Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything that is familiar in that Universe
A/N: I can't believe how fast I am getting feedback with this story. I am thrilled that everyone is enjoying it. So here is the next chapter. It took me forever to type it up. Enjoy!
Chapter Four: Surprise Announcements and Pansy
Harry with Draco at his side stepped through the double oak doors just as he heard the shrieks and shouts from the students outside. Harry and Draco just smirked, it had finally started raining, it seemed that Lady Luck had been listening to his plea earlier after all.
Wet students were starting to file in behind Harry and Draco as they made their way toward the head of their respective tables. They both were about to sit down when Professor McGonagall intervened.
"Harry, the Headmaster would like it if you and Mister Malfoy were to sit at the Head Table with the rest of the staff." She said and then looked imploringly at Harry and then down at Harry's cloak that had a rather strange bulge on the left side.
Harry grinned and carefully unwrapped his cloak revealing Michael, green eyes met his and he heard the Professor emit a startled gasp.
"Oh my, He has your eyes." She smiled genuinely, "You have a beautiful son Harry." Taking one last glance at the little boy she pushed Harry and Draco in the direction of the Head Table and then turned and started making her way toward the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables.
Harry having as much as a clue as Draco as to what was going on slowly walked up to the table where Professor Dumbledore and several other teachers were already seated. The Headmaster motioned for Harry to sit to the right of him just as Professor Snape directed Draco into the chair on the left of him. There was a single empty chair that sat in between himself and Draco. Harry noticed that Professor Sinstra and Professor Vector were sitting on the right side of Professor Snape carrying on a lively conversation between themselves. Harry leaned up slightly careful not to squish Michael against the table and looked down the other side.
There were more empty seats on that side of the table as well. There were two on the left side of the Headmaster and then Professor Flitwick, another empty chair and then Professor Sprout who was talking rather animatedly to Madame Pomfrey who was sitting to her left. There was one last seat empty seat on the other side of Poppy that Harry figured was for Hagrid once he brought the first years in. Harry knew that Professor McGonagall was going to be sitting in the seat next to the Headmaster once she had brought the first years into the Great Hall. Wondering where the Professor was now, Harry looked up and glanced around the Hall. He caught site of her talking to Luna and a Hufflepuff whose name he thought was Hannah Abbott.
Harry glanced at the Headmaster; he started to open his mouth to ask what was going on but just by the overly exuberant twinkle in the old man's eyes Harry knew that he wasn't going to get a straight answer from him.
Albus could see the questions in Harry's eyes but he didn't want to spoil the surprise for the young man. "Well lets see how much young Michael has grown since our last meeting." He said smiling down at the small emerald eye boy.
Harry could feel the overwhelming sense of calmness that Albus was radiating causing Harry smile as he opened his cloak giving a full view of the little boy.
Michael's eyes focused almost immediately on Albus as he leaned over to get a better look at the small child. Michael's hand shot up at an amazing speed and clasped onto the Headmaster's nose.
Albus expecting no less chuckled and lifted the boy out of Harry's arms and into his own. They sat there looking at each other for several seconds before Michael's face broke into a huge toothless grin.
"Such a perceptive lad for one so young. You'll have your hands full with this one my dear boy." Albus said smiling at Harry as if some sacred secret had been passed between the aged Headmaster and the green eyed little boy.
Harry nodded his head in agreement. There were times that he had gotten the same feeling. Harry figured that as long as it wasn't the kind of trouble that he had seemed to find himself in time after time, he figured that he could handle just about anything.
"Ah here is the new Defense Professor, although he isn't exactly new though." Albus said as he handed Michael back to Harry.
Harry turned in his seat just in time to see Remus sit down in-between him and Draco. Harry scowled at the man who had been a father figure to him for the last two years.
"So why didn't you tell me that this was your big mission this morning before I left?" Harry said a little perturbed at the man sitting beside him.
Remus sighed; he had been afraid that Harry would act like this before he gave him a chance to explain. "Harry, I didn't know that I was going to be teaching until this morning after you left and I went to Headquarters."
Harry let out the breath he had been holding. He hadn't meant to snap at Remus but he had been still a bit upset at having to leave behind him and Tonks and not being able to see them until the holiday break. "Did Tonks come with you?"
Remus smiled, "Did you think that I would be able to get out of the house with out her?" he said teasingly.
Harry chuckled, "I didn't think so, after all who would you have to pick up after you?"
Remus blushed at the mention of Tonks's tendency to walk behind him and pick up everything, although Remus wasn't really complaining. It was nice to have someone take care of him. "Albus asked if she would come here so you would have someone you trusted to watch over Michael when you were in your classes and of course she couldn't say no. I thought that she was going to have a nervous breakdown after you two left the house this morning. I think it was because she had realized that she wouldn't see the two of you until Christmas."
Harry smiled; he had a pretty good idea at why Remus was so embarrassed at mentioning Tonks taking care of him. Especially if the way that they danced around each other was of any indication of what they really felt toward each other. Harry just wondered how long it would take for Remus and Tonks to realize what they were feeling. He knew that he sure wasn't going to be the one to tell them; it was far more entertaining to watch in them this way.
Remus cleared his throat trying to force down the lingering redness in his cheeks. "Well then, how was the train ride?"
Harry scowled at the reminder of Ron and Hermione's actions. "Lets just say that I won't be talking to Ron or Hermione for a good long time. At least not until they decide to grow up." He said as he tried to push the anger back down.
Remus glanced worriedly at the young man beside him and sighed. He and Tonks both had worried at what would happen between the three of them when Ron and Hermione found out about Michael. Obviously what ever had been said wasn't good. He wouldn't push Harry to tell him though; Remus would wait until he was ready to talk.
When Harry saw Luna and Hannah taking the two empty seats on the other side of the table his curiosity was piqued once again as to what was going on. He could feel Michael squirming in his lap as the little boy tried to look at the enchanted ceiling. Smiling Harry shifted Michael in his lap so that he was laying back in his arms and he could see the ceiling better, or at least as good as what a three month old baby could see. Harry imagined that all the little boy could see was different blobs of light. Whatever it was that Michael wanted to look at Harry wasn't going to stop him from exploring his world. He was going to make sure that his precious son would have everything that he ever needed and would have all the love and attention that every little boy deserved. Harry would make sure that his little boy would have the childhood that he himself had been denied.
Harry could see that Draco was glancing down the table at Luna and Hannah as he had been and when he caught the other boy's eyes they both shrugged their shoulders, neither knew what was going on. He glanced around the Great Hall and noticed that most of the students were trying to catch a glance at who Harry was hiding in his arms. The way that he had been sitting made it nearly impossible for any of the students to see Michael tucked comfortably in the crook of Harry's arm. Harry had wondered how long it would take for Ron and Hermione to let the cat out of the bag and obviously it hadn't taken much time at all. He knew that Remus had caught the curious gazes as well and he decided to liven things up a bit before Professor McGonagall brought in the first years to be sorted.
"Remus would you hold Michael so that I can take my cloak off." He said smiling mischievously at Remus's questioning look.
Remus catching on to what Harry was doing smiled at his ploy. "Yeah, just hand the little pup here."
Harry stood up slowly, deliberately causing most of the students to look toward the Head Table. He carefully handed Michael over to Remus letting the school see his son for the first time. Harry listened discreetly as he slipped his cloak off his shoulders and laid it across the back of his chair. The Great Hall's constant chatter stopped making it quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Harry heard Draco snort and mutter under his breath something that sounded suspiciously like, "Drama Queen".
Remus just shook his head amused at Harry's antics.
Harry sat down silently, took Michael back into his arms and waited for all hell to break loose. He didn't have to wait long. The roar was deafening as everyone in the Great Hall started talking at once and he could have sworn that he heard Albus chuckling as if he had heard the funniest thing in his life. Harry once again found himself questioning the sanity of the Headmaster.
He shook his head and glanced down at the little boy who had just unexpectedly made his debut in the wizarding world.
Harry turned his attention back to Remus hoping to get a few straight answers, "Do you know why the four of us students are sitting up here at the staff table with the teachers?"
Remus just shook his head, he knew of course but Albus had asked the faculty to remain silent so that it would be a surprise to the selected students.
Harry glared at Remus half-heartedly for the second time that night and then he turned and started whispering loudly in a staged whisper to Michael. "Your grandpa Remus is holding out on us buddy. What should we do about it, huh? Harry smiled at the toothless grin that he was eliciting from Michael.
"I think that we should punish him, don't you think?" he chuckled at Michaels' answering gurgling coos.
"Oh you think that we should put him on diaper duty, huh." Harry could see out of the corner of his eye that Albus was trying to hide his laughter and Remus who was hanging his head in mock shame as his body shook in silent laughter.
All the while Harry had been talking to Michael; Professor McGonagall had brought the first year students in and had begun to call out their names. Harry glanced up and noticed that there were very few new students. He looked questioningly at Remus who shook his head sadly.
"Most of the muggleborn students parents had not wanted their child to come into a war ridden world so they decided to keep them home with the assurances by Albus that if they changed their minds Hogwarts would always be open to them. Then you have the pureblood students whose parents are supportive of Voldemort that got shipped off to Durmstrang instead of here." Remus said tiredly, "The first year group just gets smaller and smaller every year. Although your class is probably the smallest that Hogwarts has had since its founding."
Harry nodded his head in understanding. His classmates were the children that had survived the first rise of Voldemort and he knew that Hogwarts would see many more groups like his in the years to come. He really hadn't realized that fact until it had dawned on him one evening that he and his classmates where the ones who had survived the rise and fall of Voldemort. And now it seemed that History was repeating itself and he was the only one that could stop it from taking the same path that it traveled all those years before.
Harry was startled out of his grim thoughts when Albus stood up beside him, he noticed Professor McGonagall sliding into her seat as the Headmaster began to talk.
"Welcome to another year of Hogwarts to those of you who have returned to out fine hallways. And welcome those of you who are gracing us with your lively presence for the first time for today is the first day of the beginning of a great adventure that will span the next seven years.
Seeing how most of you seem to be ready to faint from lack of food I will hold the rest of my announcements until the end of the feast. So dig in!" And with a flourish of his hands mountains of mouth watering dishes appeared across the table.
Harry groaned. He knew that Albus was going to put off telling then what they were doing until the last minute possible. He glanced down in front of his plate and started piling on the delicious food. As soon as Michael had seen what he had been doing the happy little boy decided that he should help, and before Harry could stop him the little boy had both hands buried in the mashed potatoes.
Laughter from the Head Table drew the student's attention to their teachers. Craning heads watched as Professor Lupin held a small baby while Harry Potter went through a bag that many deducted was a diaper bag. The students watched as Harry gently began cleaning the potatoes off of the little boy. The majority of the students were beginning to question themselves and each other about the baby Harry Potter had brought to school.
Harry could hear the whispers and sordid theories that were beginning to circulate. Sometimes he wondered exactly how secluded some of his classmates were for their imaginations to be so incredibly overactive.
Remus held Michael so Harry could hurriedly shove down his dinner before he started trying to feed the little boy. Once Harry was done inhaling his food he dug out the other bottle and was starting to give it to Michael when he stopped and glared at it.
He turned to Remus who was looking at him questioningly, "Did you put a sleeping potion in Michael's bottles before we left the house?"
Remus looked at Harry with confusion written all over his face. "What are you talking about? Tonks made the bottles this morning while you were in the shower... she wouldn't do that... Merlin she did didn't she!" Remus shook his head at Tonks's attempt at helping Harry with the baby.
Harry fumed, "Wait till I get my hands on her. He slept the entire train ride and now I won't be able to get him to sleep until late tonight. I finally got him on a schedule too." He groaned at the thought of having to start all over again with getting Michael back on a schedule.
Remus chuckled at the audible groan from Harry. "Just remember this is Tonks we are talking about. She never thinks before she acts. She probably thought that she was helping you."
Harry continued to glare at the bottle. He had no idea on how to tell if this bottle was spiked as well, but before he could do anything Draco plucked it off of him and handed it to Professor Snape.
Severus having heard the entire conversation unscrewed the lid and smelled the formula. He could not smell the light bitter smell that he knew was associated with mild sleeping potions. He knew that bottle was good. "Its fine. But you might want to warn Tonks that giving a sleeping potion to an infant that has never had one before could cause and adverse reaction and be harmful." He said as he handed the bottle back to Remus who in turn handed to Harry.
Harry smiled his thanks to the Potions Professor before finally giving it to the patiently waiting little boy. Just as Michael was finishing up his bottle the Headmaster stood and clapped his hands once to gain the attention of the rest of the school.
"I see that most of you have had your fill so I will begin with the rest of the announcements. As you all can see there are four students sitting at the Head Table. These four students have been selected to enter into a sort of apprenticeship if you will with various Professors. These four students have been chosen for their accomplishments in their studies and their above average skills in certain subjects." He paused and gestured to his right and then continued,
"Draco Malfoy has been chosen by Professor Snape to become his assistant in Potions, Harry Potter has been chosen by Professor Lupin to become his assistant in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Luna Lovegood has been chosen by Professor McGonagall to become her assistant in Transfiguration, and Hannah Abbott has been chosen by Professor Flitwick to become his assistant in Charms." He paused again and waited for the applause to die down once again.
"Now I expect that you will respect these assistants as much as you would the Professor they are working with. The assistant's responsibilities will include tutoring students during a set time and in Mr. Potter's case when Professor Lupin is recovering after the full moon he will be handling the classes himself. Seeing as how the new assistants will not be able to attend regular class sessions they will be taking accelerated courses privately so that they can take their N.E.W.T.S by Christmas holiday. So be sure to wish your fellow students good luck and a good year."
The students applauded acknowledging their fellow housemates appointments. Harry could see that Ron was scowling and Hermione was glaring at Luna probably thinking to herself that she should be the one up there instead. He knew that the next time that he would see Ron harsher words were going to be said and Harry's hope that his old friends would come around died. He thought that maybe Hermione would realize how immature she was being but as long as she was around Ron she would let him influence her thoughts and actions.
Harry grinned to himself as he thought of being an assistant for Remus. Everyone was expecting him to enter into the Auror training program after he graduated from Hogwarts but the older he got the more he realized that wasn't what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Amazingly he wanted to be a teacher, specifically a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He had gotten his first taste of being a teacher when he had formed the Defense Association back in his fifth year and when he thought back on it, he had loved every minute of it.
Harry happened to glance over at Draco and he could see the worry etched into his face, which could only mean one thing. Pansy wasn't here. That thought scared Harry; he didn't want to think of the things that could have happened to the girl. He hoped that were ever she was she was safe. When Harry caught the pensive look flitter over Professor Snape's face when the man had glanced at Draco, Harry knew that the Potions professor was worried as well.
Remus caught the look on Harry's face and frowned. Something was wrong, and what ever it was it looked like it was serious. He nudged Harry in the ribs to get his attention.
When Harry looked over at him Remus leaned in to whisper, "What's wrong, you seem very troubled about something. And with you Harry that is never a good thing."
Harry smiled grimly knowing that Remus was telling the truth and then he leaned over to the werewolf, "Pansy Parkinson isn't here and we are worried at what may have happened. Draco had wanted her to stay behind here at school with him but she didn't want to leave her four year old sister to deal with her parents wrath because of her switching sides. She wasn't on the train and she isn't here now." He said his voice thick with worry.
Before Remus could say anything Albus leaned in next to Harry, "If Miss Parkinson doesn't show before the end of the feast I will send out the word to locate her, and if necessary we will send a group to get her and her sister." He said determinedly, his words setting Harry a little bit more at ease.
Just as the Headmaster was standing to dismiss the students from the Great Hall the large oak doors burst open and an undistinguishable figure fell in. The staff table was immediately kicked into action Remus being the one with the werewolf strength and reflexes jumped over the table and ran toward the fallen figure with Albus and Severus following shortly behind.
It was Draco's anguished voice that snapped Harry out of his daze when the distraught wizard let out a chocked cry, and Harry knew with out a doubt that the person that had just fell to the floor was Pansy.
Draco ran toward Pansy knowing that Harry was following closely behind him albeit a bit slower because he was holding Michael. He knew that something terrible had happened and what ever it was it was going to change his life.
Draco finally pushed his way through and saw that Professor Lupin was kneeling next to a soaking wet bruised and bloody Pansy. Draco felt like someone had taken a pot shot and had knocked the wind out of him, he couldn't breath and he could feel his heart thudding painfully in his chest. He fell to his knees and drew Pansy into his arms, he felt something moving under Pansy's cloak and when he moved it to the side he came face to face with a tearstained blue-eyed little girl. He looked questioningly at Pansy who was sobbing into his shoulder she was trying to say something but he couldn't hear her because of the noise in the Great Hall.
The Headmaster coming to his senses stood suddenly from his kneeled position in front of Pansy and Draco. "Prefects, lead your houses back to the common rooms your Heads of House's with be with you shortly." The student's started to filter out of the Great Hall leaving the four Assistants and the staff. Albus motioned for a couple of the professor's to remain as he asked the rest to follow the students and make sure that none of them left the dorms. He didn't want any word getting out just yet that Pansy and her little sister had made it to Hogwarts. When the students and teachers where finally gone all that were left were Remus Lupin, Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Madame Pomfrey, himself and the four assistants.
Madame Pomfrey who had been able to make her way threw the crowd kneeled down next to the Draco and Pansy. "Oh my goodness. Child what happened?" she asked softly taking in the horrid condition of the young woman.
Pansy shook in Draco's arms, her little sister still holding on to her with all her might. "They were going to give her to the Dark Lord. I... couldn't let them take her. I fought them... I think I killed one of them... I...I... didn't mean to... he just fell down the stairs and then he... he... didn't move. I got past them and grabbed her... her... off of them and ran. We took the Knight Bus to...to Hogsmeade and then walked here." She sobbed gripping the little girl tighter just so that she knew that she was really there.
To say that Albus Dumbledore was shocked would be an understatement. He knew that Tom and his followers often took children as slaves but to have a Deatheater offer his own four-year-old daughter was something he hoped would never happen.
Glancing down at his student and the terrified child that was attached to her Albus knew that they both would be in great danger if it leaked out that she was here. He made his mind up and looked up at Severus, with a slight nod from the Potions Master Albus knew that he was thinking the same thing.
"Miss Parkinson, we need to get you and your sister to a safer location before your wounds are attended to. The hospital wing will be too obvious so we are going to put you in Severus's quarters along with Mister Potter and Mister Malfoy."
Looking toward the other two assistants he motioned them to him. "Miss Lovegood, I need you to make sure that everyone in the Ravenclaw tower is oblivated, I don't want it known to anyone in this castle that Miss Parkinson and her sister are here." He then turned toward Minerva and Hannah Abbott, "The same goes for Gryffindor and Hufflepuff."
Hannah walked toward the Headmaster a bit afraid and what she was going to be asked, "I'm not sure that I can do it, what if I do it wrong?"
Albus smiled down at the young girl that was afraid of her own talent. "There was a reason that you were picked for the position of an Assistant Miss Abbott, you are extremely talented and I have complete faith in you completing this task."
He then gestured for the two students and Minerva to carry out his orders. Albus turned toward the remaining group.
"Severus, Remus, Harry help Draco take Pansy down to your quarters, I will handle the Slytherin students. I will meet you back down in the dungeons." He then turned to the mediwitch, "Go and get what ever you think that you will need out of the infirmary and take it down to Severus's quarters so that you can tend to those two girls."
And with a purposeful stride he turned and made his way toward the Slytherin common room, he wanted personally to make sure that no word got out to any of the children's parents that Pansy had made it to the school alive.