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.
“If I catch you trying to fly in this weather, I’ll make you take detention with Aziraphale in the library,” Crowley threatens Harry who stares at him horrified.
“I won’t,” the boy immediately promises and means it. Detention with his uncle Aziraphale is something Harry wants to avoid at all costs. Him and the rest of the school to be entirely honest.
“Good,” Crowley says, “want some wine? You’re old enough for a sip.”
Harry discovers wine is disgusting and Crowley is inordinately pleased by his declaration. Something about it being a good choice or other.
I didn't intend for this to be the last chapter but it is and honestly, I haven't slept yet but I was determined to finish this fic tonight and by jove I've done it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After the drama of the Gryffindor—Hufflepuff match, the whole school is buzzing about the eradication of the Dementors the Ministry put at the school for their protection. Several noble purebloods try to have Crowley tried for treason for his destruction of the Dementors but that goes about as well as can be expected. The demon casually flips off the letter and lets Aziraphale send it to the Daily Prophet complete with medical reports for the students since the Dementors arrived at the school. There’s quite the public outcry after that revelation and several parents demand the Ministry be tried for putting their children at risk of having their souls sucked out.
Because Harry didn’t fall off his broom in this little timeline and because said broom didn’t meet an untimely end at the boughs of a displeased willow tree, Harry is still able to zoom about on his Firebolt for the last days of November before the weather becomes so bad it’s downright suicidal to be out flying. Not that he doesn’t try of course.
“If I catch you trying to fly in this weather, I’ll make you take detention with Aziraphale in the library,” Crowley threatens Harry who stares at him horrified.
“I won’t,” the boy immediately promises and means it. Detention with his uncle Aziraphale is something Harry wants to avoid at all costs. Him and the rest of the school to be entirely honest.
“Good,” Crowley says, “want some wine? You’re old enough for a sip.”
Harry discovers wine is disgusting and Crowley is inordinately pleased by his declaration. Something about it being a good choice or other.
The last few days of term are, as usual, hectic. Students deciding whether or not they’re going to stick around for the holidays, make use of the library, or go home and spend time with their families. Some students are forced to remain at school by their parents over their grades and are displeased with this. Not that displeasure changes their situations but it does make them feel better to grumble about it. Crowley relates to that sort of thinking.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville, traipse down to Hogsmeade together on the 18th December, enjoying the trek in the snow with Hermione’s summoned ball of blue flame keeping them warm if not necessarily dry. The quadruplet wander from shop to shop collecting their gifts and sweets, though they lose Neville to the herb shop where the boy happily remains for several hours. This leaves the trio to visit the Three Broomsticks together and, thanks to the genius of Hermione levitating a tree to strategically hide them from view, overhear some measure of a conversation amongst the members of staff up at the school.
None of what they say is surprising to Harry about Sirius Black, not since his uncle’s informed him of the man and his role in the deaths of his parents, but when the topic of conversation turns to Harry’s uncles, the trio perk up.
“I find them rather strange you know,” Professor Sinistra says and there’s an answering hum of agreement from another teacher. “A little, well, queer.”
“Is there any real problem with that?” Professor McGonagall’s voice is sharp and controlled but there’s definitely a hint of disapproval in it that has the three wincing. None of them enjoy being on the receiving end of that tone. “They’re exceptional educators.”
“No no, no problem! I don’t mean like that anyway,” Sinistra says. “I mean, there’s something not quite… normal about them. Their magic is… I don’t know how to put it.”
“It reminds me of stories me da’ used t’ tell me,” Hagrid’s booming voice declares and since no one around the pub reacts, the three guess there’s some sort of spell making it ‘normal’ volume or something like that. Hagrid is quieter than his usual loud voice but it’s not by much. “’bout strange bein’s with powers no mortal could understand.”
“What? You think they’re immortal?” A voice Harry and Ron donn’t recognise scoffs. “How typical. Don’t understand how their magic works? They’re not human! Problem solved!”
“Really Tanya, one would think you’re bitter about being fae-born,” McGonagall says and the voice—Tanya—snorts. “These stories your father told you, Hagrid. What were the beings in them?”
Hagrid lets out a breath. “Well, me da’ weren’t no normal wizard you know, I mean—I’m not normal meself but that ain’t on him. Anyway,” the Care of Magical Creatures professor says, “he read muggle books and did research on them. Liked lookin’ at what muggles thought of our creatures and the like. But he said he never could figure out what one type of creature was for us that the muggles had.”
“Really?” Sinistra asks. “What were they?”
“Me da’ said the muggles sometimes made ‘em out t’ be different creatures but he figured they were the same but a little different. Like different breeds of kneazles,” Hagrid explains to the staff and, unknowingly, to Harry, Ron, and Hermione who are hanging on to every word of the conversation. “Said that best as he knew, they were just called ‘angels’.”
The staff fall silent. Harry, Ron, and Hermione look at each other.
Hermione frowns. “Angels and demons? As in Abrahamic religious lore?” She whispers. “Really?”
“What are angels then?” Sinistra asks.
“Part of a muggle created religion,” McGonagall answers before Hagrid can. “My father was a Presbyterian minister,” the professor explains and the three children blink in surprise. “Magical but a minister too. Hagrid, I don’t quite think your father—”
“Oh I know, me da’ had some out there ideas,” Hagrid cuts in. “But think about it, Minerva. I saw that Crowley with a staff out on the pitch with me own eyes. That weren’t no normal staff.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s abnormal either,” Tanya argues. “It could be they’re both more fae than they’re willing to admit and just flaunt their powers because they’re stronger than human wizards. That’s far more likely than- than muggle angels.”
Harry snorts quietly.
The discussion at the staff table abruptly cuts off.
Ron and Hermione give Harry an annoyed look. The dark-haired boy just shrugs an apology.
“I think it best we return to the castle,” McGonagall says and there’s a round of murmured agreements from the other staff members. “I’ll settle our bill with Rosemerta.”
Harry nudges Ron and Hermione, motioning to the exit and they get the hint. They escape from the pub in time to avoid being noticed by the professors who are much more aware of the fact that they’ve been overheard. They don’t know by who of course, but fortunately for them, it’s by the only students who won’t go off gossiping about it to other students.
Not that the professors know that.
And not that Harry feels like letting the professors know either. He considers it fair for them doubting his uncles.
The Hogwarts Christmas holidays start off in a manner entirely typical of a school of witchcraft and wizardry populated with powerful children without a lick of common sense among them. For the first time, Harry spends the holiday term at the school with his friends. This is due to the joint decision by Aziraphale and Crowley one night over wine and after far too many tangential conversation topics to make any sense of.
“Makes sense to stick around really,” Crowley says, pointing at Aziraphale with his wine glass. The demon looks a little unsteady on his—not his legs, he’s sitting down—well- he looks drunkenly unsteady. It’s a look Aziraphale quite likes, but that’s beside the point. “Keep Harry safe if we don’t leave.”
“We can perform miracles, dear,” Aziraphale points out, sipping at his own wine. The demon looks at him. “It wouldn’t be frivolous if it is for the protection of a blessed child.”
Crowley snorts. “He’s cursed too,” the demon responds and Aziraphale nods. “Just—well—you know. Christmas in the castle. His friends here. We could—uhm—spend some time together.”
“We’re spending time together now, Crowley.”
The demon groans. “Not what I meant angel,” the demon mutters and Aziraphale gets the message.
“Ah, well,” Aziraphale stumbles. “Yes. Yes. I—yes. That would be quite nice.” He smiles. “A lovely holiday in the castle indeed, dear.”
Ron stays at Hogwarts for the holidays because he wants to avoid the Burrow when his parents will be gushing over Percy and he won’t have his friend to visit. “It’d be boring without you visiting, mate,” Ron says, giving Harry a smile that the other boy returns. “Besides, I know for a fact that Fred and George want to prank Percy and I am not getting dragged into that. Mum will kill them!”
Whereas Ron primarily stays for his own continued survival—expressing a measure of self-preservation he has thus far not appeared to possess—Hermione sticks around the school for access to the library. Her homework load is, compared to Ron and Harry, absolutely insane. Although she has completed it all before the holidays have even begun, the witch insists that she needs to “remain on top of my workload,” lest she fall to academic ruin. That her remaining at Hogwarts enables her parents to go to Australia for a visit to distant relatives is apparently coincidental; though she does mutter under her breath that her parents “deserve a holiday together” . For what reason they deserve it is not given and that leaves Harry and Ron both giving each other Looks and simultaneously agreeing to keep an eye on their friend for the holiday period. This means Hermione is regularly dragged out of the library and out onto the grounds, no matter how much she grumbles.
Of course, Aziraphale still has to check on the bookshop several times during the holidays but it’s not so different to how he checks on it during the school term. The bookshop, like Crowley’s Bentley, is quite adept at taking care of itself after all. Still, Aziraphale likes to putter about among the books and indulge in some suggestive reading he doubts any magical individual has come across; he was rather gleefully pleased when he introduced the seventh year Slytherins to The Chronicles of Narnia. Crowley had been beyond impressed at how horrified they looked after reading the books for their assigned detentions with the librarian.
It is during the Christmas holidays that Aziraphale and Crowley discover that Albus Dumbledore’s outfits can get worse than they already have been. The putrid shade of green, the kind of green you think of when you imagine slime, is so horrific that Crowley automatically miracles Dumbledore’s entire outfit to pitch black, like space, just to give his eyes a break. Aziraphale thanks the demon profusely and although they don’t join in, the entire staff privately thanks Crowley in their heads for doing Good Work.
Christmas day is, as is typical of a highly commercialised holiday where the focus is placed on wrapped presents and ‘family’ time to the exclusion of common sense and sleep, naturally hectic for all involved. Although Harry isn’t in London for the day—spending his first ever Christmas at Hogwarts—he doesn’t lack for things to do or attention from his parents. The fact that the school holiday is specifically for Christmas and not any other celebratory festival is entirely typical of the school governors and their habit towards being absolute arseholes. It’s for this reason that Christmas day dinner sees a selection of options that expand far beyond the usual fare of previous dinners—mostly because Aziraphale is still in at the school and is insistent on making the meal enjoyable for everyone at least. Not that anyone had a choice to refuse Aziraphale’s determination on this matter as the angel simply made Christmas day dinner actually diverse and very much not dependent on the House Elves’ knowledge of various dishes.
The most surprising thing of the day is, however, revealed when Harry and Ron enter the boys dormitory, greeting Neville who had run off to the greenhouses the moment he could safely escape dining next to Snape—an unfortunate seating arrangement that had seen Harry and Ron planning on causing the potions professor significant problems for the rest of the holidays. Not at all conspicuous, smack-bang in the middle of Harry’s bed is a long, brown-paper-wrapped package that is not at all obviously a broom. It can’t possibly be a broom. Of course not.
Because broom-shaped wrapped objects obviously cannot be brooms.
“Who’d send you a Firebolt?” Ron exclaims, eyes wider than an old shilling, as he stares at the pristine broom. “Your uncles?”
Harry shakes his head. “No. They got me the fire one.”
“Yeah but your uncle Aziraphale hates you flying on it near books, right?” Ron reasons and it’s sort of true. Uncle Aziraphale does hate Harry flying on the flame broom around the bookshop but…
“It’s not from him. He’d leave a note.”
Neville, in the background, pipes up. “That wasn’t on your bed when I got back and I haven’t seen or heard any of the elves in here.”
Harry and Ron frown.
“I’m getting my uncles,” Harry says and Ron sort of nods. “If it just appeared then it could be from anyone. If not- I don’t know.”
“I’ll tell Hermione for you both,” Neville says and Harry gives the boy a grateful nod.
Both Uncles Crowley and Aziraphale give the broom on Harry’s bed a long, unfathomable look that makes Harry want to fidget the longer they stare.
“It’s not from us.” Uncle Crowley’s words are firm and factual, backed up by Aziraphale’s nod. “Not from anything demonic or divine either.”
“I can sense positive feelings are attached to the broom,” Uncle Aziraphale says slowly. “They’re rather… fierce actually. In a good way.”
Uncle Crowley scowls. “That doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous,” he near spits and uncle Aziraphale nods.
“I don’t need it anyway,” Harry says and his uncles look at him. “I have the broom you gave me and it’s wicked. I don’t need a Firebolt but it’d be nice if Ron could have it instead.” Harry looks at his friend who blushes. “An extra present for being my friend. And putting up with near-death experiences because of me,” he explains with a rueful grin and Ron returns it, blush lessening.
“Fair enough mate,” the ginger says. “Better than a bloody owl anyway,” he adds under his breath and Harry snorts.
“Not to Percy.” Both boys laugh.
Uncles Aziraphale and Crowley give them tolerant looks—well, uncle Aziraphale does, uncle Crowley rolls his eyes—before returning their attention to the broom. A snap of fingers draws Harry and Ron’s attention to see the broom is gone, the wrapping too.
“We’re gonna give it a check over, more in-depth than we can do here,” Crowley tells them and both boys nod. Hermione and Neville are sat on the boys bed, and Hermione has an expression on her face that screams Curious but it’s ignored by Harry’s uncles. “We’ll give it back if it’s good. If not—” Crowley shrugs “—I’ll miracle you another one.”
“Crowley.” Aziraphale gives him a look that Harry doesn’t quite understand but it makes his uncle Crowley blush a little. “I hope you’ve had a good Christmas day other than this little mishap, children?”
The four of them nod at Aziraphale who smiles widely at them.
“Wonderful,” he says, eyes bright. “Well, I spoke to the elves in the kitchen earlier today and arranged a little surprise for the students later in the common rooms. I imagine you’ll enjoy it. Merry Christmas and season’s greetings.”
Other than the little hiccup with the mysteriously appearing broom, the rest of Christmas day is an enjoyable affair. The four friends wander down to the common room around six after spending the rest of the day playing exploding snap, wizards chess, and several other games like tic-tac-toe with actual exploding tacs, to see a glorious array of desserts on every available surface.
The other Gryffindors trickle into the common room steadily and the whole house that has remained for the holidays get to enjoy a buffet of treats and delicacies some of them have never heard of. It’s just like Harry’s uncle Aziraphale to treat everyone with food, the boy realises and he laughs with his friends as they eat cake and listen to some students arguing over the best sort of ice cream to go on a sponge cake.
The answer, obviously, is all of them.
A few days after Christmas, Ron and Aziraphale sit down for a game of chess that lasts four hours, thirty-seven minutes, and nineteen seconds before it’s gate-crashed by Crowley literally throwing a snowball through the window and hitting Aziraphale in the back of the head. This results in the angel unleashing an almost unholy assault on the demon with snowballs in a display that has the whole of the students at the school still cheering. Crowley’s natural agility is the only reason he doesn’t get buried under a veritable mountain of snowballs more than once. Unfortunately for him, Aziraphale ropes in the students and the demon finds himself felled by one unexpected snowball to the face from Luna Lovegood that has him buried in the snow and begging for mercy after a few seconds.
It is only due to Aziraphale’s nature as an angel that he grants Crowley mercy. It is also due to his absolute bastard nature that he doesn’t grant it until five minutes have passed and the students have dutifully enjoyed burying the demon in the snow.
Since Harry, Ron, and Hermione know Lupin is a werewolf and the topic has been brought up with Harry’s uncles, the three children end up in Crowley and Aziraphale’s shared chambers one evening close to the start of term learning about werewolves beyond wizarding propaganda. It is, to say the least, illuminating.
“Werewolves, as you know them here in Europe, aren’t quite the same across the board,” Aziraphale explains to the three, a cup of tea in his hand as he leans back in his chair. Crowley is on the other side of the room, slouched in ‘his’ sofa. The children are on a second sofa they claimed as theirs about a week after becoming friends. “Before Christianity became quite the mainstream, werewolves were less about those who turned into wolves and more a matter of warriors with beastly savagery in battle. They are tied to the term berserker you know?” Only Hermione nodded. “Although this doesn’t change the reality of being a lycanthrope, it is quite different from being a werewolf.”
“There’s a difference?” Ron asks, frowning. “Snape said they meant the same thing.”
“Snape is misinformed,” Aziraphale says far more diplomatically than Crowley ever would. The derision is clear for the children to hear and they give each other grins. “Generally the terms are conflated by most but to be a lycanthrope is not the same as to be a werewolf. Werewolves are those who are controlled by their lust for blood and meat, who are violent and truly savage. They are the likes who delight in violence and bloodshed and are lost to it until they leave the haze behind for rational thought once more.”
“That Greyback is definitely a werewolf,” Crowley comments and the children look at him. He seems uncomfortable to Aziraphale’s eyes. “Hell loves him. Bastard likes to turn and go on a rampage near kids and small villages so he gets as much bloodshed as possible.”
Aziraphale grimaces. “Yes, well, he definitely is a werewolf then. But he is not a lycanthrope.”
“Why not?” Harry looks at Aziraphale with a curious frown on his young face.
“Because lycans can control themselves,” Crowley answers for the angel. “Takes time for some of ‘em but they can do it eventually. Before heaven went and encouraged Christianity in Europe, most who got bit or cursed with lycanthropy were a bit grumpy, liked meat a bit more than usual, and sometimes lost their tempers when they transformed into a wolf but they weren’t like—” the demon waves a hand “—like these werewolves we’ve been hearing all about lately.”
“Werewolves are a reinterpretation of something pre-Christian with Christian language,” Aziraphale continues to explain to the children. “As Crowley told you last year, you can do a lot with your imagination. Shape your magic and so on. The same is true with reality. Enough people believe the same thing and that eventually changes what is true into something else.”
“Bloody idiots said lycans were representations of the Devil in people so obviously had to be bad and violent and have no control!” Crowley hisses in annoyance. Aziraphale offers him a gentle look. “What did they think was going to happen?”
“You know it happens, dear boy.”
“Doesn’t mean it’s not annoying, angel,” Crowley grumbles. Aziraphale nods. “Because of that rubbish, we’ve got werewolves like Greyback who live to cause suffering and hell living for it! All because heaven went and were idiots!”
“Well, to be fair dear, hell did make it worse.”
Hermione, up to this point, has been mostly silent, soaking in the information from the two of them with the same dedicated focus she gives her studies. But now she spoke up, sounding supremely unimpressed.
“You both keep on talking about heaven and hell as though you know them, it’s absurd!”
Crowley and Aziraphale both look at the young witch who, whilst uncomfortable with their gaze, doesn’t back down.
“There’s absolutely no proof heaven or hell exist and you act like it does when there’s no proof!” Hermione throws her arms up in frustration.
Crowley looks at Aziraphale who looks right back before the demon sighs. “Fine then. Proof.”
And with that, the demon unfurls his wings without even sitting up from the sofa and lets them brush the very edges of the chamber, their inky black feathers soaking up every particle and wave of light they could.
“That was mean, uncle Crowley,” he says and Crowley shrugs. One wing moves slightly with the motion, elegant and graceful, a sound like tinkling glass beads dropping on stone whispering about the room.
“Magic and myth, heaven and hell,” Crowley says, “it’s all true and real. Some because you want it to be, some because She wants it to be. ‘s all the same in the end.”
“Rather difficult to explain to those who don’t know,” Aziraphale says and Crowley nods.
Hermione it transpires, is rather more distracted by Crowley’s wings than either angel or demon expected her to be and the demon has to put them away for her to sort of kick back into gear. Mentally-speaking. Then the young witch gives him a wary look that, were it not for the fact that Crowley is Crowley and Aziraphale is Aziraphale, probably would have hurt one of their feelings. Instead, both patiently wait for her to come to some conclusion in her mind and to speak again.
“So, I suppose demons aren’t all bad either?”
Crowley snorts. “Oh they’re plenty bad,” he remarks. “I’m plenty bad. I’m just not Hastur or Ligur levels of bad. My choice that is. Tempting priests and politicians! So old hat! At least my temptings are inspired!”
“Dear, you tempted a CEO to resign and give his employees a bonus,” Aziraphale says.
“Denying his company the profits! And making any future CEO less willing to give another bonus so soon!” Crowley exclaims and Aziraphale raises an eyebrow at him. “Very evil angel! It’s all very evil.”
“So you’re just a bad demon then?” Hermione frowns. “Or bad at being a demon, at least.”
Crowley scowls and Aziraphale sighs. “It depends entirely on your perspective, young miss,” the angel says. “I am considered to be quite an awful example of an angel, after all.”
“Which you’re not,” Crowley states and it’s a Fact. Aziraphale gives him a smile.
“There are circumstances beyond our control and we have to not fall foul of anything that may trip us up you see,” the angel continues. “It is a rather delicate act but one I don’t think either of us wish to change.”
“Could do with less memos,” Crowley mutters. “Hastur’s always try and explode in my hand.”
“The last one was especially… explody, I think. was how you phrased it,” Aziraphale says and Crowley grimaces. “I had quite the challenge repairing my desk after that.”
“Oh is that why your desk was missing that week?” Harry looks at his uncles. “Huh. I thought uncle Crowley had tried to play a prank on you. Guess not.”
“Yes, well, the point is, neither Crowley nor myself are in any position to be anything other than what we are supposed to be.” Aziraphale looks at Hermione. “Whether we are at all competent is, of course, not a matter to discuss for the benefit of all parties involved,” he adds rather firmly and Hermione, proving her own intuitive abilities, nods. “Lovely. Then might I suggest you three pop off to bed, it’s rather late in the day now.”
After their little lesson on things werewolf, angel, and demon, the three children fall into a pattern of approaching Lupin more regularly. Harry is curious about whatever Lupin may know of his parents and is thus delighted to learn the werewo- lycanthrope knew both of his parents quite well. It gives the boy a link to his past and his parents that he otherwise lacks and it is for this reason that Lupin finds himself invited by Aziraphale to visit their shared chambers one evening when the spring term has begun.
“It’s a matter of self-loathing,” Aziraphale says to Lupin two hours into Lupin’s visit. The defence professor has gradually settled into polite chatter with the angel over a range of literature. Some of it rather entertaining. “Your issue with your lycanthropic nature.”
Lupin grimaces. “My issue?”
Throughout the entire visit, Aziraphale has avoided talking about Lupin’s lycanthropic nature. The defence professor, however, had brought it up near immediately; swearing that he wouldn’t allow any harm come to Harry due to his ‘affliction’. The vitriol in that one word from the professor made Aziraphale feel rather sad.
“Yes.” Aziraphale nods. “I don’t quite understand the depth of your hatred of your being a lycanthrope. There are many texts on lycanthropy—which I have recommended to you of course—that are far more accurate than the bigoted, propaganda so readily available here in the West—”
“That propaganda as you put it, exists beyond the West, Mister Fell,” Lupin snaps. It’s polite of course, the professor is as polite as Aziraphale is sometimes, but there is a definite bite to his tone.
“Where medieval Christendom and its awkward interpretations of things it wasn’t designed to understand yes. Areas where those interpretations were spread through that dreadfully nasty business of colonial imperialism especially,” Aziraphale says calmly. “But there still remain plenty of places and peoples who do not see lycanthropy quite so negatively. One community I had the privilege to know even views it as a blessing.”
The angel takes a delicate sip of his tea, savouring the lovely blend of English breakfast. He likes his tea to have variety but sometimes he delights in the simpler blends. “I can assure you, Remus, that not everyone hates lycans and view lycanthropy as a curse.”
“How do you know? You don’t know what it’s like to be cursed like this,” Lupin says and there’s quite a bit of sadness in his voice. The poor fellow is all out-of-sorts and clearly dislikes discussing this. But, unfortunately for him, Aziraphale is intent on talking about it. “You can’t possibly understand what it’s like. How could you?”
The angel doesn’t much care if Lupin doesn’t wish to talk about his lycanthropy. He may feel some sympathy for the defence professor’s predicament—the loathing of oneself is hardly an enjoyable affair after all—but Aziraphale won’t allow his sympathetic feelings force him to relent. Not when Harry’s growing attachment to Lupin is all too apparent and the boy deserves role models who don’t harbour self-loathing and self-hatred at their core.
Nor does Lupin himself deserve to harbour such feelings about himself. One cannot possibly hope to heal if one is constantly full of disgust and hatred for oneself. So Aziraphale intends to do something about it. Nip it in the proverbial bud; even if it is twenty years-plus well-established and rather difficult to shift.
Aziraphale is partnered with a demon and serves heaven, he hardly gives up in the face of hardship. He simply works out a way around it to success.
“Quite easily, actually,” Aziraphale says, sipping his tea and giving Lupin a heavy look. “You see, for a while I was a lycan myself.”
Lupin blinks. Snorts.
“It was all part of a minor mission, not quite what I had in mind or expected really, but it resolved itself in the end without my actual presence,” Aziraphale explains before frowning. “Interestingly enough, the American lycans I led—and the Russians too—were quite pleasant, if a bit blood thirsty. And none of them were quite so full of self-loathing as you are, Remus. It’s quite unfortunate.”
The angel sighs. “Heaven decided the cause wasn’t quite as heavenly after a while so I was forced to remove myself from the situation, allow it to run its natural course. Fortunately it ended well enough.”
Lupin stares at him, face pinched.
“Young Michael was a pleasant surprise though, as was the delightful Selena.” Aziraphale smiles, a little lost in the memory. “He wasn’t all too pleased with me for biting him but it was necessary, nor was Selena pleased when he was kidnapped under my orders. It was for his own benefit; Selena’s coven would have killed him without remorse. My corporation died in the end, courtesy of a few silver bullets I hadn’t quite expected, but I was able to impart some useful wisdom to Selena before Michael could pass and it worked out well for them both. Not quite so well for Selena’s coven but, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in the end.”
“What—are you—do you think this is a joke?” Lupin splutters. He bursts up from the chair he’s in, eyes bright with anger. “Corporations and covens! Kidnapping! Biting a child! You seem to enjoy hurting others, mister Fell and I don’t like being hurt!”
“I don’t imagine anyone likes being hurt,” Aziraphale says calmly. “Unless one is into that sort of thing but that’s another matter entirely. No, this isn’t a joke, Remus. I would never jest about such a thing as my work. Least of all about this.”
“Then—then are you… are you a werewolf?”
Lupin looks rather desperate, hopeful in a way that Aziraphale finds a little heart-wrenching. He does rather ache with the need to gift Lupin the love of a celestial being. Bless him. But he holds back. Giving Lupin celestial love would not dismantle the underlying foundations the defence professor has built himself upon. Aziraphale needs, instead, to chip away at them and replace them with something more appropriate for the building of a tower. Metaphorically-speaking.
Aziraphale sets his cup and saucer on the table beside his chair. Rises and faces Lupin directly. They’re of a similar height so the angel can easily look him in the eye when he continues, “I was a lycan,” and then he wishes himself one again.
The reaction from Lupin is instantaneous. The defence professor half-snarls, steps back and his head crunches down, shoulders raising in a hunch, hands gnarled like clawed paws. Aziraphale gives Lupin a calm look, his eyes shining in the way that is telling of a lycan. It’s all that Aziraphale displays to the defence professor who, slowly, gains control of himself.
“W-what—how—what the fuck?”
Aziraphale frowns. “Well, I suppose the profanity is justified here,” he says before focusing on Lupin. “As I said, I was a lycan, not a werewolf, and since you doubt my sincerity, it’s no matter to prove it with a minor miracle.”
Lupin just keeps staring.
“It’s a bit of a shock, I’m sure.” Aziraphale tilts his head to the side. The instincts of a lycan flare inside him at the movement and it’s a pleasant feeling after not experiencing it for a few years. Aziraphale finds it refreshing, oddly enough. “I suppose you don’t come across many who are not at all concerned with being a lycan. Unsurprising considering the sentiments I’ve encountered in Britain’s magical society.”
“You- what- you’re a- a—” Lupin splutters. He waves a hand at Aziraphale, eyes wide. “You say a ‘lycan’ but you feel like a werewolf to me. There’s- I don’t know what difference you think there is but- there—there isn’t one.” Lupin insists and the man looks broken at his own words. Perhaps he hoped there was a difference for his sake.
Fortunately, there is. And Aziraphale is about to explain it to him too.
“Werewolves are a Christian creation of the medieval period,” Aziraphale says in the tone he adopts when entering ‘lecture’ mode. “Courtesy of some awful interpretations of pre-Christian faiths—which are all fine with Her might I add—that have resulted in the group consensus that those who become wolves are violent, aggressive, evil beings obsessed with blood and flesh of mortals. That is a matter of mindset not reality. There has, of course, been a significant amount of propulsion of these beliefs which have, unfortunately, melded with magical knowledge and intentions of those who are magical and also ‘werewolves’ to the point where you—and others in a similar predicament to yourself—believe wholeheartedly that you are ‘monsters’.”
Aziraphale sighs. “And monsters—well—monsters cannot possibly be good in the minds of humans. Monstrum—Latin—are beings that are not typical of nature, of the normal, the typical, and the safe. To be a monster is to be abnormal and—in the thinking of the modern-day—wrong.” The angel gives Lupin a sad smile. “But monsters are not wrong. They’re not evil. They simply are. Lycans simply are. You are a lycan to me because I see that you wish so desperately to not be evil, to not cause harm and suffering.”
“But I- werewolves are violent! When I turn I will attack anyone! Try to kill them! If they don’t die then they end up cursed too!” Lupin drops into his chair, burrowing his head in his hands. “I can’t control it. I’ve tried.”
“I know,” Aziraphale says gently. “And it’s not quite your fault that you cannot control it. Crowley noticed something about you that may explain why,” the angel continues and Lupin looks up at him, eyes wide. He looks so brokenly hopeful, desperate for a solution, and Aziraphale feels for him. Truly. “I don’t quite understand it myself—I’m not aware of some of the things Crowley is—but, as he puts it, he can’t sense any real evil from you; it’s more matter of the intent of the werewolf—and they certainly were a werewolf, not a lycan—who bit you. They intended it to be painful and dark and, coupled with the magical resonance of generations of magical beliefs about lycanthropy, the result has been your inability to control yourself. You are not a monster, nor a werewolf, but the influence of the werewolf who bit you is what is making it difficult for you to be otherwise.”
“That and your self-loathing,” he corrects.
Lupin snorts suddenly. “Of course,” he mutters. Aziraphale gives him a gentle, amused smile. “But- well- how do I change that?” The lycan asks tentatively. “If it’s Greyback’s influence that’s stopping me then I want it gone.” He snarls the last word with a viciousness that has Aziraphale’s lycan aspect perking up attentively. The prospect of tearing into something vile has always been intensely appealing to Aziraphale like this.
Fortunately, the angel possesses a wealth of self-control.
“Well, killing this Greyback won’t stop the influence he’s had on you, though I daresay it would be most enjoyable for you—cathartic even,” Aziraphale muses. “You need to work on your self-loathing and distaste for your lycanthropic nature. It’s not a curse unless you want it to be. Greyback’s influence—I think—can be resolved with a minor miracle. It won’t fix your issue with control until you accept your animalistic nature, however. It will simply make it possible to control it.”
“How can you- a miracle? What—what does that entail precisely?” Lupin asks after a moment. Aziraphale smiles.
“Simple. A miracle is what I am capable of performing, it is my entire purpose beyond Her; performing miracles,” Aziraphale answers proudly. “Miracles are, however, monitored and overzealous use of them does tend to result in upper management reprimanding you but—well—Crowley and I have devised a most ingenious system over the years. The Bastille was a bit of an exception.” The angel laughs. “The crepes were most certainly worth the inconvenience of a near discorporation to tell you the truth.”
Fortunately for Lupin, Aziraphale doesn’t discuss the Bastille Incident any further, and instead buckles down on discussing what the angel can do to remove the influence of Greyback. It turns out that it’s a simple miracle, minor too, that Aziraphale only needs to note down as for the ‘greater good’ to upper management for it to be approved after the fact. Lupin is able to sense his own lycanthrope nature beyond the cloying darkness of Greyback’s influence upon it and the difference is stark. Whereas Lupin looked bedraggled and exhausted all the time, now he appears more rested, energetic, and, most importantly, hopeful. He has a long road to obtaining control over his lycanthropic nature but the poor fellow at least has a chance to now.
Aziraphale forgets to wish himself not a lycan anymore until Crowley visits him later in the evening and freezes in the doorway, looking for all the world like a snake stuck between deciding whether to attack or flee.
“Oh! My apologies, dear!” Aziraphale exclaims when he realises the problem. A quick wish later, the demon relaxes in the doorway. “I quite forgot about that.”
Crowley rolls his eyes. “Of course you did, angel,” the demon says but he sounds fond to Aziraphale who smiles at him. “Drink?”
“Why yes, that’s a lovely year,” Aziraphale replies, his smile growing. He feels positively ecstatic to see the demon and perhaps it’s the left-over dredges of lycan instincts, but the angel doesn’t fight the urge to wind an arm around Crowley’s own. The demon, fortunately, doesn’t recoil from the motion.
Aziraphale is always much more touch-oriented when he’s lycanthropic and the need for contact lingers a few days after a return from the earthen beast nature. Crowley, it appears to the angel, is quite okay with Aziraphale’s need for contact.
The angel does not press the issue however, considering the state of things with their employers, but he does take note of how happy Crowley’s aura is just from the contact.
January 15th sees Ravenclaw and Slytherin face off against each other. Slytherin wins but it’s a narrow enough difference that Gryffindor is easily in with the chance to win the Quidditch Cup again. With no more dementors anywhere near Hogwarts—and none likely to ever be near it again—there is no real concern for any harm to befall anyone at the pitch. Well, not beyond the usual sports injuries like broken legs, shattered collarbones, concussions, splinters, and chafed skin. Other than the match in January, most of the spring term passes relatively calmly. Harry, Ron, and Hermione all buckle down a bit more in preparation for the summer exams, in part due to Hermione’s insistence but also due to Aziraphale encouraging them to read and make notes for their classes—History of Magic really—ahead of the exams.
“You can always make use of them later on after all,” the angel points out to the boys when they look at each other with matching expressions of distaste. “And it’s not as though you’re obligated to use quill and parchment for making your notes either,” he adds and Harry’s expression clears into a more relaxed look.
February however, in comparison to January, is a much more drama-ridden month. In fact, it’s so drama-ridden that what happens in February is very much more dramatic than what happens in the reality where Harry never knows Crowley and Aziraphale. It is, in short, a real showstopper.
The Gryffindor—Ravenclaw match on February 5th is entertainingly fantastic, with Gryffindor winning easily enough. Harry’s performance is exemplary on his flaming Firebolt and the Indian boy touches down on the pitch to be swamped by his team- and house-mates. It’s during this joyous celebration that an alarm goes off in Hogwarts and the staff are alerted to another attack. Oddly enough, one during the day is unexpected. Even more so when it’s revealed that it’s Ron’s bed that has been attacked and not Harry’s.
It’s rather obvious whose bed is whose in the third year Gryffindor boys dorm, since Harry has a snake that likes to coil around his bedframe and, as such, his bed is rather junglelike. Still, that Harry’s bed is not the one attacked is something of note for Crowley and Aziraphale.
Especially when Harry sneaks to their chambers with Ron and Hermione in the middle of the night to inform them of something Monty-the-snake heard Sirius Black muttering during his casual defacing of Ron’s bedding.
“’I know he’s here, somewhere, I know that rat is here’,” Aziraphale repeats, frowning in confusion. Crowley looks equally confused. “What in the blazes does that mean?”
“He’s not referring to Harry, is he?” Hermione asks nervously and both angel and demon look at her.
“Doubt it,” Crowley answers. “If he’s after Harry at all, wouldn’t really make sense for him to call him a ‘rat’. ‘Rat’ is reserved for snitches,” the demon says and Aziraphale gives him a look. “There’s annual seminars about proper terms for tempting snitches,” he explains and Aziraphale looks surprised. “‘Rat’ is a big no-no.”
“Odd if useful information,” Aziraphale says and Crowley shrugs. “But Crowley is correct, Hermione. I don’t think mister Black is referring to Harry with his words.”
“Then who?” Harry asks. “He attacked Ron’s bed but Ron’s not a ‘rat’—” the ginger boy pales and blushes at the same time giving him a rather strange appearance “—so why attack Ron’s bed?”
Aziraphale frowns. “Perhaps there’s a memory attached to the bed for him?” He wonders. “Something that is tied strongly enough that he seems very determined to attack your dormitory no matter what stands in his way.”
“But everyone thinks he’s after Harry,” Hermione points out.
“Right,” says Ron. “Why would he even be at Hogwarts at all unless it’s got something to do with Harry—no offence mate but you seem to attract trouble.” Harry shrugs at Ron.
“It’s true,” the Indian boy says. “I do.”
“The question of why is not one I think we’re going to know for certain until mister Black is captured,” Aziraphale declares just as Crowley makes a noise. “Crowley?” The angel looks at the demon who seems to be staring off into the middle-distance all of a sudden. “Dear, what is it?”
“Rat,” Crowley breathes. “Rat!”
Aziraphale, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are left staring after Crowley when the demon bolts out of his seat and across the chamber, to the door and zips through it at speed.
The four of them immediately follow, Aziraphale watching the children with several of his eyes while the rest are watching their surroundings as they chase after Crowley around the castle. The demon doesn’t respond to them, intent on something or other, so much so that he doesn’t seem to actually care to respond. Aziraphale gives up shouting his name after a while, instead chasing after Crowley to the destination only the demon seems to know.
He sends the children off to bed when it seems Crowley isn't going to slow down in his hunting any longer. Night becomes day and neither any nor demon really notice beyond the obvious change in lighting. Since it's a weekend, there's a Hogsmeade trip that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are going on, which is the only reason Aziraphale glances out of the window and sees the students in the courtyard heading off to the village. Crowley's destination seems to be somewhere on the seventh floor if Aziraphale is guessing correctly based on where they are in the castle. Not that it makes any real difference considering how long Crowley has been chasing his quarry and Aziraphale chasing Crowley.
Eventually, however, Crowley's destination is revealed.
A destination that is, oddly enough, a broom cupboard.
“Crowley, dear,” Aziraphale begins when he catches up to the demon who is staring intently at the broom cupboard. “I dearly hope you have a good reason for cavorting around the castle right now otherwise I will be most displeased.”
“Shhh angel!” Crowley hisses, staring at the door of the broom cupboard. “I’m listening!”
Aziraphale bites back the instinctive urge to snark at Crowley because—well—he can see that Crowley is listening, he recognises the tilt of the demon’s head as the one Crowley does when he’s using his serpentine hearing alongside his infernal senses. It’s quite a tantalisingly focused expression that accompanies the head tilt but that’s not important.
“Be ready for anything that tries to get out of this cupboard, angel,” Crowley tells Aziraphale who doesn’t startle but he does stand a little straighter at Crowley’s tone. “Try not to kill it.”
Aziraphale is about to ask Crowley why not when the demon steps forward, opens the door, and transforms into a decently-sized pit viper in one smooth motion. Aziraphale is on the balls of his feet, balanced and ready, all of his eyes aware on every plane of existence, watching.
Crowley disappears inside the broom cupboard, dark scales blending into the vague gloominess within, and Aziraphale shifts a little on his feet, wings on another plane angled to protect the children should anything untoward occur. He’s gearing up for anything to come out of the broom cupboard, from the hoards of hell to a serial murderer.
So it’s understandable that Aziraphale doesn’t quite think the rat fleeing the cupboard is the priority until, in a burst of intellectual realisation, he remembers. Rat.
He snaps his fingers, miracling a humane rat trap at just the right moment to appear directly in front of the rat which tumbles right inside it with an indignant, terrified squeak. Crowley’s serpentine form slithers out of the broom cupboard a few seconds later, just as Aziraphale bends down to pick up the rat trap.
“I do hope this is what you wanted me to catch for you, dear,” Aziraphale comments to Crowley who, instead of answering, transforms back into his human form with far less grace than he displayed when transforming into a snake. Still, Aziraphale can’t fault him for that, Crowley seems more focused on the rat trap in Aziraphale’s arms than on paying attention to his corporation at present.
Aziraphale looks down at the trap in his arms or, more specifically, at the rat inside it. The rat that is screeching and squeaking loudly enough the angel is somewhat tempted to put it into a sleep before his hearing causes him a headache.
“Is there a particular reason why you wanted this particular rat, my dear?” Aziraphale looks at Crowley. “It seems rather peculiar for you to want to ingest a specific rat.”
“I haven’t eaten a rat since Rome, angel.” Crowley gives Aziraphale a look that definitely is offended but in a side-tracked sort of manner. The demon seems far more interested in the rat in the trap and that causes Aziraphale to look a little closer at it.
What he discovers is—to put it bluntly—rather shocking.
It seems they’ve found Peter Pettigrew.
Aziraphale stares at the rat, eyes wide, and the first thing that he can think about this development is, typically, very him. “Ron is going to be rather disappointed.”
“He’s better off without a creeping little traitor as a pet,” the demon asserts and Aziraphale has to nod because, yes, Ron rather is better off without Pettigrew masquerading as a pet. Anyone would be better off really. But especially Ron. “What are we to do with him then, Crowley?”
“If the basilisk was still around, I’d suggest a few things,” Crowley answers and Aziraphale doesn’t laugh but he does smile slightly. The idea is appalling but for someone who has hurt their de-facto son… it’s rather vindictively appealing to the angel.
Wrathful justice and such.
“Well, unfortunately it isn’t,” Aziraphale says and Crowley shrugs. “Perhaps we could—do you think—should we inform the magical authorities? Perhaps—for Harry’s sake?”
“He has a godfather, Crowley.” Aziraphale looks at the demon who stills in the way only the infernal and celestial seem capable of. “One wrongfully convicted of a crime that it appears he didn’t commit. Or, not all of it at least. Surely we owe Harry the right to know him?”
Crowley’s gaze becomes distant, still fixed unblinkingly on the rat that seems to have frozen in absolute terror if the aura Aziraphale senses is correct. The demon is thinking about this and Aziraphale wonders if Crowley has considered the consequences of this revelation.
If Harry’s godfather is innocent then Harry legally can be placed with him. He and Crowley have never formally adopted Harry. Unless they utilise miracles then they could lose him. Possibly permanently.
But they can’t deny Harry the chance to be loved by others, can they? Not really. They don’t have the right. Least of all when Harry is so desperate to be loved and cared for. He’s better than he was before Crowley showed up on Aziraphale’s doorstep with a child and declared they were his parents now. Well, not parents but close enough for it not to really matter until now.
Now it matters.
“We’ll lose him.”
Maybe. Maybe they will. But Aziraphale knows Harry loves them and that has to be enough. It has to be.
“We don’t do this and we may lose him anyway,” the angel says quietly, sadly, and Crowley looks at him. There’s an equal measure of sadness in those serpentine eyes and it breaks Aziraphale’s heart to see.
The demon’s shoulders slump, head drops forward and those eyes are hidden from Aziraphale’s view. “You’re right,” Crowley says, “you’re right, angel.”
“Then let us do this, my dear,” Aziraphale says as gently as he possibly can and he reaches out to slip an arm around one of Crowley’s own, the trap secured under his other arm. “Together.”
“If he chooses the godfather over us we can just—you know—watch over them, right?”
Aziraphale nods. “Of course, dear,” he says. “Of course we can.”
He doesn’t quite have the heart to say no, we can’t to Crowley when the demon seems so saddened just by the possibility of losing Harry. Losing Harry.
They don’t expect to be waylaid by the Weasley twins around the corner who, as is typical of twins born to cause chaos, slam into Crowley and Aziraphale with enough force to make them all tumble to the floor in a crashing heap of limbs and pointy elbows to guts. The rat trap lands on the ground at the exactly wrong angle for it to continue holding a rat inside it.
A rat that, when Aziraphale is able to shove one half of the Weasley twins off his legs, is seen scuttling away at a speed unmatched by any other rat the angel has ever seen. And he’s seen a lot of rats over the years.
“No!” Aziraphale scrambles to his hands and knees, one hand outstretched but it’s pointless. The rat is already gone.
Peter Pettigrew is gone.
“You bloody idiots!” Crowley hisses at Fred and George.
“Wasn’t that Ronnikins rat, George?” Fred asks curiously and Aziraphale sighs. They’ve lost the rat and now have two students who are going to ask them Questions. Awkward ones.
“It was, Fred,” George confirms, looking at the two of them as they climb to their feet. Crowley is looking particularly murderous which doesn’t bode at all well for the future fortunes of the Weasley twins. “Whatever were you doing with dear old Scabbers, hmm?”
Crowley gives them an ugly look.
“Dear old Scabbers,” he snarls and Aziraphale instinctively reaches out to lay a hand on the demon’s arm, grounding him when Crowley’s temper flares enough for embers of hellfire to spark from his fingertips. “Is a fucking traitorous little rat that may have caused the deaths of little Ronnikin’s best friends’ parents!”
Fred and George stare at Crowley.
“—definitely not a good thing, is it?—”
“—No, not at all—”
“—Have to do something about that don’t we?—”
“—Of course we do, George—”
“—Suppose we can use that map to find out where he is—”
“—This explains the name thing—”
“—Never thought to ask Ronnikins about it—”
“—Didn’t seem right to—”
“—No, rude of us to assume—”
“—Should have asked though—”
“—Definitely should have—”
“Enough!” Aziraphale cries and the twins look at him in surprise. “Please,” he continues, more calmly. “What is this map you’re talking about?”
The twins look at each other, holding a conversation and even Aziraphale wants to snap at them in frustration because time is of the essence but he holds onto his temper and lets Crowley snap instead.
“Well, we have a map you see—” Fred begins and George continues for his brother.
“—was just lying about in a cabinet it was, completely open to us—”
“—not our fault Filch had us in front of a cabinet labelled Confiscated and Highly Dangerous is it?—”
“—practically begging us to take it really—”
“—so we did.” Fred looks at Aziraphale and Crowley. He obviously realises that they’re rapidly approaching the point of No Patience At All and decides, wisely, to speed up the story. “Anyway. So we figured out the map and how it works—”
“—shows us all the secrets Hogwarts has to offer—”
“—and where everyone is at any moment—”
“—which is brilliant if you’re avoiding get—”
“Caught, yeah we know,” Crowley cuts Fred off and gives them both a look. “Hand it over.”
The twins shift awkwardly.
“About that,” George says, “we can’t.”
“Why not?” Aziraphale asks. The twins look at him rather shiftily. The angel has a bad feeling and he really doesn’t like that feeling.
“We may have—”
“—Harry, we gave it to Harry.”
Aziraphale stares at the twins. Crowley stares at the twins.
“Harry is in Hogsmeade right now,” Crowley says slowly.
“What are the odds he has the map on him now?” Aziraphale asks.
“Oh I hope it’s in his dorm.”
“We can’t go through his belongings, Crowley!” Aziraphale gasps, looking at the demon in surprise. “That’s a horrendous breach of his privacy!”
“We just need the map, angel,” Crowley retorts. “If it’s in his trunk, I can just summon it when it’s open. No need to look at anything else.”
Aziraphale purses his lips. “I don’t like this, Crowley,” he says and the demon gives him a commiserating look.
“Well it’s either this or I can try and track a rat that is now hiding its scent so I can’t track it,” Crowley replies and Aziraphale sighs.
“Fine.” The angel looks heavenward. “Let’s get on with it then.”
The twins accompany them to the Gryffindor dormitory and perhaps it’s for the best because both of them are effective at distracting the students inside from Aziraphale and Crowley going into the third year boy’s dorm and opening Harry’s trunk in short order. Neither of them really want to do this, Aziraphale knows, but it doesn’t make it easier.
They’re breaking Harry’s trust doing this but it’s necessary. The angel only hopes Harry will understand that and not be too upset by their actions. Oh he hopes.
Crowley doesn’t even bother waiting for the lid of Harry’s trunk to be more than a centimetre up before he’s snapping his fingers and a worn, well-used piece of folded parchment slithers out between the gap and flies into his hand. Aziraphale immediately drops the lid shut, making sure it locks firmly and securely right after.
He’s so very uncomfortable with all of this because even though they didn’t see anything it’s still an invasion. After what happened last year with that blasted diary, the angel and demon have reassured Harry that they would always trust him and never invade his privacy without good reason.
Even with a good reason, Aziraphale doesn’t want to invade it.
Oh Harry will never forgive them, he’s sure.
The map doesn’t seem to be anything truly remarkable until the Weasley twins, outside the common room, casually mention that you have to use a wand and state I am up to no good in order for it to work. That would have been useful to know earlier but at least the twins inform them at all.
They decide it’s wisest to retire to their chambers so they can use the map in privacy and are just on their way when Harry, Ron, and Hermione round the corner and stop to stare at them in surprise. Crowley lets out a near silent hiss of what Aziraphale guesses is frustration but could also be panic.
Either way, the demon quickly ushers the three of them to Aziraphale and Crowley’s shared chambers once they notice the parchment the demon is holding. Ron, Aziraphale notes, seems angry judging from his expression. Hermione, wise girl that she is, is frowning but doesn’t seem like she’s jumped automatically to conclusions.
Harry is—well—Harry looks more confused and curious than he does angry and Aziraphale isn’t quite sure if that’s because Harry is just curious and confused or if the teenager is hiding his anger from them. He hopes desperately it’s the former because if it’s the latter—Aziraphale cannot consider it.
He never wants Harry to hide things from them. Not—not like he had last year.
“So, why do you have the map?” Harry asks his uncles the moment they’re in the chambers. Crowley and Aziraphale look at each other. “You could have asked me for it by the way.”
“We were rather in a hurry, I’m afraid,” Aziraphale says and Harry looks at him. “We’re looking for a misplaced individual and are hopeful the map will assist us in locating them.”
“So you went through is stuff to find it?” Ron asks—demands—and the red-haired boy seems exceptionally angry now behind closed doors. “That’s just fine though because you were in a hurry.”
“We didn’t even look at anything of Harry’s! Barely opened the lid of his trunk so the map could be drawn from it with a summoning.” Aziraphale feels compelled to defend themselves, looking at Harry with a nervous expression that easily betrays the angel’s own conflict about their actions.
Harry must realise this because the boy turns to Ron and gives his friend a look. “Calm down, Ron,” he says. “It’s fine. I told them last year they could look through my stuff if they needed to. You know, after the diary.” He looks at Crowley and Aziraphale. “Besides,” he continues, smiling slightly, “I know you wouldn’t go through my stuff just because you can so it must be pretty important for you to need the map.”
The teenager pulls out his wand and looks at Crowley. “Do you want me to open it?”
Crowley bites his lip. “If you’d like,” he says and it’s as much a thank you to Harry for forgiving their breach of his privacy as it is an acceptance of Harry’s offer to help.
Aziraphale feels like his heart is fit to burst with the wave of love he feels for the boy he’s come to see as a son. All thanks to Crowley.
“Who are you looking for anyway?” Harry asks and the love in Aziraphale’s heart somewhat turns to ice.
“Ah, well,” he says nervously, “interesting thing uhm—”
“We’re looking for Peter Pettigrew,” Crowley answers and Aziraphale chokes. “He’s an animagi and has been a rat living with the Weasley’s for twelve years.”
The silence in the chambers is rather… tense after that revelation. Aziraphale can’t possibly imagine why.
If only the Weasley twins hadn’t ran into them, the angel thinks a moment before the silence breaks.
Ronald Weasley, it transpires, can bellow as loudly as his mother and just as shrilly. Aziraphale would rather have never found that out.
Crowley, genius that he is, decides to do something that Aziraphale doesn’t think he’s ever seen the demon do. He stops time.
Aziraphale, Crowley, and Harry are the only ones unaffected—something Aziraphale finds fascinating and he certainly wants to investigate this later but now is not the time—and it allows the three to leave the chambers quickly and set off in search of an errant rat-slash-traitor.
Whom they find, ironically enough, in Gryffindor tower, hiding in Ronald Weasley’s bed, and who is frozen in time also by Crowley’s powers.
More interestingly of course is the fact that Remus Lupin isn’t frozen either and they come across him just as they’re leaving Gryffindor tower with a reinforced rat trap that cannot be broken and Pettigrew cannot escape from. The Defence professor is especially surprised by them walking around the school while it’s frozen and is only reassured that it’s fine when Crowley snaps his fingers and time reasserts itself.
So, it would seem, Peter Pettigrew has been captured—securely—just in time for Albus Dumbledore to return to Hogwarts from a meeting at the Ministry with the Minister for Magic accompanying him. The quartet of lycan, child of prophecy, angel, and demon troop up to the headmaster’s office and deposit the rat trap on Dumbledore’s desk with all the fanfare of rather put upon exterminators who have been told their job is subpar.
Essentially, very grumpily.
It’s an excellent start to a rather embarrassing set of exposes for the Ministry and Fudge on the wrongful imprisonment of Death Eaters who were sent to Azkaban without a trial during the wizarding war. It is, also, the reason why Crowley receives a commendation from hell for causing chaos and spreading evil when one Death Eater escapes from custody during transport and disappears into the wild blue yonder.
Aziraphale receives a memo for the same act that simply says: COULD HAVE ADDED A SMITING—MICHAEL which the angel is rather concerned by but doesn’t say anything of even when Crowley mentions his own commendation later on after things have died down.
Sirius Black, it is revealed, has been by Harry’s side all year and is exceptionally protective of him. So much so that, when it revealed he is innocent of colluding with Voldemort to murder the Potters, transforms himself back to his human form and tells Crowley in no uncertain terms to “stay away from my godson you demon spawn!”
It’s rather dramatic and very impressive but ruined utterly by Harry stepping out from behind him and casually pointing out that Crowley has never pretended to be anything other than a demon. It is, also, not Crowley’s fault people don’t believe him, Harry reminds everyone. This leaves Sirius Black rather stumped and his plan to send Crowley back to hell is aborted because Harry firmly states that “if you want to have any sort of relationship with me, then you can’t hurt uncle Crowley or uncle Aziraphale”.
Although the rest of term passes by, it’s not really worthy of much note beyond Lupin being taught how to manage a magical calendar by Hermione to alert him to the moon and when best to take his Wolfsbane Potion. Aziraphale spends time with the lycan teaching him how to control his inner-wolf and it’s on the last full-moon of the term that Lupin is able to somewhat retain his conscious awareness and control without the aid of the Wolfsbane Potion.
Thus it turns out that the end of Harry’s third year at Hogwarts ends up with him obtaining additional godparents, deciding Aziraphale and Crowley are essentially his parents, Ron learning that his siblings are awful at respecting his privacy but Aziraphale and Crowley aren’t with Harry’s, and Hermione becoming very interested in advocating for the rights of werewolves and lycans in the magical world.
It’s all rather splendid really.
Except for that one Death Eater who escaped and is hiding out in Europe, trying to figure out what to do next.
But that’s for a different year and a different story. For now, this one is over.
 Crowley and Aziraphale both disagree with this argument by Hermione because they believe no child should be forgotten or ignored during a festive season—or at all, really—but neither comment on it to the girl when Harry explains how proud of her Hermione’s parents are for her grades. Both of them decide, however, to make an effort in complimenting the girl for non-academic things like her friendship, kindness, and leadership ability in order to let her experience a non-grades-oriented approval from actual adults.
 Said detentions came about due to the mistaken belief by these seventh years that the librarian was a mudblood, unfit to handle some rare tomes in the library catalogue. Aziraphale had been most displeased when they’d tied to curse him and had unleashed, rather fantastically, his own unique talent with light that left the students blinded for a good while before the angel showed them mercy and restored their sight. Crowley had been of the opinion that they deserved what they got from the angel for attacking him in a library of all places. Aziraphale privately agreed but as he’s an angel, chose ultimately to be kind rather than just cruel as the demon would.
 Aziraphale has to claim credit for the miracle as Crowley cannot since hell frowns upon Good Work. Oddly enough, this is one time that Aziraphale receives a message from up high informing him that the miracle doesn’t count as it’s just self-preservation to remove that obnoxious shade from the colour spectrum. This is how angel and demon discover that Crowley deleted the colour itself and that’s why Dumbledore’s outfit turned pitch black.
 The author has given up calling Crowley and Aziraphale “uncle” most of the time unless it’s in dialogue or other characters. To Harry, these two ineffable idiots are his dads and he will fight everything and anything to keep them. Yes, that means you Albus-I-have-seventy-million-middle-names-Dumbledore.
 It’s not actually that well-known that the magical makings of food by the House Elves requires them actually knowing and understanding the recipes that are desired for them to create. Without the knowledge, what they end up making is somewhat akin to the nightmare creation of a sugared-up five-year-old let loose in the kitchen with no supervision. This explains why the sandwiches delivered by House Elves to the dorms at various points throughout the past school years have varied so much; there’s only one elf in the whole castle who makes them to the standard of a very particular Ravenclaw fifth year and said elf is always dragged away from whatever they’re doing to fulfil the Sandwich Order for them.
 It is.
 Aziraphale says nothing when Crowley gives them detention with Hagrid. It’s the kindest detention they’ve likely ever received.
 Death in the next county over from where Hogwarts resides sends a rudely worded note to Crowley for delaying one of his soul collections which Crowley promptly sets alight before it can explode in a shower of soul-eating embers.
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