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The Traitor of Marmora

Chapter Text

Cover art below!

book 6 cover

 


 

 

The Prime Minister of Muggles sits in his office, contemplating the terrible events of his week. He hears a cough and turns around to see one of the portraits on his wall looking at him. “What is it?” the Prime Minister wonders.

“Mitch Iverson requests an immediate meeting with you,” it says.

“I don’t want to see—” he starts, but it’s too late.

Mitch Iverson appears in the fireplace moments later with a defeated expression. The Prime Minister listens as Iverson tells him of everything that has been going on, the biggest thing being the evil wizard Lord Zarkon returning. He recalls the other times Iverson has come to visit, glumly remembering how he always comes to bring bad news.

The first two Ministers first met immediately after the Prime Minister had taken office, again when Krolia Kogane escaped from the wizard’s prison at Beta Traz, once more when there was trouble at the Quidditch World Cup, and then to share news of the mass breakout at Beta Traz. Now he’s here telling how that Zarkon has returned and is responsible for the atrocities Muggles have endured this week.

“Clearly it seems as though you are an irresponsible Minister!” the Prime Minister of Muggles exclaims. “How could you not see all the signs that this would happen?!”

“Well…I was fired three days ago,” Iverson admits.

Iverson suddenly disappears, and the figure in the portrait reappears. “I would like to present the new Minister of Magic to you: Ryner Collier,” it says.

Ryner Collier climbs out of the fireplace. She has on dark green robes and has short blond hair, stern face, blue eyes, and has glasses. Ryner uses her wand to lock the office doors and draw the curtains. She then turns to the Prime Minister. “Hello, I’m Ryner Collier,” she introduces herself. “I have hired you a new secretary named Kolivan Mae.”

The Prime Minister of Muggles looks at her with confusion. “I needed a new secretary?”

Ryner smiles. “Well, no, but he’s actually a highly trained Marmorite who will protect you should you need it. Unlike Mitch Iverson, I plan on doing something that will stop all of the madness that has been happening.”

The Prime Minister returns the smile. “Well, I’m happy to be working with you.”

 


 

 

spoopy

Later, on the other side of the country, two shadowy, hooded figures pop out of thin air on the banks of a dark, dirty river. The first figure, Ladnok Morrison, runs off and is pursued by the second, Honerva Madelina. She desperately tries to get Ladnok to stop.

When Honerva finally catches hold of Ladnok’s cloak, she takes her hands. “Cousin, please don’t do this!” she implores. “It’s not right!”

Ladnok pulls her arm away. “Can you blame me? My only son! I cannot!”

“Do not betray the Dark Lord!” Honerva exclaims.

Ladnok pulls her wand out and points it at Honerva. “That’s enough.”

Honerva gasps. “How dare you! I expect that from my wretched sister but not you!”

Ladnok huffs and turns into the shadow again, quickly being pursued by Honerva again. They continue until they arrive at Thace Slater’s house. He is the Potions professor and the Head of Slytherin at Hogwarts and is supposedly a reformed Galra Phantom. Thace is also a member of the Wands of Marmora, a group dedicated to the destruction of Zarkon.

They knock on his door and Thace lets them in begrudgingly, leading them into the living room. “Ladnok, how can you trust this traitor! He continuously swears allegiance to Shiro!” Honerva exclaims. “He also has failed to kill Keith Kogane and Lance McClain!”

“I am working undercover at Hogwarts,” Thace says. “I can’t compromise my cover!” He crosses his arms. “I remember your inability to kill Lance McClain last year when you fought face-to-face at the Ministry of Magic when he, Keith, and Lord Zarkon were attempting to gain access to the prophecy.”

“Well, that’s Sendak’s fault! He should have killed them when he saw them first!” Honerva exclaims.

“How dare you suggest my husband failed at his duties!” Ladnok exclaims.

“May I remind you two that Keith and Lance are not exceptional wizards,” Thace says. “They only continue to survive through a combination of luck and a group of talented friends.”

Ladnok sighs. “I had nowhere else to turn! I know I shouldn’t be here, and the Dark Lord himself has forbidden me to speak of this—”

“If the Dark Lord has forbidden it, you ought not to speak.” Thace’s eyes shift to Honerva. “Put it down, Honerva, we mustn’t touch what isn’t ours.”

Honerva glares at him and sets the cup down she was holding.

“Anyway, as it so happens, I know the situation, Ladnok,” Thace continues.

You ?!’ Honerva demands. “The Dark Lord told you ?!”

“Your cousin doubts me, Ladnok,” Thace comments. “Over the years, I’ve played my part well. So well I’ve deceived one of the greatest wizards of all time.”

Honerva scoffs. “Oh, please.”

“Shiro is a great wizard,” Thace says. “Only a fool would question it.”

“I-I don’t doubt you, Thace,” Ladnok agrees.

“You should feel honored, Laddy,” Honerva says. “As should Damien—”

“He’s just a boy!” Ladnok shouts. “Why couldn’t he order Bethany Mathesi to do it?!”

“Bethany is an incompetent fool, just like her father,” Honerva comments.

“Honerva is right, Ladnok. Prorok is a bumbling oaf.” Thace sighs. “While I cannot change the Dark Lord’s mind…it may be possible for me to help Damien. Maybe provide some protection.”

Honerva eyes Thace keenly while Ladnok looks at him with hope. “Do you mean it, Thace?”

“I can try,” Thace says.

“Oh, Thace, please! I would be forever in your debt!” Ladnok exclaims.

“Swear to it,” Honerva orders. “Make the Unbreakable Vow.” She scoffs when Thace looks away. “You see, it’s just empty words! Oh, he’ll try ! He’ll give it his best effort!” She frowns. “But when it matters most, he’ll slither back into his hole…bloody coward!”

Thace glares at her angrily. “Take out your wand!”

Honerva eyes him with surprise and does as she’s told. Thace faces Ladnok and they hold hands. Honerva, hand faintly trembling, places the tip of her wand over their linked hands. “Will you, Thace Slater, watch over Damien Morrison as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”

Thace nods. “I will.”

A single strand of fire issues from Honerva’s wand and winds its way around their hands.

“And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?” Honerva continues.

“I will.”

A second strand of fire intertwines with the first.

“And, should it prove necessary, if it seems Damien will fail…will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Damien to perform?”

Thace’s hand twitches within Ladnok’s. “I will.”

Chapter Text

Keith exhales, turning in his sleep. His face smushes against his bedroom window at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of his mother, Krolia Kogane. Clutched in Keith’s hand is a letter from Shiro who has asked for the assistance in escorting Lance McClain to Number 12 before he comes of age at 17 and the Trace spell is broken. Keith still has another month to go.

Moments later, Shiro arrives and knocks on Keith’s door, startling him to fall off the bed. Keith groans and stands up, glaring at Red who continues to snooze in her cat bed.

red in her bed

He walks over to the door and opens it, smiling when he sees Shiro.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you?” Shiro asks.

“I just dozed off,” Keith says.

Shiro leads Keith outside. “Excited to see Lance?”

Keith smiles to himself. “You know I am.”

“And?”

Keith sighs. “And…nothing. He hasn’t given me an answer. I think he forgot.” He kicks a stone aside. “I don’t blame him. I probably would too if Krolia had died.”

Shiro pats Keith’s shoulder. “I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end.” He holds his arm out for Keith, and he takes it, apparating them outside Lance’s house.

Keith stumbles slightly, still not used to apparating. He turns and smiles sadly at Hunk’s house, slightly bummed he can’t say hi since Shiro’s on a tight schedule. Keith turns back to Lance’s house, and they walk up to the front door. Before Shiro can even knock, the door opens to reveal Lance, smiling widely. “Hi! I have my stuff packed. How will it get to—” he starts.

“Someone will be by to bring it to Keith’s,” Shiro replies. “I’m afraid we have to take a slight detour before we bring you two back to Krolia’s.” He holds his arms out for both boys then apparates them away from Lance’s house.

Since neither Keith nor Lance have learned to Apparate, transporting themselves instantaneously through magic, they must hold Shiro’s arms as they travel. For Keith, it feels like being squeezed through a rubber tube.

The three of them arrive at a small house that looks run-down and abandoned. Keith steadies himself, starting to get the hang of Apparating, while Lance falls onto the ground. “I hate doing that,” Lance grumbles, rubbing his head.

“Well, you’ll be learning how to do it eventually,” Shiro says, walking up to the door.

“Shiro, where are we?” Keith wonders as he helps Lance up.

“This is the house of one of Alfor’s old friends, Sven Holgersson,” Shiro shares. “He actually taught me back when I went to Hogwarts.” He knocks on the door.

Keith leans into Lance to whisper in his ear. “He’ll probably be replacing Hira.”

Lance nods. “Anyone’s better than her.”

A few minutes pass before a man with disheveled black hair opens the door. He looks around, crossing his arms when he looks at Shiro. “Why, if it isn’t the youngest Headmaster Hogwarts has ever had. Mr. Shirogane, it’s lovely to see you again,” Sven says.

“May we come in?” Shiro asks.

“Well, I don’t—” Sven stops when he spots Lance and Keith. “Oh! Who do we have here?”

“Mr. Holgersson, I would like you to meet Keith Kogane and Lance McClain,” Shiro introduces.

Keith and Lance give Sven a polite wave. Sven looks between them and Shiro for a moment before waving them inside. Inside, Keith’s eyebrows raise when he sees a ton of pictures with Sven and groups of students throughout the years. He pauses when he spots one that has Rosa and Krolia in it. Keith lifts it up and smiles at it, admiring how happy they look.

“Ah, I see you’ve found your mother!” Sven exclaims, stepping next to Keith. “She and Rosa were quite the pair when I taught them. Do you share your mother’s same passion?”

“I guess so,” Keith replies. He always thought Krolia’s top subject was Potions, not Defense Against the Dark Arts. He’ll have to ask her about it when he sees her later.

“So, Sven, have you given my offer any thought?” Shiro wonders.

Sven sighs and turns to look at him. Lance walks next to Keith and takes the picture from him, fingers brushing against Keith’s. He looks up at Lance with wonder in his eyes, but Lance avoids looking at him. Keith tilts his head and places his hand on Lance’s arm affectionately.

“Lance?” Keith asks.

Lance squeezes his eyes shut. “I’m trying, Keith. Please. It’s just—” He sets the photo down and crosses his arms. “I’m still not okay after my dad…”

It hurts, Keith won’t deny that, but he’ll always put Lance’s well-being over his own happiness. “It’s okay.” Keith offers a small smile then turns to Sven and Shiro when he hears his name. “What?”

“Oh, I was just telling Mr. Holgersson how you want to be a Marmorite,” Shiro says, “and how Lance aspires to be potions master at Hogwarts one day. Isn’t that amazing, Mr. Holgersson? Imagine having the chance to teach these fine boys. I bet they would even thank you personally for their success, once they’ve obtained it of course.”

Sven sighs, rubbing his forehead. “Fine! Fine. You wore me down, Shirogane. I’ll take the job.”

Shiro smiles, pleased. “Excellent! Well, come on, boys. Time to get you two back home.” He motions them over to him then Apparates them out of Sven’s house. They reappear back in front of Number 12. “Alright, now, before I leave, I need to explain a few things to you two. Firstly, ignore everything the Daily Prophet says about you two being the Chosen Ones. We are the only ones who know what the real prophecy says. Secondly, I do think you should tell Pidge and Hunk about said prophecy. I know I said to keep it a secret, but I think those two will be immensely helpful to you two in the years to come. Thirdly, I will be giving you both private lessons this year, so keep an eye out for that.”

Keith nods. “Okay, thank you, Shiro.”

Shiro smiles. “You’re welcome! Also, your O.W.L. scores will be coming soon, and Lance, please keep your Invisibility Cloak with you at all times. Do not let it get into the wrong hands.”

“I won’t,” Lance says.

Shiro nods at them again before Apparating away. Keith and Lance turn and walk into Number 12, spotting Lance’s luggage in the entryway. Voices come from the kitchen. One belongs to Krolia and the other sounds like Allura. The two boys walk over there and smile when they see Krolia and Allura talking with each other. Keith, however, notices that Allura isn’t her usual self. She seems more dejected, even ill.

“Hello,” Keith says to get their attention.

Krolia and Allura turn and smile when they see the boys. Krolia rushes over to give Lance a hug while Allura stays seated. As Krolia and Lance catch up, Keith walks over to Allura and sits across from her.

keith and allura

“Are you okay, professor?” Keith wonders.

Allura sighs. “No, but it is nothing you can help me fix.” She gives him a sad smile. “Although, a part of me thinks you can relate to how I am feeling.”

Keith glances over at Lance then looks down at the table. “If you’re referring to my hopeless crush on him…then maybe I can relate.”

“It seems as though the ones we love cannot see it is worth trying,” Allura says. “Even though I firmly believe anything is worth the risk if you truly love the person.”

Keith looks up and opens his mouth to ask if it’s Lotor, but Krolia and Lance walk back over before he can.

“Dinner should be ready soon,” Krolia shares. “Why don’t you get Lance settled in your room, and I’ll call you two down when it’s ready?”

Keith and Lance stand up and go to grab Lance’s stuff to bring to Keith’s room. Lance grabs Blue’s cage while Keith takes the case with the clothes. Inside Keith’s room, Red jumps up from her bed and runs over to Lance, meowing at the cage. Lance sets it down on the dresser and opens it, allowing Blue to fly out. She joins Red on the ground and they nuzzle each other.

“Something tells me they missed each other,” Keith comments with a laugh.

“I bet,” Lance says as he takes a seat on the other bed. “Guess what Carlos and Ryland did the other day.”

“What?” Keith asks.

“They finally opened up that joke shop with the money you gave them from winning the Triwizard Tournament,” Lance shares with a smile. “It’s called McClain’s and McGivney’s Magic Mayhems. Honestly, it’s a really fun store.”

Keith smiles. “In Diagon Alley?”

Lance nods. “Yeah! We’ll have to check it out when we go there to get our school supplies.”

“How did Lucy react to it?” Keith asks.

“She actually loves it and works there too,” Lance answers. “Hannah and Tasha hate it because they’re usually at the end of the pranks. Though, they’re usually asking for it since they’re always making out in the living room whenever Tasha’s over.”

“It’s nice to hear that they’re still together,” Keith says. “I still can’t believe they had to sneak around. I was beginning to think she was the Heir of Slytherin.”

Lance laughs. “Nope! Wrong twin!” He smiles at the ground. “Wow, we’ve done a lot the past six years. Most of it dodging death but still!”

“I know right?” Keith lays on his bed. “I think my favorite has to be using Pidge’s Time Turner.”

“Really?” Lance questions. “I thought you’d choose the Triwizard Tournament.”

“That was scary as shit, Lance,” Keith says. “I would never wish that upon my worst enemy—well, Bethany can go through with it.”

Lance snorts and throws a pillow at Keith. “Wow, okay. Damien gets left off the hook?”

“I mean he hasn’t really pissed me off as much,” Keith admits. “I think being on the Quidditch team together has made me tolerate him.”

“You’re a traitor to all things good, Kogane,” Lance says. “I should—”

“KEITH! LANCE! DINNER!” Krolia yells from downstairs.

The two boys exchange a smirk then race each other downstairs, stopping when they see Hunk and Pidge sitting at the table with Allura. “Hey!” Hunk exclaims before standing to go hug them. He grabs Lance and Keith, pulling them into a tight bear hug.

“Nnngh—unk!” Lance exclaims, muffled by Hunk’s arm.

A few seconds pass before Hunk releases them. “I missed you guys!” he exclaims.

“I did too!” Pidge exclaims, jumping onto Keith’s back.

“Hey, when did you cut your hair?” Lance asks, pointing to her hair.

Keith turns his head to look at her hair, noting it reaches her chin now instead of going past her shoulders.

“It kept bugging me so I cut it off,” Pidge answers. “Mom was pissed.” She hops off Keith’s back.

“The food’s getting cold!” Krolia exclaims. “You can catch up while you eat!”

The four sit back down at the table and launch into a discussion about what’s happened. Keith and Lance fill Pidge and Hunk in about their meeting with Shiro and how they met the new Hogwarts professor, Sven Holgersson.

“Yeah, he’s probably the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor,” Lance says.

“Wait, what?” Krolia asks. “Back when Allura and I went there, he taught Potions.”

“Oooh! That makes so much more sense!” Keith exclaims. “Mom, he had a picture of your class in his house. It had you and Lance’s mom in it.”

Krolia nods and smiles. “Yep! He was my favorite professor. Mainly because he had me tutor Seth, but that’s neither here nor there.” Her cheeks flush up, and Allura pokes her teasingly.

“Aw! That is so cute!” Allura exclaims. “I still remember hearing Seth talking with Luis after your tutoring sessions with him. He thought you were super intimidating and wanted to ask you out, but did not think you would say yes because you were older than him.”

Krolia smiles. “Yeah. I think I scared him a little.” She ruffles Keith’s hair. “I’m still pissed you inherited his inability to have a proper haircut.”

“I like my hair long!” Keith exclaims.

Krolia rolls her eyes. “So did he.”

They then begin discussing Krolia’s and Allura’s time at Hogwarts. Even in Allura’s grade, Rosa and Krolia were well known. Whether they were known as troublemakers or the smartest students is up to interpretation. Krolia wasn’t like the typical Slytherins since she mainly hung out with Gryffindors and Ravenclaws. She was picked on because of it, but she didn’t care. Hell, she was in love with one of said Gryffindors. Keith wishes he could meet his father, but he knows that’s impossible. He knows he would’ve loved his father since Krolia thinks so highly of him.

Soon the discussion turns back onto Keith and Lance. They share that Shiro will be giving them private lessons throughout the school year. They also reveal what was said in the prophecy. Krolia tries to deny it, but Keith tells her it’s true since it’s the only answer that makes sense. They finish the meal in silence.

After dinner finishes, an owl flies inside holding four letters that have the Hogwarts stamp on them. Krolia takes them and hands them out to each of the kids. Pidge immediately tears hers open, scanning through it. “Yes! All Outstandings!” she exclaims. “Wait.” She deflates slightly. “What?! An Exceeds Expectations in Defense Against the Dark Arts?! How?!”

“Blame Hira,” Hunk says.

Pidge peers over his shoulder and gasps. “How did you get all Outstandings?!”

“Pidge, just because you’re the youngest wizard to ever start at Hogwarts doesn’t mean you’re better than me,” Hunk says with a smirk. “It’s also because all the professors love me.” He looks at Keith and Lance. “How’d you two do?”

“All Outstandings except for in Herbology,” Lance shares. “I got an Exceeds Expectations.”

“Me too except my Exceeds Expectations was in Potions,” Keith says, sounding disappointed. He tosses the paper aside. “There goes my dreams of being a Marmorite!”

Lance reaches for his hand and holds it tightly. “I’m sorry, Keith. I know how much you wanted it.”

Keith pulls his hand away and stands up. “I’m going to bed. I’ll see you all tomorrow.” He leaves the kitchen and walks up the stairs, wiping the tears off his face as he enters his room.

If he wasn’t good enough to be a Marmorite…what could he be?

Chapter Text

On the day they’re planning to go to Diagon Alley to get their school supplies, Keith, Lance, and Hunk receive letters telling them that they will be the Quidditch Captains for their teams this year.

“About flipping time!” Lance exclaims, smiling at the letter. “Oh god…this means I have to run tryouts.”

Keith smiles at Lance. “We’ll host them together, alright? It’s helped in the past.”

“Right! Right. I forgot about that,” Lance says. “Thanks.”

“Pidge, are you gonna try out again?” Hunk wonders.

Pidge shrugs. “I don’t know if I can take another year of rejection, but if my suspicions are right about Joshua Carlson being captain, then I will.”

“Why does it matter if he’s captain?” Keith asks.

“Because he actually thought I should’ve been on it last year,” Pidge answers. “Why, do you think he’s gonna be a better captain than you?” She smirks.

“That’s impossible!” Lance exclaims. “Keith’s a great player and can even get Damien to listen to him when it’s needed! You’re just salty he’s not your captain.”

Pidge rolls her eyes. “Whatever, Lance.”

Krolia peeks her head in the kitchen. “Are we gonna leave or what? Let’s go! I’m ready to walk around without having to worry about being a cat!”

Keith smiles at his mom. “I thought it was fun being a cat?”

“The hairballs aren’t,” Krolia says. “Now, let’s go! Lotor’s waiting!”

The gang heads outside and drives to Diagon Alley. When they arrive, the usually bustling area is desolate. Only a couple of people occasionally walk by. Krolia and Lotor lead the students to Madam Malkin’s for robes. They linger outside so Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk can get fitted.

Inside, they find Damien Morrison and Bethany Mathesi being fitted. “Oh, look what the cat dragged in!” Bethany exclaims. “Why haven’t you been kicked out of school yet?”

“If anyone’s getting kicked out, it’s you for your terrible grades,” Keith says.

“How dare you treat Slytherin’s future Keeper like that?” Bethany demands. “My dad—”

“Bethany,” Damien scolds. “He’s the Quidditch captain.”

“What?! But you’re more qualified!” Bethany exclaims.

Lance laughs. “That’s a lie! Keith’s been on the team since our first year!”

“Oh, what the hell would you know, McClain? You’ll be the downfall of Gryffindor! Kiss that Quidditch cup goodbye!” Damien exclaims.

“Hey, back off Damien,” Keith orders. “If you don’t, I’ll cut you from the team this year.”

Damien glares at Keith but keeps his mouth shut. When he and Bethany are finished, they storm out. Lance rubs his forehead as he and his friends are being measured. “Maybe Damien’s right. There are better people on the team to lead.”

Keith rolls his eyes. “Lance, don’t let him get under your skin. He’s just pissed he isn’t the Slytherin captain so he’s taking his frustrations out on you. If he gives you crap, tell me and I’ll put him in his place.”

“Are you saying you’ll bench him?” Hunk wonders. “That’d be a big blow on your offense, Keith. As much as I hate Damien, I can’t deny that he’s a great player.”

“I don’t take bad sportsmanship lightly,” Keith replies.

The group leaves the conversation at that as they are finished being fitted. They take their bags and pay before joining Krolia and Lotor outside. Krolia suggests visiting Ryland’s and Carlos’s joke shop, so the group walks inside McClain’s and McGivney’s Magic Mayhems. Inside, they find it covered head to toe with various different types of magic tricks and jokes. The shop is packed with customers testing out the products, laughter filling the otherwise dreary atmosphere.

“Ah! You all are here!” a voice exclaims from behind them.

They turn and smile when Lucy comes up to them. She hugs them, smiling widely. “How are you all? Did you get your supplies?”

“We just got our robes,” Lance answers. “Why are you in such a happy mood?”

Lucy smirks. “Well…if you must know…” She shows them her left hand, and Keith’s jaw drops at the ring on her ring finger.

lucy's ring

“You’re engaged?! ” Lance asks. “Lucy! That’s great!”

“That’s a big diamond,” Pidge comments.

Lucy giggles. “I know. Ryland really outdid himself.” She turns and waves him over. “I just told them the news.”

Ryland puts his arm around Lucy’s shoulders and kisses her forehead. “Yeah? Did you also tell them how you nearly lost the ring seconds after I proposed?” He gives her a cheeky smile.

“Oh shut up!” Lucy exclaims. “They don’t need to hear that.”

“Uh, I think I do!” Hunk pipes in.

As Ryland jumps into the story, Keith looks out the window and spots Damien scurrying up the street alone. Keith begins to take steps back toward the door, waiting to see if anyone notices, but no one does and he slips out. He follows Damien in the direction of Knockturn Alley, but before he can step into the alley, someone yanks him back and pins him against the wall. Keith opens his mouth to shout but stops when he sees Lance staring at him. “Lance?” Keith asks. “What are you doing?”

“I think the better question is what are you doing?” he asks. “Why are you walking to Knockturn Alley?”

“Damien’s walking over there. I want to see what he’s doing,” Keith shares. “Wanna come?”

Lance sighs and looks back at McClain’s and McGivney’s Magic Mayhems then at Keith. “Fine, but we’re using the cloak.” He pulls it out of his pocket and puts it over the both of them.

They enter Knockturn Alley just in time to see Damien enter Borgin and Burkes, a store stocked with Dark objects, and the one Keith accidentally appeared in during his time at the McClain household before his second year at Hogwarts. He still hates it in here.

Keith and Lance make their way behind a large shelf near the front where Damien and Borgin are talking. Damien slides Borgin a black box. “I need this,” Damien says.

Borgin furrows his eyebrows. “Are you sure? This is a very dangerous artifact. It’s responsible for the death of nineteen muggles.”

Damien glares at him. “I said I need this. I’m buying it.”

Keith moves to get a better look at the necklace and sees that it’s silver with opals decorated around it. He looks at Lance with a confused expression. Lance gives Keith a shrug in response.

Borgin rings the necklace up for Damien and slides it into a bag for him. Damien takes it then slides a picture towards him. “Now, Borgin, I need you to fix this object,” Damien says.

The shop owner immediately shakes his head. “I cannot. I have specific—”

Damien rolls his sleeve up and glares at him. Borgin’s eyes widen in fear at it then looks at Damien’s face. “Have you forgotten that my family is friends with Fenrir Greyback?” Damien asks.

Keith looks at Lance for an answer, but he only shrugs in response.

“You’ll do what I ask,” Damien instructs, “and keep it a secret. There are two of these, and one will be kept safe here in the shop. Do you understand?”

Borgin nods. “Yes, Damien. I will do as you ask.”

Damien puts his sleeve down. “Good.” He storms out of the store.

Keith and Lance also sneak out and uncover themselves once they’re back in Diagon Alley. “Oh my god, Lance. Do you know what this means?”

“Uh, that Damien needs something fixed?” Lance asks. “That conversation didn’t really have any meaning to it.”

“No! He’s a Galra Phantom!” Keith exclaims. “Why else would he show Borgin his arm?”

Lance shakes his head. “Keith, Damien is a lot of things, but a Galra Phantom is not one of them. Besides, we need more proof. We can’t just make wild accusations.” He offers a small smile. “C’mon, let’s go get our textbooks. It’s no use worrying about this now. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“Wait, I wanna know more about that necklace,” Keith says. “I’m going back in there.”

Lance’s eyes widen. “Are you insane?! Someone will recognize you!”

Keith rolls his eyes. “Doubtful. It was deserted when we followed Damien. Don’t worry about me, okay? Just go back to the others and cover for me.”

Keith starts to walk away, but Lance takes Keith’s hand and holds him back. “No, I’m going with you,” Lance says firmly.

“If anyone’s going to be recognized, it’s you,” Keith says.

“I’ll go under the cloak.” Lance lifts it up and puts it over himself. He disappears from sight.

Keith sighs but doesn’t argue. He makes his way back into Knockturn Alley and over to Borgin and Burkes. Keith walks inside and lingers in the entrance for a moment, feeling Lance brush against him before walking inside. Keith pretends to browse around, hyper-aware of Borgin’s eyes on him.

“Uh, is there something can I help you find?” Borgin asks, tapping his finger on the table.

Keith turns and raises an eyebrow. “Actually, yes.” He walks up to Borgin. “I’m looking for a necklace.”

Borgin narrows his eyes. “What kind of necklace?”

Keith rubs his chin. “I think it’s silver with green opals on it?”

“Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Please leave,” Borgin instructs, pointing to the door. “We’re closed.”

Keith hurries out and walks back to Diagon Alley, waiting for Lance. Eventually, Lance reappears and puts the cloak away. “What the hell was that?” Lance asks.

“I don’t know, but that necklace can’t be any good,” Keith says.

“Well, we can worry about it later.” Lance takes his hand again. “We should get back to the others. I’m sure they’re worried.”

Keith wants to let it go for now, but something inside him refuses to abandon the thought. If Damien’s a Galra Phantom, then what the hell could he need with an opal necklace? And what could he need fixing?

 


 

As Keith, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge wait at King’s Cross to board the Hogwarts Express, Keith pulls Lotor and Krolia aside. “Hey, before I get on the train, I need you two to know something,” Keith says. “Maybe you can find out more.”

Krolia furrows her eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”

“I think Damien Morrison might be a Galra Phantom,” Keith shares. “Lance and I followed him into Borgin and Burkes when we were at Diagon Alley getting our supplies, and he threatened Borgin with something on his arm.”

Lotor tilts his head. “Are you certain about this?”

Keith nods. “I am. Lance doesn’t believe me. He thinks we need more proof, but you two should know what I saw.”

Krolia kisses his forehead. “We’ll look into it, okay? Don’t let it worry you too much.” The train blows its whistle. “You better get on. I’ll see you later.” She gives Keith a hug before he hurries onto the train.

On board, students stare at Keith, but he ignores them as he heads to the Prefect meeting. He passes Lance, Romelle, and Xander in a compartment, waving at them solemnly before continuing forward. During the meeting, Keith ignores most of what’s being said since he heard all of it the year before. He keeps an eye on Bethany and tries to look at her arms to see any sign of a Dark Mark on them, but her arms have nothing on them.

When the meeting finishes, Keith and Pidge say goodbye to Hunk as he goes off with Shay to their Hufflepuff friends. Delia walks off with Paul to go find Layla and their other friends. Keith and Pidge join Xander, Romelle, and Lance in the compartment, but not for long when a woman comes and hands scrolls to Keith, Pidge, and Lance.

“What do those scrolls say?” Romelle wonders.

Keith opens his and reads it. “Uh, it’s an invitation to join Professor Holgersson for lunch,” he answers. “Why would he be doing this now? And why us?”

Pidge shrugs. “Maybe he’s just trying to meet with all of the students in our grade or something.”

Keith, Lance, and Pidge all leave the compartment and go to where Sven has gathered a group of students. Hunk and Shay are also present. Sven goes on about praising this group, explaining how he wants to form a friendship with all of them. He continues to bombard everyone with questions about their family. He grills Lance and Keith the most for whatever reason, but somehow they manage to sneak out early.

Keith spots one of his fellow Slytherins, a girl named Natalia, walking back to where she usually sits with Damien and his friends. Keith looks at Lance and grabs his arm. “I need the Cloak.”

"i need the cloak"

“What? Why?”

“Lance, please,” Keith begs.

Lance sighs and hands it to him. “Fine, but be careful, okay? Don’t do anything stupid.” He walks with Pidge back to their compartment while Keith puts the cloak over himself, following Natalia into the Slytherin compartment, hiding in the luggage rack.

When Damien, Bethany, and a couple of other Slytherins enter, Damien’s eyes shoot to where Keith is when Keith shifts in his spot. Bethany pulls Damien down next to her and holds his hand, but Damien doesn’t hold it back.

“Damien, what were you saying earlier?” Natalia asks. “I missed it because of that meeting with the new professor.”

“I was just saying that I think Hogwarts is a pathetic excuse for a school,” Damien says. “I want to jump out of the Astronomy Tower if I thought I had to continue for another two years.”

Bethany looks at him. “Wait, what?”

Damien smirks. “Let’s just say I don’t think you’ll be seeing me wasting my time in Charms class next year.”

Natalia rolls her eyes and scoffs. “Yeah, sure.”

Damien raises an eyebrow at her. “Amuse, are you? We’ll just see who’s laughing in the end.”

The train approaches Hogwarts, and the Slytherins begin pulling their trunks down. Bethany’s trunk smacks Keith on the head, and he lets out a grunt of pain. Keith covers his mouth in shock as Damien eyes where he is.

“Uh, you all go ahead,” Damien says. “I’ll be a minute.”

Once the other Slytherins leave, he shuts the door and blinds. “Well, didn’t mummy ever tell you it’s rude to eavesdrop, McClain?!” He turns around with his wand drawn. “ Petrificus Totalus!

Keith gasps when a white light consumes him, causing his body to straighten out. The Invisibility Cloak slips off him and he falls onto the floor. His eyes move around wildly before landing on Damien’s shocked expression.

“Kogane?!” Damien furrows his eyebrows in anger then smirks. “Hmm, well, this is fitting really. Even as Prefect and Quidditch Captain, you’re jealous of me. Looks like Lance can’t save you now.” He tosses the Invisibility Cloak over Keith’s frozen body. “Have a nice ride back to King’s Cross.”

Keith hears Damien cackle then the door slam shut.

Well, shit , Keith thinks to himself. What the hell am I gonna do now?

Chapter Text

Keith lays there motionless on the ground under the Invisibility Cloak. He begins to panic, wondering if he’s going to die here until he hears someone humming. Seconds later, the Invisibility Cloak flies off Keith, and he sees Romelle standing there. She raises her wand. “Finite Incantatem!” she exclaims, freeing Keith from the petrifying spell. Romelle helps Keith up.

“How did you find me?” Keith asks.

“Wrackspurts,” she answers. “Your head is full of them.”

Keith opens his mouth to ask questions, but he decides against it. He and Romelle make their way out of the train and begin walking towards the castle. “Sorry I made you miss the carriages, Romelle,” Keith says.

“It’s alright,” Romelle replies. “I’m enjoying our walk. It’s like being with a friend.”

Keith tilts his head and looks at her. “I am your friend, Romelle.”

Romelle smiles. “That’s nice.”

As they approach the gates, Matt Holt rushes over, clutching a long roll of parchment that has all the students’ names. “About time! I’ve been looking all over for you two!” he exclaims, out of breath. “Names.”

Keith raises an eyebrow. “Matt, you’ve known me for five years. Your sister is my best friend.”  

Matt tilts his head. “Sorry, I don’t play favorites. Names?”

“Are you kidding me? You helped Hunk and Lance distract Thace for us!” Keith exclaims.

“No exceptions, Keith,” Matt replies, checking his and Romelle’s names off. He smiles. “I’m kidding, but seriously, where were you two?”

Before Keith can respond, Romelle points at something. “Who are those people?” she wonders.

Keith turns and sees Romelle staring into the darkness where shadows drift eerily like ghosts. “Marmorites for added security,” Holt shares.

Nearby, they hear Damien’s voice boom. “It’s not a cane , you cretin! It’s a walking stick.”

Keith and Romelle turn and see Damien standing amidst a mountain of trunks and owl cages, watching the Warden pass a long security detector over a walking stick. “And what exactly would you be wanting with a walking stick?” the Warden asks.

“It was his father’s,” Thace answers, stepping out from the shadows.

Damien eyes him warily, then snatches the stick from the Warden. “ Is my father’s. He’s not dead.”

Thace watches Damien carefully wrap the stick in felt and lay it back inside his trunk. “It’s alright, Warden. I can vouch for Mr. Morrison.”

Damien eyes Thace warily again then begins to slouch off, followed by Thace. Keith and Romelle exchange a shrug, then head into the Great Hall, led by Matt. Romelle heads to the Ravenclaw table while Keith goes to the Slytherin table. Layla and Xander sigh in relief when they see him.

However, they don’t get to ask him any questions because Shiro steps up to the podium. “Hello everyone!” he exclaims. “Welcome back to another here at Hogwarts. I would like to first introduce the newest member of our staff, Sven Holgersson.”

Mild applause ensues, and as Keith claps, he notices a pair of Marmorites stationed outside the doors.

“Professor Holgersson has agreed to resume his old post as Potions Master,” Shiro continues. “Meanwhile, the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts will be assumed by Professor Slater.”

This is greeted by stunned silence. Shiro frowns, then attempts to generate something by clapping his hands once. A few Slytherins, not Keith, Layla, Xander, or any of their friends, and a few dim-witted first years clap.

“Now, as you know, each and every one of you was searched upon your arrival tonight,” Shiro says. “You have the right to know why. Once there was a young man who, like you and me, sat in this very Hall, walked the corridors, slept in the dorms, and seemed like any ordinary student. His name? His name’s Niko Dorra.”

The Great Hall goes dead silent.

“Today, of course, the world knows him by another name,” Shiro continues. “Which is why, as I stand to look out upon you all tonight, I’m reminded of a sobering fact. Each day, every hour, and possibly this very minute, dark forces attempt to penetrate this castle. However, in the end, their greatest weapon remains…you.”

Keith eyes Damien who is slouched low, lazily levitating a fork with his wand, as if Shiro’s unworthy of his attention.

Shiro claps his hands together. “Just something to keep in mind! Enjoy the feast!” he makes his way back to his seat between Allura and Matt. Keith notices that Allura still looks as bad as she did when he saw her in Number 12.

“Can you believe this?” Layla wonders. “Why would Shiro trust Thace with Defense Against the Dark Arts? Didn’t Alfor not want that?”

“You’d think,” Xander replies, shoving some food into his mouth.

“The position is jinxed,” Keith says. “No one’s lasted more than a year as the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor.”

“Hey, I bet you could even break the curse on it,” Layla comments.

“I want to be a Marmorite like my parents were,” Keith states. “I have no interest in teaching. Besides, I’m weird with kids, so I probably wouldn’t be any good.”

Layla shrugs. “It’s just a thought. I mean, you were a really good teacher last year during the S.A. meetings. I’d want my kids to learn defensive spells like that from you.”

“That was different!” Keith exclaims. “I was teaching peers and not people younger than me. I’ll figure something out. It’s fine.”

Layla and Xander exchange a shrug before leaving the Great Hall with Keith. They see Lance, Delia, and Paul walking and talking ahead of them. Keith excuses himself and hurries up to Lance, tapping his shoulder. “Hey!” he exclaims. “Paul, Deels, I’ll see you two later.” He pulls Keith aside so they can talk. “Where were you after you went off with my cloak? I was worried.”

“I’m getting to that,” Keith says. “So, I was spying on Damien and his goons—”

Lance’s eyes widen. “You did what?!”

“I followed that girl named Natalia to the Slytherin compartment and hid in the luggage rack,” Keith explains. “Anyway, Damien started bragging that he might not come to Hogwarts next year, claiming he’s moved onto bigger and better things.”

“What does that mean?” Lance asks.

“I’m getting there!” Keith huffs in frustration. “Bethany looked shocked when he said that—I doubt he told her about it. Then he started saying how things would be different when You-Know-Who takes over which got me thinking…I think he’s a Galra Phantom.”

Lance raises an eyebrow. “Really? Could you see a mark on his arm?”

“No, but I just got that feeling from him,” Keith says. “It was creepy.”

“Okay, well, you still haven’t explained how you got caught,” Lance says.

Keith rolls his eyes. “When Bethany pulled her luggage down, she hit me in the head. I yelled out in pain. Damien waited for his friends to leave before putting the blinds down to taunt me. He actually thought I was you because it’s your cloak. He said didn’t mummy ever tell you it’s rude to eavesdrop, McClain?! Then used the petrifying spell on me. He was shocked at first because it was me then said you wouldn’t be able to save me then left me there. After a few minutes, Romelle saved me.”

Lance smiles and pulls him into a hug. “I’m glad you’re okay. Y’know, I think we should start planning a special visit to Hogsm—”

“Keith! Lance!” a voice exclaims from behind them.

Keith does his best not to scream at whoever interrupted Lance, but his anger fizzles away when he sees Slav approaching them. “Hi Slav!” Lance exclaims.

“I’m looking forward to seeing you two in Care of Magical Creatures and Divination!” he shares happily before continuing down the hall.

Keith looks at Lance with wide eyes. “I didn’t sign up for those classes.”

Lance shakes his head. “Neither did I.” He shrugs. “Oh well, should we go find Hunk and Pidge and tell them what you heard?”

“I mean we can do it tomorrow before classes start,” Keith says, “but what were you saying before about planning a visit to—”

“Keith!” Bethany yells. “We have to show the new First Years around!”

Lance pats Keith’s shoulder. “Go, it’s okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He gives Keith a small wave before walking in the direction of the Gryffindor common room.

Keith glares at Bethany then follows her to where the group of First Year Slytherins is waiting. Was being a Prefect really worth missing an opportunity to plan a future date with Lance? That’s what he wanted to talk about, right?

 


 

 

The next morning, Keith and Lance meet up and find Pidge, Hunk, and Shay to tell them what Keith heard in the Slytherin compartment. Hunk and Shay are skeptical like Lance, but Pidge is convinced Damien is a Galra Phantom. She even suggests that Bethany could be one too, but Lance and Shay both deny that, claiming she isn’t smart enough. Hunk changes the subject when one of Damien’s friends walk past them, saying how he’s worried that Slav will be upset when he realizes that none of them signed up for his classes. Keith tells him not to worry about it.

Before they head to their first classes of the day, they each meet with their Head of House to sort out their schedules, confirming that each student has received the necessary O.W.L. grade to continue to their chosen N.E.W.T.s. When it’s Keith’s turn, he approaches Thace with a scowl.

“Mr. Kogane, if you plan on being a Marmorite, you need to continue with your Potions studies,” Thace says, looking at Keith’s schedule.

“My O.W.L. grade wasn’t good enough,” Keith answers through clenched teeth.

“No, it wasn’t good enough for me,” Thace corrects. “Professor Holgersson, on the other hand, has lower expectations and an Exceeds Expectations will suffice.”

Keith perks up. “But I don’t have any of the books.”

Thace signs off on his schedule. “There are spares to borrow.” He hands Keith the paper and waves him off. Keith steps to the side out of everyone’s way to wait for one of his friends to finish.

Moments later, Lance joins Keith with a smile on his face. “Is it bad that I’m excited for Potions? I mean I’m bummed that Hunk won’t be in it with me anymore since they changed it so it’s Gryffindor and Slytherin, but I’m sure it’ll be fine all the same. What’s your schedule look like?”

Keith happily shows it to Lance, waiting for him to be excited about them having Potions together along with Defense Against the Dark Arts. However, the smile doesn’t come. “Lance?” Keith asks.

“I thought you didn’t get a high enough grade for the Potions N.E.W.T.?” he wonders.

“For Thace I didn’t, but Sven has lower expectations,” Keith answers. “I thought you’d be happier about this.”

His eyes widen. “Oh! No, I am! Sorry, I just thought—never mind.” He smiles. “I am happy. I get to show off to you now.”

“What, like my mom did to my dad?” Keith asks with a smirk as they begin walking to Potions.

“Oh, of course!” Lance exclaims. “You should write to her…she’d be proud. Actually, maybe I should write to her? Since I guess I’m her in this scenario?”

Before they enter the classroom, one of Hunk’s Hufflepuff friends hands them scrolls from Shiro. Inside the scrolls, it says that their first private lesson will be Saturday night.

Lance and Keith exchange a smile as they walk into the classroom.

When Sven spots Lance and Keith, he quickly walks up to them. “Ah, excellent! I’m very happy to have you two in my class. I hope you two will be as talented as your mothers!”

Lance smiles. “I plan on it, sir.”

“Uh, Professor? Since I joined this class late, I don’t have a book,” Keith says.

“Ah, of course! You may check in the cupboard for any spare ones,” Sven says while Lance takes a seat at an empty table between Delia and Layla and Paul and Xander.

Keith opens the cupboard and sighs angrily when he sees the only book left is a shabby and soiled one, but he gets over it and brings it to the table with Lance, eyeing Lance’s new book with envy.

“Now, I’ve prepared a few concoctions this morning,” Sven continues. “Any ideas what these might be?” Delia’s hand shoots up. “Yes, Miss…?”

“Trang, sir,” Delia says. “That one there is Veritaserum. And that would be Polyjuice Potion. And that…” She trails off at the small pink vial.

“Amortentia,” Lance finishes for her. “It’s the most powerful love potion in the world. It’s supposed to smell differently to each person depending on what attracts them. For example, I smell the ocean and strawberries and cinnamon—” He stops himself, blushing slightly when he catches Keith looking at him.

Keith raises an eyebrow at him. My hair smells like cinnamon , he thinks to himself.

“Excellent!” Sven exclaims, writing the names on the chalkboard. “Now, Amortentia doesn’t create actual love, of course, since that’s impossible, but it does create a powerful infatuation or obsession. And because of that, it’s probably the most dangerous potion in this room.” He turns to find a sea of dreamy faces leaning into the vapors. Instantly, he clangs a cover onto the cauldron, snapping the students out of their daze. Keith notices a Gryffindor girl named Melanie Michaels staring at Paul. He then sees Delia’s eyes narrow at Melanie.

“Sir,” Layla says. “You haven’t told us what’s in that one.” She points to a small black cauldron.

“Ah, yes.” Sven ladles a bit of golden liquid into a tiny vial. “What you see before you, ladies and gentlemen is a potion known as Felix Felicis, but it is more commonly referred to as—”

“Liquid luck,” Delia finishes.

A buzz runs through the class. Keith even notices Damien perk up.

“Yes, Miss Trang,” Sven says. “It’s very tricky to make and disastrous should you get it wrong, but if it’s brewed correctly, as this has been, it has remarkable powers. One sip and you will find that all your endeavors will succeed…until the effects wear off.”

“Why don’t people drink it all the time?” Layla asks.

“Because when it’s taken in excess, it causes giddiness, recklessness, and dangerous overconfidence,” Sven explains.

“Have you ever taken it, sir?” Xander wonders.

“Twice!” Sven exclaims. “But those are stories for another day. Now, this is what I offer each of you today. One tiny vial of liquid luck…to the student who, in the hour that remains, manages to brew an acceptable Draught of Living Death. The recipe can be found on page ten of your textbook.”

Excitement seizes the class, and Lance and Keith exchange a determined expression.

“You should know that in all my years of my previous tenure at Hogwarts, no student has brewed a potion sufficient enough to claim this prize,” Sven adds. “Anyhow, good luck!” He sets the vial on his desk where it shimmers in a ray of sunlight.

Keith opens his book and frowns when he sees the margins of the page before him blackened with tight scribblings of a previous owner. The same creepy graffiti fills the next page along with the rest of the book. Shaking his head, Keith runs his finger under the first printed instructions: cut up one sopophorous bean . He takes the silver dagger on his desk and holds it over the bean, but winces when Paul’s bean shoots across the room, bouncing off Layla’s head.

“Ow!” she exclaims, turning to glare at Paul. “Paul!”

“Sorry!” Paul exclaims.

Keith looks around the room and sees everyone else struggling to cut the resistant bean. He glances back to his book to consider the instructions again. An arrow has been drawn from the word cut to the margin where a modification has been written in tight scrawl: crush with blade—releases juice better . He looks at the dagger in his hand, then places the flat edge of the blade against the bean and presses down. Instantly, the protective parchment covering the desk runs red with juice.

Lance looks up and narrows his eyes when he sees it. “How did you do that?”

“Crush it,” Keith answers. “Don’t cut it.”

“But the instructions say to cut,” Lance says.

Keith chuckles. “I’m not joking, Lance. I know you’re the Potions expert of the group, but trust me here. It’ll work.”

Lance shakes his head and continues, muttering something about Hunk under his breath. Keith shrugs and lifts the parchment, tipping the juice into his cauldron. It hisses and turns lilac, making Keith smile. If Lance didn’t like how Keith did things and would rather have Hunk be here, that’s his own problem. Keith’s determined to do this successfully, and if he pulls it off, Lance will be impressed—whether he likes it or not.

As the class continues, the rest of the students continue to struggle. Xander’s cauldron overflows. Melanie eyes Paul, causing Delia to get angrier. Bethany cuts herself and curses loudly, blaming Damien for her blunder. Lance grows more and more frustrated, his hair beginning to stick up as the steam rises from his cauldron—Keith finds it kinda hot…no pun intended.

Keith’s finger traces under the official instruction then drifts to the spidery scrawl in the margin. Cool as a cucumber, he adds one last ingredient. Once the potion bubbles in front of him, he steps back with a triumphant smile. He looks at Lance, whose hair is completely sticking up, glowers at him.

Sven weeds his way amongst the cauldrons, nodding with sympathy at the fiascos before him. Then, he stops at Keith’s cauldron, staring in disbelief at the pearly sheen of the bubbling potion. “Merlin’s beard! It’s perfect! One sip would kill us all!” He turns to Keith. “Your mother was a natural at potions, but this—my, my, what can’t you do? Perhaps you will save us all in the end…”

All eyes turn to Keith while Lance refuses to look at him. Keith instinctively steps toward Lance, but when Sven hands Keith the golden glittering vial, he stops. “Here you are,” Sven says. “As promised, one bottle of Felix Felicis. Use it well.”

The students leave the classroom, and Lance and Delia pull Keith aside when they get outside. Paul, Layla, and Xander wait nearby. Delia crosses her arms and glares at Keith. “You cheated! You couldn’t have brewed that perfectly! If Lance nor I couldn’t do it, then you shouldn’t have been able.”

“Just because you two are the best doesn’t mean someone else can’t shine once in a while,” Keith says.

“Keith, you are the Defense Against the Dark Arts guy! Potions is my thing.” Lance sighs. “I’m not good at anything else.”

“Lance, don’t be an idiot,” Delia scolds. “You’re good at that too so shut up. We’re dealing with Keith cheating.”

“I didn’t cheat! Just look at my book,” Keith says, handing it to her. “I just followed what was written inside.”

Delia and Lance open the book and flip through the book, eyes widening at the scribbles in the margins. “Whoa…” Lance whispers. They flip to the back and see written on the back cover: Property of the Half-Blood Prince .

Chapter Text

Keith and Lance enter Shiro’s office and find him standing by the Pensieve, looking through different vials. He turns and smiles when he sees them. “Ah, you’ve received my message, good! Come sit down.” Shiro gestures to the seats in front of his desk.

The two boys sit down and wait for Shiro to speak. “So, how are you both?” he asks without turning from the clear vials.

“Uh, we’re fine,” Keith answers. “Shiro, what—”

“Enjoying your classes? Sven’s very impressed with you, Keith,” Shiro says.

Keith shifts in his seat and winces when Lance crosses his arms. “Yeah, well, I think he, uh, overestimates my skills,” Keith says. “I prefer Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Lance huffs. “Oh, don’t sell yourself short, Keith,” he sneers. “You were just showing off because you’re clearly a better wizard than I am!”

Keith clenches his jaw. “Really? Are we seriously going back to how it was during our First Year together?” He raises an eyebrow at Lance. When Lance doesn’t respond, Keith rolls his eyes and looks at Shiro. “He’s just angry I got the vial of Felix Felicis.”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

“AM NOT!”

“ARE TOO!”

Shiro chuckles. “Alright, that’s enough of that. Lance, Sven was very impressed with your potion too.”

Lance brightens. “So, if Keith wasn’t in the class, I would’ve won?”

Shiro looks at Keith thoughtfully then back at Lance. “Maybe, but I guess we’ll never know.” He claps his hands together. “Anyway, I bet you both are wondering why you’re here. I’m going to teach you more about Lord Zarkon, hoping what I tell you will help you survive.” He motions for them to walk over to him. “Now, we’re going to go inside a memory of a man named Bob Ogden. He worked for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.” He pulls a small vial out of his pocket then pours it into the Pensieve.

Keith, Lance, and Shiro lean forward, and seconds later, appear in a country lane, watching a plump man in glasses read a wooden signpost. Keith presumes this man to be Odgen. When he finishes reading the post, he cautiously approaches a house. Shiro, Keith, and Lance follow Odgen up the steps, but Keith stops when he hears a voice speaking Parseltongue.

Odgen, you are not welcome here ,” the voice snarls. The front door opens to reveal a man in rags, pointing a wand at Odgen. “ Leave this place .”

“Morfin, I’m here to investigate your use of magic on a Muggle,” Odgen states, unfazed by Morfin’s wand.

The man in rags, Morfin, raises his wand to jinx Odgen, but another man rushes out of the cabin. “What’s the meaning of this?!” he demands.

“Gaunt, I was just saying I’m here to investigate Morfin’s use of magic on a Muggle,” Odgen says. He pulls out a parchment from his pocket, handing it to Gaunt. “That’s a summon for Morfin to come to the Ministry for a hearing.”

“That Muggle had it coming!” Morfin yells.

Odgen raises an eyebrow when a girl appears in the doorway. Gaunt shoves the piece of paper into Morfin’s hand before grabbing the necklace around the woman’s neck. He pulls her forward to Odgen, showing him the necklace and a ring on his finger. “See these?” Gaunt asks. “This shows we’re the last living descendants of Salazar Slytherin. My son did perform a jinx on a Muggle, but I have no idea why.”

“Merope was in love with that Muggle scum!” Morfin yells. “He deserved it!”

Gaunt turns and glares at Merope, who shies away. “WHAT?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! MUGGLES ARE THE DOWNFALL!” He grabs her neck, strangling her, but Odgen uses his wand to separate them.

“Enough!” Odgen yells. “I will not—”

Morfin suddenly yells and bounds towards Odgen holding a knife and his wand. As Odgen starts running, the memory slowly fades away, and Keith, Lance, and Shiro appear back in Shiro’s office.

Keith blinks in confusion. “What the hell just happened? Did they kill Odgen?”

“No,” Shiro says. “Odgen Apparated back to the Ministry and returned with reinforcements. Morfin and Gaunt were arrested and sentenced to time in Beta Traz.”

“How long were they there?” Lance wonders.

“Gaunt was sentenced for six months, and Morfin was sentenced for three years,” Shiro answers. “Gaunt's first name is Malz.”

Keith furrows his eyebrows. “Wait, that’s Zarkon’s middle name. That must be his grandfather.”

“That makes Merope his mother,” Lance says.

Shiro nods. “That’s correct. Zarkon’s father was Niko, the Muggle boy Morfin jinxed. Merope used a love potion on Niko, and when Malz returned from Beta Traz, he would not speak to or acknowledge his Muggle-loving daughter. Within a few months of their marriage, Niko returned to his Muggle village, probably after Merope’s love potion wore off. Meanwhile, Merope was pregnant with Zarkon.”

“Did he know about the child?” Keith asks.

Shiro shrugs. “I’m not sure. Alfor didn’t leave anything in his notes that suggested he did. Honestly, I would guess not. I doubt he felt the same about Merope.”

“Can we share this with Hunk and Pidge?” Lance asks.

“Of course,” Shiro says. “Now, that’s enough for tonight. You two have Quidditch tryouts to hold tomorrow, so I don’t want to keep you too late. I will send for you two when I’m ready to continue these lessons. Have a good night.”

As Keith and Lance walk out, Keith notices Shiro’s right hand is blackened and a ring sits on his finger—the same one Malz Gaunt had on in the memory. “Hey, wait, that’s the ring! The one from the memory!” Keith exclaims, pointing at it. “How did you get it? Where did you get it?”

Lance turns and his eyes widen when he sees it. “Whoa!”

Shiro chuckles. “I required it recently…around the same time I injured my hand. Good night!”

 


 

The next morning, Keith and Lance meet each other on the Quidditch pitch, waiting for the rest of the players to come for tryouts. The first two to show up are Dina Buckland, one of the Gryffindor Chasers from last year, Paul, Layla, and Xander. Layla smiles when she sees Keith.

“Well, hello, Captain,” Layla says. “Nervous to be running the show?”

Keith scoffs. “Please, I’ve been waiting to be in charge. I’m surprised Damien isn’t here yet. You’d think he’d show a little effort in wanting to make the team again.”

“You gonna cut him?” Lance wonders.

“Nice try, McClain. Just because we’re running tryouts together doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you my plan,” Keith says.

Other students start trickling in, a couple who made the team last year, but Keith is surprised to not see more of his former teammates. He frowns when he sees Damien arrive with Bethany, but he smiles when he sees Damien’s irritated expression as Bethany continuously talks to him.

Once everyone is in a group, Lance tries getting everyone’s attention. “Okay, everyone! Listen up!” No one bats an eye at him. The only people listening are Dina, Layla, and Xander. “Excuse me—”

“SHUT IT!” Keith yells, causing everyone to go quiet.

Lance frowns but nods to Keith. “Thank you. Okay, this morning Keith and I will be putting you all through a few drills to assess your strengths. But know this: just because you made the team last year does not guarantee you a spot this year, is that clear?”

Xander looks unnerved at this, sweating so much he’s attracted a pesky fly. Bethany saunters up to him. “No hard feelings, Castillo, alright?”

“Hard feelings?” Xander asks.

“I’m going out for Keeper too,” Bethany shares. “It’s not personal, but I’m just the better one for the job.”

Xander gulps as she walks away. Layla and Paul walk up to him. “Don’t let her into your head, okay? Keith will pick the best for the team,” Layla says.

“I don’t think I’m the best,” Xander admits. “Maybe I should just go—”

“Hey! We’re both in this together, okay? Don’t leave me hanging, dude,” Paul says. “You’ve got this.”

Xander doesn’t look convinced, but he nods anyway. Keith snaps his fingers to get people’s attention again. “Alright, we’re doing things a bit differently this year,” he says. “Instead of splitting off into different positions, we’re just going to go all out together. Those of you trying out for Slytherin, please put on one of the green jerseys. Those of you trying out for Gryffindor, please put on one of the red jerseys. Once you’re ready, write down your number next to your name, and get up in the air.”

Keith and Lance get on their brooms and fly into the air. They watch as the group puts on their respective jerseys and take positions. Lance goes to direct the Gryffindors while Keith stays with the Slytherins. “Okay, I want Layla, Hannah, and Maurice as Chasers first, Diana and Ben as Beaters, and Bethany as Keeper. Chasers, switch out when Slytherin scores a goal or if you personally lose the Quaffle. Beaters, switch out when you’ve hit the Bludger three times. Keepers, switch out when you’ve made three saves.”

The chosen Slytherins take their positions. Lance tosses the Quaffle up, and Layla flies swiftly, snatching the Quaffle out of the air. She handles it with ease as she makes her way towards the Gryffindor goal. Lance joins Keith and they take notes on their clipboards. Keith winces when two second years collide in mid-air. “EYES UP!” he yells.

Layla passes the Quaffle to Hannah, but she fumbles with it and drops it, allowing Dina Buckland to snatch it. Keith waits for Layla to lose her cool, but smiles when he sees her reassuring Hannah. Dina easily dodges the Bludgers from the two Slytherin Beaters and throws the Quaffle into one of the hoops. Bethany moves to block it, but it goes in.

“SWITCH OUT!” Lance yells. He writes on his clipboard then smirks at Keith. “You better hope Xander’s better than her.”

“I’d be better than her,” Keith says. “I wish Hunk was a Slytherin.”

Lance laughs. “He’d be a Gryffindor before he’d be a Slytherin.”

Keith shrugs. “You don’t know that. He—”

Layla intercepts the Quaffle with one hand, splitting two defenders beautifully, and makes a slick blind pass to Maurice who jets high in the air, then lets the Quaffle roll off his fingers…right into Damien’s hands as he races below. Keith marks down the chemistry between those three on his clipboard.

Ben sends a Bludger rocketing into the stands, scattering a group of onlookers, leaving only Romelle and Delia, who are unfazed. Two third years collide in mid-air. Paul turns the wrong way but makes the save anyway as the Quaffle caroms off the tail of his broom. Keith sees Layla pat Damien on the back before racing after the Gryffindor Chaser who has the Quaffle.

A sixth year Gryffindor named Malia Wise, bent low over her stick, pins the Quaffle under her chin and splits two Bludgers and a pair of Beaters. Two fourth years collide in mid-air. Two aspiring Gryffindor Beaters “whiff” on a pair of Bludgers and whack each other instead, plummeting to the pitch as the Bludgers ricochet off one another and go flying into the stands. Onlookers scatter again, leaving Romelle and Delia, as before.

Xander makes a brilliant save, tossing the Quaffle to Damien. He catches the Quaffle and dives down, dodging two Bludgers. Damien passes to Layla, and she scores with ease against the other Gryffindor Keeper.

After tryouts finish, the survivors press ice packs to their heads and wrap some tape around twisted fingers. Keith and Lance land on the ground, both smiling. “That was…something else,” Keith says. “All Slytherins are dismissed—except for Damien and Layla.” He looks at Lance.

“Chasers and Beaters are dismissed too. I need all Seekers, Nicholas, and Paul to stay. Results will be up tomorrow,” Lance says. “Alright, Nicholas, Paul, it’s down to you two for Keeper. We’ll decide it with a shootout. Damien, you’ll bring the Quaffle up against Nicholas. Layla, you’ll take on Paul.”

“Hang on,” Nicholas says. “She’s his friend. How do I know she won’t toss him a floater?”

“Oh, piss off! How ‘bout I toss you a floater?” Layla asks. Damien snickers.

“Quiet! I’m the captain. We do it my way,” Lance says. “Now, get into position.” Damien, Layla, Nicholas, and Paul take their positions up in the air. “Seekers, you’ll work with me in a moment with Keith, alright?” He flies up into the air, and Keith follows after him.

“On three!” Lance yells. “One, two—THREE!”

Damien and Layla rocket forth. Paul weaves nervously while Nicholas hovers in place, a confident sneer on his face. Damien hunkers over his broom once again, flying like an arrow, then goes into a wide, sweeping slide. Layla blasts over the pitch, rolling recklessly to the side. As one, they both let the Quaffles fly from their hands.

Delia, face buried in her fingers, mutters something.

Nicholas, at the last second, inexplicably rolls his broom to the right and the Quaffle sails over his shoulder. Paul, zig-zagging crazily, nearly falls off then rights himself in a panic. He deflects Layla’s Quaffle with his forehead. As a few partisan cheers erupt from the stands, Keith grins.

Delia opens her eyes slowly.

“Isn’t he brilliant?” Melanie Michaels wonders dreamily.

Delia stares balefully at Melanie, then notices Nicholas eyeing his broom incredulously. She gets up and slips away.

“Well, I think you’ve got your answer,” Keith says with a smile. “Now, what do you need me to do?”

“Show my prospective Seekers what a real Seeker looks like,” Lance replies. He nudges Keith playfully. “C’mon, Captain Kogane. Let’s give ‘em a show.”

Keith winks at him. “As you wish, Captain McClain.”

Chapter Text

As the students get ready for their first trip to Hogsmeade, Keith, Lance, Hunk, and Joshua post the Quidditch rosters. “So, Kogane, you ready to lose this year?” Joshua wonders as he tapes the Ravenclaw roster to the wall.

“Not a chance, Carlson,” Keith replies. “My Chasers are unstoppable. Not to mention, I’m on the team, so…” He raises an eyebrow at Joshua. “I think that proves your point.”

Joshua smirks then gestures to his roster. “I dunno. Are your Chasers better than mine?”

Keith narrows his eyes at Joshua then looks at the Ravenclaw roster.

ravenclaw quidditch team

“You put Pidge on the team!” Keith exclaims, wheeling to look at Joshua. Hunk and Lance abandon their rosters to look at the Ravenclaw one. “I guess she wasn’t kidding when she said you told her she had what it takes.”

Joshua nods. “Yeah. She should’ve made it last year, but Anthony was kind of an idiot.” He rolls his eyes. “He put Desiree’s brother on the team even though he was terrible. Honestly, he was just trying to get with her—which was disgusting and a poor use of our practice time.”

Keith scrunches his nose. “God, no wonder why no one listened to his coaching whenever you guys played. They listened to you more than him.”

“Dude, if you were the captain back when you got on the team, Ravenclaw would probably have gone undefeated,” Hunk comments.

Joshua shrugs, but Keith notices the small smile on his face. “Well, I gotta get going. I promised Nyma I’d meet her so we can walk to Hogsmeade together. I’ll see you all on the Quidditch pitch.” He salutes them then walks away.

When he’s gone, Keith turns to Lance with a wide smile. “Did you take my advice?”

Lance crosses his arms. “You mean your unwanted and unwarranted advice?”

Keith raises an eyebrow.

Hunk looks between Lance and Keith with a suspicious glare.

“Yeah, I did.” Lance hangs his head and gestures to the Gryffindor roster.

gryffindor quidditch team

Keith flashes Lance a smile. “Good. I’m glad you listened to me.” He looks at the Hufflepuff roster. “Think you’ve got a good team, Hunk?”

Hunk shrugs. “I think I do. Elle surprised me. During tryouts, she said you were her inspiration. It showed on the pitch.”

hufflepuff quidditch team

“Well, I’ve got some competition then,” Keith comments. Lance and Hunk look at the Slytherin roster, groaning when they see Damien’s name.

“Did you put Damien on your team again? He’s an ass!” Lance exclaims.

Keith shrugs. “He’s a good player.”

“He stunned you and left you on the train,” Hunk adds.

“Guys, I wish I could’ve picked someone else, but his chemistry with Layla and Maurice… none of the other Chaser trios had that,” Keith says.

slytherin quidditch team

“Whatever,” Lance grumbles. “I may just target him then.”

Keith and Hunk exchange a smile as a mob of students pile into the hallway to look at the Quidditch rosters. Keith, Hunk, and Lance step out of everyone’s way and keep an eye out for Pidge. They spot her walking with Delia, Shay, Layla, Xander, and Paul. Shay, Delia, and Pidge look at the Ravenclaw roster while Layla and Xander look at the Slytherin one, and Paul looks at the Gryffindor one. Once Pidge spots her name, she screams in delight, hugging Delia and Shay tightly.

Pidge spots Keith, Hunk, and Lance and pushes her way through the crowd to greet them. “Guys! Did you see my name?! Joshua put me on the team!” she exclaims.

Keith smiles. “We saw!”

“I’m so happy for you, Pidge!” Hunk pulls Pidge in for a hug. “He was boasting about you earlier.”

Pidge smirks. “Yeah. We’re gonna kick ass this year!”

“We’ll see about that,” Lance grumbles.

Delia, Paul, Shay, Xander, and Layla join them. “I can’t believe Xander and I both got Keeper!” Paul exclaims. “I’m obviously the better one.”

“Mmm, well—” Keith starts, but Lance elbows him before he can finish.

“I’m glad you picked Maurice,” Layla says to Keith. “He was really good.”

Keith nods in agreement. “Right? He worked so well with you and Damien. I think—”

“Okay, students! We are heading to Hogsmeade now! Please have your permission slips ready!” Allura announces. “Matt and I will be checking them.”

The students prepare to set out into the terrible weather, bundled up in cloaks and scarves. Once Keith and his friends get their permission slips checked by Matt and Allura, Delia hands him and Lance a parchment from Shiro.

“I’m assuming you two know what these are?” Delia wonders.

“Yeah, thanks Deels,” Lance says.

She nods and splits off with Layla to join their other friends. Xander and Paul talk with their other friends who made the Quidditch teams. Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Shay walk toward the Three Broomsticks to discuss the Quidditch teams. On their way there, Keith spots Trugg Kroh sneaking around carrying a pile of items. Upon taking a closer look, Keith notices some of those things belong to Krolia.

“What the hell?!” Keith demands. “Hey! Those don’t belong to you!”

Trugg’s eyes widen when she sees Keith, then she takes off running. Keith starts after her, pulling his wand out, but Lance stops him.

“Keith, don’t,” Lance warns. “You’ll get in trouble.” He pulls Keith close. “If she did steal those things, I think your mom can handle it herself.”

“Guys!” Pidge yells. “Let’s go!”

They walk into the Three Broomsticks and take a seat at one of the tables. Keith orders butterbeers for the table, and they immediately launch into a discussion about the Quidditch teams.

“No! You’re insane! Ravenclaw has been consistently good in the last two years!” Pidge exclaims.

“I’m sorry, have they won a Quidditch cup while we’ve been here? No, they haven’t!” Lance retorts. “Gryffindor is the best. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.”

“Uh, you both are wrong,” Keith says. “Slytherin has more wins than both of you.”

“Historically Hufflepuff has—” Hunk starts.

Lance and Pidge explode in protests and go off on him. Keith and Shay just smile at each other and shake their heads, ordering more butterbeers

The group finishes their drinks and leave the Three Broomsticks. Bundled up in their coats and scarves, they trudge through the snow back to the castle. Up in front of them, Keith sees Layla and Delia walking together. Layla has something in her arms, and she keeps pulling it away when Delia reaches for it. Keith opens his mouth to call out to them, but he stops when Delia finally pulls it out of Layla’s hands.

“Stop it!” Layla yells. She pulls it back then suddenly shoots up six feet into the air, screaming in pain.

“Layla!” Keith exclaims, running forward to help her. Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Shay join them. “Grab her!”

Hunk and Lance reach up and pull her back to the ground. “Go get help!” Delia points to the castle.

Pidge and Keith take off sprinting towards the castle but stop when they run into Slav. “Oh, hey! We need your help,” Pidge says, slightly out of breath. “Something’s wrong with Layla.”

They lead Slav to where Layla and the others are. Layla is motionless on the ground. Slav scoops her into his arms and runs to the castle. “Deels, what happened?” Lance asks.

“Okay, uh, so Layla was in the bathroom in the Three Broomsticks, and when she came back, she had that package,” Delia explains. “She said it was a surprise for someone at Hogwarts, and she had to deliver it. She refused to tell me who it was for! Anyway, fast forward a bit. We were walking back to the castle, as you saw, and when we were fighting over the package, it opened and that necklace was exposed.” She points to the ground where a silver and opal necklace peaks out of the wooden box.

Keith’s eyes widen, and he looks at Lance. “Oh my god. Uh, we gotta take this to Allura. Lance and I will catch you guys later!” He carefully gets it back inside the box then grabs Lance’s arm. Once they’re out of earshot of their friends, Keith releases Lance. “I’ve seen this necklace before.”

“What? Where?” Lance asks.

“At Borgin and Burkes,” Keith answers. “When we saw Damien there.”

Lance’s eyes widen. “Really? Whoa. Yeah. We have to tell Allura.”

They get into the castle and head to Allura’s office. Keith knocks and a few seconds later, Allura opens the door. “Oh, hello. I thought you two would still be at Hogsmeade.”

Keith hands her the box. “Yeah, uh, there’s a bigger problem. Something’s up with this necklace, and it did something to Layla.”

Allura opens the box a bit, eyes widening when she sees the necklace. She summons the Warden and has him bring this to Thace. “Where did she get this?” Allura asks.

“Delia told us she just came out of the bathroom with it,” Lance says. “We don’t know who—”

“It was Damien Morrison,” Keith interrupts.

Allura blinks. “What? Keith, that is a very big accusation. Besides, Mr. Morrison was in detention with me all day.”

“He still did it! I know it!” Keith exclaims. “Allura, please, you have to believe me.”

Allura shakes her head. “I am sorry, but if you truly believed he was guilty, why did you put him on your Quidditch team?”

Lance laughs. “She’s got you there!”

Keith frowns. “This isn’t a laughing matter. I’m gonna go see if there’s any update on Layla since clearly , I’m the only one who gives a shit!” He storms out of Allura’s office without another word.

 


 

Keith and Lance arrive at Shiro’s office for their next lesson.

“Oh, before I forget, I’ve received word from Colleen that Layla has been moved to St. Mungo’s for further treatment,” Shiro shares. “I thought you two would like to know that.”

“Wait, what? Is she gonna be okay? What’s wrong with her?” Keith asks.

Shiro shakes his head. “Colleen didn’t give details. I’m sorry.” He clears his throat. “Should we enter now?”

“Yeah…whatever,” Keith mutters.

Lance squeezes his hand before they enter the Pensieve. They appear in a memory of Caractacus Burke, the co-owner of Borgin and Burke. The man is talking about Merope’s gold locket to someone that cannot be seen.

“That’s right!” Burke exclaims. “Yeah, she fell for it. I bought it for ten galleons, which was way below its actual value.”

Keith narrows his eyes. “Wait, why would he do that?”

“He must’ve taken advantage of her desperation,” Lance concludes. “Shiro, why didn’t Merope just use her magic to get food and shelter? Why did she need to sell her stuff?”

“Well, I don’t exactly know why, but I think it’s because she was so devastated by Niko’s desertion that she either chose to stop using magic altogether or found her powers drained by her sadness,” Shiro answers.

The memory begins to shift, and they appear at the door of an orphanage where a very young Alfor stands outside of.

“This is one of Alfor’s memories,” Shiro explains.

Alfor walks inside and approaches the house matron, Mrs. Cole. “Hello, my name is Alfor Quinn. I’m here to offer Niko Malz Dorra a place at my school,” Alfor says.

Mrs. Cole narrows her eyes. “He’s a funny boy, Mr. Quinn. Be careful.”

Alfor chuckles. “That doesn’t surprise me.”

“He bullies the other children,” Mrs. Cole explains as she leads Alfor to Niko’s room. “Once he killed one child’s pet rabbit, and led two other children into a cave at the seaside. When those children came back, they were never the same again.” She knocks on Niko’s door then opens it. “Niko? This is Alfor Quinn. He would like to discuss something with you.”

Alfor nods in thanks at Mrs. Cole then steps inside the room to look at Niko. “Hello, Niko. How would you like to attend a special school?”

“What on Earth are you talking about?” Niko asks.

“Do you find that things tend to happen around you? Strange things?” Alfor asks. When Niko doesn’t reply, he continues. “Well, my school can help you control that. Hogwarts is for kids like you. It helps young witches and wizards control their magic.”

Niko’s eyes light up. “Really? Prove it!”

Alfor raises an eyebrow then sets Niko’s wardrobe on fire with a flick of his wand. Niko jumps away, eyes wide at the fire. Alfor puts out the flames. “Niko, would you retrieve the box that’s in there?”

Niko pulls out the box which is full of things he’s stolen from his fellow orphans. “How did you know this was in there?”

“I think you know why,” Alfor replies. “Now, I want you to return all of these objects before you enroll at Hogwarts. We don’t tolerate stealing at Hogwarts.” He claps his hands together. “Now, I can accompany you to Diagon Alley where you will buy all of your supplies—”

“That won’t be necessary,” Niko interrupts. “I can get them myself. Thank you.”

Alfor nods and begins to leave.

“You know, I don’t like my name,” Niko says. “It’s too common.”

Keith and Lance don’t get to hear Alfor’s reply as they and Shiro appear back at Hogwarts. “That was Zarkon?! Wow. He was a prick,” Keith comments.

Lance snickers. “That’s funny.”

“Okay, that concludes our lesson for today,” Shiro says. “I’ll send another note to you two when I’m ready for our next lesson.”

Keith and Lance make their way out of Shiro’s office, but Keith pauses when he sees that Dorra’s ring is gone. Before he can comment on it, Lance pulls Keith out of the office. He’ll have to ask about it during their next lesson.

Chapter Text

On their way back from Quidditch practice, Keith and Xander run into Paul and Melanie kissing on a bench outside the school. Before Xander can make a wry joke about it, Lance and Delia walk by. Delia starts screaming at Paul.

“Paul Franco! What the hell are you doing?!” Delia demands, startling Paul and Melanie.

“I’m with my girlfriend, what the hell does it look like?” Paul asks while Melanie traces her fingers up and down Paul’s arms.

“Why are you just kissing in public? It’s gross! No one wants to see that!” Delia yells.

Paul stands up angrily. “Yeah? Why are you so angry about it? Is it because you don’t want me to be happy?” He points at Delia. “Lance kissed Nyma last year, and you kissed Antok Hamamoto the year before that! What is your problem?”

Delia yells in frustration and storms off. Melanie stands up and grabs Paul’s hand. “Honey, don’t listen to her. She’s just jealous Antok doesn’t talk to her anymore.” Melanie kisses Paul’s cheek. “I’ll see you after your Quidditch practice.” She gives Lance, Keith, and Xander a smile before leaving.

“Dude, you good?” Xander asks Paul.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Paul replies. “Delia’s just been getting on my nerves lately. I don’t know why, but it’s ridiculous! I’m gonna head to practice now. I’ll see you there, Lance.”

He waves goodbye and makes his way down to the Quidditch pitch. Keith looks at Lance, raising an eyebrow at him when he lingers next to Keith as if he’s having some internal crisis. “Lance? Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

Lance’s eyes widen in fear, and he runs off in a flustered mess. Xander and Keith exchange a confused expression. “What the hell was that about?” Keith asks.

Xander shrugs. “Maybe he finally snapped.”

“Because of me?”

Xander laughs. “Uh, duh. You messed with his brain! He obviously feels the same about you, but he just doesn’t know how to express it. Nyma did mess with his head.”

“How hard can it be?” Keith asks.

“I dunno if you’ve noticed, but you’re very intimidating,” Xander says.

Keith shoves Xander lightly. “Shut up!”

Xander smiles at Keith, then they head back into the school.

 


 

 

The next morning before the Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor, Keith continues trying to boost Xander’s Quidditch confidence before the match but nothing seems to be working. He perks up and reaches in his pocket for the vial of Felix Felicis. When Xander isn’t looking, Keith grabs his cup of pumpkin juice and pretends to pour it inside.

Paloma Wilkins, one of Keith’s new Beaters, sees and immediately calls Keith out on it. “Keith! You can’t do that!”

Xander turns and sees Keith slipping the vial back into his pocket. His eyes widen, and he snatches the cup from the table, lifting it to his mouth to drink.

“Xander, don’t drink that!” Paloma exclaims.

Xander ignores her and downs the drink.

Paloma glares at Keith. “You could be expelled for that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Keith says, winking at her.

Xander suddenly stands up, and their team looks at him. Damien narrows his eyes at him. “Castillo…what are you doing?”

“I think we’re gonna win today!” Xander exclaims.

Damien rolls his eyes. “We better—especially now that your sister is out.” He turns and glares at Logan Rubio, one of the emergency subs who will be taking Layla’s place while she’s recovering at St. Mungo’s. “You hear me, Rubio?”

Logan gulps. “Uh—yes—”

“Damien, back off,” Keith orders. “Logan’s a good Chaser. He’ll be fine. Now, let’s finish up and head to the pitch.”

After breakfast, the two teams get ready for the game, getting into their uniforms and such, then walk onto the pitch. Keith exchanges a smile with Lance before getting on his broom and taking a few laps around while the others warm up. Lance flies up next to him.

“Ready to lose, Kogane?” Lance asks.

“In your dreams, McClain,” Keith counters.

Lance reaches over and squeezes Keith’s hand. “Good luck and may the best team win.”

“Oh, we will,” Keith says with a smirk. “Now get back to your team. The game’s about to start.”

Keith and Lance rejoin their teams and lead them with a speech before assuming their positions. Allura makes sure both teams are ready, then blows her whistle and tosses the Quaffle up in the air. One of the Gryffindor Chasers, Dina Buckland, snatches the Quaffle just before Damien can and races toward the Slytherin hoops, weaving and passing with wicked skill. Dina, Barrett Wagner, and Malia Wise pass back and forth with ease before Dina takes a shot on one of the hoops. Just when it appears it will clear the hoop, Xander comes out of nowhere and sends the Quaffle flying in the opposite direction.

Damien pauses on his broom, stunned. “What’s gotten into him?” He glances up at Keith, who is circling high above, and he grins.

Just then, Maurice flies by. “Damien! Let’s go!”

Instantly, he rolls backward, jets off and races down his fellow Chasers. Flying in a spread formation, Maurice—on the far wing—starts the Quaffle up the line until it lands in Damien’s hand. Keith sees Damien look to his left, probably half expecting to see Layla. He sees Damien deflate slightly but continue anyway.

If he’s the one who cursed her, why is he so sad she’s gone?

Damien dodges a pair of Bludgers from Harry Francis and Lance and whips the Quaffle through the goal, untouched. The crowd screams, Keith eyes the crowd and sees Hunk and Pidge clapping. Keith grins and jets off when he sees something gold whiz past him.

The game continues with Slytherin taking a large lead, but halfway through, Gryffindor catches up when the Beaters begin to target Damien. However, Xander continues to save goals with ease, and Keith sees the pressure beginning to settle on Paul’s shoulders. He feels a little bad but not bad enough to tell his team to back down. Keith doesn’t think he’d ever feel that bad.

Keith and Savannah Calderon, the Gryffindor Seeker, fly after the Snitch. When Lance sees this, he directs his attention onto Keith and deliberately tries to knock Keith off his broom. Diana and Paloma on Keith’s team almost go to protect him, but Keith barks at them to keep the pressure off of the Chasers.

Keith dodges Lance’s Bludgers with ease, only wavering once when a Bludger hits his shoulder. It hurts, but the Snitch is inches from his grasp. As another Bludger comes for his face, Keith dives off his broom and snatches the Snitch, winning the game. The crowd gasps as Keith begins falling to the ground.

“Accio broom!” Keith exclaims, sending his broom towards him. He gets back on it right before he hits the ground. Keith steps off his broom and holds the Snitch up in triumph, earning loud cheers from the Slytherin crowd.

His team lands next to him and cheer, lifting him into the air. Keith notices Damien’s smile seems forced. Is he that upset about Layla?

After the game, Slytherin celebrates the win, but Keith finds himself seeking out Lance and finds him at a window overlooking the lake. “Come here often?” Keith asks.

Lance smiles. “It’s a nice thinking spot.”

Keith slides in next to Lance, their shoulders pressed against each other. He looks down at their hands and slowly moves his hand towards Lance’s. Keith takes a deep breath and places his hand on Lance’s, smiling when Lance intertwines their fingers.

“Lance—” Keith starts.

“I know what you’re going to say, Keith,” Lance says. “I’m just—” He sighs. “It’s hard, okay?” He turns and looks at Keith. “I’m just scared.”

Keith gives Lance a small smile. “You don’t have to be.” His eyes flicker down to Lance’s lips then back up to his eyes. They start to lean in but stop when they hear voices.

Lance panics and runs behind a pillar, pulling Keith next to him just before Delia and Paul come to where they are. Paul grabs Delia’s arm and yanks her towards him. “Delia, stop! What the hell is your problem?!” he demands.

“Honestly, her?! Melanie out of all people?!” Delia wonders.

Paul groans. “Yeah! She likes me! What’s so bad about that?! You have no right to be pissed with me when you were all over Antok Hamamoto and kissing him and whatever!”

Delia scoffs. “Antok was a better man than you could ever be! Get over yourself!”

“Why don’t you get over your self?! If you’ll excuse me…Melanie is waiting.” He brushes past Delia and storms off, leaving her.

Keith and Lance step out from where they were hiding. “Deels, are you okay?” Lance asks.

Delia looks at him, eyes brimming with tears. “It hurts, Lance. I just—”

Lance pulls her into a hug. “I know.”

Keith walks over to them and pats Delia’s shoulder. “I know exactly how you’re feeling. Trust me when I say this: it’ll get better.”

Delia sniffles and nods, releasing Lance. “Oh, by the way, I should warn you that a bunch of girls are planning on slipping you love potions.”

“Me?! Why?!” Keith wonders.

Delia shrugs. “Dunno. Anyone with a brain should know that would be stupid. Anyway, I should be going. You two enjoy yourselves.”

When Delia’s gone, Lance turns to Keith and opens his mouth to say something, but Keith speaks first. “It’s getting late. We should head to bed.”

Keith starts to walk away, but Lance grabs his arm to stop him. “Wait. I—uh—want to ask you something.”

He looks at Lance expectantly.

“Um—” Lance rubs the back of his neck, cheeks flushing up. “Would you—uh—wanna go to Sven’s Christmas party? With me?”

Keith smiles. “I would love to.”

Lance jumps. “Great! Great!” He pauses. “Great! I will—yep! Okay!”

Keith waves goodbye to Lance then heads to his dorm. On his way there, a Hufflepuff girl from the Quidditch team named Saige Baker hands Keith a box of chocolates. Keith rolls his eyes and shoves it in his bag. Honestly, should’ve everyone at this stupid school know that Keith likes Lance?

 


 

 

The day of the party, Keith fiddles with his tie while he waits outside the Gryffindor common room. Seconds later, Lance walks out wearing a white shirt, dark pants, and a navy blue tie. He smiles when he sees Keith. “Hi.”

“Hi.”

The two boys stand there for a moment, not knowing what to say. Lance clears his throat to break the silence. “So, uh, shall we?” He holds out his hand to Keith.

Keith takes it, and they make their way to where the Christmas party is. The boys arrive and are greeted by Sven. they release each other’s hand when Sven reaches them.

“Ah, yes! Keith, Lance, come for a picture!” Sven motions them over, and they take a picture.

They stand on either side of Sven, and the camera flashes. Keith takes the moment to look around. The ceiling and walls are draped with hangings of emerald, crimson, and gold, so the room feels like a tent…or the inside of a gift box. It is loud and packed with people.

“Thank you, Alex!” Sven exclaims. He leans to whisper to Keith. “One of mine. Class of ‘78. I had hoped for more out of him, but at least the pictures are in focus.” He gasps. “Oh my! Excuse me, Keith and Lance. I must greet the new Minister of Magical Transportation. Class of ‘67.” He starts walking away. “Andrew, m’boy! Andrew! We’re all friends here. And we run the world!”

Keith watches Sven make a beeline across the room. “Drink?”

He turns and sees Lance standing there holding two cups. Keith smiles and takes one from Lance, taking a sip. “Thanks. So, this is nice.”

Lance nods. “Yeah, I like spending time with you. I wish I could have been ready sooner.”

“You watched your dad die, Lance. I totally understand,” Keith says. “Don’t apologize to me.”

“You just deserve so much better than that, Keith. I don’t—” Lance pauses, frowning at something behind Keith. “Are there feet behind that curtain?”

Keith turns and sees a pair of girl’s feet protruding from beneath a crimson hanging. His gaze rises and finds Delia peeking out. Keith and Lance exchange a confused expression then approach Delia.

“What are you doing?” Lance asks.

Delia yelps, turns, and pulls Keith and Lance behind the hanging. Her hair is slightly askew, and her lipstick is a bit blurry.

“And what’s happened to you?” Keith asks.

“Hm? Oh, I’ve just escaped—I mean left Daniel under the mistletoe,” Delia says.

“Wait, Daniel Lewis? That asshat who tried out for Keeper with Paul?” Lance wonders. “What the hell are you doing with him?”

Keith has no idea who this guy is, but he continues to listen anyway.

“I thought it would annoy Paul most, but he’s a menace,” Delia explains. “He’s got more tentacles than a Snarfalump plant.”

“Dragon tartar?”

They turn and find a waiter peeking in, tray in hand.

“No thank you,” Delia says.

“Just as well. They give one horribly bad breath,” the waiter says.

Delia perks up. “On second thought—maybe it’ll keep Daniel at bay. Oh no, here he comes!” She pops two of the Dragon blobs into her mouth, shoves the tray in Lance’s hand, and flits away.

Keith watches her run away then sees Thace standing on the periphery of a conversation. He sees Keith looking at him and sees Daniel walk to where Keith is.

“Have you seen Delia?” Daniel asks.

“I think she went to powder her nose,” Lance answers.

Keith looks past Daniel’s shoulder, out past the hanging and sees Sven laughing with a guest. Daniel plucks a dragon blob off the tray in Lance’s hand and pops it.

“Slippery little minx, your friend,” Daniel comments. “Likes to work her mouth too, doesn’t she? Yak yak yak. What is this I’m eating, by the way?”

“Dragon balls,” Keith says.

As Daniel’s face freezes, Keith and Lance start to head toward Sven when the hanging is swept aside to reveal Thace.

“What’s going on back here?” he wonders.

Daniel spews raw dragon all over Thace’s shoes. Thace surveys the damage, then his eyes rise darkly. “You’ve just bought yourself a month’s detention, Lewis.”

Daniel dashes off, and Keith and Lance make to follow.

“Not so quick you two,” Thace says. “I only wish to convey a message from Professor Shirogane. He asked that I give you his best and that he hopes you enjoy your holiday. You see, he’s traveling and won’t return until term resumes.”

“Traveling? Where?” Keith questions.

Thace stares at Keith silently then exits. Keith opens his mouth to speak, but another voice interrupts him.

“Get your hands off me, you filthy squib!” Damien exclaims.

A frown overtakes Sven’s face, and he turns toward the source of the commotion. Keith and Lance emerge from the hanging and find Damien in the Warden’s rough grip.

“Professor Holgersson, sir! I’ve just discovered this boy lurking in an upstairs corridor,” the Warden explains. “He claims to have been invited to your party.”

Damien crosses his arms. “Okay, okay, I was gate-crashing. Happy?”

“I’ll escort him out,” Thace says.

Damien’s eyes shift, regarding Thace. He shrugs free of the Warden. “Certainly… Professor .”

They walk out and Keith can’t fight the urge to follow. While Lance is distracted by a platter of food falling, Keith uses the opportunity to sneak out of the party. He follows Thace and Damien to a corridor. Keith waits around the corner to listen in.

“Maybe I did hex Layla. Maybe I didn’t. What’s it to you?” Damien demands. “Don’t worry, I feel bad about what happened to her. She was…nice.”

Keith scrunches his nose. What did Bethany have to say about this? Then again, he hasn’t heard from her in a while. Maybe they broke up?

“I swore to protect you,” Thace says. “I made an Unbreakable Vow—”

“I don’t need protection!” Damien exclaims. “I was chosen for this! Out of all others—me! I won’t fail him .”

Thace sighs. “You’re afraid, Damien. You attempt to conceal it, but it’s obvious. Let me assist you—”

“No!” Damien snaps. “I was chosen. This is my moment!” He storms off.

Thace leaves shortly after. Keith breathes heavily and braces himself against the wall. So, this confirms it, right? Damien must’ve been recruited by Zarkon to do something horrible. What could it be?

Chapter Text

Back at Number 12 for Christmas beak, Keith tells Lance what he overheard between Damien and Thace.

“An Unbreakable Vow…you’re sure that’s what Thace said?” Lance asks.

“Positive, why?”

“It’s just, well, you can’t break an Unbreakable Vow,” Lance continues.

Keith narrows his eyes. “I worked that much out for myself, funny enough.”

“No! You don’t understand, Keith.” He sighs. “If you break an Unbreakable Vow, you die. Besides, Thace might’ve only been pretending to help Damien so he could learn more about Zarkon’s plans.”

Keith rolls his eyes. “Why won’t you just trust me on this? Thace was in love with your mom! Why don’t you hate him?!”

Lance claps his hands. “Alright, we’re done talking about this.” He crosses his arms. “Let’s talk about the fact that you ditched me at the Christmas party to spy on Damien and Thace.”

Keith’s face pales. “Uh, I didn’t think you’d notice.”

Lance raises an eyebrow. “You didn’t think I’d notice that my date left me? Look, you should’ve told me what you were doing. I wouldn’t have gotten mad, Keith. In case you haven’t figured it out, I like sneaking around with you. Plus, we coulda spent some time under the mistletoe.”

“Wait, WHAT?!” Keith grabs Lance’s arm.

Lance shrugs. “Guess we’ll never know.”

Before Keith can say anything else, Krolia calls them down for dinner. “BOYS! DINNER! NOW!” she yells.

“COMING!” Keith screams back.

When they get downstairs, the house glows with light, and holiday music rings from the wireless. Ryland, Carlos, and Marco fill cups with steaming nog, and Lucy, Tasha, and Hannah ferry plates of food. “Eat up, everyone! There’s more to come!” Lucy exclaims.

Keith takes a seat next to Lance at the end of the table. Krolia takes a seat at one head of the table while Carlos takes the other. Lotor and Allura join them, sitting next to each other across from Lance and Keith. Lance’s other siblings plus Tasha and Ryland fill in the other empty seats.

“So, how has your undercover work been going, Lotor?” Krolia asks.

Lotor sighs. “It’s tough.”

“Undercover work?” Keith wonders.

“I’ve been living underground with the werewolves, spying on their interactions with Zarkon,” Lotor explains. “Their leader, Fenrir Greyback, is a piece of work.”

“I’ve heard rumors about him,” Lance says. “Doesn’t he like to stalk children’s homes during full moons?”

Lotor nods.

“That’s messed up!” Lance exclaims.

“He’s the werewolf who bit Lotor,” Krolia adds.

“Really? Oh my god. What—”

“May we talk about something else?” Lotor interrupts.

“Sure,” Keith pipes in. “Damien’s plotting something, I know it, something to do with Zarkon. He’s been given a task or a mission—and Thace was offering to help.”

“Zarkon chose Damien for a mission?” Lotor asks.

“I know it sounds mad—” Keith starts.

“Has it occurred to you, Keith, that Thace was simply pretending to offer Damien help out so that he could find out what he is up to?” Allura asks.

“That’s what I said!” Lance exclaims.

“I don’t know, perhaps Keith’s right, Allura,” Krolia says. “To make an Unbreakable Vow, after all—”

“It comes down to whether or not you trust Shiro’s judgment,” Allura continues. “He trusts Thace. Therefore, I do.”

“But Shiro can make mistakes,” Keith says. “He said it himself—”

Lotor shakes his head. “You are blinded by hatred.”

“I’m not—”

“You are!” Lotor exclaims sharply. “People are disappearing, Keith. Daily. We can only put our trust in a handful of people. If we start fighting amongst ourselves, we’re doomed.”

Krolia gives Keith a furtive glance as if to say: Leave it.

“Fine,” Keith says bitterly. He turns to his mom. “I have a question. Did dad ever call himself the Half-Blood Prince?”

Krolia tilts her head in confusion. “Where did that come from? No, he didn’t. He was a Muggle-born after all, sweetie. Plus, he never mentioned princes.”

Keith sighs and leans back in his chair, no longer hungry.

 


 

 

After New Year’s, the students return to Hogwarts. Hunk and Pidge are waiting with scrolls from Shiro to give to Keith and Lance about their next lesson. Keith also tells them about what he overheard between Damien and Thace. Hunk is on Keith’s side while Pidge is on Lance’s. Keith accuses Pidge and Lance of being dense before storming away to the Slytherin common room. Keith meets up with Xander and his other teammates. They look at the sign in the common room about Apparition lessons for Sixth Years.

That night, Keith and Lance report to Shiro’s office as scheduled. Keith tells Shiro about everything he overheard between Thace and Damien, but Shiro seems unconcerned much to Keith’s dismay.

“May we get started? Good.” Shiro clears his throat. “Before Alfor died, he told me about Niko Dorra’s experience at Hogwarts. Niko was sorted into Slytherin almost immediately and showed no more signs of arrogance or aggression. He was talented, attractive, and drew attention and praise from the faculty. Niko was obsessed with his parentage, and after finding no traces of his father ever being at Hogwarts, he realized he was a half-blood and adopted the name Lord Zarkon. After researching his middle name, Malz, Niko realized that he was a direct descendant of Slytherin. In the summer of his 6th year, he returned to his mother’s home.” He gestures to the Pensieve.

Keith, Lance, and Shiro enter and appear in a filthy home. Keith figures out that it’s Gaunt’s house. A man with an overgrown beard is slumped in a chair and lunges at Niko when he enters the house. Speaking in Parseltongue, Niko commands him to stop, and he does.

“Where’s Malz?” Niko asks.

“He’s dead,” Morfin replies. He narrows his eyes at Niko. “You look like the Muggle my traitorous sister loved.”

The room goes dark, and Keith feels Shiro’s hand on his arm. They appear back in Shiro’s office. “What happened there?” Lance wonders.

“Niko stupefied Morfin, stole his wand, and went to the town to murder the man who left his mother and his grandparents, destroying the last of the Dorra line,” Shiro shares. “When he returned to Morfin, he implanted a false memory of the murders into Morfin’s mind. Later, Morfin was convicted of the murders by the Ministry, who traced the magic back to Morfin’s wand. In the last few weeks of Morfin’s life, Alfor was able to use Legilimency to coax out his real memory. Morfin died before he could be released from Beta Traz.”

Shiro pulls out another vial of memories, but it’s unusually cloudy. They re-enter the Pensieve, and Keith and Lance see a younger Sven Holgersson sitting with a half a dozen boys, including Niko Dorra, who is wearing Malz’s ring. Sven probes a dish of crystallized pineapple.

“Sir, is it true that Professor Merrythought is retiring?” Niko asks.

Sven chuckles and wags a sugar-encrusted finger at Niko. “Now, Niko, I couldn’t tell you if I knew, could I? I must say, I’d like to know where you get your information. You’re more knowledgeable than half of the staff!” The other boys laugh. “By the way, thank you for the pineapple—you’re quite right, it is my favorite—how did you know?”

“Intuition.” Niko smiles, but his expression suggests otherwise.

Sven chuckles uneasily. “Good gracious, look at the time! Off you go, boys or Professor Dippett will have us all in detention. Madelina, Avery, don’t forget your essays…”

As the others leave, Sven busies himself with some papers when he turns and finds Niko still there, standing by a crystal hourglass. “Look sharp, Niko. You don’t want to be caught out of bed after hours.”

“I know a secret shortcut or two,” Niko replies.

“Hmm, yes.” Sven raises an eyebrow. “Something on your mind?”

“Yes, sir. I couldn’t think of anyone else to go to,” Niko admits. “The other professors aren’t like you. They could misunderstand.” Niko slips off the ring on his left hand and begins to roll it between his fingers. It is set with a black stone. “The other night, I was in the restricted section of the library. I read something odd about a bit of rare magic, and I thought perhaps you could illuminate me. Could you tell me about Horcruxes?”

Suddenly, a dense fog engulfs the room and Sven’s voice twists into an angry shriek. “I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SUCH THINGS, AND I WOULDN’T TELL YOU IF I DID! NOW, GET OUT OF HERE AT ONCE AND DON’T EVER LET ME CATCH YOU MENTIONING IT AGAIN!”

The fog grows thicker, and Keith, Lance, and Shiro appear back in Shiro’s office. Keith blinks in confusion. “Uh, what the hell was that?”

“It looked real up until he started screaming at the end,” Lance says.

“The memory has been tampered with by Sven,” Shiro explains. “He didn’t want Alfor to know what happened when Niko asked about Horcruxes. Now he doesn’t want me to know what happened.”

“What do you want us to do about it?” Keith asks.

“I want you two to attempt to retrieve the real memory from Sven,” Shiro says.

Chapter Text

The next day in Potions, the students are assigned antidotes, and the Half-Blood Prince’s textbook is of no help to Keith. He finally finds the words just shove a bezoar down their throats scribbled in a margin. Rummaging through the supply cupboard, Keith finds a bezoar, a stone from the stomach of a goat, and runs back to his seat. When Sven approaches his cauldron, Keith hands over the bezoar, and Sven laughs.

The class bell rings and the students rise, packing up their things. “Now, don’t forget to look over the chapter on antidotes because I’ll be poisoning one of you next time we meet!” Sven exclaims.

Keith’s eyes widen, and he exchanges a worried glance with Lance.

I’m joking! Goodness! Tough crowd. Off you go,” Sven says, dismissing everyone with a wave of his hand.

Keith and Lance linger behind while the rest of the students file out. Sven notices them and smiles. “Well, if it isn’t my two best students. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“Well, sir, we were wondering if we could ask you something,” Keith says.

“Anything for you two! Ask away,” Sven says.

Keith and Lance exchange a firm nod before looking at Sven. “The other day we were in the Restricted Section in the library, and we stumbled upon a bit of rare magic,” Lance begins.

Sven eyes them suspiciously. “Okay…and what was this rare magic?”

“We’re not too sure. You see, we don’t really remember the name,” Keith continues. “Are there some kinds or forms of magic you’re not allowed to teach here?”

“I’m a Potions Professor, Keith,” Sven says stiffly. “Perhaps your question would best be posed to Professor Slater.”

“Yes, well, we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, sir,” Lance explains. “What I mean is…he’s not like you .”

Keith nods in agreement. “He might misunderstand.”

Recognition flickers in Sven’s eyes—a glint of fear. “There can be no light without the dark, and so it is with magic. I have always strived to live within the light. I suggest you two do the same.” Sven gathers his briefcase and starts to exit.

“Did you say the same to Niko Dorra, sir?” Keith asks. “When he came asking questions?”

Sven freezes in the doorway. “Shirogane put you up to this, didn’t he? Didn’t he?!

“Sir, we—” Keith starts.

Sven silences him with an upraised hand. Then, without another word, he’s gone. The boys exchange a solemn expression before heading to the Great Hall for Apparition lessons.

Normally, it’s impossible to Aparate or Disapparate within Hogwarts, but the restrictions are lifted within the Great Hall for one hour so the students can practice.

Not to brag or anything, but showing off his Apparition skills in front of Lance makes Keith very happy, and momentarily distract him from the fact that he probably just got himself on Sven’s bad side.

 


 

Outside the next morning, Keith empties out his bag to look for the Paladin’s Map. He ignores all the other junk that spills out of it, including a box of chocolates. “Where is it?” Keith mutters to himself.

“Hey, Keith? Can I have these chocolates?” Lance asks.

“Yeah, whatever,” Keith answers, half listening. He smiles when he finds the map, dropping his bag to hold the map with both hands. “Lance, come help me look for Damien on the Paladin’s Map.”

A few seconds pass, and Lance doesn’t answer. “Lance?” Keith turns and sees Lance looking dreamily at the sky.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Lance asks. “The sky.”

“It’s divine,” Keith replies. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I can’t stop thinking about her, Keith,” Lance says, turning to him.

Keith’s stomach drops. Was Lance not over Nyma? Is that why he’s still not giving Keith an answer? Well, he did sort of ditch Lance at the Christmas party.

Crap. He knew that would eventually bite him in the ass.

“Really? I thought you made it clear to her you wanted nothing to do with her. I mean…you took me to Sven’s Christmas party after all…” Keith trails off.

“I would never think that!” Lance exclaims. “I think I love her.”

“Excuse me?”

Lance nods.

Keith looks bewildered then furious. “Well…brilliant! I’m so glad you’ve finally figured it all out!”

Lance smiles. “Do you think she knows I exist?”

“You literally kissed her last year, so I hope she knows you do,” Keith says.

Lance tilts his head in confusion. “Kissed? Who are you talking about?”

“Who are you talking about?”

“Saige, of course. Saige Baker!”

Keith stares at Lance then slowly grins. “Okay, very funny.” He returns to his pile of stuff, searching for the map again when a heart-shaped box bounces off his head. “Ow! What the hell was that for?!”

“It’s not a joke!” Lance stands up angrily. “I’m in love with her, Keith!”

“Okay! Fine! You’re in love with her!” Keith exclaims. “Have you ever actually met Saige?”

Lance ponders that for a moment. “No…can you introduce me?”

Keith stops rubbing his head and eyes Lance oddly, then glances at the candy box at his feet. There’s an envelope. Taking it, he slides out a card: Dear Keith. Thinking sweet thoughts of you. Merry Christmas. Saige. There’s a picture of Saige blowing a kiss.

Keith suppresses a smile. “Lance, these chocolates they’re—never mind. C’mon, I’m going to introduce you to Saige Baker.”

He left Lance hanging once to figure out what Damien was doing; he wasn’t about to do it again.

Keith packs up his bag and leads Lance into the school, down to Sven’s office.

“How do I look?” Lance asks.

“Outrageously handsome,” Keith replies in full seriousness. He knocks on the door and footsteps follow a loud crash.

“Damn it all!” The door opens, and Sven stands there looking bleary-eyed and annoyed. Something smokes on the floor behind him—the floor lamp he’d sent wobbling the night of the dinner party. “Yes? Oh, Kogane. It’s you. I’m afraid I’m busy at the moment—” He starts to close the door, but Keith sticks his foot in it.

“Sir, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t bother you if it weren’t absolutely—” Keith starts.

“Where’s Saige?” Lance wonders.

Sven squints over Keith’s shoulder at Lance who is doing precisely the same from the other side. “What’s the matter with McClain?”

“He ate a box of chocolates that were meant for me instead,” Keith explains. “There was a love potion inside.”

“Ah, very well, bring him in.” Sven steps aside, and they walk in. Sven immediately begins to mix a concoction of powers and potions into a goblet while Lance peers into a mirror.

As he paces, Keith passes the shelf and finds, front and center, a photograph of himself, Lance, and Sven—the one taken at the Christmas party. In the back, there is a photograph of Thace as a young student, clutching his potions textbook.

“I’d have thought you could whip up a remedy for this in no time, Keith—an expert potioneer like you,” Sven says.

“I figured this called for a more practiced hand, sir,” Keith replies, smiling at a picture of his mom.

“Hello, darling . Fancy a drink?”

Sven and Keith turn and watch Lance wink into the mirror. “Perhaps you’re right,” Sven says.

As Sven goes back to mixing, Keith eyes him furtively. “I’m sorry, sir. About the other day. Our…misunderstanding,” Keith says.

Sven eyes Keith briefly then looks away. “Yes, well, water under the bridge as they say, correct?”

“I mean, I’m sure you’re tired of it, after all these years. The questions. About…Zarkon,” Keith says.

Sven’s mixing hand falters instantly. “I’ll ask you to not use that name.” Sven’s stare is fierce.

“Yes, sir. It’s just—Shiro once said that fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself,” Keith says. “It seemed sensible.”

“With all due respect, Shiro sometimes forgets that most of us do not possess powers so great that we can risk offending the most dangerous Dark Lord who ever lived.” Sven’s stare is fierce, as fierce as the one Shiro fixed with Keith. Finally, he turns away and walks over to Lance. “Alright, m’boy! Bottoms up!”

Lance narrows his eyes at the goblet. “What’s that?”

“A tonic for the nerves,” Sven says.

Lance drinks, beams briefly, then his grin sags. “What happened to me?”

“Love potion,” Keith says.

Lance’s eyes widen. “I feel really…bad.”

“Pick-me-up is what you need. Do us all a good, I think. I’ve got butterbeer, wine—ah—and a dazzling oak-matured mead. I had other intentions for this but given the circumstances…” Sven takes a stout bottle and fills a glass for Lance. As Lance sips, Sven fills a pair for himself and Keith. “There we are, Kogane. To life!”

Lance’s glass suddenly hits the floor, and he crumples to his knees. He tumbles full out on the rug, spasming horribly, foam oozing over his lips. Keith rushes to him. “Lance! Lance! Professor, help him!” Keith exclaims.

Sven stands there in shock. “I d-don’t understand—”

“Professor, do something, please!” Keith begs.

Sven shuffles haplessly through his bag, mumbling at a loss. Keith turns back to Lance—his skin is turning blue. “He’s choking!” Keith shouts.

Keith glances about then leaps up, and frantically begins to strip the walls of its potions stores, looking for something—anything. A box tumbles, something spills a scattering of stones, no bigger than a robin’s egg, shriveled and dry. Snatching one, Keith wrenches Lance’s jaw and thrusts it deep into his throat.

Instantly, Lance stops moving, paralyzed.

The room is suddenly silent.

He’s not breathing.

Why isn’t he breathing?

Keith places both hands behind Lance’s head and gives it a shake. “Breathe! Come on, Lance, don’t do this to me! BREATHE!” Keith shakes him again and again…then stops.

Lance’s head rolls limply from Keith’s fingers, and Keith’s eyes well up with tears.

Sven looks on, mouth agape.

A tear slips down Keith’s cheek and falls onto Lance’s. “Lance…” Keith whispers. He runs a hand through Lance’s hair, willing himself not to cry.

Suddenly, Lance coughs, a great hiccupping cough—like a swimmer almost drowned—and Lance is back and breathing. “What the hell? You just saved my life,” Lance says breathlessly.

Keith’s eyes widen. “Oh my god.” He opens his mouth to say something else, but Lance’s eyes flutter, and he passes out—still breathing.

 


 

 

In the Hospital Wing, Hunk, Shay, Keith, Pidge, Shiro, Thace, and Allura gather to look after Lance as Colleen Holt tends to him. Sven sits off to the side in a chair looking stunned.

“Quick thinking on your part, Keith. Using a bezoar,” Shiro says. “You must be very proud of your student, eh, Sven?”

“Hm? Oh, yes…very proud,” Sven mutters.

“I think we all agree that Keith’s actions were heroic, but why were they necessary?” Allura wonders.

“Why indeed.” Shiro takes the half-empty bottle of mead, still bearing a bit of gift wrap. “This appears to be a gift, Sven. You don’t by chance remember who gave you this bottle, do you? It possesses remarkably subtle hints of licorice and cherry, when not polluted with poison.”

“Actually, I intended to give it as a gift,” Sven admits.

Shiro nods. “To whom, might I ask?”

Sven sighs. “You, Headmaster.”

Just then—the door bursts open, and Nyma Valentina rushes in. “Where is he? I heard what happened!’

“What the hell are you doing here, Valentina?” Keith demands.

“I came to see if Lance was okay,” Nyma says.

Pidge scoffs. “We all know you’re only here because Joshua dumped you. Honestly, in my opinion, it should’ve been done a long time ago.”

“Why don’t you just get lost?” Shay asks.

Hunk crosses his arms. “Lance wasn’t good enough for you last year. What makes you want him now?”

“After Joshua broke up with me, I realized how badly I treated Lance,” Nyma says. “I want to win him back. We had a nice chat at the Christmas party after you ditched him.”

Keith pales. “What?”

Nyma crosses her arms. “Yeah, that’s right. He looked absolutely crushed after you ran off, so I took it upon myself to comfort him. We had a lovely conversation about love. We almost went under the mistletoe together too, but some other annoying boy refused to get away from it.”

Keith opens his mouth to reply, but Lance begins to stir.

“See, he senses me,” Nyma says, pushing her way through to his side. “I made a mistake, okay?! I’m here to make things right.” She kneels next to him. “I’m here, Lance!”

“Eeth…K…ee…th…” Lance murmurs. In a haze, he reaches out blindly.

Blushing, Keith takes his hand, and instantly, Lance falls unconscious again.

“Clearly, he’s over you,” Pidge says. “Now get lost.”

Nyma vibrates with rage and storms out. Pidge and Shay wave at Nyma then high five each other. Shiro beams at the scene. “Ah, to be young and to feel love’s keen sting!” he exclaims.

“You’re not that old,” Allura says.

“Come, everyone, I think Lance is well-tended to,” Shiro continues, ignoring Allura’s comment. As he leads the others out, Hunk, Shay, and Pidge stay behind.

“It’s about damn time, don’t you think?” Pidge wonders.

“It’s well overdue,” Shay agrees.

Hunk smiles widely. “I think I’m gonna cry!”

Keith tries to hide his smile. “Shut up.” He turns back to Lance and strokes his cheek. Seeing Nyma that furious felt good .