Disclaimer: This act of fiction for fans only. Anything recognizable belongs to JK Rowling and all those fancy lawyers of hers. This is a fan fic. Making no money and only for the enjoyment of fans. I strongly recommend that you rush out and by a copy of any of the lady's books make her lots of money because I'm making none on this.
AN: First the computer crashed and I totally lost what I had written for chapter 22. So this is chapter 22 version 2. Also, in chapter 21 it should be an hour of prep time, and 45 minutes after the first of the pizzas were put in the ovens that they were starting to be pulled and set for the feast.
Once the shouting was over, well it just didn't get over actually and Madame Pomfrey was preparing to hex them all. Again, which they didn't even notice when an ear piercing whistle rent the air.
There was instant silence.
"Thank you." Commented Auror Shacklebolt as he took his hands from his mouth and Pompy lowered her wand with a huffed 'Spoil sport."
"So.. Just to wrap up." Commented Shacklebolt dryly. "The boy we have all been looking for, let see... for the past two years, just happens to wander in last night. With I might add, the Weasley's twins, who were declared dead, victims of the Forbidden forest. He then manages to not only defeat the horror within the Chamber of Secrets but brings back yet another missing and presumed dead Weasley. Has a thing for Weasley's doesn't he? Let's not forget to mention that he is in fact THE WIZARD OF WIZARDS… and that you lot have gone off and LOST HIM! Does that cover just about everything? Have I left anything out?"
Most of the room had the cheek to look a little ashamed of themselves at that point.
"So are you going to explain yourself Black or are you going to just sit there and shed?" the Auror asked the dog with smirk.
"So are you going to explain yourself Black? Or are you going to just sit there and shed?" the Auror asked the dog with smirk.
Several of the members of the Weasley family moved in front of the dog.
"I'm waiting Black." The Auror responded his wand still firmly in it's wand holder.
The dog peered around Remus and looked intently at the man, cocked his head at him for a moment before barking sharply. Leaping off the bed he was sitting one an transforming back into a human being, Remus put himself slightly in front of him as did Bill Weasley, who was keeping a firm hold of his littlest brother, who it seemed was trying to do the same thing as the other two wizards.
The fugitive looked at Shacklebolt a moment before he asked. "Just so you know…I didn't… I was never.." He kept starting but didn't know where to start.
Shacklebolt looked him up and down before he responded. "Four points. First: Yes. I know you are an Animagus. I caught you coming out of a establishment the I know the department was keeping an eye on and change back into yourself while I was still a trainee. So I've knew for few months before that Halloween. Second, I personally thought that it was awfully strange that at your trial for murdering your best friends you would just sit there and laugh like someone had hit you with a cheering charm. Quite a few of us thought that was just bit odd. Then there was the stench of boober tuber puss I shall laughingly refer to as your 'defense lawyer' and 'the prosecutor', neither of which demanded you be dosed with veritiserum at a capital murder trial. Bet you don't remember the three Auror's that demanded it from the stands who were 'escorted' out. That and that 'trial' seemed awfully short to me. A couple of other Auror's thought so too, but every time we'd ask about the discrepancies we'd get re-assigned to something 'interesting'.
"Which leads me to reason number three; Your cousin Tonks; my trainee. Who I'm sure would hang me out like last season's Quidditch gear if I even think of making a move towards you. Which is why my wand is staying firmly in it's holder. She's a might trigger happy, on top of which, she kinda likes you and she thinks you're innocent too."
Sirius looked over to where the Senior Auror was pointing and discovered his arms full of a young woman with bright pink hair smiling up at him. It took a moment for the synapses to fire correctly and then. "Dora!" He cried swinging the slight young woman around in his arms.
"Wotcher Cuz!" she replied with a laugh.
"I never thought you'd. Oh you grew up so pretty. And an Auror. Oh! Dora." He exclaimed with a smile and a further hug.
"Never thought it was you, or Remus. Mom or Dad either." She replied seriously.
Sirius smiled and gave her a quick hug with a quiet "Thank you for that Cuz."
"You said four reasons, what's the forth then?" Asked Bill, who was now standing near Tonks who was tucked into her cousins shoulder now that she wasn't hugging him anymore.
"Ah,' he replied' Number four. No way that anyone that foul, I mean foul enough to betray their best friends to death and torture at the hands of Voldemort, can walk into this Castle the Wizard of Wizards in tow, on top of which, sporting on his ragged robes the Protectors shield, which is considered a guarantee of instant immunity from any crime, past, present or future as it is assumed that anything done would be done to protect the Wizard of Wizards." He replied crossing his arms over his chest in an 'he's still missing and it's all your fault' manner.
"Notice that he said crimes. Not Pranks, Mr Weasley's. For those and any other school infraction you incur while you all are still students here at Hogwarts, you will still serve any detentions assigned you by your professors" The Headmaster said jovially from the twin bedside.
Molly looked horrified for a moment and then a gleam appeared in her eye. "If I hear of even one instance that Any of my children,' She looked directly at the twins as she spoke, 'abuse that privilege and young Harry's life is NOT in danger, I'll deal with them personally. Is. That. Understood?" She asked very quietly, very calmly, and very slowly.
The twins nodded with innocent expressions on their faces.
"And I'll deal with whatever is left of you afterwards." Arthur's voice was very quiet, but dropped like a bludger in the large hospital wing. The twins, who up to that moment had looked down right gleeful, turned very pale, the only color left on their cheeks the freckles that were dusted on them.
"Percy, Ron, Ginny that goes for you as well. Do you all understand?" Mr. Weasley asked seriously from his wife's side. There were five "Yes, Sirs'." From around the room as Arthur Weasley caught the eye of each of his children that still attended Hogwarts, Bill and Charlie too, before turning his attention back to the rest of the room.
"Well that's very nice and all but we still have to find him don't we?" Stated Hagrid from the bed he was rising from eager to start the search.
"I'm betting on the door across from the Great Hall." Comment Ron standing and moving to Hagrid's side ready to begin at once.
"Where as I am inclined to agree with Young Mr. Weasley's assessment and as eager as I am to find the child Hagrid, we still have a Castle full of other students we are responsible for too. It is in point of fact almost time for dinner and I am sure that even now the four houses are making their way to the Great Hall. We will have to explain the odd occurrences of the day before the Minister returns or owls start being sent home. Albus, I believe you had ordered yet another feast to celebrate the return of the Weasley Twins." Minerva responded dryly.
"So I did." Responded Albus, who was stroking his beard as his eyes twinkled in thought, "I have noticed that young Mr. Potter seems to appear either if he feels it is safe to do so, perhaps he feels comfortable. Additionally he appears when one of those that he is attached to, is in some type of danger, take Ms. Weasley as one example. As I am loath to place anyone here in any type of danger, except possibility over eating, I suggest we all go down to the feast and keep it as safe and calm as possible. He may once again turn up and join us."
The various faces still assigned to beds turned their faces hopefully towards Madame Pomfrey as they knew better than to try to get out of them with out her express permission.
"Oh get out of here the lot of you. Not you two." She responded to the room at large and hurried over to the twins beds. Only when their pleading looks were added to by Arthur smiling at her and asking please, did she relented and with a flick of her wand two levitating chairs bobbed out of the back room and over to the beds. She and Arthur settled the pair into the floating chairs and buckled in each securely. "Oh well. All right, but straight back here after dinner and don't expect to be let out for a week. No complaints or I'll keep you here and that's an end to it." She told, half scolded them sending them off with their father.
Molly was busy walking out with Minerva, chatting about Ginny's and Ron's grades, but that didn't mean that she didn't notice Bill's quickly righting a falling Auror trainee, or that Charlie was out of bed and standing very close to a certain irascible Potions Master. Not bad choices in her opinion, but she would have to talk to her boys about this later, she decided. The various pairs in the room started to group up and start out the door. Sirius was urged by both Remus and Shacklebolt to resume his Animagus form for the dinner until they could either find the young Wizard of Wizard or the one responsible for his incarceration. No one in the group wanted the ex-convict, Azkaban escapee, shot from one of the more trigger happy seventh years that had already placed their applications into the Auror training program.
Just as Madame Pomfrey was about to follow out the door an owl with a very large package arrived. Glancing at it she waived over Severus. "It's the fresh Mandrake that my friend in Denmark was forcing to mature early.' She said as she opened the box. Severus glanced at it. "There should be more than enough to brew the restorative draught." He commented. "And the brewing will go faster if there were two." Finished Charlie as he started over to the in ward brewing area and starting to get two of the number seven pewter cauldrons out for the brewing. Severus smirked and started to gather various ingredients and Madame Pomfrey started to prepare the petrified patients for their restoration as the rest of the group left the infirmary.
The group wandering down the corridors to the Great Hall was a very odd looking collection. The Headmaster strolled along with the tall Auror, who were followed by a Remus with a grim like dog at his side. Closely following them were Hagrid, Minerva and Molly who while they were chatting about inconsequential things, where also very much on guard. This odd body guard what then followed by Bill Weasley and Dora Tonks, and then Percy and Penelope, the two couples were so totally engaged in their own conversations they didn't even noticed the giggling Ginny and Ron Weasley trailing them. Finally there were the two floating chairs with the twins, under the direction Arthur's wand.
Professor McGonagall's prediction proved correct, for as they entered the great hall, they realized that the students from all four houses had indeed arrived before them. It was then a slightly less then formal procession that made their way up to the main table. The students in the group joined their fellows at Gryffindor table at the end nearest the door, the very last section of it rising slightly and the benches parting, to allow the floating chairs the necessary height and space to sit the twins comfortably. As for Penelope, she was about to walk over to the Ravenclaw table, when Percy took firm hold of her hand and plopped her down next to himself. The rest of the table erupted into shout and laughter when he soundly kissed her, when she was about to protest. The diversion gave the adults in the party enough time to make it to the Head Table.
McGonagall rapped on one of the glasses at her setting and the entire hall fell silent. Dumbledore rose.
At that moment the side door sprung open as if by a great force.
Peeves' cackle could be heard in the hall and there was a stench of stink bombs that had the whole room groaning in disgust. From this side door there came Lucius Malfoy, running as fast as his feet would carry him. He sprinted across the front of the great hall and out the other door. Then with shouts and drums beating, behind him came the Headless Hunt, who with Peeves trailing along behind, had changed their prey for the evening. Peeves about to leave the Great hall, but before he left he turned to the stunned room. "Shhhh, be very, very quiet, we're Blonde Hunting." He chortled in joy, threw a dung bomb and zipped to keep up with the rest of the Hunt.
Albus drew his wand and the offending odor was dissipated.
"I should like to thank the students and the teachers for their patience today. Since this morning, I regret to report that one more of our students was petrified by the monster.' But before the shock and fear could take hold he continued. "However, I am pleased to announce that Madame Pomfrey had received a shipment of Mandrake Root and those petrified should be back with us soon. Secondly, that the Chamber of Secrets has been both located and closed. The monster has been, according to the best description given, sent back to bed without its supper. So there is no further cause for alarm or fear.'
There were great shouts of joy at that news and the Headmaster waited patiently for it to calm before he continued.
"Further more, the Weasley twins have been allowed out of the infirmary for this evening only! Please do not engage them in to much conversation as they are under strict orders to be returned to the Hospital Wing after dinner. You may visit them tomorrow at lunch and after classes until they are release. Those in the twin's classes please take detailed notes for the next several days as they will need them. Finally, while we wait for our small friend from this morning to return to us; Let the Feast Begin."
What appeared on the tables, other than the normal pumpkin juice and various side dishes were semi-flat round food objects. The muggleborns and those in the know fell on the unexpected treat with gusto. Several of the more formal students at the Slytherian and Raven claw tables had to count on their fellows that were either of Italian decent or had traveled to America, that the substance in front of them was an actual edible dish before they would try it. But they too were soon consuming vast quantities of the gastronomical delight.
It was a regular night of patrolling that had the Baron floating through the first level of the maze that guarded the Slytherian common room when he spotted a small boy that dashed out of the seventh right hand passage and into the sixth left hand one. This was then something odd that would have to be reported.
He changed directions at once and went up and over by several floors to appear in the middle of the Slytherian dinning table. He gave only a cursory glance to the odd shaped wedges of food that the students were eating and looked to the head table. Odd. The Head of House was normally there for a 'feast'. A moment's consultation with Hogwarts had the Baron rising up and to the left until he reached, the quiet Hospital Wing. He floated over to the Head of the House who was currently in a heated discussion with a young red headed potions master he would be seeing a quite a good deal of, if he read the signs correctly.
The Head of Slytherian House looked up as the ghost floated close to where the he stood, watching Madam Pomfrey finish applying the last of the restorative draft to the two students, one cat and the silent Sir Nicholas. Once was Barron had his full attention of the Potion's Master he made a peculiar slash of his hand and then a second. The current head nodded his understanding, murmured something urgently to his companion and rushed out of the infirmary and into the corridor that lead to the quickest staircase to the dungeons. His duty done the Ghostly Barron, watched as the tall red potions master, went to speak to Madam Pomfrey, who was now holding the cat, then also dashed away out the infirmary door. Hearing a groan the Barron looked back to see the two students a Gryffindor and a Hufflepuff stretch and sit up. Sir Nicholas too, stretched as he floated back into the air under his own power for several months and did that peculiar half inclination of his body so his head didn't fall off, to the Slytherian Ghost. Not a bad sort at all for a Gryffindor Ghost he thought idle and slipped back into the bedrock to continue his patrol of the dungeons.
"Right you three. There is a Feast in the Great Hall and I don't want to miss it." Declared Madam Pomfrey with a smile and still holding the now purring cat, she marched the two students out of her hospital, the Ghost floating beside her and down to the great hall. Where much ado was made of them arriving after a second or was it the third wave of pizza's appeared on the tables. Mr. Filch was in near tears at the Head Table as Madam Pomfrey placed his precious kitten back into his arms.
Snape moved with the skill of one that had traveled these dark hallways often and in a hurry, like the current situation. He started down the corridor that would lead to the steps to the second level of the maze, where the entrance to both his office was and the Slytherian common room. There as only one child that was not at the feast that could be in the Slytherian dungeon maze that the Barron could have mistaken for a lost student. Potter. With that thought he hurried around the finally corner of the second level maze leading and promptly toppled over the small figure that was traveling in the opposite direction and roughly the same speed. For an instant he had thought that he had run over a house elf. Before he realized he was looking at an exact copy of James Potter in miniature. Except for his eyes, those were Lily's eyes.
"Sorry about that." The small boy said with a smile. With a minimum of fuss the pair managed to get up off the floor and righted themselves.
Severus was taken back when he found that he was the object of intense scrutiny. He was inspected from the top of his black haired head to the bottom of his black shined boots. As the small child seemed to take in every aspect of his appearance as if he were looking for something, whatever it was he seemed to find it as he was nodding approvingly as he was circled.
"I Trust I Meet with your Approval." The potion master snapped a trifle annoyed.
"Yes" Replied the small person with a grin. "I know I asked the house elves to, to check on you, and they said you were ok. But I just wanted to check for myself too." He finished with a grin and a slight tilt of the head. Before Severus could formulate any attempt of a scathing reply the boy waved and shot down the opposite tunnel.
Startled the Head of Slytherian House was forced to take a few hurried steps to catch up to the rapidly moving figure. On the first step he took his mind he had automatically come up with a several more scathing replies to the boy's impudence, that would in the short term cause tears and weeping and in the long term cause a healthy inferiority complex for several years. However by his second step he realized that those comments were never going to be used. The not one but now two life debts that he now owed the lad, plus the white P on his robes forever precluded it. In the next step he realized that he didn't mind in the least.
The immediate problem was then; How to get the diminutive wizard engaged in a conversation and stop this hurried flight. Severus realized that he had no frame of reference, no inkling of any common ground that he could use with the child to open such a conversation. Or any conversation that would, he hoped, end with convincing the young child to stay at the school.
In desperation, the dour potions' master, after following the child through two different sections of the second floor maze at full speed and started to ask the boy a question. However all he got out was 'ompf' when the small figure stopped suddenly in the middle of the fifth left hand side corridor of the maze, and Snape half plowed into the back of him.
"Excuse me. Exactly where would you like me to go?" He asked politely.
Severus was about to reply, when about five feet head on the right hand side of the dark tunnel, where they had never been anything before, two torches illuminated a solid looking door. A door and a set of torches that should not have been there, that had never been there before and really didn't even look like they belonged there either.
The boy hurried forward, pulled open the door and was inside before Severus could get over his shock. The door closed and vanished. Severus' eyes widened in shock and he stepped forward putting his hands on his hips, inspecting the place where the door had been only an instant before, annoyed at himself for letting the boy slip through his fingers.
The next moment, the tunnel was filled with lights again as the torches sprang back into both existence and life. Next the door appeared and opened spilling light and the scent of a wizard's wood fire into the damp dungeons hallway. A small face, framed with black haired popped out from the side of the doorway.
"Sorry about that. Thought you were behind me. Wanna come in?" The small boy asked with a grin and pushed the door a little wider for the taller man.
"Yes, thank you." Replied Severus dryly, and strode into the opening before the boy, the door or the room could vanish again.
He stepped back into the same room that he had exited several hours earlier when the emergency alarm had been sounded in the Castle. He gazed around a little confused, this room had been on the first level of the dungeons where his office was. That blasted portrait had opened and there was this room. How could it possibly be on the second level? He's eyes scanned the room and fell on the grinning portrait of Throckmorton Goldthwaite who was smirking at him from his picture frame.
"You told." A small accusing voice filled the room, and Severus turned to see the small boy thump down into the small couch that was sitting in front of a cheery fire.
"I did not. I would not break my promise to you." Replied Throckmorton earnestly.
"Then why did I run into Him." Was the annoyed rejoinder, and a thumb was jerked in Severus direction.
It was Severus who replied before the painting could.
"He didn't tell me. The Barron, who is the Slytherian House Ghost, having seen you in the maze on one of his patrols, alerted me to your presence."
The young wizard looked at Severus, staring into his eyes. He must have seen the truth there, for he nodded and slumped back into the couch in an 'I believe you but I'm still annoyed' type of manner.
Quiet reigned in the small room for a few moments and Severus took the opportunity to slip into the wing back chair that was placed at a right angle to the couch the boy was leaning back upon.
"Where were you attempting to go?" Severus finally asked quietly, hoping his first attempt at conversation would lead to further options.
"Out." Was the clipped reply. Which was followed by an unhappy sound that came from somewhere in the room and nowhere in the room, all at once.
"May inquire, why you feel the need to leave the Castle at this time? I shall point out that the sun will set in only a few moments, the temperature is dropping and you would get only as far as say Hogsmeade this evening."
"You know why." The boy replied in a very annoyed tone.
"I beg to differ. I do not know why you feel you need to leave. I ask that you enlighten me." The schoolmaster commanded.
Harry sat up, annoyed and just a touch angry. "The black robes. They know I'm here. They will come. Here. If I'm Here! When they come. The kids here will get hurt. So I have to GO! Before they come." The sentences were short and staccato as if trying to punch the irrefutable facts home.
Severus looked thoughtful before nodding, "An excellent conclusion..." He replied.
Harry nodded back at him.
The man continued before Harry could speak. "As far as it goes. However, you have made that decision without certain facts, facts that might alter your plan of action."
"What facts?" Asked Harry cautiously.
'Gotcha.' The Slytherian thought and replied. "First there is the mutt. Sirius Black the one that you traveled here with?" At Harry's nod of understanding Severus continued. "As you were raised by your muggle relatives, you might not understand that in the Wizarding World the position of Godfather, he is your Godfather, did you know that?' Harry indicated no with a shake of his head and the potion master continued. "Well, he is your Godfather. As such you are his responsibility, so where you go he will go, whenever and wherever you go until you are at least 16, the age of adulthood in the Wizarding world."
"No." Harry replied forcefully.
"I assure you, that now that he is again with you, he will not willingly leave your side. If you leave here without him he will follow. And I should also mention that Remus Lupin is in all but the paperwork, your Second Godfather. Where you and Sirius travel he is sure to follow as well.' The man looked over at the boy face which was masked with concern and worry. He continued the attack.
"Also, I should like to mention that the Weasley's Wizard's Debt to you as of this morning, for saving those twins of theirs? And this afternoon, if I understand what has transpired, you have saved young Ms Weasley from certain death. A second Wizards Debt is likely to follow. I am sure that even now they are prepared to follow you anywhere, in an attempt to fulfill that debt. It will of course mean that the five children will be pulled from school and I doubt that the Elder Weasley's will be able to keep their jobs for long, trailing after you."
The boys' face was turning an interesting shade of green. Excellent. Only a little more…
"Then of course there is myself.' The boy's eyes popped off the floor where they had been studying it with intensity and into the potion masters eyes.
"I do not believe that you know that I owed a Wizards' Debt to your father. One that I was unable to fulfill, during his lifetime, when he died, that debt transferred to you. If I had not had that original debt to you upon my honor, I could hardly ignore the fact that this afternoon you freed me from the slavery of serving a monster. For that Alone…"
"Don't say it." Commanded Harry his eyes pleading.
"I owe you a Wizard's Debt and will follow you wherever you shall go." He finished with a smirk.
The boy's leaned forward on the couch, his head resting in his hands shaking slowly back and forth as if trying to have not heard the announcement from the man in black before him. The small wizard then stood and with his head still down, now it seemed in deep concentration, walked forward and back in front of the fire. Severus considered his next move should he propose the optimal solution at once or take the boy through the various other non viable options and let him ponder on them for a while or should he lay it on a little more thickly with possible repercussions should the lad leave the school unaccompanied. Before he could make up his mind the small boy stopped pacing and walked up to tall mans chair.
There was nothing timid about the boy as there should have been.
"You know how to keep them safe. You know how to keep Sirius and Remus and Ron and the other Weasley's and everyone in the Castle and you too! Safe from the Black Robes. You wouldn't have started telling me all of this if you didn't know before you started. Don't try to wheedle me into something or anything like that. I don't need know all the options, because you have already thought of them all and figured out the best one. So just tell what you think, because I don't think we have a lot of time to get this sorted out."
Severus sat amazed. Here was a mind of a Ravenclaw, look at how fast he had worked out the conclusion from the various things that had been said. And yet he could do well in Slytherian he understood exactly what the head of Slytherian had been doing. Shaking himself out of his amazement he said gently. "You might have noticed that Hogwarts, the Castle likes you? It, She, seems to move things around for you." He explained.
The boy thought about it for a moment before nodding.
"If you were sorted, a properly sorted student, then I believe that you could actually command the Castle even more that you do now."
"Command the Castle? Talk to Her?' at the man's nod he continued. "I could ask Her to keep the black robes out you mean." Replied Harry thoughtfully.
"Yes, I believe that you could ask Her too keep the Black Robes, they call themselves Death Eaters by the way,' At Harry's look of disbelief he commented a smirk 'Yes, they're rather full of themselves aren't they? I believe that your connection to the Castle would only strengthen and that you would have the ability to forbid them admittance or even repel them from the Castle."
The young wizard of wizard looked at the man in the chair for a moment before he cocked his head to the side and said. "So how do I go about getting 'sorted'?"
Severus stood up and said "Well, first I need a sheet of parchment and a quill and ink, as there are a few steps to get a student sorted outside of the traditional start of year feast."
A small table appeared with the needed items. Severus crossed to the small table picked up the quill, dipped it into the ink and taking a few minutes wrote something long and detailed, then signed his name. Standing as he rolled the parchment up. He turned back to the small lad he then said. "Next, we have to get to the Great Hall."
The young wizard nodded again and walked over to the picture of Throckmorton and pulled on its side. The portal opened to reveal the entrance hall and the doors to the Great Hall directly across from them.
"After you sir?" The boy smiled.
"How? No never mind, I don't want to know." Severus gave a half smile, schooled his features back into a cool mask and swept out of the door. He listened as small foot steps followed behind him across the entrance hall. Over the inlayed H in the floor, that for the second time in two days glowed a little as the smaller wizard traveled over it and the pair entered the Great Hall.
As Severus swept into the Great Hall, Harry's eyes widened as he followed. The sun had finally sunk behind the hills and now the charmed ceiling of the great hall was shining with the evening sky. Harry watched it more than followed the man in black to the front of the hall. He didn't even notice when they arrived and stopped at the front of hall by the dais to the front table as he eyes were glued to the magnificent ceiling with its outside view. At the clearing of the tall man's throat, Harry finally stopped looking up in wonder to glance around him.
He was at the front of the four tables. At the big table sat Remus were smiling at him and Padfoot was sitting next to him and barked happily, they both seemed ok so he was a little relieved. Also at the big table sat Mrs. and Mr. Weasley, Bill. There were two other people there that Harry did not know but their vibes were ok for now, one was kinda like Sirius so he didn't worry too much about them. Severus half turned back to him and was motioning for him to step up to the dais and stand next to him, so he did, then watched as the tall man turned back to the Headmaster.
"Headmaster I have a candidate that petitions to be allowed to be sorted." He stated formally.
Dumbledore stood up, Harry immediately put himself on the other side of Severus, "Is the petitioner of age to attend our school?" he asked.
"He is." Was formally replied.
"Is the petitioner strong enough magically to be admitted to Hogwarts?" Came the second question.
"I have tested the candidate and found his magic sufficient to the task." Replied the Head of Slytherian house.
"Why was the petitioner not sorted at the proper time?" Responded the Headmaster.
"Circumstances beyond his control." Was the dry reply.
This has to be some type of official falder-al thought Harry but he didn't say anything.
"Then Welcome Candidate. Let him be sorted," Intoned the man with twinkling eyes, "Professor McGonagall if you would please."
Harry watched as a tall thin woman from the morning stood and walked over to a side door. She opened it and was about to step through when Charlie appeared in the door frame, slightly out of breath but holding in his hands a stool and a very hold looking hat. The tall think lady took them from Charlie, who waved and smiled at Harry, and returned to the center of the dais with the stool and hat. Snape motioning to Harry to stay were he was, as loud whispers of excitement swept the hall. He gave Harry another of those half smiles of his that you could easily miss if you didn't know what to look for and then stepped over to Charlie who had come to stand on the end the dais nearest the door.
Harry's attention was then taken by the thin lady, Professor McGonagall he remembered, who stopped in front of him, setting a stool with a battered old had down on top of in the middle of the dais. She looked very stern, but her eyes were kind and smiling lightly down at the young boy she "I'll call your name and then all you have to do is sit on this stool and put the hat on." She told him very quietly.
"That's it?" He asked.
"That's it." She replied.
"Do you have to call my name?" Harry asked worriedly.
She smiled nodded smiled widely turning to Severus "Severus Snape, Potions Master and Head of Slytherian House, do you have the candidates petition?" She asked.
"I have it here." Replied the man and held out the parchment that he had only made a few moments ago to the deputy Headmistress. She stepped over and took the parchment from him, then walked back to a few feet near the stool. Taking the scroll she opened it and called out.
The whispers, that had died down as Professors McGonagall and Snape had completed their part of the official ceremony, erupted; The sound seemed to doubled in volume across the hall and startled Harry who had just sat down on the stool, so that he let the hat he had just raised over his head slip onto his head with a bump.
The world and the whispering disappeared. The large hat slipped over the boy's ears as well as his eyes as it was far too large for him. He was about to tug it back off when he stopped. The oddest thing in the darkness was not the darkness itself but the voice that was going a mile a minute in his ears? His head? He couldn't decide. The only thing that he could decide was that he had finally lost it and they would be hauling him away to a padded cell any minute now, he was hearing things.
"No they won't be hauling you to a padded cell. Not if I have anything to do about it. The thought of it is ridiculous. Just because you are smart enough to know that it is rather unusually to hear someone, or in my case something, speaking into your mind proves you are not crazy, deranged or loosing it. Now where was I. Oh, yes! Let's just remember what was going on. I was in the middle of composing next year's song. I had the second stanza very well shaped up and then boom. Swept off my shelf and off my hat strand with out even a by your leave and jerked down to the Great Hall by a Red Headed Weasley. And plopped on you without even a 'oh by the by this is the Sorting Hat', No, a not a song, not a theme, not even a single note. You're completely unprepared. And I've totally lost what little I had of this year's song. Do you think it's easy to come up with these songs? I have a reputation to uphold. I have to have them different every year. I take my time with these things. I go back and cross reference against any past years and make sure that each one is new and original. I just thank Merlin that humans come up with new words and methods of language every now and then or I would still be quoting the song in Iambic Pentameter. Or heavens forbid Sincane structure. 100 years of that was quite enough. Let me tell you. Freshness to is a vital component, I have to keep it fresh; I couldn't just use the same themes. The most difficult part is trying to express in one quick stanza the complete depth and breadth of the characteristics and scope of each of the four houses. You try to define the qualities of the students that I'm looking for to sort the students into them. I'm in terrible trouble, because if I'm not neutral about explaining in song which house is which and bam! Then there is a problem of the 'bad' houses vs. the 'good' houses. Really as if it were that simple, but they are just first years. I mean you should have seen the Fifteen Hundreds. Everyone one wanted to be sorted into Slytherian and not one asked to be put into Ravenclaw, and if they were supposed to go there it was crying and shame and misery for at least a week after the sorting. By the 1600's there was a complete change and then everyone that was anyone had to be in Ravenclaw and the one to avoid at all cost was Gryffindor. As if what house you were in mattered to the cannon balls that were hitting the Castle."
"Why were… "Started to ask Harry….
"You can read it in Hogwarts A History. IF you can even read, oh yes you can, good for you. Some of the heads that I have sorted in my day arrived without even being able to read or add two and two. Mind you I have to admit that the last one was in the Seventeen Hundreds, and an occasional Goyle or Crabb, but not in the last two hundred years or so, Thank Merlin, but I digress. No they don't even care, just cobble me down here once a year and expect me to sing and sort. Not even a proper introduction, something like "Welcome now the Sorting Hat. Please pay attention." Nothing. And you can forget about a proper thank you after I am done just; 'All done? Good, now on with the food!' Hah! Look at that, this time I don't even get the respect of being able to go before the food, no I'm the following 'act' as it were. Stuffed in after the… goodness is that pizza? I never thought I'd see pizza at Hogwarts… and the desert. And do you think that one of them might just think to talk to me about anything during the rest of the year. No! I just sit on the shelf, no conversations, no enlightened discussions on how the newest batch of students is doing. Let alone a discussion of the great or not so great futures that those about to graduate are going to possibly have. The headmasters haven't even thought to consult me on any problem students in over nearly six hundred and fifty years. Oh no lets not bother the hat it doesn't know anything about kids or their problems and how to help them. Ungrateful Here, Harry tried very hard to pay attention to some of the more colorful descriptions of the people in the hall for future references. Really these oaths were wonderful and not a swear word was used once. Of course I don't use swear words. Why should I when there are such wonderful words like gorgonian and expeditious that hardly every get used now a days. Besides I have nearly a thousand years of experience in this area as well. So... Now that I've run out of steam and annoyance I'd best get you sorted out then shall I?"
"If you would please." Replied Harry politely.
"Well, at least you were listening enough to be polite." Replied the hat smugly. "Hmm Now where to put you? I get to take my time with you because if they are going to pull me out of the Headmaster's office only a week after the start of the second term of classes, I'm going to enjoy myself. So, I can take my own good time looking around and…OH my goodness. I can see this is going to be a bit of challenge, but no worries, and what's this over here? You are… oh goodness. I never thought that I would be sorting a Wizard of Wizards…."
"Could you explain what that is? Wizard of Wizards, The little ones, the house elves call me that and I think I better know what that is." Harry asked a bit worriedly.
"You Don't kn… Oh heavens you were muggle raised, or rather you weren't muggle raised…LET OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF LONDON? Walked, Forbidden Forest, Baslisk!? My you've been having a day haven't you? Where was I. Right.' Continued the flustered hat… "What is the Wizard of Wizards? Right. Well. 99.9 per cent of the wizards and witches in the world are your garden variety witches and wizards. Some are strong, some are not so strong, some are fast, some are slow. Some are good, and some, like the 'black robes' as you call them, are bad. So the Wizarding world is made up of lots of Normal witches and wizards. Get it?" asked the hat.
"Got it. Kinda like the' Harry struggled to supply the right words. 'non-magical world."
"Precisely' the hat replied very please. 'Now every now and then, every… about two or three hundred years something odd happens, one that no one in the Magical world can accurately predict. Well just like in the non magical world, families live and work and love and get married to other witches or wizards and have children. However, every now and then in the magical world the right combination of people get married and bloodline of an ancient wizard surfaces. The witch or wizard child from that union… I say witch or wizard because it can be either female or male you understand; last Wizard of Wizards was a witch, you see. The wizard from that union, in this case You, has the bloodline of that ancient wizard. That makes you the Wizard of Wizards, and rather more powerful that your average witch or wizard."
"No. I can't be some super Wizard, I'm just Harry. Just Harry." He told the hat firmly.
"Yes, you are most certainly Harry Potter. You are also the current Wizard of Wizards, of that I am sure. Have you ever made light come out of your hand or been able to open doors that you shouldn't have? Call things to you from across the room? Ahhh I can see in your mind you have, your garden variety witch or wizard would have to first be a grown up, next be very powerful (for the common garden variety wizard or witch) and then train very long and hard to do that sort of magic. I only know of the current Headmaster to be able to do it, and young Snape. Ah fond of him are you? That's all to the good as well. So then such magic is easy for you and is one way of showing that you are the Wizard of Wizard. Properly trained and schooled you'll find your magic even easier I expect."
"But how can everyone else tell, I didn't show off to anyone except Sirius and Ron oh and Severus!" Asked Harry confused.
"Well, at the moment there is fact that the Castle itself recognized you as soon as you entered. She then changed the flags on Her battlements, they are now tipped in white. That white on the flags announce your presence in the Castle. Secondly, you might have noticed that the house elves are falling over themselves to help you. You see they are very powerful magical creatures in their own right and they can tell you are the Wizard of Wizards. Next, there are those in the Castle sworn into your service; The Weasley's, looks to be Sirius Black and Severus Snape. The Castle recognizes them too, after we are done here, I suggest you look on their clothing and you will notice a medallion on their robes, with a P for Protector on it. Only a Wizard of Wizard can create those into being. See, right there in your mind, this morning when you talked to Charlie Weasley, you said that the Weasley's and Sirius were permitted to protect you and in doing so I believe that the Castle and your own magic commanded the Protector shields into existence. In Severus' case, you saved him from that lunatic I sorted what was it now 50 years ago? You asked him to accept you, when he did, he too became one of your Protectors. Finally, do you or do you not have a birthmark on your chest looks like a green leaf with fine vines that swirls around it?" Harry rubbed the spot and chuckling the hat continued. "That's the birthmark of the Wizard of Wizards. It is handed down from the time of middle earth from an ancient wizard we know only as the White Wizard had such a symbol and that his descendents now carry it on their skin. He lived before the time of Merlin, and You are his descendent."
"So what do I do about it? What do I do now?" Asked a worried Harry.
"Don't worry so! You have Protectors to help you with any questions you have. And to protect you from any idiots that come along. For now dear boy, I'll sort you and you'll go to school here and have some fun, prank your teachers, maybe play some quidditch and if you have any extra time go to class and do homework. Why don't you take me off your head and put me on the stool. I'll show these philistines what it is to improvise!" Replied the hat with glee.
Smiling and realizing the Hat was going to have a comeuppance on the grown-ups, Harry gently stood up and taking the hat off his head, carefully put it on the stool and backed a step up.
A rip on the edge of the brim opened the hat began to sing.
You've woke me up.
Before my time,
You pulled me from
My work sublime.
And what do I find beneath my brim?
A student most powerful an prim!
But where will I sort him?
You sit and wait
Anxious for me to sing
and to decide his fate.
In Gryffindor he'll lay his head
With the Lions he will make his bed.
With Ravenclaw he will eat
Eagles with his mind compete.
To Hufflepuffs he will learn
Attending Badgers classes without concern
And finally Slytherian he will stalk
Their grudging respect he'll will not balk!
Every HOUSE stands freely open
Filled with Smiles deep as any ocean
For what has been taken and often stolen,
Has been returned, our joy is golden.
House banners change! Tip them ALL in white.
Shout out Hogwarts! We have the right!
The Wizard of Wizard! Is Home this NIGHT!!
To Be Continued…