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From Privet Drive

Chapter Text

Dumbledore takes his seat once more and the steward’s staff taps against the ground. The sound of metal on marble rings through the Wizengamot room. Once the ringing fades, there is complete silence and the steward speaks.

“Lord Hari James Potter.”

Hari breathes in and takes his first step. His shoes click tellingly on the floor and if every eye hadn’t already been watching the doors, they would be now.

He keeps his eyes straight ahead. This allows Hari to watch the moment Dumbledore sees him. The man’s face goes red from rage under his beard, pinching hilariously. There’s shock and awe written there, too. Pride swells in Hari. He’s made it.

Hari reaches the exact center of the room and turns on his heels to face the Wizengamot instead of Dumbledore. He looks up at them, at the faces awash with awe. Nerves are the only thing keeping him together. He wants to look to Draco, but he’d have to turn his head. His eyes seek out Blaise instead and the boy gives him a subtle, but encouraging nod.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Lord of House Potter. So mote it be.” He has to introduce each house separately, as well as his position as Hogwarts’ Heir. So he’ll have to do this seven times. The Potter seat glows and the crest appears in front of Hari in stunning blue magic for just a moment. He’s been accepted. Several people sit back in their seats, seemingly believing he’s done.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Baron of House Peverell. So mote it be.” What, did they forget his father also held that title? The Peverell seat glows and the crest hovers in front of Hari, fading after a second.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Baron of House Black. So mote it be.” There’s more surprised shifting at this, but they accept it quickly, just as soon as the magic accepts Hari. The black swirling lines fade away and Hari takes a breath to begin again.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Earl of Gryffindor. So mote it be.” Shocked silence reigns in the room as red magic all but surrounds him. But he’s still not done.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Duke of Slytherin, by Right of Conquest. So mote it be.” There’s whispering this time, people wondering how he could possibly have inherited both, but the magic accepts him, so they have no way of arguing.

“I hereby claim the title Lord Hari James Potter, Count of House Gaunt, by Right of Conquest. So mote it be.” The last of the green magic swirls around him, then fades away.

“I, Lord Hari James Potter, as Earl of Gryffindor and Duke of Slytherin, hereby claim my rightful position as Heir to Hogwarts. So mote it be.” Four magics swirl around him, red, green, blue, and yellow. The chairs of each Hogwarts founder glow brightly for an instant, than everything fades.

“I hereby vow to bring honor to my seats and Houses in my time serving on this esteemed body, as Lord Hari James Potter, Lord of House Potter, Baron of House Peverell and of House Black, Earl of Gryffindor, Duke of Slytherin, Heir Hogwarts, and Count of House Gaunt. This vow I shall keep, so mote it be.” The seats of each House he has claimed glow, then the layout of the entire room warps. He moves his eyes from Blaise to the location where the Potter seat will come to rest. It had taken quite a while for them to figure out how the magic would shift the room. It came down to some heavy estimations.

The Ministry members take up the whole of the right side. Noble houses are in the first row. The next several rows are Ancient and Noble Houses. The fifth and sixth rows are Most Ancient and Noble Houses. There is a small section of eight seats in the center of the sixth row, slightly separated, where the Founding Houses are. At the very top is a secluded area with only four chairs which look more like thrones. They are for the dead lines of Merlin and Arthur.

Center, sixth row, nine seats in. Where the Gryffindor and Slytherin seats had been. Instead, there is now a chair nearly as extravagant as Merlin and Arthur’s thrones. The seats for every house he claimed have combined to make it so. Because of this, the layout of the room has changed, seats shifting to fill in the gaps his Claims have made where the seats vanished to combine.

Hari lets a beat pass once the new seat has shone for everyone to see, then starts towards it. Up the stairs on the left of the center column, away from the Ministry and surrounded by Nobility. It may have made waves it he’d chosen to walk up the right side, but this way is traditional for a new Lord and he’s not sure he likes the looks on the faces of the wix in the smallest section.

He reaches his seat and all the other Lords, Ladies, and Heirs stand as one to bow to him. The House of Potter isn’t the highest House in the chamber, despite its Primacy over the two Founding Houses, but his titles combined make him the most powerful person in the room. Hari supposes he shouldn’t be surprised that tradition will be a little warped and place him at the top of the hierarchy instead of the other way around.

Hari nods back in the way Narcissa taught him and sits. The other nobility follow, sitting in a ripple effect based on the primacy of their Houses. The Ministry officials have stayed seated through it all.

“At this time,” Dumbledore says in a shaking voice, “I call for the doors to be sealed and this session to begin.” He walks up and takes his place at the podium for the Chief Warlock.

Hari looks for Narcissa in the gallery and she offers a small smile and nod. He responds in kind, relieved to know he had done well.

His eyes seek out Draco next, finding the boy already staring at him. Draco’s smile is a little more obvious than his mother’s, but what can you expect from a thirteen year old boy looking at his best friend? Hari smiles back, then faces forward. The meeting is beginning.

“As is first on our agenda,” Dumbledore begins and Hari opens the file on his desk. He’d reviewed the papers within before coming, studying Lucius’ copy.

“Hem, hem.” All eyes turn to the Ministry section, glaring at some witch in all pink.

The Minister rises, “Apologies, Chief Warlock, but I question the wisdom of allowing a thirteen year old child to sit on our esteemed body.”

There’s a long beat of silence following his proclamation.

“Now, Cornelius—“ Dumbledore starts. Lucius cuts him off.

“Minister, do you intend to deny Lord Potter his legal right to sit on this body?” Lucius is standing, eyes slightly narrowed. It is an intimidating look.

“I—of course not. I simply mean that he is not yet of age.” Hari makes brief eye contact with Lucius and rises. He needs to defend himself.

“Minister Fudge,” Hari addresses the man, who turns to him with shock on his face. “It is in accordance with our laws that a Lord may claim his title and seat at the age of thirteen. These same laws declare that I have the right to make use of my seat beginning at the age of thirteen. I am thirteen years old. The magic has accepted me. I have my title and my seat. Are you denying me the right to make use of it as the law permits?”

“No, Lord Potter, of course not. My apologies, I simply was unprepared to see someone so young participate,” Minister Fudge bows neatly.

“Then perhaps you should review your history, as there are Lords as young as I documented throughout the lifespan of this body. And let us not forget one who helped create this body, Arthur Pendragon, the thirteen-year-old King.” Hari tilts his head at the minister, looking for all the world like an innocent, curious child. “Perhaps you could request lessons from Lord Malfoy. He did an exemplary job teaching me.”

Stifled laughter ripples through the chamber. The minister blushes and bows once more.

“I believe I will review on my own, Lord Potter. I apologize again.” He retakes his seat.

“Of course. If you ever need something clarified, I’d be more than willing to answer your questions,” Hari nods, giving the slightest smile and taking his seat again. He glances over to Lucius and Draco. Lucius is ‘coughing’ into his hand and Draco is turning pink and shaking from the effort of holding in his laughter.

“Right,” Dumbledore glares up at Hari, who simply crooks an eyebrow at him. “As I was saying, the first thing on our agenda is a bill proposed by Secretary Umbridge and dealing with werewolves. Miss Umbridge?” He gestures for her to take the floor.

Her voice is drab and droning and it kind of makes Hari want to cut his ears off. The bill contains several factual inaccuracies. Lucius has arranged a series of comments to be made by different allies, culminating with Hari.

Umbridge finishes spouting her lies and Lord Goyle stands.

“I see here you have detailed werewolves as being non-human. You are aware this is inaccurate, correct?”

Lady Zabini adds, “as well as the commentary of their proclivity for eating human flesh.”

“And the note on their ability to turn people without the full moon,” Lord Greengrass says.

“As well as the fact that you believe they can turn without the full moon’s presence,” Lord Malfoy finishes.

“I have to wonder where you got your information, Miss Umbridge,” Lord Crabbe asks.

Hari stands once more, “Perhaps I can shed some light on that, Lord Crabbe.” Lord Crabbe bows subtly in appreciation. “It is a flight of fancy from the muggle world that werewolves are vicious, dangerous killers. It is a trend in their novels that werewolves would consume human hearts to survive and that they are capable of transforming and changing others on nights other than the full moon. In some literature, this is only a partial transformation, while in others, they fully become wolves, like an animagus would.

“It seems to me that Miss Umbridge has gotten her information out of works intended to be taken as fiction, rather than bothering to consult any scientific literature. In fact, it was well known before the mass introduction of muggleborns into wix society that werewolves are perfectly safe human beings at all times other than the night of the full moon, at which point, they should lock themselves away or, in this advanced day and age, take the Wolfsbane Potion.

“Miss Umbridge, have you bothered to read Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, or do you admit to having made all this up?”

“Well, of course I did not make this up!” She gasps as if horribly offended. It’s not difficult to see that she’s actually just angry at being called out. “That book is old knowledge and has since been proven false. Why, just look at the statistics.”

“Miss Umbridge, am I correct in assuming you are including werewolf attacks that have occurred at the hands of one Fenrir Greyback, a known outlier? A werewolf who sought out being bitten and who has forcibly turned others to create an army for the late Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort. This man,” Hari tilts his chin to look down his nose at her, “was a murderer before being turned. And outliers should always be either noted in the statistics or removed to allow a more reliable average to be found.”

“I-I… of course he was included, he is a werewolf, and certainly not an outlier. Just look at the numbers!”

Lady Zabini sighs, “Miss Umbridge, this is getting tiring. Lord Potter just stated that Fenrir Greyback is a known outlier. Arguing that he is not an outlier based on statistics that include him is foolhardy.”

“I would call for a vote,” Lord Malfoy calls.

“Seconded,” Lord Nott says.

“The motion is carried,” Hari completes. Everyone takes their seats and Dumbledore sets his hands on either side of his podium, barring anyone from being able to see it.

“All those in favor of passing this bill.” The room is silent except for the sound of wands being tapped on arms of the seats.

“All those in favor of discarding this bill.” The tapping is louder now and Hari knows they have won this round. Of course, he didn’t have any doubt originally, but this only confirms it.

“The bill has been discarded,” Dumbledore announces and Umbridge mutters angrily in her seat. Hari glances at her, irritated, but turns back to Dumbledore. It’s already almost twelve-thirty, the silly woman managed to talk for over two hours about her lies, and Hari wants lunch.

“We will adjourn for one hour. The doors will seal at one thirty,” Dumbledore calls and taps his wand at the top of the podium. Hari rises and briskly makes his way out of the room through the back entrance closest to his seat. He’s certain there are others around him hoping to speak to him but—oh, there’s Draco.

“Lord Potter, you were brilliant!” Draco cries and barely bows before throwing his arms around Hari.

“Can we do this later? I’m absolutely starving,” Hari groans. “I was this close,” he holds up his thumb and forefinger almost touching, “to having to cast a silencing spell at my stomach, I swear.”

Draco laughs, “let’s go eat. We’ll talk over lunch. Father wanted me to ask, would you rather go with the Lords or with us?”

“You,” Hari says without hesitation, “I’ll be here often enough over the school year, there will be plenty of opportunities for me to eat with them.”

“And being an Heir isn’t a good enough reason to have excused absences from school,” Draco sighs dramatically and leans onto Hari’s shoulder. “Come on, everyone will be waiting.”

Draco drags Hari through the building to a large chamber with several circular tables and two long buffets. “This room is specifically for Heirs. It’s not blocked by magic or anything, but it’s sort of just understood that the kids come here and the parents go to the other room.”

“A more relaxed area for us, then?” Hari smirks.

“Exactly,” Draco nods. They make their way through the buffet with lunch foods. Everything looks divine, even more-so than the food from Hogwarts. Hari glances to the dessert buffet.

“I have got to remember to save room for that.”

Draco laughs, “yeah, but your appetite is pretty much up to where it should be, so that shouldn’t be an issue.”

“I think I’m hitting a growth spurt,” Hari admits. His bones have been aching slightly the last few days.

“Hence, a voracious appetite.”

“I don’t know about voracious, but certainly normal for a teenage boy,” Hari allows.

“Teenage boy appetite equals voracious appetite,” Draco points out and Hari tilts his head.

“Okay, you win that one.” They find their seats with the others. “At least my stomach can handle all this food now.”

“Right? It tastes better than it looks,” Pansy gushes.

“But the dessert is the best,” Daphne adds.

“Eat!” Blaise orders, “and we will gossip about what the heck happened in there. That was so beautiful!”

Hari laughs and takes a bite of food, “honestly,” he says after swallowing, “the whole werewolf thing was planned.”

“I don’t care if it was planned or not,” Blaise huffs, “it was still wonderful seeing the old fart go down.”

“Is she always like that, then?”

“Always,” Pansy groans, “and I’ve been dealing with her since Christmas.”

“Oh, how wonderful,” Hari mutters sarcastically and rips through some chicken.

“Okay, but did anyone else notice how the minister thing had no planning?” Daphne asks.

“Oh,” Draco starts laughing and almost chokes. “That was the best thing I’ve seen all summer.”

“Right?” Blaise is practically bouncing in his seat.

“You played up that childhood innocence thing,” Draco says, “and it made it look like you weren’t even trying.”

“Ah, yeah,” Hari turns pink, “I may have done that intentionally.”

“You remember when I said how your titles are the reason you’re going to rule the world?” Pansy asks. The group nods. “I was wrong. Your cuteness and absolute savagery are the reasons you’re going to rule the world. This whole Lordship thing just gives you a stepping stone.”

“That’s exactly it!” Blaise crows. “It’s like he was born to this.”

“Just keep using the cute to your advantage and it’ll all go swimmingly,” Daphne promises, patting Hari gently on the hand. Hari rolls his eyes but is grinning wildly on the inside. Hey, if it works…

“Is there treacle tart up there?” Hari asks when he’s finished his plate.

“Of course,” Daphne nods. “Let’s go get some.”

Hari gets three slices to start. And then has to go back for two more. It’s just really good, okay?

A chime rolls through the Ministry and the group sighs. Hari eyes flicker longingly to the dessert table.

“You can have more at dinner, Hari,” Draco promises and leads him away by the hand.

“Are there any surprises we should be ready for this afternoon?” Blaise teases before they split up.

“No,” Hari shakes his head. “None planned, at least. The next thing on the agenda is really boring, actually.”

The others groan.

“Like this morning wasn’t bad enough?” Pansy whines, “Aside from you breaking up the monotony, that was the dullest morning yet. Mostly because of who was speaking.”

“Sorry,” Hari says, “but at least it isn’t her speaking this afternoon.”

“That only makes me feel slightly better,” Daphne sighs.

“We’ve gotta go,” Draco taps his toes at the group. “See you later, Lord Potter.”

“See you guys!” Hari hurries off to the entrance to his section and settles in quickly. At exactly one-thirty, Dumbledore orders the doors to be sealed.

The next bit of legislation is an amendment to an already tedious law. The amendment doesn’t really change anything as far as Hari can tell and Lucius had agreed. Hari has already decided not to vote for it. Despite all this, the presenter talks for his whole allotted hour and a half. Someone presents an hour long counterargument.

It doesn’t pass.

The last portion of the afternoon is someone in the Muggle Artifacts department speaking about cars. He hears Draco’s voice in the back of his mind. Red hair and hand-me-down robes? He must be a Weasley.

The speech doesn’t take it’s full allotted time, but then someone else steps up to fill the empty space. Apparently, the Wizengamot is picky about timing. In the end, they approve more money to be spent to support the study of cars. Hari finds it somewhat pointless given the advanced forms of travel wix have, but he can see why it would be beneficial for them to understand muggle technology, so he approves it.

“And that,” Dumbledore stands, “is the last bit on our agenda for the afternoon. We will reconvene at seven to review the schedule for the next session and distribute materials.” He taps his wand on the podium and everyone files out yet again.

“Okay, you were right,” Draco falls into step beside Hari, “that was terribly boring. Was it just me, or did that entire first two and a half hours do nothing whether or not it passed?”

“Nope, not just you,” Hari groans, “the whole thing was pointless either way. Your father confirmed that, too.”

“Oh, wonderful,” Draco grumbles. “Can we just gorge ourselves on dessert instead of a real dinner?”

“No,” Daphne sweeps in behind them and pushes them towards the dinner buffet. “You are going to at least eat something healthy first. Preferably a meat and a carb.”

“So… a small helping of that chicken looking stuff?” Hari asked.

“Yes. It should be pre-cut,” Daphne nods, pleased. Hari takes the smallest piece he can find and Draco does the same. Within ten minutes, they’re loading up their plates at the dessert buffet.

“We have a whole hour to eat as much dessert as we want,” Draco chatters happily.

“I have to say,” Hari grins, “I’m quite pleased.”

“Don’t forget that you have to go back to collect your materials,” Blaise warns. “We’re not required to.”

Right, only Lords and Ladies have to be there for this part.

“Spectacular,” Hari huffs and angrily takes a bite of chocolate cake. It’s moist and perfect and the frosting is divine. “Well, enjoy your extra half hour with the dessert table.” He glares at Draco who seems all too smug.

“When will you be announcing your intent to try, uh, Oldie Moldie?” Pansy asks and the group blinks at her. “We haven’t given him a subtle nickname yet! And you knew who I was talking about.”

Hari bursts into hysterical giggles, “it will be on the agenda for the next session. Although, it’s labeled as something about goblins, instead.”

“Oh, good.”

“And when is the next session, again?” Daphne pokes at her pie curiously with her fork before taking a bite. She makes a surprised but pleased sound and chomps away happily.

“The third,” Hari looks at her curiously. “They’re always on the third, seventh, fifteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, and thirty-first.” She should have known that. She winks at him and tilts her head slightly to indicate someone behind Hari. Hari waits a long moment, then peeks quickly. It’s the Longbottom Heir looking utterly confused by everything, as usual.

Hari shrugs and takes another bite of cake. Somehow, he manages to clear his plate before the chime goes off for the third time that day.

“Well, I’m off.” They all wave to him, still chowing down on the delicious treats. Hari rolls his eyes at them and hurries off.

The doors seal for the last time that evening and papers are already on the small stand in front of Hari’s seat. He flips the file open to read over the agenda.

There’s several items he doesn’t really care about, but the very first is one that reads ‘Goblin Announcement of Charges Filed’. He smiles slightly at that and listens absently to Dumbledore prattle on about who would be speaking and how the session would be structured. Which is to say, he offers a list of names and rambles about nothing for a half hour. Finally, they’re allowed to leave.

Hari scampers out to find Lucius, whom he hasn’t spoken to since early this morning.

“You did very well today, Lord Potter,” Lord Nott tells him. “It was quite impressive.” The man bows and Hari accepts it with the expected nod.

“Thank you.”

“Are you looking for someone?”

“Lord Malfoy, actually. He’s my ticket home,” Hari smiles cheekily and Lord Nott chuckles at him.

“He should be right this way.” The taller man leans in slightly, “if you behave as if you are speaking to me, the others will not ambush you.”

Hari smirks, “thank you, again, in that case.”

“It is my pleasure.” Hari’s certain it is. After all, just being seen with Hari will raise Lord Nott’s status in the eyes of the other Lords and Ladies. “Here you are, then.” He gestures towards where Hari can now see Lucius.

“Lord Malfoy,” Hari calls politely. Lucius turns and his lips quirk. He bows politely before addressing Hari.

“Are you ready to go, Lord Potter?”

“I am,” Hari confirms. “Lord Nott was kind enough to help me find you.”

“Ah,” Lucius’ eyes gleam, “thank you, Lord Nott.”

“Any time,” Lord Nott assures him before taking his leave.

“Come, Narcissa and Draco should already be at home.” Hari nods and lets Lucius lead him to the nearest apparition point. The crowd of Lords and Ladies there waiting to get home part to let him through. Hari nods to as many as he physically can without looking like a bobble head. An instant later, he feels as if he’s being pressed through a tube and they’re outside Malfoy Manor.

Hari’s birthday is almost over.

Chapter Text

“Hari!” Draco shrieks when Hari walks in the door. Hari winces at the sudden noise, but takes the hug without complaint. “I got you the best birthday present ever.”

“You got him a snake for Christmas last year, I dare you to top that,” Blaise drawls from the other side of the room. Pansy and Daphne snicker.

“Come on,” Daphne waves them over, “we’ve got to tell Hermione everything.”

“And someone has to tell me how to take her under my protection,” Hari adds.

A thin book floats in front of Hari’s face and he almost walks into it. To his right, Lucius is smirking at him.

“This will tell you everything you need to know for that,” he says smugly. Hari smiles gratefully and snatches the book out of the air.

An Extensive Guide to Adding Members to Your House is the title. Hari looks at the book and finds the title ironic. If this is extensive, then there really must not be much to it.

“Hari!” Hermione yelps when he walks into the room. She jumps up from straightening the pile of gifts on the middle of Draco’s bed. “Happy Birthday!”

“Thank you, ‘Mione,” Hari grins at her. She hugs him much more calmly than Draco had. Draco still looks slightly upset when she pulls away, but Hari’s not entirely sure why. He shrugs internally. Draco’s just weird sometimes. “If you give me two minutes, I can figure out how to take you under my protection and then we can get to the presents.”

“Oh, thank you, Hari!” She looks at him fretfully for a moment, “or should I be calling you ‘Lord Potter’?”

“No, no,” Hari waves her off and flips the book open. There’s a table of contents, perfect. “I’ve given you leave not to already. I’d rather not do that formally. Hey, Dray, could you explain the ins and outs of it to her?”

“If we were out in public, you would be expected to bow and address him as ‘Lord Potter’ at least once. He would then publically tell you to call him ‘Hari’ and you would reply that he should call you ‘Hermione’.” Draco snaps his fingers. “And that would be that. Although, if you see him at the Ministry anywhere but, say, the Heir’s Lounge, you would need to call him Lord Potter and get permission again. The Heir’s Lounge is just private enough to get away with not using titles for anyone, though, so don't worry about it there.”

“Okay, so, when I see you all at Diagon next week…” she trails off, looking for an explanation.

“You bow first to Hari,” Pansy jumps in, “then more shallowly to the rest of us. We’ll stand close enough together that you won’t need to remember the order.” Hari finds the appropriate page and marks it with his finger.

“Hari, Draco, Daphne, you, and Blaise, right? Theo was pretty much in the middle if I remember correctly,” Hermione tilts her head, sleek waves falling off her shoulder. Daphne eyes them enviously.

“That’s right,” Blaise confirms, “it’s pretty neat you remember that despite only hearing it once.”

“Remembering is easy for me,” Hermione says uncomfortably. Blaise backs off.

“You ready?” Hari asks Hermione. He offers her the book. “My part is easy to remember.” She skims it over and then nods.

“As is mine.” They stand next to the bed.

“Dray, I need a witness,” Hari looks to his best friend.

“Got it.” Draco scoops up the book and reads over the short lines he’ll recite. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Hermione gets down on one knee in front of Hari and they clasp wrists.

“I, Lord Hari James Potter, do hereby call Hermione Jean Granger into my House and protection,” Hari intones.

“I, Hermione Jean Granger, hear this call and do joyfully respond. I rise to join your House and protection,” she recites. Hari carefully starts pulling her up to her feet.

“From this moment, let it be known, Hermione Jean Granger stands with Lord Hari James Potter in his House and under his protection,” Draco calls, setting a hand over their clasped ones.

“I arrive, my Lord,” Hermione bows over their hands.

“I welcome you and name you my cousin. Rise and bow to me no more. So mote it be.”

“So I have witnessed, so mote it be,” Draco completes the ritual. Magic rises over their clasped hands and twine Hari and Hermione together.

“What was the thing about bowing?” Hermione asks when they’ve sat back down.

“Formality,” Hari says, “basically, when the ritual was created, formality was expected whether in public or private. Saying that would be saying, ‘you don’t have to bow in private.’”

She hums and, after a beat, nods her understanding. “Let’s open your presents, now.”

“Let’s,” Hari agrees. Daphne passes over her gift. It’s a bracer designed to look almost exactly like Hari’s wand holster.

“It’s so people can’t tell which is which and steal your wand,” she explains. Hari grins at her.

“It’s perfect.”

From Blaise, he gets toys to play with in both his animagus forms and (jokingly) catnip. The whole group laughs at that and he and Blaise hug until Draco coughs pointedly.

Pansy gives him one of the planners he’d mentioned wanting. Hari stares at it in awe for a long moment before declaring that he’s putting in every major event he can think of as soon as he wakes up tomorrow.

Hermione gives him books. One is on the etymology of tigers, one of rusty spotted cats, and one is about holiday celebrations in Bengal. Hari actually tears up at the third. Draco lets them hug for a while longer than he had with Blaise before coughing.

Draco’s gift is a small envelope which confuses Hari at first.

Hari,

Your gift is too big to fit in a box. I wanted to give you something so that you could de-stress even when we aren’t at Hogwarts. So there’s a few things I should list:

-Father has taken care of registering Ajay. He did that at lunch today.

-Your rings work as a port-key that will take you to any of your properties, even Potter Cottage. They’ve been registered with the Board of Governors so they will work even on Hogwarts property. On the back of this paper are the activation codes. Press your thumb onto the center stone of the appropriate ring and say the code and you’ll be whisked away.

-Mother has filled out as much of the paperwork for taking over as Heir Hogwarts as she can. I filled in what I could. There is very little left to be done.

-Father has instructed Gringotts to remove Dumbledore from all the wards around your houses. They sent the same cursebreaker as last time. He can no longer enter any of your properties.

-Mother has prepared the paperwork to request guardianship transfer to Sirius. Sirius has completed his part. All that is required is your signature and Sirius will take it in to file it with the Ministry.

-Father has procured a solicitor on your behalf. If you would like, they can start the process of suing for rights to the title ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ and all the merchandise and franchises that have come with it. This solicitor also has a friend who works in the muggle world. If the time ever comes that you would like to deal with the muggles, the option is readily available.

That isn’t everything, but there’s something I wanted to say first. You’re my best friend and I’m so lucky to have met you. I’m terribly sorry for everything you’ve been through and I want to remind you that you matter as more than the Boy-Who-Lived or Lord Potter. You matter as ‘just Hari’ and I refuse to let you forget that.

That being said, when you’re ready, change into Ajay and I’ll give you your last gift.

Sincerely,

Draco

Hari looks up, sniffs and wipes at his eyes, then tackles Draco and lets himself cry into his shoulder for a moment.

“That’s too much,” Hari whispers into his ear.

“Nothing could ever be too much.”

“Thank you.”

“Anytime.”

Hari stands and transforms then.

“Come on, all of you. This is really cool,” Draco grins brilliantly at all of them and leads Ajay out of the room. They walk all the way over to the East wing of the Manor and to the doors of the large, open room Draco used to learn to fly as a child. “We’re here. Ready, Ajay?”

Ajay chuffs and butts his head against Draco’s hip. Ajay is more than ready. He prances slightly on his toes in anticipation. Draco opens the door and reveals the room has been transformed.

It’s an ideal play area for either of Hari’s forms, but has been magically expanded to be more than large enough for Ajay to play, which is why Draco had him become Ajay. Ajay crouches and sniffs at the air before leaping forward and sprinting into the trees and foliage around him. Ajay just wants to creep around and jump out and pounce and then lounge next to the river he can hear off to the left.

There’s a prickle of magic in the air and then he can hear even more—creatures. There’s creatures in the room. Ajay lets out a happy snarl and crouches low, slinking through the undergrowth. Off a little ways, close to the door where Draco and the others (friends, Ajay reminds himself, not prey) is something distinctly prey scented. He prowls that way and is immensely pleased to see a replica of a large cattle-like animal grazing on its own. Foolish on its part. He licks his lips and prepares to spring.

In moments, the magical creature is taken down, pinned beneath his fangs and claws. He releases it and watches the magic within fix the toy so it can stand and go off to be a target once more.

“Well done, Ajay!” There’s cheers from his friends (not prey) and he darts over. His paws land heavily on Draco’s shoulders, but the others prevent him from falling over. The wall probably helps, too.

“You like it, then?” Draco giggles as Ajay rubs their faces together, eyes closed and chuffing happily. He releases Draco after a moment and drops down, changing into Beau. “Beau wants a turn, too?” He lets out a high-pitched meow and darts into a tree, waiting for the prey he can catch to be released.

The magic causes his fur to stand on end and then he’s off like a shot, leaping along tree branches until he sees a bird just a few feet away that hasn’t noticed him yet. He prowls closer slowly, keeping low and quiet just as Minerva taught him. The bird ducks it’s head to preen and he takes it down, catapulting them both out of the tree. The bird lands heavily, but he makes it  onto all four paws and runs off the momentum in a circle, coming back around to sink his teeth into the bird’s neck and finish the kill.

Applause echoes again and he trots back proudly. Draco scoops him up and he lets out a rumbling purr.

“You’re quite agile, aren’t you, Beau?” Draco rubs between his ears and the others offer pets and praise, too. Beau puffs up under the attention.

“Let’s go get you something to eat. I’m sure that made you hungry,” Draco says and snuggles him close.

They go into the dining room, where Narcissa and Lucius are waiting with a laden table.

“There you are,” Narcissa smiles at the group. The children take their seats around the table, but Draco has yet to put Beau down, so Hari can’t turn back. He gives a slight, irritated yowl of displeasure.

“Best let him change back,” Lucius warns. “I think you’re about to get clawed.”

“He’d never claw me,” Draco says confidently, “And if he did, I’d just wrap his paws and cuddle him more.” Beau yowls even louder and hisses for good measure. Draco lets him down.

“I wouldn’t claw you,” Hari straightens his robes, “not intentionally. But instincts are a thing and emotions are dampened in animagus form. So don’t bank on it. Beau very well might claw you if you don’t let him down. And really, wrap my paws and cuddle me more? Beau would just bite you, dummy.” Hari pushes Draco’s shoulder gently and takes his seat next to him.

“Before we eat,” Lucius draws a small box out of his pocket, “there is one last gift.”

Hari opens it slowly, revealing a silver pocket watch. It has a ring consisting of each of his house stones around the face and an engraving of the Potter crest, but is otherwise simple. It suits him to a tee, Hari thinks.

“I love it,” Hari smiles at Lucius and Narcissa, “thank you.”

“Of course, sweetie,” Narcissa smiles sweetly.

“You’re welcome,” Lucius nods. “A bit of forewarning, though. Now that your Lordship and many titles have been announced, many of the Lords and Ladies have taken it upon themselves to send you gifts. Each has been inspected thoroughly for safety, but you should expect to write a significant number of thank you letters.”

Hari groans and turns to Pansy, “any chance I could get one of those transcribing quills your mother uses?”

“I’ve got plenty,” Pansy nods, “you can have as many as you need.”

Hari sighs, relieved, and they dig into the food.


“Lord Potter,” the eighth person that day bows to him. They’ve been in Diagon Alley for about ten minutes. Thankfully, not everyone feels the need to bow, but enough do that it is slightly uncomfortable. Or wholly uncomfortable. Okay, it’s wholly uncomfortable.

Hari nods to the man who then proceeds to offer a bow to the Heirs. Draco has had his nose turned up since the first person bows and Blaise refuses to stop making fun of him for it. It’s a long ten more minutes before they find Hermione. She darts over as soon as she sees them and bows gracefully. She’s clearly practiced for this moment.

“Lord Potter,” she comes out of the bow and turns slightly, bowing again. “Heirs Malfoy, Greengrass, Parkinson, and Zabini.”

“Good morning, Miss Granger,” Hari greets and holds out his hand. They clasp wrists. “Please, call me Hari.”

“Then you must call me Hermione,” she replies politely. “All of you,” she addresses to the whole group, who nod back.

“Come on,” Draco grins at her, “we’re taking you to Mr. Lazwell. He makes the best robes in all of Britain.”

“I thought that was Madam Malkin?”

“No,” Pansy all but wails, “Madam Malkin makes good quality, but mass produced school robes that are designed to grow with you for the school year. Mr. Lazwell makes high-quality robes designed for appearance. He’s up on all the latest fashions and has the best materials.”

“So basically, it’s the argument of affordability versus aesthetic?”

“Pretty much,” Daphne confirms. “But we’ll only be getting you a few things from Mr. Lazwell.”

“Yeah, our next trip is to one of the other best robe shops in Britain. They’ve got the best everyday robes,” Blaise says.

“I got all my clothes through their catalogue,” Hari confirms. “They really are incredible.”

“Yeah, but now you’ve out grown almost all of it,” Pansy sighs, “so we’re going to have to buy you more.”

“I suppose it’s a good thing I have access to all my vaults now, isn’t it?” Hari smirks cheekily at her and she laughs.

They arrive at Mr. Lazwell’s still ribbing each other and the old man looks on amused. Hermione suddenly freezes as she looks around the store. She tugs on the sleeve of Hari’s robe.

“Hari, I don’t think I can afford this,” she whispers in his ear.

“You’re under my protection and part of my House, ‘Mione,” he reminds her, “That means I pay.”

“And Lord Potter could afford to purchase a new outfit for all of you every day from my shop and still be one of the richest wix in Europe,” Mr. Lazwell declares. Then, he drops into a smooth bow.

“Oh, please, no formality with me,” Hari waves it off, “I view you as a friend.” Mr. Lazwell smiles gratefully and ushers Hermione to change into measuring garb.

“What will she be needing today?”

“She needs clothing to wear to sit in the gallery at the Wizengamot,” Hari says.

“And two sets of formal robes,” Pansy adds, “one open and one closed.”

“You still have my new measurements on file, yes?” Hari asks. Mr. Lazwell confirms that he does. “Would you be able to make me a set or two of kurta pajama? I’m not certain I’ll always be able to come and see you before an event, so it’d be best to have some formal wear on standby.”

“If you select the design and fabrics you would like, I can have them prepared for fine-tuning the next time you come in,” Mr. Lazwell says and points him to a booklet on the counter.

Daphne and Pansy are already holding a booklet and chattering about styles. As Hermione comes out, they’re instructing Mr. Lazwell on what styles and colors to use.

“Would someone like to tell me why I need formal robes?”

“You’re the only other member of any of my Houses except for Sirius,” Hari explains, “Technically, if Draco were disowned or Narcissa got a divorce, they would be House of Black, but they’re officially part of House Malfoy.”

“Don’t forget Andromeda Tonks,” Draco chimes in, “although, she was officially disowned, so you’d have to find out if she would be willing to be accepted back and I’m not sure she would be.” Hari blinks at Draco until Draco sighs and says, “she didn’t have a great experience as a member of the House of Black. Not only did they disown her, she disowned them.” Hari hums in acceptance of this explanation.

Hermione thinks for a long minute, then says, “okay, but that doesn’t really explain why I need this stuff.”

“As the only other member of his House, you’ll be expected to go to events with him,” Daphne says. “Usually, Houses have dozens of members, so no one has to go to too many events. But the burden falls solely on you and Mr. Black right now.”

“And no one could have told me this yesterday?” Hermione asks as if irritated, but she turns to look at Hari and winks teasingly.

“Sorry, ‘Mione,” he grins up at her, “I’m still getting used to all this traditional stuff, too.”

“Right,” Draco nods, “but the other stuff is so you can go with Mother to sit in the gallery.”

“I can go see Wizengamot sessions?” Hermione gasps.

“You can,” Draco grins at her, “and you’re high enough in your House’s ranking to be allowed in for sealed cases, even.”

“What exactly constitutes a sealed case?” she asks.

“It’s a case or session or legal proceeding that does not allow the public in,” Draco says, “but there have to be witnesses to just about everything the Wizengamot does, so even if the public is barred, members of a certain ranking within their House are allowed in.”

“Narcissa suggested it,” Hari tells her, “she thought you’d like to get to watch since you want to be Minister someday.”

“I definitely do!” Hermione squeals, “I can’t wait! When’s the next one?”

“The day after tomorrow,” Hari smiles, “hence why we’re here today. Oh,” he turns to Draco, “I forgot to ask, but did your father register my port-key into the Ministry?”

“He did,” Draco confirms. “Sorry, I forgot to include that in the letter.”

“No, that’s fine,” Hari waves it off, “I just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have to port-key to my Manor and then floo over during the school year.”

“Nope,” Draco pops the ‘p’, “you’re all set. Hey, did you finish picking out colors?”

“I did,” Hari points to the order form, “I went with basic ones that I’d be able to wear for a variety of occasions.”

“Good choice,” Blaise comes back over from wandering through the fabrics, “Mother made the mistake once of only having bright colors on hand and had to have something pre-made sent to the Villa for an event.” He shudders, “it was hideous, but we altered it enough that no one could tell for one night.”

“Alright, miss,” Mr. Lazwell helps her down, “you can change back. Would you like me to write down your measurements?”

“Yes, please.” He waves his wand and then hands her a slip of parchment. “Thank you.”

“If you could come back in two hours to collect your items, they will be ready.”

“We will!” the group choruses and they head out to the next shop. Pansy snatches the list of measurements from Hermione and glares at Hari.

“You’re lucky I got your measurements from Mr. Lazwell or we’d be in that store far longer than two hours,” she snaps. Hari sighs, but lets it go. “Come on, ‘Mia, let’s go get you some pretty robes.” She tosses the slip with Hari’s measurements at him and drags Hermione off. Daphne shoots him an apologetic glance, but races off after them.

“Well, then,” Blaise chuckles, “that was almost Draco-worthy.”

“Hey!” Draco snaps.

“Oh, come on, you know you’re a drama queen.”

“I am the King of Drama Queens,” Draco corrects him and sticks his nose in the air, “I could put Pansy to shame. But only if I wanted to.” And he flounces off to the suit section. Blaise and Hari share a glance, shake their heads, and trail along after him.

They leave an hour and a half later with shrunken packages filled with, according to Hermione, horrifying amounts of clothes.

“What?” Hari looks at her confused. “We’ll use all of it. Besides, do you really want to wander Diagon Alley in muggle clothes all the time? We come here a lot.”

Hermione opens her mouth to retort but ends up just glaring. Hari has a point. The muggle clothes make her stand out more than the upscale robes will.

“You know,” she says when they’re getting close to Mr. Lazwell’s, “I just realized I’ll have to tell my parents I essentially got magically adopted. Without their permission.”

“Just tell them they’ll never have to pay for anything ever again,” Blaise suggests. “That’ll probably help it go over better.”

“Actually, that’d probably make it worse,” Hermione counters.

“I’ll come tell them with you,” Hari offers. “They’re collecting you from the Leakey or do you have your floo connected?”

“They’re getting me from the Leakey,” Hermione confirms. Hari looks to Draco.

“I’ll have Father help you with the paperwork,” Draco drawls.

“Paperwork for what?”

“Adding your house to the floo network,” Hari explains, “then you’ll be able to come and go as you please.”

“We’ll add you to the Manor wards, too,” Draco says.

“And you’ll have to come to our girl’s nights,” Pansy adds. Daphne agrees enthusiastically.

“Welcome back, Lord Potter,” Mr. Lazwell smiles at them, “I see your shopping went well.”

“It did,” Daphne cheers happily, “we got her everything she needs.”

“Very good. If you would just pay, Lord Potter, I’ll have your packages shrunken.” He bustles to the back as Hari sets his ring into the groove. The bell chimes to signal that payment has gone through and, packages in hand, they take their leave. They finish up their day with a scoop from Fortescue’s before heading over to the Leakey.

“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Granger,” Hari bows gracefully to Hermione’s parents. They raise their eyebrows at him. Hermione whispers something discreetly to them.

“Hello, Lord Potter,” they say, somewhat doubtfully.

“I wanted to come and meet you,” Hari says, “and to also let you know that I have taken Hermione into my House and under my protection. I apologize for not asking your permission beforehand, but I thought it the best course of action for her safety at school.”

“Let’s go inside and get a drink so Hari can explain,” Hermione suggests.

“We’ll go walk around,” Blaise says and, waving goodbye, the three drag Draco off into the Alley.

“Now,” Mr. Granger asks when they are seated with drinks, “what exactly does this entail?”

“Well, a House is a magical family or bloodline,” Hari starts, “except that instead of being traced back by blood, it’s traced by magic. By taking Hermione into my House, I’ve given her access to my family magic. The protections that come with it are that she is essentially my cousin now. If someone in the wix world were to threaten her or pose a danger to her, I would be notified immediately and appropriate action would take place. Essentially, I will see to her safety within the wix world, be it medical treatment, physical protection, meals, clothing, or even housing.”

“And there was such a danger to her that you decided this was the best course of action?” Mrs. Granger does not sound pleased.

“Hermione is a close friend of mine. There are people who don’t like me and have been targeting her because of it. Simply terminating our friendship would not have stopped that. Now,” Hari tilts his head, “I could have simply told these people that she has my protection, but that wouldn’t give me any legal right to act on it.”

“It sounds like you’ve essentially adopted her,” Mr. Granger crosses his arms and glares at Hari. “She is our daughter.”

“Of course,” Hari nods, “and I am only a thirteen year old boy entrusted with far too much political power to truly be logical.” Hari stares beseechingly at them. “I’m sorry for not requesting your permission. I acknowledge your place as her parents and view myself as more of a liaison between this world and yourselves.” He pauses, then adds jokingly, “and a bank.”

“Mom, Dad,” Hermione looks up at them, “he got me political lessons and his friend’s mom sent me that handwriting book. Because of him, I can go see Wizengamot sessions. That’s the governing body,” she explains hurriedly, then continues, “He’s also going to connect our house to the floo so I can see all my school friends without disturbing you.”

“You should have your own owl, too,” Hari muses, “and I think I have more port-key jewelry in my vaults. I’ll have to get you a few of those. Especially for Grimmauld Place, since Sirius is going to be my guardian.”

“Oh, thank you,” Hermione perks up.

“Don’t thank me,” Hari shakes his head, “it’s the least I could do.”

“Though, I’m not sure the jewelry will really blend with my appearance.” She looks down at her muggle clothes doubtfully.

“Hence, we went shopping.” Hari smiles, “don’t worry, I’ll try to pick out things that won’t stand out. If it means making a new port-key, then so be it.”

“This is really a good thing, sweetie?” Hermione’s mom looks at her worriedly.

“It is, Mom. I want to be Minister of Magic someday. And I want to be friends with Hari. He’s pretty much handed me both on a silver platter.”

“You don’t really have to pay for everything,” Mr. Granger tries to say, but Hari is already shaking his head.

“I have more money than I know what to do with. Helping Hermione won’t even make a dent in it.”

“He’s already part of the Wizengamot, Dad. He has six titles.” Hari winces slightly and looks sheepish. “He’s the most powerful singular wizard on the Wizengamot, and that’s without allies.”

“They allow thirteen year olds in your government?”

“Our government was founded by a thirteen year old,” Hari jumps in, “Arthur Pendragon. You’d know him as King Arthur of the Round Table. Our laws didn’t pick the age of thirteen arbitrarily, they picked it because of him.” Hari pauses to let that sink in, then adds, “It doesn’t happen often since wix live incredibly long lives and typically have large families. I just so happen to be the last person able to take the titles I’ve claimed.” He explains, “my parents were killed in the last wizarding war, when I was a year old.”

“I see,” Mrs. Granger looks at him concerned. “And no one else could hold the titles until you’re older?”

“Well, I could have left the seats empty,” Hari admits, “but there’s someone who is very politically powerful who was attempting to use me as a puppet. I chose to claim my seats in order to see to their downfall personally.”

“I’ll explain the rest at home,” Hermione jumps in, “it’s not really a conversation for public.”

“Of course,” Hari rises and crosses to the counter quickly to pay, then returns. “I’ll see about getting you those port-keys before Monday. And hopefully, your house will be on the floo network by then. I’ll keep you updated by owl.”

“Thank you, Hari,” Hermione scoops him into a hug.

“Yes, thank you…” Mr. Granger lets the sentence trail off awkwardly.

“You should just call me Hari,” he assures them. “You’re Hermione’s family. To me, that makes you part of mine.” He turns back to Hermione. “Be sure to wear the Wizengamot robes on Monday. Now, I should be going before Draco gets too impatient. I’ll see you Monday.” He waves goodbye and hurries into Diagon, where Draco is indeed huffing and puffing quite like his namesake.

Chapter Text

The morning of the next Wizengamot session, Hari is watching Draco rip through his closet, complaining that Hari has a ‘severe lack of clothes’. Hari has pointed out on several occasions that everything is new and they just went shopping, but Draco is having none of it. Apparently, the outfit needs to be ‘perfect’.

“Dray, just give me the black, slim-fit closed-to-open robes. I’ll wear black slacks underneath,” Hari sighs. The goblins had warned him he would be expected to speak at the meeting. He may as well look the part.

“That’s not—“ Draco pauses, then turns to Hari. “Hang on, the robes we joked about looking like battle robes?”

“Exactly,” Hari grins wickedly.

“Oh, yes,” Draco lays them out, then turns to study Hari. “I’m going to do your hair. I think something Viking-esque would be ideal.” Hari jumps up and starts to change, not noticing Draco go pink behind him.

“I trust you.” Once Hari is dressed in the threatening outfit, Draco waves his wand twice. The first spell drags Hari’s hair up in a series of braids that end in a low ponytail. The second is Hari’s make-up, which is sleek and dark this time. The liner around his eyes is slightly darker and his lashes as long as the previous session. His lips are darker, with the pink only as an undertone. There’s extra make-up, too, to make his cheekbones sharper and strip away some of his childish appearance. Hari studies his appearance in the mirror. The robes cling to him before widening at his waist and splitting open at mid-thigh. His trousers are more fitted than usual and his black formal boots complete the look. Overall, he looks rugged and somewhat dangerous.

“I like it,” Draco announces smugly.

“I don’t look like a kid playing dress-up?” Hari asks. He looks younger than his age, he knows this, and had played it up at the last session.

“No. Not at all.” Hari lets out a sigh of relief. Flipping between two extreme personalities will cause him to be viewed as a wild-card. It will make it hard for people to prepare to face him, not knowing which persona he’ll walk in as on any given day.

“Are you ready to go, then?” Hari looks Draco over. His pale gray robes fit the bill, but his hair and make-up aren’t done yet and there’s no way Draco would ever leave the Manor, or for that matter, their suite looking like that. Draco glances into the mirror, winces, and fixes the two.

“Now I am,” Draco nods at his reflection.

They head down to the floo room, waiting for Hermione to arrive. When she does, she stumbles across the floo and Hari catches her before she can fall.

“Thank you,” she smiles up at him, embarrassed. Hari waves it off in favor of casting a freshening charm at her nice cobalt robes. “Ah,” she says when she sees him studying them, “the color is okay, isn’t it?”

“It’s exactly right,” Hari assures her.

“It’ll show people you’re a part of his House, now,” Draco agrees somewhat enviously.

“Would you like to floo or port-key there?” Hari asks Hermione.

“Could we port-key? That,” she gestures to the floo, “was very disorienting.”

Hari nods, remembering the few times he’s taken it.

“Port-keys aren’t much better,” he warns her.

“But at least then, I’ll know which I prefer,” she points out.

“Alright,” Hari turns to Draco, “we’re off to meet your mother. I’ll see you at the session.”

“Yeah,” Draco smiles tightly, “see you there.” Hari leads Hermione out the Manor to the front gates, where Narcissa is waiting.

“Hello, dears,” Narcissa smiles at them, “are you both ready?”

“We are,” Hari says and offers his hand to Hermione. “Make sure you can feel my ring,” he warns, setting his thumb over the center stone. Hermione shifts her hand, then nods at him. “Wizen Session,” Hari announces and the ring whisks them away.

“Ugh,” Hermione groans when they land, stumbling. Hari’s grip on her hand is the only thing that keeps her from falling over.

“Rough, right?” Hari asks, smiling gently.

“That’s one way to say it,” she shakes her head, “I can’t decide if floo was better or not.”

Hari laughs, “I felt the same way at first, but they both have their uses. Come on,” he leads her towards the apparition point, “Narcissa should be over here.” A few too many people bow as they pass for the walk to be comfortable, but they find Narcissa quickly.

“There you two are,” she sets a hand on Hermione’s shoulder, “we’ll go up to the gallery to find some seats. You’ll make it to yours alright?”

“Of course,” Hari nods, “I’ll see you after the meeting.”

“Lord Potter,” Blaise’s voice says just before he enters.

“Heir Zabini,” Hari tilts his head at his friend who straightens from his bow. “Call me Hari.”

“Only if you’ll call me Blaise.” They grin at each other and Blaise leans in to whisper conspiratorially in Hari’s ear, “If you don’t want to be mobbed, stay out here. Also, my mother would like to meet you.”

“Thank you,” Hari sighs, “that could’ve been bad.” They share a look; they both know how he deals with crowds. Or rather, doesn’t. “Where is the Lady Zabini?”

Blaise drags him off until they’re standing in front of a tall, imposing woman who radiates inner strength. “Mother, this is Lord Potter. I’d list his Houses but we don’t have time. And you definitely already know them. Hari, my mother, Lady Zabini of the House Zabini.”

“Lord Potter,” she bows in a sweeping gesture, “I am delighted to finally meet you. I have heard many good things about you.” Blaise turns a little pink at this, but his mother carries on, “from both my son and Lord Malfoy.”

“Both of whom only have good things to say about you,” he assures her and extends his hand. After the general niceties are out of the way, the chime rings through the Ministry.

“I suppose we must go in,” she sighs, “at least something interesting should come of the goblins.” Hari glances to Blaise. Does she not know? But then, Hari supposes Lucius wouldn’t have told their allies everything. If one chose to flip, that would be far too much information they could leak.

“Indeed,” Hari nods, “I’ll see you later, Lady Zabini, Blaise.”

“Do something cool again today. You’re dressed for it,” Blaise orders. “You look like a warrior.” Hari rolls his eyes with a fond grin and hurries off to his seat.

“I call for the doors to be sealed and this session of the Wizengamot on the third of August to begin,” Dumbledore intones and the doors close. His eyes scan the waiting witnesses and goblins in the gallery. Madam Pomfrey, Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, Healer Ripclaw, Bill Weasley, Griphook, and several goblins he doesn’t recognize. “The first piece on our agenda is an inquiry from the goblins. I call Goblin Solicitor Tomeaxe to the floor.”

A young, tall, and powerful looking goblin rises and strides to the center of the floor. He bows to the Wizengamot, “may your gold have grown.”

“And your obstacles fallen,” Hari and his friends echo back, rising to offer bows of their own. Maybe their plan to implement the sayings as their usual greeting had fallen through, but they’d all memorized the general procedure.

Master Tomeaxe looks up, slightly surprised, but his lips curl and he nods towards Hari, “Lord Potter.”

“Master Tomeaxe,” Hari replies and re-takes his seat. There’s murmurs going through the chamber. Maybe it would have been wise to not indicate that he could be the one the goblins are here on behalf of, but if it puts him on good footing with the solicitor, it’s worth it.

“About a year and a half ago, it was brought to the goblins’ attention that a great disservice had been done to one of your own,” Master Tomeaxe begins and the whispers stop. “The fact that we goblins, through our complacency, allowed this to occur is the reason I stand before you today and not a wix solicitor.

“For the time being, I have opted to keep this victim’s name private, so as to prevent biases from influencing your reactions. For now, all evidence provided will have the victim’s name stricken from it. This will continue until the victim themselves comes up to speak.” He looks to Dumbledore to ensure this is acceptable. Dumbledore nods his permission. “For the most part, witnesses will be called in the order in which they discovered the crimes. However, as several witnesses, the ones who uncovered the crimes, would give away the identity of the victim, they will be called last. I will now call the first witness to speak. I call Potions Master Severus Snape to the floor.” Snape rises and strides down to the floor, standing tall and ready to speak. “We will allow questions after his statement is complete.”

“Two years ago, on the day after the students arrived at Hogwarts, a student of Slytherin House knocked at my quarters, appearing frantic. They informed me that they didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but that one of their friends had seen something and sent them to tell me. This friend had asked that the victim be seen by Madam Pomfrey as discreetly as possible, so as to not reveal that they had told.” It’s the first time Hari is hearing this and his eyes flash to Draco. Daphne had stepped out of the bathroom. Draco was gone when he exited the bathroom. It’s hard to be mad, though, when it probably saved his life. “The list of evidence I was provided with as a basis for concern was the victim’s extreme effects of undernutrition and the fact they had never been taught to properly spell their name.

“I collected the student in such a way that their friends were not implicated and took them to have a medical exam performed by Madam Pomfrey, the Hogwarts mediwitch. I will leave it to her to explain the medical aspect of all this, but suffice to say, the victim’s injuries were numerous and even consuming small amounts of food could have caused them to become gravely ill.

“I worked with Madam Pomfrey to devise a potions routine to improve the victim’s immune system and overall physical well-being. This routine consisted of one-time doses of throat, lung, and organ repairing potions, as well as daily nutrient, muscle growth, bone growth, reduction of organ damage, illness prevention, and general growth potions. In addition, the victim needed a muggle drink called Pediasure that is used for underweight children to ensure they get the calories they need twice a day. It took the whole school year before the victim was healthy enough to receive their vaccinations. It was only this past school year that they were able to stop drinking the Pediasure and, I believe, this summer that they reported they could eat a full meal without feeling sick.”

There are questions asked, clarification on the potions and some probing to find out his identity, but for the most part, Professor Snape’s testimony was clear enough that they’re unnecessary.

When Madam Pomfrey comes up, she details every injury Hari had had and revealed that most of them could not be repaired. He tunes most of her testimony out.

Professor McGonagall reveals herself to have been Professor Snape’s sounding board for when he didn’t know how to react or how to help Hari.

Griphook explains what occurred with Hari’s accounts and his parents’ will, revealing that the people who had abused him had illegal custody of him.

Healer Ripclaw confirms Madam Pomfrey’s assessment of his injuries and explains how he had a curse scar that contained something incredibly dangerous within it. He steadfastly refuses to answer questions about the scar, claiming it does not directly affect the case.

Bill Weasley’s testimony is interesting and definitely has everyone’s attention, as he is the only one who had truly seen the conditions Hari had lived in. He receives so many questios, Master Tomeaxe has to cut them off to prevent accidentally revealing Hari’s identity.

“I see that it is now the usual time for a lunch recess,” Master Tomeaxe. “I will call my next witness after the break. May your gold ever grow.”

“And your enemies crumble at your feet,” Hari and his friends chorus once more, earning odd looks.

Dumbledore taps his wand at the top of the podium, “It is currently 12:00. The doors will seal again at 1:00.”

“Who do you think it is?” The Lord nearest him leans in and murmurs. Lord Macmillan, if Hari remembers correctly. Hari studies his face for a moment.

“My apologies, but I don’t feel comfortable speculating,” Hari apologizes, “They’ve clearly kept the victim’s name a secret for a reason.”

“You don’t truly believe that hint about the perpetrator being in this room is true, do you?”

Hari stands and straightens his robes, looking at Lord Macmillan out of the corner of his eye, “I think that everyone in here is human and just as capable of evil as the people not in this room.” Thank you, Narcissa, for the lessons on evasive answering, Hari thinks in her direction. “If you’ll excuse me, I don’t want to keep my friends waiting.”

“I will think on your position,” Lord Macmillan replies. Translation: Hari has a point and he’s not yet willing to admit it.

“Thank you,” Hari nods and slips past, searching for Draco in the hallway.

“What a load of hogwash,” the toad in pink is crying as she shoves past him, “just because the brat can’t take any discipline.”

“I think you are lacking discipline, Miss Umbridge,” Hari snaps at her, brushing off his shoulder from where it hit the wall. “Most people apologize when they run into someone.”

“Oh, well I’m sorry I didn’t bow to Your Highness,” she sneers at him.

“I recognize that you do not follow the traditions of the wix world and that is, of course, your choice. However, it is basic human decency to apologize when you cause someone else injury or inconvenience.” Hari glares at her, “and considering you just bodily slammed me into the wall, I would consider that personal injury.”

The Lords and Ladies nearby are looking on with interest. Umbridge is turning bright red. For the second time in as many meetings, Hari is making her look uncultured and unknowledgeable.

“My apologies, Lord Potter, I should have been watching where I was going.” Hari tilts his head before replying.

“Despite your insincerity, Miss Umbridge, I accept your apology. I hope our next meeting will be more friendly.” He steps past her and strides over to where he sees Daphne. She bows and turns to walk with him, keeping time easily.

“Hello, Lord Potter.”

“Call me Hari, honestly,” he sighs, then smiles at her.

“And you call me Daphne,” she orders. “What do you make of the goblin’s case?”

“It appears sound to me,” Hari says thoughtfully, “the evidence presented cannot be disputed. After all, multiple healers who did not previously have contact with each other agree on the injuries listed. I’m curious to see where they’ll go with this and who they’ll be pressing charges against.” If you have the power to make people consider your case with a single statement, why not use it?

“Hermione,” Daphne calls out instead of responding. “There you are.”

“Lord Potter, Heir Greengrass,” Hermione bows quickly.

“I believe we told you to use our names,” Hari chides and Hermione blushes.

“My apologies.”

“No need,” Hari grins, “we’re all hungry. Let’s go get lunch. You can eat with us.” They get to the Heir’s Lounge to find the others have already arrived.

“Oh good,” Pansy sighs, “you found ‘Mia.”

“We did,” Daphne laughs. “We figured no one would mind if our friend ate with us.” Hari gives a sharp look to the other heirs in the room, daring them to argue with Hermione’s presence. They look away and say nothing.

After loading up their plates, they sit and start to discuss the morning.

“I can’t believe my first time here I get to see an actual court case!”

“Well,” Blaise corrects, “it’s not actually a court case. It’s a petition from the goblins to receive the right to arrest a wix and try them under goblin law.”

“It’ll pass, right?”

“That’s unlikely,” Draco huffs, “while goblin law would enforce a stricter punishment, wix usually prefer to try their own. And,” Draco glances at Hari briefly, “when they find out the victim and perpetrator, they’re unlikely to want to press charges anywhere else.”

“Does it matter which way it goes?” Hermione asks. “Or are we pretty much looking at guaranteed punishment?”

“No, not guaranteed,” Hari says, “with the perp’s power, if they’re tried in the wix world, it’s likely they’ll weasel their way out. We want them to end up charged in the goblin community.”

“But…”

“Either way,” Pansy jumps in, cutting Hermione off, “the perp will lose a fair amount of public respect once revealed and that will help the victim.”

They discuss the ins and outs of the evidence provided until the bell chimes to call them back. Before letting him split off, each friend places their hand on Hari’s shoulder and whispers ‘good luck’ to him.

“With that outfit, how could you lose?” Draco adds in a low tone.

Hari smirks, “I couldn’t.” His voice has much more bravado than he’s actually feeling.

“I call for the doors to be sealed,” Dumbledore says, tapping his wand on the podium once everyone is seated.

Hari makes eye contact with Narcissa across the way. She flicks her eyes to where Daphne and Blaise are sitting. It’s a silent instruction: keep your eyes on them, not the others. Turning too much to the side to look at Draco or Pansy would draw attention. Hari adds Theo to his list of appropriate people to look at.

“I call Goblin Solicitor Tomeaxe to the floor.”

Master Tomeaxe steps back to the center and bows, “May your gold have grown.”

“And your obstacles crumbled,” Hari rises and bows in unison with his friends. Theo has caught on to the process, as has Lord Malfoy and the others’ parents. Everyone else looks on confused.

“I will now call the victim to the floor,” Master Tomeaxe announces, “I will request that no questions be asked of the victim and that they be allowed to speak uninterrupted.”

“Would you prefer a privacy screen be placed between the Wizengamot and the floor?” Dumbledore asks. Hari nods subtly and Master Tomeaxe agrees.

“To block only sound coming from the Wizengamot and the gallery.” There’s mutterings of dissent among the Lords and Ladies, so Master Tomeaxe says, “I do this in order to ensure the mental and emotional security of a victim of extreme circumstances.” While not particularly pleased, the Wizengamot seems to accept this answer and they wait for Master Tomeaxe to call Hari.

“I call the victim to the floor.” Master Tomeaxe neglects to address Hari by name and it makes his hands tremble. This, here, is the moment of truth. Will his Wizengamot sessions ever be normal? Hari closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, catches Draco’s eyes for just a moment, then rises. His steps are slow and measured and he ignores the whispering, focusing entirely on Narcissa’s steady gaze. When he reaches the floor, she nods slightly and he turns around. The whispering has faded, but the look on Dumbledore’s face is what really drives out his nerves.

This.

This is what he waited for.

Two years of silence to see that look. He will succeed.

“Lord Hari James Potter, please tell us your experiences.” Master Tomeaxe bows slightly and steps away, letting Hari have the floor to himself. He looks up and meets Daphne’s eyes.

“You all probably know where this all begins. The night my parents died. As you all know, my parents intended for my legal guardian to be my godfather, Sirius Black, who, at the time, was Heir Black and an accomplished Auror and Hit Wizard. Had their will been read, been opened by anyone, this would have been public knowledge. In fact, their will contained the true information about their Secret Keeper and the person who performed the Fidlius Charm for them. Said person is the one who placed me in the house I would live in for the next ten years.

“I was taken directly from the arms of my legal guardian and placed on the doorstep wrapped in a thin blanket and left with a letter. No heating, shielding, or disillusionment charms were placed to ensure my safety. The belief of the person who placed me there was that blood wards enacted by my maa, my mother would protect me. Blood wards that require love to function and therefore, never existed.

“We now know this person did this intentionally, that they knew the home would not be safe for me. I will explain why they made this decision later, but for now, let me explain the dangers of living in that house. Both Potions Master Snape and Cursebreaker Weasley informed you that the cupboard under the stairs was indicated as my bedroom. For those who don’t know, a cupboard under the stairs is where you keep unwanted items. Where else would you put an infant you don’t want? That cupboard was my room for ten years, until my letter to Hogwarts arrived.

“During those ten years, I acted as a house elf, working non-stop to ensure their home was perfect. I kept the garden and the lawn, cleaned the house, made all the food, and was never allowed a single bite. Starvation keeps you weak and docile. With a child, it is easy to explain away as ‘picky eating’.

“Burning the food or otherwise ‘damaging’ it was met with the punishment of burning my arms. Cheek or backtalk would earn some kind of blow to the head. Vernon used his fists, but Petunia favored her frying pan.” Hari detaches himself from the words he’s saying entirely. They come out mono-tone and bland. Daphne is turning pale, so he shifts his gaze to Blaise, who meets it readily, with his chin lifted and jaw set.

“Other misbehavior would lead to being locked in the cupboard for a set amount of time without food or water. Dudley, the son, was encouraged to play games called ‘Harry Hunting’, in which I would be chased around the neighborhood until caught and then beat mercilessly. It was seen as character building for Dudley.” Blaise’s lip pulls into a sneer, but he nods to Hari to continue. Hari heaves a quick breath and moves on.

“Perhaps the most unforgivable action was attempting to beat the magic out of me.” This is the shift. He can see it in the corner of their eyes. Displeased disbelief shifts into horror. Yes, it is horrifying that a child might be beaten, but a wix child being beaten for their gift? The Wizengamot will not stand for that. “Any signs of accidental magic and I would be whipped with a belt until I passed out. The problem with attempting to beat a magical child for their accidental magic is that it only makes the magic stronger, even if it was bound twice, as mine was up until I saw Healer Ripclaw just over a year ago. Accidental magic is an in-born protection system for wix who cannot yet wield their magic. Violence only makes it more desperate to protect the child. This created an endless cycle.

“The reason I was placed with these people was the misguided belief that Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort, would be returning. Held within my scar was a scrap of his soul, a Horcrux. Riddle had created six. He was attempting to return. However, one visit to the goblins and we knew the location and safest destruction method for each. They were all destroyed in mere months.

“I was placed in this home on the basis that I would one day need to be willing to sacrifice myself, be a martyr, because the person who left me there thought my death would be the only way to remove the soul from my scar. If I was ‘rescued’ and given love, the way this person intended, and then informed the love is conditional on the basis I go out to save the world, I would have willingly done it. This person withheld from me not only my property as listed by Griphook, but also my rights, and attempted to manipulate me out of free choice.” Hari tilts his head pleadingly, “Please, allow these charges to be filed so that this never happens to another child. Make an example of this person so no other wix ever feels the sense of entitlement they do. Protect our future.” Hari looks from Blaise’s proud face, to Daphne’s determined one, to Theo’s pleased and contemplative look. All good signs. “Thank you for your time.” He bows and steps away, taking the stairs back to his seat. Once there, he raises the privacy screen preventing sound from entering and leans back with a sigh.

After the others have their turns, the Wizengamot will have their say.

Chapter Text

“I will be calling the next witnesses in the order they discovered the crimes,” Master Tomeaxe declares, then calls Pansy to the floor.

Her testimony is brief and her voice wavers a few times, but her face is stiff and she manages not to shed a single tear.

Daphne comes down next and, in describing what it felt like to go get Draco, has Hari’s heart breaking for her.

Draco’s fear of the unknown as he ran to Professor Snape causes Hari’s hands to tremble. He can see the tears shining in Draco’s eyes, but he doesn’t let any fall.

Blaise talks about how hard it was to realize what had happened and how powerless he’d felt—something no one in the room ever anticipated hearing from an Heir.

Lucius was called down next. He explains the rage he felt at the idea that a wix child could ever be treated like that and how he couldn’t initially comprehend that it had been caused on purpose.

Narcissa’s testimony, though, sealed the deal.

“Lord Potter is a terribly strong soul,” she tells the Wizengamot, “When I heard what had happened, I expected a broken little thing to show up at our Manor. Someone who needed constant care and supervision and to be treated like glass.

“Lord Potter is the opposite of this. He came in, not wanting to tell us what had happened not for fear of making his own situation worse, but because he was concerned it would upset us. My son, Draco, had to speak for him because he had been taught all his life not to speak of it.

“I truly believed it couldn’t get worse, but a few days after Christmas, I offered to help him. I am a certified Mind Healer. My skillset is unique. Hari allowed me into his mind, let me view the memories of what had happened to him. These atrocities were committed against a child out of hatred. The people he lived with didn’t just dislike him or fear him, they truly hated him. I didn’t understand then and I still don’t understand now how someone can hate a child.

“What truly shows Lord Potter’s strength, however, was that when I became visibly upset after viewing his memories, he strove to comfort me. He hugged me and assured me he was alright, that what I had seen was just a memory. Despite having just re-lived those memories himself, he was able to pull himself together to cater to my emotional needs. This action made me want to break down further, because he is such a sweet, caring person and it made what was done to him just that much worse in my eyes.

“We went and spoke with the muggles, to inform them of our plan to keep Lord Potter from them. Cursebreaker Weasley had already set up the room Lord Potter would be staying in, but we needed to ensure the secret would not be revealed. When we arrived, we were immediately turned away, as the muggles would not abide ‘our kind’ at their door. We informed them that we intended to ensure they wouldn’t have to see Lord Potter for the summer and they leapt at the chance to hear our plan. They showed nothing but contempt and hatred of the then-eleven-year-old Lord Potter. They were only disappointed they would have to see him at all. They informed us that the amount of time he would be around them that summer was enough to be unbearable—they saw him only for the trips to and from King’s Cross Station, which totaled an hour. Since leaving their house at the age of eleven to attend Hogwarts, Lord Potter has spent a total of an hour and a half in their presence. If asked, I believe they would claim that to still be far too long.”

Master Tomeaxe takes the floor after Narcissa for one last statement. “We request that we, the goblins, be allowed to take the wix responsible for the actions of the muggles—the wix who assumed illegal custody, who kidnapped Lord Potter—so that they may face appropriate retribution for their crimes.”

There’s a long silence in the chamber before someone calls out, “we cannot just allow you to take a wix without knowing who you are requesting to arrest. You already stated they are in this room. Should we not be allowed to punish our own?”

“If you believe yourselves strong enough to punish one of your own appropriately for these crimes, then by all means, vote down my request,” Master Tomeaxe says casually, “but I sincerely doubt you will be able to place your dear Chief Warlock Dumbledore into Azkaban where he belongs.”

There’s a ripple of shock through the chamber before the Minister stands, “I call to put this to vote.”

“Seconded,” Lord Bones rises.

“The motion is carried,” Lady Fawley announces.

Dumbledore’s voice is shaking as he says, “All those in favor of granting the Goblins’ application.” There’s a pause, and his voice comes back stronger. “All those in favor of denying the Goblins’ application.” Another pause, this one longer. “The application has been denied.” His voice sounds cheerful and Master Tomeclaw nods to Hari.

Hari rises and lets his voice fill the chamber, “I request that for the crimes of child neglect, child abuse, kidnapping, theft, and attempted line theft, Chief Warlock Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore be arrested and tried by the high court of the Wizengamot.”

“I call to vote,” Lord Malfoy’s voice booms.

“Seconded,” says Lady Zabini.

“The motion is carried,” declares Lord Greengrass.

“All those in favor of granting Lord Potter’s request.” There’s a pause and Dumbledore’s face goes white. “All those in favor of denying Lord Potter’s request.” The pause is brief this time. “Lord Potter’s request has been granted.” Off the bat, Dumbledore’s position as Chief Warlock has been stripped from him. Minister Fudge rises and takes Dumbledore’s spot at the podium.

“I call for the doors to be unsealed and Albus Dumbledore to be taken in by Aurors.”

“I’m afraid I cannot allow you to arrest me,” Dumbledore says, his tone truly apologetic. He whistles a short pattern and there comes a warbling cry from outside the doors. As soon as they open, Dumbledore raises his arms and clutches onto the talons of a swooping red bird. There’s a burst of flame and he’s gone.

Minister Fudge holds in an angry shout and orders the Aurors who were coming in to inform the department that Dumbledore is on the ‘most wanted’ list. He turns to Hari.

“My apologies, Lord Potter,” he bows, “for not being able to stop him.”

“I accept your apology,” Hari replies smoothly, “and while it is not a positive outcome, I do not think any of us could have seen it coming.”

Minister Fudge nods and addresses the Wizengamot as a whole. “I declare this session over. The next session will begin with the selection of the new Chief Warlock. Please come prepared with your preferred candidate.” He bows to the Lords and Ladies, then takes his leave out the main doors. “I need to speak to Madam Bones immediately!”

Hari descends the steps to the floor, the first Lord, Lady, Heir, or Representative in the room to move. He pauses at the center just long enough for Draco, Daphne, Pansy, and Blaise to catch up. They fall in step with each other, Hari’s fingers curled through Draco’s and Blaise’s arm around his shoulder with the girls flanking them. Hermione meets up with them and they walk three by three, the boys in front, and Pansy and Daphne crowding Hermione behind them. They move swiftly through the hall until they reach the port-key room.

“Whose Manor do we want to go to?” he asks.

“Any objections to Grimmauld Place?” Hari offers. No one objects, so he holds out his hand and they all place a finger on his ring. “Nigrum domum.” The world swirls around them for an instant and then they’re to safety.

“Sirius!” Hari yells and sprints for the stairs.

“Hari?” Sirius’ head peeks out over the railing. “How did the session go today?”

“It went well enough,” Hari says, “but it was hard to do. And Dumbledore escaped. This place is still under Fidelius, isn’t it?”

“No,” Sirius shakes his head, “that would’ve broken when the Secret Keeper died, which was years ago.”

Hari huffs, “we need somewhere safe to stay for a few hours. I don’t want Dumbledore choosing to come after us right away and the other Manors need to be safeguarded before we go home.”

“Alright, then, let’s perform the Fidelius,” Sirius comes down the stairs and grins at Hari, “I’ve always wanted to pull one over on Dumbledore.”

Hari smiles back, “remind me to show you my memories of him realizing what was happening, it was beautiful.” Hari shows Sirius into the room they had landed. “Padfoot, these are my friends, Heir Draco Malfoy, Heir Daphne Greengrass, Heir Pansy Parkinson, Heir Blaise Zabini, and Miss Hermione Granger.” They all nod to him, but Hari can see that Hermione almost slipped into a bow. “Everyone, this is Sirius Black, my godfather. Oh, and Padfoot, I did a ritual to accept Hermione into my House.”

“Family then, eh?” Sirius walks over to her and extends a hand. They clasp wrists. “Might as well call me Padfoot. I’m a bit old to be your cousin, but uncle works well enough.”

“About that charm,” Hari shifts uncomfortably, “who should be Secret Keeper?”

“None of you know how to perform it, so it can’t be me. I have to cast the spell,” Sirius scans over the group, “not someone obvious, so I’d say Hermione.”

Draco pouts at his words, “when will I get to do a cool ritual with Hari?”

“You can be Secret Keeper for one of my other properties,” Hari promises and then waves Hermione over.

“Clasp your wrists,” Sirius instructs, “Hari, you put both hands on hers, Hermione, you keep your other hand free. Once Hari says his part, you’ll place it over his mouth. Hari, you’ll say, ‘One who is faithful, keep my secret, I give you the location: 12 Grimmauld Place. So mote it be.’ And Hermione, you’ll reply, ‘As I am faithful, I keep your secret, and take the location: 12 Grimmauld Place. So mote it be.’ I will complete the spell then and Hermione will be the only one able to share the location.” Sirius lifts his wand and begins the charm, “Qui fidelis est notum est secret.”

“One who is faithful, keep my secret, I give you the location: 12 Grimmauld Place. So mote it be.” Hermione’s hand comes down over his mouth quickly, her eyes boring into his.

“As I am faithful, I keep your secret, and take the location: 12 Grimmauld Place. So mote it be.”

Constringo occulto loco fideli augetis.” Hari’s brain goes fuzzy for a moment. Sirius speaks, “Hermione, you need to tell us where we are or we’ll be bounced out.”

“Welcome to 12 Grimmauld Place,” Hermione smiles at them. The world becomes clear again.

“That was uncomfortable for a second,” Blaise mutters.

“Let’s get something to eat,” Sirius suggests. “We can do the other Potter properties later.” At the end of the night, Draco is protecting Potter Manor, Daphne has Potter Cottage, Blaise has the Potter Minor Manor, and Pansy is keeping Lion’s Den, one of Hari’s Gryffindor properties that hasn’t fallen into disrepair.

“What about my home?” Hermione asks fearfully. “Dumbledore knows I’m close to all of you, what if he goes for my parents?” Although Hari knows Sirius can be insensitive and immature at times, he’s not surprised when his godfather manages to pull himself together to behave as an adult for this.

“’Mione,” Sirius murmurs to her, “take a few deep breaths for me. It will be alright. They’ll be sending Aurors out to find him and Hit Wizards to capture him. He won’t be free for long. Now, what we can do immediately is take care of protecting your home. Hari,” Sirius looks over his shoulder at Hari, “you’re Fidelius-free. Care to join us?”

“Of course I will,” Hari agrees immediately.

“I’m not much good at apparition anymore, so we’ll have to floo,” Sirius helps Hermione up.

“Lucky we just finished getting that set up,” Hari grins.

“If I leave you lot here, you won’t destroy my house, will you?” Sirius gives the small group a once-over. Draco freezes with two biscuits stuffed into his mouth, looking up guiltily. Sirius starts to laugh and soon enough, they all are. Except for Draco, who starts choking. After clearing that up, Sirius, Hari, and Hermione floo to the Granger House.

“Oh, Hermione, dear, you’re back,” Mrs. Granger peeks into the room from the kitchen.

“You’ve brought friends.” She studies Sirius doubtfully.

“Mum, this is Sirius Black. He’s Hari’s godfather and the only other member of Hari’s House,” Hermione introduces. “Padfoot, this is my Mum, Jean Granger.”

“I’d come shake your hand, but I’m cooking at the moment,” Mrs. Granger apologizes.

“That’s quite alright,” Sirius waves her off, “we’re just here to place a protective charm on your house.”

“You are? What for?”

“There’s a dangerous wizard who has escaped police custody,” Hari jumps in, “One of our friends was crucial in his initial arrest. We’re putting wards at all our houses.”

“Well, I’m not certain I’m pleased that there’s someone out there trying to get my daughter, but I’ll trust you to protect our house as best you can.”

“I will,” Hari promises. “The charm I’d like to use will take the location of your home from the minds of everyone who knows it. I would be the only one able to give the information out. Not even you or your husband could tell someone. The wizard wouldn’t be able to find Hermione here with it.”

“We don’t get a lot of visitors,” Hermione says, “and nearly everyone who knocks on our door is a solicitor.”

“I suppose we could ask the Williamsons if we could hold dinner at their home next week,” Mrs. Granger muses. “George!” Mr. Granger thuds down the stairs and eyes Sirius warily. “There’s a dangerous wizard on the loose. Hari wants to charm our house so that everyone will forget our address to protect Hermione.”

“How dangerous is this man?”

“Dangerous enough that the commonly accepted ‘most dangerous wizard of the era’ was frightened of him,” Sirius deadpans.

Mr. Granger nods once, sharply. “Please, do the charm.”

“You should stay down here, I’ll need to remind you of the location after I do it,” Hari warns.

“Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of it, then?”

“No. You might know the location for yourself, but you wouldn’t be able to share it.”

“Alright, then.”

Hari and Hermione clasp hands and repeat the process once more, sealing away the location of Hermione’s home within Hari’s mind.

“Mr. and Mrs. Granger, your home is Granger House and can be found at 16 Heathgate in Hampstead Garden Suburb.” He turns to Hermione, “it’s up to you, I suppose, but would you rather stay here or at one of the properties?”

“I’ll stay here. It’s less than a month until school, after all, and we’ll see each other at least once a week for Wizengamot sessions.”

“Right,” Hari agrees, smiling brightly, “so I’ll see you on the seventh.”

Sirius takes Hari’s hand and Hari port-keys them back to Grimmauld.

“’Mia didn’t come back with you?” Pansy asks, looking disappointed.

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “she decided to stay with her parents for the duration of the summer. We’ll still see her at Wizengamot sessions, though.” Pansy pouts, but Draco appears to be the opposite of displeased. Hari wonders about this for an instant, but brushes it off. He must just be reading Draco wrong.

“I’ll be upstairs if you kids need anything,” Sirius tells them, then strides from the room, leaving them to sit, waiting.

“How are we supposed to know when it’s safe to go home?” Daphne asks softly.

“We planned for this, remember?” Blaise tells her and wraps an arm around her shoulders. “We go home tomorrow morning.”

“But what about bedclothes?” Draco whispers, like spending one night without pajamas will kill him.

“Sirius can transfigure our clothes for us,” Pansy suggests. Draco doesn’t look pleased at the idea of altering his clothes, but accepts this as the best option.

“I’m just going to change into Beau,” Hari decides.

“I’m jealous,” Draco huffs, then holds his arms out. “I know today was hard for you.” Hari lets himself be pulled onto Draco’s lap and cuddled.

“It was,” Hari sighs, leaning his head into the crook of Draco’s neck. “But I was mostly irritated I couldn’t see all of you.” Hari pouts, “why do you and Pansy have to be on the left?”

Pansy laughs, “that’s just where our seats are. They’ve been there for Merlin knows how long.”

Hari giggles, but then yawns. When Daphne does the same, Blaise announces that he thinks it’s been a long day and they should head to bed. Hari fetches Sirius, who transfigures their clothes without question. Hari lets Draco lead him to one of the guest rooms, then shifts into Beau and curls up in the crook of Draco’s neck. He’s asleep in minutes. It really had been a long day.

Chapter Text

Hari tunes Lord Crabbe out. Personally, he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to make a Lord or Lady the Chief Warlock. At most, it could be a scion of a House. Preferably, it would be someone not of a House and therefore lacking loyalties.

“Lord Potter,” Lucius snaps, “your opinions?” Lucius is glaring slightly at him. Hari tries not to wince. He has no clue who was being discussed.

“I think anyone who is part of a House will display bias and be untrustworthy as a Chief Warlock.”

“Which is precisely why we will be choosing someone biased towards our beliefs!”

“I disagree,” Hari sighs, “if we choose someone biased, what’s to say they won’t change their mind? If we choose someone with a bias and encourage them to use it to benefit us and then they turn against us, they’ll have no problem using that bias for the other side.”

There’s silence in the room until Lord Nott says, “he has a point.”

“Unfortunately,” Lucius agrees.

“I did a little bit of research,” Hari tells them, “and I’ve found someone who has had a Ministry seat on the Wizengamot for a while, is a scion of a Noble House, and is known for neutrality.” They stare at him as if they’ve never heard of such a thing. “Madam Amelia Bones.”

“I’ve heard of her,” Lady Zabini perks up, “she serves as an interrogator for trials. She’s always keen on ensuring everyone has a fair trial.”

“Exactly,” Hari nods. “I feel she could easily transfer that to the position of Chief Warlock.”

“I’ll see about contacting her, then,” Lucius rises. “Thank you, Lord Potter.”

“You’re welcome,” Hari replies, “and thank you for having me.” He stands, nods to everyone in the room, and makes his way out.

Amelia Bones, Head of the DMLE and currently leading the search for Dumbledore. Hari figures if Dumbledore finds out she took his position, he wouldn’t mind so much. They were known to be on fairly good terms, although now she is livid with him. And Hari’s not sure that Dumbledore is above killing, or at least maiming, whoever stands in his way. He’ll have to see about getting her a port-key somewhere safe. He’ll collect Sirius and take a trip to Gringotts later. Maybe they can make a day of it and go visit Remus, too.

“Hari!” Draco calls, poking his head out of one of the rooms, “you’re done with the meeting! What took you so long?”

Hari grins at his friend and slips into the room where the group is waiting. “Sorry, they were arguing over who should be Chief Warlock.”

“Right, who did you end up suggesting?” Blaise asks. “We’re not allowed to nominate anyone and we don’t get to vote on anything, so no one’s telling us anything.”

“I picked Amelia Bones.” There’s a beat of silence before Daphne starts laughing.

“I bet my father loved that!” Hari stares at her, wide eyed.

“I kind of just left after suggesting her and getting Lucius to agree.” Hari waits for Daphne to start to collecting herself, “why is this funny?”

“Well, Father thinks that the only people who should be eligible to be Chief Warlock are Lords and Ladies,” Daphne explains, “and Madam Bones holds pretty different views than everyone in our alliance.”

Hari thinks about this for a long moment, then says, “I can understand not wanting someone with different views than you to be in charge. However, I think it’s beneficial if the Chief Warlock isn’t a Lord or Lady. In fact, I think they shouldn’t even be part of a House. It would prevent them from being biased and prejudiced. But from what I’ve heard of Madam Bones, she’s able to maintain neutrality even when faced with people her House is pitted against. She’s fair and she’ll hear everyone out equally.”

“It makes sense to me,” Pansy declares, “if she won’t take our side, at least we know she won’t take theirs.”

“And there’s no chance of her being bought off,” Blaise adds. “But certainly there’s the issue of her being part of the Ministry?”

“I thought of that, but I figured her sense of morality would outweigh her loyalty to them,” Hari smirks, “and if it doesn’t, I’ll just vote against the Ministry.”

“But what are you going to do if you’re the only one to nominate her?” Draco asks.

“Your father said he’d contact her for me,” Hari points out, “and everyone in the meeting wanted someone different and was really stubborn about their choice. I think, if it comes down to it, almost every Lady and Lord is going to vote for someone different.”

“Which means your vote wins automatically,” Draco breathes, eyes wide, “that’s brilliant.”

“I tell you guys all the time, he’s going to rule the world,” Pansy laughs.

“And I’ve heard you every time,” Blaise says, “I just didn’t believe you at first.”

“I’m going to go run around the Jungle Room for a bit,” Hari jumps up, “I’ll be back soon.” They wave him off and keep giggling to themselves. Hari rolls his eyes and strolls out.

Back in the room, the laughter dies down after a minute and Draco stares at the door, sighing.

“This is getting to be a bit more than a crush,” Daphne murmurs, wrapping an arm around him.

“I know,” Draco says blandly.

“What are you going to do about it?” Blaise asks.

“I don’t know,” Draco shrugs, “I don’t even know if he likes me back.”

“How about this,” Pansy starts, “we almost never see the two of you apart. One of us can go over there and talk to him, see how the conversation goes, see if we can feel him out.”

“If we do it somewhat regularly, he’ll end up telling us something someday,” Blaise agrees, “and probably sooner, rather than later.”

“Okay, but who goes?” Draco asks.

“I will,” Daphne stands, “he and I have nice chats all the time. Besides, I think he’ll respond better to a girl asking about feelings than a boy.”

“Fair enough,” Blaise nods, “if I went, he probably wouldn’t want to tell me.”

“Exactly.” Daphne strides from the room and makes her way to the Jungle Room. She knocks in the assigned pattern to let Ajay know she’s safe and coming in, then opens the door. “Ajay?”

A rumbling chuff comes from her right. Ajay strolls out of the vegetation and nuzzles her hip with his nose.

“Hey, there,” she sits next to him and he lays with is head in her lap, “I wanted to talk to you about something.” Ajay rolls so his eyes are looking straight at her. “I… I’m not certain, but I think I like Blaise and I don’t know what to do about it.”

In a flash, Hari is sitting next to her.

“If we’re talking about relationships, can I ask about Draco?”

“Wait, you don’t already know he likes you?” Daphne asks, shocked.

“I don’t really know,” Hari mutters and leans his head against her shoulder. “Besides, it’s wrong, isn’t it? To like another boy?”

“Listen,” she can’t outright say Draco had told her, but she can point out the obvious. And clear up the muggle misconceptions. “He stares at you all the time, gets jealous whenever you hug anyone else, is constantly finding excuses to touch you, and buys you random treats.”

“Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean—“

“Draco practically thinks you hung the moon,” Daphne interrupts. “If you asked him to, he’d find a way to buy you all the stars in the sky.”

“You’re sure?” Hari asks uncertainly.

“I’m positive,” Daphne promises, “Now, as for liking boys, it is an entirely muggle mindset to disapprove of it. Love is love and it isn’t like we don’t have magic to see to reproduction.”

“It’s not… evil or anything like that?”

“No, Hari, no,” Daphne wraps her arms around him. “You don’t really get to choose who you fall in love with or which gender you prefer. So if you want to date Draco, you can date Draco. Have I ever lied to you?”

“No, you haven’t. But, how do I…” Hari trails off, not really sure where the question was going.

“Maybe you could try showing you like him, too? I mean, you already do some of that subconsciously, letting him cuddle you more and such, but maybe initiate?”

“Like, go to him for cuddles?”

“Or give him sweets and things like that,” Daphne’s lips curl, “let him catch you watching him a few times. Smile at him just because he’s looking at you. That kind of thing.”

“I… think I can do most of that. Definitely the sweets,” Hari taps his fingers on the back of her hand, “but we were supposed to be talking about you.” Adjusting to this new mindset would be difficult, but at least he knew his friends would be on his side.

“Yes, well, my love life is much more boring. I’m not even sure I like him and I haven’t seen any signs he likes me.”

“We’re young,” Hari says, “I’ll bet, with a bit of time, you’ll figure it out. And in the meantime, we can see if we can’t get the two of you to spend some time together. I mean, just to see how you click. And maybe it’ll get him to notice you back.”

“Maybe it will,” Daphne agrees. They sit in silence, watching the magical prey wander around them. “We should go back.”

“We should,” Hari sighs and stands, extending his hand to help her up. They walk quietly back, bumping shoulders ever few steps, and make it back to the room in giggles.

“Hey, you’re back!” Draco chirps. Hari thinks about what Daphne had said about initiating and grins at Draco.

“We are!” He flops down next to Draco and leans into him. Draco’s arms automatically wrap around him and he finds himself pulled directly onto Draco’s lap. Hari snuggles in further and sends a quick smile at Daphne.

“What are we going to do for the rest of the day?” Blaise asks.

“Draco could read,” Pansy suggests, “or we could play Quidditch or go to Diagon.”

“Or we could go check out some of my properties,” Hari adds. They’d all seen and transformed Potter Cottage into Moony’s ideal living space, but had yet to have the chance to visit anywhere else.

“Oh! Let’s do that!” Pansy jumps up, “we can still go to Fortescue’s after.”

“Works for me,” Blaise shrugs and rises.

“Draco, you should let your mother know we’re leaving,” Hari says and gets off his lap.

“Dobby!” In an instant, the little house elf is in front of them. “Take a message to Mother that my friends and I are going out and will be back in time for dinner.”

“Yes, Young Master Draco.” The house elf pops away.

“Okay, now we can go.”

They walk down to the floo room and Hari holds out his hand. Once everyone has a finger on it, he announces, “ghar.” He’d looked up the word and turns out, it translates to home. They’re whisked away to Potter Manor.

“Oh, wow,” Daphne twirls slowly in the grand entrance, “this place is stunning.”

Hari takes in the brilliance of the cream colored marble walls, detailed with golden patterns. The chandelier is gold with dangling crystals and the furniture is a warm, dark wood. The only non-neutral color in the room is the cobalt of the vases and carpeting. There’s three sets of doors, one in either direction and one straight ahead. Two grand staircases wrap around the third doors.

“This is more extravagant than my Manor,” Draco says, in awe.

“I noticed,” Hari whispers.

“Master Hari!” Critter appears, “you is being at home!” The little elf’s ears wiggle in excitement and Hari giggles, then starts laughing outright.

“Yes, Critter,” he turns in a slow circle to take in the whole hall, “I thought I’d come visit while I had the chance.”

“Would Master Hari like Critter to give him a tour?”

“That would be great, thank you, Critter,” Hari smiles at the elf.

“We go this way, first,” Critter takes them to the right. “These doors only be having a few rooms off them.”

“Okay.”

“This side is the sitting room and formal dining room,” Critter tells him, “The Potterses be using it when friendly guests be coming over.” The doors open directly to the sitting room and on the left side, there’s another set of open doors that show off a long table. Critter guides them to the other side of the entrance hall and opens the doors there, “this side be where the Lord or Lady be having parties and meetings.” The first room is a large, open ball room and, off to the side, like with the dining room, is a set of open doors showing off a smaller sitting area with more tables and lined with bookshelves.

“This is the ballroom Mother was telling me about,” Blaise says, “She always claimed the Potter ballroom was the grandest she had ever seen. I thought she was exaggerating it’s beauty when she described it. She didn’t even do it justice.”

“We is going to the other doors now, Master Hari,” Critter tells them and takes them to the doors between the two stairways. Once opened, they reveal a large, open library, nearly three stories tall. The center is entirely open and there’s balconies wrapping around each level to provide safe access to all the books. There’s plush carpeting everywhere and plenty of chairs, couches, desks, and window seats to spend a lifetime in the room without ever leaving. Critter lets them look for a few minutes, then says, “Would Master Hari be wanting to see the upstairs?”

“Please,” Hari nods. Critter takes them up, explaining that it doesn’t matter which stairway they take since they connect at the top. To the right is the East wing and to the left is the West wing.

“The Potterses be living in the East wing and having guests stay in the West.”

“Are all the guest rooms the same layout?”

“Yes, Master Hari, on both floors.”

“Could I see just one of them, then?” Critter opens the door to the first guest room and lets Hari see a suite of rooms with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sitting room, and a small dining area.

“If this is the guest rooms, imagine the Family’s rooms,” Pansy whispers.

“The Family wing be having nine suites,” Critter announces. “Four for children, one for the Lord and Lady, and four for extra family.” Extended, Hari realizes, so when children age out of living here, they don’t have to move out entirely. “Eight suites is being on this floor. The Lord and Lady’s suite is being on the next floor with the nursery, classroom, and studies.”

“There’s more than one study?”

“One for the Lord, one for the Lady, and one for the Heir,” Critter confirms.

“I take it the rooms on this floor are all essentially the same?”

“The children’s rooms be having a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, and play room. The extra family rooms be having a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, and study.”

“Let’s go straight up to the next floor, then,” Hari suggests. Critter shows them one of the hidden stairways that leads up to the top floor of the East wing.

“All the stairs up is being hidden,” Critter tells them, “but there is being more than one because only one would be a safety hazard. Lord James’ great grandfather is saying that.”

“Oh, look,” Daphne points. There’s only one door on the left side of the hall.

“I take it that’s the Lord’s suite,” Draco grumbles.

“It is,” Critter confirms. There are three doors on the other side and one at the end of the hall. “These are being the nursery and two studies. The Head of House’s study is being at the end of the hall.”

“Okay, well, I don’t feel the need to look at those,” Hari sighs, “since I presume I won’t be using them, at least not any time soon. Let’s just see the Lord’s suite and study.”

They enter the Lord’s suite and it’s nothing like what they expect. It’s massive and open, unlike the others which had separate rooms for everything. The bed is at one end, with a stunning sitting area in the center, and a small dining area to the right. Next to the bed are two doors, presumably to the bathroom and closet. Hari peeks into the bathroom.

“That’s a freaking pool!” Draco huffs, “that’s not a bathtub, I swear.”

“Good observational skills, Dray,” Hari mutters sarcastically.

“Guys, you have to see the closet,” Blaise calls. They walk over and see a room larger than what Hari’s bedroom at the Dursley’s was. The center has four extra walls that reach to the ceiling and are layered with shelves and drawers for shoes and jewelry. Drawers along the outer walls have slots for ties and pocket squares and socks.

“So,” Draco asks, “when will you be moving in?” Hari glares at him.

“Master Hari is moving in?” Critter chirps, looking up hopefully.

“Not yet,” Hari says and kneels down to Critter’s level. “I would love to, but I’ve still got to go to school for most of the year. But I can promise I’ll visit more often.”

Critter’s ears droop, “okay, Master Hari.”

“You know, I adopted someone into the House,” Hari tells Critter. “I can bring her here next time I visit, if you like.”

“I can sense her,” Critter says, “but she is not calling Critter.”

“Hermione doesn’t know she can call you yet,” Hari explains. “I’ll let her know you’d like her to.”

“Miss Hermione is under Potterses Protection,” Critter declares, “Critter will take good care of Miss Hermione.”

“Thank you, Critter,” Hari smiles at him, “why don’t you see about designing a suite for her. She loves books and studying,” Hari says, “so maybe she’d prefer an extra family suite?”

“Critter can do that,” Critter perks up.

“Wonderful.”

“Is Master Hari liking his room?” Critter eyes him nervously, “Critter changed it for Master Hari. Master Hari is being more like Lady Lily than Lord James.”

“The room is perfect, Critter,” Hari grins, “I love it.” Hari stands back up, “why don’t we go take a peek in my study.”

“After the study, Critter be showing Master Hari the creatures,” Critter informs him. “And taking Master Hari to his almost-familiar.”

“That sounds great.”

“Critter will also make lunch for Master Hari and his friendses.”

“That would be lovely, Critter, thank you.”

Critter opens the study doors and turns back to Hari, “Lord James is not using the study often and it is being dirty, so Critter is cleaning and organizing when Critter is hearing Master Hari is coming back.”

“I’m glad,” Hari walks into the room, “I have a feeling I’ll be using this room a lot.” There’s a section with a coffee table, two arm chairs, and a settee. The bookshelves are built into the wall and directly facing the far East wall is the desk. Well, Hari calls it a wall, but it’s entirely made of windows. Cobalt curtains hang on either side, ready to be pulled at any moment. On either side of the desk stand two filing cabinets. “Critter, what are these?”

“The left is being the paperwork of past Lords and Ladies,” Critter explains, “the right is being Master Hari’s paperwork.”

Hari stares for a long moment, “they’ve got undetectable Extension Charms, then?”

“Yes, Master Hari.”

“Perfect.” Hari approaches the desk and pulls back the massive chair. It looks comfortable and inviting and Hari almost gives into the temptation to sit in it. The desk itself has an open area for writing, notches to keep extra pages or books on either side, and divots directly in the wood for quills and an inkpot.

“Hari,” Draco moves up behind him, “this place is incredible.”

“I know.”

“You plan to do all your work as a Lord here, don’t you?” Draco’s voice is teasing, but there’s a hint of sadness to it.

“Of course,” Hari smiles over at him, “maybe you’d like one of the other studies to work in?”

“Not y—no, I couldn’t.” Not? Hari wonders about that slip up. Could he have meant ‘not yet’? That would imply he would one day be using it.

“Alright,” Hari says, the corners of his lips twitching as he realizes Draco was thinking about the two of them living here someday. “Let’s go see the creatures.”

On the way through the Manor to the back exit, Daphne manages to give Hari a discrete thumbs up. They pass out the back door into a wide, open garden that appears to have a building at the back of it.

“The Potterses used to use the crups to go hunting,” Critter says as crups race to them. “And the kneazles were sold as familiars.” Hari looks around and, sure enough, there’s kneazles along the perimeter of the garden. “We have lots of kneazles now. Many to be sold.”

Hari crinkles his nose. It doesn’t sound kind to sell the older ones, but Hari’s not really sure how long they live.

“How long do kneazles live?”

“Thirty years,” Critter tells him. Hari takes this to be an average and skims his eyes over the ones watching him warily.

“Will the kneazles gather up if I call them?”

“They will come,” Critter says and snaps his fingers twice. The kneazles slink away from the walls and there’s nearly a hundred around him. “The mama and the newborns is not coming.”

“That’s fine,” Hari promises. “I just want to ask which kneazles are alright with being sold and which aren’t.” He looks around at the nervous cat-like creatures around him. “I’d like to see that you get taken to homes where you can receive love and attention. I can’t offer you that here. Those of you who are willing to leave Potter Manor to live with another wix, please stay. Those of you who aren’t, you may go.”

Not surprisingly, most of the kneazles that stay are young. There’s a few older ones mixed in, but it’s less than Hari would have liked. His lips pinch.

“Critter, will there still be enough kneazles to continue the breeding program if I sell all of these?”

“Yes, Master Hari.” Good. He’ll have to ask about selling some of the crups, as well. There’s far too many and he doesn’t exactly plan on hunting.

“Could you mark them in some way that isn’t permanent and doesn’t hurt them?”

In a flash, each kneazle willing to be sold has a bright pink stripe down the center of their tail. They don’t look particularly pleased.

“Good,” Hari nods, “I will begin finding you new homes as soon as possible. Critter, I’d appreciate if you’d slow down breeding them until there is a more manageable population.”

“Critter will.”

“Alright, then,” Hari sighs, “You all are clear to go. Critter, please call the crups.”

“Dude, there’s so many,” Blaise whispers. As he had said, there are a fair amount more crups than kneazles.

“Crups have larger litters than kneazles,” Pansy explains.

“What’s the oldest someone would buy a crup?”

“Probably between twelve to fifteen.” Hari nods shortly.

“Alright,” he looks around at the crups, “Critter can you send off the ones over fifteen?” When the smaller grouping is left, Hari announces, “many of you will be going to new homes. I want to check that you are alright with this.” There’s some barking, but in general, they don’t seem upset. “Good. I will strive to find the most loving of homes for all of you.”

Critter marks the crups as well, then leads Hari past the building at the back of the garden.

“When you meet the hippogriffses, you should be looking them in the eye and bowing. They is bowing back and then you is approaching.”

“One at a time, I think,” Hari suggests and steps through to the enclosed area first. He bows to what appears to be the hippogriff in charge and, sure enough, after a few long seconds, the whole herd bows back. He rights himself and approaches, slowly extending his hand to pet the one in charge. “Hello,” he says softly, “my name is Hari. I’m the new Lord Potter. Has your herd been doing alright the last twelve or so years?”

The hippogriff’s head bobs.

“The population is being constant,” Critter informs him.

“That’s good,” Hari murmurs. “There’s a lot of you all anyway.” He smiles teasingly and, soon enough, he and all his friends are petting the hippogriffs. When they start to return inside, a kneazle with orange fur and green eyes races over to Hari out of nowhere. It yowls at him and paws at his leg.

“Critter?”

“That is being Manja, Master Hari. Manja is being with the Potterses inside the Manor and at Godric’s Hollow.” Hari’s eyes go wide and he scoops the cat up, marveling at Critter's garbling of the name.

“Would you like to come back with me?” The cat meows and rubs their cheeks together. Hari glances to Critter. “Could I see Galeru now?”

After a quick visit with Galeru, who is happier than ever in his habitat away from the kneazles and crups, they go inside and sit in the formal dining room for lunch.

Chapter Text

“Which property should we visit next?” Blaise asks over dessert. Hari twists his ring around his finger absently.

“Well, there’s all the Potter properties,” Draco takes in Hari’s nervous movements, “or we could go to one from a different House.”

“One from Slytherin?” Daphne suggests. “Or Peverell?” Hari looks up with a grin.

“Let’s do Slytherin,” he agrees excitedly, “there’s one called Viper’s Nest and I’m really curious about it.”

Pansy laughs, “oh, I love that name. Let’s go there.”

“Alright,” Blaise stands, “let’s bid our host farewell.”

“Critter,” Hari rises and Critter appears in front of him.

“Master Hari should learn to snap for Critter,” Critter admonishes.

“Sorry?”

“Snap is appropriate way to call,” Critter tells him. “Especially with guests.” Hari glances to Draco. Did I really just get lectured about etiquette by a house elf?

“Is there a specific pattern for you, Critter?” Draco asks.

“Two, quickly.” Draco demonstrates and Critter nods.

“Can you snap, Hari?” Draco turns to Hari. Hari mimics the snap Draco had done, but Draco shakes his head. “It’s a little faster.” He demonstrates again and this time, Hari manages to do it. “That’s how Critter wants you to call for him.”

“Alright,” Hari turns to Critter, “Sorry, I didn’t know that was possible. I’ll remember for the future.”

“Good. Master Hari be teaching Miss Hermione, as well.”

“Of course.”

“What is Master Hari wanting?”

“Just to let you know that we’re going to go visit another property today,” Hari says, “so we’re going to leave now that we’ve finished lunch.”

“Master Hari will call for Critter if he is wanting anything,” Critter orders.

“I will, I promise,” Hari assures him.

“Port-keys be working in the entrance hall,” Critter informs him. “Master Hari be coming back soon.”

“I plan to work in that study,” Hari tells Critter, “so I will see you very soon.”

“Good. Critter will be keeping Master Hari’s study and room ready for him,” Critter says, walking with them to the entrance hall, “and preparing Miss Hermione’s room.”

“Wonderful,” Hari smiles at him. “Goodbye for now, Critter.”

“Bye, Critter,” Pansy and Daphne chime and Blaise and Draco offer quick farewells, too.

Hari holds out his other hand, the one with the Slytherin ring, and calls out, “Anguis cavum.”

“What did that mean?” Blaise asks when they land.

“Snake pit,” Hari mutters, turning to take in their surroundings. The area is grand and practically the opposite of Potter Manor. The marble is black and polished until practically a mirror. The furniture is a pale wood and the detailing is in silver. The carpet and accents are in a rich, emerald green. Hari walks slowly into the house.

“How is it still so clean?” Daphne whispers. “I don’t think anyone’s lived here in several hundred years.”

“Spells,” Draco replies, “It was rumored Salazar Slytherin didn’t own house elves and had instead warded all his possessions against getting dirty.”

“But what about cooking?”

“I don’t have an answer for that,” Draco mutters.

“Well, we have a house elf,” Hari says, “two, since there’s also Kreacher, but I need him to take care of Sirius.”

“Plus, all of us have house elves we can call if it’s necessary.”

“Let’s walk the grounds,” Hari suggests.

“Okay. Be careful, don’t touch anything, and watch your step,” Blaise warns, “I wouldn’t put it past a Slytherin to have this whole place swarming with traps.” They huddle close together and peek into the first door.

This place is smaller than Potter Manor, despite being a Founder’s primary residence. But, then again, Hari presumes most places will be smaller than Potter Manor. They may not have the absolute highest Primacy, but the House of Potter is one of the original families to be added to King Arthur’s Wizengamot, just days before the House of Peverell and the House of Black. In fact, the House of Potter was only preceded by two other Houses, along with the Founding Houses. The only reason the Founding Houses don’t have Primacy over the Most Ancient and Noble Houses is due to their not being nobility at the establishment of the government.

“This place is actually really cool,” Pansy says, running her hand down the dining room table.

“It is,” Hari agrees.

“It looks like a more formal version of the common room,” Daphne points out.

“Except that the furniture is a pale wood instead of a dark one,” Blaise agrees.

“I like it this way better,” Draco says, admiring one of the paintings.

“I don’t know if I could stand seeing my reflection in everything all the time, but yes, this is nice,” Hari admits.

“You could probably change that,” Draco offers.

“Yeah, but this place is historic,” Hari argues, “and I don’t know the spells used to keep it like this or how they lasted for this long.”

“That’s fair,” Blaise nods. “Let’s check out the upstairs.”

After an hour and a half of exploring, they settle into the sitting room.

“It’s tea time,” Pansy groans, leaning back in her armchair. Hari extracts his hand from Draco’s and snaps twice.

Critter appears, “Master Hari is calling?”

“Yes, Critter, could we get tea?”

“Critter will be back with afternoon tea,” Critter confirms and vanishes, coming back only minutes later with piping hot tea and biscuits.

“Oh, thank you, Critter,” Daphne sighs, taking a sip of her tea.

“Yes, thank you, Critter,” Hari smiles at the house elf.

“Critter is being happy to be helping!” Critter’s ears wiggle excitedly. “Call Critter to clean up when you is being done, Master Hari.” Hari agrees and Critter pops away.

“I feel kind of bad not bringing Hermione along for this,” Pansy admits, taking a bite of a biscuit.

“Yes,” Hari says slowly, “but I’m not certain she would have been comfortable with this. I mean, homes like this are pretty rare in the muggle world.”

“She has a small house?”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “it’s not small, but it’s no manor. There’s not a lot of open space in London, if there is any at all. So houses that are very nice and expensive, sometimes aren’t as large.”

“That makes sense,” Draco says, “if there’s less land, then land is more expensive. So they own a house that’s big by muggle city standards?”

“Essentially. It’s more like, they own a house that suits their needs,” Hari explains, tilting his head. “Her whole family is very pragmatic, apparently, so while their house is on the big end, it’s not so large that they have unused space.”

“What do you mean?”

“They all have bedrooms and there’s a guest room and Hermione has her own bathroom. There’s a sitting room, dining room, kitchen, and a study. But there’s nothing more than that. They have an average sized yard out back.”

“I guess I can see not wanting to buy a home larger than strictly necessary,” Pansy muses, “if you don’t have generations of family money to justify the flashiness.”

“Right, but my point is that she might have been uncomfortable touring these and knowing that I technically own them all by birthright,” Hari says, “I don’t think she would have said it outright, but she might have felt inadequate. I’m actually concerned she already does.”

“Why would she?” Draco huffs, “she’s pretty much tied with me for top of our class.”

“You all have family money and titles to inherit,” Hari points out, “Hermione’s just a normal girl who’s good at school.”

“She’ll become Minister,” Blaise waves his concern off, “and show us all up.”

“But does she know that?”

They’re silent for a while, considering Hari’s point.

“I guess I understand,” Pansy starts, “but she’s part of your House now.”

“Technically, but I don’t know if she really feels like she is. I’ll do my best to acclimate her,” Hari promises, “but I know it was hard for me adjusting to the fact that I have all this stuff. What made it easiest for me was that I had to accept it to keep myself and everyone else safe.”

“True,” Draco nods, “I can see how it would be jarring and hard to accept. It’s a lot, after all.”

“Exactly,” Hari spins his cup in his hands. “So, I wanted to make her a space in my Manor before taking her there. Kind of show her I’ve already accepted her in.”

“Brilliant,” Pansy grins.

“Bleeding heart,” Draco huffs, but his lips curl up. Hari leans into his side.

“We’ve got some time before dinner,” Blaise announces, setting down his cup. “Shall we go ruin our meal with copious amounts of ice cream?” His grin is cheeky and they all immediately jump up.

“We’ll have to floo,” Hari says, “I don’t have a port-key to Diagon.”

“No, most people don’t,” Draco tells him, “most people just apparate wherever they need to go.”

“Ugh, we still have four years,” Hari groans.

“I’m actually closer to three,” Pansy corrects, smirking at him. “You’re the baby of the group, here.” Hari glares.

“The keystone is in there,” Draco points out when Hari starts to grab the vase of powder off the mantle. Hari scoops it out, takes a pinch of powder, and tosses it in. The fireplace expands to be large enough to fit them and Hari steps in after tossing in a handful. He’d learned from Narcissa that the best way to ensure you don’t mess up your pronunciation by sneezing is to throw the powder before stepping in.

“Diagon Alley,” he calls. In just a minute, the whole group is there and making its way to Fortescue’s.

“Won’t your parents be upset with you ruining your appetites?” Fortescue frowns at them from behind the counter.

“Oh,” Pansy waves her hand, “what’s one dinner now and again? So long as we don’t do it often, it’s not the end of the world.” Hari neglects to point out that they had eaten the bare minimum for what could require as a dinner at his Wizengamot introduction and then proceeded to gorge themselves on desserts. Now is probably not the time to draw attention to the fact that their idea of ‘now and again’ is vastly different than an adults. Besides, Hari wants ice cream, too.

“Lord Potter,” Theo approaches their table a little while later, “Heirs.” He bows neatly and Hari nods back. Pansy and Blaise rise and bow to Theo, greeting him politely. He nods.

“Heir Nott,” Hari smiles at him, “do call me Hari.”

“As you must call me Theo,” he smiles back, “may I sit with you?”

“Of course.” An extra spot is made at the table.

“I must say, you made some waves taking Miss Granger under your protection,” Theo says, taking a small bite of ice cream. “You’ll be getting requests to introduce her soon enough.”

“If he keeps bringing her to sessions, you mean,” Blaise clarifies.

“Yes,” Theo nods, “though I presume the other day wasn’t a one-off.”

“No, it wasn’t,” Hari admits, “Hermione wants to be involved in the government. Coming to sessions will be beneficial for that.”

“There will be a Fall Festival Ball before we return to school,” Theo tells them, “My family is hosting this year and we will be sending invitations soon. Shall I tell my father to include Miss Granger on yours?”

This gives Hari pause. Yes, he’ll need to take either Hermione or Sirius, but he’d yet to decide who to bring first. Truthfully, he’s not certain it’s a good idea to take Sirius with him until the guardianship goes through.

“Yes, please do,” Hari decides finally.

“I look forward to speaking more with her,” Theo says amicably, “she is quite intelligent.”

Pansy shoots Theo a look, “she is, isn’t she?” Her voice is kind of sharp and Hari realizes it’s the same look Draco has whenever Hari hugs someone else.

Theo finishes the last of his ice cream—he’d clearly been there longer than them—and stands. “I’ll be sure to tell my father. It was nice seeing you all.” He slips away into the Alley.

“We need to go visit Granger,” Draco declares, “the Fall Festival Ball is usually a week before we leave for school, which gives us only about two weeks to get her ready for it.”

They finish their ice cream quickly and step outside, hurrying back to the floo.

“I need to make a port-key to Hermione’s house for each of us,” Hari huffs. “Having to use a floo every time I want to go see her will get old quickly.”

“Please do,” Daphne pleads, “I don’t like flooing. It gets my robes dirty and makes me slightly nauseous.”

“I’ll see to it,” Hari promises. A minute later, they’re gathered in Hermione’s living room, Hermione staring at them in shock.

“What are you doing here?”

“We have a good reason,” Draco defends. “Hari, be a dear and clean us all off, please.” Hari rolls his eyes, but casts quick cleansing charms on each of them with his still trace-free wand.

“But the trace,” Hermione warns a second too late.

“Oh, no, I don’t have to worry about that,” Hari smiles at her, “perks of being a Lord. Although, they still tried to discourage me from using it too much. I say who cares. It’s not like I know advanced spells, anyway.”

“They’re just huffy because you’re outside their control,” Blaise rolls his eyes. “The whole Ministry is made of control freaks and the Wizengamot defies that. Not that they can do anything about it.” The group, minus Hermione, snickers at that.

“So… you’re in my house because…” She twirls her wrist, gesturing for them to talk.

“Oh, sorry,” Hari turns to her. “We’re going to be invited to a Fall Festival Ball by Lord and Heir Nott.” Hermione looks somewhat confused, so Hari explains, “by Theo and his father.”

“Okay,” Hermione nods, “what does that have to do with why you’re here?”

“Do you know how to dance?” Daphne asks.

“That wasn’t in my lessons,” Hermione starts to fret.

“Of course not,” Draco scoffs, “Mother presumed you wouldn’t need that. And then we went and proved her wrong, so now it’s time for us to teach you. When works best for you?”

“I usually just spend my days studying,” Hermione admits.

“Alright, then how about between lunch and tea time, every other day excluding session days.”

“I can do that,” Hermione nods.

“We’ll start now. Just the basics,” Pansy declares and steps up. “Hari, can you give us some music?”

Hari snorts and looks at Hermione, “got a CD player?” Hermione gestures to the side table and Hari skims through her CD collection until he finds one that suits their needs. In a moment, a soothing, slow waltz is playing. Pansy starts to step forward, but Blaise makes it there first.  With all of them helping, they manage to get Hermione successfully through a full dance.

Before they leave, Hari makes sure to explain how to call Critter.

“He made me promise I’d teach you,” Hari says, “I think he misses having a big family to take care of.”

Hermione hadn’t yet learned to snap her fingers, so it takes her a little longer to catch on, but soon enough, Critter is standing in her sitting room.

“Miss Hermione,” he cries happily, “Critter is being very happy to see you.”

“It’s good to see you, too, Critter,” Hermione responds with a small smile.

“Is Miss Hermione wanting anything?”

“Not right now, actually,” Hermione shakes her head, “Hari was just teaching me how to call you.”

“Yes, yes, as promised!” Critter nods excitedly. “Miss Hermione is calling Critter if she is wanting anything.”

“Of course, Critter,” Hermione smiles. Critter pops out after a few more happy exclamations.

“Fair warning,” Draco says, “if anyone sees you with him at school, they’ll get upset. Most families tell the elves not to follow a summons at Hogwarts.”

“So I shouldn’t be calling him?”

Pansy rolls her eyes, “there’s no rule against it. It’s more of a ‘I don’t want everyone to think my child is spoiled’ thing. Even though we are all definitely spoiled and everyone knows it. So, if you summon him, do it out of sight of other students.”

“Hence, I only call Critter in our dorm, the corner of the library no one can see, and the Come and Go Room.”

“I don’t know…” Hermione twists her fingers.

“As long as you’re not calling him frivolously, you should be fine.” Hari assures her, “if you miss dinner and don’t want to go hungry, want a book specifically from the Potter library, wake up in the middle of the night and need a drink, or things like that.”

“House elves can also shop for their families,” Daphne adds, “so if you need new robes or anything, Critter can get it for you.”

“Hence, none of them know how to grocery shop,” Hari says with a dramatic eye roll. “We’ve got to get to dinner, but I’ll see you the day after tomorrow. Could you arrive a bit early? I’m expecting quite a few people will stop us to talk.”

“Alright, see you then,” Hermione agrees. Draco holds out his hand and announces the key-word for his port-key.

Back at the Manor, Hari takes a second to talk to Lucius.

“Where do I get the paperwork to request a new port-key?”

“It’s at the Department of Magical Transportation,” Lucius says, “you can send an owl for it, or a house elf.”

After dinner, Hari calls Critter.

“Would you go to the Department of Magical Transportation at the Ministry and get the paperwork to request two new port-keys for me? You can take it to my study at the Manor, I’ll come by tomorrow to fill it out.”

“Critter is being happy to help! Critter is also being happy that Master Hari is coming tomorrow. Will Master Hari be wanting lunch or dinner?”

“Ah, probably lunch,” Hari suggests. Critter nods eagerly and pops away.

“We’re going to your Manor tomorrow?” Draco asks.

“And jewelry shopping,” Hari nods, “it needs to be something she can wear every day, like the ones for Potter Manor and Grimmauld Place.”

Hermione already has those port-keys, both simple, chain bracelets.

They leave the next morning at ten. Hari doesn’t know how long the paperwork will take him to fill out, but he’s certain it won’t be easy.

Sure enough, he’s groaning over the tedious questions an hour later.

“This is so stupid!” Hari cries, “why do they need to know this stuff? I mean, ‘the color of the walls (if indoors).’ Really?”

“Hari, it’s the Ministry,” Draco sighs, “the process for creating a port-key isn’t as difficult as they like to make it out to be, but it can’t be traced as easily as apparition or floo, so they put in all this red tape to make it harder to have access to. Just, answer the questions the best you can and lie if you need to. They don’t check and it won’t damage the port-key if you do.”

Hari gives in and scribbles down a ‘cream’. The walls for her entrance hall were definitely pale, at the very least.

After a delicious lunch, they swing by the jewelry shop Narcissa swears by.

“I’ll pick yours out,” Draco offers, “you focus on getting one for Hermione.”

“What are you looking for, Lord Potter?” The worker asks.

“I need a piece that can be worn at essentially all times,” Hari explains, “it’s going to be a port-key.”

The worker helps Hari pick out a simple necklace with a small cobalt pendant on the end. Draco doesn’t look pleased when he sees it, but he hands over the thin chain he’d found. It’s silver with a cobalt embedded in the clasp.

Hari grins at Draco, “I love it.”

Later, he promises himself, he’ll ask Draco why he didn’t like Hermione’s necklace. For now, he laces his fingers through Draco’s and whisks them back to Potter Manor to spend the rest of the day playing with the kneazles and flying with the hippogriffs.

Chapter Text

It’s the day of nominations for the new Chief Warlock. Hari dresses primarily in black, with only muted red robes and a succinite, or dark amber, tie and pocket square to set it apart. Amber is the House stone of the House of Bones and Hari thought it would be appropriate to represent his pick. The red, while most would assume is to represent House of Gryffindor, is actually the same shade Aurors wear, as a nod to her position as Head of the DMLE.

“Hari, are you ready?” Draco pokes his head in the door. “Hermione should be here any second.”

“Right,” Hari nods and straightens his tie once more, “I’m ready.” They walk down to the floo room just in time; Hermione steps out moments later.

“Hello, Hari.”

“Good morning, Hermione,” Hari smiles and holds out the necklace he’d found her, “this is a port-key to your house.”

“Oh,” she lifts it to study the charm on the end, “it’s beautiful, thank you.”

“I figured if you preferred port-keying to flooing, you could use it to go home, instead. The keyword is ‘grangia’.

“Perfect,” she slips it over her head. Hari holds his hand out to her.

“Let’s go, then,” he smiles at Draco, “we’ll see you later.”

They appear in the Ministry and Hari looks at Hermione.

“Are you ready?”

She straightens her robes, “as I’ll ever be.”

They step out into the hall, where Lords and Ladies are already arriving.

“Lord Potter,” Lord Nott makes it to them first, “How good to see you.”

“Pleased to see you too, Lord Nott.” Hari turns slightly to gesture to Hermione, “Have you met Miss Hermione Granger?”

“I have not,” Lord Nott smiles slightly at Hermione, “Pleased to meet you.”

Hermione bows, “and you, as well, Lord Nott.” She straightens and clasps wrists with him. He seems both surprised and pleased at her knowledge of etiquette.

“I hear you have joined Lord Potter’s House.”

“I have,” Hermione agrees, “he is a wonderful cousin.”

“I look forward to seeing you both at the Ball,” Lord Nott bows to Hari and slips back into the crowd.

The process repeats itself, almost word for word until they reach the gallery doors.

“Alright, Narcissa should be here in just a minute,” Hari slips out his pocket watch and checks the time, “but I need to be going. Will you be okay on your own until she gets here?”

“It’s only a minute, Hari,” Hermione smiles, “I’ll be fine. I’ll just go find our seats.”

“If you’re sure,” Hari nods, then turns and makes his way back into the crowd. Thankfully, he’s already spoken to most of them today and doesn’t have to again.

“Busy morning?” Blaise asks in a low murmur as Hari passes him.

“Absolutely hectic,” Hari replies. They smirk at each other and continue on their ways, Hari, to his seat, and Blaise back to his mother’s side.

“So, Lord Potter,” Minister Fudge catches him before he can get inside the chambers. Hari holds his sigh inside and turns to face the man. “I hear you are submitting a nomination for Chief Warlock.”

“I am,” Hari confirms, eyeing him warily. Fudge may have been on his side last meeting, but the man is notorious for being… flighty.

“May I ask who it is?”

“I believe you’ll be finding out in just a minute, Minister Fudge,” Hari smiles sweetly. Time to play up the innocent act once more. “However, I will say that I chose someone I believe is capable of maintaining neutrality, a trait I believe to be important in such a position.”

“Of course, of course,” Minister Fudge grins, but it doesn’t meet his eyes. Thankfully, Hari is saved by the bell—literally.

“If you’ll excuse me,” Hari slips into the chambers and down to his seat. Within a minute, Minister Fudge is at the podium calling for the doors to be sealed.

“To begin today’s session, we will be reviewing nominations for Chief Warlock,” Minister Fudge announces. Hari rolls his eyes. He says ‘begin’ like it won’t take all day… or even part of next session.

Minister Fudge calls for the nominations to be put forward and over fifty different names are submitted. Some members put forward repeats of others’ suggestions, but no names garnered more than two nominations. Hari leans back in his seat. As long as there is no major upset, he’ll be able to get Madam Bones as Chief Warlock with his vote alone. Even the Ministry is split on the subject.

Each of the nominees are called forward to give short speeches. There are a few who speak as if they are neutral, attempting to appeal to both sides of the room, but anyone who knows them knows their true standings. Very few people in the room are actually neutral on any subjects. There are, though, two others who manage to be honestly neutral. Though the most interesting speeches are the ones given by those who are nearly extremists.

After Madam Bones’ speech, Hari is quite pleased with how it went. Glancing around, he can see some of the more moderate Lords and Ladies seeming impressed by her. Madam Bones is concise, polite, and decidedly neutral, even more-so than the two others with those tendencies.

“At this time, we will vote for our top ten,” Fudge announces. Hari groans internally. This could be bad for him. He hadn’t considered that the voting would go like this. No—Lucius hadn’t informed him it would be tiered. Glancing at his friends, he can see them peeking at him nervously. It seems they hadn’t known either. Hari makes sure to keep his mask on and tip his head reassuringly.

None of the other Ministry members will be voted into the top ten. That’s a given. When it comes down to it, the Ministry will vote for one of its own. That will let Hari maintain his lead.

Sure enough, Madam Bones makes it into the top ten, if only by grace of Hari’s mass amount of titles. Thankfully, all votes are anonymous, so no one can tell who he voted for.

“That’s not to say they won’t try to figure you out,” Draco warns, pointing his fork at Hari over lunch.

“I know,” Hari sighs. “I’m concerned that they’ll manage to,” he admits.

“I doubt it,” Daphne says, “there’s a lot more moderates out there than admit to being moderate. And maybe my father didn’t vote with you, but I’m sure Lord Malfoy did.”

“Actually…” Draco winces.

“Really?” Pansy looks surprised, “my father did.”

“And my mother,” Blaise agrees.

“Which would mean she had thirty-eight votes,” Hari hums.

“That’s a pretty good chunk,” Daphne assures him. “Although it would have been better to see it in the forties.”

“That’s why I’m concerned,” Draco huffs. “And irritated with Father. He knows your reasoning, understands it, and even agrees with it! He didn’t put forward a name!”

“Did you see who he voted for?” Blaise asks.

“Some blood-purity guy,” Draco groans. “I thought we were past that. Honestly, I thought he never even believed in it.”

“Wait…” Hari tilts his head. “That blood-purity guy was really extreme on his views.”

“I know,” Draco whines. “That’s why I’m—“

“No, I mean, he was alienating even some people who believe in blood purity,” Hari cuts him off. “I think your father voted him up to tighten the vote.”

“My father voted someone similar up,” Daphne realizes. “Someone more extreme than he’d usually vote for.”

“So, basically,” Hermione leans forward, “you’ve got a pool of extremists who are alienating their own supporters by being too extreme with only two moderates who made it through?”

“Essentially,” Draco nods.

“Then, that means the moderates are far more likely to win,” Hermione points out. “They’ll look reasonable next to the extremists and garner more votes.”

“Father did it on purpose,” Draco crows and relaxes in his seat. “Merlin, I was so angry with him for a moment.”

“As I would expect,” Hermione says rationally, “though I am surprised he didn’t tell you.”

“He probably wanted me to figure it out myself,” Draco winces. Hari chuckles and nudges their shoulders together reassuringly.

“It’s fine,” he promises, “you would’ve gotten it by the end of the day.”

“Probably,” Draco sighs, “I probably would’ve gotten it by the end of the day.”

“Still, one way or the other, you got the lesson. Your father explained it to me as ‘losing the battle to win the war.’ Or, in this case, surrendering the battle to win the war.”

“He just outright told you that?” Draco gapes.

“I don’t have the time to learn the way you do,” Hari points out, “I had a year and a half to learn everything, and even then, I had to be taught in secret.”

Draco pouts, but admits, “I guess you have a point.”

“I’ve heard that before,” Hermione murmurs. “The losing the battle thing,” she explains. “I’ve read it in a book somewhere.”

“We learned it in primary, in history,” Hari chirps. “When we were studying some of the wars.”

“That’s right!” Hermione perks up, “there’s several generals who’ve said that because it is a pretty solid strategy if used correctly.”

“Such as how Lucius is using it now,” Hari smirks. Blaise, Daphne, and Pansy all start laughing.

“What?” Hari asks.

“You looked just like him,” Blaise snickers. “That was a classic Malfoy smirk.”

“Thank you,” Hari smirks again, just because he can, then checks the time and sighs. “Guys, lunch is about over.”

“Ugh, more speeches,” Pansy groans.

“Just think,” Daphne smiles, “we make it through the speeches, and they can’t re-hire Dumbledore.”

“Oh, would you look at that,” Pansy jumps up, “it’s almost time to go listen to more speeches!” She claps her hands once, grinning brilliantly. The group laughs at her antics and follows her from the room.

“Good luck,” Draco whispers in Hari’s ear.

The final rounds of voting that day go the way Hari had anticipated: Lucius traps the moderate blood-purists into voting for Madam Bones by voting up an extremist. With Hari, the Ministry, and the majority of the Wizengamot moderates voting for her, Madam Bones wins by a landslide.

The Ministry will have to select someone new to fill in her seat on the Wizengamot, as you cannot both hold a seat and be Chief Warlock at the same time. It makes Hari wonder about the logic of voting for other Lords and Ladies, unless you want them out of the voting pool.

Madam Bones passes out the files of paperwork for next session’s agenda immediately after being elected, rather than make them wait until after dinner. She dismisses them, stating that the day had been one of upheaval and they would get back on track in the next session.

“Well done, Lord Potter,” Lucius nods to him in the hall.

“Likewise, Lord Malfoy.” Hari continues on to the port-key room where he meets up with Hermione.

“That was brilliant, Hari,” Hermione tells him with wide eyes.

“Thanks,” Hari grins back. “Will you want to come for dinner or go home?”

Hermione bites her lip, “what are you doing?”

“I’m stopping in at Potter Manor to drop off the file and look over some of the information.” He studies her for a moment, “You’re welcome to come with me if you like. I was planning on having dinner at Malfoy Manor, but we can let them know we’ll be eating elsewhere.”

“Let’s do that,” Hermione agrees.

“Alright, then,” Hari holds out his hand for her to take, “ghar.

Almost immediately upon their arrival, there’s the pattering of excited feet.

“Master Hari!” Critter notices Hermione, “Oh, and Miss Hermione! Yous is being here for dinner?”

“Yes, Critter,” Hari smiles at the little elf, “we’re here for dinner. Could you have it ready in about a half an hour? I need you to let Lord Malfoy that we will not be dining with them tonight.”

“Critter can do!” He pops away immediately.

“Would you like the tour before or after dinner?”

“Before, please,” Hermione says, looking around in wonder. Hari keeps the first two floors brief—and excludes the library—then leads her up to the studies.

“It’s up to you,” he tells her, “but one of these studies could be yours.” He gestures to the two unused rooms. “I’ve already promised one to Draco, when he gets a little older.”

“But you would give one to me now?”

“Yes,” Hari grins, and snaps twice, “because Critter has a surprise for you.”

“Critter be showing Miss Hermione the surprise?” Critter asks, rubbing his hands together happily.

“Lead the way,” Hari waves towards one of the staircases. Critter scurries down it and walks to one of the rooms—the last in the hall.

On the door is a glittering sign inscribed with her name in flowing calligraphy. She looks at him quizzically and opens the door. Inside, the sitting room is done in warm neutrals with soft spots of pale colors.

She gasps, “this is for me?”

“It is,” Hari nudges her forward slightly, “keep looking, there’s more.”

She opens the door to the bathroom first, which is entirely white with soft green decorations. The next door she opens is to the little study room. The walls are entirely comprised of bookcases, which have been stocked with both muggle and wizarding literature, both fiction and educational. There’s no windows in the room, but the ceiling is charmed to look like the sky outside, just as the Great Hall at Hogwarts is. There’s a desk in the center of the room and a day bed, loaded with pillows and blankets in shades of blue, off to one side.

“This is wonderful, Hari!” She cries in awe, running her fingers along the spines of a few books.

“There’s one more room,” Hari steps out of the doorway to let her cross to the final door. Her gasp lets him know everything he needs. The bedroom is deep shades of purple with accents of lavender and cream. There’s a large wardrobe, chest of drawers, and vanity along the walls but the bed itself takes up the majority of the room.

“Hari,” Hermione whispers, sounding choked up, “this is too much. Thank you.” She throws herself at him for a hug. “Where’s Critter?” She scans the room and finds him standing to the side, grinning happily. She scoops him into a hug as well. Critter squeaks.

“Thank you, Critter, for making this for me.”

“Critter is being happy to be taking care of Miss Hermione,” Critter tells her and pats her shoulders awkwardly.

“Still,” Hermione says firmly and releases him. “Thank you, it means a lot to me.”

“Critter is being pleased Miss Hermione is liking her rooms.” He looks to Hari.

“I’m going to show her the room downstairs,” he winks conspiratorially, “and then we will be ready for dinner. Is that acceptable?”

“Dinner will be ready when Master and Miss are ready.” Critter nods sharply with a blinding smile and pops away.

Hari guides Hermione down to the library and, like in Beauty and the Beast, has her close her eyes before guiding her to the center of the room.

“You’re going to love this,” he promises. “Go ahead, open.”

The reaction is instantaneous. She spins on the spot several times then darts off to explore the shelves.

“Hari, we might have to tell my parents I’m spending the night,” she calls and runs over to inspect a window seat, “this place is spectacular.”

Hari laughs and lets her explore for a little while, until both their stomachs are grumbling.

“Come on, let’s go eat, we can come back after dinner.”

The meal today, unlike the classic English lunch from last time, is an Indian chicken curry with rice, naan, and samosas. There’s kulfi for dessert, the frozen treat kept cool under a stasis charm. It’s the first time Hari’s had any Indian foods—the Dursleys insisted on bland, ‘normal’ foods at all times.

“I want to learn to make this,” Hari whispers and snaps for Critter. “Would you be offended if I asked you to teach me to cook this?” Critter shifts uncomfortably. “I enjoy cooking when I’m stressed and this recipe is incredible,” Hari placates, assuring Critter he doesn’t want to take over his duties. Critter perks right back up.

“Master Hari is liking to cook for fun? Lady Lily be doing the same! Critter will teach Master Hari all the recipes Critter is knowing.”

“Maybe not all of them,” Hari giggles and winks, “you’re the chef around here, after all. And an incredibly good one, at that.” Critter positively beams at that.

“Critter will make a list!” He promises and pops away.

“So,” Hari turns back to Hermione, “do you really want to stay the night?”

Hermione sighs, “I shouldn’t. It’s tempting, but I can come back and explore the library another time. After all,” she smirks at him, “you gave me a port-key.”

Hari laughs, “that I did. Let’s just make sure you’re added into the wards before you leave.”

They dig into their desserts, chatting quietly.

“I never got an answer,” Hari raises an eyebrow, “would you like one of the upstairs studies?” Hermione shifts nervously. “How about this, you can have one of the studies until you’ve married and gotten your own house with its own study in it.”

She nods slowly, “that’s acceptable.”

“Good, I’ll have Critter fix one up,” Hari pauses, “Don’t be surprised if he gives you the Heir’s study. Right now, I think you’re technically Heir Apparent.”

“Oh, Merlin,” Hermione pales, “that won’t end well.”

Hari laughs, “I don’t plan on dying any time soon, I promise.”

They spend the rest of the evening giggling over random topics and only return to their houses when Critter pops in to ask if he should turn down the bedsheets for them or not.

“There you are!” Draco stomps over when Hari steps out of the floo. “You didn’t even bother to tell me you weren’t coming back! I had to find out from Father!”

“We need a better communication system than house elves,” Hari sighs.

“Two way mirrors would work,” Draco muses, “but those are pretty rare.”

“I think Sirius has a set,” Hari points out, “maybe he’d give it to us? Or tell us how to make them. Or make us a set.”

“You ask him, that’s actually a good idea,” Draco starts to smile, then scowls. “Hey! You tried to distract me! I’m still angry!” Hari sighs. Well, it had almost worked, at least.

“Sorry, Draco,” Hari tries, “I should’ve told you.”

“Yes, you should have,” Draco sniffs and starts to walk out of the room, “because now you don’t get cuddles.”

“Dray,” Hari looks at him and pouts, trying to look as innocent and sad as possible. He sniffles for good measure. “You don’t really mean that, do you?”

Draco’s eyes go wide when he looks back and he darts over, wrapping Hari up in a hug. “Of course I don’t mean it, Hari,” he soothes, “I was just being mean and stupid and I’m sorry.”

“If you’re sure, Dray,” Hari hums and nuzzles his cheek into Draco’s shoulder. “I’m tired.”

“We’ll have a sleepover,” Draco declares, pulling back, “we can sleep in my room.”

Draco hurries Hari through his nighttime routine and tucks him into the king size bed before bustling off to do his own obnoxiously long routine. Hari snuggles into the middle, warmth blooming from Draco’s care in the center of his chest.

“Do you want me to read for a bit or would you rather just go to sleep?” Draco curls into the bed next to Hari, holding a book of short stories they’d been reading lately.

“Read the story about the chimaera?” Hari suggests, wanting to see just how far Draco will take this ‘cheer up Hari’ attempt. Draco doesn’t even sigh at the suggestion, just opens the book to the correct page and starts reading. Pretty far, apparently, since they’d requested that specific story at least four times in the last two weeks and Draco had gotten huffy the last two times.

At the end of the story, Draco rolls to toss the book on his bedside table and then tugs Hari into his arms.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you,” he murmurs.

“I forgive you,” Hari replies. “I’m sorry for not telling you or having Critter tell you.”

“I forgive you, too,” Draco says. “Don’t let it happen again, please. I was really scared. I thought you’d been taken or killed or Dumbledore had gotten to you.”

“Dray,” Hari whines and rolls so they’re as closely cuddled as he can get, “I’m sorry. I promise, I’ll make sure you either know or are coming with me next time.”

“Just bring me,” Draco decides, “every time. That’ll solve everything.” Hari laughs a little at this. Draco starts to run his fingers through Hari’s hair. The movement is repetitive and soothing, like being petted as Beau or Ajay. A soft rumble rolls through Hari’s chest and Draco freezes for a moment.

“Did you just purr? As a human?”

“I think so,” Hari mumbles, embarrassed.

“Don’t mumble,” Draco chastises, “but that’s really cute.” He goes right back to petting Hari and Hari falls asleep still purring.

Chapter Text

“Dray, I gotta get up,” Hari shoves at Draco’s shoulder for the fifth time that morning. Hari sighs and decides it’s time to pull out the big curses, “I have a meeting with the Hogwarts staff today. Do you want me to fire Filch or no?”

Despite the fact he’d been mumbling that it’s too early to be awake for the last five minutes, Draco pops right up and out of bed.

“Well? Are you getting up? We’ve got a busy day,” Draco waves his hand in a ‘get moving’ gesture. Hari stares at him for a moment, a little bewildered, then shakes his head and forces himself up. The day he understands Draco is the day pigs fly.

“It’s interesting how you say ‘we’ have a busy day when we both know I’m the only one with work to do,” Hari grumbles.

“Quit being a baby,” Draco rolls his eyes, “go shower and I’ll get you an outfit. Some combination of red and green that won’t make you look like an ugly Christmas decoration.”

Hari rolls his eyes at the jab, but does as instructed. When he comes back out, the outfit before him is, as Draco promised, a tasteful combination of red and green. The suit is a smooth Slytherin green with a white shirt and muted red tie and pocket square. Offset with brown shoes, it somehow doesn’t look like Christmas. The robes are a rich navy so dark it’s practically black.

“Thanks, Draco,” Hari calls to his friend, who’s getting ready next door in Hari’s room.

“Just get dressed!”

Hari pulls on the outfit and spells his hair into a classic, slightly messy bun. He picks make-up that makes him look slightly older than he really is. The staff might know his age, but appearances still matter psychologically. If he looks older, they’ll be more likely to treat him as older.

“What time is your meeting?” Draco makes his way back into the room, fully dressed in casual day robes. His hair is parted neatly to one side, short bangs falling across his forehead. Hari definitely does not have to fight down the urge to brush them aside.

“All day,” Hari grumbles, “Governors starting at ten, staff starting at two.”

“We’ve got a half hour, then,” Draco says after flicking his wrist to cast a Tempus charm. “I’d say more, but you’ll have to floo to Hogsmeade and walk up.”

“No, I won’t,” Hari smirks at Draco, “you’re forgetting my rings. They’ll take me directly there.”

There’s a pause and Draco sighs, “I hate you.”

“You don’t.”

“I do.”

“Don’t.”

“Do.”

“Don’t.”

“Do.”

“Oh, my goodness, Draco, you don’t. Deal with it,” Hari huffs and shoves Draco backwards onto the bed.

“If you messed up my hair, I will hate you for real,” Draco warns, raising a hand to finger the bangs just touching his eyebrow.

Hari rolls his eyes again, “you know as well as I do your hair is perfectly fine. You use too strong of a spell for it to budge.”

Draco preens, “my hair is perfect, isn’t it?” Leave it to him to conveniently not hear the key word in that sentence. Hari lets the subject drop.

“So, I have about forty five minutes instead of a half hour. I’m still leaving in a half hour, though. I need to meet with the Hogwarts elves.” He makes his way into the sitting room. “I still enough time for breakfast. What’re we having?”

“Fry-up,” Draco grins at Hari, “figured you could use the extra fuel. It’ll be a stressful day, I’m sure.” Draco snaps his fingers once and their plates appear on the small table.

They tear through their food and Hari makes his way down to the floo room five minutes early.

“I’ll see you around dinner?” Draco asks.

“Merlin, I hope so,” Hari sighs. “If it’s much longer than that, tell your father to come rescue me.”

“I’ll come with him. We can bring the others, too,” Draco grins, “mount a real rescue mission.”

“Works for me,” Hari grins, then thumbs his Slytherin ring and calls, “Hogwarts.” The swirling lasts only for a moment, ending when he lands in the Entrance Hall.

“Hello, Hogwarts,” Hari murmurs, “I’m here to help.” There’s a warmth that emanates from the stone wall he brushes his fingers against that wasn’t there before. He smiles and makes his way to the kitchens.

“Heir Hogwarts,” the elves snap to attention, turning to face him.

“Sorry to call you away from your preparations,” Hari apologizes and takes a seat in front of them, “but there’s a few things I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Elveses are listening,” an elf steps forward, blinking up at him.

“I want to make some changes to how things work around here, but I wanted your input first,” Hari says. “The first is that I’d like to remove Argus Filch from the grounds.” He’s not surprised by it, but the elves perk up. “Is that something you would be alright with me doing?”

“Yes, Heir Hogwarts!” the spokeself cries, “Filchie is taking away from the work of the elveses.”

“He is,” Hari nods, “and I presumed you would prefer him removed. You are certain you don’t mind having to do the extra work this will entail?”

“We elveses are not being busy, Heir Hogwarts. We elveses are being bored.”

“I will have him removed, then. I suppose if you’re bored, you wouldn’t mind me requesting a bit of a menu change?” The elves’ eyes grow brighter once more. “We have a lot of different ethnicities here at Hogwarts and I’d like to reflect that in the foods we serve. I’ll provide a list of suggested dishes for each meal, but if you know more, or a student comes to me with a suggestion, it may grow.”

“We elveses be liking that,” the spokeself assures Hari.

“Great,” Hari grins, “The last thing I’d like is permission to create a station in each common room where students can get snacks while studying or at night.”

“What snacks is Heir Hogwarts wanting?”

“These are just suggestions, you’d probably know better than I, but light things like tea and biscuits and fruits and little sweets, with possibly warm milk or hot chocolate for those having trouble sleeping?”

“We elveses can be doing that,” the spokeself nods, “and we can be coming if a student is needing us.”

Hari frowns, “I’m not sure that’s a great idea.” When the elf goes to protest, Hari holds up a hand, “I don’t mean that in the sense that I don’t think you can manage it. You are certainly more than capable. But I’d rather have that set up as an emergency system. If every student knows how to summon you, they’ll be calling all the time. And while it doesn’t sound like a bad thing that they’d be able to, it could end up being a detriment to their learning.”

The spokeself studies him for a minute, “we elveses are understanding. May we elveses monitor students to help when needed?”

“When truly needed,” Hari agrees, “and only then. I’d rather they go to their Head of House if possible.”

“We elveses can be doing that,” the elf promises.

“Wonderful,” Hari smiles and stands. “I have to get to a meeting. Could one of you show me to the conference room?” The elves start to clamber over each other to be the one to go, when finally the spokeself claps his hands and stops them.

“I’s be creating a spell that shows Heir Hogwarts the way,” the elf declares. He snaps his fingers once and a purple line appears on the ground for Hari to follow.

“Thank you,” Hari bows slightly to them, “for being open to these changes.”

He strides out and makes it to the meeting room just before it begins. Lucius gives him a somewhat proud look, probably assuming Hari had been playing mind games.

“Welcome, Lord Potter,” the Board says, rising and bowing as one.

“Welcome,” Hari replies and takes his seat at the head of the table. “Where would we like to begin today?”

“How about an overview of some of the changes you would like to make, then we can be more in-depth?” Lady Longbottom suggests.

Hari nods, “alright. I’d like to start by looking into firing Argus Filch. I want to add the Wizarding Culture class back as a required class for first years and find some way to back-track and teach the upper years, as well. I also think we need a new teacher and curriculum for History of Magic. It would also be beneficial to teach something of government and politics, even for students not in power, since everyone should understand their government.” There’s nods around the room, so he continues, “I would also like to evaluate whether or not Divination is a class to be taught here.” Hari holds up a hand before anyone can argue, “I realize that it’s value lies in identifying true Seers, however, it is relatively useless to other students. There are other classes I would like to look into adding, ones that were originally part of the Hogwart’s curriculum that have since been removed; the full list is in your files.”

“Let’s take that in order,” Lord Flint says. “Why fire Argus Filch?”

“To start? He’s unnecessary,” Hari replies bluntly. “He frightens students, takes pride in terrifying them with talk of corporeal punishment before detentions, and overall hates children.”

“All valid reasons,” Lady Bulstrode nods, “but how is he unnecessary?”

“You all are aware Hogwarts has elves, correct?”

“We are,” Lord Travers says slowly, “but not enough to manage everything.”

“According to Dumbledore,” Hari corrects. “According to the elves, they’re bored as they are now and would be grateful to have Filch removed so they can properly do their jobs.”

“You spoke to them?” Lord Nott sounds shocked.

“Just now,” Hari confirms.

“We’ll sign of on that, I believe,” Lucius announces and everyone around the table nods. Lucius makes a mark on the paper in front of him. “Next, let’s talk about who would teach a Wizarding Culture class and whether or not we have it in budget.”

“We have plenty of budget,” Hari chuckles, “the numbers Dumbledore has been giving you are fudged. Hogwarts has plenty of money—enough for every class in the original charter and more.”

“Well, if payment isn’t an issue, then who would we hire?” Lady Bulstrode asks.

“I would suggest a scion of a House, someone raised with our culture, but who can be sensitive to muggleborn’s difficulty transitioning.”

“You have someone in mind,” Lucius says.

Hari nods, “Andromeda Tonks. She was part of the House of Black and rescinded the title to marry her husband. She has a unique view of our culture and traditions and will be understanding towards muggleborns because of her husband.”

“Very well,” Lord Flint agrees. “We shall put it to a vote.” They take a moment to read over the paperwork Hari has presented, along with Andromeda’s proposed curriculum and plans. The vote passes the class and the hiring of Andromeda Tonks.

“About getting the older years into the class,” Hari sighs, leaning back, “I had a harder time planning for that. We essentially have two options: we tier the learning or we bring students in over the summer.”

“And how would you have us tier it?”

“Over the course of three years, beginning with seventh and second years,” Hari says. “Because the current seventh years need to learn it, but students will be more prepared to accept it at a younger age. If we continued with this plan, the next year, it would be seventh and fourth. The last year would be seventh and sixth. After that, all current students would be caught up and the class would revert to being solely first years.”

“At which point, Professor Tonks would have a rather empty day,” Lord Nott points out.

“This is true,” Hari concedes, “however, as someone raised in the House of Black, Professor Tonks is educated in both our government and politics. After the tiered period of three years, we could add one class from fifth year and up on this subject with her as the teacher.”

“The other option? You said something about summer?”

“Yes,” Hari nods, “I would think that it would be possible for her to teach both first and seventh years during the year this year, then take the month of July for fifth and sixth, and August for my year and the year above. She would then do one more year of first and second years and implement the government class after two years, instead of three.”

There’s a pause as the Board thinks this plan over.

“That one sounds messier,” Lady Longbottom finally says.

“It is,” Hari agrees.

“Would it not be possible to have first years study this year and implement the government class now, with the other six grades taking the class over the summer?”

“The problem, Lord Flint, is that that leaves our current seventh years out of the loop, as they would not be able to take it after graduation.”

“How about they take it during the year and have the first years study over the summer?”

They go back and forth on the wisdom of keeping students over the summer, then put it to a vote. In the end, the three year tiered program wins.

“And would you have every student take this class, or only muggleborns?”

“For now,” Hari crooks an eyebrow, “every student. Primarily because of the void created by the past ten years of this class not being taught.”

“Very well.” They move on to debating History of Magic teachers and end up selecting someone distantly related to the House of Nott who has dedicated their life to studying magical history. Maybe now that class won’t make me fall asleep.

They spend some time discussing the wisdom of teaching Divination versus not and, in the end, elect to remove it from the curriculum. Students who had already taken the class would be allowed to finish the track through their seventh year, which means that Hari’s year is the first it will not be an option. On the other hand, classes that should have been offered are added, including Latin as mandatory for all years, Beasts for second and third years, and Healing, Wandlore, Dueling, and Advanced Spellcasting as electives for year three and up. They agree that as the classes had just been discussed and chosen, candidates would be presented and chosen at the next meeting.

They also decide that the schedule the school has offered over the previous years is inadequate. There had been eight mandatory classes. Two—flying and Astronomy—were only taken twice a week outside of typical schooling hours. The other classes had been split unevenly across the days. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would have four classes, while Tuesday and Thursday had two. This created an imbalanced schedule. They adjust so flying and Astronomy are only mandatory the first two years. With the new classes added, the schedule balances out to have four classes each day, with Astronomy and flying left as they were. For the upper years, this clears them to add more electives to their afternoon if they so wish, so there is no longer a maximum elective number, so long as you don’t go over the number of class periods in a week.

They have a momentary conversation about allowing students to arrive via apparition and floo, but decide that would set muggleborns apart a bit too much. Instead, they add a clause that would allow for special circumstances to be exceptions. Such as Hari’s case, not that he’ll use it.

Finally, they settle in to discuss how formal address and treatment should occur in Hogwarts. It almost turns into a screaming match, but Hari manages to find the middle ground just in the nick of time.

“Okay,” he raises both hands when it looks like everyone is turning red, “let’s be logical about this. Right now, there’s far too many scions of Houses to place all of them in private rooms. However, we could separate scions and typical students within the dormitories themselves. Heirs and such would be allowed access to the private suites their families invested in.”

“That…” Lucius looks at him thoughtfully, “might just work. Hogwarts is capable of expanding the dormitories as needed as it has built-in extension charms.”

“Exactly,” Hari nods. “For Slytherin, the dorms alternate which side of the hall you’re on each year. Instead, we would have a dorm on each side of the hall for each year, one for scions and one for typical peers. The only occasion I see this as being inappropriate is if there is only one student who is not a scion in the year. That is an isolation I do not anticipate being enjoyable.”

“It may also be a good idea to encourage an enforced group-study,” Lady Longbottom suggests, “so that scions and their peers interact more.”

“Brilliant idea,” Lord Flint agrees. With all ruffled feathers soothed, they move into discussing titles. Which isn’t a discussion, really, but more of mutual ranting about Dumbledore’s ineptitude and misunderstanding of wix culture. As this occurs, their lunch is delivered.

The group eats while simultaneously complaining about the mistreatment of their children. After eating, they create plans for the new dormitory arrangements and draft the letter that would be included in letters to scions.

“It may also be beneficial to pair up students scion to peer,” Lord Nott muses, “if only to assist them in understanding each other’s ways.”

“Perhaps that is something that could be left to the Heads of Houses?” Hari offers. “I hesitate to pair them up before they arrive at Hogwarts. There is too much likelihood of personalities clashing. Instead, why not wait two weeks to let them adjust somewhat, and then assign pairs. They can do their work for wizarding culture together.”

“Brilliant idea, Lord Potter,” Lucius agrees and marks it down. “I believe we have discussed everything on our agenda for the day.”

“Then,” Lord Flint rises, “have a wonderful week.” They all rise and bow to Hari. Only Lucius remains behind.

“I was informed by Draco that I am to rescue you if you are not home by dinner,” he tells Hari, lips quirking.

“Yes, well, I did say I might need a rescue if I wasn’t back sometime during the dinner hours,” Hari admits.

“Surely the meeting will not take that long,” Lucius says, but his face betrays him. There is every possibility that the meeting will take several hours. Hari snaps his fingers twice and Critter appears, eager to please.

“Would you please notify Andromeda Tonks that she has been hired by Hogwarts and should arrive for the staff meeting in an hour? Thank you.” Critter pops away to deliver the message.

“I anticipate the possibility,” Hari sighs.

“Severus will not allow it,” Lucius assures him. “And as the changes have already been ratified by the Board, the professors cannot truly fight you on it.”

“True,” Hari nods. They enter the Headmaster’s office. Hari strides to the desk and rifles around until he finds the Building Plans parchment. Pointing his wand at it, he declares the changes he needs Hogwarts to make and feels a slight shudder in the castle as he does it.

“I’d like to know where you learned that,” Lucius raises an eyebrow, “it wasn’t in the charter.”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “it wasn’t. But it was in the Charms Blueprints of Hogwarts that I found in Gryffindor’s vault.”

“That is awfully convenient, Hari.”

“They saved everything,” Hari defends himself. “It’s all useful.”

“I’m certain.” Lucius leads the way to the Entrance Hall. “I wish you the best of luck with your next meeting. May you persevere beyond their resistance to change.”

“Thank you, Lucius,” Hari smiles and Lucius turns, striding from the building to reach the nearest apparition point.

Hari starts to wander through the building. From what he’d read on Family Suites in the Charter, they almost always are near the student’s dorm. Only Crabbe, Goyle, Millicent, and Tracey won’t have theirs available to them. Of course, students would still have the option of using the general dormitory, but how could you say no to having a private room? Well, that, and they were originally developed for the safety of the family Heir, so you really couldn’t say no at one point.

Hari reaches the entrance to the Slytherin dorms and studies the hall. Professor Snape’s quarters are directly across from the common room. Given there are no classrooms on that side in this hall, Hari assumes their suites will be there somewhere.

Recalling what he had read in the Charter, he calls out, “Potter Family Suite,” and holds up his wand, lighting the tip with a Lumos. Technically, Professor Snape could show him to his Suite, but it is simply easier to call for it with his magic. It’s a few tapestries down from Professor Snape’s quarters. Hari makes his way there and reaches out. Magic is the only way to find the door—that, or being Head of House or Mediwitch. Hari will have to add his friends to the wards wrapped around the suite.

He pushes open the door and steps in to find a sitting room with a small dining area off to one side. There’s three doors, as with the suites in the Potter Manor. One is a bathroom, another a bedroom, and the last a small study space. Hari makes his way through each room, smiling to himself at the luxury within. This, he knows, is why Dumbledore removed it. The luxury would ‘make other students feel lower.’ It’s not about who’s lower and who’s higher. It’s about safety and comfort. The dorms themselves are incredibly nice. But, Hari isn’t afraid to admit, as he jumps onto the soft, animal-fur blankets, the luxury definitely is worth it.

His sitting room is decorated much like the one at home, all dark woods and vibrant cobalt. The study room is simple, with a stand for his class books and a desk to work at in the same woods as the other furniture. The desk is large and nice, with indents for his inkpot and quills, and a cushioned seat. His bathroom is soothing grays with accents of blue. His bedroom, however, is the nicest of all. It is a deep navy with tapestries and furs strewn around to bring warmth. Fur blankets cover the bed and the pillows pile up half-way down it.

His wand vibrates in its holster and he gets up, walking briskly back to the meeting room. It’s time to face down the teachers.

Chapter Text

“Mr. Potter,” Professor Sinistra sniffs at him. “What are you doing in a staff meeting?”

“It’s actually interesting you hadn’t heard. Since claiming my titles, I am Heir Hogwarts,” Hari smiles innocently at her, “as such, I can take over the duties of Headmaster as ours seems… indisposed.”

“Quite right, Mr. Potter,” Professor McGonagall nods, smiling supportively despite the incorrect honorific.

“Given the look on your face, Lord Potter,” Professor Snape drawls, I gather you have information we will not like.” Hari winces slightly.

“I’ll begin with what is most difficult for me to announce,” Hari says and clears his throat, suddenly feeling guilty. “We will be terminating two positions. Argus Finch, thank you for your tenure here at the school. However, at this time, Hogwarts finds itself no longer in need of your services.” Finch goes to sneer and yell at Hari, but Professor Snape rises and glares before he can even get a word out. “You have, I am sure, a home you stay at over the summer?” Finch confirms this with a stiff nod. “Is it available to you during the school year?” Another confirmation. “Then I request that you gather your belongings and return home by the end of the week. Is that enough time?” Finch nods stiffly. “Should you need Hogwarts as a reference, you will receive a glowing review.”

Hari turns away, guilt churning in his stomach.

“Perhaps, Lord Potter, you could explain this decision?” Professor Snape suggests.

“It was made for several reasons, including the need to aggregate funds to implement the new classes Hogwarts will be opening this year.” Hari leaves it there, not sure how Finch would react to finding out Hari had actually fired him out of personal dislike and companionship with the elves.

Hari turns to look at Trelawney, “I apologize, Professor Trelawney, but you will not be receiving new students in the Divination course. Any students who took your class last year will be able to continue until they graduate, which is four more years. We have several more classes we are looking to add to the curriculum in the coming years. Should you fit the qualifications for any of them, you will be the first considered for the position.” He offers her a shallow bow and has to look away when she starts to sniffle.

“Why?”

“Divination is a class you either are born to or aren’t,” Hari says simply, “your talents would be better suited assisting other true Seers, rather than languishing in a classroom where the students cannot understand you.” Merlin, he hopes he’s getting this one right. He doesn’t even know her. Or anything about Seers.

“Very well,” she accepts, her back straightening. Flattery: check. “I suppose you are correct. I would, of course, be interested to hear about the other courses.”

“I will see that you receive information on them,” Hari promises. He turns back to the room at large. “Now that that’s done, I have an announcement. Hogwarts will be returning to the proper use of wix etiquette. This includes titles, Family Suites, and permission for students to greet each other properly.” He pauses to let this sink in and sees several teachers flinch. “I should reassure those of you with little exposure, teachers have high respect within the rankings of wix hierarchy. None of you would be expected to bow to a student. I simply request that you refer to them by their proper title.”

With that cleared up, the teachers actually look pleased.

“Good,” Professor Flitwick grins, teeth slightly sharp. “It was creating a rift with the ranked students to lose their titles.”

“I’m sure you’ve all noticed Mrs. Andromeda Tonks,” Hari gestures to the new teacher. “She will be teaching the new Wizarding Culture class. There will be a tiered program to ensure that each grade level currently attending receives the class. This will take three years, after which, she will be teaching a government and politics class.”

Greetings circle around the room and Andromeda smiles and nods at everyone.

“Hogwarts will also begin teaching Latin as a requirement for every grade level,” Hari lifts his chin, “the vast majority of our spell-work is based in Latin. It is a class that was required in the original Hogwarts Charter. We have also decided to add Healing, Dueling, Wandlore, and Advanced Spellcasting as electives beginning in year three. Professors are still being selected for these positions.”

Hari glances around the room. He’s rather surprised to find that most of the eyes on him are filled with respect, rather than distrust. A few look apathetic, but Hari takes that as boredom over anything else.

“We will also be implementing a new dormitory system,” Hari says, swallowing thickly. “There will be two dorms for each grade level in each Hogwarts House. One will be for the typical student. The other will be for scions of Houses.” He glances towards the Heads of Houses and hurries to add, “to combat any disunity this may cause, in years where only one student would be placed in a room, the second dormitory will be closed. Additionally, there will be mandatory group-study for the entire year. Lastly, we will initiate a partnering system between scions and children raised in the wix community, and muggleborns or muggle raised. I request that professors take the first two weeks to analyze the disposition of the first years and determine which would work best together. They will be completing projects together for Professor Tonks.”

“Are there any other changes?” Professor Sinistra grumbles.

“Actually, yes,” Hari picks up a stack of paper and passes it around. It has the new class schedules laid out. “We designed the new schedules to allow for the new mandatory classes, as well as give students the opportunity to take more electives. This, however, does not add to your workday,” Hari promises, “in fact, it will likely lessen it.” Because there’s more classes per day, the classes themselves are shorter. The teachers, however, still have the same number of classes to teach.

“It does,” Professor Sprout smiles at him, “thank you.”

“Professor Snape, I realize this puts you at somewhat of a disadvantage,” Hari tilts his head apologetically, “if you have suggestions for how to combat this, please arrange a meeting with me.”

“Will we not be having doubles periods anymore?”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “The time constraint is now an hour per class. The varying timeframes and schedules were difficult to follow and keep track of.” Hari leans forward, “I’ll let you in on a secret: we’re children, we like routines. Knowing what to expect is good for students.

“Weeks will go on an A or B schedule. I would like this to be posted somewhere, such as the Great Hall, so that students and professors alike can keep track of what classes they will be having that week. The schedules work like this: A week might have Transfiguration on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Therefore, on B week, Transfiguration would be Tuesday and Thursday. These weeks will alternate so as to distribute classes evenly.

“In reference to what actually occurs in the classroom, I would like them to be more focused on the practical. Students should be studying the theory outside of class and practicing within class under supervision. This way, there is no temptation to be practicing spells outside of class where someone could get hurt. That is not to say no theory should be reviewed in class, but that it should be student-driven. Responding to questions they had on the reading, rather than lecturing. Is everyone amenable to this?”

“Lord Potter, you seem to have put a lot of thought into this,” Professor McGonagall smiles at him. “Your ideas are sound and I am most certainly pleased with the new teaching arrangements.” If only because it offers more free time.

“I will be finding time to speak with you on how to arrange long-brewing potions,” Professor Snape adds. Hari nods in agreement. There’s many ways they could go about it, but none of them are particularly sound.

“Has there been an application for the Defense position?” Professor Flitwick asks.

“There has,” Hari agrees slowly, “but there is only one.”

“Then we must hire that person,” Professor McGonagall points out.

“Well,” Hari sighs and leans back, “so long as it doesn’t seem like nepotism.”

“And why would it seem like that?” Professor Snape asks, leaning forward suddenly.

“The applicant is Mr. Remus Lupin, a close friend of my father and my godfather.”

Professor Snape does not look pleased, but at the same time, he doesn’t look displeased. Perhaps the visits he’s had with Moony have helped them come to somewhat of an understanding. Though, Hari’s still not entirely certain what the initial dislike was over.

“Mr. Lupin is highly qualified,” Professor Flitwick assures Hari.

“He would be able to do… an adequate job,” Professor Snape agrees. Hari has to force his eyebrow not to rise at that. For him to say that about someone he doesn’t truly like is practically a glowing review.

“I will let the Board know at our next meeting. Now, is there anything anyone would like to discuss with me?” No one brings anything up, so Hari moves on. “I realize this is the part where you all usually discuss students. As a student myself, I don’t feel comfortable sitting in on this. I will step out. If you need me, Professor Snape will know where I am. And I request that any identifying factors be kept out of the information I am given.”

“Very well, Lord Potter,” Professor Sprout agrees. “We will send for you if necessary.” Hari nods and slips out of the room. Once through, he shifts into Ajay and takes off, running for the Room of Requirement, where he can play.

The room has once again become an obstacle course, though this time, it appears more difficult than the last. It seems that with every time he visits the room, the obstacle challenge never gets easier. Draco assures him it also looks harder from an outsider’s perspective. Which means he is getting more and more comfortable in this form. If he could survive in it for a fair amount of time, that would be best.

He leaps onto the starting platform and, coiling his muscles, he takes off. The course pushes his balance and coordination primarily, speed not as much a concern in this form. If he were Beau, he would be leaping as quickly as he could, the platforms trying to throw him off if he didn’t move fast enough. But tigers are known for creeping, for ambushing, so instead it shrinks and forces him to adapt to rougher angles and bad footing. He leaps around for nearly an hour before the door opens and Professor Snape peeks in.

“We need your input on which students are scions and which aren’t,” he calls. Hari changes back and walks out next to him.

“I don’t get how it’s difficult? It should’ve been in their acceptance letter,” Hari says, frowning at Professor Snape.

“I know,” Professor Snape sighs, “but it has created arguments and it would be best if someone of the hierarchy was there to lay it out plainly.” There’s a pause, “you’ve done well today. Is that what you’re like in court?” He glances down at Hari, interested.

“Well, I suppose?” Hari tips his head, “I have different personas I use in court. Like, one that’s cute and innocent. One that’s more bad boy and one that’s more nerdy. And one that’s sophisticated, like Lucius.”

“One for each Hogwarts House,” Professor Snape murmurs, smirking slightly. Hari giggles.

“I hadn’t thought of it like that, but I suppose.”

“And I suppose in each and every one, you’ve succeeded in tearing someone apart?”

“I haven’t gone as sophisticated me or nerdy me, yet,” Hari says. “But yes, the other two, I have. I don’t want to play all my cards yet. I don’t want them to know all the versions I can become.”

“Because if they don’t know a personality they should prepare for, you can use it to get under their skin and win,” Professor Snape presumes. Hari nods excitedly.

“That’s exactly it! I thought it might be a good idea to put together a few more personas, but then decided four was enough.”

“That’s wise. Too many may end up confusing you.”

“I know. The problem is that I’m going to lose the ability to play the childhood innocence card in just a few years.”

“I would argue that, given your size and general appearance, you’ll actually have a decent amount of time before you have to be concerned about that,” Professor Snape assures him.

“I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad about that, but I can use it to my advantage, so I won’t complain,” Hari says.

Professor Snape chuckles, “Slytherin, through and through.” He opens the door for Hari, “here we are.”

“Ah, Lord Potter,” Professor Flitwick is practically standing on his chair. “Just the person to help us.”

“I’ve heard there is some debate over who counts as a scion?”

“Yes,” Professor McGonagall glares at Professor Flitwick. The other teachers have already left, presumably because this is solely a Head of House issue.

“Well, I’ll get the difficult one out of the way first,” Hari starts, “Hermione is a scion as I have extended her my House protections.” This draws some shocked looks from the teachers—excluding Professor Snape. “Aside from that, it should be indicated on their acceptance letter whether or not they are a scion. In simplest terms, the only students you need to check are those of half-blood or more.”

Professor Snape taps his wand against the massive stack of letters. All the muggleborn letters have separated out.

“Now, we remove all Heirs and myself from the stack,” Hari adds. “We have our Family Suites.” The stack separates again, withdrawing a much smaller amount. He looks, somewhat dismayed at the large pile, “Can you search it by magic for the word ‘Scion’?”

“I can,” Professor Flitwick assures him and draws his wand, waving it over the pile. About a quarter of the papers separate out. They split again by House and Flitwick sends them to the appropriate Professor.

“If it isn’t indicated on this letter,” Hari taps the small pile, “then it will be on the ones coming in. If you could search those the same way, that would save you time. And ensure we’ve gotten it all correct.”

“Very well,” Professor McGonagall nods. It seems this wasn’t quite the answer she was looking for.

“If a student isn’t a scion but has indicated it on their letter, you will know as soon as the scions see their dormitory,” Hari assures her, “they won’t let someone get away with lying about a title. That approaches line theft pretty narrowly.”

“Of course,” she agrees and looks somewhat relieved. As someone who wasn’t raised in the culture and who hadn’t had to learn about all the families after arriving, she is at somewhat of a disadvantage to Hari.

The meeting has wrapped up with this and so Hari makes his way down to the Entrance Hall and port-keys to Potter Manor, then floos to Malfoy Manor.

“Hari!” Draco wails and throws himself onto the smaller boy. “I was just about to make Father go look for you.”

“Dray,” Hari gives his friend a bland look, “It’s barely six.”

“It’s time for dinner! You said you’d be back for dinner!”

“And look, I am,” Hari smiles over his shoulder at Draco. “Now, if you let go, I’ll give you a hug.”

Draco lets him turn around, then, the sneaky brat he is, he scoops Hari into a koala carry and stalks through the house to the dining room.

“Dray, I know how to walk.”

“Don’t care.”

“Stop pouting, I wasn’t late.”

“You were almost late.”

“But I wasn’t.”

“Don’t care.”

“Dray, put me down.”

“No. Don’t wanna.”

“Dray. C’mon. I can walk and we’re going to the same place.”

“No. You’ll disappear again.” Narcissa peeks out of one of the rooms at the sound of them arguing and has to stifle a laugh. Hari shoots her a pleading look.

“I will not. You can even hold my hand for good measure.”

“Nope. Gotta carry you.” Hari pouts and drops his chin on Draco’s shoulder.

“Why does everyone insist on picking me up?”

“Because you’re tiny and cute.”

“Draco,” Hari warns, “I’m not tiny.”

“Well, you’re not big,” Draco snorts and sets Hari gently into a chair. He starts scooping food onto Hari’s plate. Narcissa settles across from Draco’s seat.

“I blame you two for this,” Hari informs her and Lucius, who just laughs silently.

“For what?” Draco asks.

“Making you a spoiled brat.”

“If it means I get my way,” he makes direct eye contact with Hari, “I don’t care.”

Hari sighs, “yeah, well, it means I get carried around, so I’d be fine if you were a little less of a spoiled brat.”

“I don’t care,” Draco informs him happily and finishes loading their plates. “Now eat.”

They eat with idle chatter about their days, although the details of Hari’s meetings are left out by Lucius’ design. Not that it matters. As soon as they get up to their joined rooms, Draco rounds on Hari.

“Okay, spill, what happened?”

And so Hari finds himself sitting and revealing everything that had happened that day to Draco.

Chapter Text

“Hari!” Draco yanks him down the hall, “we’ve got to go!”

“Draco, if you would kindly not mess up my robes, that’d be appreciated,” Hari says dryly. “You’re running ten minutes ahead. It’s only school shopping.”

“If you’re on time, you’re late,” Draco points out.

“Draco, that doesn’t mean we have to be this early,” Hari argues. “We’re just going to have to stand there and do nothing until the others arrive.”

“They’ll be just as early as we are,” Draco assures him.

They have to stand and do nothing for ten minutes before the others get there—perfectly on time.

“Told you so,” Hari grumbles. Draco pouts, but then grins and rushes to greet the others.

“Hari! You got the class added!” Pansy practically leaps on him.

“I did,” he giggles, “and a bunch of others that are definitely necessary.”

“What’s Beasts and why is it mandatory?” Blaise grumbles. “I already opted out of Care.”

“It’s different,” Hari says, “it’s more of a safety piece. You get the information you might’ve gotten in Care, without direct interaction with any creatures. It’s just: this is what’s dangerous and this is how to protect yourself from it. And now, Defense can be primarily focused on spells and what Beasts doesn’t cover.”

“Alright,” Blaise slings an arm over Hari’s shoulder, “I can accept that. If I have to.”

“Looking at the book list,” Daphne hums, “I kind of am interested in every elective except Care.”

“Thank goodness they got rid of Divination,” Draco shudders, “it’s such a flimsy class.”

“You’re welcome,” Hari smirks. The group laughs.

“Hari!” Hermione darts over to give him a hug, “you’re here, too!”

“We are,” Hari grins at her, “want to join us?”

“Sure! I’ll just let my parents know,” Hermione says.

“And let them know not to worry about money,” Hari adds as she starts to dart off. She gives him an odd look, but nods and carries on.

“Sneaky,” Pansy chuckles.

“It’s my job to pay for her here,” Hari defends himself, “how would it look if I didn’t?”

“Terrible,” Blaise says teasingly, “everyone’s going to be upset about a thirteen year old forgetting to pay for his friend.”

“Everyone’s going to be upset about Lord Potter forgetting to pay for the member of his House,” Hari corrects.

Hermione comes back with a bag hanging by her hip.

“That’s such a pretty bag!” Daphne grins and starts poking at it.

“Thanks,” Hermione smiles, “Mum and Dad got it for me as an early birthday gift. It’s featherweight and bottomless.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Hari’s eyes go wide. Having that for school… He’d never have to stop back at the room to switch books.

“I figure we could keep our purchases in it and then split them up at the end of the day.”

“Great idea!” Pansy agrees immediately, “although, your parents will have to share where they found it. It’s a gorgeous bag and I must have one for the school year.”

“Me, too!” Daphne adds.

“I’m sure they make masculine versions,” Blaise says.

Draco rolls his eyes, “apparently, we’re all getting one. We’ll stop there last. I bet it’s from the trunk shop.”

“It was,” Hermione agrees.

“Madam Malkin’s first?” Daphne asks. There’s agreements all around and they set off.

“Which classes did you choose, Hermione?” Blaise asks.

“Oh, I want to do them all,” Hermione sighs somewhat dreamily, “I just hope there’s enough time in the day.”

“There is,” Hari assures her. “Didn’t you get the schedule?”

“Oh, but I thought that wasn’t complete since you’d still have changes to make…”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “I’ve already implemented the changes. You should’ve gotten an extra page with your letter.”

“About the dormitory changes? It was on the same page?”

“The new time schedule for our year was on the back of that. Within the Houses, students have the same schedule,” Hari explains. “It’s less work for the teachers that way.”

“That makes sense,” Hermione agrees.

“Hari’s the reason we’ll all be referred to by title again,” Draco adds, “and we get our Family Suites.”

“Family Suites?” They take a quick minute to explain the Family Suites to Hermione while dropping off their measurements to Madam Malkin. Hari sneaks up and pays for Hermione before she notices.

“Books next,” Blaise decides. Hari checks his list—he’ll be taking Healing, Dueling, Wandlore, Advanced Spellcasting, Arithmancy, and Runes, although he might end up dropping Arithmancy. He never really was one for math.

“’Mione, why are you taking Muggle Studies?”

“I just thought it’d be interesting to get a wix perspective on all things muggle!”

The group laughs and Draco explains, “that class is kind of known to be a joke. None of the information is accurate. You’ll likely have a lot of trouble separating what you know from the lies they want you to know.”

Hermione sighs and puts the books back, “I’ll have to let Professor McGonagall know.”

“It’s alright,” Hari assures her, “it’s better to know reality than have passed a class.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“What else do we need after this?” Daphne asks.

“Potions ingredients and dueling robes,” Pansy says. “I’m looking forward to Dueling.”

“I’m going to have to stop Quidditch,” Hari says sullenly. “So I don’t need to stop for that.”

“What? Why? No!” Draco grabs Hari’s shoulders. “Our team is finally winning!”

“Dray, I’m going to be going between the castle and the Wizengamot. I’m already thinking I’m taking too many electives,” Hari explains, holding Draco’s wrists, “Wandlore and Arithmancy and Runes might have to get dropped, too.”

“Oh, Uncle Sev is not going to be pleased,” Draco sighs.

“Maybe not,” Hari allows, “but you’re good enough to pretty much keep up with me, so you could take my spot.”

“’Keep up with’ isn’t the same!” Draco whines, “that doesn’t guarantee wins!”

“Nothing’s a guarantee, Draco,” Hari leads them into the store for Dueling robes, “so you’ll just have to do your best.”

“I don’t like it,” Draco pouts.

“I know.”

“You belong on the team.”

“I belong in my Wizengamot seat more.”

Draco doesn’t seem to have a response to that, so he just huffs and hands over his measurements to the worker. Once delivery is arranged, they leave to collect potions ingredients.

“Okay,” Daphne sighs once they’re through with potions, “that’s everything for this year.”

“Fortescue’s and the trunk shop,” Draco says, “which first?”

“Trunk shop,” Blaise decides, “we can split our purchases between ourselves after.”

They start to walk, when Hari pulls Draco back a little.

“I want to buy ‘Mione an owl,” he whispers, “so we need to hang back and make sure we’re the last in line for the floo.”

Draco nods, “she needs her own.” Hari agrees wholeheartedly.

“She does have that cat, though…” Hari winces slightly.

“No, you changed that rule at the last meeting,” Draco reminds him, “since owls are used for communication, they don’t count as a pet.”

“And I get to bring Galeru without waiting for him to fully become my familiar!”

“And that,” Draco chuckles, secretly pleased.

At the shop, they spend nearly a half hour debating over which bags to get. Hermione’s is a gorgeous maroon over-the-shoulder bag with bronze detailing. Blaise decides to go with a metallic style and gets a bronze bag with black etching of the same style. Draco gets his in a soothing gray dragon leather with silver etchings. Pansy’s and Daphne’s look more like purses. Pansy’s is a sweet, blush pink with gold detailing and Daphne’s is a baby blue with silver detailing. Hari ends up getting an over-the-shoulder bag, as well, in black leather with blue and green etchings and silver clasps.

They walk back to Fortescue’s, where they quickly separate their purchases into the proper owner’s bag.

“Are you ready for the ball tomorrow?” Daphne finally asks. Hari groans.

“He’s been trying not to think about it,” Draco informs them.

“I can understand why,” Hermione grumbles, not looking too pleased about having to go, either.

“If I’ve gotta go, you’re coming with me,” Hari says, tone slightly threatening.

Hermione glares, “I’m aware, thanks. Just not looking forward to it.”

“You’re going to have to pretend to be excited,” Blaise warns.

“I assumed,” Hari sighs.


“Lord Potter, welcome,” Lord Nott bows politely, gesturing into the large Manor.

“Lord Nott, pleased to see you again,” Hari smiles, “I believe you’ve met my guest, Miss Hermione Granger.”

“Indeed I have,” he clasps her hand gently and continues without a hitch, “welcome to my home, Miss Granger.” The words are perfectly polite and everything within etiquette’s demands, but there’s a tension behind them and Hari knows he’s not pleased with a muggleborn stepping foot in his pureblood ancestral home. Hari ushers Hermione on to greet Theo, who will at least be genuine.

“Heir Nott,” Hermione bows.

“Lord Potter, Miss Granger, welcome to my home,” Theo’s smile is honest as he bows.

“Thank you for having us,” Hari replies.

“I’ll see you inside,” Theo says, gently dismissing them into the ballroom, “please, enjoy yourselves.”

Hermione returns her hand to the crook of Hari’s arm and allows herself to be guided in. When they enter, guests are already mingling. Scanning the crowd, Hari finds Lady Longbottom and her Heir.

“You know Longbottom, right?” he whispers to her. Longbottom should be safe—he’s a Gryffindor.

“Yes,” she whispers back, “but why…” She trails off, following Hari’s line of sight. “Oh.”

“He’s guaranteed not to take issue with you,” Hari tells her, “since our usual group hasn’t arrived yet.” They had gotten ready at Potter Manor—making Critter ecstatic—but that meant they were cut off from the rest of the group and couldn’t coordinate arrival times.

“That’s true,” Hermione agrees, “Neville is kind, if a bit nervous.”

“Come,” he leads her to the Longbottoms, “let’s speak with them.”

“Lord Potter,” Neville spots them first.

“Lady Longbottom, Heir Longbottom,” Hari and Hermione say in unison as Hermione bows.

“Good to see you, Lord Potter,” Lady Longbottom replies, she and her heir bowing.

“You, as well,” Hari smiles. “This is my guest, Miss Hermione Granger. Heir Longbottom, I believe you two are in the same Hogwarts House?” He’s careful not to say ‘in the same House’ as that could be taken wrong by any casual observer.

“We are, Lord Potter,” Neville replies. “It’s good to see you again, Miss Granger.”

“You, too, Heir Longbottom,” Hermione smiles. Hari hides a grimace—Narcissa would have a field day with that phrasing. She could have phrased that practically any other way. She’s still learning, he reminds himself.

“You both look quite nice tonight,” Lady Longbottom praises. Hari is in his new kurta pajama, the top boldly asymmetrical and striking cobalt with matching shoes and black bottoms, all stitched in gold. Hermione is wearing a set of A-line closed robes with a high collar and elegantly fit-to-flare bell sleeves in a smooth cream with all gold and cobalt jewelry. Draco had warned him that as his first formal event after taking his seat, Hari would need to make a statement. Hari holds his hand out for Lady Longbottom to shake, the henna on his hands travelling from the back to his palms in an almost lacey design his father had apparently worn often.

“Thank you, Lady Longbottom,” Hari replies and they clasp wrists.

“May I see the design?” she asks and he turns his hand over for her inspection. “This is incredible,” she tells him, “may I ask who did this for you?”

“My godfather, Scion Sirius Black.”

“Ah,” Lady Longbottom smiles almost fondly, “I do recall your mother saying the same about hers.” Hari’s heart practically stutters at that. He’s only ever been told stories about his father, except by Professor Snape, who shared memories like gold: rarely and with reverence.

“You knew my mother?” Hari asks, blinking up at her innocently.

“Of course I did,” her chin lifts proudly, “my Alice was your godmother and Lily was my Neville’s godmother. Quite the inseparable pair, Alice and Lily.” She looks at him, concerned. “I was very troubled to hear what had happened to you,” Lady Longbottom tells him, “should you ever like to know more about your mother, I believe I have some stories you may enjoy, and even some photographs.”

Hari knows his eyes must be shining with excitement and that he’s not masking it well, but he can’t help it.

“I would love that,” Hari practically breathes, “I’ll send you an owl, sometime, and we can have tea.”

“That sounds delightful, Lord Potter,” Lady Longbottom replies with a smile.

“Please,” Hari beams at her, “call me Hari. And you as well, Heir Longbottom.”

“I am Augusta,” she responds, “and this is Neville.”

“Lady Longbottom,” a voice greets them, “Heir Longbottom, Lord Potter, Miss Granger.” Draco walks up, Lucius and Narcissa close on his heels. He bows elegantly, “wonderful to see you all.”

“And you, as well,” Hari and Lady Longbottom—Augusta reply. Hermione and Neville bow smoothly, leaving the words for their Heads of House.

“Lucius, Narcissa, you both look wonderful,” Hari tells them, smiling sweetly. Narcissa offers a small smile of her own in thanks while Lucius replies in turn. Hari takes in Draco’s sleek charcoal robes embroidered in silver. He looks incredible, but for some reason, Hari cannot get the words out of his mouth. He glances around instead.

On the floor—he practically chokes. One of the couples is two women. He glances at Draco and flicks his eyes over to draw his attention to the couple. Draco’s eyes widen, then he smiles softly and nods understandingly.

Hari scans the room for Daphne. He needs to talk to her about this. Yes, she’d promised that same-sex couples weren’t looked down on, but to see it… that’s something entirely different.

Draco takes this as his cue and steps forward, “Hermione, would you do me the honor of this dance?” He extends his hand to her and, after glancing at Hari, accepts gratefully.

Hari nods to the adults around them, “If you’ll excuse me a moment, I see some other guests I must greet.”

He hurries off towards where he’d last seen Daphne and she catches his arm, looping her own through it, and guides him to the balcony, where they can talk without being accused of anything untoward.

“Okay, that glance was panicked,” she turns to him, “what’s wrong?”

“I just…” he flicks a subtle gesture to the dance floor, “I wasn’t prepared for that. I know you said that it’s okay, but seeing it changed something.”

“Oh, Hari,” she breathes, “yes, yes, it’s all absolutely alright.” Hari takes in a shaking breath. “Listen, sweetheart, it’s okay, you’re okay. Whatever you want to be, whomever you want to be with, it’s alright.”

“As long as they’re not muggleborn,” he mutters, scanning the dancefloor through the doors.

“Did I say that?” Daphne snaps and Hari flinches.

“Sorry.”

“I know this is hard and difficult to process,” she murmurs, “and you have to override years of experiences, but please, do yourself a favor, and ask Draco to dance. Or indicate you’d like him to ask you.”

“How—how do I do the second option?”

“Indicate?” Hari nods. “Make eye contact and maybe tilt your head as if you’d like to speak. Turn your shoulders and feet towards the dance floor and turn your left palm out. If he’s reading your body language at all, he’ll understand. That’s how I stand when I want to dance and he’s always understood me.”

“Okay,” Hari nods slowly, breathing slightly shallow, “I can do that.” So he says, but his mind is swirling. Daphne takes his arm again and carefully guides him back inside, whispering reminders to breathe. Draco’s dance with Hermione is done and they should be looking for Hari just about now.

Hari makes eye contact with Draco and Daphne nudges him, “go ahead.” She steps back a single step and smiles reassuringly. Hari tilts his head to invite Draco over. Draco grins and leads Hermione back. Hari shifts so he’s nearly facing the dance floor and turns his left hand over. Draco’s eyes shoot between Hari and Daphne and his smile softens. His eyes settle warmly on Hari.

“Hari,” Draco’s voice is smooth as he extends his right hand, “could I have this dance?”

Hari smiles nervously and sets his hand in Draco’s, letting him lead them to the floor and into the dance. He’s never followed before, but knowing the steps to lead makes it somewhat easier.

“Hey,” Draco murmurs and smiles sweetly, “breathe, you’re okay. I’ve got you.” Draco leads them through a swooping turn, causing their robes to flare around them. Some of the tension bleeds out of Hari at the teasing move. He starts to smile again.

“I know, I’m just nervous,” Hari replies. Draco tugs him in a little closer.

“Which is why you went to talk to Daphne,” Draco guesses. “I figured. You seemed pretty shocked by the ladies.”

“I was, but not in a bad way? Just surprised, honestly.”

“That’s alright,” Draco promises, “and it’s alright if you’re not sure how to react yet. You’ll get there. But look,” he jerks his chin slightly to the people around him, “no one looks angry or irritated or anything like that. They look impressed, because we’re both such good dancers.”

“That’d be your mother’s influence,” Hari grins brightly and they both laugh a little.

“It definitely is,” Draco agrees. There’s a slight pause, then, “why ask me?”

“What?”

“Why choose to dance with me? If you asked Blaise, no one would question it, he’s danced with almost everyone in here. If you asked Theo, no one would dare go against him in his own Manor. So why me?”

Hari thinks for a few turns before answering, “it’s you.” He knows he’s blushing, but can’t offer a better answer than that. Draco searches his face intently and Hari struggles not to look away from the piercing gaze.

“It’s me,” Draco murmurs, “meaning I’m specifically the person you wanted to dance with, over anyone else in this room?”

Hari blushes more, stuttering out a little, “y-yes.”

Draco’s pupils flare and his gaze somehow becomes even more intense, even as he smiles, pleased with Hari’s answer, “I’m glad. I wanted to dance with you, too. You needed the time with Daphne, though.” Little does Hari know, Daphne had confirmed that Hari is interested in Draco after their first conversation, but that he had reservations about the relationship.

“I did,” Hari says, relieved.

“We should talk about this,” Draco says, pulling Hari a little closer for emphasis, “after the Ball.”

“We should,” Hari agrees breathlessly.

“Is Hermione spending the night with you?”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, “she’s going straight home after the Ball. Her parents weren’t too pleased at how late she’d be out tonight.”

“Understandable,” Draco nods. “You were still planning on staying at your Manor for the night, though?”

“I was. I need to pick up Galeru and I want to spend some time with my parents’ kneazle before going back.”

Draco smiles gently at that, “have you remembered its name yet?”

“No,” Hari shakes his head, giggling, “Critter swears it’s ‘Manja’, but somehow, I don’t see the orange fluff being named that.”

“Manja,” Draco mutters, “well, let’s break it down a little. House elves sometimes have trouble with certain words, but they’re usually similar.”

“Okay, but how similar?”

“Similar enough that ‘man’ should be the first sound in the name,” Draco says.

“Man…”

“Sometimes they mix up or add vowels, too,” Draco adds. “You said the cat is a boy, right?”

“Yes, it is,” Hari agrees. “Wait—what if the name is Mango?”

Draco laughs, “we’ll ask Critter tonight.”

“Subtly,” Hari grumbles, “I don’t want him feeling bad that I can’t understand how he’s pronouncing the cat’s name.”

“That works for me,” Draco agrees quickly.

Their second song ends and they quickly sweep off the floor, making the rounds and catching Hermione again. After some food, a short, but warm speech from Lord Nott, and a lot more dancing, the Malfoys are getting ready to head out.

“Are you ready to go?” Hari whispers to Hermione.

“My feet feel like they’re going to fall off,” Hermione replies, wincing slightly. Hari’s eyes go wide.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were in pain?”

“Sorry, I just didn’t think there was anything you could do…” Hari casts a quick cushioning charm at her shoes.

“There’s always something that can be done,” Hari informs her.

“Oh,” she takes a few steps, “that actually feels a lot better.”

“It’s not as much help after the fact,” Hari curses himself for not thinking to add it to her shoes, too, “I should’ve remembered before we came. Lady Malfoy is a Healer, a Mind Healer, technically, but trained in general Healing, as well. She can heal the muscles in your feet that are hurting and I’ll get you a pain potion, too, so you won’t be sore tomorrow.”

They make their way outside and Hari gently taps Narcissa’s arm.

“Yes, Hari?”

“Would you be able to take a look at Hermione’s feet?” Hari winces, looking incredibly like a guilty puppy. “I forgot to cushion her shoes before we came.”

“Oh, you poor dear,” Narcissa reaches out for Hermione, “come, we’ll go back to the Manor and heal you right up.” With that, she apparates away.

“Draco, you can bring Hari with you,” Lucius orders and apparates himself.

Hari reaches for Draco’s hand, blushing a little, despite there being no reason to.

At the Manor, Hermione is sitting in the floo room, shoes off, while Narcissa insistently waves her wand over them. It only takes a minute and one or two spells before Hermione’s feet are back to normal.

“Now,” Narcissa rises and speaks in her ‘Healer’ voice, “they may be quick to get sore tomorrow, so here’s a pain potion. Take it when you get up, don’t try to tough it out. Your feet and your gait are important. Take it a bit easier than normal so the soreness won’t last any longer than tomorrow. After that, they should be back entirely to normal. Muscles are fickle, though, so if they’re still sore, let one of us know as soon as you can.”

“You’re on the floo network,” Hari tells her, “you can call either of us and we’ll do what we can, okay?”

“Right,” Hermione nods and stands, scooping up her shoes. “Thank you, Lady Malfoy. I’ll see you at the train, Hari, Draco.” She steps to the middle of the floor and traces a finger along one of her bracelets. “The Grange.” With that, she’s gone.

“Mother, Hari and I are going to spend the night at his Manor,” Draco looks pleadingly at Narcissa, “is that alright?”

“Certainly,” Narcissa nods sharply. “I wasn’t truly pleased you would choose to stay there alone, darling,” she tells Hari. “I’m glad you’ll be taking Draco with you.”

Hari reaches for Draco and places his thumb over his ring, “ghar.

Chapter Text

Hari snaps twice as soon as they arrive, calling Critter to his side.

“Master Hari has brought Mister Draco!”

“I have. Critter, Draco wants to meet Mango, could he?”

“Oh, yes, I’ll get Manja!”

“There you have it,” Draco murmurs, “the cat’s name is Mango.”

“It’s a sweet name,” Hari smiles, “for a very sweet cat.”

“You know,” Draco chuckles, “it just hit me, but couldn’t you have transformed and asked the cat?”

Hari blanches, “oh, gosh, that would’ve been so much easier!” Draco laughs outright.

The cat races to Hari when Critter sets him down.

“Hello, Mango,” Hari whispers. The kneazle’s purrs grow immensely as Hari pets him. Draco reaches out and strokes along its back as well.

“Is Master Hari having fun at the Ball?”

“I did, Critter, thank you.”

“Is Master Hari wanting anything else?”

“One moment, Critter.” Hari turns to Draco, “where would you like to talk?”

“Where are you most comfortable?” Hari thinks for a moment, then grins.

“Would you bring some snacks up to my spot in the library?” Hari asks, looking up at Critter, “small finger foods that won’t make a mess and maybe some hot chocolate.”

“Critter is doing!”

“Mango,” Draco looks at the kneazle sternly, “sorry, but you can’t join us. No fur in the library.”

Mango meows and gives him a look like he already knew that.

“Sorry,” Draco laughs. “Come on,” he holds a hand out to Hari, “let’s go.” To Draco, the chat feels long overdue, but to Hari, who’s only just becoming aware of the depths of his feelings for Draco, it seems almost rushed. He sets his hand in Draco’s and lets the taller boy lead him into the library.

“My spot is this way,” Hari says and turns, heading up one flight of stairs. He leads Draco the long way, circling the balcony. One of the windows curves out of the wall on this floor, creating almost a small room. It even has curtains on it. Additionally, portions of the window are solid panes stained glass, in each color of the rainbow, making it incredibly beautiful. When they get there, Critter’s treats for them are already sitting on a low tray in the center of the massive seat.

Hari crawls up first, snuggling back against some of the pillows piled up and curling a blanket around his shoulders. Draco takes a seat across from him, leaving the tray between them. It takes a moment of hesitation, but Hari reaches out and tugs the little rope that will cause the curtains to fall shut. As soon as it does, there’s no other light entering the area except the moonlight from outside, painting the area in a soft white glow with patches of rich color.

“You look stunning tonight, Hari,” Draco starts, taking up a bite-sized chocolate piece. “And your hands are gorgeous. Sirius outdid himself tonight.”

Hari holds out his hand for Draco to inspect closer. “Sirius said it was a design my father favored. I think I’ll have to use it somewhat frequently.”

“Most definitely,” Draco agrees with vehemence. “The henna looks spectacular on your skin tone.”

“Thank you,” Hari says shyly. Draco glances up, then smirks mischievously.

“Put up with me for a moment, I’m going to give you a bunch of compliments.”

“Okay,” Hari replies warily. Draco reaches out and fingers the curl in front of Hari’s ear left out of the intricate bun.

“I love your hair,” Draco starts, “the curls are incredible and the length… you wear it so well. And your eyes,” Draco sighs, looking a little dreamy. “Their color and how they’re so wide—they’re simply beautiful.

“Your outfit is perfect; color, fit, shape—everything. It’s perfect on you.

“I adore your smile. You always look so free and happy, it’s breathtaking.

“You’re incredibly confident, even though you’re so shy sometimes. The contradiction makes you so sweet, I can’t put it into words.” And Draco likes sweets, Hari knows.

“The way you walk and move, especially after becoming and animagus, it’s so graceful and smooth. You move like a King, honestly.

“You’re so kind and caring and you’ve built this family around you despite everything you’ve been through,” Draco finishes. “You’re honestly incredible and beautiful, inside and out.”

Hari is blushing like mad by this point, but he can’t look away from Draco.

“I—I don’t know what to say,” he whispers.

“You don’t have to.”

“But… I want to tell you all that, too,” Hari practically whines.

“One day, you will,” Draco assures him. “It doesn’t have to be today. But I wanted you to know. You seemed so scared, every time you thought of this conversation, and I never want you to be scared.” Draco pours both of them mugs of hot chocolate and presses one into Hari’s hands. Hari smiles slightly at him and watches Draco practically melt; his whole mask has been dismantled. He wants Hari to see everything.

“Dray,” Hari starts, “I don’t know where to start? What are we even talking about?”

“Us,” Draco replies simply. “We’re talking about us. Mostly,” Draco’s cheeks go a little pink, “because I really like you. Romantically.”

Hari blushes, then, too, and averts his eyes, drumming his fingers on his mug. Draco’s fingers suddenly trace over his cheek and Hari’s eyes shoot to his.

“I love how sweet you are,” Draco murmurs, “and so like a cat. They’re my favorite, you know.”

Hari does know. Hari knows because they’re the only pet Draco has ever imagined himself getting. He also knows that a large part of the reason Draco likes cats is because if they’re big enough, they’ll chase the peacocks, and maybe even nab one here and there. Draco has told him this before.

“You love cats,” Hari replies, lips turning up again, “almost as much as you love chocolate.”

“But I like you better than both of those,” Draco says and the words strike home. “Granted, I would take anyone in our group over chocolate or cats any day, but I’d choose you over chocolate or cats for a lifetime.”

Hari’s heart stutters and his stomach squirms. He sips his hot chocolate, letting his eyes drop so Draco can’t see how embarrassed he is.

“I want to date you, Hari,” Draco tells him. “I want us to go to Diagon together and Hogsmeade. I want to buy you little things just because I can and I want to and I want to cuddle with you all the time, even in public, and have no one ready to rebuke me.” Draco smirks a little self-deprecatingly. “And I want those girls who think they can have you to back off. I want to not be feeling crazy when I want to yank their arms off you. I want to be allowed to push them off you without anyone looking at me crazy. And I want to not feel jealous of every little thing someone else does around you. I want you.”

Hari searches Draco’s face. There’s only honesty, pure and open, laid out there. The words spiral in Hari’s head and he recalls every time Draco has ever seemed slightly off. Whenever he hugged Hermione, when the girls at school had thrown themselves at him every Valentine’s Day. The Valentine he’d gotten from the young Weasley girl, who he’d had to apologize to for Draco’s temper. All the hugs and hand-holding and cuddling makes sense now; Daphne had tried to tell him. Draco really does like him.

“And you’re sure… I mean, no one will have problems with our genders?” Hari tries not to flinch as he says this. He can hear Vernon in his mind, ranting about homosexuals and how they’ll ruin the world. Not much different from what he’d heard some people say about muggleborns, to be honest.

“No,” Draco shakes his head firmly, “typically, the only people who do are muggleborns themselves. And that’s because that’s what they grew up with. But we start Hogwarts young and they almost always assimilate well. If they don’t, well, then they return to the muggle world where they don’t have to see it. There’s too many same-sex couples here to not see at least one daily, if you’re out and about.”

“How did I not notice that?” Hari asks in almost a whisper.

“You weren’t looking for it,” Draco replies with a little shrug. “And we’re young. Besides, they act no differently than any other couple and since everyone wears robes, you wouldn’t have noticed from behind without really looking. We’ve kept you pretty distracted, too, always rushing you around.”

“That’s true,” Hari nods. “So no one has an issue with it… But what about marriage? And children? We need heirs.”

“The Ministry makes no distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex couples in marriage,” Draco informs him, “children are a little more complicated and I don’t know all the details, but I did a little research, anticipating this question.

“When two women want to have a child, one woman provides an egg from which genetic material is removed. It is then placed within the egg in the uterus of the other woman and they have a child that way. For men, it’s almost the same process.

“They,” Draco coughs a little, “provide the genetic material, which is then combined into a donated, blank egg. There is then one of two options. A potion can be used to cause one of the men to develop the appropriate organ to carry the child himself. Or an artificial womb can be used, one outside their person. The second is the most common option and is actually sometimes used by other couples, who don’t technically need assistance with fertility. It’s a safe alternative to being pregnant in public. The womb can be cared for at home and the parents can carry on with their usual lives without changing their habits.”

“We can have children with both our DNA,” Hari gasps, eyes wide. “And we don’t need a surrogate mother?”

“Surro—oh, no, we wouldn’t need that. Magic,” Draco waggles his eyebrows, “is spectacular.”

Hari laughs at Draco’s antics, “yes, it truly is.” He beams at Draco.

“Were those your only concerns?”

Hari thinks about it for a moment, “my primary ones, yes.”

“And one of the lesser ones?”

“Mostly, I was just concerned about ever having to go into the muggle world and hide it,” Hari smirks at that, “but why would we ever need to?”

“Exactly,” Draco nods sharply, “we’re wizards. We live in the wix world. No need to go out there.”

“No, there really isn’t,” Hari smiles at Draco. Draco just watches him for a long minute. Hari sighs and realizes Draco is waiting for an answer.

“I would love to date you, Draco.”

“Oh,” Draco whispers, face opening up and brilliantly happy, “Oh, sweetheart. Hari,” he reaches out and tilts Hari’s chin up to face him with one finger, “thank you.”

Hari sets down his mug and reaches out with his other hand. The tray vanishes from between them, Critter seemingly knowing they’re already done with it.

“Thank you,” Hari replies, “For being patient and letting me work through that.”

“Of course,” Draco promises, “always.”

“So,” Hari squirms a little, “what now?”

“Now?” Draco smiles and pulls Hari into him. “Now, I get to cuddle you all the time. And hold your hand everywhere we go, not just to lead you around. Now, everyone knows you’re mine.”

Draco snaps his fingers and Dobby appears.

“Please get the black box from my nightstand,” he tells the elf. Dobby disappears for a moment, then returns with a black velvet box obviously for jewelry, but too large to be a ring or bracelet.

“I almost grabbed the earrings,” Draco admits, “but then remembered you don’t have your ears pierced. So I snagged this instead.”

He opens it to reveal a thin silver chain, encrusted all along in diamonds. The charm on the end is small and simple, but clearly engraved with the Malfoy crest. Circling it are even more diamonds.

“Let me put it on you?” he asks.

“Please do,” Hari agrees immediately,  turning his back to Draco. There’s the click of the box being closed and set to the side, then a gentle pressure of metal against his chest and neck. In an instant, Draco has the necklace clasped and settled around Hari’s neck. Hari turns back and automatically raises a hand to trace his fingers over it.

“It’s perfect, Draco, and so beautiful.”

“Never quite as beautiful as you, though,” Draco replies and tugs Hari back into him. They settle against each other, resting back against the pillows and staring quietly out the window, content in each other’s presence.

“Hari,” Draco draw’s Hari’s gaze back to him. “May I kiss you?”

Hari freezes and stares up at Draco. They both sit back up slowly, studying each other. Hari knows he doesn’t look scared, just curious and slightly nervous.

Slowly, ever so slowly, Hari nods. “Yes,” he whispers, not trusting his voice to be any louder and remain even somewhat steady.

Draco’s smile could light the entire world. He brings his hand up to gently cradle Hari’s jaw in one hand, after slipping Hari’s glasses off and setting them aside, with the other hand pressing along Hari’s shoulder blade.

He leans in cautiously, giving Hari plenty of time to back away, but Hari doesn’t, instead allowing his eyes to fall shut and his chin to lift towards Draco.

Draco’s lips are on his.

Time stalls.

Smooth and sweet. Draco smells like candy, like he always does. Chocolate and tea and somehow like home.

His lips are soft and definitely not chapped. They press gently but insistently against Hari’s, coaxing him forward and into Draco.

Draco seems pleased with Hari’s soft responses to each little movement and pulls back a little.

But he comes right back, pressing just a little harder and teasing Hari’s lips with his tongue. Hari parts willingly, allowing Draco’s flavor to flow into him.

There’s the chocolate, from the treats and the drinks. The butterbeer from earlier. And some flavor that is entirely Draco and Hari knows if he ever tasted it again, even without seeing or feeling or smelling Draco, he would know it.

Their tongues meet and dance playfully around each other. Hari lets Draco explore his mouth before pushing lightly to be allowed to do the same. He runs his tongue against Draco’s and across the ridges of his teeth.

Draco’s hands slide to Hari’s waist and pull him over to straddle Draco’s lap. He settles into the cradle of Draco’s cross legs willingly. Closer than before, Hari sighs and relaxes, letting Draco lead the kiss and himself to just enjoy. He feels a soft rumble echo in his chest and realizes he’s purring.

They carry on, wrapped up in each other and blissfully unaware of the world around them.

After what could have been hours or simply minutes, they pull apart, breathing hard, and leaning into each other.

“You’re incredible, Hari,” Draco whispers.

“And you’re amazing,” Hari responds breathlessly.

“I don’t want to,” Draco murmurs, “but we need sleep.”

“I know,” Hari sighs. They lay down, Hari on top of Draco rather comfortably. Draco lets Hari’s hair down and strokes his fingers through it. The pleased purring comes back within moments and Draco smiles, pleased with himself.

“I’ll still be here in the morning,” he tells Hari. “I won’t leave you.”

“I know,” Hari smiles and snuggles his face into Draco’s neck. “You’ll never leave me.”

“Never,” Draco vows. Hari lets himself relax in Draco’s arms and soon, has fallen asleep to the sound of Draco’s heart beating.

Draco looks down at the mess of curls spread across his chest and can’t help but grin, his chest filled to bursting.

That kiss.

Merlin.

He needs a pensieve, just to relive that kiss over and over. If they could have chosen to never leave that moment…

Hari’s lips were just slightly chapped, but still so soft. And he tasted like the hot chocolate and that ice cream Critter likes to make him. Something sweet with an underlying flavor you can’t put a name to, but would know immediately upon tasting. Sweet like the sugar and cinnamon Hari always smells like. Sweet like Draco’s favorite flavors.

Draco strokes his fingers through Hari’s hair and feels the soft rumble of Hari’s purr. Somehow, that being the hanger-on from his animagus transformation simply makes Hari all the cuter.

All of it makes Draco want to wrap Hari in cotton wool and hide him away from the world. He’s too pure and sweet and innocent to have to face all this and bear the evil.

But then Draco sees him in action, setting the world on fire and not letting anyone attack him. And Draco remembers how much Hari has already survived and how he doesn’t need to be protected. He needs to be supported and sometimes guided. And maybe sometimes, he wants to be protected, shielded from reality. He can always come to Draco for that. But Hari doesn’t need it. He’s strong in a way Draco doesn’t know if he’ll ever be. And they’ve barely started Hari’s self-defense training.

Draco smiles to himself. He can’t wait to tell Daphne and the others. They’ll be so excited to hear the news. But he stops himself from jumping up and rushing straight to the floo. It’s late. And Hari’s asleep on him. And everyone knows you don’t move a sleeping kitten. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing, that they can’t tell the others just yet. Maybe having it all for themselves for a few days wouldn’t be so bad.

Yes, Draco decides, they can tell the others on the train, when everyone’s together and in person. When he can give Hari a little kiss on the cheek as he tells the others and watch him blush preciously and lean into Draco’s shoulder.

Draco closes his eyes and lets himself imagine the moment as he falls asleep.

Chapter Text

Hari is standing close to Draco, calmly tucked under his arm and clutching Draco’s waist. A little smile curls his lips when Draco leans down and presses a soft kiss to Hari’s temple. They scan the platform together, looking for the others.

“I don’t see them yet,” Draco says, “let’s go get our compartment before someone else takes it.”

“Alright,” Hari agrees and they step forward, never letting go of each other. They get to their compartment—indeed, the same compartment they’d had every train ride so far—and settle in, Draco sitting against the window with Hari on his lap and firmly wrapped in his arms. Hari snuggles closer and relaxes, content to wait for the others.

Oh, they’re going to flip when they find out Hari and Draco had been keeping this from them for a week, but how do you not explain in person? Their relationship is deeper than that, isn’t it? Deeper than just saying, ‘we’re dating,’ over floo?

Hermione arrives first and they’re assaulted under a barrage of questions. Hari manages to halt those questions for a few minutes, however, when he stands and takes a small owl out of its cage.

“This,” he tells her, “is a Northern Saw-whet Owl. They make a distinctive call and are one of the smaller owls. I just thought he was cute.” He hands the little thing to Hermione, who seems to be tearing up. “Sorry I didn’t give him to you sooner.”

“No!” Hermione cries, careful not to startle the little guy, “he’s perfect and now I can send messages to my parents as much as I want!”

“I’m glad,” Hari says with a bright smile and he settles back into Draco’s arms. “What will you name him?”

“Oh,” Hermione coos, “I just don’t know yet. But he’s so gorgeous, it will have to be a perfect name.”

The bird has smooth brown feathers on top, only broken by the few slight, pure white spots. His underbelly is practically cream because the white and brown blend so seamlessly. With big golden eyes surrounded by a face that looks like it was painted, the small owl truly is a handsome bird.

Hermione cradles the bird carefully in one hand and draws a book out of her bag, flipping through it almost frantically. Finally, she taps her finger against a word.

“Uluka,” she declares. “The name of Goddess Lakshmi's mount. Although, to be more accurate, he would need to be a white barn owl. I like it anyway.”

“What book did you find that in?” Draco asks, sounding bewildered. Hari blushes, honor and pride swelling in his chest that she would name the owl something from his culture.

Hermione just laughs and puts the book back. “Hi, there, Uluka. I promise to be a good owner.” She carefully settles Uluka back in his cage and takes her seat.

“’Mione, what book was that?”

“Just one about India,” she says, starting to flush. Her fingers pick at one of her thumbs. “I figured, you know, you’re Indian and clearly feel connected to that culture and since I’m part of your house, I should at least understand. But then I remembered, you weren’t raised with it, right? So I checked out a bunch more books so I could study it more thoroughly and I won’t ever be able to help you as much as Sirius or maybe one of the Patil twins, but I might be able to provide some answers. Just… just because I’ve studied it so much. I did a lot of reading this summer.” She smiles sheepishly. Hari’s jaw drops.

He pats Draco’s arm, “let me up, Dray.” Draco lets go and Hari practically throws himself into Hermione’s arms, stealing her up into a bone-crushing hug.

“Hari?”

“That’s one of the most incredible things anyone’s ever done for me,” Hari tells her, “thank you. Thank you so much.” He leans back and laughs, a little watery, “I will definitely come to you with questions. If you’ve studied as much as I think you have, you’re practically an expert.”

Her gaze darts to the window, “well, I don’t know about that…”

“Hey,” Hari takes his seat on Draco’s lap again and leans forward, searching out her eyes. “You always downplay your knowledge. That’s how I know. If you think you can help a little, you’ll be able to help a lot.” Hari glances up at the trunks, then hops up with a grin and brings down a tube of henna. “Here, give me your hand.”

The others burst in suddenly, causing everyone to jump. Thankfully, Hari had yet to begin the design.

“Hey, everyone,” he smiles up at them. They take their seats and the train lurches, starting the trip to Hogwarts. Hari starts Hermione’s design, settling on one he’d seen in pictures Sirius gave him of his maa. A series of several, very small, almost-mandala circles connected with dots extending from the very tip of her middle finger down the back of her hand. The final piece is what looks like a large mandala that’s been quartered, so only one portion is visible, arching over her wrist. Hari listens absently to the conversations around him.

“So, how was the rest of the break we didn’t see you for?” Pansy asks, watching over Hari’s shoulder. Draco’s hand vanishes from his waist for a moment, probably to push her away a little, since she retreats almost immediately.

“Hari got me an owl! He’s so tiny and cute! I named him Uluka,” Hermione informs them.

“And Hari’s wearing a freaking snake,” Blaise teases. Sure enough, Galeru is draped around Hari’s neck.

“He’s comfortable there,” Hari mutters, focusing on his work.

“I’m sure,” Daphne placates, glaring at Blaise, “and I’m sure you’re giving Hermione that design because of how she named the owl?”

“That,” Draco beams, but still sounds a little bitter, “and because she’s been researching and studying his culture for him.”

“Oh,” Daphne sighs and Blaise looks at Hermione, eyes wide in surprise, “that’s so sweet of you, Hermione.”

“Ah,” she tries not to shift on her seat, “thanks. I just wanted to know more, though.”

“You wanted to help Hari,” Pansy snaps, “don’t put yourself down.” Hermione looks at her with wide eyes before nodding. Pansy leans forward and touches one of Hermione’s curls.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you with your hair down since you got those new potions,” she says, “it’s gorgeous.”

“Yeah,” Hermione smiles sheepishly, “I’ve been having fun with all the different hair-dos. It’s easier to try them out when you don’t have to spend hours laboring over them.”

“Ugh,” Daphne groans and flops onto Blaise’s shoulder, “tell me about it. I was stuck with pigtails and schoolgirl braids until I learned to do the charm for myself on my great-great-grandmother’s wand.”

Hermione’s jaw drops at that, “you did that? Before school?”

“Yes?” Daphne’s eyes go wide, “You weren’t there when Hari learned all this, were you? Purebloods save ancestral wands, which don’t have traces on them since their owner is technically dead. And traces can’t be placed on our house like they can at muggleborns’ since our whole family does magic. So, we learn spells early with those.”

“That’s why you all arrive with a bit of an advantage,” Hermione rolls her eyes, “I can’t believe I didn’t factor that in. I just assumed you’d all already studied the theory at home and spent homework time practicing.”

“Well,” Pansy grimaces, “that’s not entirely wrong, either. We do usually have tutors from age five on who instruct us in all the theory they can, as well as writing, reading, arithmetic, history, and government. And etiquette.” The whole group winces at that.

“Are there no primary schools for you?”

“There are,” Draco nods, “but House families tend to go with private tutoring to ensure their children are getting the education they want. And the schools don’t teach magical theory, government, or etiquette. So we’d still have to do studying at home.”

“So you consolidate your work,” Hermione says understandingly. “That makes sense. Although, maybe it would be better in the long run to change the schools?”

Blaise laughs at that, “No, they’ll never let us change those. They’ll claim we’re pushing our agenda on the youth. Instead, our private tutoring takes the form of a few families all paying the same tutor to teach their children together. For us, there was, I think, ten in the class?”

“Eight,” Pansy corrects, “Us four, Theo, Millicent, Crabbe, and Goyle. And we had two tutors, plus Lady Malfoy for etiquette.”

“Oh, Merlin,” Draco crinkles his nose, “I remember that. I always got grouped with Crabbe and Goyle and they are so stupid.”

“Draco,” Daphne chides, “they’re doing better than some people in our year.”

Draco snorts, “that’s not difficult, they’re beating Weasley.”

Hermione pales, “he had a meeting last year with Professor McGonagall about how he needs to do better or he may be kicked out of Hogwarts.”

Hari puts the finishing touches on Hermione’s hand, puts the tube away, and casts the charm to protect it. Settling back into Draco, he looks at Hermione.

“A finite will remove that. Leave it on until before classes tomorrow,” he tells her, “then just brush it off.” Hermione nods and studies the design with a small, happy smile. “And someone tell me why I decided to be mature and step out for the part of the meeting where they discuss students?”

“Um, because you’re a good person?” Blaise guesses.

“Because you’re not a gossip monger, like some people,” Draco corrects, shooting a pointed glance at Pansy. Hari laughs and cuddles into Draco’s shoulder.

“Okay,” Blaise’s eyes narrow them as Draco drops a kiss on Hari’s head. “When did that happen?”

“What?” Hari asks, blinking innocently.

“I will acknowledge that you to were very close before and definitely cuddled, but this is more than that,” Blaise waves a hand in their general direction, “so what changed?”

“We’re dating,” Draco announces with a beaming smile. Hari giggles and tucks himself under Draco’s chin, a little embarrassed. “We have been since the night of the Summer Ball.”

“Thanks, by the way, Daphne,” Hari peeks out at her, “for giving me that push.”

“Yes,” Draco turns to her, gratefulness resounding in his voice. “Thank you.”

“You’re certainly welcome,” she replies magnanimously.

“So… what’s the whole story?” Pansy asks, tapping her toe impatiently. “And what are we telling the masses?” Hari lets Draco take the question.

“As for the masses, just let it be known that we’re dating, but no details—nothing about how we got together or when or anything like that,” Draco orders, staring Pansy down, “just the fact that we’re dating. That and our behavior should be enough.”

Pansy shrugs, “works for me. Now,” she snaps her fingers, “details.”

So they fill her in on the night they got together, taking their time, but skimming past the kiss as quickly as possible. There’s still lots of blushing and avoiding eye contact and squealing friends involved, though. By the time the whole story has been told, the group is a mess of giggles and happy congratulations. Then, a chill washes over the train.

“What’s going on?” Hari asks, peeking out the window. Hermione looks, too, and goes pale.

“Are those Dementors?”

“What?” Draco snaps to attention, looking outside. “They are,” he whispers, sounding terrified, “Lock the compartment door. Now.” He fumbles for the latch on the window and manages to catch it just as a Dementor drifts past. Daphne clicks the lock on the door. Hari glances over—it doesn’t seem like enough if they’re going to keep one of these things out. Already, with it on the outside of the train and several feet away, he feels despair creeping in. He draws his wand and casts a sealing spell at the door, one he’d learned to protect his study, just in case.

“What are Dementors?” Hari asks, when they’re all trying to calm down, reassured that nothing can get into the compartment.

“Dementors guard Azkaban, Hari,” Daphne tells him, voice gentle. “They literally suck the happiness out of you and cause you to be entrenched in bad memories. They’re the things that almost drove Sirius crazy.”

Hari flinches away from this news and Draco rubs his back soothingly. Hari tucks his face into Draco’s neck to take a moment to just breathe. When he pops back up, he feels significantly better.

“Okay, so they’re bad. Why are they here?”

“I imagine they’re looking for Pettigrew,” Pansy says.

“Pettigrew got out?” Hari cries, horrified. After the hunt to find the monster the first time… Hari hadn’t exactly been up-to-date on that, since it happened the summer of first year, but he knew they’d caught him. That he’d been in Azkaban.

“Pettigrew got out,” Blaise confirms, “and they’re thinking he’s coming to Hogwarts to get back at you.”

“Oh, Merlin,” Hari looks out the window, “so these things are checking the train for him? Are they even allowed to do that?”

“With permission from the Headmaster, I suppose,” Hermione nods. Hari pales and his eyes flash almost frantically to her.

“But I’m technically Headmaster,” he tells her, “and no one spoke to me about this.” Hari growls and that’s the moment they discover that it’s not just purring that carries over from his animagus form, but the voice boxes entirely.

“Then… How are they here?” Hermione asks.

“They can’t be,” Draco mutters, “If Hari hasn’t given the okay, Hogwarts can’t be touched. That’s the one thing about Hogwarts that’s so appealing to everyone: it’s technically sovereign ground. No government can touch it, even if the people within are held to the Ministry’s laws.”

“What does that mean?” Hermione asks, leaning forwards. This wasn’t in Hogwarts: A History.

“It means,” Draco tightens his arms around Hari, “that the Ministry can only enter Hogwarts on the Headmaster’s say-so. So even to arrest someone, they’d have to get permission or wait for the person to leave the wards.”

“Can Dementors get through the wards?” Hari peeks out the window again, studying the terrifying creatures.

“They can,” Pansy whispers, “that’s why this is so bad.”

Rage peaks within Hari and he lets out a rolling snarl. The others stare at him in shock as he struggles to get himself back under control. It’s not working nearly as well as he’d hoped. But the compartment suddenly chills even further and something approaches the door. The door clangs a few times before the Dementor seems to get angry and starts fighting to open it. The door holds fast. The spell Hari had used was designed for this, he knows that, but actually putting it to the test is terrifying. It needs to hold, he can tell that much. With it still this far away, he can hear screaming distantly. A woman’s voice. And his name being cried.

“Please hold,” he whimpers desperately. Draco clutches him tight and the group huddles together as close as they can. The Dementor doesn’t give up.

Suddenly, a silvery wolf shoots into the Dementor, which flees immediately. A person approaches behind the wolf and peeks into the compartment.

“Moony!” Hari cries and leaps to his feet, opening the compartment.

“Hey, cub,” Remus snatches him into a hug, “are you all alright?”

“We’ll be fine,” Draco agrees.

“Do you have chocolate?”

“We do,” Draco confirms. Remus nods and pushes Hari gently back to Draco, who’s arms are extended, waiting.

“Eat some, it’ll help reverse the effects,” Remus tells them, “I need to speak to the conductor.” Hari grabs a chocolate frog and takes a bite. Warmth spreads through him.

“I’m coming with,” Hari announces and follows Remus out of the compartment.

“How have you been?” Remus asks.

“Good,” Hari replies, smiling as he takes another bite, “the Wizengamot sessions have been going well and I adapted the Hogwarts curriculum to be what the Founders originally intended. It’s a work in progress, but it’s progress. Oh, and I’m dating Draco.” He says the last bit with a little fear in his voice, but Remus just smiles over his shoulder at Hari.

“I’m proud of you,” he says, “and Draco seems to really care about you. Are you happy with him?”

“I am,” Hari nods.

“Then, I’m happy for you.” Remus gestures to a door, “this is where the conductor is.” He guides Hari through.

“Start the train again,” Remus tells the wizard.

“They’re in the way!”

“They can’t be hurt by the train,” Remus sighs, “they’ll either move, or get out of the way after they’ve been hit.”

“I don’t want to go to Azkaban,” the wizard growls. Hari lets out a real growl that has the man shaking.

“Those things got on the train and are terrorizing students! Remus had to throw them off! Start the train, now!”

“Don’t talk to me l—“

“I’m the current Headmaster,” Hari snarls, “and I’m not pleased.” The wizard pales and starts the train. They shoot forward and, sure enough, the Dementors part to let them pass.

“They knew you would stop rather than hit them,” Remus tells him, “so they blocked the tracks. Next time, just keep going.”

“Yes, sir,” he glances at Hari, “sorry, Headmaster.”

“Don’t worry about formality,” Hari waves him off, “I’m sorry for yelling. I’m still shaken up from having a Dementor try to get into my compartment.” The conductor blanches at that, but Hari turns and walks back out, starting to make his way back to the group.

“You didn’t know they were here?” Remus asks.

“No,” Hari glowers, “and I’m going to make whoever thought it was okay to try to go over my head very, very sorry.”

Remus studies him for a long moment and seems almost frightened at what he sees, but he nods and lets Hari return to his friends.

“What happened?” Draco jumps up and grabs Hari as soon as he’s back in the compartment. He pulls him down onto his lap again.

“I yelled at the conductor to start the train again and he did,” Hari grumbles. “But I’m going to need to contact the Minister. He’s the only one able to authorize this, right?”

“He is,” Blaise confirms, but he looks unsure.

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, going against the Minister might not be a great idea,” Blaise says, shifting uncomfortably. “He’s nice enough, but he knows how to play the game and the backlash might not be fun to deal with.”

“I’m not concerned about that,” Hari hisses, “I want the Dementors gone.”

The others study him, then nod.

Draco says, “whatever you need, I’ll do what I can to help.”

“We all will,” Pansy agrees. Hari grabs parchment and an envelope and sets about writing a scathing letter to Fudge. In bright red ink on the outside, he writes ‘URGENT’, just so he knows Fudge will get it right away. He seals it with is ring and coaxes Hedwig awake. She swoops out their window and off to the Ministry.

“What’d you say to him?” Daphne asks.

“That he’s an idiot for putting Dementors in a school where there’s children who are defenseless against them,” Hari snarls, “and that he’d better get rid of them or come see me as soon as he gets the letter.”

Blaise snorts inelegantly, “he’s going to come see you to argue.”

“I know,” Hari smirks.

“That’s a good thing?” Hermione sounds confused.

“If he’s here in person,” Hari smiles, “he has to be around the Dementors and see the effects they’re having. Maybe a tour around the grounds and a chat with one of them will do him some good.”

The group stares at him for a long moment before they burst out laughing.

“That’s positively devious,” Draco praises and Hari’s heart swells. Maybe it’s not the best situation, but he’ll handle it, and by the time he’s done, Fudge’ll wish he hadn’t ever had the idea of sending Dementors to Hogwarts.

Sure enough, upon their arrival, Professor McGonagall pulls Hari aside to inform him that Fudge is there.

“I’d ask you to come with me,” Hari tells Draco, “but…” He trails off.

“I understand,” Draco smiles. “Go, be the badass Lord you are. Then come back and promise to show me the memory in a Pensieve later.”

“You got it,” Hari agrees and sneaks a little peck on the lips from Draco. He hurries off to the Headmaster’s office, calling out the new password—Cobra. He’s going with snake breeds as his theme, though he feels like it’s not very creative.

“Lord Potter,” Fudge turns to face him. Hari stares dispassionately. “I’m sorry, but I cannot justify withdrawing the Dementors.”

“You’ll withdraw them,” Hari says in an angry monotone, “or I’ll have you up on charges so fast you can’t even say the word ‘Dementor’.”

“What charges?” Fudge laughs, “I’m just doing my job.”

“You’re breaking the law,” Hari tells him blandly, “Hogwarts is sovereign land. We’re practically our own country. You have to have my explicit permission to so much as step foot in these wards, let alone send Dementors here.” Fudge goes pale, just then realizing Hari had actually studied this. “I believe those charges would include trespassing, attempted false arrest, and human rights infringement. What, fifteen years in Azkaban? If the court chooses to be lenient?”

“Now,” Fudge says quickly, “let’s not be rash—“

“Rash?” Hari feels his anger start to swell, but keeps his voice in the same monotone, eyes and posture steady and confident. “Do I look like I’m being rash to you? Rash was thinking it a good idea to send Dementors to a school. There’s children here, not criminals. You will remove them, or I will remove you from the general populace, criminal.”

“I can’t just—“

“Well, I’m glad you like them so much,” Hari smiles then, cruel and uncaring, “You’ll be seeing a lot of the Dementors from your cell.” He steps to the floo, grabbing a pinch of powder. Fudge grabs Hari’s arm. “You will unhand me or I will add assault to the list.” Fudge drops him like he’d been burned.

“Lord Potter, please, just see my side of it,” he begs.

“Have you informed the parents of this decision?” Hari asks, voice innocently curious. “I’m interested as to how Lord Malfoy, Lord Nott, Lord Flint, Lady Longbottom, and Lady Bulstrode will feel about this. You did, of course, make sure to let the Board know of your decision, didn’t you?”

Fudge is pale as a ghost, “I’ll have the Dementors removed within the hour,” he promises.

“See that you do,” Hari glares, “or I’ll make good on my promise.” Hari strides from the room, not looking back to see if Fudge gets started on his assigned task, just returning to the Great Hall to eat some good food.

Professor McGonagall makes eye contact and flicks her gaze to the windows. Hari nods, letting her know that Fudge has been handled. The relief she feels is visible, even from this distance.

Professor McGonagall finishes making the speech about the changes the school will be facing this new year as Hari takes his seat next to Draco. With Daphne on his other side, he instantly feels more secure.

“So?” Pansy whispers, “how’d it go?” Food appears in front of them and they load up their plates.

“I’ve given him an hour,” Hari replies, “if they’re not gone, I’m having him arrested. Then, Madam Bones can deal with them.”

They pass the rest of the meal in relative silence. As they’re rising to leave for their dormitories, the cold that had been seeping through the stones starts to fade. Hari looks outside and watches the Dementors leave.

“Is it bad I’m almost disappointed I didn’t get to follow through?” Hari asks.

“Eh,” Draco wraps an arm around Hari, “not really. It would’ve benefitted you in the long run, proving you’re not afraid to follow through on your threats, but this works, too. Fudge obviously fears you enough to assume you’ll follow through without needing confirmation.”

“Yeah, well, there’s people out there who don’t,” Hari mutters, Dumbledore flashing through his mind.

“They’ll find him,” Draco pauses, “they’ll find both of them. Madam Bones is spectacular at her job and the Auror program has only gotten better since she took over.”

“I trust her,” Hari allows and they start walking back to the dorms. “And I know she’ll get both of them. I’m just concerned. If she signed off on this, I’ve just stepped on her toes.”

“No,” Draco shakes his head, “she’ll understand. Her niece goes here, remember? Would you want Dementors near anyone in your family?”

“No,” Hari agrees, “no, I wouldn’t. You’re right, she’ll understand.”

“She will,” Draco nods reassuringly, “she’ll understand and catch them and they’ll go on trial,” Draco promises, “and then we’ll be free of them for good.”

“Good,” Hari nods shortly, “I can’t wait.” Hari enters the Common Room, where some of the older years are already wondering aloud if the cute kitten from last year will be back. He smirks up at Draco.

“I do not want to share you,” Draco whines. Hari laughs. Beau can make an appearance tomorrow. For now, they have a welcome-back speech from Professor Snape to hear. And, from the glint in the Professor’s eyes and his curling smirk, it’s going to be a good one.

Chapter Text

Hari trots along through the common room, begging treats and pets off the Slytherins under Draco’s (un)subtle watchful eye.

“Hello, handsome,” a tall fifth year scoops him up, “did you get a collar?”

“He had that last year,” someone else calls. “Got it after being here a few days.”

“Owner must’ve owl ordered,” a third adds. Draco smirks from his seat.

“Must’ve,” another agrees.

The fifth year holding Hari lifts the little stone engraved with his name and calls, “his name’s Beau.”

Someone starts to laugh, “well, we’ve been calling him Handsome, anyway!” Laughter rings through the common room and, though he understands them clearly, Hari lets out a plaintive mewl, sounding upset at the mocking of his name. Coos echo around him, promises that they didn’t mean anything by it.

“Here, Beau,” a sixth year girl holds a treat in front of him, “sorry for laughing.” He takes the treat with delicate precision, gobbles it down quickly, then stands up, front paws in her hand and mews at her. She melts and strokes his head gently.

A chime goes off—time for ninth hour. Draco scoops up his bag and heads out for Arithmancy. A bunch of others leave, too, so Hari scurries along beside them and weaves through their legs. If nothing else, Professor Snape will let him sit on his desk during seventh year potions and watch.

“This new schedule is so much easier,” one of the seventh years sighs as they arrive at the classroom.

“Isn’t it?” Another agrees, “Even with the addition of WizCul, it’s so much better than previous years. I don’t feel so overwhelmed.”

“And you shouldn’t,” Professor Snape sweeps into the room. “The new Headmaster designed the schedule to take both professors and students into consideration.”

“They made a lot of changes,” a Gryffindor says.

“Yeah,” a Slytherin agrees slowly, “but I don’t think they’re bad. There’s those new electives—I’m in Healing and it’s going to give me a leg up when I get my apprenticeship. And the Heirs and Lord Potter getting to use their Family Suites? They pay a lot of money for that and Dumbledore has barred access for ten years.”

“Not to mention WizCul,” a Ravenclaw adds. “I think that’s the best part.”

“Do you, Miss Johnson?”

“I do,” the Ravenclaw nods, “I never knew that wix had a different culture. This is technically my culture, too, and I’m mad Dumbledore kept it from us.”

Professor Snape smiles at this, “Well, I have it on good authority that the new Headmaster will never allow something like that to happen again.”

“We can tell,” the single Hufflepuff grins. “Plus, I like that my partner for WizCul is from Slytherin. Inter-House unity and mixing blood and mixing titles. It’s splendid.”

The Hufflepuff’s buddy holds out a fist and they bump, “you are the best buddy.”

“Hey! My buddy’s the best!” In moments, there’s laughing arguments and buddies clinging to each other, despite the year only being a month and a half in. They’ve only had their buddies for a month. Hari lets out a little trilling noise, pleased with the development.

Professor Snape notices him for the first time and sighs, “Beau, really?”

“Aw, don’t throw him out, Professor Snape,” someone whines, “it’s only a theory day.”

“Yeah, our cauldrons have to sit another day, anyway,” another agrees, “he can’t hurt anything.”

“Alright then,” Professor Snape picks him up, “perhaps he can help me teach.” He settles Beau on his shoulder and crosses to his blackboard. With a swish of his wand, the chalk begins to write.

It was beginning to do this after dropping Arithmancy that taught Hari that Professor Snape is not the cruel teacher he seems to be to the younger years. After OWLs, he has students who really want to be in his class. He loses the harsh attitude and takes the time to ensure they’re learning and enjoying the class as much as possible. Although, some of the students had commented that Professor Snape was more relaxed this year… Maybe that’s because he’s got more free time.

The students diligently take notes and ask questions as needed. By the end of the hour, they’ve gotten all that they can out of the lecture and the rest is up to them to learn. Professor Snape assigns a six inch essay on the uses of Dragon’s Blood in Healing potions. Beau leaps to the floor and makes to follow the students out, but Professor Snape catches him easily.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Professor Snape sets him on the desk and bars his escape, locking the door with a flick of his wand. “Change back, now. You know it’s my free period and I know you’re not taking either Care or Muggle Studies.”

Hari lets out an irritated hiss and jumps off the desk, changing easily. He folds his arms and pouts.

“And why, Lord Potter, did you deem it necessary to infiltrate my class?”

“I’ve done it to almost every teacher I can,” Hari defends, “if I have a free hour during their class time, I sneak in to watch. You’re doing spectacularly, by the way. Even outside this room, I hear wonderful things about you and your teaching. Primarily for the older years, but even the firsties say you’re not as bad as they’d been told to expect.”

Professor Snape grimaces, “I’ve lost my edge.”

“You’re more relaxed,” Hari counters.

“Well,” Professor Snape leans against a table, “the free hours and established mealtimes definitely help.”

“Ugh, right, you had the worst mealtimes ever last year, didn’t you?”

“Certainly, Lord Potter.”

“I’m really glad that was one of the things I managed to fix,” Hari admits, “I thought I was going to have to stagger meals, which I might have to later when I mix in different classes, but I haven’t decided yet.”

“It’s not an issue to worry about this year,” Professor Snape reminds him. “Have you decided whether to go to the next Wizengamot session or not?”

Hari shakes his head, “no. I know I have to decide soon, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it to miss a day of school for this one.”

“You haven’t missed any yet,” Professor Snape points out, “and it does have an important topic.”

Hari sighs—the Umbridge lady is going up against werewolves again. Why werewolves? Who knows. She must have some kind of personal vendetta against them, since that’s the only reason Hari can feasibly come up with.

“Yeah, it’s an important topic,” Hari agrees, “but I don’t know if I want to listen to her talk for two hours.”

“Think of it as endurance training,” Professor Snape suggests and Hari laughs.

“You’re right,” he says, “I should go. It’s important and could impact too many lives, including Remus’.”

“Exactly,” Professor Snape nods. “Are you prepared for the first Hogsmeade weekend?”

Hari giggles and nods excitedly, “Yes! Draco and I are going together. I can’t wait!”

“Just the two of you? What will come of Miss Granger and Heirs Greengrass, Parkinson, and Zabini?”

“They’re going together,” Hari assures him, “they understand that Hogsmeade weekends are our only chances for dates.”

“Quite understanding of them,” Professor Snape’s lips curl slightly, “I do not know if I could be quite so kind were I your friend.”

“Well, first, you are,” Hari gives him a pointed look, “but I see your point. And they’re spectacular friends. Who all maybe have a crush on someone else in that group. So they’re all okay sticking together as ‘just friends’.” Hari winks and Professor Snape chuckles.

“Clever, Lord Potter,” he says just as the bell rings once more to indicate the start of the final period.

“Always,” Hari chirps and changes back into Beau, darting over to scratch at the door. It opens and he races out, darting around the school with ease.

“There you are, Beau,” Blaise leans down and scoops him up without hesitation. He carries Hari to the R.O.R without pausing, even as Beau pleads sadly to be let down. “Oh, hush.” He releases Beau into the R.O.R only after the door has closed and vanished. Everyone except Pansy and Hermione are there.

“Okay, change back, we’ve gotta get down to business,” Draco snaps his fingers at Hari. Beau nips at them harshly before changing back and glaring.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s getting ridiculous again,” Daphne huffs, “almost as bad as you and Draco.” Hari glances around the room and realizes what they mean. Right, Pansy and Hermione have been dancing around each other. Hari gives Daphne a warning glance. The same thing had been going on with her and Blaise and if Draco succeeds with Pansy and Hermione, he’ll most definitely try again with them. She discreetly waves him off.

“Alright,” Hari says, “what do we do?”

“You and I,” Draco gestures between them, then yanks Hari into his lap, “are already doing our part.”

“Oh,” Hari perks up, “you want them to get stuck wandering Hogsmeade alone!” Hari looks up at Draco, who shoots a glance at the two in the room and then winks at Hari. Hari stifles a giggle—Draco’s not working one couple at a time, he’s going for two-in-one!

They chat for a little while about the best ways to get Blaise and Daphne away from the other girls without raising suspicion, then, when their hour is almost up, move on to chatting about other things. Just before Pansy and Hermione arrive, Draco drags Hari to his feet and leads him from the room.

“We’re going to go for a walk,” he winks at Daphne and Blaise, who laugh outright.

“Okay,” Hari says when they’re huddled in a little alcove, “what’s your plan?”

“I thought that was obvious?”

“Right, get them both to think they’re sneaking off to give the other couple ‘alone time’, but there’s more to this—there always is with you.”

Draco laughs, “you’ve got me there! The more you and I do together as a couple, the more they’ll want to be couples. They’ll get subconsciously more and more obvious about their affections until, bam! They’re together!”

“Okay…” Hari trails off. That’s a little thin. He studies Draco, then groans internally. He’s been had. Draco’s plan wasn’t about how to get the others together the quickest, it was how to sneak off the quickest to get alone time with him.

“Just kiss me already, you dunce,” Hari says affectionately, hooking his arms around Draco’s neck.

“As you wish,” Draco smiles and leans in.

They end up kissing for somewhere around fifteen minutes before the sound of footsteps outside makes them pull apart. Best to make sure they don’t get caught, at the very least. They make their way back to the R.O.R, where the group laughs at them as they walk in. Blaise makes sure to cat call, as well. Hari snarls at him. He’s loving this ‘ability to make animalistic noises while human’ thing and making the best of it.

“Anyone want to tell me how so many people know I’m Heir Hogwarts but haven’t figured out I’m the new ‘Headmaster’?”

Laughter reigns in the room once more.

“Well,” Blaise snickers, “that’d be willful blindness.”

“Right,” Hermione agrees, “they know you’re the most likely candidate, but because of your age and status as a fellow student, you can’t possibly be Headmaster.”

“Oh, but I can be the most powerful Lord alive,” Hari says sarcastically.

“Of course,” Pansy nods, “especially in Slytherin. Most of us were raised with politics that allow for young Lordship, but not the Headmaster thing.”

“I’m just surprised the muggleborns haven’t started to suspect,” Hermione admits.

“They’d be the first, wouldn’t they?” Daphne agrees, “since they’re not raised here and Hari’s already Lord, it wouldn’t be hard for them to just assume that’s normal. And maybe even assume that it’s so normal, no one’s talking about it.”

“Makes sense to me,” Draco says and settles into one of the desks that have appeared. The Room has designed a study area for them in a little circle, with all the desks touching corner to corner and facing each other.

“What do we have today?” Blaise asks.

Pansy and Hari both pull out their planners.

Pansy starts, “Due tomorrow: an eight inch essay for Professor McGonagall on the transformative properties of wood, chapter six of Beasts, translating that paragraph on page 127 for Latin, and reading chapter four for Herbology. For electives, it’s the work problems at the end of chapter three in Runes and reviewing chapter eight for Muggle Studies. No homework for Dueling and Spells.”

Hari adds, “Due Friday: six inches on the medical revolution of 1382, re-reading chapter six for Defense—we have the practical that day, and six inches for Professor Snape on how powdered Dragon’s Tooth interacts with stewed slug. Electives, we need to re-read chapter two of Healing, write four inches for Wandlore on the properties of red oak, and for those of you in Arith and Care, you’ve got the paragraph on page 84 of Arith and reading chapter three of Care.”

“Okay, I have the notes for Professor McGonagall, let’s get through that first,” Draco slides out a heavily notated sheet of parchment and stacks two more behind it, “then we do translating for Latin, and the problems for Runes. We’ll read Herbology first, then Beasts.” Beasts is one they can usually get away with doing the minimum of the reading for. “We discuss Muggle Studies last.”

“While you work on Muggle Studies, Hari and I’ll research for Potions and History respectively,” Hermione adds, “And then, if there’s still time, we can pick up a book on red oak. Or even just find the title.”

“There’ll be time,” Daphne says, writing down the last steps in their plan, “there’s not too much to do today. Let’s get started. Draco, read off the notes.”

Draco sets about reading the properties of the woods Professor McGonagall specifically wanted them to look at. By the time he’s done reading, every quill in the room is scratching away.

Eight inches isn’t bad. Hermione points out rather frequently that it’s the size of one sheet of muggle paper and that muggles don’t handwrite essays, they type them, so the writing is much smaller. Hari’s own handwriting is somewhat large still, since Narcissa had chosen a long-letter style for him. It looks interesting, though, and is clearly legible. After Draco had finished reading, it only takes them ten minutes to all put their quills down.

“Everyone ready?” Blaise asks. When he gets a sea of nods, he tells them to pass. The essays slide two people over to be edited for spelling and grammar and blatant, obvious errors. Although, with the way they work, errors don’t happen too often. In five minutes, the parchments are being passed back, corrected and neat.

They set about translating for Latin in pairs, knowing that working as a group would mean less learning. The paragraph isn’t long, only three or so sentences, and so it doesn’t take too long to work through, even if Draco does make Hari do most of the work. They pass again, checking each other’s work and reviewing the translations communally. Any changes necessary are made and then Latin is put away.

There’s only ten questions for Runes, as is typical for this book. They power through the questions as a group, still having to rely on themselves to get the actual drawing correct.

With that done, they’ve only been at work for a little over an hour.

“Time,” Pansy calls and Hari casts a Tempus.

“Ten o’clock,” he replies.

“Alright, one hour to curfew, let’s get through this!” Blaise pumps a fist in the air, “Draco, you’re up.”

Draco flips open his Herbology book and starts reading. It’s Hari’s turn, so he takes diligent notes as the chapter continues. In fifteen minutes, they move on to Beasts, an even quicker read. They’re completely done in only ten more minutes. Pansy stretches her arms over her head.

“Okay,” Hermione stands, “almost done. Get to Muggle Studies, you guys.” She and Hari migrate to the small table set up a little ways away with two books on it. They set out their parchment and get to work, scratching down information as they go. In the short amount of time it takes Draco to read the important bits of the chapter, they’ve gotten enough information that the two short essays they need to write tomorrow will be easy to get through. She and Hari wander back over and take their seats, filing the work away into their bags as Draco winds down.

“Everyone got it?” Draco asks. There’s affirmatives all around and the others pack up. “Let’s go, then. Bedtime.”

“Remember to set your alarms!” Pansy adds when Hermione breaks off from the group.

“What was that room you were in?” a little blonde girl asks from behind them. Everyone jumps.

“Um, hi,” Hari tilts his head at her. “It’s just the room we like to do our homework in.”

“It’s a nice room to look at,” she says. “It’s nice to meet you, Hari Potter, Draco Malfoy, Daphne Greengrass, Pansy Parkinson, and Blaise Zabini. Shame I didn’t get to meet Hermione Granger.”

“How did you know our names?” Draco asks, edging closer to Hari protectively. Hari braces himself and gets ready to transform.

“Everyone knows who you are,” the girl smiles peacefully. It’s true, they’re rather well known.

“May I ask your name?” Hari says tentatively.

“Oh,” she looks incredibly pleased and surprised at the question, “you want to know my name?” Hari studies her, concerned by this statement. “I’m Luna Lovegood,” she bows politely, “it’s good to meet you.”

“You, too, Miss Lovegood,” Hari smiles at her.

“May I join you at the room without a door tomorrow? I should like to have a look inside,” she tells them.

“Of course,” Hari agrees, “If you bring your homework, you’re more than welcome to join us.”

“Oh, I like to get my work done earlier in the day,” Luna says, “but I could bring a book to read.”

“That sounds perfect, Miss Lovegood,” Hari assures her. She smiles at him.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Lord Potter, and do call me Luna, won’t you? Or Loony, most people do.”

“Of course, Luna, if you will call me Hari.” She grins brilliantly at this and skips away, headed for Ravenclaw tower.

“Is she wearing shoes?” Blaise asks. Hari’s eyes narrow.

“I don’t like that,” he mutters, “and I didn’t like how surprised she was at our asking her name.”

“I’m pretty certain she’s a distant cousin of mine,” Draco says, tilting his head to study her retreating form. “I’ll have to go through the genealogy books later, just to check.” Hari nods. They start walking back to the dungeons.

“You want her for our group?” Daphne asks.

“I want her not to seem like someone who’s being bullied,” Hari corrects, “if that means she’s in our group, then so be it.”

“She’s pureblood,” Draco mutters, “and I know I’ve heard her name before…” Hari leans up and kisses Draco on the cheek.

“Don’t worry about it now,” Hari says, “you’ll get the book when your father visits for Halloween. Just write him a letter.”

Draco smiles at Hari and presses a light kiss to his lips, “goodnight, Hari.”

“Goodnight, Draco,” Hari replies.

The others bid them goodnight as well and separate into their own Family Suites. Hari opens his door and watches Draco do the same. They step in simultaneously, knowing from the first few nights at school that if they don’t, they’ll both stand there, waiting for the other to go in.

Hari’s thoughts wander as he gets ready for bed. Luna Lovegood… sure, their names are somewhat well known, especially Hari’s, but Hermione’s isn’t. And how Luna knew that will be interesting to find out, Hari’s sure.