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The Coyote and the Philosopher's Stone

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Harry Potter stood in a small room surrounded by a large group of eleven year old witches and wizards. Next to him, pinky finger linked with his own was Draco Malfoy. Harry was a Sentinel, a person with highly advanced senses and Draco was his newly discovered Guide, someone who helped to steady sentinels and who also had empathic gifts.

While Harry could barely recall a time when his senses had not yet awakened, Draco only awoke to his status after a brief meeting with Harry a month before. They met again on the train, each having realized the other was their perfect match during the time apart.

When they met they had formed a preliminary bond and it had strengthened on the train ride to school. Harry was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the new sensory input he was getting, from the odd sounds and air pressure when the ghosts drifted through the room to the light tingling on his skin from the magic of what Draco told him were wards. He wanted to stand between Draco and the rest of their year mates but when he had tried, the general press of so many scents and whispers added to Hogwarts itself almost sent him into a zone. To placate his instincts, Draco’s friends - the sons of two of his families’ vassals, Greg Goyle and Vincent Crabbe - stood between them and the crowd.

Harry could hear several of them whispering about knowing Harry Potter was supposed to be here and a boy asking if anyone saw a small boy with big glasses anywhere. He knew from their talk on the train that Draco would be struggling with controlling his Guide gifts and blocking out the emotions of everyone. There was likely a lot of nerves, anticipation, worry, and perhaps some early homesickness from those not used to being without their families. Thus, the linked pinkies, each helping the other to regulate their gifts.

Draco had explained that there would be wards at Hogwarts to block each of them from certain places or people. For example, all professors’ offices and living areas and social areas - like the faculty lounge - were heavily warded against the five senses of Sentinels and emotional feedback pulses received by Guides. And a number of people, both kids and adults had rudimentary mental shielding to block out Guides. Mostly purebloods, for obvious reasons, but some others too. Some people even wore specialized jewelry that created a barrier to sensing of both kinds. But it was very expensive.

As Harry tried to relax and his spirit animal, the coyote he had named Pupple when he was barely more than a toddler, pressed up against his legs in comfort. After a few minutes, Professor McGonagall came to lead them to the Great Hall for the sorting.

The room was filled with people and light but it wasn’t harsh to his sight or ears. Wards at work, he supposed. A singing hat described its job and his year mates began their sorting. Harry still wasn’t sure where he wanted to sort, he just knew that he didn’t think he could bear to spend seven years so far from Draco. The sorting was proceeding in alphabetical order so Draco would go first. Harry hoped that he could convince the hat of what he wanted. Harry only knew Greg and Vince so the sorting of most of the others didn’t concern him and both of his new friends sorted into Hufflepuff after only seconds under the Sorting Hat.

At last, Draco’s name was called and he released Harry to stride with confidence to the stool. The hat landed on his head and suddenly Harry could hear its voice in his mind.

“How rare. It has been eight decades since I have sorted a bonded pair. I have sorted unbonded Awakened Sentinels and Guides often enough, usually two or three a decade, young sirs, but to be not only awakened but matched as well, at your age? No. This is unusual. So, quite the mix here. Mister Malfoy was raised for Slytherin and you Mister Potter have quite a lot of cunning yourself. You both have quite a bit of ambition, to prove yourselves better than those around you. Shall it be the snakes?

“Then again, Mister Potter is quite brave, full of daring, to the brim with wits, and very hard-working and his loyalty is beyond most. And Mister Malfoy, while the cunning and ambition is strong in you, I see loyalty, to your Sentinel and the Tribe, and what a fine mind you hide under that slick hair of yours. And there are decided hints of bravery lurking, the bravery to see the truth behind the beliefs indoctrinated in you from birth and want to be different. And in just a month’s time. Very, very interesting.

“So, any preference, boys?”

Harry blinked and tried to speak inside his mind. “Draco said there was a chance we would be in different houses. That there was provision for how that would work with bonded pairs.”

The Sorting Hat chuckled. “Mister Malfoy was both correct and incorrect. There is such provision but it is only necessary when pairs bond after they were sorted. You bonded, though only the Early Bond for now, before we met. Thus, I cannot separate you. So, you both fit any House. Some more so than the others, but regardless, any House would help you in different ways.”

Draco’s voice slid through Harry’s mind like the most lovely music. “I don’t think we should go to Slytherin, if we have a choice. I know I would fit there well but I don’t think I or Harry would be safe there. And I would be among people, at least some of them, who would make me feel like my father does and I don’t think that is a good thing. He is corrupt. I - please, not Slytherin.”

Harry spoke to the Hat. “I agree. I am cunning enough to not dorm among those who may have agenda that make them my enemy and who would harm my Guide for being such. I am brave I guess but I don’t feel like it is a primary trait. I hide and am cunning and use my mind to get out of troubles rather than fight them.”

Draco agreed mentally. “I definitely don’t think Gryffindor would be a good home for me. Maybe I have been brave over the last month but I think it was more seeing the truth than confronting it.”

“I want Draco to be happy. And I think he wouldn’t be happy to be thought of as a duffer. Which, I must say, is a stupid thought to hold about people who are loyal and hard-working. Loyalty is great. And hard work is necessary, whatever world you live in. And I know from hard work.”

The Hat huffed. “I agree. Helga’s house I severely misunderstood by most of those not within it. I am glad you are not one of those, Mister Potter. Very well, then, I agree, Mister Malfoy, you will be best served in RAVENCLAW!”

Harry sighed out as the Hat was lifted from Draco’s head and he heard the whispers from the room about a Malfoy being a hat stall. It hadn’t seemed that long but Draco’s sorting had taken over five minutes.

A short while later, Harry’s own sorting went the opposite way and the Hat brushed his hair before whispering, “Enjoy RAVENCLAW!”

Harry joined his Guide at the table of the blue and bronze, enjoying the feast though being careful with his food choices, not wanting to zone on taste. He nudged Draco away from the pumpkin juice and to the water jar, not liking the odd smell of the former. As the feast continued, Harry learned his year mates names - Terrence call me Terry, Michael, Anthony never Tony, Su, Mandy, Padma, and Lisa - and basic background information, and shared a bit of his own. He kept his awakened status to himself for the moment, wanting to talk to his Head of House first but tried to be friendly, a bit hard when he was so overwhelmed with sensory input. Draco helped by once again linking pinkies under the table but it was still a huge change. To go from being locked in a cupboard for hours every day to a huge hall filled with teens and preteens and ghosts and professors. Harry was quickly getting worn out.

After the lengthy feast, the new Ravenclaws were led to their dorms by the Head Boy for the year and the House prefects. After answering a riddle to get in, they were told about their dorms and curfew and that in the morning they would get their schedules in the common room before being taken down to breakfast.

The dorm room was cozy but a bit full with five of them in a circular space. Harry’s bed was nearest the loo and between Michael and Terry, with the former also being near the loo. Draco was near the door between Michael and Anthony with the hall door directly between him and the latter. Harry would really have liked to crawl into bed with his Guide but as he hadn’t revealed that information to his dorm mates, he couldn’t tonight without major issues. And he and Draco wouldn’t have their separate rooms until confirmed by Professor Flitwick the next day. Harry smiled at his Guide and as they were leaving the loo after the other boys gave him a quick hug and took a deep breath of his scent. Draco cupped his face and looked deep into his eyes before smiling in return and heading to his bed.

It wasn’t the best idea on their part, this order of events and both Harry’s coyote, Pupple and Draco’s tiger, Astrum, huffed as they stretched out on their respective beds. The boys were young and would learn, eventually. Likely by morning. As would the rest of the dorm.

Harry quickly fell asleep after the stressful day. He opened his eyes to an oddly blue shaded meadow with rolling bluish colored grass covered hills in the near distance. There was a blue tinted forest to his right and the trees seemed to glow from within. Pupple appeared beside him and he smiled at him. “This is an interesting dream. I guess the blue is because I was sorted Ravenclaw and I need to get used to the color or something?”

A laugh huffed from behind him. He spun around and saw his Guide, glowing a swirling blue and silver. “No, this is the spirit plane. This is how it appears for most European Sentinels and Guides. Some of the more Northern ones see fjords and mountains and the Mediterraneans see cliffs and beaches. And I know that South Americans usually see a jungle. And Northern Americans see a forest or vast plains depending on what they expect and where they grew up or awakened. If we had awakened in Mexico, we might have still seen it this way with the meadows and forest and hills. Or we might have seen the local jungle. It depends. But, no, the blue has nothing to do with our sorting. It is the shade of this plane. I’ve been here for a short while a couple of times during deep meditation. Though I suppose it will be easier now to get here.”

Harry grimaced. “Meditation?”

Draco nodded. “I know. You’re a Sentinel and you’re all about the physical plane and not the more metaphysical aspects of our Gifts or Magic. I’ve heard and read about that reaction. But I like to meditate. It helps calm me down and access my magic better. I’ve actually been doing it since I was very small. Though it got easier to stay with as I got older, of course.”

Harry smiled. “Well, I don’t know how much it has to do with being more of the physical plane. I mean, I have no problem with accepting the more spiritual side of things. I mean, I’ve been interacting with my spirit animal since I was a toddler more or less. And Pupple showed me books in the school library about meditation and stuff. There weren’t many of them but I’ve meditated to control my senses a fair bit. Never been to another plane before, just inside my own mind, though. And I think, maybe, inside my magical core. Maybe. Sort of. I think. But the normal ways of meditating weren’t easy for me. Or, well, the muggle ways, at least. I’ve no idea about magical meditation and how it’s different. None of the school books say much of anything about it other than talking about the core and reaching into it when you are advanced in magic or very powerful. And it isn’t like Hagrid would let me get any extra books. I told you before, I was lucky I was able to convince him to let me buy shoes and a trunk.”

Draco but his lip. “Oh. Well, I don’t know what muggle meditation is like, but we’ll figure out how to work it out together. And - um, why do you think you might, maybe, possibly, you think have been in your core? That is really advanced stuff.”

Harry looked down and buried his fingers in Pupple’s fur. “Well, I didn’t know what it was until I read my books and I still can’t be sure. But it was this glowing pool of light inside me that I felt compelled to - well, I jumped in like it was a swimming pool. Dived down and it felt so warm and welcoming and energizing. And when I stopped meditating I was, um, glowing. For real, not just to my Sentinel eyesight.”

Draco gasped. “Yeah. You - Harry that is seriously advanced stuff. You are really powerful. That was your aura being projected into real space, not mage sight. Wow.”

Harry sighed. “So, something else freaky?”

Draco stepped forward. “Not freaky! Powerful! Special! It isn’t unheard-of, you’re just really young to have accomplished it. It means you’re an Alpha. And - oh. That means I’ll be an Alpha, too. I never expected. Merlin, this is something else.”

Harry smiled and stepped forward. “So, you aren’t sorry to be a Guide? To be my Guide?”

Draco shook his head vehemently. “Never! I am your Guide, you are my Sentinel, to treasure, to protect, to love.”

Harry breathed in as he felt a pressure deep inside. “I am your Sentinel, you are my Guide, to hold close, to keep safe, to love.”

As these words echoed between the pair, Pupple and Astrum ran towards each other, passing through the other’s form before entering their human’s new bonded. As Astrum entered his being, Harry could feel Draco becoming part of him in a way that he hadn’t before. Harry knew Draco, not his memories but his very soul and it was beautiful and shining and healed the cracks in his own created by his past and the mistreatment he grew up with. And he knew that Draco was seeing the reverse and rather than the shame he would have felt before, Harry felt treasured and safe inside his bonded’s being.

What the two boys didn’t realize was that such profound occurrences on the spiritual plane can have profound consequences on the material plane when accomplished by two such powerful magicals.

After the boys had fallen asleep on opposite sides of the room, their roommates were the first awoken, at 2 o’clock in the morning, by the wind swirling through the dorm room. It was a strong yet gentle wind coming from each floor our boys’ beds and flowing to the other’s, rattling the chimney of the fireplace in the center of their circular tower room. Shortly after they awoke and realized that it was Harry and Draco who were responsible and that they couldn’t wake either of them up, Anthony hurried to the room they had been told was the Head Boy’s bedroom. Robert Hilliard first tried to wake the boys who were now floating above their beds and faintly glowing, while the winds swirled faster and stronger between them. When he too was unable to get them to wake, he hurried to the portrait that he used to report to Professor Flitwick.

By the time the professor arrived in the first year boys’ dorm, he had to push through a crowd of onlookers in their pajamas and robes, both males and females, from all years. The wind was now howling at near cyclone speed but still gentle, nothing was being harmed but whipped around and loud. The boys were glowing like miniature suns, but strangely, were not hard to look at directly, the golden light beautiful as it reached out across the space. The boys were floating now in the center of the room, each on one side of the fireplace, the metal the only thing separating them.

Professor Flitwick frowned and cast two spells at the boys. When he got the results his eyes widened and he stumbled back, before quickly banishing the fireplace away from the boys’ path. As soon as he did so, the two boys floated together and as they touched, their glow intensified and a silver light wound around them like a chain.

Professor Flitwick cast a cushioning charm on the floor as they lowered down swiftly though gently as the light faded. The boys both mumbled to one another as they clasped each other tightly. “Sentinel. Guide. Mine.”

The gasp that swept through the gathered crowd wasn’t nearly as loud as the wind had been but it was loud enough now that the Magic was through to bring the bonded pair to a wakeful state. They both glanced around with frowns on their faces and then red flooded their cheeks as they noticed the large amount of gawkers staring at them.

Draco turned to Professor Flitwick and spoke, “Professor, why are we in the middle of the room? And why are you all staring at us?”

Harry piped up, “And wasn’t there a stove thing with a chimney here before?”

He looked around. “Oh, there it is. I didn’t know stoves could walk around in the wizarding world, Draco.” He tilted his head, his forehead crinkling. “That is weird. Why would you need a stove that could walk?”

Draco tilted his own head to the side. “I’ve never heard of that. But even if someone did do that wouldn’t it be awfully dangerous to have one in a dorm room?”

Professor Flitwick started laughing so hard he fell over and that set off everyone else watching. The two boys looked at one another and shrugged before sitting up, the hands between them tight and fingers linked.

Professor Flitwick waved his hand around in the room two flights above the first year boys’ dorm. “This will be your room. There is an attached bathroom through that door and when the door to the hall is closed, the Sentinel friendly wards activate and soundproof the room and filter out odors and dust and such things. I know this room is smaller than the previous room you were in but it is made just for two people. There are two enlarged beds which you can share as you wish, as long as you keep to the laws. But you do each have your own so you have your own spaces when you need them.” Harry and Draco shared a look. “Just because you are a bonded pair doesn’t mean you won’t have arguments. You are still human and don’t share a brain. You just have more reasons to work through it and better tools to do so with.”

Harry nodded. “I get it. We can’t expect our relationship to be perfect and ideal. ‘Cause life isn’t a utopia.”

The professor smiled. “Quite correct, Mister Potter. One point to Ravenclaw. And we wouldn’t really want to live in a utopia. Humans aren’t made for it. It would be - forgive me, you’re a bit young for that deep debate, especially at 3 am. But I do wish to ask, boys, why didn’t you come to me with your situation before you went to sleep?”

Draco looked sheepish. “We were planning on talking with you in the morning since we were told you would be meeting with the first years in the common room to hand out schedules and go over the rules. We didn’t know what happened was going to happen. I’m not even sure what did happen or why.”

Professor Flitwick waved his wand and created a love seat and a chair. “Well, let's have a seat and I can explain as best as I can. I am not a Sentinel or Guide myself. There actually isn’t one on faculty, though historically there was. But that changed several decades ago and the Heads of House were placed in charge of these things. But, you see, the school isn’t used to this . We get awakened first years every few years and pairs awakening and bonding during their school careers but an early bond pair at the Sorting? No. I - well, I’ve never heard of it. Fully bonded pairs pre-Sorting, I know that happens every century or two. But a pair that was bonded but not fully, no. Now, I can’t and won’t say it has never occurred. I’ve never really studied the history of The Awakened and Hogwarts. You would have to ask the Sorting Hat about that. But I do know some about bonding. Would you tell me, were you awakened when you met?”

Harry ran his fingers around Draco’s knuckles of their clasped hands as he spoke, “I’ve been awakened for as long as I can really recall. I think I was three or maybe four when it happened. My spirit guide helped me to deal with things. And Draco and I met in Madam Malkins and I realized he was my Guide but I didn’t know that magicals knew about Sentinels and Guides. They are well-known but incredibly rare in the muggle world and I thought they maybe didn’t exist here. Hagrid certainly didn’t seem to realize that my sensory issues were spikes.”

Draco leaned into Harry. “I started awakening the moment that Harry spoke to me though I didn’t realize it until an hour or so later as it was gradual. I didn’t even know his name. But I knew he had to be my Sentinel. And when I got to the train, I followed this pull inside me and found him, and we talked the whole trip.”

Professor Flitwick nodded. “And acknowledged to one another on the trip that you were Sentinel and Guide.” The boys nodded in unison. “First, may I say how sorry I am that you awakened so young. I know enough to know that such a circumstance would have been horrific on many levels, but I am glad that your spirit companion assisted you. Now, as to what occurred this evening and why.

“Most bondings that occur here at Hogwarts occur among students several years older than you are. While a second or third year awakening isn’t unusual, their match usually doesn’t occur until at least sixth year, typically, if it occurs during their school years at all. So, most early bonds last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours until the pair can be secluded and their bond fully realized, through, well, through sex. I wasn’t really aware or rather never considered that sex wasn’t necessary for a full bond. But logically it must be. I even said earlier that I had heard of bonded pairs coming to their first year together. I never followed that to the logical conclusion that ten-year-olds couldn’t physically bond sexually. So it must occur and I suppose that the sex for those who bond when older simply makes it easier to make a profound connection more quickly. It is fascinating to think of, but I am drifting from the topic.”

Draco and Harry both smiled weakly at their head of house as he spoke about things they were much too young to contemplate. Their burning red faces showed how embarrassing they found this lecture as the diminutive professor continued.

“You bonded this evening. I suppose, on the spirit plane.”

Draco nodded. “Yes, sir, we met there in our dreams. But I don’t understand what happened. We did bond while dreaming but how did we end up in the middle of the room? And why didn’t it happen earlier this summer when I fully awakened? I knew Harry was mine and acknowledged it and he had already accepted what I was to him.”

“Well, I know the spiritual plane has no physical distance boundaries, if that is what you mean?”

Draco nodded.

“Well, you said yourself, Mister Malfoy, you didn’t even know your Sentinel’s name when you first parted and began your awakening. Tonight was the first time you were in physical proximity to one another when you openly acknowledged to one another your place in the other’s life. I suspect that if you had been older, legal, you would have been unable to resist sexual bonding on the train ride. But that wasn’t an option and you didn’t realize consciously what you needed to do otherwise to advance and seal your bond. But as soon as you were unconscious, your souls took their opportunity and gathered you on the spirit plane to facilitate your full bond.

“And the power behind that bond manifested in the physical world as a strong wind and a drawing together of your bodies from their resting places. I suspect that if you had shared a bed, things wouldn’t have been so dramatic but your Magics were trying to reach one another and so, the entire tower saw the physical consequences of your metaphysical connection forming fully.”

“Oh.” Harry but his lip. “So, everyone knows? I mean, everyone in Ravenclaw, at least? They all know that the Boy-Who-Lived is a Sentinel? I hate that title but I’ve heard dozens of people refer to me that way today alone. And I - well, only my relatives ever knew I had come - had awakened and they always made me hide it.”

Professor Flitwick frowned and sighed, his eyes tearing. “I am very sorry for that, Mister Potter. But, yes, there is no way this will be kept private. And Awakening isn’t something to be ashamed of. Indeed, most in the magical world find it very special and an honor.”

“Most?”

Professor Flitwick's mouth curled at the corner in a wry type of smile. “The muggle world doesn’t have the corner on bigotry, Mister Potter. There is plenty to go around. Not all may be Man but we are all human. And humans like to see things as us versus them and to demonize the them to make the us feel superior.”

Harry nodded. “Draco told me about pure blood versus muggleborn and the war.”

“Well, the Awakened have their enemies in the magical world, just as other minorities do. Now, the Awakened aren’t as demonized heavily among the majority but there is a minority whom fear them or simply hate them.”

Harry grinned slyly. “And fear leads to hate. Hate leads to violence.”

The professor grinned. “Profound. Yoga was very wise.”

Draco looked confusedly between the two as they chuckle together. Harry brought Draco’s hand to his lips and placed a light kiss on the back, inhaling his scent. “It is from a muggle movie. I’ll explain another time.”

The professor rose to his feet. “Try to get a couple more hours sleep, boys. There will be a meeting in the morning in the common room as you know. You’ll still need your schedules as classes begin tomorrow morning, or rather later this morning. And tomorrow evening I will be calling a House Meeting to explain Awakened pairs and hopefully nip some jealousy over your rooming situation in the bud. After all, your room isn’t anymore luxurious or appointed than the other regular ones. It is simply warded differently to keep you both safe in your senses and empathy. Good night, boys and congratulations.”

Harry and Draco looked at one another, smiled, nodded and, without a word, climbed into the closest bed, holding one another tight, Harry’s nose settled into the crook of Draco’s neck.

Saturday morning after breakfast Harry and Draco entered an empty classroom on the second floor and smiled. Draco’s friends Greg and Vince were waiting for them there as they had arranged during class the day before. Draco had missed his friends and though Ravenclaw did have a large number of their classes with Hufflepuff, it wasn’t the same. They had all thought they would be together in Slytherin for years - until being introduced to Harry on the train.

The two boys were sitting on top of a couple of old desks near the window and Harry grabbed two more and with Draco’s help pulled them over to be opposite them. The two Hufflepuffs grinned at them and Greg drawled, “So, how’s your first week been? Anything interesting happen?” He maintained a strict blank face for all of three seconds before bursting into laughter, Vince joining him.

Draco fake scowled, “Shut it, you. I know the whole thing is all over the school. I’m curious how long it took. When did you guys hear about our - middle of the night magic show?”

Greg smiled. “I heard about it at breakfast. Well, I overheard some older Ravenclaws talking about it. You guys and the other first year Ravens hadn’t come down yet.”

Harry sighed. “We had a meeting in the common room to get our class schedules and there were questions from our classmates. Lots of questions. Lots and lots and lots of questions.”

Vince bit his lip. “Yeah, you guys barely made it to breakfast before the class bell rang on the first day.”

Draco sighed. “Yeah, we had about seven minutes to eat. All things considered I’m glad not to be in Slytherin but Ravenclaws are very - um-“

“Nosy.”

“Harry!”

“It is true. They are nosy and gossips. And entitled. The way they asked those things Tuesday morning and then the older years at the House Meeting on Tuesday night - it was intrusive and beyond annoying. That one fourth year who asked which of us” Harry choked and hissed, “fucked the other, what else can you call it.”

Greg’s eyes widened comically, “They didn’t?!?”

Harry nodded emphatically, “They bloody well did! And that wasn’t even the worst, just the most crudely put. Honestly, after this week, I have to say that only five, okay maybe seven, of our entire House aren’t arsesholes. And four of them are Awakened though unbonded. The other three have Awakened bonded parents, though two of them are still nosy. Just not about the Sentinel and Guide stuff.”

Vince snorted. “Well, you’re like almost a myth to people, Harry. Everything that happened that Halloween and you just vanished and everyone was praising you and all-“

“And the books, can’t forget the Adventures of the Boy-Who-Lived book series. The eighteenth is supposed to be out for the holiday season.”

“Right, Greg’s right. Can’t forget that. And the history books and just every kid here who has at least one magical parent grew up knowing your name and what they thought you’d be like. And then you turn up for Hogwarts, an Awakened Sentinel bonded to Draco Malfoy and sorted into Ravenclaw. It boggles most of their minds. Frankly, it boggled mine when I realized who you were. It’s an adjustment, you know.”

Harry sighed. “I guess I can get it but it still is a pain. I’m not some superhero. Yeah, I’m a Sentinel, evidently a pretty powerful one, but I’m 11. And I Awakened when I was 3 or 4. If people would just think about that and what it means I’d really appreciate it. I didn’t spend my childhood in some castle befriending dragons and riding unicorns and whatever else those stupid books say. I was locked up in a tiny cupboard, beaten often, starved, tormented, worked until I bled and then worked more, basically tortured for a decade. As a little kid. Kept sane and anchored by my spirit animal. And then I find out I’m a wizard and everyone wants to shake my hand and know about me and - I just. It’s too much all at once, ya know?”

Draco wrapped his arm around Harry. “I know. But you have me. And Vince and Greg. And Terry Boot and Su Li, you seem to like them alright. And we can slowly reach out to the less rabid fangirls and fanboys and tone them down and maybe find some who never heard of you before until this summer.”

Harry sniffs and smiles a little. “Muggleborns. We can make some friends who are muggleborns. You can say the word Draco.”

Draco poked him in the side. “Yes, I can say that. I can make muggleborn friends. Father will have a fit but I don’t care. You both should have seen the tiptoeing he did in his first letter after the sorting. Mother was just thrilled everything worked out and I think she was actually glad I didn’t sort as a Slytherin. She sent us biscuits and chocolate. Father actually rambled in his letter. He was saying how glad he was that I had such a prestigious Sentinel and that Ravenclaw was a perfectly good house and that I would make connections and just - well, I could tell he was beyond shocked by everything and didn’t know how to spin it yet. He will figure out his angle but not that quick with that many shocks.”

Greg spoke. “You’re going to have to figure out a way to get around him, Draco. You - can’t let him get a grasp of Harry.”

“We know. It’s only September 6th. We have over three months until Yule break and then over five months until the end of the year. We have time to figure it out. And until then, frankly, Dumbledore will likely keep my father in check in the Ministry on the matter. I don’t like the old man, but he wouldn’t want my father to get control of Harry either. So, we’ll let him cast for this one. For now, until we figure stuff out. Like how to get Harry away from his relatives without putting him in my father’s power.”

Harry waved it off, “We have months to figure it out and research and talk to people. We need to figure out the short term before fretting to death over the relatively long term. So, moving on, or back to topic, how long was it before the whole school knew about what happened Monday night.”

Greg blew out a breath, “Okay, from what I could figure out our entire house had heard by mid-afternoon and most, if not all, of the Gryffs and Snakes knew by dinner time dessert. That is pretty fast but it was big news. And honestly, I think the rumors were a bit off of the truth. Maybe. But they weren’t as wild and crazy as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I heard some doozies but nothing insane, just silly.”

“Like what, how bad?” asked Draco.

“Like there was a cyclone in your dorm or that Professor Flitwick had to banish the fireplace because you two were floating around the room.”

Harry and Draco exchanged a glance. “Oh. Um, that is actually surprisingly accurate. It was as loud as a cyclone and evidently windy but didn’t really hurt anything. And we were floating towards one another across the room and were going to crash into the stove, so he did banish it to the wall.”

Vince's mouth dropped open. “Alright, you said you were powerful but that, that isn’t just powerful. That’s - you’re - that-“

“You’re Alpha Primes,” said Greg.

Draco nodded, “Yes. Likely so.”

Greg nodded. “You want to start gathering a Pride.”

“Instinctively we’re being driven to it. There isn’t a big level bonded pair in Hogwarts right now. So, it will happen, regardless. The Awakened will be drawn to us and the latent will feel comfortable with us and want to be friends. Things are going to get interesting. But we want our Pride to be people we picked and not just people who feel naturally magically compelled to be around us.”

“We’re not going anywhere, Draco.”

Draco smiled, the grin beaming on his face. “Good. And we have to change our game plans. We knew we would when I Awakened but now - I am bonded and in Ravenclaw. You are both in Hufflepuff, not Slytherin. And Harry is Harry. And not in Gryffindor like everyone expected. Being badgers means people will automatically underestimate you so you don’t need the idiot act. Which doesn’t mean I won’t tutor you. That still stands. But -“

“We get it, Draco,” said Vince, “we haven’t been playing stupid. And we can keep an eye out for good people to bring to you. Even muggleborns. Merlin, I am so glad I can use that word and don’t have to use the expletive.”

Draco rolled his eyes, “You’re telling me. So, we aren’t in the same house like we always expected to be so, we have to arrange a place and time to meet for study sessions.”

Harry titled his head, “A study group would be a good way to get friends cross-Houses. And I think I will need it. Definitely for History and maybe Potions. Professor Snape was oddly hostile. His voice held this undertone - I don’t know, exactly, but it was off. He was angry but confused and upset, and I am not sure how to explain. But he wasn’t overtly hostile and I like the idea of potions and brewing but I suspect I may have sensory issues in the class.”

Draco linked their hands, “I told you, I can help you.”

“I know. But I’ve heard rumors about Professor Snape. Or rather, overheard some older students talking about his methods. Potions study group would be great for probably lots of people in most of the Houses.”

“He’s right, Draco. We were warned by our prefects about his attitude and to not take it personally. They said he is bitter and mean and hates anyone not in Slytherin, especially Gryffindors,” said Greg.

“Fine. Potions and History, and well just homework in general, I guess. And keep an eye out for others who need the help.”

Harry piped up, “Need and want the help. We don’t want to be like that Granger girl, forcing ourselves and our methods on others. Hopefully, she’ll learn to tone it down soon, or she is going to be miserable. I - thinking about it, I think I’m going to keep an eye on her. She doesn’t come off as mean, just overly helpful and overeager and not too bright socially speaking. It could lead to bad bullying if she isn’t watched.”

Vince frowned, “You mean she could become a bully?”

Harry shook his head and then sort of nodded. “Maybe. She could if she pushed the wrong type of person too hard. But I was actually thinking she could be a target for bullies. I want to watch for both possibilities because it could actually be both at the same time. That one boy in Gryffindor, um, the shy one -“

“Longbottom. Neville Longbottom,” said Draco.

“Yeah, him. She could bully him, just run right over his wants because she feels she is right and is eager for friends and be worse if a few others like that Brown girl or Padma’s sister or that red-headed boy, uh, Weasley, if they treat her badly, whether on purpose or just because of how she comes across, it could be very bad in Gryffindor. And I think the girls would mostly be because they are very different from Granger but Weasley, I’ve already heard some kind of cruel things he says, to her, to Longbottom, and to some of your Housemates, guys. So, yeah, let’s watch out for that. I don’t want to invite her to study right now from the beginning. But maybe down the line. I just feel that her situation could go very bad, very quickly.”

The other three nodded. “Okay. We’ll keep it in mind and watch her and watch over her,” said Draco as he pulled an upset Harry into his neck. “I can feel how urgent this feels to you suddenly. And between you and me and Vince and Greg we have all but two of her classes covered, plus the Great Hall during meals. We won’t let those worse cases happen, Harry. We promise.”

Vince and Greg echoed Draco’s last words and Greg whispered, “Are you a seer, too?”

Harry walked down the stairs towards the Great Hall. It was Halloween and he was tired but feeling peaceful. It had been a good afternoon spent in the company of his Guide and their Pride, Awakened and otherwise, as they taught him wizarding mourning rituals. He had hoped to skip the Halloween feast but his request had been denied. Professor Flitwick had told him that he was told that unless Harry was actually in the Hospital Wing with Madame Pomfrey treating him, he had to attend the feast. Harry knew the rule was only for him and hadn’t been something that his Head of House wanted to pass on, but he rolled with it. And had a great day, for a given meaning of great, regardless.

Harry had known when he realized he and Draco were not only Alphas but Alpha Primes that a Pride would form around them but even he was surprised with how quickly it had happened. By the end of their second week of school every Awakened student had begun orbiting them, one way or another, and by the end of September it had added a dozen latents and eight regular students, all years, all Houses.

Harry and Draco had followed the plan created with Vince and Greg and began a multi-House study group in an unused classroom. Within two days, the room had been fully cleaned and furnished by the House elves, without being asked, and it had expanded, with a warded dueling area, a section with tables and chairs set up for studying with bookcases along the wall, a common area with sofas and squishy chairs for simple socializing, and an area with mats and low seats for guided meditation and things, evidently all created by the castle herself.

A week before Halloween a door had appeared that led to a ritual space for the rites that his Pride taught him to honor his parents and the other dead. They were best performed after dusk, but they worked well at any time on Halloween or as the wizarding world formerly referred to it, Samhain. The veil was thin from midnight to midnight, so while the rites were odd during daylight, they still brought him the sense of peace, closure, and communion that a later performance would.

Harry had truly taken to having friends, having a true Pride, people he cared about and wanted to protect, not just felt he had to because of his instincts, like his relatives and the people of Little Whining, who always ignored his plight and evidences of abuse.

Discounting Draco who was different and on another level, it had begun with Vince and Greg, followed swiftly by their fellow first year Ravenclaws Terry Boot, Su Li, Padma Patil, and Mandy Brocklehurst. Then other first years had come from Hufflepuff with Vince and Greg, Wayne Hopkins, Ernie MacMillan, Megan Jones, and Justin Finch-Fletchley. Then a few Slytherins, Theo Nott, Tracey Davis, Daphne Greengrass, and Millicent Bulstrode. Some of them were latent, others weren’t as far as they knew, but they were all part of the Pride. Then the Weasley twins, Fred and George, had found their hideaway and came back with their best friend Lee Jordan. All three of them were latent. And then the Pride filled out with the Awakened from all of the Houses.

They finally got their first first year from Gryffindor through keeping an eye on the Granger situation. She had indeed begun to steamroll over Neville Longbottom and Harry had stepped in one day and shut her down with logical arguments. Neville began attending their study group and began losing some of his timidity as he was accepted as he was.

Hermione Granger eventually came to Harry about the issues he had raised and was invited to participate if she could learn restraint and work on her bullying tendencies. She agreed and Draco helped her focus herself and calm her mind during meditation which led to the discovery that she was beginning to Awaken as a Guide. It was happening very gradually and if she had continued to act the way she had been, she would have gone dormant. Now, she was embracing the magical world in a new way and learning to block out the spikes of emotions she got from others that drove her to unfortunate acting out. It also helped that Padma dragged Parvati to their gathering place, and she learned that Hermione was just scared and alone.

Things weren’t perfect.  She still had times when she overstepped and the youngest Weasley boy was cruel to her even when she didn’t. Neville had told everyone that Ron was a menace to the entire Gryffindor first year. He was entitled and arrogant and lazy and fairly dim. And he had a sharp tongue and short temper. But when he went after one of the Pride they knew they had support. So though he told Hermione to her face earlier that day that she was a nightmare, Hermione just looked him up and down and had told him that if his nightmares involved doing well in school then he wasn’t going to get very far in life and swanned off. Much better than letting him upset her and cry in an isolated corner as she had revealed happened several times in September.

Greg still asked regularly if he was a seer. Harry still said no, and he held to that. He knew he wasn’t a traditional seer. He didn’t see visions or speak prophecy. He just felt things, knew things. Harry believed it had to do with being an Alpha Prime. That little extra something that made him Prime. He knew Draco felt them, too, but he said it was more feelings of hot or cold, sort of.

When Harry meditated and looked for it, it felt like a psionic tugging on the spirit plane. Or pushing. Or like he was feeling ripples in the psionic energy that were warnings to him.

He had felt them strongly around Granger every time she spoke in September, until she came to him. He felt tiny ones in Potions class, lots of conflicting ones of varying sizes in the Great Hall at meals, some that came from the student tables and several from the professor’s table, and huge ones, tidal wave size ones in DADA. It was distracting because he didn’t have enough experience to know what to do other than watch and wait. So he did.

Now they were all at the Halloween feast and would stuff themselves with sweets and appreciate the magical decorations. It wasn’t really what he wanted but needs must. The food was delicious but very rich and tooth-rottingly sweet. But the illusionary bats and giant pumpkins were impressive.

Then everything changed when their suspicious DADA teacher rushed into the room shouting that there was a troll in the dungeon. Dumbledore instructed everyone to head for their common rooms and all of the teachers, including the suddenly no-longer-fainting Quirrel, left the students alone.

“No.” Harry stood as people were rushing around. “No. Wandering isn’t safe. It’s stupid. Upper year Sentinels and Guides, close and lock the main doors, then barricade them. Get the younger years who can’t defend themselves near the teachers entrance. It is too small for a troll.”

The Head Boy, Robert Hilliard, heard him and obeyed, not only was it an order from his Prime but it was logical which thrilled his Ravenclaw soul. He set off a charm to get everyone’s attention and passed on the orders. Once people were outwardly calm, he spoke to them, “The troll was in the dungeon by first reports but by the time Professor Quirrel made it to the Great Hall, it could have wandered elsewhere. Not to mention, both the Slytherins and the Hufflepuffs go to the dungeons to reach their common rooms. Stay calm, prefects take a headcount, make sure no one is missing from each House. Get the first and second years to the back of the room, third and fourth years between them and the main doors. All upper years behind the tables but in front of the younger years. Everyone ready for action, wands out. I don’t care if the only spell you can do is the light charm! Enough of them could blind the troll and give you time to escape. We will stay here until the professors return looking for us. If the troll tries to get in, the doors are locked and barricaded, and we are all prepared. Just keep your heads and it will work out.”

And for the next two hours, which is how long it took for any professors to check on the common rooms and discover them empty, that is what they did.

Two days after the disaster that was the aborted Halloween feast, Harry was on his way to the library while Draco worked with Vince and Greg on their essays. He was thinking on the danger to the tribe that the very ones who were supposed to protect them were - the adults. Frankly, it had been annoying him since the teachers had burst in to the Great Hall, using a blasting curse to take out the barricade. As if they thought the troll had gone into the Great Hall and barricaded the door, holding the students hostage. None of them even thought to try the other entrance that the professor’s used every freaking day. Luckily, the older years were prepared and vigilant and put up shields to protect everyone from the flying debris.

Professor McGonagall wanted to take points and assign detentions to everyone who hadn’t listened to the Headmaster’s instructions, meaning every single member of the student body. Brilliant woman, that one. And Professor Dumbledore had looked disappointed at them all for staying in the Great Hall. Even after the Head Boy had pointed out the idiocy of the orders they had disobeyed. Every single student had nodded along to his explanation. And the professors had just gaped and then showed them along to their dorms, without dinner.

Harry and Draco had called for the head kitchen elf and explained the issue once back in the Ravenclaw common room. The elves had then taken the food that was still good and more that they made and delivered it to each House so that no student went to bed hungry. Harry didn’t know if it had been an oversight on the part of the professors or if it had been a deliberate attempt by the Deputy Headmistress to punish every student by sending them to bed without their supper for not obeying an order that put them in danger of death by troll. Frankly, Harry wouldn’t put it past the old woman.

Harry was passing the main doors, trailed a bit back by Gemma Farley and Gabriel Truman, two Awakened Sentinels of his Pride, and skirting around several groups who were chatting or relaxing when he was stopped by Hagrid.

Harry had decidedly mixed feeling about the large bearded Groundskeeper. On the one hand, Harry knew the guy was sweet and kind, if more than a bit dim witted. On the other hand Hagrid’s head was so far up Dumbledore’s ass he should constantly be tasting lemon drops.

Since the third day of school, Hagrid had been sending Harry invitations to have tea at his hut, but every single one made a point of excluding Draco. Frankly, Harry didn’t think he would have said yes even if the man wasn't deliberately telling him to come alone, but he always did.

Stop by for tea, I have enough for you and I.

I made an extra helping of treacle tart, stop by my hut, you won’t have to share with anyone.

I’d love to see ya for tea, Harry. You can escape the crowds who mob and bother you. My hut isn’t big and my dog will run off anyone who follows you.

Hagrid stepped into Harry’s path and but a hand on his shoulder and back. “Hey there Harry. Come on down to my hut. We can have tea.”

Harry tried to subtly move away but Hagrid’s hand was too large and his grip too firm. “I’m just on my way to the library, Hagrid. Thanks for the offer but I can’t.”

Hagrid began pushing him towards the main doors. “Nah, don’t be so Ravenclaw. Yer homework can wait a bit. Have tea, and we can talk about yer da and his school-days. He used to get up to all kinds of tricks. He’d be shocked at yer sorting, he was smart but Gryffindor through and through, yer parents. Brave and good people.”

Harry dug his heels in, trying to stop the push. “Maybe another time, Hagrid. I like my House. Let me go, please.”

“Now, don’t be like that. I won’t hurt ya, Harry.”

“No, Hagrid! I don’t want to go with you.” Harry raised his voice and several nearby people looked over.

Hagrid huffed. “Yer being ridiculous. But we’ll get ya fixed up. Professor Dumbledore told me the problem. Don’t ya worry none. He’s a great man, Dumbledore, smart and powerful. He knows alchemy and lots of really old spells. He’s gonna fix ya, break the hold that Malfoy snake has on ya. He told me how Malfoy tricked ya and spelled ya to think yer a Sentinel and he’s yer Guide. Don’t worry, he can break that and make ya know and remember ya ain’t really got Awakened. He’ll get ya away from that Dark family and make ya normal again.”

Harry’s eyes blazed with green fire and Pupple became fully visible, something he hadn't done since summer. “Dumbledore is going to use alchemy to try to make me go dormant and break my bond with my Guide?!?”

Hagrid nodded. “Yeah. Then you’ll be better. Maybe even resorted where ya should be. Ya aren’t really Awakened, Harry. Malfoy did something to ya on the train. We’ll go to my hut and I’ll give ya the tea the professor gave me for ya, and then he’ll get ta work.”

“I’ve been Awakened since I was 4 years old, Hagrid. Draco Malfoy is my bonded Guide and I will not allow this bond interference. Let me go and maybe the Council will go easy on you for this.”

Hagrid pushed Harry towards the doors harder. “Malfoy spelled ya. It’ll all be better soon. Trust Professor Dumbledore.”

Harry’s mind clouded over. He couldn’t escape the large man and if he was able to get him to his hut, Harry would be defenseless. Pupple howled in fury and the sound triggered a primal response in the coyote’s Sentinel. There was a threat to the Guide, to the Bond. It couldn’t be stood.

Harry turned towards Hagrid and the entire entrance hall, nearly twenty students and two swiftly approaching professors, Flitwick and Snape - alerted by students when Harry first began raising his voice - learned with a firsthand look the danger even an eleven-year-old feral Sentinel could be. Using both physical and magical means, Harry tore into the threat before him, even Hagrid’s half giant hide not a match for the ferocity set before it. Within two minutes the man was on the floor, the hand that had been holding Harry gone, obliterated into fragments by a wandless burst of magic, bleeding from multiple gouges, shivering under wild magic turned against him.

Harry turned from the downed threat and towards the crowd watching aghast. His Guide. Where was his Guide? There were more threats to the Guide.

Flitwick spoke, his voice soft and gentle, “Mister Potter, you have neutralized the threat. No one here will harm you.”

Harry shook his head, his hearing searching for his Guide’s heartbeat, finding it, fast, faster than it should be. His Guide was in danger! He moved towards the sound, growling.

Professor Snape stepped forward, stopping several feet away, his arms spread wide, his hands empty. “There is no danger here, Potter.”

Harry growled at him and hissed as he felt a psionic ripple impact him from the man before him. He took two steps forward and Snape slowly sank to his knees.

“Potter, Harry, you’ve neutralized the threat. We heard what he said. Your Guide is safe, your Bond is safe.”

Harry stepped forward again his focus on the man before him. He reached out to the man’s left arm, teeth bared, feeling psionic ripples slamming into him harder the closer he got. As his hand landed on Snape’s forearm, he felt a hand land on his back and the aura of his Guide surround him and rush through him, calming his feral state. The Guide magic channeled through Harry and continued through Harry’s hand into the arm he held. Harry began hissing and Professor Snape jerked in his hold, blood beginning to drip from his nose.

Draco spoke softly, “Relax, Professor Snape. Stop fighting us. Magic wants this. We need to do this. We are helping, let us help.”

Draco put both of his hands on top of Harry’s and their auras became visible, Pupple and Astrum appearing and bear-hugging their Awakened. Slowly other spirit animals appeared and piled against the main two, the entire hall seeing them, even the regular magicals.

After five minutes a bright light surrounded the trio and the professor gasped loudly as the two boys let go of him and their eyes rolled up in their heads, and they collapsed in his hastily held out arms.

The professor looked down at his forearm, the sleeve of his robes vanished at some point during the ordeal and saw completely unblemished skin for the first time since he was just out of Hogwarts.

Harry woke up in the arms of his Guide, smells of cleaning and medical potions in his nose. He could hear muffled rushing sounds which he knew were behind a privacy ward. He also knew that if he really tried, he could hear around the ward. It wasn’t very strong, but he didn’t try. He felt Draco’s calm heartbeat against his chest as memories from his feral state slowly filled his mind. He mentally cringed from what he had done to Hagrid but also knew he wasn’t sorry. The man had brought that shit on himself. Even in the muggle world it was known not to interfere in a bond between a Sentinel and a Guide.

Harry heard and felt Draco’s heartbeat pick up a bit as he came to consciousness. When he felt Draco begin to stir, he murmured, “We’re in the hospital wing. No one very close.”

Draco nodded his head and the two boys pushed themselves up. There were several screens along the back of the room blocking it off from where the boys were. “That’s probably where they have Hagrid,” Draco said softly.

Harry nodded. “Let’s get out of here. We’re not sick, that was just a lot of energy we used. I’m not even sure what we did but it felt right.”

Draco slid out of bed and Harry followed him to the door. Before they reached it, Professor Snape came out from behind the screened area and approached them. “How are you feeling? You weren’t injured.”

Draco sighed. “We were very tired but are fine now.”

The professor nodded, looking unusually awkward. “Good. I need to get back to Hagrid. The Headmaster refuses to send him to Saint Mungo’s. He wants to control the flow of information and if the hospital were involved, the aurors would automatically be as well.” The professor stood staring at them for a long moment. His lips pressed together, and then he spoke, “Thank you,” before turning on his heel and returning to the area Hagrid was in.

Draco and Harry exchanged a look, shrugged and exited the infirmary. They began the trek to Ravenclaw Tower when they were intercepted by Professor McGonagall. Harry slid in front of Draco and waited. “Come along, Potter. The Headmaster will see you in his office.”

“No, I refuse to see him alone. And you don’t count, Professor. He is a threat to myself and my Guide and our bond.”

“Don’t be nonsensical. You’re hysterical and in quite a lot of trouble for attacking a member of the staff, young man.”

“I defended myself and my bonded from the interference of a man who wouldn’t listen to me.”

“Nonsense. You have no defense on this. You’ve been getting special privileges since you arrived and it went to your head. You’re just a student here, Mister Potter. A first year at that. The Headmaster is going to see you now and you will receive your just punishment which should have occurred following the duel you and Mister Malfoy held your first night here which woke up your House.”

Draco snorted. “We’ve never dueled, Professor. What woke out House was the physically magical demonstration of our initial full bonding on the spirit plane.”

“Full binding requires full sexual penetration, Mister Malfoy. Even if you were a Guide and Mister Potter an Awakened Sentinel at your ages, it would be illegal to fully bond. So you are obviously a liar, young man. Now come along both of you then, the Headmaster can deal with you.”

Harry shook his head, “I told you I will not be alone without a competent adult in the Headmaster’s presence and you do not count as such, as your previous speech aptly demonstrated. Please summon Professor Flitwick, him I trust.”

Professor McGonagall's lips nearly disappeared she pressed them together so tightly but her wand snapped out and a ghostly white cat sped down the hall. “We will meet him there.”

Harry nodded and motioned for her to precede him. She spun and stalked off at a brisk pace. Harry and Draco followed, although they refused to run after her. Harry murmured to Draco, “I don’t know where his office is and if she wants to throw a tantrum and lose us in the process, that’s on her.”

Draco snorted and nodded. “Fine by me.”

The boys did eventually arrive and McGonagall spoke the password to the guardian. “Go on. He’s waiting.”

“And Professor Flitwick?”

“I’m sure he beat us here.”

Harry slowly walked up the steps, sending his hearing ahead of him. The door to the office was closed and the wards the strongest he had come across, even stronger than the ones on their dorm room. He slid a hand behind him and Draco grasped it. Harry spelled out a message on his Guide’s palm. Wards. Careful.

Draco squeezed his hand and they proceeded forward. The door opened and a force pulled Harry into the room, slamming it behind him, leaving Draco on the staircase which had sealed itself.

Professor Dumbledore stood before his desk and stared over the rims of his spectacles. “You’ve been quite the problem, Mister Potter. This insistence that you Awakened young and that Mister Malfoy is your Guide, it is a problem. The Boy-Who-Lived can’t be one of those primitive things. You have a destiny, my boy, and you aren’t on the correct path. I’ve researched things and I can fix that, get rid of this connection you have to the spirit plane and make sure that everyone knows you had been cursed. It is for the greater good, my boy. This might hurt but you won’t remember it.”

The old man drew his wand and sent a sickly yellow light towards Harry. For the young Sentinel it was as if time slowed down to a crawl. He saw the light leave the wand and dodged to the side and forward towards the threat. Before the Headmaster realized Harry had moved, the boy grabbed his wand and wrenched it from his hand, tossing it to the side. Harry watched from the corner of his eye as it hit the brilliantly colored bird on a perch and a gray light flecked with black spots flashed all over the bird and a cracking sound filled the office.

The bird trilled loudly and grabbed the wand in its talons before flying at high speed towards Dumbledore. The old man reached up to grab his wand from the bird only for it to plow into his head, hard. He fell over and the bird screeched. Harry thought it should have hurt his ears, Dumbledore acted like it hurt his quite a lot, but he was fine. Dumbledore got to his knees and tried to stand and the bird hit him around the head with its’ large wings. Before he could recover, the door to his office burst open and Professor Flitwick and Draco rushed in. They saw the scene and the bird looked at them once before disappearing in a burst of flame, leaving Dumbledore behind, dazed and bleeding from scratches and a bump on his head.

Albus Dumbledore Arrested!

November 3 - Reports have been coming in from Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic that Headmaster Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Head Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Order of Merlin First Class) has been arrested for attempted bond interference among other charges. Students at Hogwarts report that he was removed from the grounds by aurors in the late afternoon on November 2.

This was following an episode in which Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, and evidently an Awakened Sentinel turned feral when Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, attempted to remove him by force from the castle.

One eye witness to the event in question told this reporter that Hagrid told Mister Potter that Dumbledore was planning on using alchemy to suppress him and break his bond with his Awakened Guide, first year Ravenclaw, Draco Malfoy, son of Lord Lucius Malfoy.

“He was pushing Harry and trying to get him to go to his hut and kept telling him he wasn’t really a Sentinel and that Draco had him spelled, even when Harry told him that he'd been Awakened since he was 4 years old! Hagrid said that Draco would go to jail and Harry just lost it. It was terrible but like a broom accident, you can’t look, away, you know? He tore Hagrid apart.”

Rubeus Hagrid was taken to the Hogwarts Hospital Wing where reports state that Mediwitch Poppy Pomfrey and Potions Master Severus Snape worked for over three hours to stabilize him. Why he wasn’t transferred to Saint Mungo’s Hospital we don’t know at this time.

Reports from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement are coming in that state there was a further altercation, this time between the Boy-Who-Lived-to-Awaken and Headmaster Dumbledore in the latter’s office. It culminated in the Headmaster’s phoenix, Fawkes, taking his wand to Amelia Bones, Head of the DMLE, after injuring Dumbledore.

We’ve been told that the wand revealed a large number of illegal and highly questionable spells which led to an investigation into the matter. The investigation is still ongoing and after initial questioning of all those involved as witnesses or participants, Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall (Head of Gryffindor House, Professor of Transfiguration) was also removed from the school for questioning. The Board of Governors appointed Professor Filius Flitwick (Head of Ravenclaw House, Professor of Charms) as temporary Headmaster in an emergency meeting last evening.

We will keep on this unfolding story and bring it to you as it develops.

(For more on Albus Dumbledore and his time as Headmaster, see page 5.)

(For more on Harry Potter and thoughts by our experts on his Awakened state, see pages 2-3.)

(For more on Rubeus Hagrid, his expulsion and years at Hogwarts, see page 7.)

(For more on Draco and Lucius Malfoy, and the Malfoy family history, see page 4.)

(For more on Professor Flitwick, his days as a dueling champion, see page 6.)

 

Dark Lord Dumbledore Special Trial Coverage

Boy-Who-Lived-to-Awaken to Testify

November 20 - To recap the events of the first two days of the trial of the century, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, former Headmaster of Hogwarts, former Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, former Head Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, was arrested in early November. At the time, charges were assaulting an Awakened Sentinel under 17 and attempted bond interference.

By the time his trial began on November 18, the charges had expanded exponentially. Most don’t see how he can possibly escape a life sentence in Azkaban, if not the Dementor’s Kiss for his crimes which are now including kidnapping, deliberate bond interference, theft, binding the magic of a child under 3, binding the magic of children under 12, potioning minors, potioning adults, ritually binding and chaining a phoenix, murder, creation of a subversive militia, collusion with a known dark lord, magically tampering with muggles, memory modification without a license, rape by proxy, the use of the Unforgivables, and several lesser charges.

Testimony by renowned historian Bathilda Bagshot (author, A History of Magic) revealed on Monday that Dumbledore helped Gellert Grindelwald plan what became his eventual war. Many of the ideas and strategies were from the very mind of the man who would gain acclaim by defeating his erstwhile lover.

Testimony from Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth (owner and operator of the Hog’s Head pub in Hogsmeade), showed that Dumbledore the elder had a falling out with Grindelwald which resulted in the death of the Dumbledores’ younger sister, Arianna, at Albus Dumbledore's own wand, by the killing curse.

Evidence provided by the DMLE showed yesterday that Albus Dumbledore actively sought to suppress those who seemed to be Awakening since he became a professor at Hogwarts in 1924. He used the alchemy he studied under renowned alchemist Nicholas Flamel to develop a potion and spell that would make an Awakening Sentinel or Guide go dormant. It only worked if they were not yet fully Awakened, though he did develop a ritual to force a fully Awakened Gift to dormancy within the last decade. Over his many years at Hogwarts in charge of our vulnerable children, Dumbledore revealed under veritaserum that he had used these alchemical processes on 219 children.

Dumbledore also revealed to the DMLE that he had created his own breeding program at Hogwarts. He dosed numerous students with love potions, lust potions, and animosity potions during his tenure in order to make couples that he wished to have children together. He also revealed that he used these potions on certain adult pairs, whether already married to others or not, to see his ideals through. This included the use of the Imperius curse and polyjuice potion to fool a part of the pair.

Today, Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-to-Awaken, will take the stand to testify to the incident that began the investigations. What shockers will be revealed? We will bring you the latest in our special evening edition after court has recessed for the day.

(For more on Gellert Grindelwald and his relationship to Albus Dumbledore, see the special 4-page insert.)

(For information from an expert on what can cause early Awakening, see page 3.)

(For the trial of Rubeus Hagrid, see page 5.)

(For other charges for staff at Hogwarts, see page 4.)

 

Rubeus Hagrid, Giant Terror

November 20 - For those that do not know, Rubeus Hagrid was the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts for the past fifty years. Before that he was a third year Gryffindor in 1943, when he was expelled, his wand snapped, for the accidental murder of a second year Ravenclaw named Myrtle Warren by way of a dangerous creature which he had released into the school. Then Deputy Headmaster and Professor of Transfiguration Albus Dumbledore convinced Headmaster Armando Dippet to hire the disgraced, expelled boy.

For the next five decades, the man, who we have since learned is actually the son of the giantess Fridwulfa, has worked and lived on the grounds of the very school that expelled him. He was infamous for his habit of visiting Hogsmeade and getting drunk, being belligerent to the other patrons of the pubs and waving a strange pink umbrella around. Investigation has discovered that many who knew the man believed that he had placed the broken pieces of his wand within the shaft of that umbrella.

The truth was much more sinister. It was revealed during his trial that a few months after his defeat of Grindelwald in 1945, Albus Dumbledore approached Hagrid and offered to repair and transfigure Hagrid’s broken wand. However, the Dark Lord Dumbledore discovered that the Ministry had destroyed the broken wand, as was policy. For nefarious reasons of his own, Dumbledore wanted his pet giant - a creature who had less than three years magical education - to have a functioning if disguised wand. He took Hagrid to a wand maker in Albania and had a custom wand created for the giant. He later transfigured it - at Hagrid’s request - into appearing to be a handle for a pink umbrella.

Hagrid was tried for his illegal possession of a wand, not reporting his creature status upon being hired by Hogwarts, attempted kidnapping (Harry Potter at age 11), actual kidnapping (Harry Potter at age 15 months), attempted bond interference, illegal use of magic, and a host of minor charges relating to his illegal magic use. His custom wand was snapped and then destroyed, his magic was bound, and he was sentenced to 40 years in Azkaban.

 

Faculty Under Fire

November 20 - Since the arrests of Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid, there have been investigations into the goings-on at Hogwarts. At the present time, Professor Minerva McGonagall is in the custody of the DMLE awaiting trial for accessory to kidnapping, accessory to bond interference, and membership in an illegal organization.

Professors Filius Flitwick (Head of Ravenclaw, Professor of Charms, and current interim Headmaster), Pomona Sprout (Head of Hufflepuff and Professor of Herbology), Severus Snape (Head of Slytherin and Professor of Potions), and Quirinus Quirrell (Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, formerly Professor of Muggle Studies) are under investigation for a gauntlet of traps discovered on the third floor and below.

Mediwitch Poppy Pomfrey and Professor Severus Snape are under investigation into their actions on the day in which Rubeus Hagrid caused a Sentinel to enter a feral rage and attack him. Though the two saved his life, there are questions as to why Saint Mungo’s was not brought in.

Investigations are ongoing into these matters and more.

Harry sat in the witness chair in the large wizarding courtroom and glanced around. The room was filled to the rafters, literally, with witches and wizards, some in the plum colored robes of the Wizengamot, others in varying colors in the visitors' gallery. The room had an overall gloomy feel, as if the many atrocities it had heard over the centuries had seeped into the very stones and air within the room. In the center of the room was a chair, covered in chains. Seated within it, entire body bound tight, was Albus Dumbledore.

Already Harry had read the Daily Prophet coverage of the first two days of the trial and listened every night in the common room to the recaps on the Wizarding Wireless Network. Several of his peers had asked him why he and Draco weren’t at the trial every day, and he still felt ridiculous that they thought the adults would allow two eleven-year-olds to sit through the trial of such a dark wizard. Reading and hearing about the atrocities the old man had committed was bad enough. To have to listen to the actual testimony, see evidence, possibly see memories of events, no, Harry was very glad that the adults were sensible. He had no desire to attend the trial himself, and he certainly had no wish for his Guide to be exposed to such things, such emotions. The courtroom was bristling with wards, but he knew Draco was still picking up things, from the audience in the gallery if not from the floor.

Today was the only day they would be here, assuming their testimonies finished today, even though the trial was predicted to last well into December due to all of the evil Dumbledore was responsible for.

The court clerk approached Harry and cleared his throat, and the murmurs in the room settled down. “Please state your full name and occupation for the record.”

Harry took a deep breath. He had known this was coming and had practiced with Draco. Pupple, invisible to all but Harry and Draco currently, laid his head on Harry’s lap. “Lordling Harry James Potter, Scion Black, Dukeling Peverell, Prince Gryffindor. First year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

Shocked exclamations echoed around the chamber. The clerk blinked at him and stuttered, “P-P-Pardon me?”

The presiding judge of the panel, Armitage Gaberden, turned to the clerk with the recording quill. “Yes, please repeat back the introduction, Scribe Lansing.”

The scribe looked at the parchment and swirled his wand, touching the sentence in question. Harry’s voice filled the room from the parchment, “Lordling Harry James Potter, Scion Black, Dukeling Peverell, Prince Gryffindor. First year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

The judge nodded. “That’s what I thought he said.” He turned to Harry. “That was quite the mouthful, young Lordling. And you’re sitting on a powerful honesty hex, so I know it is the truth. There’s several surprises in there we will have to address further in other sessions but I do believe one that will need to address here and now. You have said that you are Scion Black. Do you know how this is so?”

Harry nodded. “Yes, Your Honor. During the train ride to Hogwarts, Scion Draco Malfoy informed me of my full titles. He knew because his mother is a daughter of the House of Black and was told by the late patriarch, Lord Arcturus Black who passed away last spring. He asked her to keep an eye out for me as I should be starting school with her son. I have since been in contact with the goblins’ inheritance department and received independent confirmation.

“The day after I was born my parents performed the godparent ritual of Blood and Family. My godparents took magical oaths to see to my health and well-being. When I was a month old, my godfather, my father’s best friend and fostered brother, Sirius Black-“

The gallery burst into exclamations. Even through the wards Harry could hear many of them, “Black wasn’t Potter’s brother! Black was a Death Eater! Black betrayed them!”

“Order! I will clear the gallery. I did it two days ago when you acted up. This is the only warning. Keep it down.”

The shouts died down and Judge Gaberden asked Harry to continue. Harry buried his hand in Pupple’s fur.

Harry nodded. “I know the things that are said about Sirius Black but well, they can’t be true. As I said, I have independent confirmation of this. Sirius Black left his parents home when he was 15, for cause. His mother was insane and had tortured him in an attempt to get him to join Voldemort. He ran to my father, James Potter and my grandparents, Charlus Fleamont Potter and Dorea Euphemia Potter, who met with Lord Arcturus Black, Sirius’ patriarch. He agreed to them fostering his grandson until he graduated Hogwarts. Sirius Orion Black took the oath as a blood brother to James Anteres Potter when he was taken in. And took the godparent oath the day after I was born.

“When I was a month old, Sirius Black took a curse during his time as an auror that damaged him severely and the cure rendered him infertile. His magic killed any sperm before it left his body. So, he wasn’t a eunuch, but he couldn’t father children, even in ritual. My parents agreed to allow him to blood adopt me, and with Lord Black’s blessing, he did so on October 4, 1980. Lord Black then proceeded to name me his secondary heir, after Sirius.

“As Sirius was arrested for casting magic after my parents were dead, he was obviously not responsible for what happened to my parents and I. Betraying my father would have broken his blood brother oaths, betraying me would have broken his godparent oaths, being responsible for my parents’ deaths and my near death would have destroyed his magic entirely for several different reasons. He still had his magic when he was arrested. Therefore, he could not have been guilty. When I realized this, I asked Gringott’s to get me his trial transcripts. They were unsuccessful. All things considered, and with Albus Dumbledore being Chief Warlock at the time, I do not believe he had a trial. If he did, he would have been found innocent and taken custody of me as my third parent.”

Judge Gaberden blew out a breath. “That is a logical deduction, all things considered. We will have it investigated and get to the bottom of that.”

Harry smiled. “Thank you, Your Honor.”

“Now, let’s move along as that explains Scion Black. Interrogator Fitzgerald, you have the floor.”

A middle-aged man rose from the bench, his long brown hair pulled back in a clip at the nape of neck. He faced Harry and smiled. “Mister Potter, excuse me, Lordling Potter, it has been reported that you are an Awakened Sentinel. Will you tell us when and how you Awakened?”

Harry bit his lip and looked around at the members. “I can’t. I don’t actually really remember not being Awakened. I have vague wispy thoughts of it I think, but by the time I was 4, if not 3, I was Awakened. I can speculate about how and why based on my life experiences, then and after, but I can’t tell for sure how or when I Awakened.”

“You Awakened at 4 years old?”

“Yes, or so. My spirit animal appeared by that age and kept me company and helped to regulate my senses. I didn’t realize what I was for many more years but I knew I was different.”

“I see. Well, you said you can speculate based on your life experiences. Please elaborate for us. What was your life like around the time you Awakened?”

Harry closed his eyes for a moment, tightening his hand in Pupple’s fur, Astrum appearing to Harry beside Pupple, Draco’s love pouring over their bond. “When I learned about Sentinels in my primary school, I realized what I was. Muggles know about Sentinels and Guides but believe them to be very rare. I understand why now, of course, since it is a magical gift and those in the muggle world are squibs, sort of. At the least they don’t have enough magic to use a traditional wand. But at that point I didn’t know I was a wizard, I didn’t know anything about magic or the magical world’s existence. So, I researched what I could, in secret, about Sentinels. Typically, Sentinels Awaken due to stress, whether physical or emotional or both. If you add in severe isolation, it adds to the likelihood. This is, of course, for those that Awaken suddenly, not gradually.

“My relatives are not nice people. They have a need to be seen as normal, like others around them. The idea of magic frightens them because it isn’t normal, it is in their terms freakish. They knew I was a wizard, and they didn’t want me to be. Their purpose in life regarding my existence in their lives was to make me normal.

“To that end, my aunt would work me like a slave, having me do chores from cleaning the various rooms in the house to weeding the garden to mowing the grass - that is using a machine to keep it at a uniformly small height, to washing the clothes and dishes and even cooking meals, which I often was not permitted to eat, and if I was it was often the scraps and leftovers. She was rarely physical in her interactions with me. She actually hated touching me at all and would only swing things at me, whatever was handy, a pan, a book, a towel.

“My uncle was more - hands on - in his approach. He often beat me bloody and locked me in my room for days on end. My room was a small cupboard under the staircase leading to the upper story of the house. That space was my bedroom, playroom - for a given value of play for someone whose only toys had been knicked from the trash, and my punishment spot.

“My uncle was in charge of the punishment that was meted out for any accidental magic outbursts - or to them, if I did anything freakish or if anything they considered freakish happened around me. My aunt would lock me in my cupboard and I would be alone there until my uncle arrived home from work, and he would then handle the beatings. That is what my childhood was like. I assume that one time when I was very young, I was locked in by my aunt and stressed fearing my uncle's reaction to whatever had happened. The isolation and stress Awakened me and brought me my companion, so I was never alone and isolated again.

“My cousin was also quite evil to me, he would chase me with a gang of friends and beat me up when he caught me but while I dislike him, I can’t bring myself to really blame him. He is what his parents made him to be. He was never taught any differently. Maybe one day he’ll be able to change if he is exposed to new ideas but as it is, they ruined him. He is a bully and a thug who surrounds himself with those like him and terrorizes those smaller and weaker than him. I actually feel more pity for him than anything else.”

Interrogator Fitzgerald swallowed. “That’s very mature of you, Lordling Potter. You said that muggles know about the Awakened. Did there come a time when your relatives or any other muggles discovered your state, as you Awakened so very young?”

Harry nodded. “I was 8 years old when on the walk home from school I smelled a large amount of natural gas in the neighborhood. I knew it was dangerous and told my aunt. When she realized I wasn’t lying, she made me pretend to lose my keys in the pipes under the street to give a normal reason for smelling the gas. She reported it to the authorities and they fixed everything, a leak that would have destroyed most of the neighborhood if hit with a spark. She knew about Sentinels and knew that I must be one, and she hated me even more than before. During her rant about it and through later research, I discovered that my great grandfather, my aunt’s grandfather, Brian Corvin, Awakened as a Sentinel and left his family to be with his Guide, Bellamy Graunt. She hated Sentinels and Guides her whole life because she saw how it hurt her grandmother and mother. When she told my uncle about it, he beat me worse than normal and kept telling me to turn my senses off every time thereafter. I pretended to them that it had worked but I think my aunt was still suspicious. She definitely hated me more than ever. I never told anyone else because there wasn’t anything they could do about it. The gifts so rarely show up in the muggle world that there is no structure for what I was.”

“I’m very sorry.”

Harry shrugged. “My childhood made me who I am and my Awakening brought me both my spirit animal and my Guide, so I won’t complain.”

Fitzgerald smiled. “Alright, can you tell us about the day you had a feral episode at Hogwarts?”

Harry blew out a breath and nodded. “I was cornered near the entrance hall doors by Hagrid -“ Harry explained the entire sequence that he remembered about the time with Hagrid and what Dumbledore did and said in his office. “I was just very threatened by his words and actions. Draco is my everything, and he wanted to take that away and hurt us both. I couldn’t bear the thought, not after everything I’ve been through.”

“Thank you, Lordling Potter.”

Judge Gaberden motioned for to the chair. “You can go now, Lordling Potter. We’ll be viewing the memories you’ve provided now and you don’t need to see that. I do promise that the situation with Sirius Black will be looked into right away.”

Harry stood and nodded his head in thanks. “I hope it is all cleared up soon.”

Harry and Draco were hurrying into the castle with their year mates after Herbology. The snow was piled high around but unlike two weeks before on Valentine’s Day, the class hadn’t been canceled as the snow had fallen gradually rather than swiftly. The spells on the paths hadn’t been overwhelmed by the sudden influx and kept them clear with a bit of help from the house elves.

As the group entered the main doors, Harry caught a scent thick in his nose that he recognized. It was one he hadn’t smelled in over a decade, but he had been building sense memories since birth and his Sentinel Gift allowed him to recall them even though he couldn’t recall the actual making of the memory itself. He slowed down and allowed his classmates to pass by, latching on to Draco’s hand and tugging him close enough to whisper. “I smell Sirius. He passed by here within the last ten minutes or less.”

Draco huffed a laugh. “Let’s follow it. It’s good practice for you and I want to meet him. And I know you do, too, no matter how nervous the idea makes you. He’s your third parent, in blood and magic, Sirius Black is your father, not your godfather.”

Harry nodded and took a deep breath in through his nose, filling it with the scent and beginning to move. The two followed the trail up one set of stairs and down two hallways when Harry caught a whiff of wormwood and anise, the scent he associated with Professor Snape headed their way. He pulled Draco into the closest alcove behind a statue and waited.

Two minutes later, the professor appeared in the corridor and stopped less than ten feet from their alcove. He turned to the wall and knocked a pattern of three-two-five against the wall which sounded like wood not stone as his knuckles struck it. A door appeared and opened and Sirius Black stood in the doorway. He nodded to Snape and motioned him to enter, closing the door behind him.

The two boys shared a look and Harry sighed, leaning back against the statue, his left hand resting against the back of its right leg. Draco gave him a sad smile and pulled him close in a hug and Harry’s hand ran up the statue’s leg from ankle to knee as he leaned forward. He felt a change in air pressure and spun Draco around, putting his own body between his Guide and the change.

In the back of the alcove a small archway had appeared. Harry relaxed as he heard nothing within the corridor. Draco shrugged behind him and gave him a nudge forward. Harry laughed lightly and moved through the archway, one hand behind him grasping Draco’s non-wand hand.

Once both boys had passed through the arch, it vanished into a wall again but this side had a large protruding brick in it. They stepped forward and as they reached about six feet in, the wall to their right turned transparent and voices filled the passageway.

When they looked, the boys saw Sirius Black and Professor Snape in a small lounge room, seated on a pair of armchairs angled to face one another. Both men had glasses of some type of drink in them, Harry assumed alcoholic as it didn’t appear to be water nor did it have the consistency of juice, pumpkin or otherwise.

Harry bit his lip and looked away, “Sorry.”

Neither man made a comment, not even looking at the transparent wall. Draco reached forward and touched it and it was solid. “I don’t think it is transparent both ways, Harry. They can’t hear us or see us.”

Harry’s eyes widened, “Oh, like in a police station on the telly. They watch the bad guys from one side and the bad guys can’t see them.”

Draco nodded hesitantly. “I suppose. You’ll have to tell me more about those later and what a telly is. But let’s see what they're talking about.”

Harry nodded and turned back to the scene before them. Sirius took a sip of his drink and Snape scowled into his own before sighing. “I don’t even know where to start. I - I hated you and the other Marauders for so long. I just-“

Sirius held up his free hand. “Then I’ll start. I was an arse when we were in school. I know I have an excuse, more or less, with what Dumbledore did to me, to James, to you. The spells, the alchemical potions. But I started off as a git before he ever got his hooks into me. On the train, I was an arsehole to you for no other reason than I wanted James to like me and think I was cool. My home life was a nightmare and frankly, I didn’t exactly know how not to be an arse. I saw memories of the trial. I suppose I was like Harry’s cousin, I was raised to be an entitled snobbish git, and I was. Regardless of the excuses of the magical coercion and control, what I did at Hogwarts was still me doing it even if I wasn’t myself. It was my wand that cast the spells, my hands that made the ‘prank’ potions, my mouth that sent you after a transformed werewolf, though in my defense on the last, I was actually compelled to do that one directly, but still, it was me. So, to start off, I apologize for being a bully and an arsehole to you, Snape.”

The professor sighed, “Severus. Feel free to use Severus, Black. This is all hard enough without echoes and formalities.”

Sirius nodded. “Feel free with Sirius.”

Severus took a sip of his drink and set it down on a side table. “I forgive you though. Dumbledore will not enjoy his ‘next great adventure’. I don’t believe in the Christian hell but I do believe in Lady Magic, and I am positive that she and her lord are not happy with Albus Dumbledore. He cursed me so young, and so specifically, I don’t even know who I really am. I don’t even know what I did to gain his attention. He planned from the moment I stepped into the castle at 11 to make me a Death Eater and eventual spy for him within the ranks. I remember the boy I was when I walked through that barrier at King’s Cross with Lily and her parents and know he wouldn’t even recognize the me from the past two decades.”

Sirius nodded, “Well, he got what punishment we as a society could give him. His much vaunted and loved reputation is utterly destroyed. He is seen by all as his true self, a dark lord who we allowed to rule us and shape us for over seventy years. His magic has been bound so tightly that he can’t even perform a lumos charm, the only thing his magic can do is keep him alive. And he’s in complete isolation in a totally white room in the ICW prison, no contact with any living being for the rest of his life. I know some pushed hard for Azkaban and the dementors. or even the Kiss, but I agree with what Lord Ogden said. Azkaban makes you relive your worst memories but what would be bad memories to us would be triumphs to him. And those in the afterlife have their grievances and deserve their chance to make sure his eternal soul feels the weight of their displeasure when his life ends.”

Severus pinched his nose. “I know. Apollumi is the better choice. He’ll recall his downfall and the destruction of all of his plans. You know, he brought Nicholas Flamel’s stone to the school this year? That wasn’t revealed in the trial as it didn’t come out until after. Or at least the DMLE didn’t want it to get out or didn’t know the full extent of everything until three weeks ago. I suspect he was going to pretend it was destroyed while he used it in secret.”

“Why the fuck would he bring that to a school?”

“As a mix between bait and trap and test, I believe. He wanted to bait You-Know-Who into coming out into the open in the hopes of getting him fully destroyed or maybe re-embodied to have an enemy to fight. And a test for Harry Potter. He put the stone behind a veritable gauntlet of traps starting on the third floor and had several staff members add their own traps. Hagrid’s contribution was the first, a fully grown cerberus behind a door that a basic unlocking charm could open. My own trap was a riddle and potions that were actually all poisons. But he replaced the riddle with an easier one and replaced the poisons with prank potions and flame freezing potions.

“The DMLE was not happy with the staff, besides myself and Hagrid, Pomona, Minerva, Filius, and Quirinius had traps. Filius and I were investigated and let off due to Dumbledore’s compulsions on us, though more developed on myself and basic on Filius. Minerva and Hagrid were both removed from the school and tried for various crimes that were uncovered and are in Azkaban for thirty years and eighty years respectively. Pomona was found to be negligent with children’s safety for placing a devil’s snare in the castle and is on probation. She likely won’t be Hufflepuff's Head next school year.

“And as for our Muggle Studies professor turned DADA - he’s dead. Three weeks ago, we were informed that the students would need to be kept to their dorms stringently the next night because the aurors would be dismantling the whole thing. Quirrel went that night to try to take the stone before it was out of the school. He never discovered how Hagrid got the hell hound to be docile, so he tried to curse it.”

Sirius’ jaw dropped. “Hell hounds are more impervious to spell fire than a dragon!”

“He didn’t know that or couldn’t care. The alarms for the unforgivable went off and half of the staff and five on site members of the DMLE, including Rufus Scrimgeour and Amelia Bones, were witness to the dog ripping him apart and the heads fighting over the remains. They were also witness to the shade of You-Know-Who fleeing the dead body and promising a return and retribution on those who wronged him.”

“So Voldy possessed a teacher and was in the school all year?”

Severus nodded. “And you should be more careful with the irreverent nicknames. I call him by the hyphenated moniker for a reason. I refuse to refer to him as the Dark Lord any longer for several reasons and his name which starts with a V was in the past under a spell to inform him when someone used it, who it was, and where they were, much like the trace on underage wands. I don’t want to fall into the trap of getting used to it and him coming back and getting caught because I couldn’t stop. Since Potter and Malfoy removed the mark from me, I am no longer a slave and have no wish to be in his presence again. And the term you used may be unique enough and close enough to trigger it. If you are going to be Potter’s guardian?”

Sirius nodded. “I am. And that explains several deaths during the war. And Dumbledore knew, I bet. And encouraged us to not fear the name. Asshole. YKW wouldn’t have come after him for using it but others? Damn it.”

“Yes. And that is a mouthful. One thing since you will be taking guardianship of your son, beware of Lucius Malfoy. He is-“

Sirius laughed. “Oh, I’ve got old Lulu by the short and curlies. I’m Lord Black now that I am free and certified sane and moderately healthy - still working on both of those a bit, physical healers and mind healers every week - so I took the title. And Lucius married into the family when he married Narcissa and the contract gave Black primacy, of course. Malfoy is an upstart house with barely ten generations of magic and is from France less than five generations back besides. So, I am enforcing primacy and the contract as a whole. So unless he wants to pay me most of his fortune - most of which was from Cissy’s dowry - and lose some of his magic besides, he’ll obey the contract he signed. And that means that he’ll be busy with trying to get my lovely cousin Cissy knocked up. The contract called for at least two children, so he’s behind. And he knows I am serious about it too. And Cissy knows I will support her, so she’ll keep him in line. Draco will spend the summer with Harry and I. And the boys will alternate school breaks between us.”

“Good.” Both men picked up their glasses and drank, falling silent and staring at the floor. After several minutes, Harry and Draco left the secret corridor and returned to the alcove.

Draco just held Harry as he processed all he had heard and cuddled him as he buried his nose in Draco’s neck. It was only the first year at Hogwarts and already in just six months the entire world had changed, for the wizarding world as a whole, but especially for Harry and Draco. Change was good in this case but scary nonetheless. And Harry worried about what price would be extracted for his good fortune. But that was a worry for the future when the bill came due. For now, he would soon have his third parent, he had his Pupple, and he had the boy he loved, his Guide. The rest of the world could wait.

THE END