Am trying to keep up the pace with once-a-month updates. Here is to hoping that this trend continues in the future; it helps that I am really inspired to write now.
Also, there have been a few common reviews that I should address. I suppose though if you are reading this then you have forgiven me for putting Harry into Hufflepuff. That placement does not go over well with most people and I lose quite a bit of my readers there. There are plenty of Harry in Slytherin stories out there and I wanted to do something different, and I feel it fits well with this Harry. The next big issue is Harry taking Divination. I didn't want to belabor his decision (because it is impossible and very boring to describe all of his actions) but feel I addressed it. Also, there is a very good reason he is in there (much like I expect the subject exists in the books).
Anyways, hope you like this new addition to the story and are pleased with the person who next joins Harry.
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Here is my disclaimer that says I do not own anything Harry Potter related. Everything belongs to JK Rowling, except in universe 47837. Probably.
One week. Seven days. That was how long Harry's followers managed to make it without insisting that they had to have another mock battle. Their first scrimmage had been so captivating and enriching that Harry's followers had spent all week envisioning how they would do even better the next time.
Therefore, the first Saturday night in October found them all back in their training room. Everyone was present except for Luna, who had grumpily mumbled something to Harry after dinner about Nuckelavees causing mischief again. While she would have preferred another chance to come out on top, she informed Harry that it was both vital and necessary that she be at a certain place at a certain time to prevent their spread.
Harry hadn't even blinked twice at Luna's odd request. He had already accepted and embraced Luna for everything that she was. Her quirks and unique abilities made her the Luna that he knew and had received without question into his core.
Therefore, he had no trouble excusing her for the evening. Of course, that didn't mean that Harry thought that Nuckelavees were real, especially after learning that they were apparently evil elves from the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
It just didn't matter. Those little devils that liked to ruin crops and cause epidemics were important to Luna and so they were important to him.
Therefore, Harry only had four of his followers with him that evening to take part in another scrimmage. Neville, Justin, and Cedric were each looking forward to another opportunity to succeed where they have previously fallen. Ginny, meanwhile, was plotting the different ways that she would come out on top again.
Each had spent all week thinking about this moment.
Of course, Harry wasn't going to make things as easy for them this time. He wanted to continually challenge them and not have them become complacent with any one thing; his desire was to have them be able to face the unknown and triumph because they were better than any unexpected thing placed in front of them.
As such he was adding a few modifications to the four rooms and connecting hallway outside of their original training location.
"So, I won't keep you in suspense any longer," Harry broke the quiet contemplation of the others as he reentered the room.
"The arena is ready."
The others turned their heads towards him as he shut the door to the hallway. Their eyes were alight with want.
"The same rules will apply as the last time, and you still have a maximum of ten hits before you are taken out."
He used his magic to send out the badges that they would use to record the hits.
"This time, however," he said with a mysterious smile, "I have added something a little extra to keep you on your toes. But I'll leave you to discover just what that little something is."
Harry's surprise announcement didn't even phase them: they had known that things would always be changing. It just wasn't Harry's style to repeat the same thing over and over again.
"And two more things. The first is that I have modified your badges so that once they receive a combined ten shots they will grow bright white."
He then looked at each pointedly.
"Once that happens you will no longer be in the match; however, instead of remaining incapacitated on the ground until we have a victor you will then be allowed to exit the arena."
Cedric really appreciated that given that he had been the first one out last week.
"The second is that this main room that we are in," Harry motioned with his hands, "will be off limits for this battle and thus will be the place you return to when you receive ten hits."
In reality, the second obviously had something to do with the first but both were related to the surprise, rather surprises, that Harry had left outside.
But he wasn't going to tell them that.
"So without further adieu, you have thirty seconds. Starting now."
Instantly, they scattered. Ginny and Cedric headed out into the hallway while both Neville and Justin each went to the side doors that led to the adjoining rooms.
Harry smiled as he soon heard the surprised sounds that each of his followers gave off in different ways; for Harry's addition to this training exercise had been to scatter the arena with harmless snakes that would weave in and out of their paths, thus offering a distraction and teaching them the importance of remaining centered and calm no matter the surroundings.
As he moved to sit down on the comfortable couch that he had just transformed from one of the chairs that had been there, he idly wondered if any one of them would have the advantage in this situation.
Although he could have hazarded a few guesses depending on their progress, Harry arrived at a similar conclusion that he had come to right before their first mock battle: each had their own strengths and weakness and there was just too much uncertainty to give any one of them the clear edge.
That, and Harry also preferred to spend this available time with his Marauder's Map.
He hated to admit that aside from the tests on whether the map was one hundred percent accurate, he hadn't had the time yet to examine it as thoroughly as he would have liked.
Especially with the continued uncertainty that surrounded Sirius Black, the wily Headmaster, and basically everything else unresolved in his life. Which meant that Harry had instead thought that it would be more prudent to ensure the rapid progress in the magical education, both applied and theoretical, of his followers.
He wanted them to be prepared and ready for whatever the future held.
Now though, with the sounds of their wands swishing and flicking as they battled amongst each other, Harry took the time to penetrate the map with his magic.
He wanted to discover its secrets and how it was that something like this had come into existence in the first place.
It didn't take long for his magic to slither out of his core and into the intricately folded parchment; however, there were so many spells, charms, and enchantments woven throughout its many layers that it took him some time to figure out just how this sort of magic was even possible.
Because Harry was certain that if Albus Dumbledore knew of this map's existence then he would have been most displeased to know that his every movement could be easily followed. For instance, the man was currently walking around his office in a small circle and it told Harry that the man was thinking about something.
Most individuals didn't pace unless something was festering inside of their minds and it only made Harry more determined to get to the bottom of whatever thing kept the man up at night.
Harry was sure that it had something to do with him.
Returning his focus to understanding the map, Harry could feel something tying the map to the castle itself.
Which made sense all things considered. With a semblance of some idea in his mind, Harry then began to dig through the different layers of the castle and discovered that there was a room at what looked to be the very heart and bottom of the castle.
And inside a small, circular room that looked to be very difficult to get to he saw that there was a nametag that looked like all of the others; except that this white bubble with dark, black letters said 'Hogwarts.'
Which wasn't that terribly shocking to Harry since he figured that since most magical structures had lay lines to focus their magical energies, it wasn't that much of a leap to then think that those magical entities could have a name if they were strong enough.
And Hogwarts certainly had enough magic coursing through her halls given the sheer number of magical people that had entered it over the centuries.
At least that theory would also explain how the map potentially worked if the tracker function was somehow locked first to the castle and then to every other magical core that resided within it.
From there, Harry next wanted to discover how the map knew the shape and layout of the castle. It turned out to be a rather simple charm that linked the knowledge of the user with the map itself. Which would then have explained how the map knew where Tom Riddle had traveled within the Chamber of Secrets. After that thought, however, Harry then began to wonder if Tom Riddle had created the map. Surely, the creation of this map was something that could have been possible given the other boy's prodigious talent. Even Harry knew that what he held in his hands was something that he could have created had he only thought about combining all of these various spells, charms, and enchantments together.
However, Harry had a feeling that Tom – or really anyone for that matter – would not have been able to give up something this useful and unique willingly.
Which was frustrating because one thing that the map didn't do was have a record of any of the individuals that had held it in their hands. The sheer amount of magic that had been infused within and throughout this parchment had covered any of the magical traces that would have naturally remained from coming into contact with a certain witch or wizard.
In the end, Harry was just happy that he had the map in his possession and had more or less been able to work out how it had been made even if he didn't have a clue as to who had created it.
The map really was a priceless treasure, and some part of him would have liked to have met the genius responsible for it.
Nonetheless, it pleased both Harry and his magic to know that he could keep an eye out on his followers, those irreplaceable individuals whom he had accepted right into his own magical core.
Just a quick glance at the map was all it took for Harry to see Ginny and Neville likely dueling in one of the rooms on the opposite side of their main training location. Moving his eyes to the right and he caught sight of Justin and Cedric, likely locked in a similar clash.
The only person who belonged to him that he didn't know the exact location of was Luna. Thumbing through the well-worn pages it took Harry a little longer locating her than he was comfortable with. In fact he was surprised that his magic hadn't guided him to where she was on instinct alone.
However, from the moment that he finally saw her name and whom it was next to his muscles seized and his magic ran cold and retreated back into his body. For a brief second it was like all the breath had been knocked out of his lungs and his mind grew lightheaded and dizzy; and then his muscles started working again and his magic burned brighter than it ever had.
Luna, his Luna, was in trouble and he needed to get to her as soon as possible. Without even having to intentionally think about willing his body to action Harry was halfway to the door, and a fraction of a second later he had exited into the hallway. The map was in his left hand while his wand was in his right, and without even having to actively inform his other followers what was going on they had abandoned their game and fallen into step behind him.
The group of five managed to cover significant ground in a short amount of time, and Harry was utilizing every last part of his extraordinary senses and abilities to get them to their destination faster.
His magical will had extended to the others and was helping to fuel their journey, even so far as to allow them to take three steps at a time upward towards the top of the Astronomy Tower. Harry's magic seeped into each of his friends' lungs and muscles and staved off the effects of the fatigue and exhaustion that would normally have accompanied such an arduous climb at this pace.
As they neared the top they began to hear the muffled shouts of battle. However, before they managed to get to the top Harry nearly careened into Daphne Greengrass, who was running just as fast as Harry was but in the opposite direction.
Her clothes were partly torn and the third year Slytherin's face was blotchy and red. Her right eye also looked like it was ripening into a light purple color.
The dots connected in a far away corner of Harry's mind but he paid Daphne no further attention as he led his group past her and to the top of the landing.
Normally people came here for the spectacular view of the lake and mountains in the distance, but Harry only had a desire to see that Luna was okay. Thankfully, he saw that she was alive and well and standing with her wand in hand behind the obviously injured but still fighting form of Roger Davies. The fifth year Ravenclaw had large gashes up and down his left side that oozed a dark red color, but still his wand was moving through the air to counter the relentless attacks of Phineas and Icarus.
The pompous and arrogant pricks of Slytherin were gleeful in their continual assault of curses and were so focused on their prey that they never saw Harry's magic coming. Not that they could have blocked it anyway.
Instantly their forms froze as Harry reached out with his magic and compelled them to be still.
His eyes were smoldering with the promise of revenge and he was seconds away from unleashing the most amount of pain that he had ever subjected another human being to when Roger collapsed forward, unconscious.
Luna's voice then broke through the rest of Harry's thoughts on immediate retribution.
"Harry, he needs you."
It surprised Harry how soft and serene the sound of her voice was, almost as if she had seen this moment and had known that it was coming. Almost.
"The Nuckelavees can wait!" she then commanded in a voice that had some force behind it.
"Phineas and Icarus won't go anywhere, Harry," Neville promised without taking his eyes off of his target.
Even as Neville said that, the boy's magic had beckoned both Phineas and Icarus' wands to him, which he caught in his outstretched hand.
Neville's wand, along with the wands of Cedric, Ginny, and Justin were held steadfast towards them.
Following Luna's pleas Harry quickly moved over to her.
"He needs your magic," Luna said simply once Harry knelt down beside her and leaned over Roger's dying body.
The boy's body was twitching, but Harry was at a loss for the situation that he now found himself in.
He looked up and into Luna's eyes and saw in them many things that he didn't understand. However, he saw a glimmer of something that he had seen before. It was then that Luna nodded her head towards him ever so slightly as if to say, 'yes, and I will explain later.'
Harry returned his green eyes to Roger, whose blood was now pouring in earnest out of his many wounds.
Not knowing really what else to do, Harry trusted his magic and steadied his hands over the older boy's body. He then willed his magic into the Ravenclaw. He focused on how grateful he was that the boy had protected his Luna until the very end and that was the only thing that drove Harry's magic to connect with the boy's core in an attempt to help the boy heal himself.
But that thought was abandoned from the instant that Harry's magic touched the other boy's fading core. For in that moment he knew just as clearly as he had known about the others that Roger belonged to him. Roger's magic softly called to his and it was withering, threatening to disappear forever. That thought caused Harry to momentarily shiver since he couldn't bear the thought of losing something that belonged to him.
Instantly Harry's core took on another defined shape and soon all of his will and power poured into that connection. It hit Roger's core with such force and intent that Roger's spine arched upwards as Harry's magic flooded into and within every inch of the boy's body. There wasn't a single cell that was left untouched.
Harry's magic coursed through Roger and with more concentration than Harry had ever applied towards another person he began to mend the tears and gashes and broken bones that had threatened to end Roger's life.
Slowly, the blood began to reverse its course and was absorbed back into the same open wounds that it had spilled from. As more of Roger's blood returned to his body so to did the older boy's magic become more concentrated and stronger.
Roger's core began to pulse just a little bit brighter and with beads of sweat starting to pour down his face Harry pushed on until each and every cut had mended itself.
When the task was finished, Harry nearly collapsed forward with momentary magical exhaustion. Just as Harry's head was about to connect with Roger's chest, however, Luna reached out with her arms and held him next to her.
"It's okay, Harry," she sang softly to him.
"He's going to be okay now. He's one of us, and one of yours."
Harry could barely keep his eyes open but forced himself to remain awake until he saw Roger's eyes flicker open. His tired core had demanded to see its new addition.
In the end though it had all been worth it because he had done it; he had saved one of his own. It didn't matter that Harry barely knew anything about the other boy. His magic knew him, and that was all that mattered to him in this moment.
And the others felt the addition to Harry's circle as well. Cedric and Neville shuddered as their magic reoriented itself to the new insertion to their group. Meanwhile, Justin and Ginny had needed to lean against the other one's shoulder as the gain of another follower had pushed their senses over the top. Both of them had been standing too close to where Harry had been working his magic with Roger, and so they had been subjected to more of the magic that Harry had had used to save Roger's life than Cedric and Neville had.
It was in this moment that Phineas and Icarus thought to use the group's obvious distraction to collect their wands and escape.
Harry, however, had been able to collect his breath somewhat as a shared magic passed through the group. That, and despite him exerting a great deal of effort and energy in saving Roger, he had much, much more reserves to call upon.
Especially when his magic had to be directed at those who had almost caused the unthinkable.
Again, Phineas and Icarus were frozen in place.
"This is the second person that you have almost taken from me," Harry said standing up.
His eyes were a bright emerald green and his jet-black hair shined in the moonlight. Harry looked like a dark prince come to collect his sacrifice.
"I could tear you limb from limb and put you back together to do it all over again."
In this moment Harry didn't need his magic to strike fear into their hearts; his words and his voice, so fiercely protectively towards those that served him were enough to prevent the two from moving.
As such, Harry drew his magic back into himself; the event with Roger had drained him more than he wanted to admit but he knew that he would need his strength to clean up the mess that was about to happen here.
After all, Harry had enough of his wherewithal to keep the bigger picture in play. No matter how much Phineas and Icarus deserved to die, Harry knew that this wasn't the moment. They deserved so much more than what he could provide for them at Hogwarts and he didn't want to chance being discovered by Dumbledore or anyone else with something coming back to bite him because he was caught up in the heat of the moment.
In the meantime, he would just have to find a suitable alternative to let out some of his aggression.
And he knew just how to proceed.
"But tonight you are lucky, or, rather, I guess still very unlucky. You may survive to live a few more years because I have rules about killing at Hogwarts. For the most part…" Harry said under his breath after thinking back fondly to Lockhart.
"However, from this day on you will know that your moments are numbered and one day, when you least expect it, we will be there to make it right. You have harmed those under my protection and that is unacceptable. They are mine; they are a part of me. Their magic is my magic and their lives belong to me and no one else. I love them," Harry said without even being aware of the strength of his words.
There was such conviction in his voice that his skin had begun to softly glow with an ethereal green that matched the color of his eyes. Harry had not only made a declaration with his words but also with his magic, and it was incredible to behold.
Soon, a similar color spread over each and every one of the people that belonged to him.
They looked like gods and goddesses to Phineas and Icarus, and Harry was the divine being from which it was all possible.
In that moment Harry wasn't entirely aware of everything that he had said; his magic and the strength of his connection to his followers had taken him to a place where he had seen some of what they would become.
But even if he had been aware of what he had said and the eerie effects of his magic he wouldn't have cared.
It was the truth; he did love them in a way that was only possible with magic; his magic.
"So know that you will suffer," Harry returned to the present with an otherworldly look in his eyes.
"And that you will find in the weeks and months to come that you have no one to protect you, to turn to when you leave Hogwarts. Because the death I have in store for you will be more terrible than any pathetic torture that you could ever imagine."
While Harry's cold and nearly inhuman words had nearly caused Phineas and Icarus to lose their balance, his words only further captured the absolute adoration that his followers looked upon him with. For each knew that Harry cared greatly for them; that much was evident long before the vents of this night.
Even Roger had been able to sit up and bask in that feeling.
But to hear that Harry loved them caused their magic to hum happily into the cool, crisp air.
"But as I have said, that is a little ways away," Harry continued from where he walked in between his followers, touching their arms as if his magic required that he physically connect with each of them after what had just occurred.
"Until then, however, a promise is a promise," he whispered almost seductively into Neville's ear.
"You are more than ready and have the greatest claim to strike back at them first," Harry purred.
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Neville's grip tighten around his Cherry wand.
"Just don't kill Neville; I think I can clean up most things but bringing someone back from the dead is probably beyond even me and we have appearances to maintain."
"It will be my absolute pleasure, my Lord," Neville replied in an even tone.
He had been waiting for this moment ever since he had realized that Harry had protected him until he could take care of himself.
However, even as Neville readied his wand to let his magic flow through him he knew that this was different, that his revenge was now more important because of what Harry had just said.
They belonged to Harry, but they were also family.
And families took care of their own; they defended themselves from those that sought to hurt a single member.
Therefore, Neville didn't even flinch as the Crucios left his wand.
He was protecting the family that he belonged to and making sure that Phineas and Icarus knew that this would only be the beginning on their long road to death.
Naturally, the feeling of exacting retribution filled Neville with a sense of euphoria and satisfaction. Which weren't exactly the sort of feelings that supported the prolonged and continued use of the Cruciatus Curse for first-time casters.
Though that didn't matter since after five minutes of absolute agony the damage had been done and Phineas and Icarus were lying in their own filth.
Being held under that curse for that length of time would render control over bodily functions impossible for anyone.
However, that was the least of the worries for the two despicable Slytherins. Their nerves had also been fried and their bodies were thrashing violently even though the curse was no longer being applied.
By this time Roger had found the strength to stand with the help of Luna and Ginny, and he looked down at the two with no pity. They had more than deserved this, which was saying something considering that Roger Davies came from a very light family and had never so much as thought ill of someone before.
Roger then looked to Harry and took in the young man who had essentially willed his body to stop dying and come back to life. He had no words in that moment but felt like he had to try, to tell Harry, his Harry, just how thankful he was.
"You do not owe me anything," Harry cut him off before he even began.
"You are one of us, one of mine, and that is all that matters."
Roger's mouth shut and he remained looking at Harry with the beginnings of an undying devotion.
Harry tore his eyes away from Roger's tall and muscular frame and then turned his attention towards the idiot twins on the ground.
Again Harry called on the magic from his core and used just enough to remove any traces of Neville's Cruciatus from their limbs and nerves. He wasn't going to remove all traces of damage or the pain, though; he still wanted them to remember something about what had happened.
Just not enough to call attention to this night, because while he was sure that Daphne Greengrass would keep the events to herself and use magic to cover up her bruises he didn't want to take the chance that she would turn to Draco.
Of course, in those brief moments where the chilly wind brushed against their faces, he did slightly alter their memories to cover his tracks; however, he made sure that they knew they were doomed. He wanted them to suffer for the rest of the their lives and so they would have a certain dream every single time they closed their eyes.
Knowing then that Phineas and Icarus would be able to make their way back to Slytherin in a few hours, Harry turned and looked at his group.
"Come," he said simply before he began walking towards the stairs.
Harry's followers fell into step behind him as he led them at a much slower pace back towards their training room.
Once they were inside, Harry moved to sit on the couch again and the others took to the open chairs around him. Each were glad to be safe and in Harry's presence.
Harry's voice was tired but also very content. He had gotten another follower, but it had cost him a great deal of energy. So much so that a hunger began to stir in his gut, reminding him of just how much magic he had used. It nearly brought him back to that first night of starvation after discovering magic at Privet Drive until he remembered just how close they were to the kitchens.
"Neville, Justin," he said while sitting down on his usual spot on the couch.
"Please go to the kitchens and get the elves to whip us up something substantial. I think we could all use some extra nourishment."
The boys made to leave but Harry's voice stopped them at the door.
"And Neville," Harry waited until Neville turned to face him, "textbook Cruciatus."
Neville nodded solemnly but his eyes had trouble containing his delight over Harry's praise.
Nevertheless he bowed his head once more and left as Harry turned to face Luna.
"How much of tonight had you seen, Luna?"
Harry's voice sounded harsher than it meant it to be, but he was still not altogether happy that Luna had put herself in that position. Even if he had solidified the second-to-last part of his core.
"I didn't know that that would happen," her calm and carefree voice returned.
"It was like I said: the Nuckelavees were causing mischief and I just knew that I had to be somewhere."
Roger didn't know how to process any of what he was hearing but Cedric and Ginny had some idea as to what was going on.
"But even if I did know how the night was going to turn out," she surprised the group by saying, "I would have done it anyways. For you."
Harry's eyes met hers for the second time that evening, and just like before he was the first one to break contact.
Harry wasn't exactly happy to concede that there was nothing he could do to prevent her from acting on her gift – or curse – depending on how one looked at it.
Mostly he just didn't like the thought of harm coming to any one of them, but it was partly because of how tired he was and relieved that his magic had been enough to save Roger that he didn't press the subject.
"So how did it begin?" Harry asked instead.
"Well, I felt that I had to be near that part of the castle," Luna answered.
"I was walking away from the Ravenclaw Tower and ran into Roger."
The older boy that they were talking about looked to Luna and then to Harry. He was still uncertain as to what they were all talking about. To him it sounded like Luna could see the future, or parts of it at any rate.
If Roger had heard all of this just hours ago he wouldn't have believed it, but the magic that kept continuing to strengthen in his gut told him that everything was as it should be.
It made him feel like he belonged to something greater than he could have ever hoped to put into words, and it only grew stronger as Luna continued to describe the events leading up to where they had just come from.
"Roger and I were just about to pass each other when we heard a muffled yell coming from the stairs leading to the Astronomy Tower. Naturally we both set out to investigate."
Harry nodded his head as he put the rest together in his mind.
"Daphne was there," Luna went on to describe for the benefit of the others.
"She was being groped and had been shoved up against the wall. The boys were laughing at her attempts to plead with them."
Roger looked downwards, thinking about his younger sister and how wanting to prevent that sort of thing from happening to anyone had spurred him into action.
"Roger was very brave; he went at once to her aid."
The others turned to glance at Roger. Harry, however, didn't remove his eyes from Luna.
"He fought bravely and till the end," Luna's voice dropped softly.
"Until you got there, Harry."
Harry then blinked his eyes away from Luna to stare again at Roger.
Just thinking back to how it felt when Roger's life force was leaving his body unsettled Harry. He had come so close to losing something that he hadn't even known belonged to him. The longer Harry thought about it the more it caused his skin to shiver, and then it worked its way into his magic.
Once there, a pulse shot out across every connection to his core; his magic needed to touch his followers, to make sure they were all okay.
Knowing where each of their core's were made Harry feel better and he quietly smiled as he felt the response from Justin and Neville, who were both returning from the kitchen and trying not to drop any of the food.
Harry continued to stare at the new person in his life while he waited for them to arrive.
Roger may not have been as pretty as Cedric was but he was handsome in his own right. He was taller than anyone else that followed Harry and his shoulders were quite broad. Roger also had the same color hair that Harry did, and would have looked like Harry's older brother except that Roger's eyes were a light brown.
"Hello," Harry smiled gently at his new boy.
He was finished with taking in the other boy's features and figured he would have questions.
"Harry," Roger's deep voice echoed off the silent walls.
It was full of several different emotions.
"Thank you," he then said, not quite finding his voice to say everything that he felt.
"I expect that you have many things on your mind but just know that you are safe now."
Harry really didn't know how much more to say that than, and thankfully he didn't have to worry about it any longer because Justin and Neville had returned in that moment with a full feast hovering behind them.
The sight was welcome to Harry's tired frame and he rather enjoyed witnessing the bonding experience that followed as they all hungrily dug into their food. Roger had become the center of attention from the rest of his followers, which was fine by him since his magic and energy were quite spent.
Never before had Harry exerted himself to this extent and in his very core he was just thankful that Luna had made saving Roger possible – even if that presented such a conundrum that he would rather not focus on it.
By the time they finished it was well past curfew.
"I would like you to stay with me tonight," he said quietly in the dimming candlelight.
With a wave of his hand comfortable looking sleeping bags appeared, and his followers rolled them out and made themselves at home. They didn't even question what would happen if they were caught.
"I can't bare to part with any of you after what happened tonight, and think we could get away with simply losing track of time if we are disturbed. We can honestly say that we were too tired and fell asleep. I would gladly serve a detention for that and do not think it would draw unwanted attention."
It was a very content and full Harry that fell asleep that night surrounded by those whom he would lead to greatness.
Nothing further from that night was ever discussed inside of the castle again. Both Phineas and Icarus managed to get themselves to their dormitory very early the next morning thinking that they had imbibed a little too much Firewhiskey that Phineas had pilfered from his father's bar.
Of course, their dreams had been unpleasant and would continue to be so.
Daphne, however, never told another soul what had happened. She continued to use glamour charms until the bruising around her eye returned to normal and made it a point to never stray from Draco's side.
Her actions were something that Harry expected given she came from a household that still subscribed to antiquated and out-of-date beliefs that women were property. Still, Harry was glad to see that she had taken to Draco's company but he would be keeping an eye out for her in the future.
While Harry knew that Daphne would never become one of his, he had been impressed by her tenacity.
Speaking of his growing brood, Harry was allowing them a real treat on account of what they had accomplished in the two weeks since Roger had joined them.
Like the others Roger had seamlessly adapted to their heavy training schedule and already he felt like he could have cast circles around Phineas and Icarus.
"It's like my eyes have opened," Roger had exclaimed after winning the previous night's scrimmage in the arena.
Harry had been most pleased; his own magic had even grown in the days following his exhaustion.
In fact, it gave him the idea that every so often him and his group should exert themselves to find out what their limits were.
But that was not for tonight as his followers sat around him, reading books on magic that interested them or talking quietly with their neighbors.
Cedric and Roger were on either side of him as Harry had the Marauder's Map spread out in front of them.
Over the course of the past two weeks Harry had discovered the multiple secret passageways both inside of the castle and those that led to the outside.
He had been most interested in those.
"Harry, look here!" Cedric's voice sounded with amusement.
Harry's eyes followed Cedric's pointed fingers.
"Haha," the fourth year Hufflepuff chuckled.
"Having your legs spread that far is a rather compromising position to be found in."
The others became interested in what was going on and seven pairs of eyes were now all looking at the same thing.
"Brave of them," Harry commented dryly. "That close to the Slytherin Common Room; they are almost begging to be discovered."
"I had no idea Marcus Jugson and Penelope Clearwater were even an item!" Roger barked out with laughter.
"Isn't she dating your brother, Ginny?" Luna looked over to her nearest neighbor.
"It would appear that he isn't giving her everything that she requires," Ginny smiled back.
"The prat went on and on about her all summer!"
"I still can't believe it," Roger said on a more serious note.
"Isn't she a Muggleborn? I can't imagine Marcus' father jumping over the moon if that came out."
"Unfortunately," Harry commented, "to those of a certain mindset, blood is conveniently forgotten about at times like these. A respectable pureblood would be most conscientious of partaking in sexual activities unless they were very far along in their courtship."
No one wondered just how Harry knew something so intimately related to pureblood culture.
"A Muggleborn on the other hand…" Harry trailed off. "They are often seen as a way for young pureblood males to have a spot of fun just as long as no one catches them."
"It doesn't matter that others do it too?"
"No Justin," Harry replied.
"Image is everything, and it would be very costly for someone in Marcus' position to be caught publically embarrassing his family name."
Justin nodded his head.
"That makes sense. What happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors."
"Exactly!" Cedric agreed.
"Now then," Harry moved the topic along.
"What else is happening inside of Hogwarts on this Saturday evening?"
"Umm, Harry," Neville spoke up.
"Sirius Black is coming into the castle."
There was a surprised tone to Neville's voice, almost like he didn't believe the map.
But Harry did.
"He's using the passageway behind the one-eyed witch."
"That's not far from here," Roger stood and readied his wand at the door.
The others moved to follow his lead.
"Wait!" Harry called out.
"He's going the opposite way. I don't think he is coming towards us."
"I wonder where he is going then?" Luna mused as she sank to her knees to look at the map while keeping her wand trained towards the door.
"He's heading away from the Great Hall now," Cedric chimed in.
His wand had also never moved from where he had it pointed at the door.
"Wherever he is going he is sticking to the least-traveled routes. Very smart."
No one was surprised Harry pointed that out.
"Is he…" Ginny then trailed off.
"He's not going to Gryffindor is he?"
"That would appear to be the case," Justin confirmed.
"Most definitely, I've had to patrol those hallways many times this year as Prefect."
"Fred and George," Roger then clarified when the others shot him a questioning stare.
Satisfied with his answer, all seven of them then watched Sirius approach the portrait door and sneak inside.
"But the common room is full of people," Ginny raised her voice.
"He must be disillusioned then."
"Odd that he is entering at such a busy time. I wonder if he thinks that you are a Gryffindor, Harry," Cedric pointed out.
"That could be a plausible explanation. Let's see where he goes next, then."
"That's where the third-year dormitory is!" Ginny gasped as if to confirm Cedric's theory.
They all looked to see who was present inside the circular room.
"Ron's in there… and …"
Ginny paused. She wasn't concerned in the least over her idiot brother. He deserved to be found by Sirius after how he had ruined her Egyptian holiday with all the whining about his stupid rat not feeling well.
There was another name right next to her brother, a name she had never heard before.
"Who's Peter Pettigrew?" she then asked.
"I've never heard that name," Cedric answered.
But Harry had; at least he had read about him when finding out about being the Boy Who Lived and then again with the topic of Sirius Black.
For the next several moments, however, no one commented as the seven of them watched with interest as Sirius entered the dormitory.
Sirius' footsteps danced across the map as he made his way over to Ron's bed, upon which both Ron and this Peter person sat.
Slowly, Sirius crept towards the bed and a light bulb went off in Harry's mind.
A certain memory of a shared train compartment from first year was seen from a different angle in one of Harry's memories. It all made sense now.
However, while he had come to that epiphany all hell broke loose on the map. Something must have alerted Peter to Sirius' presence and for the next several moments there was an epic chase. Peter's name was the first out of the room and Sirius followed as they tore through the common room.
Sirius must have been visible now or something else had occurred because those present scattered to the walls and remained there for several minutes after the pair had exited Gryffindor.
Harry and his follower's watched this game of cat and mouse until Peter disappeared into what appeared to be a wall and kept running through the other side, leaving Sirius alone in a hallway on the fifth floor.
"He lost him," Harry broke the silence.
After standing in the same place for twenty seconds, Sirius must have also realized that his attempt had failed and quickly made for the statue of the one-eyed witch and his name vanished from the map a little more than a minute later.
"So Sirius Black is after Peter Pettigrew?" Roger put out.
"That names sounds familiar. Ginny, how does your brother know him?"
While Ginny simply shrugged her shoulders it was Harry who answered.
"I don't think he realizes who it is. Merlin, this makes so much sense. But still leaves so many questions."
Harry ran his hands through his thick, unruly hair.
The others waited for Harry to explain.
"You all know how Sirius earned his ticket to Azkaban: he killed thirteen Muggles in the middle of London the day after my parents died. But what is harder to find is that he also killed one wizard that day, none other than Peter Pettigrew."
Six pairs of eyes widened.
"However, they never found Peter's body. All they could salvage from the wreckage was a finger."
The others continued to stare at him, waiting for Harry to tie everything together.
"I should have realized it on the train first year since I shared a compartment with Ron. He was the first wizard I used my magic on; I wanted to see if magical people were different than non-magical ones."
Harry's voice was quiet and contemplative.
"I was too busy basking in the success of taking over his mind to notice something that when I look back now was all too obvious. My magic had felt him," Harry lamented.
"Tell me, Ginny," Harry recovered, "how long has your family had Scabbers?"
The redhead's eyes went wide as her mind jumped to all the right conclusions.
"Twelve years…" she whispered.
"A bit long for a common rat, right?"
"Wait, you're saying that Peter Pettigrew is an Animagus and has been hiding out with the Weasleys?"
"It's the only thing that makes sense," Harry said.
"So how did Sirius know?"
"That I can't answer, Justin, but I think I know someone that might."
Harry sat up and drew his legs underneath of him as he continued.
"Apparently, both Sirius and Professor Lupin were good friends with my parents when I was born. I wonder then if they were good friends with each other, especially considering the weird coincidence of Lupin coming to Hogwarts right after Sirius escaped Azkaban."
"That does sound rather convenient," Neville agreed slowly, thinking back to how Dumbledore had visited his house over the summer to speak with Harry.
"Yes, well, perhaps we should go and find this little rat then," Harry said pointing to Pettigrew's location between two adjacent hallways.
However, no sooner had Harry said that than did McGonagall's voice sound throughout the castle.
"All students are to head to the Great Hall. Immediately," she announced.
"I guess we will wait until later," Harry instructed as the group rose and then left their training room.
They arrived at their destination alongside several hundred other students.
The tables were gone and the students just milled about until everyone was present and accounted before.
Then, everyone's attention was directed towards Dumbledore at the front of the hall.
"The teachers and I need to conduct a thorough search of the castle," the man said while the other teachers secured the doors as Dumbledore kept talking.
"I am afraid that you will have to spend the night here," he told while flicking his wand to conjure hundreds of very similar sleeping bags that Harry had produced two weeks ago.
"For your safety I am leaving the Head Boy and Girl in charge, and any disturbance should be reported to me immediately. Send word with the ghosts," he instructed while Percy puffed his chest out.
"Sleep well," were his last words before disappearing behind the doors to the side of the teacher's table.
If Percy thought that he would have been able to quiet the many voices that erupted after the Headmaster's disappearance then he was in for a rude awakening.
Harry watched as the dramatic exclamations of Sirius Black entering into the Gryffindor Common Room from those who were there spread like wild fire throughout the hall.
Soon everyone had heard a tale that somehow centered on Ron Weasley, who finally felt like his life was going right.
He was the center of attention and even some of the Slytherins were approaching him to hear his side of the story.
Of course, Harry and his crew already knew more than anyone else in the hall.
"Come on, this way," Harry led them to collect their sleeping bags and then to a place near one of the alcoves by the grand fireplace alongside the wall that ran parallel to the tables that had been vanished.
As they settled into a semicircle-like arrangement with Harry positioned with his back to the wall, only one question kept being repeated by those next to them.
How did Sirius Black get in?
And the answers that he heard caused him and his friends to shake their heads in mild amusement.
"Honestly, hasn't anyone read Hogwarts: A History?"
Harry's group kept to themselves as the noise eventually died down several hours later after several failed attempts by Percy to make them all go to bed.
"I wonder if he knows about Penelope?" Ginny whispered as Harry's group shared a chuckle before closing their eyes.
Harry, however, kept his open. He didn't feel like sleeping just now and was content to just let his magic leak out and cover his sleeping followers.
He watched as they moaned in their sleep and snuggled under their covers. The act comforted him too, since every time he connected with their cores he could only feel his own expanding inside his chest.
Harry spent the next two hours lying down with his eyes open and his awareness connecting his mind to watch his friend's dreams.
They were all of him, with the exception of Luna. Her mind couldn't remain focused on a single thought for very long but Harry's face kept popping up between the flashes of Merlin knew what.
Finally, sometime between two and four in the morning if Harry had to guess the front doors opened and Dumbledore walked in with Severus Snape.
Percy, of course, was striding over sleeping students to give his report.
Harry could barely hear their whispers but gathered that they hadn't found Sirius and had improved security at each of the entrances to the four houses.
Harry was watching them out of the corner of his eye and soon Dumbledore and Snape were walking amidst the students by themselves.
"Headmaster?" Harry heard Snape question when they were close to where he was pretending to be asleep.
"What is your theory, sir, on how he got in?"
"Many, Severus, and each of them as unlikely as the next."
Harry chanced repositioning his body to allow one of his ears to hear better. The rolling over onto his side went unnoticed to the adult's conversation.
"You remember the conversation we had at the beginning of the school year, Headmaster," Harry heard Snape state more than question.
"I do, Severus," Albus responded with a hint of warning in his voice.
"It seems rather difficult to imagine – perhaps even impossible – someone entering the castle given the increased security unless they had the help of someone on the inside. I did express my concerns when you appointed," but Dumbledore cut him off.
"I do not believe that a single person, even an old friend, would have helped Black enter."
His tone was final and Severus didn't the press the subject.
Dumbledore next talked about informing the Dementors of their search and then excused himself why Severus lingered for a moment before heading out through the front of the Great Hall.
Harry rolled over onto his back and thought about the exchange.
"Well it seems like Black and Lupin did know each other back then," Harry whispered to himself.
Harry spent the rest of the night thinking about how Black, Lupin, and now Pettigrew were linked.
By the time the sunlight began to illuminate the hall Harry was still no closer into figuring out how everything was linked together.
He had, however, come to the conclusion that he was long overdue in taking Remus Lupin up on his offer and getting to know his Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor better.
Harry had a lot of questions and he was nearly positive that Lupin had at least some of the answers.
Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading.