At first, Harry thought the boy before him was lonely enought to befriend him in a cloths shop, a little before the beginning of the school year.
Draco, he found out later, wasn't really bored to approach him. He just wanted to make a friend outside his name.
Their second meeting was in the train, when both of them were rudely waked up with a bucket of cold water. Draco, as both his goons were present, had to play his part well. He pleaded with his eyes the glasses wearing boy to refuse him, if only for him not to be dragged down with him. Harry saw that, and played along. A game he never played before- not that he played something before- a game of pretend. Pretend, what exactly, he didn't know. But he saw his hand shaking. So he listened to him, to his eyes and refused. The next moment he saw relief in his eyes.
When they were put in different- and rival- houses, they were relieved that they wouldn't see each other too much.
Harry saw Severus first. His scar burned, but he knew it wasn't from the black wearing man. It was from the other one. The turban wearing one. He decided to ignore the hurt and answer Ron's brother, Percy, that he was alright.
Except he wasn't. Even if the burn feeling calmed, his exterior wounds were still fresh, and were hurting like hell. Uncle Vernon sure was angry when he returned from the Diagon Alley.
Before he felt the need to vomit all he had eaten- the most in two months- he saw the black professor's eyes widen at the sight of him, and leaned toward Professor McGonagall. He whispered something to her, something that shocked her greatly, and her eyes flew to his. He knew in that moment. They found out. He leaned on Ron's shoulder suddenly feeling tired.
"Harry? Man, you're alright?" His friend asked. He nodded his head a little, feeling more than tired. He saw from the corner of his eyes the two professor alerting the nurse, and the headmaster was looking at him too. His eyes flew to Draco. The boy wasn't looking anywhere else than him. His concern was seen even this far away. He smiled tiredly and said, more like to Ron than to himself.
"Sorry, Ron, i... think i'm gonna faint. Catch me, alright?"
"Huh?! Wa-wait, Harry?!" Ron asked concerned, his arms flying around him, as Harry saw black. The last thing he saw was Draco raising from his seat, like he wanted to bolt here.
He later woke up in the infirmary. The two professors, the headmaster and the nurse were hovering over him. Well, not the black Professor. He was brooding in the back. Or sulking.
"My boy, how do you feel?" Dumbledore asked.
His throath was dry, and he asked for water. One glass after, he smiled terribly tired.
"Hello, Professor. I had better days. How long do I have to live?" He mocked, quoting from a sap drama his aunt watched when he was doing laundry. McGonagall and the other professor gasped, looking at the nurse for confirmation. She shook her head confused.
"Except malnourished and a few broken bones, he is safe." The nurse said, as the others sighed in relief.
"As you've heard, you are still gonna live." The headmaster told him gently.
"Not longer if I have to return there, I have to let you know." He said in a sad voice. Because, really, for your own relatives to want you dead, how sad was that? The bearded man turned his sad eyes to him.
"I'm afraid we can't do anything about that. Your aunt signed a blood contract. As long as you live with them, no evil forces will touch you." He saw it pained the man to say that, and he understood. He smiled sadly in comprehension.
"What?" The black man hissed. He tried to find a name for him. He knew he seemed familiar, but if only he remembered where he saw him... the photo! His aunt wanted to stop him ask question, so she gave him two pictures. They were his treasure, and he never left without them. In one were his parents, with him as a baby between them. In the other one, a younger mum with a boy her age, both in -just now found- Hogwarts uniform. On the back of both pictures, names were written. The second one featured an eleven years old mum and a boy named Sev. "You are going to send him back? To Petunia? You know she hates magic! You see what she had done to the boy!"
"There is nothing i could do. Unless we find someone take care of him in secret, he will have to stay there." The white haired man's voice was sad and melancholic. He choose that moment to speak.
"Sev...?" The attention flew back to him. The man straighten.
"What?" He hissed confused. Harry knew he would be. After all, they never met. Not face to face, at least.
"I... have a picture-of you and mum- when you were both my age. Are-are you the one named Sev?" His voice was trembling, and he took out one of the treasured photos. His hand trembled too, when he showed the photo to the others. He pointed to the face, then to the back. "Look, see? My-my aunt gave them to me to stop me from asking too many questions. She never answered me who this Sev was. Are you him?"
The man trembled too. McGonagall was mouth wide open and the nurse left them to their privacy. Dumbledore had a twinkle in his eyes.
"I-" the man began, the stopped. He sucked a breath in, then out. "Yes. I am Severus Snape, your mother's childhood friend." He stopped trembling. Dumbledore spoke.
"Well, i think we resolved our problem." At the confused faces, he elaborated. "As no one from this room wants for Harry to return to his aunt, then Severus can take him."
"What?" The man asked that quite often this night. Harry thinks they've broken him. "Dumbledore, you can't do that! He's eleven years old! Practically a teenager! And you want me to take care of him? Of Lily's son?" he whispered the last part, but Harry heard him. He decided to cut the man some slack.
"Professor Dumbledore." he said, making everyone turn to him again. He swallowed dryly. "I-I don't want to impose on Sev- I mean Professor Severus. I bet he has enough problems without me to take care of, and I don't want to make him any more. After all, I'm returning there only two month a year. I can more or less survive." he smiled, wanting to finish this already.
"But Harry, aren't you the one in danger? The world knows you stay at your relatives, not at a teacher. This way, we evade the inevitable." the man smirked, and turned to Severus. "Severus. I ask you to think well about what we talked about. This could change both of your life."
That night, as he was taken by Professor McGonagall to his dorm, he thought how good it would be if he would live with a man his mother liked.
"Mister Potter. We arrived. As Mister Weasley made quite a scene as he was scared when you fainted, almost everyone in this school knows that the famous Harry Potter fainted. I reckon you won't want to tell everyone what happen truly, so you can tell those people you have anemia. With how frail you seem to be, it goes without saying that everyone will believe you. You can tell whomever you think it trustworthy. Have a good night, Mister Potter. I hope you feel better tomorrow." she smiled at him, ruffling his hair and leaving him after she told him the password.
Not even two steps inside, he was assaulted by the twins. Each of them took ahold of one of his arms, and carried him with care.
"We caught Harry Potter!" both shouted, alerting the other residents not yet sleeping. They put him on an armchair, just beside the fireplace, when Ron came to him.
"Harry! Are you dying?! Please don't die!" he begged, and Harry could see his tears. He cried until now too. First years came and Ron's family was just beside the boy.
"Ron! Calm down! I'm not dying!" Harry was overwhelmed. He never had anyone care for him so much. He wanted to cry too, but he had to stick to his story. "It's just anemia."
"Ane-what?" the boy asked confuse, looking at his brothers. The twins shrugged, neither knowing the answer, and when Percy wanted to say something, he closed his mouth. A girl's voice was heard from beside the boys.
"Anemia is defined as a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of hemoglobin, the molecule that is found in red blood cells." the girl from the train, Hermione, spoke, getting close. When she saw the confused faces- with the exception of Harry, who was well versed in this specific part of medicine, as he was almost always anemic- she sighed and spoke again. "It's a muggle term, I presume. It's means he doesn't have enough blood, and/or he is malnourished. I can see that both apply to you, Harry. Seriously, what kind of family you have?" she sniffed, looking up and down at him.
"Thanks, Hermione. I live with my aunt and uncle, they're muggle and my aunt-my mother's sister- refuses to believe in magic. They usually ignore me." he wasn't going to get in more details until he was alone with Ron. Hermione's face took an 180 grades turn, and she looked sick. She nodded, going in her room, not without throwing him another glance. I suppose she too found out. Man, people at Hogwarts are more than observant.
"What is her problem?" muttered Ron.
"Ron, she was right. Her definition was right. But only people who lived in the muggle world can understand that." he spoke, getting up from his chair. "I'm going to sleep. You're coming, Ron?"
They haven't gone to sleep until Harry told Ron everything. The boy was pale, and he was ready to faint if he heard more. Harry smiled. "Let's sleep. Tomorrow we have classes."
It seemed that fate hated them both. He and Draco were meant to meet, no matter how. The Gryffindor and the Slytherin had more than half of their classes together. It hadn't happened before for so many classes, the lions and the snakes to share the classroom. And it only happened to the first years.
For the first class, the Transfiguration class, taught by Professor McGonagall, Harry had to stay in the first row, his table being close to Draco's. They were looking at each other every time the deputy headmistress turned her back. Whenever their eyes met, they quickly turned their eyes somewhere else. At one time, they almost laughed at how stupid the situation was.
The rest of their classes went similar. Draco was put to stay either in parallel with Harry, either close to him. It was horrible. They both wanted to talk, but they never got the chance, as the game was still on.
At the flying lesson, after Neville got carried to the infirmary, Draco had to show his evil face again. It was what was expected from him, after all.
"Look, look what I've found! Longbottom's remembrall!"
"Give it back, Malfoy!" Harry snarled. He really had to search some history books for the Malfoy family. Maybe he would ask Severus.
"Come and take it, Potter!" he provoked. Maybe this was a chance for them to talk? Unfortunately, the chance for them to talk hadn't arrived yet.
The incident closed with the arrival of Professor McGonagall. She took Harry aside, and he could see Draco was pale. Maybe he thought he was in some short of trouble? He was taken to the DADA class, where a student named Oliver Wood, who was the captain for the Quidditch team, was called by the teacher.
"Wood. I think I found you a seeker." she said. Him? A seeker? He was left without words, and the happiness grew once Hermione took him and Ron to see that his father was on the Quidditch team too. He really should spend more time with the girl. It seemed she didn't had too many friends, and Harry considered her a friend, so he invited her to sit next to him in the Potions class.
When he saw Severus again, he began doubt that he could ask him straightforward. Severus began to ask question to everyone, but no one except Hermione knew. Severus, it seems, ignored Harry almost the entire time. Only when a student who didn't know mentioned him, did his attention shift to him.
"I.. don't know, sir. But what of you ask Harry Potter?" it was a slytherin student, so of course he would blame a Gryffindor.
"Five points from Slytherin for impertinence. Very well. Mister Potter." the teacher turned to him, his sleeves fluttering in the air.
"What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" he asked, and after a few seconds, Harry just blinked. "What? You don't know? Then, maybe another one. Where-"
"No, sir." Harry said, cutting the next question. Silence settled upon the class. Ron and the others Gryffindor students were looking at him like he was crazy. Some slytherins laughed, and Draco was just analyzing the situation. He must be nuts. To actually interrupt the scariest professor who is know for his hatred for the Gryffindor, and his godfather. "I know the answer. It's just... I was surprised that the questions you ask are so simple. And that only me and Hermione know the answers." the girl blushed at his side, and Draco sighed.
"Oh? Then, let's hear your answer."
"Draught of Living Death."
"Correct." the man said, looking carefully at the boy. The tension was high, and Neville looked ready to faint. "Five points for the Gryffindor." He closed his eyes, then asked. "And pray tell, Potter, how do you know the answer?"
"I read the manual." he answered bluntly. As I am muggle raised, I don't have the knowledge of an 5 years old child raised in this world. So, in the month between the trip to the Diagon Alley and the beginning of the year, I read every book I brought for school. If i'm not mistaken, then this question is at the beginning of our manual."
"That too is correct. As I have muggle born or raised students in my class, I made today's lesson a little easier than I would have done. It is actually disturbing that a muggle raised boy and a muggle born girl know more than purebloods wizards and witches. Another five points to the Gryffindor." The lesson ended with whispers and the slytherin students storming out of the classroom.
Harry stayed. He send his friends a smile and with his hand, said 'go ahead of me, and keep my presence here a secret'. He turned to look at the teacher, seeing him frowning at him. The visual contact remained a few seconds, until Severus sighed and turned to his office.
"Come after me." The inside of his office was full of potions and bottles, making it hard for Harry to look at the professor. "So? What do you want to ask me?"
"Why would you assume I want to ask you something?" Was he that obvious?
"Oh, please. You're just like your mother in that aspect. She always came to me to ask me questions, even if she was the smartest girl in our grade. Of course, she could ask the wer- the friend of your father, Remus Lupin, who was the smartest boy in our grade. I was after him, and your father was somewhere in the middle. The mutt-your godfather- was after him, and the rat-the last of his friends- was somewhere at the bottom. As your mother wasn't so close to your father in our first grade, until the sixth grade actually, she always counted on me to explain potions or dark arts. She never liked the last, so she needed help only on that. And I ask again. What do you want to ask me?"
"Professor, I want to ask you a hundred of questions only from that statement, but I will lose track of the true question I want to ask you. Can you tell me about the Malfoy family?"
"The Malfoys? Why do you want to ask me that?"
"In the first place, at this moment you are the only one from the professors that openly talks about my parents. Secondly, you are my mother's friend. Thirdly, I trust you. Fourthly, I am curious about Draco. "
"To hear something like this from a Potter is amusing. I think I will make a recording and send it to Lupin and the mutt, if I can. Very well. The Malfoys are a family of purebloods who dislike anything... impure like half-blood and muggle born. The family in itself is old, dating from a few hundred years back. Their children are all raised with this kind of mind-set. 'The Malfoy family is the best. They are the most pureblood out of all of them. We are born to rule.' I believe that Malfoy was taught this doctrine when he was still young, but as a child, he still has a hard time making a choice. Who is right and who is wrong? Potter, I believe you know that children are all easily influenceable, thus if Malfoy is shown the truth- that all wizards are equal in the matter of magic- then he would change too. I don't really hope that will happen, although."
"You've seen how he is in class and outside. He acts as a prat only because so it's written in the manual. Figuratively speaking, of course. Except those... boys, should I say, he is alone here."
" I see.... but if I befriend him?"
"Pardon?" he asked, raising his eyebrow. Did he had problem hearing now?
"I mean, we are short of playing some weird game right now. We wait and see who's the one who breaks the secret first."
"Secret? You and Malfoy? Oh, your father sure is rolling in his grave, and Lily is laughing. And pray tell, Potter. What secret is this?"
"Whose face we see first. It's kind of weird for me, because I don't hide my feelings or wear a mask like Draco, but I play along. I just wanted to know why he continues to play like a jerk, even if he dislikes what he does. I now sort of know why. But it's still stupid."
"It's named politics, Potter."
"Thank you for the history lesson, professor."
"I hadn't finished, Potter. This part is actually the most important."
"Yes. I believe there is no need to talk about Voldemort to you, so I will cut the talk short. The Malfoys were avid followers of the dark lord, and when the war finished, they pleaded they were under a curse to follow every word Voldemort said. The name of the curse is the Imperius Curse. Thus, Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father escaped the trip to Azkaban."
"A prison for wizards and witches who had sinned. To do one curse it's enough to send someone there."
"Thank you, professor. But..."
"Don't stutter, boy." he said, scolding the student with a glare.
"Yes, sir. Could I come to ask you question about my parents and their friends? I don't think anyone else would tell me."
"... the next hour of potions, you can stay under the pretext of asking questions about the lesson."
"Thank you!" Harry smiled brightly at the professor, then turned and ran outside the classroom. Severus was left behind, blinking at the strange scene. A Potter, with his face and her eyes, smiling at him, and thanking him for speaking the truth. That was really weird.
They continued to meet after classes, when the students were busy with their free time to question the absence of the famous Harry Potter. Harry told only Ron and Hermione about the friendship between his mother and the professor, and the role of this meetings.
They talked about Sirius Black, Harry's godfather, what he had done and that he was in Azkaban, about the pranks the Marauders did, about Lily, and a lot of things in the past. Harry sometimes brought his homework over, and with Severus's help, he did the work that was a little hard than he had knowledge of, like in the History of Magic class, where Severus confessed that if he hadn't read the whole library about this subject, he wouldn't had passes the class. Harry was a curious child, and he quickly won the professor's heart. He also made sure to talk to him about what he hadn't understood in class, and Harry passed the knowledge further.
When someone beside Ron and Hermione noticed the absence of Harry, it widely spread. It began as a game, whoever finds Harry, wins. But as time passes, no one could find Harry. It already been three hours since the classes ended, and it was the second week in which they couldn't find him. Some began to worry. Ron and Hermione disappeared, most likely not to divulge the location of the local celebrity.
By now, the whole school was searching. Some professors were alarmed of the fact that Harry was missing, and they were looking for him too. In the end, they had to give up the search to go to the dinning room, where they would announce the absence of the boy to the headmaster.
After the room was filled, the whispers began. Some where looking right and left, searching for the black mop of hair, but there wasn't any. The Ravenclaws were simulating what could have happen, the Hufflepuffs were whispering, blaming someone, the Slytherins were grinning that someone kidnapped the boy and/or killed him(with the exception of Draco, who was looking pale at his housemates, and the Gryffindors were confused and worried. They all asked Ron and Hermione, but they just shook their heads and told them that 'he would come soon'.
Soon came... well, sooner than expected. Dumbledore just rose to state the report he got from Professor McGonagall, when the door opened, and inside walked casually, side by side, in all their gall, Harry Potter- with his potion and history books- and Professor Severus Snape-with his hands behind him, looking at the boy as he explicated something. They were talking about Veritaserum, and what effect it has on the people it used on.
"So, the victim has their memories from the time he was under the potion?" asked Harry, looking very concentrated and unaware of the stares he got.
"Yes. He also has no power to resist. When someone applies more than one drop, the victim has his mind open for the one who wants to know. It can be your worst enemy and you just have to comply."
"That's.... wicked and sick at the same time." the boy confessed, looking down right confused.
Then the professor did something no one else expected. He chuckled. "Yes, I guess you can put it that way. Now," he raised his face, looking around the room. Harry did the same. " I believe we arrived."
"So it seems. I have to thank you for explaining this to me, sir. The talks with you are always enjoyable."
"I have to say the same to you, Potter. Now, the same time next week? And I expect that summary I told you to do about the Book of Potions written by my former teacher, Slughorn Horace."
"Yes, sir. If I can ask, Professor Dumbledore?" Harry asking, Severus going to his seat, ignoring the attention he got. The headmaster snapped out of his shock, and smiled down at his student.
"Why are you not seating?"
"Ah, you see, your classmates and housemates, as the other houses, were worried about you, as this it seems it was the second time you were unseen for a long period of time, and they searched for you. As they were unsuccessful in their search, they told me, afraid that something would had happen to you. But, it seems their worries were in vain, I am right?"
"Yes. Today, as the former week, I was talking to Professor Snape about his class, and my parents. As he went to school with them, and he was my mother's friend, I believe he is the best to told me about them. About his classes, I don't want anyone to think about favoritism. I simply went and asked him what I didn't understood, as I was muggle raised. Even the professor said that anyone could ask him what they didn't understood. Right?" he asked looking at the black wearing man. The man nodded his head.
"Everything not to have any cauldrons melting in my hour. God knows that the Weasley twins did that only to amuse themselves."
"As you've heard. Excuse me, but I am going to eat."
As Harry took his seat, whispers began once again. No one could believe that the Gryffindor hater teacher would teach in private a student from that house. Draco caught his eyes, and they maintained the contact for five seconds. Then they were both distracted by another person. That night, Harry was asked by a lot of person what kind of attitude Snape had toward him. He just said he was normal, as if he was just a student. The twins exaggerated, unfortunately, and they proclaimed the boy their hero. They even gave him the Marauder's map, something that brought him to tears, and the others found out in the same night that his father was the leader of the Marauders.
The first time Harry and Draco talked without any facades, it happened a little after the new year began, and the school resumed. Harry was alone, his friends busy with homework-or, more like Hermione putting Ron to work. He was in the interior gardens, where not a lot of people went. They were either too tired, too busy or too cool to be seen in the gardens, and that was a pity. They were beautiful, with bushes filled with roses of all colors, numerous flowers that were too dazzling for him only. He was thankful in those moments to be alone, but he swore he would take Ron and Hermione here another time. Maybe at sunset, when the whole garden would be in bloom.
Then he heard a sound, not too far away from him. He went to investigate, taking his wand out. He found Draco, dirty and with blood on his face. He looked like he was in pain, but he wasn't crying. He was staying on a step of the white pavilion, looking at a fresh wound on his arm.
"Draco?" he asked, suddenly feeling stupid. Of course he was Draco. Who else would he be? Madam Hooch?
"Harry?" nice to see that he too was referring to him with his first name.
"Why are you bloody?" he asked, closing the distance, pulling Draco's arm that was slowly hiding. He hissed. "Sorry."
"I was caught by some older students from my house that decided that my attitude was too cocky for them, and it was their mission to beat it out of me. They even threatened me to not tell my father. As if, he would hear of this the first thing in the morning. Ow, that hurts. What are you doing?"
"You should have asked me that the first time I touched your arm. I'm healing you. I learned from Madam Poppy, as a request from Professor Snape. He told her I am so tiny that even the littlest accident would injure me, so it would be better to know some basic healing magic. I made her accept by showing her puppy-eyes, and asking her nicely." he smiled when he heard Draco chuckle. "I don't believe that telling your father would resolve anything. You should make it up to them."
The blond boy frowned, and with a confused smile asked. "Harry Potter, do I think about what you're thinking?"
"If you're thinking about pranking them, then yes. You are right. But first we need to make sure no one sees us."
"How?" Draco asked, smiling. Harry smirked back.
"It isn't common knowledge, but my father left me his invisibility cloak." He rose, having finished mending his wounds, and called. "Accio, Invisibility cloak!" in a second, his cloak came from his trunk, from his dorm room. "See?" Harry put the cloak around Draco.
"Wicked, Potter, absolutely brilliant." smirked Draco, admiring the way the cloak hid his body.
"I try, Malfoy, I try." he mocked, and both of them dissolved in laughing. When they stopped, Harry smiled at him.
"It seems I win."
"So it seems."
"First, we need materials. We- I can ask the twins for them. I'm sure that if they hear that the Golden boy converts himself to the Marauders path, they would lend all their arsenals to us."
"My father and his friends. They even left behind this map." He spoke the spell, watching in satisfaction as Draco's face morphed in surprise. "Now, let's go."
The prank was very amusing and satisfactory. The bullies were sixth years, three males. It was suppose to take place around the dinner. Fred and George accepted immediately, as expected. It was amusing, to say the least. Their food just exploded, making only the three dirty, and then some colored lights, like those from the Christmas tree, tied them down and suspended them from the ceiling. A song was singing in the background, and the whole student population laughed hard.
"I'm a big, big bully, and I like to bully children younger than my brain! We're so stupid we have to do math on my fingers and we were the one who broke in Snape's office!"
It was a stupid song, and a stupid melody, but they were all having fun, and Malfoy-even if he was present when they put the prank together- was holding his side from laughing. Under the table, they thumbed up their finger, smiling at each other, not that anyone had their eyes on them. Everyone was kind of busy laughing.
Only Fred and George knew he was the maker of it. The professors never found out the one who did it, even if Snape, McGonagall and Dumbledore were looking at him strangely. Of course, he told Ron and Hermione the truth, and they accepted the fact he did it together with Malfoy- not the reason why, because that was private, and they knew that.
From that time, Harry and Draco-sometimes with Ron and Hermione- pranked other people as a form of stress reliever. When Draco was too tired to keep the mask on, he secretly gave a signal to Harry, who either signaled to his friends or he didn't, and they were off playing mischief. Snape was laughing the first time he heard that from Harry, and he gave ten points to his house for originality.
The days were free for them. The kids in school whispered about the second coming of the Marauders, and secretly, Harry enjoyed that. He made his friends accept Draco as he was, and not his family name. Of course, he still was a jerk when together with his goons, but once he got rid of them, he wasn't a Malfoy anymore. He was Draco, the fourth Marauder of the second generation.
Once, when Gryffindor won another game against Slytherin, Draco took them to fly outside the castle. Hermione, not very well liking the flying on broom thing, paired with Ron, knowing he was the best bet on not going faster than necessary. It was close to summer, and it was after they defeated the possessed professor Quirrell. The weather was nice and warm, and the lake was lukewarm. Draco took them to a little island close to Hogwarts. Now that Gryffindor won this match, the house cup was going to them, most likely. Oliver was over the moon when he found out.
"Draco, you must be the only Slytherin student to celebrate the winning of another house with them!" shouted over the wind Ron not going so fast as the other two. The boys were having a race, and as Ron borrowed the classic broom to take Hermione with him, he couldn't participate, not that he wanted too. God knew that they were competitive as hell.
"As if you're not happy your house won, Ron!" shouted back Draco. "Hey!"
"If you're stalling, then go and walk with the others! Look before you, Draco! I'm winning this!" Harry called, taking the first place.
"Not fair!" whined Draco as their feet touched the ground. They were near the shore, and Hermione was tempted to jump in the warm water.
"How is this not fair? You were talking with Ron, so I went ahead and turned the tables. Maybe, if you would have paid attention, then maybe you would have won. Maybe."
"You-!" he got cut off, as the boys heard a big splash. They turned and saw a ginger head in the water. "Hermione?!" he called, confused. His eyes flew to Harry, who was looking at Ron. He looked too. The boy on his broom looked down at the girl in water, then shrugged his shoulders. He said simply, taking his own clothes off.
"Hermione said she had better things to do than listening to Draco whining like a girl on her period. She said she wears her swimsuit under her uniform, so she discarded them, and jumped into water." after a paused he said. "I think I am joining her."
He jumped after her, and only then did they noticed her head was above the water level. She was giggling as Ron made water jump and hit her face gently. She turned to the boys, who had their mouths wide open.
"What are you doing? Come join us! Or are you gonna bicker like an old married couple?" Ron laughed hard at that, and Harry and Draco shared a look.
"We'll show you 'old married couple'!" the boys said in the same voice, undressing themselves and jumping in the water, making the girl squeal as she began swimming from them.
All of them dived a few feet under the water, making a bubble of air appear around their heads. They looked at Hermione who smiled and waved her wand, then put it in her swimsuit. They stayed underwater a few minutes, exploring the water and chasing each other. They were just children right then. No muggle-born, no poor pure-blood, no rich pure-blood, no Boy-Who-Lived. They just enjoyed themselves. When they went out of the water, they were all smiling with face-splitting smiles. Hermione gathered a few woods and leaves, and Harry ignited a spark. They gathered around the fire, talking and laughing. Draco took out from his former-shrunk bag a few snacks and food, and Ron took out from his drinks.
They stayed out until the sky darkened, and now was cold, so they got dressed and prepared to return. They got on their brooms and Draco and Harry raced once again. They split around the corner of the dinner hall, knowing they missed the dinner and their absence was most likely noticed. They went each to their rooms and tiptoed around their roommates, as to not wake them up and question their absence.
As Harry was drifting to sleep, he remembered a conversation they had at today's meeting.
"What animagus would you be?" asked Draco, switching the topics before someone else asked another question. They talked just before of Hagrid's dragon, Norbert and how Ron's brother, Charlie, wrote him about him.
"Animagus?" asked Ron, confused. He never heard that word.
"It's the spiritual animal you have. Everyone has one, but not everyone can bring them out. For example, Professor McGonagall has as animagus a cat."
"Wicked! So, we can transform in any animal we want?" asked Ron again, feeling pumped up.
"No! Haven't you heard me? Only a few people can bring out their animals, and every person has one animal. With enough studying, you can transfigure in another animal, but the process is longer than the initial one."
"I think I am a stag." confessed Harry, looking at the fire.
"Why do you think so?" asked Draco. He personally never gave a thought about this before, but it was a topic worth talking about.
"Professor Snape told me that my father was an unregistered animagus, a stag. He found out in his seventh year from my mother. She found out a little earlier, and choose to tell him, under the promise to never tell anyone. As it no longer matters, he told me in one of our weekly meetings."
"So... based on the sentimental value?" inquired Ron.
"Yes, I believe so."
"Then, I think I would be a dog." said Ron.
"A dog?" laughed lightly Hermione. "Why that?"
"The Weasleys are know to be loyal to their friends and family!" affirmed proudly Ron, pumping his chest forward.
"I can so totally see that." laughed Draco, making Ron blush a little.
"Oh, yeah? And what about you?"
"Me?" the blond raised a brow. He fell in his thoughts for a few seconds, then said, a little hesitantly. "I... would like to be a bird."
"A bird?" repeated Harry, thinking of it's meaning. Now, as Draco's hair wasn't gelled in the back, he looked more like a child than what adult he wanted to look like in front of others.
"I mean... birds are free to fly wherever they want, right? It would be cool to go anywhere I would like, with no ties to my origins...."
"I would see you like an eagle." confessed Harry, wanting to bring the boy out of his sad musing. One day, he would take him, together with his friends and visit any places he wanted.
"They are strong, they are birds that prey, and they can fly alone or in group. Cool, right? Like you."
"..." Draco didn't commented, but smiled, looking in the fire longingly. "Yeah..."
To cut the sad air, Hermione interrupted. "I, on the other side, think I am an otter."
"Otter?" asked incredulity the boys. "What's with this, so specific?"
"Well, Harry, I have to let you know that otters are cute, and they love water. As I am cute, and i love water, so following logic, I would be an otter." she said that with such a serious face, that the boy couldn't help but laugh.
"Sure, Hermione. If you are an otter, I'm marring you." said Ron, wiping his tears.
"Oh? You're sure about that? I am 100% sure that I am an otter."
"If you really are, then i will be the best ring man, at your wedding, and Draco will be the bridesmaid."
"Now, just wait a sec, Potter. Why would i be a girl?"
"Because, Malfoy, you lost the race. So, as a wedding can't do without a bridesmaid, you will dress as a girl."
Of course, Draco was whining after that, cursing Harry and begging Hermione not to be an otter.
It was funny so to say. He made plans for the next year, all of them to learn how to will their animagus out. The next day, until the last of the school year, actually, Harry visited the library searching for clues in transfiguration on humans. He found a few books that his father and his friends looked into, as there were a few pages in which was written in big letters, MARAUDER.
The deal to stay with Severus was at least completed, as after the school year finished, Harry was brought to Severus's house. He enjoyed his stay there, actually eating and sleeping well, and reading a lot. The professor found out about his new subject of interest, and wholly supported him, giving him numerous books about the subject. By the time his birthday passed, he could turn in a stag by will alone. His birthday was also very eventful. He got presents from all his friends. From Severus, a potion making set for masters, from Ron a game of wizard chess, from Hermione a book about charms and curses, and from Draco he got an album filled with all their pranks, all their outgoings and their trips outside the school grounds, even from that time in the Forbidden Forest. He glanced at Sev- as the man gave him permission to call him so in private- and found him looking at the pranks with an amusing glint in his eyes.
"Don't misunderstand. I always found the pranks your father and his friends did meaningless and useless. But, when they didn't pranked me, it was amusing. And your pranks really are amusing. I'm sure your father would be proud."
Those words brought him to tears, and he cried a whole hour when Sev patted his head in a way he only dreamed of. That night, he had a visitor. A house-elf, not unlike Minnie, Sev's house-elf. She was a kind soul, and almost fainted when she saw him so thin and pale-Sirs, you have to eat more. Sirs, it's not good to stay closed in your room all day! She was a sweety, really.
"Dobby want the best for Master Potter, really! That's why Dobby wants to tell Master Potter not to go to Hogwarts this year! You will be in danger! Great Danger!"
He ignored those warnings, really. When was his life not in danger? So, without telling Sev of that matter, he went to the Hogwarts Express using his broom, sure that Dobby will try something. He met in the train with Hermione and Ron, and after closing the and locking the door they began to plot. They met the new professor for the DADA class, and with him they had no chance to learn anything. And there was the matter with Ginny's diary too. When they met in the Diagon Alley, Harry saw Lucius slip something inside her cauldron. He asked Draco a little after that, when he excused himself from his father to go seek his 'friends' aka goons. The blond was as unaware of it's purpose as he was.
They were all too happy to arrive at Hogwarts at least, but Harry was surprised when he saw the Thestrals, some weird looking horses.
"Creepy, right?" asked Fred from one side.
"Carriages pulled by nothing." spoke George from the other side.
Harry wanted to say that he saw them, but one look at Draco was enough. It looks like only Draco and he could see them. He read once that only people who saw death could see Thestrals, and his mind went to the professor that died last year, at the hands of him-quite literary. Draco was there too, hiding in the shadows, making sure nothing bad happened. He saw it too. The moment Quirrell died, and when Voldemort went through his body.
Once seated in his seat at the Gryffindor table, and after the new students entrances, he saw a flash in his face. He looked up, and saw a freshman, a boy with a camera.
"Sorry, I'm a new Gryffindor! I'm Colin Creevey! Hey, you're Harry Potter, right? I'm a huge fan!" and he took off, leaving him to deal with his snickering friends. Even Draco was laughing, and he was at three tables away from him. He frowned.
"I hate all three of you."
"Oh, you don't."
"Yeah. You love all of us."
That night, as they went out of their dorm under the Invisibility cloak, they went after Draco. As the cloak couldn't hide all of them, Harry went alone after letting the other two in a blind spot. He saw Draco, standing in a corner, making himself unseen unless you were searching for him carefully, toying with his wand. Harry hugged him, still hidden by his cloak. Draco jumped.
"Harry?" he asked quietly.
"No, madam Hooch." he rolled his eyes, inviting the boy under his cloak. They shared another hug, then Draco prompted him to hurry up.
"Come on! I want to see Ron and laugh at the fight our fathers had." Harry chuckled as he was leading Draco by his hand, finding the other two in the same place he left them.
They talked and planned the best of the night, making sure the prank of the next day was working, before going to sleep. The first years were gonna have a big surprise party tomorrow at breakfast. The first one who noticed something unusual in the atmosphere was Ginny. She turned to the twins and asked.
"Why is everyone looking at the ceiling and the walls?"
"Lovely youngest sister-"
"-let us tell you the truth that rested inside our school for more than ten years."
"Our school had a pranking group named Marauders."
"They were brilliant!"
"They pranked everyone without discrimination-"
"-even the headmaster!"
"-another group made themselves known as the second generation of Marauders."
"They call themselves 'HORN', and the letters are drawn as four animals. 'H' is a stag, or a reindeer, depends on the person, 'O' is an eagle, 'R' is an otter and 'N' is a dog. They sign most of their works like this."
"They make the best pranks around here!"
"And one will happen right this morning!" said both of them, getting some approval from other fans.
"So, we're waiting for it to happen?"
"Yes!" they said, looking scandalized that their own sister doesn't know how a prank goes. She didn't understood the honor to have a prank made before her eyes in her first day of school.
The wait was over sooner than expected. Not even ten minutes in the breakfast, a first year hufflepuff student declared confused.
"Hey! I see something there!"
Everyone looked at once at the place the boy pointed. The first second the boy saw the paper flying in a butterfly-like way, it was only one. Now, there were more, and more, appearing out of thin air. They took a form of a faery, big enough to be seen, not big enough to be seen as a danger. She blinked a few times, making her look alive, then she focused on her hands. They were white as snow, and she frowned. From her hair she took a few papers and made a wand. She waved her wand around her body, twirling in the air with the help of her wings. Her skin and clothes-an one piece dress- colored and she looked more alive this way. She smiled brightly, then winked at the students watching her in awe. She did the same to the teachers who looked at her in shock. Severus even rose from his seat.
She waved her wand once again, then flowers began falling from the ceiling. Every kind of flower was there, and they were falling until every students and professor held some flowers. Then, still smiling, she waved goodbye, and blew a kiss before her. The papers from her hand flew and in a few second the beautiful woman wasn't there anymore. Some papers stood in the air for one last show of fireworks, while the rest fell in the hands of the waiting students.
On the paper, in red ink, beautifully written was:
GOOD MORNING EVERYONE AT HOGWARTS!
WE ARE KNOWN AS THE SECOND GENERATION OF MARAUDERS, AND WHILE THAT IS TRUE, WE PREFER BEING CALLED 'HORN'. WE HOPED YOU ENJOYED OUR LITTLE SHOW, AND THE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN YOU JUST SAW IS MARIA, OUR MASCOT. OUR FACES, OR ANYTHING THAT RELATES WITH US, REALLY, IS UNKNOWN TO THE PUBLIC, AND WE PREFER IT REMAINS SO, EVEN IF YOU- BY SOME MIRACLE- FIGURED OUT OUR IDENTITY- BUT I'M SURE ONE OF OUR OWN WILL NEVER BE FOUND OUT. HE'S JUST THAT AMAZING.
OUR PRANKS ARE NEVER HURTING ANYONE, SO IF ANYONE ELSE TRIES TO BLAME US, KNOW YOU WILL KNOW THAT A PRANK WAS DONE BY US. THE REASON WE WANT TO REMAIN UNDER RADAR IS- EXCEPT THE LOSS OF POINTS- WELL... SOME OF US ARE SHY. AND SOME ONE US ARE STUPID, SO IT'S POSSIBLE ONE OF STUDENTS WHO COULDN'T PASS THE GRADE IS ONE OF US. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW, MOST LIKELY.
WE HOPE MOST OF YOU SMILES-I KNOW ONE NOTORIOUS PROFESSOR SNAPE DID- AND ENJOYED ONE OF OUR PERFORMANCES.
WE WISH THE FRESH STUDENTS HERE A HAPPY SCHOOL YEAR, AND BE SURE TO EXPECT TO SEE US MORE OFTEN THAN YOU SEE THE HEADMASTER. BY THE WAY, AFTER THIS STUNT, I KNOW THAT MORE TEACHERS THAN I WOULD LIKE KNOW WHO IS OUR MARIA. ASK THEM, AND THEY WILL SAY THE SAME THING. 'A SAVIOR, WHO SACRIFICED HERSELF OUT OF LOVE'. THAT'S ALL YOU SHOULD KNOW, APPARENTLY. 'H' IS MAKING ME END THIS LETTER, AS WE WANT TO KEEP RED INK FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.
SEE YOU, NEXT TIME!
SIGNED, THE 'HORN' WHO CALLS HIS KIN HOME.
The hall was quiet, except some excited students. Harry was holding the hands of his friends, looking at Draco- who wished he could be there, beside his friends- and avoided looking at the teacher's table until he heard one chair moving. He held his breath as Dumbledore began talking. Draco came up with the idea, saying it was the best to make her known in Hogwarts for the future students as a legend.
"I want to personally thank the ones known as 'HORN' for their beautiful spectacle. It was truly spectacular and a good break we all needed. I would like you all to finish you breakfast, thought. It would be a pity to let all this good food to go to the trash bin."
Sev enjoyed the performance, he could see it. He was one of the professors who recognized who Maria truly was. Lily Evans in her teenagers years. He toyed with a lily flowed in one hand, humming to himself, making everyone who heard him take a double take on him.
The first week passed by slowly but surely, as the quarted planned to prank the DADA teacher Lockhart for being such a stupid wizard. He actually praised the 'HORN' and said he knew who they were, but he wasn't saying anything. For that, they turned his hair pink in the middle of the breakfast.
'HORN' was becoming popular and Maria was having a lot of fun, thus making the potion teacher smiled more often. They all had fun and peace until Mrs. Norris was found petrified.
After that, the four persons group put their pranks oh hold, and let Maria do her job. Every morning, she appeared and gave the kids flowers and origami made from the papers of her body. Once, she made a thousand cranes and made them fly around the room. That made the students happy, and their worries went down a notch.
At Lockhart's insistence, the Dueling club was formed, and Draco and Harry were made to duel in front of everyone. Draco wanted to show off, and summoned a snake. He didn't expected Harry to talk with the snake, or that the snake took a liking to him. The reptile sat around his neck for a while, until Harry asked him to go back as the others were uncomfortable.
The reactions of the teachers were funny, thought.
"Um, mister Potter?" Asked their charm professor.
"Do-do you know you have a snake around your neck?"
"Yes. I am aware. He likes me too much to go back home."
"Oh, yes. He tells me every night how he thinks I should go back with him, as he likes me very much and it's a waste to remain here. Right?" He hissed in parseltongue, getting a nod from the snake who was nodding off on his shoulder. The poor professor colapsed.
Lockhart began to tell them of one of his 'stories'. "Oh, a snake! Last time I saw a snake was when I had to defend a child that got lost in a forest, and met with a snake six feet bigger than him and I-"
"Professor, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but my snake apparently can smell lies and he says you're lying." Nevertheless, the hour passed quickly as they didn't had to listen to his stories.
Snape took it better. "Potter, I don't expect you will get rid any sooner of that menance, am I right?"
"I'm sorry, professor, but I like her."
"I see. Then, let's learn about potions made from snakes today. Especially poison."
But the one who took it the best was McGonagall. "Mister Potter, I think your snake is very well tamed. He hadn't hissed once in my class."
"Thank you, ma'am. I told him not to disturb your class, as it's one of my favorites."
"I see. If only your classmates would listen to me when I tell them not to talk in class.... maybe I should learn parseltongue too."
"Please tell me how well is that going."
But alas, when Hermione got frozen, the snake left warning Harry that a basilisk was inside the school, and he didn't wanted to get caught in the middle. After Hermione was petrified, the boys entered the Chamber of Secrets to save Ginny, but Lockhart got between them and 'thanks' to him, Harry was separated from his friends. He had to defeat the basilisk on his own, and save Ginny after that. He was so tired even after he got freed from the infirmary, that as soon as he saw Draco walking by his table, he tugged him down and put his head in his lap.
"Harry?" Asked Hermione confused. Was their façade over?
"Hush. Draco's lap is comfortable. You are on the other side of the table. Too tired to move. Draco. Stay." He trailed off, sleeping before hearing the boy grumble.
"Of course, because I'm a dog. Hey! Harry! God, he's already asleep...." he looked tiredly at Ron and Hermione. "Can you get him off? People are staring..." It was true. Everyone looked shocked, even the professors. Severus wasn't surprised at all, more like amused.
"Nah." the boy replied. "You're on your own, man." at the glare he got, Ron continued, panicked. "I mean! Just look at his face! He's really tired, you know? He had to defeat a bloody basilisk all by himself just days ago, after all."
"Ronald! Language!" hissed Hermione.
"What? It's the truth! When I asked Harry, he told me he had to thrust the Gryffindor's sword inside the fifteen feet long Basilisk to kill him, and if Fawkes wouldn't have come, he would have died from his venom."
Hearing that, Draco sighed. "Alright. He can sleep in my lap. But only until the dinner ends, after that, you take him to your dorm."
"That's good." agreed Hermione.
It scared most of the students to see one of the most slytherin student at the Gryffindor's table, eating and talking with two lions as if it was an everyday stuff, all while having the hero Harry Potter sleeping in his lap. That was a strange night to remember. But everyone had a nice laugh when the Slytherin student bent over and made him a moustache with a marker. A permanent marker. His face was just too amusing as he woke up and looked in the mirror. When he saw himself, he paused and looked at him from different angles.
"Hm, not bad, Malfoy. Oh, I'm sorry. Honey." He said with a smirk on his marked face. The boy went to red from lack of air to red from embarrassment.
"W-What?" he stammered. The others were snickering.
"I know, I know. You did it because you wanted to make my fans go away by ruining me handsome face. Don't worry, I have eyes only for you." He winked as blew him a kiss, making the other Gryffindors burst in laughs. "Night, honey." he said, and the boy didn't even notice when he got his hair red. His eye twitched as he shouted after him.
"You egocentral idiot! Narcissist!"
"But I look damn good with a moustache, don't I? Maybe I should grow it..." he left the hall leaving the headmaster chuckling and the potion master scowling. That boy was too like his father sometime.
The best part? Harry freed Dobby from Draco's family. The boy himself wasn't angry, just shocked that an house-elf would choice someone other than his master.
The summer came and went, and the third year began, making a new change happen in the 'HORN' group. The new DADA teacher was one of the first generation of the Marauders, and Harry's godfather-escaping from Azkaban, from all of his stunts- was another one. Remus Lupin was a man who looked more sick than healthy, twenty-four hours a day. At the beginning of the year, he was warned by Severus.
"Remus, I better warn you of something. Whatever you must do, don't cry."
At first, Remus was confused. Why would he cry? He hadn't cried since his brother's death. James Potter wasn't his brother in blood, but as with Sirius, they were all brothers. But as Maria ascended upon the first years to bring a new year to Hogwarts, he understood.
His eyes flew to the boy who was his only memory of what he lost. The boy looked too similar with his parents. Only he would pull this. As he looked at the smiling professors and the excited students, he found their reactions lacking. Did no one knew in whose presence they were? The most beautiful woman, even in death, and the strongest mother. Lily Potter, nee-Evans. Her eyes widened at the sight of him, she waved her wand-the same as hers when she was alive- and in front of him, a cup of hot chocolate appeared. When he looked at her, she went back to play with the children.
It was really hard not to cry. Especially when Harry was going on his father's footsteps.
At their first DADA lesson, Remus taught them about boggarts. He learned that Ron's worst fear was a spider, Hermione's was failure, and Harry's.... that was troubling him. He kind of expected Voldemort to show, not a broken hunting horn. He hear four intakes of breath, then a Riddikulus spell broke the fear he felt in the air. After his hour, he saw a slytherin approach Harry. He expected scandal, mock, but not a worried hand touching the boy's arm. He- Malfoy- mouthed an 'are you alright?', and when he saw the nod, he looked relieved. When the blond turned to their professor, he frowned then left.
As a matter of precaution, Remus taught Harry the patronus spell against the Dementors. He was shocked and pleased that his patronus was a stag. Then everything went downhill for him. At one dinner, two months after he began teach at Hogwarts, another show from 'HORN' was given. This time, Maria- as he found out her name was known by the students, even if they learned about her from their teachers- summoned illusions about grims. He nearly chocked in shock, and saw the divination teacher faint.
Harry and Draco grinned at one another. As Harry's divination teacher predicted his death by using a grim, he wanted to prove her that a grim is actually cute. He always loved dogs, after all- never be mentioned that when he said that, Draco and Hermione sulked for a week and Ron acted as if Christmas came earlier. He still hadn't understood why they were like that, even now.
Maria seemed to love the dogs, and she played with them, showing the kids that as long she was there, nothing wrong was going to happen. Every student at Hogwarts- even the ghosts and the professors, and Peeves too- liked her. No one wanted to think that someday she would disappear.
After some weeks, filled with pranks and fun- maybe except the match against the Hufflepuffs, as he lost when Dementors came and he had to protect the students, and he still refused to accept Cedric's apology- until the four found something scandalous. Sirius Black came to Hogwarts. For what, they suspect for Harry, but the boy tended to refuse the truth laid in front of him. So, as was the normality for him, he searched for the truth. He found it in the map that his father made. An unknown name was on the map.
Maybe that was wrong put, a name that wasn't supposed to be there was there. Peter Pettigrew. The last of the Marauders, a rat and a traitor, according to Severus. As a former spy, he knew all the dirt on the former Death Eaters.
So, after a careful planed plan, the 'HORN' caught the rat and gave him to Remus. The man, blinking at the four kids, led them to the Whomping Willow, and they entered a house that seemed to be the Shrieking Shack. There, they met a grim. And this time, not an illusion. A real, very real grim. That transformed in Sirius Black. Ron shrieked.
"Remus?... Harry?" the man asked, unsure about the last.
"Sirius, Harry it seems knows the truth, and he and his friends brought me the rat."
"What? Oh, Harry... believe me when I say that I'm truly sorry about-"
"Don't. I know it wasn't your fault. Please, don't make yourself the one at fault. The problem at hand is what we do with the rat." they still were disturbed that Ron's rat was the traitor.
"It's obvious. We can't deal with him, because that would mean Harry's godfather would go back to the prison, so we need to make the rat to confess before the minister." stated simply Draco, looking at the boy. He nodded.
"And you are?" asked suspicious Sirius. He looked familiar...
"Pleased to meet you, cousin. I am Draco Malfoy, son of Narcissa Malfoy-nee Black."
"A Malfoy? Remus, why is Narcissa's son here?! His father is a death eater!"
"Sirius, believe it or not, he is Harry's friend. One of the best he has." the adults thought it was weird that the boy turned his head blushing, and that the Weasley and the girl snickered.
In the end, Harry went officially to the minister, summoned a meeting, and made the traitor known among everyone. The trial was faster with three drops of veritaserum.
Some weeks after the Black lord was released and the rat put in his place, the man enjoyed his freedom together with his godson and his friends, and Remus. He stayed at Hogwarts, getting some weird looks, and poor Dumbledore had to respond to some threatening letter about him.
It was one sunny day, a weekend day, as the six of them were enjoying the sun and talking about former pranks when the Malfoy senior appeared. He looked murderous, and he was walking so fast that he almost missed his son. His son, who was leaning his head on Harry Potter's back, as both were lounging on the grass with a former criminal.
"Draco?" he asked, shocked. The boy sprung to his feet, clearly not knowing of his presence here.
"Father? Why are you here?"
"I came to talk with the headmaster. The question is, why are you here? With him?"
"Who, uncle Sirius? He was talking of old days, that's all."
"Uncle?" was this one really his son? His proud son?
"Oh! Lucius! Who would have thought that you would have such a wonderful child? He's so cute, and tiny, you just want to kidnap him. Of course, not as cute and tiny as my Harry, but no one can measure to my cutie-pie godson!"
The boys groaned, blushing. "Sirius.... not in front of father, please." the blond pleaded, red in face.
"Draco, you can't be seen with there people, come with me." he wanted to take his hand, but the boy backed off. "Draco?"
"I... father, I-"
"Draco, come with me, now." the boy was acting strange. He kept looking back to the Potter, who was frowning at the senior.
Before anyone else could say something, Harry rose and whistled. A broom came to him, and he jumped on it, taking Draco with him. In the air, he was joined by Ron and Hermione, both on one broom, the girl sighing and looking back at the now grinning boy.
"This is a kidnap. I will not give Draco back this summer, and we have been excused from the last two weeks of the year. Sirius, if you and Remus, want to join us..." he didn't finished, because the men were already in air. "Thank you."
As he turned to fly, Draco shouted at his father. "As this really is a kidnapping, I do not know where we are going, but tell mother not to worry, and I will send her a picture with most likely penguins!"
Sirius didn't stopped laughing not even when they arrived at Severus's house, not that he knew about it. "This boy is gold!"
"They all are."
"But I have to ask. Why penguins?"
"Never seen them before, and as I am practically kidnapping Ron, Draco and Hermione, I want to see them with all of us together. Let me leave Sev a note, telling him not to worry."
"You know, Severus Snape? My legal tutor for the past three years?"
"What?! How come I haven't heard of that before?!"
"Never thought of it before, maybe. It's fun, actually. He has a lot of book, and he helps me with homework when I don't know."
He left Sirius in his room, shocked and muttering in a daze. "Severus? Fun?"
After that, Harry went to Ron's house, telling Molly that he was kidnapping his son to take him to go see penguins, then left to Hermione's house to tell her parents the same. The parents were kind of confused as they nodded and gave them a 'have fun' wave.
They had in fact gone to see penguins, and Draco sent his mother pictures of him snuggling with penguins, baby bear cubs, sleeping in an igloo with Harry and Ron, and posing with otters.
Speaking of otters, Hermione was as always right. Her animagus was an otter. Harry was a stag, Ron was a dog, and Draco was an eagle. They were now at Sirius, planning the wedding. They wanted the wedding to be in the middle of their fourth year.
"I want a muggle-type wedding, Ron."
"Okay, but who will wed us? We are still minors."
"Oh, I can do that." spoke Sirius, very amused by what they were doing.
"You can?" asked Harry incredulously looking at his godfather, who was drinking tea with Remus.
"Oh, yes. It's in my right as a lord."
"Good, now we have the priest solved. Sirius, I will give you all you need to know. Make sure you know it by heart."
"Roger." he grinned. He tried before to wed James and Lily without her knowing, and that ended in a failure, but he knew what he should say.
"And the bridesmaid?"
"I thought I would be?" asked Draco, looking at Hermione as if she was nuts. The adults chocked on their drinks.
"You really want to be? I can ask Ginny if you don't."
"Hell no. I will be the bridesmaid, and Harry the ring boy. That's finished. Let's move to the invitations."
They made sure the invitations will be given to their parents after the wedding, and to the Weasley siblings, the day it takes place.
The wedding had just one surprising thing. The Yule ball was on that day. It was decided that Hermione will be Ron's date, and Draco's Harry, as they both needed a date, Harry as a champion, and Draco as a pure-blood. He wore a midnight blue dress, wearing hair extensions, and Hermione a white dress, with her hair up and wearing make-up.
The boys bowed to the girl and the 'girl'. "You both look stunning." they told them, pleased with this outcome. When they entered, each with an arm held by their dates, they attracted very much attention.
People whispered, not knowing who those two beauties were. Only Luna Lovegood knew, and when she met Harry's eyes, he winked, asking her to keep the secret, a secret. She nodded, and turned to her date, Neville, who was also confused by the blonde's presence. He knew the other girl was Hermione, but he hadn't heard about Harry's date.
Draco exchanged no words with anyone other that the three, so no one guessed his identity, until Harry had to go to the champion's table, with Draco following. The professors recognized him at the first glance. Severus choked on his drink.
"Draco?" he said, earning whispers from the hall.
"Yes, uncle Severus?" he spoke, not worrying about masking his voice. He had a lot of fun with his shocked face.
"Why are you wearing a dress?"
"That's a very good question, uncle." he paused for dramatic effect, and Harry scoffed at him, mentally translated as 'drama queen'. "Actually, Harry and me have to attend a wedding after this ball, so as to not have partners whom we should explain and apologize for dumping them, we paired up."
"That could be acceptable! But why in a dress?! Do you know what your father will do if he knows-"
"My father, is far too busy to see with whom I went to this simple ball." Draco spoke coldly, and glared at everyone who looked at him. He looked dangerous in a dress too, if more than before, and Harry could hear someone gulping. He refrained from grinning. "I expect everyone here to keep quiet about what happened tonight, if they wish to see tomorrow without being humiliated by me. Trust me, I have blackmail material." he smiled, and Harry swore he just saw an angel with dark feathers. Others must have see that too, for the blushes that went by the boys had to meant something.
"And?" the headmaster spoke, gaining the attention to him. "Whose wedding are both of you going to?"
"Why, I'm glad you asked, professor." Harry grinned. "Of course, Ron's and Hermione's wedding." the silence filling the hall was so great, not even Voldemort would have expected that. He was quite glad that he had Dobby recording this. He would need to re-watch it later.
"What?" the twins said, confused. "Ronnie's marrying?!"
"Yes. And it's good Harry told you, you would have never believed me. Like mom, when I told her that today I'm marrying Hermione, she just laughed and said 'that's good, dear. She's a good girl.' Apparently, Hermione's parents had the same reaction. Really, you would have thought they had learned after that time Harry kidnapped us to see penguins with him." he told Hermione, who just nodded, looking seriously. Ginny asked, a bit shocked.
"Hermione, are you alright with it? Aren't they forcing you or something?"
"Oh, no. Rest assured, no one's putting me to do this. Actually, I did the most for the wedding, well, Draco and me. Who would have thought he would accept to be my bridesmaid."
"Bridesmaid? Malfoy?" the twins intoned, quickly becoming spirited again. "Oh, that we have to see. Can we go too?"
"Course you can. You're family. Remus will be playing Hermione's father part, as we're doing it muggle-style. Sirius will be the priest." Ron nodded, looking at his sister. "You're coming too. I'm recording that, and mom will be angry that I left you at one side."
"That is what she would be angry at?! Ronald Weasley, you're in for a lot of trouble once mom's finding about this."
"Oh, that's for sure. But she gave me her consent, so it should be legal. Remus searched for it."
"Now, just wait a second! We can't let you marry! You're both fifteen!" McGonagall shouted, red in face. Harry put a hand on her shoulder.
"Sorry, professor, but we can't let you interrupt. Don't you understand?" he looked so serious, looking in her eyes, that she asked.
"It's true love, ma'am." he whispered, but the whole hall heard it. It was such an serious tone, that it was almost hilarious. "You can't separate them. Their in the same house, and if any of them wants to run away from home, they can hide at my godfather, and he had a fidelius charm on his house."
That shut her up. The doors opened, and in waltzed without a worry Sirius Black, dressed in black priest robes. "I think we waited enough. Remus getting doubts, and we better hurry up with the wedding. Hello, Minerva, stunning as always. Ah, Hermione! Remus is taking his role pretty in serious, and he's getting worried, and you still look stunning. Draco, my girl-er, boy! Sorry, but the Black genes are strong in you. I looked as beautiful as you do when I wore a dress at my graduation, only halfway, thought. Prongs was almost dying of lack of air, so I had to change. Come on, we have to hurry up."
He took them all and went out of the room, and when everyone snapped out of shock, the Weasley siblings, Hermione, Draco and Harry were far away from the castle.
The wedding proceeded smoothly, with Fred and George sniffing at the end, when they had to go back to Hogwarts. "Our little brother-"
"-is so grown up!"
Ginny muttered. "If they are like this now, I wonder how it would be at my wedding, and with my whole family..."
The newly-wed couple and the pseudo-priest, the pseudo-father, the ring boy and the bridesmaid stayed at Sirius's place that night, with Remus filling ahead a request of taking the four of them out in this night. The couple slept in one room, and they didn't do anything beside sleeping- mind you, there was a wall against how many rules Hermione could break in one day, and that wall was getting farther and farther away from her conscious. Draco and Harry slept in separate bedrooms, but Harry helped Draco to take the dress down. "Stupid. Dress. Next time, you're wearing the dress, Potter."
"You bet. And I will look as stunning as you looked."
At the breakfast, the four returned to the school, getting biased welcomes. Some ignored them, sure it was a prank, some looked and pointed and whispered-being rude- and some just congratulate them and complied the two on the yesterday's dresses- mostly Gryffindors, really.
Not even twenty minutes in the breakfast, the doors opened again and in stormed the rest of the Weasley family and Hermione's parents. The only one who was looking somewhat proud was Arthur, because he tried to this the exact thing as his son did.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley! How dare you to do that! Poor Hermione!" she howled, making everyone in near her close their ears, making painful faces.
"Mrs. Weasley!" said Harry, ginning like a fool, making everyone looking at him strangely. Even his friends. "It's been a long time, hasn't it? Oh, and Mrs. Granger, you as well. Mr. Granger. Please, would all of you follow me? I have something really important to talk with you three."
The adults seemed to stop in their rage, but Molly came back earlier. "No, Harry, dear. This is really urgent, you see, and it's pains me to refuse you, but I have to do it."
"But, I insist." and, with no struggle, he tugged the two women and the man outside the hall, the door closing beside them.
No one heard one shout, or a whisper from the other side. Draco and the two others were looking confused at each other, then shrugged. It was one of Harry's moments, so they had no business there.
Finally, the door opened once again. Inside came a happy Harry and three neutral adults. Some slytherins groaned, wanting scandal.
"Honey? What did you talk with Harry about?" Arthur asked.
"Oh, dear, I'll tell you later. Ron, I have to say that I'm very disappointed in you, but the deed is done, and I can't really do much." she sighed, and the Weasley family, together with the professors, gasped. Who was this woman? Molly Weasley would never pass a chance to shout at her sons. And she gave up so easily?"
"Hermione, we would have a long talk when you came home, but for now we will retreat." Mr. Granger said, nodding to Harry who nodded back with a smiled, and thus a hurricane was destroyed. The siblings turned to Harry, shocked. They weren't the only ones. Draco and Hermione were rock still too.
"How did you do that?!" shouted all 4 siblings.
"Oh, that was easily, I just talked about how my parents wanted to marry earlier, as to make sure they had more time to be together if anything happens to any of them, and how that wasn't successful for them, because they were caught. After that, they had to wait some more years to marry and have me, but they died one year after I was born, so I talked them into letting you two stay married, because life is short and you have to live without regrets. I told them one of my mother's greatest regret was that she hadn't married my father sooner. All while-"
"All while wearing that damned puppy-look. I swear, Potter, you must be the only one who could lie with a straight look, and one so pitiful, in front of a woman scarier than the former dark lord." said Draco, putting his head in his hands.
"You lied to mom?" Ron whispered, as if afraid she would hear him. "And you didn't got caught?"
"It wasn't exactly a lie, you know? My father tried to marry mom without her knowing, but it didn't worked, as she recognized what they were trying to do. Sirius wanted at that time to be the priest too." They left it at that. They always did. Nothing good came with dealing with a Potter.
The tournament was easy for Harry. The dragon loved him as soon as she saw him, and the whole school watched in amazement as the massive and deadly dragon became a puddle of bliss on the rocks. Harry played with her a little, and just before his time run out, the dragon gave him her egg, but not before a sad look at it. Harry patted her snout and told her in an equally sad voice.
"I know. I will give you your egg back, don't worry. Thank you, Crystal."
As he returned to his tent, receiving from all the judges a 10, with the exception of Karkaroff Igor, who gave him five points, he got over his sadness as he was greeted by his house mates and Draco.
"What's up with the names? First Fluffy, then Aragog, and now Crystal?" asked Draco one afternoon, just before the sunset at the lake. Harry was there daily to play with the monster squid that lived there.
"That was the name her parents gave her. The trainers are calling her something else, but she told me her name."
"You speak dragonese?" asked Hermione skeptical.
"Guess it's one plus point of speaking parseltongue, right?"
"Take care, Harry. My brother Charlie would love to kidnap you."
"Aren't all of them?" asked jokingly the boy who was now riding one of the squid tentacles.
The second task had him nearly dying from an heart attack. First, Harry stayed behind to try and figure out what was stolen from him, but then his eyes went to the stands. He saw Hermione, Ron, Neville and Luna, the twins and Ginny, but he didn't saw Draco. His eyes grew, then he shouted at the headmaster.
"Professor, please don't tell me that the thing that was stolen from us was a person, and that the person down there is Draco!" when he received no answer beside the gasps from the stands, he quickly undressed, making a few girls glance at his body, the he shouted over his shoulder. "Draco's father will surely hear about this!"
He got Draco back, and then he went back to take Delacour Gabrielle, the sister of the female champion- who was unable to take back her. When he tried to go back, he found that he got caught by the merpeople, in a vain attempt at making him unable to go back. He called for Cecilia-the giant Squid- as her name was, according to Hagrid, and she helped him go back, scaring away the merpeople. She gently put them on the dock, before patting Harry's head and disappeared underwater once again. He didn't even look at the French girls who thanked him over and over, as his eyes went straight to his friends.
"H-how is Draco?!" he shook Ron, desperate in knowing how his friend was. The boy told him calmly, as in a daze.
"He isn't waking up, Harry. We don't know when Madam Poppy will get her medicine here, and maybe it would be too late...." he trailed off, making Harry look at the headmaster. The boy threatened him, glaring at him.
"If what he said is true, then I'm fucking killing you..." then he turned to look at the boy who was laying on the floor. He wasn't moving, and wasn't breathing. Harry crouched before him, shaking from the head to his toes. He stretched his hand to his chest. No heartbeat. He shook him hard, no response. Harry, for the first time in his life, swore. In such a way he let the old men blushing.
"Hermione, Ron, be on stand-by."
"Harry?" asked the girl, sniffing. She still refused to see the truth, and Ron was making himself calm as to not upset his wife.
"I'm making artificial respiration. If madam Poppy is coming, make way for her." he bend down, and tried to bring his friend back to life. He didn't even noticed when Cedric or Krum emerged from water, and everything was silent around him. The first time, nothing. The second time, nothing. On the third time he succeded, letting the boy go and choke the water out of his lungs.
Harry thought he was brought back to life, at the same time Draco breathed again. He was dead, according to Hermione, for three minutes. The boy was taking big gulps of breath, opening his eyes, searching for Harry.
When he found the black haired boy, he wanted to say his name, but nothing came out. His mouth formed the word, so Harry could read his lips.
"Ha-Harry! Harry!" he was saying, trying to raise himself up from the cold wet dock, but just kept going down.
"Draco, calm down. You're gonna be alright. You're fine now, don't worry." Harry said, holding the boys hand in his and helping Draco sit on his behind. The boy immediately put his hands around Harry, hugging him in despair. The boy was most likely frozen in shock of dying. Harry hugged him back, and took him in his arms, both of them raising from the wet place.
"How's he?" asked Ron, coming back from the shock time.
"He's fine. Some rest and a warm tea will help him. I'm taking him to my dorm room, hope you and Neville don't mind." he smiled tiredly at the boy, who shook his head.
"No, go ahead."
"Sure, Harry." said Neville, concerned about the blond shaking in the brunet arms. Harry accepted a robe to put around him, and he made sure to warp the body in his arms too. "But maybe it would be better to visit the nurse."
"I'll call her to me. I'm not really interested in my points, but Draco most likely will be, so you should find out for me." Then he turned to the headmaster, who was looking concerned to him. "Professor, I don't blame you, but this will most likely cause a scandal. As soon as Draco's father hears this, he will come here, but I don't intend- anyone other than my roommates and Hermione- to let anyone else approach Draco before he can stand by himself."
"I understand, Harry. I will still apologize to both of you."
Harry turned around, and called. "Dobby." A house-elf appeared before him, excited to be called by his favorite master-not-master.
"Yes, master Harry? Oh! Master Draco! Is he hurt?" the small concern he showed for his former master was touching, really.
"He will be, Dobby. Go to the kitchen and bring me some calming tea to my room. Draco will stay there from the time begin."
"Dobby is happy to help Master Harry! Dobby will go right now to bring the tea for master Draco!" one poof later, and he was gone. The whispers began, and this time it was centered on Harry.
"Isn't that a house-elf?"
"Wasn't he working in the kitchens?"
"He called him 'master'."
"Potter was really concerned about Draco..."
"I thought they were friends, but really?"
"I know, right? Those two are the first thing that comes to you when you say their houses names."
"Their totally opposite."
The third task was placed one and a half week after the incident. As promised, Harry took care of the blond until he passed the stage where he was afraid to be alone in the dark. Of course, he still got nightmares, but Draco keep quiet about those. No one beside Hermione, Ron and Neville saw Draco, and occasionally madam Poppy, so, when the time came for Draco to return, everyone stared.
Harry and his friends were beside him, but they wouldn't shield him. If he still was afraid, then he would go back to Harry's room. Draco hated being weak, so the first chance he got, he took it and went out, not even five days after the incident. Harry was in the first place in the tournament, and Dumbledore came and apologized to both of them. They accepted the apology, but what was done was done. Everyone was looking at them, and some slytherin were scoffed at him when he entered the hall. He tried to go to the slytherin table, but some older students told him harshly.
"There's no place for a Gryffindor lover here."
Draco flashed them an annoyed face, then sighed in relief as he said in a loud voice.
"Ah, that's so reassuring. This way, I won't have to pretend anymore that I want to be together with such primitive people." he got some muffed giggles and straight loud laughing, making some slytherin blush.
"What did you said?!"
"Exactly as you've heard me. As long as you don't come down from your high throne, you won't see what's in front of you. And please don't act like you're actually smart. When we were first years, Hermione already knew your entire material. Show some decency and don't act so mighty." he turned his back and walked with a spring in his steps toward the Gryffindor table, seating beside Harry.
What he didn't saw was that the older student drew his wand and turned a hex on toward him. Harry saw, and he blocked the hex with his protecto spell. The hall was silent. Harry was glaring at the now sweating student, while he put Draco beside him. He was stopped.
"Harry, let me."
"Go ahead." he smiled at the courageous boy. He would have done great in Gryffindor. And ironic, Draco thought he would do great in Slytherin.
"It seems you don't want to understand. Why don't we settle this with a duel?"
"I accept. Who's your second? Better not be Potter."
"No. Neville, would you please?"
"M-me? You're sure?"
"If you really are sure, then alright..."
"Ha. Longbottom as your second? You must really be nuts, Malfoy."
After the duel was approbated by the professors, they all moved the tables and gave space for the duel to undertake place. The first one to make a move was the older student. He threw a weak stupefy, which was repelled, then he got hit by an expelliarmus. The duel was unsatisfactory for the blond, and he scoffed. When he turned to go back to his friends, Neville trailing behind him, he heard a sound. Before he could react, Neville shouted 'Expelliarmus!' and disarmed the shocked second older slytherin. The first one snorted, then called Draco that made him see red.
"You are Potter's bitch, you poor excuse of a pure-blood!" Draco lunged at him and he hit him right in the middle of his face.
"What did you dare to say? Me? A bitch? Harry's bitch? You fucker! Never talk about him like this, you mud-faced idiot!" he hit again, but when he got ready for another blow, Harry took him by his first and turned Draco to him. He was wearing his serious face.
He stopped. No matter what, he could never defy whatever Harry told him. After all, Harry was his light and savior. If not for him, he would be alone now, and as he was at the bottom of that cursed lake, he figured being alone was the worst thing ever. So he let go. He wanted to beat that coward into ground and make him never look at Harry before, but if Harry himself told him no, then he would retreat. For now. He never said he couldn't prank the Slytherin later.
Talking about pranks, Maria showed herself for the first time since the tournament and the guest arrived. The first year were kind of restless without their motherly figure to greet them every morning, but they figured she was just shy. She smiled upon Draco, filling him with warm feelings that only Harry, Maria, and Ron and Hermione could bring out of him.
He rose from where he sat on the stomach of the student, and turned to Harry.
"I'm alright now. Let's finish eating." Harry looked like he wanted to argue, but one look from Maria and off they were, gaining even more attention. It ended with Slytherin losing twenty points for reckless and unfair dueling, and Draco really wondered if he could transfer houses. There was still an open bed in Harry's house...
Maria got busy with the demanding first years, wanting to get her attention, and things got in the familiar pattern.
Until the students from aboard came to eat. They were startled when they saw a woman looking alive and at the same time like a doll, playing and laughing with the little ones, smiling and hearing the problems of the older ones, and watching over everyone in general.
"Who is that?" Asked Fleur, as she looked at the gorgeous woman. She had to be a veela, or at least a copy of one. Except her red hair, everything about her indicated that she was a veela, like her grandmother.
"That, miss Delacour, is our resident goddess." Replied Professor McGonagall, smiling at the stunned students.
"Goddess?" Was it really?
"Yes. She descended upon us four years ago, at the same time a group of pranksters reappeared. The second generation, if you would. They call themselves 'HORN' and they play pranks only for amusement. Maria it seems is their mascot, but she seems to have a life on her own. Not even our charms professor know how they did that, but one thing is certain. Maria has a human soul, or at least part of it, inside her core. She is made from papers, so we don't actually know where the soul is."
"Whose soul is trapped there?" Asked Krum, more curious than before. He had to say, that woman was beautiful.
"You should ask Harry Potter. He knows her better. It seems Maria fancies him above all students."
They did that. Fleur went to him to thanks him for saving her sister, as last week she was unable to do that. Krum followed, eyes still on the playful woman. She was now summoning canaries, making them sing. She was waving her wand as if she was directing a choir.
"Harry." Fleur said, making almost every head turn to her. The boy still wasn't looking at her. He was laughing at something his blond friend said, holding his side. She coughed, and said his name again, this time his female woman seeing her and telling the boy.
"Harry. We have- or you have company."
"Hm? Who-oh, you." He seemed disinterested in her, but masked it. He turned to her wholly, and asked.
"With what can I be of service?" He was polite, she would give him that.
"I just wanted to thank you for saving my sister. If you weren't there, I'm sure she would have drown."
"Now, that's not true. I talked with Dumbledore and he told me the hostages would have been saved if they weren't back in one hour. So, they were safe even if we wouldn't go get them."
"But- still, I want to say it. Thank you for saving my sister. What can I do to repay you?"
"You really don't have to do anything, I swear!" He hissed to his friends who were giggling and laughing under the table something that sounded like 'guys, shut up and help me.' But alas, he turned back to her and she smiled her famous smile that made men bigger and stronger willed than Harry bow to her.
But he showed her no response. He just smiled back, a confused smile that made him look so ridiculously cute that some girls squealed in the back. "Really, you have nothing to own me. I just embraced the Gryffindor spirit. 'Jump first, think later.' Ah, could you please move a little to the right? Thank you."
As Fleur did as he asked her to do, by her left passed a blur. When she looked back at Harry, she saw him with a genuine smile, with the mysterious woman holding a hand to his cheek, him holding it there. There was love written in there, and for some reason Fleur and Krum thought they were intruding.
"Hello, Maria. Busy day?" The woman shook her head and patted his hair, still frowning. She sighed. "No, it's not your fault. I inherited this hair, and I am trying to tame it too. Not really working, really." He nodded at the woman who was eyeing him suspicious. "Yes, I'm doing well. Yes, I'm eating well and sleeping too. Dobby makes sure I do, and for the last few night Draco slept in my room. If you don't believe Ron and Neville, you have to believe him. Right, Draco?"
The boy was smiling as if in a trance , then nodded slowly. "Yeah. He sleeps well, too, Maria. Don't worry about him. We will take care of him. You can let him go."
She shook her head, then hugged Harry, shocking the hall. Beside some patting, Harry was the only one who hasn't been hugged by the woman. The boy himself was surprised, and he looked as if he was gonna cry at any given moment. His hand went at her waist. He gave her a thug.
"Maria, go back to the children." Harry whispered, his voice low and shaky, but everyone heard it. One small child, even at eleven, was whispering 'Maria?' And her attention went back to the kids waiting for her. She seemed to snap out of her trance, and with a kiss on the boy's cheek, she floated back to them, earning cheers and greetings.
Fleur glanced back at him, and he was holding a rose. A real rose, or at least that was how it looked. He was looking at it lovingly. The girl summoned her courage, and asked.
"Ha-Harry? Professor McGonagall told us you could tell us whose soul resides in that woman..." she trailed as the table grew colder. Most of the lions glared at her. She flinched. Just Harry looked at her smiling, just a little bit sad.
"Well, I guess I could, as she is my mother... Lily Evans Potter." Gasps filled the table, most having trouble believing that he said it out loud.
"Ah, um, sorry..." she said it muttering, but Harry just smiled.
"No worries." He rose his hand, the one holding the rose, until it was up in air. Then he threw it in air, when the rose split in papers and he disappeared. As everyone watched the hurricane of papers envelope Harry, the boy and his friends disappeared. Everyone looked for them, but no one saw them exit or hiding.
At the professor's table, Harry and his friends were hiding behind the potions professor's seat. The man didn't glanced at them as he said slowly.
"When did you learnt to Apparate?"
"Sirius taught us last summer." The boy said in a whisper, but the teachers heard him.
"And when did you become a coward, Harry Potter?"
"I am no coward, Severus. I just made a dramatic exit. I bet you know all about it." He smiled, and his hands were held by Draco and Hermione with Ron. He felt warm inside, and the feeling stayed with him for the whole day.
Until Malfoy senior appeared. He stormed inside the castle and scared the kids, who quickly hide behind Maria. Maria looked at him, with wide eyes, and with one piece of paper tore from her hair, she told one child to write to Harry. It was kind of hard when she couldn't speak, but with her wand, they quickly got it. She made the paper fly to Harry, who was in the gardens with his friends, plotting another prank.
"Maria's paper?" As Maria was made from paper and magic, she could make herself any size or form she wanted, as long as there was paper close to her.
"What's there, Harry?"
"Well, Hermione, you would be delighted to hear what our dear Maria told me. Draco's father is here." silence filled the group as the news were heard. Draco broke it with a shaky breath.
"Well, I suppose we have to greet him, right?" he said, getting grave nods from his friends. Hermione hold his hand tightly until they arrived at the headmaster's office.
"All flavored beans." Ron said, rolling his eyes at the stupid password. Inside the Malfoy family was raising a scandal, shouting at Dumbledore, who was listening quietly to them. His eyes turned to the teenagers who entered his office.
"Ah, we've been waiting for you, Draco. I see that your friends are here with you." his eyes twinkled as he looked at everyone. "Now that we've all gathered, maybe we could start to have a civil conversation."
"Draco! My boy, are you alright?!" asked his mother, throwing her hands around his neck.
"Yes, mother. I am alright now." he smiled at his worry-wart mother. Some things didn't changed at all.
"Now? Were you hurt? Were you unwell after that? Oh, my poor boy..."
"No, mother. Just a bit of shock, that's all. You wouldn't believe how dark is in there. And those merpeople...urg." he shuddered, earning glances from his friends. He wasn't lying... just not stating all the truth.
"Oh, merpeople! Dumbledore, what was in your head?!"
"Actually, Narcissa, I wasn't the one to propose this event. I was the one behind the first round, the second was from Karkaroff Igor, the headmaster of Durmstrang Institute."
"What?" she whispered. "Oh, and when I thought of sending Draco there instead of Hogwarts... good thing I didn't!"
"You wanted to sent me to Durmstrang?" he didn't heard of that before! Oh, how dark his life would have been if he was sent there and hadn't meet Harry, Ron and Hermione....
"Oh, yes. I regret that even now, no, especially now! How dares that Igor to set this kind of round! What on earth had passed through his head?!"
"Well, ma'am." Harry spoke, attention going to him. "I believe it was his plan to get rid of me."
"Excuse me? And who are you, dear?" she asked curiously only now seeing the others.
"Harry Potter, Mrs. Malfoy. I was and am Draco's friend for the past four years. As we are from different houses, we choose not to reveal our friendship, as to not cause unrest in out year and to not let Draco be bullied by others slytherins. Recently, we have been seen together, just before the beginning of the tournament, me, Ron and Hermione and Draco. We were studying for potions, as it was Draco's strong point and I was in dire of help at it, as Professor Snape was unable to attend our weekly meeting, and he saw him. I suspect he choose the hostages, and didn't checked Draco's family name. If he had, I'm sure he would have chosen Hermione or Ron, not a pure-blood from a distinguished family as Malfoys."
"What? Dumbledore, is that true?"
"It appears so. When Harry told us before he jumped into water to save Draco that his father would hear of this, he asked me who his father was. When I answered him, he was suddenly pale and trembled. We hadn't seen him yet."
"When I get my hands on that idiot..." Lucius said, muttering under his breath some curse that made Draco cough.
"Father! You told me not to curse, but it's alright for you?"
"If that level is enough to make you blush, then, young Draco, you should have heard Harry's cursing when he found out what was stolen from them. Some were refusing to look at him for a few days, if not until today." chuckled the headmaster, making Harry blush and Ron and Hermione giggle. Draco was his mouth wide open.
"Harry swore? Oh, I'm so telling Maria..." he dashed to the headmaster's table and tore a paper from a note-it-down pad. He called Maria before Harry could tell him no. "Maria!"
He extended his hand with the paper, and in the place of the piece of paper held his hand Maria, as beautiful as always. She opened her eyes and looked from one side to another. Her eyes settled on the one who summoned her, Draco. She smiled at him, then settled with her feet on the floor.
"Maria, you won't believe what did I heard!" the woman tilted her head to the right, still with a smile.
"Harry had swore!" he told her excited, pointing to the shocked black haired boy.
The whole room froze, and Maria looked at Harry with tearful eyes. Harry went to her in a panic.
"No, Maria, I mean, yes I swore, but I was in shock! Draco was there in the lake, and I was afraid, and I just panicked, and just said whatever went in my mind! I swear, I will not do that again!" He apologized to the woman who showed her back to him, and everyone could see she wasn't crying, but had a small smile that she covered it her hands, and her tremble of shoulders were from laughing. She calmed down and turned to him, as if asking 'you sure?' "Yes! Mom, I swear I will not say it again and-" he stopped when he heard what he said. He blushed and turned his head to his friends. They were looking at him in shock.
"You said it!" cheered Ron, hugging Hermione. "He said it, 'mione! At least, he called Maria his mother!"
Draco looked oddly satisfied. Harry looked at him in betrayal. "You planned this!"
"Oh, please, you drama queen! I am a slyhterin by blood. Of course I would plan this!"
"Maria, don't-" Harry turned to tell her something, but she disappeared. He groaned.
"What? Where did she go?" asked Ron confused.
"She went to Remus." whimpered Harry. "I called her mom by mistake last year, and she went excited at Remus in the middle of his class and ranted off about how happy she was..."
"But... Maria can't speak..." mused Ron.
"No, but she's good at charms. She made a charm so that a person can hear her feelings. She poked me once with a needle in my second year and from then I can hear her."
''And you didn't told us because?" Accused Hermione.
"It was funnier when you thought I was psychic. But last time Maria appeared before Remus, he was in class. Now he's with Sirius. He doesn't know about her."
"And, again, I fail to see a bad side." spoke Draco, earning his parents attention.
"He will throw a tantrum! You know how Sirius is!"
"Oh, you're right there, young man." a voice said. Harry groaned.
"How did you get here?"
"Using the Floo, of course. Harry, why didn't you told me someone materialized Lily? She looks so real! Is she even her?"
"Yes, she is. One from 'HORN' made her, and she's dealing with kids since she came here in my first year."
Whatever he was going to say was interrupted when he saw the other occupants of the room. "Cissa! So good to see you! You've grown up so beautiful! And such a good child! Adorable, I tell you! He has the Black charm and style, thought. And humor from me, of course. He inherited Lucius's seriousness, thought. Always so serious...well, a quarter of time."
"Sirius? You've really been freed?" asked the woman quietly, as if whispering.
"As you can see."
"You've seen Draco before?"
"Of, I've spend a whole summer with this kid. Gold, I tell you. Not as cute as Harry, but he's close enough." he ignored the groans from the two boys and their pleas.
"Please, someone stop him." moaned Draco.
"All your fault..." said Harry.
"And they both look spectacular in a dress!" Sirius announced, making the boys stiff and the parents freeze.
"What?" hissed Lucius.
"You've played dress-up with my son?" Narcissa said in disbelief. "But he wouldn't let me when he was little!"
"Mother!" Draco squealed.
"Oh, it's a matter of how you play them, Cissa. Who would have thought he had an addiction to chocolate? I promised him some muggle chocolate, and he gave in. With Harry was harder, but blackmail was always the best way."
"To blackmail your godson..." muttered Harry in distaste. He called. "Dobby."
The house-elf appeared in a poof, pleased to serve. He squealed when he saw his former master, but he recovered quickly. "Yes, master Harry?"
"Please, bring me a cup of hot chocolate." he said gently, making Draco gasp.
"And for master's friends?"
"No, they don't want anything."
"Dobby is pleased to please master!" he poofed away. He appeared again a few seconds and then disappeared. He took a seat beside the headmaster's office and offered him a lemon drop.
"Lemon drop, professor?"
"Thank you, Harry. I was starting to feel ignored."
"Yes, it happens to the greatest of us." he nodded, amusement in both their tones. He took a slip of his drink.
"Harry! You're gonna drink in front of me that?" said Draco in disbelief.
"Yes. It's your fault that Sirius is here and openly humiliating us before the headmaster. So, as punishment, no chocolate until my third round."
"You heard me. You've been eating chocolate on stress, you know? It's not good for you."
"Chocolate is never too much!"
"Oh, I second that." raised his hand, totally serious Sirius- no pun intended. The man then turned to talk with Narcissa, showing her some pictures. Of Harry and Draco. "See? Both of them very cute! If there was someone so cute when I was their age... oh, good days. I have to tell you, Cissa, look at how good their dresses are fitting them!"
"Oh, their so cute! Look, Lucius, isn't Draco cute? Gorgeous even."
"Yes." hissed the man again. "Cissa, I'm going to have a talk with Igor. Don't wait for me."
"Ah, please, Mr. Malfoy, could you not harm him too much? Krum- the one who told me this information- still hadn't obtained rights to compete alone in Quidditch. He still needs the headmaster's signature for a while." spoke Harry, looking past the doting 'parents' and at the leaving man.
"I will try. Thank you for your information, Mr. Potter."
"Anytime, Mr. Malfoy."
After that horrible incident- Mrs. Malfoy inviting both of them to the Malfoy Manor to play dress-up with her too, because 'it was unfair for only Sirius to see them real-life in dresses, and she had more beautiful dresses anyway!'- the third round proceeded smoothly, just the usual making it out alive from the dark lord. The best part? He and Cedric lived to see another day, and Harry won the cup. The worst part? Voldemort came back to life.
And the minister didn't believed him! When he had someone close in the ministry, he was throwing a coup d'état. Just to show he was right. Maybe he would have a talk with Hermione and Draco about strategy...
In his fifth year, Draco ran away from home with his mother, just before the school year began, because he refused the death mark. He took his mother and apparated to the Black Manor, and he lived there with Sirius and Remus and his mother. Harry got quite a scare when at dinner with Severus, he got a floo call from his godfather, telling him to get Severus and come to him. He found a frantic Narcissa, a close to tears Draco, and worried Remus and Sirius. Draco ran to him and clung to him for all night, as they stayed back. Kreacher was warmly toward them, and that was a relief. He seemed to tolerate Harry because he gave him back something that belonged to a passed master that was dear to him.
That night, as Draco cried softly after his father in Harry's arms, the boy himself swore to never let Voldemort get close to the Malfoy family again. The next day, when the Order of the Phoenix came to the Black Manor, they were greeted by a somber air. Draco had red eyes as he held his head on Harry's shoulder, Narcissa was a little stronger, but still had red eyes too, and the men weren't faring better either. Harry had a scary look on his face, and Severus, form all the things, greeted them and told them to take a seat. Hermione and Ron, not members of the Order, stayed behind with Draco, and the twins made a bee-line to eavesdrop on the meeting, while Ginny prepared the beds for all of them.
Not to say, the things at Hogwarts got awkward really quickly. Draco practically lived in the Gryffindor dorm, only going at hours that Harry went, and eating at the Gryffindor table. The lions got so used to him, that it came as a surprise when the new DADA teacher, Dolores Umbridge, told Draco not to eat at the Gryffindor table anymore. The lions protested, saying that even as a slytherin student, he was still part of them, and Harry could swear that he saw the headmaster tearing at the end of the lions speech, before declaring, loudly, that:
"There isn't any rule that says that two students from different houses can't be friends, or eat together. This rule is maybe the only one you can't make, as I will personally make an official complaint to the Minister."
They all had fun when the teacher came to oversee the hours, as she was quite humiliated by McGonagall and Snape.
"I was wondering, Professor, whether you received my note telling you of the date and time of your inspec-" The pink menace got cut off by Minerva.
"Obviously I received it, or I would have asked you what you are doing in my classroom." After a second of pause, she turned back to her lessons. "As I was saying, today we shall be practicing altogether more difficult vanishment of mice. Now, the Vanishing Spell-" she got interrupted by Umbridge, who coughed again. After an exasperated sigh, she turned to her and stated in mock surprise. "I wonder how you expect to gain an idea of my usual teaching methods if you continue to interrupt me? You see, I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking."
Professor Snape was just below her. "I get it that you tried to become the teacher of Defense Against Dark Arts for some years?" She asked sweetly, making everyone go sick. The professor gritted his teeth.
"But you still haven't been chosen?"
"Obviously." He replied, making Ron and Harry stiffen their laughing.
"Can I ask you why you wanted the job of Defense Against Dark Arts teacher?"
"To be able to teach the students how to protect themselves, not to make tea, obviously."
She frowned. "From what would they have to protect?"
"The real world, obviously. Can I go back to my lesson?" He hissed, glaring at her with such hate that even Harry was left impressed.
"Just one question. I heard that you are showing favoritism toward a student. Is that true that you've been teaching Mister Potter in particular for the past five years?"
"I only answered his question, as I do with the other students. I hardly think this is favoritism, and if I enjoy his and some others students company, it is not wrong to have regular talks, as his parents and most of his parents friends went to school with me and I am the only one willingly to talk with him about them. But, I have a hard time figuring out what does that have to do with my lesson. You're excused, Professor Umbridge."
"You can't talk-"
"I can't? I'm quite sure that you are disturbing my class right now. If you would be a resonable woman, maybe you could leave."
Of course, after she left, Snape smacked his book against Ron's and Harry's head, for them laughing.
Then, it was also that matter with personal information. Umbridge approached Harry as he was doing his homework outside with his friends, on Potions.
"Mr. Potter." She called sweetly, making the four turn their heads frowning.
"Could I take you for a minute?"
He had no reason to tell no, or so he told his friends. Unnoticed, Hermione gave him a hand-recorder took from the twins as a matter of precaution. She took him in her office, where she told him to take a seat. "I am a bit worried about you, Mr. Potter."
"What about, professor?" He switched on the recorder, making sure the voices weren't muffed.
"So much happened since you came to this school, and I'm sure it was quite stressful for your young mind to accommodate. I want you to know that everything you need to tell to someone, I can be found here."
"Sorry, professor, but I already have Professor Snape and my friends."
"If I am right, one of your friends is a Malfoy."
"And?" He frowned. He wished it weren't going in the direction he was afraid of.
"I want you to know about his history, Harry. The Malfoys were loyal followers of the dark lord, and I am afraid that it could be possible for young mister Malfoy to be corrupted."
"Are you implying that Draco will betray me?" He hissed, the nerve of her! How dares she to make his friends the bad ones?!
"No, no. I don't say that. Just... be careful who you will keep close."
"But, you said that we are at peace." The woman caught herself and smiled.
"I'm glad we had this discussion, Harry. You can leave."
The worst happened just three weeks later. They were at dinner, with Maria entertaining the little ones who were either trying to glance at the professors table, either to wish for a little fun. She helped them with homework, and still gave them paper flowers and animals, and sparkles, amusing the stressed students. Everyone froze when Umbridge cleared her throat. She smiled at the headmaster.
"Dumbledore, I always asked myself who is this woman and why is she here. Care to enlighten me?"
"Of course, Dolores. I can do that." Spoke McGonagall, glancing at the paper woman who looked anxiously. Maria went by Harry's side, hugging him from behind, looking at her son worried. Harry held her hand and 'HORN' closed on them, protecting her. Before everyone's mother, she was Harry's. That was an unwritten rule that even the first years learned in their first days. "She is our resident goddess, Maria, that descended upon us five years ago. She cares for your students as if they were her own. She is more than a simple ghost, and she is loved by all of us, students and teachers alike." Said Minerva with a smile at her former student.
Umbridge frowned. "But, she can turn feral any day. She can become dangerous. I will eliminate her in the name of the minister." She took out her wand, and muttered a spell that levied her in the middle of the hall, suspended in air.
"No!" Harry and the others shouted.
"Harry, dear, it seems she is unusually close to you. It would be bad if you thought you were more special than the others. Let me get rid of this nuisance, and you all be safe again. Inferno!"
"Expeliarmus!" Shouted Severus, but the spell was told, and Maria caught fire. She looked in pain, and shouted a silent scream.
In front of everyone, Maria burned, and with her last power, she moved toward Harry. He jumped from his seat, alongside almost everyone in the hall, even the slytherins, but he was the only one who shouted. "Mom!" He ran at her, catching her flaming body, who was burning alarming quickly.
"No, no, no. Not again. Mother, please!" He begged with tears in his eyes, even if he burned his arms and uniform and chest, he never let her go. Maria wanted him to let her go, as to not hurt him, but he shook his head. "Never. Never. I will never let you go. Please. Don't leave me again..."
The kids were outright crying, but everyone had tears in their eyes. Severus came beside him and took her other hand. "Lily, no, no, please. Not again." He begged, him crying softly too. "I'm sorry. This time is my fault again. If I had drawn my wand faster-" he was stopped as she shook her head. She smiled at both of them, and quickly burned away.
"NO!" The twin cries were one from many. The whole hall was in turmoil. The ghost were shocked, and word quickly spread in Hogwarts. Soon, every ghost came to the hall and mourned her passing with the children. Dumbledore sat in his seat gravely. Minerva was shocked, and the teachers table was silent. No one could speak as they lost- for the second time- one great woman, and they watched her son and the man who even now loved her mourn her, crying over her ashes.
Harry wasn't moving. The temperature chilled when the pink menace stood proud and told everyone, in a happy tone. "Now, everyone, you see? She was bewitching you all, and she probably planned something to go back to life, or to acquire a body. It was the best thing that I dealt with her quickly and-" Harry cut her off, making even the first years cut down their cries and just sniff.
"I would have given my life, just to give her life again. For her to have a body again, even for an hour, I would have died happily."
"See? That's not an attitude one should have toward a stranger-"
"She was my mother!" He shouted, making the hall tense. Last time he lost control, he swore worse than a marine on a stormy night out on the sea. This time.... he could very well kill her, and no one would talk a word. Not even Peeves, who was holding a flower he got from Maria just that morning, looking at it sadly. "It is wrong to wish for my mother to come back alive?! It is wrong to wish to see her happy? It is wrong to see her talking?! Eating?! Breathing?!"
"Your mother died when you were-"
"One fucking year old, I know! But Maria had her soul! She was brought back to life using charms and paper! How is that dangerous?!" As he shouted, the ceiling got darker and thunder rang in the background. The windows opened and inside entered snakes, owls, birds, animals of whatever kind, centaurs, and even Fluffy could be seen outside three windows. The children and teenagers didn't dare to move, but some centaurs moved them toward the back.
In front remained Harry, who was standing with Draco by his right, Ron and Hermione on his left, and Severus, raising from the ashes behind him. The animals were surrounding the five, each sensing their master's distress. Even Dobby appeared, and after a short brief from Luna and Neville, who were close to help and protect the younger together with the twins, went by his master side.
A snake hissed. "Massster. Do we eat her?"
Another one agreed. "Ssshe'ss gonna tassste bad, but ssshe wronged massster..."
This time an owl. Hedwig. "She killed master's mother. We kill her."
Fluffy barked. "Agreed! No one hurts master!"
All the three head said, and Harry wondered how could he hear all of them at the same time.
A centaur approached him. Firenze. "Young Harry. We got your call of distress. All these animals from the forbidden forest are accepting you as their master, and are awaiting your command. As she committed a crime against one of the Forbidden Forest's master, she needs to be punished. Aragog even told me he would lend you one of his children to get rid of the body."
Harry sucked a breath in. Out. In, out. He needed to calm down. As he was now a master of animals- he needed to believe the centaur, as he was one of his friends from the forest- one wrong move and he would be charged with murder, not to say mentally scarring the kids.
"No. Back off. We let the wizards deal with her. Headmaster, please call the Minister right now."
"I already did, Harry. Don't worry. I should ask you to keep your... new friends here for now. Everyone else should go back to their dormitories."
"No. Everyone else should stay here and witness how the one who wrongs Hogwarts is punished." Harry spoke, earning agreements from the still sniffing children.
"You can't treat me like this!" Screeched the criminal. "My word is the Minister's word!"
"And here and now, the Minister has no power. I could very well kill you and the minister, and no one would say a word because of what you have done. But that would still make me a criminal, and I'm not like you." Harry spat the word, sick at the thought of getting blood on his hands from this woman. His hands were now held in reassurance by his friends, Dobby holding his leg and Severus from his behind. He was safe and protected here. Not even Voldemort could defeat him now.
The minister came sooner than expected. In fact, only two minutes passed after the animals gathered in the great hall and Fudge was there, followed by two aurors. Two well known aurors, as they were friends of Harry.
"Moody! Tonks!" Harry greeted, surprised, but still without a smile. After all, for the second time he lost his mother.
"Harry. Nice to see you." Greeted back Tonks, and Moody just grunted an 'hello, brat' and that was saying something.
"You've told me it was urgent, Dumbledore. Beside this... disturbing scene, should I know anything else?"
"Oh, yes. I'm afraid so, dear old friend. The one you've sent here from the ministry, Dolores Umbridge, just killed a person on the school grounds. In front of all those young children too. Burned her to death." It was uncomfortable to everyone to talk about this, and the kids were crying again, now softly comforted by the older ones.
"What? Dolores, is that true?"
"Oh, of course no, Cornelius. The one I got rid off was a dangerous thing, a ghost who took the form of a woman, bewitching them all. And she could touch them! Can you imagine what could had happen to them if she got any closer-"
"Don't you dare to talk about Lily/my mother like that." Said Harry and Severus together, drawing their wands.
"What? Lily Potter? I'm afraid I am confused, my boy. Your mother died years ago. How could Dolores kill her?"
"A part of her soul was put in a flexible body." Said Severus, despite not knowing every detail. "With charms and enough mastery, a group of students brought her to life five years ago, when her son entered Hogwarts, most likely in respect for the boy-who-lived. She resided here all this time, like a ghost who could touch you, one without bad intentions, as she died as a mother. She took care and loved each and every student, no matter the age, and made the beginning of the year easier for them. She was, as Minerva put it so dearly, our resident goddess. And that.... woman" he bit the word, making his hate known " dared to accuse her of trying to endanger children, and she died protecting hers! And about the... gathering you see here, beside students, they were attracted by Potter's magical signature being in distress. Thus, he was recognized by the Forbidden Forest as it's master, and we all know that only the headmasters and the founders can achieve that step. I, as a personal and professional offended person, request from the Ministry to arrest and question Dolores Umbridge under the accusation of murder, harassment against students, causing unrest in our rows, and more others."
"Harassment?! Me? Unrest?! Murder?! Do you hear yourself, Snape?!"
"Oh, I assure you he hears himself very well." Harry spoke glaring at her. "After all, I've been giving him evidence again and again, and not only him. All the house leaders were given those proofs, as well as the Headmaster. I also have enough evidence of using dark artifacts inside our school, harming the students."
The woman was red in face. Harry and Severus wished she would burst.
Fudge made a sad face. "Dolores, I am afraid I have to bring you to a trial and have you take veritaserum. Those accusation are too grave to be ignored." The woman was arrested immediately by the two aurors, and all four left after the Minister gave Albus his word that there would be justice.
Tonks winked him. "Knew you were interesting. See you next time, forest master. Sorry for your lose."
The hall was quiet. Everyone still had a hard time believing that bright, lovingly Maria was gone. Harry snapped out of it first, turning to Firenze. "Firenze, I have to ask you to take all the animals back to the forest. This is no place for them."
"Is Master Harry sure?" Asked the centaur. Harry felt weird having him address to him like this.
"No master. Just a friend. And yes." He turned to the other animals. "Thank you for coming here so quickly, but now you have to go back."
"Massster, but we want to be of help!" Said the first snake.
"Yessss! We lissssten to Massster whenever he wantsss."
"Then... I am asking you something. No matter how dark and hard times would be, you will continue to protect Hogwarts and it's students, regardless of age."
After they accepted that, the wild animals quickly went back in the forest, only Fluffy and Hedwig remaining.
"Fluffy?" Harry asked uncertain. The other students were either staring in awe at him and the dog, either backed off from the dog.
"Master has to visit Fluffy soon. Hagrid is only one." "
Yes. I promise."
That night, everyone had a big sleepover in the great hall. Every house gathered there, in sleeping bags, and tried to sleep. The Slytherins were telling first years stories about 'HORN', the Hufflepuffs were joking, the Ravenclaws were reading and the Gryffindors were silent.
Harry, with his place at the window, stared nowhere patting absent minded Hedwig. Suddenly, the door opened and the house leaders and the headmaster entered. Harry sat up.
"Imagine my surprise, Harry." Spoke Dumbledore. "I enter my office, greeting Fawkes, then take a seat at my table. When I look up, I meet with green eyes looking down at me."
Was it possible? Everyone thought. "I jumped, and my first thought was at you. But you have in no way red hair. It seemed our fairy lady went in my office, as there is a big supply of paper unused by me. At the last second, I think, she transferred her soul there. I told her to wait there, for I thought she would love to be summoned by you. Will you do the honors?" Asked with twinkling eyes the headmaster. Severus was smiling, and the others teachers were happy too.
With shaking hands, Harry took the offered paper and said. "Ma-mom." He switched at the last second. In place of the paper, Maria's hand held his hand, and beautiful, young and lovely Maria-aka Lily Evans Potter appeared. "Mom-mom!" Harry hugged her tight, earning cheers from the other students.
Maria was left to Harry for two days, as she was rightfully his mother, but after that the children wished for her company again.
'HORN' struck again, not even five days later. It had, as usually, it colorful and dramatic flair, and the kids enjoyed it very much. And later that day, there were a lot of post-it notes stuck to the Great Hall's doors. They all were thanking HORN for the dance, and a lot were talking about a later date with their partners. The year finished without any other big problems, as Dolores was put in Azkaban, and Voldemort was staying low.
The sixth year.... was boring, so to say. Harry joked that they needed The Dark Lord for them to have any fun, so they put the matter in their hands, making it the funniest year Hogwarts saw in ten years. Of course, that was only after the Halloween, as that was usually the date that was spicing the things.
In their seventh year, they went on a search for the Horcrux, and thus they hadn't gone to Hogwarts. They managed to destroy the ring, cup, locket, diary-in second year- diadem and Nagini, but the others were having a hard time finding the last one. Harry didn't had that problem. As they were staying at Sirius's old place- he moved from there to stay with Remus- he knew about a room not a lot were allowed in.
He was now Kreacher's master, as Sirius named him the sole heir, even if Draco had the right by blood. Narcissa knew about it too, but she never liked that room. She told Harry that when she was bad, she and her sisters were locked up in that room. With Andromeda it was alright, but with Bella...
He asked Kreacher to bring Dumbledore in that room at midnight. Kreacher was listening to him more openly that with Sirius, and Dobby was helping them too. Maybe because he had now a friend, he was more likeable.
"Is this the only way?" Asked the man wearly. Kreacher left the room, and went up in the room he shared with Dobby. The house-elf left with a concerned glance to his master. He had a feeling about what Master Harry wanted from the white haired man, and he didn't liked it at all. But, he was under specifics orders to not tell anyone.
"I'm afraid you know the answer." Said Harry, looking a bit ruffed. After all, it wasn't everyday he was going to die. Well, not exactly every day. Once or twice a week, maybe. But not every day.
"I know. But still. I want to believe you will come back alive."
"I will, don't worry. If not, then please tell them i love them all, and they will always hear the horn that calls them back."
"Speaking about that. I always wondered what was about this saying. 'The horn that calls it's kin back home.'"
"There's not really something behind it. It means that even if we are separated, are fighting or one of us is dead, Hogwarts will always be our home, no matter what, and if at least one of us comes out alive and goes back to Hogwarts, the others will come back too." Harry smiled sadly. His last words for his family was 'good night'. He wished he would have told them in person about how much he loves all of them, but then they would get suspicious. "Ready when you are."
"I guess this could be goodbye, Harry Potter."
"AvedaKedava." The boy hit the floor gently, due to a levitation spell. In that moment, three teenagers woke up in cold sweat. Two checked immediatly on the third bed, and when not seeing their beloved in it, they panicked. They met the third teenager outside.
"Ron! Draco! What happened?! Why it is so cold?" Asked scared the girl, quite loudly, making others wake up.
"Harry is not in his bed. We need to search for him."
"There is no need." Spoke a grumpy voice. They turned and saw Kreacher with Dobby close behind him, both with tears in their eyes. "Master Harry left special instruction should you feel that something would be wrong."
"Where is Harry, Kreacher?!" Raised his voice Draco.
"With the old wizard."
"Professor Dumbledore?" Asked Hermione quietly. The others from the Order already came out from their rooms. Some were frowning, some were asking around.
"Now, as everyone seems to be awake, Kreacher will take Master's family to one room. Please follow Kreacher, and Kreacher will tell you about Master." He tricked them all. The moment they entered the room, Kreacher and Dobby got out, locking the door and putting strong wards on it. The adults were puzzled, but the three teenagers were scared.
"Kreacher! Open this door at once!" Commanded Draco, beating his fists on the door in despair.
"Dobby! What are you doing?" Asked incredulously Ron, with Hermione gasping in shock.
"Cold... what happened with Harry?!" she almost screamed, tugging at her hair.
"Whoa, girl. Calm down." Said Tonks trying to make her take a deep breath. "Why are you cold? It's actually pretty warm here..."
"She's not the only one." said Ron almost crying. He went to his wife and hugged her, both searching comfort. "Me and Draco are the same.... we're all cold. Something happened to Harry."
"Why would you think that?" Asked Lupin concerned, trying to make his son fall asleep. Sirius was giving him the same amount of displeasure and worry he was in one look.
"We-" Draco started, but shivered strongly. Hermione and Ron did the same. "We... are all connected." He settled on, licking his bottom lip in nerves.
"Connected?" Narcissa asked confused. The other members of the Order were the same.
"We-" Ron began, just to stop to sneeze. Hermione tried to stop herself from shivering in his arms. "We are always together, you know." He stated uselessly, as everyone nodded. It was quite unusual to see them separated. Just two nights ago did they managed to separe them by giving Hermione her own room, shared with Ginny. Molly was quite adamant about this matter. 'It was improper for a girl to share a room with three boys, best friends and husband be damned!' she said. "Right. So, in our third year, when the Dementors came to search for Sirius, and Harry got attacked, we found a book on old magic. The same magic that protected Harry that night. We searched for a way to make sure the other will be safe, and we will know when he's in danger, and we found it." He waited for the dramatic effect, then continues, well aware of some paling faces. "It was an odd ritual. Odd and old. The last time someone did it, Nicholas Flamel was three years old."
"What have you done?" asked, without accusing, Bill, the oldest brother of the Weasley family.
"We... had to exchange a wound. For example, Draco injured Harry, and Hermione me, then we closed the wound with the other's blood smeared on the wound. We did it until everyone had exchanged a wound with everyone. From that day, we share pain and anger. Love and content. This is our most treasured bond." He looked down at his hand, where a white scar was visible. Hermione refused to injure him so much, so they all choose their right hands. It took a few days to complete the ritual, as the wound had to be healed, and it left a big scar on their palms.
The members of the Order had a hard time believing this, but before they could talk with each other about this, Hermione spoke. "If-if we are so c-cold, t-then...some-thing happened with H-Harry!" she cried, looking at the adults for help. No one could help them. "A-and to be this c-cold... th-that means that Harry is dead!?" she asked Ron, who looked sick at the thought. Draco from the door slipped down on the floor, an aggrieved cry escaping him.
"I-I don't know." Ron confessed pained.
They all spend the night there, with no word from the outside. When they at least made the children sleep, the adults stayed awake to look over the mourning teenagers. They made small talk, trying to find an answer, but nothing came to them.
Only in the morning did the door opened. Hermione, Draco and Ron woke up in a second and run across the house in search of their friend.
"Harry?!" they shouted, wanting to hear his voice.
They had found him. He was in the room Narcissa used to be punished, with Dumbledore. The old man was on a chair by the bed where Harry seemed to sleep.
"W-Harry...?" The old wizard raised his head, looking at the distraught children.
"Hello, my children." he greeted in a weary voice. He looked as if he hadn't slept all night.
"He's still there." the man raised his hand, stopping them from approaching them.
"On the other side."
"You mean he's dead?!" shouted Draco furious.
"I'm afraid so." sighed Dumbledore. His hands held on one hand of the boy. "He was the last Horcrux. He wished for me to do it."
"To kill him?!"
"WHY?!" It was the last drop. Ron and Hermione already crumbled on the ground in tears, not wanting to believe their brother was dead.
"For the greater good, right?" Harry said, making everyone gape at him. He opened his eyes, and tightened his hold on his former professor. "Hello, professor."
"Harry! My boy, what took you so long?" he asked, relief in his eyes clear as a summer sky.
"Sorry." with the old wizard, he rose from the bed a little, just so his back could be on the headboard. "Had a talk with my parents, you see. So? What did I missed?"
He got cut off by three teenagers jumping on him, all while shouting his name. He got scolded and grounded by all the adults, and after that, his friends refused to let him go even for a second alone.
After the Battle of Hogwarts, the four youngers returned to school for one more year. Dumbledore was plotting something, and only Harry seemed to know, as he was taken quite a lot from his activities by the eccentric headmaster. The man suddenly popped out of nowhere, said an excuse, and took an not-surprised and quite amused Harry out of the room.
When they graduated, as the word was given, Harry wore a dress. A green dress, fitting so well that some girls were jealous.
"Seriously, what's with you and dresses?" asked annoyed Ginny. She and Luna were sitting with them and Neville, and they attracted a lot of looks. All were looking at the cross-dressing boy. He casually slipped his drink, leaning on Draco's shoulder. It was the closing dinner ceremony. People were left to do what they wanted, and the seventh year was drinking a little.
"Admit it, Ginny. I look damn good in this. Sev said so too." he sipped his drink again, ignoring the coughs around the table.
"Severus Snape?"asked in awe Seamus, him repeating the year as well.
"The one and only." a grave voice said from behind him, making the other flinch and Harry just look from his glass of wine. He separated from it with a delighted sigh and smiled coyly at him.
"Why, Professor! Never in my dreams would I have imagined you to come to dear little old me!" he said in a feminine voice, making people look twice at him.
The professor gave her a sigh as response. "Give that drink to me. You're drunk."
He pouted. "No, I am not."
Draco sighed as he took his glass from him, earning a whine. "Potter, you're drunk off your ass. I'm setting Maria on you if you don't stop."
"Draco!" he whined loudly. "But it's my last day as a student! I have to drink the nostalgia! If not, I will cry." he sniffed at the end. The teacher raised his brow.
"Cry? What for?"
"For never telling you i love you." he rolled his eyes. "Stupid Sev. Of course because i will miss Hogwarts! With the exception of Voldemort, everything here was amazing!" he exclaimed, waving his hands. He leaned on Draco's chest, rolling his slender finger on it in a sulky way. "Everyone's really cruel. You talk to a lady as is she's trash and should go die."
"Oh, great. Now he's having girls problem." moaned in distaste Draco. Hermione and Ron chuckled. Harry glared at him.
"You say that, but you're probably happy to have me like this, right?" he asked with an evil grin. Draco stiffed. Harry rose to his feet, with an amazing control, and walked to the potion teacher. "You're happy to get rid of me, right? Poor daddy." he said with an exasperated sigh. Some coughed in the background. "But, unfortunately for you, i'm a little hard to get rid off." he smiled again as he hugged the frozen adult around his neck.
"And what do you mean by that?" Snape asked in shock.
"Hm.... i wonder." he giggled as he made his way to the headmaster's place. He stood before him as he cast a Sonorus on himself. "Everyone! I have an announcement to make!" he called cheerfully, still in his female voice. "Starting from the next year, the position of teacher for DADA will be occupied by your truly!" he cheered for himself. "For the past year i received special training from the headmaster, and next year i will be installed! And, i have another announcement. Everyone knows about HORN, right?" he smiled when he got cheers. "I figured. Kind of hard not to when they prank everyone around here. So, tonight, the mysterious identities of the members will be uncovered!"
Louder cheers. Draco, Ron and Hermione looked in shock at their brother.
"I have the honor of calling myself the stag 'H'!" the hall exploded. "Draco Malfoy is 'O'! Granger Hermione is 'R', and Ron Weasley is 'N'!" cheers upon cheers, shouts over shouts. He grinned as his hands opened.
The night was filled with excitement and tears. But, what hit them all harder was that message Harry left. "HORN graduated! But the Marauders will remain alive, even after hundred of years had passed! We are all the future, and our secret room, the room the first and the second generation was born, will await for the third! Seek, and you will find. Be good enough, and you will get! Live without any regrets, and strike for a better future! The HORN that calls for our kin to come home will always ring for the person who needs a place to call home! Hogwarts will always be our home!" He was applauded for a good ten minutes filled with tears before he stated, quite seriously. "And no, I'm not drunk. Just tipsy."
In another few years, four children arrived at Hogwarts. Rose Weasley, James and Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. They found while searching the Room of Requirement and found Maria greeting them. She always appeared when the room opened, after all. This was her birth place.
The fourth generation thus appeared.