A/N: Harry Potter and his world belongs to J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers and anyone that has received licensing rights. I am grateful she gives us the privilege of playing in her world.
Just a warning, this is a really long installment. Hope it makes up for the two months it too me to write :-).
Part 4: The Changes We Wrought
September 1, 1995
Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts, USA
Finishing the year off at Ilvermorny last year, and then a summer full of tutors, had taught Harry how far behind Hogwarts had been on many things.
The education of Hogwarts was laughable compared to what the MACUSA required. Four years of Arithmancy, magical theory and runes, starting first year. In their fourth year, they would test for these core competencies with an International Wizarding Level, or the International Advanced Wizarding Level one. The IWL or IAWL level one being equivalent to an OWL, with the IWL being a little simpler, like the OWLs. Starting fifth year, they were allowed to drop those courses. It was very important to pass these courses as no student was allowed to progress to any ritual, technomancy, healer or warding courses without that base knowledge.
Next was six years of Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History and Defense courses. Along with all those were a few English Literature and writing courses and the specialty courses like Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, Technomancy, Xylomancy, Divination, Ritual Magics, Advanced Runes, Advanced Arithmancy, Advanced Theory, Alchemy, Warding, Healing, Magical Race relations, languages... a dozen others.
At the end of their sixth year, they could test in one of three levels, the IWL, IAWL level one or two.
After the tests, all students would go onto the next level for their seventh and eighth year or take other specialty courses to test at the end. All the advanced courses would test for the IAWL's level three, or possibly submit for a mastery.
The testing and class work was more challenging, but Harry felt it more rewarding too.
When they were tested, Luna and him had found their theory was second year, at best. Their knowledge of magical history- true magical history- was laughable. Harry knew enough of arithmancy to get a decent mark from his years of muggle schooling and a good rudimentary basis of runes from the tournament, while Luna had just passed the normal first year curriculum of the premier magical school in North America.
On the other side, they were both far advanced in the practical. Harry was performing at a late sixth year for Transfiguration, Charms and Defense, while Luna was a late fifth year in Transfiguration, Creatures and Herbology, with about equal footing as Harry in Charms. This had their professors - well, teachers as the American's call them- in a bind to figure out where to put them.
Thus, when Harry looked at his schedule for the year, he was pleased to see that he was in a third year Arithmancy, Runes and Magical Theory, as was Luna. They would share the same special studies class in Charms and Transfiguration, where they would be catching up on the theory to take their Ordinary Levels at Christmas. After that, their schedules were more complicated. Harry was in a third-year potions class, while Luna was in a fourth year. He had been allowed to drop Herbology, while Luna was in a sixth-year class. She was going to take her IAWL level one in Herbology at the end of the year, while Harry was doing the same with Defense. Overall, they were both placed in the fifth-year class.
Harry was glad to be sod of Divination. He was also liking his Magical History course, even if Luna and him were in a second-year class now.
As much as Harry was not keen on all the different levels, he felt that in the end they would be in a better spot. Especially since Ilvermorny offered adult classes in the evening for the more advanced courses, and even a Mastery program after they graduated.
It was going to be a lot of work, but Harry really wanted to do well and found he had enjoyed the last few months at Ilvermorny last year.
It was with this thought that his eyes drifted to the skipping form of Luna as she entered the kitchen. Harry still really like the Ilvermorny uniforms. They were not as form hiding and the pleated skirt flounced in a way that brought his eyes to her legs.
Luna gave him a smile and pecked him on his lips. "The rungsprungles are back."
Harry chuckled. "Only because you are around." He kissed her cheek, and she gave a smile that always seemed to stir butterflies in him. She didn't seem quiet as spacey anymore. "Have you seen Moony or Padfoot this morning?"
Dobby put a plate before Luna. They had to take their portkeys in a half hour.
That was something else Harry loved about Ilvermorny, they could live at home, and in the last few months, this little farm had become his home. His true home.
"I have not seen them. Daddy is supposed to be here too," she told him before digging into the omelet on her plate.
"The doggyfather and moondog said they would see you at school," Dobby told them.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What are they doing there?"
"Doggyfather asked not to tell," Dobby said, as though pleading with Harry not to order him.
Harry shrugged. "Alright. When you are ready, luv, we'll get going," Harry told her.
Luna nodded as she ate. Omelets had become one of her new favorite foods. Harry had to admit he hadn't really had them like the little restaurant in town made them. Dobby had learned and most in the house requested them many days.
A short time later they walked the long drive. Luna had his hand in hers, talking about how wampus used to live around the house. Harry listened; happy she was so happy.
The wards ended at the old stone wall that was a good half-mile from the house. Sirius had the puckwedgies use the old stone wall for boundary markers. The old field around the house and two field just over the rise of the will were within the boundaries. The drive went another quarter mile down the mountain before it met the muggle road. Once beyond the stone wall, they activated their portkeys and were at Ilvermorny a few seconds later.
Having to use portkeys so much, Harry had finally learned how to step out of the whirling motion and land on his feet. Luna 'allowed' him to catch her. He knew she could walk out of the motion with no issue, but rather enjoyed Harry's hand around her waist and how he pulled her in.
Another student appeared five feet away in the receiving room. It was a large room, probably thirty feet across, that would place students in rings that had a charm connected to the portkey. Only the portkey holder could take them, and it made sure they came in a spot they wouldn't trample another.
Being the first day, they were to report to their homeroom, do roll call then head off to their first classes. Due to their insane schedules, they had been placed in the same room. Reporting to the Hawthorne Building, they said 'hi' to a few new friends in passing and then walked into a room that had Harry stop.
To say he wasn't that pleased would be an understatement.
Some familiar faces were in the crowd. Faces he hadn't expected to see. Faces he wasn't sure he wanted to see, especially since half of them had been some of his biggest detractors over the years.
Kevin Entwhistle was talking with Justin Finch-Fletchley and Sophie Roper. Next to them was Megan Jones and Mandy Brocklehurst. All of them had worn the pins last year. He recognized a few others that would have been fourth or sixth years, but he didn't know their names. Including Luna and him, there were fifteen ex-Hogwarts students.
Luna pulled him along. "They won't bite. Well, I don't think they will," she said, eyeing a boy he suddenly recognized as Colin Creevey. He was now in the colour of the Thunderbirds.
"Harry!" Colin exclaimed. This had the effect of drawing every other face in the room to him. Colin got up to shake his hand. "Mum and dad will be so happy to know I've seen you! When they heard you left, they wanted to get out of the country, and we moved to Toronto. Dennis is in a homeroom a floor down."
"Ah, great," Harry said, shaking the boys hand. Kevin was next, followed by Justin. Harry had never really spent any time with either boy, and they had definitely not supported him before the first task last year.
He was still being greeted when a man barked out, "That's enough! Everyone sit."
Harry tried not to groan as Luna pulled him down. He looked up to see a grinning Sirius. "You have to be kidding me!" Harry mumbled.
"Nice to see you all," Sirius said, giving a wink to Harry. Many in the class leaned away from the man or looked scared. "My name is Professor Sirius Black, and if any of you are lucky enough then you will have me this year as your remedial defense professor. Now, as this is your first day, I have your schedules and need to do a check in before I send you off to your first classes."
Luna and him sat in the second row, behind Megan and Mandy. Mandy looked to them, "Isn't he a murderer?"
Harry snorted. "That is what the Ministry wants to keep saying," Harry told her.
Megan said, "Potter, he killed your parents."
"No, he didn't," Harry said back hotly.
"I think it was reported a few times in the Daily Prophet and the Quibbler that Mr. Black was proven innocent by the MACUSA," Luna told them. She leaned over to whisper loud enough for most around them to hear, "I haven't seen this many wrackspurts and hornswaggles since we left Hogwarts."
Harry chuckled before Sirius barked out. "Time to be quiet. As I call your name, raise your hand and I will give you your schedule. Erica Adams?"
A girl towards the back rose her hand. Harry thought she was a third-year last year.
When they were all dismissed at the bell, the other fifth years came up to them. "Do you two have second grade Potions first?"
Harry tried hard to not make a face. "We are going to third year arithmancy," Harry told them.
"Oh, I have that," Mandy said. "I had no idea that Hogwarts was so far behind the standards here."
"That was a surprise," Kevin remarked.
"If you excuse us, we have to go to the Tower, and I don't want to be late," he said, taking Luna's hand.
The other fifth-years went towards Potions, but Mandy followed them. "This place is so big. It's so different than Hogwarts. I was really upset when mum and dad said I was transferring, but there is so much more to learn here," Mandy remarked.
On the way out, a group of three were waiting for them in the Quad, the place between the three class buildings. As they came up to the fountain, the three got up. One was a tall boy with short brown hair, a pronounced Adam's apple, brown eyes and Thunderbird trimming.
Next to him was a shorter girl, about Luna's height, with dirty blonde hair, light blue eyes and rounded features. She was a little on the heavy side but had a very inviting smile. She was a Puckwedgie. On the other side of the girl was a boy of average height, obviously of Asian descent, with dark hair, dark eyes and an earring in his ear. Li was a Horned Serpent. All three lived in Boston, meaning it had been easy for them to see their new friends this summer.
Harry extended a hand to the taller boy, grabbed his, then they both pulled so they could shoulder bump. "Hey. Have a good end of summer?"
"It was really good, Dave. You should have come with us to Six Flags," Harry told him.
Luna was hugging Amanda, as Li extended a hand to him, before they did the same shoulder bump. "I told him he should have begged his parents," Li said. Luna and him had met these three in a study group last term. They were all in the normal year classes, and Harry and Luna shared at least one class with each of them.
"Looking good, Moongirl," Dave said, with a grin.
Luna returned a smile. "I would like to go to the moon. Think of all the moon frogs and other creatures we could find," Luna replied.
Amanda hooked her arm into Luna's arm. "Are you off to the Tower?"
"Yeah. Arithmancy," Harry told them.
"We all have our fifth-year arithmancy right now. Who's the new girl?" Dave asked, nodding to Mandy.
The girl was just watching them, as though unsure what she had just seen. "This is Mandy Brocklehurst. Another one from over the pond," Harry told him.
Dave looked interested. "Really? David Garros," he said, holding a hand out to Mandy.
"Mandy Brocklehurst," she said. "Are you all fifth year?"
"I like the accent. Why don't you sound like that?" Dave asked to them.
"She comes from Wales. They talk a little funny there," Harry said with a smirk.
Mandy gave him a look. "I do not talk funny," she complained. "Those from the Lake District, that is a funny accent."
"Well, good thing I'm from Surrey and Luna is from Cornwall," Harry said with a cheeky grin. A bell rung across the ground. "We don't want to be late."
"Don't listen to them, Mandy. I like your accent," Dave said, putting an arm over her shoulders and guiding her towards the Tower. She didn't seem to mind as she started to talk with Dave.
"I give it three weeks," Li said.
"Four," Amanda countered.
"I think it will be Christmas," Luna put in her own bid. They all looked to her, knowing she was more than fifty percent accurate with Dave's girlfriends.
"Fine, I'll take November," Harry told them.
They started to walk fast. "You can't take the whole month," Li told him.
"The rules are you have to be within a week of when they break up," Amanda reminded him.
"Fine. Second week. Five dracuts?" Harry asked.
"Twenty bucks," Li said.
"How about a day to Faneuil Hall on our next break? You can get us all a giant cookie," Amanda put to them.
"Deal. Speaking of which, do we have a holiday in November?" Harry asked.
"I think that's when we need to go feed the turkeys," Luna replied.
Li and Amanda laughed. Amanda pulled Luna in closer. "I love you, Luna. It's the other way around. We eat turkey on Thanksgiving. A whole week of vacation."
"I'm still going to call it holiday," Harry told them.
"It was you that wanted us to let you know when you were being too British," Li pointed out.
"Doesn't mean I am going to change everything about me," Harry protested.
"I love you both too much to have you change," Amanda told them.
They talked and bantered to class, just making it before the final bell.
November 13, 1995
Filius sat behind his desk going through the mound of paperwork that had been piling up. The growing pile had forced him to hire an associate professor. The Governors had not accepted some of the changes that Minerva wanted, and he had not wanted to give up his classes, thinking he could handle both.
He was starting to understand why Minerva seemed so stretched at times.
What didn't help was the content of the pile of papers on his desk.
There was a small pile of figures and requests. All low-level receipts or other monetary stuff that Pomona didn't need to worry about since he was just checking them off against contracts or the funds allocated to each professor or department.
The slightly larger pile next to it were letters from parents. Many were the typical, 'my sweet child doesn't seem to be doing as well...' or 'you are grading too harshly'. The large bulk of the pile was what worried him.
Eight more requests for transcripts and recommendation to a half dozen magical schools around the world. He marked them off on his tally. One hundred and three request between forty-nine students. Opening up the letters, he added three new names to his list. It was very worrying. Hogwarts only had three hundred and three students at the start of the year. Eight had already left, with seven of them being first years that had been sorted into Slytherin. All had the traits: either ambitious, sly, resourceful, cunning or a mixture of all the prized traits by the former Founder. Unfortunately, they were also all half-bloods of either poor or traditionally non-Slytherin families. If they lost more than twenty students, then the finances for the year would go into the red and next year would be even more strained. From what he had seen, Hogwarts could not weather more than three years of low enrollment before it would not be viable to keep the school operating as it currently did.
When a knock came at the door, the man bid, "Enter."
When the door opened, a rather tall girl with sleek black hair walked in. "Can I help you, Ms. Greengrass?"
"Professor, I want you to get my sister into another house," the girl said without preamble. "It has to be tonight."
Filius blinked for a moment. "I'm sorry, Ms. Greengrass, but what is bringing this on?"
The girl was trying to port herself, but he could see the tears threatening to break out. "My sister, Astoria, someone has threatened her. I need her and her friends out of Slytherin house, tonight. Otherwise, I will be writing father in the morning to withdraw us tomorrow."
He felt a little taken aback. "I'm sorry, Ms. Greengrass, who is threatening you?"
"It doesn't matter, but if Astoria and her friends are not out of the House tonight, I fear certain threats will be followed up on," Daphne Greengrass stated.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Greengrass, but that isn't allowed. I can get help for you, if you need," Filius offered. "Can you tell me the nature of the threats?"
Greengrass was rigid. She obviously feared something, and he had never known her to be so forth coming. She seemed to go through some internal debate before asking, "May I use your Floo to contact my parents?"
"That is unusual, but you may," the man said.
He watched the girl throw in some Floo powder and submerge her head into the fire. He could not hear anything, but about ten minutes later, she pulled her head out, brushed herself off and then turned to him. There were tears streaks on her face, but she had obviously gotten hold of herself. "Professor Flitwick, can you please inform the Headmistress that my sister and I will be going home this evening. I need to go pack my trunk and get Astoria ready to go."
"Ms. Greengrass, if you are being threatened, you know that is taken seriously?" Filius said to her.
She just gave a curt nod. "Please inform the Headmistress."
"Of course," he replied, and she walked out the office.
He frowned to see her go. If the likes of the Greengrasses were pulling out, then Pomona and him had to get to the bottom of what was going on in Slytherin house and reverse this.
December 24, 1995
Luna woke to the lovely smell of the ocean. Mr. Black and her daddy had thought it would be a good treat this year to spend the holidays in France. They had chosen Nice because of the merpeople that lived not too far away. Just yesterday they had gone to meet them as her and daddy wanted to find hippocampus, long thought to have gone extinct in the Mediterranean.
Going out onto the porch, she stretched in the cool air of the morning. A shiver ran down her body. It was only seven degrees Celsius.
Harry chuckled. "You really should put on a night robe or something."
Smiling, she turned to her boyfriend, who had a heavy robe wrapped around him. She skipped over to him, opened is robe, then sat on his lap. He tried to wrap it around them as best he could. "It is warmer to share with you," she told him.
Harry chuckled again. Since leaving Hogwarts last year, he was so much more fun to be around. He didn't brood much anymore. The wrackspurts barely bothered him. The rungsprungles enjoyed every time they saw her. Her own rungsprungles did funny dances when his eyes took on that heat that made her feel all warm inside. He also had more time to explore with her, whether that meant adventures or other fun stuff... which got them in trouble about ten minutes later when a clearing throat interrupted them. She didn't like that Harry tried to get his hand out of her shirt without being noticed. His skin was nice and warm against hers.
"Morning, Remus," Harry said, his voice sounding a little gruff. She was starting to not like daddy's rules and may have to sneak into his room some night soon. She would be fifteen in February. They could share a bed without having sex.
"Keep on. Didn't mean to interrupt you," the man said with a laugh on his voice. He saluted them with his teacup.
Luna was content to shift to put her head on Harry's shoulder. They were on the top floor of a townhouse that sat right along the ocean. The waves were lapping gently on the sand across the street. Some seagulls called out in the early morning. It was very peaceful. She kissed Harry's neck and liked the shiver she felt go through him.
"What are you two up to today?" Remus asked, joining them at the table.
"Nothing," Harry told the man.
"I want to go to the beach. Maybe help daddy get some more supplies. He wants to go visit the mermaids again on Boxing Day," she replied.
"Sounds like fun. Have you seen Sirius yet?" Remus asked.
"It's not yet eight. He usually doesn't stumble out until ten on the hols," Harry answered.
"True," Remus commented.
Yes, it is going to be a brilliant Christmas, she thought as he pulled his night cloak around her more and his hand snuck under her shirt to rest on her tummy.
January 6, 1996
Minerva was looking around the hall. There were a few faces that she had expected to see but were not in the hall as everyone settled to eat the welcome back feast. She had been out for most of the break herself. Her nephews had invited her for Christmas, and she found herself getting to know her great-nieces and great-nephews that were going to Beauxbatons. Fleur Delacour had been rather skilled, but she had not been properly trained how to use it in defensive situations. Obviously, Hogwarts and Durmstrang had advantages in the practical and defensive applications. When it came to the last task last year, which was more a test of theoretical and controlled skills, she had outshone both boys in transfiguration, charms and runes. After talking with her great-nieces and nephews, she understood that Beauxbatons offered three main tracks.
The first was a more practical, really focused on those that were more likely to become Aurors, Animal and Creature Experts, Herbology and building. This track was heavy in defensive and practical classes from third year on.
Then there was the more theoretical track. It was far more conducive for those apt to go into government, potion, arithmancy, astronomy or rune intensive fields.
The last was more of what they called an 'internal' tract. This was a mix of the two tracks that focused more on how magic acts on a more intuitive level. Seers, healers, the mind arts, people more like rune weavers or curse breakers.
Fleur Delacour had been on the internal tract, explaining why she didn't perform as well in the first two tasks, which required a much more physical aptitude and quick reactions, instead of thinking.
After understanding that, Minerva wasn't sure that Hogwarts shouldn't change its curriculum to allow different tracts, instead of trying to generalize in everything. This would require more staff, which was where her troubled thoughts were heading for. She was missing fifteen faces. Between the mass exodus at the start of the year, and the others that were withdrawn in the fall term, Hogwarts was now fifty-three students down. She was sure the finances were being strained, especially when there would have been three-hundred and forty-two total if everyone had attended.
As she thought about why so many were missing, it all came back to Harry Potter. She had been extremely upset with the boy, not understanding his issue with them. As time went on, and after the Christmas she just had, Minerva was starting to realize that she didn't understand how young students felt, or the intense drive to assert themselves to find who they are. Yes, she lived with students for ten months out of the year, but none of them really ever talked to her or shared how they felt. She was an authority figure who had shut herself off over the years to find time to do the three jobs she had had, and to maintain control over the students. Perhaps she closed herself off too much, and then she had come to her epiphany.
Harry Potter was just a product of those that raised him.
the abuse he suffered at the Dursley's. The way none of the professors here helped or recognized his cries of pain. The way it all started with Albus Dumbledore trying to play with his life. Yes. Minerva was now realizing the entire issue they were in started with Albus Dumbledore and his machinations. All the way back to Gellert Grindelwald, he had a hand in most of the major events that were just about destroying their society in the last hundred years.
Her lips pursed as she thought about it and anger welled up at her old friend and mentor.
"Minerva, are you alright?" Pomona asked, leaning over to her.
"I don't think I am," she admitted. "I need a talk with you and Filius later."
Pomona looked at her curiously. "Hogwarts isn't in danger or none of our students?"
"I'm afraid both," Minerva replied.
They shared a long look. "I'll call a meeting for tonight."
"It can wait for tomorrow. I need to think about what I want to say, and what I am willing to do to see things change."
With a nod, Pomona reached for her goblet. "If you are going to discuss what I think you are, yes, we all need to think about it."
February 13, 1996
Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts, USA
Luna woke feeling comforted, and a little randy, as something made a pleasant vibration that ran down her body. There was a low rumbled emanating from her chest. Moving her hand, she stroked down something that was furry, warm and purred louder. Her eyes opened. To have her sky-blue eyes meeting a pair of dark blue eyes was a little surprising, but one she liked.
A large kneazle was regarding her. Its grey fur had black spots. The large ears swiveled as a few sounds around the house filtered into her room. It had large paws. A smile came to her face as she felt the kneazles magic caress hers. She had always wanted a familiar but had never found the right creature. Looking into the dark blue eyes of the kneazel, she knew she had found who she had been looking for.
"Aren't you a pretty girl," Luna cooed as she reached over to pet the kneazel. The purring grew louder, and she swore her entire bed shook with the noise. It sent a rather pleasant tingle up her spine. "Do you have a name?"
The kneazel just kept looking at her and purring.
"How about Titania?"
The kneazle increased its rumbling.
When she made it to the breakfast table, Titania was padding next to her. "Oh, good, I was hoping she hadn't run away," Sirius said.
She ignored him and went straight to Harry. "Happy birthday," Harry said before she plopped into his lap and proceeded to snog him. Sirius chuckled.
"I take it she liked the kneazel," a woman said, coming to sit at the table.
"Looks that way," Sirius remarked.
"The misses' breakfasts," Winky said, putting a plate next to Harry's and another before Erica. Sirius had proposed to Ms. Norberg a few weeks ago, and she was staying over most nights now.
When she pulled back, she didn't bother to get off Harry's lap. He just wrapped an arm around her waist as she started to spread marmalade on her toast. "Happy birthday," Erica said, and Sirius copied her as he slid a box over to her.
"You'll get another tonight, but I thought you might like this now," Sirius said.
Luna smiled. As she took the ribbon off the box, her daddy came into the room. He looked half-awake but kissed her head and sat. "Can I have some coffee?"
Dobby came over. "Just as Mr. Xeno likes," Dobby told him.
Luna opened the box to see a collar. It was obviously of some quality and those looked like real gems. Looking up to Sirius, he said, "Harry had me register your kneazel and I thought you might like to give her that. It will help protect her from the coyotes and bobcats around here."
"Thank you," Luna said. Titania jumped up on the chair that Luna should be in. After fitting the collar on, Erica got up.
"Happy Birthday again. We should get going, Siri," Erica said.
"Right. I'll see you two in homeroom," Sirius said.
Luna went back to eating. Harry and her would need to start walking in about twenty minutes. Her daddy had just about finished his coffee and looked much more alert. "What are the plans for later? I was hoping to have a cake for my Luna."
Harry wriggled a little. "Ah, well, we'll be back after school."
Luna looked to him curiously. Harry was hiding something, but she wasn't sure what.
"Ah, yes, I remember. I'll take her to see the wampus this weekend then," her daddy said.
"You've seen a wampus?" Luna asked excitedly. "Where?"
"Northern forest of New Hampshire. I still have a few uses on the portkey to go up there. I wanted to get some more pictures and see if I could track down its lair. I have to go back to England on Monday if I am to get the Quibbler out. I am thinking I may want to move the presses and everything over here, and just ship back to England," her daddy said.
"That would be brilliant, sir. Luna would like to see you around more," Harry said to her daddy.
"Perhaps I will," her daddy replied.
When they got to school, she was greeted with hugs from Amanda, Li and Mandy. They all wished her a happy birthday. Dave gave her a pat on the back. Mandy and him had dated for a while, but after a bit Dave moved on, like usual. Mandy was broken up, but she had become part of the group by then and Luna and Amanda refused to let her go, threatening to send Dave away if he hurt her anymore. Luna was not a violent person, but she could be quite devious in her revenge now, thanks to Harry last year. Luna was just pleased that she had friends, a boyfriend and a house to go home to every night with people.
When the day was done, Luna was getting antsy. Harry was up to something, and he wouldn't tell her. They took each other's hands as they walked up the drive. Harry gave her a look as she just stared at him. "What's wrong, luv?"
"I don't recognize what is infesting you," Luna said, cocking her head. Harry gave her a cheeky smile and she actually felt frustrated with him for once. There was some funny butterfly looking thing around him. They played with rungsprungles, so what he was hiding had to do with how he cared about her.
Harry leaned over and kissed her forehead. "Tell me when you figure it out."
"What are you hiding?"
"A surprise. Look, Titania is coming out to greet us," Harry diverted her attention. If it had been anything else except her new kneazel, she would have kept pondering this new puzzle. Instead, she crouched down with open arms. The grey kneazel sauntered up to her and let herself be hugged by Luna. After a moment, she was skipping to catch up to Harry as Titania ran besides and around her. Luna had a big smile on her face as she caught up to Harry as he unlocked the door.
Hopping on Harry's back, she giggled as he caught her, and his hand wrapped on the underside of her legs. Her skirt had ridden up and she liked the feel of his skin on hers above her knee highs. She was fifteen today. It was another year before she could act on how she was feeling, getting frustrated to wait. There were other things she could do to Harry in the meantime, though. She let out a giggle before her lips started to kiss his neck. "What aren't you telling me?"
She kissed his neck and then sucked on his ear. Harry moaned then growled as she sucked on his neck. "I'm not telling you," he said in a husky voice that elicited the most exquisite shiver in her core.
"Please?" she asked in a whisper.
A laugh came from inside as he stumbled over the threshold. "Here I thought I had another hour to get ready," Remus said.
"He's being mean, Uncle Remus she said. Her mouth was having fun as Harry growled at her again.
Remus laughed. "Go take that upstairs and get changed. Everyone should be here about five."
"Will you stop," Harry told her, not really sounding like he wanted her too.
"Tell me," she replied.
"I'm going to drop you if you don't stop," he retorted as he moved towards the stairs. She relented, giving Remus a smile as he shook his head.
As Harry went up the stairs, she caught decorations in the sitting room. She leaned back to see what was in the room. "LUNA!" Harry cried out, a hand leaving her leg and grabbing the railing. She pulled into him, laughing at the grumbling coming from her boy as he steadied them before carrying her up the stairs. When they got up there, he carried her into her room and she screamed as he leaned back, dropping them both onto her bed, with him on top and his back to him. She wrapped her legs and arms around him. Harry laughed at her.
"I should go change," Harry told her, trying to get away.
"What is going on?"
"Not telling," he said rather childishly.
She started to tickle him, and Harry squirmed. He was bigger than her, but he tried hard not to crush her. "STOP!" Harry cried out.
She huffed. "Will I like it?"
"I hope so," Harry said, rolling over next to her when she finally let him go. He lay next to her, his face towards her and a hand seeking hers out. She was about to kiss him when Tatiana jumped on the bed. Harry laughed. "I think she wanted to play too."
Luna giggled, reaching her free hand over. "I will play with you later."
Harry kissed the back of her hand. "I need to get ready. Wear something nice," he told her, sitting up.
"Something yellow?" she enquired.
He chuckled as he started to walk away. "If that is what you want. Wear layers though if you want me to use the freezing flames again."
She gave him a mischievous smile. "And if I want you to see what is underneath?"
"We are having company," he replied, ducking out of her room.
Luna laughed as Tatiana flopped on her, keeping her from getting up.
When Harry came to get her, because she was being kept in her room, she liked the way he looked at her. She was in a nice green dress that just about matched Harry's eyes. He greeted her with a new butterbeer necklace, one made from two of the American companies. "Thought a beautiful birthday girl deserved a new necklace," he told her.
Luna took it. "My old one was starting to not work."
Harry put his hands on her waist as she gave him a long kiss. It was only broken when someone cleared their throat. They both broke off, breathing a little heavily. "Hello, daddy," she said brightly.
"Hello, Moonbeam. We are all waiting for you. Just remember what I said about how long you should wait," her daddy said.
"Yes, sir," Harry said, his voice cracking. She held back her giggle as he straightened up. "Yes, sir."
Her amazing night was just getting started when their friends from school yelled out, "SURPRISE!"
April 6, 1996
New York, New York, USA
The portkey suddenly stopped buffeting them. Hermione would have fallen on her face if Neville hadn't steadied her. As it was, traveling from Paris to New York had her insides swirling. Looking around, she caught site of a bathroom door and stumbled into it. "Hermione has taken a portkey before?" a lady with a vulture on her hat asked.
"Only to France. This was a long one, gran," Neville replied.
A short bit later, she left the bathroom. "I'm sorry about that," she told them.
"It's alright, dear. That happens to many on their first overseas journey. The person who made that portkey wasn't as skilled as usual. I will have to put in a complaint with Madam Eros when we get back," Madam Longbottom said.
"You alright?" Neville asked concerned.
"I will be. Let's go," Hermione told them.
They walked out of the portkey area. While standing in line to make it through customs, she caught sight of a bouncing blonde girl. Next to her was a boy with jet black hair. It was just as unruly as the first day she had met him on the train almost five years ago. Next to him stood Professor Lupin, Sirius and some woman she didn't know, but she was pretty and holding Sirius' hand.
"Miss, do you have anything to declare in your luggage or on you?" the man in a black suit questioned.
"I have a necklace with a few enchantments and a bracelet," Hermione said, holding out her wrist. The bracelet was a Christmas present from Harry and the necklace from Neville. The man ran a thick stick over her wrist. Several runes glowed blue and green. When the man did the same with the necklace, a few extra ones appeared. "No illegal enchantments. You are good to go through."
Once through, Harry caught sight of her. She was so glad to see him that she ran to hug him. Harry grabbed her into a huge hug. "It's nice to see you again," he said. She held onto him as tight as possible. They had been sharing letters for the last year now.
"I have missed you so much," she said into his shoulder.
"I missed you too," he replied.
When she let him go, Harry moved to grasp Neville's arm. Luna moved to hug her. "Harry has missed you," Luna told her.
"I promise I will be a better friend for now on," Hermione whispered to Luna.
"I don't see so many wrackspurts. Don't doubt yourself."
Hermione nodded against Luna's head before separating. "I know it's still early in the day, Harry and Luna were thinking you all might like to go have lunch and then catch a play at the Hartwell Theater, unless you want to head back to Massachusetts right away," Sirius offered.
"Is this a Muggle theater?" Madam Longbottom asked.
"It's actually one of the best wizarding theaters in the States," Harry told her. "There is a play on right now about a mad Muggle. It's actually pretty funny. He turns out to be a Lowly," Harry whispered to her.
"Lowly?" she asked.
"It's a slang for low level. They don't like saying squib. They have enough magic to do things like make potions or other non-wand studies," Luna replied. Luna took Neville's arm as Madam Longbottom said, "That sounds interesting."
"Can we get Korean for lunch," Luna enquired.
"I think we can find something," the lady said.
She moved to shake Sirius hand. "I'm glad to see you were exonerated," she said to him.
"No small thanks to you and Harry," Sirius responded, taking her hand and kissing the back of it. "Hermione, can I introduce you to my fiancée, Erica Norberg."
"It is very nice to meet you," Hermione said.
"It's a pleasure. Any friends of these two are always welcome," the woman said, shaking her hand.
"Professor Lupin," Hermione greeted.
"it's just Remus, please, Hermione," the man said. "I haven't been your professor for a while now."
"Shall we?" Sirius asked, rounding them all up.
Hermione took the arm that Harry offered her. "A little proper, aren't you?" she teased, taking it.
"I haven't seen you in a year and I thought Beauxbatons was more of a finishing school," Harry replied cheekily.
"It is a proper magical school, thank you very much," she retorted.
"I like it more than Hogwarts," Neville said over his shoulder as they walked towards a lift.
"Yes. I must say there is a dramatic shift in Neville's grades this year and he actually is doing very well. I should have considered it when I sent him to school," Madam Longbottom said.
"I wish I had gone to Ilvermorny to start," Harry put in.
"Is it as nice as you say?' Hermione queried.
"Luna and I will take you there this week. There is an Easter dance Monday night for those staying on campus or that want to go," Harry offered.
Neville chuckled. "You aren't going to burn up Luna's dress again, are you?"
"If I am lucky," Luna replied with a grin.
Hermione shook her head. "You would not."
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "If Luna asked me too. I might get a detention for it, but that was fun."
"You're horrid," Hermione laughed.
"I hear that was a good prank," Sirius put in.
"Don't encourage them. Harry and Luna are both towards the top of class and have a good record," Ms. Norberg chastised.
Sirius and Remus chuckled.
It was fun banter like that as they left the MACUSA building, and Sirius hailed a cab. A car popped out of the traffic and came to a gentle stop at the curve. "A magical taxi?" Hermione asked surprised.
"There are about six thousand wizards in the city or around the suburbs, not to mention more than fifteen thousand between Boston and Washington DC," Remus said.
"He means there are a lot of us, and a few taxis do well. Their more comfortable than the buses," Harry told her.
Hermione blinked. "That's like half the population of Brittan," she said surprised.
"There are many more here between Canada and the States," Harry replied.
"It's rather nice to meet so many new people all the time," Luna said.
"This is rather different," Madam Longbottom observed, looking a little apprehensive.
Inside, the taxi was spacious enough for them all to sit comfortably.
"How are your parents?" Luna asked as Hermione sat next to Luna.
Neville brightened. "Gran had them moved to a hospital in Paris. They have actually been showing signs of recognizing gran and I with the new potion regime the Guérisseur are trying. They think that they might be better by summer," Neville said excitedly.
"That's great, Neville," Harry said.
After that, it was a world wind day. They spent almost two hours at the Korean restaurant. Madam Longbottom, very dubious about what was put before her, was soon raving about the food. The play was wonderful, even if it did play on some tropes. She had been afraid it would be condescending towards squibs… Lowlies... but found it complimented them as the man moved between the two worlds, causing havoc where he went, but only because he was trying to help like a wizard would in the Muggle world, and like a Muggle in the wizarding world. It was more a satire on the people that looked down on him.
By the time they were let out of a taxi at the end of a lane, the sun was low in the sky and long shadows covered the road.
"Sorry, but with the wards, we do need to walk," Sirius told them.
"It is fine. I haven't had so much entertainment in years. A little more walking won't hurt any of us," the woman said.
"I haven't seen gran this happy in years," Neville remarked.
"Oh, hello Titania," Luna said as a large grey and black spotted cat came out of the woods. Hermione recognized it as a kneazel. Luna ran a hand down it's back as it rubbed against her and then moved between the others.
"You are a pretty thing, aren't you," Hermione said as the kneazel rubbed against her before sniffing, probably smelling Crookshanks from this morning.
"I tell her that, but Harry is worried she will get a big head if I keep saying it," Luna confided.
Harry shrugged. "Just saying, you know." Neville chuckled as the kneazel just about tripped Harry. "OI!"
Hermione fell in love with the place as they rounded the corner and an old farm spread out before them. The house was large. Stone walls marked several old fields. Some old Muggle farm equipment could be seen in an open barn. "I like it too," Luna said.
By the time they had had dinner, served by two very happy house elves to have so many people around, and then a long talk in the sitting room before a cozy fire, Hermione was feeling tired. The first floor was in the shape of a large L.
Luna and Harry shared rooms across from each other. Next to them were rooms for Sirius and Remus. Down the other leg were four other rooms. One was for Mr. Lovegood, the others guest rooms.
Hermione had stepped out of hers to go to the bathroom. On her way, she saw Harry still had his door open. Peaking in, she saw him at a desk, two books open and writing on some paper with a normal pen.
"What are you doing?" she asked after knocking on his door.
"I haven't started my homework yet and figured we would be busy over the next few days," Harry said, leaning back in his chair to look at her.
Hermione came into the room. "What are you working on?"
"Arithmancy. I am still behind about a year, though Luna is helping me catch up," Harry told her.
Hermione walked over to him so she could look over his shoulder. "You didn't do arithmancy at Hogwarts."
"Ilvermorny requires four years and to take the level ones by your fifth year. You can't graduate without an Acceptable," he told her.
Her eyebrow rose. "Beauxbatons doesn't require that. What are you doing?"
Harry reached and handed her a book. "Working on charm formula's right now."
Hermione perused the book, flipping back a few pages. "Harry, this is fourth-year study at Beauxbatons," she said, flipping through more pages.
He just snorted. "That is just mid-third year here. I need it to get into rune weaving next year."
"Really? We have a few different tracks we can take at Beauxbatons, is Ilvermorny like that?" she queried.
"Luna and I still have three more years. Next year I am trying to decide if I want to get on a mastery tract for Defence or go into runes. Since using them last year, I have found I have a knack for them," Harry informed her.
Hermione smiled. "I never thought you would like school so much."
He chuckled. "I like some classes. I could do without Arithmancy. At least we don't have to do astronomy and I ran from divination."
She chuckled. "Screaming, I'm sure."
"Oh, certainly," Harry replied with a cheeky smile.
They were both quiet for a few as she looked at the book. After a few, she quietly said, "I'm sorry about last year."
Harry let out a long sigh. "I was a little upset and I think I took it out on you and others more than I should have."
Hermione looked up, her eyes meeting Harry's green eyes. "I have thought about it a lot. Neville and I have talked about it. I surprised you didn't crack like that before."
Harry smirked. "Well, I've always been a little cracked."
"Tell me something I don't know," she retorted dryly.
"Oi! Here I thought you liked me," he shot back.
"I have missed you," she said.
Harry got up, his arms wrapping around her. "I miss you too. How are things going with Neville?"
She smiled as she wrapped her arms around him. "Really well. I think half the girls in our year are jealous of me."
He laughed. "Luna gets the same thing. Are you happy at Beauxbatons?"
She pulled back and moved to sit on his bed while he sat back into his chair. "I thought I really liked Hogwarts, but Beauxbatons is so different. It's a lot better. There aren't the blood purists or bullies. They readily accept anyone of magical blood. There is a family of triplet that are half-goblin that Neville and I have made good friends with. There is also a town that is probably three times the size of Hogsmeade down the valley from the school. It's really nice."
Harry wagged her eyebrow. "No mention of their library?"
"Oh, that is marvelous. It's this huge round building out the back that has to be double the size of Hogwarts. Neville teases me that if they let me put a bed in there I would never leave," she said with a fond smile.
"I bet," he teased.
"Oh, hush. I am changing," she admonished.
"I never said you weren't. You seem far more relaxed and have been enjoying yourself today," he countered.
"Today was a lot of fun," she said.
"Yeah, it was. How are things back in England?" he asked.
"Not good," Hermione told him. "With you and many others leaving, the Ministry is having issues and Lavender says that Hogwarts has lost a lot of students."
Harry snorted. "I shouldn't have been that important."
"No, if you were that important, you should have been treated better," Hermione countered.
Harry shrugged. "I really like it here."
"If it's like what I saw today, I may look to move over here," she replied.
"You mean come to Ilvermorny to finish your last three years?"
"Maybe. Or after we are done at Beauxbatons. Neville and I have made some friends and I really like it there," she told him.
Harry gave her a happy smile. "I'm glad to hear that. Luna and I have done the same here."
Luna came bouncing into the room. "Oh, are we having a sleepover in here?"
Harry laughed at his girlfriend as she hopped onto the bed next to Hermione. Hermione bounced. "HEY!"
"You and Hermione can have a sleepover," Harry told his girl.
Luna looked to pout a little. "I promise I will keep my hands to myself while we have company."
Harry's face reddened a little and Hermione snorted at his reaction. "I'll sleep in your room tonight if you want," Hermione offered.
Luna beamed. "Daddy can extend the bed if you don't want to sleep on the floor."
Hermione smiled. She had never really had any close girl friends before this year. Her new friend, Manon Malfoy, was actually a really good person, and the Malfoys in France were a more light aligned family.
Neville knocked on the door. "Am I missing the party?"
"Come on in. We are just talking," Harry invited Neville, who came in and leaned against the door frame.
"Will you all join daddy and I tomorrow? He's going up into Maine to look for signs of more wampus. If he finds a viable population in the Northeast, the MACUSA is offering a five thousand galleon reward," Luna put to them.
"Can I take any clippings that I want?" Neville asked.
"As long as its legal. I think Remus has a field book of restricted plants," Harry remarked.
Hermione found this easy comradery so much better than at even the best points when they were at Hogwarts. About eleven Sirius stopped by to tell them not to stay up too late. She watched Luna fall asleep with her head in Harry's lap about one in the morning. With a yawn, she left the room, giving Neville a kiss. Hermione fell asleep almost instantly and was pleased to find that Luna's father had put off the expedition for a day, since none of them woke before eleven.
June 28, 1996
Minerva sat at a table with Pomona and Filius. They were in the center of a large circular room that looked much like Courtroom ten, except this room was on level two, was made to hold two times the amount of people and all those before her wore the purple robes of Wizengamot members ready to act law makers, not judges today.
There was a loud murmuring in the hall, flashes of cameras and some upset or scared faces.
"Headmistress Sprout, would you care to repeat what you just told us?" a large man with a bristled mustache and beady eyes asked. Minister Nott was an arse of a man that had helped the Wizengamot pass through some of the laws last summer that were now starting to raise issues all over Britain. He and the blood purist around him were doing their level best to destroy their world.
"With a thirty percent increase in fees across the board, Hogwarts will be able to remain open next year at its current levels. If we do anything less, the school will have to shut down or reduce our curriculum or leave the castle and find a smaller building and lands," Pomona said in as straight a face as she could. Like Filius and her, they were all devastated at the prospect of what they were saying.
"May I ask why?" Lord Parkinson asked.
"Less people are buying the surplus that the greenhouses make, enrollment is down twenty-three percent, and we are facing litigation for two incidents that occurred towards the end of the year that significantly harmed two students," Pomona said.
"Just increase the fees to the Muggleborn," Lady Zabini said off-handed. This caused a new stir in the gallery.
"For the first time in its history, Hogwarts has no Muggleborn or raised students. The magical book of names has also stopped recording those names," was Pomona's answer.
"What do you mean it stopped recording Muggleborn names?" Lord Malfoy demanded.
Pomona looked to her and Minerva sat a little taller. "As part of Hogwarts charter, we are to accept all students and give them the best education possible to become productive members of our society. After the Wizengamot passed the anti-Muggle laws last year, effectively cutting off all but the most menial jobs to anyone of Muggle decent or even those half-bloods with a Muggle parent, the book has stopped recording those names," Minerva told the Wizengamot members. She missed having Bones, Abbot and Longbottom up there, but they were distancing themselves, mostly by being out of the country.
"Hem. Hem. If they are not being recorded by Hogwarts, where are they being recorded," a squat woman with a pink collar poking out from her robes asked.
"Madam Umbridge, I am sure I don't know," Minerva replied. It was something that was worrying them. If the Muggleborn and Half-bloods that were missing were not found and the Ministry got their hands on them, she feared for their magic, if not their lives.
"I think there is a larger issue here. From Lady Zabini's comment, am I to take that Muggleborns were being charged more than others?" an older woman asked.
"You would be correct, Madam Marchbanks," Pomona replied.
More than half the Wizengamot acted as though this was a given.
"By how much?" Grizelda Marchbank enquired.
"I don't think that important to this investigation. I am more concerned about the slight to us that we would try to force out the Muggleborn," Lord Malfoy said with a sneer. He was looking at the crowd in the stands and seeing the anger starting to rise in many of them. "We also need to understand how to increase the attendance and how the staff at Hogwarts have mismanaged the fees we pay every year. Putting a thirty percent increase into effect could be a hardship for some."
"I most strongly disagree, Lord Malfoy. The fee structure could very much be at the center of this issue. Headmistress Sprout, what is the difference in fees?" Grizelda pressed.
The gavel banged. "That is enough, Madam Marchbank. Lord Malfoy is correct. We need to look at how the fees are handled and to find the missing Muggleborn," Minister Nott said.
"It is not enough. I agree we need to discern that, but we should first start with how the fees are coming in. Headmistress, what is the fee schedule?" Grizelda demanded this time.
"Anyone of Pureblood or of good family lineage pay fifteen-hundred galleons a year. Those of Half-blood decent pay two-thousand. Anyone of 'poor' half-blood or Muggle decent pay thirty-five hundred galleons a year," Pomona said in a rush, to ensure she could get it out.
Shouts and yells came from the galleries. It took almost five minutes for the Minister to get control of the hall again. When it did, Grizelda got her question in first. "How many Muggleborn and 'poor' standing half-bloods have left?"
"Thirty-eight Muggleborn. Sixteen half-bloods of 'poor' lineage. Eight Half-bloods and twelve Purebloods," Pomona said looking at her paper. "We have already received word that four more Purebloods and six half-bloods will withdraw next year."
"What impact does that have on the budget?" Marchbanks pressed.
"For the nineteen ninety-four to nineteen ninety-five school year, Hogwarts took in seven hundred and seventy-eight thousand galleons. The past year, ninety-five to ninety-six school year, we took in six hundred and fourteen thousand galleons. Hogwarts needs about seven hundred and thirty thousand galleons to operate. The difference was taken out of Hogwarts rainy day fund and other accounts. Without the proposed increase, Hogwarts would be broke by the end of the next year, if not Christmas," Pomona stated.
"This is why we need to look into the mismanagement of the school. It should not take over seven hundred thousand galleons to run the school," Lord Malfoy yelled out.
Minerva frowned. She was seriously starting to consider her own retirement. She didn't want to leave the students, but if this is what their world was coming too, she wasn't sure Harry Potter hadn't had the right idea.
"I propose we pass a law that all Muggleborn are required to attend school at Hogwarts," Lord Crabbe called out suddenly over the argument going on in the Wizengamot stands.
"I second that," the squat woman yelled out.
There were a few minutes of arguing before a younger woman stood up after a flustered worker came up to her with a note. After a moment, an annoyed Minister Nott acknowledged the woman. "What do you need, Madam Rose?"
"This new bill will not be enforceable," the head of Magical Records stated.
"What do you mean it won't be enforceable!" Lord Malfoy demanded. "You just give the Education Department the names Hogwarts is missing, and we force them to go."
"You don't understand, Lord Malfoy," the mousy lady said. "All records of Muggleborns and those classified near Muggleborn by the Wizengamot have been erased from our records. Only those that have achieve NEWTs still exist in our records."
This stunned almost everyone. "Wh... wh... what? We are the Ministry of Magic. We have records of all our citizens," Minister Nott declared.
"According to this letter received by my department this morning, the ICW has placed a jinx on all records of Muggleborns and near Muggleborns who are underage as a protection against laws that are illegal by the international standards," the woman stated. The uproar in the chamber couldn't be quelled easily. When it did, the squat woman put a proposal forward.
"Hem. Hem," Madam Umbridge caught all their attention. "Perhaps an auditor is required at Hogwarts. Someone that can assess how much of this is true and give the ICW the proper sense we are trying to fix this issue?"
Minister Nott thought about it as a few tried to debate this idea. After a few, his gavel rang out in the court again. "I think these ideas all have merit," Minister Nott commented. "Putting a very inquisitive mind into Hogwarts could validate or refute these claims by the Hogwarts staff. Yes. An inquisitor to report to the Wizengamot when they have findings. I vote we move this to a committee and recall this hearing in two weeks. In that time, Hogwarts is to provide records of expenses for the last five years and budgets for the next five."
"That is a proposal that the Wizengamot can vote on. I put forward the Minister's proposal," Lord Malfoy said in a smooth voice.
One look at Pomona and Filius had Minerva realizing that they were considering retirement as well.
July 31, 1996
Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts, USA
Harry awoke with a girl straddling him. "Oh, good you're up," Luna said a little too cheerily.
"Let me sleep," Harry moaned. He rolled over. Luna gave out a squeak before falling over. He caught her in his arms as she fell onto his bed and kissed her forehead. "Sleep."
"It's half six. It's time to get up," she told him. "The nargles are about and I can't find my swimming costume."
Images of Luna in her two-piece came to his head, especially with how she had pressed against him the other day when they were swimming in the pond they had found a ridge over from the farm. As Luna's confession hit, he had a dreamy smile come over his face to have her pressed against him. "Are you sure it wasn't Winky?"
Her sky-blue eyes were wide open when he opened his partway. In a rather serious tone she commented, "It is going to be a warm day. I never joke about nargles. I am unsure if my swimming costume will find its way back to me today, maybe not tomorrow either. We are going swimming," she informed him.
His eyes opened wide when she pecked his neck and Harry realized she was wearing a very short pair of shorts and a tank top that dipped really low in the position he was holding her. When she noticed his eyes lingering lower, she squirmed a little, making certain body parts follow and Harry to stiffen. "It is someone's birthday. I think rungsprungles want to play."
His heart started to run faster as she pulled her wand and his door shut. "Nonsonus," she softly said. When he met her eyes, she just commented, "You tend to get a little loud when I play with you."
Harry started to chuckle, which was replaced with a loud groan when her hands wandered to a problem he often had in the morning. Merlin! His birthday was off to a great start.
September 1, 1996
Twenty-three new students. Minerva had never seen so few. They had sent out thirty-four invitations, and only twenty-three were on the platform this morning. They now stood at the front of the hall as Filius called them up. Even more students were missing. At the end of the year, there had been two-hundred and eighty-eight students. Now there were two-hundred and forty-six. Forty-three had graduated, and the rest had transferred.
To make it worse, a smug, stout woman in her eye burning pink cardigan was sitting next to her. Binns had finally decided to go onto the next 'Great Adventure', and she was here as the History teacher and High Inquisitor. Given the other hearing over the summer, Minerva already felt there was a grudge between them. It was the Ministries attempt to determine what was going wrong with their society.
A drop in enrollment that meant over a hundred students less was alarming to the public. One out of every three stores in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade closing in the last year, due to poor sales, was blood boiling for many wizards and witches. News of Harry Potter not coming back again, after the Ministry had promised they would get him back, was panic inducing. The fact that eight Pureblood houses on the Wizengamot have now left the country was putting many on the verge of rioting. The whole idea of the new government was to preserve purebloods and their traditions. When everything was falling apart in a year and a half since Potter left had many of the Pureblood Supremacist beliefs shaken and some of them heading towards the poor house with less people to buy things or support them.
This year it was more of an even split between the houses. She felt better about that. The more interesting thing was that they had lost five first year Slytherin last year. The ones that stayed and were not related to anyone on the Wizengamot or high Ministry position seemed to be gaining popularity, apparent by the way that group of second years were far closer to the center of the Slytherin table than almost any second years should be.
Perhaps the hat knew what it had been doing, especially since not one of the seven new Slytherin were Purebloods. All of them were from known Half-blood houses. Granted, they were mostly highly regarded houses, but not one of them were pure in the last three generations.
When everything was done, Pomona got up to greet everyone. Right after she had introduced Dolores Umbridge, the woman interrupted her.
Oh, Minerva was soon to loath this woman.
December 23, 1996
Hermione was hugging him after they made it through customs. She was looking different, even since last summer. Hermione looked older. She had developed a narrow waist that was apparent in the jeans she was wearing. Her hair wasn't as wild. Beauxbatons and France were doing her very well. Of course, they all were looking much different.
Neville's baby fat had all disappeared. He was now a tall boy with large muscles. He also carried himself in a much more confident way. Harry himself had more muscles and a trim frame. He wasn't as tall as Neville, but he was tall enough. In short, Harry was not the small boy that he once was. Almost two years of good living with people that cared for him had done wonders.
Then there was his Luna. She was maybe an inch or two taller than Hermione, who wasn't that tall, especially when next to Neville. She had filled out more though. Harry had found Luna beautiful when she had been more of a waif of a girl. Now, she was a gorgeous blonde with partly wild hair and her sky-blue eyes. Harry wasn't sure why Luna had stuck with him that year of the Triwizard tournament, but he would be forever grateful to the fates that made it happen.
"You look really good," Hermione said, pulling back.
"I've been working out more on the defence tract and having to keep up with that one," Harry said easily, nodding to Luna.
Luna gave him her airy smile. That was another big change. Over the last year or two she had come more down to earth. That was probably due to her training in understanding her ability to read Aurors and understand what she was seeing, instead of putting names to strange creatures that only she could see. He also had to keep in shape for all the animals and creatures she ran around with and the frequent camping and hiking trips they did.
"It is rather cute to see how he follows me around like a little puppy," Luna said in a pleased voice.
"Oi! It's more like getting you out of trouble," he shot back. Neville chuckled while Hermione gave him a raised brow. "What? It wasn't me that fell into that pit of fire salamanders."
Luna came over and went on her tip toes to kiss his cheek. "It was you that came to my rescue."
Behind Neville were two people that Harry had never seen before. They were talking with Sirius and Erica. Harry nodded towards the people. "Nev, is that your parents?"
The smile that broke Neville's face was huge. "Mum, dad," he called out. They turned from the others to come over. "Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood, this is my mum and dad, Alice and Frank Longbottom."
Harry extended his hand to only be engulfed by the woman. "Oh, you look so much like James with Lily's eyes. I'm so happy to see you again."
Harry, better at unexpected touches, hugged the woman back. The caring from the woman was apparent. Knowing this woman was his godmother, he said, "I'm glad to see you well, Aunt Alice."
The woman hugged him harder, before pulling away and wiping a tear from her cheeks. "Neville and Hermione have told us so much about you. And you, Luna, I was never able to see you after you were born. Pandora was so happy to have you," his aunt in all but blood said, taking Luna into a hug.
The man that was supposed to be his Uncle Frank held out a hand. He looked to once have been a fit and muscular man. Like his wife, he still had a few signs of being in a near catatonic state for almost fourteen years, but he was looking like he was recovering well. "I remember when you used to fall asleep on Sirius. It's good to see you again, Harry."
Harry took the man's hand. "You too, Uncle Frank."
"Why do you call them uncle and not me?" Sirius complained.
"Because they look the part. You still look like a big kid," Harry retorted.
Erica laughed, "I won't deny that."
"OI! Isn't my wife supposed to be on my side?"
Many laughed at that.
"Come along. We can catch up proper at the townhouse. We can get a portkey to Nice," his Aunt Alice said. Harry had a feeling it was going to be a fun Christmas hols. He just couldn't use the American term vacation.
February 8, 1997
Being read in the Berkshires...
February 6, 1997
Mobs at the Ministry
By Rita Skeeter
Revolution is in the air, or so the leaders of the Reformation movement claim as they stormed the Ministry yesterday. To find out what these revolutionaries were doing, your intrepid reporter, Rita Skeeter, braved her life to find out.
More than three hundred witches and wizards stormed the main atrium of the Ministry. Their grievances were varied, but most came down to just a few points, points the former Minister Nott has been bogged down with for months. The first is the treatment of students at Hogwarts. Dolores Umbridge was found guilty of using illegal or controlled artifacts to torture students that got out of line. The already strapped school has now indicated it may have to shutter its doors if litigation is not backed by the ministry, since it was the Wizengamot that placed Dolores Umbridge at Hogwarts. An order that had been signed by Minister Nott within minutes of the decrees passage.
The second is the near economic collapse that is affecting even the most respected families. Hundreds, if not thousands, of witches and wizards have lost their jobs, and some places that have been institutions for hundreds of years have been forced to shutter their doors as Muggleborn, Muggle raised and those deemed at the bottom of our society have either abandoned the Magical world for the Muggle or moved out of the country. Ireland has reported more than two thousand have received citizenship. Many countries in Europe are also reporting bumps in asylum or citizenship requests from British magical citizens.
Third is the ICW. The International Confederation of Wizards has been threatening the Wizengamot that a team of observers and Aurors would be dispatched to Brittan. Their reasons go back to the latest minister and the Wizengamot. What are now called the anti-Muggle laws, originally passed as Purity laws, violate agreements between the ICW and the Ministry. Then, there are the renunciation of the Muggle hunting and baiting laws passed in the nineteen-seventies. More than a dozen incidents in the last year have caused large breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy, as well as a few deaths. Records from the Ministry show that eight Muggles, and three wizards have been killed in weird instances. The most prominent of those was Lord Lucius Malfoy on New Year's Eve. He was found by Muggle Aurors, shot five times by a Muggle goon and accused of breaking into a Muggle house.
As if these scandals were not enough to bring down the current government, the rumors that Harry Potter was to return have been proven false. They were rumors spread by Minister Nott...
Remus lowered the paper to look at Sirius and Erica. "We need to change our travel plans for next weekend," he commented.
"Why's that?" Erica asked as Sirius nursed his coffee. Sirius was not a morning person, but he had taken to being a professor at Ilvermorny. At six in the morning, the man was not really awake.
Remus put the paper on the table. "The Ministry fell two days ago," he informed them.
"Took long enough," Sirius groused. "Do we have any more of that hazelnut creamer?"
Winky came up, putting a bottle on the table.
"Mr. Sirius is welcome. Winky needs to go wake Missy Luna," the small elf told them before moving towards the back stairs.
"I am serious. We can't take Harry and Luna back right now. According to that, the Minister has been disposed and half the Wizengamot is dead, in cells or on the run. I'm not sure anyone is in charge and if Harry shows up in the middle of Diagon Alley you know he will be dragged into it," Remus said.
Erica took up the paper. "I find it so hard to believe that Harry is regarded as such a hero over there. I know his history and what we were led to believe when he came to Ilvermorny, but he's such a normal and down to earth kid, and a better student than his grades originally indicated."
Sirius frowned. "Well, you have to understand what it was like when You-Know-Who was at the height of his power. Whole families were being killed. No one knew who to trust except your closest friends..."
"And even then, they turned out to be rats," Remus growled.
Sirius had a dark look. "Yes. I swear if Peter ever comes within ten miles of Harry again, I will gut him."
"Was it really that bad?" Erica asked.
A creak from the back stairs had them all cast a glance. Harry was entering the kitchen, his uniform ready and a book and school bag in his hands. "Morning, pup. Where's your better half?"
Harry yawned. "Luna will be down. I think she's taking a shower."
"And you didn't join her? OI! Woman!" Sirius yelled as Erica hit him. Remus laughed and Harry glared at the man. Remus didn't miss the slight tinge to Harry's face, or the look of desire that flashed across his eyes.
"Morning, Dobby," Harry said, sitting at the table. Dobby was already bringing a plate of food and a large glass of orange juice to him. "Thanks."
"Yous is welcome, the Great Harry," Dobby said with a smile.
"I've never seen an elf love anyone one as much he does you," Erica commented.
"Dobby is great. He really has been there for me when others weren't," Harry stated before starting on his eggs. Dobby beamed and a second glass of orange juice floated over to him. "I wasn't saying that for you to do more, Dobby."
"Dobby wants too," the little elf said with pride, before returning to the stove.
"Thanks," Harry said.
Remus shared a look with Erica and Sirius. They would have to talk about this later. He really didn't want Luna or Harry anywhere near Britain right now.
March 30, 1996
Minerva walked towards her office in the mostly quiet halls. More than two hundred students had left on the express about an hour ago for the Easter Hols and she was done with lunch duty for the nearly fifty that had stayed. Hoping to finish all the grading of the winter term tests and essays, she stopped when a cool breeze wafted through the hallway. Looking around, she found a window that must have been left open by a student.
She quickly walked over to shut the window, until the brisk air caught her face and the smells of freshly watered earth and the start of spring came to her. She had been spending time with her nephew and his wife lately, which is what probably brought up the memories of playing with his father over eighty years ago. Minerva had been the elder of the Ross children, three years older than Robert, and five over Malcolm. Looking at the still mostly brown grass and the way the trees moved in the wind brought back memories of their laughter when they used to run out in the fields and the small wood copse near their house and the church. Robert had followed her to Hogwarts, Malcolm was a squib that followed their father.
It was those memories, and others from a time when she was younger, and life held so much promise, that had her feet turning left instead of right.
As she walked out onto the grounds, her thoughts turned to Hogwarts and the students that were left. Most of the forty-seven students staying were doing so because they either didn't have a place to go, or their families told them to stay to avoid the near meltdown that was happening of their world.
She nodded as she passed out the training field gates and was looked over by two Aurors in black travel cut cloak and suits. On their left arms were bands. One had three yellow, and the other had two. It was the standard German garb denoting a captain rank and a normal Auror. In Britain the captain would be a senior Auror. It was a sign of how the ICW had stepped in to stabilize the British Ministry.
The ICW was required, as much as she wished it wasn't.
After what is now being called the February Uprising, the Ministry and most of Wizarding Britain were in total disarray. The former Minister was in a holding cell, as well as most of the Wizengamot. They had been put there by Rufus Scrimgeour, Head Auror, to ensure the mob that took over part of ministry didn't string them up the main atrium like they wanted too. After that, with only eight Wizengamot members left, there wasn't enough to appoint a new Minister or even control the ministry. The Wizengamot needed a minimum twenty-eight. After the riots broke out onto the street, the ICW had to come in.
Letting out a rare sigh, her thoughts turned back to the school. Monday Pomona was having a meeting about how to keep the school open. There were thirty-students that had nowhere to go at the end of the year and Minerva didn't want to just throw them out onto the streets. She had learned her lesson about not taking the welfare of the students into account.
Her wonderings took her down to a rock that was against the edge of the Forbidden Forest and over looking the Black Lake. It was a spot she had frequented when a student and earning her mastery from Albus. Back then, over eighty years ago, the man had been in his late thirties and didn't seem to be the dark lord he had become.
She was pondering how things had gone so wrong when she heard a hoof on a rock. Turning, she saw a rather majestic chestnut roan centaur. "Mars is waning and Saturn is rising."
Minerva regarded the centaur. She held little stock in divination, but the centaurs were different. They portended the past, future and present in the stars. It was an ability that was often vague. It was also the only type of future telling she put any stock into. "I am Minerva McGonagall. Who are you, fine horseman?"
The centaur bowed his head. "Fare met, Minerva McGonagall. I am Resneaf, son of Firenze. The chief sends word for the Headmistress to meet tonight, as the moon meets its zenith at the druid rock. A new order is afoot, and the horsemen of the wood need to discuss the ancient pacts when the castle was built."
"I shall pass your message..." she stopped in mid-sentence when Resneaf turned and cantered away. After a moment, she muttered, "Where the bloody hell is the druid rock?"
July 12, 1996
Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts, USA
Luna was holding his hand as they walked down the main street of the small Berkshire town. Erica was laughing at something Sirius had just said when Remus and Mr. Lovegood were talking about the American werewolf packs.
Luna was watching him, and Harry made sure that she didn't walk into things. "What? What is so interesting about me today?"
"You are worried. Wrackspurts and earrungs hang on you heavily," she told him.
"I'm nervous about this meeting," Harry admitted.
"Do you want to go back?"
"No. Do you?"
Luna shook her head. "I like it here. We have our friends. Daddy and I have found signs of a few unknown wumpus and there are the umperwhales that daddy just confirmed in Canada. There is so much more to discover here."
Harry put her hand to his mouth and kissed it. "Then we will stay and explore."
The smile she gave him just firmed his decision. Sirius had convinced him to meet with the new British Minister of Magic because they couldn't find enough houses to fill the Wizengamot with inherited seats. If the Wizengamot wasn't full by next month, the ICW was going to force them to declare the Ministry defunct and charter a new government.
They made it to the small Auror and MACUSA offices in the town. The MACUSA kept them here because Ilvermorny was just up Mt. Greylock, overlooking the town and students were often let down into the old mill town. Not to mention many wizarding families lived here, being so close to the school.
Sirius took them to a desk and a few minutes later they entered a large conference room. Eight people were in the room. A man of about fifty got up. He had a jovial face. "Ah, Lord Black and Scion Potter, it is such an honour to meet you," the man said, moving to shake their hands. "I am appointed Minister Brown. I think you know my daughter, Scion Potter."
Harry shook his hand and sat. "Lavender Brown, Minister?"
"The one and the same," the man confirmed.
"Good to meet you, Minister Brown. This is my wife, Erica Norberg-Black. Remus Lupin. Xenophilius Lovegood and his daughter Luna," Sirius introduced everyone else. When they sat, the Minister went around the table introducing Madam Longbottom, Lord Xi Chang, Lord Eric Davis and four others that represented some of the top departments in the Ministry. Immediately Harry disliked what he saw. At least Madam Longbottom gave him an encouraging smile. They would be going to France again in two weeks, just after his birthday.
"Minister Brown, we really don't have long today, so I really don't want any pleasantries," Sirius demanded when refreshments were offered.
The man didn't look as pleased. "Of course, Lord Black. I have to admit though, you and Scion Potter have been very hard to get hold of in the last few weeks."
"We are busy people and don't really have any ties back to Britain, so we felt a little suspicious of this meeting," Sirius replied.
"There shouldn't be any suspicion. I have requested this meeting to talk to you about affairs back home," Minister Brown stated.
"We are home," Harry said and stopped at a motion from Sirius.
"Yes, well, I would figure that you and Lord Black would like to return when I give you these," Minister Brown said, holding out a few folders and framed parchments.
"And what are those?" Sirius enquired.
"A pardon for you. A declaration that you were never guilty of your crimes and a reinstatement of your titles," Minister Brown said with a smile.
Remus snorted while Sirius let out a sharp breath. "I fear that this is a few years too late."
"Come now, Lord Black, the past administrations made a mistake. We are here to rectify these mistakes," Lord Chang said. Harry didn't like the way the man was looking at him.
"The Ministry had its chance. Luna and I are not going back. Sirius, can we leave?" Harry asked.
"Scion Potter, please wait just a moment. We have acceptance letters for you and Ms. Lovegood to Hogwarts, along with a full scholarship and there have been many changes that will take effect next year," the woman from the Education Department said quickly.
Harry looked to Sirius as though to ask, 'are they serious'?
Erica spoke up, "I am afraid that Mr. Potter and Ms. Lovegood have already registered for Ilvermorny again, and with their IAWL results they have both been accepted in accelerated programs to earn a mastery each in about three years."
This seemed to catch many by surprise. Madam Longbottom just smirked. "I told you this wouldn't work."
"Did Neville and Hermione get their IAWL results yet," Harry asked.
"I must admit I was rather proud of Neville. Four Outstandings and four Exceeds Expectations. Hermione got straight Outstandings," she replied, a little bit of a brag in her voice.
"Minister, the only reason we agreed to this meeting is because of Madam Longbottom. What is the real reason you wanted to talk to us?" Sirius put to the man.
"The Wizengamot and Ministry is on the verge of failure," Madam Longbottom said before anyone else could. "They need more houses to make a quorum. We are at only fourteen of the twenty-eight minimum we need."
"Thank you, Augusta, I can handle this," Minister Brown said a little annoyed. "As Augusta said, we need more of the hereditary seats to return. Because Scion Potter competed in the Triwizard Tournament, he can apply to be emancipated and take up his Lordship. If you and Scion Potter return, I am sure others will as well."
Harry snorted and got up. Panicked looks passed among many on the other side of the table. "Sirius, we are going to get some ice cream. Let me know how this turns out."
"You can't leave. You need to return, Scion Potter. Since you left, many have lost faith. You are one of our biggest heroes," the head of the Education Department spat out.
Luna spoke before he could. "I think Scion Potter is rather disillusioned of his fame, no thanks to many of you and the rest of Britain. Do you think we could go for a hike this afternoon?"
Harry smiled. "Sounds like a date."
"Oh, and ice cream is not?" she asked as Harry started to lead her away. Sirius chuckled and her father and Remus got up to follow.
"Wait, you can't go!" Minister Brown yelled rather desperately. "What can we do to get you back to England? A pardon for Mr. Lupin? Other changes? I can offer you an Order of Merlin for what you did with the basilisk!"
Harry stopped near the door. Turning, his burning green eyes met the man's brown eyes. "I wasn't aware being a werewolf needed a pardon. If you excuse me, I have a date with my girlfriend and then I am having some friends over tonight. Luv," Harry said, leading Luna out the door. As they walked out, Harry shot up two fingers to the room.
"You can't just run away! You are the boy-who-lived. We need..." the door shut behind them.
"You know that your popularity will change again back in Britain," Luna commented.
He looked at her curiously. "Is that important?"
She cocked her head. "No, but it may not be good for us to go back for a long time."
"We do need to go back this summer to get you what your mother left," Mr. Lovegood said.
"Yes, daddy," Luna said, moving in close, her hand weaving her fingers into his and her other arm wrapping around his. Harry liked how her chest pressed into his arm. "I want fudge ripple."
"Sure," Harry said, leading them towards the ice cream shop.
September 1, 1996
Looking around the hall, Minerva felt hope for the first time in almost two years. The new class that was coming in was closer to forty. They had lost twenty-three Muggleborn or half-bloods to other schools this year but had gained more with the changes in the law and a few older faces returning.
Some of the more notable faces were Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, the Greengrass girls, the Creeveys and a dozen or so others that had gone elsewhere last year.
She still felt a little pang to notice those that should have been here. Potter. Lovegood. Granger. Longbottom. Carmichael. Patils. To name a few. It was the first four that really bothered her.
"Hufflepuff!" the hat called out. Minerva had to blink as a blond girl bounced off the chair and sat at the cheering table. The Mulcibers had a long history of being Slytherin. She wouldn't be the only surprise, as four Muggleborns joined the Slytherins and were accepted by the ones that had accepted and help the surprise Slytherin students last year.
The fact that the Ministry had been able to find twenty-nine houses to meet requirements had been an eleventh-hour miracle. The rash of laws that had come out or been repealed in the last three weeks was something that Albus had never been able to accomplish.
Most anti-creature laws had been repealed or changed to allow them to become functioning members of society.
The pureblood laws were gutted so that it was a nearly level playing field for jobs and other opportunities.
The board of governors had changed the pricing guides and allowed many reforms in Hogwarts. The four new professors were proof of that. With a new technomancy program, an expanded Creature and Being studies and an actual Muggleborn to teach Muggle studies, should allow Hogwarts to start attracting more students again.
Yes, Minerva had some hope.
December 26, 1996
Berkshires, Massachusetts, USA
Luna was laughing as Titania was weaving in and out of a massive snowball fight. She nimbly dodged, ducked or jumped over the flying frozen balls of fun. "Come here, beautiful," Luna said, taking her kneazel up in her arms and ducking behind the wall that Harry and Li had built.
"Aren't you going to fight too?" Li asked before taking a wet snowball to the top of his head. He fell on his back, looking a little stunned.
"They are flanking us. This is the last time I let Uncle Frank decide the teams," Harry groused, using his wand to conjure a dozen snowballs and then sending them over the wall faster than they could be thrown.
"It wasn't my idea," Luna said. "Duck."
Harry dropped his head, and a few balls took out small chunks at the top of the wall.
"Thanks, luv," Harry said, before repeating his conjuring feat.
"How the fuck do you do that?" Li groused as he got up.
"If you don't take out Mandy, Amanda and Neville bloody soon, we are all in trouble," Harry shot back, his snowballs launching over the wall.
Luna agreed with the moewrrl that came from Titania. "They are taking this too seriously. Should we show them how it is done?"
Harry stopped in mid motion of launching the snowballs with his wand. "Luna, what are you going on about?" Harry asked a little apprehensively.
"Calling a friend," she said with a big smile. She shoved her fingers into her mouth and gave a whistle that echoed over the battlefield that was the fields on the backside of the hill.
"Oh, fuck. Li, make a fort. Now," Harry demanded, his wand moving to conjure foot thick walls of snow.
Dave could be heard, "Everyone fall back!"
Li looked at them with no clue what was happening. "What is going on?"
"Have you ever seen a yeti in a snowball fight?" Harry asked, making the walls even thicker.
Li's eyes went wide. "You have a yeti!"
"No, but Luna made a snow golem that looks like one for our transfiguration and charms midterms," Harry told him.
"Tim won't hurt anyone. He's rather nice," Luna said in a serene tone. The yells started. The walls shook with the impact of something. Next, Harry heard blasting hexes impacting something.
Luna frowned. "I really liked Tim."
Harry sat in the snow next to her. "I am really starting to worry about you at times," Harry said.
Luna gave him a bright smile as the noise stopped. "I could make an army of them next time. We are both much better than we were at the first task."
Harry chuckled and Li flopped on his back.
"LUNA!" the voice of Sirius bellowed out.
"I suppose this means I need to make a Tim two," she commented rather sadly.
Harry chuckled again. "I suppose. I'll help you. Come on, I think the games over," he said, getting up. He gave a hand to Luna first, then Li. Looking over the wall, it looked like a war had happened. There were remains of a dozen small snow forts, trenches or what looked like blast holes. Hermione was next to Neville, who was holding his head. Sirius was standing over what was left of Tim. Amanda and Mandy were leaning against the wall of a half-destroyed fort, both panting. Dave looked like a yeti with the snow on his head as Uncle Frank helped him up. Uncle Remus was off to the side, looking like he had been laughing hard.
"Luna! Do you care to explain why your project made it home and tried to bury all of us?" Sirius asked, looking a little red in the face.
"Tim looked so lonely just sitting in the test ring. He needed a home and I thought he would like to play with us," she said rather innocently.
Sirius glared at her, then a twerk started at the corner of his mouth, before he shook his head while silently laughing.
"You know we would have done the same if we had thought of it," Remus pointed out.
"I think I'm going to be getting snow out of my ear for the next week," Dave complained as he put a finger in his ear.
"Next time I'm bringing three of those," Neville shot out.
"Get in line. I'm having a whole army," Uncle Frank said with a smile. "We made a little mess out here, didn't we?"
Li was looking around. "This is why they don't like us using magic outside of school," he commented.
Harry grinned. "It's bloody brilliant."
Titania finally jumped down and started to meander towards the house.
"Who wants hot chocolate?" Sirius asked.
Li shivered. "I'm going to need a gallon."
Harry smiled. He walked over to Neville, who was still sitting. "You alright, Nev?"
"Give me a hand up," Neville requested.
Neville reached out and Harry failed to see the boy taking a huge handful of snow. He pulled Harry down. The snow hit the side of Harry's face and he fell over, landing on his back.
"Neville!" Hermione chastised.
"Yeah, I feel better now," Neville said with a cheeky grin.
Harry laughed then felt his jaw for a sore spot.
June 29, 1996
Minerva watched the mostly happy faces of the students leaving for the year. Hogwarts would host twenty-six students over the summer this year, but that was to be expected after the revolts last spring. It had left thirty-four orphans, or without any family to go to, and Hogwarts would not throw them out like it had in the past.
Checking the last name off her list as the students got into the carriages, she nodded to Pomona as she walked up to her. "A rather successful year, this one," Pomona said.
"I must agree. No students withdrew and we gained five transfers through the year," Minerva commented.
"Yes. I know next year will be their NEWT year, but have you sent off notes to Potter, Lovegood, Longbottom and Granger?" Pomona asked. Like the headmistress, Minerva would like to see those students back, but she knew they would not come.
"You know as well as I do what happened when the Minister and the delegation from the Wizengamot went," Minerva reminded her.
"I remember what Augusta told us. I was just hoping. It would help to bring back other students," Pomona replied. "I feel we have the resources to finally do better by them."
Minerva snorted with a mirthless laugh. "I will write them again, but I don't think there is anything to attract them and the others that left this country to come back. Ilvermorny and Beauxbatons are eight-year schools, with options to get Masteries within two years of graduating. Hogwarts cannot offer anything like that yet," Minerva replied.
Pomona nodded. "I think Filius was wondering if you might like to take the reigns as assistant headmaster again. The amount of work his two jobs require I think is a little daunting for him and he misses his research."
Minerva raised an eyebrow. "I will help, like I have been, but I don't trust myself with that authority anymore. You might find a willing applicant in Andromeda. She is proving very good at being a teacher and disciplinarian. She was also a Senior Healer at Saint Mungo's in charge of a department and twelve healers before coming here."
Yes, Andromeda Tonks was proving to be an excellent potions and charms professor, mainly taking the first through third years to release Filius to do other work and because Slughorn just seemed hard pressed at his age to keep up.
"Perhaps I will talk with her. I would like you to go over the rolls with Filius though. I want to send out the acceptance letters by July fifteenth and he says that there are over eighty names in the book for next year, many of them Muggleborn or half-bloods that appear to be new."
She looked at Pomona curiously. "The ICW lifted the curse?"
"About a week ago. The changes at the Ministry and our laws have them loosening some restrictions, though the Aurors will stay for another year or more," her long time friend said, looking at the two blue robed ICW Aurors standing at the end of the causeway, watching the last of the thestral drawn carriages vanishing through the gates in the distance.
"I will be happy to help Filius. I am going to take a week off though. I need to visit my nephew and his family," she told Pomona.
"I approved your request. I'll see you back on July first?"
"Yes," Minerva replied.
Watching the students go with the small wafts of smoke and steam of the Express over the trees had her looking forward to the next year and what it might entail.
June 12, 1999
Ilvermorny, Massachusetts, USA
The campus of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a larger and rather impressive sight than Hogwarts. The buildings were much more modern. There were easily five or six times the number of students here. The tour that the headmaster had given them yesterday had shown them how far Hogwarts still had to go to become one of the premier schools again in the world. The standards had risen significantly in the last few years, and class sizes were up again, but the eighty-to ninety that had become the norm in the last few years was nothing to the average three hundred or more that Ilvermorny boasted per year.
What was more shocking was that the Unites States hosted two other schools of this size, plus a half dozen smaller institutions.
The numbers were mind boggling to her.
Thus, when Minerva joined Pomona and Filius out onto the quad of the school, she was impressed. There must have been close to two thousand magicals, and even some Muggles, waiting to see the graduation. It was a graduation that the three of them had received personal letters from Ms. Lovegood for them to attend. After her last attempts to entice more than thirty students to come back, a correspondence had struck up between her and the quirky girl. A correspondence that reminded Minerva of the one the girl's mother and her had many years ago. That was before she had followed Albus so blindly. Something that still made her mad even if the man was dead some four years ago now.
Not really sure how close they should be, the three of them chose seats near the back.
"Did you get a program?" Filius asked in his sometimes-squeaky voice, especially when he was excited.
"I have one. This is very different than Hogwarts," Pomona said, looking around while Filius looked at the small pamphlet in his hands.
"I don't ever recall Hogwarts celebrating the graduates like this," Minerva agreed.
"Perhaps we should," Filius remarked. "There will be a few speeches and then they will walk across the stage. I wonder why?"
"I think we shall find out," Minerva said to appease him.
"I do like this concept," Pomona commented.
"Have you seen how they list the names?" Filius caught their attention.
"What do you mean?" Minerva asked, finally opening her own pamphlet.
"They list all the IAWL students by level, then specialty graduates and finally those that have earned a mastery," he said.
Minerva flipped to the back. It listed those that got IAWL level two and three, where a level three was equivalent to a NEWT and level twos between OWL's and NEWT's. After a moment, she grew confused. "I do not see Harry's or Luna's name in here."
"Look in the mastery section," Filius told her.
"Impossible," she commented. Not even Lily Potter had been able to make a mastery before she was twenty, and that was three years out of Hogwarts. She flipped two pages and scanned down the page, her mouth dropping open to see what she thought was impossible. Luna Theresa Lovegood was listed as earning a mastery in Creature Sciences, along with her level threes in transfiguration, charms, runes, arithmancy and magical theory. A score of names down was Harry James Potter, who was listed as getting his mastery in Runes and Defence, along with level threes in transfiguration, charms, creature studies, dueling and warding.
"Merlin's pants. Were we holding them back that much?" Minerva enquired.
"It would appear so. The brilliance that they both displayed their fourth year would imply that they could achieve this," Filius replied.
"How much have we hindered our other students?" Pomona asked. Neither Filius nor her had an answer.
A few minutes later, the headmaster called for everyone to quiet down through what looked like a Muggle speaker system. Minerva had only recently become familiar with them when some students in the recently created technomancy classes had figured out how to shield a radio player and had been blasting it on the practice fields. "Welcome parents and friends. If you would all just settle down, we'll have our graduates walk out in just a moment and get the ceremony started."
The crowd settled and music started in the background. They had taken the seats near the aisle because they had been empty. When she saw the students walking out from a building, she immediately started to look for Harry and Luna. It was towards the end of the line when thirty students followed the rest. Most looked older, in their early twenties to early fifties. Where the other students wore white robes trimmed in the four houses colors, these students wore blue robes. Out of the thirty, four stuck out. They were obviously younger, maybe eighteen or nineteen. She caught the blonde hair of Luna Lovegood first. The girl had grown into a beautiful young woman, even with her blonde hair still messy looking as ever and her wand behind her ear. Her expression wasn't as spacey, but it still felt she saw things that others did not. Luna was a spitting image of Pandora at the same age.
Just behind her was a boy just as recognizable. Harry Potter had grown into a man that was strikingly like his grandfather. He was rather broad of shoulder, with obvious muscles with an intense gaze that she remembered well from Fleamont. James had been too much of a troublemaker to ever get that gaze right. The striking eyes of Lily Evans only enhanced the look.
Luna caught sight of them and broke into a huge smile and waved to them. When Harry noticed them, he barely gave them a nod. She had a feeling the boy still didn't like them, and Minerva couldn't blame him.
"My, he has grown," Pomona said.
"I feel I did a great disservice to Ms. Lovegood," Filius remarked. He had commented over the years about how he wished he had seen the bullying going on in his house.
They watched with interest as there was a small speech by the headmaster, then two students, the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. She figured that Harry or Luna would have earned that spot, being only two of four to make masteries at such a young age, but they weren't. When they started to call names, Pomona commented again that they should do this at Hogwarts.
She nodded to watch the students walk across the stage and accept a diploma. Minerva had never seen anything like it.
When Luna was called up, she was presented a diploma and then a stole was put over her robes. It was green and covered in runes. It was a sign that the mastery board really recognized her achievement. Luna gave the airy smile she was so known for to her father and the knot of people around him, then to Harry. Even at eighteen, she skipped off to the side of the stage in her happiness. Many laughed. It didn't sound condescending though. "That girl will never change," a woman said from nearby. It had an endearing quality to it, like the woman knew her.
When Harry was called out, he was given a yellow stole and then a burgundy one was placed over it. Filius climbed onto the chair for both of them and clapped enthusiastically.
When it was done, they decided to find the students they had so wronged and lost.
It took a little bit to find them in the center of a large knot of people. Minerva was surprised to see a few of the Muggleborn students that had left to be laughing, hugging and congratulating each other, while their parents, siblings and others were doing the same. Harry had never been a boy with many friends. He was popular, not always for reasons he enjoyed, but he never had many friends. It appeared the dozen or so recently graduated students here were all close friends.
She stepped back as a girl with a mass of frizzy hair rushed past them. "Harry!" she called out. The young man with jet black hair turned with a huge smile, embracing the rather pretty girl.
"You made it. You and Neville weren't sure you could," Harry said as excitedly as he could. A tall blonde boy excused himself as he walked by to join the group. It took her a moment to recognize Neville Longbottom. The last she had seen him, he was still a little pudgy. Now he was a muscular boy, more muscular than Harry. The girl was Hermione Granger. She moved to hug Luna and then many of the others in the group, as though they were all well acquainted.
As she watched, a tall man with a small girl in his arms came over. She recognized him immediately. It was impossible not to with his well styled black hair, grey eyes and aristocratic features. Sirius Black. The girl in his arms was perhaps about two, with dark golden hair and grey eyes. "Hello, professors," Sirius said. "I see you got the invitation."
"Yes, we were quite surprised, but pleased," Filius said.
"This has been an interesting experience. You must be very proud of your godson," Pomona said.
"Yes, Erica and I are very proud of both of them. They have worked hard. Reminds me a lot of James his last two years, with lots of Lily's insane hours," the man grumbled.
The small girl looked at them before suddenly reaching out towards her. Sirius chuckled. "Angelica must think you look like her Great-Grandma Norberg."
"What a pretty name. Grandma Norberg?" Minerva asked, finally reaching out for the girl.
"Yeah. I married a professor here about three years back. This is our little girl, Angelica. Erica is around here somewhere," he said, looking around.
"I hear you are a professor here?" Pomona enquired.
"Can you believe it? They think I'm excellent at teaching dueling. Remus was hired as well and now teaches a few coursed on dark creatures and advanced magical defense. Ah, Erica!" Sirius called out. Minerva saw a golden blonde woman hugging Harry and many of the others in the group. Many turned to her, and all the ex-Hogwarts students noticed them. They all looked to Harry and Luna before coming over with the woman.
"Erica, I want you to meet some of my old professors. This is Minerva McGonagall, my old transfiguration professor and head of house. Professor Flitwick was still pretty new when I was there. He had just earned his Charms mastery. And Headmistress Sprout? I never had the opportunity to know you," Sirius said.
"Yes. From what I hear, I am better for it now to meet you and your friends," Pomona stated dryly, getting a laugh from Sirius and Erica.
"Sometimes I wish I didn't get to know him either," Erica said. "Erica Norberg-Black. Teacher of Creature Studies and magical ecology."
The girl in Minerva's arms looked quite pleased with herself as she looked around. "It is very nice to meet you, Mrs. Black."
"I didn't know there was a specialty in magical ecology," Flitwick said intrigued.
"We spend about as much focus on no-Maj science as we do on our own research. It took a few years for me to get the board to approve the specialty," Erica said, starting a conversation with the diminutive man.
"I think the kids are about done. We are having a party back at our house. We have lots of extra food if you want to join us," Sirius offered.
"I think that an excellent offer," Pomona said.
Before they left, the ex-Hogwarts students came up to her. She was pleased to see Mandy Brocklehurst, Kevin Entwhistle, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Sophie Roper and Megan Jones. They all greeted them and even shared some hugs or handshakes. It wasn't missed that Harry, Neville and Hermione stood back. Luna did come up to them. "Thank you for coming," Luna said, sounding more down to earth than Minerva had ever heard her.
"It's our pleasure, Ms. Lovegood. I have been very pleased that you have seemed to forgive us over the last few years," Minerva said. "I must congratulate you on your graduation and achievement. I had expected you to graduate next year."
Luna gave her a smile. "Thank you, Professor McGonagall. You are not as confused or devoted to following one tract as you used to be. I have heard you actually watch out for the students now."
Minerva had to give a small smile. "We missed your aura reading abilities. Something that I admit we were not prepared for. To answer your question, yes. We have learned how to care for our charges much better, mostly thanks to changes that you and Mr. Potter helped to make."
The smile on the girl was quite attractive. "I am glad we could help make a change. Would you like to say hello to my fiancé?"
She rose her eye. "Fiancé?"
"Oh, yes. I will be Mrs. Potter next summer," she said rather excitedly. Harry walked over with the others.
"Professor," Harry greeted her.
"Mr. Potter," she greeted back.
"You can just call me Harry. They don't really use surnames over here," Harry told her. "I'm glad you could come. Luna was hoping you would."
"It was an invitation that I wouldn't have refused. Congratulations on your masteries," she told him.
"Thank you. It wasn't easy," he said.
Minerva nodded. "No, getting a Mastery is not. And you, Ms. Granger and Mr. Longbottom, I hear you graduate next weekend?"
"Hello, professor," Hermione greeted. "Yes, we graduate next weekend. Though, I won't get my mastery certification until Christmas."
Harry laughed. "Not my fault Beauxbatons does it differently. I offered you to come here."
Hermione huffed, glaring at the boy. "You never told me that you could apply for a mastery tract after getting your IAWL's level two's when we made our choice."
"It was in the pamphlets," Harry replied with a shrug.
"I see they haven't changed," Minerva said to Luna and Neville.
"It's like this every time they get together. It's like they are brother and sister," Neville said exasperatedly. "It is nice to see you, professor. Are you coming back to Everfree Farm? I'm sure my mum and dad would love to see you again."
"I was so please to hear they were able to be healed. We have been invited," she told them.
"SIRIUS! We ready to go?" Harry bellowed out.
"Whenever you are," Sirius yelled back, and was hit by the pretty blonde next to him. Harry chuckled.
"You really shouldn't get him in trouble like that. He is going on the cruise with us next week," Luna said.
Harry gave her a cheeky grin. "I'll keep you out of the pranks as best I can."
"I don't mind the pranks. Titania is another story," Luna said and pecked Harry on the lips.
"I never get on her bad side," Harry replied.
"But Remus and Sirius do at times," Luna reminded him.
Harry said back with some mirth, "Still not me. Your kneazel likes me, remember."
"Well, she does have good taste in men," Luna teased back.
"Can we get going? Dobby and Winky are supposed to be barbequing," Neville said excitedly.
"You can't drink though. Let's go walk out to the portkey area. We'll show you where it is," Harry offered to her and her colleagues.
"I can drink in Europe," Neville grumbled.
When they took the portkey, Minerva was taken with the beauty of the area. She had rarely seen so many trees of so much green. The hills all around them were covered in thick forests. Some magical historians said Scotland used to be like this, but she had never thought what that might look like.
Dozens of people joined them and soon she was holding a Muggle paper plate eating barbequed chicken and drinking a locally grown wine. Everyone was having a good time. There was a lot of laughing and off to the side of the house there were a few horseshoe rings and a volleyball court where most of the newly graduated or the other children were playing a game. She was slightly scandalized to see the shorts, tank tops and other clothes that seemed to show off more skin than she was used to, but Muggle clothes were the standard among the crowd. Minerva, Flitwick and Pomona stuck out for their robes.
"You should really try the ribs," a man said. His hair was starting to go grey, but his blue eyes were just as sharp as she remembered.
"Frank Longbottom?" she asked.
"Hey, Professor Minney, been a long time," he said. She found herself hugging the man. Losing the Longbottoms had nearly broken everyone in the Order. They were the last in a long string of murders and disappearances. What had gotten them all so much was that it happened after everyone thought the war to be over.
"It's good to see you again too," the man said.
"We all thought you were gone for good," she replied.
The man nodded. "So did we. It was only mum taking Alice and I to Paris that found the cure. I'm so glad the healers were able to cure us. We missed so much of Neville growing up, but the last few years have been more than worth it." The man nodded his head to point out Neville and Hermione laughing with an Asian boy and a blonde girl.
"Yes, he has come a long way since I last saw him four years ago," she said. "You should be very proud of him."
"Alice and I are. It will be even better once he finally gets the bollocks to ask that girl to marry him. If he doesn't, I think Alice will go after him," Frank said with a chuckle.
"Yes, Ms. Granger is a brilliant witch," she commented.
"I thought Lily was a brilliant witch. That girl is a bloody genius," he said with pride. "Neville couldn't do better."
"No, I don't think he could. Are they planning to move back to England?" she had to ask.
"Hermione accepted a job at a law firm that works mostly in France or the ICW for Creature rights. Neville has managed to move most of our greenhouses to our new estates in France. He plans to set up his own business over the next few years. We've offered Hermione a room if she wants," he said.
"How about you and Alice? Your mother still holds your Wizengamot seat," she pressed.
"Not a chance in hell. I think that's how the American saying goes. No, Alice and I are happy where we are. After seeing what happened after Voldemort's defeat, and the fact that St. Mungo's couldn't find a way to cure us in fourteen years, and within ten months we were talking with our son again after being taken to France... no, we are staying in France," he told her.
"I thought so," Minerva said a little dejectedly.
Frank gave her a knowing smile. "Don't get me wrong. We are not selling off our land holdings, and we agree with the changes, but it just doesn't feel right to see how happy Neville is in France."
"I get it. The old ways and games of Albus and others eliminated or chased away most of the top talent of the last two generations. I am getting too old for all this, Frank. Things are getting better, but we are still losing some of our top students as they get better offers abroad. I think it will be a decade or two before all the scars of the past thirty years are healed," she said.
"We fought for those changes, and then everyone threw them away to keep the same old thing. I think you are right. It will take a generation or two for Britain to reclaim the reputation it once had. In the meantime, we are happy where we are," Frank commented.
Minerva gave a sad smile to see Harry jump into the sand, sending the volleyball high into the air. Luna was jumping up to hit the ball while a tall brunette boy was moving to block her. Luna knocked the ball to the side and her former student, Finch-Fletchley, hit it over the net. All her former students looked happier and freer than at any time she could remember at Hogwarts.
"Perhaps I should finally retire and explore the world some. I feel there is much out there I have missed all these years," Minerva said a little wistfully.
"I hear Beauxbatons is looking for a new department head, if you want something different for a few years," Frank suggested.
"Perhaps I will contact Maxime," she told him.
Minerva may be close to a hundred, but she didn't feel like doing nothing yet. She knew that there were some professors that taught well into their hundreds. She felt she still had a few decades left of life. Perhaps finding a position like that at Beauxbatons would be better for her?
"Well, I am going to go find Alice. I know Sirius wanted to do something special for all our kids soon," Frank said.
She made a polite goodbye and picked at the excellent chicken as she watched everyone.
This is what they should do to celebrate their graduates in the future.
July 19, 2022
The forest of Albania…
"Daddy, I don't like this area," a younger girl said.
The shade that was hidden among the trees watched the family with some interest. It had been stalking them for a few days now, getting closer with each day. It had spent years in this forest. Many years. More years than the shadow could remember.
In that time, it had slowly lost its will to do much more than inhabit the occasional animal or even try to inhabit the occasional witch or wizard it had come across. The problem was that he didn't think the previous magicals it had found were strong enough, since he had not been able to bind with them for the possession to take.
The longer time went on, the harder he even found it to even possess a squirrel.
These people, especially the little girl, radiated power. He knew he could not go after the man. There was something dangerous about him. The scar on his forehead brought memories, but he couldn't place why the man seemed familiar.
The blonde woman with him felt odd… he didn't know why, but there was something about her magic that screamed danger to him. It wasn't the deadly danger he felt from the man. No, it was a feeling that she would corrupt him, warping is self to something that saw the world differently. The yellow gem she held up to her eye at times was also odd.
They had another girl, perhaps fifteen or sixteen, with the woman's blond hair and the man's green eyes. That one seemed much like her mother. A boy, between the two girls ages, had a head of dirty-blonde hair. Whisps of black and the light blonde of the parents mingling to make an attractive effect. This child had hazel eyes that looked green in some light and blue in others. His magic was strong, like a mix between the two parents.
The little girl, on the other hand, had magic much more like the father, but she was still young, her magic still developing, making her an enticing target. Her hair was as raven black as her father, with the woman's sky-blue eyes.
"Come here, Rose," the man called to the girl, and she ran off after him, taking the man's hand. "Luna, hold up for a few."
The man caught up with the woman and they talked for a few before striking off towards the camp he knew they had.
The shadow followed the family. It had waited this long, so what was a few hours for the night to come?
When night fell and the only sounds it could hear from the camp were made by bugs and frogs, it glided into the camp. It felt a powerful ward line that made it pause. The magic pulsed and radiated protection. After feeling the magic for a few minutes, the shade decided the wards would not hurt him.
Wafting past the ward limits, the shade approached the tent. Once inside, it felt unimpressed with the size of the place. Like most wizards, they seemed to thing larger was better. He wasn't thinking the large three-bedroom tent was housing five of them, he only saw the attempt as flaunting one's wealth or power should a guest come.
Feeling around, he felt the smaller girl's aura in the middle bedroom.
Entering the room, he saw both girls. Ignoring the older, he moved towards the smaller girl. He was like a moth to a flame. As tendrils reached out for the girl, there was a sudden pain. "LUNA! GET THE GIRLS!" the man yelled.
The shade hissed at the sudden light and pain. "No! She is mine!" it said in spits and hisses.
"Mummy!" the small girl screamed.
"Rosie!" the other girl yelled. He caught the older girl scrambling across the narrow divide of the beds. The wizard before him was the larger threat. The raven-haired man held something that shone as bright as the sun and burned liked he was touching fiendfyre. He screamed an unearthly scream as the girls ran past the man.
"Expelle hoc ens tenebris!" the man started to chant. The shade screamed as it felt like it was being torn apart. "Expelle hoc ens tenebris!"
The shade felt in an agony greater than when it had first been banished from its original body.
"Expelle hoc ens tenebris!"
The man said again and there was something, a cord to something, that snapped. The pain it elicited was worse by far.
"Expelle hoc ens tenebris!" There was another snap.
"Expelle hoc ens tenebris!"
"NO!" the shade screamed, and a third snap wracked its soul.
"Expelle hoc ens tenebris!"
It was feeling weak, as though it wasn't all there anymore. It wanted to move, but the light held him. It was only then that the shade had a inkling as to who the man was. Who the man and who the shade was. A burning rage lit up the shade. "Harry Potter," it said with such loathing that he was surprised the man didn't quiver where he stood. He was too full of rage at this man to say anything else at the moment.
The man stared at the shade for a few. After a moment, there was a light of recognition in the man's face. The man's voice was so calm, so full of power that the shade, once known as Lord Voldemort, had a primal fear run through him that screamed at him to run. "Hello, Tom. I thought you gone. It's been almost twenty years. You threaten my family. I will make sure you never do that again. Expelle hoc ens tenebris!" the man said with a conviction that shook the shades soul.
It yelled in rage, trying to gather any and all strength it could. Overcoming the light, it charged the man, intent to control the boy that had ruined so many things all those years ago. As he rammed into the man, something happened. Something that hadn't happened before.
He passed right through the man. It was like there was nothing there. It was like the shade wasn't there. That was when he felt it. It felt the magic that defined the bounds of what he was unraveling. The fear of death was so overpowering, that he didn't even make a sound as the man said one final time, "Expelle hoc ens tenebris!"
A few moments later…
"Harry?" Luna said, peaking back into the tent. She felt the malignant presence that had woken her was gone.
"Daddy?" Rosie asked.
"Pandora, keep Rosie back. Oran, stay there," Luna ordered. She never used that tone with their kids, and they did as she instructed them. "Harry?"
When she pushed the flap back, she saw Harry on his hands and knees on the floor. He was breathing pretty hard. "Harry!"
"Luna," he said a little weakly before rolling back and sitting on his butt.
She rushed over to him, "Is it gone?"
"Yeah," he said before meeting her eyes. "Are the kids alright?"
"Yes, they are just outside. You are sure it is gone?" she put to him.
Harry gave her a smile that she always liked. "Have I ever lied to you?"
After a moment, she shook her head. She was still worried though about the way his magic was stirring and the feel of the place now. Something had bypassed the wards Harry was so good at constructing and almost took one of their children. "No, you never have, luv."
She took his face to look into his eyes. The green eyes shone with power. It was still pure and Harry. Knowing he was good; she pulled his face in to give him a kiss.
"Mum, can we come in?" Pandora asked.
Harry pulled back, looking the three kids over. "Come here you three," Harry said, getting up. Rosie and Pandora rushed to him. Harry took them and her into his arms. "Oran, are you okay?"
"Yeah, dad. You going to teach me how to do that?" Oran requested, his eyes wide.
Harry chuckled. "You are only thirteen. Maybe if you get on a mastery tract after your IAWL's."
Luna shook her head.
"I don't want to stay here, it feels wrong," Rosie said.
"Let's get packed up and head back to Tirana for the night," Harry said.
Luna stepped back to look at Rosie for a moment. "How about we head back home in the morning and go to an amusement park?"
Rosie brightened up.
"You sure, luv? I know you wanted to find a fatit," he said.
"The little fae will wait," she replied.
"Lightwater Valley or Chessington?"
"Chessington!" Rosie all of a sudden started to shout.
"Right. I'll help Oran if you get the girls ready," Harry said to Luna.
It took less than ten minutes to get ready, even being the middle of the night. Their kids were used to the crazy adventures Harry and her pulled them along on to do her field research or for Harry to work as a top free-lance ward weaver, and occasionally as a cursebreaker.
Once out of the tent, Harry packed it with a swish of his wand and took out a rope. "Portus," he said, the rope glowing blue for a moment. "Everyone grab on. We'll go to the hotel and leave tomorrow."
"Sure, dad," Pandora said, pulling Rosie in closer.
She took Harry's hand before the portkey activated. She felt that he was acting so calm and cool for the kids but was still on high alert for any more trouble. As much as she had gotten him to calm over the years, it was too much his nature to fight and protect those he loved.
Luan would make it up to him as soon as she could. She was always good at making him relax, usually after she got him worked up.
For real this time.
I hope this was a good way to button up this story. I really wanted character and societal development that was meaningful, but still having plenty of the light scenes I liked about this story.
Until the next story, thank you so much for reading.