Author's notes:

Standard disclaimer: It all belongs to JKR. Except where I might use some song lyrics which I will call out at the time and give proper credit. Thank you JKR for letting us play with your toys.

I will continue to use the occasional song lyric in the story and will give credit at the time when needed.

This is the fourth book in my Slytherin Harry series.

Book 1: Harry Potter and the Muggle's Daughter

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Book 3: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Book 4: Harry Potter and the Blood Traitor's Daughter.

If you haven't read books 1-3 you won't know what's going on. But the bonus is you've got three completed books before you even get to this one!

And last, the disappointing bits.

First, because the site gives me such difficulty uploading, I've adjusted my writing to make things easier and made chapters generally shorter than in the past I try to keep things at about 5000 words because it just works best.

Second, to ensure I keep the production of new material ahead of the pace of my posting I'm afraid I have to go to every other week. I'm sorry, but I'm doing the best I can.



The Best of intentions

Albus Dumbledore stood in his pensive within the memory he had taken from the mind of Neville Longbottom. As it wasn't his actual memory, but the memory he hadformed when he'd invaded Neville's mind, it was quite fragmented. He had spent a significant amount of time studying what had occurred and was very concerned about a great many things.

He was and he wasn't surprised at the actions Minerva had taken. She had been the member of staff most opposed to the hiding of the Philosopher's Stone within the school. She took quite seriously her position and duties and he should have foreseen how affected she would have been by the dressing down Amelia had given them for the incident. He hadn't really realized that she had stopped confiding in him over the following year and if he were analyzing the current situation correctly her actions were going to lead to her being taken into Harry's inner circle. He would have to work to repair his relationship with her so that he might be able to take advantage of the development.

Of course he knew Harry had an inner circle by now. Severus had performed his duties well. He'd attempted to perform Legilimency on Harry, Hermione, Ginevra and Luna many times over the last two years. It had become plainly evident Harry and Hermione had been extensively trained in the Mind Magics. They both feigned being sick or sudden headaches at the slightest signs of intrusion. Ginevra and Luna avoided eye contact at all costs. Severus had been able to confirm little from them other than they had some basic Occlumency skills that seemed to increase as time went along. It all pointed to Sirius and Harry having a closer relationship with Hermione than he'd initially been led to believe. Harry and Hermione were well trained and had taken it upon themselves to train Ginevra and Luna. He wasn't quite certain why they hadn't done the same with Neville. The boy's defenses were essentially nonexistent.

But exactly who were Harry's inner circle? Sirius, obviously. Remus had confirmed a relationship with Andromeda Tonks, her husband and daughter. Remus believed the relationship was close and that Andromeda, at the very least, was training Harry and Hermione in the Mind Magics. He should have figured that long ago. She was Severus' equal in the arts and made much more sense as a teacher than did Sirius. Unfortunately Remus hadn't been able to provide much more information than that. He knew there was an inner circle but wasn't considered part of it.

But now, thanks to this memory, there was something far more concerning. Just before Neville had stabbed the diary down on the basilisk fang – a stroke of genius to be certain – Tom Riddle had threatened to kill Harry's mother. That made no sense at all. Lily was dead. He had seen her body with his own eyes. He had watched as the funeral pyre had consumed the bodies of her and James. But Tom had believed she was alive and said the information had come from Ginevra's mind. Was it possible? Had Lily somehow faked her death? If Lily were alive things were far more out of control than he feared. But how? How could she possibly be alive? She had been struck by the Killing Curse. What had saved her? He thought he understood why Harry had survived. Lily had sacrificed herself for him, refusing to stand aside when offered the chance. That had set the Old Magic in motion. But if she hadn't actually been killed, then the Old Magic wouldn't have been in place and Harry should have died.

The only possible explanation he could think that would have both Harry and Lily surviving was James having been offered the chance to live if he would stand aside. But he already knew that wasn't the case. He'd invaded Peter Pettigrew's mind many times since the man had been incarcerated. He had seen the altercation between James and Tom and he knew James had not been given the chance Lily was. So how? If she were truly alive, how? He knew she was brilliant. She had created the Wolfsbane Potion while still in school. Had she created something else that allowed her to save herself and Harry? She was a genius at Charms and one did not find themselves recruited to the ranks of the Unspeakables for nothing; especially when the one in question was a Muggle-born witch. She was far and away the most capable student to have come through Hogwarts since Tom Riddle and had only been matched since by Hermione Granger.

Albus frowned. If he allowed himself to believe Lily were alive, what did it mean? What possible consequences did it create with regards to the prophecy and Harry's role as the one to bring Voldemort down? Was it possible the whole thing was invalidated…? No, he dismissed the idea. Twice in two years Harry and Tom had come face to face. There was little doubt their magic was diametrically opposed. The two would be continually drawn together till they were both dead. He wished that weren't the case, but there was simply no way for it to not be.

A Horcrux could not be destroyed without the destruction of its host. It was really that simple. He had tried to mitigate the damage to the rest of the world by removing Harry's will to live. He had tried to ensure Harry would have no faith in himself, his abilities or worth so that when Tom came for him he would easily be killed. The power Harry had over Tom would be his willingness to die and allow the bit of Tom's soul he carried to die with him. With Harry's death all that would remain was to find the Horcruxes and then confront Tom in a final battle. But that was well and truly gone now. Harry was only too willing to fight and Albus was certain the battle would see far more come to harm than had things been the way he would have liked. He had tried to circumvent the prophecy and failed…

Which meant there was nothing to do but see the rest came to fruition. The last two years were proof enough that in his current form Tom Riddle was not strong enough to see Harry Potter killed. He would need to return from his current state to that of the living. The question was, how?

Perhaps the answer lay in Peter. It would even serve to blunt Amelia. She was getting far too powerful in her position. Yes, that would work well.


Harry was sitting on his bed quietly picking at his guitar when his mum came in and sat down on the foot of the bed.

"What are you playing?"

Harry shrugged and kept playing. Mum sat and listened. The song was fairly long but, as always, the end eventually came. He sat for a second as the last echo faded away. "Did you know?" he asked.

"Did I know what, Harry?"

"Tom Riddle. Did you know he was Voldemort?" Mum stared back at him. "I found that diary." Mum blinked a number of times. "Ginny didn't know what it was, but she figured out there was something wrong with it. She tried to get rid of it and threw it in the fire. I found it the next morning. It was from 1943. Hermione and I had already found the stuff about the Chamber being opened back then. And I knew I'd seen the name Riddle before. But I forgot about it and just stuck it in my bag. Probably it was messing with my head. When Ginny had the fit in Defense, it was because she saw it in the pile on my desk…" Mum just stared at him. "Don't you think it might have been a good idea for me to know what his real name was?"

"Harry, I swear, I never meant to hide that from you. I don't know why, but it just never occurred to me to tell you."

Harry studied her for a few seconds. "I want to know what the prophecy says."

She swallowed painfully. "Harry, please—"

"You knew about Horcruxes, didn't you?" he cut her off.

"I suspected, yes."

"Hermione and I have spent a lot of time studying old prophecies and the sorcerers they related to, Mum. After the last two years, you can't think it's going to just go away. I'm not blaming you, but if I had known Tom Riddle was Voldemort, or about Horcruxes, Ginny wouldn't have been taken into the Chamber, I wouldn't have been bitten by a basilisk, Bill wouldn't have been hurt and Sandra wouldn't be dead."

Mum closed her eyes tightly, shaking her head back and forth. "Harry—"

"Is he gone for good this time?" Harry cut her off again.

Mum sagged, and whispered, "I don't think so."

"He made more of those things?"

"My guess is three… or seven."

"The most magically significant numbers," Harry said.


"I'm supposed to be the one who stops him, aren't I?"

"Yes," she said in defeat.

Harry frowned. "Is it a problem then that Neville is the one who destroyed the Horcrux?"

"I don't know."

"So it could be bad that he destroyed it instead of me?"

"I don't know."

"But it would be better if it had been me?"

"Probably, yes. It's possible it doesn't matter, but it might."

"Then I think my point is proved."

A tear slid down Mum's cheek. "I only ever wanted to you to be a child, Baby; just like everyone else."

"But I'm not, Mum. I'm a child of prophecy; whether it's true or not. By definition that makes me different."

"That doesn't mean you're a weapon, Harry," she said vehemently. "I've seen this world. Magical people are the worst ostriches. They think if they stick their head in the sand deep enough the problems of the world will just go away. The moment someone knows you're fated to fight Voldemort, they'll be clamoring for a duel to settle things between you. Everything I've done is to prevent that. I've got a plan, Harry. I just need you to trust that."

"I do trust you, Mum. But he's got a plan too and he's older and stronger and better than me. He might be better than you, because whatever plan you have, he's messing it up. I've fought him twice already. What happens if I can't win now because Neville destroyed the Horcrux instead of me…? I need to know, Mum."

Mum bowed her head. "Alright."


"Not tonight. I need to make arrangements."

"You need to make arrangements to tell me?"

"Trust me, Harry."


"One week. Maybe two." She held her hand up when he went to protest. "Trust me, Harry. I'm not trying to distract you, I promise."

Harry held her gaze for another moment before starting to play again. "Bob Dylan, Masters of War," he said quietly. Mum closed her eyes and turned away.


"Professor," Sirius greeted her when she knocked on his door. "Please do come in," he said graciously. Minerva stepped in and he quickly shut the door. The weather was atrocious and, frankly, if not for the fact she had been waiting for this meeting for almost a month, she would have stayed in. "I'm glad you made it." She shrugged out of her cloak and he took it from her, hanging it on the coat tree.

"Thank you, Lord Black," she said.

"Sirius, please, Professor, or if you prefer, Mr Black. I never wanted to be Lord Black and don't think I can function properly unless you're the one with the superior title and position."

Minerva regarded him for a few moments. "Grow up, Lord Black, it is high time you accepted the responsibilities of your station and acted accordingly."

Sirius laughed. "Perfect." He motioned her into the living room of his small cottage. "Please sit down. I have tea all set out." They moved into the room with her choosing a comfortable, but straight and high wing-backed chair over his spot on the small couch.

Sirius tapped the kettle with his wand and it began to warm. Minerva took in the room. By necessity it was rather small. The cottage wasn't large from the outside and didn't appear to carry a larger capacity on the inside than the frame suggested. The room she was in was painted in a cool blue with many pictures hung on the walls and set on the mantle of the fireplace. The chair she was sat in was the only one of its type and she rather figured it was transfigured for her. A large window allowed for a view beyond the garden to the sea below the high cliff the cottage was perched on. It did not seem the kind of place she would have expected Sirius Black to live. More to the point it didn't seem Harry lived here either. Being an animagus, she was quite certain of his scent and it barely registered. The house smelt of Sirius, any number of women, Remus Lupin… and William. Magic being what it was, the water was heated in moments and by the time her initial impressions were complete, Sirius was pouring for them.

She took her cup. "Thank you."

Sirius raised his. "Thank you, Professor; what you did, I have no words other than those."

She set her cup down. "We are to get right to it then?"

Sirius set his cup down as well. "That depends, Remus?"

Minerva frowned. "Remus?" Surely he wasn't here. Yes, his scent was strong in the house, but not that strong." She heard a rustling noise from behind and turned as Remus appeared from under an invisibility cloak.

"Hello, Professor," he said quietly.

"Three at least," another voice said. She turned and William materialized from behind a Disillusionment Charm. "Don't mind me, Auntie," he said. Moving to her, he ran his wand around her shoulders.

"What is the meaning of this?" she demanded, trying to stand.

Remus placed a hand on her shoulder and gently but firmly held her in place. "It's just a diagnostic spell."

"You've had three tracking charms placed on you, Professor," Sirius said. "Question is, are you aware of them?"

She stared at him. "Tracking Charms?"

Sirius picked up his tea and sipped at it. "Albus just can't seem to keep his manipulative fingers out of things that don't concern him." He sipped his tea again.

"What does Albus have to do with it?"

"Pretty much everything," Sirius answered. He set his tea down. "There's been a debate going around about you for some time now, Professor. Some of us thought you should be brought in. You'd earned Harry's trust, see. Hell, you earned Kaa's trust. And let me tell you, neither is, or was, an easy thing to do. But others of us were concerned you were too close to Albus. Still others thought that would be to our advantage." He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. "But to make a long story short, going down in that Chamber with Harry, well, it proved you were willing to do what was right and damn the consequences."

"What exactly are you getting at?" Minerva demanded.

"Albus set three tracking charms on you—"

"Four," Bill interrupted.

"Four," Sirius corrected.

Minerva continued to stare at him before glancing at Remus and William in turn. William was still casting diagnostic spells on her. "What, is going on?"

"Bill?" Sirius asked.

"Three on her clothes and one on her person. That one will lose integrity with another few hops. There are clean clothes in the toilet, Auntie. If you would kindly change, we can take you to the real meeting." Bill blushed. "And I do mean all your clothes."

Sirius' eyes widened. "Didn't need to hear that."

Fifteen minutes and four apparation stops later Minerva was stood in front of the Briar Patch and had just watched the barn and separate out buildings shimmer into existence after Remus had reveled the secret he kept. She remained silent as the three men led her into the house. "This way please, Auntie," Bill said and directed her to the sitting room. She stopped in the entry.

A brown haired woman stood to great her. "Hello, Professor," she said quietly.

Minerva stared at the woman in disbelief. She had suspected this for weeks now, but confirmation was something else entirely. "I think I need to sit down."


Your fault, Ginevra, her/Tom's voice mocked. Beside her Harry struggled to keep moving. His face was bright red with exertion. She dared not look at him. She didn't think she could stand the sight of the vein in his neck pulsing violently again. It had been over a year since she had trained with Harry and Hermione. Her memories were of a boy who ran like the wind itself. For heaven's sake he had spent hours outrunning a bloody damn dragon! They'd barely covered a half-mile and he looked like he was going to keel over and die. Look at him, Ginevra. Ginny ignored the voice. I've seen invalids move faster than he is, her/Tom's voice taunted. Ginny closed her eyes and grit her teeth. She would not respond. Little Ginevra, wrote in a diary and what did she get…? Ginny clenched her fists so tightly her fingers turned white. She killed her brother's fiancée, that's what!

Shut up, Ginny growled.

Oh, look at that, he's throwing up! Ginny stopped and stared at the sick as Harry wiped at his mouth. You did this to him. Bet he wishes he'd let you die now.

"Ginny… Ginny… Ginny!" Ginny's eyes snapped up. "It's not you're fault," Harry said. She swallowed before looking away. The look on Hermione's face said different.


Ginny's eyes snapped open. Like each of the two previous nights she was not in the Chamber, or her room at school, or trapped in Tom's dreamscape while he tormented her. She was in her room – it was really just a curtained off area in the living room of Bill and Charlie's flat.

She was safe.

For a few seconds she simply lay in her bed while she got her bearings back. After a bit, she climbed from her bed and made her way to the toilet. She paused in the hallway. The door to Bill's room was cracked open and a dim, flickering, from a single candle, sat on the bedside table, illuminated her brother. He was sat in a chair, his elbows on his knees as he stared at the picture in his hands.

Murderer, her/Tom's voice cackled gleefully.


Amelia entered the parlour and took a seat next to Bill. "Sorry for the delay," she said.

"I'm sure you are not lacking for good reasons, Amelia," Lily said. "It's not like the rest of us are trying to run a government or anything."

She smirked. "Just the important bits." She accepted a glass from Remus. "Thank you, Remus."

"You're welcome, Amelia." She glanced around. With the addition of Minerva, they were nine strong tonight, with only Malala and Charlie missing. "Well, Lily, this is generally your show, so why don't you get us started."

Lily took a breath. She was not happy to be doing this but she had made a promise to Harry and she would honor that promise. "My topic for tonight is slightly different than you might have expected. I think I mostly wish to hear your thoughts."

The others shared a look before focusing on her again. "Go on," Amelia said.

"The night Harry got back from school, he asked to hear the contents of the prophecy."

"You wish to hear our thoughts on this?"


"I think you know my thoughts," David said. "I'm for withholding anything we can for as long as we can."

Amelia pursed her lips. "On the one hand I agree with you, David. I'm actually certain we all do. On the other, given the events of the last few years I think it may well be time. I think me may need to reconsider our policy regarding them entirely."

"What do you mean?" David asked.

She focused on him. "Please understand I do not make light of your concerns. However I feel someone must play the role of Devil's advocate and remind everyone, all of us but Minerva were aware Voldemort's – she ignored Minerva's cringe – given name was Tom Riddle. Because we all made the decision to shield them for as long as possible, we withheld a bit of truly innocuous information that would have prevented the events of this past spring. Our very attempt to shield them is the very thing that nearly saw them all killed. You know I do not hold this against you, David, but you are not magical. This makes it much harder for you than the rest of us. But Magic is a force; even, I dare say, a life, unto itself. And It is moving. Despite our best efforts, Harry and his friends have come face to face with Voldemort each of the last two years. These confrontations will only become more frequent and more violent till such time as one or both of them are dead. I do not like this any more than any of you, but I have learned my lesson. It is my opinion that the best way to protect them is for them to know everything that we know."

"You cannot mean to involve them in everything, Amelia," Minerva protested. "They're children."

Amelia focused on her. "This from the woman who followed, not led, followed Harry into the Chamber." She held her hand up to forestall protest. "Make no mistake I, no, we, are all grateful to you for doing so. But even when in place to make them stand aside you followed. As I said, Magic is a force unto itself and you instinctively knew it was Harry who needed to lead that fight."

Minerva pressed her lips into a thin line but found she couldn't argue the point. She had been swept along in Harry's wake like detritus following a tsunami. There were a hundred points at which she could have taken the lead or sent Harry and Neville back. Certainly she had needed Harry to open the final doorway to the Chamber, but surely it would have been wise to go for more help once it was proven Harry had indeed found the entrance to the Chamber. She hadn't. Even in supporting Harry she had failed him.

"I realize I'm barely out of school myself," Tonks ventured, "but I agree with Director Bones. "Every one of those kids is suffering because we failed them. They're recovering. But Ginny, especially, is going to have to deal with this the rest of her life. Maybe it's because I'm the youngest one here and have really only known everything going on for the last six months but I've thought about this a lot since things happened.

All we had to do was tell them the son-of-a-bitch's real name and suddenly it's all gone. There is no possession. There is no basilisk loose in the school. There are no petrified students. Harry is never bitten. The Horcrux is in our hands last fall. And, I'm sorry, Bill, but Sandra is still alive. I realize it may not have been that clean, but surely it would have been better than this."

"I agree as well," Andromeda said. "I realize I am one of many who would make claims on them, but Harry is my son. Hermione, Ginny, Luna, they are my daughters. And we should not make the mistake of ignoring the events of the last two years. As Amelia says, Magic is moving. No less a being than the goddess, Nimue, sent them to protect the stone. I cannot help but think that we should follow her example. We are to help and guide where we can. But we must accept this fight will find its way to Harry and by extension the others. Harry is a very brave boy. But he is not foolish. He is aware of his limitations. When he had the information, he made good decisions. He went for help. Even when he knew it was Ginny who had been taken he expected it would be others who went to help her. It was only when he realized no one was even going to try that he decided he would go after her. They are young. I hate this with every fiber of my being, but I feel he has proven he can be trusted. We best protect him and the others by informing them. I wish it were different, but it is time we accepted the truth that is happening before our eyes."

A short silence fell on the group as they all considered things. "I'm assuming you're all in agreement on this?" David asked.

Remus spoke up. "I'm sorry, Dave. You know I would do anything to protect Hermione. But I have to agree, at this point, I see only two ways to do so. You can inform her, or remove her from the situation. And by remove I mean take her as far from here as is possible and still remain on the planet. I might even go so far as to suggest you obliviate her."

"It won't work," Bill said. He focused on his friend. "Believe me, Dave, I'm tempted. But Magic is a life of its own. Those four, in one way or another, will be entwined with each other their whole lives. They may not always even get along. This year is proof of that. But I firmly believe fighting the connections they've made is as pointless as fighting the tides. Hermione would be fine for a while, but I would give it two years, max, before she would begin breaking the memory charms. And once she did… well, I'm sure you can imagine how she'd react."

David frowned. "I don't believe in running from a fight," he said. "I just have a problem with it being kids doing the fighting."

"I'm fed up with old men dreaming up ways for young men to die," Tonks said quietly. Everyone turned to her. "George McGovern."

"I know," David said. "I'm just surprised you do."

"Perhaps it is because you have all had much more time to become accustomed to these matters," Minerva said, "but surely we can at least agree to… filter what they are told?"

"I don't disagree with the idea that we meet without them so we can decide how they are to be told," Amelia said.

"Nor do I," Andromeda said. Glances and nods were given all around.

"We're agreed then," Lily said. "Bill will take Harry to retrieve the prophecy and he and the others will be told of its contents."

"Agreed," David said. "God, or maybe the Goddess, forgive me," he added quietly.