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The Boy & the Girl Who Lived

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A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.

ENJOY!

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.


~.O.~


Harry adjusted her new glasses as she stared up at the large manor she was about to start working in. The wire frames slid back into place easily, framing her bright green eyes with long and thin rectangles that looked far better than her old glasses. The fact that people let her go that long with such ugly glasses, all because they wanted her to look like James, was bloody ridiculous. The obsession with James Potter was annoying.

On her hip was her godson Teddy, who was turning eight soon. After the war, Harry had tried to help Andromeda as much as she could in raising the boy since the Malfoys wanted nothing to do with him. Without her husband and daughter, Andy had lost her presence. According to some, she was just less joyful and almost seemed vacant most of the time.

It was a lot to take in. To lose your only family who still accepted you, to a pointless war, was a tragedy. Harry didn't blame her in the least.

Lately, she'd been slowing down a lot more, the House Elves taking on more and more responsibilities in regards to Teddy. It became very obvious that Andy was headed for her deathbed sometime soon, so Teddy came to live with Harry permanently. It was best if he wasn't around when she finally passed. Less of a chance of him finding a body this way. He didn't need to deal with that sort of trauma.

Harry hadn't been jumping to live in Grimmauld Place though. It simply reminded her too much of Sirius and of having to hide there, and then having their hideout invaded suddenly. And no matter what Kreacher did, it always felt so dreary inside, which brought the overall mood down.

Now she wasn't exactly excited to be living in a manor, since it would obviously be far too large, but with Teddy and another child, that would hopefully make things more interesting. Teddy didn't have any friends. Especially none around his age.

Having a child during the height of the Second Movement would have been a stupid idea, and it wasn't lost on Harry how incredibly foolish Tonks and Remus had been. She'd never regret Teddy's existence, but common sense would dictate to avoid child bearing altogether until things were calm once more. She thought her own parents absolutely bonkers to be having a kid whilst going out on raids to fight off Death Eaters.

In their community, only thirty-one magical children were born between the dates of 22 June 2006 and 31 August 2008. Twenty-five of those were muggleborns who were listed for Hogwarts already, because muggles didn't know about a magical war happening on their land. Essentially, it wasn't enough. Teddy's year was going to be a mix of children his own age and those up to two years older than him. There simply weren't enough children his age alone, to make up an entire Year of Hogwarts students. At most there would possibly be four new additions to each dormitory which just wasn't cutting it.

The whole problem had been worked out by McGonagall already, and it had taken her months to figure it out. Harry had been apprised of the situation so she could be ready. The age differences in Teddy's year alone were going to cause problems. Thirteen year olds being forced to take the same classes with eleven year olds would not go over well, but there was nothing they could do save for those kids beginning their school work outside of Hogwarts and testing into the appropriate year. But then they would lose the chance of a Beginner's Year where they had the chance to get used to everything new to them.

Third Years had harder and more demanding schedules than First Years. First Year was like a grace period and the free time was numerous to help the kids adapt to the life of a boarding school.

Harry felt bad that this was a problem at all. And she knew it would be difficult for Teddy. Connecting with people outside your Year wasn't easy at Hogwarts. There were tiers of a sort to the whole social realm of schooling. Forget Houses rarely intermingling, age groups rarely did either.

So there were already a limited amount of children within Teddy's age range, and none of their parents wanted their kids to associate with the boy because of the widespread fear of werewolves and the known knowledge of Remus being a werewolf.

So what if Teddy got a bit fuzzy during the full moon? That didn't make him dangerous! He'd bitten both Harry and Andy many times and nothing had happened to either of them! And if he was capable of infecting people, he'd only be dangerous one day a month, and they would take measures to help him!

"Harry," said Teddy, startling her out of her thoughts, "do I really have to wear this?"

She looked the boy up and down, finding his clothing to be perfectly acceptable. A nice button-down with a black waistcoat, and black trousers and shoes. His hair, which was black and shaggy to resemble Harry's more because Harry was his favourite person at present, had been left to its own devices. Teddy's eyes were like tiger's eye. Not exactly gold like Remus' had been. Teddy had various shades of gold and brown striations that he liked to have when he wasn't mimicking Harry's eye colour.

"I happen to think you look quite dashing," she told her godson, planting a kiss on his cheek and getting a stifled giggle for her efforts. "We want to set a good example. We can't look like vagabonds or they won't trust us alone in their house." An unfortunate truth.

"You look good too. Are you sure the muggles will be fine with you being a nanny? You don't really look old enough to be anyone's nanny."

"Mrs. Heelshire didn't sound like she minded over the phone when we spoke. If there was a problem they would have said something when I talked to them I'm certain."

Teddy fiddled with Harry's hair, which had no hope of holding any kind of style and was just left as it was, cascading down her back in long, curlyish waves. "If you say so. Do you think they'll be okay with me being here?"

"I mentioned you on the call and they didn't seem opposed. Don't worry, cub. They'll be enamoured by you. Anyone would be."

"Okay!"

Their trunks were resting beside them and Teddy wiggled himself free so he could grab his own. Despite Harry preferring to carry him everywhere, she couldn't deny the boy his limited independence. Besides, no eight year old wanted to be coddled that much. He'd just insist that he was a 'big boy' now.

"Can I ring the doorbell?"

She waved the boy on, smiling as his enthusiasm.

The woman that answered was just a bit taller than Harry, in high class clothing with short, white/blonde hair that reminded Harry to not cut her own hair once she got too old. The society-enforced idea that older women weren't allowed to have long hair was so annoying. Harry wouldn't mind a long mane of white/silver hair.

"Hello. You are Ms. Evans I presume?"

"Yes, Mrs. Heelshire. I'm Harry and this is my godson Edward."

Teddy, overcome suddenly by his own shyness, slid a bit behind Harry's left leg and gave a wave. "Hi."


There was a child in the house. There hadn't been a child in the house since Brahms was a child himself and had gotten burned. Over twenty years, and yet his new nanny… had a child.

His nanny was a young woman. Brahms hadn't been told about a new nanny coming along. He'd apparently been sleeping when the call had been made and the directions set in place, so he didn't get to listen in on the conversation. Did his parents think a surprise nanny would last compared to the numerous women who failed? That maybe he couldn't build up any preconceived notions of a surprise nanny?

He'd heard the ringing of the bell, and that was what alerted him that there was a visitor. One that hadn't been expected. His parents had been keeping secrets. Not even telling the precious doll of theirs about their plan.

They'd lead the new nanny and the child, into his old room, which was now the doll's room, and that was when Brahms got his first real look at the woman, who was most definitely a woman.

Perfect skin was what popped out the most about the stranger. It was pale and smooth. Her face looked more flawless and porcelain than the doll Brahms' parents had replaced him with. She was also quite short. Shorter than Brahms' mother was even. Her trousers were suitable for the workplace, but loose enough for movement. She was wearing shiny, black flats.

The next detail to stand out were the eyes, which were a shade of green he'd never seen on a person before. And they were noticeable even from across the room and through a two-way mirror. Though the spectacles did seem to magnify them a bit. Contrasting the eyes and the skin, was the blacker than black hair that seemed a cross between shaggy and curly, stretching far behind her and reminding Brahms of his own hair, but much cleaner and longer.

He wanted to touch it.

Beside the nanny was a boy the same size Brahms had been when he'd gotten burned. His hair was the same as the nanny's, but his eyes seemed more like golden topaz than anything remotely green. His skin was also deeply tanned compared to his guardian, making Brahms wonder if they were even related at all.

He was well-behaved for a child though, merely bouncing in place as he watched the adults around him interact. Looked endlessly curious about everything too.

The look that came over his face when he saw the Brahms doll had been… amusing? There was a bit of confusion as he looked to his guardian for an explanation. Even to Brahms, the idea of doting on a doll for years was a bit ridiculous, all because they couldn't bear to look at him after his accident and the things he'd done that they had been perfectly complicit in, he felt compelled to add.

"This is our son, Brahms."

Mummy was describing his daily schedule in detail.

RULES

No guests.

Never Leave Brahms Alone.

Save Meals in the Freezer.

Never Cover Brahms' Face.

Read a Bedtime Story.

Play Music Loud.

Clean the Traps.

Only Malcolm Brings Deliveries.

Brahms is Never to Leave.

Kiss Goodnight.

The clipboard beside the doll had the basics of the rules written out for both newcomers to see in case they needed a refresher. The nanny looked contemplative, the child looked mollified.

"Ms. Evans, if you'll follow me, I'll show you the rest of the house," mummy said, taking up the doll and urging the nanny and her charge to follow her.

Brahms followed as well, endlessly curious about the woman and the child and wanting to know more about them and why they'd come all the way to the countryside.

"Now, Ms. Evans, you said you were looking for privacy in this job?" mummy asked as she set the doll down in the kitchen. Brahms was watching, once again, behind another mirror.

Ms. Evans hummed and ran a hand through her charge's hair and gestured to the back door for him to go outside. The boy practically lunged for the door, an excited grin on his face.

"Evans was my mother's maiden name. My true name is Hariel Jamie Potter-Black. The Potter and Black families are very old and very wealthy, and within certain circles I am quite well-known and desired. Mostly for status and wealth, but also fame by association. I've been getting harassed lately, so I decided to pull away for a time, under a change of name, to avoid some people, at least until they deem me too old for them, which will be in the next four years or so. Anyone around here will know me as Harry Evans, which makes me sound like a man, which is fine with me. Makes me harder to track."

Both mummy and Brahms were a bit gobsmacked at that sudden revelation.

"Have you told anyone where you are?" mummy asked. Brahms was curious to know too. Would people notice if she went missing permanently should things not work out with her as a nanny?

"I told my two best friends. They've had my back through some terrible things and might drop by occasionally to catch me up to date on information. We don't use the internet and letters can be traced to an extent. I hope that isn't a problem?" Hariel aimed a very sweet, beautiful, charming, dazzling, and many other words that his brain couldn't think up on the spot, smile at mummy.

The old woman stuttered for a moment, before nodding a bit. "I'm sure Brahms won't mind so long as you follow the schedule and be good to him. If you are good to him, he is good to you."

Not that anyone managed to do that as of yet, sadly. But maybe Hariel would be the change. She already had a charge and how different could their daily schedules be? The chances of her following the schedule were very high already.

"Of course it's up to dear Brahms to choose whether he wants you as his nanny, dear. He can be very fussy you see, but none of the other nannies were as lovely as you are."

No they were not.

Brahms wanted this one, even if he had to deal with sudden visitors from time to time. She said at least four years away from them, and that was enough time, if she managed to do her job well, to get her to want to stay.

The boy came back inside following daddy. He was wearing gloves and was holding up a dead rat as long as his forearm. He presented the rat to his guardian, a wide grin on his face. "Harry, look at how big they get!" And she did not flinch even a centimeter as a dead rodent was practically shoved in her face.

"Might need something specifically for killing vermin. I could acquire some heavy duty poison. In a week, no rodents will want to come anywhere near this house, don't worry." She looked so sure as she was saying it and her smile unnerved even Brahms.

She had lovely teeth and a pretty mouth, but something about this grin made the hair on his arms raise a bit. As if she was planning a mass-scale murder.

Brahms followed along as she was given the rest of the tour, going through the motions of what was expected of her in taking care of the doll. The nightly routine, the stories, and the goodnight kiss. And the small span of time where his parents locked her out of his old bedroom so they may ask him through the mirror if he was fine with her.

He was.


~.O.~


A/N: Another is done!

How was it? Let me know!

Check out my many other fics!

See ya! :D

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.

Chapter Text

A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.

ENJOY!

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.


~.O.~


By the next morning to see the Heelshire's off, Harry had fully become accustomed to what was expected of her in this job. She would be caring for a doll. Thankfully, because the schedule was so easy and would fit right along with her plans for Teddy, she didn't mind it. It could honestly be worse. She had originally anticipated much worse too.

The moment the elderly couple were out of the house, Teddy turned to her, arms outstretched to ask, "Can I have the doll?"

"Brahms isn't ours, Teddy."

"I know. I wanna play with him though."

Carefully, she handed the doll over, a stern look on her face. "Be careful with him. We may be able to fix broken things with a snap of the fingers, but that doesn't mean we should be careless with ours or other people's possessions. He's very important to Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire."

Teddy nodded and took the doll into his arms. Brahms wasn't as big as Teddy, who took after Remus when it came to height. But considering the fact that the doll was supposed to represent an eight year old, and Teddy was about to turn eight, it worked in its own way.

"I suppose if you plan on playing with Brahms, you can just bring him with you everywhere. And we're so fortunate his schedule is so easy to fill." She looked down at the watch Mrs. Weasley had given her. "It's ten to eleven right now, on a Friday. No lessons today, which is lucky for you. A long weekend for all of us."

The boy sighed in obvious relief as he shifted the doll around a bit for a more comfortable position.

"Music should be played around now though. And since it just says to play the music loudly, I'm going to take that as what it is and play something not classical. I'm going to get the gramophone I brought, you bring Brahms to the drawing room."

It had been a last minute addition to their pack. Thankfully, they had Undetectable Extension Charms so the whole thing fit easily into her trunk. The one the Heelshire's owned was a muggle gramophone, which was why she didn't want to play a Weird Sisters' record on it. Magical records should be played on magical devices so as not to possibly ruin muggle technology. Because that could very well happen and she wasn't that good at repairing muggle technology that had been ruined by magic.

She found the boys where she'd told them to go, and laughed when Teddy's eyes went wide. "It's huge!"

"Yep!" Though technically it was only the horn that was huge. It gave McGonagall's a run for its money actually. It was large, purely made of silver, and could fit her whole head inside. It was also detachable which made transport a lot easier.

She'd found it in her Gringotts Vault. Turned out there was more in it than just gold. Most of it useless but every few worthless items she'd find something of actual value.

"While you're in here, I'm going to start on lunch, so don't get into any mischief."

"I found a book in Latin in the ground floor library. I'm going to practice it was Brahms."

Ah, yes. Andy had wanted him to know Latin before attending Hogwarts. Harry, subsequently, got lessons in it too just because she was the godmother who came around more often than anyone else dared to.

The needle was placed on the record and a subtle spell on the crank set things in motion.

"What do you want for lunch?" she asked as she headed for the kitchen.

"Something with chicken, please?!"

She could do that with ease.


There was music of a kind he'd never heard before, blasting throughout his house. It was very different from Beethoven, but it was… nice in its own way. He didn't know why she had to use a different gramophone for the music though. And he couldn't believe she'd been able to fit the horn in anything she'd brought with her. Where had she been storing it?

The boy, whose name he'd learned was Edward Remus, but who went by Teddy, was playing with the doll version of Brahms.

So far they'd been following the rules. And if the boy was always playing with the doll, then technically Harry didn't have to bring it everywhere with her. It was a weird way to get around the rules, but he wasn't really annoyed by it. She'd done the same with the music. The rules were very simple and not very specific, so even though there was a deviation from what he was used to, she hadn't broken a rule.

It was all so very strange.

Harry was in the kitchen while Teddy and the doll were in the drawing room. Brahms was unsure of who to watch. The boy currently reading a Latin storybook and actually understanding it apparently, or the beautiful woman in his kitchen who was cooking them all lunch. There was just so much he wanted to observe!

Eventually he chose Harry, simply because she was the nanny and technically there for him whether she knew it or not. She was rolling out dough on the island counter and cutting off strips of equal measure. She was making homemade pasta. His mummy had never done that before. She preferred the ease of store-bought pasta.

Her hair had been pulled up into a messy bun where a few strands fell into her face. Her glasses had remained though, and she looked like a diligent worker.

There were cubes of chicken frying in a pan while another pan holding what looked like creme, was simmering behind it. And finally, water was boiling in one of the largest pots mummy had purchased. He didn't know what she was making since he'd never seen anything like it before, but he could smell garlic and immediately liked it.

She was efficient and worked like someone used to doing things like this. None of the other nannies knew how to cook from scratch. Brahms wanted to know how exactly she learned to do all of this. Not even his mummy could do it all like Harry was.

And why did she want to be called Harry when Hariel sounded so pretty? It made him think of Lord of the Rings. Like an elf. And Harry was pretty too, so she'd probably be an elf out of everything in Middle Earth.

His head snapped to the side as the front door opened. That would be Malcolm with the weekly delivery. The music in the drawing room probably drowned out the sound so Harry didn't even react. Brahms only knew of the change because the door opening made many of the wooden boards behind the walls creak, and caused a draft, and it was annoying.

As expected, Malcolm walked around the corner, and was immediately bought up short by the sight of Harry's back. Still, he looked interested, which automatically made Brahms' hackles raise. Harry was there for him, not Malcolm!

It was when he was a foot away, that Harry whipped around, knife in hand, freezing expertly only when the blade was firmly against Malcolm's jugular. Both Malcolm and Brahms were gaping at her in shock, having not expected that reaction of all things. And Brahms… was suddenly very warm everywhere. Warm like he was whenever he…

Anyway, Harry just nearly lobbed off Malcolm's head and Brahms was in full support!

"Can I help you?" Harry asked, voice lower than what Brahms had heard thus far. And it sounded somewhat dangerous. And judging by her reaction to Malcolm, Brahms was certain she was capable of violence to a certain extent. And she would feel no qualms about using it if she felt it was necessary too.

"I-I'm Malcolm. I was bringing the weekly delivery and wanted to introduce myself," the man said, gulping as the knife moved away from his neck slowly.

"I see," Harry smiled, going from mildly threatening to sweet in a split second. It was unnerving to see such a change in persona. "Please ring the bell next time. I'm used to having to defend my back and am still rather jumpy no matter how far away the war is. I would hate to shave off a few inches due to miscommunication."

War. She'd been in a war. She was unlike any nanny he'd ever had. He hadn't even known there were still wars going on! Mummy and daddy didn't want him to know about certain things. They said it would make him nervous. He simply thought it was them wanting to avoid him even more than usual. As they controlled what came into the house, he had no way of accessing outside information beyond what he could read in books.

Malcolm looked properly chastised by Harry's words, and nodded his head. He offered a hand in greeting. "The first delivery was chosen by Mrs. Heelshire, but I have a list of what we have down at the shop in case you decide you want something different. The Heelshires are paying and urged me to tell you to get whatever you like." He was smiling now, but it was different from Harry's.

He was flirting. Or trying to at least. Brahms wasn't a stranger to such attentions, he'd seen it in old films he'd managed to secret away. Harry was obviously uncomfortable and was trying to hide it by being nice. Very different. And Malcolm didn't get it!

The two talked, Harry making note of what she wanted for the next delivery. From what she listed out loud, Brahms was expecting a lot of sweets to be made. And that was exciting! He hadn't had sweets in a very long time because mummy and daddy didn't like sweets so of course they wouldn't make any or order any.

Already Harry was far better than any of the others...

While Harry and Malcolm worked out the delivery times, Teddy had come into the kitchen, holding the doll tightly in his arms and watching the stranger interacting with his guardian. For a second, the boy's face fell into a dark look and his hair, which was black, looked like it had gone red. But when Brahms blinked and shook his head to clear it of any useless thoughts, all he saw was black.

Perhaps it was just too dark behind the walls. He did read once that staying in dark places wasn't good for his eyes.

Harry took notice of her ward's presence and waved him into the room. "This is Teddy, my godson."

The boy was silent as he stared up at Malcolm, clutching the doll closer. In response, Harry ran a delicate hand through his messy hair, a much happier smile on her face when looking at him.

After a few more minutes of dragged on talking, Malcolm finally left and Brahms was able to breathe once again when the front door opened and closed, taking Malcolm's heavily perfumed scent with him.

And that was when Teddy looked down and said in a very clear, and no-nonsense tone, "I don't like him."

Brahms found himself liking the boy more and more by the second.


Harry blinked at the blatant statement. "I mean, I don't either but what are your reasons?" she asked as she went back to cooking, needing to check on the alfredo sauce so it didn't burn. Creme could burn so easily if one was not careful.

Her godson plopped himself down at the counter, the doll placed in the chair beside him and pushed in so it couldn't fall off either side. "I've read some of Aunt Mione's books with help and know all about sex."

She choked, having not expected that of all things to come out of his mouth. It was going to be one of those discussions, huh? Kids these days came up with the most random shite to talk about at the most unexpected of times.

"Anyway, the science books talk about pheromones and stuff that happens when people are attracted to each other. There is a change in their scents and you know my senses are real good so I can smell it. His did it, like everyone who looks at you."

Wow. Not something she ever thought she'd hear from her adorable godson. And damn awkward too since he could probably smell sexual arousal. She was going to have to put up extra protections so he wasn't constantly assaulted by certain things that should remain private.

"Most people try to stop their feelings or are very confused about how they feel but he knew what was going on and he liked it. Too much but not the right way." Teddy's head tilted as a frustrated look came over his face. He was obviously trying to explain himself but didn't know the exact way to do so. "A lot of people want you for good and bad reasons and their scents give them away. Malcolm doesn't see you as more than a 'passing fancy' as Aunt Mione's books would say, so I don't like him."

Basically, Teddy could smell Malcolm's sexual interest in her and he was capable of reading the man well enough to know that his interest wasn't long-term or respectful. At most, she'd be some entertainment on the side to spice up his boring life in a boring place.

Of course Teddy wouldn't like that. He was so protective and it was adorable.

She reached across the counter and ruffled his hair. "Lucky for us, I'm none too fond of him. I'm sure he's a pretty decent bloke on the usual, but the flirting on the job was annoying and unappealing. And he has a beard and probably smoked some time this morning."

Teddy nodded. "He smokes at least once a day since it's seeped into his clothes, but his breath didn't smell of it so he probably hasn't had any yet."

He was such a clever kid!

"You hungry, cub?"

"Yes!" he said, bouncing in his seat. "Can I have extra chicken?"

"We have to save some for Brahms," she reminded him as she searched for some crockery that was safe to use. Nothing too fancy. She wasn't throwing a dinner party.

"But he's not alive. They think he is but he isn't," the boy pointed out, looking at the doll and waving a hand in front of its face to prove his point.

"The rules are to be followed, Teddy. We will be living here and they will be paying for our expenses for the most part. It's only right to follow their basic requests," she reminded him. "I have a feeling they don't think he's a live and just want him to be. Something probably happened to their real son and people cope with trauma and guilt differently. This is probably their way of handling it."

It was a bit unnerving, but watching how earnest they'd been with the doll had spoken volumes to Harry. Something had happened and they were pushing their emotions into a bit of sculpted porcelain to feel better about it.

She set the table up, placing the doll's food in a tupperware container instead of dirtying an extra plate. Nothing in the rules stated she had to serve the food on plates to begin with.

Teddy stared at the doll for a few seconds, before digging into his own chicken alfredo. "Thanks, Harry. Can we watch something on the telly after this. They have a DVD player and I got some Disney films from Aunt Mione to watch."

"Sure, cub."


~.O.~


A/N: Another is done!

How was it? Let me know!

Check out my many other fics!

See ya! :D

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.

Chapter Text

A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.

ENJOY!

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.


~.O.~


It was during breakfast a few days later that Brahms was let in on the fact that the two new residents of his house were… not normal. And not like Brahms was in which they were hideously disfigured or violent.

Though it was worth noting that Harry had a large scar on her brow that spanned the entire space from right to left and trailed a bit down her left eyelid and partially across the bridge of her nose. Like lightning webs. It was silvery and difficult to discern from the rest of her skin, but Brahms had been in her room the night before to finally get a good look at her up close and concluded that she was even more beautiful and that her facial deformity wasn't like his at all. One had to actively be looking for it to really notice it.

She didn't have to cover it up with makeup. She didn't wear makeup at all actually. He skin was better than the doll's was.

Anyway, the abnormality of them came when he was alerted to Harry leaving the manor early in the morning, around five. She'd awoken early every other day she'd been there, which probably meant she was used to waking early. But she'd never left the house so early and that had made him curious.

The moon had still been out and it was full, and she walked around the perimeter of the grounds, crouching now and then to bury something in the earth and then pat it down. He was endlessly curious to see what she had done, but he didn't like leaving the house for any reason if he could help it, so he had to deal with simply not knowing.

But then breakfast rolled around and she'd done something different. She'd made massive fruit smoothies instead of bangers and mash. Or cheesy toast. Or boiled eggs.

And it was noteworthy that a sizable portion had been saved for the doll as well, and then left in the ice box as she'd been instructed.

But it was during breakfast, with him watching from a distance behind a large mirror, that he learned some more about his new nanny and her godson. Something his parents would have been mortified to learn if they'd found out.

Harry placed a bright, purple stone in the center of the island counter where she and Teddy were taking their meal. They tended to prefer the kitchen to the dining room altogether. The kitchen was smaller and more cozy. "Can you tell me what this is?" she asked the boy expectantly.

Teddy stared at it for several seconds, his young face screwed up in concentration. "I think it's a ward stone."

"Exactly!" said Harry. "I went out while the moon was full and planted several of these around the boundary line of the basic section of the property. About six centimeters down for each. The main stone is directly in the center of the house, which happens to be a chimney oddly enough. The protections activated and anything wishing us harm will not be crossing the boundary line. They'll get a nasty shock if they try."

Both grinned at each other, information that he wasn't privy to, passing between them. He was very confused on what a ward stone was and how it could protect anything.

"I'll also be brewing the rat repellent today and will need you to behave while I see to it. Thankfully no lessons today. I'd like to get that out of the way as soon as I can."

"Can we watch?!" asked Teddy, grabbing the doll's hand.

She considered it for a bit, before nodding. "So long as you don't touch anything and wear the face mask just in case. One sneeze and we're done for."

The boy nodded sagely. Meanwhile, Brahms was still very lost on whatever they were talking about.

Thankfully, both left the kitchen, the doll in toe, and left him enough time to grab his own smoothie from the ice box. He'd never had one before as his parents wouldn't make them, and was excited to try it. He managed to get back to his hiding place before they came back. Teddy reached the room first thanks to speed and youth, a frown on his face as he turned in a circle and lifted his head.

Sniff. Sniff.

The boy was very loudly sniffing the air. Brahms was reminded of him talking about his senses being heightened days before, but he hadn't really thought it true. But the boy was following the path Brahms had taken when he slipped into the room. From oldest scent to freshest. He even opened the ice box, head tilting a bit.

"It's gone," he heard the boy say to himself.

Teddy's head perked up and he closed the freezer quietly while rushing to get himself and the Brahms doll to their seats before Harry walked in, carrying a… black cauldron. An honest to God cauldron that was full of ingredients and was far larger that she was, so he didn't know how she was able to lift it so easily.

She set it down on the island counter and proceeded to pull sealed jars out of it, plus a personal-sized burner, and utensils. Brahms could see that it was very big, but there were far too many items coming out of it for them to all fit inside. He was very confused, which seemed to be a common thing among his new nanny and her charge. Too much was happening at once!

"One Extra Large Sized Pewter Cauldron!" the woman announced as she righted the object on the burner. "I'm going to need to rinse it out but it'll be fine. This one isn't used for things we would personally ingest, so don't worry. We use the Standard Sized Silver Cauldron for those types of brews."

She proceeded to very carefully measure out ingredients and cut apart things that looked they were wiggling. He couldn't tell very well from behind the mirror, and resolved to clean it - and every other two-way mirror in the house - off while the two were asleep and couldn't see him at work. He wasn't ready to show himself just yet.

Things hadn't been going like they had any other time he'd had a new nanny. She followed the rules from the very beginning, even if she interpreted some of them a little differently than the others did. But he hadn't had to use the child's voice he liked. And he hadn't had to move anything to gain compliance. He wasn't used to things going so easily. Nothing in his life had even gone this easily.

At the same time, he was constantly confused or amazed or impressed with the two visitors, so it wasn't like he was having problems. And the food was delicious!

No complaints from what he could remember so far.

After half an hour of stirring and adding ingredients, the concoction she was 'brewing' turned a sickly, yellow colour. Like Pestilence from the Bible. The liquid bubbled and thick fumes wafted off it, filling the house with a very sweet yet stomach-turning scent. It was off-putting since he typically loved anything with a sweetness to it.

Teddy, who had put on a surgical mask during Harry's work, had to leave to get some fresh air. If his senses were indeed enhanced somehow, the smell had to be killing him. He took the doll with him of course.

Harry finished whatever she was making and proceeded to ladle the entire concoction into several vials of odd shapes.

Her godson came back in while she was cleaning up the counter, his mask officially gone though his nose was still wrinkled. "Are we gonna dump them around the house?"

"Yes. They give off an intense scent that causes paralysis to creatures in the Order: Rodentia. A specifically charged plant their bodies cannot handle ingesting is a main ingredient in the recipe. As the potion gives off minor fumes in any state it's in, even breathing it in will paralyse them and slow down their blood flow until they die. When a lot of animals drop dead in a specific area, the other animals will flee, knowing something is unsafe."

The boy hummed and looked down at the doll. "I wanna help but he can't go outside."

Harry grinned. "The rules said Brahms is Never to Leave. Does that mean the house or the property?"

Brahms himself was brought up short by that distinction. She kept finding loopholes! And they worked! There couldn't be any punishments when her rationalisations made sense!

"If you bring him out you have to be careful though, okay?"

"Okay!"

And amidst the whole doll going outside on an unexpected interpretation of the ninth rule, Brahms remembered that Harry had called the mixture she'd created, a potion.

As in magic and spells and the like.

There were pagans in his house.

Brahms had never met a pagan before.

His parents believed in the Bible and recited prayers that sounded boring and lacking in true emotion after repeating them for two decades. He eventually learned to tune them out and held no real opinion on God and the Bible.

But this was interesting.

He didn't believe in magic but he was fascinated by Harry and Teddy's beliefs and he planned to watch them even more from now on. He wanted to know everything!

Now if only he could follow them outside to hear what they were saying.


"Harry, I smelled another person in the house," Teddy told quietly her as they walked the grounds.

She only paused for a second before continuing to pour the potion in the grass. "Could you explain what you mean? A lot of people have been in the house, Teddy."

The boy hummed. "I've been smelling a scent in the house these past few days, but it wasn't from either of the Heelshires or Malcolm. But it's everywhere anyway. And then right after lunch when I went back to the kitchen, I could smell it fresh all over the ice box. The smoothie you put aside for Brahms is gone. Just like all the leftovers you've been saving instead of throwing away. Those containers are all gone too and we didn't notice."

Well then...

Old scent that was there when they arrived but was now fresh again. Food missing. And orders to serve Brahms portions and then freeze the leftovers for later. The Heelshires knew there was another person living in the house, but hadn't seen fit to mention it, meaning it was supposed to be a secret.

Curiouser and curiouser.

"Teddy, can you do me a big favour and scout the house for this scent? We'll take a walk tomorrow and you can tell me all the places it smells the strongest, okay?"

"Mhm! It didn't smell threatening. Maybe a bit unwashed though and some dirt too. It's not out here anywhere so we're good out here."

The manor was rather large and rooms they hadn't even seen did exist. The person could have been living in one of those for however long.

Harry was just unsure of how to go about finding the person and telling them they didn't need to hide or sneak around to get food. If they'd been in the house the entire time Harry and Teddy had been there, and hadn't tried to harm them, which her wards would have alerted her to such intent if it existed, then they couldn't be so horrible.

Another person being the house would explain why there was even a schedule and why it had to be followed strictly, even with room for interpretation. So while Harry and Teddy were on one side of the house seeing to something, the person had free room to roam the other side of the house at their leisure.

All designed so their paths didn't cross. It was very clever.

Now she was curious though. Who was the person they were sharing space with and what had they seen? They had to be a muggle and if it was a muggle who had seen her perform magic, she wasn't sure how to handle that situation. Harry wasn't one who was trained in using Obliviates but she also couldn't call on the Obliviators of the Ministry without alerting Magical Britain to where she was hiding. Then everyone would be breathing down her bloody neck and she'd have to relocate again.

She was avoiding them for a reason and quite a few people on the squad were among those harassing her with marriage proposals.

"I guess we'll just have to be alert and take things as they come. But so long as they don't hurt us, we won't hurt them. But I want you to stick close to me just in case, alright?"

The boy nodded and clutched the doll even closer. "Do you think we'll get to meet them eventually?"

"I do." At some point, the interest would grow too much on one side and they'd end up searching for the other in order to quell the thirst for knowledge. No matter who found who, a confrontation was inevitable.

They finished setting up the poison and went back inside, their conversation dying down.

Now that she was aware of another person in the building, she had to set up additional protections just to be certain. On hers and Teddy's rooms. Silencing Charms in their bedrooms. Intention Lines at their doorways and windows. One could never be too careful.

She'd set up ward stones to prohibit entry to anyone wishing the residents of the property any harm. As there had been another person inside when the wards were set, they were included in the protection. But now that left a bit of a free shot on the person's side. The wards wouldn't protect against harm being committed inside the house by those already living there.

She could only hope that their little friend wasn't a murderer or some shite like that. She didn't want to have to deal with muggle law enforcement all because she somehow got into a fight with a serial killer.

"What's gonna be for dinner, Harry?" Teddy asked her as he removed his shoes and coat.

"I was thinking soup. It's a bit chilly today."

"Can you make bread too? I wanna dip bread in soup!"

"Sure thing, cub."


~.O.~


A/N: Another is done!

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Chapter Text

A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.

ENJOY!

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~.O.~


It was about a week later where they received a visit from people they knew personally. Hermione and Ron appeared on the line right outside the ward stones she'd set up. In Hermione's hands was a bag that was filled with items she'd no doubt thought they would need whilst hiding out.

Teddy rushed out of the house immediately to greet them. His tackle-hug was halted by Ron though, who caught him right before he could collide with Hermione. The hurt look on the boy's face cleared up in seconds though, and Harry wondered what had happened in such a short span of time to make him emotions flip so suddenly.

The three made it to the house eventually, and Harry handed the Brahms doll aback to her godson so she could pull her friends into a tight group hug.

"What happened out there?" she asked, shutting the door and taking their coats.

The ginger and brunette shared a grin, and Hermione's hand fell to her stomach, the fabric of her shirt pulling tight and showing a noticeable bump there. "We have to be careful now that we can confirm my pregnancy and the fact the fetus is perfectly healthy. We were already aware, but wanted to wait until half-way through the second trimester before telling anyone just to avoid getting any hopes up. Our world doesn't have a good track record with successful pregnancies."

Well that was sad as hell. Damn. Why didn't they teach that at Hogwarts? Surely a large percentage of people miscarrying throughout their history would be something of a concern. Not everyone was born on the magical side and expecting them to just know this fact all of a sudden was unfair.

"You're going to be a godmother again," said Ron. "If you want of course."

Her best friends were having a child of their own. Distantly, Harry wondered if she was behind or something. Everybody else from her school year was getting married, or already was married, and trying to have children.

"I'd love to be the godmother," she told her best mates, allowing Hermione to take her hand and place it on the wide expanse of her stomach so she could feel the baby moving within. And there was indeed movement against her hand. Just a tiny bit of pressure. Like a tiny 'hello' from within.

Hermione held out the bag she was carrying. "We bought you some things. We figured you'd need them at some point."

"I think we need some food," said Harry. "Luckily I baked some biscuits yesterday and there were several batches. Follow me to the kitchen and please remove your shoes. The damn carpets here are expensive and we want to protect them as much as possible without having to use special treatment on them."

In the kitchen, which was actually her favourite room in the house, they all took their seats, which had been enchanted to be more forgiving on their arses. Hermione's attention was on the doll in Teddy's arms. "That's a bit… unnerving for a gift, Harry."

She shrugged. "That is my charge."

Both Ron and Hermione shared another look, though this one was far more confused than the last. "Mate, it isn't real. Is it, Mione?" Ron asked his wife, who held her hands out for Teddy to deposit the doll in her arms.

She looked it over and closed her eyes to try and sense anything supernatural about it. "No," she concluded seconds later while Harry placed a large platter of biscuits on the counter. "There's nothing overtly special about it. It's just a porcelain doll. Not possessed in any way, shape, or form."

Just as Harry had concluded herself. See? She wasn't that inept!

"Something happened to their own son years ago and they haven't handled it very well, so they dote upon a doll look-alike of him."

"You're being paid to look after a doll?"

"Yes."

"...And you're fine with it?"

Harry shrugged. "I mean, I've never been an actual parent, so I don't know what it's like to lose a child. I lost my parents long before I could even understand the loss of them and I barely reacted to the knowledge that they were dead. I was more concerned over being stuck with Petunia and Vernon until I was old enough. It was only by Third Year that I really grasped what their deaths meant to me personally and the fact that I was alone kind of hit me then."

Who knew what was going through the heads of the old couple? Harry had once heard that outliving your child was one of the worst things to ever happen. It had to be a pretty fucked up experience to render two people to treat a doll like a living person.

"You're not alone, Harry," said Hermione.

Ron nodded. "My family sees you as one of our own. You've got all of us."

She smiled at them. "I know. We've all been through some shite together, haven't we?"

The two nodded and they all sighed at the memories of more dramatic times.

"Anyway, what's going on in the world of politics? How long should I avoid the Ministry?"

Hermione reached into her expanded bag and pulled out a clipboard with notes she'd no doubt painstakingly made leading up to this little visit of theirs. "According to a common tradition in Pureblood families, which kind of bled all over our society, is the idea that women aren't as useful as mothers if the pregnancy happens after age thirty. Something about more complications present, which is why so many people try their best to have children so early on in life. The public desire for your hand in marriage will die down by the time you're thirty, which will leave only a select few who are really desperate for you to marry them. So about three years starting this summer."

She hummed. Magical Britain was so bloody backwards that sometimes it was to hard to believe that there was a place in the world that still had such archaic views and beliefs.

"And has Smith finally given up on marrying me?"

Zacharias Smith was a tosser of the highest order. He'd been nothing but an arsehole the entire time they'd been in school. He spread rumours about her being the Heir of Slytherin, encouraged his friends to harass her during the tournament nonsense, refused to listen during the training they went through for Dumbledore's Army, and was an overall unpleasant individual. Further proven how he would stalk her for dates after Voldy and his Death Munchers had been taken care of.

"He doesn't honestly think I'd want to marry his sexist arse after how he treated me for those six years I attended Hogwarts, does he?"

The grimace on Hermione's face was enough of an answer.

"Is it wrong to hope that he falls in a ditch without his wand and is never found?"

Ron snorted, receiving a smack in the arm from his wife, who was trying to look reproachful. Of course the slight tilt to her lips gave her away, but Hermione had always been a stickler for the rules.

"He's facing enough problems of his own," said the pregnant woman. "It was recently revealed that the Smiths aren't related to Hufflepuff at all and it was just a lie Hepzibah Smith had started once she acquired Hufflepuff's Cup. With it in her possession, she was able to claim that it was an heirloom passed down for years. Zacharias hasn't handled the public shame very well and seems to think marrying you will shove it all under the rug."

Teddy growled a bit, entering the conversation officially then. "If he goes near Harry, I'll bite him."

Now she knew she should discourage such thoughts from breeding in her godson's mind, but it was coming from a desire to protect her from someone who wouldn't leave her alone. It was sweet how protective he was of her and she appreciated how solidly he held to his beliefs even at such a young age.

Besides, intruding on someone's personal space or property was enough to deserve some punishment. Even if it came in the form of half-werewolf biting him.

"Eat your biscuits, cub."

The boy did so, placing one in front of the doll, and Harry knew she was going to be putting aside a container for their other house-guest. It was only fair.

"So basically, I'm a trophy wife that everyone still wants to get their hands on."

"Sadly," Hermione admitted. "I'm hoping that I'll be able to change that at some point. I've got my eye on the position of Minister, so we'll see."

"You'll have my vote if it comes down to it. And I'm certain our schoolmates will realise that you're a great option as a leader." Hermione had saved a lot of arses in school, so they damn well better.

"The next election I can participate in as a candidate is in 2022 so we'll see how it goes."


Watching Harry get ready for bed was something that Brahms liked very much. Distantly, he was aware that he should respect a lady's privacy. Something he'd heard long ago before the accident. But it was just so hard not to watch her when all he wanted to do was to watch her every move!

Her skin, for the most part, was unmarred and smooth. He wanted to test out the assumption personally by running his hands over the flat plain of her stomach and the slight curve of her hips. He'd had nannies with wider hips or larger busts. Some with nicer hair. Others with far better posture. And yet Harry was his favourite.

Even when she chose to only wear her knickers and a white t-shirt far too large for her to bed, compared to the lacy trappings some of the others had preferred. Oddly enough, Harry's choice of sleepwear made his body warm and tingly far more than any of the others had.

She had such nice legs too. He found himself staring at them a lot and wanting… to touch. With more than his hands. He felt awkward in his own body when looking at Harry.

Brahms had grown to be very tall. Taller than anyone who'd ever stepped into the house. His shoulders were more broad than anyone else he'd ever seen too. Puberty had been hell to go through, and even that wasn't as awkward a time as it was when his body got all hot while he watched Harry undress.

He'd yet to follow her into the bathroom. He wanted to. But he also didn't. He was kind of scared when it came to nakedness. He'd only seen a handful of his nannies naked and he'd only seen himself naked. And he didn't like that vision much because his scars were so 'hideous' to borrow a word he'd heard mummy use to describe him once. Brahms was aware that he was ugly and unfixable, that was why he wore the mask.

The doll's face was pretty and something people would prefer to look at. To be around.

If anyone saw his face, they'd run away. That was why he could only watch but not personally interact with others. And watching was sometimes good and sometimes bad.

Brahms had never shown himself to any of the other nannies… well, not before they kept breaking the rules and proving why they weren't worthy. Brahms made them disappear. Just like daddy did when people annoyed him. Of course Brahms wasn't as good at it so daddy had to help every time he'd get rid of a nanny. He'd been doing away with bodies long before Brahms was even born, so it wasn't a struggle for him.

Daddy had 'connections' and Brahms had daddy.

With Harry and Teddy around, Brahms might not need daddy ever again. He just had to convince her to stay. He liked her food, and her strange music, and even her weird beliefs that were unlike anything he'd ever come across in person.

There was a sort of restlessness about him. She'd followed all the rules and had been very nice. Nicer than any nanny that come through in the past. But there seemed to be nothing preventing her from leaving. Nothing that would make her want to stay.

She had living friends. No family of her own though. He'd heard the word 'orphan' during her friends' visit. But the red-haired friend had said his family viewed her as their own and she'd always be important to them. And she was technically related to her godson through her deceased grandmother being the boy's great aunt. So essentially, Harry's grandmother, and Teddy's great grandmother, shared a mother, and Teddy's dying grandmother was a cousin in some way.

But still! This meant that Harry's heart was elsewhere and Brahms had a feeling she wasn't the type of person who could be forced to do anything. So trying to make her stay wouldn't work at all. But how to convince her that Heelshire Manor was somewhere she needed to be forever?

It wasn't as if Brahms himself had anything to offer. He was ugly and never got to finish his schooling properly. And his parents… they'd left him that letter. They were gone. And if she found out that they were never coming back, she wouldn't have a reason to stay. Their lawyer had everything set up of course, but if Harry was already wealthy on her own, she wouldn't need the payments assured in the Will.

And then Brahms would be all alone, but for real this time. Not just sequestered behind the walls because his parents couldn't bear to look at him. He'd be truly alone for good.

There was a cold, sinking feeling welling up in his stomach. He felt ill. Like he was going to vomit.

Brahms returned to his own… space. It wasn't really room. He hadn't had a room in a very long time. His bed was cold and lonely. And small. Or he was just too big. Brahms had always been too big and it had scared his parents. He tried to be shorter by hunching over but that just hurt his back all the time.

Too tall. Too scarred. Too ugly.

Too much.


 

~.O.~


A/N: Another is done!

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Chapter Text

A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter of The Boy.

I have no beta.

ENJOY!

CHECK ME OUT ON TUMBLR. HELLY-WATERMELONSMELLINFELLON.


~.O.~


Harry had been incredibly quiet. Her curiosity had finally gotten the better of her and she'd decided to wait after putting Teddy and the doll to bed, before trying to locate the presence of their other friend. Her inner Gryffindor was shining through in that moment, but her inner Slytherin was on high alert too.

Lo' and behold, they were located in the kitchen, going through the ice box with the overhead light on. Certainly not expecting Harry to go back downstairs since she always went to her room after tucking Teddy in. They'd acclimated to her schedule very well in so few days to do so.

She took in as much detail as she could in the few seconds of time she had. This person was a very tall person. Taller than even Ron was. Probably the tallest human she'd ever laid eyes on. Their shoulders were broad the his hair was dark and curly. They were wearing a green/blue cardigan and dark trousers that weren't long enough and cut off somewhere at the shins. There was dirt and sawdust all over their clothing and hair.

"So you're the stowaway," she decided to announce, knowing it was fine because Teddy's room had been spelled to silence so he wouldn't hear anything while sleeping and she had magic on her side, be it done with a wand or without.

At once, the guest was rigidly upright, head turned to the right, facing the long mirror at the end of the room. In doing so, Harry could see that they were wearing a mask of a sort, and that they - most likely a he once all the details fell into place - was very heavily bearded beneath it. His body turned, his weight balanced on the balls of his feet as if preparing to run for it. She knew the stance well from personal experience.

"You don't have to run away," she rushed to tell him. "We've known for a while. Teddy sniffed you out during our first week here. I've been mindful to give you decent portions when cooking."

He was stiff and seemed unsure of what to do.

"Can I at least get your name so I know who I'm sharing space with?" she asked.

And then he turned, and a familiar face came into view. It was like a cut out of the Brahms doll's face, blocking out the man's own face. Everything but the eyes, which seemed dark under the light. She wasn't sure though because there was an island counter between them and the lights weren't meant for that sort of purpose.

"I'm Harry."

"...I know."

The voice was high and childlike. Unnatural given his massive size. Fake.

Harry had been hired to take care of Brahms Heelshire. But that ended up being a doll. But it was obvious the parents knew this person was living in the house and needed some help since the rules kind of made it obvious. So then… "Are you the real Brahms?"

And that was when he turned fully around finally, allowing her to see him completely. There was indeed a beard under the mask. A very unkempt one stretching down his neck. And his chest was very hairy as well. There was a white tank top beneath his cardigan and it was stained almost yellow. He also had suspenders. It wasn't a very fashionable outfit, even for someone as fashion-inept as Harry.

"You need a bath," she decided.

Instantly, Brahms stepped back, the eyes behind the holes of the mask going wide. It was like how Teddy used to react when he was told about bath time. She could never understand why children didn't like taking baths. Dudley certainly hadn't liked them. Harry had always forced to take quick showers so she never got to. Now she did it all the time. Warm baths and then a rinse with the shower-head were great!

If Brahms Heelshire didn't want to take care of himself properly, then Harry would actually get to do her job properly and do it for him.

"I know you've been watching us, and you may have come to the conclusion that we aren't your average, everyday people," she said, casually withdrawing her wand from her sleeve. The Holly wood gleaned under the fluorescent lights. "If you refuse to bathe yourself, I will enchant a bunch of sponges and soap, to following you around and clean you that way. Very embarrassing. I wouldn't recommend it."

With a flick of the wand, the sponge she used to wash the dishes, rose along with the dish soap. She could simply get another any other time. But she was trying to make a point. They weren't the best to have on hand but desperate times called for desperate measures.

The wide eyes staring at the sponge that floated threateningly in the air, flickered back and forth between her and it.

"Do you wish to suffer the embarrassment of being stripped and washed in the corridor?" she asked with finality, making him shake his head repeatedly. His hair flopped around messily.

"Then you will get some clean clothes, give me the dirty ones so they may be washed, and clean yourself in the bathroom down here. And then we are going to talk. Don't try running, I can find you now that I know your name and what you look like."

He glanced at the mirror again, but she wasn't having it. "We know you're hiding behind the mirrors. I can make it so you can't get behind them, so don't try it."


Brahms had never felt so unprepared! He'd simply been getting his food and she'd managed to sneak up on him without him even noticing! And she knew he'd been there all along! Teddy really did have good senses.

But he'd never been caught off guard so badly before! He didn't even have a weapon because he hadn't thought he would need one. Brahms struggled to trust anyone or anything. He hadn't even trusted his parents in the past few years. Harry had just come up behind him without a care in the world, and began talking!

And now she was forcing him to take a bath! He didn't like baths. He nearly drowned in one once. And there was only one shower… in Harry's room.

He was being threatened with sponges and soap. She'd made them fly. Like magic. Brahms didn't believe in magic but… everything she'd been doing since arriving, would make more sense if magic was involved. The cauldron and 'potions' and weirdly fitting a lot of things into small spaces that shouldn't fit them at all!

"I'll make us some tea while I wait for you," said Harry, rummaging through the cupboards to get some mugs.

He hurried away, scared she'd make due on her threat with the stripping and cleaning. He didn't want her to see his scars. And he needed some time to think about magic and how Harry could apparently use it. And how Teddy probably could too which was why he was so oddly talented for a child.

And the conversation they'd had with Harry's visiting friends. Talking about a Ministry and a society of people. A lot of people using magic. Enough to have a government.

Nothing was going as it should! This had never happened with any of the other nannies!

His hands shook as he reached for the hot water tap. He could be quick. There were spare pyjamas and a housecoat in the bathroom cupboard. Just in case a guest ever forgot their own clothing, he'd been told once. He could just wear those for the time being.

Hot water and soap. He just had to be sharpish about it. Scrub with the fingernails and watch as the dirty water trailed down the drain. He didn't bother to stopper the tub either, not wanting to potentially drown himself again.

There was a bucket for water specifically. He poured some over his head, grunting as the mask got in the way. He didn't want to remove it, but he had to. It was important to clean his face too. Even if no one would ever see it.

Distantly, he remembered Harry's first meeting with Malcolm and how she told Teddy that she wasn't interested in his beard. Harry didn't like beards. It never occurred to him to shave it off though. But he could. There was a pack of razors and creme available in the cupboard.

But then his face would feel naked. Exposed. He didn't like the thought of that. But there was no hiding now. Harry knew about him and she would no doubt try to come and find him if he stayed away for too long. And he wanted her to want to stay. And now he had the opportunity to get her to stay, so he needed her to like him. A clean shaven face would help. He hoped.

He hadn't maintained his beard in a very long time. His movements were sloppy and unsure. He got water everywhere and he got out to go to grab the razor and creme. The creme smelled horrible and he nicked his throat in the process!

Brahms hated bathing! He hated having to monitor personal hygiene!

When the bath-time from hell was finally finished, he found himself staring into the mirror, looking at his relatively youthful face. If one would ignore the burn scars, he could be considered okay. He did look better without the beard too. But there was some blood running down his neck from where he'd cut himself. The wound stung.

It had been quite some time since he'd hurt himself. He'd stopped doing that deliberately ages ago when it got boring. And he was so sure of himself normally that it didn't even happen on accident anymore.

The pyjamas weren't big enough for him and pulled too tight around his chest and his… hips. Thankfully, the housecoat was large and hid everything he wanted hidden, for the most part. It was thick and fluffy, and his wet hair, which made him realise his hair was much longer than he'd originally believed it to be, managed to hide most of the scars on the back of his neck.

He slipped the mask back on and trudged out to the kitchen, his dirty clothing bundled in his bath towel in his arms.

Harry was there as she said she'd be, and so was a basket that she pointed to. "Clothes in there please. Come have some tea and we'll have a chat."


Brahms Heelshire was a grown man probably around her age if she was guessing correctly. Harry was going to be twenty-six in July so she would go along with the assumption that he'd been living like a ghost in his own house, for a very long time. Having a doll of his eight year old self around, meant something happened when he was eight to change things and his parents couldn't handle it very well.

"So why aren't you living here officially? I take it no one but your parents knows that you're here."

He was awkward and hunched over in his chair, large hands dwarfing the cup she'd given him. The mask was still in place, but the beard was gone. He looked much cleaner now, and less like a homeless man. There was no reason for someone who lived in such a massive house with all this money, to be dressed like a vagabond. Not even Harry retained her style from her teen years.

Brahms didn't answer her question. She needed a different approach because he wasn't like the usual person. There was always the option of Truth Serum, but she didn't want to worry him any further. This all had to be new and the childish voice he chose to use had to mean a break in personality. Perhaps he was caught between being a child and being a grown man. Or something possibly worse?

The parents obviously preferred the doll if it was the one out in the open and the town knew about it and accepted their odd quirk. That had to mess him up inside at least a little bit.

"How about we make a deal. I ask a question, you answer. You ask a question, I answer. How does that sound, Brahms?"

He met her gaze then, and gave a hesitant nod.

"Why don't you go first?" she offered to put him at ease. Let him think he had the control if only for a moment.

"What are you?" The childish voice was in full use. He sounded like a little boy. Maybe one around Teddy's age. Or the doll's age. The pieces were coming together.

"I'm a witch. Where do you sleep?"

"...In the walls. What is Teddy?"

So he was getting around between the walls and using the mirrors to do it. There had to be a whole room somewhere if he was actually full-time living in them.

"Teddy's father was a werewolf so he got heightened senses because of that. You can't be infected though, so don't worry. Why do you live in the walls instead of out with the rest of us?"

Brahms squirmed and looked away. "Officially I'm dead. And mummy and daddy don't like looking at me anymore."

What the bloody hell had Harry gotten herself into?

"You can use magic then?"

"Yes. It can do practically anything, really. What happened when you were eight?"

She'd taken a shot in the dark at it really, but judging by how quickly his eyes went wide and the stiff set of his shoulders, she'd gotten somewhere close to what was going on.

Brahms sighed and the childish voice seemed to waver between the usual high sound and a deeper, more masculine sound that was probably his real voice. "There was a girl I was forced to play with from the town. I didn't like her, I wanted to play by myself and not go outside at all. On my birthday she dragged me out to the forest where we weren't allowed to go. It was against the rules. She was going to get me in trouble. We fought and I told her bad things happen to people who break the rules and that they disappear forever."

Well that was ominous. She was getting very strong, Tom Riddle vibes in a sense, which wasn't good.

"She hit me and called me a baby, so I hit her back and told her I could make her disappear if she didn't leave me alone. By the time I had calmed, she was dead and her head was caved in."

While unnerving, Harry couldn't help but be curious. "Where did you learn such a threat as 'making someone disappear'?" That wasn't something random eight year olds came up with on their own. Dudley often threatened Harry using things he'd heard Vernon threaten her with. He wouldn't have been able to do half of them but the boy hadn't known that at the time. He didn't even understand what half of those threats even meant.

So where did Brahms get his threats from? What sort of influences shaped him?

"Daddy," was his simple answer. "I would sneak around at night and I used to sneak into daddy's study while he had special night meetings. There were a lot of men at the meetings. And sometimes daddy would threaten them like that when they got annoying. And sometimes he'd hit until they stopped moving. And then they wouldn't be at the next meeting, meaning he did make them disappear for good."

The little old man that was Mr. Heelshire had a shady past too? And Brahms… had learned by example. He saw his father do it to stop someone from annoying him, so he did it too. Only… he was eight and not a grown man with experience on how to get away with it.

"You went home and told your parents what happened," she said with clarity. "And they weren't pleased."

"No." His voice was, she would guess, normal now. No longer childish. It wasn't deep in her opinion. Not Snape-like, but not Voldy's either.

"Did they tell you killing is wrong and shouldn't be done?"

He shook his head. "They were angry it couldn't be covered up and that their reputation would be ruined when people eventually found her body."

More concern over their reputation than over the possible psychopathic tendencies their son had picked up from his father? But if he'd learned from said father, then it was normal behaviour for Mr. Heelshire. Meaning he probably didn't find it wrong per se, just that it wasn't done stealthily. Basically, Brahms had been too Gryffindor in handling the situation, when he should have been Slytherin. But how can one expect a pampered eight year old to understand such advanced concepts?

"There was yelling," said Brahms. "Arguing. I hid under my bed because it was too loud, and fell asleep when they calmed down. And then there was a call. Emily had been found and the police wanted to question me. Daddy decided they'd fake my death by setting fire to my bedroom so they could avoid the scandal. They didn't know I was under the bed though and I got caught up in the fire. And now I have scars, and have lived in the walls ever since."

And what could Harry say to all of this?

"That's fucked up." Seriously. It made it seem like certain horror films could be possible and weren't just dramatic gore fests. And Harry was now involved in it.


 ~.O.~


A/N: Another is done!

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