AN: I had a guest reviewer leave a very nice breakdown for Chapter 6 showing my thought processes regarding Sal and the Avada Kedavra. And they're exactly right in that some of Sal's notes on the spell were found but the spell was then reversed engineered (poorly). There is indeed far more that can be done with the Avada than the magical world knows, especially if it is used by a Slytherin against another.
It has been (kindly) pointed out that the Marauder Map made an appearance in the first chapter. What I somehow failed to make clear was that Harry didn't keep the item but used masking Charms and had it given back. Mea Culpa.
There is a poll on my profile page asking over what you'd like to see for Rebirth's Tri-Wizard experience. For those keeping up with my account, I've added a tier that will allow people to read over spoiler thoughts for my stories.
Not entirely happy with this chapter. I feel like there are plenty of roads it could have gone down and I ended up middling all the options.
Thoughts / "emphasis" / Title of Books or spells used
Best Laid Plans of Rats and Snakes
8th November 1993
It was through the offering of love, devotion, and eternal enslavement to the High Priestess Pomfrey that allowed Harry to get to the Great Hall for breakfast. That and a promise to take it easy with magic outside of class and to see her at the end of the day to reassess his shoulders. Whatever reaction Harry had expected when the school would see him since the match, it was nothing like he got.
His arrival for breakfast went completely ignored. A full Great Hall had no interested in the appearance of the Boy-Who-Lived as everyone was staring at another Gryffindor in that horrific 'I can't look away' mouth agape look. Sal's eyes met those of his brother across the room and both thought the same thing.
Here we go again.
Hermione Granger, the student at the top of the rankings for their year group and the most mis-Sorted Ravenclaw there had ever been, was currently explaining what each piece of breakfast food was and what it tasted like only to then cut up a piece and feed it to the eagerly waiting Leo. Sal considered running away but ultimately decided to bravely walk into the insanity.
"Won't Crookshanks get jealous?" He asked as he was getting seated across from the slightly insane woman. Harry couldn't even glare at the feline the size of a large kitten since he knew it wasn't Leo's fault. But he did make sure to ignore its disturbing smirk.
"Pffft," Helga's articulate replay came with a lazy wave of the hand as she gave Leo some dry cereal. "Crooks knows where his best food comes from."
Harry and Neville shared glances as Luna's giggles broke out from her failed self-cast silencing charm. There was really no talking to their friend when she was like this.
The sound of McGonagall's steps was loud as people continued to watch the broom-wreck of Helga Hufflepuff around an animal she had fallen in love with. "Miss Granger, the rules are very clear. You can't have two cats unless one is your familiar."
The cat Animagus took a startled step back when Hermione and Leo looked up in stereo and hissed at their Head of House. Hermione's hair even briefly flattened to mimic Leo's ears dropping back.
"He's mine, Professor," Neville quickly announced before things escalated. "Hermione is just… looking after Leo for me."
Cue Luna collapsing off her seat, drawing blood from her lip from biting it so hard from holding in the laughter.
"Don't worry, I left Trevor at home," he continued before the Professor could bring up his infamous pet. "He's being a good guard-toad right now."
"And what is it Trevor needs to be guarding?" She said, not realising exactly what she had just asked the boy.
Minerva had just been sworn at by a student in Cat-speak and from a pet possessing the most atrocious Latin accent she had ever heard. That the cat in question knew she was Scottish and was decrying her poor stock made it somewhat difficult for the usually put together Deputy Headmistress to remain focused. She never noticed the sound of wings fluttering until the post owls entered her line of sight and the familiar form of Hedwig perched herself on Harry's shoulder.
"My parents, Professor," Neville beamed, just as an inarticulate gurgling scream of some emotion came from Snape when the man saw the Prophet's headline. "Lord Slytherin not only managed to wake them up but they're now on a special potion regimen that will make them better than ever."
"I still say there's something wrong with the man," Harry mused, watching the one-armed Snape stumbling out of the Great Hall through one of the side doors. It would be the last time Snape was seen in the school as a member of staff. "He's a Master Occlumens yet he can't hold his emotions in check. It's simply not the done thing."
It was a shell-shocked McGonagall who left the quartet as Dumbledore gaped like a village idiot at the paper. With something new to catch their attention, the students of Hogwarts eagerly discussed the new article, the noise of their excited gossiping hiding the fact that Hermione was now reading the paper to Leo while Hedwig had chosen to do the same to her human. Harry merely accepted the hoots and parks and listened as the owl threw out her own opinions on everything.
The entire day saw Sebastian bouncing on the shelf he occupied while Cassie's magic swirled and sang through every stone in delight from having her parents back together.
Harry had pulled Luna aside before they went their separate ways to show her the Marauder's Map. The original Ravenclaw immediately saw the potential and threat of such an item and promised to work on improving and duplicating the heirloom. Sal didn't have the heart to warn her about the complete mess of Charms layered into the parchment that had half of the spells cancelling parts of the other half out. He decided to let her find that gem out on her own.
The Founders had never needed such an object in their time. Their personal quarters held true maps of Hogwarts that included up to date information on all the hidden tunnels as well as the state of the wards, but they had not thought to include where people within the school were. Their link to Cassie could tell them the same information.
Potions was a complete nonstarter with Snape not showing up and a check with the wards announced that the bastard had left the school with his personal quarters striped bare. Harry got a nod from Hermione and knew she'd slip him the time-turner before the end of the day to allow Sal Slytherin to take the Potions Professor position by morning. The non-class had one curious thing in that Draco Malfoy keep looking between a crumbled letter and Harry with the most peculiar look in his grey eyes.
If Sal was being generous, he'd say the boy actually looked like he was thinking!
This conclusion was borne out by the double elbows the blond received from Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott as the class made to leave the room once the end of lesson bell had sounded. No one outside of Ron Weasley had suggested they leave before then even with no Snape turning up. They weren't that foolish.
"Heir Potter," Malfoy coughed, stepping into Harry's path with the other two Slytherins behind him. Hermione and Neville immediately mirrored their positions. "I request a meeting between us under a banner of peace."
"We've still got a full day's schedule, Heir Malfoy," Harry smoothly answered, not bothering telling the nervous boy that he was Lord Potter. "There's a Duelling Club room not far from Professor Flitwick's office. Why don't the three of you meet us there say six? I'll inform Flitwick it's House business and he'll cover us for our Astrology lessons. That's four hours for us to hash out anything that needs to be said before curfew."
The trio looked startled at his immediate acceptance and it was Nott who voiced one of their questions. "You're inviting us?"
"You two are friends of Heir Malfoy," Harry answered, keeping to the formal tone as was the right thing to do. While they were standing in the position of simple backup, their body languages were screaming loyalty regardless of their cool personas. "And I get the impression it will be easier for him to speak with you there."
"And will Heir Longbottom and Miss Granger be there as well?" Blaise asked.
¬¬ Just how close is your mother to the main branch of House Innocenti, Heir Zabini? ¬¬ Sal returned in perfect, if slightly old-fashioned Italian. The dark-skinned boy blinked at the question and his widening of eyes was enough to give the answer. Which mean Blaise understood the links between Sal's Houses and Neville.
"Then yes, the six of us will be there under a banner of peace. I'll request Charms Master Flitwick to go through the room to remove any potential spells and cover it in privacy Charms before we enter. Is that good for you, Heir Malfoy, son of Daughter of Black?"
If Harry's attitude had surprised the Slytherin trio, it was nothing compared to his remark linking Draco's actions and his mother's House. The blond could only thank Harry in a quick stammer before rushing out of the room with Nott and Zabini following.
"How did you know?" Hermione asked, holding Leo as they waited a polite amount of time before heading towards their next class.
"Draco's attitude was pure Lucius before October," Neville answered easily. "Yet Harry smacks him down for disgracing his family name and he spends the entire month getting letters from the same raven that delivers his home-made sweets. He's been asking Lady Narcissa for advice."
Harry merely nodded at his brother's answer and then smirked. "And I caught her signature on the letter he was holding."
The new and improved Hermione shocked her classmates once more when the fourth lesson came around and Professor McGonagall flat out refused to let her bring Leo to class. Hermione Granger, the woman's best student, pouted and held up the cat as though asking the Transfiguration Professor how she could refuse such an adorable animal. McGonagall was unable to explain that the animal in question had moved on from badmouthing the fact she was Scottish and was now proclaiming how she wouldn't know the first thing about being a feline no matter what her Animagus form took. And was giving graphic details on the joys and pitfalls of feline sex.
No one understood why McGonagall spluttered, got red in the cheeks, and ultimately threatened to give anyone who brought the purring and cutely meowing cat into her room a year's detention and docked any House Points they received for the remainder of their time at Hogwarts.
Hermione was forced to leave Leo outside while Neville frowned at the closed door, wondering what sort of mischief his familiar was getting up to without him knowing. Harry, knowing the chaos his own familiars could cause, mentally smirked and remembered he had been attempting to find a way of creating a feline version of Parseltongue and Parsel Magic. Might need to get that restarted sooner rather than later.
"Was she always like that?" The half-goblin Professor asked when Harry tracked him down after Transfiguration, thankfully finding the man in his office rather than having lunch elsewhere. The reborn Slytherin didn't need to ask who the question was about.
"Almost from the beginning," he chuckled, thinking back to the time two twenty-something men had been given three young teenage girls to look after. "Rowena and Morgana liked animals well enough, but Helga was from a small village and had grown up among the livestock before her magic revealed itself. When Ignotus rescued them from Uther's forces after they destroyed the Grymm Coven, Helga used her love of animals as a healing aid. "
"Is the age difference why you and she never…?" Sal's eyes snapped to the Flitwick's, demanding answers to the man's knowledge. "How you and Godric accepted Mates that were not those you wanted is still spoken about as an example of how to honour contracts no matter personal feelings."
"Godric and I fell in love with the girls, but he already had the contract with Astrid Longbottom and I refused to act until Helga had healed. By that time, I saved Belladonna Innocenti's life and it became too late."
"Forgive an old goblin for bringing up bad memories."
Harry waved the man's concerns away even though his eyes had turned hard at the subject. "We did our duty, Professor. It's what this time has forgotten about us, me especially. We had duties to perform and did them for those who couldn't aid themselves. Regardless of my personal pain, I would change almost nothing about my life."
Filius Flitwick was wise enough not to ask about the 'almost' part of the statement. "What is it that has you seeking me out today?"
"Two things, Charms Master," Harry answered, his dark mood fading as he focused on the here and now. "Luna and I would like you to sponsor a Defence club for us to aid our fellow students. No one bothered to teach anyone here how to cast a Patronus while the Dementors gave everyone nightmares so that's going to be the first lesson."
Flitwick didn't bother asking one of the famous educators if he was sure on teaching young students how to cast such a powerful Charm. "I wanted to, but I was overruled by the Headmaster. Why haven't you gone to Professor Lupin about this? He is teaching DADA this year."
"This year," Harry scoffed. "Besides, this way it lets you throw in some Duelling practice."
The two shared a smirk at the point only for the Charms Professor to frown. "You not asking Professor Lupin wouldn't have anything to do with his condition, would it?"
Because Flitwick was not going to be stupid enough to think Salazar Slytherin hadn't worked out the man was a werewolf. Harry was shaking his bead before the question was even finished.
"No, it's got to do with the fact the man was a known close friend of my father yet hasn't even told me he knew the Potters socially. Let alone on such a personal level that James Potter et al would become Animagi to keep the sod company on the full moon."
Flitwick frowned at what he was hearing. While he had been able to tell Harry some stories of Lily Evans, the Marauders were not students he had known outside of classes nor did he know anything about their extra-curricular activities. In fact, most of Harry's learning about his father and the Marauders came from late night conversations with Sebastian and those were limited to fragments and not complete tales. If Lupin had not even approached his best friend's son, then Filius could understand why the boy wouldn't go to him.
"Very well, I accept. I'll need a study plan for what you and Miss Lovegood are planning on teaching. What of the second thing?"
"Heir Draco Malfoy has requested a banner of peace meeting between us and some associates. I would like you to perform spells on the Duelling Club's meeting room to prove it's a safe neutral ground, cast the requisite security spells, and cover us for Professor Sinistra this evening."
The half-goblin couldn't agree to the request fast enough.
The mostly forgotten Duelling Club room had been swept clean and security charmed by the eager Flitwick who then set himself up in a corner with some marking. When given a look by the three students, the half-goblin merely smirked back.
"I won't hear what is being said and I won't be able to read your lips, but if you think I'm leaving the leaders of Gryffindor and Slytherin alone in a room without adult supervision, you've been at Hagrid's ale reserves."
Neither side argued that they weren't leaders of their respective Houses nor that the Professor didn't have a point. Harry sat and stared at his somewhat rival and waited, arms lazily folded to as he leant back in the chair. None noticed Harry's finger flicking as he brought down the spells keeping Flitwick from hearing them. When Draco simply squirmed under the gaze, Harry turned to the dark-skinned Italian.
"Perhaps we should forget about how things are usually done in situations like these," he suggested. "And one of you simply begins at the beginning?"
The three snakes shared looks and nodded. Blaise sighed at the way the other two obviously expected him to be the one who spoke.
"You three have to understand that there is no talking about before the war in Slytherin. The politics and actions of the Blood War have coloured Slytherin House more than the other three. We only learn what our parents wish us to know about the 'before.'"
"And that can be highly censured," Malfoy ground out, obviously angered at his own training. "All I was told about my family was how great my Father was and how powerful he had made our House. I know Theo's father focuses on the Dark Lord's goals and putting Mud…Muggle-borns in their place."
The blond was forced to correct himself at the three glares and sniffed as though the looks didn't scare him witless.
"And my mother has to teach me about our links to Innocenti so there are some things she simply has to ignore about the politics of here," Zabini finished.
"So, when Harry brought up all that family history," Neville said, leaning forward with a look of horror on his face. "You knew nothing about it?"
"Nothing," Draco snarled, his nostrils flaring in a good imitation of the creature he was named after. "My father took over my education when I turned six or seven. I can barely remember anything my mother taught me before that."
"Bloody hell," Harry huffed, not believing his ears. His head rolled back and stared at the ceiling in deep thought. "And you've been trying to get caught up through talking with your mother?"
He didn't see Draco's nod, but he heard the disgust in the boy's voice. "Mother said that it was only the Malfoy history that their marriage happened. Her sister skipped out on the proposed contract to marry a… Muggle-born and left Mother to take it up."
"Andromeda Black marrying Ted Tonks, right," Neville nods, remembering his political history lessons from Augusta. "It was a scandal for the then current Black members because of the political climate but the real issue was that the marriage happened without the Lord Black's say so. It's not as though Blacks have never married below their station for love before. The man's blood status wouldn't have made difference once they found out the baby was a Metamorphmagus. Nymphadora Tonks, she was a seventh year when we started."
"Wait, Nymphadora?" Sal laughed, almost falling off his chair at the name. He had been rocking back as he listened to everyone speak and hadn't expected to hear that name.
"Yes, Harry, Nymphadora," Neville answered with a smirk, knowing why Sal found it so amusing.
The three Slytherins were giving them blank looks and Sal shook his head in disgust. "Alright, quick recap time and a reason why knowing your family's history is so damn important. Have the three of you heard of Most Ancient House of Grymm?"
"It disappeared around the time of the Founders," Theo Nott answered, speaking up for the first time. History was his secret passion and he had always been curious about the disappearances of the older Houses.
"Malodora Grymm invented the first charmed mirror and would marry King Ecgberht in 803 at the ripe old age of sixteen," Harry informed the non-Awakened members of the room. Only he caught the glint of excitement in Flitwick's eyes that all Ravenclaws got when new knowledge was being learned. "She would give birth to Aethelwulf Grymm of Wessex, the father of Alfred the Great, and Alburga Grymm. Her younger sister by two years was Morianda Grymm and would be an ambassador to foreign magicals so the King of Wessex had some understanding of a world he wasn't a part of. Yes, Draco, that means Malodora married a Muggle
"During one of Morianda's interactions with a Greek Lord, she found herself pregnant. Nymphodora Grymm was born in 805 and was a true Metamorphmagus without any base form," Harry's speech had captivated the two on either side of Malfoy, but Draco was still sneering at the thought of a Grymm laying with a Muggle. "The reason this is highly important is that upon Ecgberht's death, everyone bar Aethelwulf as he took the throne of Wessex returned to our world and back to the Grymm Coven, an enclave that taught magic and was the inspiration for Hogwarts. Nymphodora would live until 960 where she died in childbirth from a surprise Beltane pregnancy. The woman had made herself younger for Beltane but not for giving birth and her body couldn't cope with having twins at that age. Twins that history would eventually come to call Morgana Le Fey and Rowena Ravenclaw."
The Slytherins were captured by the story, as was Flitwick who was having to use all his skill to keep from revealing his thoughts and giving away the fact he was able to hear everything.
"The reason the Lord Black back then should not have cared about Andromeda's actions once her child was born, regardless of who the father was, is that the daughter may just be able to take up the mantle of Le Fey, or at the very least reclaim the title of Grymm. Neither have a Daughter of House Black been able to claim since Rowena's daughter Leda was blood adopted by Morgana the night before she married Wulfric the Black, a descendant of Alburga Grymm. You and I, Draco Malfoy, are descended from a Muggle King as well as both Ravenclaw and Le Fey. How's that for the power of the Malfoy line?"
The history lesson might have been a bit harsh, but it got its point across. A pale Draco was gaping like a fish and the other two Slytherins weren't doing much better. Neville took over the tag-teaming to keep the trio off balance.
"And that's why Lady Narcissa was probably horrified to find out Lord Lucius had no interest in anything beyond his own actions. As a Child of House Black, you've got power in the Wizengamot even if the House's current situation isn't the best. But Lucius Malfoy has been using the Black's power base for House Malfoy's gains. That's on the same level as the Headmaster trying to use the power of House Potter as his own."
"Which he was and can no longer do," Sal wickedly smirked.
"It's true?" Blaise squeaked out, getting blank looks in return. The Slytherins looked like they were questioning everything they believed. "Dumbledore had illegally claimed the Potter seat?"
"Heir Zabini," Sal drawled, and to Draco's ears, the tone made a mockery of his Father's way of speaking. This was how it was supposed to be done. "Albus Dumbledore illegally took possession of the heir to a Noble and Most Ancient House, used his dual role of Headmaster and Chief Warlock to claim the House's seat and political power, and then left said heir to languish for ten years not even knowing he was a wizard."
The Slytherins were horrified and so many incidents over the past two years looked completely different with this information. Harry turned to Draco. "You were the first magical child I ever spoke to when we met in Madam Malkin's, the Weasleys had to show me how to get on the Platform, and my jailors posing as relatives hadn't even taught me Muggle social etiquette, let along me knowing the faux pas I made in not taking your offered hand regardless of if I was going to accept the friendship offer. And you can let this part of our conversation spread among the Snakes."
Hermione and Neville scowled at the tale even if they had been told of their friend's childhood. Both were furious that Sal had been forced to live such a life twice over and Hermione couldn't bring herself to be that angry over how he got rid of the Dursleys. Extremely disappointed but not angry.
On the other hand, the Slytherins were putting a lot of pieces together and eyes were widening.
"Just how connected at you with this Lord Slytherin?" Theo demanded. Draco had yet to gain his mental equilibrium while Zabini carefully shuffled away from his friends. He preferred living to questioning that specific family, thank you very much.
"Come, Heir Nott, think it through. I go from what I was to this in the space of a summer and just so coincidentally a new Lord Slytherin and Peverell appears in our world. I thought you were supposed to possess cunning?"
"Why are you telling us this?" Draco demanded only to get a green-eyed smirk in return.
"I have a better question," Harry returned, staring straight at his cousin. "What is it you want from this meeting, Heir Malfoy?"
"Heir Longbottom is correct. Mother was furious at the fact I didn't know my grandfather's impact on our world," Draco sighed, looking utterly disgusted with himself. "I was barely aware that my grandfather is still alive."
"It's rumoured Lord Lucius challenged him for the Malfoy ring," Neville carefully said, watching the boy's reaction. "Your House's politics drastically changed once your father took over."
"It wouldn't surprise me," came the answering shrug. "Father and Grandfather never stayed in the same room when I was growing up and I always had to tell Father what happened when he wasn't there. I grew up idolising Father, he was my hero. Yet now I find out he stole his achievements. To use the Malfoy name and act as though he was the only Malfoy who ever mattered, that goes against everything I was ever taught. Mother keeps suggesting I reach out to you. At first, I thought she was wanting me to follow that fool Dumbledore, but Blaise made me see what you've been doing since we came back to Hogwarts. And now knowing this..."
"A fresh start between two Houses who should already be working together," Sal nodded, once more leaning back in his chair to think. He eyed the three boys wearing his colours and considered all the options. Something sparked at the back of his mind and his smirk grew. "Tell me something boys, how committed are you to your fathers' ways? Would you rather be a follower of a Dark Lord or a King of the Wizengamot like there was in the past?"
"You're nuts!" Neville snapped, eyes widening as he easily followed where his brother was going.
"It would work."
"Well yeah, but you're talking about bringing heat down quicker and bigger than we'd planned."
"Not bigger," Harry corrected. "Different and spread out. Even the Kings were beaten when the attacks came. Four wasn't enough to keep them safe, not from multiple fronts."
Neville glanced at the quiet Hermione who was chewing her lip. She had quickly caught on to Sal's idea and gave a slight nod in approval. Godric sighed heavily and gave a bigger one to Harry who turned back to Draco. "I repeat, Heir Malfoy, what is it you want?"
"I want to be a true Malfoy," the boy snapped, almost biting off the metaphorical hand as he realised what was being asked. "I want to be what my Father pretends to be."
"I still don't understand why you're sharing so much," Nott frowned. Blaise was simply staring at Hermione as though begging the girl to prove it was all a dream.
"Because boys, when Lord Slytherin steps aside upon my majority, it isn't only the Regency he hands over. You're looking at the one true Slytherin."
The stunned silence that followed his question had the Slytherin of Slytherins burst into slightly manic laughter.
Despite Harry's question, the meeting would finish with little more than the trio getting to know each other. Harry met Draco's brainwashing at the hands of Lucius and equalled it with details of his history at the Dursleys and the manipulations of Dumbledore. Neville added his own trouble with his Gran who got a match from Theo's Death Eater father. Blaise and Hermione simply rolled eyes and shared amused smirks as the quartet shared their various war stories, both thinking about how Hufflepuff the meeting had become.
With the security spells in place, things were shared that wouldn't have been. The Founders knew how much they could lay on the table, their news shocking the boys into sharing far more than they'd been trained to. It wouldn't mean they'd all become friends, especially not in the public eye, but it opened a path of understanding between the six. Draco would learn more about the early years of House Malfoy in Britain than he ever thought he would.
When it came close to curfew, Draco asked Harry why the Gryffindor was willing to give him a chance. The smile he got in return had him wishing for the Dementors.
"Because I'll destroy you if you betray me, Draco. Your Grandfather and ancestors' ties to my family give you the right for a fresh start in making amends. But I won't hesitate to end you if you dishonour that legacy now you're aware of it."
Draco was never surer of something in his life than he was at Potter's words. The only thing keeping the young boy from having a panic attack was the security charms Flitwick had used meant no one from the room could accidentally betray the others over what they had learned. And while he didn't want to work with Granger, he was more than happy to work with this new Potter and the political power he would wield. Betrayal would ruin his chances and disappoint his Mother, something the young man found he never wanted to do again after their exchange of letters.
Chamber of Secrets
Hermione had given Harry her time-turner the moment they were alone, and Harry used it to spin back two hours. It was easy for him to then get to the Chamber and the waiting Animagus inside. Harry found a haggard man in prison garb half-dozing on a chair with a table full to the brim of mostly eaten Hogwarts food. He had no doubt that Dobby was making sure the potions were in the food or drink rather than trying to force the escaped Black to drink something he wouldn't recognise.
"So, you're the man who is supposed to have betrayed my family to Voldemort."
Sirius Black jerked awake and crashed out of his chair at the voice. The man instinctively transformed back into his grim form before his brain caught up with the situation and he sheepish changed back. There was a fire in the grey eyes that hadn't been diminished even with the exposure to Dementors, although that might just have been the Black Madness Sal knew had been inherited from the Grymms.
"Harry…" Sirius croaked, smiling for the first time in over a decade at the sight of his godson. "I didn't do it, I swear. It was Pettigrew, he did it! He betrayed them!"
"I believe you," Harry promised, conjuring a chair with such ease that he stopped the man's ranting midbreath. "I assumed as much when the goblins told me you named me your heir."
"Who else would I name?" this time the smile had a distinctively goofy hint to it as the man became lost in a memory. "James and I were like brothers. Lily had to threaten to ban me from seeing you to keep me from keep picking you up. I never worried about you being asleep when I wanted to see my little godson."
Harry simply took in the ravaged man and his heart twisted at what they had lost.
"So, ah, where are we?" Sirius asked once he pulled himself back to the now.
"Slytherin's hidden chamber beneath the school."
Sirius' good mood vanished as soon as it had arrived. "What are you doing in a place like this, Harry? You need to be careful of anything Slytherin, they're all Dark and evil as they come. The lot we grew up with all became Death Eaters. Just look at that bastard Malfoy or Snivellus."
Sal blinked at the rant and sighed, utterly disgusted with how his name had become twisted down the years. "All Slytherins are evil?"
"Dorea Black?" He asked, naming his grandmother. The same woman who had married Charlus Potter and sired James Potter, Sirius' supposedly best friend.
"An exception, nothing more," Sirius declared, looking like a four-year-old who had just proclaimed themselves future Astronauts.
"And I suppose all Gryffindors are good?"
"Of course!" he snapped, not even thinking his answer though.
"Peter Pettigrew," Harry sighed, standing up from the chair. Sirius' look of triumph collapsed into a morose pout. He stared at the man innocent of betraying his parents and briefly contemplated knocking the idiot out and dropping him off at the DMLE while making sure the rat Animagus he still had elf-frozen could never be found. The sheer venom Sirius Black felt against anything Slytherin was going to come back at Harry, he knew it. The temptation lasted for only a moment, but he ultimately just sighed and walked out of the Chamber. Family was everything to the Snake Lord and Harry would give Sirius a chance to get used to the reality of things.
He completely ignored the man's desperate pleas for him to return. Pleas that only stopped when the Chamber's inner door shut behind the Lord Slytherin.
9th November 1993
The biggest problem with travelling through time when you know you'll be seeing yourself is deciding which you to be first. Or it would have been if one version of Harry wasn't going to have a boring day in class while another version got to teach again. He took his morphing potion to once again look like a mid-twenties Salazar, put on just the right clothes to make an impression and had Dobby pop him to the seventh floor so he could use the Many Room to Floo to Hogsmeade and walk back. A second Harry almost immediately appeared in the third-year dorm room as the time-loop fixed in place who was first. Thankfully there was no three-peat of the day since Sal didn't know which option would have been third.
He strode through the village of Hogsmeade that had been built during the first decade of the school. His Ukrainian Ironbelly coat was blowing behind him and his clothes were expensive without being pretentious, showing his place in society without making him look like a flop and dandy once he got into the Potions lab. The Slytherin sword hung at his left hip as was its right and the old fool had no chance in getting him to take it off.
The gates opened by themselves, Cassi eager to have him openly back within her walls. There was a subtle humour in the wards as he stepped on the school's grounds, and Sal smirked in the knowledge that his little girl was laughing at the prank. He patted her slightly warm stones as he moved through Hogwarts, heading immediately for Dumbledore's office to inform the idiot of the change in teachers. All four of the Founders could walk through her walls with her eyes closed and never get lost, not even when they were wanting one of the rooms that changed positions.
Chip the Gargoyle happily moved aside for Sal and the Founder knuckle-knocked on the office door just to prove he could be polite. And then he stepped into the room without waiting for permission to show he didn't need to be. Sal's eyebrows raised when he found a somewhat annoyed looking Dumbledore meeting with a very flustered Cornelius Fudge and two Aurors. Dumbledore's eyes narrowed when they fell on him, but Sal ignored that for now.
"Well, well," he drawled, openly smirking at gate-crashing the meeting. "I'm not sure what I'm seeing here. Is the Minister seeking out aid from the Headmaster of Hogwarts, which should only happen if there's a problem with the school itself, or are the Minister and Chief Warlock doing Ministry business on Hogwarts grounds? Because if that is the case, one wonders why the talk isn't being held in the Ministry."
"Good morning, Mr Peverell," Dumbledore's benign smile had Salazar's skin crawling. It was a disconcerting feeling when mixed with the annoyance of the man ignoring his name and title. "I don't believe I was expecting you."
"Then you don't know what's going on in Hogwarts, Albus," Sal retorted with an equal dismissal of protocol that had another slight pinching of the elder wizard's eyes. "I was informed yesterday that your one-armed bandit had run for the hills. Apparently, the Longbottoms recovering was the last straw for the man."
The nervous shifting of feet from the Aurors as they remembered he was the one who brought back two of their own was half the reason he reminded them of his actions. The interaction had lasted less than three minutes which meant the good Minister had gone without attention for too long.
"Watch yourself, whoever you are, or I'll have you arrested. This is Ministry business."
Salazar took a slow blink at the bowler-wearing overweight midget and turned to where he knew the only other sane person in the room sat. "Sebastian, was this man one of yours?"
"He wore green, Sal," the Hat said answered and everyone heard the apology in its voice. "The idjit has the ambition to rule the world and the planning of a dead flobberworm. I can only guess he thinks you're powerful enough to fool the magic of the Council."
Sal questioned Fudge's parentage in Parsel and got a perverse pleasure when four out of five humans shuddered at the hissing. "You know who I am. You tried having me arrested in the chambers and got smacked down by Lady Bones for thinking the Aurors were your personal army."
The pointed look at the two Aurors had them shifting further back from the Minister. I really need to open talks with Madam Bones, Sal reminded himself for the umpteenth time.
"And I'll have you arrested if you keep disrespecting me. I've looked into your background and you don't have one!"
Sal decided the man had never got beyond the mentality of a pre-Hogwarts Draco Malfoy. There was only one thing he could do with such a simpleton and that was to treat him accordingly.
"Whatever is going on, Albus, do remember that Hogwarts is sovereign territory. While you might have the power to allow them to interfere with this school, I have the power to stop them. Aside from that, I'm merely here as a courtesy to let you know I'm now Potions Professor."
"I have a replacement in the wings, Professor Peverell," the Headmaster beamed, acting as though he was perfectly happy with the situation. Sal once again blinked as someone in power seemed to forget who he was. Perhaps there's an insanity curse on high positions in the Ministry, he considered. "You'll only have to take the classes until Yule."
"Here's hoping this new one is an actual teaching this time, Brian," Sal replied with his own meaningless smile. "I'm off to present myself to the ravenous horde."
"Perhaps you can answer an old man's curiosity before you go?" Dumbledore quickly said, and Sal's bullshit meter shot into the stratosphere. "Cornelius came here under the belief Hogwarts had something to do with the demise of the Dementors."
"Then it appears Cornelius actually has two brain cells to rub together and isn't entirely stupid," Sal answered, leaving the room before the incoherent mess that was the Minister could formulate a response.
Salazar found the Great Hall bustling with students and teachers and enjoyed the wave of silence that took it over. He glided down the middle of the hall and made sure all could hear his voice when he introduced himself to the staff with a bow. "Ladies, gentleman, Sal Slytherin at your service. I'll be taking over the Potions classes until Yule."
The Hall erupted behind him and he smirked at the reaction, getting an eye roll from Sprout and a smirk from Filius while both McGonagall and Lupin frowned.
"That was rather quick," the Deputy Headmistress pointed out. "We only knew of Severus' departure yesterday."
"As I never had a doubt the man wouldn't last the year, I made sure to keep an eye on my school for when she would need me."
The old Scot frowned at his use of a possesses when talking about Hogwarts. Sal turned back to the important people in the Hall and the students hushed without him having to ask them.
"As there will likely be some questions, I'll answer what I can here," he told them, instinctively falling into his old habits. He stood at parade rest, eyes constantly moving across the listening crowd to catch anyone either not listening or looking as though they needed more, and his voice took on a steady beat that held attention. "My name is Lord Sal Slytherin-Peverell but to you, I am Professor Sal. I am taking over the role of Potions Professor since the sad excuse of a teacher you had until the weekend has done a runner. I am also closely related to the Founder of Hogwarts with the same name. I do not know who will take over as Head of House for the Snakes but as my door will be open to all students and I can access the Slytherin Common Room through Parseltongue, I will make myself available to those in green if you need me."
"Are you really a Parselmouth?" One brave Ravenclaw shouted. Sal sent her a reassuring smile when she started to wilt beneath the attention her question caused.
~~What do you think, Harry? Am I a Parselmouth?~~ He asked his later self.
~~I think you're a showman and a prankster,~~ his future hissed back.
The other Founders rolled their eyes at his antics but both versions pointedly ignored their heathen senses of humour.
"A little bit of explaining about that ability," he reverted to English with a sigh. The entire Hall bar a small handful had shivered with many shrieking at the hissing language. "Not all Parselmouths are of the Slytherin family, just like not all Slytherins are Parselmouths. The Slytherin Family Magic is a branch of Parsel Magic but Parselmouths and Parsel Magic have been around a lot longer than the Slytherin name. I am surprised those students of Indian heritage did not spread this information around last year as it's a highly sort after talent in the East."
The jab had those very students cringing at some of the looks they received. It was something that should have been explained to get the heat off Harry the previous year, but the fools had followed the herd and kept their mouths shut. Hermione and Luna were sending very vicious glares to their respective Patil twin.
"As I said, my door will be open for every one of you. I'll be going by Professor Sal while I'm here and will not play favourites to those who wear my ancestor's colours. You are all students of his school just as you are all students of the other Founders. Thank you."
He nodded his head at each table and then moved to sit beside Flitwick, the two quickly striking up a conversation while most of the room stared at the man who was changing their world.
It seemed a typical part of the life of Harry Potter/Salazar Slytherin that his first lesson as Potions Professor would see him teaching himself. The mixed Gryffindor-Slytherin class trundled in with Hermione and Neville both grinning like lunatics while 'Harry' rolled his eyes. Sal was mentally cackling at the insanity of the situation.
"I do not like repeating myself but for this, I will," his sharp voice cut through the low sounds of people finding their seats and getting their equipment ready. "You will call me Professor Sal and I will show no favourites in this class. I have seen the memories of students across all years and know exactly how bad a teacher the man who previously stood here was."
A total lie, but it would explain his knowledge of Snape's 'teachings.' He sent a glare to those in both colours who reacted to his words.
"My classes will teach you all how to brew potions and there will be no picking and choosing who gets praise and who doesn't. Any attempts at sabotage will result in heavy punishment up to and including being banned from my classes and letters sent to the WEA and Practical Potioneer Journal detailing exactly what you've done. And hopeful aspiring Potioneers among you realise just how bad that would be when it comes to your careers."
The students who understood the threat had paled and then straightened in their seats. Sal nodded his pleasure at them taking him seriously.
"Now, there will be no brewing in today's class. Instead," he double-clapped and the empty tables become covered with random food items. The arrogant Purebloods sneered at what they saw. "I am going to teach you how to slice, dice, mince, chop, squeeze, crush, cut, and everything else asked of you to prepare your ingredients. I will teach you to the point where owners of Apothecaries across the globe will be weeping in misery that they do not have you on their payroll. Anyone not trying, anyone thinking that these skills are somehow beneath them, will be kicked out of the class and be forced to wait until my replacement comes in."
"But this is food!" Pansy Parkinson cried out in dismay.
"Five points to Slytherin for explaining what's in front of you, Miss Parkinson, and ten points deducted from Slytherin for stating the obvious. The House-elves have graciously provided our equipment until I'm satisfied everyone has the skills not to waste value ingredients."
The girl looked to say something more, but Sal's cold glare shut her down.
"Be aware, anyone who doesn't want to do this will return to this class utterly embarrassed by the stark difference in quality between your pathetic attempts at brewing and everyone else's half-way decent brews using Mastery level preparation techniques. Any questions? No, good. Pick up those knives, grab a carrot, watch what I do, and behave!"
An image appeared above Sal's head showing the class a bird's eye view of his hands and table so that they could compare his movements with their own.
"Take your time, students. No one says that you can't do all of this prior to starting the potion. Those of you who are nervous during the brewing process will soon learn how long each preparation takes and understand when you can squeeze it in during a quiet period of the brew. But always remember that this can all be done before putting the cauldron on the heat."
And Sal proceeded to show them what Snape should have done from the very beginning. It would take time and he often had to move around the room, correct someone's technique loud enough for the advice to be heard by all, but the students were learning, and he was doing what he loved.
Aside from the curious gaze of Daphne Greengrass, Sal felt as though he was home for the first time in a thousand years.
That night in the Chamber
Harry found an extremely bored Esmeralda curled up near the inner entrance of the Chamber while a skinny grim slept in a pile of pillows. The man in a boy's body decided to sit against the Chamber's wall and spend time with his beloved basilisk, spending almost an hour stroking the snake as they engaged in a hissing conversation.
"You're a Parselmouth," a groggy Sirius pointed out. Harry looked away from Esmeralda to see the man tiredly rubbing his grey eyes. There were a handful of books scattered around his nest that Harry hadn't immediately seen, and he realised that Dobby was doing his best to keep Sirius from being bored.
"Yep. I spoke to a snake when I was ten but didn't know it was a thing until last year. Draco Malfoy conjured a snake in our duelling class and I had to keep it from attacking someone else."
"How? It's a Dark talent."
"No, it's not," he sighed, already tired of the conversation. "It's a talent that's been used by Dark wizards to scare people but it's not Dark."
The man didn't look convinced, so Harry tried something different. "What about my mother? I'm a Parselmouth because she was a Parselmouth."
Which was true even if Lily Evans never knew it. She couldn't have had the Slytherin eyes and not been a Parselmouth.
"Who told you that?" Sirius snapped, his face morphing into that of the deranged murderer he was accused of being. "Who lied about Lily like that? There's no way Lily would have that…"
"Sirius, she was Lady Slytherin," Harry pulled himself to his feet and Esmeralda immediately wrapped herself around his shoulders in the attempt to keep him calm. The Chamber felt his emotions spike and the magic within it began to react. "She was a direct descendant of Slytherin's firstborn! All she needed was the ring."
"No, no, no," Sirius was shaking his head and very evidently talking to himself as much as he was Harry. "There's no way she was a Slytherin. James would never have…"
The former Gryffindor's mouth snapped shut but the damage was already done. Harry's eyes blazed with fury that so much reminded Sirius of the very woman they were talking about.
"James would never have got with a slimy snake in Lion's clothing, is that it? So, you and James pranced around Hogwarts putting all the nasty snakes in their place? Arrogant bastards who only saw the world in Light and Dark!"
"Now just wait a bloody minute."
"For a man whose Animagus form is so close to his ancestors, you're a fucking disgrace to your family name," Harry spat. He had no idea the words would throw Sirius back into his own harsh childhood.
"Screw you, Harry! You don't know what you're talking about. The Blacks are as twisted and as bigoted as the Death Eaters."
"You're a fool, Sirius Black. What do you know of the Blacks? Of Arcturus Black?" That the conversation had become an echo of his rant to Draco only made Harry's anger grow. What the hell is wrong with this generation?
"Great-Grandfather?" Sirius blinked at the question, somewhat grateful that they had moved on from his blunder about James and Lily. Deep within Sirius Black where he refused to look was the question of if James really would have chased Lily if they had known of her magical heritage. "Not much. I know my parents cursed his name until he disappeared from public life."
"A public life that would have ended around the time Charlus Potter died?"
"Well, yes, I suppose," Sirius had never noticed the overlap. He had no interest in politics and had been too shaken up by the death of a man who had been like a father to him after the Potters took him in.
"You've never heard of the Four Kings?" Harry was sneering as though Sirius was a piece of hippogriff dung he'd stepped in and the look coming from his godson almost had Sirius in tears. "All Slytherins are evil and you don't know a damn thing about what it truly means to be a Black and not the Pureblood bullshit of the war. Like I said, you're an idiot."
Harry stormed out of the Chamber and this time there was no frantic calling trying to keep him from leaving. Instead Sirius Orion Black cried for the broken ruin that was his relationship with his godson.
10th November 1993
The other three quickly heard about Sirius' reactions to the idea of Harry and Lily being Slytherins and quietly supported him without crowding. It was just Harry's luck that his quick trip to the library before curfew saw him alone when Ron Weasley felt the need to open his mouth.
"Hey Harry," the ginger broke through his thoughts and Harry turned to see a strange mix of glee and uneasy on his former friend's face. The two were standing near Madam Pince's desk and he could see the woman turn in their direction. "I know we aren't exactly mates anymore but I wanted to thank you for getting rid of Snape."
Saying the two were no longer friends barely touched the collapse of their relationship. Sal's violent reaction to the boy's disrespect to Luna had caused them to have running arguments in the Common Room. When Harry started avoiding the boy, Ron's argumentative nature turned to Hermione since the Awakened Helga was now refusing to do the boy's work for him. The three reborn Gryffindor Founders all agreed that Weasley had the smarts to be middle of the class but possessed none of the desire to do so. There had been an uneasy truce between them and Ron since the Dementors were destroyed.
"Do you know the sad thing, Ron?" Harry sighed, carefully leaning against the bookcase he had been browsing. "I know you don't like all the politics of the magical world but the issues between Snape and my father, and then Snape and me could easily have been avoided."
"What do you mean?" The ginger frowned, the tone already turning belligerent at the mention of politics.
"Snape and my father hated each other so Snape immediately hated me the moment I stepped into Hogwarts. Yet his mother was born into the Noble and Ancient House of Prince. Either my dad or I, hell even Neville or one of the others, could have helped Snape rebuild his House and given the greasy bastard the position in society he felt he deserved. He was just too much of a bastard to ask for help."
"You're telling me you'd have actually helped him?" Ron's voice was rising, and Sal realised why the conversation was already exhausting him.
Just like with Malfoy from earlier in the year and Sirius in the week, he had found yet another person who ignored how society truly worked and only saw what they wanted to see. Salazar hated dealing with bigoted fools. It reminded him too much of the man who had given him his childhood scars.
"I'm telling you that I would have been honour-bound to help House Prince be all it could have been if the man had got his head out of his arse," he corrected, knowing Ron wasn't hearing what he was saying. "The Princes are famed Potioneers and inventors. Snape was merely following in his family's footsteps rather than being something special. But the man couldn't see beyond me being a Potter."
"Yeah, whatever. I'll let you get back to your pampered life. Some of us don't get everything we want handed to us."
Ron never realised how close he came to be killed. The disillusioned Esmeralda had been hissing up a storm around Harry's waist and was ready to strike out at the boy when he stormed off in a huff. Harry was about to turn back to the books when Madam Pince crocked her finger at him. Harry followed the woman who had taken him under her wing early in his first year. Putting aside the experience in politics Salazar's memories gave him, Harry had learnt as much from Pince as he had from the Awakening. She took him to the private room that he had practically claimed during that learning time and the two sat in their usual chairs.
Irma Pince was silent as she drew her wand and Harry felt the familiar magic of silencing and basic security spells wash over them. She placed the stick away from her and waited, staring at him with her piercing gaze. He began to frown as he noticed subtle things about her features that he had ignored were now seen in a different light and his eyes widened at what he was learning.
"Good, you see it," the woman everyone compared to a vulture nodded.
"I do. I can't believe I didn't see it before."
"You and my idiot nephew," she snapped, sneering at how easy it had been to hide. The look was exactly like the former member of staff. "Subtle notice-me-not and blood glamours go a long way when no one expects anything to be hidden. Now, the reason we're here. You are not the innocent young boy I've been helping."
The statement was said with the same calmness as Sal's confrontation with Flitwick and he had to wonder who else was noticing the change. "Is that a problem?"
"No," Pince snorts, dark eyes briefly shining with amusement. "He's still there inside you and I know you've deserved the Slytherin green long before whatever happened, happened."
"You didn't ask me here just to tell me you knew, Madam Pince," he pointed out, giving her the level of respect he always had. Harry owed the woman for her aid and they both knew it.
"When my sister ran off to marry that Muggle, I was quickly thrown into a marriage to a man whose family enjoyed running around in cloaks and white masks," she explained. Her next words were said in perfect Latin, ¬¬Thankfully after gaining an heir, the useless lump had a tragic potions accident.¬¬
¬¬Tragic indeed. What is it you want from me?¬¬ That he answered in Latin was the proof of him not being the same Harry she had grown to like.
"My nephew is a twisted man who is so much like his father and maternal grandfather that it's not funny. He doesn't deserve the title of Prince. The generation of inbred Neanderthals who kicked Elaine out are all dead and most people have forgotten the power and legacy my House once possessed. I have a grandson attending next year. I ask he be put under the protection of your Houses and you help him return House Prince to what it was."
The woman wasn't wanting anything Harry hadn't just told Weasley he would have done if asked.
"I helped young Harry before you became what you have," she continued. "I know it doesn't balance out but…"
"Consider it done, Lady Prince."
"Emma Prince," she said, introducing her real name. "I'm no Lady. Now get out of my library before you're caught out after curfew."
Harry could only laugh and nod, slipping from the room with practised ease. Irma Pince had said something similar every evening when she acted as his teacher.
13th November 1993 – Hogwarts Library
Harry looked up to see a nervous Ophelia shuffling her feet and he smiled affectionately at the girl, laying his quill to the side. He was once again in the Library for any non-Gryffindor student needing help. "And what can I do for you today, hm?"
"Hello, Mister Harry. I heard some of the older students talking about maturity and –"
"Shouldn't you be asking someone like Luna about that?"
"Magical maturity!" She giggled at his over the top horrified expression. Harry chuckled and waved her into the chair next to him.
"And you found it a bit confusing?"
"A little," she blushed. He nodded and immediately settled into his teaching mode.
"I'll start from the beginning like always, okay?" The smile of thanks was all he needed. "Right, well to start with people have always been trying to measure magic, and they kept finding something very strange. Let's say I wanted to make this quill float. Professor Flitwick teaches us the spell for that but raw magic, the magic that is everywhere around us, can do it far easier than anyone can with their own magic. But it's very, very difficult for if someone tries to control the raw magic into doing it."
She scrunched her nose up at the apparent hypocrisy. "So raw magic can do it but only if no one tries to make it do it?"
"Very good, and this is because raw magic is like this," he took out his wand and conjured a mangled piece of rock that glittered with all different colours. Harry took the stone and leaned forward to let Ophelia watch it rolling between his palms. "Each colour is a magic for a different species. Goblin, human, elf, anything, and everything that can use magic takes it from the same source. But we would struggle to use goblin magic the same way goblins would struggle to use ours."
"What's worse," he continued, his voice taking on a very serious tone. "Is that this type of magic is very poisonous for us. Our bodies can't handle raw magic because it has all these extra bits in it."
"Is that what happened with you and the Dementors?" She asked, her soft voice drenched in worry.
"It's the main reason, yes," he nodded, and the girl scowled at her friend being hurt. "Hogwarts used a lot of raw magic from her Ley Lines to get those nasty things away from us and I got caught in the blast. Now, back to the lesson."
Ophelia watched as Harry continued to roll the rock in his hands, some of the colours fading from its grey surface while others seemed to multiple.
"When a baby is growing inside their mummy, they have her magic and raw magic working through them until they're able to start making their own. It's very similar to raw magic and their mother's magic must work very hard to take away the yucky parts of the raw magic so it doesn't hurt the baby. Some babies are born more comfortable with this magic while others have to wait until their bodies start making magic more concentrated for human use."
The rock changed again as other colours vanished. The Slytherin green was growing more prominent but it was still only in patches. Sal had been horrified to learn that the theory behind magical growth and its frequencies seemed to be only for those who investigated the research. The rest of society were taught the barest levels if anything at all even though explained why some babies could produce magical effects early while others took time in making anything happen.
"Now, imagine trying to lift one of these books," he said, waving a hand to indicate the library around them. "It takes a certain amount of energy to make one move and that energy is the same no matter if it's a baby, you, or me picking it up. If you try picking up a heavy book, you'll use as much energy as Hagrid would. But it'll be heavier for you because you have to use a larger amount of your total strength than he would."
"But Hagrid could throw it further than me," she pointed out, getting a grin at what she thought was a flaw in his explanation.
"That's right. That's because he's got more energy to put behind the throw. Let's go back to Professor Flitwick's feathers. Just like a baby or Hagrid don't know their own strength and might use too much or too little to lift or throw things, so every student has to learn the right amount of magic to use to lift the feather."
"And that's why some don't move but others explode?"
"Excellent, Ophelia," Harry smiled, changing the rock some more to catch her attention. "Now as we continue to grow, our bodies learn to change our magic so there's less of the other stuff in it. It's like a watered-down potion that our bodies are making more potent as we age. This means we need less of the magic to do the same work. Our bodies are almost constantly trying to make magic that doesn't have all the non-human stuff in it, but everyone eventually hits a point that they can't get beyond. A point their bodies can't make their make magic with less non-human stuff in it. And this point is different for everyone."
"So, Magical Maturity is when my body is able to make magic that has less of the other stuff in it?"
"It's when your body makes a big jump in how it makes magic. It might go from this," the stone was mostly a splotchy mess and then it was almost half Slytherin green while the rest looked as chaotic in its colours as it had been in the beginning. "To this. And when it does, you'll have more magic to use to do more things without exhausting yourself."
He vanished the stone. It was as basic a teaching of the theory that he was comfortable going into considering there were actual formulae breaking down how much one 'unit' of magic was for each known maturity level and what that translated to for the other levels as well as in raw magic terms. To be honest, the numbers bored Sal but he had been delighted for Leda when she proved herself her mother's daughter and came up with the theory's foundation. That it had taken Nicolas Flamel building on her foundation to create the magical theory of the modern age showed the Ravenclaws deserved their reputation for scary intelligence.
They spent some time going over the rest of Ophelia's schoolwork to get the girl's mind away from the dense material she had been taught.
14th November 1993 – Chamber of Secrets
Harry finally made himself go back down to the Chamber and found an extremely remorseful Sirius. The Snake Lord listened as his godfather explained exactly what it was like growing up in the bigoted House of Black and that he almost never saw Arcturus, never knowing the then Lord Black was close to his best friend's father. When Harry asked how he never found out once he moved in with the Potters, the answer had him sighing.
"By that time, I was too blinkered in my thinking," Sirius confessed. "I wouldn't stay in the same room if someone mentioned the Blacks and I wanted nothing to do with the politics. The war was starting to pick up and I saw the troubles as a way of lashing out at the people who had hurt me. I wasn't a good person, Harry. I was mad at the world and wanted everyone but us Marauders to pay for it."
Which fully explained why the man lost his mind on that Halloween. Yet there was one thing that wasn't sitting right with Harry.
"Who did you say cast the Fidelius?"
"I don't remember," Sirius said, waving the question away. "Probably Lily. She was brilliant with Charms."
"And your plan was for everyone to think you were the Secret Keeper to keep the focus off Pettigrew?" He double-checked, thanking the goddess that he hadn't revealed the toe-missing rat he had hidden in the Chamber.
"That was the plan, yeah. I thought it was a brilliant prank."
"That doesn't make sense."
"Harry, I think I know more about that time than you do."
"No, Sirius, I mean it doesn't make sense about the Fidelius Charm," Harry shook his head, trying to explain to the stubborn man what the problem was. "Whoever cast the spell should have known that wouldn't be possible."
"I don't remember who did it," Sirius said, waving the question away. "Probably Lily. She was brilliant with Charms."
Harry froze and stared at his godfather who hadn't realised anything was wrong. He slowly asked the question again. "Sirius, who cast the Fidelius?"
"I don't remember," Sirius said, waving the question away. "Probably Lily. She was brilliant with Charms. Why do you keep asking?"
Harry swore, slipping in and out of Parsel at the obvious mental manipulation. "Because the Fidelius Charm doesn't work that way. It's impossible for someone to be thought of as a Secret Keeper if there is one. The very fact people 'knew' you were the Potter's Secret Keeper means that they weren't using a Fidelius in the first place."
"What are you saying, Harry?"
"Who cast the Fidelius, Sirius?"
"I don't remember," the hand came up again to wave the question away. "Probably Lily. She was brilliant with Charms."
"And that is the fourth time you answered that question in the exact same way," Harry pointed out. Sirius froze, realising what he was hinting at. The grey eyes clouded only for the man to shake himself down like his Animagus form.
"No, it was the Fidelius, I know it was."
"Spells like that don't work that way," Harry pushed, moving away from the question of who cast the spell before any problems could develop. Pushing too hard could mean Sirius' mind shut down from trying to fight whatever magic was making him think Lily cast the spell. Harry only hoped that the Mind Magic wasn't linked to the idea of using the Fidelius itself. "At best, people would consider you to have knowledge about my family being in hiding. The Fidelius doesn't just hide something as a Secret, it keeps the fact there is a Secret hidden as well. The Death Eaters would have known we were in hiding, they could never have known that we were under a Fidelius if we really were."
"But that means, that means…" Sirius' voice drifted off as did his gaze and Harry quickly cast a silent Sleeping Charm on him before the Gryffindor tried fighting against the Mind Magic.
Harry knew what it meant. It meant someone set his family up for slaughter. That the betrayal was planned from the very beginning and had a damn good guess as to who was behind it. It was time to get out there and speak to Lady Bones about a dog.
SN: Harry's explanation on magical maturity is a rough mixing of the physics of Work (Joules required to perform x action) and wavelengths (specifically the electromagnetic spectrum). And yes, this means I have actual calculations and levels for the characters.
And for the record –Did you catch it? A little forced but I couldn't resist throwing out a wink to Who's on First.
Outtake: A partial scene where Sebastian explains everything to Sal and Helga. It never got included and it's too late to do so now.
Dumbledore doesn't like you being connected to anything magical outside of Hogwarts. He wanted the Child of Prophecy restricted in his knowledge and contacts and the past summer at Diagon really messed his plans up. I wouldn't be surprised if he came up with ways to keep you isolated during the summers."
"Child of Prophecy?" This time it was Hermione whose eyes narrowed as she glared between Harry and Sebastian. The man in a boy's body conjured chairs for them to sit and shrugged his shoulders. He had barely taken notice of that part of Sebastian's Chamber rant.
"Something our illustrious Divination Professor gave during her interview. The previous Professor refused to tell Dumbledore anything he Saw and promptly left before the Headmaster sacked him. Dumbledore spent months looking for a genuine Seer with loose lips, running up and down the country doing interviews."
"Then he's an idiot," Luna snapped, eyes alight with anger for her fellow Diviners. "Someone with the Sight only shares what they feel they must or with their closest."
"And that's where Trelawney comes it," Sebastian nodded in agreement. "She's an Oracle and gave a Prophecy during her interview. That night marked Harry Potter as the One mentioned and Dumbledore has done everything he could to raise the child in such a way as to be ready for his final plan."
"And that plan would be?" Hermione's own anger was palpable and both Harry and Rowena took her hands to keep her grounded."
"There was a soul shard behind the scar. I could sense it when I Sorted Harry," Sebastian sighed, shaking himself back and forth as though shaking his head. "I believe Dumbledore is convinced that between that and a line in the Prophecy, you have to die for Riddle to be finally defeated."
There was utter silence at the announcement that was broken by Harry's loud laughter. The two girls looked at him with eyebrows raised and he could barely get the words out, such was his shock at what such a supposedly smart wizard was thinking.
"That's stupidest thing I've ever heard. That's not how Soul Magic works!"