive memory, my marriage to my husband, or a wardrobe that can transport someone from one world to another. My existence in your mind relies upon faith, my young friend.”
Harry nods. "Thank you." He continues his way to the door. Then, right before Harry steps out of the Room, he turns. “You would make a great Slytherin, Your Majesty.” [I needed this line in this scene, Harry pointing out the similarities between them.]
Edmund raises an eyebrow. His question, when he speaks, is not unkind, but merely curious. “Now why would you say that?”
Harry grins. “Because you never really answered the question, did you?” [The equivalent of the "just because this is in your head doesn't mean that it isn't real" line from the original books. Probably not as good, but same *drop the mic* moment.]
And then he steps through the door, his last glance of the In Between the pleasantly surprised look on Edmund's face.
When Harry awakens, he finds Draco’s father above him. The man who abused Draco is hovering over Harry, sneer as fixed on his face as always. Harry's heart falls as he realizes that he'll probably die again, until-
“Are my wife and son alive?” He asks, possessive.
And Harry might have a chance, now. [Harry hates Lucius so much, but he knows how to use people he doesn't like to achieve his own goals. He's not honor's for honor's sake in this 'verse.]
When he gets to Hogwarts, body held in Hagrid's arms, Harry hears screams, recognizes Dean and Hermione and Draco's calls for his names, and opens his eyes just the slightest bit. Through his lashes, Harry sees Dean hand in hand with Seamus, Hermione and Ron by their side. Draco is standing with Susan and Abraham, his wand ready just as her bow is.
He sees the family he made for himself after his own family rejected him, called him freak. He sees the people he loves, the people who will fight- will die- for him. He was prepared to die for them.
He watches Neville pull the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat and slice off Nagini's head, watches him become the hero they never realized he was. Then, the second phase of the Battle begins.
In the end, Draco takes down his father. Ron and Neville take down Crabbe and Goyle Sr. while Ginny and Astoria Greengrass finish Dolohov and Yaxley. Dean, Hermione, and Luna Lovegood end up facing against Bellatrix Lestrange until Molly Weasley comes barrelling in, spitting spells with all the ferocity of a vengeful mother. [Everyone gets their moment to be a badass!]
Susan's arrow catches Bellatrix Lestrange in the back, and Molly finishes her off with a quick curse.
“You deserved worse,” Susan spits, standing over the corpse of a monster. Some of the wizards lining the room gape- perhaps at her bow, her lack of magic, her lack of forgiveness- but she doesn't care. This woman threatened Susan's children, her family, the people she has sworn to protect. She doesn't deserve mercy. [Susan is Gentle, but she is not and has never been a pushover, especially when it comes to her family.]
Then Voldemort turns on the two women, and Harry won't let anything happen to them. He runs out into the center of the hall.
The invisibility cloak drops and there stands Harry Potter in all of his glory, twirling a wand belonging to his boyfriend. Susan and Molly end up pushed into the circle of wizards around the room.
Then there are words about Mastery of wands and the revealing of old truths, but in the end what matters is simple: Harry promised Claudia Thomas that he wouldn’t let anyone else die. [And this is it. The ending isn't about cleverness or bravery- it's about love and loyalty and the simple truth that Harry loved the woman who died for him and that he isn't about to break a promise to her.]
In the end, the colours of the spells used are the same- green versus red- yet they do not represent Harry. Harry's tie is green as he spins his final spell, as the Expelliarmus streaks its way toward Voldemort. What takes Voldemort down is not bravery, not chivalry, but cleverness. Harry figuring out the mastery of the wand, figuring out how to use Voldemort’s weapon against him- this is a very Slytherin thing to do. [Symbolism, bitches.]
When Voldemort’s body falls, there is a moment of stunned silence. Then three bodies break away from the crowd and rush to Harry, slamming him in a hug. Harry looks around to find Hermione, Dean, and Draco.
“You’re alive,” they all gasp at once when they let go, then Hermione and Dean burst into helpless giggles while Draco smiles, seeming genuinely happy for the first time in, well...since Harry can remember, to be honest.
Draco entwines Harry's fingers in his as Seamus, Ron, Luna, and Ginny run up to them. As they all hug, exchanging thank god we’re alive s, Harry feels Draco’s hand alive under his.
Slytherins just like Draco and Harry make their way up to Harry. Millicent and Astoria, who spied for the Resistance within Hogwarts, and Blaise and Theo, who shepherded the first years away from the battle and to safety, all come up to Harry and hug him. [Slytherins are as important as anyone else in this battle, play as big a role as any Gryffindor does.]
Harry looks at all these people- the DA, the Slytherins, the Thomases- and marvels at what has happened today. There are holes in the crowd everywhere- Claudia, Fred Weasley, Lavender Brown, Remus Lupin, Tonks- but there are so many people that have come together and defended each other. Slytherins and Purebloods stand beside Muggleborns and Muggles, in the case of families like Dean’s. [And this paragraph spells out every I want to stay about the battle.]
Harry and Hermione are best man and maid of honor at Dean and Seamus’ wedding. Hermione makes a toast about the Quidditch match where everyone cheered for them, including most of the players, which leads everyone into gales of laughter. Harry weaves a tale about childhood friends and lost families that leaves everyone with tears in their eyes.
Susan Pevensie, 82 years old, creaks out a smile as her first son grins, leans down, and presses a surprise kiss to his husband's cheek.
(The only explosions at the wedding are ones of compliments, showered upon the lucky couple, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Seamus Finnegan has finally channeled his destructive tendencies into something productive as Hogwarts’ Dueling Instructor, and they're all relieved.) [I will die on the headcanon that Seamus and Dean both ended up working at Hogwarts alongside Harry when they grew up, Dean as Pomfrey's successor, Seamus as any sort of Professor, and Harry as the DADA professor. You will pry this headcanon from my cold, dead hands.]
Draco and Harry get married just as Harry dreamed of, when he first received his parents’ wedding album- in traditional clothing from the homeland of James Potters’ parents.
Draco's jodphuri suit consists of a dark green jacket, for Slytherin, and a pair of gold pants for luck. Harry's sherwani coat is red and silver, for his parents and for himself. He wants the best of both worlds, his and his parents’, just as he always has.
Abraham walks his second son down the aisle, walking cane in hand. Despite the arthritis curling his 87-year-old fingers, he manages to pulls off the same suit he wore to Claudia’s swearing in ceremony for MP. [Harry Potter fucking loves his family traditions and is reclaiming his culture bit by bloody bit, embracing all that he can both for his parents’ sake and his own. And Draco wearing the traditional Indian clothing really shows just how much he’s developed and changed throughout not only this ‘verse, but in comparison to the books.]
Hermione and Ron’s wedding has far too many redheads, even for friends of the Weasleys, but the copious amounts of firewhiskey and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes gets everyone through the night.
What is truly strange for a number of Weasleys, though, is that Hermione’s section of the wedding contains a number of Muggles and Slytherins. Blaise, Millicent, Theo Nott, Draco, Harry, Astoria Greengrass, and even, to the shock of all, Pansy Parkinson, are in attendance. Harry, Millicent, and Draco are even members of the wedding party. Harry, Draco, Dean, Seamus, and George Weasley are Ron's groomsmen, while Ginny, Millicent, Luna, and Susan Pevensie, spry at 89, are the bridesmaids. [Because if anyone can carry the quiet dignity of a bridesmaid with arthritis curling her bones, it’s Susan Pevensie.]
Harry Malfoy-Potter and Ginny Greengrass-Weasley are the best man and matron of honor. Her red hair is only accented by a dark red dress and she sits by Harry, who’s wearing a dark green suit. [My favorite femslash rarepair makes its appearance again, because I fucking love Astoria/Ginny and it will show up everywhere if I have my way. Also, the color-coordinated outfits are the dorkiest fucking thing and I love it.]
“Still Gryffindor, I see,” Harry mutters out of the side of his mouth.
“More like my wife thinks I look good,” Ginny smirks, “But yeah. Thought it went with the whole Weasley theme. I see that you and your friends had to go screw with things, as usual.”
“It is a hobby of mine.”
“Slytherins seem to really like that, don’t they?”
Harry nods. “Yeah, we do. Just ask your wife.”
“She tells me that everyday.” [I wrote this dialogue with the biggest fucking smile on my face, because I just love these ships and this interhouse friendship and just a Harry&Ginny friendship in general.]
Harry’s kids are named Orion Remus Potter-Malfoy, Claudia Violet Potter-Malfoy, and Jaanvi Narcissa Potter-Malfoy. Orion’s godparents are Hermione and Dean. Claudia’s are Seamus and Millicent. Jaanvi’s are Ron and Blaise. [I could spend hours picking apart the meaning in the names, the way they reference those gone and the cultures their parents came from and, of course, my severe lack of attachment to the names given in canon. No child of Harry will ever be named after Dumbledore or Snape in any of my 'verses.]
Dean and Seamus only have one son, named Richard Caspian Finnegan-Thomas. He is adopted from an abusive family and is actually raised in Hogwarts itself, talking to ghosts and beloved by students at Hogwarts. He spends the summers at his grandparents home in Surrey and during the Holidays, his cousins visit. [Seamus and Dean's son growing up in Hogwarts? I will fucking die for this idea.]
Hermione and Ron’s children, Rose Susan and Hugo Abraham, have a relatively normal childhood. With a politician mother and a father who helps run a prank store, they get to see their parents often.
Susan passes away quietly in her sleep at the ripe old age of 95. Abraham passes not even a few months later.
They are buried in the same plot as Claudia, behind the Professor’s Mansion.
Susan the Gentle, mother, lawyer, and lover, is finally at rest. [Is there any other ending that would have suited Susan in this 'verse? She got to see the passing on of her legacy, got to see her sons grow up and fall in love and get married, got to fight one last time, and died with one of the two people she loved most.]
Every so often, Harry, Hermione, and Dean take their families out to visit the Mansion. It has passed into Dean’s name, but he and Harry have made it into a shelter for abused kids, whether Magical or Muggle. While Harry, Seamus, and Dean work at Hogwarts at Professors (Harry teaches DADA, Seamus Dueling, and Dean has taken over from Madam Pomfrey), they keep the Susan Pevensie Home for Wayward Children running. [Yes, they named it after her, and no, I am not screaming. You are.]
Every time they visit, they go to the room with a wardrobe. They tell their children stories of their Grandmum Susan, of fairytales that take place in a magical place with giants and thoughtless gods. They teach their children the power of cunning and cleverness, of bravery and faith, of wisdom and curiosity.
They tell about an In Between, an Aslan’s Land, where the dead can speak to the living.
They live. [To borrow a line from a more recent fic of mine, "happily-ever-after" isn't the important part- what's important is the part where you and the people you love live.]
Nineteen years after the final battle, Hugo Abraham Granger-Weasley enters the Wardrobe room looking for a place to hide from his cousins. He is only nine years old, and he has been raised on tales of lions with dubious moralities and Queens who were taken from their Kingdoms and lads who spent their entire lives trying to right their mistakes. He has been well-informed on the perils and the pleasures of the land of Narnia. [This was originally going to be Dean's son, but then I realized that it worked a bit better thematically with the final member of the Silver Trio, the one who came into the family just a little later, having their child opening the wardrobe.]
He is but nine, though, and he is his Grand-aunt’s nephew. He runs up to the wardrobe and yanks open the door. He doesn’t notice the light chill that suddenly fills the room, the way that the fur coats start to sway in the breeze. Hugo passes through rows of fur coats and steps into paradise.
For the first time since Susan Pevensie returned to England over sixty years ago, someone has opened the door to the wardrobe.
And Narnia is waiting. [Completion of the circle. Susan, Dean, and Harry were never going to be the one to open up the wardrobe. But new children, raised after all the wars have ended, when a new world has been created in Magical Britain- this is when Narnia can open up again.]
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
[This quote really describes the Pevensies returning from Narnia, not Hugo returning to Narnia, but 'return' was used and thus I put it here at the end.]