Meetings With Hidden Allies
Hagrid sat at his table, staring at the pictures in the photo album in front of him, thinking, with guilt, of the child he had helped the headmaster abandon in the muggle world. As he leafed through the pictures, smiling fondly at the faces, most of which smiled back, he stopped at the close up of James and Lily, eyes welling with tears. "I'm sorry, James, Lily," he whispered softly. "I should have let Sirius take him when I had the chance. I was too afraid of losing my job to disobey Dumbledore." Lily smiled sadly at the half-giant whilst James left the frame of the picture briefly, coming back moments later with a piece of parchment with writing on it. It's all right, Hagrid, it said. Lady Magick has a reason for everything. Little Hadrian had to go to those animals so that his true family could save him. Call a meeting with Severus and the children. They will explain everything.
"Perfesser," Hagrid murmured to Severus the next morning after breakfast in the Great Hall. The Potions Master halted for a moment, waiting patiently. "If it in't too much bother, could I trouble yeh ter bring the li'l uns by me hut after classes 'er done fer the day? I'd like ter meet wi' 'adrian; I 'ave sumpin fer 'im."
"Of course, Hagrid," Snape said with a bow of his head. "I'm sure that Hadrian and the others would like to meet your boarhound. It's sure to be an interesting sight." Chuckling, the half-giant walked away with a spring in his step, glad that the dour man was willing to give him a chance, considering how closely he'd followed the old man for so many years.
Continuing on to his classroom, he closed the door and faced the first years. "Today will be a study period. The potion I will have you do is a complicated one, and is usually saved for the third year classes. Because you all have shown how bright and eager you are, I chose to allow you to try your hand at the more advanced elixir, to see how many of you may be encouraged to continue on into my advanced classes. Now, get into small study groups of five, and open these third year books to page three hundred ninety four. The potion I wish for you to study is on that page." Shuffling sounded in the classroom as the students got with friends. Hadrian, Draco, Theo, Neville and Ron all sat together in one group, while Seamus, Dean, Padma, Parvati and Hermione gathered together at another table next to them. "Hadrian," the raven's father said as he approached the two groups, "you and your friends gather in front of the entry doors after your last classes for the day. Hagrid wishes to speak with us."
"You mean that gigantic, hairy man?" Draco asked incredulously, eyes wide.
"Yes, Draco," the dour Potions Master said with laughter in his voice, "that gigantic, hairy man. He's a gentle soul, who will not hurt any of you. I believe he has something he wishes to give to my son."
"Okay, Dad," Hadrian said happily. "I don't have any problem meeting him. I've watched him out on the grounds, tending to some of the magical creatures. He seems friendly enough."
Hagrid opened his door to the firm knock, eyes widening at the sight before him. As well as Hadrian and Theo, Draco also came, with Ron, Hermione, the twins, Seamus, Dean and Neville. Sirius and Remus stood in the rear with Severus, beaming happily at their half-giant friend. "Come on in, everyone," the large man bade them, stepping aside to allow them entrance. The children stepped into the hut, eyes widening in surprise at the surroundings.
From the outside, the hut looked small and ramshackle; it was anything but on the inside. The visitors stood in a spacious living room, decorated with several couches, chairs and chaises. The floor was a polished mahogany, with several animal pelts scattered about. The cream walls were covered with a variety of hunting weapons, and several doorways led off into other rooms that the children were insanely curious to explore. Before another word was spoken, excited barking could be heard as a gigantic, slobbering dog bound into the room, launching itself at the group of kids and bowling them over, covering them with doggy kisses as its tail flailed around exuberantly.
"Aaauuugh!" Draco shrieked loudly. "Get it off me!" Hadrian giggled as his arms wrapped around the dog's neck, hugging it cheerfully. Hermione also wrapped her arms around its middle as the rest of the kids squirmed and fought to try and get out from under the dog and each other. A large, calloused hand wrapped around the spiked collar around the dog's neck, tugging gently as Hagrid pulled the dog off the pile of children, allowing them to regain their feet as they wiped futilely at the copious amounts of drool that soaked them from head to foot.
"Sorry about that," the half-giant apologized sheepishly. "Fang loves children, and he tends to get a little over-excited when I have visitors." Severus' eyebrows skated into his hairline at the almost cultured voice coming from the rugged man, and Sirius' and Remus' surprise wasn't too far behind.
"Hagrid?" the animagus queried hesitantly. "Have you always been this intelligent?" Remus winced at the blunt, rude question and smacked Sirius in the back of the head, making the Head of the Black family yelp in indignation.
"I think what Sirius means is, why have we never seen this very Slytherin side of you?" Severus asked, smirking at the byplay between his son's godfathers.
"After Tom Riddle accused me of being the one to loose the monster on Hogwarts and causing the death of Myrtle Warren, my mother's family came to get me once I was released from Azkaban. They weren't very pleased with the way that the wizarding world treated magical creatures, nor were they very enchanted with the prejudice displayed against mixed blood magicals. They were also very angry with the fact that Albus Dumbledore, who was very active in the Ministry at the time, wouldn't use his influence to help me out. So they took me to their enclave and trained me in their ways and traditions, as well as their magics. I was given a staff through which I was to channel my giant magic, and I wield it very well.
They realized, however, that I also needed to educate my human wizard side, as well, and knew of a half-magical giantess, who was a headmistress of a magical school in France. They sent me to her, where she was able to train and educate me in wizarding magic, and I was able to obtain a wand that was a better match for me, because it was made with two woods and two cores, to agree with the two sides of my heritage. It was through her that I was able to learn how to speak and carry myself better, and it was also through her that I learned how to wear a variety of masks, depending on the situation. When I came back to Hogwarts to keep an eye on things, I knew that I needed to play the 'ill-bred half-breed' for Dumbledore, so that I could gather what information I could in order to protect the children to the best of my abilities. I befriended James Potter and Lily Evans, as well as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, and watched you grow.
"I am sorry, Severus, that I was unable to protect you from the cruelties visited upon you by Sirius while you were here. I knew his mother and father, and though Orion Black was a fine, upstanding man, he was a milquetoast who couldn't go against the might of Walburga. She was vicious and cruel to her children, and I'm afraid that Sirius took the brunt of her abuse, mainly to protect his younger brother." All eyes went to Sirius, who had tears shimmering in his grey eyes and a flush of shame on his cheeks.
"I…I never knew that anyone saw or understood that," he whispered, embarrassed.
"You should have come to me," Severus murmured, stepping closer to the animagus and wrapping a comforting arm around the other man's shoulders. "I would have understood far better than you know. My father was a vile, abusive drunk who tried to beat the magic out of me every day. At sixteen, I murdered him when I came home from Hogwarts to find that he had beaten my mother to death in a drunken rage. That was my 'initiation' after Lily and I had our falling out. I was tasked with killing him, but seeing my mother, lying there in a pool of blood just made it easier."
"The reason I asked you here is to give Hadrian this," the half-giant finally said, breaking through the heavy moment. He picked up the photo album and handed it to the child, smiling at the wide grin as the child leafed through it, emerald eyes widening at the pictures within. The children gravitated to the sofas, sitting down to look through it and chatter about different things while the men sat in the chairs around the fireplace.
"I wish I had given Hadrian to you when you asked me to, Sirius," Hagrid murmured softly, eyes sad. "I was afraid that, if I had disobeyed Albus, I would have been sacked, or worse. Despite appearances, he does not care for the well-being of magical creatures or mixed races any more than he cares for purebloods or mixed bloods. Hadrian should have gone to his godfather, instead of those beastly muggles."
"If you had given him to me, he wouldn't have been with his godfather, Hagrid," Sirius replied quietly. "James and Lily had named Severus as his godfather; they both knew that I wasn't mature enough to handle being the type of father their son needed, and they were right. Instead of taking their son's well-being into consideration, I wanted revenge. I couldn't see past my own pain and heartache to see that he had lost everything that night. I was so selfish."
"You weren't the only one, Sirius," Remus said, a catch in his voice. "I didn't even bother to try and see to his welfare. I just ran. I thought you were the traitor, and at the death of my pack, I fled, holing up in that cabin they gave me and licking my wounds. I had the world's biggest pity party for myself, and never even considered Hadrian. It was all about me, me, me."
"How did you end up with him, Severus?" Hagrid asked, trying to move past the pain that both men were feeling, and the self-pity in which they were wallowing. He could see and understand their self-disgust, and their brief bit of selfishness turned his stomach a little. He had thought that they were two of the finest men he had ever known; to hear that they were human was a bit disappointing.
"His muggle relatives had abandoned him in the middle of a dense forest in muggle London, in the middle of a frigid night near the end of November 1981," the Potions Master replied angrily, buried fury resurfacing as if the circumstances surrounding his son's treatment had happened yesterday. "I was out ingredients gathering; I suffered from severe insomnia at the time because of Voldemort's and Dumbledore's near constant demands on my time; and I paused in my exploration because I thought I heard a baby's cry. Thinking I was imagining things, I was set to continue when the sound repeated. Following my ears, I nearly fell into the box in which they had abandoned him, without any covering to protect him from the cold.
"I picked him up and brought him back to my home, where I cleaned him up and fed him. He was covered in bruises and near starved. Lily had given me a sealed envelope before she and the family had gone into hiding, so I read the letter, which shocked the hell out of me. In it was instructions from her and James, telling me that I was named Hadrian's godfather, and that I should adopt him, should anything happen to them. James also gave me fifty thousand galleons a year for his care, as well as a villa in Haguenau, France, complete with a potions lab and an extensive potions garden in the Foret du Haguenau.
"So, the next day, we went to Gringotts, and finalized everything. Lucius and I took care of all the safeguards that the Dark Lord had in place to resurrect himself, to make sure that he could never return, and I brought in a Healer and a physiowizard to take care of the damage to his body from the starvation and neglect, and now he's my healthy, happy son. Lucius and I helped get Sirius out of Azkaban, and we brought Remus to the Manor, and I made them my son's godfathers on his eleventh birthday, and we've been one big, happy family ever since."
"I must say, Lucius Malfoy has been the best Minister we've had for a very long time," Hagrid said with a gleam in his eye. "The laws and protections he's put into place for magical creatures, as well as mixed races and mixed blood magicals, has gone a long way toward making our world safer and more prosperous."
"I agree wholeheartedly with that," Remus chimed in with a wide grin. "Because of him, I can't be fired because I'm a werewolf. Because of him, there are now schools in place to help those were-species who don't know how, to integrate the animal part of themselves more fully with the magical part, so that they don't need a potion to keep their human mind when the change comes. I'm now able to control the change more fully, as well as change when I wish to, and not when the moon calls. My senses are more highly attuned, and I can use those skills to protect my pack. We weres become stronger when we can control how and when we change, and we become stronger when we can integrate the strengths of our animal with the human part of us. It's liberating."
"I would like to set up a meeting between you and Lucius, if I may," Severus told the large man thoughtfully.
"All right. May I ask why?"
"I think you would be wonderful as the liaison between the Ministry and the magical creatures. You get along with all manner of magical creatures. You have a natural rapport with them, and you have an ability to communicate with them that is exceedingly rare. It's needed if the Ministry is to meet the needs of the magical creatures in our world. I think Lucius would be very grateful for the help, and it would be the impetus needed to change the department from the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to the Department of Magical Creature Cooperation and Cohabitation."
"I would be honored," Hagrid replied with a blush and a smile. "Thank you. I can do that and still keep an eye on things here. I will be your eyes and ears here; I know that Albus still has allies out there, and they may try and push his agenda. I've heard things; talk about Voldemort. I'll do what I can to get you any information I may come across that may threaten your children."
"Thank you, Hagrid. Our children's safety couldn't possibly be in better hands."