Chapter 1: Prologue
Lily Potter quickened her pace, keeping her stride as smooth as possible as to not disturb the sleeping child in her arms. The chill of early dawn washed over her bare face, making her wish she had worn a heavier cloak. At least her child was well protected; he was all that mattered at the moment.
Lily glanced up the street, most of the houses looking as though the same blueprint had been used on each. Each house stood equal, except for the very last house on the corner. This house looked the same as the others underneath, but was covered by a spider of metal with a large hub on the roof. The bright, glowing green sign could not be easily missed either.
Lily gave a wry smile, slowing her pace as she neared the front steps. She gave the still sleeping child in her arms a light squeeze, and then walked up the stone steps. She paused for a moment, almost second-guessing the whole reason she was there that morning. This is for the best, she reminded herself. He would never look for him here, on another continent even. I can come back for him when this is all over. This is to protect him.
Giving one more look at her baby boy, she knocked on the front door. For most people, it would be far too early to make a house call, but Lily had informed its residents she would be arriving (though she had had to wake them up at three in the morning, their time), and was therefore expected. After a brief moment, the door opened, revealing another red-haired woman, this one dressed in a teal-hooded hazmat suit.
“Trick or treat?” Lily joked lightly, remembering the American tradition.
The woman at the door laughed. “A bit early for that, isn't it, Lily? We don't even have the candy in a bowl yet. But you are in costume, so maybe I should make an exception? If you stick around for a few hours, you can come Trick or Treating with us—”
“I’m sorry, Maddie, but I really am in a hurry.”
“Do you have time to come in for a little bit at least?” the woman, Maddie, asked, opening the door wider.
Lily glanced up at the sky, the sun peaking over the horizon. “I don’t have much time, but a few minutes shouldn't hurt.”
Hugging the small child in her arms closer to her chest, she followed Maddie into her home. Lily followed her into the kitchen where the two women sat at the bare kitchen table.
“So, what brings you here? And so early? I’m surprised you brought one of the boys,” Maddie said, staring at the boy still in Lily’s arms.
“He’s why I’m here, actually,” Lily whispered. “Maddie, the situation has gotten so much worse. I’m—I don’t know what else to do, this is our only choice—”
“Woah, slow down, Lily, what’s happened?” Maddie asked.
Lily took a deep breath. “He’s in danger. Both of them are. And I can’t in good conscience leave them in the line of fire. Voldemort has targeted my family, one of the boys specifically, and I can’t risk their safety. I—” Lily took another deep breath. I have to do this, she reminded herself. Hardening her gaze, she locked eyes with Maddie. “Maddie, I need you to do me a huge favor.”
“I’ll do my best, what do you need, Lily?”
“I need you to care for him, to raise him as your own child,” Lily said determinedly, holding her gaze.
Maddie gasped, “Lily, I can’t! He’s your child, why would you want—?”
“I don't want to, Maddie!” Lily sighed. “I don’t have a choice. I can't risk their safety, this is the only way. Once I return home, I’ll be taking Harry as well. James is watching him at the moment.”
“Harry's at home? So then this is—"
“Lily, I—” Maddie took a long breath, running her hands through her hair. “Things must be really bad,” she said finally.
“I wouldn't ask this of you if the situation were any less dire,” Lily said. “I know you already have a child to raise, but this would only be temporary. I would feel so much better if I knew the boys were safe someplace else until this all blows over.”
“Are you sure he’ll be safe with us?" Maddie asked. "I’m not a witch, how am I supposed to protect him from a dark wizard?”
“Albus is going to ensure your protection,” Lily assured. “I believe he's already put the wards up. The strongest is the blood ward, he'll be safe as long as he lives under this roof. The fact that we share blood will be enough to protect him. The wards expire when he legally becomes an adult, but I should be back for him long before that happens.”
“But we’re only cousins. Will that be enough? Wouldn't he be safer with your sister?”
Lily shook her head. “I wouldn't trust Petunia with the boys. I love her, but her hate for the Wizarding World would not be good for them. No, you at least have an appreciation for our world, and more of an understanding of the threat Voldemort poses. Not that Petunia doesn't, but...”
“I understand,” Maddie nodded. “But why split them up?”
“I’m hoping it will throw him off, and I think the boys would be safer that way. Besides, I wouldn't want to load you with two extra children. Speaking of which, how is your daughter Jasmine? She must be getting up there, isn't she?”
“Yes, she’ll be four in January,” Maddie smiled. “I think she’d love a little brother.”
“You’ll take Daniel then?”
“You know I'd do anything for you, Lily.”
Lily smiled gratefully, and then glanced down at the boy in her arms, still sleeping soundly. He's going to be fine, Maddie will take great care of him, she assured herself. “I love you, Danny, never forget that,” she whispered, silent tears streaming down her cheeks. She leaned down and kissed the boy lightly on the forehead, and then handed him to Maddie. “Please take good care of him, Maddie,” Lily said quietly, still crying.
“I will, don’t worry,” Maddie nodded. “Be safe.”
“You as well. Goodbye, Danny,” Lily murmured, stroking the boy’s forehead lightly. I'll be back for you, I promise. “Thank you, Maddie.”
“Anytime. Goodbye, Lily.”
Twelve hours later, after Daniel had been introduced to the rest of the Fenton family, minus a few specifics of course, the baby began wailing uncontrollably. Maddie rushed to scoop the young boy into her arms, but Daniel wouldn't stop. It was then that Maddie noticed sharp glow coming from the boy’s right hand. Though the glow had been quick, it did not leave without a trace. On the back of boy’s right hand was a newly made scar, in the shape of a lightning bolt.
Over five thousand miles away, Daniel’s mother had taken her last breath, and his brother had become The Boy Who Lived.
Danny Fenton dropped his pencil, a furious pain shooting through his right hand.
“Is everything alright, Mr. Fenton?”
Danny glanced up at Mr. Lancer, cradling his right hand in his left. He noticed the odd stares from his classmates and the worried expressions from his friends.
“Yeah,” Danny quickly replied, picking up his pencil again with his still throbbing hand. “I-I just accidentally stabbed myself with the pencil, I’m fine.”
Tucker Foley, who was sitting in the seat adjacent to Danny, snorted at his friend.
As the English teacher resumed his lecture, which was really unnecessary as school let out for the summer the next day, Danny focused on his hand, staring at the back with a thoughtful frown.
No, Danny hadn't clumsily ‘stabbed’ himself with his pencil. In reality, the back of his hand had begun to burn, like a soldering iron had been carving into his skin.
Once again, the scar that he had hidden throughout most his life had begun to burn, but this time was easily the worst that Danny could remember. Danny began to notice this occurrence soon after his eleventh birthday, the first burn happening during the beginning of his first day of sixth grade. He remembered the sharp sensation had lasted only a moment, as most of the burns would, though occasionally they would be slightly longer, or there would be little spurts of them. As Danny continued to stare at his still-burning hand, he couldn't help but wonder why this burn was different and why it was lasting so long.
Ever since he had been little, Danny had been embarrassed about the scar. Normally, he would have considered a scar that looked like lightning to be cool, and he did think it looked cool, but one day when he was little, he had been out with his mother when something very strange happened.
Danny had been at an ice cream stand, reaching up to grab the ice cream with his scarred hand when a man who had been behind him snatched his wrist. Danny cried out in surprise as the man yanked the hand toward him, staring at the scar.
“A lightning bolt,” he muttered in a British accent (though at the time Danny couldn't have placed the locale of the accent). “And on his hand, everyone thought it was on his forehead. And you look just like the descriptions, you must be Harry Potter!”
“Get your hands off my son!”
Danny felt himself pulled away from the man and curled up into his mother’s protective arms, shivering in fear.
The man looked at his mother, stunned.
“But, you can’t be Lily, she—”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, but my name is not Lily, and my son is not named Harry, now leave us alone!” she yelled at the man, taking the ice cream from the speechless vendor and leaving the stand and the man behind.
“I’m sorry about that, Danny,” Maddie muttered to her still shaking son, handing him the ice cream. “Are you alright?”
“Who’s Harry Potter?” Danny asked.
Maddie sighed. “He’s no one, sweetheart.”
Danny pouted, “But that man said I had the same scar as him.”
Maddie frowned, lost in thought for a moment, until Danny interrupted her thoughts.
“I don’t like my scar, Mommy. I wanna get rid of it.”
Maddie chuckled, “We can’t just rid of it, sweetie. But...I suppose we could try covering it up with some ‘magic’ cream.”
Danny’s eyes lit up at the word ‘magic’, and he couldn't wait to get home to try it.
Now, of course, Danny knew that the ‘magic cream’ was really just make-up foundation, but even after all of these years, he just found it as habit to keep it covered.
With an unpleasant mix of fear and anger at the back of his mind—Where did that come from? Danny wondered—Danny had just begun trying to focus again on Mr. Lancer’s lecture when the burning of his scar suddenly intensified ten fold. Danny grit his teeth and gripped his pencil with white knuckles, determined not to make a scene again, knowing the pencil excuse would not slide twice in less than ten minutes. After about five seconds, the intense burning died down to what it had been before, though it was still throbbing painfully and the undercurrent of fear spiked.
“Danny, are you alright?”
Danny turned around in his seat to acknowledge Sam Manson, who had just questioned him. It was only then that he realized he was sweating and panting slightly.
“Yeah,” he muttered quietly as to not attract the attention of Mr. Lancer again. “I just have a headache, that’s all.”
“So it’s not a ghost thing?”
“No, everything’s fine,” Danny assured.
Sam, seemingly satisfied with the answer, returned back to her work as Danny faced forward again.
Little did Danny know, his twin brother was trapped in a graveyard, fighting for his life.
“Honestly, does Lancer not realize what day it is tomorrow?” Tucker ranted, walking alongside Danny and Sam after the school day ended. “Every other teacher has given up, how can he give us homework? Tomorrow’s the last day of school! And we already had finals, what else is there to teach us?!”
“Why do they even make us go to school if we already took finals?” Danny asked, agreeing wholeheartedly.
“It’s so kids can make up finals if they were absent, and so we can receive our summer work,” Sam answered with a groan.
Tucker frowned, “I didn't want to hear an answer for that, Sam!”
Sam ignored the techno-geek, instead focusing her attention on her half-ghost friend. “Danny, what’s wrong with your hand?"
Danny had been massaging the back of his right hand again. It wasn't hurting nearly as bad as it had been during class, but it was prickling, like it didn't want to be forgotten. He quickly released his hand and faced Sam. “It’s fine, it’s just cramped from writing so much.”
“Is that what happened in class?” Sam continued with a frown. “Because you definitely didn't stab yourself, you'd been nearly sleeping.”
“Yeah,” Danny said quickly, jumping onto Sam’s excuse. “I figured it would be lame if I said my hand cramped up.”
“Stabbing yourself is still pretty lame,” Tucker grinned.
Danny snorted, “Whatever.”
Danny frowned mentally. He had always felt bad about never sharing something as trivial as his scar with his two best friends. They shared everything, even his biggest secret of having ghost powers, and he didn't have the guts to say he had the remains of a simple cut from when he was a baby. In the back of his mind, he felt like he had grounds not to tell them, but whenever he tried to solidify the exact reason, he could never come up with anything. Nonetheless, Sam and Tucker still didn't know about the lightning bolt scratched into the back of his right hand, and he still had no intention of telling them about it.
The trio arrived at Fenton Works, and when they opened the door, Sam and Tucker raced up the stairs while Danny stayed behind to grab some food.
Danny was about to step into the kitchen, when instead, he honed in on a rather loud phone conversation Maddie was having.
“Are you sure? How is that even possible? You told me yourself he died thirteen years ago,” Maddie said frantically.
Danny waited outside of the kitchen, listening to the conversation. Danny felt bad about eavesdropping, but he wanted to know what was causing his mother so much distress.
“Is there any chance Harry's wrong?”
Danny frowned, There’s that name Harry again. How does Mom know about him? Who is he?
“Are the boys safe then? I know Lily said the blood ward would protect him, but—“
And Lily too, what is going on?
“Albus, he needs to know,” Maddie said firmly. “Especially now, Harry knows about what he’s facing, at least he’s prepared for this. But what’s to stop them from coming after my son?”
Danny’s mouth fell open in shock. Who would be after me? And what does this have to do with Lily and Harry?
“I don’t care, Albus! Right now, all you seem to be worrying about it your Boy Who Lived. Well, right now, my boy is still living as well, and I am going to tell him everything, and you are going to help me!”
With that, Danny heard his mother slam to the phone on the receiver. Danny let a few moments pass before walking into the kitchen.
“Is everything alright, Mom?”
“Everything's fine!” Maddie said instantly, facing her son with a bright smile. “I didn't hear you come in. Did you have a good day at school?”
Danny shrugged, “Sam and Tucker are upstairs, I’m just grabbing some food.”
“Okay, sweetie,” Maddie nodded before frowning slightly. “When your friends leave, I want to talk to you, okay?”
Danny nodded, knowing he’d hear an explanation of the phone call he had just overheard. “Fine. Oh, and Mom? My scar burned again today...only this time it was a lot worse than normal. And it lasted for more than a full class. There was one point when it got really bad, but that was only a couple of seconds.”
Ever since Danny’s first burn four years ago, Maddie had made him promise to tell her every time a burn occurred. None of the Fentons could figure out why his scar would burn at irregular intervals, but they knew it was not the normal behavior of a scar. Nor was it the behavior of a scar to suddenly appear after a flash of green light, but of course, only Maddie knew this. The rest of the Fenton family believed the scar was a result of baby Danny accidentally hitting his hand on an odd-shaped corner.
Maddie sighed, “Danny, I think we’re both going to learn why your scar does that tonight. Until then, go have fun with your friends.”
“’Kay, Mom,” Danny nodded slightly, before leaving the kitchen with over a thousand thoughts in his head.
A moment later, he walked back in with a sheepish smile.
“I forgot the food.”
“Bye guys!” Danny said at the door, waving his friends off. “Movie marathon tomorrow?”
“Definitely,” Tucker nodded.
“My place?” Sam asked knowingly.
“Where else?” Danny and Tucker grinned.
Danny waved one last time before closing the door. A moment later, “Danny, can you come into the kitchen?”
Danny sighed, hearing his mother’s voice. Time to find out what’s going on. Danny trudged into the kitchen, finding it occupied by his mother and sister, as well as an old man wearing an odd robe and hat. He had long, silvery hair down his back, and a long beard to match. His light blue eyes twinkled oddly over his half-moon spectacles. His human appearance aside, the aging man reminded Danny of the old ghost of Time, Clockwork.
“Danny, why don’t you sit down?”
Nodding briefly at his mother’s suggestion, Danny sat down at the table, his face filled with bewilderment. Looking around the table, he noticed Jazz wore the same expression. His father was absent, having been invited that morning to attend an impromptu ghost conference (he was out the door before you could say Fenton Bazooka). His mother, who remained home knowing that this meeting must take place, just looked worried.
“First of all, Danny, this is Albus Dumbledore,” Maddie said, motioning towards the old man. “Albus, this is my son, Danny.”
“Of course, a pleasure to see you again, Daniel,” Dumbledore nodded.
“Danny’s fine,” he muttered. “What do you mean ‘again’? We haven’t met before, I'm pretty sure I would've remembered you.” A second later, he flushed, thinking of how that would sound. Come on, mental filter, get in gear. As it was, Dumbledore merely smiled without responding.
“Danny, please,” Maddie frowned. “We have a lot to tell you, and you're not gonna understand it all, but I need you to bear with us, alright?”
Danny nodded hesitantly, then spoke up quietly. “Does this have anything to do with Harry and Lily?” he muttered.
Dumbledore looked surprised, to say the least. “What do you know about them, Danny?”
“When I was little, a man thought I was a boy named Harry Potter, and he called Mom ‘Lily’. And,” Danny swallowed guiltily, “I heard Mom on the phone this afternoon, she mentioned their names.”
“Who are they?” Jazz interrupted. "And what do they have to do with Danny?
“No, Maddie, it’s fine,” Dumbledore waved. “Danny, what do you think of magic?”
“What do I think of magic?” Danny repeated, noticing a skeptical look on Jazz’s face. “You mean, do I think it exists? Well, I dunno, I suppose it could...of course, not many people believe in ghosts, and we know they exist.”
Dumbledore smiled, “An open mind is good for someone your age. And it will make this much easier to explain. Now, I suppose we should start our tale with the reason I am here tonight. Before you were born, a dark wizard reigned over the Wizarding World—”
“Er, Albus?” Maddie cut in. “Maybe start with what the Wizarding World is. I haven’t told them anything about it.”
“Ah, yes, forgive me,” Dumbledore nodded. “Well, let me start by assuring you that magic is indeed real. Witches and wizards have lived in harmony with non-magical people for millennia, for as far back as records go. A couple centuries ago, the International Statute of Secrecy was established, separating the Wizarding World from the non-magical world. Since then, witches and wizards throughout the world have lived in secret, hiding their existence from the rest of the world.
“There exists both light and dark magic, and while schools tend to focus on the light side of magic, every so often, powerful dark wizards will sprout up to spread their ideals through evil means. One such wizard came to power several years ago, spreading his control through the means of his dark magic and the sheer fear he inspired among the people of the world. His name is Lord Voldemort.”
Danny listened with rapt attention as Dumbledore began to explain Voldemort’s reign of terror. As Danny heard more and more of what Voldemort had done and what he was capable of, he began to wonder why this was the first he had heard of this. A glance around the table showed that Jazz shared similar thoughts, though there was plenty of skepticism sketched across her face, but his mother only held a grim look, seeming as though she had heard this information before.
Wouldn't something like this have been mentioned in a history book or something? I mean, I know I miss a lot of my classes, but still...this is practically genocide! Why haven’t I heard of this before? Even if you don’t believe in magic, people can’t just ignore widespread deaths.
“How is this sounding so far, Danny?” Dumbledore said suddenly, bringing Danny out of his thoughts. “I know this is a lot to take in—”
“Why haven’t we heard of this before now?” Danny asked finally, voicing his musings. “I know we’re learning a lot right now, but honestly? Even leaving the magic deal out of it, shouldn't I, or anyone for that matter, have learned about a time in history when all of these people were killed?”
Surprisingly, Maddie was the one who answered the question. “Most of the problems were happening in Europe, and America didn't get hit with as much of the effects. To be honest, the cover up was quite extensive, especially when Muggles—non-magical people—were found dead by magical means, with no evident physical cause.”
“Are you a witch, Mom?” Jazz asked warily. "Is that how you know all this?"
Maddie shook her head with a small smile. “No, but I have family who is. Typically, witches and wizards are allowed to tell Muggles of their magical status if they're family. But we’ll get to my family a bit later.”
Dumbledore nodded in approval of her explanation. “So, Danny, shall we continue? Or perhaps—”
Danny shook his head quickly. “No, keep going,” he assured, trying to take in as much of the information being presented to him as possible. His experience with the paranormal had given him plenty of experience in the it-probably-shouldn't-be-real-but-it-is department.
“Very well,” Dumbledore nodded. “Though Maddie may have to take over soon. Soon after Lily had given birth, Voldemort had set his sights on the Potters specifically, making them one of his prime targets for reasons unknown," Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled slightly, leading Danny to believe there was more to the story. Dumbledore, however, continued on. “Lily and James of course became extremely worried about the safety of their children, and measures were taken to ensure their safety. It came to the point where the children were to be sent away, in order to protect them from Voldemort. Maddie, would you like to continue?”
“Yes, I guess this is where I come in,” Maddie sighed.
“Mom, you’re not Lily, are you?” Jazz asked.
“No, but I am related to her. Lily Potter is my cousin, making her your first cousin, once removed, Jazz.”
“And Danny,” Jazz added.
Maddie shook her head. “No, Danny fits into this differently. Almost fourteen years ago, Lily visited me the morning of Halloween, with one of her boys. She knew they wouldn't be safe with her, and she was trying to take every precaution possible to keep them safe from Voldemort. She gave me one of the boys, though she never told me who she was planning on giving the other to.”
“Wait." Danny was quickly putting together the facts in his head. All this talk about a family he’d never heard of, cases of mistaken identity when he was a kid, Lily giving a boy to Mom to raise, oh my God— "So you’re telling me," Danny spoke softly, "that my real mother is this Lily Potter?”
Maddie nodded, eyes watery. “Danny, it was the only way to keep you safe—”
"Is 'Danny' even my actual name?!"
Maddie sighed, “Your given name is Daniel Sirius Potter, your middle name given in honor of your godfather.”
“And I have a brother? That’s Harry, isn't it?”
“Harry James Potter, after your father, he’s your twin,” Maddie nodded.
“What happened to them?” Danny asked loudly. “Why is it that I've never heard of them until now? Voldemort can’t be a problem still, why wouldn't they come back for me?!”
“I believe I can pick up the story from here,” Dumbledore interjected. “When Lily returned home from leaving you with Maddie, she had been just about to depart with Harry when Voldemort arrived at their house. Due to the betrayal of one of the Potter’s oldest friends, Voldemort found their extremely well-hidden home. Your father, James, was killed first, protecting Lily and Harry, and then Lily fell as well.”
“And then dark wizard against little baby equals dead brother?” Danny muttered bitterly.
Surprisingly enough, Dumbledore shook his head. “That is what is so extraordinary about that night. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry, the spell backfired, and Voldemort had seemingly disappeared. Harry is famous in the Wizarding World for this feat, known as The Boy Who Lived.”
“Right now, all you seem to be worrying about it your Boy Who Lived. Well, right now, my boy is still living as well, and I am going to tell him everything...” Danny remembered his mother saying only a few hours ago. She wasn't kidding when she said I’d learn everything. I never expected all of this.
“So Harry’s alive now?” Jazz asked.
“Then why haven’t I met him?!” Danny burst. “If he’s my brother, don’t I have the right to see him?”
“You should have met when you turned eleven, but you declined our invitation to join our school,” Dumbledore explained. “Normally, American witches and wizards would be accepted to the Salem Institute of Sorcery and Magic in Massachusetts; however, a special exception was made for you because of your heritage—”
“Wait, hold on, what?” Danny was lost now. “What school?”
“Danny, do you remember the summer before you started sixth grade? We received a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” Maddie prodded, waiting for her son’s response.
Danny frowned in thought, trying to remember. “I think I remember that...yeah, I remember, vaguely. What I don’t remember is why I chose not to go...”
Maddie giggled at this point. “What’s so funny?” Jazz asked.
Maddie grinned, “Danny didn't want to go because he had just met Sam, and he didn't want to leave her behind. Danny, you didn't even try to listen to me about magic, the moment you heard you'd have to leave Amity Park you stopped listening.”
Danny’s cheeks burned red as his sister began to laugh. “So what you’re saying,” Danny started, trying to speak over his sister’s laughter, “is that I would have met Harry if I had gone to Hogwarts? That’s not an excuse, we could have met before that, or at anytime even.”
“You couldn't have met before Hogwarts because neither of you two knew about the Wizarding World. In Harry’s case, it was to protect him from his new-found fame until a time when he could handle it,” Dumbledore said, holding his gaze to Danny’s fiery stare. “In your case, it was to protect you for the same reasons by association. If your existence became known, you would have been hunted down by Voldemort’s supporters, who were still at large at this time. Those who did know about you believed you died in the attack.”
“Fine,” Danny bit, though still not liking the excuse. “So then, where was Harry if our mom and dad...?”
“Harry was brought to your aunt and uncle, the Dursleys.”
“Hold on a second,” Maddie interrupted. “Lily told me specifically she didn't want either of her boys with them, why was Harry left there?”
Dumbledore sighed, “No one knows where Lily was planning on bringing Harry, and for the blood ward to work, which is the strongest defense you have, he had to stay with a blood relative. As Danny was already here, the Dursleys were the only other suitable known relatives.”
“Couldn't Sirius have taken him? He’s their godfather, that had to count for something—”
Dumbledore grimaced very slightly. “Sirius was wrongfully accused as the person who betrayed the Potters, and though he is now known to be innocent, the majority of the Wizarding World, including the Minister, still believes he is at fault. The main reason he has not been set free is because Peter was, and still is by the majority of the world, believed to be dead. Sirius is now out of prison and on the run; however, I believe he is going to provide the Order with a headquarters...” Dumbledore trailed off thoughtfully.
“Okay, so I guess I get why we haven’t met, and why I've been kept in the dark,” Danny started, his tone clearly implying that though he understood, he was not at all happy about it. “Then why are you here? Why tell me now? What’s changed?”
“That was what you overheard me asking on the phone this afternoon,” Maddie said slowly. “In fact, that’s the main reason why Albus is here today.”
“Indeed,” Dumbledore nodded gravely. “You see, as of early this afternoon, your time of course, Voldemort has been reborn. He is alive and well.”
This afternoon? Then... Danny’s eyes widened. “That was when my scar burned...” Danny mumbled in a daze.
Dumbledore frowned. “I beg your pardon?”
Danny looked towards his mother who nodded. “The same day Danny was given to me, Danny began wailing uncontrollably,” Maddie began. “When I was trying to comfort him, his right hand flashed green, and after the flash, there was a newly made cut on his hand, in the shape of a lightning bolt.”
“Does he still have this mark?”
“Yeah, it’s on my hand,” Danny said, raising his right hand to show Dumbledore. He licked his thumb, and then rubbed the make-up off of his hand, revealing the scar.
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed. “And you said your scar burned?”
“Yeah,” Danny nodded, “it burned today during school. It’s happened before, but today was definitely the worst it’s ever been. It lasted for a whole class period, and there was one point where it was near unbearable, but that was only a few seconds.”
“When was the first time your scar burned?”
“Uh,” Danny frowned, trying to remember. “It was the first day of sixth grade, not counting when I first got it. Mom, you said I just whacked my hand or something, you didn't say anything about a green flash of light.”
Maddie sighed, “Danny, how would it have sounded if I said you had gotten a cut like that out of thin air? Unless you had heard all of this today, do you really think you would believe that?”
“I dunno, maybe,” Danny grumbled. “So, does Harry have the same scar?”
“Why do you ask?”
“The same man who called me Harry said something like, ‘A lightning bolt, and on his hand, everyone thought it was on his forehead,’” Danny remembered. “So Harry has a lightning bolt on his forehead?”
“He received it when Voldemort’s killing curse backfired, though why you received it as well is a mystery to me,” Dumbledore said thoughtfully. “I'll have to do some more research on curse scars. Though the fact that it seems as though your scar burns whenever Harry’s does is slightly troublesome.”
“Why is it troublesome?” Danny wondered. “Sure, it can get really annoying, but what’s wrong with it?”
“Whenever Harry’s scar burns, it is when Voldemort is near, or as of recently, when his mind somehow becomes linked with Voldemort’s. This rarely happens, though when it does, it is usually when Harry is sleeping. Therefore it would seem that your scar burns when Harry’s does, and not for any of the reasons I just gave because it would be impossible for Harry’s scar to burn due to proximity to Voldemort at the same time as yours for the same reason. Somehow, you have a link with Harry that is causing this to happen," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "Danny, can you tell me anything more about your scar?"
Danny thought for a moment, “Well, whenever my scar burns, I usually an emotion that usually wouldn't fit with the situation I was in. Like the first time, I had been writing my name on a paper or something when my scar burned, and all of a sudden I felt confused and suspicious. And most recently, today,” Danny swallowed a bit, “I felt...terrified...and I could feel pain, but it wasn't just about the abnormality of the burning, I was just...afraid. And angry I think, and...for a really brief moment, happiness...” Danny shook his head. “I don’t know, it didn't make sense at all.”
“I believe I can explain this most recent one, though you’ll have to ask Harry about the others,” Dumbledore began, before launching into a very bare-bones explanation of Harry's ordeal in the final task of the Triwizard Tournament.
Danny took a deep breath. “Okay,” he exhaled, attempting to process all of this new information. “Let me try to get this straight. My real parents are a witch and wizard, Lily and James Potter, and my twin brother is Harry Potter. A dark wizard named Voldemort wanted to kill us, so our parents tried to hide us by splitting us up and sending us away. I was brought to Lily’s cousin, Mo-er, Maddie,” Danny stumbled uncomfortably. “Before Harry could be taken somewhere, Voldemort attacked. James and Lily died protecting Harry, and Voldemort was ‘killed’ trying to kill Harry. Harry’s famous because he didn't die, and now he lives with our aunt and uncle. And he got a scar from not dying, which I also have, and when his scar burns for one reason or another, I get burned as well and apparently get a free glance at my twin’s emotions. Did I miss anything?”
“You forgot the fact that Voldemort is alive again,” Jazz added sardonically.
“Right,” Danny nodded. “And that as well.”
Dumbledore smiled slightly, “Yes, I believe that sums it up.”
“But Danny, you—” Maddie stuttered. “You really just-you accept all of this? It took me ages to accept Lily was a witch, and you’re just-you truly believe all of this?”
Danny stared at the scar on his hand. “It explains everything, Mom,” he whispered. He thought of several instances of levitating objects when he was younger that always got passed off as ghost activity, and no one would convince him that his scar was anything normal. “The scar, all those incidents when I was little, and even the genetics. I’m sorry Mom, but I don’t look like anyone in this family.”
Maddie sighed, “Yes, you do take after your father – your birth father of course. Strikingly so, in fact.”
“I hate to interrupt,” Dumbledore smiled graciously, “however I am in a slight rush, things are very unstable in the Wizarding World at the moment, and there is one more matter I would like to discuss before departing. Danny, I’d like to invite you to stay in London. It would only be for the summer months, however, if you choose to remain for the school term, that can be arranged. I do ask that you at least spend these two months with us. You would be able to learn more about magic, and learn to defend yourself when the time is right. The truth is that you will need to have a thorough understanding of the Wizarding World, or at least as thorough as Harry has, in order to prepare yourself for the coming months. We are entering a second age of war, Danny, and you will not be left alone as you have most of your life. People will look for you and try to use you, it is best that you are prepared.”
“But if they come after me, and I’m not here...” Danny trailed, staring at his mother and sister.
“Your family will be safe, I assure you. However, once you turn seventeen, the blood ward will no longer protect you, and you must have a good understanding of the Wizarding World by then. As it is, now is the safest time in the foreseeable months for your ‘education’ per say to occur.”
“Danny, I think you should definitely consider this,” Maddie said slowly. “It's important that you know what you’ll be up against—”
“You’re talking as though you expect me to fight the guy!” Danny burst. “This is the first I've heard of Voldemort, and now it sounds like you want me to train to fight him. Newsflash, I’m not a wizard!”
“But you are, Danny,” Dumbledore pressed. “Just because you haven’t been trained in the magical arts does not mean magic doesn't flow through your veins. You are as much of a wizard as I am.”
“Why is it so different now?” Danny muttered. “Sure, Voldemort has come back from the dead, but how is that any different from the past several years? You said I was kept hidden because his supporters were still at large, isn't this the same thing?”
“In essence, yes, however when you were younger, you had the securities of the wards placed on this house,” Dumbledore explained. “On your seventeenth birthday, these protections will virtually cease to exist, and you will be easy picking for Voldemort. You would have learned everything on your eleventh birthday as I said before, but at the time when you declined, Voldemort was not a threat, so your training was deemed unnecessary. Now that Voldemort has returned, it is once again imperative you learn more about our world.”
The table was silent for a moment until Jazz finally burst.
“Okay, I’m sorry, I've tried to follow this story through, but I just can’t wrap my head around it!” she yelled. “How can magic exist? It’s physically impossible! There’s no proof for any of this—!”
“Jazz—” Maddie started, until Dumbledore raised a hand to quiet her.
“You would like me to give a demonstration, perhaps?” Dumbledore asked lightly.
Jazz nodded curtly.
Dumbledore reached into the pocket of his robes and pulled out a wooden stick, which Danny could only assume was a wand. With a quick wave of the wand, the bowl of fruit in the middle of the table transformed into a mini replica of Fenton Works. Danny stared with wide eyes as Jazz gaped at the display.
Maddie chuckled, “Do you believe now?” Jazz nodded numbly. “You kids are lucky. When Lily was trying to convince me magic existed, she couldn't give me a demonstration because underage witches and wizards aren't allowed to do magic outside of school.”
“Then how did you believe her?” Danny asked curiously.
“Lily was the most honest person I know,” Maddie smiled nostalgically, “and just by the joy in her voice I could tell she wasn't lying. It took a while for it to really set in though.”
“I’m very sorry,” Dumbledore said suddenly, starting to stand, “but I must get going. There is much to be done now that Voldemort has returned. In regards to your staying in London, Danny, you don’t need to answer now, however I will need an answer within a week. I’ll send you an owl (“Wizarding mail,” Maddie muttered to her confused kids.) for you to send me your answer. If yes, then I will contact you later for how you will arrive. It’s been a pleasure meeting with you all.”
“Thank you, Albus,” Maddie smiled gratefully.
Dumbledore nodded, and then turned and walked out the door.
The three Fentons sat at the table wordlessly, going over everything they had heard. Finally, Danny stood from his seat.
“I’ll be in my room,” he said shortly.
“Mom, I just...” Danny sighed. “I just need to think for a while.”
If there is ever any question about my explanations for anything (right now, Danny's scar is probably at the top of the list), feel free to ask. Keep in mind that I will only answer if the question will not be answered later in the story (for instance, don't bother asking how Danny got his scar, you will definitely find that out later), but if that's the case, I'll let you know.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 3: Familial Advice
Last time: After one of the worst scar burns Danny has ever experienced, his mother introduces him to Albus Dumbledore, who reveals that Danny is a wizard and the brother to Harry Potter.
Danny walked out of Casper High in a daze, his report card in hand. He had been pleasantly surprised to find that he had passed all of his finals (not only passed, but received a B- as his lowest grade, and an A+ for science), but that was not the reason for his current state. All day, he had been thinking about his new-found heritage and the offer to go to London for the next two months.
As he reached the sidewalk, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Danny turned to find Sam and Tucker with slightly annoyed faces.
“Danny, are you deaf?” Sam huffed irritably, withdrawing her hand from Danny’s shoulder.
“I don’t think so,” he said dumbly.
“Dude, we've been yelling your name from five feet away,” Tucker frowned in disbelief.
Danny sighed, “I’m sorry, guys, I’m just preoccupied.”
“Were your finals that bad?” Tucker sympathized.
“No, I actually passed all of them,” Danny shrugged. “I just...my mom dropped a bombshell last night.”
“What’s up?” Sam asked, concerned now.
Danny took a deep breath. “I—”
The trio turned to see Jazz running towards them.
“Can I talk to you?” she said giving a pointed look at Sam and Tucker. “It’s about last night.”
“Sure...uh, you guys don’t mind, do you?” Danny said guiltily, turning to the two.
“Family comes first, don’t worry about it,” Tucker nodded.
“Just promise us you’ll let us know what’s going on?” Sam asked.
Danny nodded slightly.
“Movie marathon tonight?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Danny muttered. “I’ll talk to you guys later.”
Sam nodded in understanding, and the two left, leaving Danny and Jazz. They walked to Jazz’s car and didn't start talking until they were driving.
“So, what’s up?”
“I don’t think you should be telling Sam and Tucker just yet,” Jazz said cautiously.
“And why not?” Danny scowled.
“Because even Mom kept this from us for most of our lives, and Dad still doesn't know,” Jazz explained. “There’s obviously a reason it’s been kept a secret from us, and the fact that an entire culture exists without the rest of the world knowing...I don’t think we’re supposed to tell just anyone.”
“Sam and Tucker aren't ‘just anyone,’” Danny argued. “You three are the only ones who know I’m half-ghost. Not even Mom and Dad know—”
“Mom and Dad don’t know because you’re trying to protect them, among other reasons,” Jazz added quietly. “The same applies to Sam and Tucker, right? If you tell them about Voldemort and everything else, doesn't that put them in danger too?”
Danny was about to retort when his breath caught. She’s right. If I’m protecting Mom and Dad from what they don’t know about me being a half-ghost, wouldn't it make sense to protect Sam and Tucker from what they don’t know about me being a wizard with a newly-reborn dark wizard on my tail?
“I guess you’re right...” Danny muttered finally, knowing full well of other reasons as to why he had not yet told his parents about his ghostly secret.
“Not to mention, it’s literally against the law for you to tell them about magic. Telling Mom and Dad about your ghost secret isn't gonna land you in wizard jail.”
This final statement settled Danny’s guilt considerably, but did not totally wipe it away. The pair remained quiet in the car for a few minutes until Danny had a sudden thought.
“Wait, I can’t go to London for two months!” Danny burst. “Who’s gonna stop all the ghosts? Amity is gonna be overridden by ghosts if I’m not here...”
“Danny, I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Jazz assured. “Sam, Tucker, and I will be here, and even Valerie. And Mom and Dad of course,” she added sheepishly, to which Danny snorted. “They are getting better y’know.”
Danny shrugged, “That’s true, and at least I wouldn't have to worry about them on my tail for two months.”
“Look, Danny, you've said it before. There usually aren't too many ghosts in the summer because it’s too hot for them. We can handle it, and you need a break. I think this will be good for you.”
“I guess...” Danny frowned, still worrying over the problem. “And I guess I could ask Frostbite to help out, he’d be more than willing...”
“Danny, whatever you decide, I’m behind you one hundred percent,” Jazz smiled warmly, pulling into the Fenton Works driveway. “But I think Mom’s right; you should definitely consider this, especially after what Professor Dumbledore said—”
“Whoa, wait a minute,” Danny said, holding his hand up. “Professor?”
“Before you came downstairs, Mom introduced him as the Headmaster of his school, which is Hogwarts—”
Danny smiled wryly, “Not quite as prestigious-sounding as Harvard, is it?”
Jazz snorted, “Right? Well anyway, I think it’s better you be safe rather than sorry. I don’t want my,” Jazz made a face, “second cousin to be killed by a psycho dark wizard.”
Danny leaned across the middle divider of the car and gave her a warm hug, “You’ll always be my big sister, Jazz.”
Jazz returned the hug, “Thanks, little brother.”
Danny, Sam and Tucker sat in the Manson home theater watching Dead Teacher VII. Four days had gone by since meeting Professor Dumbledore, and Danny had sent his letter to confirm he would be going to London for the summer months. The owl that had randomly appeared by his window that morning had startled him, but after reassurance from his mother that it was a post owl, Danny secured his note to the owl’s leg and watched it fly off.
It was also the first time Danny had seen Sam and Tucker since the last day of school, meaning it was finally time to share the big news. The trouble was that he couldn't share all of the news, and Danny was already unhappy about hiding certain details from his best friends.
“Why do we watch these movies?” Danny sighed after a bit. “How many dead teachers can one school have, I mean really?”
“There’s only one teacher,” Tucker pointed out. “He just dies...uh, which movie is this? He just dies seven times.”
“You usually love these movies, Danny,” Sam frowned in concern. “What’s the deal?”
“Just thinking about a lot, I guess,” Danny sighed.
“School’s over, what’s to think about?” Tucker said, leaning back comfortably and placing his feet on the coffee table. The motion dislodged some magazines from the table.
Sam pursed her lips at Tucker’s antics before turning back to Danny. “Is this about the ‘bombshell?’” she asked, regaining Tucker’s attention.
“Yeah, what’s going on, man?” Tucker asked, his voice also laced with concern. He reached for the remote to pause the movie so they could give Danny their full attention.
Danny bowed his head, running both hands through his messy hair.
“I don’t think you should be telling Sam and Tucker just yet.”
Jazz’s words echoed through his head as he took a deep breath. “I’m...adopted,” he said finally. It’s the truth, he reasoned. He just wasn't planning on sharing all the facts.
“Dude, you’re serious?”
“Sirius is my middle name,” Danny said slyly.
Tucker let out a low whistle.
Sam bit her lip briefly as if mulling over a thought, and a few moments later, she asked, “Wait, so is your name Danny? What was your birth name, did they tell you?”
Daniel glowered a bit. “Daniel Sirius Potter. At least Mom and Dad were nice enough to keep my first name.”
There was silence as the two digested the information presented to them.
“Wow,” Sam breathed after a while. “I didn't expect that one.”
“Well, you weren't kidding about being serious, were you?” Tucker joked lightly, and Danny smiled a bit at the received humor. “Who would've thought?” Tucker added. “You fit in with your family so well. In a good way!” he added quickly at Danny’s lighthearted glare.
“Yeah, ghost hunting and a fondness for fudge just about covers it,” Danny sighed. “But really, looking back, I don’t look like anyone in that family. Jazz looks just like Mom, and the only thing I have in common with anyone is my dad’s hair color, and even that’s common. I don’t have the same eye color as any of them, and in all of the family photos I've seen of before I was born I have never seen one with Mom pregnant with me. I don’t know how I missed it really.”
“Well, at least we solved the mystery of why you’re the only non-genius in the Fenton household,” Tucker joked.
“I resent that!” Danny said indignantly. “Ghost fighting takes up all my time. If I had a chance to study I’d actually do well!”
“Wait a minute, Danny,” Sam started suddenly. “Did they...tell you who your real parents are?”
Danny scoffed. “I learned more than that,” he began, mentally noting certain facts he wasn't supposed to share. “Apparently my birth mom gave me to Mom when I was a year old, and just hours after that, she...I think it was a car crash,” Danny lied, trailing off slightly. “My birth father was with her at the time.”
“So you’re an orphan?” Sam said sadly.
Danny nodded solemnly. “I’m not the only one.”
“What do you mean?” Tucker pressed.
“I have a twin brother, and he’s still alive.”
“Hold on, then where is he?” Sam picked out immediately. “Why were you the only one given to the Fentons, what about your brother? Did no one care about him, or did they just like him better?” Sam bit before reddening slightly. “That sounded horrible, I didn't mean it like that!”
Danny shook his head, chuckling slightly. Sam would pick up on that pretty fast. “They we’re gonna give him to someone else, and they didn't want to load Mom with two extra kids.”
“Why'd they want to give up their children in the first place?” Sam frowned.
Danny shrugged nervously. “They didn't want to, they just had...financial problems,” he lied again, hoping the lie would stick. “It was supposed to be a temporary thing, but well...”
Luckily, Tucker picked up the reigns. “Did your parents know your birth parents then?” Tucker asked before frowning. “Wow, this is confusing.”
“My real mom and Mom are cousins,” Danny said, thinking back. “So Jazz is really my second cousin I think.”
“So where’s your brother?” Tucker asked.
“That’s the next big thing. Apparently a family friend tracked me down and offered me a chance to go stay with my brother and...others this summer,” Danny started tentatively.
“Does he even know you exist?”
“Considering I just found out about him, I’d say probably not,” Danny shrugged. “He’ll find out when I show up on his doorstep though. My parents are arranging it, I guess.”
“So where does he live?” Sam asked.
“London, England,” Danny grinned. “Or at least, that’s where I’m meeting him.”
“London?!” Tucker beamed. “I am so coming with you!”
“You can’t!” Danny said, a little too quickly. He took a breath before saying more slowly, “Don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome if you guys came, but...” I don’t want an evil wizard to spell you to death, “I have to meet my brother alone, you know? And, that also leaves the matter of the ghosts—”
“I know, it’s totally uncool that I’m throwing this on you,” Danny shied, holding his hands up slightly in defense. “But I really—”
“—need to go on this trip, and it’s going to be awkward enough with us just meeting each other, and then there’s anyone else I’d be meeting. I think—”
“Danny!” Sam and Tucker shouted in unison.
“It’s fine, just relax,” Sam smirked. “We don’t mind taking care of a couple of ghosts.”
“Yeah, this is important to you, what kind of friends would we be if we didn't help out?” Tucker added.
Danny gave a small smile. “Thanks, you guys. And I can ask Frostbite to help if anything becomes a problem, but it’s summer, so the ghosts shouldn't be too bad anyway.”
“When do you leave?”
“Uh, I think in a couple days.”
“Well, then we have plenty of time to finish this movie!” Tucker grinned.
Danny smiled slightly as the movie resumed playing before drifting into his thoughts. He had told them enough for them to work off of, and he had told them the big stuff, about his adoption and his brother. He just left out that they were all wizards...and that someone was out to kill him (other than Skulker and every other ghost). Danny felt guilty hiding it, but his conversation with Jazz kept sprouting back into his head. He glanced at his scarred hand, currently masked. He would give anything to tell Sam and Tucker about all of it, but he would give so much more to keep them safe.
“Just because Inviso-Bill is going on vacation to London in a few days, that does not mean you can ignore the movie!” Sam scolded playfully, mocking his old alias.
Danny looked up from his hand and grinned before turning his attention to the movie.
“Mom and Dad don’t know because you’re trying to protect them, among other reasons. The same applies to Sam and Tucker, right? If you tell them about Voldemort and everything else, doesn't that put them in danger too? Not to mention, it’s literally against the law for you to tell them about magic.”
I’m sorry I can’t tell you guys, Danny thought determinedly, but I will someday, I promise.
Danny sat on his suitcase as he attempted to force the zipper around the luggage. In hindsight, maybe he didn't need all of the spare ghost hunting equipment—he was half-ghost after all—but always better safe than sorry. Besides, he didn't feel up to sharing his biggest secret with someone he hardly knows, may he be blood or not.
Sliding off his bag, he heard a knock, followed by his sister’s head poking through the door.
“All packed?” she asked, walking into the room.
“Yes, Mother,” Danny said playfully. “Nice to see you knocking for a change.”
Jazz shrugged, sitting on Danny’s bed next to his suitcase. She gave it an odd glance. “It’s like you’re going to college,” she said after a while.
Danny snorted. “There’s irony,” he said wryly. “High school slacker goes to college before genius older sister.”
“I’m serious though, this could be the last time I see you for a year,” Jazz said softly.
Danny gazed at her, “I’m only going for the summer, Jazz.”
“But they want you to go for the school year too, and who’s to say you won’t change your mind after being there?”
“Well, Vlad wants me to be his evil apprentice, but I’m not about to bow to his will anytime soon,” Danny assured before a thought crossed him. “Does Vlad know about this?”
“About your London excursion? I don’t think so,” Jazz said. “It would probably be a bad idea to clue him in.”
Danny shoved his suitcase off his bed and rolled it near his door. “He probably already knows. I’m pretty sure he’s got cameras on our house, if not in the house.”
Jazz looked aghast. “Fruit loop,” she muttered. “In other ghost-related news, did you talk to Frostbite?”
“Uh huh,” Danny nodded. “The ghost thing is all set...I hope.”
“Mom’s telling Dad about everything when he comes home tomorrow,” she said after a bit.
Danny sighed, saddened he wouldn't see his dad before he left for London. “I still don’t even know how I’m getting there. I haven’t seen a plane ticket, for which I would definitely need a passport, which I don’t have—”
“Danny! Your ride is here!”
Danny pulled his suitcase closer to himself as he heard his mother’s call. “Guess I’m leaving then. See you in two months.”
Jazz slid off of the bed and wrapped Danny in a long hug, “Be careful, little brother.”
Danny nodded, a small smile on his face.
He turned to leave his room with a heavy sigh, pulling his overstuffed suitcase behind him. Each step Danny ventured was followed by an obnoxious thump as his suitcase trailed behind him. Thankfully, the less-than-graceful descent was muffled by some rather animated chatter coming from his kitchen. Danny pulled his suitcase behind him, hoping to find the source of the excited conversation.
Danny was not disappointed as he found his mother, looking exasperated yet cheerful, speaking with a man with flaming red hair. His attire was decidedly unusual, as he wore a long tattered charcoal robe underneath a patched, multi-colored open robe, and a deep maroon fez. The man was talking vivaciously about the Fenton Toaster he was currently holding in his hand.
“A toaster, you say?” he was saying brightly in a British accent. If I get an accent from this trip, I will never hear the end of it, Danny thought dryly. “I was more under the impression that it was a hand warmer; I always thought it was a malfunction of sorts when it would be scorching hot.”
Danny snorted at that, A hand warmer? That’s worse than putting a knife in a toaster. Besides burning it, I don’t wanna know what the Fenton Toaster would do to my hand.
The man turned to face Danny, whose face now reddened in embarrassment. “Ah yes, you must be Danny! Albus was right, you do look so much like Harry,” the man rushed, hurrying over to Danny. He promptly stuck out his hand which Danny took gingerly (no pun intended). “I’m Arthur Weasley, I've been sent to pick you up.”
Danny was slightly overwhelmed, Mr. Weasley’s exuberant nature and his decidedly odd choice of clothes proving to be quite the combination.
“Arthur will be bringing you to...well, I guess he’s not really allowed to say, but you’ll be where Harry’s going, which is the important thing,” Maddie explained to her somewhat dazed son.
“Uh, how exactly are we getting there?” Danny asked hesitantly, never having heard a car arrive. When did Mr. Weasley arrive?
Mr. Weasley frowned, very uncharacteristically in Danny’s opinion. So far, Mr. Weasley had displayed a very cheerful disposition, and the frown didn't seem right with him. It was almost like watching Tucker willingly put lettuce on his burger.
“That was a bit of a dilemma. We were hoping to go by floo powder, however we believe that the fireplaces are being watched, and we can’t afford to let them know about you yet,” Mr. Weasley began, leaving Danny confused over the ‘flew powder’ comment. “A portkey is out of the question as well as we would have to get approval, and it just isn't worth it to use an unauthorized portkey for this.” Danny froze slightly at the word ‘portkey,’ feeling a troubling sense of fear that he couldn't place at all. He glanced at his mother for an explanation of the unknown words, but Maddie only shrugged in response. “And seeing as you don’t have a broom,” Mr. Weasley continued, oblivious to the confusion of the two Fentons, “we’ll have to Apparate. I had to borrow an Extender from Albus to manage the distance, but we should be fine!”
“Apparate?” Danny asked.
“It’s basically teleporting from one spot to another,” Mr. Weasley explained. “Technically, wizards must have a license to Apparate as nasty things tend to happen to those who are inexperienced, so we are going to Side-Along Apparate.”
Danny nodded, So instead of a driver’s license, wizards get teleportation licenses. Awesome.
Mr. Weasley looked beyond Danny to see his suitcase. “Why don’t I shrink that to make the load a little bit lighter?” Without waiting for confirmation, Mr. Weasley pulled out his own wand, and with a slight wave, his suitcase shrunk to the size of a quarter. Danny sighed, It would have been nice to do that originally. Danny picked up the doll-sized suitcase and slipped it into his pocket. “So I guess we’re ready to go?”
Danny nodded, turning to face his mother. “Bye, Mom,” Danny said carefully. Ever since Dumbledore’s appearance, his relationship with his mother had been strained, but after days of thinking the entire situation over, Danny and his mother’s relationship had almost been fully restored.
“Bye, sweetie,” Maddie returned, hugging Danny tightly. “Have fun.”
“Uh huh,” Danny acknowledged briefly before turning towards Mr. Weasley. “So, uh, how does this work?”
Mr. Weasley held out an arm. “Just hold on tight to my arm,” he said.
Danny looked at him skeptically before gripping the man’s arm with what he hoped wasn't too much pressure.
“Ready?” the red haired man asked. Danny nodded hesitantly. “Alright then, on the count of three. One, two—”
Danny suddenly felt a suffocating force surround him, pressure squeezing him from all sides. It took all of his self-restraint to reign in his ghost powers, his reflexes almost taking over. It was like being sucked into a dime-sized Fenton Thermos.
Almost immediately the pressure was gone, and Danny exhaled a large breath, not realizing until that moment that he had been holding his breath from the pressure. He stumbled slightly, only his grip on Mr. Weasley keeping him steady. Danny panicked quickly, noticing the sudden blackness before realizing stupidly that his eyes were closed. Opening them, he found that it was not noon like it had been at his house, but they were now outside on a street in the early evening. Danny released Mr. Weasley’s arm as he turned to get a better view of the area.
“Where are we?” Danny asked curiously, glancing at the silent plaza. He looked at the building in front of him, noting with confusion that the building seemed to skip number twelve.
“Welcome to London, Danny,” Mr. Weasley said brightly, pulling Danny out of his thoughts. “Why don’t we get inside, I’m sure everyone is waiting to meet you.” Danny paled slightly, Everyone? How many is that implying exactly? Mr. Weasley chuckled, seeing Danny’s discomfort. “Don’t worry,” he assured. “Right now, only my wife Molly and a few of my children are here at the moment. The others are off and busy with work and such. I had the day off today, otherwise Molly would have gotten you. Oh, and of course Sirius is here, as this is his house.”
Danny looked up at Mr. Weasley. “That’s my godfather, right?”
Mr. Weasley nodded while digging through his pockets for something. “Aha! There we are!” he cheered, pulling out a slip of paper from his pocket. The paper looked more like cardstock or résumé paper as it was much thicker than paper he would normally use for schoolwork and such. “Read this, but don’t say it out loud.”
Danny frowned at the odd request, but took the small slip of paper without fuss. He glanced at it, seeing the thin, neat handwriting scrawled on it. It read:
“It’s always been there, but now you can see it,” Mr. Weasley explained vaguely. “Alright, let’s head in.”
Danny followed Mr. Weasley up the small set of stairs in front of the door to number twelve and, after glaring at the silver numbers, followed him through the door.
Mr. Weasley led him through the front hallway, the dark and dingy décor unsettling to the young halfa. He heard a slight commotion from the room ahead, steadily growing in volume as the pair approached.
“I don’t care about your bloody licenses, stop doing that!”
“But it’s so much more convenient—”
“—than walking around everywhere.”
“Your leg muscles are gonna die if you never use them.”
Danny entered the kitchen behind Mr. Weasley to find a sea of red hair. Looking around, Danny saw three ginger boys, all quite tall and lanky, a young girl with silky hair, and a woman with large, bushy red hair scowling at two of the boys, who happened to be identical twins.
The girl looked over at the two new faces and pouted. “Dad, will you please stop those two?”
Mr. Weasley only sighed, “They are of age and they do have their license, so they are within their rights to Apparate.”
“See, even Dad agrees,” one of the twins smirked.
The girl shook her head, obviously peeved by the whole situation. “If you two splinch yourselves, no one is going to come to your rescue.”
“They’d probably just end up trading limbs,” the youngest boy intoned, jumping as one of the twins appeared behind him to scare him.
“Arthur!” the woman said, beaming at Mr. Weasley and Danny. “Glad to see you back safe and sound,” she smiled, making her way over to the two. “And this must be Danny, how are you, dear?”
“Fine,” he said briefly, a bit overwhelmed by the antics in the kitchen at the moment.
The woman seemed to notice his concerns. “Don’t mind them, Fred and George recently got their Apparation licenses and have been abusing their privileges,” she stressed, glaring at the two twins who cowered slightly at the stare. “I’m Molly Weasley, by the way, Arthur’s my husband. These are my children, you see Fred and George already. That’s Ron,” she pointed to the youngest of the boys, who still looked peeved about Fred and George’s antics. “And my daughter, Ginny,” the young girl waved.
“I’m Danny,” Danny said shyly, looking between everyone.
Fred (or George, Danny had no way of knowing yet), glanced at him and smirked. “Well, I can see why Dumbledore said they are twins, but as a twin, I must disagree. They look nothing alike.”
“You don’t have to be identical twins to be twins, idiot,” Ginny said, rolling her eyes. “And Dumbledore was right, Danny and Harry do look alike. They are brothers, so they obviously share similar qualities.”
The Weasley siblings stared closely at Danny, as if waiting for him to respond.
“Uh…” Danny started dumbly, “what do you want me to say? I've never seen Harry. People keep saying we look similar, but I have no idea. You all look similar to me.”
“You do look a bit like Harry,” Ron said slowly, scrutinizing Danny’s appearance.
“But he doesn't have glasses,” Ginny pointed out, “or green eyes.”
Danny jumped when Fred, or George, appeared suddenly in front of him. Danny stepped back a bit in nervousness.
The twin frowned. “He had green eyes just now, but now they’re blue again.”
Danny paled, realizing his eyes must have flashed in his surprise. He didn't want his secret exposed this early in the game having just met these people. He hadn't even met his brother yet.
“Probably a trick of the light,” Danny tried, hoping the topic would drop.
The twin in front of him shrugged. “You don’t have a scar either,” he added.
That you can see, anyway, Danny thought cautiously.
“Well of course he doesn't,” Ron dismissed. “It’s not as though he’s the one You-Know-Who tried to kill.”
Danny jumped again as the other twin appeared next to him, already getting annoyed at the twins’ transportation act. “Those eyes don’t look green to me—”
“They were green before, alright?”
“Maybe you need to get your eyes checked.”
“Then you’d have to check yours too! We have the same eyes!”
“Fred, George, that’s enough!” Mrs. Weasley finally intervened, to Danny’s relief. “The poor boy has only just learned what magic is, and here you are bombarding him with your antics!” Danny bristled slightly at Mrs. Weasley’s words. She made him sound like he was a helpless little child.
“Sorry, Mum,” the two sighed in unison.
“Good, well now, Ron can show you to your room, Danny,” Mrs. Weasley said quickly, causing Ron to frown in slight annoyance. “Don’t give me that look, young man, you’ll be sharing that room with Danny and Harry, when he gets here.”
“When is Harry coming?” Ron asked. Danny was curious as well.
Mrs. Weasley sighed sadly. “Not for a few weeks, I expect,” she said, to both boys’ disappointment. “When Albus says he can come, he’ll be here. And remember what Albus said about writing letters,” she warned Ron.
Ron frowned further. “Uh huh,” he acknowledged sullenly, turning out of the room. “Rooms are this way,” he said to Danny.
“Oh, Danny, I’ll re-size your luggage,” Mr. Weasley said quickly, pulling out his wand. With a quick flick of his wrist, the small package soared out of Danny’s pocket and returned to normal size.
“Thanks,” Danny nodded, pulling the suitcase behind him as he followed Ron. Couldn't have waited until after I had gotten up the stairs? Danny thought wryly.
As you may be seeing, Sam and Tucker don't have a huge role in this story, but I'm not writing them off, they'll still be around. They're two of my favorite characters, but I don't want to unrealistically force them into the coming portion of the story.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 4: A Namesake Heart to Heart
Last time: After getting some advice from Jazz, Danny broke (some of) the news to Sam and Tucker. Danny arrived in London and was introduced to the Weasleys.
~July 1st (still)~
Danny followed Ron out of the kitchen into the dark hallway he had first passed through on his way inside. Now that he stopped to take in his surroundings, he couldn't have been more disturbed by what he saw. The moth-eaten curtains were old and dingy, covering what he assumed to be a door to another room. There was a grotesque umbrella stand that even Sam would never have put in her room—it looked like the leg of a swamp creature of some kind had been cut off and stuffed for decoration.
Making their way up the shrouded staircase, Danny bit back a yell as he looked at the severed heads hanging like plaques on the wall. They looked like human heads gone horribly wrong, with over-sized eyes, short-snouted noses, and wide-pointed ears. Ron glanced back, hearing Danny's strangled noise of surprise. "Yeah, those are quite the sight, aren't they?" Ron said with disgust. "Sirius said it's some sort of family tradition for house elves to have their heads put on the wall when they aren't fit to serve anymore."
"House elves?" Danny asked.
"Servants would be the best way to put it. Don't let Hermione hear you say that, mind you," Ron added hastily, "but it's as close to the truth as you'll get."
"Harry and mine's best mate," Ron explained. "You'll meet her later. I think Mum said she'd be here next week."
Danny nodded, though Ron didn't notice because he was already facing forward again. Danny's suitcase caught on one of the steps, and he gave a mighty tug on the case, pulling it free and continuing to follow Ron up the stairs. "So out of curiosity, how many people will I be meeting before I actually meet my brother?"
Ron shrugged as the pair made their way onto the second-floor landing. The first door on the right was wide open. Ron muttered a curse under his breath, and mentioned something about a "creature" and forgetting to close doors.
“This is ours,” Ron said, nodding into the open room. Danny pulled his luggage behind him into the room, giving it a tentative glance. Ron leaned against the door frame, letting Danny observe the room. “Mum’ll have dinner ready soon,” he said as Danny heaved his case onto an open bed.
“Dinner?” Danny asked. “You mean lunch.”
Ron gave him an odd look. “It’s just past six.”
Danny flushed. “Uh, right, time difference. Forgot.”
Ron nodded. There was silence for a moment until Ron spoke up again, “So you’re really Harry’s brother?”
“People keep saying that,” Danny sighed, unzipping his suitcase.
“You sound like that’s a bad thing,” Ron frowned.
“I've never even met the guy,” Danny huffed, abandoning his case and looking at Ron. "What do you want me to say? 'Harry's such a cool guy! Harry's the best! I couldn't ask for a better brother!' For all I know, he could be an arrogant, stuck-up jerk, or he could be a shy and geeky bookworm. Cut me some slack, I’m new to all of this. One week ago, I didn't have a brother, I wasn't a wizard, and I definitely wasn't planning on vacationing to London for the summer."
Ron didn't respond and frowned at Danny as he continued to unpack.
“How much have you been told?” Ron asked finally.
“Huh?” Danny asked, pausing in his unpacking. “About what?”
Danny snorted, “That’s specific. Well, I don’t know any magic yet. I know about my heritage, I know about Voldemort—”
“Don’t say his name!” Ron said, flinching.
“Why not?” Danny asked in genuine confusion. “Dumbledore used it.”
“Well, that’s because Dumbledore is the only wizard You-Know-Who fears,” Ron stated matter-of-factly.
“Why would anyone be afraid of someone’s name?” Danny asked with a laugh. He thought of some of the more fearful ghosts, including Pariah Dark, and maybe even Plasmius. While they were widely feared throughout the Ghost Zone, he couldn't think of any ghost that would fear to speak their name. "I understand fearing the person, but fearing to say their name? That’s ridiculous.”
“You-Know-Who caused a lot of havoc and pain in the Wizarding World. You wouldn't understand, growing up as a muggle,”
“Harry grew up as a muggle too,” Danny argued. “What does he call Voldemort?” he asked, ignoring Ron’s flinch.
Ron flushed, “That’s hardly the point.”
Danny smirked quickly and returned to his suitcase as Ron took a moment to regain his bearings. Danny had almost finished unpacking when Ron finally spoke up again. "What're those?" Ron asked, looking at what was in Danny's hands. He looked at the remaining things in his suitcase and what he was holding and balked. To explain or not to explain... Danny thought quickly.
"Just some trinkets from home," Danny shrugged, deciding on the latter. "This is just a soup thermos," he added, waving the Fenton Thermos slightly in his hand.
"Uh huh..." Ron looked at the thermos with a raised eyebrow. "That’s the weirdest soup thermos I've ever seen,” he said blandly. “I'll be downstairs, you're free to join whenever. Dinner should be ready by now."
With that, Ron turned and left Danny to his unpacking. Danny sighed, stopping to stare at his ghost equipment. He really hoped he wouldn't need any of it throughout the summer—ghost activity recedes in the summer, after all—but he would be prepared if something did happen.
Dinner, or lunch in Danny's opinion, was a very interesting experience. The twins were still giving off magic displays at every minute, waving their wands to move bowls around the table. George was using his wand to levitate his fork to pick up food and put it in his mouth. Ginny noticed this and scowled. "You do realize you're making it harder on yourself, don't you?"
George had looked up at Ginny to reply but before he could, the forkful of mashed potatoes that he had been levitating hit him in the nose. The other Weasley children and Danny snorted in amusement as George hastily wiped his face clean with his sleeve.
"Boys, that's enough," Mrs. Weasley said finally. "Just eat properly."
Grudgingly, the twins stowed their wands in their pockets and picked up their forks normally. Ron tried unsuccessfully to stifle his laughter.
"Where's Sirius, dear?" Mr. Weasley asked about ten minutes into dinner.
"Upstairs handling Buckbeak, I believe," she answered stiffly. ”He had a bit of a run-in with Kreacher and got riled up.” It seemed to Danny that she was very uncomfortable with the man, or maybe his pet.
Ron nodded towards his mother, who had started a conversation with her husband, and said in a low voice to Danny, "Mum just learned a couple weeks ago that Sirius wasn't the mass murderer that people thought he was for the past fourteen years." At Danny's alarmed look, he laughed, "He's innocent, even if most of the world doesn't believe it yet. Harry, Hermione, and I found out a year ago," he added almost smugly.
"And is Buckbeak his bird?" Danny asked, thinking 'beak' was probably a good indicator. "His owl?" he amended, remembering what his mother had told him about wizards' owl post system.
"Buckbeak's not a bird," Ron snickered. "He's a hippogriff."
"What's a hippogriff?"
"It's a half-horse, half-eagle," Ginny replied, joining the conversation. "It has the body of a horse, and the talons, wings, and head of an eagle."
"Interesting..." Danny mumbled, trying to picture the creature in his mind. All he could come up with is one of Vlad's deformed ghost creatures, which really wasn't a pleasant thought. "So, there are house elves and hippogriffs, any other creatures that aren't normal?"
"Oh, there are thousands," Ron replied quickly. "Goblins, trolls, red caps, dragons—"
"Dragons?" Danny said in surprise.
"Yeah, our brother Charlie works with dragons," Ginny said, with faint pride in her voice.
Danny raised an eyebrow. "You have another brother?"
"We have three others," Ron corrected. "All older than Fred and George. Bill's the oldest—you'll probably meet him soon, he just moved back to England—and Charlie's the second oldest. He lives in Romania."
"And two years older than the twins is Percy," Ginny said tightly, her voice so low Danny had to lean closer to hear her, "but you won't be meeting him."
"Why not?" Danny asked. "Is he abroad, too?"
"No, the prat's living in London," Ron whispered angrily. "He had this huge spat with Dad about his promotion at the Ministry and believing Harry about You-Know-Who and he left."
"Git," Ginny mumbled.
"'Believing Harry about You-Know-Who'?" Danny repeated. "You mean he thinks Harry's lying about Voldemort?" he asked incredulously while Ginny and Ron flinched. "That's ridiculous. People are idiots if they ignore a threat like that staring them in the face."
"Most of the world are idiots, unfortunately," a new voice said from behind him.
Danny turned around and saw a long, black-haired man standing in the doorway. His face was very sunken and pale, as though he had been very ill recently but was starting to recover. Before his illness, Danny supposed he would have been very handsome looking, and despite the haunted look in his face, Danny swore he could see a glimmer of the man's inner child dancing behind his eyes, recklessness chained inside of a sullen body. The man's eyes connected with Danny's and emotions that Danny really couldn't distinguish flitted across his face.
"You must be Danny," he said quietly as the conversation around the table disappeared to focus on the interaction.
Danny squirmed slightly under the man's stare. "So you're Sirius?" he said bluntly, unable to come up with anything else to say.
The man nodded, then shook his head slightly. "I haven't seen you in fourteen years," he added, almost mournfully. "I never thought I'd see you again...and, well, here you are," he ended abruptly, looking oddly conflicted.
"Here I am," Danny said slowly. Danny found the situation to be extremely awkward, with everyone in the room looking between him and Sirius, and Sirius himself was staring at Danny with a very odd expression. As the silence stretched on, Danny groped for something to break the silence, but was spared when Sirius shook his head again, sat down at the table, and began to eat.
The rest of the dinner was very uncomfortable for Danny. The Weasley boys were engrossed in their own conversation, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley were speaking, and Mr. Weasley was talking to Sirius; it seemed as though Sirius wasn't involving himself much in the conversation, merely nodding his head at the appropriate moments and otherwise looking extremely preoccupied. Danny ate in silence, picking at his food slowly.
Finally, as people began to clear their plates, Mrs. Weasley spoke to him. "Now Danny, tomorrow one of the Order will be bringing you to Diagon Alley to pick up books and such for your studies this summer," she began as Ron started to snicker. "Ron, stop laughing, you have your own summer work to do," she scolded.
"Not nearly as much as him," he replied.
"You and everyone else will be plenty busy this summer," she said, "we have to make this house habitable for the Order."
"And that entails..." Fred trailed off.
"Cleaning, of course," Mrs. Weasley answered impatiently with a wave of her hand. Ron blanched. "Anyway, Danny, Dumbledore wants you to review the core subjects offered at Hogwarts, which are Transfiguration, Charms, History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Astronomy, and Potions, so you will need to pick up the books for that. Also, you'll need to pick up Potions ingredients from the apothecary to practice potion making, and you will of course need a wand to practice spells—"
"Wait, he gets to do magic outside of school?" George asked. "Isn't that illegal?"
"Technically he's not in school," Fred pointed out.
"And people are allowed to be home schooled, aren't they?" Ginny added.
"Well, strictly speaking, you need a permit from the Ministry to be home-schooled so the magic is allowed for the under-aged wizard," Mr. Weasley explained, "but considering the current climate, we won't be getting Danny a permit."
"However, this house has enough wards and such around it that any magic he performs won't be detected anyway," Sirius added, somewhat bitterly which confused Danny.
"Danny's use of magic will be strictly monitored by an adult—"
"We can do it!" Fred and George offered promptly.
"—who is out of school," Mrs. Weasley continued pointedly. "We can talk more about your studies once you have all of your things."
The conversation had completely gone over Danny's head, mostly for the fact that he heard he would be getting a wand, and so he merely muttered, "Okay."
"Also, just a reminder, make sure you're quiet when you go through the hallway," she warned.
"Why?" Danny asked, bewildered.
"You don't want to wake anything up."
Wake anything up? Danny thought numbly as he nodded his head. Danny followed Ron out of the room and headed up the stairs.
The boys set about their own business, Ron quickly changing and collapsing into bed and Danny putting the finishing touches on his unpacking before following suit. They were about to settle in when Ron swore and jumped out of bed.
"Whassamatter?" Danny drawled lazily.
"I forgot to bolt the door," Ron answered, doing just that.
"Why?" Danny asked warily. "Would Fred and George sneak in here?"
Ron snorted as he walked back to his bed, "They'd just Apparate in, so no. Last night I didn't lock the door, and I woke up at three in the morning to Kreacher rummaging through the room. Not a pleasant experience."
"The house elf that lives here," Ron answered. "Disgusting thing, he is. You wait 'til you see him."
Danny nodded, not exactly excited to meet the creature named Kreacher.
Danny rolled over in bed; the creak in the frame didn't disturb the loud slumbering of his roommate who was sprawled on the bed across from him. He glanced at the clock on the wall behind Ron; it read two o'clock. Which is technically eight back home, Danny realized with a mental groan. His stomach chose that moment to growl loudly, and Danny groaned audibly. Though dinner had ended about seven hours ago, it had seemed like lunch to the young halfa, and his stomach was now considerately reminding him that he should have had dinner an hour ago. Ron suddenly let out a particularly violent snore. Realizing that he wasn't about to fall asleep any time soon, Danny ripped the sheets off of him, rolled off the bed, and silently exited the room, taking care to close the door behind him.
Danny made his way silently through the landing, down the stairs, and through the hallway, remembering Mrs. Weasley's warning at dinner. He opened the kitchen door, hoping to quell his hunger, and was surprised to find someone already sitting at the table, hands intertwined around a large glass that held its owner's gaze. It was Sirius. "You're up late," Danny commented, taking notice of Sirius's haunted look when he entered the room.
Sirius lost this expression quickly as he heard Danny speak up. "So are you," he smiled wryly, looking up from his drink.
"It's eight o'clock where I'm from," Danny countered. The unasked question of 'what's your excuse?' hung lightly in the air.
"Touché," Sirius answered with a half-hearted chuckle, pointedly not offering a reason for his own late night kitchen visit.
Sirius turned back to his glass with a thoughtful expression on his face now, which Danny thought was much better than his look when he had entered the room. Danny could only guess what the man could be feeling to have worn such a stressed, somber look of pain. Several minutes passed with neither Sirius nor Danny moving from their spots; Sirius hadn't taken a sip from his drink at all and Danny stood awkwardly in the threshold, not really sure of what to do. The stretched silence was broken finally when Danny's stomach released a very audible growl. Danny blushed furiously as Sirius let out a very bark-like laugh. "Ah, so you came down here for food," Sirius grinned, moving to stand up from his seat.
"Yeah..." Danny admitted.
Sirius laughed again, "You really take after your namesake."
"Isn't that you?"
"Yup," Sirius grinned. Danny smiled too, the awkwardness that had been between them at dinner disappearing rapidly. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour, or merely because they were on their own. Either way, Danny was grateful. Sirius walked over to the cabinets and started rummaging through them. "You want anything in particular?"
Danny finally moved from his spot in the threshold and went to join Sirius by the cabinets. "What do you have?" he asked, peering over Sirius's shoulder.
Sirius's smile dropped for the first time since Danny had entered the room. "Not much," he admitted. "Kreacher is getting more food tomorrow while you go to Diagon Alley. Merlin knows we'll need it with the amount of people who will be coming by now." He let out a very long sigh. "No one has lived in this house in over a decade, not including Kreacher, but considering the state of this place, I hardly think that counts."
Danny looked at Sirius, surprised. "I thought this was your house," he said in shock. "That's what Dumbledore said."
"It was," Sirius affirmed with a grimace.
"Was?" Danny caught.
"Technically, the house is mine since I'm the last Black left—no, don't you go feeling sorry for me," Sirius added sternly, catching Danny's sympathetic look. "My family's rotten, the lot of them. That's why I ran away when I was sixteen."
Deciding it was a bit too personal to ask more about his running away—they had only just met after all—Danny contented to watching Sirius look through the cabinets.
"Do you just have hot chocolate?" Danny asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Yeah," Sirius answered, movie toward a cabinet, "I would think. That stuff lasts—wait a minute, do you want some butterbeer?"
Danny made a face. "As my godfather," Danny started pointedly, "should you be offering me alcohol?"
Sirius let out a laugh that sounded more like a bark, "If I were to offer you alcohol, I'd offer firewhisky. That would be irresponsible," he said with a large grin. "Consequently, don't sample anything out of my cup on the table." Danny grinned. "No, butterbeer is more like a...butterscotch-caramel version of hot chocolate. The 'beer' is misleading."
"Sure, I'll have that. I've never heard of it before, but it sounds good," Danny admitted.
"I'm not surprised, it's more of a wizard's specialty. Just give me a few minutes. I'd make Kreacher whip it up, but I'd rather not wake the urchin up if I can help it," Sirius added with distaste.
As Sirius set about making the butterbeer, letting the concoction simmer on the stove, he looked at Danny and sighed. “When James told me he had named one of his boys after me, I was floored,” he began nostalgically. Danny watched him as Sirius seemed to get lost in his memories, unable to think of anything to say. “I mean, I had already been named godfather, and to be honest with you, I sometimes forgot that I wasn't your father myself. I loved you boys like my own,” he said softly.
Danny listened attentively as Sirius talked. He figured that if Sirius had started talking like this at dinner, he would have been sufficiently mortified in embarrassment, but for some reason, it wasn't nearly as awkward between Danny and Sirius anymore.
“You and Harry used to race each other on toy broomsticks, which I so considerately bought for you,” he added, making Danny laugh. The toy broomstick in itself was hilarious, hitting upon one of the biggest magical clichés in the book. It was nice to hear that the magical community enjoyed a little fun at their own expense. “Of course, you were a year old, so there isn't much to compare,” Sirius laughed.
He poured his concoction into a mug and passed the steaming butterbeer to Danny. A whiff of caramel-butterscotch filled his senses. “That smells amazing,” Danny commented contently. He sipped the drink slowly. “I stand corrected,” Danny started, watching as Sirius’s face fell a little. “That tastes amazing,” Danny smiled as Sirius laughed.
“You had me worried for a second there,” he smirked.
“You must wait until the critic has had the chance to fully sample their food before hearing the verdict, grasshopper,” Danny said very wisely before breaking out in laughter with Sirius.
There was content silence for a few minutes as Danny sipped the delicious butterbeer leisurely, until Sirius said very quietly, “I thought you were dead.”
Danny lowered his mug slowly, watching Sirius very carefully. The haunted expression that Sirius had been wearing when he first entered the kitchen was back, and Danny suddenly understood why it was there. He waited patiently for Sirius to continue.
“No one knew that Lily and James were going to move you two except for Dumbledore. On Halloween when Voldemort went to your house...” he took a deep breath, “and James and Lily...” another deep, thick breath. “Well, I got the house, and it was a mess. An entire chunk had been blown off. I went inside and Harry was there, lightning bolt cut gleaming on his forehead as he cried in his crib. I gathered him up and turned to your crib, and it was empty. I looked throughout the house, and I couldn't find you. Hagrid appeared to take Harry your aunt and uncle’s house, on Dumbledore’s orders, but there was nothing about you. I...thought the worst,” he said quietly. “I didn't know you were alive until a week ago, and I found out so soon after Harry’s ordeal in the Tournament. Dumbledore had never had the chance to explain that you were moved earlier that day before I was wrongfully arrested,” he added bitterly, “and I guess he felt it safer if no one else knew.”
“Well now you know,” Danny said, in what he hoped was a comforting voice. He really didn't know what else to say.
Sirius looked at him with a small smile, “Now I know.”
Thanks for reading! The next chapter will probably be out in several days. Let me know if you have any questions! :)
Chapter 5: Not Your Average School Supplies
Last time: Danny got settled at Grimmauld Place, and had a much needed heart to heart with Sirius.
Danny woke abruptly. At first, he couldn't figure out what had woken him. He couldn't remember his dream—if he had been having one in the first place. He wondered if he had fallen off his bed, but in the split second he wondered this, he felt the soft mattress beneath him and decided this was not the case.
"I'll throw another one if you don't get up."
His first thought was that it was Jazz, but the voice was much too deep for that. Maybe his dad had returned home from his ghost convention. He was supposed to come home today.
Something hit Danny in the head. It did not hurt at all, but it startled Danny out of his thoughts.
"I'm throwing a book next."
That was not Jack Fenton's voice. Danny finally opened his eyes and when he realized where he was—or more accurately, where he wasn't—he bolted up in bed. Where was his bed? His room? His Dumpty Humpty poster? His model rocket? His—
Oh, right, Danny remembered, relaxing. I'm in London. And that's Ron...
"Sorry," Danny mumbled, exhaustion lacing his speech. "I'm not used to the time difference."
"'Bout time," the redhead huffed. Danny noticed he was already dressed, which he found surprising.
"What time is it?" Danny asked, looking around for a clock.
"Half-past what?" Danny stressed in annoyance.
"Noon," Ron answered, somewhat bitterly. "Mum sent me to wake you. You need to go to Diagon Alley and get your school things." Satisfied that Danny was awake, he left the room without another word.
Danny rolled off the side of his bed, planting his feet on the floor just before he fell over. It's 6:30am...why, WHY, am I awake? He stumbled over something on the floor. Looking down, he found Ron's pillow. Realizing that he must have been throwing pillows at him to wake him up, he picked it up and tossed it unceremoniously onto the redhead's tousled bed. He dressed quickly, and silently trudged downstairs into the kitchen, hoping there would be food.
He wasn't disappointed, finding Mrs. Weasley busying about the kitchen. A plate of food lay on the table in front of an empty chair. Across from the plate, there was a crumb-covered plate in front of a young woman not too many years older than him with...purple hair? Shaking his head lightly, thinking it was just the tiredness getting to him, he looked back at the woman and saw that her hair was indeed a vivid purple.
"Nice hair," he blurted out, before blushing furiously. As early as it was for him, his mental filter had not quite turned on yet.
Luckily, his exhaustion covered up the sarcasm in his voice, and the woman did not seem offended. "Thanks!" she said brightly. "I haven't worn this color in a while, I missed it. You must be Danny!"
How anyone could be so peppy this early in the morning was a mystery to Danny. Then he realized that it was not exactly early for the locals here in London, so it really was not that strange. And then he remembered that Jazz Fenton was his sister and she was always this peppy in the morning. He smiled wryly, thinking of his sister, but the smile faded a bit as he remembered she was only his "second cousin." No, he told himself forcefully, Jazz will always be my sister.
"Yeah, I am," he answered the purple-headed woman. "Who are you?"
"Oh, sorry!" she smiled. "I'm Tonks. Nice to meet you."
"You too," Danny returned. "Do you go to Hogwarts too?"
"No, I graduated a few years ago," she answered. "I recently finished my auror training though, so it was like still being in school."
"Aurors are dark wizard catchers," Mrs. Weasley answered, laying a hand on Danny's shoulder from behind. "Why don't you sit down and eat, Danny. You and Tonks will be going to Diagon Alley to get your supplies once you're finished." Danny obliged, sat in front of his plate, and started to eat. "I figured you would want to sleep in, with the time difference."
Danny wanted to mention that 6:30am was still very early, but decided against it since Mrs. Weasley had let him sleep in the first place. "Thanks," he said, taking another bite of food. "And thanks for taking me to Diagon Alley, Tonks," he added to the young woman.
"No, thank you for needing the trip," she laughed with an impatient wave of the hand. "If I have to clean this house any longer, I might self-destruct."
"Is that where everyone is?" he asked, noticing for the first time how odd it was for the kitchen to be relatively empty during a meal time.
"Yeah, we've been cleaning since early this morning, and Ron went to wake you up after lunch," Tonks answered. "Everyone moved on to the top floor bedrooms."
Danny suddenly realized why Ron had been so irritable and moody when he woke him up, and why he was already dressed. He must have been cleaning all morning while Danny slept in. "You should have woken me up, I would have helped—"
"Oh no, I'll have none of that," Mrs. Weasley fussed. "I know the time difference for you must be hard, and even now it's early. I would have let you lie in a bit longer, but you really do need your supplies."
A sudden thought struck Danny, "Uh, how am I going to pay for this? Is my mom sending money? Do I need her credit card number—?"
Mrs. Weasley shook her head as she reached into her pocket. "Dumbledore left you a key to your family's vault. Only Harry uses it now, of course, but as it's yours too, you have every right to withdraw money. Ah, here it is." She handed a palm-sized golden fashioned key to him. "Now don't lose that."
"I won't," Danny rolled his eyes lightly, slipping the key into his pocket. He pushed his now empty plate away from him, and he found it levitating away from him; Mrs. Weasley was directing the dishes to the sink. "I guess I'm ready to go."
"Then let's go! Thanks for the lunch, Molly!" Tonks saluted as she rose from her seat. The leg of the chair caught on her foot, she stumbled, and the chair fell over with an obnoxious clatter. Danny stifled his laughter as Tonks let out a hurried, "Sorry!" while picking the chair up and setting it right.
"It's quite alright, dear," Mrs. Weasley said kindly.
"And just one last thing before we go..." Tonks said, screwing her face up in a look of intense concentration.
"Uh, what do you mea..?" The words died on Danny's tongue as he watched her hair change from bright purple to raven black. "How did you do that?"
"I'm a metamorphmagus," Tonks smiled, "it means I can change my appearance at will."
"That is awesome," Danny praised. "Can you learn it or do you just have that ability?"
"You have to be born with it," Tonks said, looking at her reflection on a glass cabinet door nearby. "I needed to match my hair color to yours because as much as I like the purple, it sticks out too much and we are trying to be discreet about you. If anyone asks, I'm your cousin on my dad's side, alright?"
"Okay," Danny replied. "But why your dad's side?"
"Because her mother's side is a bit too easily traced," Sirius answered, entering the room. His sleeves were pushed up past his elbows, and he looked like he had been working for a long while. "I'm getting water for everyone," he answered to Mrs. Weasley's inquisitive stare.
"And Aguamenti wouldn't have worked, why?" Tonks questioned with a smirk.
"Well, maybe I wanted to see my godson off before he goes to Diagon Alley for the first time," Sirius replied easily.
"Is it really that big a deal?" Danny asked, looking between Sirius and Tonks. "I'm just getting school supplies."
"Consider it a rite of passage," Sirius explained. "Like you are officially entering the magical world."
Danny made a face, "Are we going to a theme park? 'Cause it kinda sounds like we're going to Disney World. I'm buying school supplies. School. Supplies. I really don't understand the big deal."
The adults in the room shared a look before Sirius clapped his hand on Danny's shoulder. "Just wait until you get there. You'll see what we mean."
Danny and Tonks traveled through the London Underground and emerged on a road filled with various shops, but the shops were all very...normal. Where would he be buying a magic wand?
"So, can I buy a wand in a pawn shop?" Danny asked, passing a dingy store with a metallic instrument in the front window, unsure of what it was.
Tonks snorted, "We're not buying anything here, we're not there yet."
Danny followed Tonks through the crowded street, looking at all of the businesses they passed by on the way. They looked so ordinary. In all honestly, the shops and businesses the pair passed by were not unlike buildings Danny would see in Amity Park. There were not any magic shops in Amity that he knew of, with perhaps the exception of the Skulk & Lurk—he made a mental note to ask Sam later—so he couldn't imagine being able to find a magic shop here. He considered asking Tonks if they had gotten off at the wrong stop, but Tonks seemed to know where she was going, so he did not question it.
Danny looked at a large bookstore that they were passing. "Well, they have a lot of books, is there a special magic section there?" he questioned very sarcastically.
"Nope, but we're here," Tonks said, ignoring his cheek. Danny followed her gaze to the building next to the bookstore. It was a very grungy looking pub that did not really fit well with the surrounding buildings.
"Uh, didn't we just eat?" Danny asked with a raised eyebrow. "We can't be there yet. How am I supposed to get my supplies in a pub?"
"It's not in the pub, it's behind the pub," Tonks winked, gesturing for Danny to walk in first.
The first thing Danny noticed was the smell. The scent of cooked meat was intermingled with an unpleasant scent of musk and perhaps body odor...it was almost revolting. The next thing he noticed was the clientele. While most of them looked normal, there was a fair share of unnatural patrons, including but not limited to an incredibly short man with pointed ears and thin, wiry hair, an old woman with slightly green skin, a large bulbous nose and hair poking out of her ears, and a pale dark haired man who seemed to be drinking some very thick red liquid at the bar. Danny's only explanation for this was that the man was a vampire, though he tried to ignore that train of thought.
"This is the Leaky Cauldron," Tonks explained to the gazing teen, nudging him forward. "The entrance to Diagon Alley is in the back."
Taking one last look at the 'vampire,' who looked scarily like a younger, paler Vlad, Danny followed Tonks though the pub to the back door. Outside there was a small outlet enclosed by a tall brick wall, with no exit other than the doorway they were currently standing in. "Is this right?" Danny asked, staring at the very solid-looking brick wall. Thinking it might be a trick, he stepped up to the wall and pushed his palm against it. It was still solid.
"Of course it is," Tonks waved, bumping Danny out of the way lightly with her hip. She took out her wand and traced a pattern in the air, as if counting, then tapped her wand three times on one of the bricks. The brick quivered, and soon enough all the surrounding bricks were shifting, creating a wide opening in the wall.
"Vlad's secret lab has nothing on this," Danny muttered in awe. Once he and Tonks stepped through the archway, the bricks immediately formed a solid wall again.
Once Danny took in what he was seeing, his jaw dropped in wonder. Now this was the type of place that looked like it sold magic articles. Interesting shops colored the cobbled street which clearly did not follow any set line.
His sightseeing was interrupted by a blinding glare, and when he blocked the offending light, he found a stack of cauldrons outside of Potage's Cauldron Shop. Next door to the cauldron shop was an Apothecary, with various...ingredients on display, and next to that was Wiseacre's Wizard Equipment. Across the street was Flourish and Blotts (and based on the stack of books in the window, Danny assumed that this was where magic spell books could be found), next to that was Quality Quidditch Supplies with broomsticks outside (cleaning shop, maybe?), and next to that was Eeylops Owl Emporium & Magical Menagerie. Danny could not yet see farther down the street due to the oddly dressed people going about their shopping, and it was all he could do to stay with Tonks and not venture farther ahead. The one building Danny could see down the road was a large white building that loomed over the surrounding shops.
Perhaps noticing Danny's excitement, Tonks said, "Better or worse than a theme park?"
"Well, it has a one-up on carnivals," Danny relented, "but until you show me a roller coaster I'm reserving judgment."
Danny was surprised to see Tonks smirk. "Now it's funny you should say that. We need to get your money."
"What does money have to do with roller coasters?"
Confused by her statement, Danny followed her down the road, still awed by the magical shops they passed. He imagined Sam would love to wander through a place like this, while Tucker would still be stuck at the pub checking out the magical cuisine and customers. Jazz would be both curious and skeptical, taking mental notes on everything she saw but also picking them apart as to why it could not logically exist. Of course, ever since she learned he had ghost powers, she had become a lot more accepting towards the paranormal, so perhaps being exposed to Diagon Alley would open her eyes to the magical world a bit more.
Before long, Danny found himself in front of the towering white building he had noticed earlier. Above the columned entrance, carved into the building, the words "Gringotts Wizarding Bank" stood out among the white. Lowering his gaze to the actual entrance with its burnished bronze doors, there were very small, odd looking men dressed in scarlet and gold uniforms.
"Those are goblins," Tonks muttered as they neared the doors, noticing Danny's gaze. He tried not to stare at them too long, and kept walking with Tonks. He passed through the next set of doors, silver this time, with Tonks, walking fast enough to not be able to read the sign next to the doors.
Danny tried to face forward by staring at Tonks's back to avoid the temptation to stare at the goblins, and this temptation only increased when he noticed about a hundred more goblins sitting at high counters performing tasks such as weighing coins, writing in large books, and helping customers. One goblin locked eyes with Danny, and he quickly resumed staring at the young auror's back.
Tonks led Danny to the counter where there was a goblin available. "Wotcher," Tonks nodded. "We need some money from Danny's vault," she said, clapping a hand on Danny's shoulder.
"Full name?" the goblin drawled.
"Potter," Tonks cut him off. "Mr. Daniel Potter. He has his key. Danny, where's the key Molly gave you?"
Danny dug his hand into his pocket and retrieved the small golden key Mrs. Weasley had given him earlier. "See, I didn't lose it," Danny smirked, handing the key to Tonks who then handed it to the goblin.
"I never said you would," she replied as the goblin stared at the key intently. "Is everything in order?" she asked after a moment. Perhaps the goblin was taking longer than normal.
"I was under the impression that only one key to this vault was in use," the goblin replied slowly. "However, this is an authentic copy. Someone will take you to your vault. Gobrod!"
Gobrod, another goblin, walked up to them and led them through one of the doors out of the main hall.
"I don't get it," Danny muttered to Tonks as they followed Gobrod through a door that led to a torch-lit stone passageway. "Do I have to go by Danny Potter in the wizarding world?"
"No," Tonks answered quickly. "It's different with goblins here because if you lie about anything, they'll think you're trying to steal from the bank, which is not something you want to try. Everywhere else, you go by Danny Fenton, okay? As a matter of fact, don't say more than your first name if you can help it."
Danny nodded in understanding just as Gobrod let out a sharp whistle. In moments, a small metal cart appeared on railway tracks that Danny just noticed were there. "Is this the roller coaster you were talking about?"
Tonks only smirked and motioned for Danny to climb in after Gobrod. He felt slightly uneasy when he noticed the absence of lap or shoulder bars, or even seat belts. "I'd hold on if I were you," she said when she climbed in next to him.
"Where?" Danny asked flatly. "This has to be the most unsafe roller coaster I've ever been on, and I've been on a broken down coaster before."
"Don't worry, no one's ever fallen out before."
"Well, there's a first time for everythi—" Danny cut himself off as the cart lurched and they shot down the tracks, quickly grasping the side of the cart. His nerves were further shot when he realized that Gobrod wasn't steering, and the cart was just going on its own.
After a minute, Danny calmed down and enjoyed the ride for what it was: a roller coaster ride. His worries about the lack of safety bars or belts took a back seat when he remembered he could always fly if he fell out.
The track was as much a maze as it was a roller coaster as the cart hurtled through forks in the track, first left, then right, right, left, middle fork, right, left...it was amazing that this was a legitimate path rather than a life-sized Plinko board.
A few minutes later, the cart rolled to a stop next to a small door in the wall. Gobrod stepped out of the car, and as Danny and Tonks climbed out after him, he unlocked the door. Green smoke billowed out, and when it cleared, Danny couldn't believe the amount of coins that were heaped inside. There were mountains of gold, silver, and bronze coins, gleaming in the torch-light.
"That belongs to me?" Danny asked breathlessly.
"You and Harry," Tonks whispered back.
"How much do I need?" he asked.
"Well, I'd say about twenty galleons for all of your books, seven for your wand, and probably another twenty for potions ingredients, so I'd grab about fifty galleons. The gold ones," she clarified at Danny's blank look. "Alright, quick rundown: one gold galleon equals seventeen silver sickles, and one sickle equals twenty-nine bronze nuts. Got it?" Danny nodded, figuring he would just ask again if he forgot.
He picked up fifty of the gold coins and dumped it into a bag Tonks had brought with her, and soon enough they were back in the cart. The ride back seemed to defy all laws of gravity as it was rolling up the track.
As they left the goblin-run bank, Danny followed Tonks back into the bustling street. "We'll get your potions ingredients first at the apothecary, then a brass scale for the ingredients, then your books, then your wand, sound good?"
"Sure," Danny nodded. "So, how much money do we have?"
"In pounds you mean?" Tonks asked.
"U.S. dollars," Danny amended.
"I don't know the currency rate between dollars and pounds, but right now it's five pounds to a galleon," she answered. "So we have 250 pounds."
Figuring that he'd ask Jazz about the conversion rate later, he accepted this to be a fair amount of money and did not worry about it much after that. At the apothecary, Danny almost wanted to hold his breath to deal with the smell, and he spent most of the time staring at a shelf housing silver unicorn horns (or so they were advertised) to distract himself while Tonks bought a basic set of potion supplies.
After a quick stop into Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment for his brass scales, their next stop was Flourish and Blotts to get his books. Tonks made a beeline to the counter while he hung back a bit, liking this store already because of its normal smell.
Danny wandered over to the "New releases" section of the magical bookstore as Tonks relayed his book list to the manager. His eyes jumped from title to title, each sounding either incredibly fake ("Cauldron Cavities: Cursed Cruelties," by Phillip Leaver) or bizarrely informative ("The Complete Guide to Bowtruckles," by Bert Haverstade). As Danny skimmed the titles, his eyes were drawn to a bright red and blue ad on the shelf.
Need to talk to a friend instantly? Owl-post take too long? The Two-Way Journal is just the thing for you!
By purchasing a set of journals, one can write a message in one journal and it will instantly appear in the other journal! You can have a conversation over continents without any delay! Try our test set!
Only 3 galleons OR upgrade to our deluxe set for just 4 galleons!
The deluxe set includes bracelets that alert you when there is a message waiting in your journal.
Danny looked below the advertisement and noticed a little table with two mahogany bound journals, both lying open at the table. Past mini-conversations were scrawled in several different versions of handwriting on the page with other customers' words as they tested the product. One book held black and red inked writing while the other held black and blue. There was also an ink pot and a bird feather with ink at the base lying between the two journals. Also pinned to the table were two straps of mahogany which he assumed were the bracelets. Danny picked up the feather with interest, and noting the inked tip of the feather, tentatively dipped it into the ink pot. After dabbing the extra ink on the side of the pot, his hand hovered over the leftmost journal with the black and red writing, thinking of something to write. Finally, he lowered the feather and wrote: 'Does this even work?'
Placing the feather back on the table, Danny glanced over to see if his message had appeared on the other journal. To his surprise, the words 'Does this even work?' were scribbled into the other journal in a rich blue color.
Danny looked back at the advertisement, re-reading the line about the journals working over continents. As an idea formed in his head, Danny smiled and picked up one of the deluxe journal sets.
Tonks was just wrapping up the sale as Danny placed the journal set on the register table. "I'm getting this too," he said to the manager.
"Danny, we're only supposed to get your supplies," Tonks reminded him.
"I know," Danny said quickly, "but this way I can talk with my family while I'm here without having to use an owl."
Tonks looked thoughtful for a moment. "I guess we’ll have enough galleons…okay. We're getting this too," she nodded to the manager.
"Would a pen or pencil work in this?" Danny asked quickly, realizing he had only tested the product with an inked feather.
"Yes, any form of writing instrument will suffice," the manager nodded. "These journals were made particularly with muggleborns in mind. Apparently in some communities, it's odd for owls to appear carrying parcels," he chuckled.
"Imagine that," Danny muttered.
"That will be twenty-two galleons in all," the manager continued, not hearing Danny's comment. Tonks handed the man the appropriate amount of gold coins out of the money bag and put a quick spell on the books to shrink them to a manageable size. "Have a good day," he nodded before walking into the store's backroom.
As Danny and Tonks left the store, he thought about the amount of books they had just bought, and how odd that may have looked. "Tonks, what did the manager say when you asked for four years' worth of school books?"
Tonks laughed, "He was particularly interested in why we wanted The Standard Book of Spells Grades 1-4. Otherwise it wouldn't have looked as suspicious, especially since you aren't studying any of the third year elective courses. So," Tonks continued, seeing Danny's inquiring face, "I told him that a bunch of Cornish Pixies got hold of your old school books and you needed to replace them."
"What are Cornish Pixies?" Danny asked.
"You'll read about them, I'm sure," Tonks said idly. "Now, time to get your wand!"
Danny grinned. This was what he was truly excited for. Admittedly, the spell books and potions ingredients were pretty interesting, but the wand was the pinnacle of the day's shopping run. The wand would be the definitive proof that he was a wizard. He followed the young auror through the bustling street towards the south end of the alley. Between two dingy looking stalls stood a shop with a sign that read 'Ollivander's: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC' at the end of an outlet. In his excitement, Danny was almost walking in front of Tonks at this point, and by the time they reached the old shop, he entered the store before she did.
The shelves were filled to over-capacity with long, thin boxes, and Danny got the impression that he had just walked into a shoe store for people with incredibly narrow feet. Knowing what the boxes held however, Danny felt like a kid in a candy shop; he wanted to open them all and start casting spells.
No sooner had this thought crossed his mind, an elderly man appeared from behind a very tall stack of boxes next to the cashier desk.
"Wotcher, sir," Tonks nodded, lightly pushing Danny towards the counter.
"Ah, Miss Nymphadora Tonks, twelve and a half inches, pear, unicorn tail hair, reasonably pliant, correct?" the old man spoke immediately, looking at Tonks intently.
"Yes sir, and it's just Tonks," she said, shaking her head in a mixture of bemusement and annoyance.
Danny looked between the two incredulously. "How did you know that?" Danny asked.
"I remember every wand I have ever sold," he responded with pride, switching his intent gaze to him. After another moment, he titled his head. "You are older than a first year student, yet I don't recall selling to you before. Though you do look familiar...what's your name, young man?"
"Danny," Danny answered slowly. He seemed to be waiting for more, so keeping in mind what Tonks had said earlier, he cautiously added, "Fenton."
"Fenton, hmmm..." the man tilted his head in thought. "You reminded me of...well, never mind that. Let's see now, an American...perhaps you are the owner of a Greystone wand? That old fool is still experimenting with niffler hairs, I believe—"
"Uh, I don't have a wand, that's why I'm here," Danny interrupted hesitantly, confused by the man's musings. Danny glanced at Tonks and was surprised to see her look a bit wary.
"Excellent!" the old man yipped, immediately dropping his last train of thought. "Which is your wand arm?"
"Well, I'm right-handed..."
The old man rushed away as a small tape measure zoomed toward him and started measuring his arm, and his fingers, and the length of his fingernails, and his earlobes. The tape measure continued measuring all over, but when it tried to measure the width of his front tooth, Danny swatted it away with an annoyed yelp. "Who did I remind him of?" Danny asked, turning to Tonks, ignoring the little tape measure still attempting to do its job.
Tonks did not answer right away, and stared at the back door to see whether the man had returned. When she decided they were alone, she said, "I would assume either James or Harry, though most likely Harry based on the age. When you said your last name was Fenton he seemed very confused." She frowned at this point, "Most people recognize Harry because of his scar, so the connection between you and the Potters really isn't that obvious, but Ollivander has a fantastic memory, and it's a tad concerning that he may have already seen the likeness between you two."
Before Danny could reply, Ollivander had returned holding a dark violet box. "Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance," he began, opening the box in a rush and then carefully picking up the slender piece of wood inside it. “We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard's wand." The man handed the wand to Danny very gently and said, "Hornbeam, twelve and a quarter inches, unicorn hair, swishy."
Danny took the wand by the handle and waited, but nothing happened. "You need to wave it a bit," Tonks chuckled, as Ollivander nodded encouragingly.
Feeling slightly foolish, Danny waved the wand, but no sooner had he made the motion, the old man snatched the wand out of his hand, put it back in the box, and rushed away again muttering, "No, not that one."
As he disappeared in the back, Tonks leaned closer to Danny with a smirk. "Mr. Ollivander gives that speech to every new customer, barely changes a word," she whispered.
Danny stifled his laughter as the old man rushed back moments later with a pale green box. "Chestnut, phoenix feather, nine inches, rather pliant."
Danny soon realized that this would be a common occurrence after the fifth time it happened ("Ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy.") and resigned himself to a long process. At first he felt bad for using the old man's time up, but Ollivander seemed to be enjoying himself more after each failed attempt at a match.
"Ollivander likes a challenge," Tonks winked as he rushed away with the twelfth failed attempt ("Fourteen and a half inches, maple, unicorn hair, supple.")
"Well, I hope he likes the Sunday Times crossword, 'cause this is taking a while," Danny sighed. "Maybe I'm not a wizard after all—"
"Oh don't be stupid, Danny," she said, shaking her head. "You wouldn't have been able to see the Leaky Cauldron if you weren't a wizard."
Somewhat reassured, Danny waited for Ollivander to rush back with another box. The new box Ollivander held was a silver tinted box with icy blue traces around the edges. Ollivander ripped the lid off and gently lifted the wand out. "Eleven inches, yew, dragon heartstring, pliable, excellent for transfiguration," he declared, handing the wand over.
Danny knew immediately that there was something different about this wand. The moment his fingers touched the handle, a chill drifted up his arm and engulfed his body. Rather than unsettling, the chill was quite comforting, and he could feel his chilled ghost core inside him reach out to the wand. An icy blue breath exhaled out of his mouth, his ghost sense dissipating quickly in the warm air, and yet Danny knew there was no ghost nearby. Rather, his ghost sense was welcoming a new extension to his paranormal arsenal. Seemingly to echo his ghost powers' reaction, the wand spat controlled bursts of green light, with a light blue mist swirling around it.
"How intriguing," Ollivander breathed, staring at Danny in a look of awed assessment. "I have never in my life as a wandmaker witnessed a reaction like that. The wand reacts of course, but for the wizard to have a visible reaction as well...how curious. Nevertheless, I believe it is safe to say this wand has chosen you, young man."
Danny merely nodded, still captivated by what had just happened.
"That will be seven galleons," he continued, more so to Tonks as Danny was still in his own little world. The witch handed the man seven gold coins and thanked him.
Danny muttered a quiet, "Thanks," as Tonks shuffled him out the door. I have a wand...a real magic wand...I guess I really am a wizard. Hardly believing his own thoughts, Danny smiled.
“Danny, wake up.”
“Whassgoinon?” Danny articulated, rolling over in bed. A week had gone by since arriving in London and Danny still hadn't adjusted to the time difference. Of course, Danny rarely slept at home as it was due to ghost activity, but he was used to being exhausted at two entirely different points of the day.
Life in Grimmauld Place had already fallen into some sort of routine. For Danny, he had been given a study schedule the moment he returned from Diagon Alley. Danny would wake up with the rest of the household, and as everyone else set about various cleaning tasks, he would study his class textbooks. At the moment, he was limited to the seven core classes of Hogwarts: Astronomy, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, and Transfiguration. After lunch, Danny would join everyone else in their cleaning duties, which Ron in particular was glad to see ("Why should Danny be exempt from cleaning?!"). Rounding off the day after dinner would be Danny's practical studying, which would always be supervised by an adult. With the exception of the night Danny returned home from Diagon Alley, during which he actually started studying his books on his own free will, Sirius had so far been supervising his spell work. Danny was proud to say he hadn't blown anything up yet, which Ginny revealed to him usually happened to one first year student every year (in Ron's year it was a boy named Seamus Finnigan).
So far, Transfiguration was his favorite subject. Maybe it was because it was his best subject, meaning he actually understood what the text was saying and was performing these spells the best out of his other practicals, or maybe it was just the mystique of being able to transform something into another completely different object. Of course, transfiguring matches into needles was not exactly mind blowing, but it was nice to hear Sirius's praise as he successfully transfigured the match on his first try.
Defense was his next favorite class, mostly because it reminded him of ghost fighting. Defense was the one class that was not only learning material; you had to already have the nerve and instinct to carry out what you have been taught. The material on its own was pretty interesting, but Danny liked the fact that it was not purely based out of books. Potions was his next favorite class because it reminded him of Chemistry, a class he had really been looking forward to for sophomore year at Casper High. Out of all his classes, it was the most precise and science based...as much as magic can be called science at least.
Danny enjoyed Charms because it was the most "magical" in his opinion. It seemed like the stereotypical magic tricks one would see a magician perform, like levitation and such, but he was actually learning the magic of it rather than a cheap parlor trick. Astronomy would have been a very interesting class, mostly because of his dream of being an astronaut, but since he was not allowed to go outside (it was too dangerous apparently) he could not do the practical portion of Astronomy, and quite honestly, he already knew the moons of Jupiter. Danny held a certain appreciation for Herbology, mostly out of respect for Sam, but he did not have the same green thumb as she did, and he was thankful that he would not have to go near some of the plants described in the book so far. Finally, History of Magic had to be the dullest subject of them all. It was like his school history classes but now he had more events to memorize for the same dates. Danny could just imagine getting a question back at Casper High after all this magical studying about what event killed millions in Europe during the 14th century, and instead of answering the Bubonic Plague, he would probably end up giving a lengthy answer about goblin rebellions.
In addition to his studying and cleaning, Danny was also constantly chatting with Jazz, thanks to the journals he bought in Diagon Alley. Before leaving for Grimmauld Place, Danny had Tonks wait as he wrote in the journal he was planning on keeping:
He gave the journal with the blue replica of his message and the accompanying bracelet to Tonks, who had promised to mail it the muggle way at her first opportunity. Two days later, Danny felt the band on his wrist tingle with warmth during dinner, alerting him to a message in his journal. He opened it to find Jazz's handwriting in red with the message:
To which Danny replied:
This of course spurred a lengthy conversation explaining the journals' function to his logical sister. Danny told her about the bracelet and its ability to signal when a new message has been sent, but after his explanation Jazz had written:
The next morning, Danny told Jazz about his day in Diagon Alley (after Jazz berated him for waking her up at five in the morning) and about a lot of what he had been learning so far, but this was cut short when Mrs. Weasley found him writing in his journal instead of studying. It was at this point in time when Jazz made a fantastic suggestion.
Danny figured that she only meant for him to make one duplicate, but Jazz's idea had merit. The more duplicates he could create, the faster he could get through the books. He would get through his work so much faster! Though this strategy would not work on his practical study times, it was perfect for reading the textbooks. So thanks to Jazz, Danny had found a way to accelerate his learning, even if it had not been her original intent.
As Danny quickly learned, there were many people who would often drop by the house for Order of the Phoenix meetings. Some, like Tonks, would stay for a meal and help clean, while others would arrive for meetings and leave immediately after. At first, Danny felt upset about being excluded from the meetings, but he learned almost immediately that the Weasley children were not allowed either and thus he did not feel nearly as bad. Ginny had kept up a very good commentary of people as they would arrive for meetings, as many of them were teachers at Hogwarts.
"That's Mad-Eye Moody," she said, pointing over the edge of the second floor banister that she and Danny were standing at to the entry way where people were shuffling in. She was pointing to a heavily scarred man with a fake leg and walking stick. Just as Danny was thinking he was very weathered-looking, Danny got the feeling that he was being watched, and seconds later, Moody looked up at the two of them. Danny almost gasped out loud at the eye that was swirling around in his eye socket.
"That's Professor Flitwick, he's the Charms professor," she said, pointing to a very short man. "That's Professor McGonagall; she's the Transfiguration professor and the head of Gryffindor."
This statement prompted a discussion about the four houses of Hogwarts, which revealed that the Weasley family and Sirius were all Gryffindors, as well as Harry. She also said that Professor Flitwick was the head of Ravenclaw.
"And Snape's the head of Slytherin," she added, pointing at a greasy haired man with a pointed hook nose. "He's the Potions professor—"
"—and the biggest git in the school," Fred finished, him and George joining them at the banister. "That's Mundungus Fletcher," he said, joining the commentary and pointing out a very dodgy-looking man in a hooded coat, "and Kingsley Shacklebolt, a senior auror," he added, pointing to a dark-skinned man who had just walked in with Mr. Weasley.
"He's in charge of Sirius's case," George smirked, "he's been feeding them a bunch of false leads."
"There's Bill," Ginny said, pointing to a man in flaming red hair like the rest of his family, pulled into a ponytail at the nape of his neck.
"And Professor Lupin," Fred rounded off, pointing to a shabby looking man who Sirius immediately greeted like a brother.
Danny quickly met all of the people originally pointed out to him, with the exception of Snape who, as of yet, had never stuck around long enough for Danny to see him. Out of the teachers, Mr. Lupin was the only one to stick around for one of his practicals so far, and he had promised to help him with his studies whenever he needed it.
So much had happened in the past few days that Danny could hardly believe that it had only been a week in London. It had been a week, and yet, Danny still had not adjusted to the time difference. Thus, the usual early morning wakeup call was not at all appreciated.
“Mum has breakfast ready.”
Danny groaned in response.
“Oh come on,” Ginny huffed, “Even Ron’s awake.”
“No I’m not,” Ron grumbled across the room.
“Boys,” Ginny sighed, abandoning her attempts and leaving the boys to their room.
Reluctantly, Danny pulled the blankets off of him, yet remained lying in bed. “We should probably get up.”
“Mrmph,” Ron mumbled.
“Someone’s coming today, right?” Danny asked, finally sitting up in bed.
“Loads of people from the Order come and go every day,” Ron replied smartly.
Danny let out an irritated sound, “I meant one of your friends. Harmony, was it? Or Hermy—?”
“Hermione!” Ron bolted up in bed. “Finally, contact with the outside world!” All signs of grogginess gone, Ron rushed around the room to change. Danny followed at a much slower rate, not nearly as energized as Ron, and sighed. He supposed it was Ron’s friendship with Harry that was making him act this way, but Danny was starting to get peeved by Ron’s attitude. With Dumbledore’s orders, Ron had no communication with any of his friends, especially Harry. In those regards, Danny was a sore replacement. If Ron was any indicator of how Harry’s friends would treat him, he wasn't all that excited to meet Hermione.
As it was, Ron was not the only one upset by the lack of communication. Danny quickly became acquainted with a puff ball of an owl known as Pigwidgeon, or Pig for short, who had also taken residence in the boys’ room. The little bird was Ron’s pet owl, and the poor thing was unable to go out and fly as often as it would like due to the communication block. In fact, most of the house’s occupants, being the kids and Sirius, were on house arrest for safety reasons. Danny could certainly sympathize with the trapped owl, he was starting to feel stir crazy without being able to go out and fly himself.
By the time Danny had changed and made his way downstairs, Ron had almost finished eating breakfast and was asking Mrs. Weasley about his friend.
"When's she getting here?" he asked as Danny entered the kitchen.
"Minerva should be bringing her over by lunch," Mrs. Weasley replied, scooping a bit of scrambled eggs on Danny's plate.
"So she gets to skip morning cleaning," Ginny pouted. "Lucky her, I'm not excited to clean out this kitchen."
"Yeah, that doesn't sound fun," Danny commented airily. "Ow!" he exclaimed with a laugh, as Ginny punched his shoulder.
"I'm sure there will be plenty of cleaning left in the kitchen for you both to join in," Mrs. Weasley placated.
"Yay," Danny sighed dully as the twins snorted.
"How are your studies going, Danny?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"All right," Danny said neutrally, thinking of the six doppelgangers he had left in his room studying. He was leaving Transfiguration for himself. "I'm a bit more than halfway through year one of Transfiguration," he offered, conveniently leaving out that he was also halfway through his other six classes.
"Well, don't burn yourself out, this is a holiday," she said gently. Danny had to keep himself from rolling his eyes.
Ron scoffed, "Some holiday, we're cleaning all day."
"You wanted to help the Order, and this is how you can do it!" Mrs. Weasley said crossly.
"I think the house would make a good practice location for dueling," Sirius said, entering the kitchen and grabbing an apple off the table.
"See, even Sirius wants us to leave the house as is," George grinned.
"I didn't say that," Sirius said quickly, noticing Mrs. Weasley's glare. "Consider cleaning the house auror training, you have no idea what kind of dark objects you'll come across."
"Oh yeah, great training," Fred scoffed. "Look out, Ginny! Beware the dust of the cursed curtains!" The children dissolved into giggles as Mrs. Weasley huffed and Sirius tried to keep a responsible straight face. He failed miserably.
Seven Dannys continued their studying...well, six of them were. The History of Magic Danny had abandoned his reading efforts and hour ago and was currently writing in the journal to Jazz (despite the fact she was currently sleeping). The original Danny was reading a passage about the etymology of the Avifors spell when—
"FILTHY HALF BREEDS! BLOOD TRAITORS AND F—"
Mrs. Black's painting was screaming downstairs. Danny had met Mrs. Black a couple days ago as Tonks was leaving when she knocked over the swamp creature leg (which he now knew was a troll leg). Knowing that Tonks was the only one clumsy enough to accidentally wake up Mrs. Black and she was currently at work, and the Order members usually remembered not to ring the doorbell, Danny figured that Hermione had finally arrived. If all of Harry’s friends can stay over here, why can’t mine? Danny thought bitterly, closing his Transfiguration book and dispelling his doppelgangers.
As Danny made his way down stairs, he heard voices in the hallway (accompanied by the twins' efforts to close Mrs. Black's curtains), and decided to make a beeline for the kitchen. He opened the door to find Sirius hovering over the stove.
"Are you cooking lunch today?" Danny asked with a smirk. "Because if so, I'm going back upstairs."
Especially after their late night chat, Danny and Sirius were getting along great. In fact, Sirius was probably the one person in the household that he felt completely comfortable around. The pair would have plenty of time to chat during Danny's practical magic lessons, and it was just the type of interaction he needed, with Ron's not-so-hidden hostility and the twins' exuberance to deal with. Sirius also seemed to really enjoy talking with him, but based on what he revealed to Danny that night, he was not all that surprised. Danny also felt like he could relate with the man somewhat; Sirius was basically being held captive in this house, and Danny could certainly empathize. He had never felt so confined before in his life, and that is including when Walker put him in Ghost Zone jail. What he would give to go out flying just once.
Sirius rounded on him and pointed a wooden spoon at him, “You liked the butterbeer I made!”
“Yes, but that was a drink,” Danny allowed. “Ginny told me you melted a pot trying to make pasta the other day.”
Sirius pouted, "For your information, I'm making sure the food doesn't burn while Molly is welcoming Hermione. Nothing's burning!" he added, misreading Danny's scowl.
"It's not that," Danny sighed.
"Then what is it?" Sirius stepped away from the counter and gave his full attention to Danny. This was something that Danny really appreciated about Sirius. He was like the uncle that Danny never had (Aunt Alicia's ex-husband didn't count). Despite the irresponsible childlike persona he clearly had within him, albeit hidden by the years of depression he suffered through, he also had a responsible side, which Danny figured was fostered by caring for Harry (it certainly wasn't the prison time).
Distantly, Danny heard Mrs. Black's cries cease and the only things he could hear were mumbled conversation from the hallway and the simmer of water on the stove. He sighed, not really sure how to explain his annoyance. Deciding he should just start talking and see where that got him, Danny took a breath, "It's—"
The door to the kitchen burst open, the twins bounding past him in a blur of red. Danny watched the two in amusement as they immediately made their way to the stove until—
Before Danny could even turn around, he was tackled from behind and two arms wrapped around his neck. Danny was still trying to reign in his instincts as he was forced to turn around, where he met the shocked face of a girl his age with bushy brown hair. Behind him, he could hear the twins laughing. The girl stared at him for another moment before hastily retracting her arms. "I'm so sorry! I thought you were...well obviously you're not. I'm sorry, you looked just like Harry from behind—"
"And what does that mean, 'Mione?" Fred snickered.
"I meant his hair," she said crossly, glaring at Fred. "It sticks up in the back just like Harry's does. And he's the same height, and—"
"And once again, we've dissolved to the 'he looks similar to Harry for these reasons' conversation," Danny sighed. Looking past the girl, who he assumed by this point to be Hermione, he saw Ginny who was smirking in amusement, and Ron, who surprisingly looked livid. Behind them, Mrs. Weasley and Professor McGonagall were talking in the hallway, the former probably offering the latter to stay for lunch. I hope she does stay, I have a question about the Avifors and Avis spells...
"-this is Danny, not Harry," Ginny was saying as Danny reentered the conversation.
"Well, nice to meet you, Danny," Hermione said, holding out a hand. "I'm Hermione Granger."
Deciding this contact was much preferred to her tackling him, Danny shook her hand. "Nice to meet you, too."
"So, you're Harry's twin brother? They were telling me a little in the hallway..." she continued as the women joined them in the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley immediately went to relieve Sirius from tending the food, which both she and Sirius were grateful for, and started getting everything ready to serve. Everyone, including Professor McGonagall, started making their way towards the table. Danny tried to find a seat near the professor, and was not all that surprised when Hermione sat down next to him. Ron, however, looked highly annoyed as he sat on the other side of her.
"Yup, I am," he sighed, finally answering her question.
"You don't sound thrilled about it," she frowned.
"I'm just overwhelmed," Danny admitted as food was placed on the table. "Learning I have a magical British twin brother was a shocker, and then I learned I'm a wizard, and then within the week I'm brought to England to meet said brother, only to arrive and find out that he wouldn't be here for a month. So yeah, I'm not a happy camper."
"That makes sense," Hermione said. "I was really surprised when I found out I was a witch, but I guess I always knew there was something odd about me. Now I know that all the weird stuff that happened to me as a kid was accidental magic, so when I was finally given a reason to why it was happening, things just made a lot of sense. I'm just surprised that you're just learning about magic. Did you ever have that feeling that something was different?"
"Honestly, weird stuff is kind of normal in my family, so if something happened, I just attributed it to my parents' experiments," Danny shrugged, deciding not to bring up his scar; that certainly qualified as different, however he was not ready to share that yet.
"My parents are ghost hunters," Danny explained. "They have a lab in the basement of our house and they're always inventing things and such."
"Fascinating," Hermione breathed. She seemed about ready to start another line of conversation, and eager to avoid more questioning about himself, he looked towards Professor McGonagall.
"Professor, I have a question," he asked quickly, just as Hermione opened her mouth.
McGonagall looked towards Danny with a slightly surprised look, while Hermione looked slightly put out. "Yes, Mr. Fenton?"
"I had a question about the Avifors spell," he began, while piling food on his plate. "Avifors is what you use to transfigure an object into a bird, right?" At McGonagall's nod, he continued, "Well, I was reading the textbook, and it mentioned a spell that would be learned later called Avis."
"Yes, that is a sixth year conjuring spell," McGonagall confirmed. "Far above the level you're studying right now, though I am impressed you are already studying the Forma class of spells, that's past the halfway point of first year."
Danny shrugged, "Transfiguration is my favorite subject so far, so I'm going through it faster than I thought." McGonagall, despite her consistently strict complexion, seemed to let out a small smile. "But I had a question about the difference between the two spells. The introduction to the book mentioned the classes of transfiguration spells, which includes conjuring, so that would be Avis, but the Avifors spell is a relatively simple transformation spell. Avifors transforms an object into a bird whereas Avis conjures a bird from nothing. Well, the intro mentioned briefly that conjuring had limitations but it didn't say anything about transformations. So I guess my question is what's the difference between the two spells, other than difficulty?"
McGonagall seemed slightly stunned by the question while Hermione was openly staring at him. Everyone else at the table was already engrossed in their lunch. Quickly regaining her bearings, McGonagall said, "Very good observation, Mr. Fenton, I'm surprised you've put this much thought into your studies already."
"I just think a lot about things when they don't make sense," Danny shrugged.
McGonagall gave him a calculating look before speaking again, "Well, to answer your question, yes, conjuring does have limitations. The most important limitation in this situation is that of time. Anything that is conjured will disappear after time, depending on the strength of the spell. So a bird conjured from Avis will disappear after a time. A transformed bird from Avifors, however, will not disappear over time, as it has a physical basis for the magic to set on."
"So why is the more complicated spell the more useless of the two?" Danny asked. "That doesn't make sense."
"A conjured bird is completely made up from magic, but because of this, it is more pure. Thus, a conjured bird is a more true form of a bird, and everything about it is the same as a real bird, until it disappears," McGonagall began, beginning to butter her bread roll. "The transformed bird, however, is not a pure imitation of a bird as it is composed of a completely unrelated object, such as a goblet or a small wooden box. It merely looks like a real bird, but will never be the real thing."
"So Avifors transforms a copy of a bird that looks like one but isn't really a bird, and Avis creates a true bird, until it disappears," Danny relayed back.
"Essentially," McGonagall nodded. "Very good, Mr. Fenton," she added before starting on her lunch, and entering a conversation with Mrs. Weasley.
"So you're studying Hogwarts subjects?" Hermione asked as Danny as he shoveled a bite of food into his mouth.
Danny nodded, allowing himself time to swallow. "The core subjects, yeah. I've been working for a week."
"And you're already on the Forma chapter?" she asked.
Danny shrugged, taking another bite of food. I'm also halfway through Potions, and Charms, and...
"Well, if you need any help, I'm obviously going to be around, so don't be afraid to ask for help," she continued. "Professors won't always be around to answer questions, and we've already done this material."
"I'll be sure to ask if I need it," Danny said quickly before focusing on his food. Danny almost let out a sigh of relief when Ginny started talking to Hermione, but managed to restrain himself. If only Hermione would talk to him less (She asks so many questions!) and Ron would talk to him more, he imagined he would be getting along with Harry’s friends much better. As Danny scooped a bite of food into his mouth, he thought, If I have to deal with this for another month, meeting Harry better be worth it. From what he experienced so far with Harry’s friends, somehow, he didn't think it would be.
Okay, just a few things to share.
First of all, some clarification about the spells Danny was asking about. While the 'Avis' and 'Avifors' spells do exist, McGonagall's explanation was purely speculation on my part. Also, the whole 'Forma' class of spells is of my creation, based on the Latin word 'forma' meaning 'form', which is the basis of the spells 'Draconifors', 'Avifors', 'Lapifors', etc., so it made sense to group these spells into their own family which I'm classifying as 'Forma' spells.
Secondly, Danny's wand. I went into SO much detail in my head to make sure I gave Danny the right wand, you don't even want to know how much time I spent on it. If you have any questions about my reasons, shoot me a message :)
Finally, two of the featured wands that Danny struck out with aren't just random. The third wand listed was one of the wands Harry tried out, and the fourth is my personal wand from Pottermore :)
Chapter 6: Caged for Too Long
Last time: Danny went to Diagon Alley for the first time to get school supplies, and began his magic studies (with a little speed boost courtesy of Jazz). Also, Danny met another of Harry's friends, Hermione.
~ July 9th ~
"Tired?" Danny asked, trying to follow Jazz's advice and reach out to the redhead.
Ron bolted up, startled, but when he saw Danny he scowled and laid back down. "You wouldn't know," he grumbled.
Frowning, Danny turned away from the two-way journal. He could already see this going downhill. "I cleaned just as much as you did this afternoon," Danny pointed out.
"Yeah, and while I was attacked by a teapot this morning, you were attacked by first year Charms," he muttered.
Danny snorted, which was probably the wrong thing to do as Ron gave him a swift glare. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Danny closed the journal and gave his full attention to the irritable redhead. "Look, I don't know what has you so pissed off at me, but this is getting ridiculous. I know I'm not Harry, and honestly, I'm just as frustrated as you are about him not being here. But at least your family's here, at least your friends are here, at least you haven't been thrown into a world that is completely unlike your own—"
"Sure, my family's here. My family's here while yours is sitting safe at home in America, away from all of this!" Ron spat, sitting up in bed again. “You've never had to worry about something bad like this happening to your family! Where were you when Harry’s been in the line of fire?”
"Too weak to escape, and you're too late to save them."
Danny hastily pushed that memory to the back of his mind, desperately trying to keep his cool in front of Ron. He chose not to respond to Ron's jibe, not wanting anything to slip. Not even Sam, Tucker, or Jazz knew that he had watched them die that day before Clockwork fixed everything. Sure, they knew about the alternate future, but they didn't know that Danny had lived through it himself. He wasn't ready to share that quite yet.
"All of a sudden, Harry’s long-lost brother appears from nowhere," Ron continued very mockingly, "completely oblivious to everything. You're here studying basic spells, and everyone you care about is stuffed safely out of the way—”
"Stuffed safely?!" Danny repeated, his anger starting to leak out. "Do you have any idea how much has been thrown at me in the past two weeks? I'm adopted, I'm a wizard, and I have a twin brother, all things that I did not want to learn just before ending the school year. I left my friends and family under the impression that I'd be meeting Harry, only to find out that I wouldn't be meeting him for a month and in the meantime, magic books have been shoved down my throat. And for your information, my family and friends aren't exactly sitting at home completely safe from everything. You don't know what I had to give up to come here—!"
"You-Know-Who hasn't spread to America, has he?"
Danny started, surprised by the new voice that spoke from behind him. He turned to see Hermione standing by the door. "No, he hasn't," Danny answered stiffly, still worked up. "Just because an evil wizard isn't after my family just yet, doesn't mean they're safe."
"Just what did you have to give up to 'vacation' in England for the summer anyway?" Ron challenged.
"Ron!" Hermione admonished, watching Danny with slightly wide eyes to gauge his reaction.
Danny had had enough. He slammed the pencil that was still in his hand on top of his closed journal and stormed out of the room, hearing the beginning of what sounded like Hermione lecturing Ron. Making his way down the stairs, he paused when he heard voices in the kitchen. Sirius, Kingsley, and Lupin were talking behind the door, but their conversation was too muffled for him to hear. Seeing that the coast was clear, he walked quietly through the entry hallway. He paused once more at the door, alarm bells ringing in his mind. He had been told specifically that he had to stay inside the house. For his own safety. Danny scoffed. He had ghost powers, what could possibly go wrong? Glancing up the hall again, he muttered very quietly, "Going Ghost."
The familiar thrill of ghost energy rushed through him as a bright white ring erupted around his waist, splitting in two and sending rings to the ends of his body. His blue jeans and white t-shirt shifted into black hazmat, and his black hair grew silver. Icy blue eyes closed as he changed, and as the transformation ended, glowing green eyes snapped open with childlike mischief. Checking one last time that the coast was clear, Danny Phantom went intangible and phased through the front door of number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Perhaps it was being confined to a dark, dingy, and downright depressing household that had affected him, but Danny could not remember the last time it felt so good to fly. Joy coursed through him as he flew at top speeds into the sky, the wind whipping his face as he laughed in soft ecstasy. He remembered the first time he flew without falling out of the sky or losing control and it was nothing like this moment. This had been the longest he had gone without using his ghost powers since first attaining them, with the not-so-satisfying exception of making duplicates for homework. His powers were usually used for catching a rouge ghost that had escaped the Ghost Zone, and this flight was for pure enjoyment. I should do this more often, Danny sighed, flipping in midair. He hovered for a moment, looking down at the ground below him, and gasped. He must have been thousands of feet above London! He had not realized how rapidly he had been ascending while releasing his pent up energy.
Unused energy still surging through him, he built up a ball of ectoplasm and threw it away from him, watching as it exploded in a shower of green sparks. He repeated the process several times, eventually trying to emulate various styles of fireworks. After successfully completing a pinwheel firework, he performed some extravagant and completely superfluous flips and spins in the air. He created a couple duplicates and started flying around with them as well, continuing the fireworks display with the added help. I did miss the Fourth of July, after all, he rationalized with a smile.
He continued his controlled bursts of ghost energy for a solid half an hour, high above the city of London. The adrenaline finally flowing out of him, his doppelgangers popped out of existence and he kept hovering in place, peacefully looking at the sky around him. He took a moment to stare at the specks of light that dotted the landscape below him, trying to pinpoint which small cluster was Grimmauld Place. Hoping that his ascent had been completely vertical, Danny started flying back towards the ground, though at a much gentler pace than he had flying up.
He reminded himself once again of Jazz's advice to try and befriend them, but he could not help but think that it would be impossible. Regardless, he did have another month or so until he met Harry, and he would rather spend that time on somewhat civil terms with Harry's best friends.
As Grimmauld Place came back into view and he let himself go invisible, Danny decided to ask Ron and Hermione, and the other inhabitants of number 12, more about Harry. Maybe that would tone down Ron's anger a bit, and at the same time he would learn about his brother.
Danny landed in the Grimmauld Place outdoor plaza and started walking towards the building, but what he saw made his blood run cold—or, his ectoplasm run colder. "Oh no," Danny moaned. The moonlight glittered off of number 11, and a tree branch masked the shadowed 13.
But the clouded silver 12 was gone.
Jazz frowned looking at her own writing in her journal. Danny had yet to answer her questions, and it had been about ten minutes at that point. Her questions really weren't that difficult, they were mostly meant for comic relief. She scribbled a quick goodbye just as she heard a knock at the front door. She closed her journal and hid it in her desk drawer. Though her parents knew the journal existed and knew of its magical properties, there was no telling what would happen if a visiting friend found the two-way journal. Jazz was actually surprised her mother had yet to insist to write to Danny.
After another impatient knock on the door, Jazz hurried downstairs. She opened the front door to find an irate Sam at the door, with Tucker hovering behind her.
"What took so long?" Sam asked as she and Tucker walked in the house. Jazz probably would have been offended by the comment if she had not known Sam for as long as she did.
"I was upstairs writing, and I'm the only one in the house," Jazz answered. "I'm not Danny; I can't take the shortcut and travel through floors."
"Noted," Sam smirked.
"Speaking of Danny," Tucker said, "have you talked to him at all since he's been gone? Because we've tried calling him and his phone's not in service." Tucker waved around his own cell in Jazz's face, as if emphasizing the point.
"No, I haven't!" Jazz said a bit quickly.
"Do you know any way of getting in contact with him?" Sam asked.
Jazz bit her lip, "We've been writing letters, but it takes a while to respond."
"Well, can you at least give us some sort of contact info?" Sam asked with folded arms. "If long distance is the issue, I can pay—"
"I just don't know how he's surviving without cell service!" Tucker moaned. Jazz smiled lightly, remembering a conversation with Danny from a few days ago. Neither Danny nor Jazz could figure out just why Danny had no cell reception. Danny and the rest of the Fentons had tried to no avail to contact the other via cell phone.
"Written letters are just gonna have to do, I guess," Sam sighed in defeat. "Do you have his address?"
Jazz's face reddened. "Uh, I don't have it..."
Sam scowled, "Then how are you writing letters?"
"Have you been able to email him?" Tucker asked hopefully. "Because I haven't been able to email him either."
"I don't think he has computer access, and he didn't bring his computer with him," Jazz answered truthfully, remembering one of the first journal conversations she shared with Danny.
"What's so funny?"
Jazz blushed, "Oh, nothing! Um, I don't have Danny's address, but maybe I can ask my mom when she gets home."
"Do you really not know?" Sam asked in suspicion.
"I just know he's in London," Jazz said lightly. She remembered that she was not actually allowed to know where Danny was, which she thought was weird, but she knew that definitely meant Sam and Tucker were not supposed to know. "Why don't you give me any letters you want to send, and we can get them to Danny somehow."
"What about his birthday?" Sam asked.
"Should we give you his present to send to him?"
Jazz nodded hesitantly. "I think that should be fine...I need to talk to my mom."
Sam and Tucker, realizing they probably were not going to get much more out of Jazz, decided to leave. Before walking out the door, Sam turned to ask, "How is Danny doing?"
Jazz sighed. "He's got a lot going on, but I think he's fine," she said after a long pause.
Sam nodded, and Tucker shouted, "Thanks, Jazz!" just as the door closed.
Jazz looked at the closed door and sighed. He'll be fine.
~Borough of Islington, London~
Okay, don't panic.
Danny tried to calm himself down, hovering anxiously in the Grimmauld Place plaza, but the longer he stared at the gap between eleven and thirteen, the more his panic began to mount. What if he was completely locked out forever? It was not as simple as walking up to the front door and knocking to get someone's attention. His available ghost solution could not work either because he could not just phase into the building if it did not exist.
He touched down to the ground, gripping the snowy hair at the back of his head fretfully. "Okay, think," he told himself sternly, his other hand resting on his hip. How did I get in last time? Danny thought back to his arrival in London with Mr. Weasley. One minute, number 12 didn't exist, and then all of a sudden it did. What made it appear...?
"Read this, but don't say it out loud."
'The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London.'
"That's it!" Danny cheered, startling a small animal that had been prowling through the bushes. The movement alerted him that he was still invisible, so Danny reminded himself to stay quiet. Focusing once again on the gap between doors eleven and thirteen, he visualized the thin, neat handwriting that had been presented to him over a week ago. Just as he remembered the words from the piece of paper, a door sprouted between the doors of eleven and thirteen, followed immediately by multiple windows. Before Danny could really register what had happened, number 12 was glaring defiantly at him, in the clouded silver he remembered. Danny hovered in the air again, and turned intangible. As he phased through the door, he childishly stuck his tongue out at the offending number.
Almost immediately after entering the house, Danny nearly yelled in shock. Not more than three feet away stood Kingsley and Lupin speaking in low tones. Danny kept any sound from escaping him, and floated straight up through the ceiling to avoid them. He phased through the floor of the second floor, and overshooting his flight in his haste, phased through the floor of the third floor room above it. After deciding the darkened room was deserted, he regained tangibility and visibility, and returned to his human form.
Danny quickly realized this was a mistake.
He heard an unnatural squawk from behind him and immediately froze in a guilty hunched position. When he heard a continued rustling behind him, he pivoted very slowly and after seeing what was before him, he had to bite back another yell.
The first thing Danny noticed was its head, which sported the largest eagle head he had ever seen in his life. Taking in the rest of the creature, he spotted lethal-looking talons and large folded eagle wings mounted on the body of a feathered horse. This is a hippogriff, Danny realized, remembering the conversation at his first meal in the house. This must be Buckbeak. I hope he's trained...
Just as Danny thought this, the previously hostile-looking creature bowed its head towards him and then seemed to relax back into its resting position on the floor. Recognizing he was no longer in danger, Danny straightened up with a sigh, rolling his neck to crack a tight knot that had formed. His fear having left him—mostly—he slowly walked towards Buckbeak, and when he was close enough he reached out to stroke his beak. Buckbeak seemed to be enjoying the attention so he continued to stroke his beak lightly, until the door suddenly opened.
"There you are!"
Danny turned to see Sirius standing in the doorway, looking tired and relieved, and after a moment he looked shocked.
"Have you been here this whole time?" Sirius asked, stepping into the room. Before he walked too far, he bowed, keeping eye contact with...Buckbeak? Danny followed his gaze and watched as Buckbeak nodded his head just like he had to Danny.
"Why are you bowing to him?" Danny asked, genuinely interested while also trying to avoid the previous question.
Sirius looked even more startled. "You have to bow to a hippogriff to gain their respect, otherwise they won't let you near them. Don't tell me you didn't bow! How're you standing so close?"
"But I didn't bow—oh," Danny paused, remembering his hunched position when he had been facing Buckbeak. Well, that was lucky, he thought, guiltily rubbing the back of his head. "I was already hunched over when I noticed him, so when I did see him, I was too shocked to move...I guess that qualifies as a bow." Danny grinned sheepishly, his hand falling to his side.
Sirius stared at him for a moment before letting out a strained chuckle. "I can't believe you've been up here this whole time," he sighed. Danny did not bother to correct this assumption as it worked in his favor very well. "Everyone's been looking for you for half an hour," he continued, beckoning Danny towards the hallway. Danny left the room with him, giving a last glance at Buckbeak while feeling very guilty for the trouble he put people through. "Hermione said you and Ron had a little spat—"
"It's fine," Danny interrupted with a slight scowl, no longer feeling guilty for the search. "I just got a little too worked up, so I left the room to cool off a bit. Somehow I ended up in Buckbeak's room..." Danny trailed off unconvincingly, but Sirius thankfully did not question it. “I’m sorry for the trouble—”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sirius said, waving it off. “You’re fine, that’s all that matters. I’d hate to send a letter explaining that we lost you after less than two weeks.”
Danny appreciated the small attempt at humor, but he could not manage more than a small smile. As they reached the second floor landing, Danny asked, “When is Harry going to be here?”
Sirius sighed heavily. “Hopefully soon,” he answered after a moment. “Harry is not the type of person who likes to be confined with no news of the outside world, and unfortunately that’s exactly what we have to do until he gets here. When he comes is up to Dumbledore.”
“Have you been able to talk to him?” Danny asked curiously.
“A bit,” Sirius said with a humorless chuckle. “I don’t think Harry likes the small messages we send though. We can’t include anything of importance obviously, in case the owls are intercepted, but I've been trying to give him advice and such...ironic coming from me, though. He’s probably getting a good laugh out of my warnings to not do anything rash. Far too much like my reckless behavior.”
“You? Reckless?” Danny gasped, though unable to keep the smirk off his face.
“Cheeky brat,” Sirius muttered with a small laugh. “Good night.”
"Night," Danny mumbled as he reached his bedroom. Sirius clapped a hand on his shoulder briefly and nodded his head with a small smile before retreating towards the stairway.
Danny opened the door gingerly, scoping out the room. He saw Ron getting ready for bed, and quickly looked away from him, not wanting to get into a shouting match with him. Almost immediately after looking away from the redhead, he could practically feel an angry gaze on his back. Ignoring this feeling, Danny made his way to his desk, where his journal and bracelet lay. Remembering guiltily that he had been in the middle of a conversation with Jazz when he stormed out, he opened the journal to his conversation, finding new entries from Jazz.
Danny let out another large yawn, delaying the forkful of breakfast that was on its way to his mouth. He didn't get much sleep the night before as images of exploding Nasty Burgers haunted his dreams. He could not even be mad at Ron for bringing the memory to the front of his mind because he had no way of knowing about Danny's alternate future. At least Danny was used to lack of sleep, so other than the constant yawning throughout breakfast, he was fully functioning.
Barely listening as Mrs. Weasley outlined the cleaning plan for the day, Danny just focused on finishing the food on his plate. He would just follow the group after lunch to wherever they would be cleaning that afternoon.
Something was moving in front of him. Blinking, Danny focused on a hand waving close to his face. "Can I help you?" he asked, watching as Ginny removed her hand with a smirk.
"You're late for class," she said smartly. It was then that Danny realized that everyone had gotten up from the breakfast table and most had left the room or were on their way out.
"Thanks," he mumbled. He put his fork down on his empty plate but made no other motion to move.
Instead of following everyone out of the room, Ginny sat down next to him. "You okay?" she asked.
Meeting her gaze, Danny saw some concern reflected in her eyes. "Yeah," Danny sighed. "I'm just tired."
Ginny studied him for a moment before getting up. "Ignore Ron, he can be tactless sometimes," she said quietly before walking away.
Danny watched her leave before slowly standing up from his seat. As he made his way back to his room, he went over in his head what he wanted to accomplish that morning. Alright, so I have two more chapters of Herbology, History of Magic, and Astronomy, and one chapter for everything else. The Defense chapter isn't very long, and neither is Charms. Transfiguration and Potions will probably take longer. I might be able to move on to second year Defense and Charms today, he mused as he reached his room. Locking the door bolt in place behind him, he took a breath to try and cleanse himself of his exhaustion, and then said, "Going Ghost."
Silver hair, green eyes, and black hazmat suit in place, Danny focused on making his normal six clones to start working. He moved towards his Transfiguration book and opened up the last chapter, but just as he was about to start reading, he noticed something was off.
There were only two other Dannys in the room.
"That's weird," he mumbled to himself. He thought hard about making four more clones, but all he ended up with was an extra head on his own body. "Gah!" he yelled, staring wide eyed at the head on his shoulder. After concentrating hard to rid himself of his extra head, he looked back at the two original clones that were looking back at him with confused gazes.
Danny did not know what was wrong. He had been able to make six clones for the last week and a half, everyday, without fail. What was wrong now?
Sure, the first time he made his duplicates that week and a half ago; he was only expecting to make two clones. He was pleasantly surprised to see six pairs of glowing green eyes staring back at him and he did not think too much of the achievement at the time (though he did wish he could have told Sam and Tucker). As the days wore on, he decided not to question it and passed the occurrence off as a growth in his powers. Now however...
"Uhhhh..." Danny turned towards his two clones. "Why don't you start with Herbology, and then halfway through, switch to Astronomy," he started, pointing to the Danny on his right, "and you can work on Defense, and then Charms, and if you have time History of Magic. I guess I work on Transfiguration for the first half, and then Potions. Don't worry about finishing, just do what you can—" Danny was cut off when he let out a large yawn, which his duplicates copied after. As he watched the clones, the gears started turning in Danny's head.
"That's it!" Danny exclaimed, smiling at his clones. "The reason why I can't make more is because I'm tired. I haven't been using my ghost powers this whole time except to duplicate, so I had a lot of leftover energy."
"And since I went out flying last night—" the Danny on the right started.
"—And used up a lot of that excess energy—" the left Danny continued.
"—I don't have the leftover energy I used to have to make a bunch of duplicates," the original finished. He looked triumphant for a moment for figuring it out, but he soon slumped down on his bed. "I guess I can't go flying much if I want to keep studying at this pace."
The three Dannys in the room said nothing until the left duplicate said, "Shouldn't we start reading?"
The other two Dannys nodded and the original settled into the pillow on his bed and reopened his Transfiguration book to chapter eleven, the last chapter required for first years to study. It would have been much more satisfying if it was the last chapter in the book, but Danny was only halfway through the book. The other half of the book was covered in year two, according to Professor McGonagall. He was slightly jealous of the Danny who would be finishing Charms. Since the Charms textbook, The Standard Book of Spells, Grade One, covered the entire year, he would be completely finished with the book.
Much more satisfying.
The original Danny sighed and looked down at his textbook. 'Important to remember when transfiguring complex objects, one must hold of the details of the original form in mind just as explicitly as the details of the transfigured form...'
Later that night, as the Weasley children and Hermione were playing some sort of exploding card game downstairs, Danny retreated to his room to write to Jazz. Looking down at the last written page, he noticed that Jazz had yet to respond to his last message.
Hoping Jazz was wearing her bracelet, Danny wrote,
Eventually, Danny wrote,
Before Danny could respond, the door to his room opened very loudly. It was not so much the door that was loud; it was what had opened the door.
"When are those ears going to be ready, Fred?" Ron asked leading the group into the room. Fred followed behind him, then George, followed by Hermione and Ginny.
"Patience, little brother, you can't rush genius," Fred answered sagely.
"They'll be done by the end of the week," George finished.
"Why are you making ears?" Danny dared to ask. Ron almost instantly glared at Danny before making a beeline to his bed, determined not to look at Danny again.
"To listen in on Order meetings," Ginny grinned. "We want to know what's going on in there."
"And how are ears going to help?" Danny continued confused. "You all have ears already."
"They're making a product that works like a cup and string telephone," Hermione explained. "Normally I'd disapprove, but I'm rather curious as to what those meetings are about as well."
"Cup and string?" George asked.
"It's the muggle version of what you're making," Hermione explained lightly.
Danny cocked an eyebrow, "That'll work? Why don't you just use a walkie talkie or something? Or a bug?"
"Because magic and electricity don't work together," Hermione explained. "It's more pronounced at Hogwarts, because absolutely nothing electronic will work there due to the saturation of magic in the air, but the same is also true here due to the amount of wards and spells cast on the house."
"So that's why my cell phone has no service!" Danny exclaimed, slapping his hand to his forehead. He turned back to his journal, and wrote,
"No, it's a journal—"
"Huge difference right there," Ron interrupted sarcastically.
"Danny, it's writing back to you," Hermione frowned, staring at the journal. "It's writing in a different color ink, too."
As Hermione looked at the page, Jazz wrote,
"At Florish and Blotts, when Tonks took me to get my school things," Danny answered quickly, still unnerved by Ginny's pale-faced glare. "I'm using it to keep in contact with my sister. It's a Two-Way Journal, so whatever I write appears in her journal, and whatever she writes appears in mine."
"So the red writing is her writing," Hermione asked, still studying the page. Danny was glad that nothing on the page was...questionable, but he was still annoyed by Hermione's prying. "Oh, right, your sister's name is Jazz!"
"What, did you think I would name a diary 'Jazz'?" Danny asked sarcastically, turning back to his journal. Aware of Hermione hovering over his shoulder, he wrote,
Blocking out the conversation of the room, Danny returned to the journal.
Danny brought his copy of A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration down to lunch the next day, hoping that Professor McGonagall would be around to answer a question for him. Looking around at the mostly set table, he frowned, not seeing the aged witch among the lunch crowd.
"You're becoming worse than Hermione," Fred snickered, appearing behind him. "Bringing a book to lunch, I don't believe it—"
"What's wrong with wanting to get your work done?!" Hermione huffed, mostly in her own defense, though she turned with a kind smile to Danny. "What are you working on?"
"I had a question for Professor McGonagall, but she's not here," Danny shrugged, intending to run the book upstairs before lunch began.
"I can help!" Hermione offered immediately. Danny mentally cringed, but decided he'd rather accept the help now so he'd be able to continue working tomorrow morning.
"Okay," Danny sighed. "Well, it's about the spell to turn beetles into buttons—"
"Danny, that's second year material," Hermione frowned.
"And you're going into fifth year, so you should be able to help. Unless that's too advanced for you," Danny quipped.
Hermione huffed, "Do you want my help or not?" Don't answer that! Danny willed himself. "So why are you studying 2nd year Transfiguration?"
"Wow, you're on that already?" Ginny asked. "Are you doing one subject at a time then?"
"No, he's working on all of the subjects," Sirius interjected from his spot at the table. "He's been working on Defense, Charms, and Transfiguration spells. We're starting 2nd year Transfiguration tonight and maybe 2nd year Defense if he gets to that point."
"But Defense Against the Dark Arts doesn't really have that many spells to learn in the earlier years," Ron pointed out. "It's mostly Charms and Transfiguration."
"Which is what my practical classes have focused on," Danny interrupted. "So it's really not that big of a deal that I'm that far in those classes." Danny conveniently left out that he was just as far in his other subjects. "You know what? I think my question has more to do with the application of the spell, so I'll just wait until tonight to ask Sirius."
"What's the question, Danny?" Hermione asked quickly. "I'm sure I can help."
"I'll just ask Sirius tonight, I'm starving." Danny's comment seemed to remind the Weasley boys that they were hungry too, and they strode over to the table just as Mrs. Weasley started laying out food. Danny tried to ignore Hermione's putout look as he joined the table. Maybe if she just minded her own business, she would have been able to help and things would be just fine.
This thought did not quite settle his guilt as he sat beside his godfather and began loading his plate with potatoes.
I haven't received any complaints from the last chapter, but if anyone has a problem with the images and reading the journal posts, please let me know.
Chapter 7: The Thrill of the Hunt
Last time: After a spat with Ron that brought up unwelcome memories, Danny decided to break house arrest to go out flying. Meanwhile, Sam and Tucker confronted Jazz about the lack of available communication with Danny.
“This would be so much more interesting if I could actually make these potions.”
Danny looked up from his Transfiguration text—he had been reading about transfiguring rabbits into slippers since Sirius would be going over it with him that night—to stare at one of his clones. Danny hadn't been out flying since his first night sneaking out, and today was the first day he had been able to create six duplicates again. The original Danny was lying on his stomach reading A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration, which was propped up at the foot of his bed. The Danny who had made the Potions comment was sitting on the floor with his back propped up against the end of the bed.
Danny leaned over his clone’s shoulder to glance at what he was reading. “What would you use a Hair-Raising Potion for?”
His clone shrugged, “I don't know, I’m still reading about it.”
The other clones in the room had barely registered the conversation. One of them was sitting at a desk working on Charms, another two were sitting cross-legged on the floor working on Defense Against the Dark Arts and Herbology. One of them was sitting on the vacant bed that would soon be Harry’s, working on History of Magic, and the last was sitting on the floor with their back to Harry’s bed, working on Astronomy. Danny knew better than to invade Ron’s side of the room.
His clone did have a point though; he had spent half of his money at Diagon Alley on ingredients he had yet to touch. Danny shook his head before returning to his book. He had just found his place again when he heard two sharp raps on the door. Danny looked up in alarm in unison with his clones, and his face paled as he saw the door knob turn.
“I think this is a good place to stop,” Mrs. Weasley announced, wiping her brow lightly with her sleeve. The children and Sirius sighed in visible relief, exhausted from their morning battling the objects littered throughout the 3rd floor guest room. “Who’s ready for lunch?”
The Weasley boys bolted from the room and after a brief scuffle to get down the stairs, there were two loud pops followed by a loud curse from Ron.
Mrs. Weasley let out a long sigh as Ginny chuckled at her brothers’ antics. “I’ll make sure they don’t set the kitchen on fire,” Ginny said before slipping out of the room.
Mrs. Weasley turned to Hermione, “Hermione, could you get Danny and let him know we’re eating lunch early? Sirius and I will finish cleaning up supplies here.”
“Sure, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione agreed quickly, relieved that she would not need to help pack up.
Hermione slipped out of the room, pulling her hair out of a messy ponytail. She ran her fingers through her hair to try and detangle it, wincing as she got caught on a couple knots. She reached the boys’ room door just as she was putting her hair back up into a loose bun, and as she paused, she heard Danny’s voice beyond the door.
“This would be so much easier if I could actually make these potions.”
Hermione silently agreed, and while she did not agree with how fast Danny was progressing, she had to admit some of that was contributed to missing out on the practical applications of many of the subjects. Not to mention he wasn't required to write essays, but maybe that would help him retain more information—
“What would you use a Hair-Raising Potion for?”
“I don’t know, I’m still reading about it.”
Hermione’s eyebrows went up as her hands fell from her hair. At first it seemed as though Danny had merely been talking to himself, but now it sounded as though he was talking to someone, and they responded. But they both sounded like Danny...
Hermione knocked sharply on the door twice to give a brief warning, then turned the handle and pushed the door open.
As the door swung open, she heard several pops and her eyes fell upon a very pained-looking Danny, who was lying rigidly on his stomach and muttered, “Forgot to bolt the door,” to himself. She spotted A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration in front of him, which she found odd considering he had been talking about Potions. Danny rubbed his forehead with a small groan as Hermione took a few steps into the room.
Her eyes wandered the room, and her confusion skyrocketed when she found other textbooks lying open throughout the room. The Potions textbook in question was lying open on the floor by Danny’s bed, opened on the page with ingredients for the Hair-Raising Potion.
“Why do you have so many books open at once?” Hermione asked first, though many other questions buzzed in her mind.
“Well, uh,” Danny flushed, scratching his head idly as he visibly looked for something to say, “I get, uh, bored when doing work sometimes, so...I just switch subjects...and, uh, it’s just easier to leave the books open so I can move from place to place. I can’t sit still,” he finished lamely.
“Okay...” Hermione sighed, clearly not buying Danny’s story, but still waiting to ask other questions. “Who were you talking to then?”
Danny paled this time. “I talk to myself sometimes. It helps me think—”
“But you were responding to someone,” Hermione cut it, “and why were you talking about Potions when you have Transfiguration in front of you?”
“How long were you outside the door?” Danny asked incredulously, though now he held a tone of accusation.
“Long enough,” Hermione answered crisply. “If you think you have methods to breeze through your studies, you have another thing coming. You can’t cheat your way through magic.”
Danny gritted his teeth, “I’m not cheating,” he said lowly, and Hermione noted he looked insulted at the insinuation.
“Maybe not,” Hermione allowed, “but you are up to something. Don’t think you can hide it from us.”
Danny floundered for a moment before he flipped over onto his back, and swung himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. “I don’t need to explain myself to you,” he said stubbornly.
Hermione frowned at the obvious dismissal, but then tried again from another approach. “Danny, you know you can talk to us, right? If you need help with your studies, just ask—”
“Is there a reason why you’re here?” Danny interrupted.
Hermione sighed, recognizing that she was not getting anywhere. “We finished cleaning early, so we’re eating lunch now.”
“Fine,” Danny pushed himself up off the bed, and grabbed a leather band from the nightstand and fastened it around his wrist. “Thanks,” he added quietly.
Hermione nodded tersely and exited the room, hearing Danny follow behind her.
“How are your studies going, Danny?” Mrs. Weasley asked over lunch.
Danny took an overly large bite of his sandwich to stall, noting Hermione’s glare across from him. “They’re going,” he answered neutrally. “I do have a question. Why'd I need to buy potions ingredients if I’m not making any potions?”
He watched as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley shared a pitifully obvious glance at each other before Mrs. Weasley answered with, “Well, once you’re further in your studies you’ll be able to spend time making potions. You might even need them down the road—”
“I’m not staying for the school year,” Danny interrupted. “So it seems like a pretty big waste of bat spleen to have gotten all that stuff and not use it.”
“You need supervision if you’re going to start making potions,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Maybe Sirius—”
“Sorry Danny, but Potions was not one of my strong subjects. James carried my arse—sorry, Molly—James carried me through that class. The only reason he tried so hard was to impress Lily.”
“And how'd that work out?” Danny asked with a large grin.
“It was not one of his successful plans,” Sirius smirked. “But we passed Potions because of it, so I didn't complain.”
The kids laughed while Mrs. Weasley did a poor job of hiding her disapproving frown.
Danny waited until Ron’s snores had been steadily roaring for a good ten minutes before making his move. The last time Danny had snuck out, the house had been buzzing with activity, and though his disappearance was noticed, it was easily explained away. This time would be a bit more risky, because if Ron woke up and saw Danny’s empty bed, it would be a lot harder to explain his disappearance. But he was hoping that Ron valued his sleep over ratting out Danny—it was hard to tell, it could go either way.
Rather than risk the door creaking on him, Danny muttered “Going ghost,” and went intangible and invisible before passing through the window.
Last time, Danny was overwhelmed by the freedom of flying, and neglected to take in the view. The only other time he had been out of the gloomy household was with Tonks, and he had been rather rushed through London before finally arriving in Diagon Alley. So he decided this time out flying would be dedicated to sight-seeing.
From his excursion with Tonks, he knew he was in a borough called Islington, just north of the main city of London, so he started to fly south. Similar to his last flight, he shot up in altitude, making a note of the land and lights below him so he would be able to make it home that night.
At this height and speed, Danny reached the city in minutes, and his breath was stolen from him. Amity Park was no city, and he had never had much of an opportunity to travel before (the Freakshow fiasco did not count). London at night was mesmerizing. Lights highlighted the grid squares of the city, and the dark snake of the River Thames slithered through the city, dividing it from Southwick (he did pay some attention during Geography lessons...and to Jazz).
Danny dove from his high altitude until he was skimming the water of the Thames, weaving between boats and bridges as he flew. As a precaution, he turned invisible as he slowed his flight, eventually hovering across from the London Eye. He retraced his steps (flight? tail?) along the river, rising higher to get a better view of the city, and noticed signature London landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and that goddamned spiral cone building he never remembered the name of. His last stop was the Tower of London, a place he knew from Sam to be severely haunted. But Danny did not notice any ghosts in the area, nor did his ghost sense go off, so he left the building alone.
As Danny eventually flew back to Grimmauld Place, he decided he would need to come up with some sort of plan to balance flying and studying so he could keep up a decent amount of clones while also giving himself some freedom. It would mean sacrificing some study speed, but at least Hermione would ease off a little.
The last time Danny went flying, he also expended a fair amount of excess energy, and he could only make two clones the next day. So far tonight, he had only gone flying, so maybe he would be able to make three or four to study. He’d find out in the morning when he went to duplicate himself.
That afternoon, the crew had finished cleaning one of the spare rooms on the third floor early, and rather than begin a new room, they decided to break early and wait for dinner. Fred and George ended up retreating to their room, and Ron followed Ginny and Hermione to their room, so Danny decided to take the time to talk to Jazz. Besides, the scar on his hand had been prickling all day (not for the first time that summer) and he hoped writing in the journal would take his mind off it.
Sitting at his desk, he turned to a fresh page in his journal and finally asked the question that had been nagging at him for the past few days.
Having finally worked out a routine for balancing his studies and flying, he just didn't think as he mentioned flying to Jazz.
Danny figured that if he mentioned that his studies weren't suffering, it would placate her.
“Ah, nothing, just messing with my sister,” Danny grinned. “What’s up?”
“Dinner’s almost ready, so get down here before Ron eats everything,” Ginny smirked before leaving the doorway.
“I’ll be there in a sec,” Danny called after her, turning back to his journal.
Danny caught sight of Mr. Lupin already sitting at the dinner table as he walked into the kitchen. The three youngest Weasley brothers hovered around the stove, perhaps thinking the food would be ready faster if they were there to encourage it. Very used to this behavior, Danny ignored them and walked over to the table, sitting down next the man. "Mr. Lupin, I have a question," Danny began, catching his attention.
"Please, Danny, I told you to call me Remus," Remus corrected with a tired smile.
"Right, uh, well, how do grindylows have such strong grips? I mean, the book says they have long fingers, so it makes sense that they'd be able to wrap them around the wrist or ankle of their victim. But it also says that the fingers are really thin, and that's the key to dealing with them, by breaking their hold on you. So how is it that grindylows' strong grips are what make them dangerous if that's the way to get away from them?"
"Excellent question, Danny," Remus began, slipping right into teacher mode. "Here, hold my wrist." Danny obeyed after the slightest hesitation. "A bit harder than that, you won't hurt me—there you go. Now that's a strong grip right there, isn't it? Now, hold on while I try to pull away from you." Remus pulled on his wrist, and Danny held firm. "Good. So, pulling away like that doesn't work, and it actually made you grip harder, if you noticed. Now I'll try pulling away while prying your fingers off." Danny tried to hold his wrist, but as soon as Remus lifted his middle finger, he lost his grip. "See what happens?"
"I think I get it," Danny nodded. After a moment, he tilted his head, "Defense class seems pretty easy."
"Why do you say that?" Remus asked with a small frown.
"Well, you learn all these defense tactics, like with grindylows and such, and the methods are pretty simple," Danny said. "Like with a boggart, you just think of something happy, say Riddikulus, and the boggart's taken care of."
"It's not as easy as that—"
"I know it's not," Danny continued. "That's why I said Defense seems easy. I mean, learning all of this stuff is pretty simple, but a grindylow isn't going to care if I know how to get away from it. The important thing is that I can get away from it. The hardest part of Defense is the application of it, so if you aren't able to keep calm under pressure, you're sunk. It's the same idea as punching a shark in the nose. The key is to keep calm long enough to realize what you have to do before the shark eats you, or the grindylow holds you underwater for too long."
"Exactly," Remus beamed. "Well done. Though you probably shouldn't be skipping around in the material, Danny," he added sternly.
"Huh?" Danny asked, bewildered. "Grindylows are the next topic in the book."
"Danny, that's third year material," Remus told him. "So are boggarts. You really need to finish first and second year material first."
"I did!" Danny said indignantly. "I'm on third year in all of my subjects!
Remus leveled him with a look, "What is dangerous about a mandrake?"
"Uh," Danny thought back, "its cry is fatal if you hear it."
"When does fluxweed need to be picked to be effective in a potion?" Remus continued.
"At the full moon."
"Who awards the 'Bravery Against Fantastic Beasts Award'?"
"The, uh, Medieval Assembly of...European Wizards. What is this, a quiz?" Danny scowled. "Am I getting graded on this?"
Remus shook his head with a sigh, "Sorry, Danny, but I didn't think it was possible for you to be this far already." Remus leaned closer to Danny and lowered his voice to a whisper. "I don't think even Hermione could have managed it, and she's top of her class," he said as the girl walked into the room. "How'd you do it?" he asked, voice returning to normal volume.
"Oo-wad?" Ron asked, a bread roll stuffed in his mouth. Apparently he had given up on 'helping the food along' and had sat down at the table to wait.
"Ronald!" Hermione scolded, taking a seat across from Danny. Danny smirked at her reprimand as Ron scowled. "What did you do?" she continued, voicing Ron's muffled question.
"I just asked Mr. Lu—er—Remus about grindylows," Danny shrugged.
Hermione frowned. "You aren't supposed to be skipping around."
Remus laughed, "I just told him the same thing."
"Good," Hermione nodded, "because you won't learn properly if you read out of order, and—"
"Hermione," Danny interrupted, knowing a lecture was coming on, "I just told Remus I wasn't skipping around, I'm in third year for all of my subjects. Remus just finished quizzing me," he added with a frown.
"You're quizzing the poor kid, Moony?" Sirius laughed, just walking into the room.
"I couldn't believe he was already working on third year material, but he really has finished first and second," Remus explained.
"You're doing third year in all of your subjects?" Sirius asked. "I thought you were only working on third year Charms and Transfiguration?" he added, referring to Danny's practical magic study times.
"How is that possible?" Ron added disbelievingly, having finished his roll. "Hermione couldn't have done it that fast." The girl threw Ron a sharp look.
Danny was starting to get embarrassed. "It's not that big of a deal, is it? I mean, it's not like I have to do essays or anything, so it would obviously go by faster, wouldn't it?"
"I'd believe it if you were this far in Transfiguration, but in all of them?" Hermione frowned. "There's no way you're actually reading everything. You're probably just skimming over things. Maybe you should be testing him," she added to Remus.
"I haven't been skipping anything! I couldn't've been skipping around in my practicals, Sirius would've noticed that," Danny retorted. That was one thing Danny was proud of. As much as his doppelgangers had helped him in reading his books, his advancement in practical application was purely his own merit. He couldn't practice outside of scheduled times, especially considering he couldn't exactly duplicate his wand.
"He's right there," Sirius said, sitting at the table across from Remus. "He's not allowed to use magic if I'm not there, and he's doing all the spells right when I am."
"See?" Danny said, starting to get defensive. "And who's to say I'm not a fast reader?" Okay, blatant lie...
"No one's that fast at reading," Hermione said, crossing her arms.
"Cut him some slack, Hermione," George called from the stove.
"Just because you can't read that fast, doesn't mean no one can," Fred continued. "Of course, it is unusual!" he added hastily at the girl's glare.
"Look, why is it a big deal?" Danny burst. "Who cares how fast I'm learning the material as long as I'm actually learning it? I wasn't planning on doing four years’ worth of school work this summer, especially magical school work, but if I have to, I'm going to get it over with. Step in my shoes," he said, looking at Ron. "How would you feel if you were asked to study four years of muggle school work over the summer?"
"It wouldn't be that hard—" Ron began.
"What's the square root of 36?" Danny quizzed.
"Since when do numbers have roots? Do muggles think they're plants?" Ron asked, bemused.
Danny glanced at Hermione who smirked. "The answer's six, Ron," she said with a smug look.
"That makes no sense," Ron huffed. "Okay fine, but that's just one question, give me another."
"What important historical event happened in 1945?" Danny asked.
"Oh, that's easy," Ron said. Danny raised an eyebrow. "That's the year Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald."
Danny sighed. "What else happened?" he continued.
"Uh, that's it," Ron said. "You said important."
"Yeah, and I would consider the end of World War II to be important," Danny replied.
"Since when was the world at war? Besides You-Know-Who..." Ron trailed off.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Danny said exasperatedly. "Come on, doesn't Nazi Germany mean anything to you?" At Ron's shake of the head, Danny sighed. He looked to Hermione, "This is slightly scary. I've never known of anyone who has never heard of World War II."
"Most pureblood wizards are raised without muggle knowledge," Hermione explained. "They focus more on the history of themselves, of magical history. It's the same with muggles and their history. They ignore the magical components. Of course, that's because they don't know about the magical components," she added as an afterthought.
"So, if the end of World War II and the defeat of Grindelwald occurred in the same year, does that mean they could be connected?" Danny asked.
"You know, I've never actually thought about it," Hermione thought idly. "That makes a lot of sense. Ooh, that would be fascinating to research!"
"You've unleashed a monster there, Danny," Fred winked. Indeed, Hermione seemed to be in her own little world, muttering to herself. Danny smiled, as Mrs. Weasley set food plates on the table, glad that the attention on his study "skills" had finally faded, for now.
The next morning, Danny was about to create some clones to start his work when he heard a knock at the door. I forgot to bolt the door again! Danny scolded himself as Hermione opened the door. She had a book in one hand and a bottle of what looked like Windex in the other. Realistically, Danny knew it wasn't Windex and was probably to deal with the Cornish Pixies Mrs. Weasley mentioned at breakfast.
“I don’t have extra washcloths,” Danny said, sitting on his bed with his back to the headboard.
“That’s not why I’m here,” she said, striding over to the bed. “Here,” she said, holding the book in front of Danny.
“What’s this?” he asked, looking over the cover. He read Spellman's Syllabary as he took the book from her.
“It’s my Ancient Runes textbook, I’m going to let you borrow it for a while,” she answered. “If you’re working on third year, then you should start working on electives, too.”
“Electives?” Danny asked, putting his Transfiguration book to the side to further examine this book. “I’m only supposed to be studying the core subjects.”
“Well, you’re clearly on track to finish those soon enough,” Hermione said, a tad haughtily. “It won’t hurt if you work on this too. Or you can finish the main subjects first then work on electives.”
“What electives do they offer at Hogwarts?” Danny asked.
“Well, if you ask me, there could be more,” Hermione started. Danny would normally be wary of the oncoming lecture, but he was honestly curious of what a magic school considered elective courses. “There apparently used to be an Alchemy course here, but the practice has pretty much died out. I’d like to see a Spell Theory class, apparently they only cover it briefly in 7th year Charms. And perhaps a Civics and Government course, the operations of the Ministry of Magic should really be taught at a school level, but with the current climate I doubt that would ever happen,” Hermione sighed tiredly. “But, the classes they do offer are interesting as it is. Well, mostly,” Hermione scowled, “I hardly consider Divination a credible class.”
“What’s Divination?” Danny asked. “Seeing the future?” Is Clockwork the teacher? I wonder if he knows someone’s teaching a bunch of magic children to take his job, Danny thought wryly.
“Theoretically, sure,” Hermione said sourly, “but the crazy bat who teaches the class is nothing but a fraud.”
“Wow, I never thought you’d be up in arms over a teacher,” Danny grinned.
Hermione looked away with a blush. “For her, I make an exception,” she muttered.
Danny laughed, “Well, the class seems interesting anyway.”
“You can have my book then, I don’t need it,” Hermione shrugged.
“What, you didn't burn it?” Danny asked jokingly. When Hermione looked scandalized, Danny laughed, and said, “You remind me of my sister. Well okay, Ancient Runes and Divination, what else?”
“My personal favorite is Arithmancy, but I can’t loan you that book, I’m still working on my summer assignment for it.”
“Arithmancy...math?” Danny’s eyebrows shot up. “Math is an elective?”
“It’s more about the magical applications of math, like the magical connotations of the number ‘7’, things like that. Using mathematical patterns to predict future outcomes,” Hermione explained.
“So...using math to tell the future,” Danny figured.
“It’s much more credible, it’s based in fact.” Danny knew better than to argue and opted to let Hermione continue. “Then there’s Care of Magical Creatures, I think Ginny’s mentioned that at dinner a few times. I’d loan you that book, but, well, it bites.”
“It bites. The book bites?” Danny asked incredulously. “You know what? No, I’m not even surprised.”
“I can lend you my notes, they’re probably much safer,” Hermione continued. “The last class is Muggle Studies, you can probably guess what that is about.”
“Yeah, and I think I've got a good enough grasp on being a muggle, I don’t need a whole class on it,” Danny shrugged.
“Fair enough,” Hermione sighed. “Well, there’s the Ancient Runes book, and I’ll get you Divination and my notes after lunch. That should keep you a little more occupied. I should probably get cleaning,” she said, shaking the bottle in her hand a bit before heading to the door.
“I think this is the longest conversation we've had,” Danny mentioned wryly. “Thanks for the book.”
Hermione smiled, “You’re very welcome.” And with that, she slipped out the door, closing it behind her.
Danny examined the book in his hand more closely, looking at some of the runes on the cover. A few of them actually looked vaguely familiar. “Ghost Zone, maybe,” Danny muttered before replacing the book with his Transfiguration text. “Going Ghost,” he said, immediately creating six clones. “Who wants to lock the door?”
“Lazy,” they all chorused back.
Cleaning for the afternoon had been cancelled due to an Order meeting, so it was no surprise that those of school age were huddled by the landing banister in hopes of listening in to the meeting. Fred and George had finally finished their Extendable Ears, and this was about to be their first trial run.
The twins passed out an Ear to each person. Danny thought that they looked like an over-sized wax ear that had been too close to a fire with the long stringing end it had.
“All right, you just have to put the string end in your ear like this, and lower the Ear part to the ground. George and I will do the rest,” Fred explained.
Danny put the string end in his ear like he would a Q-tip, and lowered the Ear over the edge just as everyone else did the same until they hit the floor. Danny could hear the soft thump loud and clear through his end.
Fred and George both flicked their wands, and the Ears on the ground hovered slowly until they snuck through the gap under the door.
“—asn't been any issues with guard duty so far, the area is fairly deserted, even at night. The security doesn't bother looking down there with all the charms on there,” Kingsley's voice sounded through the ears.
“That’s honestly concerning that they don’t put protection down there,” Mr. Weasley sighed.
“Well that’s why we’re there, isn't it?” Tonks said loudly.
“I think we've exhausted our conversation on this for now,” Moody cut in, “but before we move on in reports, perhaps we should fix our little eavesdropper problem.”
That really should have been all the warning they needed, but the group continued to listen, hoping for a drop more of information.
“Eavesdropper? We have a charm on the room, the kids can’t listen in,” Mrs. Weasley assured.
“If they were outside the room maybe, but those ears under the door would do the trick.”
The sudden silence in the room clearly meant everyone had turned their attention to the Ears, which meant it was time to abort the mission.
“Pull ‘em up! Quick!”
Danny could faintly hear Sirius snickering in the background and chairs scraping before the sound was abruptly cut off as he yanked the Ear up to the landing and the string fell out of his own ear.
The command was clear as the group bolted to their rooms as Mrs. Weasley loudly made her way up the stairs after them, setting off Mrs. Black in the process.
Ron and Danny safely made it to their room, Danny grabbing his journal while Ron dove to his truck to pretend to fold clothes (Really? Danny thought sarcastically). As the storm that was Mrs. Weasley passed them, clearly on her way to the twins’ room, the pair let out a collective sigh of relief.
Thirty minutes later, Danny was looking through some of Hermione’s notes that she had dropped off earlier, and Ron was actually folding clothes when Mrs. Weasley burst through the door. Maybe Ron was expecting this and the folding was to get in his mother’s good graces. Not a bad plan.
“As for you two, hand over your Ears,” she began, voice tired as though she had been using it a lot. Which she had. As she collected Ron’s Ear, she continued, “These Order meetings are private for a reason, you are not old enough to participate, and I am very disappointed that you would all blatantly disregard us like that.” Oh no, the disappointed card, Danny thought guiltily as Mrs. Weasley came over to him. A quick glance at Ron revealed that he had clearly gone through these speeches before. She had clearly used most of her yelling energy on the twins.
Mrs. Weasley held out her hand, but Danny shook his head, “I don’t have one, Mrs. Weasley.”
“Don’t you dare, we very clearly saw six Ears, one for each of you,” Mrs. Weasley leveled a glare at him.
“No, honest, I don’t have it!” Danny continued, noting Ron had an incredulous face aimed at him. “I dropped it when we ran, and Crookshanks nabbed it. I don’t know where he would have taken it.”
Mrs. Weasley sucked her teeth briefly and said, “Well then, you can all come down for dinner after the meeting ends,” before turning and leaving the room.
Ron immediately narrowed his eyes at Danny. “You definitely didn't drop your Ear.”
Danny smirked and bent his knee off the bed, revealing his missing Ear. “I have a lot of practice with hiding things from my parents. I figured that those six Ears might be all your brothers had so far, so I saved one so they wouldn't have to start from scratch.”
Ron let out a half impressed laugh, “Not bad.”
After the meeting, it was time for dinner, so everyone made their way downstairs just as Order members were leaving. Danny watched as Sirius gave a discreet nod of approval to each Fred and George for their new products (Danny had returned his Ear to them on the way down), well out of Mrs. Weasley’s eyesight.
His attention focused on them, he accidentally bumped into someone on their way out of the room.
“Sorry about that, Mr...uh—”
“Ah, Potter’s long lost brother,” the man sneered, adjusting his long black robe. He had a pointed nose on a narrow, pale face, framed by greasy black hair. Danny remembered seeing the man when he got the crash course of Order members during his first week, but he had met every one of them since then and had had a more formal introduction. All he could remember about this man was that he was the Potions professor and a ‘git’ as Fred eloquently put it. But he was pretty sure this man would murder him if he said that, so he went with the Potions title.
“You teach Potions, right, sir?” Danny asked quickly as the man turned to leave.
The man looked back to him, that slimy sneer still on his face, and Danny began to wonder if it was just set like that. It would not be the first teacher he had met with a resting bitch face.
“That would be correct, Mr. Fenton,” he answered. “I happen to be in a hurry, so if you could—”
“If you have time, I just have a couple questions, no one here has been able to answer them,” Danny added, hoping to appeal to a superiority complex the man seemed to have.
It worked, “I’m not surprised, this house is not filled with many people proficient with Potions. Very well, what is your question?”
Danny seized his chance. “Well, there’s one potion that’s been bugging me a lot, the Wiggenweld Potion. All of the ingredients listed at the top don’t include quantities, except for the lionfish. The directions just tell you to pour in the various liquids until the potion turns different colors. So why are those steps so vague? Does the amount vary every time the potion is brewed? I would have tested it myself, but I haven’t been able to make any potions yet, so...”
The man had a surprised list to his face, which immediately turned calculating, as if he was trying to size Danny up. Danny held his breath, staring calmly back until the man spoke. “Well, an intelligent question from the Potter family, how surprising,” he began. Danny knew better than to rise to the jibe, considering there was still information he wanted from the man. “You’re correct; the amount does vary during every brew of the potion. The salamander blood in particular is heavily affected by storing conditions. Since it is impossible to determine these factors ahead of brewing, the safest practice is to use the color change as an indicator of the amount necessary. As for the flobberworm mucus and honeywater, this particular potion takes into account the shelf life of those ingredients. The fresher the ingredient, the less is needed in the potion. Again, the color change is a good indicator of what you need. No two brewings of the Wiggenweld Potion are the same.”
Danny nodded absently, mulling the new information over in his head. Now he really wanted to start making these potions for himself, but he knew it probably was not a good idea without a teacher around. Unfortunately, Mr. Git hardly stuck around after meetings. This was probably a record.
“I thought you were in a hurry, Snivellus,” Sirius said, coming up behind Danny and placing a hand on his shoulder. His grip was particularly tight, almost protective.
“I was just passing on some information that you clearly have been unable to teach him,” the man returned snidely before turning and quickly making his exit.
“Thanks!” Danny called after him quickly, but he didn't receive so much as a wave or nod before the front door snapped shut. He turned to face Sirius who had a stony gaze set on the door. “Someone doesn't get along with Mr. Git.”
Sirius snorted and grinned down at him. “You caught that much? Mr. Git?”
“I was told he was the Potions teacher and a git, I have limited options,” Danny shrugged easily. “I still don’t remember his name, and I know it’s not Snivellus.”
“No, it’s Snape,” Sirius provided (Finally, a name!). “Your father, Remus, and I went to school with the grease rag.”
“I bet you were best friends.”
“The best. We did each other’s nails and everything.”
“Well someone gave him a shitty shampoo recommendation because it’s either not right for his hair type or he’s been scared away from soap all together.”
Danny and Sirius burst into laughter as Sirius clapped his hand on Danny’s shoulder again and the two entered the kitchen to eat dinner.
It was like clockwork. Ten minutes after Ron’s head hit his pillow, he was snoring up a storm worthy of Vortex. It wasn't too long ago that Danny had been the same way, except he usually expected to be woken up by a ghost an hour later.
Danny shifted into his ghost form while still lying in bed, and melted into the mattress, eventually floating through the window outdoors. That evening he had talked to Jazz about maybe visiting the UK Space Agency headquarters. Flying at top speed, it would take him less than half an hour to get there, so he wasn't too concerned about the distance. Surprisingly, Jazz hadn't been too against his field trip idea, and her only words of caution were to keep track of time while he was there.
Danny figured he could do that easy enough, so he prepared for his western flight, but something stopped him before he could leave.
A blue wisp of smoke escaped his mouth.
“You've got to be kidding me!” Danny moaned, exasperated. He knew realistically that ghosts probably existed throughout the world, but it was just his luck one would have to appear here in London, his Thermos left inside and no portal to dispose of it in later.
“You're the first prey I've hunted over continents, whelp.”
Or apparently, ghosts liked to follow him over the Atlantic.
“Skulker?” Danny spun to face the ghost hunter, hovering across the square. “What are you doing here?”
“I should be asking you that, whelp,” Skulker answered before shooting a net at Danny. Danny dodged quickly, the net tangling on a streetlamp behind him. “As much as I enjoy a challenge, I had to go through a natural portal to get to you.”
“I didn't force you to come here,” Danny pointed out, dodging Skulker’s retractable blade, glowing blue from his arm. That is a new color blue, definitely don’t want to get sliced by that, Danny noted. Just as the thought came, Danny felt a searing pain on his right forearm. He immediately shot backwards, putting distance between Skulker and himself.
“You’re rusty, whelp!” Skulker taunted, and Danny silently agreed. Almost a month had passed without having to deal with a ghost fight, and Danny was definitely off his game.
“I don’t need to be at full strength to deal with you,” Danny retorted, his eyes glowing an icy blue. If he couldn't trap Skulker in his thermos, he would have to take a different approach. “How'd you even find me here?” Danny asked, firing an ice blast at the hunter.
“You practically broadcasted it,” Skulker chuckled, dodging the attack easily. He aimed another net in Danny’s direction, but he was slowly getting back into the swing of battle. “Your ecto-signature had quite the beacon in this area. I was able to track you to Europe, but the only steady portal in the area is in the Tower of London. Luckily,” another net launched, another dodge, “you've been in the area recently, and it didn't take long to track you here.”
Danny made a duplicate and had it turn invisible as he fired a few more ice blasts at Skulker. He dodged them easily, but in doing so, he lost track of Danny’s clone. “So, what, are you going to travel through a natural portal every time you want to get here? I’ll make it easy for you, this isn't permanent, I’ll be back in Amity Park eventually.”
“You misunderstand the thrill of the hunt, whelp.”
“You misunderstand the meaning of ‘I’m on vacation!’” Danny responded, sending another blast towards Skulker. This time, his duplicate was ready behind Skulker, and blasted him from behind. It was mostly as a distraction, but it iced up Skulker’s suit long enough for the original Danny to freeze the hunter solid.
The icy color of his eyes faded back to its normal green as Danny let out a sigh. While Skulker wasn't exactly a welcome sight, he had missed the feeling of fighting.
“I’ll be right back, don’t move,” Danny smirked before flying past Skulker and through his bedroom window.
Taking care to avoid waking up Ron, Danny sifted through his suitcase until he found his Fenton Thermos. He had no clue what he was going to do with Skulker once he actually got him in the thermos, but he would deal with that in the morning. For now, he grabbed the thermos and flew back outside, but all he found was a pile of ice rubble from where he had left Skulker. Danny surveyed the empty square quickly, but when he couldn't locate the ghost hunter, he sighed tiredly and flew back inside. He was fairly certain Skulker wouldn't be able to get to him within Grimmauld Place, so he wasn't too concerned about the missing ghost, and he was in no position to patrol an area he barely knew. He would deal with Skulker later.
He reverted back to human form and knelt down in front of his suitcase again. He swapped his thermos for a roll of gauze and immediately headed towards the bathroom to clean up his cut before the blood stained any of his clothes. He had a faint hope that it would be shallow enough to not need a bandage, but realistically he knew it was fairly deep. As he wrapped the wound, all he could think about was how much Jazz was going to chew him out the next time they talked.
The next chapter will be out in a couple days, and then we will finally be caught up with the FF posting! :)
For those of you on mobile, I've added the option of clicking the source link of the images in the event that they get cut off and you are unable to scroll over to see them.
Chapter 8: Ne'er the Twins Shall Meet
Last time: Hermione has started to become suspicious of Danny, and Danny ran into Skulker while out night-flying.
Jazz was pissed.
Well, maybe that wasn't the correct word. She was more concerned and worried than anything, and she was currently freaking out. Deciding that he would let her take the time to rant, Danny stood up and left to go grab a snack from the kitchen, leaving the journal open as he left.
Hermione was pissed.
If not for her need to stay informed, she would stop reading the Daily Prophet altogether, but this was low. All summer, the Prophet had taken great lengths to cut down Harry’s character. She couldn't even blame that wretched Skeeter woman, because she hadn't actually written anything, per her promise.
But that didn't stop the Daily Prophet. While they weren't outright writing articles against Harry, they were going above and beyond to make him the butt of every joke. The most recent was thrown into an article about a poor man who had an unfortunate accident with a cursed teapot (not unlike an incident with Ron a couple weeks ago). It was really one of those filler articles to take up space on the page, but there was a comment thrown in there that had Hermione seething. “Let’s hope he hasn't got a scar on his forehead or we’ll be asked to worship him next.”
The nerve of these people! Harry doesn't ask for any of this attention at all, you’re vilifying him for something he has no control over!
Hermione was so riled up that Ginny had actually asked her to leave the room (talk about a role reversal). While Ginny was equally upset, she had committed to finishing her Transfiguration summer work while the Order meeting downstairs was going on. Considering they were all in no hurry to repeat their Extendable Ears fiasco, they found other things to do. Of course, Fred and George were probably working on improving the Ears.
Since she had been kicked out of her room, she went towards Ron’s room to vent to him. She figured it was safe to assume that he wasn't working on his school work like he had been told to. Maybe she could convince him to actually work on it while she was there.
Arriving at the boys’ room, she was surprised to find it empty. She thought Danny at least would be in here, but neither boy was present in the room. Hermione felt slightly gratified to see a Charms book open on Ron’s bed, which implied he had actually been working on summer assignments, but the only thing open on Danny’s side of the room was his journal.
Hermione thought briefly about getting another set of journals to communicate with Harry, but she quickly convinced herself against the idea. The chances of the writing being magically intercepted were too high. Such a common object that could be purchased in a standard bookstore probably was not fortified with the necessary spells to protect it. It was safe enough in Danny’s hands, considering he had no reason to be too antsy for information and didn't have any dangerous information to give away. Well, there’s the Order Headquarters to worry about, but from what she knew, Danny had only been exchanging small talk with his sister.
But maybe she should check, just to be sure. It would be dangerous if Danny was inadvertently sharing secret information about the Order.
Hermione glanced at the door behind her, and she took a moment to listen for any signs of Danny’s return. Nothing but silence greeted her, so she quickly made her way to the open journal. All thoughts of the Daily Prophet article fled her mind as she read the writing on the page.
His eyebrows shot up. “What're you doing in here?” he asked, with a touch of accusation in his tone. Not that it was unwarranted, but he hopefully didn't know that.
“I was looking for Ron, but he’s not in here, so I guess I’ll be leaving, sorry,” Hermione said quickly.
“He’s in the kitchen,” Danny answered, stepping into the room and taking a seat at his desk. “Do me a favor and don’t tell him I snagged the last cookie, he’s still looking for them,” he added with a small smirk on his face.
“Sure thing, won’t tell at all, thanks!” she said before rushing out of the room.
Danny looked at Hermione’s retreating form with a confused tilt of the head, but he shook his head lightly and focused his attention back on the journal. Just a quick glance had him groaning at the amount of words on the page. Geez, Jazz, one ghost attacks and you’re writing me a novel...
Cutting off Jazz's rant, Danny finally wrote,
Hermione stood at the top of the staircase, trying to sort through the new information she had just found. There was no doubt in her mind that Danny was hiding something from them, but for the life of her, she couldn't figure out exactly what.
Even just running through the facts in her head left her at a standstill. According to Danny’s journal, he had been attacked last night, to the point where he apparently needed medical attention. It was severe enough that Danny was concerned about proper first aid, but he claimed that it had ‘healed mostly to a normal scratch overnight’ which implied that it had started as an abnormal wound. At breakfast that morning, she had seen no evidence of gauze or even a wound at all, and he had been wearing a short-sleeved shirt that morning. Perhaps that meant Danny had learned Healer-grade spells, but there was nothing in the school textbooks that covered that type of spellwork. The more likely conclusion was that Danny had accelerated healing, but the concept of it didn't seem plausible at all. Whatever it was, it seemed as though Jazz was fully aware of it, which spurned her suspicions that it was not related to magic. Of course, Danny had never specified where on his arm the wound was, so perhaps it was simply closer to his shoulder and was in fact covered by his sleeve. That seemed much more likely to Hermione.
And then there was the matter of the attack itself. Danny had been attacked by an entity known as ‘Skulker,’ as he had corrected his sister’s use of ‘Ghost X,’ and it seemed as though it had not been the first time Danny had come across such a being. Jazz mentioned that since this ‘Skulker’ knew Danny was in London, he would be in danger of ghosts finding him here. That in itself was confusing, because all of the ghosts Hermione had interacted with were in no way dangerous. Sure, the Bloody Baron was slightly terrifying to look at, and Myrtle had an unfortunate habit of flooding bathrooms, but that couldn't be considered dangerous. But Jazz genuinely seemed to fear about these ghosts coming after Danny...
And she had even referred to ‘Skulker’ as ‘Ghost X,’ so that would imply that ‘Skulker’ was a ghost himself. But armed with a blade that had seemingly wounded Danny, that meant Skulker would have to be tangible, which was nothing like she had ever heard about or experienced. So perhaps this ‘Skulker’ was merely associated with ghosts, but that still didn't explain why the ghosts were dangerous.
Not to mention the portal that had been mentioned. Danny had said there was a ‘natural portal in the Tower of London,’ but what did that mean? Did ghosts have a means of travel to move throughout the world? And the term ‘natural’ implies that there are artificial portals as well, and perhaps Danny and Jazz know of such a portal if she is suggesting that Danny send her trapped ghosts to deal with.
That was another thing. Jazz implied that Danny could use a thermos to trap and carry ghosts around. Hermione remembered Ron mentioning that Danny had a weird soup thermos he never used, and she was willing to bet that this was its true purpose. She remembered Danny telling her that his parents were ghost hunters and inventors, perhaps this thermos was one of their inventions. Maybe Danny had followed in his parents’ footsteps and was an aspiring ghost hunter himself. And maybe this ‘Skulker’ was a rival hunter! And the ghosts Jazz is concerned about would try to harm him now that he no longer had the home field advantage.
But that still didn't explain how ghosts could be dangerous—
“—rth to ‘Mione!”
Hermione came out of her thoughts to see Ron waving a hand in front of her face. “Sorry, what was that?”
“You alright?” Ron asked, eyebrow raised. “You were pretty far gone, just now.”
“Yes, sorry, just,” Hermione shook her head to rid herself of her thoughts—she’d focus on them later, “just thinking about something.”
“Like what? Is that the Prophet?” he asked, gesturing to the forgotten pages still in her hand.
She stared at the crumpled paper for a moment before her rage flooded her again. “Yes. Have you seen what they've written about Harry—?”
After Jazz’s minor (major) ghost freak out, she had made Danny promise to let her know about any further ghost attacks. As such, when Danny flew to the Tower of London the previous night with the intention of closing the portal, he knew right away that he’d need to report his run in with the Ectopuses to his sister. Unfortunately, the Tower of London portal was stable enough that the Fenton Thermos didn't have enough power to close the portal. Resigned to the fact that he’d be unable to close the portal and thus have to deal with whatever ghosts came looking for him, he planned on asking Jazz to forward a request to Sam and Tucker to try and boost the power of the Thermos. Or maybe try and slip the necessary improvement to his parents, but that would be a tall order without clueing them in to Danny’s London ghost problem.
As such, Danny didn't feel wholly guilty about going to his journal that morning before heading down to breakfast. He figured Jazz wouldn't be wearing her bracelet at night so she would just see it when she woke up. Opening the journal however revealed a slight surprise.
Danny was pleasantly surprised at breakfast when both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Sirius wished him a happy birthday.
“How’d you know it was my birthday?” Danny asked, sitting down at the table.
“Well, today’s Harry’s birthday, and seeing as you’re twins and all, I thought it was a safe assumption,” Sirius grinned. “Not to mention I was at your first birthday party.”
Danny flushed, “That...makes a lot of sense.”
At that moment, Hermione and Ron walked into the dining room holding what looked like a package of chocolates, a pair of envelopes, and a snowy owl.
“Where’d the owl come from?” Danny asked, admiring the gorgeous bird.
“She’s Harry’s owl, her name’s Hedwig,” Hermione explained. “It’s not the first time she’s shown up to pick up Harry’s birthday present, she’s a brilliant owl. She shouldn't even be able to find this house, but here she is.”
“Maybe she stopped at Dumbledore’s on the way and he told her,” Ron smirked.
Hermione shrugged. “Sirius, do you want to send your card with Hedwig?”
Sirius shook his head with a minute scowl, “No, I’ll use one of the school birds or a post owl, I wouldn't want Hedwig to be intercepted with my letter.”
Danny’s mouth twisted at the thought of this owl being shot down or captured just to get a birthday card. “I’d send a card or something to Harry, but I don’t think that’d go over very well.”
Sirius snorted, “Well, I don’t think Harry will have gotten you anything either, so I wouldn't worry about it.”
Hermione gasped, “I didn't even think, of course it’s your birthday too, happy birthday, Danny! I’m so sorry, I didn't get you anything—”
“Don’t worry about it,” Danny waved her off with a grin. “We haven’t really known each other that long, and I’m willing to count borrowing your books as a gift.”
Hermione smiled gratefully. “You’re welcome to keep the Divination book.”
“You’re studying Divination now?” Ron asked, sitting at the table.
“Not until after I finish the core subjects.”
“How far are you now?”
“Just started fourth year,” Danny answered, noticing how Hermione’s face twisted a bit, but luckily she didn't comment on it.
“Well, when you get to it, it’s a load of rubbish. Just come up with the worst thing that could happen to you, write it down, and you’re golden,” Ron said. It was the first time he had ever given Danny any study advice, but he wasn't sure if this counted.
“So it’s really a creative writing class,” Danny mused.
“Basically,” Ron snorted. “A really depressing creative writing class. Happy birthday, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Danny grinned, taking the wishes as proof that his relationship with both Ron and Hermione was improving.
“Do you have any idea when Harry’ll be coming?” Hermione asked the adults in the room. “I’d like to add some kind of message so he knows we haven’t abandoned him or anything.”
“I’d expect any day now,” Mrs. Weasley answered, “but it’s really up to—”
“Up to Dumbledore, yeah, we know,” Ron groaned.
“I’ll just say we should be seeing him soon,” Hermione decided, scribbling a quick note on her card and fastening her and Ron’s package to the snowy owl. “Thanks, Hedwig,” she said, giving a small piece of her bacon to the bird. Hedwig nipped her finger appreciatively before flying off through an open window.
That afternoon, the kids had been told expressly not to venture downstairs—or incur the wrath of Mrs. Weasley—due to an “Order Meeting,” but when they came down for dinner, they were surprised at the spread of food in the dining room along with streamers and decorations, including a large blue banner that read Happy Birthday, Danny!
Danny’s jaw dropped at the display, admiring the work that had clearly been put in all afternoon. In addition to the house’s regular occupants, Remus and Tonks had shown up to join the festivities.
“Happy birthday, Danny!” the room chimed, prompting Danny to close his mouth and grin gratefully at everyone.
“Wow, thanks, you guys!” Danny said, still in awe at the decorations. “You didn't have to do this—”
“Of course we did, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said kindly, motioning for Danny to take his seat at the table. “Now, would you like to open presents first or eat?”
“There’s presents? I mean, we can definitely eat first, but—”
“Of course there’s presents, it’s not every day you turn fifteen,” Sirius grinned. “Though I for one am glad you chose food first, I am starving—”
There were some other voices of agreement, so everyone dug in to the delicious looking dinner.
Once everyone had had their share, Mrs. Weasley flicked her wand to clear the table and Remus and Sirius brought over Danny’s gifts.
“Wow, there’s a lot more than I was expecting,” Danny said, staring at the small pile in front of him.
“Well, there’s your gifts from us, and then there’s your gifts from home—”
“From home, seriously? How?”
“Dumbledore sent an owl to your parents so they could send anything they needed,” Mr. Weasley explained.
Making a mental note to thank the man the next time Danny saw him, he reached for the nearest gift to unwrap it. He was delighted to find a package of assorted candies from Tonks, all of them brands he didn't recognize. Tonks explained the various magical candies, such as Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs. Ron immediately launched into an explanation about the famous wizards on Chocolate Frog cards, and Danny promised to let him know what cards he got when he opened them.
Next, he received a Defense spellbook from Remus, and a trunk from Sirius that shrunk to pocket size with the tap of a wand and had the ability to expand on the inside (Danny’s comment of “It’s bigger on the inside” was well received among those with knowledge of muggle pop culture).
He received a bundle of baked goods along with a card from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and a card each from Fred and George (which included a note that promised him free goods from their joke shop once items were officially for sale), Ginny, Ron, and Hermione.
At that point, Mrs. Weasley presented the gifts that had been sent from Amity Park, a box from Sam and Tucker, and a box from his family. He opened up Sam and Tucker’s box first and found an advanced copy of Dumpty Humpty’s new CD (courtesy of Sam) and new headphones (from Tucker), along with a note from both of them wishing him well and assuring him that ‘We haven’t been invaded by ghosts yet.’
Finally, he turned to the package from the Fentons. Opening it up, Danny found a backup Fenton Thermos (with a note from Jazz, ‘I snuck this in for you, mail the full one home when you need to!’), and what looked like a new cell phone (“Nice!”), along with a few notes from his family. Danny picked up the biggest card first which explained that this phone was designed to run off of ecto-energy rather than electricity. Apparently, Jazz had relayed his electrical problems to his parents, and this was their (amazing) solution. In addition to being a fully functional phone, it also had a built-in ecto-ray, similar to the Fenton wrist-rays, along with an added note from his mother (‘I guess cell phones can fight ghosts, too! xoxo’), bringing back memories of their shared experience in the woods of Wisconsin.
Danny was tempted to test out the phone’s ecto-ray, but decided that it was definitely not appropriate for the dinner table.
After thanking everyone profusely for the party and the gifts, everyone went their separate ways and Danny retired to his room. He wrote a long thank you to Jazz and his parents, and added ‘Remind me to tell you about one of the books I got,’ for Jazz, to tell her know he had things to tell her but hopefully so his parents wouldn't see.
He took out his new phone, and was delighted to see that his contacts had already been put in there (or at least the ones he cared about), so he sent a text to Sam and Tucker saying ‘Guess who has cell service!’, letting them know he was back on the grid.
Almost immediately, his phone was ringing.
“Danny!” Sam answered quickly. “Give Tucker a minute, his line’s still ringing. How are you?”
“I’m doing alright, sorry I've been unreachable for the past month—”
“You should be!”
“Hey, I didn't know my phone wouldn't work here!” Danny chuckled.
“Dude, what’s up?” Tucker joined in the conversation.
“Hey, Tuck,” Danny grinned.
“Where've you been? No email, no phone—”
“Yeah, there’s no wireless here and my phone wasn't working.”
“Did you forget to get a new SIM card or is there no tower nearby?” Tucker asked.
“Uh...no tower I guess,” Danny lied.
“Where are you, the middle of nowhere? How does London not have cell service?” Danny could almost visualize Sam scowling on the other end.
“Uh, no, I’m in Islington. Still London, just not the main city.”
“So what’s changed, how’re you calling now? Are you out in the city?”
“My parents found out about the cell problem and they actually built me a phone that fixes it. That was my birthday present.”
“Yeah, happy birthday!”
“Happy birthday! Did you get our gifts?”
“We gave them to Jazz since we didn't know where to mail to, but even Jazz said she didn't know your address, so we were worried you wouldn't get it,” Sam explained. “How does Jazz not know your address?”
“It’s pretty complicated, with international shipping and all,” Danny lied again. “My mom has it figured out.”
“Parents are good like that,” Tucker chuckled.
“Speak for yourself,” came Sam’s response.
“The gifts were great though, thanks, guys!”
“No problem. Did they do anything for you up there?”
“Yeah, did you have a double party with your brother?”
Danny scowled, though the two couldn't see, “I actually haven’t met him yet.”
“Are you serious?”
“Why?! That was the whole point of going!”
“Tell me about it,” Danny sighed. “He’s coming any day now apparently, but it still sucks.”
“Wait, then where’re you staying?”
“With our godfather, he’s Harry’s guardian.”
“That’s not too bad then, how’s he?” Tucker asked.
“He’s great,” Danny said honestly. “He’s a lot of fun to be around.”
“I still don’t get why Harry’s not there,” Sam said.
“You’re not the only one.”
“Any reason why you haven’t met him yet?”
“I think...it’s a transportation issue?” Danny lied yet again. “He lives with our aunt and uncle and we were apparently supposed to meet where I am, but Harry’s been delayed or something. Again, they said he should be here any day now, so I’ll let you guys know how that goes.”
“So, how have you been enjoying your ghost vacation?” Tucker asked.
Danny scoffed, “Some vacation, I got attacked by Skulker last week.”
Danny took the phone from his ear at the small outburst before responding, “You’re acting as bad as Jazz did.”
“There’s a semi-stable natural portal at the Tower of London,” Danny explained. “I tried closing it last night like I did on the school camping trip, but the thermos didn't have enough juice.”
“That makes so much sense, I’m not surprised there’s a portal there,” Sam said predictably.
“What are you gonna do then?” Tucker asked. “I’m sure Skulker’s spreading the word about your new location.”
“Yeah, I’m just gonna have to deal with them as they come. I’m gonna need to set up a thermos relay between here and home because I can’t release the ghosts into a portal that doesn't close, they’ll come right back out.”
“Maybe spending a few days in the thermos travelling via snail-mail will discourage them from bothering,” Tucker said.
“Are you kidding?” Danny laughed. “The Box Ghost would have a field day. He’d come to London just for the return trip!”
The trio all laughed at that imagery.
“Well, let us know if you need anything,” Sam said finally.
“Will do,” Danny replied. “I gotta get going, you guys, it’s getting late, but I’ll talk to you later.”
“Ahhhhh, that time difference is killer,” Tucker groaned.
“Sounds good, see ya, Danny,” Sam said.
After hanging up, Danny placed the phone on top of his journal and laid back on his bed with a content smile. Jazz was right, he had been feeling homesick, but talking with Sam and Tucker had lifted his spirits dramatically. All in all, it had been a great day.
The day started fairly normal. Danny woke up, ate breakfast, worked on his class work, ate lunch, helped clean, and ate dinner. In a rare occurrence, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron had set up base in the boys’ room along with Danny, but he was much more content to chat with Jazz in his journal rather than join in the conversation. Despite the new cell phone that allowed him to talk to Sam and Tucker—and he had called his parents a couple times too—he found it easier to use the journal with Jazz, and she agreed.
Danny jumped, his pen making a long mark instead of a period at the end of his sentence. He turned to glare at Hermione. “Do you mind?”
“You weren't responding to us when we asked why you laughed, so I came to see what was so funny,” she answered in a slightly defensive tone. “So what are ghost files? And why does your sister have nicknames for ghosts?”
“That really isn't any of your business,” Danny answered, closing his journal to prevent Hermione from reading any more over his shoulder.
“Which ghosts does your sister have nicknames for?” Ginny asked. “Did you tell her about the Hogwarts ghosts?”
Danny quickly forgot his anger at Ginny’s words. “There are ghosts at Hogwarts?” he asked cautiously.
“Sure, there are loads of them,” Ron answered offhandedly before smirking at Danny. “Why, are you afraid of ghosts?”
Danny snorted, which wiped the smirk off of Ron’s face. “Ghosts are a common problem in my hometown, I was just surprised that you seem to have just as bad of an outbreak at your school as we do at mine.”
“Outbreak?” Hermione questioned. “The Hogwarts ghosts live there...they don’t overrun the school.”
“They don’t?” Danny asked, surprised. “You mean they don’t attack you or anything?”
“Define attack—” Ron started before Hermione’s glance shut him up.
“The ghosts don’t attack us—”
“Unless you count Myrtle flooding the bathroom,” Ron interrupted in a low voice.
“—they just float around and talk to us sometimes. Why would they attack us?”
Before Danny could respond, the group heard Mrs. Black’s dulcet tones wafting up from the ground floor. All curious as to what caused the commotion, the group filed out of the room and rushed downstairs.
They had been expecting something as simple as a loudly overturned chair to have set her off, but the urgent look on Mundungus’s face proved otherwise. He had created a large ruckus in his hurry to get to the kitchen where Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Remus, Sirius, and Dumbledore remained from a late Order meeting, and had stumbled into the kitchen. Danny heard the twins descend the stairs behind them, also drawn by the commotion, going to tend to Mrs. Black’s painting.
“What’s going on?” Ron asked loudly.
“That is exactly what I’d like to know,” Mrs. Weasley said, staring disapprovingly at the disheveled thief.
“Shouldn't you be on guard duty, Mundungus?” Dumbledore asked calmly, though Danny could see the reproving gaze on the man’s face.
“Uh, that’s the thing,” Mundungus said uncomfortably. “‘Arry’s been attacked by Dementors.”
This was apparently big news because the room collectively sucked in a breath, but Danny was left confused.
Unfortunately, Danny did not receive answers as the rest of the room quickly moved into action.
Dumbledore no longer looked like the kind old man Danny had met over a month ago. The usually calm demeanor of the elderly wizard vanished, and an angry, powerful aura took its place. For the first time, Danny fully appreciated that this man was an accomplished wizard to be respected and, in this case, feared. Danny had been told that Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort feared, and now he completely understood why that was the case. Quite simply, he looked terrifying. “Explain,” he said, and Danny found himself glad Dumbledore was not focused on him.
“Well, ‘ere’s the thing,” Mundungus started. “I got a tip about a really great deal on some cauldrons, and I figured—I figured I’d only be gone for a few minutes. So I popped off real quick, and when I got back, I see ‘Arry and his cousin with Figgy walking up the street with ‘is wand out. And Figgy said that the boys ‘ad been attacked by Dementors. I guess ‘Arry ‘ad to use some magic to get out of the situation. I came right ‘ere to tell you after I ‘eard…” he trailed off with an uncertain expression.
Dumbledore was clearly not happy. “Mundungus, we will be having words later, but for now, you need to return to your post,” he said with deadly precision, and the poor man seemed to shrivel at the glare. He quickly followed through with the order, scurrying out of the room. “As for now, I’ll go to the Ministry. They’re likely to try and expel him for under-aged magic.”
“Harry’s going to run,” Sirius said seriously. “That’s what he did when he thought he’d be expelled for blowing up his aunt (He did what? Danny thought), but now that he’ll officially be getting word—”
“Send him an owl immediately telling him to stay put,” Dumbledore said. “The wards on his house are the only thing protecting him right now. I really must be off,” and with that, he strode out of the room.”
Mrs. Weasley turned to her husband, “Arthur—”
“I’ll write to Harry right now,” he assured, grabbing a loose parchment and quill on the table and writing fervently.
“I’m sure extra reassurance would help,” Remus said, aiming a look at Sirius who quickly produced his own quill and parchment to send a quick message to Harry.
As Arthur and Sirius rushed out of the room with their respective letters, Danny tried to get some background on the situation.
“Can someone fill me in?” he asked finally. “What happened to Harry exactly? What are Dementors?”
“Dementors, they-they guard the wizard prison, Azkaban,” Hermione explained, her voice slightly pitchy. “They quite literally suck the happiness out of you, and if they get too close, they can suck out your soul.”
“And how did Harry get away?”
“With the Patronus Charm, it’s the only thing that’s effective against them,” she answered. “Which is probably what got Harry in trouble with the under-aged magic.”
“Why were prison guards attacking Harry in the first place?” Danny asked, still very confused about the whole situation. He was trying to figure out what was going on, but all he had gathered was that something had attacked Harry and now the Ministry was trying to exploit the situation.
“That’s exactly what they’re doing,” Sirius confirmed, returning to the room. Oops, said that out loud. “But the Ministry controls the Dementors, and they would be beyond out of their minds to try and pull something like this.”
“But then that’s it, isn't it,” Hermione said grimly. “What if the Dementors are no longer in the Ministry’s control?”
Danny could see the implications of this, even with his limited knowledge of the Wizarding World. Hermione was clearly implying that Voldemort may have converted these creatures to his side, which would certainly explain why Harry had been attacked by them. But even if that wasn't the case, the simple fact that supposed prison guards were no longer doing their job was cause for concern. Creatures that could suck out your soul running amuck through the countryside was never a good thing. Not to mention the lack of supervision on dangerous prisoners.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” Remus said finally. “The Ministry might be doing all they can to ignore Voldemort,” half the room flinched, “but losing control of the Dementors would not be something they could hide for very long.”
“Then how does this happen?” Ginny asked.
“Maybe a couple went rogue,” Fred suggested.
George nodded, “They don’t like their working conditions, I bet.”
Mrs. Weasley did not appreciate the humor, “Boys, this is not a laughing matter!”
“Harry’s fine, isn't he?” Fred confirmed.
“Does this mean Harry will be coming here soon?” Ron asked hopefully.
“I’d think so,” Sirius agreed. “Especially without knowing the circumstances behind the attack, I don’t think Dumbledore has a choice at this point.”
Finally, Danny cheered silently, and he was sure he was not the only one with the thought.
“Well, I don’t think we’re going to learn anything more tonight, so why don’t you kids head back upstairs,” Mrs. Weasley said. Before anyone could object, she added, “We’ll tell you anything else that we hear in the morning.”
“You’ll actually tell us?” Ron scowled. “Or are you gonna claim it’s ‘Order business.’”
“We’ll tell you everything we know about what happened to Harry,” Mr. Weasley assured.
“I’ll do some research, I’m sure I remember reading something about exceptions to the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery…” Hermione trailed off, the gears in her mind almost audibly whizzing.
Danny figured he’d try to learn more about the situation in the morning, but in the meantime, he decided this would definitely have to been one of his flying nights, he had way too much on his mind.
Danny and the others did learn the whole story about what happened to Harry that morning at breakfast (and Danny was told more about Dementors and other context he was lacking), along with the promise that Harry would be there in three days. When asked why it would take so long, it was explained that the Order needed time to set up security for the transportation.
“Why can’t you just Apparate him here?” Danny asked. “That’s how you got me here.”
“The Ministry has means of tracking Side-Along Apparation, especially with minors,” Mr. Weasley explained. “However, it’s not something that’s actively monitored unless it’s being looked for. In your case, you’re essentially unknown to the Ministry, so while they could have tracked us, they had no need to, so we could do it safely. With Harry, he is most certainly being monitored, and any Side-Along Apparation involving him is likely to be observed, which is exactly what we’d like to avoid.”
“What about the Floo Network?” Ron asked. “That’s what we did last year.”
“We also needed special permission from the Ministry to connect a muggle house to the Network, and we won’t be able to get that permission this time,” Mr. Weasley reminded him. This is all very Big Brother-esque, Danny thought grimly.
“So what’s left?” Ginny asked. “Portkey?”
“Harry definitely won’t want to travel via portkey any time soon,” Hermione reminded her solemnly.
“Why not?” Danny asked curiously. He remembered how he felt when Mr. Weasley had mentioned a portkey during their first meeting, and he still couldn't explain the weird feeling. “What is a portkey anyway? And the Floo Network?”
“Well, the Floo Network is basically transportation via fireplaces,” Ginny said. Note to self, don’t tell my parents about the Floo Network. That will only add to their Santa debate, Danny thought idly.
“A portkey is a fairly simple object that has been charmed to transport wizards by touching them. It can be as simple as an old boot or tin can,” Hermione explained. “They can be activated either by a set time or by touch. As for why Harry wouldn't like them…” she trailed off, looking uncertainly around the room.
“That’s how he ran into Voldemort last year,” Sirius answered finally, ignoring the various flinches throughout the room. “It was a trap. Harry and another student were competing in a tournament, and the final goal was to touch the Triwizard Cup. But the Cup had been turned into a portkey, and they both got transported away from Hogwarts—”
“I think I know the story from there,” Danny interrupted, sparing Sirius from continuing.
After a long moment of uncomfortable silence, Ron said, “Well, that leaves brooms, doesn't it?”
“Hold up,” Danny, raising a hand. “Brooms? You are not telling me that’s an actual thing. That’s the biggest cliché in the book.”
“Oh, it’s a thing, alright,” George assured. “There’s an entire sport dedicated to flying on broomsticks.”
“Quidditch, best sport there is,” Ron nodded.
“Why would you ask that?” Hermione muttered as Ron launched into a boisterous explanation of the game. When Ron started reciting the stats of his favorite team, the Chudley Cannons, Hermione leaned closer to Danny and said quietly, “If muggles are obsessed with football, wizards are obsessed with Quidditch.”
“I get it,” Danny replied, thinking of Vlad’s obsession with the Green Bay Packers. He would later reflect on the conversation and realize Hermione was referring to soccer, but he figured the analogy still applied.
When Ron finally finished his fanboying, he managed to bring himself back to the original conversation. “Harry’s brilliant on a broomstick, if they got into any trouble, he’d be fine.”
“Wait, so someone’s gonna have to go fly to Harry’s house, then fly back with Harry, probably at night so people don’t see...that doesn't seem very efficient,” Danny mused.
“Which is why the Order needs time to prepare security,” Mr. Weasley explained. “They’ll need to scout the route ahead of time, and ideally the Dursleys won’t be home when we leave with Harry.”
“That’s my job!” Tonks replied, waltzing into the room. “Morning, everyone!”
“What’re you doing here?” Ginny asked curiously. “Don’t you have work?”
“I have the day off,” Tonks answered, snagging a slice of buttered toast from the table, knocking over a salt shaker in the process. “I figured I’d swing by HQ before guard duty.” Mrs. Weasley glared at her slightly for the mention of guard duty, but Tonks merely shrugged, “What? They already know Harry’s being guarded.”
“What do you mean your job is to make sure the Dursleys aren't home?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Well, I've heard of last year’s fiasco,” Tonks said, Ron, Fred, and George snorting into their plates. Danny figured he’d ask for that story later. “I think we can all agree that the Dursleys shouldn't be present when we show up to pick up Harry.”
“So what’s your plan?” Danny asked.
Tonks pouted, “Well, I don’t have one. Yet. But I’ll think of something.”
“Tell them they won a contest,” Danny suggested. “Or that they’re in the running of some competition and need to be present at the award ceremony. People go crazy for that stuff,” he said, remembering when a prize had been put on his head that had attracted the best ghost hunters in the country—not that that said much.
“Ooooh, I like that,” Tonks nodded, mulling the idea in her head. “I’ll have to flesh it out while I’m working.” She sighed, finishing off her piece of toast. “Well, I’m off to relieve Dedalus, having fun cleaning!”
Danny, having just finished off his own plate of breakfast, stood up from his chair with a grin. “Yeah, have fun cleaning,” he winked.
“Oh don’t worry, we’ll save you plenty to do this afternoon,” Fred assured with a smirk.
When it was time for lunch, Danny walked into the kitchen in time to see Hedwig pecking away at Ron’s fingers. “Bloody bird, get off!” he urged, gently trying to shove the owl away (he probably didn't want to injure her at all), but she seemed determined.
“What’s going on?” Danny asked, warily sitting far away from the attacking owl.
Hermione answered, and Danny noticed her own fingers were fairly bloody as well, “Harry’s sent us messages asking what’s going on, and—”
“And his owl’s gone mental,” Ron finished angrily. Hedwig stopped her pecking, but she flew to perch on a nearby bureau, almost glaring at the redhead.
Danny snorted, which earned him a glare from Ron, “Harry must really want answers.”
“I don’t blame him either!” Hermione wailed miserably. “The sooner he gets here, the better."
Danny looked at Hedwig who returned his stare with an almost challenging look, which was ridiculous because this was an owl, but he found the description fit. Content that she was not going to attack him as well, Danny looked away from her and directed his focus to the food on the table.
He tried not to laugh when Sirius stepped into the room and Hedwig immediately descended upon him.
He failed miserably.
That evening, everyone was on edge. The Advanced Guard, as they’d been dubbed, stood in the entryway going over last minute preparations before they left to get Harry. Danny, Ron, and Hermione stood off to the side, hoping to hear anything about the operation that they hadn't learned yet, which wasn't likely to be much as the Order had been surprisingly forthcoming regarding Harry’s arrival. The Guard all stood carrying broomsticks of various models in their grasp. Despite having learned that the broomstick stereotype was indeed a real thing, Danny still found it comical that the brooms were hardly efficient for cleaning like they should be, and were actually optimized for good aerodynamics when flying.
The Guard consisted of witches and wizards Danny had already met as members of the Order, though he knew some more than others. Remus and Kingsley for instance, who stood talking with Sirius (who would not be joining the Guard despite how much he had lobbied for it), were both members of the group assigned to get Harry, as well as Tonks and Moody. Other than them, Danny really didn't know the others that well; Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore, Elphias Doge, and Hestia Jones had all volunteered to join as members of Harry’s retrieval squad. There were a couple others who would be in a “Reserve Guard” who were apparently already at their posts along the route, but Bill Weasley would be leaving at the same time as the main Guard in order to inform the reserves about the beginning of the operation.
“You all know the plan,” Moody said gruffly to the group. “We’ll be Apparating to the front yard of 4 Privet Drive under Disillusionment Charms. At that time, we’ll have fifteen minutes to get Potter packed and ready to leave. The Reserve Guard will provide a five minute warning as well as a take-off signal for when—”
“If we all know the plan, why are you repeating it?” Tonks asked impatiently. “Let’s go.”
Danny couldn't help but admire Tonks for interrupting Moody, because he was pretty sure Moody’s glare was capable of causing physical pain. Nonetheless, Moody nodded with a gravelly sigh and started the march towards the front door.
Once they were gone, Mrs. Weasley turned to the three of them, “Why don’t you head upstairs? The Order meeting will start around when they get back, and we don’t need you blocking the hallway and waking things up when Harry gets here.” Before any of them could protest, Mrs. Weasley held up a hand to stop them. “I’ll send Harry right up the moment he gets here, but until then, upstairs, now.”
It was clear to Danny that they were really hoping to have a pre-meeting and that was why they were getting kicked out, but he wasn't complaining. In about an hour, he would finally be meeting his brother. He was too full of energy to sit down and write to Jazz, but at the same time, he didn't want to go out flying in case he missed Harry’s arrival, so when he, Ron, and Hermione went upstairs, he followed the pair to his own room, but he grabbed his cell phone to call Sam and Tucker in the privacy of another room.
Figuring that the third floor guest bedroom had been recently cleaned out, he decided that would be a good place to retreat for his call.
An hour later, Danny and Tucker were heatedly discussing a new game feature of Doomed, while Sam had been intermittently correcting their flawed theories.
“There’s no point in putting all that effort into finding a Doomsphere if it does the exact same thing as Copper Armor and Magi Spheres,” Danny said. “They’re all over the place, and you can equip them both at the same time.”
“But a Doomsphere lasts so much longer, and it doesn't even take up an equipment slot,” Tucker argued. “It makes fighting a boss so much easier!”
“Actually, Doomspheres increase your health and armor by twice as much as Copper Armor or Magi Spheres would,” Sam corrected Danny. “And the Doomsphere’s only last five seconds longer, and unlike Copper Armor and Magi Spheres, you can’t auto-load them, so you have to take the time activate a new one, so they aren't actually that helpful during boss battles,” she corrected Tucker. “They are super helpful if you’re dealing with melees in the middle of a level, though.”
“See, Sam agrees,” Tucker’s voice came after a moment.
“I wasn't even close to agreeing with you.”
“Are you sure you don’t have any secret cheat codes to fix the auto-load downside?” Danny asked hopefully.
“Not like I’d share them with you dorks,” Sam teased.
“Sam,” the boys whined.
As Sam laughed on her end of the line and Tucker began to offer tech in exchange for the codes, Danny paused when he heard muffled shouting from the floor below him.
“I think—” Danny paused, straining his ears but unable to make out any words, “I think my brother’s here.”
That shut Sam and Tucker up quickly. “Why are you so unsure?” Sam asked.
“I think I hear yelling from downstairs, and I don’t recognize the voice,” Danny explained, vaulting off the bed and opening the door to the room he was using. The shouting was much clearer now, and Danny could hear some of what was being yelled now.
“—DRAGONS...SPHINXES...EVERY OTHER...LAST YEAR? ...COME BACK? WHO...ESCAPE FROM HIM? ME!”
“That’s gotta be him,” Danny said, somewhat breathlessly.
“Well what are you waiting for?” Tucker prompted. “Go meet the guy! We can talk later.”
“I dunno, he sounds angry,” Danny said uncertainly, but still moving to the staircase. The words were steadily getting louder and clearer as he got closer.
“CAN'T'VE WANTED TO THAT MUCH, CAN YOU, OR YOU’D HAVE SENT ME AN OWL, BUT DUMBLEDORE MADE YOU SWEAR—”
“About what?” Sam asked.
Danny was pretty sure he had an answer, considering Harry had been left out of the loop all summer. But it wasn't really an explanation he could give to Sam and Tucker.
“I have no idea,” he lied. He could now hear the voices of Ron and Hermione attempting to derail Harry’s ranting, but they clearly weren't getting anywhere.
“I SUPPOSE YOU'VE BEEN HAVING A REAL LAUGH, HAVEN’T YOU, ALL HOLED UP HERE TOGETHER—”
“I think I can hear him now,” Tucker chuckled, a little impressed. “Your brother seems like a very loud and angry person.”
“Hey, maybe he has a reason to be mad, we don’t know,” Sam reasoned. “Danny, we should let you go, you don’t need us distracting you for this. Just promise you’ll tell us how it goes.”
“Will do. Talk to you later, guys.”
With those final wishes, Danny hung up the phone and hovered a few feet from his bedroom. Harry had stopped yelling finally, and Hermione and Ron were attempting to placate him as quickly as they could with answers.
After explaining what the Order was and who was in it, there was a pause in the room until Harry demanded finally, “Well?”
“Er,” said Ron. “Well what?”
“Voldemort!” said Harry burst furiously. “What’s happening? What’s he up to? Where is he? What are we doing to stop him?”
Danny listened, hovering outside the door, leaning against the wall, as Hermione and Ron attempted to answer and appease Harry and catch him up on what he had missed this past month. While it certainly seemed as though Harry had calmed down, Danny didn't dare step foot in the room. Even from here, he could tell that Harry was tense, and he did not want to be the cause of another outburst.
As he listened, he heard two loud pops, followed by Fred and George’s good natured jabs. Moments later, Danny saw Ginny in the hallway looking at him curiously.
“Aren't you going in?”
Danny shook his head, but when he opened his mouth to elaborate, he couldn't find the words to explain his hesitance.
Ginny regarded him with a concerned glance before nodding in acceptance, and Danny was grateful that she hadn't pried. She seemed to understand Danny’s reluctance and left it at that.
“Don’t wait too long,” she said before entering the room, though pointedly leaving it open to allow Danny a more subtle entrance when he was ready.
Danny listened as the talk turned from the twins’ Ears to updates about the Weasley family, which eventually turned into talk about the Ministry’s underhanded methods of discrediting Harry.
Danny still couldn't believe that the Ministry would blatantly ignore a rising threat such as Voldemort, especially when they had the knowledge of what happened during his last reign of terror. He could certainly understand the reluctance to deal with such a threat, but to outright ignore it, thus giving Voldemort a very useful advantage, was something that baffled and angered him to no end.
As Hermione explained the various nasty jokes the Daily Prophet had made at Harry’s expense, Danny found himself gravitating toward the threshold to the room. The topic of conversation, something that still riled him up whenever he thought about it (Seriously, how stupid are these people to intentionally ignore a threat like this?), is what pushed him to movement, but what Harry said next is what finally prompted him to speak up.
“I didn't ask—I didn't want—Voldemort killed my parents!” Harry spluttered. “I got famous because he murdered my family but couldn't kill me! Who wants to be famous for that? Don’t they think I’d rather it’d never—”
“Not your whole family.”
Danny’s comment stopped the conversation, and the room turned to face him as he hovered in the doorway.
Harry let out an annoyed huff, “I hope you’re not talking about the Dursleys, because—”
“I’m not,” Danny cut him off, taking a good look at the unfamiliar body in the room.
Everyone hadn't been lying when they said Danny and Harry looked alike. The really did. Danny noticed the boy shared the same lanky frame he did, as well as the same messy black hair. One obvious difference was the round glasses Harry wore, and though he couldn't see it in the light, he knew from the others that Harry’s eyes were green unlike his blue ones, and there of course was a scar on his forehead that was currently obscured by his bangs.
“Sorry, who’re you?” Harry asked almost rudely, but Danny couldn't even fault him too much based on how riled up he was.
“My name’s Danny. Er, Danny Fenton, sorry.”
“He’s your brother.”
Harry whipped his head in Ron’s direction as Danny let out a groan. Are you serious right now?
“What?” Harry asked shortly.
“Really not the way to start that conversation,” Danny deadpanned.
Ron shrugged helplessly, “I thought it’d be easier to get it outta the way—”
“What do you mean he’s my brother?” Harry asked.
“Your twin actually,” George corrected idly.
Fred shook his head, “I still don’t see it.”
Ginny groaned, “For the last time, you don’t need to be identical to—”
“Wait, what?” Harry asked again.
Danny looked over to Hermione for help, but she seemed stunned into silence. So helpful. “I was really hoping Sirius or someone was gonna explain this at dinner—”
“No, you can explain now,” Harry said, anger leaking into his voice again.
This is going great. “Okay, but you’ll probably get a better explanation later,” Danny hedged, but seeing Harry’s glare hold, he sighed. “Yeah, fine, okay.” He let out another long sigh. “Okay. But this is all just what Dumbledore's told me—”
“Dumbledore’s talked to him about this?” Harry seethed, turning to glare at Ron and Hermione.
“I’m right here,” Danny scowled, his patience wearing thin. “Do you want to hear this or not?” At Harry silent glare, Danny continued. “I’ll try to keep it brief. I've been living in the United States for the past thirteen years as a muggle. Last month, Dumbledore showed up at my house and told me that I was a wizard after explaining that Voldemort—" the Weasley kids and Hermione flinched, but Danny noted that Harry's glare held firm, "—had come back. He told me I needed to catch up on magic studies for my own safety, and I was brought here. I never knew I was a wizard because my family are muggles, but I found out that my Mom is your—er—our Mom’s cousin. Apparently our parents brought me to the Fentons the night they were killed, and they were planning on giving you to someone too, but they just didn't have time before Voldemort—" more flinches, "—showed up. But, uh, yeah, we’re twin brothers,” Danny finished lamely.
Harry was almost gaping at him, but Danny couldn't blame him. Dumbledore had been a lot more eloquent in his explanation, and Danny had been in a much better state of mind at the time.
“Harry, Danny’s telling the truth,” Hermione said, finally jumping in to help. “He’s just been thrown all into this, he’s just finding out about this too, don’t take this out on him—”
Danny nodded, “Yeah, I only found out about all this a month ago—”
This was apparently the wrong thing to say.
“A MONTH YOU'VE ALL KNOWN ABOUT THIS. DIDN'T ANYONE THINK THAT MAYBE I’D LIKE TO KNOW THAT I HAVE A TWIN BROTHER THAT DROPPED OUT OF NO WHERE? DON’T I DESERVE TO KNOW?”
Danny raised his hands in a placating manner as Harry rose to his feet, hoping to quell the new round of shouting, “Hey, I said the same thing—”
“AND YET YOU GET TO BE HERE! YOU'VE BEEN HERE WITH THE ORDER ALL THIS TIME WHILE I'VE BEEN LOCKED AWAY WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING FOR A MONTH—”
“IT HASN'T EXACTLY BEEN FUN AND GAMES, YOU KNOW,” Danny fired back, his chest heaving. His temper had finally reached a breaking point.
The fact that someone had shouted back to him had miraculously shocked Harry into silence. Danny took a deep breath, and continued in a very tight voice, “In one night, I found out that I’m adopted, my birth parents were murdered when I was a baby, my twin brother is still alive, and surprise! I’m a wizard, too. So they said, ‘Hey, Danny, wouldn't you like to meet your brother?’ Yeah, sure.”
Danny let out a long sigh, “I left my home for the main reason of meeting you. I left my parents and sister alone to meet the last remaining member of a family I never even knew existed. Except surprise again! I don’t actually get to meet him for weeks.”
“Why are you complaining?” Harry returned, eyes blazing. “You've had a family this whole time! Your life sounds great, you've grown up with parents and a sister who care about you. Who cares if you didn't know about Mum and Dad, you've replaced them! You didn't have to grow up knowing your parents were dead. You didn't have to grow up in a house that hated you for something you didn't understand.”
“Not by choice!” Danny bit. “I didn't replace our parents, I didn't even know they existed! Our mother is the one who gave me to the Fentons, they were gonna bring you somewhere too! If they had had another hour or so, we wouldn't be having this conversation! We would have grown up the same—”
“Except that’s not what happened!” Harry said angrily. “You got the perfect life and I grew up in hell all because Mum decided to save you first!”
“So you’re saying that’s my fault? I wouldn't call it a perfect life either, you’re the ‘Boy Who Lived’, while I’m the ‘Boy Who’s Half-Dead!’”
Silence met Danny’s words, and he froze up in fear. I did not just say that—
“I didn't-I’m-I’m not—” Very quickly, Danny had lost the ability to form coherent thoughts. He backed up slowly, continuing his stammering until he hit the door frame behind him.
“Danny, it’s okay,” Hermione tried to say, but Danny was hardly paying attention at this point.
He was mortified at his slip, and the stares he was receiving were not helping matters. As Hermione stood, Danny bolted from the room like a spooked deer, leaving Ginny’s shouts of “Danny!” in his wake.
He barely noticed Mrs. Weasley in the hallway as he bolted upstairs, and he found himself back in the third floor bedroom, the door slamming shut behind him. Without his trademark catchphrase, he slipped into ghost form and shot through the window into the night.
Harry is here! And Danny has left! Oops.
We are now officially caught up to the FF.Net postings, so expect updates to slow down now. I'm still going to keep working hard on the chapters, but now that they aren't all pre-done, I actually have to write them now as I go.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Chapter 9: A New Leaf and a Burning Tree
Last time: Harry was attacked by Dementors, and in their disastrous first meeting, Danny revealed that he was half-dead.
~August 6th still~
Harry was too angry to care as his supposed twin brother ran from the room. Why had no one told him he had family other than the Dursleys? How long had everyone known about him? Sure, Danny only found out a month ago, but Dumbledore is the one who told him, so he must have known. And why hadn't Sirius ever mentioned him? Or Lupin?
Two loud cracks brought him out of his thoughts, and he noticed Fred and George had disappeared from the room just as Mrs. Weasley appeared in the doorway.
“The meeting’s over, you can come down and have dinner now. Everyone’s dying to see you, Harry. And where’s Danny run off to?”
Hermione and Ginny exchanged glances. “There was a small incident,” Hermione said delicately.
Harry was surprised to see Mrs. Weasley’s gaze sharpen in Ron’s direction, “Have you two been arguing again—?”
“What—no!” Ron scowled. “Mum, that was one time.”
“One time that had this entire house in a dither because we couldn't find Danny for an hour,” Mrs. Weasley said reprovingly. She let out a weathered sigh before saying, “Ginny, dear, could you go up and make sure Danny’s okay? He went up to the third floor. And what having you been doing? Your hands are filthy! Go and wash them before dinner, please.”
Ginny grimaced at the others before following her mother out of the room, leaving Harry alone with Ron and Hermione. Both of them were watching him apprehensively, as though they feared he would start shouting again now that everyone else had gone. The sight of them looking so nervous made him feel slightly ashamed.
“Look...” he muttered, but Ron shook his head, and Hermione said quietly, “We knew you’d be angry, Harry, we really don’t blame you, but you've got to understand, we did try to persuade Dumbledore—”
“Yeah, I know,” said Harry shortly.
He cast around for a topic that didn't involve his headmaster, because the very thought of Dumbledore made Harry’s insides burn with anger again, but the only other thought in his mind was his new brother, which unfortunately spurned just as much anger.
“What’s the deal with Danny?” he asked.
Ron gaze shifted anxiously to Hermione, who said, “Danny’s right, it can probably be better explained at dinner.” When Harry started to rebut this response, she hurriedly continued, “Harry, we really don’t know that much about him, or the situation. We know as much as he just told you, and beyond that it’s really just what we've learned from being around him. He’s been fairly private so far, we don’t see him much unless we’re cleaning or during meals.”
“What’s he doing here in the first place?”
“Well, meeting you was the big one,” Ron supplied. “But they've been trying to catch him up through fourth year.”
“I can’t believe he’s already working on fourth year,” Hermione said sourly. “You physically cannot get through three years of the Hogwarts curriculum in four weeks—”
“Hermione, he’s clearly learning the stuff, Sirius said as much,” Ron said, but Hermione just huffed. “Let’s just go to dinner, I’m starving.”
The light banter between the two lifted Harry’s spirits a bit as he followed Ron out into the hallway.
“Hold it!” Ron breathed, flinging out an arm to stop Harry and Hermione walking any further. “They’re still in the hall, we might be able to hear something.”
The three of them looked cautiously over the banisters. The gloomy hallway below was packed with witches and wizards, including all of Harry’s guard. They were whispering excitedly together. In the very center of the group Harry saw the dark, greasy-haired head and prominent nose of his least favorite teacher at Hogwarts, Professor Snape. Harry leaned further over the banisters. He was very interested in what Snape was doing for the Order of the Phoenix...
A thin piece of flesh-colored string descended in front of Harry’s eyes. Looking up, he saw Fred and George on the landing above, cautiously lowering the Extendable Ear towards the dark knot of people below. A moment later, however, they all began to move towards the front door and out of sight.
“Damn it,” Harry heard Fred whisper, as he hoisted the Extendable Ear back up again.
They heard the front door open, then close.
“Snape never eats here,” Ron told Harry quietly. “Thank God. C'mon.”
“And don’t forget to keep your voice down in the hall, Harry,” Hermione whispered.
As they passed the row of house-elf heads on the wall, they saw Lupin, Mrs. Weasley and Tonks at the front door, magically sealing its many locks and bolts behind those who had just left. “We’re eating down in the kitchen,” Mrs. Weasley whispered, meeting them at the bottom of the stairs. “Harry, dear, if you’ll just tiptoe across the hall, it’s through this door here—”
“Tonks!” Mrs. Weasley cried in exasperation, turning to look behind her.
“I’m sorry!” Tonks wailed, who was lying flat on the floor. “It’s that stupid umbrella stand, that’s the second time I've tripped over—”
But the rest of her words were drowned by a horrible, ear-splitting, blood-curdling screech. The moth-eaten velvet curtains Harry had passed earlier had flown apart, but there was no door behind them. For a split second, Harry thought he was looking through a window, a window behind which an old woman in a black cap was screaming and screaming as though she were being tortured—then he realized it was simply a life-size portrait, but the most realistic, and the most unpleasant, he had ever seen in his life.
The old woman was drooling, her eyes were rolling, the yellowing skin of her face stretched taut as she screamed; and all along the hall behind them, the other portraits awoke and began to yell, too, so that Harry actually screwed up his eyes at the noise and clapped his hands over his ears. Lupin and Mrs. Weasley darted forward and tried to tug the curtains shut over the old woman, but they would not close and she screeched louder than ever, brandishing clawed hands as though trying to tear at their faces.
“Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Half-breeds, mutants, freaks, begone from this place! How dare you befoul the house of my fathers—”
Tonks apologized over and over again, dragging the huge, heavy troll’s leg back off the floor; Mrs. Weasley abandoned the attempt to close the curtains and hurried up and down the hall, stunning all the other portraits with her wand; and Sirius came charging out of a door facing Harry.
“Shut up, you horrible old hag, shut UP!” he roared, seizing the curtain Mrs. Weasley had abandoned.
The old woman’s face blanched.
“Yoooou!” she howled, her eyes popping at the sight of the man. “Blood traitor, abomination, shame of my flesh!”
“I said—shut—UP!” Sirius barked, and with a stupendous effort he and Lupin managed to force the curtains closed again.
The old woman’s screeches died and an echoing silence fell. Panting slightly and sweeping his long dark hair out of his eyes, Sirius turned to face him.
“Hello, Harry,” he said grimly, “I see you've met my mother.”
“My dear old mum, yeah,” Sirius said. “We've been trying to get her down for a month but we think she put a Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of the canvas. Let’s get downstairs, quick, before they all wake up again.”
“But what’s a portrait of your mother doing here?” Harry asked, bewildered, as they went through the door from the hall and led the way down a flight of narrow stone steps, the others just behind them.
“Hasn't anyone told you? This was my parents’ house,” Sirius said. “But I’m the last Black left, so it’s mine now. I offered it to Dumbledore for Headquarters—about the only useful thing I've been able to do.”
Harry, who had expected a better welcome, noted how hard and bitter Sirius’s voice sounded. He followed his godfather to the bottom of the steps and through a door leading into the basement kitchen.
After speaking briefly with Bill and Mr. Weasley as they cleared up last minute Order materials, Harry followed Sirius to the dining table, where he found Mundungus slouched under his rags of clothes.
As Tonks went to help Mrs. Weasley prepare dinner, Ginny entered the kitchen. “Mum, Danny’s not answering, I don’t think he’ll be down for dinner.”
Sirius turned to her with a worried expression, and Harry could not help the wave of jealousy that rose within him when he asked, “Why? What’s wrong? Is he okay?”
Ginny pointedly looked at Harry as though expecting him to answer, but Harry remained silent. Sirius noticed the gaze and aimed a questioning eye at him.
“We didn't get off to a good start,” Harry said finally.
Sirius frowned and turned back to Ginny, “Where is he?”
“I thought he was in the third floor guest room, but when I asked for him he didn't answer,” she replied. “I tried the door, but I think it jammed again.”
“He might be in Buckbeak's room, he went there last time,” Sirius offered. His mouth twisted as though he was mulling over a thought and then he said, “If he’s hungry he’ll come down, but let’s leave him be for right now.”
Harry was content to let him stay up there for as long as he wanted.
During dinner, as Tonks entertained Ginny and Hermione by morphing her nose into those of various animals and Fred and George were having a lively conversation with Mundungus, Harry finally asked Sirius, “Who’s Danny, anyway?”
Sirius set both of his utensils down. “I’m sure you learned a little already considering he still hasn't joined us for dinner.” Harry glanced away, slightly guilty, but the feeling did not override his indignation about being kept out of the loop in regards to Danny. Sirius continued, “I’m guessing you know by now that he’s your brother.”
“Why didn't anyone tell me about him?” Harry asked, the unspoken Why didn't you tell me? hanging in the air.
Sirius swallowed, “I didn't know he was alive, honestly. No one did. Everyone that knew your family thought he died the night Voldemort attacked you.”
“So what changed?”
“Dumbledore was aware that Lily had brought Danny to another family as he was the one who constructed the wards on their house. When everyone thought Danny died, he chose not to tell anyone otherwise. Then last June happened, and he thought it was necessary to educate Danny about the Wizarding World lest Voldemort or his followers discover his existence.”
“How would they do that?” Harry asked. “If Dumbledore was the only one who knew—”
“But he wasn't,” Sirius said gravely. “Anyone who knew your family knew that the Potters had twins, and after the attack, you were the only one found alive, so people assumed Danny died, but—”
“Voldemort would know that Danny wasn't there in the first place,” Harry realized.
“Exactly,” Sirius confirmed. “So now that Voldemort is back, Dumbledore found it necessary to introduce Danny to the magical world, instead of leaving him alone and helpless in the muggle world without any knowledge of the danger he’s now in.”
“Except he wasn't alone,” Harry muttered.
Sirius grimaced. “No he wasn't,” he agreed. “But he can’t control how he was raised. No more than you could control being given to the Dursleys. And I don’t think that’s fair to hold against Danny.”
Sirius seemed to know that this is what Danny and Harry’s argument had been centered on, Harry realized, and he found that Sirius’s words helped settle his thoughts. But it certainly didn't dissipate his anger, or sense of betrayal. Even if everyone had thought Danny died that Halloween night, why had everyone neglected to mention him when they spoke of his parents?
Sirius left him to his thoughts until the end of dinner, when he brought up Harry’s lack of questioning about the Order. After a heated debate between Sirius and Mrs. Weasley, Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley children, barring Ginny, were finally allowed to have some of their questions answered.
But when the conversation had gone into deep waters, Mrs. Weasley put her foot down, ending the conversation. Harry followed the others upstairs, mulling over the new information in his head.
Danny, meanwhile, was in full-blown panic mode. He flew aimlessly away from Grimmauld Place, speeding as fast as he could away from the square. He was still in a state of shock, though fully aware of what had just happened.
He just blurted out his biggest secret, arguably his most dangerous secret. To people he had barely known for a month. To a brother whom he just met and already wanted nothing to do with him. How could he expect them to keep such a thing quiet?
Danny wanted to call Jazz, but knew she was currently at a college admissions workshop and probably had her phone off. So instead, he pressed the callback number on his phone and waited anxiously.
Tucker answered first, “Wow, dude, that didn't take long.”
“They know I’m a ghost,” Danny blurted out. “Or half-ghost, but that’s basically the same thing—”
“We had a fight, and I don’t know, it just sorta slipped out! How does that even happen?!”
“Wait, what happened?” Sam asked, joining the conversation.
“I told them I’m half ghost!” Danny screeched.
Ever the voice of reason, Sam said, “Okay, calm down, Danny, just tell us what happened. Deep breath.”
Danny did as instructed and ran a hand through his hair. “We got into a fight, and I don’t know what happened, it sorta just slipped out. Harry was really angry and I got angry, and he was yelling about how my life was perfect compared to his and all this other stuff and I just had enough and blurted out my ghost secret.”
“Danny, that doesn't sound like you, you've been riled up before and have never come close to spilling your secret,” Sam said, concerned. “What exactly did you say? Word for word.”
“I, uh,” Danny paused, thinking back to the nasty confrontation. He couldn't even share part of the conversation because it would bring up unwanted questions, like the Boy Who Lived title. “He said something about—he was basically implying that it was my fault our mom gave me to the Fentons, and he ended up with the short end of the stick. And then he said I got the perfect life while his was basically crap. So I said that my life wasn't exactly perfect either, I’m half-dead. And then I, uh, basically just ran from the room.”
Danny heard Sam sigh on the other end as Tucker said, “Oh man, that’s not too bad.”
“What do you mean ‘not too bad?’” Danny bristled. “I just told them—”
“You told them you were half-dead, not half-ghost,” Sam explained.
“That’s the same thing—”
“It’s not though,” Sam insisted. “Danny, think about it. For us, sure, the two are synonymous, but think of it from an outside perspective.”
“Yeah, people’s first thought isn't going to be that you’re a ghost,” Tucker added. “Unless you’re in ghost mode, you don’t exactly look like one. Especially now that you've got a handle on your powers, in the early days random body parts would go invisible!”
“Danny, calm down,” Sam said firmly. “This isn't as bad as you think.”
Danny took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said finally. “But what are they gonna say about the ‘half-dead’ comment?”
“It could mean a lot of things,” Sam reasoned.
“Like maybe you have a terminal disease or something,” Tucker suggested.
“That’s morbid,” Danny intoned.
“But it’s a good idea!” Sam said. “Nice one, Tucker. Something like that would mean that you have limited time to live, so you’re already half-dead or something.”
Danny stayed silent as he mulled over the idea in his head. It had merit, he decided, but it would definitely require Jazz’s help to pull it off. It would also be dangerous if his parents got wind of this situation, because if he really was afflicted with an illness like this, his parents would have to know. Any mention of being ‘half-dead’ in front of his parents would be treading into dangerous waters. And if someone ever offhandedly mentioned his illness to his parents, he would have to come up with something pretty convincing.
But it seemed like the only solution at this point to get himself out of his comment. If his parents found out, he would deal with that when it happened. All the more reason to get Jazz’s advice on this as soon as he could.
“Okay, I think I’m gonna go with that,” he said finally.
“And maybe just be really vague about it when you tell them,” Tucker suggested.
“Yeah, then they won’t be able to ask questions about it,” Sam added. “Just make it a really uncomfortable situation and they’ll hopeful steer clear from the topic again.”
“I think I already made it an uncomfortable topic by running after I said it,” Danny joked weakly.
“Where are you anyway?” Sam asked.
“I’m, uh,” Danny paused, looking around him. He was a couple hundred feet above the ground, but all he could see were trees below him, and maybe that was a house over there... “I have no idea,” he said finally.
“Well, which direction did you leave from the house?”
“I have no idea,” Danny repeated, panic starting to rise within him again.
“I got this, I’ll just track your phone,” Tucker said, and Danny could hear his fingers typing quickly on his keyboard in the background. “Got it, you’re...woah, you’re in South Downs National Park, you’re like 60 miles south of London. You must have been flying.”
“I wasn't really paying attention,” Danny said guiltily. “Alright, south you said?”
“More like south southwest, but yeah,” Tucker confirmed. “If you fly east for 10 miles you’ll find a road that will take you all the way up to London’s main city, it’s called, uh, A24.”
“You’re the best, Tuck,” Danny said. He let out a long breath. “Okay, this isn’t so bad. I can fix this.”
“There you go,” Sam encouraged. “And don’t worry about your brother, I’m sure things will work out over time.”
“I don’t know, we were literally screaming at each other,” Danny said a bit guiltily.
“Did he start it?” Tucker asked.
“Well, yeah, I guess, kinda.”
“Good! Then you’re in the clear!”
“I think it’s gonna take mutual apologies,” Danny said, smiling slightly at Tucker’s antics. “Or something, I dunno, I’ll see what happens when I get back.”
“Where do they think you are right now?” Sam asked.
“Good question,” Danny said nervously. “Hopefully they don’t know I've left the house, I left through the third floor bedroom, but we were about to have dinner—”
“You should probably head back,” Tucker reasoned. “Just in case they've started a manhunt.”
Considering the reaction he would get if he was found to be out of the house, Danny decided this was definitely a good idea. Not to mention it was getting pretty late, it was almost time for bed. “Yeah, I’ll call you guys tomorrow to let you know how things work out.”
“You better,” Sam said. “See ya later, or, talk—you know what I mean!”
“Yeah, gotcha,” Danny chuckled. “Bye, guys.”
Mrs. Weasley followed them upstairs looking grim.
“I want you all to go straight to bed, no talking,” she said as they reached the first landing. “We've got a busy day tomorrow. I expect Ginny’s asleep,” she added to Hermione, “so try not to wake her up.”
“Asleep, yeah, right,” Fred said in an undertone, after Hermione bade them good night and they were climbing to the next floor. “If Ginny’s not lying awake waiting for Hermione to tell her everything they said downstairs then I’m a Flobberworm…”
“All right, Ron, Harry,” said Mrs. Weasley on the second landing, pointing them into their bedroom. “Off to bed with you.”
“Night,” Harry and Ron said to the twins.
“Sleep tight,” said Fred, winking.
Mrs. Weasley closed the door behind Harry with a sharp snap.
Harry put on his pajamas, took off his glasses and climbed into his chilly bed while Ron threw Owl Treats up on top of the wardrobe to pacify Hedwig and Pigwidgeon, who were clattering around and rustling their wings restlessly.
“We can’t let them out to hunt every night,” Ron explained as he pulled on his maroon pajamas. “Dumbledore doesn't want too many owls swooping around the square, thinks it’ll look suspicious. Oh yeah...I forgot...”
He crossed to the door and bolted it.
“What’re you doing that for?”
“Kreacher,” said Ron as he turned off the light. “First night I was here he came wandering in at three in the morning. Trust me, you don’t want to wake up and find him prowling around your room. Anyway...” he got into his bed, settled down under the covers then turned to look at Harry in the darkness; Harry could see his outline by the moonlight filtering in through the grimy window, “what d’you reckon?”
Harry didn't need to ask what Ron meant. They had barely started getting into the conversation from downstairs when Fred and George appeared in the room with a loud CRACK and landed right on top of Ron’s lap.
“Keep your voice down, Ron, or Mum’ll be back up here.”
“You two just Apparated on my knees!”
“Yeah, well, it’s harder in the dark.”
In lowered voices, the four discussed the weapon Sirius mentioned. Apparently, it was the only new thing the others had learned thanks to the Extendable Ears, but this was definitely something that had been let slip.
As theories of what the weapon could possibly be wound down, Fred began a new line of conversation.
“So are we going to talk about Danny’s ‘half-dead’ comment at all?” Fred asked. In the rush of everything, Harry had honestly forgotten.
“Yeah, how can you be half-dead?” George asked.
“It’s probably a figure of speech,” Ron reasoned. “You can’t physically be half-dead.”
“Tell that to Voldemort,” Harry hedged, ignoring the flinches of the three. “He was all but dead before he came back. And drinking the unicorn blood gave him a half-life, or cursed life, or something.”
“Danny is not You-Know-Who,” Ron said quickly. “He was a muggle up until last month, there’s no way this is anything magic related.”
“Then what did it mean?” George asked. “He was way too freaked out about saying it for it to be something small, so it’s not like he’s just tired or worn out.”
“Maybe he’s sick?” Ron suggested. “And he just doesn't want pity or anything.”
“What, like Dragon Pox?”
“You’d know if he had Dragon Pox—”
“No, something he’s dying from I mean,” Ron clarified. Harry seriously hoped this was not the case, because while he hadn't been guilty about his row with Danny before, saying all that he had to someone who was maybe on their death-bed would certainly made him feel like an arse.
“Black Cat Flu maybe,” Fred mused.
“That’s contagious, I’d hope he doesn't have that.”
“So’s Dragon Pox—”
“I thought we agreed it wasn't magic-related—” Ron said irritably.
“Shh!” said Fred, half-rising from the bed. “Listen!”
They fell silent. Footsteps were coming up the stairs.
“Mum,” said George and without further ado there was a loud crack and Harry felt the weight vanish from the end of his bed. A few seconds later, they heard the floorboard creak outside their door; Mrs. Weasley was plainly listening to check whether or not they were talking.
Except there was a knock on the door.
Ron and Harry exchanged glances before Ron got out of his bed and went to unbolt the door. Harry was surprised to see Sirius in the doorway.
“Danny’s not in here, is he?” he asked, glancing around the room. His gaze rested on the empty bed, which Harry realized was Danny’s.
“No, we haven’t seen him since before dinner,” Ron said, frowning. “He still hasn't come down from the third floor?”
Sirius frowned. “He’s not on the third floor. Or this floor, or anywhere that we've looked so far. I’m about ready to check Kreacher's den at this point,” he joked, but Harry had the feeling he was fully prepared to do just that. A well of anger burned in his stomach, and though Harry knew the feeling was irrational, he couldn't bring himself to care about Danny’s disappearance.
“I’m sure he’s somewhere,” Harry muttered.
Sirius didn't seem keen to leave it at that, but he shook his head and leaned away from the door. “I think Remus and Tonks were planning on looking around the neighborhood, it’s looking as though he might've left the house.”
“We’ll let you know if he shows up,” Ron said awkwardly. Sirius nodded, said goodnight to them both, then left. Ron bolted the door again and returned to his bed. “It’s not the first time he’s had the house looking for him, y’know.”
Harry snorted, “Yeah, what was that about you arguing with him?”
“We sorta had an argument similar to yours. We were both getting on each other’s nerves, I was angry you weren't here yet, and I said some things that made him storm off,” Ron replied. “I still don’t know what I said that set him off, Hermione reckons it’s because I brought his family into it. But everyone couldn't find him for at least half an hour until Sirius finally checked Buckbeak's room.”
“Maybe he’s there now.”
“Nah, that’s probably the first place he checked,” Ron said. He let out a long sigh, “Honestly, I’m not going to be that concerned unless he doesn't show up for breakfast.”
Harry wasn't even sure he’d be concerned then, which led him to wonder why he was thinking so despondently about someone he had only met a couple hours ago. It wasn't as though Danny was a bad person, he just couldn't move beyond the fact that Danny had certainly gotten the better end of the stick when it came to how their lives turned out. With these thoughts, along with everything he had learned that night, he fully expected to lie awake for hours mulling it all over, but it wasn't long before he drifted into sleep.
Staying invisible to be safe, Danny floated through the window to the third floor bedroom. After checking to make sure the room was empty, he regained visibility and shifted back into human form. It took more effort than he’d have thought to open the door; he had to put his whole body into forcing it open. It wasn't the first time the door had jammed, especially with it being summer on the top floor of the house, the door was bound to expand and stick from time to time.
After finally getting the door open, Danny hovered in the hallway. Should he really head back to his bedroom where Ron and Harry had probably fallen asleep by now? Just as he asked himself the question, his stomach growled loudly, rudely reminding him that he had missed dinner. Deciding to skip his bedroom and see if there was any leftover food he could snag, he made his way downstairs.
As he walked into the kitchen, Danny wasn't overly surprised to see someone else in the room.
“We've gotta stop meeting like this,” Danny joked, grabbing Sirius’s attention.
“Danny, thank Merlin, where have you been?” Sirius asked, standing from his seat and making his way to Danny in one stride. He pulled Danny into a rough hug, and Danny just let it happen, returning the hug lightly as guilt coursed through him.
“Sorry for worrying you,” Danny mumbled awkwardly as Sirius pulled away.
“You’re safe, that’s all that matters,” Sirius smiled, and his eyes flicked downward as Danny’s stomach gave another impatient growl. “Déjà vu, huh?” he grinned.
“Something like that,” Danny smiled wryly.
“Hey, at least there’s food this time,” Sirius said, but at Danny’s smirk he added, “I’m not gonna actually cook anything, ye of little faith.”
“Just going by experience,” Danny grinned. “Besides, I don’t think the rest of the house would appreciate a late night wake up call.”
After putting a few pieces of cold leftover turkey and ham on bread and adding a couple slices of cheese to it, Sirius handed the sandwich over to Danny and they both sat at the dining table. Danny noticed the same cup in front of Sirius from his first night in Grimmauld Place.
“I've driven you to drinking, I’m the worst.”
Sirius snorted, but didn't respond to the comment. Instead, he asked, “Do you wanna tell me what happened?”
Danny frowned, a large bite of sandwich still in his mouth. Taking extra time to chew and swallow, he finally said, “We didn't get off to a good start.”
Sirius snorted lightly. “I’m sorry,” he said when Danny glowered at him, “but that is literally what Harry told me word for word.”
“Yet another sign that we’re twins,” Danny muttered bitterly.
“Not a fan of having a brother?”
“That’s not it, I—” Danny paused, trying to formulate the right words. “I don’t know what I was expecting, to be honest. It’s not like I grew up as an only child, and I get that Harry did, but—”
“Well, that’s not wholly true,” Sirius revealed, taking a sip of his drink. “Harry did grow up with his-your cousin, Dudley.”
“Really? We have a cousin? Dumbledore just said he lived with our aunt and uncle,” Danny said, surprised by the news.
Sirius nodded. “Dudley’s about the same age as you, maybe a few months older. But he’s a menace, honestly. Brat of a kid. He’s quite the neighborhood bully from what I hear.”
“I thought maybe Harry didn't like the idea of having a brother because he grew up as an only child, but he didn't really, did he?” Danny figured.
But Sirius shook his head, “Growing up with Dudley is probably the exact reason why he wouldn't want a brother.”
“What d’you mean?”
“Well, I mentioned Dudley’s a bully, right? He’s also a spoiled brat, his parents cater to his every whim, while Harry is treated more as a house guest, not even that well,” Sirius said lowly. “You don’t want to get me started on the Dursley family.”
Danny nodded, starting to realize how bad Harry’s home life must have been. He was definitely starting to understand where Harry was coming from during their confrontation, it really did seem like Harry got the raw end of the deal.
“You can imagine how growing up like that would skew your thoughts of family and siblings,” Sirius continued. “And comparing those experiences to an ideal scenario of you and Jazz, that made things all the worse for Harry.”
Danny wouldn't call his relationship with Jazz ideal, but he would be the first to admit he was lucky to have her for a sister. He couldn't imagine what it would have been like had someone like Dudley taken her place, along with clear favoritism from his parents.
Even though Danny had always thought Jazz was the better of the two of them (and how could he not, she was basically a genius, on track to be Valedictorian and sure to be accepted to any college she wanted), his parents had never shown obvious favoritism towards her. Maybe a couple times in jest, but they were very careful to spread the attention evenly to both of their kids.
“Great, now I feel awful for yelling back at him,” Danny groaned, leaning back in his seat.
“That’s not why I’m telling you this,” Sirius said gently. “There’s no way you could've known about Harry’s life, and there’s no way he could've known about yours. Especially with how restless Harry’s been all summer, I have to say I’m not surprised you two blew up at each other. But now that you both know a little bit more about where you’re coming from, things should be easier from here, right? I’m not saying you have to make up right away and become best friends, that’ll take time, but hopefully you guys will move forward from this.”
“You haven’t even met my sister and you’re channeling her psychology prowess,” Danny smirked before letting out a long sigh. “Well, hopefully I didn't permanently sever our chances at that.”
“I’m sure it’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be,” Sirius assured.
Danny nodded, taking another bite of his sandwich. He finished his meal in a comfortable silence, Sirius taking a sip of his drink every so often. “I guess I’ll see what happens tomorrow,” he said finally.
“That’s the spirit,” Sirius said lightly, clapping Danny’s shoulder. “Now, I know it’s not as late as it was last time, but you don’t have the time difference excuse anymore. So why don’t you head up to bed, I can take care of this,” he said, motioning to the empty plate. “I still need to let Remus and Tonks know they can stop looking for you.”
Danny winced, “I’m sorry—”
“Danny, I understand,” Sirius said gently. “Don’t worry about it. Just make sure you get to breakfast on time, otherwise I think Molly is going to have a fit.”
Danny let out a small chuckle, standing up from the table. “G’night.”
Danny made his way upstairs, but before he could touch the door handle to his room, he realized that Ron had probably set the deadbolt by then. Rather than risking phasing inside and answering the question of how in the morning, he decided to sleep upstairs in the third floor guest room.
The next morning, Danny woke up well before breakfast, but waited until he was sure Harry and Ron had gone downstairs so he could sneak into the room and change before heading down himself.
As he entered the kitchen, the conversation immediately paused as everyone at the table glanced at him. Danny could feel his face heating up as he avoided everyone’s gaze, and he started towards the empty chair at the table between Sirius and Mr. Weasley, but he was cut off by a quick hug from Mrs. Weasley.
“Danny, you had us worried sick!” she said after letting him go.
“Sorry, Mrs. Weasley,” Danny mumbled awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck. “I just, uh, needed to clear my head, is all.”
“Not to worry, I’m just glad you’re safe, dear,” she said kindly before returning to her own seat. As Danny took his own seat, Mrs. Weasley began loading his plate heartily. He glanced at Sirius who gave him a wink and Danny grinned back.
As he said thanks to Mrs. Weasley, he accidentally made eye contact with Harry across the table. He quickly averted his gaze, peripherally noticing that Harry had done the same.
He really hoped this standoff between them would go away soon, but based on his experiences with Ron and Hermione, Danny seriously doubted it would be a quick resolution. Thankfully, he would be spared their company as he had school work to do that morning, however he knew the afternoon was going to be unbearable.
As it turned out, Danny made zero progress on all of his subjects as he and all of his clones had been too preoccupied to think straight. He had been so distracted that he hadn't even heard Tonks set off Mrs. Black, or Mundungus set her off, or Mrs. Weasley’s shouting (apparently scolding Mundungus for harboring stolen goods) which had set off a third round of Mrs. Black’s screeching.
When Sirius came to fetch him for lunch, which would be sandwiches in the drawing room so they could move right onto more cleaning, he filled him in about the various interruptions.
“How did you not hear my mother?” he asked incredulously. When Danny just shrugged in response, Sirius knocked on the top of his head lightly with one knuckle. “Get your head on straight, you’ll need it with the cabinets we’re cleaning,” he joked lightly, with an undertone of concern.
Danny gave him a grateful smile which Sirius returned ten-fold.
They reached the drawing room and opened the door just in time to catch Kreacher say, “Kreacher is cleaning.”
“A likely story,” Sirius said derisively.
Danny had never liked the elf. The idea of house-elves really did not appeal to him, it sounded more like slavery (an opinion which Ron had quickly told him not to share with Hermione lest he was ready for a long speech on elvish-welfare, or “spew” apparently), but Kreacher himself was a right piece of work. The elf had a grimy cloth tied like a loin cloth around his middle, and bushy white hair sticking out of his oversized, bat-like ears.
Looking around the room, Danny saw the group had already tackled a Doxy infestation in the curtains, and Danny noticed stunned Doxys crammed in a bucket near the curtains. He was pretty sure he saw the head of one poking out of Fred’s pocket, but he decided not to question it.
At the sight of Sirius, Kreacher fell into a rug-kissing bow.
“Stand up straight,” Sirius said impatiently. “Now, what are you up to?”
“Kreacher is cleaning,” the elf repeated. “Kreacher lives to serve the Noble House of Black—”
“And it’s getting blacker every day, it’s filthy,” Sirius said.
“Master always liked his little joke,” Kreacher said, bowing again, and continuing in an undertone, “Master was a nasty ungrateful swine who broke his mother’s heart—”
“My mother didn't have a heart, Kreacher,” Sirius snapped. “She kept herself alive out of pure spite.”
Kreacher bowed again as he spoke.
“Whatever Master says,” he muttered furiously. “Master is not fit to wipe slime from his mother’s boots, oh, my poor mistress, what would she say if she saw Kreacher serving him, how she hated him, what a disappointment he was—”
“I asked you what you were up to,” Sirius said coldly. “Every time you show up pretending to be cleaning, you sneak something off to your room so we can’t throw it out.”
“Kreacher would never move anything from its proper place in Master’s house,” said the elf, then muttered very fast, “Mistress would never forgive Kreacher if the tapestry was thrown out, seven centuries it’s been in the family, Kreacher must save it, Kreacher will not let Master and the blood traitors and the brats destroy it—”
“I thought it might be that,” said Sirius, casting a disdainful look at the opposite wall. “She’ll have put another Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of it, I don’t doubt, but if I can get rid of it I certainly will. Now go away, Kreacher.”
It seemed that Kreacher did not dare disobey a direct order; nevertheless, the look he gave Sirius as he shuffled out past him was full of deepest loathing and he muttered all the way out of the room.
“—comes back from Azkaban ordering Kreacher around, oh, my poor mistress, what would she say if she saw the house now, scum living in it, her treasures thrown out, she swore he was no son of hers and he’s back, they say he’s a murderer too—”
“Keep muttering and I will be a murderer!” said Sirius irritably as he slammed the door shut on the elf.
“Sirius, he’s not right in the head,” Hermione pleaded, “I don’t think he realizes we can hear
“He’s been alone too long,” Sirius explained tightly, “taking mad orders from my mother’s portrait and talking to himself, but he was always a foul little—”
“If you could just set him free,” said Hermione hopefully, “maybe—”
“With how much he probably knows about the Order by now?” Danny asked, though he understood her reasoning. “Bad idea.”
Sirius nodded in agreement. “And anyway, the shock would kill him. You suggest to him that he leaves this house, see how he takes it.” Sirius walked across the room to where the tapestry Kreacher had been trying to protect hung the length of the wall. Danny and the others followed.
Though clearly old, faded and worn as it was, the tapestry looked stunning with its golden embroidery. It was a family tree that seemed to date all the way back to the Middle Ages. At the top of the tapestry were the words The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black - Toujours pur.
“You’re not on here!” Harry said, looking at the bottom of the tree closely. Danny followed his gaze and saw the small, charred hole in the tapestry just as Sirius pointed to it.
“I used to be there,” he said. “My sweet old mother blasted me off after I ran away from home—Kreacher's quite fond of muttering the story under his breath.”
“You ran away from home?” Harry asked, surprised.
Danny was honestly surprised that Harry hadn't heard about this before when he had heard about it the same day he met the man. Danny grimaced slightly, deciding that this was a fact he should definitely keep to himself
“When I was about sixteen,” Sirius answered, same as he told Danny weeks ago. “I’d had enough.”
Harry was staring at him incredulously. “Where’d you go?” he asked.
“Your dad’s place,” Sirius said. This was new information. “Your grandparents were really good about it; they sort of adopted me as a second son. Yeah, I camped out at your dad’s in the school holidays, and when I was seventeen I got a place of my own. My Uncle Alphard had left me a decent bit of gold--he’s been wiped off here, too, that’s probably why—anyway, after that I looked after myself. I was always welcome at Mr. and Mrs. Potter’s for Sunday lunch, though.”
“Just Sunday?” Danny asked teasingly.
Sirius laughed lightly, “Yeah, once a week was enough of me for them.”
“But...why did you...?” Harry still seemed to be stuck on the revelation that Sirius had run away from home.
“Leave?” Sirius smiled bitterly and ran his fingers through his long, unkempt hair. “Because I hated the whole lot of them: my parents, with their pure-blood mania, convinced that to be a Black made you practically royal...my idiot brother, soft enough to believe them...that’s him.” Sirius jabbed a finger at the very bottom of the tree, at the name Regulus Black. A date of death (some fifteen years previously) followed the date of birth.
“He was younger than me,” Sirius said, “and a much better son, as I was constantly reminded.”
Danny remembered their conversation from last night and instantly felt sympathetic towards the man, but he didn't bother voicing the thought because he knew Sirius wouldn't appreciate the ‘waste of feelings at his expense.’
“But he died,” Harry said.
“Yeah,” Sirius said. “Stupid idiot...he joined the Death Eaters.”
“Come on, Harry, haven’t you seen enough of this house to tell what kind of wizards my family were?” Sirius said testily.
“Were—were your parents Death Eaters as well?”
“No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge. They weren't alone, either, there were quite a few people, before Voldemort showed his true colors, who thought he had the right idea about things...they got cold feet when they saw what he was prepared to do to get power, though. But I bet my parents thought Regulus was a right little hero for joining up at first.”
“Was he killed by an Auror?” Harry asked tentatively.
“Oh, no,” Sirius said. “No, he was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort’s orders, more likely; I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don’t just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It’s a lifetime of service or death.”
“Lunch,” said Mrs. Weasley’s voice.
Suddenly realizing how hungry he was, Danny followed the others towards the floating platter of sandwiches Mrs. Weasley had brought in. He noticed Harry hang back by the tapestry with Sirius and decided to let them be, more to avoid Harry than to give them space.
When the group had worked their way down to only five sandwiches remaining on the platter, Mrs. Weasley called, “Hurry up, you two, or there won’t be any food left.”
After clearing up lunch, the group went to work on clearing out the foggy glass-fronted cabinets in the room. Sirius hadn't been kidding when he said Danny would need his head on straight to deal with the cursed objects hiding in there. As it was, most of the objects clearly did not want to be moved from their home. Danny found this out the hard way when a silver snuff box lid snapped closed on his hand.
“Ugh!” he cried, shaking his hand as it began to rapidly dry out. It looked like his hand had taken on the crusted texture of a tough brown glove. “Uck, that’s nasty,” he said, blanching at his hand.
Sirius took a close look at it. “It’s okay,” he assured, tapping it once with his wand and restoring his hand to normal. “It’s just Wartcap powder in there, I guess.”
Sirius tossed the box into the rubbish sack and they continued on working.
They found an unpleasant-looking silver instrument, something like a many-legged pair of tweezers, which scuttled up Harry’s arm like a spider when he picked it up, and attempted to puncture his skin. Sirius seized it and smashed it with a heavy book entitled Nature’s Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy. There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy, until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; a heavy locket that none of them could open; a number of ancient seals; a swirling orb that made Danny feel clouded and fuzzy until George poked him and tossed it in the sack; and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius’s grandfather for services to the Ministry.
“Whatever that means,” Danny sniffed. “Janitorial staff for all we know.” George snorted next to him.
“It means he gave them a load of gold,” Sirius said contemptuously, throwing the medal into the rubbish sack.
The cleaning continued well until it was dinner time, where the group ate without visitors, not counting Mr. Weasley who had returned from work.
Danny made his way upstairs after the full meal and deposited himself at his desk. Immediately he opened his journal and wrote:
The days following had certainly been awkward. While Danny had his haven of working on fourth year studies in the morning and practical magic with Sirius after dinner, meal times and afternoon cleaning were quickly becoming unbearable. At least with cleaning, they were all focused on the task at hand, so the others’ distancing and quick glances in his direction were easier to ignore, but meals, especially those in the kitchen, were difficult.
Danny certainly understood Ron and Hermione’s loyalty to Harry—he’d probably be the same with Sam and Tucker—but knowing that their relationship had actually been improving made the situation all the worse. Fred and George would still talk to him, but it was clear they were hoping to bring up his ‘half-dead’ comment again, all but explicitly asking him to explain it. Danny had deftly avoided their attempts every time so far.
Ginny was the only one still treating him normally, which he was ridiculously grateful for, but even she would have her moments where she would be distant.
Harry had become a professional at ignoring him, which Danny was honestly impressed with since they shared a bedroom, but at the same time it angered him. Danny understood why he was upset, but taking it out on Danny didn’t make any sense. He had given up his summer just to come and meet the boy, only for him to want nothing to do with him. With the summer winding down, Danny was starting to doubt whether this trip had been worth it at all. Surely if he needed to learn magic, he could have done it at the American school.
He had shared his thoughts with both Sirius and Jazz, but Sirius just told him to give Harry time, while Jazz kept suggesting methods to break the ice with Harry. So far, none of her ideas had enough merit in his mind to work up the courage to actually try one out.
At dinner that night, he had been discussing the mechanics and limitations of the Banishing Charm with Sirius, since they would be going over it after dinner, when Mrs. Weasley’s soft words cut through the conversation.
“I’ve ironed your best clothes for tomorrow morning, Harry, and I want you to wash your hair tonight, too. A good first impression can work wonders.”
The table was silent as Harry nodded idly, head turned down and focused on his plate. Danny had forgotten that Harry’s hearing would be tomorrow. This time tomorrow, Harry would know if he’d been expelled from Hogwarts.
“How am I getting there?” he asked Mrs. Weasley, with a touch of concern leaking into his voice. Danny looked down at his own plate, avoiding looking at him while he talked to give him a bit of privacy.
“Arthur’s taking you to work with him,” Mrs. Weasley replied gently.
“You can wait in my office until it’s time for the hearing,” Mr. Weasley said.
“Professor Dumbledore doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Sirius—” Mrs. Weasley said, prompting Danny to look in his direction. Sirius’s face had gone stony. “—to go with you, and I must say, I—”
“Think he’s quite right,” Sirius said through clenched teeth. Danny felt sorry for the man. Of course he’d want to be there to support Harry, but as a wanted criminal, it would be suicide to walk right into the Ministry. Mrs. Weasley pursed her lips at Sirius’s response.
“When did Dumbledore tell you that?” Harry asked, staring at Sirius.
“He came last night, when you were in bed,” Mr. Weasley replied.
“Oh! That reminds me,” Mrs. Weasley jumped, reaching into her pocket to pull out a folded envelope. “Danny, he asked me to give this to you.”
Danny reached over the table to take the letter from her. It was made of heavy parchment, closed with a red wax seal. Turning it over in his hands, he found addressed:
Mr. Daniel Potter
Number 12 Grimmauld Place
Borough of Islington, London
“How do I send back an official ‘no’?” Danny asked blatantly, putting the unopened letter down and returning to his food.
“You haven’t even read it!” Hermione said indignantly.
“If it’s just an invitation to join Hogwarts, I don’t need to read it,” Danny said. “I thought made it pretty clear that I would only be here for the summer and then I was going home.”
“Danny, don’t be too hasty in deciding this,” Mrs. Weasley said. “This is a wonderful opportunity—”
“That you’re just throwing away,” Harry cut in testily.
Danny frowned at him. He realized a bit belatedly that this might be a little insensitive of him to callously throw away an invitation to Hogwarts when Harry was in danger of being kicked out of it. But it wasn’t as though Danny was doing this to get a dig at Harry. He had his own life back home. He was decently excited to start his sophomore year of high school. He only had one more year until Jazz went off to college. And there was the small (large) problem of ghosts to deal with. He couldn’t take a year off to go to Hogwarts, even if a small part of him wanted to go.
“Look, I agreed to put my life on hold for two months, not a whole year. That wasn’t the deal. I’ll finish what I came here to do, but then I’m gone.” Danny stood up from his seat and turned to Sirius. “I’ll be in the study,” he said, deciding he would wait the rest of dinner in there until Sirius was finished and was ready to work on the Banishing Charm.
Danny woke up the next morning to find that Harry had already left for his hearing. While also dreading the mood Harry would be in if he returned with a negative outcome, Danny sincerely hoped that Harry would be cleared of his charges. No one should be punished for defending themselves and saving another’s life in the process.
After a tense breakfast where everyone was on edge, he went upstairs to finish the rest of his school work. He probably could have finished it the day before or sooner, but he had spent a lot of time out flying as of late. As it was, Hermione was still miffed about his studying progress, so an extra day was fine.
Throughout the morning, various Danny’s would pop out of existence as they finished their respective subjects. The original Danny was once again left with the dilemma of not actually being able to finish his book, as Intermediate Transfiguration was the textbook for years three through five. The Charms Danny childishly stuck his tongue out at the original as he snapped The Standard Book of Spells: Grade Four shut and disappeared with a pop after tossing the book onto his desk.
Danny scowled when he realized he had essentially been taunting himself.
Eventually all the Dannys had finished their work, the last being the History of Magic Danny, who trudged through his last chapter while the original relaxed on his bed. Finally, the clone snapped the book shut, threw it at Danny, and popped away.
Chuckling lightly as he placed the book with the rest of his textbooks, he checked the clock and decided he’d head downstairs and wait in the kitchen for lunch.
Danny wasn’t wholly surprised to see everyone in the kitchen already, all in various states of nervousness. Hermione looked quite pale and sickly, as though she were about to faint. Mrs. Weasley hovered by the stove, absently stirring a pot that held nothing but water. Fred had a ball of paper in his hand that he kept unfurling and crushing. George had his wand out and was idly levitating a fork so it was doing some sort of dance on the table, and Ron was simply mindlessly staring at it. Ginny kept pulling at a lock of her hair, and Sirius sat at the table, eyes fixed on his interlocked hands.
“Glum mood for people who’re so sure Harry’ll be fine,” he commented.
“Of course he’ll be fine,” Hermione said quickly, arms hugging her middle as she started pacing. “The law is on his side, they have to clear him.”
“But—” Danny hedged to get her talking.
“But the Ministry could really do anything they want, you know how they’ve been towards Harry recently!” she said, borderline hysterical.
Danny’s mouth twisted, realizing that was a very valid concern. Rather than say anything reassuring, he really doubted it would convince anyone at this point, he sat at the table near Sirius and waited with them in restless silence.
Not five minutes later, Danny heard voices in the hallway.
“I just want to have a few words with Molly and Sirius, but then I’ll have to be off, but I’m sure everyone wants to know how it went,” Mr. Weasley was saying. Danny noted that his voice sounded particularly light, which he decided had to be a good sign.
It seemed as though this thought was shared with the rest of the room as the overall mood visibly lifted.
Moments later, Mr. Weasley entered the kitchen, followed by Harry, who looked far happier than Danny had seen him thus far. Definitely a good sign then.
“Well?” Mrs. Weasley asked, looking for verbal affirmation.
“Cleared,” Harry grinned, and there was a burst of celebration throughout the room.
“I knew it!” Ron yelled, punching the air. “You always get away with stuff!”
“They were bound to clear you,” Hermione said breathlessly, “there was no case against you, none at all.”
“Everyone seems quite relieved, though, considering you all knew I’d get off,” Harry said with a smile.
Mrs. Weasley was wiping her face on her apron, and Fred, George, and Ginny were doing some sort of tribal dance, chanting, “He got off, he got off, he got off...”
“That’s enough! Settle down!” shouted Mr. Weasley, though he too was smiling. “Listen, Sirius, Lucius Malfoy was at the Ministry—”
“What?” Sirius said sharply.
“He got off, he got off, he got off...”
“Be quiet, you three! Yes, we saw him talking to Fudge on Level Nine, then they went up to
Fudge’s office together. Dumbledore ought to know.”
“Absolutely,” Sirius nodded. “We’ll tell him, don’t worry.” The conversation had gone over Danny’s head, he didn’t recognize the names or what they were talking about, but he filed the information away nonetheless.
“Well, I’d better get going, there’s a vomiting toilet waiting for me in Bethnal Green. Molly, I’ll be late, I’m covering for Tonks, but Kingsley might be dropping in for dinner—”
“He got off, he got off, he got off...”
“That’s enough—Fred—George—Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley said as Mr. Weasley left the kitchen.
“Harry, dear, come and sit down, have some lunch, you hardly ate breakfast.”
Everyone took a seat at the table, and everyone’s faces seemed to be glowing in relief and joy. The tension that had gripped the house the past few days had finally faded.
“Course, once Dumbledore turned up on your side, there was no way they were going to convict you,” said Ron happily, now dishing great mounds of mashed potatoes on to everyone’s plates.
“Yeah, he swung it for me,” said Harry.
Just after saying it, the scar on Danny’s hand seared to the point where he dropped his knife.
“Alright, Danny?” Sirius asked.
“Yeah, just—” Danny stumbled, shaking his hand once, “—just picked up the knife wrong.”
“Yeah, well, that’s why the handle’s there, yeah?” Sirius teased.
As his scar burned, luckily only for a moment, he felt an odd sense of bitterness pass over him. Remembering what Dumbledore had told him, he glanced in Harry’s direction to find Hermione also looking at him anxiously, and Harry furtively looking around the table. Danny quickly averted his gaze before Harry got to him.
Harry’s scar must have burned too, Danny realized. I wonder what he’s feeling bitter about, shouldn't he be happy about the hearing outcome?
“I bet Dumbledore turns up this evening, to celebrate with us, you know,” Ron said happily, bringing Danny out of his thoughts.
“I don’t think he’ll be able to, Ron,” Mrs. Weasley said, setting a huge plate of roast chicken down in front of Harry. “He’s really very busy at the moment.”
“HE GOT OFF, HE GOT OFF, HE GOT OFF!”
“SHUT UP!” Mrs. Weasley roared.
As they left the table after dinner, Danny found himself meeting Harry’s eyes.
“I’m glad you were cleared,” Danny said finally to break the silence between them.
“Thanks,” Harry said. “Look, I’m—” he paused, rubbing the back of his neck, and Danny noted yet another similarity they shared, “—I’m sorry about the other night.”
Danny nodded, “Me too.” Saying anything more risked sparking another feud, Danny decided, but his words seemed to be enough. Danny didn’t consider their relationship mended, not even close, but this was certainly a step. For the first time since Harry had stepped foot in Grimmauld Place, Danny felt comfortable being in the same room as his brother.
So I ended up getting this out a lot earlier than I was planning, mostly because I felt awful for that cliffhanger. But I can't promise that I'll update in two weeks like this one was. I just can't hold myself to that since I'm currently looking for a job.
...On that note, if anyone knows of a job opening that has to do with Aerospace Engineering, let me know (you'll get faster updates! ;p)
Chapter 10: Out of Time
Last time: Harry was cleared of his charges (shocker), and Danny and Harry try to learn to deal with each other.
(If you can't read the images for whatever reason, the images are clickable, which will bring you to their hosted site, imgur. You can either view the images there, or see the description for the text. On mobile, you should be able to click the back-button from there and be dropped off at the place you left off in the fic. I'm working on embedding alt-text for the images as well, but in the meantime this is what I can do.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Though Danny had finished his fourth year readings, he was still a bit behind on his spellwork, which is why he found himself in the study that night with Sirius and Remus working on hex-deflection.
“Keep your opposite palm steady,” Remus instructed. “I know it goes against natural motion, but that’s part of the strength of the spell. When you palm drifts in and downward, you’re weakening the protection.”
“Channel your inner mime,” Sirius added with a smirk.
“I thought nonverbal spells were sixth year?” Danny threw back, but nonetheless he held up his left hand, palm facing outward. He raised his wand and said, “Salvio hexia,” while moving his wand down below his outstretched hand in a diagonal motion. A distorted haze followed the wake of the wand.
“Well done, Danny!” Remus praised. “Ready to try blocking a spell?”
“As long as it doesn’t result in bats flying out of my nose,” Danny said warily. Danny had heard from George that Ginny was highly proficient in the Bat Bogey Hex, and he was not in a hurry to be on the receiving end of that.
Sirius laughed, “No, I think we have enough unwanted living creatures in here, let’s keep the bats to a minimum.”
“We should probably avoid any hexes that will require a wait between attempts,” Remus suggested.
“So Mutatio Skullus is out," Sirius grinned.
“Yeah, no thanks,” Danny agreed quickly. He grew extra heads enough as it was whenever he tried to overexert himself when cloning.
“Let’s try the Stickfast Hex,” Remus decided. “That’s nothing a Finite can’t fix quickly. Ready, Danny?”
Danny nodded, raising his arms. “Salvio hexia,” he said, and as he casted the spell, he noticed a little belatedly that his opposite hand had drifted again. He tried to reposition the hand just as Remus casted his hex.
Danny dropped his arms, having completed his spell. He looked around him and didn’t notice anything wrong with his body. “Did it work?” he asked.
“Take one step back,” Sirius instructed, but as Danny went to do so, he found that his shoes were stuck to the floor. He was unable to catch himself in time and he ended up falling backwards, his wand flying out of his hand as he used both of them to catch himself.
Danny scowled when Sirius began laughing. “You’re hilarious,” Danny intoned as Remus cast Finite on his feet, a barely concealed smile on his own face. Immediately the soles of his shoes popped up and Danny quickly pushed himself back to his feet.
“Sorry, couldn’t resist,” Sirius grinned, retrieving Danny’s wand for him. “You know why that happened though, right?” he added, moving back into instructor mode.
“Yeah, my hand drifted again,” Danny said, making a mental note to pay more attention to it.
“Think of it this way,” Remus said. “The placement of your hand is the base for the protection. So if you move your hand before you finish applying it, it won’t apply evenly and correctly, and you’ll be left with holes in your defense.”
“Got it,” Danny nodded.
After a few more attempts, Danny got the hang of keeping his hand immobile, and he was able to avoid having his feet stuck to the floor. Sirius suggested that that would be a good place to stop for the night and he decided to delve into another topic.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” he started, “why don’t you want to go to Hogwarts?”
Danny’s mouth twisted as he thought over the question. “A few reasons, I guess.”
“I hope it’s not because of Harry, because despite the awkward footing you’re on right now, that’s not going to last forever,” Remus reminded him gently.
“I know,” Danny acknowledged. He let out a long sigh. “Jazz pointed out that I’ve been a little homesick this summer, and I can only imagine that would get worse if I was gone for the whole year. It’s better now that I have my phone to stay in touch with my friends, but it’s still weird.”
“Well, I can’t tell you I know what you’re going through,” Sirius said, a tad bitterly. “For me, Hogwarts was my home, and coming here for the holidays was nothing short of awful. But being here made me homesick for Hogwarts, so I guess there’s a little carry over there.”
“It’s not just that though,” Danny said. “I mean, this is Jazz’s last year before she goes off to college, and she’s dead set on Princeton, so she’ll be pretty far most of the time. And I have,” Danny paused, looking for something to explain his ghost activities, “responsibilities back home. I’m already kinda slacking off on those this summer,” he added guiltily, rubbing the back of his head.
“Please tell me you’re not turning down magic school for chores,” Sirius drawled mockingly, and Danny had to smile at the comparison.
“Uh, they’re a tad more intensive than chores, but yeah. And I’m actually kinda looking forward to sophomore year of high school,” Danny said. “I’ve been waiting for Chemistry for a while.”
“Ah, c’mon, we’ve got Potions, that’s close enough,” Sirius said before pausing. “Blimey, I just promoted Snivellus’s class. Remus, I’m ill.”
“Danny, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but it sounds to me that you’re trying to convince yourself,” Remus said carefully, ignoring Sirius’s comment.
Danny frowned. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to learn more magic stuff, I’ve really liked everything so far. I just...” Danny paused. Once again, Jazz’s words floated to the front of his mind. ‘I’m just saying, you shouldn’t let the ghost problem be the only thing that stops you.’ Maybe Remus was right, and he was just making excuses to convince himself that going to Hogwarts wasn’t what he wanted. But the fact remained that he was the leading line of defense for Amity Park, and he would feel beyond guilty if he wasn’t there and something awful happened. Like another invasion. “I’m having a really hard time picturing how things would go back home if I wasn’t there,” Danny said finally. “And I don’t know how I’d react to being away from home for that long.
Both Remus and Sirius nodded at his response. “Danny, I hope you know we’re not trying to force you into a decision,” Sirius said, raising a hand to clap Danny on the shoulder. “We just want to make sure you’re deciding for yourself and not for whatever outside factors may be influencing your choice.”
Feeling conflicted, Danny nodded before leaving for his room. He hoped Jazz wasn’t busy because he had a lot of thoughts to sort out.
In fact, Danny was still nursing a sore shoulder from the night before after a nasty collision with a dumpster. Thank you, Technus. Now that he thought about it, that might have been why his hand kept drifting during his lesson.
Danny frowned, leaning away from his desk. He glanced over at Harry and Ron, who were bent over Charms books working on their summer assignments. Sure, he’d enjoy Chemistry class, and he’d definitely miss his friends and family, but he’d proven this summer that he could get by being away from home, and one class wasn’t keeping him from attending magic school. He had been putting a lot of focus on Amity’s ghost problem. For so long, being Danny Phantom and dealing with those responsibilities had been a part of him he hadn’t been able to skirt. This summer had been a rare reprieve from such responsibilities, and while he enjoyed it, he felt guilty for ignoring his duty to Amity Park.
In his silence, Jazz had continued writing.
As much as Danny was joking, he realized Jazz had a good point. A one year trial run would be a good way to prepare for college.
Danny cocked an eyebrow at his journal.
Danny couldn’t argue much with that logic.
Danny snorted loudly, drawing vaguely interested looks from Harry and Ron, but ultimately their summer work demanded more of their attention.
Danny leaned back in his chair, mulling the ‘diagnosis’ over. This could work. It was probably their best bet as far as faking an illness was concerned as it required minimal follow up, and like Jazz said, there’d be no issue with lifestyle changes. No medication, no hospital visits (well, maybe one or two that could be easily faked), no medical alert bracelets or anything; this could work.
Danny paused, unsure of how to categorize it. It didn’t sound like a disease at all, it just sounded like a...hell, he couldn’t think of anything.
“Okay, I’ll go,” Danny said abruptly during dinner the next day.
Conversation ceased around him, and Danny quickly regretted making such an outburst. He hadn’t meant to really, he just wanted to make the decision known before he changed his mind.
“Oh Danny, that’s wonderful!” Mrs. Weasley said after a beat of silence. “Here, I’ll go grab your letter—” she said before rushing off from the table. Danny was glad she seemed to have already finished her meal.
“What changed your mind?” Sirius asked, a hint of smugness in his gaze as if he knew all along what Danny would decide.
Danny shrugged. “I talked it over with my sister, and she brought up some really great counterpoints to the problems I had with going, and...well, it worked out.”
“You’re gonna love it, Danny,” Ginny said earnestly.
“Yeah, if you got through four years over the summer, you’re gonna breeze through classes,” Fred winked, seemingly noticing that he’d successfully riled up Hermione with his comment.
“I really doubt that,” Danny said hastily. “I just had to read the textbooks this summer, I’ll have assignments at school, those’ll take a lot longer to work on.”
“They sure will,” Hermione mumbled with crossed arms, and Danny shared an almost grin with Fred (who had no quarrels hiding his own).
“You’ve talked to your sister about this, but do your parents know?” Mr. Weasley asked.
Whoops. “Uh, not yet,” Danny said guiltily as Mrs. Weasley bustled back into the room. “I was gonna call them tonight when the timing was better for them,” he fibbed lightly. He was definitely going to call them, but he hadn’t actually thought out the reasoning for waiting until that moment.
“Here you are, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, handing him the letter.
The table was all watching him expectantly, and Danny huffed a bit. “You can all go back to eating you know,” Danny said lightly. “I’m sure the letter says the exact same thing yours all said.” Gently chastised, the group slowly returned to what was left of their meals and Danny thumbed open the letter.
“Wait, that’s today!” Danny said, looking at Sirius in confusion. “Did I really have until today to decide?”
“Technically they look for responses by the end of July,” Sirius explained, “but since you didn’t even get your invitation until later, the date is probably different. I wouldn’t be surprised if the date is spelled to change to whenever the letter is opened.”
“And it says I’ll get my booklist at a later date,” Danny said, reading from the letter.
“Well, none of us have gotten our booklists,” Ron said, carrots just barely swallowed as he spoke. “It’s actually quite late, we usually have them by now.”
“I bet they’re having trouble filling the Defense post,” George said. “They won’t be able to send out lists until the professor decides on their textbook, and if there’s no professor to decide yet—”
“I’m sure Dumbledore will have it all sorted out,” Mrs. Weasley said placatingly, seemingly trying to stop their speculations.
Danny almost asked what happened to the last Defense professor before he remembered the events of the past year, and how a Death Eater had been impersonating Moody the whole time.
“I wonder what house Danny’ll be in,” Fred said idly, taking his mother’s unspoken advice to move on in the conversation. “My money’s on Ravenclaw.”
“Put me down for Hufflepuff,” George chimed in. “He’s got the hardworking part down—”
“Or he’s just crazy smart to bull through his schoolwork—”
“Definitely a Gryffindor,” Ginny interrupted. “He—”
Danny let the table dissolve into discussion about his potential house, stealing a glance towards Harry. Danny wondered what would be worse for their relationship: ending up in Slytherin or in Gryffindor. On the one hand, he’d constantly be at odds with the whole house, and he wondered how that would affect his relationship with the Weasleys, Hermione, and Harry. On the other hand, being in Gryffindor may feel like he’s stepping on Harry’s toes all year. He’d have to wait and see.
“Wait, so you’re actually staying?”
Danny rolled his eyes as he drifted in the London sky. This was the third time Tucker had asked, as if he was expecting Danny to say ‘Psych!’ if he kept it up.
His phone call to his parents (and Jazz, who already knew) had gone much smoother than he expected, almost as if his mom had known he’d be going to Hogwarts for the year all along. Danny wondered if Dumbledore had brought it up to her when the invitation was being formally extended, or if she just had a feeling ever since he left. Regardless of her prior knowledge, both his mother and father had been very supportive of his choice to attend Hogwarts.
Sam and Tucker on the other hand, while not unsupportive, they weren’t as willing to move on from the conversation. And they had a good reason. From their point of view, it looked like Danny was just going to a plain boarding school in Europe to stay with his brother, and being honest, Danny would’ve been on their side with that argument. From what they’d heard from Danny so far, his relationship with Harry was nowhere near good enough to warrant staying with him for a year, and they were having a hard time seeing Danny’s justification for staying.
Unfortunately, the main justification was that he would be studying magic for a year, and that wasn’t a reason he could give Sam and Tucker.
So all in all, they were rightfully suspicious.
“Yes, Tucker, I’m staying,” Danny answered again, looping through the London Eye to vent some frustration.
“I just don’t get it though, I thought you and Harry hated each other,” Tucker continued.
“We don’t hate each other, we just don’t see eye to eye all the time,” Danny explained. “And we’re getting better, he hasn’t glared at me all week.”
“Wow, what an improvement,” Sam’s sardonic tone filtered across the line.
“So our relationship isn’t the best, so what?” Danny shrugged. “Maybe that’s all the more reason to stay. If I left now while we’re on the rocks, we might never recover from that and we’d never talk to each other again.”
“Tissue paper,” Sam replied shortly. She was right, it was a flimsy excuse, and they all knew it.
“Look, he’s my brother, okay?” Danny snapped, a little more harshly than he intended. “You guys are both only children, you don’t get it. Now that I know he exists, I don’t think I could stand to leave him alone. You guys don’t know what he’s been through, it’s not just that I’d feel weird leaving him, but I don’t want to be just another family member who abandoned him again.” Wow, he was really laying it on thick.
“Okay, okay, we get it,” Tucker said placatingly. Yup, definitely might’ve pushed it a bit too hard.
“You know that’s not on you, right?” Sam said, exasperation clear in her voice. “Whatever’s happened to him isn’t your fault, and you’re allowed to think for yourself.”
If only Sam knew that that had been the exact struggle he’d gone through to decide to stay abroad.
“If I leave now, it will be on me,” Danny said firmly, sticking with this story now that he’d committed to it.
“Alright,” Sam sighed finally. “I can see you’re not gonna budge on this. You and your hero complex,” she added fondly.
Danny rolled his eyes with a smile now. He did not have a hero complex—okay, maybe.
“Well as long as you keep in contact with us, it won’t be too bad,” Tucker allowed. “The phone’s been working great so far, and you could probably use computer labs for video chat and some Doomed sessions—”
“I...don’t think they’ll have any computer labs,” Danny said.
“What kind of school are you going to that doesn’t have computer labs?!” Poor Tucker sounded distraught at the idea.
“A poorly funded one? I dunno,” Danny shrugged nervously. “It’s kinda in the middle of nowhere, they probably don’t run internet lines out that far.”
“Will the phone be fine then? Cell towers?” Tucker asked, sounding almost hysterical.
“The phone should work fine,” Danny chuckled placatingly. If it had worked so far, it should theoretically work at Hogwarts too.
“How about a mailing address so we can send you stuff?” Sam asked. “Your parents worked out alright for your birthday present, but what if we need to send you ghost supplies?” Uhhhhhhh... “If what you say is true, the ghost problem on your end is gonna get worse too.”
“Right, uhh...you know, I’m not really sure what the address is,” Danny said, racking his brain to come up with excuses.
“No problem, give me the name of the school, I’ll look it up,” Tucker offered. Shit. “They should at least have a website, right?”
“I...it’s private?” Danny tried.
“Private schools have websites too, Danny,” Sam mocked lightly.
“Yeah, but this one...it’s...isolated. Like, private as in they don’t like being talked about,” Danny tried. That was the truth, kinda. “Look, I’m pretty sure they said there’s a post office by the school—”
“How do they keep enrollment up if they don’t talk about it?” Sam asked incredulously.
“It’s pretty family oriented,” Danny said, trying to build a solid reason to keep the school secret. Where was Jazz when he needed her? “Harry and my parents both went there, our dad’s parents went there—”
“Not your mom’s?”
Damn it. “No, she was a...special case. She got...recruited or something.” Nice, that’s kinda true...
“That’s weird, dude,” Tucker said blatantly. “You sure you’re not going off to a secret government spy school or something?”
“It wouldn’t be in Europe, Tuck,” Danny laughed, glad the conversation had taken a humorous turn.
“Hey, international cooperation and all, you never know—”
“I’m not gonna be a spy,” Danny said, still laughing a bit. “You really think I’d get involved with any secret government agencies with the Guys in White on my ecto-tail?”
“Okay, yeah, that’s true,” Tucker said, sounding almost sad that his spy theory didn’t pan out.
“Danny would be a terrible spy anyway,” Sam joked.
“Rude! Heh, probably true though,” Danny agreed after a thought.
The rest of their conversation revolved around ghost updates, both from Amity and London, Doomed updates, Amity gossip, parental woes (mostly from Sam), and Danny shared some of the more hilarious cleaning stories, censored to be muggle-friendly. Danny could tell they were still a bit sour at his decision to remain in Europe for the school year, but luckily they had let the secretive topic drop.
For the first time, Danny really let it hit him that he’d be attending a magic school for the next year. He couldn’t wipe the grin off his face for the rest of the night.
The next couple weeks passed in a bit of a blur. After making his decision to attend Hogwarts final, Danny met with Professor McGonagall to discuss what elective classes he wanted to enroll in. Deciding to stick with the subjects Hermione had lent him, and they were definitely interesting to Danny anyway, he chose Ancient Runes, Care of Magical Creatures, and Divination for his electives. McGonagall seemed pleased that he had opted to take an extra class beyond the required two.
McGonagall also let him know that he’d be exempt from summer assignments, much to the other kids’ chagrin. According to McGonagall, he’d be considered a transfer student moving from homeschooling, thus he wouldn’t have been expected to complete work assigned to students wrapping up the year at Hogwarts. This reminded Danny that he hadn’t done any of his Casper High summer work, so it really worked out that he wouldn’t been returning for the year.
Cleaning continued steadily, and it almost seemed as though they’d have the house relatively livable by the time the school term started. There’d been a couple more instances of the house fighting back with various pests and magical items, but nothing too extreme. Danny had needed Remus to change his hand back from turning blue at one point, and Mrs. Weasley had rescued Ginny’s hair from an unwanted haircut, but otherwise everyone was fine.
One thing Danny had noticed was Sirius’s mood had taken a turn for the worse. His fourth year spellwork had finally been completed, and ever since then, Danny would almost say that Sirius had been moping. He spent a large amount of his time with Buckbeak, and during meal times he’d hardly said a word.
Danny was worried. It was clear that Sirius was starting to feel some premature loneliness. He already had a fairly severe case of cabin fever, but at least there had been people in the house at all times, namely the kids with whom there was never a dull moment. With the kids going to school, Sirius would be alone barring the constant traffic from the Order, but that was hardly a stable sense of company. Maybe he’d have to borrow a school owl to keep in contact with him, or maybe Harry would let him borrow Hedwig...or maybe he’d just stick with the school owl.
On the very last day of the summer break (Danny still couldn’t believe he’d be attending magic school tomorrow), Danny and Harry found themselves cleaning their room and packing. Ron was helping his mother with something as Harry cleaned owl droppings off the top of the wardrobe and Danny cleaned ink smudges off his work desk from Hermione-imposed quill-writing lessons. He was getting better...not that he’d had a high bar to beat.
Danny decided this would be a great time to try and start a conversation.
Or at least, there were certainly far worse times to try and start a conversation.
“What’s it like?” Danny blurted before he could lose his nerve.
Harry didn’t even pause in his scrubbing. “Gross. She hasn’t even been here a month—”
“No, I meant—” Danny flushed; he could almost hear Tucker snickering at him. He hadn’t exactly been specific, what else would Harry have thought he meant? “How do you go from living as a muggle to attending magic school?”
Harry paused in his motions but didn’t respond, nor did he turn to face Danny.
Danny decided to press on, “I mean, you grew up without magic and then one day you’re at a school in the middle of nowhere learning how to levitate things and it...I dunno, it just seems so sudden. It doesn’t sound like there’s any kind of transition for people entering the Wizarding World for the first time.” Danny knew he was babbling at this point, but Harry had yet to say anything to stop him. “It’s like throwing someone without any prior knowledge of the Spanish language into an advanced class with people who’ve been living in Spain their whole lives and expecting them to just...figure it out.”
Harry still wasn’t looking at him, but Danny noticed that his face had taken on a heavy pondering look. “You’re not wrong,” Harry said finally. “There really isn’t any type of support system for muggleborns. In my case, Hagrid just sorta showed up and whisked me away to shop for my school supplies. And then I got dropped off at Kings Cross on the first with no idea how to actually get onto the right platform. You try asking a conductor where Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters is and see what they tell you,” Harry said wryly, and was that—was Harry grinning at him?
“So I’m assuming they didn’t help you find the platform,” Danny said, returning the grin.
Harry snorted, returning to the owl droppings. “I’d still be stuck there if Mrs. Weasley hadn’t come along.”
Danny found he had no trouble visualizing Mrs. Weasley spotting a lost eleven year old in a crowded train station and immediately mother-henning them.
“Hogwarts was—is—my home away from home,” Harry said after a moment. “I never really found the transition from muggle to wizard life difficult because everything was just so new and...better. I just ended up embracing it as a new part of me and moved on. Ron and Hermione helped a lot. Ron had the benefit of growing up with it and Hermione was learning everything just like I was, and she's a sponge for knowledge. You’ve already been learning magic the past month, right?”
Danny merely nodded, unwilling to say anything else about his time at Grimmauld Place lest he ruin the rare companionable atmosphere he was currently enjoying with his brother.
“Going to Hogwarts as a school won’t be much different than that,” Harry said, stepping down from his bed and tossing his soiled rag into the trash bin behind Danny; the bin swallowed it and belched loudly. “Ultimately, you’re taking classes like you would at a muggle school, but the subjects are different. Everything else is just...magic.” Harry shrugged helplessly, seemingly unable to explain beyond that. “It’ll feel surreal at first, but eventually it just becomes a part of your life and it’s not weird anymore. Well,” Harry grinned again, “magic can be inherently weird.”
“I’m already very used to ‘weird’ being a normal part of my day,” Danny said, not for the first time thinking he’d simply be trading paranormal weirdness for magical. “I don’t see that being a problem.”
Before Harry could respond, Ron entered the room carrying a stack of envelopes. Danny recognized them as the same stationary his invitation letter had been in.
“Booklists have arrived,” Ron said, throwing one of the envelopes over to Harry, and handing another to Danny. “About time, I thought they’d forgotten, they usually come much earlier than this...”
Danny looked over the letter; it had the same font and address as the first (this time addressed to the second floor bedroom), but this time contained only his supply list. He noticed his list was substantially longer than Harry’s and Ron’s, but he quickly noticed his list included all the items a new student would need, many of which he’d already purchased. It looked like the only new things he would need would be a restock of potions ingredients, a robe and matching hat, and two new books.
“Only two new ones,” Harry noted aloud. “The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5, by Miranda Goshawk, and Defensive Magical Theory, by Wilbert Slinkhard.”
“What’s your second paper?” Danny asked.
“Hmm? Oh,” Harry blinked, looking down. “Just a reminder that term starts the same day it always does.”
Danny snorted just as a crack! echoed in the room, announcing Fred and George’s arrival. Danny hid his flinch fairly well as they had apparated right beside Harry. Danny was mostly impressed Harry didn’t jump again as he’d had significantly less time to get used to it. Ron had had the most practice of the three, so maybe that’s why he hadn’t reacted at all; he was still staring at one of his papers...why did he have three?
“We were just wondering who assigned the Slinkhard book,” Fred said, drawing Danny’s attention.
“Because it means Dumbledore’s found a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher,” George said.
“And about time too,” Fred said.
“What d’you mean?” Harry asked.
“Well, we overheard Mum and Dad talking on the Extendable Ears a few weeks back,” Fred told Harry, “and from what they were saying, Dumbledore was having real trouble finding anyone to do the job this year.”
“Not surprising, is it, when you look at what’s happened to the last four?” said George.
“One sacked, one dead, one’s memory removed, and one locked in a trunk for nine months,” said Harry, counting them off on his fingers.
“Yeah, I see what you mean.”
Danny blinked, looking back and forth between the three. “Why is that normal for you?”
George shrugged, “That’s Hogwarts for you.”
Danny shook his head bemusedly. “The worst thing that happens to our teachers is they get chased by ghosts sometimes. Actually, they got possessed one time too, but most of the city did as well—”
Danny was spared from elaborating by Tonks’ timely appearance in the doorway.
“Ready for school shopping part two?” she asked. “We gotta leave before Molly so we don’t arrive at the same time.”
“Why’s he gotta go again?” George asked.
“Now that he’s officially gonna be a Hogwarts student he needs the frills,” Tonks explained, gesturing at Danny to get moving. Danny obediently moved towards the door. “School robes, hat, potions restock, the works. We can get his new books while we’re at it and it’ll be one less thing for Molly to worry about. She’ll be up in a tick to collect your booklists, I ‘spect. Ready, Danny?”
“Yup,” Danny nodded, checking that he still had his supply list in hand. “You changing your hair again?”
Danny waved goodbye at the other room occupants, noting that Ron was still standing stock still looking at his letter. He didn’t know what the fuss what about, but he figured the others would deal with it.
Despite having already visited Diagon Alley, the magical shopping bazaar was another experience entirely when packed with students and parents. The downside of booklists going out the last day before term was that it only left everyone one day to get their supplies. Danny mostly felt sorry for the first years who needed to stop everywhere.
“Oh, Merlin, look at that line,” Tonks muttered as Flourish and Blotts came into view.
“You guys really need to have a book pick-up option at Hogwarts or something,” Danny suggested, following the line with his eyes; it seemed to wrap around the corner quite a bit. “Have people order books via owl and then pick up the books at the school library. Flourish and Blotts would still be the book provider and make money, but the lines would go down a ton. Maybe just charge a little bit more for the convenience.”
Tonks blinked. “That’s honestly a great idea, Danny. I’d suggest that to McGonagall next time you get a chance, or maybe even to the store manager. Listen, why don’t I wait in this line and you can get your robes and potions ingredients and such. By the time you’ve done that, I might’ve reached the door.”
“Sure,” Danny agreed, looking down the busy street again. He remembered where the apothecary was (right across the street, hard to miss), but the robes... “Where do I get the robes again?”
“Oh! Sorry, we didn’t stop there last time, did we? Let’s see,” Tonks paused, looking back down the alley. “If you start heading back towards the Leaky Cauldron, it’ll be on the right just past the Owl Emporium. And just in case—” Tonks dug her hand into Danny’s coin pouch and pulled out a few galleons. “I doubt I’ll make it to the front before you get back, but better safe and all.” She handed the pouch back to Danny with a grin.
Danny found the robe shop—Madam Malkin’s—easily enough, despite the overcrowded streets. Actually buying the robes had been more of a production than Danny had been expecting. It turned out that extra small through triple-XL sizing wasn’t a thing in the wizarding world, and Danny ended up getting fitted for all of his robes. Madam Malkin herself expressed the oddity of someone his age (and thus size) needing plain first year robes, when Danny explained that he hadn’t been Sorted yet. She explained that upon being Sorted, the robes were designed to transfigure themselves into the appropriate class colors and fittings (the inner lining and matching tie). Badges would be provided by the house. Danny refrained from asking her more questions because the poor woman seemed rather flustered by all the first years flooding the shop at once.
As he made his way back towards Tonks, Danny found himself distracted by the crowd around Eeylop’s Owl Emporium. Danny noted that most of the crowd seemed to be first years and their parents, and he remembered that his supply list had indicated he would be allowed to bring a pet.
Danny had thought about it, but a toad really didn’t sound very appealing, and he was more of a dog person than a cat person thanks to Cujo, which left an owl as an option. He’d mostly convinced himself against getting one; he really wouldn’t have the time to care for a pet (Harry’s comments while cleaning that morning certainly didn’t help), and he didn’t need the mail-carrying services of an owl when he could check-in with his phone and journal whenever necessary. Not to mention, a standard owl wouldn’t be able to make constant treks across the Atlantic as often as he’d like to keep contact.
That being said, there was a beautiful, short and pudgy snowy owl that seemed to be staring right at him, and Danny was sorely tempted to ignore the responsible voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Jazz. I could name them Spooky, Danny thought before shaking his head of the thought. Sorry buddy, gotta be responsible here.
After getting his potions supplies, Danny made his way back to Tonks without further issue, and after purchasing his books, they made their way back to 12 Grimmauld Place. It was far later than he’d been expecting to be out, and he suddenly found himself starving for dinner.
Danny wasn’t quite sure what he was expecting to find when he got back, but Mrs. Weasley decorating the basement and preparing for a party was not it. Danny squinted at one of the banners, which read ‘Congratulations Ron and Hermione — New Prefects’ in scarlet and gold.
“So what’s a prefect?” Danny asked, sipping on a butterbeer as people enjoyed the party; he felt a little guilty, he still needed to finish packing after all.
“You don’t have prefects?” Ginny asked curiously.
“Is this a magical thing or a boarding school thing?”
“Boarding school, I’d imagine, but not everywhere has them,” Tonks explained; she’d changed her hair to a waist-length tomato red immediately after returning from Diagon Alley, shifting from looking like Danny’s faux-cousin to looking like Ginny’s older sister. “Basically they’re upper-year students that are chosen to help uphold the school rules. They’ve got a few different roles, like welcoming first years, patrolling for curfew, et cetera.”
“Soo...glorified hall monitors?” Danny asked.
Ginny snorted. “Basically. But don’t let Hermione hear you say that,” she said, dropping her voice.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Danny grinned.
After a brief toast from Mr. Weasley congratulating Ron and Hermione, the party-goers descended upon the food table in earnest. Danny found a spot in line behind Ginny and Tonks and helped himself to some stuffing as conversation continued around him.
“I was never a prefect myself,” Tonks said brightly. “My Head of House said I lacked certain necessary qualities.”
“Like what?” Ginny asked.
“Like the ability to behave myself,” Tonks said.
Danny snorted loudly over Ginny’s only slightly more polite laugh. Beside him, Hermione looked as though she did not know whether to smile or not and compromised by taking an extra large gulp of butterbeer and choking on it.
“What about you, Sirius?” Ginny asked, thumping Hermione on the back.
Sirius, who was right beside Harry, let out his usual bark-like laugh. “No one would have made me a prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Remus was the good boy, he got the badge.”
“I think Dumbledore might have hoped that I would be able to exercise some control over my best friends,” said Remus. “I need scarcely say that I failed dismally.”
“I mean, none of you were expelled, right?” Danny asked, grinning. “That sounds like a success to me. Partial success at least.”
Sirius snorted, clapping a hand on Danny’s shoulder. “Where were you when we were trying to talk our way out of trouble? See, Remus? Partial success. It means we should get a portion of our house points back. You should talk to McGonagall about retroactively awarding Gryffindor house points...”
Danny found himself wrapped in a discussion about house points and the fierce rivalry for the House Cup every year, watching in amusement as Ginny, Sirius, and Tonks dissolved into banter defending their respective houses. Danny didn’t quite get it; Casper didn’t have a rival team at all and with the disaster that was Casper High Spirit Week, he didn’t really understand the house pride. Maybe the feeling would change when he was Sorted; he had a feeling he’d start steadfastly rooting for Princeton in whatever capacity demanded it once Jazz ended up there.
The group broke up eventually to mingle with other party guests, and Danny found himself awkwardly shuffling around to various discussions. He stayed far away from whatever motherly argument Mrs. Weasley was having with Bill, and Hermione seemed to be on a SPEW rant with Remus so he kept away from that as well, and Ron was raving to Tonks about his new broomstick...
The longer Danny spent at the party, the more awkward he felt surrounded by people he barely knew. He’d made as many more trips to the food table as was socially acceptable to keep himself moving in the room, but as time passed, he couldn’t help but feel as though he was intruding on the party as he hovered on the outskirts of conversation. The house occupants he saw on a daily basis, and barring Remus and Tonks, there weren’t really any other Order members that he was close enough to sustain conversation.
Danny had seen Harry sneak out of the party unaccosted a couple minutes earlier, so Danny decided he should do the same; maybe he’d get one more flight in over London before leaving for the Scottish countryside. After he finished packing, of course...
As Danny ascended to the first floor landing, he noticed a muffled sound from the nearby drawing room, one that didn’t sound familiar to any of the other odd noises the house produced. Danny quietly trudged closer, and upon further inspection, he identified the sound as sobbing; a woman by the sounds of it.
At first, Danny was hesitant to intrude, but when a loud CRACK! prompted a heavier bout of sobs, Danny shook his head and barged through the ajar door.
The first person Danny noticed as he entered the drawing room was Harry, standing stiff as a board just steps beyond in the doorway. The second person he noticed was Mrs. Weasley, sobbing hysterically, her back glued to the wall for support, wand in hand. The third person Danny noticed was Ron, lying sprawled on the floor, eyes unfocused, pale and unmoving.
Danny's breath caught in his throat. He's dead, he's—
But Ron was still bragging about his new broomstick to Tonks, Danny had just seen him. So how...?
"Mrs. Weasley?" Harry croaked, clearly affected by the sight of his lifeless best friend. Danny tried not to think of how he would react if he saw Tucker or Sam's inert body on the floor as he slipped into the room next to Harry.
"R-r-riddikulus!" she cried, her shaking arm pointed at Ron's body.
Ron's body was replaced by Bill's spread-eagle body, his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. Mrs. Weasley's sobs increased, and she cried, "R-riddikulus!" once more. CRACK! Now Mr. Weasley appeared on the ground. Mrs. Weasley kept screaming the same spell, and each time a new body would appear, dead on the floor.
CRACK! As the twins appeared, Danny remembered that he had read about boggarts weeks ago, and the Riddikulus spell was how to deal with them. In theory, getting rid of a boggart was easy. CRACK! Dead...redhead Danny hadn’t met yet; Percy maybe? Danny remembered Remus mentioning that being put in the situation of dealing with a boggart was much more difficult than the actual spell. CRACK! Dead Harry.
The sight of his brother lying dead on the floor in front of him, despite their differences, finally propelled Danny into motion.
"Mrs. Weasley, look, Harry's right here!" Danny tried to reason, moving closer to the dead Harry.
"Mrs. Weasley, just get out of here!" Harry insisted as Danny moved between the hysterical woman and the corpse. "Let someone else—Danny, get back!" Harry suddenly yelled, as if just noticing Danny had arrived.
The urgency in Harry's tone caused Danny's head to snap towards him. Danny had just enough time to register Harry's pale face as another crack sounded, signaling the disappearance of the dead Harry. Danny expected to turn around and see another dead body, but he never had the chance. As a wisp of icy-blue mist escaped his mouth, Danny remembered with dread that a boggart takes the form of what the closest subject fears most.
"I'm still here, I still exist! That means you still turn into me."
Danny couldn’t breathe, his evil version's words from the last time they met ringing painfully in his mind. Clockwork had said everything was as it should be, his evil self was supposed to exist outside of the timestream, his friends and family were still alive...how could he be here!?
"You can't be here," Danny whispered, trying to deny what he knew was behind him.
Danny turned, and he could almost fell the blood drain from his face as he made eye contact with his evil, older self. The older ghost leered at him, Dan's face set in a malicious smirk. He was exactly as Danny remembered him: a spinoff of his ghostly hazmat suit, a white cape draped over his shoulders, sickly pale blue skin, and flaming white hair. Dan's blood red eyes pierced Danny's gaze as they widened in what seemed like vicious excitement. He stalked towards Danny, and Danny stumbled, falling onto his back as Dan advanced upon him. Danny could not function; he could not call upon his ghost powers, he could not stand up, he could not get over the fact that his evil self was standing in front of him!
"Your time is up, Danny. It's been up for ten years," Dan whispered, his hand glowing green as he leaned closer to Danny.
"Riddikulus!" With a CRACK! Dan disappeared just before he could release an ectoblast on Danny, turning into the glowing silver orb that was the Moon. Another moment passed, and the orb vanished in a puff of smoke.
Danny remained on the floor, his eyes staring blankly at the spot where Dan had disappeared. It was a boggart, he remembered faintly. Dan can't be here. I can't...turn into him...can I?
Danny jumped violently at Sirius's voice. It was then he noticed the rest of the adults in the room. Remus seemed to be comforting a hysterical Mrs. Weasley while Moody stood at the door, watching him with a calculating look that he did not like at all. Sirius was kneeling in front of him with Harry hovering behind him, shooting concerned looks towards Mrs. Weasley.
"Are you okay?" Sirius asked softly, as if trying to avoid spooking him further. Danny tried to answer but his voice failed him, and he felt himself shaking. He wished that Harry was not in the room to witness this. "Boggarts can be nasty if you've never dealt with them before, it's okay—"
"I knew it was a boggart," Danny whispered, still staring at Dan's previous location. "I knew what it was, I knew how to get rid of it, but I wasn't thinking. I got too close, and it changed into him..." the words died on Danny's tongue, leaving a bitter aftertaste in their wake.
"What was that?" Harry asked.
Danny closed his eyes, his head falling into his hands. Images assaulted him of the destruction of Amity Park in the future, an exploding Nasty Burger, dead friends, dead family...
Sirius gripped his shoulder reassuringly and whispered, "You don't need to explain."
Danny looked up at Sirius, seeing without really seeing. He glanced at Harry quickly before letting his head drop once more.
"He was a mistake...a bad future."
Time doesn't exist. It's merely a figment of our imagination...
Is that convincing anyone? Bueller?
Yeah, so I'm sorry this took so long. I was having severe writers block with one particular scene, and coupled with the exhaustion of work, my motivation was running low. But yeah, hey, I have a job now! So that's exciting :) I love it, but it comes with a lot of hours and sometimes some late nights, so writing time has to compete with that.
I stand by that I have the full intention of continuing and completing this fic, and if that ever changes, I will be sure to let you all know.
Thanks for reading! Any and all feedback is appreciated.