Chapter Nineteen: Colors and Promises

Another tense week passed the residents of Hogwarts. Though the suspected Basilisk had not made another appearance, the tension amidst the teachers and those few else who knew what was really happening was palpable.

Hedwig flew down to the Gryffindor table at breakfast and dropped a letter off for Harry, which he scrambled to catch. Aurelion hovered in a loop around the owl as she landed, who had more or less gotten used to the antics of the flying serpent.

Hermione sipped from her cup of tea and lifted an eyebrow. "Are you expecting mail?"

"Could be Mr. Scamander," Harry replied, shrugging. He opened the envelope, already anticipating the message within, and read over the short, simple letter.

Will be visiting tomorrow afternoon. Tell your friends I'm bringing treats!

Yes, that was it. Newt was bringing the bait. Tomorrow was the day.

Harry checked the date and blinked. It had only been a month since he'd returned to Hogwarts for his Second Year. Wow. It felt like ages had passed by already.

He gave Hedwig a treat and scratches, causing the Snowy Owl to coo happily. Ron leaned over to try and see what the letter was. "Whatcha got, mate?"

"Oh, Mr. Scamander's going to visit Hogwarts," Harry answered. "He says he's bringing treats for Selena and Aurelion."

Aurelion's attention returned to Harry, floating over his shoulder to inspect the letter for himself. "Food?"

Harry snorted and lifted a hand to scratch the Horned Serpent's chin. "Yes, food."

Ron's face screwed up slightly. "Like what?"

"Dunno. He didn't say."

"He's visiting to check up on Aurelion, right?" Hermione prompted. "How old do Horned Serpents have to be before they can breed, anyways? I'm afraid all the texts I've found on them have been mostly vague about their biology."

"Newt told me it's somewhere between seven and eight years old. They're not quite full-grown by then, but they're big and old enough to mate."

"It also depends on if I find a partner worthy of me," Aurelion puffed up, twisting his head to show off the tiny horns that were growing in slowly. "I am a splendid creature, after all."

Hermione looked to Harry for translation. "He says he's too good for most others of his kind."

Her lips twitched up into a grin and Ron snorted in laughter.

Still, knowing that tomorrow would be the day they went looking for the Basilisk of Salazar Slytherin put Harry's stomach in knots for a whole myriad of reasons. Before long, his mind saw to it that he was only prodding at his breakfast, too deep in thought to bother with actually eating.

A tap on his shoulder had him jolting out of his imagination. He whirled around to see a familiar head of pink hair behind him.

"Lost in your daydreams there, Harry?"

Nym's classic smirk helped him to relax somewhat. "Just a bit, I guess. Got some stuff on my mind."

"Gathered that, funnily enough," she leaned on the table beside him, cooing at Hedwig for a moment before offering Aurelion a few scratches beneath his chin. "Any plans for this afternoon?"

"Not much besides homework," he shrugged with a glance at Hermione, who nodded in agreement. It was a pretty normal thing for the two of them to do schoolwork together in the common room with a few other students. Ron's face screwed up at the mention of homework, but he said nothing.

"Good. Care to meet me at the Astronomy Tower after your last class?"

Harry blinked. "What about curfew?"

"We won't be gone long," she promised. "An hour, maybe a bit more. Promise."

"Ok. I can do that," he nodded slowly, then looked at Hermione. "Works out, anyways. We usually take a bit after class to get settled in before we start school stuff again."

"I'll save a spot for you in the common room," she told him.

"Great!" Nym grinned, giving Harry a friendly nudge before she pushed off the table and said her goodbyes. They watched her go further down to meet with Fred and George, causing the boy to lift an eyebrow.

"Mate, you might have just agreed to get pranked," Ron warned him with a slight laugh.

"I can think of worse things that could happen."

"It's your hair," he shrugged, diving back into breakfast.

Hedwig chose to fly off to the Owlry as Aurelion looped himself around Harry's neck, settling on the boy's shoulders in his usual spot. He stroked the scales of the Horned Serpent absently as his thoughts drifted to his meetup with Nym. What did she have planned, he wondered?

Classes that day passed by fairly quickly, but there was a tension to a few of the teachers Harry knew resulted from the inevitable hunt for the Basilisk that would begin tomorrow. McGonagall and Flitwick were steady enough, but Snape was in a mood and simply ordered his class to spend the period reading the next chapter in their Potions books.

Harry didn't have the patience that day to deal with Lockheart's nonsense. He skipped DADA entirely and instead spent some time in the suitcase with Aurelion and Selena, the latter of which had been restless throughout her brief 'incarceration'.

He ended up practicing spells within the suitcase, focusing especially more on Glacius. Selena had insisted on that one, actually.

"If you have to fight an adult of my race, you will not be able to pierce the scales with magic," she warned him. "The spells you have learned to fight other wizards and witches will be insufficient. You must defeat it through other means. Freeze it first if you can, shut down its body. Blind it. Destroy its greatest weapon."

He would be lying if the subject didn't disturb him—he didn't like the idea of learning how to kill a Basilisk, but Selena was adamant. It was a reminder that for all her intelligence, she had a different way of thinking than humans. A hard, instinctive edge when she needed it. A predatory mindset that allowed her to cut away from the empathy he felt.

She was right, he knew. He couldn't go against a Basilisk without being prepared. It would be suicide to do so.

It didn't make him any less uneasy. When he thought of a Basilisk, his first thought was Selena herself. He was learning her greatest weaknesses.

After a while of turning the underground lake into ice and melting it back down, Harry settled onto the lush grass, setting his wand to the side. Selena rested her head in his lap, curling around him with her thickening coils. Aurelion was content to fly above them, but some of the grass and ground snakes he'd rescued from the Dursley's residence slithered from their dens and burrows to join their friend.

They were settling in well to the warm, snake-friendly conditions within the suitcase. Always there was food for them, plenty of room to establish themselves, and safety the like of which they'd never experienced before.

He stroked the Basilisk's scales atop her head, smiling when she yawned widely and exposed the large, venomous fangs in her mouth. Her skull was as big as a small dog's at this point. The never-blinking, amber eyes glowed faintly even in the light. The filtering enchantment that blocked her deadly magic was always in effect.

A voice suddenly reverberated into the space from the outside. "Mr. Potter? Are you in here?"

Harry frowned and twisted, looking up the tunnel he always went through. "Professor Dumbledore?"

"The very one. May we come in?"

"Of course," he called back. The smaller grass and ground snakes quickly left his side to retreat to their homes. Selena removed her head so he could stand up, grumbling quietly.

"This had best be important," she hissed. Harry comforted her with a brief touch to her strong neck.

Dumbledore emerged from within the tunnel a few moments later with another man close behind him. Harry, Selena, and Aurelion—who flew down close to them so as to observe the newcomers better—studied the stranger curiously.

The unknown man was tall. Easily beyond six feet, and lanky in build. He had a pale face with lines that didn't seem to suit his age, and light brown hair. His clothing was shabby and patched, reminding Harry of homeless people he'd sometimes seen in London when he visited the city with the Dursleys.

He also had a fair few scars cutting across his face, as if from some terrible beast or sharp blade. He carried an air about him that was exhausted, and yet his brown eyes lit up with wonder when he saw Harry. He actually stopped in his tracks when his gaze set upon the boy.

Unfortunately, Selena caught a whiff of his scent and immediately puffed up, placing herself between Harry and the stranger.

He frowned at her. "What—"

"That is not a man," she hissed dangerously. In the air, Aurelion's tongue flickered to mimic her and he too became wary. "I smell his cursed blood."

Dumbledore lifted a hand for calm. "Be at ease, Selena. He means Harry no harm. Quite the contrary, I assure you."

The man, to his credit, did not make a move to get closer. His eyes had widened upon seeing the pair of magical serpents guarding the boy so protectively.

"Shall I introduce you all?" Dumbledore offered. Harry simply nodded, curious and wary all at once. "Mr. Potter, Ms. Selena, Mr. Aurelion, this is Remus Lupin. He is an old friend who will be assisting us in the search for our suspect tomorrow."

Remus took a careful step forward, dipping his head as his lips twitched into a slight smile. "Harry. It's a pleasure to meet you at last."

He studied the boy, far less interested in the snakes (although he did spare each of them a curious glance) than most wizards usually were. Remus shook his head slowly, almost disbelievingly. "Gods, but you look so much like James."

Harry's curiosity was instantly piqued above his wariness. "You knew my dad?"

"Remus and your father were thick as thieves in their school days," Dumbledore chuckled, eyes twinkling.

"As close as brothers," Remus admitted with a fond smile. "You're his spitting image. I thought I'd stepped into my younger days for a moment there. But your eyes give it away. You have Lily's eyes."

Ever the pragmatist, Selena let out another hiss to remind them she was still present. "This does not tell us what he is."

Harry glanced down at her, pursing his lips, then looked back up at Remus. "Sorry. She's…she's really protective of me."

"Let me guess," Remus' smile became a little bitter. "She doesn't like how I smell."


"Understandable," he sighed. "I shouldn't be surprised; snakes have an incredible sense of smell."

"Flattery will get you nowhere," Selena sneered.

Remus seemed uncomfortable for several moments. But his desire to speak more with Harry—without the aggression of the Basilisk and Horned Serpent—outweighed whatever he was worried about, it seemed.

"Have you ever heard of Lycanthropy, Harry?"

It clicked immediately. "The condition werewolves suffer?"

"That's the one," Remus admitted, wincing.

Harry tilted his head slightly as he processed the information. He'd read about this, of course. Lycanthropy was an untreatable condition, even after hundreds of years of werewolves existing. Those inflicted were shunned by society, deemed too dangerous to be with normal witches and wizards. Werewolves were torn between Being and Beast classification by the Ministry, although they were always considered to be XXXXX class on a danger scale due to their infectious bites.

They were outcasts. Many werewolves lived in packs of their own kind, far away from civilization. If they chose to live amongst normal wizards and witches, and anyone found out about their condition, they were usually pushed out of those communities. Fired from their jobs, forced from their homes, and oftentimes this was done violently. The fear and prejudice ran deep.

For better or worse, Harry lacked those prejudices due to his isolation from the Wizarding World for so long. He was also rather accustomed to spending time with exceedingly dangerous creatures.

Well. Remus seemed more human than beast, so perhaps that wasn't quite right.

"Did my dad know?" Harry asked more out of curiosity than anything.

"He did," Remus confirmed. "James, along with two of our friends helped me with my transformations when I was still in school here."

Harry glanced at Dumbledore, who merely nodded. That helped him relax somewhat. He wasn't really put-off by Remus being a werewolf, if he was being frank. He had a million questions about the subject, actually, but Harry had always been—and maybe always would be—wary with strangers at first.

It would take time to warm to Remus, just not for the reasons he suspected, Harry imagined.

He knelt to stroke Selena's scales, murmuring gently to her in Parseltongue. "I think we can give him a chance. If my dad liked him enough to handle his Lycanthropy, we can afford him a little trust, can't we?"

"Never did I think I'd see the day when you were the one encouraging me to trust," Selena replied, still staring at Remus as if he were another dangerous predator. Which, in fairness, he sort of was. "Tell him my bite is worse than his and I will be satisfied. For now."

"And mine, as well," Aurelion hissed above them.

Harry relayed the message with a sheepish voice. Remus managed to lift one side of his mouth into a weak smile. "Perhaps they kill faster, but a werewolf bite has one begging for death, sad to say."

On that wonderfully morbid note, Harry decided he wanted to move things along. "Would you like to talk for a bit? I've got some time before I have to meet with my friends."

Remus lifted an eyebrow, glancing at the snakes. "They do not mind?"

"They don't," Harry reassured him. "They want to keep me safe, but they're willing to give you a chance."

"If you are…comfortable spending time with someone like me, I will not refuse to talk to you," Remus agreed quietly. It looked like a weight had lifted from his shoulders.

"I do believe Mr. Potter would find a conversation with you more productive than his class with Professor Lockhart," Dumbledore chuckled, much to the confusion of Remus. Harry flushed, but said nothing in defense of that.

Lockhart himself was the excuse in this instance. Even the Headmaster couldn't fault him for that.

Talking with Remus was awkward at first, but they fell into a tentatively comfortable, quiet conversation as time passed. Dumbledore had, after the introductions, opted to give them some privacy and returned to the Headmaster's office. They sat by the lake in the suitcase, both of the snakes tucked close to Harry so they could listen.

"Dumbledore told me about Selena and…Aurelion, isn't it?" Remus glanced at him to make sure he'd gotten it right. Harry nodded, so he went on. "But I don't think I really believed it until I saw you with them."

"Selena saved my life," he murmured, stroking the head of the Basilisk once more placed upon his lap. She had not stopped staring at Remus the whole time, always ensuring she was facing him.

Aurelion was a bit more discreet, but he was always peeking his head around Harry's shoulder to keep an eye on the man.

Remus' face hardened. "Yes, he told me about that, too. I'm so sorry for what you went through, Harry."

Harry felt a little discomfort return as they breached that topic and hurried to avoid it entirely. "Why didn't I hear about you before? It sounds like you and my dad were really close."

"Most of it was my own wish," Remus admitted. "Your father was like a brother to me, Harry, but I am…not safe to be around. Even with the Wolfsbane potion, I am not the sort of man who should be entrusted with children. And I didn't want to frighten you with my bestial nature."

"I've found people are often worse than monsters," Harry murmured. Selena's muscular body tightened around him in a gentle squeeze.

"I confess, that brings me both relief and worry," he sighed. "I'm overjoyed you aren't afraid of my condition, but…"

"Not all people are terrible. I know that."

"Still, you never should have been made to feel such things."

"Is what it is. I'm…working on it. I'm getting better with people. I think."

"I understand. It's a process. Letting others into your life."

Remus must have also grown up being shunned as Harry had been, had struggled to accommodate himself with people when he met individuals who were actually friendly. Being a werewolf didn't sound like an easy life.

"You said my dad helped you with two other friends, right? Who were they?"

Remus tensed again, not meeting Harry's eyes. "One was named Peter Pettigrew. He's dead now. The other was Sirius Black."

Harry paused. "My godfather?"

The older man's gaze jerked to him, widening. "You know?"

"Kreacher told me about him. Well, just a little, really. He told me Sirius Black was my godfather and that he's in Azkaban."

"That old elf…" Remus muttered something under his breath that Harry didn't catch, but the man ran a hand through his shaggy hair, sighing. "Well, he wasn't lying. Sirius is in Azkaban now. As for why…I'd rather not discuss that during our first conversation, if that's alright with you Harry. It's a heavy subject."

"It's alright," Harry rolled along to another question. "How did my dad help you with your Lycanthropy?"

"When I was first enrolled, Dumbledore had a house built on the outskirts of Hogsmeade," Remus told him. "I was taken to the house on the night of every full moon, where I could transform without the risk of hurting someone. This was before the Wolfsbane potion was created. It was…exceedingly difficult. In the absence of humans to attack, I resorted to slashing and biting myself. It's where most of my scars came from.

"James and Sirius were bother rather clever, even when we were just children. They worked out I was a werewolf in my second year and started helping me as best they could. I was afraid I'd hurt them, but I suspect Dumbledore was always keeping a close eye on things. He made certain nothing ever went wrong. And when we reached our fifth year, James, Sirius, and Peter all became Animagi. Illegally, it must be said, but it was a boon when I transformed. An Animagus in their animal form cannot be infected by a werewolf bite."

His facial features softened. "Peter's animal was a rat, so he was really just there to keep us company. But James and Sirius were a stag and a large dog respectively. They were big enough to keep me from getting too dangerous on my worse nights. But oftentimes, my wolf wouldn't bother attacking them. Werewolves are driven to attack humans, not animals. The two of them kept me from hurting myself too badly."

Harry wondered what sort of animal he'd change into if he became an Animagus. Would he be a stag like his father? Some other sort of creature? With how much time he spent around snakes…

"I'm going to recommend you don't try becoming an Animagus on your own, Harry," Remus' voice lifted him from his thoughts, causing him to glance at the man again. There was a knowing glint in the older man's eyes. "James and the others were lucky nothing went wrong when they tried it. As far as I know, anyways. Best to do it in legal channels with the proper teachers."

"I was just wondering what sort of animal I'd change into," Harry shrugged, then paused, frowning. "What happens if a werewolf becomes an Animagus? Could that stop the transformation?"

"It doesn't, unfortunately," was the admittance. "You aren't the first to wonder that. A werewolf named Cyllace Wellington became an Animagus in the seventeenth century. He too wondered if changing into another animal would circumvent his Lycanthropy. Unfortunately, the change from his animal form to a werewolf was too drastic. It killed him."

Harry winced. Remus managed a smile. "I appreciate the theory, though."

"Blood curses are so complicated," the boy muttered. "I've not read a lot about them, but everything I've seen keeps telling me they're impossible to cure. You can only treat them, and not even all of them…"

"You might look like James, but you're really Lily's son, aren't you?"

Harry flashed him a little grin. "Snape seems to think so."

Remus blinked. "Does he?"

"He told me that he and my mum were friends in school for a bit. Didn't sound like he got on with my dad."

"That, Harry, is what we call an understatement."

His smile grew a bit more, but when Harry checked his watch, he sighed. "I'd best get going. Nym'll be waiting on me."

"I understand," Remus stood up with him, waiting as Harry parted from his serpents. Selena's tongue flicked his cheek, then she slipped into the deep pool of water and dove deep. Aurelion remained, leaving the boy's shoulders to fly in a lazy circle around him.

Harry faced the man with a little hesitance. "I'd—I'd like to do this again. Talk with you, I mean."

"I'd be happy to do so, Harry. There's so much more I could tell you."

"I want to hear all of it. If that's alright."

"You will," Remus set a hand on his shoulder and squeezed lightly. "I promise."

Within the next hour, Harry had climbed up to the Astronomy Tower with Aurelion (who flew, of course) and found Nym waiting for him. She was twirling her wand between her fingers, whistling a merry tune as she looked out over the grounds.

She must've heard him coming up the stone steps, because she stopped playing with the wand and glanced over her shoulder. A grin spread over her face.

"I see you made it."

"Wouldn't miss it," Harry smiled wryly. "Though I still don't know what 'it' is. Don't suppose the Twins are waiting to jump me?"

"There's an idea," she snickered. "But no, you're safe—for now."

"I don't feel safe, hearing that."

She laughed, then spun on her heel and walked towards him. With a tap on his shoulder, she guided him to one of the stone walls. Though most of the tower itself was an open space, so one could look out and see the stars for Astronomy classes, there were a few walls surrounding the interior.

"What are we doing here?" Harry asked.

"This time of day, no one's up here," she told him. "Best place to find some peace and quiet...well, only when it's not occupied by a couple of the older students snogging."

Harry blinked. "That happens?"

"More often than you can believe," she shrugged. "This place is like…the not-so-secret secret getaway spot for those disgusting couples who can't keep their hands off each other for more than five minutes."

"That's a thing?"

"Oh, Harry," Nym laughed. "Sweet, innocent Harry…"

He felt his cheeks color at her teasing. "Mind telling me why we're here?"

"Watch!" Nym lifted her wand and pointed it at the gray, stone wall. "Rudum Penicillum!"

The end of her wand loosed a fine, thin stream of red, which stuck to the wall like paint. Nym held it close to her chosen canvas and slowly, carefully led it along the wall in a ribbon of color against the stone backdrop. She flicked the wand at the end and the color ceased to emerge.

"Neat, isn't it? Always loved art. Helps take my mind off things."

"Um…won't someone notice that?"

"Nope! The castle gets rid of the colors after an hour or two. Must be a spell."


"But in the meantime, you can have plenty of fun with it," she told him. Nym pressed the tip of her wand to the end of the long, six-foot strand of color. "Animatus!"

She started to drag her wand across the stone and Harry watched, fascinated, as the ribbon of red began to follow her every move. Nym led it across the wall, then stepped back. The color followed her off the canvas, and she spun in place with the magic string. It reminded Harry of the plastic streamers he sometimes saw muggles play with during holidays.

"That's brilliant," Harry said, eyes locked onto the colorful spell.

Aurelion was just as intrigued and flew closer, chasing the ribbon lazily in the same way a cat might chase a toy on a string. Nym laughed, spinning a bit faster to keep the chase up. Harry felt the corners of his mouth rise as she suddenly began to run around the tower, the red ribbon flowing from the tip of her wand while Aurelion chased after it.

She did a full loop and then with a flick of her wand, threw the ribbon back onto the wall she first cast it upon. Aurelion almost crashed into it before he stopped, tongue flicking at the now-formless string of red.

"Whatcha think? Thought this might be something you'd like," she explained after a moment. "It was sort of a simple spell my dad taught me when I was little. He'd make these colors and I'd run around the house with them on the end of his wand for hours."

"It's amazing," he confessed. It was a simple spell, and yet the creative possibilities were endless. Art was fun like that. "Can you cast different colors?"

"'Course you can. I can show you. If you're really artsy, you can draw out animals and animate them to run around. My dad does that a lot. I'm not as good as he is, but I've done my fair share, too."

"I've never really gotten to do anything with art," Harry admitted. "Mind showing me how?"

Nym nudged his arm with her hand in a friendly way. "Happy to."

Harry gaped as Nym set her newly-painted Chinese Fireball dragon loose from the wall to fly around the Astronomy Tower.

"I thought you said you weren't as good as your dad!"

"I did," she laughed. "I never said I wasn't good!"

Good didn't even begin to cover it. Aurelion hissed at the dragon, which Nym had spent the past hour working on before she decided to let it fly around. The artistic construct couldn't make any sound—she'd told him she wasn't good enough with enchantments for that sort of thing yet—but the dragon itself could fly around as if it were flesh and blood.

The Chinese Fireball started to chase Aurelion, who flew away from the creature. It wasn't very fast, and so the Horned Serpent had no trouble keeping away from it, but it was remarkably lifelike.

"Dad loves this sort of thing," Nym twirled her wand in-hand as she admired her creation. "Like I said, he taught me a lot of this stuff when I was growing up. I've had a long time to practice."

"Nym, it looks amazing," Harry told her, watching the dragon fly and spin through the air. It couldn't fly far from the place she'd painted it, or it would dissolve into nothing (or so she'd told him).

He'd made an attempt to draw Selena and Aurelion himself, but Harry hadn't done much of anything artistic in his whole life. When they failed to look much of anything like his friends, he settled on making a pair of black and green strands of color, then spelled them to the end of his wand like Nym had. He'd practice later—Nym had inspired him to try it out. It was an expression of creativity that was denied to him when he lived with the Dursleys.

Aurelion tried to approach the conjured dragon from behind, but it spotted him and he made a swift retreat as it gave chase once more.

"It can't hurt you, Aurelion! Promise!" Nym called up to him.

"I do not want it to touch me," was the hissed reply. "It smells odd."

"It smells like paint," Harry told the snake.

"Paint smells odd."

Nym snorted when he translated for the Horned Serpent. "Fair enough. Reckon you aren't in the mood for a bath then, eh?"

"Not for this nonsense, no."

She laughed, lifting her wand and guiding the dragon back to the wall. Once it was safely re-attached to their canvas, Aurelion approached and allowed Nym to run her hand along his smooth, black scales.

"Easier to admire it when it's not chasing you?"

"Whatever made you think such a thing?" Aurelion snarked.

Harry and Nym both got a chuckle from his sass. The Horned Serpent snorted and returned to his master's shoulders, decidedly done with flying for the time being. He curled up around Harry, settling down so that he could always watch the dragon on the wall.

Just in case.

"So what was going on this morning?" Nym asked, drumming her fingers on her leg. "You looked properly worried when I saw you."

Harry pursed his lips. He probably wasn't supposed to say anything, but Nym already knew about the Basilisk Salazar Slytherin had locked away in the Chamber of Secrets, so…

"You can't tell anyone," he told her first. When she nodded, Harry took a breath. "We're going to try and deal with the snake. Tomorrow."

Nym's fingers stopped drumming. "Like…the big snake?"

"The big snake," he admitted grimly.

"Who is we? Because you're not like…going after it alone, right?"

"No way. Professor Dumbledore has a group of people coming in to help out. I'm just going to try and call for it. They'll do the rest, I think."

"Good," she sighed. "You're brilliant and I don't doubt you could charm any snake in the world to love you, but I'll feel better knowing you've got Dumbledore and a bunch of other wizards watching your back."

Harry colored. "I don't know about brilliant."

"You are! Come on, top of your class, Parseltongue extraordinaire? You're bloody brilliant."

He shrugged a little helplessly. "It's not that special, is it?"

"One day, I will make you believe all the nice things I say about you," Nym decided.

Decidedly unsure how to handle the declaration, Harry stumbled to reply. "You're brilliant. Um. Too. You are brilliant."

"Of course I am!"

She stepped up to him and jabbed her index finger into his chest, making Harry jump. "So you make sure you don't do anything silly like get yourself eaten by a thousand year-old Basilisk, yeah? Because I like having you around and that would majorly ruin my year. Also I don't know enough Parseltongue to take care of Selena and Aurelion, and I'm pretty sure they'd kick me out of my own house if they had to live with me for too long."

"That is not true," Aurelion hissed. "I do not have feet to 'kick' with like you humans do. I would ask nicely."

"He agrees," Harry told her dryly, causing Aurelion to shoot him a dirty look. She laughed and his lips rose into a small smile.

Nym reached down for one of his hands, swinging it a little between them. "Promise to be safe, yeah? Seriously. I don't want you to get hurt."

"Of course. I promise."

Aurelion hummed on his shoulder, content to sing his little song as they left the Astronomy Tower and returned to their respective Common Rooms.

And Harry felt a little bit lighter inside.

A/N: Let me get ahead of all the questions right now.

I am working on chapters for the following stories all at once currently: Brothers by Dragons, Challenger, Frostfyre, (only on ao3) Serpentine, and Viridescent. Eventually, I'll also finish that IzuMina Week 2021 I started like seven months ago. I have been doing so for months now.

The reason why they haven't really gotten anywhere lately is because the holidays make my workplace 200% busier and as a result, I have been suffering from physical and mental exhaustion, sleepless nights, and let's add onto the various health problems I've managed to gain as the 2021 dwindled down. One of my wisdom teeth has a damaged nerve, (that sucks, in case you didn't know) my depression is once again kicking my ass, and my latest batch of blood work has revealed that my body is suffering from pretty bad vitamin deficiencies.

So my sentiment is thus: Fuck the holidays, please never come back.

Anyways, this chapter is short, but I needed something to just...try and kick-start my brain back into gear, and this story has needed some love. Shit, all of my stories need love, but you get the idea. Next chapter we see Salazar's Basilisk.

As ever, please review and thanks for reading!