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Finding One's Place

Chapter Text

It was a normal day for Harriet as she prepared lunch for Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. She was small for her age of six due to the lack of nourishment from Aunt and the constant abuse from Uncle. As she set the table for them she felt a slight feeling of disgust towards her ‘family’. Harriet had learned at an early age that what she did for them was not something a child, like her, was supposed to do. They never made Cousin do anything around the house and they constantly punished her whenever she made a mistake, whether it was normal or of the freakish nature. She hated the thought of being made to stay here while Cousin was allowed to go to school and learn. That was why she had taken it upon herself to learn all she could from the dusty books around the house. A sharp hiss of girl broke her out of her thoughts as Aunt came into view.

“Hurry up and bring the dishes here,” came Aunt’s order.

“Yes, ma’ ma,” Harriet softly replied making sure she was looking down.

She once made the mistake of looking at them in the eyes and that caused her a world of pain and weeks without food. Harriet was soon sent back into the kitchen with a small loaf of bread and a bottle of water. It was at these times when she would think about someone who would love and care about her. Someone who would take her away from here, who would bring justice to what she had suffered at the hands of Aunt and Uncle. It was this hope that kept her going each day.

When they were finished she gathered the plates and began to wash them. It was when she was done with her chore that she silently crept back to her cupboard under the stairs when she heard Aunt and Uncle’s harsh whispers.

“Dear, the freak has stayed long enough it has to go before it gets worse,” Uncle was harshly saying.

“We can’t you know if we could, I would have let you taken her years ago! If her kind finds out they hunt us down!”

“We’ll move! They won’t find us, dear.” Uncle tried to pacify Aunt.

“No, you don’t understand Vernon the freaks can use magic! They’ll find us we won’t be able to get away,” Aunt’s voice steady rosed as panic gripped her.

Harriet let out a small gasp. Magic was real. She wasn’t a freak after all, and there were others like her. Harriet couldn’t help herself as she let out a small hop of joy.

“Hush dear,” Uncle no Vernon whispered to Aunt. This caused Harriet to freeze. She turned around and saw Vernon’s bulky figure looming in the doorway.

“Freak.” He spat at her. Harriet quickly opened the door to her cupboard and rushed in as Vernon lurched forward.

“Get back here! You think we wouldn’t notice you creeping around! After everything, we’ve done for you! You ungrateful brat!” He yelled as he reached forward and yanked her back out.

“Please don’t hurt me, I’ll be good! I won’t do magic!” Harriet pleaded to him but it only made him more furious.

“You dare speak that word in my home!” Vernon yelled as he took off his belt and started to beat her. Harriet tried to escape but he held her arm in an iron grip.

“Please! Please! Stop!” Harriet continued to say as he let her arm go and preceded to kick her.

Harriet huddled into herself, she just wanted to be safe and loved that’s all she ever wanted. She desperately wished to be anywhere but here, anywhere safe. Her magic responded as it pooled around her like liquid shadows encasing her body in a soft glow. Harriet could faintly hear the screams of panic from Vernon and Aunt but she didn’t care anymore, she was just so tired now. Suddenly she could no longer feel the hard floor underneath her anymore instead it was replaced with soft grass. A shadow quickly blocked some light as it stood in front of her as she slowly slipped out of consciousness.

Tom wasn’t expecting much from today. He quickly did his chores and took out the book he started reading last night out to the back of the orphanage to sit under his favorite tree. It was far away enough that the other kids wouldn’t come out here and the best part was that it was hidden from view. It was here when Tom heard screams and whispers of please and stop. He quickly brought his head up and looked around trying to locate where the voice was coming from when he spotted a mass of shadows emerging from the ground in front of him. Tom rapidly scuttled backward hitting his back on the tree. When the shadows faded they revealed a young girl with dark hair who looked no older than four. Her body was covered in bruises both fresh and old. Tom rushed over, heart hammering in his chest, and gently lifted her into his arms. He ran back to the orphanage and as he shouldered his way through the doors. He let out a strangled scream of help. I seriously need to run more, he thought to himself.

“What is the meaning of this!” Mrs. Cole, the matron, demanded as she appeared from her office.

“I..ah.. found her.. out in the trees.. like this I brought her as quickly as I could,” Tom huffed out. The matron looked at Tom carefully and saw the girl in his arms.

“Bring her in here.” She said as led him into the sick room. Once in there, Tom was directed to lay the girl on to a bed. A nurse rushed in and started to look her over. Tom unwilling to leave stood out of the way. After a while, the nurse turned to Mrs. Cole.

“She seems to be heavily abused and is suffering from severe malnutrition. Right now it seems that she just overexerted herself. A bit of rest and she should be up and about. I do suggest to feed her more if you can spare any food,”

“Thank you, Mrs. Hill, that will be all,” Mrs. Cole replied. Once the nurse had left Tom crept out from where he was and stood beside the mysterious girl’s bed.

“Tom,” was Mrs. Cole’s warning.

“Will she be staying here now?” Tom asked instead. The matron sighed. “Until she wakes up I’ll decide what to do about her,”

“She’s going to stay in my room if she stays won’t she?” He asked Mrs. Cole.

“If she must.” Was her response as she left the room.

Tom settled down at the girl's bed as the door closed behind him. Now that it was calm Tom was able to take in the girl’s looks better. She had wavy dark hair that had a red tint in the light, that framed her heart-shaped face, which came a little below her shoulders. Her pale skin was tarnished with different shades of purple and red in varying sizes but what made his heart clench was how small she was. She was exceeding thin and looked like a breeze could take her away. Upon her forehead, Tom noticed a faint lightning bolt-shaped scar but otherwise he did not see anything much worse. He brushed his hand through her hair and marveled at how smooth it felt. Tom knew she was like him. No normal human was able to do what she did.

“I swear I’m going to protect you,” he whispered to her. I swear it. Tom was going to do everything in his power to protect and care for her and nobody was going to stand in his way. She was after all his now.

Chapter Text

Harriet awoke with a start, the last thing she could remember was being beaten by Vernon before feeling the grass underneath her. As her sight focused she realized she was on a soft bed in a bland grey room. Harriet moved her head and was startled to see a young boy sitting by her side sleeping. He had dark raven black hair that curled at the ends framing a sharp angular face. Though a bit tall, he seemed to be around her age. He reminded Harriet of a prince from the fairytale book that she was able to sneak into her cupboard once. Is he a prince? Did he save me? She thought to herself as she sat up. It was then that he opened his eyes. Her emerald eyes locked with his clear icy blue ones and she was immediately flooded with a sense of belonging. Harriet felt herself relax and knew that he wouldn’t do anything to harm her. She was drawn from her thoughts when he started to speak.

“Um, hi, I’m Tom Marvolo Riddle. We are at Wool’s Orphanage, I brought you here yesterday from the woods. How are you feeling today?” he asked her.

“Oh… well, I’m better than yesterday, I suppose,” was Harriet's reply. They sat there in silence until Tom started talking again.

“Well, do you have a name?”

“Oh yes… um, I’m Harriet but, you can call me Harry. I don’t have a middle or last name though.” Harry shyly said as she looked down at her hands. Tom slowly reached out to hold her hand pausing before he touched her. Harry looked up at him questioning and Tom inclined his head towards her hands as if asking for permission to hold it. She gave a hesitant nod and Tom gave her hand a slight squeeze.

“How about I give you a middle and last name? Would you like that?” Tom gently asked her.

“You would do that for me?” Harry questioned as she looked at him in wonder.

“Of course, I would be honored to give you a name,”

Tom hummed as he thought of a name that would fit her. “How about Cynthia as a middle name? And you can use my last name Riddle as your last name too if you like?” Tom hesitantly said.

“Harriet Cynthia Riddle, Harry Cynthia Riddle, Harry Riddle,” Harry paused in her musings.

“I like it. Thank you for giving me a middle name and allowing me to use your last name but, would that make me your sister?” Harry asked with a tilt of her head.

“Not necessary it's more as a form of protection from the other children, a way to show others that you are mine and that they shouldn’t harm you,” Tom said.

Harry was both glad and sad that it didn’t make them siblings but she didn’t like the thought of belonging to someone as some piece of property so she voiced out her thoughts.

“I’m grateful that you saved me from Vernon and Aunt but that doesn’t make me your piece of property!” She exclaimed.

Tom was stunned none of the other children dared speak to him like that and he thought Harry was going to be just like them. The spark in her eyes made him quirk his lips into a smile. She was going to be worth his time. It was then that the rest of what she said registered in his mind. Vernon and Aunt did this to her, calling one of them Aunt meant they were in some way related to her. His eyes harden he was never going to allow her to go back to those monsters.

“You misunderstood me I didn't mean it that way. You are your own person. What I meant to say is that you are now under my protection thus making me responsible for you,” Tom paused thinking of how to word the next part. “I didn’t take you from those people you came to me I just carried you here. You used your power though I don’t know why you appeared to me. What I do know is that I will not allow you to go back. You will never have to see them again,” Tom firmly stated.

“Really? I don’t have to see them again? Never?” Harry whispered looking up at him with misty eyes. Tom gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.

“Never, you’ll be staying here with me. I’m going to take care of you now.” Tom said giving her hand another squeeze.

Harry rubbed at her eyes with her free hand refusing to let go of Tom’s hand. She was so happy to hear that, her wish had finally come true. Tom was going to protect, care and love her just like she always dreamed of. It was when she had calmed down a bit that she realized what else he said.

“You mean I used magic?” Harry asked her face scrunching up in confusion. She then had a sudden thought and looked directly at Tom with such force that it left him feeling as if she were looking deep into his soul.

“Tom can you do magic?” she quietly breathed out. Please don’t think I'm a freak, Harry thought.

“Is that what you call it? I mean what you do is magic?” Tom said in awe causing Harry to blush a bit before nodding her head.

“Then I suppose I can do magic. I can make things move and hurt those that hurt me,” Tom answered. Harry felt a bit giddy at hearing this, she found someone who was just like her and he was willing to be there for her.

“Are we the only ones with magic or are there others?” Tom asked, maybe if they could find others like them they could escape this place. Tom would feel better to get Harry out of the orphanage as quickly as possible before the other kids do something to her.

“There’s more of us! From what I was able to interpret there’s a whole community of people with magic,” Harry said with excitement, her eyes shining with joy but then they dimmed as she realized something.

“But Aunt never said where they were hiding.” She sadly said as she hung her head down. Now Tom is going to hate me and no longer want me anymore, Harry sadly thought.

Tom didn’t like the sad look she had he very much prefer the one she had before. He brought his hand under her chin and nudged her head up so that she would look up at his eyes.

“Don’t worry about that. We’ll find them someday,” he said softly. She suddenly let his hand go as she launched herself at him taking his breath away as she hugged him tightly. Tom was unfamiliar with this, no one has ever hugged him before but as he brought his arms around her he realized that he didn’t mind especially if Harry was the one hugging him.

“Thank you, Tom, for everything,” was all that she said. Tom tightened his arms around her as his only response. They soon let go both of them sporting blushing faces and an air of comfort between them. It was still early in the morning as they discussed what to say to Mrs. Cole. They decided to go with an edited version of the truth excluding the part involving magic. It was the easiest way to explain Harry’s lack of last name and why she now had Tom’s.

When Mrs. Cole arrived in the room she came to a shocking sight. Tom, the boy that was always seen alone, was genuinely smiling and talking with the girl. Mrs. Cole had never seen the boy with those emotions on his face and had always regarded him with caution. Things happened around him that no one could explain or accuse him off and many of the workers thought he was spawned from the devil. This Tom was truly a rare and frightening sight to behold. She shook her head she can panic about that later preferably with a bottle of wine and stopped in front of the mysterious girl’s bed. The girl quickly looked up at her with large green eyes before ducking her head down.

“Well then, would you care to tell me about who you are and how you came here?” Mrs. Cole asked. The girl fidgeted with her hands before Tom reached over rubbing her hand in a soothing motion. Mrs. Cole watched as the girl quickly looked up at him and he gave her a reassuring smile. The girl looked up at her and finally replied.

“Well, um, I was able to finally escape from Vernon and Aunt a few days ago. You see they never allowed me to leave the house and had me as their personal slave. The day I escape, Vernon punished me for having lunch ready five minutes late. He forgot to close my cupboard and left the backdoor unlocked. I ran as far away as possible from there and ended up in the woods before blacking out,” here the girl paused before looking back at Tom who gave her another reassuring smile.

“As for my name, I only know my first name Tom has given me a middle and last name. I go by Harriet Cynthia Riddle now,” Mrs. Cole looked at the girl, Harriet, in surprise before looking at Tom. He was smiling softly at Harriet and Mrs. Cole instantly knew that if she took Harriet away from him he was going to bring them hell. Letting out a defeated sigh she responded.

“Well, Tom I guess she’s staying. She can room with you as long as you're responsible for her,”

“Of course Mrs. Cole,” was Tom’s curt reply. Mrs. Cole shook her head and promptly left the room leaving the children to continue talking. Mrs. Cole would never know that her decision would alter the path of the wizarding world in the years to come.

Chapter Text

An old gnarled hand came up and brushed white strands of hair out of clear blue eyes. The headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore, had spent the entire morning working on the finishing touches of a new wizarding bill. This bill would further reduce the use of dark magic in the wizarding world. Dumbledore has been planning the re-entrance to the magical world for Harriet Lily Potter, the girl-who-lived, since that fateful day in October. Everything had to be light oriented so she could become the perfect light savior. Albus biggest fear was if she got a taste of dark magic then she may not be inclined to defeat the Dark Wizard Voldemort. Thus he worked hard to erase most of the dark magic in the Wizarding World.

It was a little past noon when Dumbledore left his office to head over to the Ministry of Magic with the revised bill in hand. Before the last of the green flames faded from his office, he did not hear one of the trinkets that monitor Harriet Potter starting to whistle.

Dumbledore was striding down the Atrium towards the lift to go drop off the bill for approval at the Wizengamot Administration Services. When he arrived there a large group of wizards dressed in red robes quickly took off. One of them let out a large sigh as he quickly picked himself up from the ground. Dumbledore held his hand out before the man got to leave with the others.

“Tell me, Auror Smith, what is all the commotion?” Dumbledore asked, eyes twinkling madly.

“Oh, Hello Headmaster Dumbledore! We just got a report of a large spike of dark magic in a muggle town. Madam Bones has sent us to assess the damage,” The blond-haired man said.

“This is terrible news! Would you happen to know where this spike occurred?” Dumbledore exclaimed.

“Um, I believed it was in a town called Little Whinging in Surrey. We think it might be a burst of accidental magic, now sir I must be going.” Auror Smith said as he took off running.

Dumbledore was left there standing in shock. Surely they must be mistaken. Dumbledore had made sure that there weren’t any magicals in the area unless someone moved in recently and Mrs. Figg had conveniently forgotten to mention it to him. Yes, that must be it. Dumbledore continued to his destination albeit at a quicker pace. He made small talk with the person at the desk and was assured that the bill was going to be looked at during the next Wizengamot meeting. Once finished he quickly headed back to his office.

When Dumbledore arrived in his office he was greeted with the loud whistling and clicking from two of the trinkets that kept watched of Harriet. The loud whistling signifying that Harriet Potter was no longer in or near the blood wards of Number 4 Privet Drive. The clicking sound was to notify him if dark magic was used within the area. Spinning on his feet Dumbledore quickly left he needed to get to Surrey as quickly as possible.

Amelia Bones is a proud and just person, with how the wizarding world was left after the war with Lord Voldemort, the lastest Dark wizard, she needed to be otherwise nothing was going to be done. The war left many people without family and these five years have not been enough for the pain and fear to be washed away. So when the Auror office received a large spike in dark magic in a small muggle town it sent many into a panic. Amelia stepped up and order for control sending a group of the older Aurors to investigate and neutralize the threat before sending the newer Aurors in.

It was when she received Brown’s Patronus, a silvery grey cat, that filled her with dread. Brown explained that they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary when they arrived at the location that was drenched with dark magic. It was when they entered the house that they realized that this was accidental magic. The muggle couple, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, were in a hurry packing their belongings when they heard the door open freezing in place. It was quick work restraining the muggles and finding out that the one and only Harriet Potter lived here and here laid the problem, she was missing.

After hearing this Amelia quickly apparated to the location. She arrived at a white medium size house that was an exact copy like the ones on the street the only thing distinguishing about it was the tingly feeling of magic that surrounded it. Suppressing a shiver she went inside. Looking around Amelia noticed the lack of photos of the girl-who-lived, it seemed as if she didn’t exist. It was towards the kitchen where she heard hushed voices speaking.

Coming closer she barely held in a gasp as she saw the open cupboard under the stairs. On the side of the door was a paper with the words Harriet’s Room done in shaking letters. Going closer she was able to see how small the place was. A small cot was pushed into a corner with a thin torn blanket. Dust and cobwebs were scattered around the small room with no evidence of a source of light. Murmuring a soft Lumos Amelia was able to see drops of dry blood scattered around.

“What is the meaning of this?” She finally asked looking around the gathered Aurors.

“We have interrogated the muggle couple and that cupboard is where Harriet Potter was kept. Vernon Dursley is the one responsible for the dry blood, he gives and I quote ‘occasion beatings for freakish behavior’. This was defined as anything magical, so every time Harriet did accidental magic she would be punished. Petunia Dursley admitted to having sent Harriet to her room without food for days at a time and treated her worse than a house-elf,” one of the Aurors concluded.

Amelia couldn’t believe this, the whole wizarding world was told that Harriet Potter was living a luxurious life being pampered and loved, often going on adventures with her family and all this time it was a lie. Why would anyone make such lies about her life? How can they let her live like this?

“Take them to the cells and do some scans to try and figure out what exactly happened here,” Amelia ordered as she walked back out.

Dumbledore was greeted with a shocking sight. The Aurors were surrounding the house as they waved their wands around it. A group of them were dragging a large man and a tall thin woman with them. Dumbledore hurried towards them with barely restrained worry.

“What is the meaning of this? Where is Harriet Potter?” he exclaimed once he was within hearing distance.

“That is not your concern Albus,” A cold furious voice said behind him. He turned around and came face to face with a stern blond-haired woman.

“Amelia, what a pleasant surprise! Maybe you can shed some light for me. You see I’m the magical guardian of Harriet Potter, so I need to know where she is and whether she is fine or not,” Dumbledore said. However, once he finished speaking Amelia’s face twisted into one of outraged.

You dare call yourself her guardian after what you let these monsters do to her!” She spat as she jabbed a finger towards the couple. Dumbledore looked at her in surprise.

“What do you mean my dear? They are her family,” he gestured at them “What could they have possibly done?”

Seething Amelia replies in a calm deadly voice, “Those monsters have been abusing Harriet since she’s been living here. That whale of a man has been beating her for every little thing, especially if she did accidental magic! While that woman has neglected her duty as a caretaker refusing to feed her for weeks at a time! It’s going to be a miracle if she survives this!”

Breathing harshly angry grey eyes locked with his as she spoke. “Albus, Harriet Potter is missing,” Amelia was interrupted from saying more when a dark-haired wizard sporting the red robes walked briskly towards them.

“Madam Bones! We got the results we discern that she used a large amount of accidental magic to escape. Due to the nature of the events, it could explain why it registered as dark magic. Probably similar to Apparition. Because of the severe abuse and neglect, there’s a possibility that she is dead. With how weak her body is there is little chance that she was able to survive using so much magic,” the man stated.

“But there’s still a chance she survived,” Dumbledore said.

“Thank you, Auror Rains,” Amelia Bones said as she got closer to Dumbledore.

“Bring Dumbledore into questioning,”

Albus brought his hands up in a calm down gesture. “Now, now Amelia lets not do something we’ll regret, I still need to get back to Hogwarts, the start of the term is in a few weeks,”

“No Dumbledore you listen to me, you will go with Auror Rains for questioning and then the court will determine whether you should be worrying about doing your Headmaster Duties,” Amelia exclaimed.

Dumbledore looked at her in shock. Was she threatening his position as Headmaster? He shook his head slowly a small set back but at least he was still Harriet’s magical guardian. What matters now is locating her and he needed to make the Auror’s aware of that.

“Amelia, dear, I’m still Harriet’s guardian what we need to do now is find her,” He tried to reason with her.

She looked at him with determination in her eyes as she lifted her head high before speaking. “I declare Child’s Plight for Harriet Lily Potter,”

Everybody within hearing distance looked at her with varying emotions. Dumbledore could not believe what he just heard. Child’s Plight was an ancient magical law that all magical beings followed. It was only used in extreme cases of child abuse and neglect allowing full protection to the child until their majority. However, it also removed the child’s previous guardian and instead made the person who declared the law the temporary guardian with the globins as the supervisors. The person who declared the law was now responsible for bringing the abusers to justice and providing the child with proper care if they failed in either of those things the person would age quicker leading to a shorter life.

Dumbledore hung his head, now there was no way for him to fix this mess. All because he was confident about the power of love within a family. At least he knew Harriet was still alive, the crystal ball hanging on his neck was still intact.

“Alright,” He said as he followed Auror Rains and the group of Aurors that had the Dursleys. When he got closer to them Mrs. Dursely turned her head towards him.

“This is all your fault Dumbledore! If you didn’t leave us that freak that night none of this would have happened!” she snarled at him.

“I can see that now Petunia,” was all he said. The small group soon vanished from sight.

It was in the early hours of the morning up in the Headmaster’s office where a book on top of a pedestal opened. The pages flipped until it arrived upon the list of students that would start Hogwarts in five years. The name Harriet Lily Potter glowed faintly as the letters rearranged themselves replacing it with Harriet Cynthia Riddle. Once complete the book closed again.

Chapter Text

Tom was confused. He rarely experienced anything that he didn’t understand and when he did he was quick to dispel any confusion. Now however lying in the dark as the moonlight created patterns on the dusty old floor his thoughts were waging war against each other. The source of confusion tucked neatly into his side under the faded sheets of the worn-out bed.

Harry was odd, but not in a bad way. She was like him different, better, superior to the rest of the children at the orphanage. She had magic. She was his. This is why he acted so caring for her he reasoned. It wasn’t because of that first night when she awoke with a cry, desperately trying to hide from the shadows seeking out reassurance that this wasn’t a dream, that he was real. No, it wasn’t because of that. Nor, because of the gleam of happiness in her eyes when she first stepped outside. It wasn’t because of how she looked at him with adoration or how she didn’t shield away from him. Nor, because she trusted him enough to hide behind him when the adults came near. And heavens forbid, it wasn’t because he enjoyed her hugs, laughter, or smiles.
He hated liars and he wasn’t going to start lying now, especially to himself. But what made her different? Why did she affect him this way? He never cared for anybody else so why start now? Why her? He let out a tired groan he won’t find out now and maybe, just maybe, he wanted this to be his only confusion.

It has been a few weeks since Harry’s arrival and Tom was proud to say she has made great progress since then. While she was still skittish around adults she no longer hid from them. Though there were still times when she would revert to the shy child who was unsure of everything. Harry would be especially careful around him during those moments and he hated that, it was as if she was afraid of losing him. Those were some of Tom’s most frustrating moments with her. He had grown to enjoy her curious nature and determination but these instances always took that away from him. Although now as he looked at her darting around the trees looking up at them in wonder he couldn’t help but feel more determined in helping her heal.

As Harry danced between the trees she couldn’t help but feel like a princess. She had everything she ever wanted, a bedroom, a real meal, freedom, and Tom. He has been so caring towards her, something that she never experienced before. Though she wondered why the other children seem to avoid him when he has done everything to make her feel comfortable here.

She let out a delightful laugh as she spun around and took off running deeper into the woods the wind brushing past her face. Harry stopped as she reached their favorite tree. Looking behind her she saw Tom leisurely walking towards her a few books tucked under an arm while one hand was tucked into his pocket. Turning back around her eyes caught a splash of red further in. Tilting her head in curiosity she followed the splash as it moved deeper in.

Getting closer she saw that it was the red plaid shirt Billy recently got. He was with another boy and a girl; Dennis and Amy. Harry hesitantly took a step backward, Tom had told her to stay away from them, that they were some of the meanest kids here.

Amy’s brown curls bounced on her head as she turned to look at her. “Ohhh, look what we have here! It’s the freak’s little pet!” she sang.

Harry shrank down as she remembered Vernon’s usage of the word and the swing of a fist.

“How does it feel to be Riddle’s dog? Like following him around like a lost puppy? Does he take good care of you?” cooed Dennis.

This snapped her out of her memories. Harry straightened up as she leveled a glare towards Amy and Dennis. “Tom isn’t a freak! And I’m not his pet!”

“Prove it!” Amy taunted.

“Yeah! Leave Tom alone and come with us!” Dennis added.

“If you don’t will make you,” Billy said behind her.

Harry jumped as she turned around to see Billy’s wild blond hair frame his cruel face.

“Wait! I have a better idea. Why don’t we return Riddle’s pet with a few extra things?” He said as he looked towards the other two.

“Ooo, am listening! What do you have in mind?” Amy asked.

Billy looked at Dennis as he motioned him to bring out a bag of shiny black rocks. “I was thinking of leaving her some new marks for being such a bad dog.” He said as he caught one of the rocks.

Amy gave a shrill laugh as she passed a few rocks. Harry made to move out of the way when one of the rocks hit her from behind.

“You're not going anywhere Pet,” Dennis sneered.

“Who’s going to stop me? Not you,” Harry spat back.

“Ahhh, the little puppy wants to bite! Bad doggy!” Amy laughed out loud as she started to throw rocks at Harry.

Harry ducked her head down as she wrapped her arms in front of her trying to get away from them. She suddenly tipped forward as she felt a kick from behind slamming her knees to the ground. Where are you? She thought as tears started to prick her eyes.

“The devil’s spawn shouldn’t be allowed to have a pet!” Billy jeered.

“Devil’s Pet, Devil’s Pet!” Amy mocked as she danced around Harry.

“Leave her alone,” a cold voice rang out causing them to freeze.

Harry peeked out from her arms and saw Tom standing there. He had a wild look in his eyes as they darken with anger. His hands curled into fists, previous neat hair in disarray. He looked like a boy with too many sharp edges.

As Tom stepped forward, Amy and Dennis both glance at each other quickly before taking several steps back leaving Billy to deal with Tom.

“What if I don’t? You gonna use your freakish powers to hurt me?” Billy said in disdain.

Tom smiled cruelly, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do,”

Billy in a surge of bravery ran towards Tom swinging his fist at his face. Tom snarled as he pushed his hands forwards, magic dripping from them as he forced Billy back. Tom raised his hand, lifting Billy in the air and crushed it into a fist causing Billy to start struggling to breathe. Amy gave an ear-piercing scream as she ran away with Dennis right at her heels.

Don’t.” Tom took a step forward “Ever.” He moved to stop in front of Billy “Touch, what’s mine again,” Tom softly whispered in his ear.

“Mr…Mrs. C.. Cole… was right. Y... are the de...devil’s spawn,” Billy struggled to say as he looked at Tom’s eyes, crimson overtaking the blue.

Tom flicked his hand away sending Billy towards the ground where he quickly got up and ran back to the orphanage.

Harry uncurled from her position, standing up on quivering legs. “Tom?”

Tom turned towards her, his face relaxing into a concerned look. “Are you alright Harry? Did they hurt you?” he quickly went towards her.

She took a sharp intake of breath as she saw his eyes. His normally blue eyes were now a maroon color. Tom froze at the sound. His face was quickly wiped clean of all emotions.

He turned his head to the side avoiding looking at her as he spoke in a cold voice. “Are you going to leave now? Now that you know? Just like the rest?”

Harry blanched. Did she do something wrong? Why was Tom asking her this? Did he finally see she wasn’t worth his time? No! this can’t be happening! Why can’t I have something nice for once? Everything became blurry as tears gathered in her eyes. The ground loomed closer as she fell back down on her knees. Taking a shaky breath she tried to gather her thoughts but failed as she started to gulp for air as silent sobs racked her body.

Tom turned to face her when she didn’t say anything preparing himself to see the fear and disgust in her eyes but instead saw her huddled into herself gripping the edges of her grey uniform head down as she shook, eyes screwed shut as silent tears fell. He quickly got on his knees and brought her into a hug. He rubbed her back in a soothing motion as he carded his hand through her hair. Hesitant arms slowly warped around him as small hands gripped his shirt.

“Wh...Why wou...would you say that? D..i..did I do something wrong? Do you not want me anymore?” she hiccuped.

What! No!” Tom moved away so he can see her. Lifting her head to look in her eyes he fiercely stated “I promised to take care of you and I never break my promises,”

“ why would you think I would leave?”

A flash of pain passed through Tom’s eyes before closing them as he heaved a sigh. “Because I’m the devil’s spawn, the demon child,” he resentfully answered. “A monster that you would be afraid of,” he paused “someone who you would be disgusted with and would no longer want to associate with,”

Harry felt her heart clench. Tom thought that she would hate him. Is this why everyone else was afraid? Because he uses magic and his eyes turned crimson?

“Oh, Tom, I could never hate you,” Tom opened his eyes to look at her the red slowly fading away, his expression unreadable.

“Why?” It was expected and Harry felt like she knew him enough to know that he still didn’t believe her, after all, she didn’t believe him either but Harry knew exactly how he felt. Alone, that is what she felt all her life, until now. So why should she let something silly like his eye color, stop her from getting what she wanted? With a tentative smile, she released her troubled thoughts and decided at that moment to make Tom feel loved, just like he had done for her.

“Because you were the only one who cared,” was all that she said.

Chapter Text

Rays of light tried to fight the freezing darkness in the cell. The soft shuffles of movement the only sounds breaking through the stiff silence. During these empty moments, Petunia Dursley would think back to how they ended up like this.

It was a nice warm spring day, flowers breaking through the ground when Lily received a letter. A letter that would later prove that Petunia was never going to be better than sweet and magical Lily. From there on their relationship as beloved sisters turned sour. Lily would be showered with attention from their parents as she spoke about the magic she was learning from her new world, a world that Petunia could only hope to be part of. A seed of hatred started to grow inside Petunia during that time and magic soon lost its glistening glory. It became something abnormal, something freaky.

When Lily announced that she was staying in her freakish world Petunia was ecstatic. No longer was she going to be competing with her. Now she could be the best. But things did not happen like that. Her parents still talked about Lily as if she was the greatest thing in their life and Petunia, well she was just there.

A few years later Petunia was married to a hardworking husband and she had the most wonderful, normal son, living in a small lovely normal neighborhood in Little Whinging, Surrey. However, things changed on that fateful chilly November morning. Opening the door in the early hours of the morning she found a small child bundled in a thin blanket in a basket with a letter tucked in. With trembling hands, she took the letter and read the words that shatter her beloved world that she had carefully cultivated.

She couldn’t help but think about how things could have been if she had stopped Vernon the first time. If she had prevented him from beating the girl all those times. Would they still be tangled in this mess? Thinking on it now she should have dropped the wretched child off at an orphanage. It would have been better for both of them. Instead, she let the angry coils of resentment fester and grow as it infected her family twisting them into becoming who they are now and today she was about to face judgment for all the mistakes that she made.

A pair of loud footsteps startled her from her thoughts as they crept closer towards their cell. Another set of footsteps soon followed, and soon Petunia was being hauled onto her feet and pushed out. Vernon made a sound of discomfort as he was roughly pushed out. As they made their way outside they were blinded by the brightness of the light. The onslaught of enraged whispers could be heard as the group slowly made their way up the stairs towards a pair of doors. Once they made their way there the two wizards pushed them inside. Petunia paused to get her bearings as the buzz of voices increased to match that of an angry swarm of wasps. She was roughly pushed towards a bench as many wizards and witches threw insults at her. This was it.

Before she sat down, the voices became outraged shouts as Dumbledore made his entrance. His skin was a sickly pale color, eyes bloodshot, and hair unkempt. His wrists were tightly bound as the group of wizards led him towards her and Vernon. Furious faces wove about as they darkly whispered to each other about the most beloved wizard’s fall from grace. Like animals, they craved the heavy hand of justice for the loss of their savior. They wanted blood.

Petunia watched the crowd as they started to become impatient. She flinched as she saw many of them wave their wands in their direction. Unknown to her the Ministery of Magic had placed precautions around the area in case a wizard or witch wanted to enact their own justice.

Millicent Bagnold, the current Minister of Magic, slowly stood up as she waved her wand and utter a spell to enhance her voice. “We are gathered here today for the trial of Mr. Vernon Dursley, Mrs. Petunia Dursely, and Albus Dumbledore. Auror Rains would you please bring Mr. Dursley to the stand,”

The wizard standing behind them pulled Vernon up and led him to the center of the room towards a chair with iron chains. He pushed Vernon into the chair and the chains rattled as if to wrap themselves around him before settling back down. Petunia watched as her husband paled at the chains display of movement and how his eyes flickered up towards the gathered wizards and witches before finally meeting hers. She withheld a choked gasp as she saw the anger and fear swirl in his eyes.

“You are faced with charges of Child Abuse, Child endangerment and attempted murder of Harriet Lily Potter. How do you plead?”

Petunia paled, attempted murder? These freaks were going to place the blame of Harriet’s possible death on Vernon. She let out a shaky sigh as she covered her face with trembling hands. No matter what happened now she was going to lose Vernon.

“Innocent, I only did what the freak deserved,”

Soft angry murmurs came from the crowd as they made their displeasure known. The rest of the words faded into the background as she did her best to not drown in her panic. She snapped out of it as images started to float up in the air. She let out a small gasp as she realized that these were his memories. No! No, no, no Petunia desperately thought. There was no hope for him now, maybe there wasn’t any, to begin with. There was nothing to protect them from these freaks, they could just pull the truth out of their minds.

Petunia finched as she saw the girl laying on the ground whimpering a large purple bruise forming on her cheek. The girl appeared again in another memory with her face tear stain as she pleaded with him. She kept appearing, and in all of them, she was being hurt. Once the memories stop playing soft sobs from mothers could be heard and the furious whispers of fathers. This was her fault. Petunia thought bitterly. She didn’t hide her dislike towards the girl from her family. Vernon knew how much she hated her kind and he acted according to her feelings.

Petunia watched as the witch named Bagnold whispered to her companion on her right, Amelia Bones, she believed was her name. They exchanged a few more words before Bagnold spoke.

“Madama Bones you may administer the Veritaserum,”

Bones waved her hand towards a wizard dressed in red who quickly pulled a small flask with a clear silvery liquid.

“Three drops,”

The wizard nodded and strode towards Vernon. Vernon struggled as he was grab from behind by Rains while the other wizard forced Vernon’s mouth open to let the drops fall. The effect was immediate as his eyes glazed over and he slumped forward.

“What is your name?” Madam Bones began.

“Vernon Dursley,” came the dull respond.

“Why did you commit these actions towards Harriet Potter?”

“I did this for her own good,”

The crowd gave shocked gasps. What did the man mean by this?

“Elaborate,” came Bone’s icy voice.

“I was trying to beat the magic from her. I couldn’t let her contaminate my family with her freakishness,”

Petunia watched as Amelia’s face twisted into a grimace at her husband’s response while the crowd started to become restless again.

“Do you regret doing this?”

“No, I would do this all over again. I would do this to any of you,”

Insults and threats filled the air as the crowd erupted. Petunia let out a sob. She did this to him, she made him a monster with her hate towards Lily.

Enough!” Bagnold yelled.

The crowd quieted down as a tall, thin, white-haired wizard stood from the jury side of the room and approach Madam Bones and Minister Bagnold handling them a slip of paper.

“The jury has decided!” Petunia held her breath as everyone leaned in closer.

“Vernon Dursley is guilty of his crimes and will receive the Dementor’s Kiss in one week,”

Shouts broke out at the news. Petunia was confused, was that bad? What did it mean? She finally decided to acknowledge Dumbledore’s presence.

“What does that mean?”

The old man gave her a sad look as he responded, “It means his soul is going to be eaten,”

“What? NO, it can’t be,” Vernon was as good as dead. Petunia watched as he struggled to get away from the wizard. The wizard took out his wand and pointed it at Vernon stunning him before he took him away. A heavy hand grabbed her shoulder. Petunia flinched underneath as she looked up.

The man looked at her unapologetic as he said “Your turn is coming up,”

Not a moment later she was being called up. As she was being led to the chair she glanced around and noticed that many eyes were not on her but on Dumbledore. She brought her hand up and dried her eyes she was not going to give them the satisfaction of seeing her weak. She silently sat down with her head held up. It was time for her to own up to her mistakes.

“You are faced with charges of Child Neglect and Child endangerment of Harriet Lily Potter. How do you plead?” Bagnold asked.


The witch turned to Madame Bones and they talked in hushed tones. With Amelia shaking her head twice until Bagnold nodded in agreement with her.

“The Veritaserum will now be administered,”

The same wizard from before approached her. Without any resistance, she accepted the three drops. A peaceful, sleepy feeling overcame her. She felt as if she was cocooned in soft fuffy clouds. A voice pierced through the fog of her mind asking her name. She felt compelled to answer truthfully.

“Petunia Dursely,”

The voice then asked her why did she neglect Harriet Potter. Petunia briefly thought of the reasons why. She was jealous of Lily and the world she lived in. She was afraid of what Lily’s child could to them when she became older. She was afraid that she would be hypnotized like her parents were with Lily, forgetting about her son Dudley. She didn’t want that to happen. Not her sweet Diddykins. If Harriet learned not to use her powers they would be safe. These words poured from her mouth without her even thinking about it. The dull shouts of people barely affected her, she was still in that safe warm place in her mind. Another question broke through the drowsiness. Do you regret this? Did she regret neglecting Harriet? No, she didn’t. It was for the safety of her family. She did regret taking her in. She should have ignored the warning and took the girl far away from her home. She regretted letting her hate destroy her family. What warning? The warning about them being targetted by the dark wizards, the people that killed Lily. Only taking in the girl would keep them safe.

The warm fuzzy feeling slowly faded away from Petunia. Her mind became clearer as she took in what had happened. They had drugged her and coaxed the truth from her mind. Shaking her head she heard the impact of her words as they whispered theories to each other. Finally, the jury decided on her fate.

“The jury has decided. Petunia Dursley will receive ten years in muggle prison,”

Petunia hung her head. At least she was still going to be there for Dudley. She was pulled up and lead back towards the doors. Maybe she will be able to tell Vernon how much he means to her one last time.

Amelia ran a hand through her hair upsetting the blond strands. The day wasn’t over yet and she felt ready to hit the sack. At least they were finished with the muggle’s trials leaving only Dumbledore’s left. Gathering her notes on his case she gave them one last glance as the Aurors brought him to the stand. By the sound of the crowd, they wanted Dumbledore to take most of the blame. The wizarding world was surely going to be disappointed. Dumbledore’s crimes were not as incriminating as the muggles. After a thorough investigation, they found that Dumbledore truly believed that he left Harriet in capable hands. This belief led him to focus on other tasks, tasks that he held more important than being there for Harriet. Nothing more and nothing less he honestly believed Harriet would grow up loved and happy there. The lies that the wizarding world had eaten up weren’t his but of reporters wanting to make an extra gallon. What Amelia didn’t understand is why Dumbledore kept silent on this.

In a clear voice, Millicent began Dumbledore’s trial. “Albus Dumbledore you are here today for neglecting your duty as magical guardian. How do you plead?”

Dumbledore looked at them with dull glistening eyes. Heaving a sigh he responded. “Guity, I am willing to take the Veritaserum to ensure my truthfulness on your following questions,”

Amelia glanced at Millicent, this was strange. No wizard would willingly submit themselves to Veritaserum. Either Dumbledore had complete fate in himself or he was a fool. Millicent gave her a small nod. Amelia gave the signal to administer the Veritaserum. Once the potion started to take effect on him she started with her first question.

“Why did you neglect your duty as Magical Guardian?”

There was a pause as Dumbledore’s face grimaced but eventually, he responded. “It was not on purpose. I had thought she was going to be in the loving arms of her aunt,”

“Even so you still had a duty to check up on her. Why didn’t you?”

Here Dumbledore seemed to struggle with getting the words out. “I had many things that needed my attention,”

“Were they more important than Harriet?”

Dumbledore visibly shuddered as he struggled to maintain his mouth shut. Amelia shooked her head, why did he even go through this if he wasn’t going to let the potion do its job? Finally, he let his answer spill from his lips. “Yes,”

“What were these duties?”

“Headmaster of Hogwarts, Supreme Mugwump, and Chief Warlock,”

“Do you regret your lack of attention to Harriet?”

“Yes, I should have been more attentive towards her situation, but I lost sight of what was important and put faith in something that was never there,”

The crowd murmur approvingly, to them Dumbledore was genuinely regretting his lack of involvement. With a wave of her hand, Amelia signaled the Auror next to Dumbledore to give him the antidote for the Veritaserum. Without haste, the jury made a decision.

Bagnold stood up, “The jury has decided! Albus Dumbledore is found guilty and he forfeits his right as a Magical Guardian. Also, he will step down as Headmaster of Hogwarts, Supreme Mugwump, and Chief Warlock. He can never be Headmaster of Hogwarts again but he may apply for the positions of Supreme Mugwump and Chief Warlock in five years. Court dismissed,”

The sounds of people discussing the trial left the courtroom as many argued about the injustice or lack of justice. Amelia shuffled the papers in her hand at least Dumbledore stayed a few nights at Azkaban and cutting his influence will teach him that no one is above the law. Before she was able to go an old wrinkle hand stopped her. Looking up she was meet with Dumbledore.

Her face creased in confusion before it was masked away, “Yes?”

“Could I have a word with you in private Amelia?”

She gave a small sigh the trial had taken up most of the day and she was tried, tomorrow she had her work cut out, but this could be important.

“Of course Albus follow me,”

She led him out of the courtroom and they went up towards her office. Her office was large enough to hold three people in but with the clutter of books she brought in it had significantly reduced the space. Clearing some notes from a chair she offered it to Dumbledore.

“Now, what do you wish to speak about?”

Dumbledore looked around her office letting his glaze land on some charts before looking up at her. “How is the search for Harriet coming along?”

Amelia gave a bitter laugh “Terrible, we tried all the spells we have at our disposal and nothing comes up. Not a single hint of where she could be. Its as if she disappeared from the face of the planet. It's gotten to the point of us looking into obscured spells and rituals to try out,”

“I see,” Dumbledore murmured, “Maybe it would be best if we brought our resources together? That way we will be able to cover more ground,”

Amelia thought for a minute before shaking her head no. “I appreciate your offer to help but it’s a case in progress and we can’t have citizens involving themselves. I hope you understand,”

Dumbledore gave her a small nod before standing up and walking towards the door. Before leaving he glanced back at her, “If you ever rethink about my offer my door is always open,”

“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind,” Then he was gone leaving Amelia to her thoughts. Many things were going on here and Dumbledore knew most of them. Amelia knew he was hiding something she just didn’t know what it was.

Chapter Text

Lazy summer afternoons soon cooled down as the days passed by. After the encounter with Billy and his gang, Harry and Tom grew closer together, where ever Tom went Harry was right behind him. With Billy avoiding them for the time being, Tom took the time to get Harry ready for school. Tom was going to be entering Year 2 of Primary school, and he wanted Harry to be with him. So they spent many evenings going through Tom’s old school books. A week before classes were to start, a teacher was called in to test Harry. Within a few days, Harry got the results back and was proud to announce that she was going to be in his class.

On the night before the first day of school, Tom couldn’t keep the grin off his face as he saw her buzzing around with unrestrained energy. Harry was getting better. She had started to smile more and was becoming more confident in herself. At times like these, her excitement was contagious, and he couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him as she bombarded him with an endless amount of questions about school. Throughout the night, she asked him about the classes, the teachers, and anything else that popped into her mind. Harry eventually curled up next to him and continued her questions until her voice faded into soft murmurs, with a mumbled goodnight she fell asleep with a small smile on her face.

In the early hours of the morning, children rushed about as they got ready for school. While the older children left immediately, the younger children were left outside waiting in the misty air for Mrs. Cole, and Martha, an old caretaker. Once they appeared, Mrs. Cole stressed that they should always travel in groups when going to and from school since they would only go with them today.

Harry quickly grasped Tom's hand before the group trudged through the murky streets past the stretch of woodland. They passed by a few houses and buildings until they arrived at a short, stocky, grey, brink building. Harry let out a soft sigh of disappointment at the sight of the depressed-looking building. She had imagined a much brighter and bigger building, something a bit magical.

Tom tugged at her hand as he pulled her inside. They went to wait with the group of children waiting outside Room 8. Standing a little way off from the group, Harry suddenly had the urge to throw up. What if she wasn’t good enough? What if they didn’t want her to come back? Tom noticed her change in demeanor and pulled her closer into a half hug before asking her what was wrong. Harry didn’t want to tell him, it was foolish and she didn’t want to make him worry but, they had promised each other that they would speak their mind. So in a hushed tone, she told him her fears. He looked at her with a warm smile and told her she was going to be great. Unbeknownst to them, the students watch with morbid fascination. All through last year, they learned to stay alway from Tom Riddle, to never approach him. Seeing him with this girl and being nice to her was a first.

After a few more minutes a tall, slim brown-haired woman approached them and led them inside. The shuffle of feet sounded, as the students made they’re way to their seats. Settling next to Tom, Harry took in the colorful posters that decorated the classroom. The feeling of excitement started to ooze back in as she listened to what they were going to learn this month.

As the day wore on, Harry started to feel more comfortable. When they had their free period, Tom brought Harry to the library. There were many shelves in the tiny room crammed full of different books. In excited whispers, he told her about all the things they could learn and of how they were able to take a book with them each week. Harry instantly fell in love with the library.

The day soon came to a close. Following the rest of the children outside, Harry skipped alongside Tom as she chattered about all that happened. Tom hummed and occasionally gave his input until they reached the orphanage. Once there, they set off to complete their chores and do the assigned work from class. After they were done, Harry curled up next to him and spent the rest of the evening reading the books they checked out before going to sleep.

The days became colder as the leaves from the trees changed from lush green to golden bronze, even venturing into fiery reds. Harry was bundled up in a larger brown wool jacket that Tom had outgrown. Poking her fingers out of the small holes on the sleeve, she kept up with Tom’s brisk steps. They had stayed after class to turn in their books, which left them to head back on their own. The rustle of the leaves caused Harry to inch closer to Tom, even going as far as reaching out to grasp on to his grey coat. Tom noticing her nervousness: slowed his steps and pulled her closer.

“You know it’s almost going to be All Hallows’ Eve soon. Have you thought of what you want to be?” his voice interrupted the silence.

Harry looked up at him gratefully; before giving the question any thought. This would be her first Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween as many students have started to call it, and when Mrs. Jones announced that they could dress up for the day, the students were ecstatic. The students talked about dressing up as ghosts, witches, and ghouls, but she still had no idea of what to be.

“I have but.” She shrugged her shoulders as she bit her lip. Letting out a sigh she mumbled, “I don’t know,”

Tom gave her a look of understanding. He never had the urge to dress up for All Hallows’ Eve before. Even now he was still unsure whether to dress up or not, but he didn’t want to ruin it for Harry.

“We could match? I mean if you want to?”


Tom nodded his head. He watched Harry jump ahead twirling around. She then stopped and looked at him with questioning eyes.

“So...what are we going to be?”

Tom shrugged his shoulders, “We’ll think of something,”

They soon fell back to a comforting silence. Harry swinging her arms as she kept pace with Tom. They were almost to the orphanage, they just needed to pass the stretch of woodland when Harry decided to ask Tom something.

“Hey, do you think you could teach me to use my magic like you use it?”

Tom came to a sudden stop as he looked at her, surprise written all over his face. Harry couldn’t help but fidget under his gaze.

“I...I thought you already knew, ”

“Oh,” Harry said as she started to bite her lip waiting for his response.

“Of course I can teach you! I just sort of thought you already knew how to do that kind of stuff, but now that I think about it that explains why you don’t use your magic,” he said mumbling the last part.

“Ah, yes, that sounds...” She trailed off as she heard a whisper in the bushes. Harry stepped back, inching closer towards Tom when a soft hissing voice was heard.

“Stupid humans,”

“Did you hear that?”

Tom’s mouth went dry as he thought about what this meant. He was afraid; that even in the magical community he was going to be seen as a freak for his ability to talk to snakes but, maybe, it was normal? No, he had to make sure first.

“What did you hear?”

A long lustrous body slid out in front of them, the snake's scales shining a dark green almost black. It reared its head up as it hissed at them.

“Run foolish humans!”

Harry crashed into him as she stumbled to get away from the snake. He instantly wrapped his arms around her to prevent her from falling.

“Tom!” She hissed out. Both Tom and the snake looked at her in bafflement. The snake flicked its tongue out tasting the air before slithering closer.

“A hatchling?”

Harry started at the snake, processing what was happening, now that it didn’t seem to want to eat them, before exclaiming, “Iss that snake talking!”

“Yes, and No,” Tom said as he easily sipped into the serpent tongue.

“Two hatchlings! Silly hatching is speaking Zaphara’s tongue,” The snake helpfully provided. Releasing Harry, Tom knelt and offered his arm for the snake to climb up. The snake wrapped up his arm coming to rest its head on his left shoulder.

“We’re speaking snake,” he clarified for her before addressing the snake.

“Zaphara is an unusual name, not like the other snakes, why?”

“Zaphara is a magical name,”

Harry perked up at that. “Do you come from a place of magic?”

The snake turned to her, “Magic kind, like hatchlings, but less were there”

A spark of excitement burned in her eyes as she looked up to Tom, they might have just found a lead to others like them.

“Can you take us there?” Tom asked.

The snaked coiled itself around Tom, flicking its tongue out before reaching out to taste Harry. Harry stiffened, before reaching out a hand for the snake letting it slide up a bit. “I’ll take you, but only if I stay with hatchlings,”

Tom and Harry looked at each other before coming to a silent agreement.

“Alright, I’m Tom and this is Harry,” The snake bobbed its head in understanding. Switching back to English, Tom asked Harry if Zaphara could warp herself under her jacket.

“If she has to,” Harry hesitantly said.

Tom slapped his forehead, he had forgotten what happened the first time he spoke snake. He had trouble distinguishing the language from English, and now Harry was going to have trouble speaking too.

“English, Harry,” Maybe she’ll be different.

“Ain't I'm speaking English?” Or not.

Letting out a sigh he simply said, “Don’t worry about it just whatever you do don’t talk. Leave all the talking to me, okay?”

Receiving a nod, they quickly made their way to the orphanage. Once they were in sight of the orphanage, a young girl quickly slipped in. When they entered Mrs. Cole was already waiting for them.

“What kind of time is this, for you two to be getting back?”

Tom bowed his head a bit, fighting down his pride. “Sorry, Mrs. Cole but we had to turn in our books,”

Mrs. Cole was taken aback, Tom had never acted like this to her. He was always too proud. Unsure of what to do she simply said, “Just make sure this doesn’t happen again,”

“Of course, Mrs. Cole,”

Tom then quickly pulled Harry up the stairs towards their room. Once safely inside they took off their coats. The snake uncoiling itself from Harry’s body moving on to their bed. Harry eyed the snake suspiciously before turning to look at him seriously.

“She's not sleeping with us, is she?”

“I wished I could say no,”

Looking at Harry, as she sat down on the edge of the bed, Tom quickly tried to think of a way to help her speak English again. Sitting on one of the wooden chairs near their desk he interlaced his fingers as he thought of the first time he spoke the language. When this happened to him he had to concentrate on the different sounds between the snake language and English. He had to listen to how the snake language had the hissing undertones before he could revert to English.

“Okay, this is what we're going to do. We are just going to talk like normal but you need to listen to my voice carefully and then listen to when you are speaking. Try to listen to how different they sound,”

Harry nodded in agreement. Tom’s thoughts went back to when Harry was asking about lessons on magic.

“Magic comes from inside of us. To use it, you need to feel it around you. After it is only a matter of concentrating on what you want. It will take a lot of practice before you get the results that you want,”

Harry had a pensive look as she carefully went through the information. “So, when you want something to come to you, do you imagine it in your hands?”

Tom thought for a bit before answering, “Not necessarily, it's the intention of wanting it to come to me that matters,”

“Oh,” Tom's face brightened up, Harry was starting to speak English again.

“Can you say something else for me?”

“Um, okay, what should I say?”

Tom hummed it seemed like she was having trouble with the s sound. “Anything, without an s, will do,”

“Oh, um the cat climbed the tree,”

Tom beamed at her, “There we go. For now, this will have to do but we need to practice slipping in and out of the snake language,”

The snake uncoiled itself slithering closer to them. “When would hatchings want to go to Magic land?”

“That is a good question when would be a good time to go?”

Harry shrugged her shoulders. They didn’t even know how far they needed to go. Throwing herself on the previously occupied space she ran her hands through her hair ruffling it up.

“Right, well first we need to know how far it is from here,” Soft footsteps sounded as he came to sit near her.

“Zaphara, can you tell us where this place is?”

Zaphara gave a low hiss before responding, “I think the name of the gateway is Leaky Cauldron, further in the stone jungle,”

“Does she mean in London?” Harry asked.

“I think so,” Tom mumbled back before turning back to Zaphara.

“Did you see the name of the street?”

“Does hatchling not believe I can take you there? With hatchlings long legs we will be there soon. I will lead you there. Hatchlings do not worry like prey, you will be safe,” Zaphara hissed in a motherly tone.

“Of course, we do! but we are still hatchlings with no one to care for us. We must care for ourselves,” Tom said trying to make the snake understand their reasons for being cautious.

Zaphara reared her head up looking at Tom “Silly hatchling, I will protect you and Harry,” She then slithered in between them making herself comfortable again, ending the discussion.

Tom huffed. “Well, that’s unexpected,” Harry said.

“Yes, well how about we go tomorrow morning? This way we will have all day to find the Leaky Cauldron,”


They were soon called down for dinner. Once they were finished they headed back to their rooms to pack their small amount of belongings, before heading off to bed. Tomorrow was a going to be a busy day.

Chapter Text

Harry awoke with a start from her dreamless sleep. The soft music of crickets sounded as moonlight filtered in through the small window, creating shapeless figures on the ground. She turned her head towards the shapes and started to make pictures out of them, marveling at what her life has become. They were going to the magical world.

Thinking of the events, earlier in the day, she couldn’t help but be troubled by the fact that she knew almost nothing about Tom; but then again he knew nothing about her either. Harry didn’t want to think about her life from before. By how things were at the orphanage, maybe Tom didn’t want to think of life from before either. Harry knew he was treated differently from the other children due to his magic, and it did something to him, or they did something. She saw it in the way he would address the adults; posture stiff, tone aloof. In the way, he would sneer at them, or scoff behind their backs. The way he would ignore the other children, being cold towards them, refusing to partake in activities with them. She knew that the other children hated and feared him. The looks of terror that they would shoot at them when they passed, the whispers of hateful words, it all painted a clear picture for her.

However, Harry’s biggest fear was that he was just like Vernon and Cousin. It was always larking there in the darkest corners of her mind, but he couldn’t be like them. Not with the way he would only smile at her, or with the way he would hold her, or with how he would speak to her in soft caring tones. He would look at her as if she was the only important thing in the world. Harry hated to admit that she felt a bit envious towards Zaphara when his attention was on her. After spending so much time being unwanted and hiding from them, basking in his attention was something she didn’t want to lose.

A flash from the corner of her eye had her shivering as an unwanted memory rosed in her mind. Glass shards shining on the floor, some painted red as more rained down on her. A panicked breath escaped her. She was not there anymore, she was no longer Freak, she was Harry. Taking deep breaths, she snuggled deeper into the thin blanket, curling closer towards Tom. She stopped moving as Tom turned towards her. Holding her breath, she saw how his body tensed up, his face scrunching up in a frown before he pulled her closer to him. Holding her in a tight hug, he then nuzzled her head before releasing a soft breath his body losing the previous tenseness. Letting out a soft laugh, Harry entwined her fingers around his shirt. No, Tom was nothing like them. Burrowing deeper into the warmth, she fell into a peaceful sleep with a smile on her face.

A wet flick was felt across Harry’s cheek; followed by soft hissing noises. Mumbling something unintelligible she turned her head away snuggling deeper into her soft warm pillow. She felt something slithered on her before it continued to hiss in her ear. Grumbling, she tried to smother the noise when she felt her pillow shake with laughter. Squinting her eyes open, she was faced with Zaphara’s snout, tongue flicking in and out.

“Hatchling Harry is wake!”

“Yes, she is, now kindly get off of us so we can get ready for the day,” Tom's voice sounded near her. Zaphara proceeded to slide off of her moving onto the headboard.

“Good morning, Harry. Eager for today?”

“Morning, yeah a bit,” she yawned out.

Tom gave her a tight hug before releasing her and getting off the bed. They exchanged their pajamas for their uniforms. Tom then went to gather the last of his belongings. He brought out an old worn shoebox which he set on the bed.

“What’s that?”

“These are some treasures I acquired from some of the children here. They didn’t understand the first time to leave me alone, so I had to teach them,” he gave her a sideways glance to see her reaction. It was these small moments that Harry had come to learn to appreciate. They were the moments in which Tom would layout a little bit of himself for her, a show of trust. Instead of saying anything, she stepped closer to him and gave him a fierce hug.

Looking up at him she simply said “That’s in the past now,”

She was always surprised to see the number of emotions he would show during these moments. Did she show this amount of emotions too? His face shifted from surprise to disbelief and then to gratefulness, finally settling on fondness for her. Kissing the top of her head, he removed himself from her embrace and dumped the contents of the box. A small tin soldier, a red race car, and other small trinkets covered the bed. Looking at them, Harry realized that these may have been those children's only belongings. Should she feel bad about them? After all, he did tell them to leave him alone and if they didn’t listen well wasn’t that their fault?

“What are you going to do with them?”

She watched as his brow furrowed in thought. “I...I don’t want to take them with us, but I don’t want to return them neither,”

“Then leave them here,”

Tom gave her an affectionate sigh before ruffing her hair. “If we leave them here someone’s going to find them,”

“Then hide them again,” Looking around their room she wished for a good hiding spot until she spotted a board that was a bit lifted.

“Here,” She kneeled and pried the board up revealing a dusty bottom. It was too small for the box, but it was big enough to put all the trinkets in. Looking back at Tom, she saw he was eyeing her in disbelief.

“I’ve had this room for four years, and that has never been there before. Did you just wish that to be there?” He incredulously asked.

Feeling a bit nervous, she nodded her head, keeping her gaze on her grubby shoe. She looked up, as she felt Tom's hand on her shoulder, to see him smiling warmly at her.

Waving a hand at the board, “This is what I meant about magic, you know? The intent is everything, after that, it just comes naturally,”

“You're not angry?”

Tom shook his head, “Why would I? No, I’m proud of you,” His eyes lighting up with warmth.

“My hatchlings are so adorable!” Zaphara’s excited voice broke the tender moment.

“Yes, well, let’s get this over with,” Tom said, a small blush forming on his cheeks.

He placed the trinkets into the small area before placing the board back on again. Placing his hand over it, he concentrated on making it seem undisturbed, the board meshed seamlessly as if it was never lifted. Tom then had Zaphara coil up on Harry, before he bundled them up.

After Tom finished fussing over them, they headed down for breakfast. Getting their bowls of watered-down porridge, and a sweet roll each with a fruit, they settle down in their usual spot. With a careful flick of his hand, he brought over some extra sweet rolls and some fruit for their journey while no was looking. Carefully packing them into his canvas bag, he was able to get a year ago.

They follow the rest of the children out like normal. Walking a few feet behind the large group. Zaphara's head poked out of Harry's coat tasting the air; giving them low directions.

"Turn here,"

Grabbing Harry's hand, Tom pulled them behind a pair of bushes. They waited until the group of children disappeared around the bend before coming back out. Leading the way, Zaphara told them to turn at a corner, which led them deeper into the city’s center. After passing through many streets, Harry felt completely lost. This was the first time since she got to the orphanage that she was going to explore London. She couldn't help but look in wonder at all the different places and shops they had passed by so far. Tom would tell her a little bit about what the shops sold.

They were at an empty street with some empty shop windows when they were stopped by a gang of older kids. Keeping a strong grip on Tom's hand, Harry peered up at the group. The boy in front looked familiar with his tall, gangly structure and wild scruffy ginger hair.

“Ah! Tommy, my boy! Skiving school, ain’t we?”

Oh yeah, now she remembered him, it was Joe, one of the teenagers at the orphanage. Harry looked at Tom as his face went to the default cold mask of indifference that he often wore around the adults.

“Yeh even brought the little lady! Knew yeh were one of us. Yeh couldn’t keep acting so high up yeh noble horse, am I right mates, ” chuckles soon followed.

The other teens gathered closer to Joe and loomed over them. Tom released her hand before stepping up in front of her, his posture stiffening. Zaphara slowly uncoiled herself from Harry, preparing to strike.

“I’ll protect hatchings! My bite will leave them like stones,”

“Hush now, Tom’s got it under control,”

“Oh, the little lady is like yeh ain’t she? Mad as a hatter ain’t she? Yeh finally found yeh self a perfect match didn’t yeh. How about yeh let us teach her something hmm?”

Tom's eyes displayed his fury at the suggestion. With his voice full of cold rage, he said, “We are just passing through. No, need for you to get involved,”

“Nah, Tommy boy, yeh need us ta teach yeh the ropes now that yeh one of us,”

Joe's grubby hand reached out towards her. Stepping closer to Tom, Harry felt electricity gather as his magic swarmed around him, his words dripping with raw, vicious power.

“No, you will leave us alone! Forget about seeing us here,” he commanded.

Joe quickly straightened up and turned towards the other teens.

“Let's leave the little kiddies to their demise we’ve got bigger fish to fry lads,”

The teens shoot them bewildered looks before they followed him. Tom didn’t relax even when they were out of sight.

“Hatchling Tom is quite a powerful magical! Not many magicals can do what you did, many need help from their magic sticks,”

“Yes, well that’s Tom for you,” Harry puffed out proudly. She was always in awe of Tom’s casual display of power. Harry wished for one day to be as confident as he was of her own power.

Tom’s careful control of emotions cracked as he exploded. “I was such a fool! To think that we wouldn’t run into trouble!”

He ran a hand through his immaculate hair, eyes darkening with fear of what could have happened.

Harry brushed off his concerns, “Don’t worry about it you made them leave,”

“No, you don’t understand! Harry, they would have done unspeakable things to you! What if I couldn’t defend you?”

Harry froze as his words sunk in. Would they be like Vernon? She shivered at the prospect of going through a beating like that again.

“Then I would protect her. You are my hatchlings. I will bite all that dare harm you,” Zaphara said. She fully came out of Harry’s coat stretching to give Tom a small flick of her tongue.

Tom was right, they need to be hidden, but how? She desperately wished that nobody paid attention to them. Harry gave a small gasp, as she felt her magic respond to her wishes. She moved forward to grab Tom's jacket. Her magic spindled around them, shimmering before dissolving away. Locking her eyes with Tom, she saw crimson creeping into his eyes at the feeling of her magic dancing across his skin.

“Brilliant,” Tom softly said, looking at her as if she had all the answers in her hands.

“Hatchling Harry, that was great thinking! Now no non-magical will notice hatchlings,”

“Thank you? I just wished for no one to see us,”

Holding out his hand to her, he asked, “Where to next?”

Zaphara flicked out her tongue, before directing them to another street.

The wind had blown clouds over the sun when they finally arrived at a street called Charing Cross Road.

“Look for the sign of a Cauldron,” Zaphara excitedly hissed.

“There!” Harry said, pointing to an old run-down building.

People walked passed the building, it seemed strange that no one noticed it was there. They quietly slipped in through the door right behind a tall man dressed in funny garbs.

“This is where the entrance to the land of magic is held,” Zaphara said.

She herded them past the tables towards the back of the pub. In the back of the pub, they came to a brick wall.

“Tom, place your hand on the center of the brick wall and push some of your magic into it,”

Tom concentrated on sending small waves of magic into the bricks. They looked up in wonder as the bricks fell, dissolved into thin air revealing the magical world. Stepping in, they saw lots of shops that offered many bizarre things. One shop was advertising brooms while another had cauldrons for sell.

“Wow,” they both said.

Harry craned her neck as she saw a pair of owls fly past them.

“It is a lot to take in, but this is your rightful home. What we need to do now is to head towards the white building of gold. The little creatures, I think they are small warriors? They will tell you about what gold you have. You hatchlings are special only a few magically kind can speak my tongue,”

"Alright. Do you think they will be able to help us find someplace to stay for the night? It will get dark soon and I don't want us to be out here at night,"

Zaphara gave a thought hiss before saying, "I think so?"

Tom gave her an incredulous look, "You think so!"

"Tommling worries too much," the snake huffed.

Harry let out a small laugh at the new name for Tom. They headed towards the large building in the distance; with them occasionally stopping to gaze into the shop windows.

“Newt! Wait!”

Nagini was having a hard time keeping up with the overly energetic Magizoologist. Today the Magical Menagerie had a clutch of Runespoors hatch, and Newt was excited to learn what their first thoughts were. Rumor had it that snakes were born with some knowledge already. Which was why she was being dragged through the Diagon Alley today.

After Credence left her, she had taken to traveling around. She would only come back to London whenever Newt needed her assistance. He was currently studying snakes and wanted to get accurate information on them. So naturally, he wanted to speak to them thus Nagini came in, to translate.

Losing sight of him, she huffed out a muttered curse. Dressed in his favorite blue coat and Hufflepuff scarf. He should be easy to find in the sea of black robes, but he had the uncanny ability to disappear into thin air. Turning around, she strained her ears for his familiar voice. Instead, a young female voice caught her attention.

“Could we come by later and get some ice cream?”

Following the voice, she heard another float by.

“Of course we can! My hatchings are going to be pampered. You missed so much of what hatchlings go through. First catch, first shedding, and oh! So many things we have to go through!”

A young male voice floated through the crowd as she got closer to the speakers.

“Zaphara, we’re not actual snakes, you do know that right? We can’t shed skin, and we can’t do other things snakes can do,”

Hissing laughter could be heard behind a group of wizards walking by.

“My, you have so much to learn Tom, but don’t fret! I’ll teach you and Harry all you need to learn. Let it not be said that Zaphara doesn’t care for her hatchings,”

What Nagini saw surprised her. Walking around was a pair of young children who could be no more than seven or six years old. The girl had wild black curls and was quite thin with a snake draped on her shoulders. Her companion was a bit taller than her, with equally ruffled black hair but wasn’t as thin as her. They wore old hand me downs. The boy had a bag slung over his shoulders. Both children were focused on the snake as it directed them towards Gringotts.

Nagini snorted the building of gold? She could see how a snake could think that. Now, what should she do? The children seem to have come from a poor home environment, and they were clearly Muggleborns. Plus, they were the only other Parselmouths she has found in Britain so far, and if they readily accepted a snake as a friend, maybe they'll accept her as well.

Making her decision, she quickly walked up to them. Pulling up a warm smile and in a gentle tone she said, “Hello there,”

The boy stopped walking and quickly pulled the girl behind him, his posture shifted to exclude a cold air of fierce protectiveness.

“Who are you, how did you find us?”

Nagini held her hands up in a soothing motion. The snake reared its head up in a threatening movement, mouth open showing its fangs.

“Leave my hatchings,” she hissed.

“Don’t worry, I’m Nagini, I’m not going to hurt you," she hissed back.

The boy and the girl exchanged glances, one full of suspicious and the other with glee.

Flicking its tongue out the snake hissed out, “You’re a false snake,”

“No, Zaphara she’s like us!” The girl chided the snake. The snake adamantly denied it stating, “She’s cursed blood, I can smell it on her,”

Before Nagini could say anything about that, a cheery voice reached them.

“Nagini! There you are! I lost you back there. Imagine my surprise when you weren’t behind me when...oh! Who are they? They’ve got a pretty powerful Disillusionment there, almost didn’t see them,” Newt said as he came up to them.

Curious green eyes glanced up at him, “Do you also speak snake?”

“Whoa!” Newt looked at Nagini with unsuppressed excitement.

“Did you hear her! She spoke parseltongue! Nagini what did she say? Is she like you?” He rambled on.

Nagini noticed how the girl shrunk back hiding behind the boy her grip on him tightened. He focused immediately on her as he turned and whispered soothing words at her moving his arm in a half hug.

“Calm down Newt. You're scaring them,” she scolded him before turning back to the children.

“This is Newt Scamander, he is overly energetic on anything magical creatures. Parseltongue, is what we were speaking, is a rare trait. Hence his excitement,”

Newt gave a little bow before holding his hand out for the boy to shake. The boy gave it a hesitant look before taking it. “I’m Tom, this is Harry, and the snake is Zaphara,”

“A pleasure, where are such young children heading to anyways?” Newt asked avoiding asking the real question.

“The white building of gold,” The girl, Harry, such an unusual name for a girl, shyly said.

Newt turned to look at Nagini for an explanation.


“Oh! We can take you there if you want,” Newt offered.

“Can we trust them?” Tom hissed at Zaphara. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air before replying. “The man is trustworthy. I can’t tell with the false snake one,”

“She seems nice enough,” Harry piped up.

“Alright,” Tom said.

Nagini held her hand out for Harry to hold on. She watched as Tom stiffened and Harry's hesitation before grabbing on, not once releasing Tom's hand. Newt came up to Tom’s side, giving him a large smile before launching into a discussion about parseltongue. Tom and Harry looked on, absorbing the information like a sponge.

A short walk later, they stood in front of the large white marble building. The children looked up in awe at the grand building.

"Are those the small warriors?" Harry asked, glancing at the two guards on the doors. Zaphara let out a hiss of agreement.

"They're Goblins, never mess with them," Newt said.

Ushering them inside they accompanied them to the teller.

“After we are done with your business here, would you like to join us to meet some Runespoors?” Newt asked the children.

“What’s a Runespoor?” Harry asked.

“It's a magical snake. They have three heads,” Zaphara answered.

At the same time, Newt replied, “Three-headed snakes,”

Harry turned to look at Tom, making puppy eyes to him as she begged to go. Tom let out a defeated sigh before agreeing.

“Ask for a test of blood,” Zaphara hissed at them as they neared the teller.

“An inheritance test, it will tell you what you are entitled to. It can tell you things such as how much money is to your name or what titles you can have,” Nagini clarified.

Tom nodded in understanding before stepping up to the teller. Sitting on a tall chair was an ugly creature that sneered down at them.


“We would like to take an inheritance test,” Tom said in a clear, serious voice.

The goblin observed them, “For the whole group?”

“No just two,”

“That will be twenty gallons,”

Zaphara bobbed her head at the goblin before turning to Tom. “Tell him you’ll pay after,”

“We’ll pay after the test,”

“No, you pay now or no test,” the goblin sneered at them, looking critically at their appearance.

“We don’t have any money, what are we going to do?” Harry whispered to Zaphara.

The goblin regarded the interaction between the children and the snake while tapping his nails on the desk. Nagini looked at Newt over their heads motioning with her head at them.

“Don’t worry Tom, we got you covered. Here,” Newt deposited the gallons on the desk. Harry gazed at the gold coins watching them shimmer in the light. Tom gave a tight nod, and a strained thank you. The goblin greedily took the coins before jumping down.

“Follow me,”

Before they follow, Tom questioning looked at them.

“We’ll wait for you here,” Nagini said, releasing Harry’s hand. Tom gave a small nod of acknowledgment, and Harry gave a small grateful smile.

“Good luck!” Newt called after them as they followed the impatient goblin. Harry gave one last wave to them before the pair disappeared behind the pair of doors.

“Well, Nagini, what do you think about those kids?” Newt asked her.

“They seem to be neglected, I might even say abuse on Harry’s part. Poor things, I know how it is when no one cares about you.” She glanced down at her hands as they moved to the waiting area.

“You think they ran away from wherever they’re from?”

“Yes, I think they might be orphans, they’re similarly dressed, and the way they act may suggest that,”

Newt gave a small hum as he tapped his fingers to his mouth. “If that’s the case I can ask Tina if she wants to adopt them we got plenty of room even with the little one,”

“I wish I could, but I don’t think the ministry will allow me to,” Nagini bitterly said. Newt gave her a sad smile as they move to the grey couches and chairs.

"If Tina doesn't want to adopt them I'll see if I can find someone who will be able to take care of them. Maybe you can set up visiting days with them if that happens," Newt offered her.

They settle down for the short wait, Newt already formulating a plan of action and Nagini giving her input.

Time dragged slowly away, the sunlight fading into the dark colors of dusk. Nagini had become worried, the children have yet to appear. Did they somehow slip away from them? It hurt to know that they could have done this without a second thought, but she imagined it would be safer to leave instead of trusting two strangers.

Newt quickly glanced at the large clock again for the umpteenth time. His leg jumping up and down with nerves. He finally broke the silence with a question.

"We're not going to see the Runespoors today are we?"

Nagini gave him a look, "No, we're not,"

The bank was quickly emptying, with a few wizards and witches doing last-minute errands when a globin came up to them.

“You are Newt and Nagini, am I correct? The young children are unable to meet with you at the moment. We will send a letter for a time to meet as soon as they are able,” the goblin then turned around without waiting for their reply.

“Wait! What happened to them, are they okay? Do they have somewhere to stay at least?” Nagini called out.

The goblin turned and gave them a smile that showed all his sharp teeth. “Why, yes they are. As wards of Gringotts, the goblin nation will not let anything befall on the new charges,”

The goblin soon disappeared deeper into the building, leaving them both standing in surprise.

Newt looked at Nagini, confusion written on his face. “Wards? The goblins never take any interest in Wizarding matters! What did they discover to warrant such attention from them?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t like it. I hope they're okay, but there’s nothing we can do today,”

They quickly left the bank and stood outside, each in their own thoughts.

"I'll come by tomorrow to check on them," Nagini said.

"Okay, just be careful you know how vicious goblins can be, and can you let me know what happens?"

"Of course," Nagini said before turning to the direction of the Leaky Cauldron.

"And Nagini? I'll talk to Tina about them,"

Chapter Text

Soft footsteps echoed out in the dark, marble floors glistening as flames burst up lighting up the hallway. Tom felt Harry tighten her grip on his hand before she let out a shaky breath. The young goblin led them past black smooth steel doors and deeper into the yawning darkness. They went past numerous corners and turns until they reached a non-descriptive door.

“This will be your temporary chambers until you have decided on the goblin nation’s proposal,” the goblin said while opening the door.

Tom leaned inside to see a grand open area with a large bed in the middle, a small dresser in the corner, and two other doors facing each other.

The goblin pointed at the door to the far right, “That leads to a washroom, and the other door leads to the young misses room,” he said pointing at the other door, with that done the goblin quickly took his leave.

Ushering Harry inside, he quietly shut the door. Tom stood there for a moment, thinking about everything that had happened in the past few hours, turning only when he heard a small whimper. Harry had ended up on the ground in front of the bed with her knees drawn up, facing away from him, Zaphara draped over her hissing softly. What they found out earlier was both a blessing and a curse. Making his way towards Harry, he reached out a hand towards her, only for her to flinch back. Her tear-stained face looking at him in fear.

“They were right, I am a Freak,” she miserably whispered.

No, you’re not,” he fiercely whispered back, kneeling in front of her.

Seeing her like this made his heart clench, but he pushed that feeling back. He didn’t know if it was him feeling that way, or the soulbond making him feel this way. Finding out that they shared a soulbond and that it influenced them made him question all his feelings towards her. Where his feelings towards her not really his own? Did he only want to help her because of the soulbond? He felt conflicted about this. He was glad that no one else could have Harry, but now he couldn’t even trust himself. He shook his head, right now, he needs to help her.

They were wrong. You are so much more! Nobody can say that they are first in line for the title of Mistress of Death,”

“Yes, hatchling Harry, you are special indeed. Do not fret,” Zaphara hissed.

“I don’t care! I’m not even from here! I’m going to disappear! Just like Rainstone did,” she sobbed out.

Finding out that Harry wasn’t even from here but from some other alternative universe was a shock for the both of them. Tom had noted, the way Ragnok’s eyes widened in hunger as soon as the name Rainstone appeared. Of how his smiled became feral when it showed the title she was able to inherit as soon as she gathered the three Deathly Hallows, the items that insured her stay here. Tom remembered the way, Ragonk’s eyes gleamed wickedly when he told them she was going to disappear from this reality unless she gathered the items and held the title of Mistress of Death. Of the way, he sent Tom a cruel parody of a smile when he said Rainstone was someone like Harry, who came to the goblins for help but died trying, getting his magic ripped away from him. Leaving his vault to the next sorry soul who ended up in a situation like him.

Tom got closer to Harry until he was able to gather her in his arms. She looked up at him with dull green eyes, “I don’t want to go back,”

Zaphara warped herself around them both, sort of in hug, before speaking again, “We won’t let you go back hatchling,”

Zaphara is right, Tom thought. Harry was not going back, he was not going to let that happen.

“Zaphara’s right, we won’t let that happen! We’re going to find the Deathly Hallows and help you become Death’s Mistress,” he held her tighter as she wrapped her arms around him, “we’re stuck with each other, remember? And if I don’t want you to go back, then I mean it. Got it?”

She nodded her head and grasped him harder; in between shaky sobs, she kept repeating the words, Don’t leave me.

“Never, I promise,”

Lifting her, he made his way to the large bed. Leaving the soft light of the candle burning on the table, they huddled under the soft blankets. Tom gripped Harry tightly as she gave another shuddering breath. She trembled softly, letting out soft silent sobs. He rubbed her back soothingly, murmuring reassurances in her ear. After a while, she let out soft breaths, her grip, relaxing.

Tom rubbed his eyes, blinking bearly at her and brushed a few strands of hair away from her tear-stained face. Puffy eyes closed as she slept a dreamless sleep. He buried his face into her hair, finally letting his tears slip past. She has been the best thing in his life so far. He wasn’t going to let anything take her away from him. Especially not something such as another dimension.

Tom heaved a trembling sigh, he was such a fool. What did he think? That they were going to come to the Wizarding World and everything was going to be better? They are orphans for crying out loud! At least now he knew, nothing changes.

Oh, how he wanted to crush both the magical and non-magical worlds in his fist, to bring them all to their knees for making him and Harry suffer. How he wanted to squeeze the life out of Ragnok when he dangled the bit of information the goblins had in exchange for Tom’s future support. For making him choose between Harry and their freedom. It was all he could do to ask for some time to decide.

But would placing themselves under the care of the goblins be that bad? Maybe they’ll be able to still have some freedom to do things of their own? But with what he has seen of the goblins so far, he doubts it. Treasures are everything to them.

Tom gritted his teeth at feeling how powerless he was, even with a name with power such as Slytherin. The only good thing from his mother. She didn’t even bother with leaving him a trust fund. No, the name Gaunt was worthless by the look of disgust the goblin had. Even the shack that was left would be nothing but a dump, unlike the manor that Slytherin left. He was extremely grateful to know that he had something, even if he couldn’t touch it until he was 15, though having a fancy name did nothing to solve their problems right now.

Zaphara uncurled herself from their bodies moving above their heads before quietly hissing at him, “Hatchling you must sleep now, worry at daybreak if you must, but sleep now,”

Tom looked up to see Zaphara’s chocolate-colored eye staring at him, “I can’t Zaphara, there’s too much going on! And this is unfamiliar, what if we aren’t safe?”

“Sleep my hatchling, I will look over you and Harry. I protect my hatchlings from harm,”

Tom trusted snakes, they were the only things that never lied to him. So with a defeated sigh he snuggled closer to Harry and closed his eyes.

Tom blinked open his eyes, it felt like he only closed them a few minutes ago, but it helped immensely to clear his mind. The candle was still burning strongly, throwing dancing shadows against the wall. Harry was still sleeping calmly in his arms, snuggled closer than before.

Zaphara shifted above him moving her dark head towards him, “Did you sleep well Tommling?”

Tom gave her a rare soft smile, it felt oddly comfortable to be worried about even if it was a snake who was worried, “Yes, and it was all thanks to you,”

Returning his attention to Harry, he disentangled himself from her. Her small hand gripped his shirt tightly and she mumbled something under her breath. Tom gave a small huff of laughter, she was always needy during sleep. It quickly died as he realized it could be because of her past with those animals. Releasing his shirt he carefully tucked her in, wrapping the soft silky sheets around her.

Satisfied he turned to Zaphara, “Zaphara can you watch over Harry? Protect her, while I’m gone?”

“And where is my Hatchling going?”

“I’m going to gather more information on what we have gotten ourselves into. We need to make an important decision and I’m not going to make it with half of the information,”

“What should I tell Hatchling Harry when she wakes?” Zaphara softly hissed as she coiled herself around Harry’s head.

“Tell her that I’ll be back. I went to find more information,”

With that Tom turned and crept out of the room. Finding himself in the same hallway as last night he crept forward. The small glass spheres floating on the walls burst into flames as he moved, lighting up the area. Moving forward he went deeper into the tunnel. Letting his magic out he pushed it out to feel what was inside the doors but he came face to face with an invisible wall of magic on the doors. Pushing on it he noticed how flexible the wall was, holding strong to his efforts of pushing in, Fascinating. Looking up at the other doors he noticed that they had similar magic to them. He’ll have to do it the old fashion way then. Turning the door handle he found the door locked. Cursing under his breath he moved forward trying all the doors, one of them is going to be unlocked, he was sure.

Time crawled slowly by and Tom was getting more and more frustrated with the endless amounts of locked doors. They didn’t open with magic or any tugging he did. Letting out a frustrated sigh he turned back around and was faced with an old, wrinkled face staring at him. Jumping back he started at the hunched form of an old goblin dressed in cream-colored robes, swath with colorful pieces of fabric, chains with jewels threaded throughout its outfit, holding a worn wooden cane.

Amber eyes glittered with amusement, a smile creeping up its face, “What are you doing here youngling?”

“I...I, who are you?” Tom demanded, trying to move away from the door.

The goblin gave a small chuckle, “Youngling forgive me, I forgot of your new status in our nation and how new everything must be for you. I am the Healer Mage Bleedingheart, at your service.” Bleedingheart gave him a small bow. “Now, I know you are far from where you're supposed to be. Why is that?”

Tom stared at the goblin blankly, new status? What was she talking about?

“I don’t understand. What status are you talking about?”

The goblin’s eyes wrinkled in confusion, “Your status as our ward. Were you not informed?”

Tom shook his head numbly, sinking on his knees. They took the decision from them. They can’t escape now, they’ll be stuck with a debt to the goblins.

Bleedingheart looked at Tom curiously, “Why are you despairing, youngling? It is an honor for your kind to be considered as a ward of the goblin nation. We rarely accept any wards and you’ll be given the same rights as one of our own.” She kneeled down to Tom’s level. “Pray tell what is the matter?”

“You know very well why! Ragnok said he would let us decided! But now…now, you took our freedom away!” Tom spat out.

The goblin quickly stood up as Tom’s magic swirled out of control. Banging the wooden cane on the ground Bleedingheart encased Tom in a clear sphere. Tom scrambled to his feet, a look of pure terror on his face.

“Let me go! I can’t leave Harry!”

“Calm down Youngling, I won’t hurt you. Breath and pull your magic back in, I’ll let you go then,”

Taking large gulps of air, Tom focused on gathering his magic back in. Focus, he can’t lose himself right now. Long agonizing seconds passed by as he wrestled with his magic until it settled around him in a comfortable cocoon.

Throwing a glare at the goblin, he muttered, “Happy?”

“Why yes, thank you. Now, what's this about taking your freedom away? Being our wards does not mean that. While we do appreciate anything you are willing to give us in return, you and your bonded being in our care is enough. Just imagine the reactions of the wizarding world when they hear that a true heir of one of their most important historical figures is under the goblin’s care!” Bleedingheart gave a crazed laugh, “Ah, this will show the wizards to not mess with the Great Goblin Nation!”

Tom’s brow shot up with the new information, “Then why would Ragnok not tell us this? Why go through all of this? What does he want to accomplish?”

The goblin shrugged her shoulders, “How should I know? Ragnok is the head of this branch he does what he needs to do for the branch. You, on the other hand, are Salazar Slytherin’s heir, known as the most cunning, so start acting like it. Now, why are you here?”

A frown quickly appeared on his face, the goblin was right. He didn’t survive on pure luck but on his resourcefulness. Maybe he can get some information from the goblin, “I was looking for information about the goblins, the wizarding world, and soulbonds. I would like to know what I’m getting myself into,”

“Ah, a library is what you are looking for, but it does not contain all that you seek,” the goblin leaned forward, Tom stepped back, but the goblin brought her cane down and tapped Tom on his shoulder before continuing, “No, what you want to know is if you can trust yourself,”

Was he so easily read that the goblin knew what he was really looking for? Or was this some kind of magic? Carefully keeping his face blank he met the goblins glaze, “What?” Tom watched the goblin turn her thoughts around in her head before speaking again.

“Soulbonds are scarce things that Mother Magic occasionally gives to those who deserve them. Ragnok is wrong in his information of soulbonds for they do not force themselves on to the intended but grow with them instead. The feelings you experience towards your bonded are not caused by the bond but from what is happening at the moment and past experiences you have had with her. For the first meeting, the bond does give a little push to be known, which is natural so both intendeds know, but it does not persist,”

Tom felt a weight being lifted from his shoulders, hope flutter in his chest at the thought of still being in control. It came crashing down as a thought worm its way in, what if Bleedingheart was lying?

“How can I trust what you say?”

“I’m a healer youngling, our oaths include being truthful to our patients of which you are one of mine,”

One less problem to focus on now, Tom thought. At least now he knew more about what a soulbond meant. Plus it looked like the goblins were serious about them if they were already sending in a healer to look at them.

“I assume you will keep all information about us to yourself then?”

Bleedingheart gave him a crooked smile, “Why of course young heir,”

Tom gave her a smirk, “I have an important question about Harry’s condition, which I hope you can point us in the right direction in acquiring the items needed to cure her,”

“Ah, yes,” Bleedingheart pulled out a small book from her robes, “I believe this book will give you some clues of what they are and a starting point in your search,” she said handing the book to him.

Tom read the title The Tales of Beedle the Bard and questioning looked at the goblin, “This sounds like a child’s tale are you sure...Zaphara! Where’s Harry?”

The smooth body of Zaphara quickly slid up Tom’s leg, curling around him until her head was level with his face, “She’s with the false snake, we need to go back! She smelled like prey, we must hurry,”

Tom quickly turned back towards where he came from, “Can you tell me when we get close?”

Zaphara gave a small nod. His thoughts went back to Nagini, how did she find them? What did she want from them?

Bleedingheart momentary stood there, after seeing Tom converse with the snake, before quickly following them.

A small hand reached out from under the covers seeking the familiar warmth of another, “Mmm, Tom, where are you?” the sleepy voice of Harry came out.

“Hatchling you’re awake!"

The hand froze, covers lifting up to reveal Harry’s ruffed head, “Zaphara? Where are we?”

Zaphara gave a surprised hissed, “We’re in the building of gold with the small warriors. Are you okay? You are starting to smell like prey,”

Everything came crashing down as she remembered the events from yesterday. She started to breathe in short breathes as panic started to consume her. She wasn’t from here, she was going to disappear, or did she already disappear? All she knew right now is that Tom was gone. He was probably left behind! A sob broke out from her. Nobody wanted her here, she was only a freak here and now she was alone.

Zaphara climbed up her arm, “Hush hatchling. Tom will be back soon! Do not worry Tommling will be back. He only went to gather information,”

Harry shook her head, “No, Zaphara can’t you see? We left him! We’re not there anymore!”

“But hatchling we are still at the building of gold. Tom will be here soon. You and Tom are nestmates, right? Nestmates don’t leave each other,”

“We left. I thought soulmates were supposed to be together, but we left him! Don’t leave me, please,” her voice shook as she turned her head to Zaphara who had slid back down on the bed.

“You are my hatchling I won’t leave you and we didn’t leave Tommling either. I’m going to bring him back, you will see,”

“Please don’t leave me! I don’t want to be alone, not again,” Harry softly whispered, eyes glistening with unshed tears.

Zaphara desperately wished she could do more to comfort her hatchling at that moment, but she only knew that bringing Tom was the best thing to do, “I’ll be back soon, I promise,”

Fear bubble up in Harry’s chest, she felt like she was alone in the cupboard again, tears started to slid down her face, “Please! I’ll be good! Just don’t leave me,”

Sliding back on the bed Zaphara climbed onto Harry’s lap, she wasn’t about to leave her hatchling in this state, “Alright, I’ll stay only for you,”

A large groaning sound was heard from above the door, creaks sounded as the vent was unable to hold the weight before falling with a loud bang. A small hissing noise was heard from above before it too fell. A large pile of dark coils formed on the ground. Harry huddling back into the covers with Zaphara quickly putting herself in front of her.

“Who’s there!” Zaphara hissed aggressively.

On the ground, the coils shifted revealing a large head. Harry peeked from the covers seeing the pile uncoil, slithering towards them.

“Zaphara, Harry where is Tom?” a familiar-sounding voice said.

Zaphara released a hiss of relief, “False snake,”

“Nagini? You’re here! Wh...what are you doing here?”

Relief and confusion flooded Harry. They didn’t go back, she was still here in this universe. Tom was still here, she wasn’t alone. Harry quickly wiped her eyes trying to erase the remaining tears.

The large head of a snake appeared on the edge of the bed, “I came to see if you and Tom were okay. After waiting we were told you were under the goblins care. We were worried about you guys. Why are you crying, dear?”

The air shifted as Nagini’s form morphed into her human body. Moving forward to pull Harry in a hug, she saw how Harry violently flinched backward, causing her to stop in her tracks.

“I’m okay it was nothing,”was the mumbled reply.

Zaphara moved forward, “She needs Tom. He will know what to do, but I can’t leave her alone. Will you...can you stay with her?”

“What happened? Where’s Tom?” Nagini asked but her questions went unanswered as the small snake swiftly slid towards the door sliding underneath it, “I guess I can?”

Shifting back into a snake she slowly approached the hunched form of Harry. It seemed to be the best form for now, “It’s alright Harry, I won’t hurt you,”

Wrapping her large body around Harry she gave her a small squeeze. Letting out a soft hiss, she placed her large head on the girl’s lap. Looking up at Harry she softly hissed out reassurances.

“Nothing’s right! I can disappear any minute and I don’t want to disappear! I don’t want to go back! I...I don’t want to die like Rainstone,” Harry sniffed out.

She tentatively put her hand on Nagini’s head, giving her soft hesitate pats, “How are you a snake? Is this why Zaphara calls you a false snake?”

Nagini let out a rough hiss, “It’s complicated. But what’s this about you disappearing?”

“It’s hard to explain, but I don’t think Tom really cares,” Harry sniffed out. If Tom really cared he wouldn’t have left her alone would he? She felt her heart slowly break as the thought echoed in her head. Was he only pretending to care? Nagini’s rough sibilate voice interrupted her from her spiraling thoughts.

“Tom clearly cares about you. I could see it from your interactions with him yesterday. I don’t think he would leave you on purpose, not with how possessive he is, never letting you go. No, he cares deeply about you,” Nagini flicked out her tongue tasting the air, relieved to know that Harry was calming down.

Harry took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm her buzzing thoughts, “You really think so? But...what if he changes his mind, with everything that we have learned he might not want to be my soulmate anymore,”

“He wouldn’t do that, not to you. You are too special to him,” Nagini nuzzled her head into Harry’s hand, providing comfort the only way she can.

Harry gave a watery laugh. She was special to him? Maybe only because of the soulbond, a small treacherous voice said. No one ever thought she was special, but he made her feel special, long before they knew. Maybe he really did care. Tracing patterns on Nagini’s head, Harry felt her cheeks flushed red, she was feeling rather foolish now that she was calm. Nagini and Zaphara are right. He even said he wouldn’t let her disappear, but could they really find the Deathly Hallows?

“What if we can’t find the items and I die like Rainstone?”

Nagini didn’t know what she was talking about but didn’t want her to panic again, “You won’t die, not now. And you have us now, we’ll help you,”

“Why?” Harry couldn’t understand why anyone would want to help them, especially some complete strangers who didn’t know them.

“Because I was once like you and I don’t want you or Tom to suffer as I did,”

Before Harry could respond the door burst open to reveal Tom and another figure behind.

He rushed forward to her speaking quickly, hands wanting to hold her but not yet touching her, “Harry! Are you okay? Zaphara said you were panicking. I’m so sorry, I thought I was going to be back before you woke up,” a guilty look quickly flashed on his face.

His glance dropped onto Nagini as she slid off Harry, brows scrunched in confusion, “Nagini?” Before receiving an arm full of Harry. Catching her, they toppled to the floor in a heap of limbs.

“Tom! I thought we left you behind! I…I thought I disappear,”

“Oh, Harry. I’m sorry I didn’t think about that,”

The raspy voice of a goblin sounded above them, “I’ll be checking your magical core for this. I was a young apprentice when Rainstone first came here his magical core was quite damaged, he only lasted a couple of months. Each month deteriorating quickly until there was nothing left. Now, then let’s get you younglings checked up,”

Harry looked up at the goblin, everything about her excluded power, the shimmer of the jewels and metals to the colorful wraps, “Oh, hello,”

“Harry, this is Bleedingheart, a healer,”

Looking back down at Tom, Harry felt her heart flutter with happiness. Tom was still here. She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him fiercely.

“Don’t you ever leave me like that again, you hear!”

“I won’t, I promise,” he said, returning the embrace.

“Yes, well if one of you can sit on the bed for me we will see what we need to worry about,”

Quickly standing up, Harry jumped back on the bed. Bleedingheart murmured a few words in a strange language. Moving her cane in circular before tapping her on the head, a soft glow surrounded her before fading away. In the outstretched hand of the goblin, a small roll of parchment appeared.

“You may stand,” Bleedingheart said, gesturing at Tom to come take Harry’s place, while she glanced at the roll of parchment.

Repeating the process she took both parchments and compared the results. Humming a light-hearted tone she summoned a quill from her numerous packets and started writing on the parchments. Harry nervously looked at the parchments while Tom impatiently tapped his fingers on his arm. Nagini and Zaphara were quietly conversing in a far corner.

When Bleedingheart finally finished marking up the parchments she gave them a mischievous look before speaking, “Good news is both your magical cores are healthy for a witch and wizard your age. I believe there is no need to worry about young Harriet here disappearing, yet, but I suggest getting checked every month to keep an eye on her core,” here her expression changed to a frown, “Bad news is that both of you are physically unhealthy. Miss. Harriet here has numerous badly healed bones that need to be rehealed and a severe case of malnutrition. Mr. Tom here has a less severe case of malnutrition but some particularly worrying burn scars on his back that need to be looked at. Nutrition potions for the both of you, I’ll schedule a time to properly heal Harriet’s bones and Tom’s burn scars,”

Bleedingheart pauses for a moment to think before continuing, “The last thing I want to touch upon is Harriet’s peculiar scar. It seems to have contained serious black magiks, but now has no remnants of it being there, just residue magik. I’m afraid to say that because of the nature of the scar I won’t be able to remove it. Any questions?”

They stood there stunned by the information, before exploding with questions.

“Black magic! What, how? Is it dangerous now?”

“Burn scars? Tom, were you even going to tell me about them?”

“Umm, well were you going to tell me about your badly healed bones?”

“Hush now children. I know this is a lot of information to take, how about I send in some parchments over with more details about all this?”

“Yes! Please,” Harry said, a heavy weight lifting up from her at the knowledge of being safe. The fear of going back to that place fading away, they still had time. Now she could truly enjoy herself in this new world.

Zaphara slithered over to Harry, picking her up she let her coil around her arm. Hissing proudly, “Hatchlings, I have secure the false snake’s loyalty,”

“I simply agree to help you with their care, Zaphara. Don’t over embellish our agreement. I mean if you children would like me to,” Nagini appeared behind them, nervously wringing her hands.

“A Maledictus,” Bleedingheart whispered, “I am sorry for your fate,”

Harry looked up to Tom in confusion but she saw the subtle wrinkle of his forehead and knew he was just as confused as she was. An unnatural growling sound emitted from her breaking into her thoughts, she felt her cheeks heat up with embarrassment.

“Oh! We need to feed you. Come along younglings I’ll lead the way,” Bleedingheart said. Opening up the door and leading them out of the room.

Harry received a meaningful glance from Tom before he offered his hand to her, pulling her after Bleedingheart and Nagini.

Chapter Text

In the peaceful silence of the evening, bundle up in new clothes graciously given by Bleedingheart, Tom and Harry were surrounded by a small pile of books and paper. Harry tucked neatly into his side was absently stroking Zaphara while reading the small book of fairy tales that Tom was given. Nagini was seated at the foot of the bed listening intently on Tom’s words.

“From what Zaphara has told us you are willing to help us with all this. You made a serpent vow to her, why?”

Nagini let out a long sigh. She could tell them nothing at all and keep the past buried behind, but that would do nothing to earn their trust. No, she wanted them to trust her, to rely on her, she wanted to be accepted, so when the cursed took hold she wouldn’t be left alone. Settling her mind to a soft calm, she began her tale.

“It starts with a blood curse passed down through all the women in my family. My mother wanted to give my father children. She gave birth to a boy. She thought she could have another one and be lucky again, but I was born. My mother had hoped I wasn’t cursed, and at first, it seemed like I wasn’t, that is until I was four.”

Nagini paused, she could still remember the fear of her first transformation. The panic consuming her as she hid from the terrifying screams and feet of the other children. Of the sharp pain of abandonment. Of the way, her mother had looked at her before turning her back to her.

“Mother had left me with the rest of the children, and we were fine until I was frightened. One of the boys had crept up behind me, and well, it was the first time I transformed into a snake. When she came back, she wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t even tell me what had happened or why. She only took me far from our village and left me deep in the forest. An elderly lady, Ninala, she took care of me until I was taken away from there. I was then forced to be a spectacle for a traveling circus. A few years ago, I escaped with the help of another. We were friends until he joined the Acolytes and I stayed with Newt. With each transformation, it quickens the curse. Eventually, I won’t be able to become human again. I will be stuck as a snake,” Nagini said, giving them a strained smile.

“I know what you might have gone through, and while the goblins have offered you a place to stay, they often can’t show companionship in terms we can understand. I want to be there for you, and in turn, I hope you will be there for me when the time comes.”

Acolytes, Tom had only heard whispers of them while on the way here, but from what he gathered they were a dangerous group. He felt Harry stiffen by his side. From the corner of his eye, he saw a frown grace her face, the spark of emotion blooming in her emerald eyes. The book lay forgotten as she stretched her arm out to Nagini.

“Of course we will be there for you! That’s what friends do.”

Tom gave a start, Friends? “Wait, Harry! Are you sure about this?”

She gave him a lopsided smile, “Of course! She did help me out this morning, and well she already promised Zaphara to help us. What else do we need from her?”

Trust, Tom grumpy thought, “I can think of a lot of things. We can’t just rush into these kinds of things.”

“But, Tom!”

Tom looked away from her, but she moved in front of him and gave him her best puppy eyes, emerald eyes impossibly wide shining bright with emotion.

Tom swallowed, looking anywhere but at her, he was not going to succumb, “That’s not going to work this time!”

“Please! Pretty please!” She drew closer until he couldn’t look away. Letting her lip quiver for a better effect, she went and buried her face into his shirt.

Please, Tom, do it for me,” she whispered.

Tom felt his resolve break. In the time they have spent together, she had already found a way to get what she wanted, and he wasn’t immune, yet. Letting out a tired sigh he relented, “Fine.”

Raising her head up she let out a happy woo. She moved to go, but Tom wrapped his arms around her, “Your not going anywhere, my dear. Especially after what you pulled.”

Harry blushed, she couldn’t help the warm feeling that filled her up. Getting comfortable she leaned back into him, letting him have his way with her. A content sigh escaped her as he stroked her hair.

“Well, Nagini, what we are going to tell you right now is of utmost importance. No one can know. It will stay between us or Harry’s life will be in danger. Agreed?”

“I promised to keep anything said today between me and those involved, bound by serpent tongue,” Nagini shimmer as the vow took effect.

Tom looked at Zaphara, “Is this a serpent vow?”

Zaphara merely gave a lazy hiss as a response.

Taking that as a yes, he returned his attention to Nagini, “When we took our inheritance test we discover that Harry was not from this universe. She’s from a different reality, like in the books. I’m guessing because she successfully came here it allowed her to be able to inherit the title of Mistress of Death, but that’s the problem. In order for her to become the Mistress of Death, we need to find the Deathly Hallows. They are necessary for her to stay here with me. If we don’t find them then she will end up like Rainstone, dead.” Tom paused, wrapping Harry in a tight hug when he felt her stiffen.

Everything was becoming clearer now. No wonder the girl was so distraught this morning, but it still left some things unanswered.

“Was that all you found out on her test?”

Pulling out two pieces of parchment from his pocket he flattened them out and handed one to Nagini. Nagini looked at the parchment scanning for a reason as to why the goblins would be so interested in the children.

“We found out we share a soulbond and Rainstone left a vault to anyone who was in a similar situation as he was. It’s not much but it's something. What else did we learn Harry?”

“There was nothing about my parents only that they were deceased. I guess because...they don’t exist here. Oh! and when my birthday is!”

“Yes, July 31st, we’ll have a grand party for you,” Tom softly said, hand ruffling her hair, letting it pouf up.

Nagini considered this information and what the parchment had written on. There was nothing out of the ordinary, other than the title and soulbond. Was it because of the soulbond? They were rare cases and almost nonexistent at the moment. Or was it something more? Could the goblins have found something of importance on Tom’s test?

“What about your test Tom?”

“Ah, well on mine it gave me my parent’s names, and the vaults I will be able to inherent. Gaunt’s worthless shack and Slytherin’s Manor. Why?”

“Slytherin? No one’s been able to inherit the manor since the death of his grandson. Only a true heir can inherit anything Slytherin left,” Nagini muttered. Newt had brought her up to date with the British Wizarding history and he talked about the four founders of Hogwarts and the vital roles they played in creating the wizarding world they lived in today.

Harry scrunched her face up in confusion while Tom’s grip became harder, “A true heir? Explain,” he demanded.

Nagini was startled from her musings at Tom’s demand, “I’m not well versed in the history here. I can only tell you about what I have learned. Newt would be better at this. There are four important wizards in history that many just refer to as the founders, Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. They were the ones that decided on creating a safe place for children to learn magic, Hogwarts, which you’ll both go to in a few years, and they were also the leaders of the golden age in Wizarding Britain. They were also said to be gifted by magic itself. It’s because of this that true heirs exist. Magic decides who is worthy to be a Lord or Lady of one of the founder’s house. There has not been an heir for years, the only ones known to be so are the grandsons of Gryffindor and Slytherin.”

“So magic picked Tom to be the heir?” Harry turned to look up at Tom, face splitting into a large smile, “that means your going to be the greatest!”

Tom huffed out a small laugh, “Only for you.”

A small smile appeared on Nagini's face at the sight of them, “I’m going to freshen up, all right.” she said, before getting up.

She was near the bathroom when Harry came up to her, “You can stay in the room next to ours! We got two rooms but the bed is big enough for us to share so you can have the other room!”

Harry took her hand and led her to the other door which revealed a room with a similar look as the one they were in. Looking down at the small girl Nagini gave her a large smile, “Thank you,” she turned to look at Tom on the bed, “the both of you, thank you.”

The door closed with a soft click behind her leaving the children alone. Harry skipped back over to the bed and settled next to Tom.

“Now what?”

Tom peered at her from the pile of parchment he was reading before giving her a grin, “Now we plan.”

The children had spent two nights within the catacombs of the Gringotts, and today Ragnok was going to secure the alliance of the next powerful wizard and witch in the century. They will be able to change the current laws and may even allow magical creatures the right to a wand again. But he needed to play his cards well to entice the children to follow through. With the information, they were able to dig up on the Hallows, and anything about the legend of the Master of Death he was sure that they could come to an agreement. The true heir of Slytherin would do anything to keep his soulmate with him.

A sharp knock sounded, putting on a friendly smile he called out for them to enter. It quickly slipped off as he took in the people who came in. While he was expecting the children to enter, he did not expect the boy to carry himself with such confidence. The girl no longer seemed as meek or depressed as he had hoped, instead, she was glowing with happiness and was attempting to copy her companion. Behind them came a tall, dark skin woman with black hair pulled up in a messy bun. The dark green snake warped around her. She was not with them the first time they came in, so how did she enter the building? He had placed strict orders for no human visitors unless she was the snake that they let pass. No Matter.

“Good Morning Ragnok, May your gold overflow and your enemies fall at your feet,” the young heir said, shortly followed by the young mistress and lady.

Maybe allowing them access to the library was not a very bright idea.

“And to you as well young heir and heiress. Have you come to a decision on our agreement?” he flashed sharp teeth at them, smiling widely as he saw the brief flash of fear in the girl’s eyes. The boy’s eyes narrow slightly before he spoke.

“Yes, we have thought about your deal, and after thinking things through, I’m afraid we must decline. Your agreement has many faults, one which is that we are already wards of the goblin nation. Not only that, but I do not like being controlled like that.”

Ragnok gave him a hard stare, looking for any sign of a bluff, before softly cursing in his own tongue.

“Who told you,” he softly said, anger dripping off his words.

Tom smirked at this, “Classified information I’m afraid.”

His express smoothed out back into a blank mask at the glare Ragnok sent.

“Just tell us what you really want from us, maybe we can work something out in return for taking us in.” Harry fiercely said.

Ragnok focused his gaze on to the small girl, dressed in the finest silks that they can acquire, she no longer looked like the mistreated street urchin from before. A guided hand here and there, and they may still be able to sway them to their side. Both will prove to be influential by their age of majority he just needs to play it safe.

“Of course young heiress and heir. I apologize for my earlier transgression for I indeed have hoped to use your future influence but not for my gain but for the nation as a whole,” he gave them a crooked smile, “you see your kind sees us as inferior and overtime laws have passed to demonstrate that. I only seek to ratify this.”

The woman spoke up at this, “Do you mean to give creatures their rights back? Upturn the existing laws?”

He gave a small nod, “That is my hope, but I can not do it alone,” he glanced meaningfully towards the children.

Tom spoke up at this, “Regardless of what you want to do, you tried to coerce us into an unfair agreement. I can not let that slide. You have no claim to us or ours. We are wards of the goblin nation and that will be all, as the nation has taken us in as such. Nothing more and nothing less.”

Tom glanced at Nagini briefly before pulling Harry flushed into his side. They had discussed at length about the heirship and Nagini had agreed it was a wise decision to get it now. Something about making alliances now to reap the benefits later on. “I would like to accept the Slytherin heirship. Since I’m a true heir I am able to gain access to it at any age, isn’t that so?”

Ragnok grimace, “Yes, you may.” Pulling open a drawer he took out the paperwork for the Slytherin vault and a small black box. Presenting the papers to the young boy he said, “Before taking the heirship would you like to change your namesake?”

Tom shook his head no. In another place, in another time he would. Now, she shared his last name making it special, “I just request that whatever changes happen now apply to Harry as well.”

“Of course.”

With a flourish, Tom signed the paperwork, legally becoming the Heir of Slytherin, Tom Marvolo Slytherin Riddle. Ragnok opened the box to reveal a small golden band with an emerald on, twin snakes wrapping around the gem holding it in place, an elegant S carved in gold. Putting it on Tom felt the magic surrounded him slightly adding a heavy pressure on him before it disappeared, the magic rushing into him leaving him a bit winded. Next to him, Harry quivered a bit at the overwhelming feeling of magic, her arm around him holding him steady. He blinked his eyes open, when did he close them? Looking around he saw Nagini hovering beside them, and Ragnok looking at them critically.

Ragnok had another small box out, he pushed it forward, “For your bonded.”

Harry looked to Tom, and when he gave her a nod she opened it to reveal a similar ring with a smaller emerald and only one snake curled around it instead. Putting it on she felt the gentle caresses of magic before it faded away.

“That is the ring a future lady of Slytherin would wear before the marriage bond. Once you two have been officially bonded the ring will become the ring of Lady Slytherin. At the age of fifteen, you will receive the Lord ring. For now, the rings will protect you from a few minor spells, against Legilimency, and certain potions. Anything else Heir Slytherin?”

“No that will be all. Thank you Ragnok.”

Walking out Tom felt a little surer about their future but, was still wary of falling into everyone’s clutches. He wouldn’t let that happen. Harry sensing his turmoil slipped her hand into his. Looking at her he saw a soft smile grace her face, “Don’t worry we’ll figure it out as we go. Plus we have Nagini to help!”

Glancing at the Maledictus who had advised them so far, standing awkwardly a way off, he let out a soft laugh, “You know you don’t need to be so unsure of us. Whatever you and Zaphara agree on we don’t mind.”

She smiled widely taking a few steps forward and placed a hand on top of them, “I’m just letting you two have your moment. Great job in there you both held strong and didn’t show any weakness. I’m proud.”

Those two words made Tom feel something funny inside him, no one has ever been proud of him before. Maybe having Nagini around won’t be that bad. Beside him, Harry blushed a pretty rose color at the comment. Yes, Nagini will be good for them.

“Yes, well-done hatchlings.” Zaphara reaffirmed.

They headed back to their rooms their future a little brighter.

Chapter Text

Steam billowed out of a black cauldron, wafting over the small room. Severus Snape was hunched over a wooden table, sleeves rolled up, swiftly cutting thin stripes of fillet of Fenny Snake for the waiting potion. It was during these times of calm he could fully focus on his potion research. No blubbering fools or sniveling children to disrupt his potion.

Feeling satisfied with the neat stripes he moved to get dandelion roots and proceeded to chop it up into small pieces. The knife clatter to the ground as a sharp pain bloomed up his arm, burning him from the inside. He hunched in on himself, clutching on to his arm where the dark mark was burned into. Clenching his jaw to prevent a scream from ripping out as small invisible needles pierced him from within. The pain slowly ebbed away leaving him panting. Removing his hand from the Dark mark he saw it pulsed an ugly red, faint color returning to it. A surge of panic threatened to drown him. This was bad. It meant Dumbledore’s predictions were coming true, only far too early. The Dark Lord was gathering power again.

Leaving his potions lab he hurried out onto Spinners End. Taking quick steps he found a quiet unassuming ally and apparated to Hogwarts. Arriving outside the front gates of Hogwarts he made his way to the castle. Thoughts of what could have happened swirl in his mind. Dumbledore needed to know immediately.

Arriving in front of the gargoyle he whispered the candy theme password and waited for it to move aside. When it didn’t, Severus knew it was because Dumbledore wasn’t here. Grumbling under his breath he disappeared with a swish of his dark robes down the corridor in search of Minerva.

In another part of the world, deep in the dark forest of Albania, a small snake slither along the leaf cover ground. Red eyes gleaming as it looked for its next victim. The small body seized as pain coursed through it leaves strewing about as the snake trashed about. Its nerves burning as its body began to shut down. A cloud of smoke rosed out of the still body. It shifted to form a vaguely human shape. Ruby eyes shining through as it took sight of its surroundings.

Voldemort relished in the moment of clarity. It was as if a veil has been lifted from his eyes. He could see how foolish he was for following the damn prophecy. The idiocy in making so many Horcruxes, how insane he had become as the war drew on. All thanks to Harriet Potter, his unintentional Horcrux. She who had nourished the small shiver into something more, feeding it her silly dreams of love.

It had retained a few of her memories and he knew how badly she was treated at her muggle relatives’ house. A disgrace for the girl-who-lived and a fate far worse than what he had to endure at the orphanage. A sinister laugh escaped him as he recalled her last moments. Dumbledore’s little light hero killed by the very people he tried to defend. A fool is what he is for trusting muggles with a magical child. If she had lived he would offer her a hand and take her away. After all, he could mold her into something more and she did hold his soul for him. But alas she had died letting his soul return to him. Now is the time to plan for his return and he will return more powerful than before. Never again would a magical child suffer again. In a swirl of black smoke, he rushed out of the forest, heading back to Britain.

Minerva dipped the quill back into the ink and continued to outline her classes for the following school year. In two more weeks, the letters were going out and she would be busy organizing the professors’ visits to the Muggle-borns. Then she would need to help out with the preparations of the castle and hear Severus bemoan about the first years.

The sound of scratching and the fire burning were the only sounds for a bit until the door banged open. Severus stalked in, robes flying behind in the way only he can make. He dropped himself onto her couch in front of the fireplace and dropped his head in his hands. She raised an eyebrow at him but continue on with her work, finishing the selection she was on. Once done she wrote a note to the house elves to bring a set of tea, before walking up to him. Immediately a teapot and cups appeared on the table in front of Severus. Raising his head he looked up at her.

“Tell me, Severus, what has got you in such a state? Didn’t you say we were not to interrupt you this month? And now you barge into my office like this, did you honestly miss me that much?” she teasing asked, easing the building tension in the man as she settled down in a chair beside him.

Severus grimaced, “I wish that was the case, but I came to talk to Dumbledore about the Dark Mark. It acted out a while ago.”

Minerva paled, “Is he back?”

He shook his head and rolled his sleeve up to reveal the swollen red mark tainted black, “Not yet, but he is gathering power earlier than what Dumbledore predicted. Do you know when he will be back? I went to his office first but he wasn’t there.”

“He should have been here by now, he only went to drop off some papers at the Ministry.”

She reached forward and prepared a cup of tea to calm her nerves. Hands slightly shaking as memories from the first war rushed forward. The vicious fighting, the dead bodies awash with blood, the constant fear of being attacked, and the loss of loved ones. The first war was one of the bloodiest in wizarding history and not even five years have passed since then. It was too soon for another war.

“Is Lily’s child safe?” Severus thankful interrupted her thoughts from becoming any darker.

“Albus placed wards around her home. If anything got through he would know immediately.”

Severus internally groan. They were always careful of what they said regarding Harriet’s location. He was not going to endanger her. He just wanted to make sure she was receiving the best care possible. It was the least he could do for Lily, after everything. Trusting Minerva for the moment he picked up the tea kettle and poured himself a cup and settle to wait for Dumbledore’s return.

The hours dragged on as they waited for any indication of Dumbledore’s return. Talk going from their teaching plans to the potential first-years to even idle things they saw or did in the last few weeks. It was during Severus rant on a pair of neighbors that anything of interest occurred. The fire turn green flaring up, before a face appeared.

“Professor McGonagall? Are you here?” The voice called out.

Minerva approached the fireplace, “I’m here, what can I help you with?”

“Ah nothing, just came to tell you that you’re the temporary Headmistress of Hogwarts until Dumbledore goes to trial. After that, we’ll see what happens.” The head bobbed up and down in the fire.

“I...What do you mean on trial? You must be mistaken!” Minerva exclaimed.

“Aye, he’s being charged for the negligence of his duties as the magical guardian of The-girl-who-lived! Rumor has it she’s dead! Sad day today, losing the savior by the hands of Muggles,” he spat out the last part, Severus gasping behind her, “well you’re in charge for now. Good evening Professor.” He said before disappearing.

Severus knew of only one Muggle which she could have been placed with and it didn’t give him any comfort, “Minerva…Muggles? Tell me it wasn’t Petunia.

The guilty look that quickly slipped on her face told him enough.

“Petunia hated Lily! She’s the worst person to have custody of Harriet! Can you imagine the abuse she must have gone through?” He furiously yelled.

“Now Severus, calm down! I didn’t agree with Albus either!” She paused to take a deep breath before continuing, “but he said he was going to be monitoring the place to ensure no harm fell on her. I tried to convince him to leave her with someone else, such as Andromeda, but he said it was for her protection that she stayed with a blood relative. The wards could only be activated if she was with them. I’m sorry I should have tried harder.”

She couldn’t bear to look at Severus’ expression. If only she had tried harder, had thought of other alternatives she could have prevented any of this from happening. But what had happened? Did he not add the protections? Many questions were going through her mind and each poked holes in the image she had of Albus.

Severus had flopped back on the couch, a miserable sob escaping him. Lily’s precious girl was dead, presumably by the hand of Petunia and her whale of a husband. If he knew he could have saved her, could have protected her from them. If he...only if he didn’t...if only...why her? Why did Lily have to die? Why did she have to bring a child to light in the midst of the war? Why was he cursed to have everything he holds dear ripped from his? First, it was his mother, then Lily, and now her child. He remembered the child as a small babe, all he could see was Lily in her, nothing of James. Even if he had made amends with James, he didn’t have any fond feelings any time he thought of him. He could still remember little Harriet, soft and gentle as Lily, bright intelligent green eyes peering out at him, and soft black curls adorning her head. An innocent that he brought ruin to.

Severus felt a hand on his shoulder, looking up he saw Minerva’s worried face. Concern eyes roamed over his usually impassive face, “It’s not your fault Severus.”

“But it is! I told the Dark Lord! If I hadn’t they would still be alive! It’s all my fault, not yours or Dumbledores”

She huffed a little and sat down next to him hands folded in her lap, “Your too stubborn for your own good, you know that? We can go on for hours on who’s fault it is but, in the end, we all played a role,” she rubbed her face, “our actions have consequences and we must live with them, no matter how bad they are. All that we can do now is make things better.”

No matter how much Severus wanted to deny her words he knew she was right, “In their honor.”

They continue to sit in silence, lost in their thoughts and guilt, long into the night.

A cackle of a mad man echoed through the dark, dank cells. Howls of crazed laughter sounded soon after, with mutters of curses following shortly. In the corner of a small cell, a large black shaggy dog lifted its head up. It perked its ears up as the name ‘Dumbledore’ floated by.

Time at Azkaban flowed differently for Sirius. He didn’t know if it has been weeks since they threw him here or years, all he knew was that it was his fault that they were dead. All he knew was the pain of finding their lifeless bodies on the ground, empty eyes staring out, accusing him of their deaths. Each time the dementor came by he could hear their voices, and it broke him every single time. He could hear James laughter, see Lily’s glowing smile, and hear little Harriet’s giggle. All gone, and it was his fault. At least Harriet was going to be given a better life than any he could ever give. Well, that was what he thought.

Rumors at Azkaban spread quickly, like wildfire, so when Dumbledore was thrown in one of the holding cells at the main level everyone knew. With his appearance came the news of his goddaughter. Dead, they say, but he couldn’t, wouldn’t believe that. Harriet was alive. He knew she was. Dumbledore should count his lucky stars that he didn’t go down to his cell and ripped him apart for letting those filthy Muggles harm his sweet little Bambi. She shouldn’t have experienced that mistreatment shouldn’t have paid for his crimes, but now he will make it right. While many of the inmates were celebrating the disappearance, of the girl-who-lived and the fall of Dumbledore, he has been planning his escape. Today Dumbledore was going to be picked up for his trial, all he needed to do was be ready.

Sirius listened carefully for Bellatrix’s crazed laughter. She was the most vocal when they brought in Dumbledore and he was counting on her taunting Dumbledore to let him know when to move. When he finally heard her throwing insults to Dumbledore, he slipped through the bars and padded down the hall. Slinking into the shadows he slipped past the dementors, chanting a single name in his mind Harriet.

Finally feeling the start of a breeze he tried to slow down his steps, he couldn’t mess this up. Perking his ears up he slinked down low dragging his belly on the cold, wet steps. Sirius felt glad his Animagus form was a black dog instead of something like a stag, it easily allowed him to fade into the background. Quickly slipping into the shadows again, he spotted the team of Aurors with Dumbledore at the edge of the island, before they disappeared with a crack.

Taking a moment to finally breathe the salty tanged air he shifted back into his human shape. He let the feeling of wet air blow over him, enjoying the first moment of freedom, before taking those last shaky steps to the apparition point. Standing there he took one last look at the hell hole, before disapparating.

Landing on the ground with a harsh thump, he turned over as he heaved. Wiping his mouth he let out a grimace. Looking around he landed in a covered area; trees and bushes hiding him from view. Shifting into his dog form he quickly left to look for food, Azkaban's policy on food was very lenient. Sniffing out some discarded food a moment later he realized he landed close to the Leaky Cauldron.

Quickly gobbling up what he found he moved over to the entranced and sunk into shadows to wait until someone opened the door. Letting his thoughts wonder he tried to form some sort of plan to find Bambi. He couldn’t go to Dumbeldore since he was the reason Harriet was gone. Remus, well he didn’t know where he was and he didn’t know if he could trust himself after what happened. That left his grandfather, Arcturus.

Arcturus never joined any side of the wizarding war preferring to stay out of the way, cowardly hiding behind his wealth. Though Sirius knew he was full of the pureblood propaganda, he was the only choice. He had the money and power to look for Harriet if Sirius can convince him to help.

The bell jingled as someone opened the door, letting cool air rush out. Slipping in Sirius headed to the back. It was a quick wait and soon he was heading to an apparition point. Looking around he shifted back into a human and imagined the edge of Black Manor, before disappearing with a crack.

Rolling over he coughed up some blood. Well, that wasn’t good he thought. Oh and now his vision was blacking out. Hmm, maybe he’ll just lie here and take a quick nap before heading up to the manor. His vision swam as he lifted his head, he closed his eyes, yeah a quick nap was an excellent idea.

Sirius jerked up, his hand outstretched words dying on his tongue. His arm went limp as his eyes glazed over, the scene replayed in his mind again. James and Lily calling for him to save them, asking him why, with their lifeless eyes and mouths gaping open. Reaching up he pulled at his hair curling into himself, the bedsheets slipping off him.

Breath Padfoot, Breath. In and out. There we go just Breath.

Blinking away the sudden tears he realized he wasn’t outside anymore, instead, he was on a large spacious bed in one of the guest rooms of Black Manor. He had been removed from the prison rags, and now had on some loose trousers and a black shirt on. He did not want his first encounter to be of him passed out on the lawn, but beggars can’t be choosers. Getting off the bed he crept to the door, opening it a crack to look outside the hall. Seeing the hall empty he made his way to his Grandfather’s study.

Pausing before going in he saw the fireplace on, throwing shadows against the walls lighting up the dark room in their mystic dance. Entering he saw a figure standing in front of the window looking out into the dark. Before he could utter a word the figure turned.

“You finally decided to quit your tantrum, didn’t you?” the raspy old voice of Arcturus sounded in the eerie silence, “Now you want something from me, even after you have forsaken our family. Do you take me as a fool?”

Sirius felt fury crawl up his throat, his hands forming into fists. How dare he accuse him of throwing a tantrum! Did he not hear the rumors?

“Are you comparing being thrown into Azkaban as having a tantrum! I would have thought you would be glad that your grandson was finally taking the mantle of purging the world of muggle-borns and halfbreeds! Following in the footsteps of a dark wizard!”

Arcturus final turned to look at him, his eyes shining with unrestrained fury. “You do take me like a Fool! Foolish boy, do you not see! I didn’t take any side on either of the wars! My only concern was the survival of the Black family name! I don’t care about what you believe in,” he paused, breathing harshly before he continued, “I knew you didn’t commit the crimes, but I also know enough about you to know that you feel it was your fault they are dead and that you deserve it. I also knew you wouldn’t have wanted my help, not until you were ready.”

Sirius felt all the fight in him drain off, as Arcturus said those words. Stumbling on to his knees he looked up at the man, “You knew.

“It's been five years since I’ve been stuck in that hell hole and all this time you knew!”

“Yes. I knew you wouldn’t do that to the boy you saw as something more than a brother. You followed him and Dumbledore’s cause like a blind man. You and every single other Black followed someone blindly,” he shook his head shifting to sit on a leather chair in front of the fire. “Sit now, we can’t have the last living heir of the house of Black on the floor now?”

Sirius stood on shaky legs, moving to a chair before collapsing into it, “It was only a crush back when we were in Hogwarts, I was with Remus before they went into hiding.”

“Ah yes, the Wolf,” Arcturus said with contempt.

Sirius bristled at that but remain silent; instead, he asked about the heirship, “Heir? I thought I was removed by dear old mother.

“You were but since you’re the last remaining Black I reinstated you as heir, and even if she could she’s dead now,”

“But… but you knew! And you didn’t do anything to help me!” Sirius still couldn’t get his head wrap around the fact that he knew.

“Would you have accepted my help?” His grandfather asked.

Sirius grappled for an answer before shaking his head no.

“I knew you wouldn’t have accepted my help, especially if you felt you deserve it, so I waited until you were ready. Is it really my fault you waited almost five years to ask for my help?”

He was at a loss of words. Sure his grandfather could be cruel and pompous, but how was he supposed to know he would have helped? It gave him a spark of hope, “Does that mean you’ll help me get Harriet back?”

Instead of answering Arcturus held out a rolled-up copy of the daily prophet to him. Opening it up the first thing he saw was Dumbledore’s face after his stay at Azkaban. Looking back up to Arcturus, he simply waved him on to read it, “I think you’ll enjoy knowing what they did to him and the Muggles,”

Looking down he began to read the article eyes widening as a grin spread across his face, “Dumbledore no longer has any power,” he squinted his eyes as he saw the date on the paper, “How long was I out!”

“You have been out for three days,” was Arcturus' nonchalant response.

“What! And there hasn’t been any news about my escape?”

Arcturus turned to look into the fire, a smirk appearing on his face, “The daily prophet has been too busy dragging Dumbledore’s name through the mud. Wait a few more days, and they’ll find out. If you read the article carefully you can see that all efforts to find your goddaughter are under minister control, headed by Madam Bones. Many are split between the hope that she is still alive and the fact that she may very well be dead. But first, we need to clear your name before we can make any efforts to find Harriet.”

“But we’ll find her? You’ll help me get her back? Right?” Sirius begged.

Arcturus looked at him for a long moment before continuing, “Yes, but in one condition, you produce an heir to carry the Black name.”

Sirius looked at him in shock, “But Remus,”

“Did he tried to help you?” Arcturus demanded Sirius shook his head no, “Then he doesn’t care for you, if he truly loved you, he would have done everything in his power to help you.”

Sirius rolled the words in his mind. Would he have helped Remus if their sides were switched? Yes, he would, so why didn’t he tried? It hurt a lot to finally accept the truth after so long.

“James would have done it for you,” his grandfather said after a while.

Something akin to hope, futtered in Sirius's chest before he violently stomped it back down. Not again, he was not going down that road again, he thought he was over him by now. He needs to be, for Bambi. But could he be able to love someone again? Forget about James? After Remus’s betrayal?

“Alright, I’ll do it but after we find Harriet.”

“Then we better get to work if I want to live to see any great-grandchildren from you,” Arcturus said releasing a low chuckle at the end. He paused as a thought entered his mind, “What will you do if we find her?”

“Take her back! What else am I going to do?” Sirius exclaimed.

If the Potter child was still alive would she even want to come with them?

“What if she doesn’t want to come with you? What will you do then?”

“I’ll um I’ll show her why she should come with me!” There was no way Sirius was going to leave Bambi wherever she was.

“So you’ll take her away from where she’s happy to be with you?”

Sirius felt like he was slapped. He was right Harriet could be happy, but she wouldn’t be attached if they found her quickly, “You’re sounding as if it will take a long time to find her.”

“If the Ministry hasn’t found her yet then it may take a few years before we can find her, then again they don’t have the ancient Black Library. She must have used some very advanced magic if they haven’t been able to locate her,” approve colored his voice.

Sirius grumbled, “We’ll deal with that later when we find her.”

Arcturus stood up from his chair, “Well then Grandson, I suggest you go eat something and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we will prove you're innocent.”