Sunday Oct. 22, Evening at the school
While, Harry, Draco and Remus were all safe at No. 12 Grimmauld Place the school was in very capable hands. Besides Harry being the Headmaster, he trusted his Deputies completely.
Neville and Dudley were taking the opportunity and time to get a little bit closer to one another. About a week ago, Neville had finally sent off an Owl to his Grandmother to request information about bonding with someone who wasn't quite up there in magical power or ability. He never used the word Squib in his letter.
She had been out of the Country for a bit, taking her mission out on the road. She had been asked by one of her very good friends, from the school, to speak to different magical merchants about coming to Hogwarts in the winter after the Yule season for a Winter Festival or Carnival. The plan was in motion to have it set up, perhaps, late in the month of February.
So she was not surprised to have several important pieces of correspondence waiting for her when she returned. Her house-elves collected them and had separated them into appropriate piles measured by importance. Anything from her Grandson was considered number one and was always read first. To her shock Neville was asking some very personal, very embarrassing family questions.
Questions that he should never ask, 'Unless he is getting involved with…' she thought and then she paused to consider... She turned pale and called her house-elves to pack her things in order to stay several nights at the School.
"I will get to the bottom of this," she muttered. "No one is taking my grandson away from me."
A few hours later saw this very imposing woman walk up to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Deputies were surprised to find that the wards were ringing to indicate that someone with leanings towards the Light had arrived.
This was unexpected, as they had yet to receive visitors of any sort at the School. McGonagall only hoped that the War hadn't started as she wasn't prepared to receive anyone seeking Sanctuary yet. Make no mistake, the school was ready, but none of the people within that grand building ever wanted War to break out.
The Deputies were curious and wondered who it could be. They couldn't send out a carriage, besides this person looked like they needed to walk off some steam. Normally the school should have received a written notice for a situation like this, but it looked like this might not be a school matter.
They waited patiently and then there was a pop. A very normal sound linked to the house-elves in the school and in the Wizarding World. This one was actually wearing a monogrammed tea-towel with the Longbottom Family Crest. Now they knew who was about to arrive.
"My Mistress, the Dowager Lady Amalia Dorcas Longbottom, wishes to see her Grandson," she said. The Professors didn't even have to ask who that grandson was, as there was only one apprentice in the school with the name Longbottom.
"We'll call him to the private meeting room," Professor Sprout said and then pointed out the location with which the little house-elf can guide her Mistress.
The Professors looked at one another wondering what was going on. Professor Sprout called to Tinky, one of the unbound house-elves that had found their way to this school with the help from Dobby. This little elf seemed quite young, but they allowed her to stay. There were now several unbound house-elves at the school working for pay until they decide who they wish to bond to and whether they wanted to be bound or not.
As soon as this little elf appeared, with a very soft pop, she said, "Please inform Mr. Longbottom that he has a visitor in Meeting Room No. 34."
The elf curtsied and popped back out.
Tinky knew that Neville and his friend had plans for a romantic meal in the Founders Quarters, but she also heard that a Dowager was coming to the school. She knew that the old woman must be very important to Neville, if he had to be interrupted from 'whatever' he was doing with his friend.
She popped into the private rooms belonging to the Headmaster and his family. She found the two young men on the couch just talking to one another about nothing really important. They had yet to eat their evening meal, but they had planned a quiet dinner for two in these quarters while the others were away and taking care of business.
"Sirs," she said, when they turned their attentions to her. "Mr. Longba'oms sir, you're bein' as-ked to meet… a lady in meetin' rom… tree… four." She was one of the ones that had a hard time talking, but knew that these two young men would never make fun of her for it because they never did in the beginning, when she had first met them.
In fact Dudley was one of the ones who looked out for her and sometimes called on her to do things for him or to help him out because he lacked the magic. She was slightly different then other house-elves because her elf-magic was stronger, but she was happy to be of use and didn't mind that the one that called her was someone with little magics, at least someone called on her.
"Who is waiting for him?" Dudley asked.
"Dowa… ger… Long… Ba'oms," she said slowly, hoping that her slur didn't show. She wasn't drunk, she was just born with an inability to speak properly, even by the house-elf standards that wizards expected from them.
Neville smiled at her and said, "Thank you. I will be going down there now."
Tinky nodded, curtsied and was about to pop out when Dudley asked her something, "Tinky?" She paused and waited anxious to serve. "Could you please make sure that our evening meal stays warm for us? I wouldn't like it to be cold by the time we can actually eat it and could you please make sure that another place setting is available just in case."
She nodded happily and went into the other room to cast the spells for the meal to remain warm for the young men and to ensure that there was another place setting. She returned to them, smiling, curtsying and popping away to continue her other chores in the school.
"I take it that your Gran has just arrived at the school," Dudley stated.
Neville frowned, but answered, "I wrote to her, but I didn't think that she would come to the school. I just thought that she would write back. I really can't keep her waiting."
"Do you want me come along with you?"
"Please," Neville said. "I'm guessing that you're the reason she's here. In fact, I'm sure of it."
Dudley just stood up and held out his hand. He wasn't afraid to show their growing relationship and that was just the thing that he knew Neville wanted too.
Hand in hand they made their way to the Meeting Room No. 34. Many students in the Hall and corridors watched the two walking together. Some of the girls were giggling and some of the boys were envious at their freedom, but there were others who thought that it was wrong. Not because they were two guys, but because Dudley was a Squib.
There were still elements to the Wizarding World, where the humans were still very much prejudice to 'Blood Status' or 'Magics in the Blood', even family lineage could be used against someone if they didn't have what was once known as 'Proof of Patents'. It's basically a lineage scroll or portable family tapestry proving your historical links to greatness or perhaps other elements, like creatures, in the past.
That was not the only reason for Mrs. Longbottom's visit. She was there to find out what was going on with her grandson. His letter was bland and he didn't even give her any hint at what reason he was seeking this information.
'Why does he need to know this?' She thought slightly vexed that there wasn't more in the letter to point her in the right direction. 'This will be a delicate meeting,' she thought, when she was further able to grasp what her grandson was asking. 'No upstart female will be stealing his magic from him.' She had very good friends that still worked at the school, to whom she could find out about more about what was going on, but they never mentioned that her grandson was becoming involved with another student.
'I think that I'll stick around to find out just what else is happening at the school,' she thought.
While she was waiting, a house-elf came to set out a service of tea. It hadn't even been on the table for longer than ten seconds, when the door to the meeting room opened. Finally she was able to see her grandson and was internally startled that he came through holding hands with another young man.
'He's obviously a Muggle-born or perhaps just Muggle-raised,' she observed. It was clear by the mode of dress. 'Luckily Neville has not been influenced against the tradition of robes by this young man. Oh, my! Isn't he a looker?'
Dudley walked into the meeting room holding onto Neville's hand. He directed the Gryffindor to sit near his Grandmother and was pulled to sit just next to the nervous teen. She watched them closely and noticed that they were comfortable with one another.
'Just another thing to add to my growing list of questions,' she added in her thoughts.
Neville served his Grandmother her tea and when she stopped him from adding any milk or sugar, he knew that she was not happy. If she had been really pissed off, she'd have asked for coffee, which is a drink that she hates, but it also helps to keep her in a foul mood. This time he knew that she was only slightly vexed and therefore knew that maybe something good would come from this meeting.
Lady Longbottom took her first sip of the tea and then set it down. She looked directly at Dudley and then at her grandson. It was obvious that Neville wasn't asking about a girl, but she wasn't too concerned about that. The Wizarding World had their ways of producing children from an all male union.
"Well explain your intentions towards my Grandson," she demanded.
Dudley coughed and Neville nearly choked on his own tea. However, Dudley first made sure that Neville was all right before answering the stately woman. "Your question has many levels," he said, his nerves bringing out formal speech, which was something that he had never shown to Harry or his parents before. "Could you please clarify, exactly, what it is that you would like to know?"
Neville had never heard Dudley talk like that. He turned around and following the standard of his old Potions Professor, raised one eyebrow to ask, 'What the hell?'
Dudley just gave him a slightly sheepish grin and a small half-shrug of his shoulders. His attention was still on Mrs. Longbottom who just continued to observe the interactions between the two of them.
She took her tea in hand and took another sip, this time to hide a small grin and gather her thoughts. She looked at her grandson and sighed. It was very clear that he was besotted with this good-looking bloke. "I would like to know just how far this relationship has gone and whether I should be scheduling a bonding ceremony or an after bonding ceremony."
Both boys were red in the face at the thought that Neville's Grandmother had believed them to be that involved with one another. Before either could speak, she said, "Neville, I'm mostly disappointed that you have never mentioned this young man before now. I thought that I knew everybody that you've claimed to be friends with. You've certainly told me about the people you dated in this school, why haven't you mentioned this one."
"Grandmother," Neville said. "This is Dudley Dursley. He has never been a student at Hogwarts. In fact he is a Muggle. Well a Muggle-Squib, as he likes to say." He looked over smiling at Dudley, who nodded at the woman's open mouthed expression of surprise and shock.
"What?" She asked. "What, pray tell is a Muggle-Squib doing in this school?"
"Teaching," Dudley answered. "I'm a teacher's aide in Muggle Studies and Care of Magical Creatures."
"I can understand Muggle Studies," she said. "How can you help in a class for Care of Magical Creatures?"
"I'm an aide in the class for third and fourth year Care of Magical Creatures," he said. "I help maintain a balance of caution for the teacher."
Her mind couldn't quite understand this and therefore she asked for clarification. So he explained in more detail. "The Professor in Care of Magical Creatures is Rubeus Hagrid and I've been told that he has a fondness for the more interesting and slightly more dangerous magical creatures. More so then is suitable for those just beginning to learn about such creatures. I'm there as a physical reminder that he can't bring in the more dangerous ones or the ones that he would prefer to teach about, into the class. He has to show at least the basic ones first. The ones that a young magical child or young student of this school is more likely to come into contact with are not creatures like Hippogryphs or Blast-End Skrewts."
"Ah," was all she had to say on the subject. She was well aware of Hagrid and his preferences. Neville had mentioned some of the classes that he's had with the half-giant. Secretly she was pleased that this was being taken care of and that there was a way to curb the man from his enthusiasm.
"I believe that this meeting will take much longer than I expect," she said. "You obviously have some serious questions. How about I stay in one of the school's guest rooms and we can take our time to discuss this?"
"Nonsense," Dudley said. "You'll not take some old guest room in this school."
"Young man if you're suggesting…"
"I'm not suggesting you go to Hogsmeade and stay at one of their Inns," he replied. "That would be rude. I meant that you will say with me. I live in a suite of rooms in the Founders Tower and you would be safest there. Besides Neville lives there now."
"You're living together?" Lady Longbottom asked. "Neville?"
"We live have separate sleeping quarters, Gran," he said. "I would never move in, in the manner you're implying unless I was properly bonded to my chosen one. I have been raised to know better." He smiled at her when he said this.
She sighed in relief, smiled back at both and then asked them to explain. It was then that she was told that most Teachers, Teachers' Aides and Apprentices live in various parts of the school, in their own private quarters. Their locations are spread out in order to have coverage for the students, should the need arise.
"My room is part of a suite of rooms that Dudley has claimed for his own," Neville said. "Think of it like the wing of a mansion. Each room can be accommodated or changed to become a separate suite linked by a corridor. In my room I have a private library and an attached study. There's also an internal greenhouse for magical plants, a kitchenette and alcove for private meals, a private bathroom and loo, plus the obvious bedroom."
"Mine is similar, except that my internal greenhouse contains Muggle plants," Dudley said. "There are two more rooms of similar configuration in my section of the tower and what I would offer to you is one of those, if you are willing?"
"Oh my," she said, suddenly overwhelmed. It was strange to feel welcome and be offered something like this. It truly pleased her to hear it come from the young men, as an unconscious thought because that indicated that they wanted her and wanted her to make herself at home within their own space.
"I'd be honoured," she said. "You will show me these rooms now and I will make plans to stay longer once I've closed up our own home."
Neville nodded, accepting this as is because he truly didn't want her to be in that great house all by herself not in these troubled times. Not only that, but he was getting worried about her, every time that he left for school and he's had to leave her behind.
"Thank you, Grandmother," he said.
She knew that he was relieved and when she looked over at Dudley, she also noticed that he was relieved too. "Well boys," she said. "I'm not getting any younger, so you better give me a small tour of the school, while you show me where I'll be staying."
Dudley stood up and then went behind Neville's chair to assist him in standing. He waited while Neville did the same for his Grandmother. Soon she was tucked in arm and arm between both of the young men and demanding an explanation about that annoying crystal that was flying about her Grandson's head.
"It's distracting," she complained. They laughed and then proceeded to explain what they could about it, while showing her what changes they could see on their way to the Founders' Tower.
Elsewhere, that same night
Ron watched the Quidditch game so avidly that he never noticed when one of his 'associates' sat down next to him. He was so absorbed in the game and in the recording of it with the 'Omnioculars' that the Headmaster had provided to him upon Ron's request, that he was so startled and shocked when he heard a voice drawl, "I'm surprised to see you here free and roaming about on your own, when all other students must remain 'safe' within that school."
Ron nearly dropped the precious device that he was using to record the game, but instead he tightened his grip on them and just said, "I was given special dispensation from the Headmaster. Not that I need to explain anything to you, Lestrange."
It was indeed one of the Lestranges sitting next to him, Rabastan to be precise. He had been curious about this weird red-headed boy that the Dark Lord seemed to favour so much. He was also very curious to know why any Weasley, someone from a family notorious to rally for the Light, would willingly choose to be Marked by a Dark Lord. "Does our Lord know about this?"
"I was going to send him something after the game was over," Ron answered.
"Why not before the game?" Rabastan asked.
The Gryffindor sighed, "Because I'm recording this game to prove that I've been here. To further prove that have been here, I have to watch it. I can't let anyone know that I can roam about freely. If I hadn't brought these, then perhaps my time could theoretically be used otherwise. Why do you need to know?"
"Just curious, is all," the man said. They watched the rest of the game in peace and when it was done Rabastan asked, "You planning to come to any other games."
Ron blinked. He cocked his to one side, wondering what the man was up to. "Why do you need to know?"
"I just thought that if you had this kind of freedom, you would be able to at least Owl our 'friend' to let him know about it," he said. "Perhaps you could even play the relay and forward messages from the school to him and back. It's just an idea."
"I thought about that, but my owl…" he stopped just as Pig showed up.
The tiny little thing landed in his hair, huffing and puffing with what looked like a large scroll. He gently scooped him up, took the scroll from his owl and then returned him to his head in order to let the little guy recover. Pig liked the red nest of his Master's hair, especially for resting in after such a long flight.
Rabastan got wide-eyed when he saw the tiny little thing. He pursed his lips and really tried to contain the laugh that wanted to escape from his mouth.
"Prrrp, ga-hurrmp, hah," he really tried, but he suddenly got an image of the Dark Lord receiving Owl Post from this tiny, itsy, bitsy, really, truly, non-evil looking little… hooter. "Hah, a-aa—ha ha ha ha. Na, na, a-ha-ha-ah."
Ron looked startled at the sudden laughter and just smirked at the fact that the big bad Death Eater was nearly pissing his pants with laughter. There were tears running down the man's face and the poor man tried to pantomime the Evil Dark Lord accepting mail from Pig. Eventually he calmed down, but still chuckled from time to time.
"All right, now I see why you wouldn't want to burden our friend with this…" Rabastan said, moving his hand up and down to indicate the situation. "I wouldn't want to send him there either. He's such a cute little guy, though."
Ron nodded and stated, "Thanks, he was a gift. He's is important to my family too. We only have one other and that one should have long since been retired by now."
Rumors of the Weasleys' old suffering owl had made the rounds to those who cared about such things in the Wizarding World. "I understand, but picturing…" he held out his hand to pause and pantomime once more. Hoping that he wouldn't choke on laughter again, he said. "Trust me. I wouldn't want that little one to get in trouble."
"Thanks," Ron said.
He quickly looked at the missive and noticed that Hermione had gathered a few scrolls from the various other students with similar leanings towards the Dark. She knew that Pig could not be sent to the Dark Lord, but if Ron was out there he could very well go to an Owl Post Office and forward their messages with a more officious looking owl. "Well, it looks like your idea was thought of."
Rabastan looked at the bundle curiously. "These are for…"
"Yep," the red-head replied. "I'll just send them by Post Owl. There should be one in the town nearby." He made his way down from the stands, but was surprised that Lestrange decided to follow him. He looked back and quirked an eyebrow up.
"Just watching your back," the man said. "This could be important stuff."
Ron snorted, "I doubt that any student in the school could have anything important to say. Although I feel that I must ask you, if 'it' itched at any point in time today?"
"Hmm," Rabastan raised an eyebrow in question, but got the gist when Ron brushed his hand down his left forearm. "It did."
"I think that some in the school felt the exact same thing," he said and looking down at the scroll containing several missives, he commented. "This could very well be important, then."
"You think an itch is important enough to tell him," the man asked, wondering what could be going through this boy's mind.
Ron paused and thought about. "You never know. It depends if anyone else felt it or if everyone else did. I'd be careful later this evening, if I were you. He might decide to ring you up, you know. That's why I'll use the Owl Post Office and go right back to school."
"How about I deliver these messages for you?" Lestrange asked. He didn't think that he would be trusted with such, but then again the boy was a Gryffindor.
Ron snorted and said, "I don't think so."
Rabastan gave him a cheeky grin in acknowledgement that Ron shouldn't ever trust any Death Eater for anything of this nature because they were more likely to stab you in the back or take the credit for whatever…
They walked quite companionably in the near darkness, as many Quidditch games were played while daylight was still out. There weren't that many stadiums set up for night games, but that's a Wizarding World kind of thing.
Once at the Owl Post Office, Ron selected a durable Owl and he asked the Post Master for permission to cast a few protective spells on the creature. This Post Master was well aware of the company that Ron had with him and agreed. He didn't want to lose a bird due to some nastiness that seemed to be gathering.
Ron knew what the Post Master was thinking by how he was watched and he knew that this man obviously had a family, as he was acting twitchy, anxious. He had taken a couple copies of the Hogwarts Herald in order to hand them out to his family, but the twins got there first. So he kept them and out of some obscure reason he took one out of his pocket and gave to the Post Master at the same time when he paid for the 'special delivery'.
Rabastan looked on, but didn't comment on the fact that the Gryffindor had given the man a school newspaper. He didn't care. He was only curious to know whether the boy was planning to see more Quidditch games in the future and so asked him.
"Are you going to be able to see another game in the near future?" He asked. He wanted to know more about the youth, besides he's always had a thing for red-heads. There was something about them that seemed to have a calming effect for him.
'Well maybe that's not entirely true,' he thought. 'Red-heads were known to have fiery tempers and strong passions. I guess that's why I… like them.'
Ron released the Owl Postal bird and was about to walk out of the door when Rabastan asked that question. He looked at the earnest features of the man and gave a somewhat shy smile and said, "Maybe." He grinned cheekily and disapparated from the spot just outside the door in order to return to the school by the arranged method that the Headmaster had set up just for him.
Rabastan liked that he was able to get an honest answer out of the youth. 'Well a maybe at this point in time is as honest as he can tell me without giving away the fact that he was in a Seasons box seat,' he thought. 'I wonder if he somehow was able to get Seasons tickets.'
He returned to his home thinking about the enjoyable evening that he just had. It was very tame by his standards. He found that it has been a very long time since he was able to enjoy being in the company of someone and knowing, with absolute certainty, that he wouldn't be attacked.
Sitting in his private den he contemplated the shy smile that he had received. He really wanted to get to know this youngster better. However, he would have to be very careful about it.
'A pet of the Dark Lord is not to be coveted,' he thought to himself.
He knew all about Malfoy's boys and he had always thanked his own lucky stars that he never had to go thought that. By the time that he had actually gotten Marked, he was considered too old for such pleasant adult games.
'Well not only that, but I didn't have the look that they were seeking,' he thought, once again grateful because it was true.
He wasn't that tall nor that short, five feet and ten inches is nothing too remarkable and he was built kind stocky or wiry. Too much muscle that showed him to be a man that couldn't be defined in any way as 'slender', which was the Dark Lord's preferred structure for sex toys.
His hair was a light brown and his eyes were gray-hazel, but they still pretty much made him an average looking kind of man. He was near the same age as Severus Snape, who was only thirty-seven years old. He was still considered young among the Wizards in this world, but he had not married or bonded at a young age. He'd thought about it, but then he was too far away to make such a decision.
His father had chosen for his brother Rodolfus to have a marriage contract with the Blacks. If his brother had not decided to marry Bellatrix Black, then he would have had to honour that contract. Something that he would never had wanted in the first place. Lucky for him, his brother wanted that bitch.
It was no secret among the purebloods about her and her sisters. They were weird in the strangest sense.
'Lucius was lucky to marry Narcissa because she was no Bellatrix,' he recalled.
Bellatrix had fallowed her mother's teachings very well indeed. She was always hiding her inner callings to work with the Dark side of the magics. She waited until she was married and fully bonded. Rodolfus did the same and once they were both bonded for the rest of their lives, it was then that she felt her calling to be one of the Dark Lord's followers.
Rabastan's own brother felt that same calling, but Rab never felt that until some time ago when he was about to make a fool of himself. His father caught him in a delicate situation with another man and before he even knew what was happening, he was placed in his brother's household away from his paramour at the time.
It was only later that he realized he had been about to be bonded against his will to the one that he thought he loved and that he believed had truly loved him back. It was nasty trick from a Wizard that had wanted this Lestrange to belong to him. The man wanted a catamite, more commonly known as a sex slave without a mind for anything other than fucking.
Rabastan was pissed off because the man had been known to be one who fought for the side of the Light. It was in fact worse because that thing hid his misdeeds with a veil of 'goodness'. When he eventually found out about it, he immediately joined Voldemort's campaign.
It was never because he believed in the Darkness that the Dark Lord was spreading, but because he wanted to chase down all those so-called 'good' Wizards that hid their nefarious deeds in a veil of self-righteousness and, of course, presented a blameless, virginal view for Light side of the world.
Now once again he felt a call to be with another person. Only this time it was someone who was also Marked by the Dark Lord. Worse it was one of Voldemort's known toys.
'A pet of the Dark Lord is not to be coveted,' he thought once more. 'Poor kid, I wonder how it was that he came to be Marked in the first place.'
He had been out of the country ever since they had escaped from Azkaban. He begged the Dark Lord to be able to go out and recruit some creatures that are known to be Dark and are willing to fight for his Lord's glorious cause. Also, he asked to be able to seek out special resources from known Dark libraries buried deep in the undergrounds. The Dark Lord had agreed, as he was always looking to increase his knowledge in the Darkest of Arts.
Rabastan came back near the end of Harry's sixth and that's when he noticed the Weasley boy. Malfoy had been instructed to take the boy and break him in, as per normal. However in this particular situation, it was obvious that Lucius was using the Weasley kid to feed his ongoing need to punish that family for whatever reason that had started that God damned feud between those two houses.
There had been a rumor at the time that Malfoy had wanted to train this boy away from the Dark Lord's presence. However there was also another rumor that followed closely to this one. It was said that the Dark Lord had taken exception to Malfoy's seeming possessiveness of the Weasley that their Lord Voldemort had ordered Lord Malfoy to submit to the red-head for play. All of this was supposed to have occurred in the Dark Lord's presence.
Subsequent to those absolutely fascinating rumors there were several varying reports among the Dark Lord's followers. Several of the more gossipy Death Eaters were heard to have reported seeing Lucius Malfoy unable to properly sit down for two days following that punishment and whenever he did manage that feat he was reported to visibly wince, but follow it up with a slightly pleased smile.
Rabastan's mind had dwelled, since those rumors, on the red-head boy he had just been with and the enjoyable image of Malfoy being forced to submit. 'To submit in play to that one…' he paused in his thoughts, as his body took an instant interest when he imagined the passion that the young man could bring to a sex game. 'If he were to let go and really take charge, oh man, I want me some of that.'
He was hard at the thought of all that red-hair flying in passion or anger, he didn't care, it was arousing for him to think of it. He palmed himself and re-arranged his hard-on, when he felt the burning of the Dark Mark.
'Damn it,' he thought. 'Just when I was planning a little bit of self-gratification with some right lovely mental images, what bloody rotten timing and Merlin be damned luck. I hope that Weasley was able to return to the school in time.'
He gathered his robes, Death Eater mask and he tried to apparate to the Dark Lord's side. His Mark was burning hotter then ever before and just before he could even say the spell-words and apparate, he fainted from the burning pain in his arm.
He wasn't the only one, as many Death Eaters were unable to get to the Dark Lord Voldemort's side that night.
The following day
The day after their bonding Severus woke up arching his entire body, stretching and leaning into the stroking hands that were petting him. It took him a slight moment to realize that he wasn't in pain and he knew that there was now only one person in the world who could touch him in that manner. The thought made him smile.
He quickly looked over his shoulder and his smile grew wider. He figured that he'd examine the bonding gifts later, as he flexed his left forearm in acknowledgement that something had changed. He turned over to face his bonded mate and continued to smile.
Remus was there in his human form. He was a somewhat hairy man, but most of that could be attributed to the inner wolf. As a child seeing his parents and other family members, he had noted that they tended towards the less hairy side of things after puberty, whereas he gained quite a bit more. He blamed the wolf for this, but at least whatever was there was soft to the touch, just like Moony's actual fur.
The man smelled his mate and the werewolf in the back of his mind was very content with the results of last night's event. His hands felt the leanness of the man he was wrapped around. He snuffled at the neck and his hands were seeking just to touch. To freely touch his mate after so long a time was near overwhelming to the calm man.
Severus took the time to really look at Remus and he too was returning the need to just touch his mate. Hands pressed and stroked the hair on the arms and he was fascinated by the curls of chest hair. Peeking from within that nest were two dusky rose nipples that appeared to be sensitive to the patting that the chest was receiving.
'Interesting,' he thought, brushing the tip one finger over just the tip and he watched in perk to attention. He was about to do a little bit more, when the hair at the back of his neck was grabbed and he was gently forced to look into the face of his mate.
It wasn't a demand or command of any kind. The Potions Master looked into the gently amber-brown eyes of his bonded mate and saw the desire to claim within them. He felt that too, as one of his legs was being hooked over a hairy thigh. His own inner thigh tingling from the sensation and there was a semi-thrust or more like a languid touch of groin against groin.
Again that hand in his drew his attention back and he watched with his growing arousal as that delicious mouth descended onto his. A quick kiss to the lips and a tiny mouth cleansing spell later and they snogged the breath out of each other.
Remus pulled away from that sinful looking mouth, brushing his lips and nipping at the jaw of his mate. He was moving down to the neck and the mating mark that was there. He laved it with his tongue and then sucked it for a bit.
Severus bucked under that sensation and he felt himself harden even more. He rubbed his erection against that of his mate, when he felt a large hand wrap around both together. He keened and pumped into that hand, while one of his own joined it to double the pleasure.
They fisted together and the dark haired man leaned forward to suck on the collar bone in front of him, while Remus was doing sinful things to his neck and ears. Nipping, sucking and marking them.
Remus rolled them over so that he could look down at his mate and he was breathless at the wanton image before him. Midnight-black hair fanned over the pillows. The lips were still moist and swollen pink from all that kissing. The neck was marked from the sucking kisses, but it was the dark eyes that stared at him from behind long lashes.
They were filled with passion, want, lust and most importantly love. He felt it, just as he saw it and knew that this was it.
He leaned down to kiss that man and took his hand away, pushing that of his mate's too. His hardened cock, free from any fisting hand, allowed him to fully lean and rest his body onto that of his mate. He thrust down in a completely surrounding his mate and began the age old of full frontal body frottage, without the clothes.
Severus was not smothered by such an action. In fact he felt loved and protected. Not only that, but he had never experienced this before. This was something that teenagers experienced in their first sexual fumblings, but not him. He was surprised at how lewd such an act could be, however he only returned thrust for thrust until they were both awash with their orgasms.
Their juices flowed and covered both their stomachs and Remus collapsed his full weight onto his mate. They rested there for a bit, but they soon had to get up in order to clean off the mess or else they would get stuck together.
Once clean with a quick change of the sheets, using magic of course, they returned to bed, snuggling into one another and returned to sleep, knowing that there would be a repeat of the bonding, later.
Morning after the Werewolf gets his Potions Master
Remus was awake before his mate this time. That thought made the man grin so goofily that he was kind of glad that his mate was still sleeping peacefully.
'My mate,' he thought and sighed. 'I never thought that it would ever happen in my lifetime.'
There was such a relief to that thought that he had tears in his eyes. After a moment to calm down, he took the time to look at the results from the liquid metal and the runes. It was a fascinating bit of dwarven magic and accomplishment.
Dwarves loved their metals. Any metal and they had in fact found a method to imbed them into their skin. It was similar to the tattooing that Wizards used, but instead of ink the dwarves used actual liquefied metals. They were many different kinds of body art.
It was not quite like the imbedded metals that some Muggles had taken to inserting under their skin to create whatever image they felt was them. Yet, it was similar and much more because magic could be used to enhance and protect them. There were also lesser chances of infection or complications due to lack of knowledge or improper insertion.
Remus looked at the cuffs that were placed on himself and his mate. These were ornamental things that are usually worn during formal events and worn over their pant-legs and respective sleeves. It was rarely seen in the Wizarding World that a couple would visually declare their equality and attachment to one another in such a fashion.
He removed his and those belonging to him mate, placing them in the secure treasure box that was specifically made to hold them. He knew that there would some occasions to openly declare their changed single status to their married one, but was thankful that they didn't have to at this time. He also knew that Severus would not want to attend many of those formal events in the future. However, he was certain that one of the main social events would be occurring after the Boy-Who-Lived defeats He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
He looked over that the sleeping form of his mate and smiled. He took his time bathing and getting ready for the day. Harry did promise to look them over and he also promised him a look at the Dwarven bonding rings that he had obtained from the Everest Dwarves. He also needed to get the forms from the Ministry in order to record their newly bonded status.
Remus dressed as he normally would, casual, but still slightly refined. He never liked the tatters and he always knew where to purchase quality goods, even if they were second hand. He walked down to the kitchens in hopes that he could have something to eat before having to leave on his errands.
"Remus," Harry called out to him from the full table. "What are you doing up so early?"
"Yeah," one of the twins said. "It's only about seven thirty in the morning." Actually, it looked like the only two that were up was Harry and… Remus inhaled a bit and realized that it was George.
He just looked at both of them and explained, "I need to go to the Ministry to get the papers for the change in our personal status."
Harry snorted. "Remus, Remus, Remus… Didn't you even open the gift that Draco and I placed in your room?"
Remus just looked at his cub, quirked an eyebrow, reminiscent of his mate and just asked, "What are you talking about?"
Harry began to laugh and George joined in. Remus looked between the two, shrugged his shoulders and settled down to have some breakfast, while he waited for the other two to settle down.
"Remus," Harry began again. "Draco and I left a box in your room with a scroll on top. It's on one of main tables in the room. The scroll contains the Ministry forms for you and a leave absence for the remaining week."
"A fully week," he asked with curiosity.
"This week," Harry said. "Unfortunately, I need you two back by at least Sunday morning."
"Harry, we hadn't planned on…"
Harry held up his hand and explained, "You two deserve a Honeymoon week, at the very least. You've been apart from your mate for so long that you two need that connection time. I'm not going to be the one to deny you anything of the sort. Now you just go on back upstairs and look through the papers and our gift."
"I will when I finish eating," the werewolf said. "I seem to have developed an appetite this morning."
George smiled and so did the Draekon.
"I understand," Harry said. He truly did because that was the reason that he was up this morning. He was hungry and he had asked Spice, the head cook-elf, if he could take care of breakfast for all of them this morning.
The little house-elf didn't mind, but wanted to be there to assist in anyway that he could. They had an interesting conversation about the differences in cooking appliances and cooking utensils available in the normal Muggle World versus the Wizarding one.
Harry was able to help him out with his confusion about the different stuff that he had seen in the Muggle World. He explained that some cultures developed different things to cook with because of their preferred diets. The examples that he used was a rice cooker, a wok, a fire grill and a pasta cooker.
He gave him detailed information into bits of the cultures and had summoned a couple of the cookbooks that he knew existed in the Grimmauld Place library. He showed him the images and together they were discussing the different foods within the book, all the while they prepared breakfast.
George had walked in on them and just sat down to listen to the two of them talk about cooking, foods and anything related. He had a fond smile thinking about that because it reminded him of his mother's kitchen and how his Mum had always tried to show all of her children how to fend for themselves. They all had to be able to a least cook one breakfast, one lunch and two evening meals before she would even consider letting them off the hook from learning anymore.
'I'll have to have a talk with Fred about this,' he thought. 'Maybe we can gift the little guy with some things or maybe just get stuff for the kitchen, so that we can improve the variety of our meals. It doesn't really matter what we stuff in our mouths, but if Spice can enjoy making different things, why not.'
Harry and the little male house-elf cook were just finished placing the last of the breakfast dishes on the table, when George looked at him and asked, "Spice, would you like to try and make some of the things that you were talking to Harry about."
The elf looked at him with his huge expressive eyes. They began to twinkle at the thought of trying new things, but then he was saddened that they hadn't told him what they wanted him to make or that his cooking was bad. George had an idea about why he looked a little droopy.
"Spice," he said, getting his attention. "My brother and I love your cooking. It's just that I was sitting here listening to you and Harry talk. It sounded like you were interested in trying to cook something new, that's all."
"Oh, Master Georgie," he said. "Is bin' wantin' to try new tings. Can I?"
"Of course you can," he said. "I don't know how you're going to find out how this stuff is supposed to turn out, but feel free to experiment. We promise to tell you if it tastes bad. It's the only way to improve, especially with cooking."
Spice looked like he was about to cry, but then he looked at Harry and asked, "Can Master 'Arry be findin' tings for Spicy? I be wantin' to try a Wok or 'n maybe a Grillz."
Harry nodded and said that Draco and he were going into the Muggle world today. "We'll pick up a couple of each, just in case the ambient magic in the house or your own magic will affect them adversely. Besides it's common sense to test the devices out. We'll pick up a few cookbooks that will belong to just you, so that you don't need to look in the library. I'm sure that you'll be able to follow the recipes without any problems. Woks and grills don't necessarily have to be electric and I'll be more than happy to show you how to use a Wok and perhaps we'll be able to find you a grill that uses either wood or coal."
"Tank you," he said and popped away to take care of his other, potion type things. It was then that Remus showed up looking for something to eat before wanting to go to Ministry to pick the matrimonial forms for creature bonds.
George looked up and saw his twin walking into the room. He grinned at him, hoping to put him at ease. There was something odd about the way that Harry and the others had just accepted the relationship he had with his twin brother. He was glad that they were handling it so well, but Fred had been worried about it.
"Fred," he called out to him and beckoned for him to take a seat next to him. "Breakfast is on the table. Come on…"
"Um," Fred hesitated. He looked at everyone nervously wondering if they were going to be judged now. He had always been the more sensitive of the two, especially with the intimacy that they both shared with one another. They did sort of 'come out' to everyone here.
"Come on Fred," Harry said casually. "Spice and I worked hard on this. You're not going to let it go to waste are you?"
"It is quite good," Remus said, knowing that the youngest twin was nervous, but for some reason it was odd to see the hesitation him. "Is there something wrong young Fred?"
"No," he replied. "Not really, but I thought…Never mind me, I guess I'm just being a little foolish."
"Mr. Weasley." A dark voice barked at him and when that person knew that he had startled the usually loud prankster, the voice continued in a soft, but somewhat amused tone. "You're standing in the way."
Harry grinned and watched through the eyes of his familiar, how Remus perked right up at the fact that his mate was up and very near by. Severus, just put his hand on Fred's back and gently, but quite clearly pushed him into the kitchen to join the others.
"I find that I'm quite hungry today," the Potions Master stated.
His amusement still had yet to disappear. It was almost like he just wanted to shout to the world that he was free… that he was mated… that he was loved. His eyes sparkled with an inner light that was more natural then the forced twinkles that they had all endured over the years from that meddling old coot.
Draco wandered in shortly after Severus, but he was still slightly foggy from sleep.
"Where'd you go?" He asked Harry in a slightly petulant voice. He looked at his dark-haired mate and then leaned over to kiss him. "Morning, love," he said quite naturally.
The blond Slytherin then headed to the counter where the coffee pot was, poured himself a cup and returned to the table, sitting next to Harry. "Morning everyone," he said after having had a mouthful of the brew. He received various responses and then asked, "So what're our plans for today?"
"We have a class today," George said, while Fred nodded because he had just taken a mouthful of the delicious food.
"We are going into Town," Harry said. "We have a few extra stores to go to. What about the two of you?" He asked their Godfathers.
"I think that we'll have to take a look at the gift that you left us in the room," Remus said, however just then Severus, blushed bright red.
Seems that he already took a peek in the box and there he found quite a number of adult toys and various bottles of differently flavored lube for their honeymoon week. He didn't read the scroll because he wanted to wait for Remus. The boys were all looking at him now with questions in their eyes, with the exception of Harry. He was the one that put together that gift on his own for the men and he was just sitting there smirking.
"Judging from the lack of sound," Harry said still smiling mischievously as everyone looked at him. "I'm guessing someone peeked."
"Potter," Severus said reverting back to Harry's last name because he was on the spot and they knew it. "I would suggest that you keep your mouth shut."
Harry did a zipping motion across his mouth to indicate that he understood and accepted the Potion Master's request. He did send a very mischievous grin in the direction of his own Godfather and with a waggle of his eyebrows, no one in the room was in doubt about the contents of the mystery gift.
"This is definitely one of those times that I wish I could still give you detention, you brat," Severus said in a somewhat grouchy tone. However it was also clear to everyone in the room that he didn't mind the gift, but it was embarrassing and he didn't want the twins to be making fun of him or his sensibilities about it either.
"Wants to take away tons of points, too, I bet," Harry replied in his own joking tone. "Uncle Severus, no one here will make fun of you or your feelings about such matters. We all know that from now on, everything that the two of you do in the privacy of your home-life is private. You no longer need any witnesses and your safety is a guaranteed fact. We would never harm you by poking fun at your discomfort."
He was voicing all of their initial concerns about the whole set of events. It was obvious that Harry and Draco had been worried on more than one occasion and for more than one reason. It was only now that everything had turned out for best in all matters that he was actually letting everyone know, now, what his true concerns were.
"Must have been the Gryffindor in you," Severus said. "You didn't show any concern about any of it, while it was happening."
"My worries were my own," Harry stated. "Of course there was some concern. We did do magics that were slightly above and beyond the norm taught at Hogwarts or any other institution for human learning. I had confidence in my abilities, but Voldemort could have suspected a lot of things before now and who knows which Marked or linked student in the school observed what…"
It was true that some of the students had observed the interactions between the four of them. They acted more like a family, than any of the others Professors and students. However, since there was a severe monitoring of the communications leaving the school, some things just never made out of the Owlry. The students never knew about this, but the parents did when what they received from their students were censored mail, as whole words and lines looked to have been deleted or blacked out from the correspondence.
Hogwarts did inform the Headmaster and the Deputies that since the school was basically prepping for war that all correspondence to the outside had to be limited like war-time messages. It was a fail-safe built into the school, but no one else knew about it. However, Harry was planning to tell all of the teachers, aides and other staff about it because he was absolutely certain that parents were going to begin to show up, unannounced and ask questions.
"Now that everything is done," Harry said. "I'm quite relieved that it didn't go worse off than it did."
"Do you think that Voldemort suspected anything, prior to the ritual I mean?" Fred asked, his twin nodding his head, wanting to the answer to that.
Harry looked thoughtful and truthfully said, "I don't think anyone suspected much during the day. I did notice that some of the Marked students were twitchy and claimed illness for some of the day. Other than that, I don't think that old Moldy Pants knew just what was going on. However, after last night…" He grinned darkly, knowing that the Old Dark Bastard was feeling a lot of hurt.
"I believe that he's in for a tough day. I don't even think that he is currently conscious at the moment, wait…" He paused and closed his eyes and soon he was looking through the eyes of his little buggy spies. He grinned at everything that he was seeing and then looked concerned. "Nope, he's not conscious and the Death Eaters that were with him are in the same condition, although Old Voldy really looks like death warmed over now. The Death Eaters are twitchy and groaning in pain. Shit… excuse me for a moment."
"Language Harry," Remus said to his escaping Godson.
Harry ran out the room to make use of a private Floo to contact Madam Pomfrey. He explained that some of the students were probably going to show up looking for pain potions and Harry gave her a list of names and which potions that they were to receive.
He explained that she didn't need to examine them and that Harry would explain everything once he's returned to the school in the evening. She didn't like that she would not be able to scan them, but agreed to the Headmaster's request in this matter. He thanked her and let her continue on with her work, while he returned to the kitchen for a lecture on his language.
He just sighed and let it happen. It wasn't like the others were children or that he needed to watch his language around them. Sometimes certain words were more effective.
Meanwhile the Postal Owl was pissed off because the person he was to deliver these letters to was currently lying on the ground unconscious. It flew up to the rafters and waited until the very white guy woke up. It was obvious that this man was not going to be too happy when he did, but the owl was not concerned because the spells that the client had placed on him were very effective protections.
In Rabastan's home the house-elves were in a tizzy. Their master had collapsed before he could leave to him important, 'hush-hush' meeting. They had guests coming to the house, but in a case like this the elves were permitted to dispatch letters of regret stating that a sudden illness prevents their master from attending or receiving company.
Rabastan's associates were used to such things from the man. So it was no surprise to them getting such letters from him.
In the school many of the Marked students were missing from their classes. The rumors were flying in the school that there was an illness making the rounds. It was a lucky thing too because many who did actually decide to go and see the Medi-Witch were given a cursory scan and a potion to help with their pain and symptoms.
She did have a few that were honestly ill and so she was able to fully make use of her skills, but the list of students that the Headmaster had given her was suspicious. If she didn't know any better, she'd swear that they were all linked to the Dark Lord by family. The weird thing is that there were a couple of names on the list that left her wondering what was going on.
'Why would Ron and Hermione's names be on the same list with others known to have family linked to the Dark Lord's,' she thought. She didn't like the direction of those thoughts, but since the children were in school to learn, as a medical professional it was against policy to discriminate against those in need. She healed everyone that needed help.
Unfortunately, the Headmaster had also asked that if Ms. Granger does show up, that the nurse was to request a review of her medical history. Harry explained the events that led him and Professor Lupin to suspect that the girl was not behaving quite like herself. He explained his suspicions that the girl may have been coerced or under some kind of magical influence and he hoped that she could scan the girl to find out if that was true or not.
One of the potions that Madam Pomfrey was to give the students was something similar to a scan. Instead of using a wand the potion analyzed everything more in depth and then with a word similar to the medical scan a paper would appear in mid-air or in this case on the Medi-Witch's desk away from prying eyes. She didn't want the students to suspect a thing and in that manner she knew she wouldn't come across anything that she didn't want to see, especially if they had recently gotten a new tattoo.
What she didn't know was why some of the potions were vastly different from others, but looked exactly the same. He had numbered the potions to match the number next to the student. Some would receive one or two, but there were a couple that needed to receive up to five potions. However, she knew that Harry would return to explain it to her.
Voldemort needed the time to recover from the events of the night before. His Death Eaters had recovered much more quickly then he did and he was stuck with such aides as Bellatrix and Pettigrew.
They had taken him from his main meeting room and tucked him into his private chambers, squabbling amongst themselves about who was best one to serve their Master.
He put up with it as best he could until he sent stinging hexes to chase them out of his rooms. "I want quiet," he growled at them. Inwardly he was pleased to see them drop to all fours in order to submit, but he scowled because he couldn't enjoy it. "Leave me be, I'll call you if I need anything, but for now I need time to myself."
He watched them leave the room scraping and bowing their pleasure to serve him. He sighed, 'It's so hard getting reliable help now,' he thought. 'Snape's stuck at the school and can not leave just like the rest of the students.'
It was then that the Postal Owl swooped down and landed on the bare table next to his head. He had been aware that there was an unknown Owl in his residence, but there was nothing that he could do about it. It was strange to be receiving Post when no Owl knew where he was located.
He picked up his wand to test for spells when the Owl hooted and hopped back a pace. "You stupid bird," he said. "I'm only testing for hexes and such. You should not have been able to find me in the first place. Unless…"
It was then that it dawned on him that perhaps this was from one of his associates that didn't want to sacrifice one of their owls to his displeasure. There was a little known fact about the Dark Lord and it was that he respected the Owls in the Wizarding World. It was about all that he respected in this World.
He was known to have a temper and he did happen to burn a few of the Owl messengers that belonged to his followers to teach them a lesson. However he never inflicted harm to unknown Owls or Postal Owls, not that he ever received a message from that method until today.
"All right," he said, after he had finished his scanning. "Let me take that from you and you can go."
As soon as the Owl was relieved of his burden, he flew away from that Dark place. There were creatures in there that he had sensed he wanted nothing to do with. They tended to like Owls, a lot, but not for delivering any Post. These things preferred to have them over for dinner, so to speak. So it was a very relieved Post Office Owl that managed to return back to his home, relatively unharmed, with the exception of a slight rise in his primal fear.
Voldemort watched the bird fly away as fast as it could from this place. It wasn't like it could ever find this place again unless it had been specifically spelled to find this place and him. It was part of the spells that Ron had placed on the bird, plus some of the protection from various hexes and one notice-me-not to the predators in the area of his Master's home.
Curious he opened the initial scroll and found several letters falling from it. Picking up the main letter he began to read it, still curious about what or who was writing to him now.
This school getting tiresome and my suspicions are growing every time the Professors refuse to let me see the Headmaster…
He paused to look and see who would begin in such a manner.
'Urgh, it's from the mudblood,' he thought. He put that one aside and took a look at the rest of the letters. Hers was by far the longest and he knew that he would have to go over it all, but he preferred to take a look at the other ones first.
Most looked like they were hastily put together and many didn't know how to address him, but he was intrigued to have received so many and all about the same subject. Wading through the various 'Dear Sir' and a few that began with 'Dear Lord', which caused him some amusement; he was able to grasp their problem.
Every single letter indicated that their 'gift' from him was giving them cause to worry. Some tried to explain it in their own bumbling words. Others just out stated that 'it was itching like hell' and that they would appreciate some kind of warning the next time he played with the Dark Marks, as many people in the school were watching them react to the disturbance.
'Curious,' he thought. 'I wonder if my other Death Eaters felt the same things, but just refused to mention it.' It was true that they felt it, but since they almost always felt something in the regard of their Marks, they would never mention so trivial a matter, like an itch.
Included after the notes was one more letter, but this one he chose to read fully once he saw the signature at the end. It looked like it had been added much later than the rest and by the contents, it was just a lengthy as that of the Mudblood's.
I don't know how to relate this information to you without testing your patience, but I know that you would appreciate my honesty in this matter. As you know, I am still a student of Hogwarts and prone to enjoy Quidditch as much as others my age.
So should you have been informed that I attended a game away from the school, I wish to forward an explanation now. If you haven't been informed, then I must apologize for proving that I am a Gryffindor by sending you my confession before it is demanded.
You are more than amply aware none of the students are permitted to leave the school for any reason. However, at the beginning of this month several exceptions were made and that was because the Boy-Who-Lived wanted to have a "family" dinner. On this occasion a few bits of information were presented and gifts were given to everyone present.
The reason I am confessing to you now, is that my gift included another such exemption for one specific purpose only. Harry Potter gifted me with Quidditch Tickets, for all games listed in this Season. The Headmaster thought that this was an acceptable gift and has given me permission to attend any game playing in the following countries: United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland & France. This is due to their closer proximity to the school.
I am an avid fan of the sport, which is why the Boy's gift was well received. However, I know that I am being monitored. I can not fail to attend these games. Questions will be raised and it will be extremely difficult to dissemble, should I not be there to see them first hand, as my team in school is looking forward to any tactics that I may bring back.
Since I do not wish to offend you nor displease you when I can not to come to you when you call. Please understand that my attendance is observed at the school.
I do have an idea that will enable you to receive uncensored information from your followers here at the school and hopefully this will compensate for my lack of attendance. I can assure you that all correspondence from any of your followers from the school can by-pass the censorship that this school currently has in place.
I do not think that anyone has noticed this yet, but since this school has basically begun training all of the students to prepare for any possible conflict. Well, the book called "Hogwarts: A History" is very clear about how these mail is dealt with and how they are censored.
My current Owl is too noticeable for use in such matters, but there are a couple of alternative options. One of which presented themselves at yesterday's Quidditch match. Rabastan Lestrange was there to watch the game and had indicated his interest in conveying, these currents messages that you will have just received, on my be-half.
Of course I declined his generous offer, but perhaps another round-about way would be for me to forward protected and secured correspondence through him to you, with My Lord's permission. I know several spells that will secure the letters within a container.
This container can be opened by whomever I specify, so he would never be able to access the contents. It can be programmed to accept only your magical signature and once that is done, I can ensure that all communications from the school go directly to you via Rabastan Lestrange in such a manner.
He seemed to be a reasonable man and I wasn't disturbed by his presence, unlike with the other Lestranges that belong to your glorious organization. There something slightly comforting to know that the man has not lost his original focus in serving you. The others do not fill me with ease or confidence, but then again I was sorted into the Gryffindor House and take much on faith.
There is one last matter that I feel needs your attention, although it didn't seem quite important when it had occurred. All throughout the day my arm has been itching on and off. I didn't feel that such a matter needed your attention, but no doubt the others from the school had related something similar to you.
I do not believe that it would have been noticed by any "others" because singularly it is in consequential. However, I feel that I must bring forward the fact that all of your followers at the school observed the same sensations from your "gift".
Having met Rabastan Lestrange this evening, I felt compelled by my curiosity to ask if he had felt a similar sensation, to which his reply was that it was too trivial a matter to be brought to your attention. I would ask that you do not fault him for thinking thus, as his reaction might just be the standard for all the other adults in your organization, who would no doubt have felt the same.
The next game in my series of tickets is in Cavaillon, France, at the end of the month on the Thirtieth of October. Perhaps you could send word about how you prefer to receive the correspondence and I, in the mean time will ensure that the secure box is ready.
The Red-Headed One
Ron had written this letter at the Shrieking Shack, when he had left Rabastan at the Post Owl Services. He had instructed the bird to seek him out before continuing for the service which he paid. He took his time writing the letter and he hoped that Voldemort would not expect such lengthy missives from him in the future, as all he wanted to do was be the intermediary that his bonded wanted him to be for now.
She was certainly going to be testing, just how much she can ask and Ron wasn't sure, but he suspected that her current goal was to be suspended from the school.
'That would certainly be a weird turn of events,' he thought. 'Hermione does not want to remain in the school. I wonder just what is going on with her.' He shook his head and continued to painstakingly write to the Dark Lord.
The Owl waited with patience and soon it was winging its way to the Dark Lord's residence to deliver the mixed messages.
Voldemort understood the implications that if all of the students brought forward this information, when none of the adults did, it was clear that he could follow several courses of action in the particular case.
One: Reward the children somehow for bringing their collected concerns. Obviously they were all affected.
Two: Punish the little brats for bringing forward their collected concerns, how dare they disturb him with something so trivial.
Three: Punish all of the adults in his organization for disregarding the matter, as something trivial. This is one course of action that he was seriously considering because it was always fun to punish and hurt them.
Four: Reward his Red-Headed One for bringing this to his attention and being, ugh, honest enough to tell him that he had freedom.
Five: Punish his Red-Headed One for not coming to see him before going to the Quidditch game, not that the Dark Lord couldn't see things from his point of view. He might just punish him for it anyway.
There was a lot to think about, but first he had to get better and then call the others to find out what the hell happened last night. His own body was in severe pain and it felt like someone had turned all Crucios back onto him, there was also the weird sensation that he had been penetrated forcibly, but there were no marks on him.
'This definitely requires some time to think about it,' he thought. 'Perhaps now is a good time to review all of my links. But first…'
"PETTIGREW," he bellowed through the residence with the 'Magna Vox' spell for loud voice, plus the 'Sonorus' one to carry the sound throughout the house. His place was unplottable and under other forms of secrecy spells, so no one in the neighborhood could hear the events in that particular house. "I WANT MY PAIN RELIEVING POTIONS, RIGHT NOW!"
It wasn't long the event from the twenty-second of October was over and Harry was slowly dreading the coming Halloween Feast. He knew that Voldemort had to have something planned, but he was sincerely hoping that nothing would occur. He was actually hoping for an easy Halloween this year, but he doubted that he would even get some peace in the matter.
He didn't know that his nemesis was already aware of his concerns. Voldemort was thinking that it would be great fun to have the Boy-Who-Lived be on pins and needles with worry about what could happen on this Halloween Night. His plans were pushed back a bit on the advice of the Mudblood and his Red-Headed One.
Their next attack was planned for the next full moon, when he could deploy his werewolf force and invoke those pathetic sham charms that surprised him when they had sold very well. He had thought that it was a stupid idea, but it seems that the pathetic Mudblood was proven right in this case.
Some people always wanted a quick way to protect themselves or their homes. They were willing to pay for it too, which only lined the coffers and helped to pay for his needs.
The Dark Lord had his own feeling that he shouldn't delay in that matter, but currently he was still annoyed from the happenings from the twenty-second. He had a few pets around all year and he couldn't play with now, at all. He didn't feel any desire or arousal and he wished that his Potions Master was available to him to fix this. However, he knew that the older man would not be given a 'special dispensation' like he did to his Red-Headed One.
It seems that the Headmaster wasn't favouring the Mudblood anymore. That alone further enforced the fact that his Red-Headed One might be correct in his assessment that Dumbledore was no longer at the school. Some of the reports that had surprised him to have received from the students in the school indicated that none of them had spotted the old Headmaster for a long while.
Voldemort plotted the time for his attacks. He didn't need a full force because the most damage that could be done would be the innocuous ones. The charms would lead his Death Eaters for a series of raids, one after another and then the coming devastation would make his own holiday season quite cheery indeed. Now all he needed to do is take care of his seemingly temporary impotence.
"Just once," Harry said out loud to his mate. "Just once I would like to experience a normal Halloween Feast."
Draco looked at his mate and said, "That's not the Slytherin thing to do."
"I know," Harry replied. "Did you happen to notice whether Sev had begun to change his teaching methods? I'm beginning to hear things from the school about the fourth and fifth years wondering what was going on."
Draco snickered at that and said, "He changed his methods quite a bit and is now sort of following what you and Lang are doing. He's still pretty strict with the fifth years because it is an O.W.L. year for them. He wants to make sure that they know what they need to know. He is still enjoying the torment of the sixth and seventh years though."
Harry looked in his direction and asked, "Why?"
"He hates them," Draco said. "Well that's perhaps too strong a word. He dislikes most of them with extreme prejudice and it's mostly because of the Weasleys, Granger and a few others that seem to have gotten away with quite a bit in years past. There were students that the previous Headmaster was fond of and Sev seemed to always run into them when he didn't want to."
"Ah," the dark youth said. "Now I understand. They were always underfoot so to speak."
"Exactly," his blond mate said. "Let him have his little pleasure in tormenting them. Besides they kind of deserve it, don't you think?"
"As the Muggle saying goes, 'what goes around comes around,'" Harry said. "I think it'll be all right for him to torment the ones that deserve it. Besides they do need to pay attention in that class. It's too disastrous to think about all those possible consequences from inattention, makes me shudder to think of how we were in the past."
Even Draco had to agree. He had a chance to read the essays from the younger years and found that they were more aware of the dangers then he had ever been regarding certain potions that they were made to produce.
Harry's wish came true and the Halloween Feast for this year went off without a hitch. There was no incident, no crisis, nothing. It was quiet, too quiet. There was not even a whisper of activity in the Wizarding World that could be attributed to the Dark Lord. Not on that night.
Everything exploded about five days later during what was charmingly known as the 'Snow Moon'. It's what some people call the full moon that occurs in November. What actually happened that night?
All those lovely little home protection charms that were sold to many people caused a great deal of havoc when the failed. Some people more than others were better prepared to deal with the results of them, but the protection part of the charms had worn off by November fifth. Whatever the charm was supposed to protect against, now caused the problem.
For example: A charm to protect against fire caused a fire. A charm to protect against flooding in the home caused a flood. A charm that prevented nightmares allowed the worst and most vile ones through. A charm against shattering windows would cause all the windows in the home to shatter, and on and on the problems occurred.
That night was also the night that massive werewolf attacks and sightings occurred. This was due to the fact that this particular night there was a full moon. The Dark Lord had counted on that, plus on the fact that he knew which homes were... um... scheduled for destruction based on the type of charm purchased for protection. He had Greyback's tribe concentrate in those areas and several small towns were invaded.
His Death Eaters attacked other locations. He didn't want his men to become afflicted by that werewolf's poison.
Harry had been as prepared for it as he could. He sent all the unattached house-elves in Units that were formed for this special purpose. Several were trained for emergency first aid and the others were there to assist in any way they can, shoring up the buildings and getting the witches and wizards to more secure locations. People were herded into shelters made from a few of the community centers and some other house-elves were taking notes of the damages around the town.
There were even a five contingents of house-elves that were trained by Dobby and Harry in order to defend the people while they were being hustled over to the emergency shelters. They carried all kinds of offensive and defensive potions in the form of exploding pellets that they were able to launch with the use of Muggle sling-shots.
These were what Harry had his first and second year students armed with in addition to their wands. He was training them on aim and distraction techniques in order to be able to make it to their assigned emergency rooms within Hogwarts.
The house-elves had watched and from time to time helped to provide them with glass bottles, large disks of tin and other objects that made a definitive sound to indicate a hit. These particular elf units were interested and permitted to learn how to use these objects as long as they agreed to return to the school after the attacks were finished.
These elves were also armed with large round funky glass bottles with a rubber ball attached to the end of a tube connecting it to the lid of a spray dispenser, like the perfume bottles of old. This was their defence against the werewolves, as the contents in it was diluted silver nitrate mixed in a special dispersal potion that allowed for a greater range of distribution. A lot of Greyback's tribe were taken out and died by this method. However it was not before they did some irreparable damage by physically harming people and turning them into werewolves.
Harry knew that these 'attack' and 'emergency'elves would be needed a lot longer than the ones that chose to remain in the community shelters as community elves. He made sure that all the elves understood their rolls. Once a community was re-settled that the elves were to come back to get the assignments or submit a request for a community assignment until the War effort was over, then a greater choice would be permitted.
He knew that he would need most their continued aid for quite a while and the elves were very aware of it. They did ask that once everything was done and over with, that they could move on and go back to living with a family, if they found one that they liked. Of course the Headmaster approved that condition. There was no way that he would prevent them from seeking their own form of happiness after this useless War was over.
Fewer people lost their lives because of these quick actions. Homes were another matter. More than a few were lost because of the types of protections that the family had selected. Fires consumed them and many families lost a lot of their material things, lots lost most of their recorded history.
Luckily it was this kind of thing that would help the Wizarding World rebuild and grow into a new era of magic or that's what Harry was hoping for.
The families and communities were grateful for the help that came to them in the form of the House-Elf Units. Many of the house-elves wanted to stay with the people of a particular town and continue in the capacity that they were trained. However they put their names and the names of the families that they were interested in Dobby's book of potential placements for after the big conflict. They returned to the school with news and a list of people that were expected to show up at the school's gates seeking Sanctuary.
This was the true beginning of the conflict. There was going to be many more skirmishes, battles, ambushes and downright slaughter. These things were becoming more and more prominent in the Magical News World, but the Ministry of Magic was still down playing the severity of the situation.
Meanwhile the Headmaster of Hogwarts, the teachers, students and every other entity that was part of the school were not going to bury their heads in the sand. They were reporting everything to everyone they care about through their papers, magazines and broadcasts.
Pomona Sprout kept a watchful eye at the main gates on most days. She sometimes sent a house-elf or Neville to keep an eye out for her twin brother, Peregrine. She had been worried ever since she found out about the attacks. He, at least, had the good sense to send her an Owl about it and to tell her that he was on his way. She knew approximately how long it would take for him to travel, but she suspected that he would take the time to visit each community that he had been committed to first.
'He probably needs to explain why they won't be able hear from him for a while,' she thought. 'At least he requested more newspapers to distribute to those remote places. I have a feeling that they are going to need it.' She was weeding one of the disused greenhouses in order to prepare it for the Tropical climate lessons that her fifth and sixth years were going to have.
She looked around to see how her helpers were doing. There were a few of second and third students from the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff Houses. They were there for detention.
It seems like they had decided that the hallways were the perfect place to practice duelling with those sling-shots that Professor Potter had distributed to the second years. The third years had transfigured theirs from their shoe laces.
They had all transfigured large Muggle marbles into rubber balls with a different coloured paint on the end in order to show up their hits against the others. The painted balls left marks everywhere and it was the second years that had the more successful hits, but unfortunately they were caught at it.
Professor McGonagall, Professor Dursley and one of the goblins hired to help Argus Filtch had caught them. The goblins that were hired as part of the school's maintenance staff were allowed to remove points just like Mr. Filtch. They were allowed to remove points based on the damage and the cost or time it would take to fix the problem. It was a fixed list that Mr. Filtch had set up and the Heads of House agreed to, as long as the man knew that the points would eventually be returned.
"Twenty points from Hufflepuff and Gryffindor for marking up the hallway," Gak said. "Another ten points from those two houses for duelling in the hallway, which is prohibited and you all know it."
"I agree," Dudley said. "However, I will have to give back three points to each second year for the accuracy that they showed in hitting their opponents. The second years have practically painted the third years."
"I can't argue with that," Professor McGonagall said distractedly. She was analysing the transfiguration that the third years had done to their shoelaces. "However I will have to give four points to the third years for a well imagined transfiguration, although I believe a three foot essay on how it can be improved upon is in order. Keep those transfigured and after you bring me your essays we'll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the items you made."
Gak knew that this was how it was supposed to go. He didn't really care and for some reason he didn't want to assign detention to the kids in order to clean up this mess. He liked the newly colourful Hallway.
"Perhaps detention too should be in order however we are currently too busy repairing the building to oversee the re-painting of this hallway. I suggest they go help Mme. Sprout in the dirt," he said and walked away before the others could object.
"Very well," Professor McGonagall said looking at the seven students in the hall. "You will report to Professor Sprout today and I expect that essay from you third years on my desk by your next Transfiguration class."
"I think that you second years need to write an essay too on reasons why you were given a sling-shot as a weapon and how it is supposed to be used," Professor Dursley said. "You can turn it in to your Defence Against the Dark Arts class. You will explain this to Professor Potter about why you had to hand in an extra essay, two feet should be enough. Now you all had best report to Professor Sprout to find out when she needs you."
Professor Sprout chuckled remembering when these students approached her for detention. 'I don't think that I have ever thought to put them to work like this before,' she thought. 'Luckily Neville suggested that they help to overturn the dirt in this greenhouse and to prepare it with the proper fertilizer that he'll need for the special plants that are on their way.'
She looked over towards the seven students and found that they were working together quite well to complete their task. She also chuckled because they were slinging piles of dirt at one another in order to see who could become the messiest. She looked away and continued mixing the fertilizer with the dirt, while her Landscapist was planning which plants were going to go where.
Two weeks after the charms failed, a man came to Hogwarts with several children. One was a teenage Muggle girl named Daisy O'Lonigan. There were two ten year old children from a magical family named Mercury and Cougar Finch who're related to one another, first cousins. There was another pair of children whose magic had not yet manifested, a girl of seven years called Bonni Heather and a boy aged four known as Atticus Greely.
They had with them a couple of pack mules, a horse and cart, plus three strange traveling companions in the form of War Unicorns.
The War Unicorns were dark in colour and had sharp onyx like horns and hooves. They were not limited like their purer counterparts as they could walk up to virgins and non-virgins alike. They were not the seekers of the innocent, but are the protectors and the fighters for the wronged.
These children are now orphans, but they were also the only ones that were bitten by werewolves before the house-elves had arrived in time to help their communities. The man was Peregrine Sprout and he had been bitten too. He was bitten when he was protecting the girl, Bonni, after he saw her being bit. The other werewolves were trying to harm her instead of just killing her, like they did with most of the others that they had inflicted with their bite.
These children were from much smaller communities and these were places that were not that well-known, not even in the Wizarding World. They too were affected by that November night just like the others. The House-elves did arrive to help them, but in these cases they were too late. These weren't the only small communities. Since Peregrine had been used to traveling to the various small places he was able to direct the House-Elf Units to those other places and make sure that they had the same assistance.
Peregrine had made a decision to go to Hogwarts and along the way he collected the orphans that were in the same trouble that he was in. He managed to Owl his sister to warn her and the school, that he was coming. He sincerely hoped that the Headmaster would help with his and the children's problem.
He knew that the old Headmaster had once accepted a werewolf bitten child into the school. He hoped that new Headmaster would accept these ones too, but this was something that he couldn't put in the letter. He only told her that he would need to speak directly to the Headmaster about an important issue.
They had to hop by port-key from town to town via the connector stone monoliths. These monoliths were erected in the town centres centuries ago and helped to net-work to the smaller, more northern remote communities. They were not affected by the conflicts and in fact this was something that was forgotten by the larger communities and the Wizarding World in general.
It was a good thing too because the Death Eaters that did manage to appear in the towns, did so under their own power or other port-keys. The government didn't mention these and the townspeople were not going to enlighten the world in general about this form of transportation.
However, Peregrine and the children were on their own once they had passed the net-work limits. They had to travel under their own power after that. Most of their belongings had been salvaged and anything that could be melted down and sold for scrap was done. They were able to purchase a horse and cart right off the bat, but soon they had to barter for a few other things.
Peregrine made sure that each child had been able to get a special wizard-space trunk to keep their families' treasures. Only Daisy had to sell many of her larger stuff because there was no way that she could take it all with her, being Muggle and all. He made sure that she had been able to convert most of it to Wizarding currency and he helped her to open a Wizarding account because like it or not she was now part of Wizarding World due to her affliction.
The mules they acquired from a burned down farm where the animals had been let loose in order to get them out of the burning barn. However the family hadn't planned to return to their farmhouse and it was standard to set the livestock free to fend for themselves at time of conflict. The family knew that the animals would wind up with another family or in some other farmer's care. However three of the mules had returned to the barn area in order to eat the grain that had been left behind.
Peregrine had the children loaded up the mules with stacks of hay and sacks of grain in order to feed the animals during their travels. They traded some of the larger stacks for the harnesses and tack that they needed for the mules when they found a town that would allow them to barter. He had transfigured some of the tack needed, but they needed sets that were specifically made for these animals.
The War Unicorns were something from a fairytale that the Wizarding children knew about. Peregrine had been able to tell them some stories about how these creatures would appear throughout the history of their world. It was still a shock to realize that this particular species of unicorn had actually been present in many of the major conflicts that the Wizarding World had. The last time that a herd of them was seen was during several of the battles with Grindlewald.
The man and the children were all sore, wet and weary, but they had finally arrived at the school's gates safely a couple of weeks later. The children each had their own worries, but the man that had guided them through it all promised that they would be looked after at the school.
"My twin sister works at this school," he reassured them. "Don't you worry, we'll both make sure that you are placed with understanding families or make sure that you are well provided for, if we can't. You will not be left on your own, I promise."
It wasn't much, but it was enough for them to continue to have some hope that someone might accept them when they reached their destination. They watched warily as a man rode up to them on a white horse with brown splotches. The horse had very distinctive markings.
The Headmaster of Hogwarts had been marking a first year test while the second years were working on theirs in class when the small alarm sounded. The Weasley twins were doing well in their improvised lessons and they had permission to sit-in a few of the new classes in order to assist Harry in forming adult geared courses or classes for adult learning. This was one of his future plans that needed a bit of background work first.
The school's main gate had an alarm that had been set up in order to notify the Deputies and the Headmaster whenever someone was at the school's perimeter. It was dinging right now. Harry called his little crystal orbit and spoke to the others before calling his class to attention.
"How many of you have finished answering fifteen of the twenty questions?" He asked. He made a note that all of them had. "Good, sign your tests and pass them forward. You don't need to finish all of the questions because something has just come up."
While the students were doing that, he waved his wand to the blackboard, setting down instructions for their next class. "That's your homework for the next class. I want a two foot essay on the properties of these ingredients and for a bonus of five House points provide me with three ways to mix them safely into a potion that uses the Sap of the Gum-Gum Tree. You're dismissed."
He packed up the tests in his Teacher's Aid book in order to correct them later and left the students wondering just what was going on. He called on Dobby to get Dauphin and then he had the house-elf find an elf that could help with their new arrivals. This wasn't the first time that this has happened, but it was the first time that the Headmaster was going to greet the people arriving. Not that they would know that Harry Potter was the Headmaster.
Harry walked calmly out of the school and whistled for one of the horses in the nearby fields, close to Hagrid's Hut. The teachers had access to one for transportation to the front gates. They each had their own on standby and Harry's was a feisty female mustang breed. He placed Dauphin in one of his pockets charmed to keep in the heat, but it was also one of the deeper pockets of his over robe that had a huge flap to protect her from the elements.
(...Cherry...) He whinnied softly. (...Are you ready?...)
(...Of course...) The mustang horse replied. (...This weather is nothing. We should get to gates and back before the clouds break...)
(...I'll make sure that you get back to the herd in time...) Harry said as the horse began to trot up the main road.
(...That would be nice...) Cherry said.
The male War Unicorn that was traveling with the little group of misfits trotted out to meet the person before this person could cause any trouble. The other two was a young female and a foal.
(...Whoah...) Cherry said, scenting the air and noting the magical signature of the creature coming towards them. (...Be on your guard, that's one bloke that'll cut you if it believes that you have any ill intention towards his herd...)
(...No one with ill intention can come here...) Harry replied. He did hear that trotting sound of another horse. (...I take it that that is not a horse in front of me...) He heard the snort and stomp of another horse-like entity.
(...What I find interesting is the fact that you carry someone you can speak to...) The entity said. (...I've only heard one person ever speak to others like myself, but I was not a full adult at the time. I had to live with my dam's tribe, until I had to leave or else issue a challenge to the stallion...)
Harry nodded his head, understanding the dynamics. (...You are welcome here if you have no intention to cause harm to the people that work and attend this school. I promise not to cause harm to you or yours...)
The War Unicorn stepped forward in order to have a look at the man sitting on the back of the cute little female mustang. He sniffed the air and sneezed. He stepped forward closer in order to get a better look and found that the man was not looking at him. Cherry nodded to indicate that her rider was blind, which is something that the Unicorn had asked her in their own body language manner.
(...It looks like you're the one that I was seeking...) The Dark Unicorn said. (...The foal with me is the one that you assisted in birthing and the female traveling with us is my first mare...)
(...I will see to it that there is a place for you here, but in the meantime you are free to roam the grounds, as long you don't harm the children that attend this school or the others that come seeking Sanctuary...) Harry said and then he explained that the children may be curious about them, but that they will be notified not to disturb these unique magical creatures. (...We do have a Care of Magical Creatures course where the Professor might be interested in your story and in taking care of your daily needs...)
(... I thank you...) The War Unicorn said nodding its head up and down. (...You may call me Brass, this mare is Aura and the little one is Harris after the man that aided in his birth...)
Harry blushed at that because he knew that the only living foal that he had to physically cut from the female War Unicorn had been named after him. The female mother had given her permission to be used as potion ingredients and that included the stillborn twin of the lively little fellow that was trotting along with the wagon and Pomona Sprout's twin brother.
He didn't know what to say to that, except (...Pleased to meet you...)
"Hallo," he called to the sound of the wagon wheels and he received various replies to his hail. "I'm here to escort you all to the school. My name Harry Potter and I'm one of the apprentices at the school."
"Peregrine Sprout," the man said. "My sister is supposed to be expecting us."
"She will meet you at the end of her class, she's currently giving an in depth examination right now or else she'd have been the one to greet you," Harry said. "Follow me, this way. Is there anything that you immediately need? Blankets, clothing or food, we can have those ready while we sort out a place for all of you."
"Food would be good," Peregrine said. "Something healthy and filling please."
Harry called one of the outdoor house-elves and said, "Get a small basket of Everything Hand-Pies for the man and children. They'll need something to warm up their insides, perhaps hot chocolate and tea too, for when we reach the school. We'll be at the school shortly."
The house-elf curtsied, popped to the school and popped back with a basket that held small pies and tarts filled, about two to three inches in diameter, with thick meaty stew and other things inside. They were made to be held by hand and were perfect for those working out of doors. Small baskets made especially for these pies held up to seven and kept them warm until eaten. The pies were baked in such a way that they were difficult to make a mess when eaten too.
She was also sent to make sure that one of the entrance conference rooms had more food and drinks ready. She even made sure that there was a large fire going with an extra change of clothing for everyone, plus thick fleece blankets to warm up the children. She was sure that the Headmaster didn't know their true state because he couldn't see them, but she was equally sure that whatever he didn't mention was also because the other man had not told him the full truth.
It wasn't a long ride, but the children with Peregrine were quiet because they were nervous and eating the small pies. The two ten year olds were muttering to each other because this was Hogwarts and they knew that they would have been invited to come here for the next year. Now they were worried about how could they ever be accepted. This fear was due to the werewolf bites that they had received during that awful night when they lost their parents and homes.
The teenage Muggle girl was bewildered because the castle that she was seeing was nothing like the other two were describing. "Sir," Daisy said out loud. "Are you sure that this is the right place? It looks very dangerous to be here."
"Oh my dear girl," he said. "Let me apologize. We'll fix it that you can see it properly. Mr. Potter is there a way for you to contact the Headmaster because this young lady is completely Muggle and needs protection in our world now."
"What you do mean protection in our world?" He asked, while he was searching his pockets for a charm that would allow the Muggle to see the Wizarding World correctly. "How was she able to travel through some of towns in the North?"
"I was blindfolded most times," she said. "I could hear just fine, but as long as I didn't see anything I wasn't dizzied or tricked into leaving an area."
"Interesting," Harry said pulled out a necklace with several charmed beads spaced by links of a silver pink chain. "This should work for you."
"Uhm..," she hesitated, looking to the short man who had been guiding them.
"No silver kid," he said. "We've all recently developed an allergy to that particular metal." He said this to see how the Boy-Who-Lived would react to such news. He was pleasantly surprised when there was no revulsion in the boy's expression.
Harry blinked and then nodded his understanding. The only thing that he said was, "I see, well I think that I have something else here that will do."
He rifled through his pockets and found a summer necklace of white leather made in a similar fashion to Dudley's, with mixed spacers of various pale beads. There was no monitoring crystal in it yet, but he was going to have to make sure that she was just as protected as those who're known in the school as Squibs.
"Here this should do it," he said handed it in her general direction. "This will also protect you from any of the stray spells that still occur in the Halls." She was familiar with this kind of necklace and once she put it on she felt the fog in her mind clear up and she gasped at the sight of the school, Hagrid and the grounds.
" 'Allo there 'Arry," Hagrid said. "Ye've got some beautiful critters with ye."
"I know Hagrid," Harry said. "Please be sure that they are well taken care of, but don't pen the Unicorns. I've already promised that they could range the grounds as needed like the rest of the animals here."
"Understood," the large man said. "Now you leave the carting of these ta me, y'all get into the school and warm ye-selves up."
They followed the Boy-Who-Lived into the school wondering just what was going to happen to them now. He led them into a room that had a roaring fire. "You may go through the doors and change into the warmer clothing that the elves have provided," he said pointing to the doors on either side of the fireplace. "You can also freshen up in there and then come back out. Your sister should be just about finished with her last class, Mr. Sprout, and she'll be joining us along with Professor Lupin."
The newcomers didn't know what to do first, but getting warm and clean was the first thing that they wanted, so the teenager took one of the ten year olds, the girl, plus the four year old with her into one of the rooms. Peregrine Sprout took the boys with him into the other room in order to wash up and change. They came back to the room to find a table and chairs set up with more food and hot drinks for everyone.
Harry was already there talking to Professor Sprout. "Periwinkle," she said standing up and going over to hug her twin. "I was so worried about you and the little ones."
Peregrine Sprout had a sheepish look. Harry felt the unease coming from the children. The Muggle teen just looked questioningly at the man and he explained, "It was before you joined up with us dear, otherwise I'd have mentioned you to my sister when I contacted her."
Daisy nodded and said, "That's all right sir. I didn't expect anyone to notice me troubles. I'm right glad ye did notice when ye did, though."
"Please have a seat and help yourselves children," Professor Sprout said. "Don't you worry now, we'll make sure that you are placed in a good home or the school will take you in whether you have magic or not. However at this moment it doesn't really matter."
"I would say that they all have magic to some degree with the exception of the young lady," Harry said. Professor Sprout was looking at him wondering what he was thinking. "I had to give her something to correctly see the school. The rest of you see the school just fine didn't you?"
The smaller children were shy, but they nodded slowly from behind the second eldest children. The older kids then did what they normally did on the road and sat the young ones at the table, making sure that they had something on their plates to eat. It may have been only two weeks since the attack, but the teachers were sure that the children were going to have a few problems before they could be fully settled with being fearful of strangers.
"Professor Lupin will be speaking to all of you after you've eaten something," Pomona said to them while they were eating. "We're going to need to get all of you examined by Madam Pomfrey so that we can be sure that there is nothing wrong with your health. She will give your some of your medical information to the Potions Master, who'll make sure that you all have access to the Wolvesbane Potion."
"Why would Professor Lupin have to meet up with us, sister?" Peregrine asked.
"He's allergic to silver like all off you," Harry said calmly. "He has been testing other potions and has also been integrating his natural self with the wolf. He might have some insight for all of you on how to go about it safely. That way sometime in the future you can be weaned off of the Wolvesbane Potion. You do need to take now until we can properly formulate a solution for all of you."
This shocked the newcomers at the table. "Do you mean to tell me that one of the Professors at this school is a werewolf?" Peregrine asked in shock. "Is there anything else that you'd like to spring on me sister dear, before we meet him?"
"Well, I have approached the Headmaster about the courses you used to teach here and he's willing to re-integrate them into the school's next term," his sister said. "That is if you choose to remain at Hogwarts from now on. Let's see what other gossip that I should pass on…"
"Professor Bins has been retired to a part-time position, teaching only the Goblin Rebellions now," Harry said in between bites of food. "Of course there are a couple of goblins that assist him in keeping to the true facts and the new History of Magic teacher is a vampire."
"The reform of the school was not a hoax Peri," Pomona said at her brother's shocked expression. "I know that many think that it is a hoax because of the Prophet's inability to actually come into the school. They can't enter the grounds in order to find out the truth either and so they have been making up some outlandish things. I haven't heard anything about the Ministry of Magic or Fudge's take on this. Have you Harry?"
"It was buried under the large heading of Fudge's new campaign slogans in the paper," Harry said. "I'm sure that Professor Snape can tell you more about it in such a way that you'll find amusement from it."
A knock at the door heralded the arrival of the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor.
"Hello Pup," Professor Lupin said to Harry, coming into the room and sniffing in the air. He detected the scent of other wolves in the room. His eyes flashed with gold, but there was not another sound or movement from the children.
The children didn't know how to act, but this man was clearly an alpha wolf. If they wanted to stay at the school, they would have to accept him as a leader, but they didn't know pack protocol. It was the smallest and youngest that stood up. He let his new wolfish instinct guide him.
He hunched over, slightly crouching and sidled up slowly to the man with his head tilted to show submission. His small neck was exposed to the killing bite, but Remus would never hurt a child. He kneeled down and leaned in close to the child, taking in the small one's scent.
He put his nose on the boy's neck and nipped it gently, but sharply for the wolf in the boy to know that the Alpha is to be respected. He gave the area a small lick on the part that he nipped taking in the taste of the new member of his school pack, causing the little one to giggle at the tickling sensation, while patting the boy on his head.
"Good boy," Remus said. "That's a good way to greet me for the first time. I guess that you can say that I am the Alpha wolf for this area."
He looked up to see the other children that were imitating the small boy and he greeted each in turn. He hesitated with the teen girl, but he repeated the process because it made them part of the temporary pack in this school. He looked to the other man, but was surprised when the man submitted with the same gestures.
"I don't want to be an Alpha and I would like to remain here at the school with conflict," Peregrine said. "I'm willing to submit so long as these children will be protected and can remain here or be placed safely with a family that will care for them no matter what."
"They can stay here, but we will have to test them and set-up transit for the younger ones to attend the Hogsmeade School," Harry said. "They can travel with Annabel Crabbe and attend any of the optional courses here, but they will have to have monitors like these."
"They stay with Madam Pomfrey in the Infirmary for a while until rooms are set up for them," Remus said. "She'll need to monitor all of you for a few days. After that we'll see about testing and placing you in school. Don't worry the Headmaster has already accommodated three families within these walls. Although none of them have children as young as you."
Harry nodded and then said, "If everyone is done, I'll guide you to the Infirmary."
A short while later in the Deputies Office all of the Heads of House were discussing the placement options with Peregrine Sprout and the classes he may be interested in teaching. "I would need a few packages of art supplies in order to begin teaching the skills that I do," he told them. "Here's an outline of the courses that I've been giving in the communities. I've also provided them with dealers that had agreed to pre-package these items as part of courses or seminars that I used to give."
He gave them a list of the course packages and just what the packages contained. The outline was as thorough as the ones that were in the new school diaries/journals. He was given one to show how the courses were set up and how the courses were outlined for the students.
"I'm impressed that something like this is even available for the students now," he said, commenting on the fascinating little book. "Before the students only received their course schedules for the year on a parchment paper, which most lost within the first few weeks."
"The new Headmaster was very unimpressed by the way that the British Wizarding World was stagnating under the old ways of doing things," Professor Flitwick said. "He was surprised that many of the students at this school were not even aware of the Magical Guilds that exist today."
Peregrine's sister was sitting in the room and he was proud of her, just because he had always felt that she was being overlooked due to the fact that she was the Head of Hufflepuff House. He was curious about the changes that he was seeing, as it has been at least ten years since his contract had been cancelled.
The Deputies explained some of the changes that had occurred, including the monitoring crystals which the children will have to have in order to be able to keep track of them and monitor their health while they were in the school. They weren't sure what could be done about the Muggle girl, but then again it would depend on where she was in her schooling.
"Is there a chance for the younger children to be placed with a stable family?" Peregrine asked. "I'm worried about the younger ones. The two that are ten were only biding their time in the community school until they could attend Hogwarts or another magical school, but the younger ones will still need a familial structure." He didn't want to admit it, but all of the children had grown on him and he didn't want to their cases mishandled.
"You needn't worry about that," Professor McGonagall said. "We have a few councillors onsite that will evaluate them and ensure that they are placed with understanding families. The Headmaster was adamant that they be taken care of. I believe they are the first known orphans of this conflict. I do know for certain that kind of situation is only the beginning."
"For the time being I suggest that the children reside with you, Mr. Sprout," Professor Snape said. "It might make the adjustment more difficult in the future, but they are used to looking to for guidance. We will do everything to ensure that placement is made, but things do take time."
"I agree," Peregrine said, looking down at the box that held a monitoring crystal for him.
The children were handed theirs when they were in the Infirmary. Even the Muggle girl had hers in a similar fashion to the other Squibs in the school. Sprout was the only one that had yet to activate his. He was wary of it, but didn't see any harm in having something monitoring their health. He pulled out his wand and touched the Monitoring Marble, thereby activating the funny little orbital globe.
"Amazing," he said watching whizz about his head for half a moment. "What happens now?"
Harry walked into the Deputies Office and said, "Now you tell me about these courses of yours. I'm more than certain that the levels need to be reviewed. Are any of the course pre-requisites for others or is this a unique concept that has been lost?"
"The classes were used as an assessing tool to gauge magical inclination," Peregrine said. "It was a tool to help students find their strengths in the Magical Arts field. It gauged strengths for Sculpturing, Painting, and other crafts. As for levels of learning, I'll have to analyze that a bit because most of my 'students' were adults and had their base education levels in many of the standard courses like Charms and Transfigurations."
"You have until the end of the first week of December to present a working outline of for the yearly requirements," Harry said. "Meanwhile would you be available to teach in a relaxed capacity a few 'Specialty' Seminars, using the course requirements from your community classes. I'm sure that many of our older students would like the opportunity to try something not geared to a younger learner."
"That's an excellent idea," Professor Flitwick said. "The older students are the ones that do have the base Charm and Transfiguration ability." He leaned on his desk and said, in an almost conspiratory fashion. "The older students were a little miffed at the choices that the firsties had and some had to be placed in classes with the younger ones in order to accommodate their class choices. This might be a better solution for those ones."
"I believe I understand," Peregrine said.
"I can show you the perfect place for such a class," Hogwarts said startling the man. "Unless... Do you have specific requirements on lighting or the structure of a particular room?"
The short man was looking at everyone in the room and noticed that none had spoken. Knowing very well that this was a magical school didn't help him with his uneasiness at speaking to an entity that he could not see. "Uh... yes," he said. "I would like a room with various forms of lighting, ranging from natural to bright artificial."
"Then I have just the room for you," Hogwarts said. "I'll have one of the goblins go over the structure of the room before the class is scheduled Headmaster." The voice said and Peregrine noticed young Harry Potter nodding and making notes in a growing journal. She then said to Peregrine, "That should give you enough time to go over the materials that we do have on hand. I'll speak to you soon."
Peregrine looked to his sister and said, "I think that it's time we sat down to tea and have a long chat. What do you think Pom-pom?"
Professor Sprout just grinned and nodded. Her brother was at the school and that meant that her family was safe. "Naa-na," she said calling forth a house-elf that had been assigned to her quarters. "Prepare tea for me and my brother. We should be done in about..."
"Half an hour," Harry said looking up from his journal. "We'll discuss contract and wages later. For now why don't you go visit the children in the Infirmary? I believe that they are wondering where you are and I know that the littlest one is getting worried."
"Very well," Peregrine said. "I'll see you later Pamona."
"Yes," she agreed with a nod of her head.
Once the newest addition to the school has left the Deputies began their meeting with the Headmaster in a more formal sense. They each brought forward their evaluations and input into how things were running and where some things could be improved upon.
Professor Snape did request a private audience with the Headmaster for after the meeting because it seemed that one of his Slytherin's wanted 'special dispensation' for a family project. "I told him that I'd discuss it with you and bring forth my recommendation."
"Very well," Harry said. "Now let's get back to improving the class environments."
Author's Note: As stated in my recently updated profile, in my naïvité I firmly believed that I'd be able to finish a story that I've started, unfortunately when the muse up and leaves, there's not a thing that I can do about it. I truly regret not being able to continue this story in a timely fashion.
Should I ever re-catch that train of thought this story will be completed as time and creativity allows, at the very least this last chapter is not a cliff-hanger : )