AN: hey guys, pastry here. i would like to start off with a huge apology for not updating in a timely manner. so much stuff has happened in the time passed. i graduated high school, i sucked dick (tastes p much like i expected it to. like flesh.). i also turned eighteen! woo i can look at porn legally now.
things are gonna (hopefully) start kicking off. third year is not gonna be a repeat of the books, with just booker in harry's place. things are going to be different.
also last chapter i forgot to put in the beta edits! so sorry birdie! its typos and grammar so you don't need to read it again, don't worry.
one more thing: just remembered someone didnt get why i put booker in hufflepuff. it's because he's a loyal man. might not be loyal to all, but once you have his allegiance, he would die for you. houses in hp are all about your most valuable quality, no matter how loudly you proclaim it or quietly you hide it.
The rest of the summer was spent corresponding with Hermione and Neville. He even got a few messages from Anna and Sally, and was invited to spend the winter holidays with them. He considered it, but he had another trip to Rapture planned - something told him he wasn't done down there.
When he arrived at the station courtesy of Vernon, he pulled out his trunk and walked into King's Cross. Just as he walked in he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a woman with a hat shaded over her blue eyes, with dark hair and familiar red lips.
Time seemed like a foreign concept as he caught her eye. She gave him a cold gaze as people passed between them, and disappeared into the crowd. That couldn't be good, but Booker shook his head of the thought. Not one to dwell on things for too long, he went back to weaving between the throngs of people to get to the pillar, and then pushed through, almost falling on top of someone.
"Sorry," he said as he stood, slightly wobbly on his feet. He held out his hand to the boy he fell on, and was taken up on his offer.
"No problem, mate," Ron Weasley replied.
With a polite nod, Booker went on his way, boarding the train and finding the usual compartment. Neville was already in there, an excited grin on his face.
"I got a couple of bluebells over the summer, but I wanted it to be a surprise!" Neville exclaimed with a wide, toothy grin. "Take a look!"
Hermione arrived a few minutes later, and Neville showed them the wonders of his plant. It looked much like the same flower muggles saw, only when it was touched, it rang out with a shrill bell noise. It wasn't the most interesting, until Neville said that the flowers will let out a particular tune when someone was about to die.
"Just like banshees?"
"Just like banshees! Only less loud, and much prettier. Don't tell any banshees I said that."
The train began to move, and Hermione began checking over their homework.
"You don't have to do that, you know," Booker said. "I'm sure Neville is just fine with what he's got, he's smart, and I don't really mind getting something wrong, because the teachers will teach me what I got wrong."
Halfway through a page, she frowned, but nodded. "You're right. I guess I just worry about grades a lot."
"Hey, it's alright," Neville said with a grin. "First step is admitting it."
They chattered about small things, this and that, when about halfway through the trip, the train came to a halting stop, almost knocking Neville's bluebells to the floor.
"What's going on?" Hermione asked, her voice filled with confusion. Neville's grip on the potted flowers grew tighter.
The lights then flickered out, eliciting screams all along the train. The glass of the windows grew cold, quickly fogging up with an icy bite. Neville put his hand to the glass and immediately drew away with a hiss. This was not normal weather for September, no matter how cold
"L-lumos," Hermione attempted, but only a faint glow came from the tip of her wand. "I-I can't do it. Too c-cold."
They waited in the darkness, feeling the train compartment get colder and colder before Booker decided to take a look out in the corridor.
He saw her there, in a dark cloak with a gun in her hand.
He steeled his expression and stepped out to face his daughter.
"Hello, Comstock," she said, raising the gun.
"What are you doing, Elizabeth?" he asked. "I'm not Comstock."
"No. You aren't," she replied, lowering the weapon with a sigh. "But you could turn out to be."
"What, so you kill me?"
"Maybe." She hummed as if in deep thought. "Or maybe that will do it for me." She was looking over his shoulder, and Booker whirled around to see something skeletal in a cloak, slowly taking off its hood and bending towards him.
A feeling of unavoidable dread, of impending doom, swept over him in thick sheets.
There was no escape.
He was going to die, for real this time.
Distantly, he heard Hermione and Neville calling out to him.
Neville's bluebells let out a haunting tune.
"Smother him," Elizabeth said. "For good."
Someone ran towards him, pushing him down and he fell to the floor with a grunt. There was a terrible sound, a deep exhale, and a heavy body fell on top of him.
He sat up, taking a look, and there lay a familiar red-headed boy with a glassy-eyed expression and a significant lack of breath. He checked the boy's pulse, and felt something twist in his stomach in absolute horror.
"Expecto Patronum!" A scratchy male voice shouted the spell with fervor, chasing the creature away, but it was too late.
Percy Weasley was dead.
Booker woke up in the Hospital Wing again.
He didn't remember passing out. There was no flood of memory either - it was branded into his mind the second he woke.
A boy was dead.
A boy was dead and it was his fault.
If only he'd just... just used his vigors, or fought Elizabeth, or something! What was that creature?
"I'm sure you have many questions, Mr. Potter," an elderly voice said. He looked up to see Professor McGonagall, with a grim expression.
"What were those creatures? What happened? Why were they on the train?" He could hear the terror rise in his voice, and she held up her hand to pause him.
"They were Dementors, Mr. Potter. Beings of pure despair, used to guard the wizarding prison, Azkaban."
"I've heard that before..."
"You've perhaps heard of Sirius Black, who escaped from the prison recently. That is why they were on the train. They were searching for him."
"What?" Booker couldn't believe he was hearing this. "You let things like that near children?"
"I didn't. Dumbledore did, and he is currently facing inquiries. The Ministry of Magic would like to hear what you did in your first two years, seeing as to how involved you were. You will be excused from your classes, should you decide to go."
That man... he deserved to rot with those monsters, for his actions, or lack thereof, when it came to protecting his students. A boy was dead now because of him.
"I'll do it."
The Ministry of Magic was the most boring looking building he had ever seen. The dark marble, the gold accents - it just wasn't engaging. Pleasing to the eye, yes, but not quite interesting.
He met with Madame Bones, Head of the DMLE, in her office. It was a prim and well-decorated room, much better than what he had seen out in the lobby.
"Tea, Mr. Potter?" she asked politely.
"I'd say coffee but I should probably not," he replied. "Let's get down to business."
"Very well," she replied, obviously put-off by his professional attitude. "Tell me about your years at Hogwarts."
A couple of hours later, after many questions and quite a bit more note-taking, the questioning was done.
"Should you wish to see the trial, please let your interim headmistress know. Good day, Mr. Potter," Madame Bones said, and Booker was escorted out of the office.
The woman took a seat, reviewing her notes. This was going to be an interesting trial.
DUMBLEDORE ARRESTED FOR CHILD ENDANGERMENT! HOGWARTS UNDER INVESTIGATION!
Albus Dumbledore, former headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has been arrested for several counts of child endangerment. A Cerberus and a Death Eater in 1991, a basilisk petrifying students in 1992, and now, a child dead due to Dementors just a week ago. Not only did these happen (more on page 5A) but he never came forward about this!
Albus Dumbledore, an esteemed war hero of the Blood Wars that ended in 1981, is not as trustworthy as we all thought. His actions and inaction have led to many traumatic experiences across the country from who he employed to what dangers he would let into the school. He has been removed from the school and his many titles are under question. The new Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, has sworn not to make the same mistakes he has, and is currently hiring for a Transfiguration teacher.
The trial was nothing special. Booker showed up in his school uniform, lacking a real suit, and watched as Dumbledore answered the questions, often with half-hearted excuses.
McGonagall escorted him there and back, having testified as well, and afterwards, they sat in the Headmistress' office, newly decorated in a royal purple instead of favoring the Gryffindor red. They were sipping tea, a somber yet peaceful atmosphere set around them. Without all the strange (and apparently half illegal) trinkets Dumbledore had kept in the office, it was a much more charming and calming room.
McGonagall set her cup down with a small sigh. "You know, Mr. Potter, I never did thank you."
Booker looked up with a confused expression.
"For saving me, back in your first year. Without you, I do believe I would not be standing here. Or, rather, sitting."
He chuckled. "You're very much welcome, ma'am."
"I do have to wonder why you never went to the authorities about anything that happened."
"Well, let's see. The only authorities I knew were you and Dumbledore and I wasn't sure how trustworthy either of you were. After that, I didn't even realize there was a magical police, so I didn't really act on that front. And, well, that's that."
"You didn't... right, you were never told of the magical world."
"Not at all."
They both sipped at their tea.
"That man has really, truly messed things up for you, hasn't he?"
"For both of us."
There was another small moment of tea, then a weary sigh from the old woman.
"I had always fancied being the Headmistress of Hogwarts but for it to happen so soon..."
Booker nodded, knowing the feeling of being thrust into a spotlight.
"I suppose I should bounce around a few ideas I've had. What do you think of changing the dorms, Mr. Potter?"
The school took off classes for a week to adjust the students to the new situation of the school.
There were still houses, of course, and house points, but instead of sharing dorms and common rooms with your house, you shared with your year. The dorms had several rooms with four beds, each for a students on one house, and the common rooms were accessible by any year granted a good reason. Booker new roommates were Draco Malfoy, Dean Thomas, and Anthony Goldstein. Classes were shared with smaller groups of a mixture of all four houses instead of just two houses together.
Even seating in the great hall was changed. Instead of four house tables, you could eat at any of the numerous and endless round tables filling the room, and Booker enjoyed being able to sit at a table with Hermione and Neville without getting the normal weird looks for sitting at the 'wrong' table.
And so, it was at breakfast, the first day that classes were finally back, that Booker found himself munching on some toast when he got a tap on the shoulder. He looked up to see Ron Weasley holding out a letter for him.
"Uh, thanks," he said, opening the letter. It was a short missive from an 'Arthur Weasley', presumably the patriarch of the family, asking to meet him for tea over the weekend.
"No problem," Ron said. "I'll see you there."
Confused, Booker nodded and the redhead left.
"Uh, what does he mean by, 'he'll be there'?"
"Well, what's the message?" Neville asked.
"I'm meeting Arthur Weasley this weekend."
"Then it's most likely a family matter. Ron is probably chosen to be the next patriarch, if he is attending."
"Doesn't he have, like, fourteen older siblings? Isn't it usually the oldest kid that get to be the next patriarch?"
"It depends on the family, really. Though, from what I know, the older brothers have asked to not be the patriarch, or, in one case they were all set to be the patriarch but..."
Glassy eyes. Pale skin. A small, final breath.
"... oh," Booker said in a small voice.
He spent the rest of the day haunted by the memory, and Neville kept quiet about the subject.
The weekend came abruptly, and McGonagall called him to her office and led him to a room off to the side for the meeting.
Booker wasn't sure what he was expecting, but he was glad to see that Arthur Weasley was as much a fatherly figure as one could get. He had the graying hairs, the receding hairline, the wrinkles of mid-age and a kind smile. He held himself well, and gestured for Booker to take a seat across from him. Ron was seated to the man's right.
"Hello, Harry. I'm Arthur Weasley, patriarch for the Weasley family. You know my son, of course, Ron."
"Indeed I do," Booker replied. "Pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir."
They shook hands, and Arthur's expression steeled.
"Unfortunately, I'm not here on happy business. I'm here to talk about... recent events."
Booker felt his breath catch. He wasn't ready to think about a child, dying for him, let alone discuss it with the boy's father, but he couldn't just very well leave, could he?
"I'm sorry," he blurted out, voice shaky. "I'm so sorry, I made a mistake going out there-"
Arthur held up a hand to stop him. "It's not your fault, son. It never will be. The fault lies with Dumbledore for even thinking to allow Dementors of all beasts onto the train."
Booker wished he could say he felt a great weight lift off his shoulders, but there was still something bearing down on him.
"What I'm here to discuss is something else, though my son's recent passing is related. I've been told you aren't well versed in the rules of high class wizarding society, so I will assume you don't know what a Life Debt is, do you?"
"No, sir, I do not," Booker replied, "but I can guess."
"You're probably correct in your guess. A Life Debt is created when someone saves another from mortal danger. It can be repaid in any way the debt owner likes, unless of course someone from the family owing the Life Debt saves the person in return."
It took a moment for things to add up in Booker's brain. He'd saved Ginny, Percy saved him. "So the Life Debt is done, yeah?"
"It should be, but it isn't, and I was wondering if you could help us understand why."
Booker stiffened as he realized why it wasn't fulfilled. He'd thought that perhaps such a creature could kill him, but this proved him wrong.
"I wish I could tell you," he said with a grim expression, "but I really don't know myself." He truly wished he could tell them but something stopped him. He had felt a phantom grip on his neck when he tried to say it.
Arthur nodded in understanding, even if the look in his eyes said he doubted Booker. "Of course. If you ever do find out, please, let us know."
The former soldier shook his hand and left, shaking.
After that weekend, things returned to, well, as close to normal as they could get.
The Weasley family was excused for one of the days for the funeral, which Booker was invited to. He declined, but sent his regards and a bouquet of lilies of the valley and stars of Bethlehem.
It was on that day that they finally had their first Care for Magical Creatures class. Booker, who had a free period, tagged along even though he didn't have the class. He'd seen the book in Hermione's overstuffed bag (which he was still investigating), and whatever class had a book like that had to be dangerous.
He managed to save Malfoy a second time, this time from being nearly mauled by a... a thing. He could never remember what the hell anything was called. ("Hippogriff!" Hermione said in his mind's eye, er, ear. He ignored it.)
The teacher looked like a right mess of stress after that, calling off class, and Booker took off with Hermione and Neville.
"That was a rather dangerous first lesson, don't you think?" Neville asked. "I mean, Hagrid is a nice bloke but... he needs to get his priorities straight."
"Especially when working with a bunch of teenagers," Booker muttered.
"Which reminds me," Hermione said, an annoyed look taking over her face,"you're lucky you're not in Divination, Harry."
Neville groaned off to the side just at the thought of the teacher.
"Professor Trelawney is the worst teacher I've ever had the displeasure to meet!"
"Worse than Snape? That guy is literally bullying his students."
"That's a matter of character, Harry. I'm talking teaching. She doesn't know what she's doing!"
As they walked up to the castle and down to the Great Hall for lunch, Hermione had listed fourteen different reasons she was a terrible teacher, though some of them didn't make much sense.
"-and then, she said that Ron was going to die. To his face! After what happened to his brother you would think she would have some decency but all she cares about it being 'mysterious' and all that! It's like she doesn't even care-"
"Hermione, I get that you're mad, but eat some damn lunch."
She closed her mouth with a snap, muttered a small, "Language, Harry," and dove into a egg salad sandwich.
Booker was, quite frankly, unimpressed with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He looked haggard, he smelled like mothballs, and Booker's previous experiences were making him doubt the man.
Regardless, he still went to the man's classes, and it was on a beautiful sunny day that Booker had the worst teaching experience ever.
It started with the man being late. Everyone was in their seats, ready to go, when the bell rang and Professor Remus Lupin dashed in three minutes later.
"So sorry, everyone, got caught up with a conversation with Snape in the hallway." He brushed some of his lackluster hair out of his face. "Anyways, please, put away all your books and such and follow me, as we will be doing a practical lesson today."
The students got up, following the man out into the corridor.
Eventually, they arrived to find Peeves the Poltergeist stuffing gum in a keyhole.
Booker hadn't been paying attention, but suddenly the gum came flying out of the keyhole and into the poltergeist's mouth.
"What." Booker just stared as the teacher explained it was a good spell against the meddling spirit.
"Why is he even here, though?" Hermione asked under her breath. "He's a huge trouble and disrupts classes. You'd think they would exorcise him already!"
"Let's bring it up with McGonagall later, then," Booker replied, and that was that.
They entered one of the spare classrooms, which had all the desks piled against one wall and in the far end of the room, a shaking cabinet.
The class followed him towards the cabinet, many of them hanging back. Booker instincts were telling him it wasn't exactly harmless, but it wasn't a huge threat either, and reason won out. Who would put kids with something too dangerous anyways?
... besides Hagrid.
Lupin stood in front of the class and asked, "Now everyone, who knows what a boggart is?"
Hermione's hand shot into the air. Lupin, of course, called on her.
"Yes, Ms. Granger."
"You can't be serious. Showing kids each others' worst fears? Are you trying to set up someone to be bullied?"
He stood still, open-mouthed and shocked, before answering. "I do, well, realize that. However, it is important to learn this spell, should you ever come across a boggart. I can only hope, students, that you will not use the knowledge you gain today against each other. I am depending on you to be the best person you can be after this practical lesson. Now, who can tell me what a boggart is, if you haven't already gleamed it from Ms. Granger's question?"
Booker casually raised his hand, and was surprised to be chosen.
"Mr. Potter, if you would please?"
"It's some sort of creature that shows up as our greatest fear," he said. "And I have to agree with Hermione, doing this in front of everyone when several in our year are well known enemies? Not a good idea."
Lupin seemed disappointed to hear that. "Very well, Mr. Potter, we will do this one at a time, in private, under my supervision."
He conjured a large velvet curtain of a deep royal purple, and it placed itself from floor to ceiling to separate the class and the rattling cabinet.
"I will stand here, right at the edge of the curtain, to keep an eye on you as well as whoever is against the boggart." He situated himself on the proclaimed spot. "Now if you would all form an orderly line, please."
The class quickly scrambled to make a rather messy line, Booker somewhere in the middle. The Gryffindors, of course, were all at the front.
"Now, everyone, this spell only works when you imagine your greatest fear as something hilarious. Repeat after me, class, Riddikulus!"
"Riddikulus!" The class said it louder this time.
"Good! Now, Mr. Longbottom, was it? You first."
Neville stepped behind the curtain, and all noise disappeared as the class attempted to hear what was going on.
"I soundproofed the curtain as well," Lupin said, a disapproving look on his face as he eyed the students. They had the decency to look guilty.
Neville stepped out a little later, slightly shaken, but with a small smile on his face.
"Next, Mr. Weasley!"
This cycle continued, with Hermione coming out with only a slight amount of smugness on her face from getting it on the first try, before it was finally Booker's turn.
"Mr. Potter, you're up!"
He stepped up and swept the curtain to the side, a wary expression on his face. He wasn't sure what his greatest fear would be, and watched with horror as it slowly took the shape of Elizabeth.
Guilt and fear coiled in his stomach. To be afraid of his own daughter... well, it made some sense, what with her powers, but still. Shameful, truly.
Regardless, he attempted to imagine her in a chicken suit and cast the spell. "Riddikulus!"
Nothing changed, and Elizabeth raised a brow at him, mocking him.
"It's time to die," she said, and Booker felt deep fear, knowing she would stop at nothing to kill him.
He tried again. "R-riddikulus!" he shouted, pointing his wand at her with vigor.
Again, nothing. His instincts were screaming at him to run, but he wouldn't just leave. He felt electricity spark along his fingertips. Could he kill her before she killed him? Maybe. Just maybe.
Lupin startled him and he switched targets in a terror. The man flinched at the sudden change, but stepped behind the curtain to talk to him.
"Mr. Potter, it's me, Professor Lupin. Would you rather if you didn't finish this exercise? You seem to be having some serious issues."
"Y-yeah," he said, not entirely registering what was going on around him, because suddenly Elizabeth was on him, hands around his neck, pushing past the curtain and knocking him to the ground. She straddled him as she choked him, and he struggled. By god, did he struggle. He kicked her in the back, managing to stun her a little bit. He flipped them over, pulling at her arm until he heard a sickening crack of dislocation.
Then it was no longer Elizabeth. It was young Sally, her arm dislocated, screaming and crying in pain.
"Step aside, Mr. Potter," Lupin said, and he went in front of the boggart, which turned into the full moon.
"Riddikulus!" Lupin turned the moon into a balloon, and quickly sent it back behind the curtain and into the cupboard.
Booker fell to his knees, adrenaline pumping in his ears, barely noticing as Lupin helped him up and out of the classroom.
He woke up, again, in the Hospital Wing.
"Harry," Hermione said off to the side, and he looked over to see her tear-streaked face.
"Hey, 'Mione," he replied weakly.
"I have a lot of questions right now," she told him, wiping away another tear, "but right now you need to rest. Madam Pomfrey, he's awake."
The mediwitch walked over with a grim look.
"Mr. Potter, we meet again."
"Indeed." He remembered her from his last visit. Strict, yet kind. Definitely an experienced medic.
"I understand it was rather traumatic to see your worst fear up close. Honestly, I think this lesson would have been better reserved for the elder students. I'll have to discuss this with Lupin later. For now, Mr. Potter, take a Dreamless Sleep potion, and try to rest."
"Alright," Booker said softly. He took the potion and downed it quickly, managing to hand the bottle to Hermione before he was out like a light.
When he woke again, he was delighted to see Hermione, until he noticed she was frowning.
"Why are you afraid of my grandmother?"
Booker sighed. "This is a long story that I would rather happen in private, Hermione. I promise, I will tell you everything, but you have to wait until I'm out of the Hospital Wing."
Hermione's brow furrowed, but she nodded her assent.
Then, Madam Pomfrey walked over. "Mr. Potter, I'm glad to see you awake. Professor Lupin is here to see you," she announced, and the ragged man stepped up.
"Hello, Mr. Potter," he said, a sad look on his face. "I am truly sorry for exposing you to such a traumatic experience. I wasn't expecting... that. In all honesty I expected He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to appear, and while I'm glad he didn't, I should have thought the experience through much more."
Booker nodded. "Well, apology accepted. I can only hope your next lesson is less... terrifying for the students."
Booker was released a few hours later, and after a small lunch, he and Hermione headed down to the lake and took shelter from the biting autumn winds under a tree. It was the weekend, so there were no classes. Neville, understanding they needed some time to themselves, went to watch Gryffindor's Quidditch practice.
"So. Start from the beginning," Hermione said. "I want to know everything."
With a deep breath, he began the story of Booker DeWitt. The story of a boy, with a Native American mother and an absentee white father, living in New York City, with his mother whoring herself out for money to support him while he worked at the local paper and taught himself to read. How he had no schooling of any sort, barely able to do math until he forced himself to learn for accounting at the paper. When his mother died, he joined the army at a scant 16, and was sent to Wounded Knee, where he killed so many of his mother's race, he couldn't stop the guilt that flooded through him.
Baptism was the only way to go, but even then, a dip in the water was nothing to wash away his sins, and he wallowed in guilt. He got a job as a Pinkerton, worked hard to support his new love, Annabelle Watson, who died to give him a child. And what did he do with the child? Sold it, to pay for his gambling debts. Immediate regret filled him to the brim and he raced after them, only managing to get his daughter's pinky as she was whisked away to another dimension.
Twenty years he spent, working tirelessly to support a child that he wished would come back. Then, he was given a job, to retrieve a girl. The rest, of course, you already know. And when he was drowned in that river, something pulled him from the grips of death and into new life as a boy named Harry Potter, memory intact of his past life for some odd reason that only God could know.
Hermione was astounded, Booker could tell. "This whole time... you were great grandpa Booker."
He smiled. Of course Eliz... Anna would call him that. "Yep. That's me."
"No wonder you look so familiar! You look just like you do in the pictures, only, considerably younger, of course."
"Of course. I trust you'll keep a secret?"
"Harry, Booker, whatever name you may choose, you can always trust me to keep this a secret."
Booker knew he could, and smiled even wider before pulling her into a hug.
AN: i know in the books that the ministry pushed for the dementors to be on the train, but to do so they would need the permission of dumbledore. the ministry is just pushing the blame onto him rather than taking it for themselves.
in case you couldnt tell, i took some liberties with booker's childhood and past. thats not canon, what i wrote. just a headcanon.
also, i didnt wanna take up space at the beginning with this, so here it is. i am so sorry this took so long to update. i got caught in one spot and just couldnt find the will to continue writing, but i refuse to leave this fic unfinished. i want so desperately to finish this fic. no matter how many chapters and years and lore changes. i will finish it.