A/N: hello, everyone! Can you believe it? I'm done with the story two weeks earlier than I had expected! As we say in Hungarian, the Muse must have kissed me on the forehead – it means that I got inspiration :)
I hope you are happy with the early release, because I definitely am.
I'd like to thank you all for the wonderful reviews I got for the first two fics. I'm saying thanks to all my faithful reviewers, as well as those dozens of people who had never reviewed before chapter 39 of TGSaWCS, but did so at the end.
Some of you have managed to guess that the Gabrielle/Draco conversation from the last chapter of TGSaWCS originated from Star Wars The Phantom Menace. Congrats to all those who wrote the right title! It's delighting to see that so many people love Star Wars :))))
To those who haven't read The greatest scandal of Hogwarts history and The greatest shame a wizard could suffer: I strongly advise you to do so, or this fic won't make much sense.
Here's a short reminder of them to my faithful readers:
TGSoHH: Ginny got pregnant with Harry's child in her sixth year. The Weasley family freaked out, journalists flooded the Hogwarts castle and Harry had to leave. While Ginny carried the baby and gave birth, Harry was amnesiac, due to Draco Malfoy's evil poison.
Lucius Malfoy happened to lie to his Dark Lord and in return he got a nice bit of Crucio that drove him crazy.
Harry spent time in Egypt and India. In Egypt he got to know about Apophys' torch – the Green Flame Torch – that, if used by a Parselmouth, could revive the dead.
Voldemort had been delivered a secret 'immortality-potion-recipe' by Severus on Albus' orders. Snape had managed to deceive Voldemort and make him believe that he was on his side. In order to make the potion (that needed the blood of Harry's child), Voldemort kidnapped Ginny and the newborn Lily. However, he got thwarted: after Harry regained his memories, he hurried to save his family.
Voldemort tried to kill Harry but Ginny jumped in front of him, receiving the Avada Kedavra curse instead. It bounced off of her, killing Voldemort, but she also died. Harry brought back her soul from the netherworld by using the Green Flame Torch.
All the death-eaters who had helped Voldemort in this little kidnapping-business got shut into Azkaban – save Lucius Malfoy who was at St. Mungo's lunatic ward.
After the Dark Lord's defeat Lucius Malfoy got his sanity back, Neville's parents also healed. Neville became a famous Quidditch player – a Seeker for the Whimbourne Wasps.
There was a triple wedding at the end: Harry-Ginny, Ron-Hermione, Dudley-Millicent Bulstrode. Petunia and Vernon had a second child called David.
Important characters introduced in this story: Abysmal sun-Amun (an Egyptian memory-specialist) and his daughter Anck-sun-Amun, who married Gilderoy Lockhart.
TGSaWCS: Harry's second child, Daniel, was born a squib. This got his marriage to Ginny into a crisis. Harry went to Durmstrang to judge at the Triwizard Tournament. The other judges were: Minerva McGonagall, Viktor Krum (Durmstrang's headmaster), Madame Maxime (now Hagrid's wife) and Aberforth Dumbledore (Albus' brother).
The Potions professor of Durmstrang – Tatyana Fiodrovna - had an evil plan: she wanted to revive her sleep-cursed lover, but the only way she could do it was to use the magic powers of a person who had already been in the netherworld. Harry was the person she needed. In order to suck away Harry's magic powers, she had to sleep with him three times. She bewitched poor Harry and rid him of his powers.
Tatyana's evil lover – Anor – got awoken and kidnapped everyone from Durmstrang.
Ginny and Harry had some special rings that glowed if one of them was in trouble. So Ginny got to know that something was amiss with Harry, and with the help of Draco (who was in love with her) she hurried to Durmstrang to save her husband and friends. Later Arthur, the twins, Ron and Lucius Malfoy also went to rescue. They all ended up in a castle called Azgard where Anor had lived before he got sent into his curse-sleep. Anor and Tatyana died.
Harry caught a magic goldfish in the lake of Durmstrang – a goldfish that fulfilled three wishes. Harry's wishes were: 1: to save the dying Aberforth, 2: to rid Remus of his lycantrophy, 3: to make all his descendants be magic. The goldfish turned out to be a witch. For his selflessness, Harry got his magic powers back from the fish/witch and her husband Aaron (brother to Anor).
Ginny turned out to be Parselmouth just like Harry – she had become one when she got revived by Apophys' torch. She got pregnant again – this time with triplets. Minerva married Aberforth. Hermione had twins called Viviane and Valentine, Angelina had a son called Kevin, Percy had a son called Lancelot. David Dursley – born in the previous fic – turned out to be a wizard, that made Vernon and Petunia freak out, so Dudley and Millicent took on to raise the kid. Lucius Malfoy had a second son called Norbert.
Important characters introduced in this story: Tatyana, Anor, Aaron, Desideria the goldfish (Aaron's wife).
Whew, this wasn't short at all! :)
As I have told you several times before, this story is going to focus on the children mentioned above, but Harry and the old gang will also have a role (especially Harry, Albus and Snape).
I cannot promise you to keep everyone totally in character, but I'll at least try. I have been accused of having shallow characters and I'm not sure at all whether the characters in this story are any better than in the first two, but I hope that at least Daniel (the central character) will be controversial enough for you.
At the beginning this story will seem to be more light-hearted than the second one, but later on you'll see that this is darker. It might resemble a bit a wizarding version of an Agatha Christie crime novel – hence the genre mystery. I was contemplating whether to give it the genre drama or angst, but mystery suited it better. There will be a lot of humour and also some romance, but it will be less sappy than the previous two fics. This story is mostly about kids in their early teens, so I cannot make them jump into bed with each other, can I? *innocent look*
The first 9-10 chapters will be build-up chapters, so they won't be exactly gripping, because I'll be introducing the new characters and their relations to each other, to the professors and to their subjects. I hope you'll still like them and hold out until around chapter 10 when the story 'sets into motion'.
I lost many readers during the second fic – they weren't patient enough to wait until the build-up chapters were over and abandoned me at the beginning. I promise that in this fic there will be considerably fewer build-up chapters than in TGSaWCS, so please, be patient and keep reading – you won't regret it. When my mum told me that the second fic was better than the first I didn't agree with her, but I do agree with her that this fic is the best I have ever written, and I'm really proud of it. I hope that you'll like it as much as mum, my other beta Sienn, and I did.
Before you ask, the story has 31 chapters, and all in all is twice as long as TGSoHH (because of the long chapters).
Something important: reading the first two fics (especially the second) many of you were a bit superficial, that's why you didn't remember important details and then you complained that the story was confusing. Now I ask you to heed the details of this fic. Not all of them will be important, some of them are just there to make fun, but 80% of the details will turn out to be very important later and I don't want you yelling at me that you can't understand the storyline. (I tried to make it less confusing and less complicated than TGSaWCS, I don't know whether I have succeeded or not. Let's hope that I did.)
I must warn you that this story is evil. The basic idea of the first story was cute and innocent: make Harry impregnate Ginny and bring about a huge scandal. The basic idea of the second was darker and eviler: rob Harry of his magic powers. The basic idea of this one is pure evil, and I foresee that you'll be sending me howlers and curses near the end. (Haha, that will be fun! :) I must also warn you that the evilest cliffhangers will come up in this story. They'll be much-much-much eviler than the 'Harry Potter is dead' line in chapter 27 of TGSaWCS. So, read it on your own responsibility :)))
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns the original Harry Potter characters. I only own the ones made up by me.
I'd like to say thanks to my two wonderful beta readers: Sienn, and especially my mother. About one-thirds of the plot-ideas belong to my mum, so the story is just as much hers as it is mine – I don't want to take all the credit. You were great, mum, thanks a lot!
And now, enough of me. *Looks back at the A/N* - almost three Word pages! Sorry for boring you with such a long intro, I'm shutting up now. Enjoy!
THE GREATEST ENEMY EVER FACED
Prologue / Chapter 1
"…draw your chair close
to the edge of a precipice
and I tell you a story."
/F. Scott Fitzgerald/
summer of 2011
There were several sections in the Hogwarts library. There was a section for the history of wizardry, another for language-study containing dictionaries such as Mermish/English and English/Gobbledygook; there was a section for dragons, a section for advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts, there was the Restricted Section… and there was a section that had not been entered by a single student or teacher for centuries. This section was situated at the farthest corner of the library and looked utterly abandoned, since no one ever used it. Why? Because it was the oldest section of the library, containing books and parchments so old that they started to crumble away. This was the section that headmaster Dumbledore had ordered Madame Pince to look through and weed out the useless volumes.
Madame Pince was not thrilled by the idea. "Work, work and work! Even during the holidays!" she fumed as she entered the oldest section. She shuddered a bit as she looked up at the high shelves. There were about twenty of them, full of mouldy, dust-covered tomes. "I might have to work on this for a year!" she sighed, resigned.
The Hogwarts library had always had an ancient air, but it was so dense in this section that it felt almost tangible. These volumes had not been checked out for hundreds of years… they were not even sorted into categories, maybe because the former librarians were afraid that if they touched them, they would simply fall into pieces.
Irma Pince also doubted whether she could sort out the useless books without harming the probably useful ones. With a sigh she pulled the first book off a nearby shelf – she had to start the work somewhere, after all…
The book had once had a ruby red cover, but all those years spent under a thick layer of dust left their mark on it. Its title was almost illegible, all Irma could make out was 'My ear itches'. It probably meant 'My dear witches', but the letters 'd' and 'w' were missing.
The librarian dipped into the book – it was written by hand since it had been bound centuries before that Muggle called Guttenberg invented printing. The book was about a wizard whose wife had been burnt at the stake. It dated 1032 – no wonder that the witch died, since the Flame-Freezing Charm was invented only decades later.
Pince closed the book and placed it on a table. Soon several other folios and parchments joined 'My ear itches' on the table. Some of them were written in foreign languages, others were in such a bad shape that Irma put them on a trolley on which she collected the 'useless' volumes. She was already ready with one shelf when she felt something whoosh through her, like a chilly gust of wind.
"Peeves! Is that you?" she shouted angrily. The poltergeist appeared out of nowhere, cackling.
"What is old Pincey doing?" he asked, picking up two old parchments from the trolley, starting to juggle with them. As he grabbed them again and again, just to throw them into the air again, little pieces of parchment fell onto the floor.
"That's enough, Peeves! Put them back on the trolley, immediately!" Irma cried, outraged.
"Oh, am I spoiling your hard work, Pincey?" the poltergeist laughed, taking a huge volume called Owl Chronicles from the table, chucking it at a nearby shelf. The shelf happened to be a bit unstable, so it swayed and fell, hitting the next shelf, that hit the third one… until all the shelves in this 'very old section' were tumbled over, their contents scattered all around.
"Oh, no!" Irma clutched at her heart, fearing that it would stop beating. "How am I going to put this all right again?"
She knew that not even the strongest Reparo could put all the thousands of books and parchments back in their places.
"Now this is definitely going to take me a year, if not two!" she shook her head in disbelief, tears brimming her eyes. "I've got to ask McGonagall to help me with this." she mumbled then remembered that Minerva wasn't available at the moment – she and Aberforth were visiting Viktor Krum in Bulgaria.
Headmaster Dumbledore was also out of reach, spending his summer holiday in the USA, visiting distant relatives. Pince did not know what relatives Albus had in the States, but for the time being she really did not care.
Resolutely she headed for the corner to see whether the last shelf that had fallen to the wall had dented it or not. Thanks heaven, it hadn't, but the mess around the fallen shelves was still too much for Irma's eyes to bear. With a huge sigh turned around to walk back to the first shelf when a small book teetering on the top of a pile of fallen books tipped over and fell directly in front of her feet. She bent down and picked up the small booklet. It was bound in fine, green leather that had turned greyish-green because of the mould that thickly covered it. It might have looked an ordinary book if it hadn't had two large letters on it: SS.
The letters bulged slightly and if you looked at them thoroughly, you could see two tiny serpent-heads at the upper end of the letters that once had been silver. Now they looked almost black, but they still managed to send shivers down Pince's spine.
She opened the small booklet and began to read the handwriting that was rather hard to decipher, since it consisted of ancient-looking looping letters that had unmistakably been that of a male.
the 1000th year of the Lord
Yesterday I turned sixteen. My father gave me a sword as a present and my mother gave me this diary, saying that I should write down everything that happens to me. Father says it is unnecessary for a man to write and read, but what should I expect from someone who is illiterate, after all?
It was my mother who wanted me to learn the art of reading and writing – she always wanted me to devote myself to the Lord and become a priest. Oh yes, even some wizards can be churchgoing. We need to show ourselves in the church every Sunday, or the King would suspect us. We magic people need to keep up the illusion of being Muggles if we want to avoid persecution. I for one despise Muggles, but for my family's sake I pretend to be one of them when we are among them.
So, my pious mother convinced my father that at least one of their sons should live a life committed to God, and father finally accepted this. At that time my brother Sergius was still alive and about to inherit the family treasures. Sergius died a year ago in a nasty Muggles illness (the plague, or what is it called?), and that was when my father took me out of the theological college and started to teach me the ways of a knight and a wizard. I am the only heir now, bound to come into the great wealth of the Slytherins.
Madame Pince turned over a few pages and continued reading the diary… the diary of Salazar Slytherin.
the 1011th year of the Lord
My father has turned fifty. In order to celebrate his birthday we have held a wizard-knight tournament at Slytherin Manor. My mother is a real Seer and likes crystal-gazing very much. She finds looking at the future rather entertaining. Once she saw a Muggle tournament – it will become popular among the Muggles in about a century, but mother already knows what it will be like: knights sitting on horses, holding spears and trying to push each other off their horses. For my father's birthday celebration my mother came up with the idea of such a tournament – wizard style.
There were fifty 'wizard-knights' entering the tournament and it was decided by a draw who should be paired off with whom in the duels. The tournament lasted three days. At the end of the first day the most successful knight of the day chose the Queen of Beauty and Love by giving her a small wreath woven of flowers. The most successful knight of the day happened to be my best friend, Godric Gryffindor, who chose lady Rowena – my fiancée – to be the Queen. Truth be told I felt a pang of jealousy when he placed the wreath on her head – it should have been me who did it, not Godric, as my father kindly reminded me.
Sir Henry Hufflepuff seemed to be offended by the fact that it was not his daughter, Helga, who got elected Queen of Beauty and Love. Helga is said to be the prettiest witch of our time, but I strongly believe that Rowena is prettier - and definitely wittier.
Rowena, the 'Queen', got the task of crowning the victorious knight at the end of the third day of the tournament.
On the second day the semi-finals took place. In the semi-finals I battled Sir Rowan Ravenclaw, brother of my dear Rowena. Godric fought Archibald Dumbledore, fiancé of Lady Helga.
The third day was the most exciting one: the final, between Godric and me. We were supposed to combat à outrance – until one of us died, but we agreed to do it until the first injury. We started the fight sitting on our broomsticks (that played the role of the Muggle horses), holding out our wands to push each other off our brooms. Godric was good but so was I, thus we managed to curse each other off our brooms right at the beginning. We continued battling on the ground. According to Helga Hufflepuff it was the most spectacular wizard duel she had ever seen. She was downright charmed by our performance and so was Rowena – well, almost. My Rowena seemed to be charmed when Godric managed to disable me with a well-aimed hex. So, Sir Gryffindor won the tournament and my fiancée was beaming. Does she love him and not me? I will have to ask her, I guess.
No need to say how terrible I felt when Godric knelt down in front of Lady Rowena to receive his crown of golden laurels. At that moment I felt I hated him – my best friend! I feel ashamed and even scared by the thought, but, being a Slytherin, I would never admit it. Life goes on and next time I am going to beat Godric and win the tournament.
I was in rather low spirits after these events, but I congratulated my friend and invited him for a drink. On our way to the tent we stopped several times to taste the wonderful tarts that witches had baked for the day's cookery contest and to listen to the beautiful songs sung by minstrels. Later Rowena and Helga joined us – Helga insisted on paying the gallant loser (me) a butterbeer. How could I have turned her down? While consuming our butterbeer we were talking about things – mostly about witch-hunts and the annoying compulsion to show ourselves to Muggles as though we were also like them.
Rowena told us about the case of a thirteen-year old girl whose parents had died years earlier. She was brought up by her uncle – a rather sullen and grumpy wizard – who did not care to teach his niece how to control her magic powers. She happened to explode the altar of the local church and the Muggles arrested her at once. They tortured her until she admitted being a witch. She was burnt at the stake.
After this story Godric was very mad and called the Muggles things I had never heard him utter before. Helga shrugged and nonchalantly commented: "There should be a school for witches and wizards where they could learn how to do magic and exercise control over their powers."
Judging by her expression, she didn't even realise that she had said something very clever. She only realised that she must have said something out of the ordinary when Rowena, Godric (and probably me, too) stared at her with eyes widened in surprise.
"What?" she blinked, nervously arranging her ebony-black curls. (She does that all the time: whenever she is jittery, she starts sleeking her hair. It's rather annoying.) "Did I say something wrong?"
"On the contrary, dear!" Rowena reached out and pulled her into a hug. "You are a genius!"
Now Helga looked equally surprised. "Do you think it is a good idea? A wizard school?"
"The best I have heard these many years." Godric said with an extremely solemn expression, but, in spite of his seriousness, his eyes were sparkling with excitement.
By the time we parted that evening, we had resolved to found a school for wizard youngsters. After Helga's pet warthog we decided to name it Hogwarts.
Madame Pince looked up from the booklet with her mouth agape.
"This diary must have been here ever since the school was founded!" she murmured. "How came it was never found?" It was obvious that if the poltergeist hadn't been annoying Irma, she wouldn't have found this diary now, probably just at the end of her months-long sorting-work…
She was just about to shut the book and close it into a Peeves-safe drawer of her desk when a small parchment fell out of it. Irma bent down, picked it up and saw that it was folded several times.
She unfolded it and saw that it wasn't small anymore – on the contrary: it was a huge, elaborately adorned parchment with beautifully written letters. It looked as though it had been written by monks who spent their lives copying codices.
However, this one couldn't have been written by Muggle monks, since the script was in golden ink and there were four crests on it – crests in which the pictures (a lion, a serpent, an eagle and a badger) seemed to be moving.
When Irma realised what kind of document she had found, she almost dropped it in surprise.
"Albus has to see this!" she shouted and five minutes later a tawny owl was sent off to America with an urgent message from Madame Pince.
A/N2: my beta Sienn told me that she envied Madame Pince for having an opportunity to read through all those books and it must be fun to tidy up the old section. I told her that if she wanted to do it instead of Irma then she was a masochist :)
So, what kind of document did Irma Pince find and how will it influence Hogwarts' life in the future? You'll find out soon.
You might have guessed from the prologue that this story will be dealing with the founders as well. I think I have shamelessly neglected them so far, and I wanted to make up for it.
For the story's sake let's assume that old scripts can be read by modern people, no matter how hard it is to decipher them. I guess that a librarian should be able to read old stuff, shouldn't she?
In HP book one it is told that the Restricted Section is at the back of the library, but let's assume that this 'old section' is even more 'hidden' than the restricted one, okay?
The falling shelves idea came from The Mummy – I love that movie!
The idea of the Queen of Beauty and Love originates from Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (I don't know whether Lady Rowena was called that in Scott's book, I just translated it from the Hungarian version, never read it in English).
I know this chapter was short, but it was just a prologue, and prologues are supposed to be short. The next chapter will be VERY long, so be prepared! :)