Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter. If I did I would be a far richer man. And I'd be a woman. I also don't own Bathsheda Babbling. However with what Shiva has morphed into I probably own her.

A reminder that the specific names for runes as well as Harry's inventions are italicized.

Reviews are of course appreciated but certainly not required.

AN: This chapter includes the Talk, i.e. explanations of sex. It's labeled if you want to skip over it. This is written as pretty much the most awkward possible conversation I could imagine. Remember, the woman giving Harry this Talk is barely 20 and never expected to have to explain this stuff for at least another decade. Weep for the two poor, traumatized souls (I sure do).

Anonymous Review Responses: To Short Smasher: I understand and agree that in canon Harry is perfectly normal and not super undernourished. My Harry has been treated a bit worse than canon and is actually undernourished while with the Dursleys. He's not too much worse off than his peers but it is somewhat noticeable at least until he gets his growth spurt.

To the people asking for Harry to augment his physical/mental abilities with runes: Remember while he may be incredibly skilled with them, he is still somewhat cautious and that has such huge potential to screw him up royally if done wrong that it's not happening anytime soon. Plus I'm trying to avoid making him overpowered because a Super!Harry takes a lot of fun out of the struggles. He may be stronger and a bit smarter but he has flaws and he's not remotely invincible.

About the wills: Harry hasn't asked about his parent's wills because he honestly thinks they were destroyed like McGonagall assumed. That assumption won't be challenged for a little while.

Shiva's gender: I know Shiva is a male god, but the characters who realize that in-story currently include Padma and Parvati - and that's about it. It's an intentional error to highlight that wizards aren't exactly the most knowledgeable folks about Muggles and that Hermione isn't perfect. I already have the scene with Parvati telling them off planned but it's not til Third Year.


Chapter 5: Heirs and Affairs

Harry's knees were still hurting from his trip through the Floo to the Three Broomsticks but at least he had hit the right grate this time. 'There's got to be a better way to travel. If there isn't I'm going to make one.' Harry thought to himself trying to determine what runes could be pulled together to come up with a better system though he came up blank. 'Gotta keep working with that. I refuse to fall on my ass every time.'

"So, this sort of thing happen to you often, Harry?" Tonks asked with a smirk as they walked up to the gates of Hogwarts.

"What, the looking like an idiot thing or the horrible luck thing?" Harry asked swiping the last of the soot off his clothes.

"I was thinking the barrier thing. Don't worry about the idiot thing," Tonks snorted. "It's only a matter of time before I go falling on my face too. I'm not exactly coordinated. Comes with the territory."

"What territory?" Harry furrowed his brow and cocked his head at her. "The punk rocker territory?"

"Punk rocker?" Harry pointed to her hair and Weird Sisters shirt. "Oh, hell no. This is my favorite band. I've done the hair thing since I was toddler. My mother freaked out when I turned it blue but it always got my dad laughing. I tend to stick with pink or purple these days. It's funny to watch people's reactions."

"Turned it blue…is there a spell to change your hair color?" Harry thought back. There hadn't seemed to be anything like that in that book Lavender had gotten him but then he hadn't exactly looked for one. His hair may be messy but there was nothing wrong with the color.

"Not that I know of. It a metamorphmagus thing. It's why I trip all the time too. My body changes enough that I'm never quite used to the length of my legs or my stride."

"Metamorphmagus?" Now he just felt like an idiot. How much of this world did people expect him to just know?

"We're pretty rare." A dark look flitted across Tonks' face and Harry caught her hair shifting to jet black for an instant before both passed. "I can shift shapes into pretty much anything though there are limits. Here watch!" Her nose changed into a pig's snout and her hair switched to blond. "I'm a Malfoy!" Harry burst out laughing so hard he had to stop and hold his sides. Tonks eventually shifted back and laughed with him. "It's a lot of fun for the most part. Come on, let's get you inside the castle."

Harry was still shaking his head at the girl and laughing as they walked through the Great Hall and sat down at the Hufflepuff table. "Heh, I miss this place," Tonks sighed.

"You graduated recently?"

"Class of '91. Had a hell of time convincing the hat to put me with the Puffs though. Stupid thing wanted me to be a Gryff. Mental those." Harry lifted his eyebrows at her. "Ah crap. You're a Gryff aren't you."

He chuckled. "Doesn't mean I can't agree with you. Besides I had to argue with the Hat too. It wanted to throw me into Ravenclaw."

Tonks snorted and held up a hand. "Well here's to us, beating a stupid piece of clothing!" Harry high fived her. This girl was almost as much fun as Shiva!

As if summoned, Shiva walked into the Great Hall heading towards the Staff Table. She glanced around, noticed Tonks and Harry, nodded to them and kept walking. She made it another two steps before freezing with her foot in midair then twisted her head to stare back at the two bug eyed. Harry waved and Tonks saluted.

"Harry! Dorie!" Shiva ran over to them and pulled both into a hug. "Merlin's balls what the hell are you two doing here early? You all right Harry? Didn't get into another deathmatch with Two-Face did you?"

"Two-Face?" Harry questioned.

"Well I know you hate that I can't say his name easily – which I have actually been practicing by the way – and well…Quirrelmort did kinda have two faces so…"

"I like it, Shiva."

"You let him call you Shiva, Shiva?" Tonks turned to Harry. "What'd you get on her? I want the goods. I've been trying to get good blackmail on this girl for years."

"Never going to happen, Dorie!" Shiva crossed her arms and grinned. "Seriously though, what's a student and an Auror trainee doing here two hours early?"

"Auror?" Harry asked looking between the two.

"It's like the Muggle police. I got a badge and everything. See!" Tonks whipped out and proudly displayed her badge while Shiva just snorted.

"A trainee badge."

"Hey, I can still introduce myself as Auror Tonks, Shiva. I count it as a win," Tonks huffed with a pout.

"Considering I can't imagine how you passed the sneaking portion I can imagine."

"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up Mistress of Destruction. Harry ran afoul of a recalcitrant barrier so I'm dropping him off. Bonesy said to wait in case we have to bring Ron Weasley in. I hope not, his brothers were cool and I'd hate for them to turn their pranks on me…"

"Recalcitrant barrier? Why would you bring Ron Weasley in?" Shiva turned to Harry and just stared at him. "Jeez, kid you didn't even wait til the term started this year."

"Hey it's not my fault a house elf has decided the best way to keep me safe is to try to destroy the best part of my life. Or that Ron's an idiot and can't wait five minutes for a better option."

Shiva worked her mouth for a minute before giving up and sitting down across from them. "Let's try this again. What the hell happened?"

Tonks shrugged and pointed to Harry. "First I'm hearing about the house elf."

"When I was back with the Dursley's a house elf visited to tell me that Hogwarts wasn't safe. He was trying to convince me to stay away. The little guy practically seemed to worship me. It was a little sweet in a creepy kind of way…" Harry shrugged. "When I kept refusing to stay away from here he decided the best way to keep me away was to launch a cake into the middle of my Uncle's dinner party." Shiva's face lost a lot of color at that but Harry just shrugged. "I have to admit that was a pretty good idea even if I wanted to strangle him afterwards. Uncle Vernon got pretty mad and then the letter from the Ministry certainly didn't help. You said you were in Law Enforcement, Tonks? Do you know Mafalda Hopkirk by any chance?"

"Hopkirk?" Tonks asked taken aback by the shift in direction. "I think so…older woman, bit of bitch?"

"Yeah that'd be the one. The Ministry blamed me for the hover charm Dobby – the elf – used. I'm not even good with that charm! A Float stone sure but not the stupid hover charm itself – they have completely different signatures. I tried to get it overturned a few weeks ago but after arguing for an hour she tossed me out. Stupid woman wouldn't listen to anything I said, refused to give me any of the truth stuff I asked for and then flat out refused to talk to her boss because 'it's just a simple case of underage magic, stop fighting this so much'. Don't suppose you could talk to her for me?"

"I'll talk with Bonesy about it," Tonks frowned. "If you had a legitimate excuse or weren't responsible she's supposed to bring it up with Bonesy anyway…"

"Typical," Harry muttered with a scowl. Shiva frowned further hearing that though Tonks looked lost in thought. Harry sighed and continued. "Anyway, I'd be willing to put money on Dobby deciding that if I couldn't get through the barrier than I wouldn't be able to get to Hogwarts. He…doesn't really seem to have the best logic."

"House elves can be a little weird sometimes," Shiva admitted. "What barrier are we talking about?"

"The one to Platform Nine and Three Quarters," Harry shrugged. "It was solid when Ron and I tried to get through. Ron panicked and decided to take his dad's flying car to follow behind the train. I just went to sit on a bench until someone managed to get back through from the other side. Tonks and her boss showed up before I got bored and sent you a letter telling you I was stuck."

Shiva's mouth had dropped open in shock by the end. She turned to Tonks. "A flying car?"

"Hence why I'm waiting here," Tonks said.

Shiva banged her head on the table and groaned. "Thank you for not going with him, Harry. I think I would've had a heart attack!" Harry reached over and patted her shoulder.


Shiva ended up pulling Harry off to the side a few minutes later while Tonks went to find some food. "Harry, you said your Uncle was…upset after the cake incident…" Harry stiffened but nodded. "Did he…"

"He stopped before he went too far," Harry said softly while giving Shiva a small shake of his head. "I didn't get to eat for a few days but he still gave me water so it wasn't too bad. I got a little worried for Fred when Uncle Vernon saw the flying car as the twins rescued me but we're all fine."

"That's not – " Shiva sighed and hugged him. "You shouldn't be starved for something that is not your fault, Harry."

"It happens all the time, Shiva. I'm used to it. It doesn't matter." He was finding it easier to relax into these hugs. At least when it was just Shiva and Hermione hugging him.

"It does and you shouldn't have to be used to it." She let him go and held him at arm's length staring into his eyes. "I'm sorry I didn't come visit over the summer Harry. I…my hands were tied – "

"How?" Harry asked, cutting her off.

Shiva closed her eyes and sighed. "At the end of the year I brought up the issue of your guardians with Professor Dumbledore and it turned into a bit of a fight. By the end of it we were both shouting and he threatened to fire me if I didn't drop the matter and stay away for the summer. Something about wards being renewed being critical to your protection. I've never heard of wards that would require that though. At least not ones that would apply in your situation..."

"He threatened to fire you?" Nearly the entire modicum of respect Harry grudgingly had for the Headmaster died a fiery death in that moment.

"Yeah. And I figured it'd be better to stay here where I could be around more often. But I've been trying to look into some things and…" she sighed and pulled him back into a much shorter hug. "Look, Harry, if I can get you away from those people would you be up for it?"

Harry froze completely. He pushed back and stared at Shiva. He looked her up and down, taking in the stiffness of her body, the set of her jaw, and the slight sheen to her eyes. Slowly, ever so slowly, Harry nodded. "I would do anything short of killing somebody to get away from the Dursleys for good. I don't believe you can. I've tried before. But thank you for asking."

"You've…tried before?" Shiva asked carefully schooling her features into a neutral expression even while her voice dropped into a dangerous monotone.

Harry kept staring at her. For a full minute he stayed completely silent and still. Eventually, Harry took a deep breath and started talking. "I talked to one of the teachers at school when I found out I had a name like the other kids. He didn't believe me when I said I hadn't known it before that day. I asked the school nurse about why we got to eat so much during lunch and how much most kids get to eat. She didn't believe me when I said I usually only had one or two means a day with half portions. I talked to the Principal who said that the Dursleys were upstanding members of the community. A few months later I talked to a police officer who never came back after the first visit. I asked some shop owners in the area and they said they would never believe the words of a 'delinquent' – which was one of the stories the Dursleys liked to spread about me. I asked the parents of one of the girls at the school who promised to look into it but did nothing after that. So, yes, I've tried. And I've given up. Because nothing ever happens and I've learned I can't trust any adults. So thank you for offering, Shiva, I really do appreciate it. It's the first time someone else has said something first. But I don't believe that anything will happen this time either."

"Harry," Shiva's asked, voice still completely flat, "do you trust me?"

Harry shut his eyes and turned away. "Yes," he whispered. "I don't want to because I'm pretty sure that sooner or later you are going to hurt me just like the others but…yes."

Harry found himself enveloped in another bone-crushing hug. "I swear to you, Harry," Shiva whispered, "I am going to do my absolute best to make sure I never hurt you. I am going to figure out a way to get you the hell away from your relatives and I am going to help you with whatever else you need. You hear me, kid? I'm here for you, no matter what."

Harry nodded and some of the tension drained out of him. "Thank you."


The school year started off relatively normal despite the fun of the first day. After Ron had finally shown up – via crashing into a tree which tried to beat him and the car into paste – Amelia Bones spoke with him but let him off with a stern warning after it was confirmed that no Muggles had seen anything. Though she did promise the young Weasley that if he ever did something so stupid again…the consequences would be far more severe. The Howler from his mother was painful to listen to. Harry knew it was mostly deserved and he had no love for the redhead but…berating him in front of the whole school for something done in a panic seemed a bit harsh.

Tonks had followed through with her promise to let her boss know about the hover charm incident and by the end of the first week, Harry had received two letters from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The first was an official – if somewhat biting – apology and retraction letter from Mafalda Hopkirk which had Harry smirking. The second was one from Amelia Bones herself personally thanking Harry for letting her know about the barrier and car before it could become a problem as well as apologizing for Hopkirk's behavior. Bones had also assured Harry that Hopkirk had been placed on probation and if he had any further problems to let her know immediately and if he wasn't comfortable with that then to inform Tonks who would get in touch instead. Harry wasn't quite sure how to deal with that. Tonks was one thing as she almost seemed less mature than himself but Amelia Bones…a reasonable authority figure in an actual position of power was…something entirely new. He could be generous and say that Professor Flitwick was nice and seemed perfectly reasonable but the man had no real power. Even Shiva didn't have any actual say in the school. Amelia Bones however, did. Harry eventually resolved to wait and see how things played out.

Shiva had stayed quiet on just what she was doing concerning the Dursleys but he noticed she had started disappearing on weekends for several hours every few weeks. When asked, she just said that she was 'doing Muggle paperwork and it's far more involved than I had expected'. It gave him a warm feeling inside to know that someone besides Hermione and Neville actually seemed to be completely on his side; that someone besides them actually seemed to care.

Hermione herself had stopped trying to defend Professor Lockhart – or Flophart as Harry started calling him – after his first lesson. Once the man ran and hid from a swarm of pixies Hermione lost any potential respect for him. It was actually rather amusing. Harry and Neville had simply been content to ignore and insult him. Hermione however had gone a step further.

"Look at these dates!" Hermione said throwing two of Lockhart's books onto the library's table. Her slamming had Harry and Neville jump. It even started two girls at the next table. Harry idly noticed that they were the ones from the bookstore who had been as annoyed with Lockhart as he had been. "See here?" Harry turned back to his friend and saw her pointing at two sections, one in each book. "He says he fought the yeti at the end of August in 1989 and in this one he says he wrestled that river troll during the Algerian flood. The Algerian flood was the last week of August in 1989! These two events can't possibly have happened at the same time! He's lied!"

The blonde from the other table twisted slightly and raised her eyebrows at Hermione. "Does that really surprise you, Granger?"

"Well the man is obviously incompetent but…he's written about these things! To use inaccurate information is one thing but to outright lie? In a book?! Oh I wish I could give that man a piece of my mind!"

"Books aren't always all they're cracked up to be," the blonde's friend said hanging her head.

"Well, yes I realize that but still!"

"Hermione, there's no point in getting worked up about it. You're never going to get Flophart to admit to it and nobody is going to take our word over his," Harry said trying to placate his friend.

"Yeah, Hermione, anybody who actually talks to the man knows not to take him seriously," Neville said with a shrug. "Even Lavender has stopped gushing over his hair and is starting to grimace in his classes."

"Lavender? Seriously?" Hermione's eyes widened and her mouth fell open.

The blonde also looked intrigued. "Really, Brown isn't infatuated with fool anymore?"

"No, she isn't, Greengrass." Neville snorted. "His last test, the one that asked about his favorite color and birthday? Lavender sneered at it and muttered that the class was utterly useless for teaching any sort of defense and she might as well just go to Hermione to learn the actual material. Then she muttered how she hoped the curse got Lockhart so that they could get a competent teacher."

Greengrass blinked while Hermione just stared at Neville in shock. Harry laughed. "Wow. You just know the guy's an idiot when Lavender hates him. Though I never would have pegged her as actually wanting to learn."

"She does seem far more interested in gossip most of the time," Hermione admitted. "Well, anyway, I recommend all of you take everything he says with a grain of salt. While there are details in these books that lead me to believe at least some parts are useful, the contradictions are glaring. I'm going to go over each one and note down every section that proves he's lied. With any luck, I'll be able to get enough proof from his own works in order to expose the man."

Greengrass' friend sighed and finally turned to the rest of them. "You can do that Granger, or you could just expose the affairs he's having with the sixth and seventh years."

Hermione dropped bonelessly into a seat while Neville's mouths dropped open. Harry just looked confused. "He's doing what?" Hermione squeaked.

"We don't have proof but can you really see him not taking advantage of at least the girls of age that are throwing themselves at him? Granted he's pretty so I can't really blame them, especially since I doubt any of them expect anything serious, but it's still pretty scandalous going at it with a teacher."

"Davis, if you and Greengrass know this why haven't you told anyone?" Neville asked with a hand over his eyes.

Davis shrugged. "Well I said we have no proof. Besides what is Dumbledore going to do? He can't fire the man. There's no applicants for the job to take his place. And it's not technically illegal as long as he's careful who and where. It's just icky."

"Tracey's right," the blond girl nodded. "There's really no point in letting the information out. There's nothing to gain from it. He's a good enough spin doctor he'd probably end up looking better afterwards. I almost feel like I should be taking lessons from the man. He may be a horrible wizard but he certainly knows how to talk."

"Ugh, Daphne, I have a headache again. I'm going to head back," Tracey said rubbing her forehead.

"I'll walk with you. Good day," Daphne nodded goodbye and grabbed their things before leaving the library.

"That was Tracey Davis and Daphne Greengrass of Slytherin, correct?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah," Neville nodded. "Man, I really don't want that mental picture in my head anymore!"

"Lockhart's not dating the older girls, right?" Harry asked frowning at his book.

"No, Harry, he's not dating them." Hermione rolled her eyes.

"And you guys were obviously talking about more than just hugging and kissing."

"Yeah…" Neville said squinting over at Harry. A dawning look of understand appeared in Hermione's eyes.

"So…what's an affair then?" Harry asked trying to work out exactly what Lockhart was doing with the girls.

Neville's mouth dropped open. Hermione's eyes widened in silent horror. "Harry," she said in a careful voice, "do you know what sex is?"

"That's another word for gender," he nodded wondering where she was going with this.

"Not the noun. The verb."

"Sex isn't a verb, Hermione." Harry said as his frown deepened. Neville made a strangled sound and Hermione sighed.

"Damn those Dursleys," Hermione muttered before continuing in a normal, if slightly strained, voice. "Harry, I think you need to go and talk to either Madame Pomfrey or Shiva."

Harry's expression darkened considerably. Of course the Dursleys had forgotten to mention important pieces of information. "You can't tell me?"

Neville hurriedly shook his head so fast he probably got whiplash. Hermione twisted her hands together before replying. "I…would really prefer you ask one of them first. It's umm…I can do it…I've certainly read enough about it…but it's rather uncomfortable…especially with you…and…well look just…please?" She turned to stare at him with wide eyes and her mouth quirked just so and Harry leaned back. She knew just how to defeat him.


*START OF THE TALK*

"Shiva?" Harry said as he walking into his mentor's office. "Do you have a few minutes?"

"Sure, Harry. What's up?" Shiva asked as she pushed a few papers to the side and looked up at him.

"Well, Neville, Hermione two other girls and I were talking in the library a few minutes ago. The others started talking about Lockhart having 'affairs' with the girls in sixth and seventh years. After the other two left, I asked Hermione and Neville what they meant." Harry's brow furrowed. "She started getting really evasive and nervous and then asked whether I knew what 'sex' meant." He paused for a second as Shiva coughed and paled. "I told her that it was male vs. female but apparently that was the wrong answer. She said I should come talk to you or Madame Pomfrey but she would explain if neither of you would…so…what am I missing?"

Shiva had covered her face in her hands by this point and was muttering unintelligibly. Harry could only catch a few words, "Bastards…supposed to have years to prepare myself…need a basic class on this…" Shiva took a deep breath and slowly lowered her hands to peer critically at Harry. "Harry, you've never had a sex ed class before?" He just shook his head still looking utterly confused. "Merlin's balls. I could kill those damn Muggles…are you sure you want me talking to you about this? Madame Pomfrey would do a far better job. Hell, McGonagall would probably do a far better job. Both of them had kids. I don't exactly have much…um…experience with explaining this."

"I trust you though," Harry said simply. 'What does having kids have to do with this?' he thought to himself.

"This is likely going to be exceedingly awkward."

"I gathered that. It takes a lot to fluster Hermione about basic facts and explanations," Harry said raising his eyebrows at the older woman.

"Oh for crying out loud…fine," Shiva held up her hands before walking around the desk and collapsing into a seat near him. "If I'm going to explain this then you are going to sit there and listen understand? You are not going to run away before I get done, yes?" He nodded. "Dammit. Okay. Look, you know boys and girls have different…parts?"

"Yes, Shiva. I told you, I know about male and female sex." Harry rolled his eyes.

"Ugh. Sex has two meanings, Harry. One is gender like you're saying. The other is a verb. The act of sex."

"How can sex be an act?"

"Would you just let me explain?" Shiva grumbled. "This isn't exactly peaches and cream for me either you know. I'm 20. I'm not supposed to be explaining sex for another few years at least! Arg! Okay, let's try this again. Sex is how babies are made."

"What?" Harry just stared at her.

"When a boy and girl love each other – well actually they don't have to love each other but you really should – then they have sex. When they're ready. Generally late teens or early twenties but of course that's not a rule and there's nothing wrong with waiting."

"I don't understand. Shiva, you're not making any sense."

"Males have a penis. Females have a vagina. Tab P into Slot V, Harry."

"Tab P into…" Harry trailed off as his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

"Good. Got that. Thank god. Okay so, when a boy and girl love each other they…join…and if a boy finishes – "

"If they what?!"

"Finishes. Climaxes. Umm, have you ever woken up at night after a strange dream and your sheets were a bit sticky with white stuff instead of pee?"

"I – uh – I – yes?" Harry tried to burrow into the chair.

"That. That's called semen. And girls have eggs. But eggs that are inside of a girl's bodies. If a boy's semen is left in a girl at the right time and it comes in contact with an egg then there is chance that the girl could get pregnant with a baby."

"Oh." Harry's voice was rather high and he was trying very hard to stare at anything besides Shiva.

"Now, sex doesn't just have to be to make a baby. Actually generally it's not. It's fun and it feels good and it's a natural progression of most relationships and some people just do it sometimes because they're bored – but you shouldn't do that! You should only have sex with someone you really care about because it's a sign of trust and love and…and you shouldn't do it before you're at least a teenager!" Shiva was flailing but it helped that both Harry and herself were beet red. "Now I'm not going to tell you what age is appropriate because I'd be a hypocrite and I know what people get up to in broom closets here – "

"That's what people mean when they say 'find a broom closet'?" Harry squeaked.

"Well it's part of it. Generally people don't go all the way in broom closets. It's not exactly comfortable or romantic in those. Rather cramped. I don't recommend it." Shiva slapped a hand to her head. Now she was giving recommendations to a 12 year old? "Arg, forget I said that. There are other things you can do rather than full on sex. It's called foreplay or fooling around. Touching a girl's breasts or her private area or her touching your privates. Or even just kissing. Kissing can be extremely satisfying too for a couple."

"Oh," Harry said trying very hard to sound normal. And failing rather spectacularly.

"Yeah so that's about it. Well actually I suppose that's not totally it because there are other types of sex. There's oral sex where one of the partners uses their mouth and then there's anal sex where instead of using the girl's vagina you use her arse instead and then there's group sex which is when there's more than just two people involved and you can always use toys or something – but the Muggle stuff doesn't work here so it cuts out some of the fun – and then there's bondage which is just tying someone up – but if you do that you want to have safe words so everyone knows it's too far and to immediately stop – and um…" Shiva trailed off staring very intently at the wall above Harry's head.

"Anything else?" Harry asked quietly desperately praying this conversation could be over.

"No, I think that's about it," Shiva said nodding hurriedly. "Oh! Wait! You started asking about Lockhart having affairs? That wouldn't surprise me but it's sleazy. An affair is a term for having sex secretly or cheating on your spouse. And you should never have sex with a teacher. It's an abuse of power on their part and bad. We can't really punish it because the wizarding world is kind of backwards on some things but that doesn't mean you should do it!"

Harry just nodded hurriedly. 'Please stop talking,' he silently pleaded.

"Okay I think that's it. If you have any questions come and ask. I'm not going to teach you the contraceptive charm until you are at least 14 got it? I'd prefer 15 but your best female friend is almost a year older so I'm going to be at least somewhat realistic here and – "

"Hermione!?" Harry blurted out as his features twisted in horror desperately trying not to imagine his best friend doing those things.

"Yes, Hermione. It's a chance at least. Though I suppose she'll probably already know it by then anyway, but still, the guy should always know it as well! You can't be too careful and the last thing you need is to become a father as a teenager!"

"Are we done? Can we be done? Please?"

"Yeah, yeah I think we're done. Ask Hermione or Pomfrey for some books. I have absolutely no idea what is good to read beyond romance novels which are utterly useless for realistic information…" Shiva finally managed to look down at Harry who reluctantly met her gaze. "I did tell you this was going to be exceedingly awkward."

"I'll listen to you next time," Harry muttered as he got up and hurried to the door. Just before slipping out Harry turned back to glance at her. "Err, thanks, Shiva. That was…probably better than going to Madame Pomfrey." With that he practically ran out the door and back to the tower.

Shiva slumped down in her chair and eyed the cabinet with her firewhiskey. "Merlin. I haven't even officially gotten custody of the kid yet and I'm already giving him the Talk…"

*END OF THE TALK*


Harry had avoided being alone with Hermione for several days after that and it didn't pass unnoticed. Eventually on Halloween his friend stopped him while they were heading down to the feast.

"Harry, this is ridiculous. You have to stop avoiding me sometime!" she said glaring at him.

"I'm not avoiding you," he muttered.

"You are."

"Technically I'm avoiding most girls…" he said trying to appease her.

Hermione just huffed. "Well that's just stupid. Obviously you talked with Shiva. Nobody's just going to jump you. Not for another few years at least. I mean – you're cute and all and – oh Merlin I can't believe I just said that – look, Harry, you can't avoid talking to girls just because you understand the Birds and the Bees now!"

'She thinks I'm cute?' Harry's brain caught on that part of the statement and he turned his head to stare up at her. Neville nearby had his hand over his mouth and was shaking with muffled laughter. "Thanks for the support, Nev." Harry glared at his friend. "Fine, Hermione. I apologize for avoiding you. I'll promise to stop doing that. Now can we please go – I'm starving and the feast is – "

{Hunnngry. Foood. Kiiilllll…}

"Kill?" Harry frowned and stared at the wall where he heard the voice.

"What?" Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. "Harry?"

{There! Food! Kill! Eat!}

"No! Come on! We have to stop it!"

"Stop what?" Neville shouted after Harry as he tore off down the corridor after the voice. Harry heard his friends pounding along behind him but he focused on the voice trying to follow it.

"Harry! What's going on?!" Hermione yelled as Harry rounded the corner. He stopped dead and his friends plowed into his back. "Harry?" Harry just lifted a finger to point at the nearby wall and Neville and Hermione both gasped.

On the wall written in what looked like blood were the words: THE HEIR OF SLYTHERIN HAS REOPENED THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. ALL ENEMIES BEWARE. Below the dripping words, Mrs. Norris lay on the floor next to a small puddle of water. She was completely frozen solid.


"Harry, my boy," Dumbledore said with soft smile from behind his desk. "I'm sure you can understand why we are having this meeting."

"I'm not your boy, Professor," Harry said firmly, the rage in his voice audible. He had sat down in the chair across from Dumbledore after being brought the office thanks to discovering Mrs. Norris. Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, was perched on Harry's shoulder softly crooning to the youth. He was a beautiful bird and was at least somewhat helping Harry's nerves to calm down.

"Why you little – " Snape sneered from behind Dumbledore's shoulder.

"What are you even doing here? Sir?" Harry said glaring at the Potions Master.

"Harry, I trust Professor Snape, I assure you he – "

"I don't see what that has to do with anything, Headmaster." Harry turned his glare on Dumbledore. "If I'm going to be interrogated shouldn't my Head of House be here? Or Professor Babbling?"

"Babbling has even less reason to be present than I do!" Snape snarled. Harry met his gaze and felt his head start to ache. "I can't believe the arrogance you display!"

"Well I trust Professor Babbling. If the Headmaster is allowed to bring in someone he trusts who has nothing to do with this then I should be allowed to bring in someone I trust who has nothing to do with it." Harry rubbed his forehead still glaring at Snape. "And you admit that you have no reason to be here?"

"That's enough, Harry," Dumbledore said firmly. "Now if you would please tell me what happened…"

"I already told you with everyone else down there. I heard a voice that sounded like it came from the walls. I ran after it and we found Mrs. Norris. The end. If you don't believe me ask Hermione and Neville."

"They heard no such voice," Snape said with a look of supreme satisfaction.

"Doesn't change the fact that I did. Are you going to give me detention for hearing voices now? Or maybe you're going to take points for being not being at the Feast?"

"Everyone is required to attend the Halloween Feast, Harry. It is a celebration." Dumbledore smiled down at him but Harry just scowled.

"A celebration. Sure. Everyone seems to forget that I hate this day."

"The Dark Lord was vanquished today you insolent little – " Snape started but Harry cut him off.

"And my parents died today! Today was the day I was sent to live with my relatives because my parents were murdered!" Harry yelled. He completely missed the door opening behind him and a teacher stepping into the office. "Today was the day I watched Dudley go out year after year in costume after costume while I got locked back up in my stupid little cupboard! Today was the day Hermione almost died last year! And now I can say that today was the day I apparently started going insane and hearing voices no one else can hear!"

"Harry," Dumbledore started but trailed off as Professor McGonagall laid a hand on Harry's shoulder not occupied by Fawkes. Harry cringed down into the seat immediately falling quiet though Fawkes nuzzled against his cheek. McGonagall to her credit immediately lifted her hand as she noticed Harry's reaction.

"I believe that is enough, Albus." The Gryffindor Head of House turned her withering stare onto first Snape and then Dumbledore. "Mrs. Norris was petrified with something very strong and likely very dark. No second year could know how to do this. Harry and his friends have shown a remarkable proclivity to being in the wrong place at the right time. This is clearly yet another instance of his particular brand of luck manifesting. If you have no further questions, I will take my lion back to his dormitory."

"Of course, Minerva. Have a pleasant evening, Harry," Dumbledore nodded to Harry with that annoying ever present twinkle still present. Harry just scowled at him and Snape before following McGonagall out.

"Thanks, Professor," Harry muttered as they walked away from the Gargoyle.

"I never did apologize for my actions last year, Mr. Potter. I was wrong to brush off your concerns," Harry frowned. Since when did adults apologize to him? "I know you speak with Professor Babbling about things every once in a while. I want you to know that if you feel the need, my door is open as well. I may be...set in my ways but I can promise you that I will listen to any issues you have in the future, Mr. Potter. You are one of my better students. I would hate to think I lost you because of one foolish mistake."

"I…" Harry cocked his head at her. "Thank you. I'm probably going to keep going to Professor Babbling, Ma'am, but…if the Headmaster calls me in again I would appreciate if you would be there to back me up again like earlier."

McGonagall nodded thoughtfully. "I always endeavor to support my lions if they are in the right, Mr. Potter. As your Head of House I should have been present in that meeting to begin with. If something similar occurs in the future, know that you are allowed to refuse to say anything until I arrive."

"Yes, Ma'am." The tension in his shoulders had started to lessen. This change in Professor McGonagall was interesting. 'Maybe Shiva talked to her?'

The two fell into silence until they approached the portrait into the Gryffindor tower. "I hope the rest of your evening improves somewhat, Mr. Potter. Have a pleasant night."


"Excuse me? Professor Babbling?" Hermione asked hesitantly. She poked her head around the corner of the office door. "May I come in?"

Shiva frowned looking at one of Harry's friends. The girl hadn't ever come to talk to her before…"Of course, Miss Granger. Please take a seat. How can I help you?"

"Well…it's about Harry…" Hermione wrung her hands clearly uncomfortable with bringing this up.

"Okay." Shiva sighed. Of course it was about Harry. Judging from the nervousness of Hermione though it wasn't something small or typical. "Why don't you tell me what's wrong, Miss Granger."

"I…I'm not…" Hermione took a deep breath, smoothed her robes and stared at Shiva with a firm expression. "I'm worried about him. I know he speaks with you but I'm not sure if he's been in the past few days. Has he mentioned at all about hearing a voice in the walls?"

"It came up yeah," Shiva said nodding.

"Neither Neville nor I heard it. However we don't believe Harry is making it up either. I've been searching for things that might have caused that but I can't find anything. He's scared and I want to help but I don't know what to do at this point. Nothing in the library has anything that might indicate why Harry could hear voices that we couldn't and I need some method to help him."

"I admit, Miss Granger," Shiva said with a small smile, "I'm a little surprised you've come to talk to me about this. I would've bet you'd go to Professor McGonagall."

"Normally I would have but…well I already feel like I'm going behind his back as it is just coming to you and I know he has a close relationship of sorts with you."

"Not as close as he does with you and Neville."

"I think you underestimate the amount of influence you have over him, Professor, but I am not here to talk about that. Harry trusts you. I know he wouldn't want me to speak of this with anyone really but I also need to help him and I feel like if I spoke with you he'd understand."

Shiva regarded the younger girl before nodding. "I think you underestimate yourself as well, Hermione. I assume you've checked most of the sensory reference books as well as the divination sections?" Hermione nodded. "If it helps I've done a bit of reading myself over the past few days and come up blank as well. I don't think there is much either of us can really do at this point except be there if he needs us."

"He is not going crazy." Hermione said with a harsh glare.

Shiva just held up her hands in response. "I don't believe that is the case anymore than you do. Just like neither of us believe that stupid rumor about him being the Heir of Slytherin."

"Yes, that certainly doesn't help matters. Professor…" Hermione trailed off again looking even more uncomfortable than before. "…Harry has…at times…I am worried that his relatives are – unhealthy – for him."

Shiva snorted. "Well that's certainly a far tamer word than I would use." Hermione's eyes widened as she looked up to the Professor. "Has he said anything specific about them to you? I've been careful not to push too hard but it would make things easier if I had more details."

Hermione shook her head somewhere between bewilderment and hope. "Nothing specific, no. Mostly just vague comments every now and then and my own suspicions. He…does not like being touched. He doesn't seem to shy away from me anymore which I've taken as a good sign but still…Fred and George have also informed me that he was locked in his room with bars on the window when they rescued him. I confronted Harry about that but he simply said 'I'll have a better plan next time'. I don't want him to go back to those…people."

"You and me both, kid," Shiva sighed. "I was hoping you had more details. Look I'm working on a way to get him out from under them but it's slow going. I don't have too much experience in the Muggle world and I can't use magic for this because it has to be completely above board. I don't want to tell Harry and get his hopes up for nothing, but I should know for sure in another few weeks if it'll work. After I tell him, I'll have him tell you okay? If I have anything to say about it that kid is going nowhere near those relatives of his again."

Hermione sighed in relief. "Thank you, Professor."

"We both want what's best for Harry. If you, Neville or Harry find out anything else – about anything we talked about – then please don't hesitate to come talk to me, okay?" Hermione nodded in reply and walked out, her shoulders considerably less tense.


Harry had actually been looking forward to this duel. Even finding out that the Club was being run by Snape and Flophart instead of Flitwick hadn't really dampened his enthusiasm too much. At the very least he could've used the opportunity to show off the disarming spell that Flitwick had taught him last year and make Malfoy look like a fool. Maybe he could've gotten even luckier and carefully tossed one of his Slugvomit runestones at his 'rival', the idiot or the greasy git! He really had to remember to thank Ron for that idea. His backfiring spell from a few weeks ago had certainly given Harry a fun idea for a prankstone. Fred and George were loving it too. Especially since Harry had managed to figure out how to make his special prankstones disintegrate after use. It was a bit annoying having to etch new ones each time but it left no evidence behind. And it held promise for using other materials for the shorter duration prankstones.

Unfortunately, before his duel with Malfoy had even started Snape had apparently given the blond ponce a fancy conjuration spell. The large snake that Draco formed was somewhat impressive, Harry gave him that. However it was also completely useless. Why bother fighting with something that had a brain of its own? When Harry glared at it, the snake slithered into the crowd. It looked like it was going to end up attacking one of the Hufflepuffs though, so Harry was forced to yell out to it.

{Hey! Leave him alone.}

{Ssspeaker?} the snake turned to Harry and bobbed it head.

{If you want to attack anyone, then attack the blond idiot up here. He was the one who summoned you.} Harry said gesturing to Malfoy. Harry didn't notice that the entire Hall had gone so quiet you could probably hear a quill drop. {However as much as he is an idiot I'd recommend just heading out into the forest. There's lot of food out there.}

{Very well, Ssspeaker.} The snake started to slither down the line of people towards the main doors when Snape finally roused himself and strode forward, vanishing the serpent.

"Hey!" Harry yelled at his hated potions' teacher, hands clenched. "Why did you that? It wasn't hurting anyone!"

"It was a dangerous serpent, Potter," Snape said with a sneer.

"It was just – "

"Be quiet, boy!" Harry flinched at that comment then scowled at himself. "15 points from Gryffindor for talking back to Professor!"

Lockhart came forward, his ever present grin perhaps a bit forced. "Yes, well I believe we've all experienced enough excitement for the evening. I call the session of the Dueling Club to a close!"

Whispers broke out around the Hall as Harry started to walk back to his friends. They had barely left the room before Malfoy called out, "Potter! How's it feel to wield some power for once?" Malfoy laughed at him while Hermione and Neville stepped up to Harry's side. "Going to set your pet snake on the Mudblood there next time?"

"How dare you!" Neville yelled striding forward face quickly turning red. Harry was a bit slower on the uptake but quickly moved to support his friend. He may not have recognized the slur but he figured it was bad to get Neville that mad that fast.

"Nev?"

"Hermione. He's saying Hermione has dirty blood," Neville hissed through clenched teeth. His wand's tip was glowing white in his clenched hand. Harry's face froze and he turned to stare at Malfoy.

"Careful there, Longbottom, Potty," Malfoy said with a mocking grin. "Professor Snape is just – "

"Catch!" Harry thumbed the activator on the Slugvomit and tossed it at Malfoy's head. The blond proved his intelligence by reaching up a hand to grab the projectile. Harry's grin had an evil little fringe to it as the runestone sent a dull yellow glow into Malfoy's hand. The smirk on the boy's face was wiped away an instant later as the runestone disintegrated and he doubled over throwing up slugs all over the hallway. "You might want to wash your mouth out Malfoy." Harry turned and stalked away with Neville and Hermione following along after a final glance at the Slytherin.

None in either group noticed Daphne and Tracey watching the confrontation from the sidelines. "I have to admit, I'm impressed," Daphne said to her friend. "I know there have been some rumors about Potter but between the snake and how he handled Malfoy…he has a lot more potential than I had expected. Right, Trace?" Tracey barely even responded, she just kept staring at the floor in front of them. "Trace?"

"What?" Tracey looked up, shook her head and focused on her friend. "Oh, right. Potter. Yeah, that was pretty cool. It's nice to see the ponce taken down a peg even if it is by a Gryff. We should really be able to police our own."

"Agreed." Daphne nodded and started to walk back to the dungeons with her friend. "Being a parseltongue isn't going to do the boy any favors though."


"I can't stand this!" Harry snarled as he slammed his book closed causing Neville and Hermione to jump. "There's nothing on the Chamber. There's nothing on the lineage of Salazar Slytherin. There's nearly nothing on parseltongue beyond 'a very rare ability to speak to snakes'. REAL helpful there!"

"Harry, you need to calm down," Hermione said reaching for his arm.

"Don't tell me to calm down, Hermione! You're not the one that half the school is looking at like an insane Dark wizard! And if I can't prove I'm not then what the hell am I supposed to do?!"

"Harry, we know this is frustrating," Neville said in an overly calm voice, "but throwing a temper tantrum isn't going to help at all."

"I know!" Harry flopped down into his seat, crossed his arms and scowled. "I know – I'm sorry. I'm just tired of them all whispering behind my back and running the other way when I walk down the corridor."

"Harry…I've been thinking…" Hermione ventured softly. Harry and Neville turned to her with raised eyebrows. "Well…it's possible the Slytherins know more about who the Heir is then they let on right? I mean it would stand to reason that the Heir would be in their house after all. So…what if we snuck in and got them to talk?"

"What like use the Ninja or my dad's Cloak?" Harry asked leaning in.

"Well we could do that but we couldn't really interact with them or steer the conversation at all…so I was thinking," Hermione said taking a deep breath. "What if we used polyjuice?"

Neville whistled. "Merlin. We are a horrible influence on you, Hermione."

"What's polyjuice?" Harry asked looking between the two.

"It's a potion," Hermione explained. "It's a potion that when you drink it it will turn you into someone else. You need a bit of the target. Either a hair, skin or blood sample though I imagine hair is the least disgusting. It takes some time to brew and there are some rather rare materials…"

"Hermione, you know that's supposed to be a NEWT level potion right?" Neville asked.

Harry on the other hand was trying to decide if there was an easier way. 'An Illusion, twined with a Physical wrapped in a Alteration and…' He sighed. "Damn. I think I might be able to make a runestone that could do something similar but I don't think we'd be able to use too many spells without dissolving it. And it would have to be keyed to a specific target which couldn't be changed without an entirely new etching. It's probably easier just to brew the potion."

Hermione nodded while Neville just shook his head. "You guys really are insane. Oh well, if we're going to do this let me know which ingredients we need to owl order."


Thanks to RhysThornbery for the continuing beta help.

Recommendation for this chapter: Hope by Jeconais. This is set in a bit of an AU but it's not too far off canon. It's a Harry/Gabrielle fic with Veela bonding. It's set after the war so no Voldemort but Dumbledore is still manipulating up a storm. It's extremely well written with very fleshed out characters. The fic focuses a lot on Quidditch and the growing relationship and is overall extremely sweet. It's not hosted on this site though so just google it instead.