Harry's summer begins the way his summers have begun ever since he left Private Drive: with fun and chaos. He spends the first week back in London, experiencing restaurants and historical buildings, museum exhibits that are only on for a limited time, and playing with some of the local kids in a conveniently located park not far from the bookshop. This is all typical and expected by Harry for his summer. His birthday will come along and he'll see his friends, visit magical places in Britain like Stonehenge, and other stuff like that but he's never gone beyond the Irish sea. So, for the first time in Harry's life, he gets to travel abroad when Crowley has a tempting to perform in the south of France.
Aziraphale remains in London and this leaves Harry and Crowley free to enjoy a range of activities the angel would otherwise forbid them out of worry. They come across Hermione at one point by chance when Crowley takes them to Paris—deciding to show Harry some of the spots the demon remembers rather fondly for his and Aziraphale's antics during the revolution. Harry is not impressed to learn that his uncle Zira was in line for beheading because he wanted crepes. Hermione happily gives Harry his birthday present early, not remotely concerned when Harry panics and realises he won't be able to give Hermione her own until they're back at school if he doesn't see her again before term restarts. Crowley takes them both to the Louvre for a ‘private’ tour of their collection not open to the public to make up for Harry's lack of gift and gets the life almost crushed out of him by a very happy teenage girl with significant upper-body strength.
Whilst in France, Harry and Hermione both learn of the Weasley family’s fortune with the Daily Prophet prize draw at the same time. They send a letter to Ron and save a copy of the photograph of the Weasley family on the front page. Neither Harry, Hermione, or Crowley realise the significance of this win by the Weasley family or the photograph of the whole family for the whole of Wizarding Britain to see until long, long after its publication. Hermione invites Harry and Crowley to a meal with her parents after the visit to the Louvre on her parents insistence which leads to a lovely meal for Harry and Hermione that is an awkward affair for Crowley.
“So, mister- sorry, professor Crowley, you work at Hermione’s school?” Mister Granger asks, half-way through the meal which isn’t too bad but wasn’t the best. Crowley has been forced to actually eat food in front of these humans after Harry insisted he do it to blend in.
“Yep!” Crowley says, really popping on the ‘p’ on ‘yep’ and making the whole situation so much more awkward than he needs to. But he’s not exactly comfortable sitting around in a French restaurant that is no Ritz, having a meal with two humans and not his angel. Okay so Harry and Hermione make it more tolerable but they’re kids and apparently aren’t really meant to be talking about Adults Things like Jobs or whatever else the Grangers want to discuss. Like any of it is important when there’s two kids who are interested in learning and understanding and just seeking knowledge.
Crowley is not good at dealing with people generally. He leaves it to Aziraphale unless it’s for work. Which, speaking of work, it’s not like Crowley can just come out and tell the two very mundane humans that he’s a demon and performs temptations for hell in order to claim mortal souls in preparation for Judgement Day. Not when they think magic is so wonderful and great and are so proud of their little girl for being even more special than she already is. Which, another thing, why the hell are they proud of their kid for her achievements? Why not just be proud of her? Crowley and Aziraphale are happy and proud and love Harry for Harry, not because he’s smart or good with magic or any of that other rubbish.
The meal is one that Harry will happily tell Aziraphale when they return to London as being pretty fun while Crowley will grimace and give a “I’d have preferred dining with Hastur for three centuries, angel” because it’s true, he really would have, since Crowley has never been a fan of mingling with mortals who are gonna go off and die so quickly and can’t even conceive of anything other than boring monotony like Work and Jobs and Taxes.
How in all the circles of hell did Mister Granger figure Crowley would enjoy discussing taxes?
Because they're not in London, not in England, at the time, Crowley and Harry only learn about the escape of notorious criminal Sirius Black when Aziraphale braves his telephone and calls Crowley and mentions it in an “oh by the way” afterthought manner. None of them are aware of the connection between Harry and Black until Crowley and Harry return to London and Mister Weasley firecalls about it. At that point, Harry witnesses two celestial beings seconds from going supernova and quickly distracts them both with the new dog he's found outside.
“What do you mean ‘he could be after Harry’?” Crowley half-bellows in shock at the fireplace, hair standing on end like a thousand tiny snakes rearing to strike. His eyes are the brightest shade of gold Harry has seen so far and it’s a clear sign that the demon Crowley is about to Absolutely Lose It.
Unfortunately, Aziraphale isn’t much better. Harry sees the way light seems to emanate from his uncle ‘Zira, bright and clear and pure in the way mineral water is meant to be but isn’t really. It’s amazing to see but Harry has seen his uncle ‘Zira do some pretty terrifying stuff when he’s started to glow a little—that time with Quirrell in his first year, Harry hadn’t really noticed at the time, but there had been a glow to Aziraphale’s form that only faded after Quirrell was despatched.
This means that Harry makes it a point to be as loud and dramatic as possible when he calls out to his uncles.
“Uncle Crowley! Uncle ‘Zira! Come look! Look at what I found!” Harry shouts, making sure it carries—possibly with a little bit of magic but he can’t tell and it doesn’t really matter either—so that both of them respond. “Look! He’s adorable!”
Adorable is probably not the word Sirius Black would use for himself in his animagus form however, considering the fact that he’s currently in London, at a bookshop in Soho, with the intention of watching over his godson, he can’t exactly transform and complain about the use of the word ‘adorable’. Not unless he wants to get a right old smiting since he is technically an escapee from the only wizarding prison to not have any concept of due process.
It is from this point onwards that Harry James Potter obtains another pet-slash-familiar and brings his count up to three: two dogs and a snake. Dog-the-mongrel and Monty-the-snake are equally intrigued with Padfoot-the-dog for about as long as you would expect a hellhound and a snake to be interested in what is seemingly a mundane canine. Of course, only they are aware that the mundane canine isn’t at all mundane and don’t seem interested in actually mentioning this to their human.
“Why Padfoot?” Aziraphale asks at dinner that night and Harry gives him a shrug.
“Thought it fit,” Harry answers, trying to be sneaky as he feeds a chunk of chicken to Padfoot and Dog under the table each.
Aziraphale and Crowley both know he gives them treats even when he shouldn’t but neither of them really care to tell him off—for different reasons of course; it’s rebellious of him to feed them, it’s showing kindness and so on—so Padfoot gains a healthy amount of weight quickly. It makes the poor dog look much more well-cared for, more loved and generally just happier. He seems to dote on Harry to the point where Dog-the-mongrel takes to flopping on top of Padfoot just so she can get some attention from Harry as well.
It’s sickeningly domestic according to Crowley but Aziraphale catches him taking pictures too many times to really buy that argument from the demon.
The summer ends pretty calmly compared to how it starts out but the trip to Diagon Alley is a tense affair when Aziraphale and Crowley both realise so many people are staring at Harry in undisguised fascination. It’s disconcerting and just downright rude of them to stare at a child like he’s some spectacle just because of his family’s connections to a serial killer, but it’s disgustingly typical of humans to be Like That so even Aziraphale doesn’t feel bad about causing those open-mouthed onlookers to have an awful week full of misfortune and bad luck. It severs them right really.
Between the angel and demon, Harry obtains his whole school list in record time—though Crowley did not stop time he did cause enough chaos in isolated incidents throughout Diagon Alley to enable a more efficient trip with less queuing involved—and they’re back at the bookshop before it’s even three in the afternoon, giving Harry the rest of the day to himself.
He heads off for the park near to the bookshop, Dog-the-mongrel and Padfoot-the-dog following him obediently and spends a good few hours until five playing with a football someone left behind and playing kick-about with the dogs. It’s all quite mundane and a calming end to the day but Harry does notice, out of the corner of his eye, the flap of a cape or cloak disappearing around the corner at the end of the street just before he crosses the road and re-enters the bookshop. He doesn’t think to mention it to his uncles but both Dog-the-mongrel and Padfoot-the-dog noticed and they seem to be in perfect agreement about keeping Harry Safe.
The Hogwarts Express is, as always, loud, disorganised, and straight up an exercise in futility considering how dysfunctional wizards are in general but Harry and his uncles are adaptable and make quick work of the whole thing. That Aziraphale and Crowley make liberal use of miracles is neither here nor there. It simply is. Both angel and demon decide on taking the train this year, though they wisely do not inform Harry of this and make the mature decision to not spy on their son; instead stealing a nice compartment at the front of the train out from beneath a group of grumpy teenage boys who seem more interested in ogling anything with a skirt and breasts than contemplating actually thinking.
Hermione and Ron manage to get the compartment with an adult asleep who seems a little worse-for-wear but doesn’t wake up when Ron says hello to Harry a little too loudly. Harry, along with Dog-the-mongrel, Padfoot-the-dog, and Monty-the-snake, piles into the compartment and happily talks about this and that with his friends until the train is strangely stopped a full hour earlier than it should. This makes Padfoot-the-dog and Dog-the-mongrel both stand up, hackles raised as they growl in unison at the door. Monty-the-snake is curled around Harry’s neck but rears up and back in the typical defensive-attack pose of a snake. All three animals gearing to protect Harry and his friends.
The door to the compartment is pulled open just as the glass of it begins to ice up and the air turns chill. Harry thinks he hears an echo of a shout, a cry, a scream before Dog-the-mongrel is no longer growling but outright snarling and attacks whatever the tall, hooded shape is that stands in the doorway.
Harry shouts out along with Ron and Hermione, all three of them with their wands drawn, but they can’t seem to do much because the air is so cold it’s stealing the breath from their lungs and Harry’s eyes are darkening, his vision blurring more and more while the sounds of snarling and hissing are loud in the silence.
Then it suddenly all changes.
“Oi!” A loud, very pissed off voice shouts from down the train and Dog-the-mongrel suddenly finds herself no longer snapping and clawing away at a dark, ghost-like thing. Instead, the floating, hooded thing is trying to get as far away as possible from the rapidly approaching angel and demon who both having matching looks of Murder. “I don’t think so!”
A snap of fingers and the whole nature of the train shifts, cold air gone, ice melting rapidly, and Harry feels like he can breathe again. There’s no more echoes in his mind, no more strange blurring of his eyes and he looks up just in time to see his uncles move past the compartment with their matched murder looks and he lurches up to follow them.
A hand on his arm brings him up short and he turns, expecting it to be Ron or Hermione only to be brought up short when it’s the sleeping man instead.
“Stay here,” the man orders, stepping past Harry and out into the corridor, wand drawn. He heads in the same direction as Harry’s uncles and maybe Harry would listen to him—he’s a professor after all, if Hermione’s logic is correct—but his uncles are out there with something that made everything cold and dark and sad and he’s not just going to sit around and wait.
Which is how Harry, Ron, and Hermione get to witness the sight of what a dementor looks like with its hood pulled back while Crowley has a hand stuck in its chest and is rather cruelly tearing it apart for daring to attack my kid!
“That’s a dementor,” the wizard says, the one who was in their compartment, and Harry can tell the man is shocked by what he’s just witnessed. “You just killed a dementor.”
“Put it out of its misery, more like,” Crowley spits, shaking his hand free of whatever metaphysical dust it might have collected in the chest cavity of a dementor. “Thing was so hungry it went after a kid. Damned lucky I couldn’t draw it out.”
“Yes, well, much as I’d like to disagree, I do somewhat wish it could have suffered a little longer,” Aziraphale says quietly but it’s still plenty loud enough for anyone in the nearest three compartments to hear. This statement, incidentally, cements for the whole school the view that their librarian is absolutely Terrifying and thus should not be Pissed Off Ever.
“Harry, you all right?” Crowley asks and Harry nods. The demon comes over and pulls Harry into a half-hug with one arm. “Didn’t cause you no pain or anything?”
“No, just made me feel cold and like I couldn’t breathe,” Harry answers and Crowley’s half-hug becomes a full hug. Harry probably ought to feel embarrassed, being hugged by his uncle in full view of a load of students, but instead he clings to Crowley with the ferocity of an affection-starved child who just wants to be loved.
Crowley clings just as fiercely right back.
The train starts back up soon enough and the remainder of the trip to the school is quiet and filled with hushed gossip and discussions by the students. No one seems at all interested in the usual sort of drama seen on the train in the form of kids chasing each other, owls being let loose, stray spells and jinxes cast in compartments, and so on. The dementors were effective at curbing the whole pre-school-beginning jitters. The large quantity of chocolate miracled into the compartments along the train do much in restoring some of the joy and positive atmosphere usually witnessed on the train but still the echo of the dementors remain in the minds of the students.
The station is clear of dementors and this does much to reassure the students until they discover there are several of the things guarding the boundary of the school. The carriages pass between the line of dementors near to the gates of the school and several students find themselves feeling exceptionally weak, sickly, and one or two even black out for a second. Harry is in a carriage with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Ginny’s friend, Luna, and the ratio is equal enough in those who are severely affected by the dementors to those who aren’t.
Harry is pulled aside by Madam Pomfrey the moment he enters the school, after riding in the carriages pulled by some strange skeletal creature that Hermione and Ron didn’t believe existed. Harry had given up trying to tell them about the animals when they both gave him matching ‘are you crazy’ looks. Madam Pomfrey however—
“I’m not seeing things!” Harry exclaims the moment he’s out of earshot of the other students. Madam Pomfrey looks at him oddly. “There are horses pulling the carriages! I don’t know what they told you but I’m not crazy!”
Madam Pomfrey sucks in a surprised breath, something on her face telling Harry that his words are A Problem but he doesn’t know what. “Mister Potter,” the healer says and her voice is quiet and sad in a way that reminds Harry of uncle Crowley when Harry mentions growing up in a cupboard. “You are not crazy. Those are thestrals. Many cannot see them. You are one of a few of your peers who can.”
“Only witches and wizards who have seen death see them, Mister Potter,” Madam Pomfrey admits and Harry stares at her, eyes wide. “Yes, I can see them also. Most of the staff can.”
“Oh.” Harry feels small and looks away from the healer. “If- Why did you pull me aside then?” He looks at Madam Pomfrey who sighs.
“Because you were targeted by a dementor and they have a negative affect on most people, let alone a child who has been-”
“I gave him chocolate on the train, you know,” a voice drawls from the other end of the corridor and Harry looks at the source. It’s uncle Crowley. “I told you that.”
Madam Pomfrey frowns. No, actually she scowls at Harry’s uncle and Harry is more confused by that than anything. “The headmaster-”
Crowley snorts. “Come on Harry, you’ve missed that hat singing,” he says and Harry looks between his uncle and Madam Pomfrey who seems annoyed.
“I’m fine madam Pomfrey,” Harry says before following his uncle to the Great Hall. He has missed the hat singing but he’s in time for most of the sorting, slipping in between Hermione and Ron at the Gryffindor table.
Remus Lupin is introduced to Hogwarts in the typical fashion of Dumbledore introductory style: awkwardly. This however seems to suit Lupin just fine and the rather tired looking wizard is happy to generally be ignored by the students who have noticed the manner in which Severus Snape seems to be giving him murder eyes. Gossip is so hard to come by and imagination is not necessarily the strong suit of a school of students which is thusly why by the start of classes there are no less than two dozen rumours of a fraught relationship between the potions and defence professors. Jilted lovers, cheating spouses, and a whole other host of potential reasons for the sheer amount of loathing Snape is capable of generating for Lupin entertains Crowley and the demon adds some fuel for the fire by miracling some mocked up photographs of Snape staring longingly at Lupin for the students to share and gossip over.
Oddly enough, Lupin seems to find this all rather amusing and simply leans over Crowley’s shoulder one day in the staffroom to suggest the lake as a nice backdrop “for the next one”.
Crowley shares with Aziraphale what Dumbledore tried to get Pomfrey to do later, after the feast, and has to stop his angel from storming up to the headmaster’s office and going all Avenging Angel on him.
The school term has barely begun before Draco Malfoy reveals to Crowley that he is an idiotic child with no self-awareness and a lot of ego. Buckbeak the hippogryff is, in Crowley’s opinion, well within his rights to maul the idiotic child but Crowley prevents it because Malfoy is still a child and the demon has an unfortunate soft spot for kids—even annoying brats like Draco Malfoy. That doesn’t mean the kid gets off lightly however.
“Detention,” Crowley tells the pale-haired boy who is now a sickly pale colour matching his hair. Buckbeak’s talons came worryingly close to the brats face and perhaps he realises how close to losing his face he was. Either way, Crowley is more interested in making sure Buckbeak settles and is not aversely affected by Malfoy’s words. Sensitive lot, hippogryffs.
“What! That beast almost killed me and you’re giving me Detention! Wait until my father hears about this!”
Crowley looks down at the boy who glares at him.
“You ignored instructions,” Crowley says in front of the whole class who are staring with rapt attention at Malfoy getting chewed out. Metaphorically speaking. “I could’ve let him rip your face off to drive the point home to everyone but hippogryff’s have magical talons and Pomfrey wouldn’t have been able to repair the damage. Buckbeak is worth more than your ignorance being the reason he’d be killed,” the demon explains in that biting way he has. He’s driving the point home to Malfoy that Crowley didn’t save him for any reason other than for Buckbeak.
He did, of course, but Malfoy is so big headed that he can do with being treated as less important than a ‘beast’ right now. Maybe it’d teach him something, though Crowley doubts it. Malfoy will learn what Malfoy wants to learn and Crowley can’t save the kid from himself.
He can try and give him the chance to try not to be such a poncy berk however. So he gleefully decides Malfoy will have detention for the week with Aziraphale. The angel won’t thank him for it but Crowley knows without a doubt that the rumours of how terrifying the angel is will serve Aziraphale well when Malfoy starts being—well—himself.
Crowley reads the letter sent to him by Lucius Malfoy with a raised eyebrow accompanied with a ‘what the fuck am I reading this is absolute rubbish’ expression over breakfast in full view of the school. He may also make confused, amused, and sometimes offended noises as he reads through the fancy penmanship that means absolutely bugger all to Crowley. Draco seems inordinately pleased with himself up until the point where Crowley leans over and let’s Aziraphale read the letter after, at which point Malfoy pales as much as his hair and looks resolutely down at his breakfast plate.
Aziraphale gives the letter an efficient read through before calmly returning it to Crowley and sipping at his tea. To the regular outsider, they would presume Aziraphale to be unconcerned with the letter, however Crowley knows his angel well and the student body are disturbingly aware of the moods of their professors and librarian. Crowley knows Aziraphale is likely angry, possibly very Offended at Lucius Malfoy’s rather imperious, haughty tone in the letter—demanding Buckbeak be destroyed for attempting to attack his heir. Crowley knows the angel won’t lose his temper in front of the students—wouldn’t want to set a poor example, the angel would say, like it matters—and thus resolves to wait until later when he and Aziraphale are alone to hear what the angel’s opinion of Lucius Malfoy is. He has an idea of it already but he knows hearing it from Aziraphale’s own lips will be far more entertaining.
Harry’s first defence lesson of the year goes better than the first one last year with Lockhart but still disastrously. It’s better than the CoMC class with Malfoy being a prig but, considering what happens, that’s a low bar indeed. Lupin introduces the third years to boggarts with little advanced warning and provides a live demonstration that—as is the nature of live demonstrations—rapidly departs from his control.
Harry can’t say he doesn’t love the image burned into his mind of Snape dressed in the most horrific clothing Harry’s ever seen—and he grew up with aunt Petunia and her style—isn’t unwelcome and he gladly thanks Neville for providing him it. However, some of the fears of other students are not nearly as fondly recalled after the fact.
Just after Ron has faced his boggart—a large spider—and left it defeated—roller skates on eight legs is not necessarily funny but it’s still good enough—it’s Harry’s turn. He eagerly steps forward, already wondering what his greatest fear is, what the bogart will become. He considers Voldemort but after watching two versions of that lunatic get his arse handed to him by his uncles, Harry’s pretty sure his boggart won’t be Voldemort. A dementors too is a possibility but no, uncle Crowley dealt with the one that hurt him so... Really, Harry’s a bit at a loss and thus excited to find out what he’s truly afraid of.
Lupin, however, ruins that by getting in front of Harry. The silver orb—a moon, Harry realises—seems a little lacklustre for a professor to be afraid of really, but Harry wonders if maybe Lupin doesn’t like night-time and the boggart is a bit limited on what it can do to convey that. He’s a little disappointed as Lupin moves to cast the spell to repel a boggart when the door to the classroom opens suddenly and distracts the professor. Lupin, naturally, turns his attention to the door, body shifting in such a way that Harry, behind him, is visible to the boggart which responds to a new target to try and terrify.
Although Lupin states that a boggart cannot scare more than one person at a time, perhaps the professor doesn’t know that a boggart relies on the attention it receives when presented with multiple victims. Since Lupin’s attention shifts away from the boggart while Harry’s remains, Harry becomes it’s next target.
In another life, a different timeline that branches off before Harry’s rescue as a child from abuse, the boggart would take the form of a dementor for the Harry of that other reality has little to live for and hates needing anyone after growing up relying only on himself. The dementor is, as the Lupin in that reality would say, a representation of Harry’s fear of fear itself. Harry is afraid of being afraid because to be scared is to be weak and to be weak is to be vulnerable and to be vulnerable is to be a victim. Obviously this other Harry needs a lot of therapy and for the adults in his life to stop being so bloody useless but, alas, we are not interested in that other Harry. We’re interested in the Harry who has known love and acceptance from an angel and a demon.
And that Harry has a lot more to fear than fear itself.
Uncle Aziraphale and uncle Crowley are, Harry knows, not like most people. They’re not really people. But they act like people and it may not be the best act but it still counts. Uncle Aziraphale is always warm and kind, polite to a fault, and listens to Harry harp on and on about any old thing with that gentle smile of his. Uncle Crowley always knows when Harry needs to be left alone and when he doesn’t, gives him knowledge and access to stuff Harry has never had access to before. Both of them love him. He knows that. He knows.
“Why would we ever want you? You were just a job really, not worth the time otherwise,” uncle Aziraphale says and it’s such a cold, distant voice from uncle Zira that Harry- Harry finds he’s hurting just from the voice let alone the words. Those just dig deep and tear at wounds Harry doesn’t realise he has. “Hardly worth bothering with either really, you’re not worthy of any real affection, freak that you are.”
Harry’s heart is aching with pain he doesn’t know, doesn’t understand. He knows this isn’t real. It’s the boggart. It’s just a boggart. But... But... It still hurts.
“Oh bollocks to that!” Crowley barks and suddenly Harry is pulled away from the boggart, against Crowley’s side and the demon looks down at him with a fiercely protective expression. “That thing is just a sad excuse for a fear demon, don’t listen to a thing it says. Just uses your own fear against you and eats you when you’re too terrified out of your mind to notice. Not having that though. Not to you.”
Harry feels warmth flood him, emotionally and physically, as Crowley uses his own powers to bolster Harry against the damned boggart. The boggart, starved of its meal in the form of Crowley’s son turns its attention to him. It cannot touch anyone else in the room now, Crowley won’t allow it.
“Come on, give me a go,” the demon says, mockingly. “Curious to see if you can match hell or if you really are just a shitty excuse for pure evil.”
The boggart, faced with an immortal being that has seen and done things no human can ever understand is, of course, a little overwhelmed. It cannot, after all, turn itself into something holy, infernal, or divine. It can try but it shall always be a cheap imitation. But the boggart still tries, attempting to settle in the form of a glowing light with wings that seem almost invisible before shifting and trying to recreate the essence of God with visual cues only, before it expands and becomes a cloudy plain, screaming incoherently and loudly enough that the humans in the room cover their ears in pain. But none of it works on Crowley. It simply cannot become those things, it’s too limited for that.
But there is one form the boggart is not limited for. One that it can take and is more than likely one of Crowley’s greatest fears. The problem, of course, is that the boggart is a being intent on feeding on fear and does not actually understand common sense. Common sense would tell it to not do this if it wants to remain alive because there is no way that Crowley can react positively to this. But since it has no common sense and doesn’t understand what it is anyway—well—Crowley gets to witness his very own boggart in front of a class of thirty-plus third year students who already have a healthy respect for him.
Now they will have outright fear.
“You vile serpent.” The voice is harsh, cold, full of hatred at the same time in a confusing conundrum of emotion that makes the class shiver and draw back. Harry draws back, Crowley can sense it, and that fact pierces Crowley’s existence even as the boggart puts its all into trying to terrify him to paralysis. “You deserved to Fall. You deserved it! All those questions, all that doubt! You caused it—caused them to Rebel! You deserved to be Cast Out more than any other!”
It’s all true, Crowley knows. He knows it the way you know how the sun works; someone else tells you based on some Authority and Expertise and you don’t really question it once it becomes instinctive knowledge. Of course, Crowley is one for questioning but some questions... Some questions he dislikes thinking and some answers he thinks he’d rather not know. Okay no, that’s a lie, Crowley still wants to know. He’s too curious not to. Even if he regrets it after.
Usually he does.
“You’ve done this to me, Serpent! You’ve wounded me and you can’t fix it! Some healer you are!” the boggart snaps, hisses, snarls in ways that don’t at all fit the visage it wears. Only the visage is different, malformed, changed from what it should be into what it ought not. Blue is now sickly orange, blonde a pasty grey, soft smiles turned to sharp snarls. It’s a mockery of what is known and an affront yet Crowley doesn’t say anything. He simply stares at it.
“Do you like what you’ve done, Fallen? Do you? Does this please you—to have dragged me down to your level?” An echoing, barren laugh reverberates around the classroom, causing students to cling to each other in fright. “I was Holy and now—now I’m cursed like you. Fallen. I hate you for it. I hate you.”
“That’s fine,” Crowley says and his voice is a little broken, a little pained and there’s feelings the demon won’t verbalise but it doesn’t matter because Harry knows him and can see him and Harry will tell Aziraphale of this. But that’s not important right now. Right now—“hate is easy. Hates what I do. But him—that face you’re wearing—he’s forgiveness. And forgiveness—” Crowley brings his hands up, palms flat out facing up “only forgiveness is divine. And I’m all out of forgiveness myself.”
The boggart howls in rage and strikes at Crowley, wings sprouting from its back and that’s all Crowley allows the room to see before he draws forth on power he hasn’t used since the beginning of creation. The room goes white, sound disappears and yet all around, raw power bursting and twisting through every molecule, every atom, every quark, until just as suddenly as it began the room is normal again.
Except there’s a boggart missing and Crowley is holding a glowing, golden staff with wings and snakes entwined.
The demon turns around and looks at the class, staring shell-shocked at him. “Don’t suppose you all can not mention this maybe?” he asks awkwardly. “Angel’s gonna kill me.”
Aziraphale does indeed find out courtesy of Harry snitching on Crowley the moment the boy is able to—approximately twenty minutes after he gets away from his uncle Crowley who imposes upon him a thorough check-up that would impress even Madam Pomfrey. To say that Aziraphale is not impressed with Crowley’s actions is—to put it lightly—an absolute understatement. The angel doesn’t shout but he does go very, very quiet and doesn’t speak to Crowley even when the demon all-but begs him to at least say something, angel! For Satan’s sake!
“You put yourself at risk, Crowley!” Aziraphale says, looking at the demon who is leaning forward in his seat, staring rather earnestly at the angel—or as earnestly as Crowley is able to. The angel seems somewhat agitated at Crowley’s actions when Aziraphale finally, finally comments on it all. “What if you had—what if it had managed to get the best of you? What then?”
“It didn’t, angel.”
“But it could have!” Aziraphale exclaims, his temper getting the better of him at last and Crowley prepares himself for the angel to be loud and upset and all it was a pointless waste of a miracle Crowley! For heaven’s sake! and so on. “You could have been hurt—Harry could have been hurt!”
Crowley blinks. Okay, that he hadn’t expected. “You think I- what- would put Harry at risk on purpose?” He asks and there’s a bite to his words because really, that’s what Aziraphale thinks? “That I thought ‘oh, here’s a spiffing idea! Let’s go confront a remnant of a fear demon in front of my son and not give a damn about the consequences!’? Is that really what you think of me, angel?”
Aziraphale huffs out a breath, eyes wide. “I- no! Not- not at all! Crowley—” the angel reaches out and touches Crowley’s arm, a touch the demon allows only because it’s rare that Aziraphale touches him “—I’m just afraid. I wasn’t there. I couldn’t- the thought of you—either of you—being harmed and my not being there to prevent it- oh Crowley. I can’t bear that thought. I don’t think I could survive knowing I’d failed either of you like that.”
Crowley- Crowley doesn’t quite know how to respond to that. How does he respond to that exactly? It’s a little- uh- shocking. Crowley has no solution, no response to this. There’s no- he never considered-
“Angel—” Crowley begins looking from the hand on his arm up to Aziraphale’s face. He’s not sure what he’s looking for, something in that face as well known to Crowley as the demon’s own, but he knows when he sees it. “—I’m sorry you were worried. Didn’t mean to do that to you.”
Aziraphale lets out a soft breath, a little laugh. “I know,” he says, “that is why it upset me so, my dear.” The hand on Crowley’s arm tightens a little, fingers flexing against the material of Crowley’s fashionable robes.
“Oh,” Crowley kind of says but it’s more like a croaky acknowledgement of what Aziraphale’s saying without actually saying it. They always have to dance around the issue, even now, even in this magical wizarding world—they can never say it aloud and it chafe, it burns, it’s like being told to not ask questions anymore dear child and Crowley never did well with that. “Fair enough, angel.”
But Crowley won’t push. Not now, not here. Not when the admission is already a challenge for Aziraphale. They may be what they are but admitting it aloud, letting it be known, isn’t something either of them can risk. They may never be able to risk it.
And that is something that hurts far more than anything the boggart could ever spit at Crowley. He’d take the blame a thousand times over for anything that befalls his angel, but if it was caused by how they—both of them—feel… that’s something heaven would kill Aziraphale for and it’s something Crowley well knows. So he won’t say it. No matter what. No matter what.
Of course, considering what the future holds for them, Crowley has no idea that his declaration of never admitting it aloud is one he cannot actually hold to. But he doesn’t know that and we’re not interested in that right now. We have a magical society to continue witnessing fall apart courtesy of the involvement of one angel and one demon respectively.
Hermione’s fourteenth birthday is a simple affair, the girl much more focused on studying and her homework than her actual birthday. Harry and Ron combine forces and ensure she spends a few hours outside the library out on the school grounds having fun. They visit Hagrid who gives her some inedible cakes that they feed to the Giant Squid when it shows up at the edge of the lake later. It’s an enjoyable time and they take pleasure in making sure Hermione is always smiling and happy for one day of the year at least. The quidditch meet up at the end of the week is, however, less enjoyable as Oliver is almost rabid over the Cup and leaves Harry feeling quite unnerved at the pressure the quidditch captain heaps upon him over capturing the snitch.
Hermione, Ron, and Harry all have herbology together, although Ron arrives late from divination which he complains about at length while they’re tending to The Plant Of The Week which seems intent on eating their fingers. This is how, ironically enough, Harry and Hermione learn that Trelawny—the divination professor—makes some crackpot predictions that are vague enough to come true in equally vague ways; the death of Lavender Brown’s pet rabbit is one of those predictions. That Harry and Hermione both roll their eyes at this is coincidental as they each have different reasons for being unimpressed: Hermione because she considers divination to be an imprecise art that seems more like hapless guesswork than anything else, and Harry because he’s seen actual books of prophecy and expects something a little more specific than Trelawny’s guesswork.
Aziraphale takes a lot of pride in the state of the library at Hogwarts. When he’d first arrived it had been quite the disaster zone, books flying wily-nily all over the place, whole stacks blocked from student use because of some truly diabolical restrictions by the ministry—Crowley had laughed himself silly when Aziraphale explained several texts were in the restricted section because they mentioned tomatoes, of all things—and so on. It had taken Aziraphale long enough to re-sort all the books, properly categorise them, and reinforce the protective enchantments on the books until they could withstand a bomb landing on them. He is protective towards the books and instils a strong sense of respect toward them in the students, especially after rumours surface implying he is an absolutely Terrifying person to piss off and thus that is to be avoided. Madam Pince was bad enough, some of the older students think, but Mister Fell is downright terrifying because he’s so friendly and polite until someone mentions dog-earing a page.
The night Sirius Black attacks the portrait of the Fat Lady is, coincidentally, Halloween. Compared to how Halloween is a very commercialised holiday in the muggle world (most especially America), Halloween in the magical world is far less… festive. Oh it’s certainly about the sweets and treats and trick-or-treats because children will always be children and crave sugar in unhealthy quantities. But generally, Halloween is a night for remembrance and celebration, recognition and respect of the power of death and the ending of summer. For Harry, it’s also the night his parents were murdered and he was orphaned so, naturally, he’s not that big a fan of the day. Aziraphale and Crowley have worked on making it a less… depressing night for Harry ever since he learnt of the day his parents died but Hogwarts does have an alarming tendency toward disaster on the night. So, of course, Sirius Black’s attack is less a departure from the norm and more the continuation of an ever-evolving statistical pattern in Harry’s life.
Crowley, unlike Aziraphale, has quite the soft spot for the artwork in Hogwarts. He doesn’t do anything obvious about it but he does run his hand along the edges of worn frames, presses fingertips to sections of damaged canvas, breathes life back into paintings where the subjects have grown dormant and tired. Both of them, however, are rightly upset when, one evening, the entirety of the school is stuffed back inside the Great Hall because the portrait to the Gryffindor common room has been attacked and the canvas significantly damaged. Their immediate concern is Harry which sees the teenager smothered by two panicked uncles-who-are-really-parents, Monty-the-snake and Dog-the-mongrel. Padfoot-the-dog is strangely missing and Harry frets over the safety of his pet-slash-familiar but is assured by Aziraphale that he would know if Padfoot was injured or in danger due to the bond he has established with his pet-slash-familiars as is typical of wizards.
While sleeping in the Great Hall, Harry, Ron, and Hermione overhear a sort of quiet-but-not-really conversation between the headmaster and Snape which ends up being interrupted by Ron’s older brother, Percy. Ron curses his brother under his breath for ruining their eavesdropping but Harry and Hermione are more focused on what they did overhear.
“Someone in the castle knew Black? Or knows him?” Hermione whisper-asks, looking at Harry who gives a shrug in response. “If Snape is right, they could be helping him.”
“Or it could just be someone who went to school at the same time,” Harry points out, finding it strange to be the reasonable one out of the two of them. Hermione is usually the more rational of their trio but sometimes even the rational one can be a bit… irrational. “Like we know the Patil twins but not really.”
Hermione hums. “I suppose you’re right,” she says, frowning a little. “Though it is awfully suspicious; Black getting into the school and someone knowing him being here too.”
“Snape meant Lupin though didn’t he?” Ron looks at them. “Mentioned something about Dumbledore’s recent appointment; only Lupin’s new to the staff.”
Hermione and Harry both look at Ron, surprised. Ron scowls a little. “I’m not stupid you know,” he mutters, blushing a little. “I just pay attention to the important stuff.”
Ron Weasley does indeed pay attention to the important stuff, mostly because he’s used to not really being paid much attention at home with having so many siblings and his mother only having so much time to go around. This doesn’t mean Ron is stupid but it does mean he will focus on things that are interesting or seem important in his mind and not what others consider to be important. Hermione will, as a result of this, never quite understand why Ron cares very little about what is in books and more about what he can experience in life.
Naturally, because of this excellent observation by Ron, the three children decide it is a brilliant idea to spy on Lupin in a bid to find out the truth. Any adult with common sense knows that it is not a good idea for children to do this, least of all regarding someone who may be potentially dangerous to them, however Harry, Ron, and Hermione are not adults with common sense but rather children with Something To Prove. This means that they are perfectly assured that they are mostly, sort of, kinda safe and secure from harm and have a Moral Duty To Finding Out The Truth No Matter What.
Adults everywhere ought to fret for these three children as strongly as this writer does when considering how relatable the golden trio sounded when the writer was their age.
By the time Snape covers Lupin’s classes for the third years—an unfortunate case of Bad Luck for everyone involved as other professors covered the other years—the three are rather bored of trailing after Lupin and instead have grown somewhat curious over the only interesting thing about the defence professor: the strange potion they witnessed Snape deliver to his chambers every night of the week just gone. None of them know what kind of potion it is, although Hermione is, as always, intent on finding out, but it’s interesting enough to keep their attention on the defence professor a little while longer.
Snape’s class gives all three of them the clues needed to figure out that Lupin is a werewolf in hiding and they all respond differently. Ron responds with the conditioned fear of someone raised in the magical world—taught from birth that werewolves are horrible, evil, vile creatures that glory in bloodshed and death. Hermione with the knowledge of one inducted into a society with specific beliefs and taboos—favouring the literature regarding werewolves to such a degree that she reasonably assumes it to be quite accurate but isn’t one-hundred-percent sold on it. And lastly Harry. Harry takes the knowledge with a shrug and a reasonable “well, my uncle Crowley is a demon and they’re meant to be evil but he’s not—but don’t tell him that, he’s sensitive about it” which accurately sums up Harry’s whole response to the subject.
Harry brings the subject up to Aziraphale and Crowley one evening after the quidditch match that ends rather dramatically—and disastrously—which leads to both angel and demon reminiscing over previously known werewolves, vampires, and fae beings of various courts.
“Decent enough folk really, werewolves,” Crowley comments to Harry and Aziraphale nods.
“Oh yes, we knew several in Greece back before Christ walked the earth, lovely people,” Aziraphale agrees. He smiles. “They offered me rotisserie chicken you know.”
The easiest way to gain Aziraphale’s undying support is, as Crowley can attest to, through the angel’s love of food.
The quidditch match literally the day after the revelation of Lupin’s werewolf status begins simply enough, so simply in fact that no one realises anything is amiss until Harry is zooming around the pitch, heading up after the snitch with Malfoy chasing after him, and the whole world seems to turn to ice and chill. The whole school is in attendance for the first match of the year and this is too tempting a meal for the dementors to resist.
It is also a very big fucking mistake for them to make but they are barely anything beyond a few wisps of malformed soul shards so practical thinking is rather beyond them. The concept of actions having consequences even more so.
Aziraphale and Crowley are both acting before anyone else realises what’s happening and their actions are, to put it simply, Very Noticeable. Since both of them seem to be rather reluctant to make use of wands for their magic use, most of the students and staff simply assume they are either very skilled at wandless magic or have some other means of channelling it—such as jewellery. These assumptions are proven true to those who witness Aziraphale’s ring on his right pinkie finger glowing a blinding golden white when he stretches out his hand and lets loose an awe-inspiring blast of pure love that sends dozens of dementors shrieking away.
Because of Aziraphale’s rather dramatic actions, few notice Crowley somehow appearing in the middle of the pitch and even fewer notice the echo of wings fanning out from him—six to be precise—but all of them notice when a light so intense it whites out the whole pitch for a long, long second explodes from where the demon stands. When the light recedes there’s not a single dementor in sight. Only Crowley standing in the middle of the pitch still holding a golden staff that is taller than he is and disappears in the time it takes a person to blink.
Everyone is abuzz after witnessing such feats of magic by the unassuming yet terrifying librarian and the magical creatures professor with a propensity for snakes and sarcasm so it is only understandable that no one notices the fact that Harry—who had just begun to fall off his broom from the intense exposure to concentrated dementor—is standing on the edge of the pitch, broom in hand, with the rest of the quidditch teams who have somehow been transported from mid-air to where they stand. A dozen Ravenclaw students spend hours later on trying to figure out how Crowley is capable of apparating people at Hogwarts and also without having to be in contact with them. None of them consider demonic or angelic abilities as the cause, fortunately.
Although no student or staff member really thinks all too much about the echo of wings around Crowley—instead dismissing it as a hallucination or after-image-just-before-being-blinded—one being thinks about those wings far more seriously and with far more understanding of what they mean than is probably safe.
Nobody notices the black dog that had been watching the match from stairwells in the stands. Not even the angel or the demon it’s suddenly a lot more wary of.
 If there was no fun or chaos in the summer months then, in Harry’s opinion, those summer months would be dull and mediocre—a new word he learnt from one of Aziraphale’s books one evening after finishing his homework—and Harry just couldn’t have that for his summer. Thus the six weeks of freedom he had from school absolute must be filled with every ounce of fun and chaos a on-the-cusp-of-teenage-dom child could possibly squeeze out of said six weeks.
 This isn't to say that Aziraphale is boring, rather that the angel is very aware of how fragile Harry is compared to Crowley and himself. They can be discorporated and survive, Harry wouldn't. Crowley is aware of this sort of worry from Aziraphale and assuages the angel's fears whenever possible through a variety of miracles, demonic wishes, and straight up occult magic that makes his paperwork for hell triple overnight.
 Which revolution you ask? All of them, really.
 “Really, Harry, my boy, it’s not as bad as Crowley makes it sound!” Aziraphale tries to defend himself when it’s brought up over dinner three days after Harry and Crowley have returned from France.
“No, it’s worse actually,” Crowley says and then slinks down in his chair to try and avoid the glare his angel sends his way.
“I’m with uncle Crowley here,” Harry says, distracting Aziraphale from glaring glaringly at Crowley. “Crepes aren’t that good really. Don’t see why you wanted one so much you almost got your head loped off.”
Crowley’s laughter drowns out Aziraphale’s indignant spluttering over Harry’s assessment of crepes and the matter is dropped in time for desert—which are, coincidentally enough, crepes.
 Crowley grumbles that his ribs haven't stopped creaking since he was hugged by Hermione but neither Harry or Aziraphale believe him. They know that Crowley actually really likes Hermione and is only complaining to save face.
 It is the author's stubborn opinion that Crowley, though fallen, is still celestial but with an added Infernal Flavouring.
 Sirius Black’s protective instincts towards Harry are pretty much why neither of Harry’s familiars-slash-pets think to inform Harry or Aziraphale or Crowley of the strangeness of Padfoot-the-dog until long after he’s settled into their family unit. This is, ultimately, a good thing.
 Unfortunately for these boys, the only compartment they managed to find that isn’t occupied ends up being the one compartment with a… odour problem. Namely the Weasley twins and too many dung-bombs in their first year. It’s the one compartment everyone avoids and the only compartment available. An awful turn of luck for them but it’s not like Crowley did anything to make that happen. Honest.
 How anyone would have been able to tell Madam Pomfrey anything escapes Harry but at that very moment he wasn’t thinking clearly enough to consider the technicalities and was instead running more on fear and distrust and a not-so-insignificant dose of feeling invalidated by people he trusted; his friends.
 Crowley is, admittedly, is very tempted to let Aziraphale go and smite Dumbledore however he is also aware of the amount of paperwork a smiting would generate and thus convinces Aziraphale to leave Dumbledore alive. He does however fully support Aziraphale making Dumbledore life a living hell. In fact, he goes so far as to give Aziraphale suggestions for inconveniencing Dumbledore that Aziraphale gleefully appreciates.
 Malfoy’s detention with Aziraphale had been, to put it politely, absolutely terrifying for the boy. Aziraphale had—at first—treated Malfoy as he would any other student tasked with assisting him in the library. However, due to Malfoy’s nature as a belligerent brat who hates being held accountable for his actions courtesy of an upbringing of entitlement and false equivalence of wealth and value, the teenager treats the tasks Aziraphale sets him—reordering books on several shelves—as beneath him and thus performed it with a heavy-handedness not to be utilised in relation to rare editions of hard to come by magical texts. Crowley still doesn’t know what Aziraphale did to terrify the boy into compliance with the detentions but he has noticed the fine care Malfoy now has toward his books and the flinch whenever someone is uncaring toward their own.
 It is entertaining. So much so that the prefects doing their rounds hear Crowley’s laughter and find themselves incredibly unnerved at the menacing tone to it.
 It is not actually typical of wizards in the twentieth century although it was typical of them in the time of Merlin. Since that is the last time Aziraphale and Crowley truly interacted with magical mortals it is understandable that they don’t realise this fact.