Chapter 28 – Dr. Hedwig is On-Call

Hedwig woke up with a start. She had returned to her spot in the owlry about two hours ago and was enjoying her morning sleep until she felt her familiar's anguish. She immediately set off to find him.

//Scene Break//

Harry returned back to his room and sat on the edge of the bed. He was running on pure adrenaline that caused his emotions to be all over the place. One of his biggest dreams had just come true – he had met and talked to his Mother. He had even hugged and kissed her. And, for the first time in his life that he could remember, he finally felt the unconditional love that only a parent could give their child. It was one of the happiest moments in his life.

And then – just as suddenly – it was gone.

She was gone again.

And he would never get another chance to be with her again.

He shook his head fighting back the tears. He knew how to handle tears – he used his anger instead. It just so happened he had a focus for his anger – Tom. He took his parents away from him. He made the decision to kill his mother as she tried to protect her son.

He hated Tom Riddle and his alter ego Voldemort.

The anger clouded his thoughts and successfully kept his rational mind from taking control of the situation.

As he sat stewing in his thoughts a fluttering noise interrupted him and he saw Hedwig fly in and settle on the bedside table next to him. He crossed his legs and slid up on the bed and faced his familiar.

At the same time, Hermione appeared behind him. She was about to speak when she saw Hedwig looking at her. Brown eyes met gold and in an instant Hermione understood – Hedwig needed to deal with Harry first. She made sure that she remained withdrawn from his mind until Hedwig finished her piece.

//Scene Break//

Albus woke up this morning feeling more fatigued. For some reason it was even harder to draw power from the school today than even yesterday. He looked at the walls around his room and said softly, "you can try and fight me but once the Slytherin and Gryffindor lines are gone for good I will be able to get through your protective wards and bend you to my will. So you might as well stop fighting me."

He had studied Hogwarts and it's wards for years. He knew the founders had imbued her with a semi-sentient mind. They wanted the Castle to "learn" and improve itself as time went on in order to better meet the needs of the students. Each of the four had cast strong protective wards around the "heart" of the castle where the main rune-covered ward stones were placed. The only ones who could enter the heart were the bloodline heirs of the founders.

Albus had tried to breach the wards over the years but found that a millennium had allowed the castle to improve them. His current hypothesis was that the wards would only remain active as long as there were magical heirs. He took it upon himself to trace the bloodlines and find those heirs.

Ravenclaw's magical line disappeared in the 1300s. There was never record of magical descendents of Ravenclaw after that.

He had tracked down a descendent of Hufflepuff several years ago. After a few subtle suggestions to Tom, that magical bloodline was gone and a new Horcrux was created.

Albus and the Dumbledores who came before him had participated in a magically declared and sworn – but not publicly announced – blood feud with the Potter family for the past six centuries. In 1403 Horatio Potter found – using a very clever investigative technique – that Donald Dumbledore had indeed murdered Morpheus Gaunt the scion of the Gaunt family who were the last remaining family of the Slytherin bloodline. For his crime against pureblood nobility Donald was sentenced to be partially obliviated, charmed to be featherlite and thrown to the muggles in a small village in tattered wizarding clothing, a carrot crudely tied to the end of his nose, and his magic bound. He survived about two days before he was burnt at the stake after the muggle lord of the area stopped them from trying to drown him. The muggles of the small village had proven to themselves he was a Wizard using the simple fact that he weighed the same as a duck.

Donald's son Dexter never forgave Horatio for what happened to his father. He did a number of things that made him one of the most annotated characters in the Dumbledore family grimoire.

First, he developed a potion that he used to infect the Gaunts. Displaying the Dumbledore trait of extracting vengeance over time when your victim wasn't expecting it, he developed a potion he used to taint the water at Gaunt properties. This potion was specifically formulated to only affect Gaunts as a safeguard when the Dumbledores moved in to claim properties later. It subtly affected the genetics and preferences of the Gaunt family to the point where the Family motto changed to Reservo Matrimonium in Familia – Keep Marriage in the Family.

Secondly, Dexter swore a blood feud against the Potters. Mind you he never actually stood up to Horatio to swear the feud in front of him. No, that was something he deemed – coincidentally for the Greater Good of the Dumbledore family – the Potters didn't need to know. This set the systematic depletion of the Potter line under officially mysterious circumstances. All that was left now was Harry James Potter.

The third thing Dexter was famous for is wresting the exclusive rights to breed magical goats in Great Britain from Scorpius Malfoy in 1431.

The fourth claim to familial fame enjoyed by Dexter was that he set the gears in motion for what would eventually become the Pureblood Conspiracy.

Albus shook his head to escape his reverie. He only had the grimoire to go by, but he was convinced that Dexter would be quietly overjoyed to see his some of his plans finally nearing fruition.

//Scene Break//

When Charlie arrived back in England at the International portkey site and owl was waiting for him. He took the note and read it. A frown appeared on his brow.

"I can't believe they did that. We're supposed to be family." He set off to find out what was going on. Coming to the apparition point he turned and disappeared with a 'crack'.

//Scene Break//

At the Ministry of Magic business permit office a certain clerk had just served her second important and famous wizard in the same number of days. The wizard today had filed an objection to the permit application filed yesterday by Lord Malfoy. The normally stoic civil servant reflected that if her department achieved any higher visibility that she would ask for a raise.

//Scene Break//

Severus made sure Tom was resting and went downstairs to let those who stayed the night know how things turned out.

As he approached the bottom of the stairs he saw that only Jane and Dan had stayed through the evening.

"How are they?" asked Jane as she saw the exhausted potions master come into the sitting room.

"Hermione and Harry have both awoken and appear unharmed. Tom is still unconscious but I expect he will be all right as well. It takes a certain amount of time for the soul fragment to reintegrate itself."

Hermione's parents looked relieved but Dan noticed something, "Severus, there is something you haven't mentioned yet."

Snape sighed, "Harry was not very happy with Tom when he awoke. In fact he threatened to kill him."

Jane and Dan were shocked and gasped. Jane asked, "Why? They seemed to be getting along well. Don't they have to work together?"

"They do need to work together – all four of them in order to thwart Dumbledore's plans. As to why, may I ask if you viewed the memory of the first reintegration?" Snape asked.

Dan and Jane nodded and Severus continued, "Well based on the brief conversation I had with your daughter a similar event occurred. However this time because Harry was the horcrux and he is soul-bonded with your daughter they were not just spectators but participants in the reintegration."

"What does that mean?" asked Jane.

Severus sighed, "It means that not just Tom, but Harry and Hermione were able to interact with the sacrificial victim the same way Tom was able to interact with his father and grandparents before." He paused to see if the Grangers would work it out for themselves.

Proving that Hermione's intelligence was not a genetic aberration, it took less than ten seconds for their faces to show that they had indeed made the intuitive leap followed by a look of shock as they began to understand the implications. "You mean," Dan said slowly watching the other man's reaction to see if he was on the right track, "Tom, Harry and Hermione met Harry's parents?"

Severus nodded, "Yes, but it was only Lily. Tom began the horcrux ritual after he killed James." He went on to explain the theory or what happened next that he had discussed with Tom the day before.

Jane then continued from where her husband left off, "So Harry was able to interact with his mother?"

Another nod.

"And he's upset with Tom because it's like he lost her all over again," she stated followed by another nod from Severus.

She continued, "That poor boy. Where are Harry and Hermione now?"

Severus sighed, "Harry called Jeeves to take him straight back to his room in the manor. As I said, he was extremely angry. Hermione called Jeeves back and ascertained that she was the only one Harry had not forbidden the elves to allow into his room so she left to go talk to him a few minutes after he left."

Dan slowly shook his head, "This whole thing can't fall apart now. If I know my daughter, she'll talk some sense into him."

Severus nodded, "For all our sakes I hope you are correct."

//Scene Break//

Tom opened his eyes and allowed them to focus on the ceiling above him. He took stock of his senses and decided he felt … better, more whole. His throat was extremely sore and so were his muscles but he had expected that following the last time. He turned his head to look at the other two beds in the room just as Severus came back into the room. The beds, he noticed, were empty – probably a sign that all was well with the two teenagers.

He sat up slowly as Severus passed him the potions to help him recover. As he felt his throat becoming less like grated meat he tested his voice by asking the question, "Severus, is everything well?"

"That depends. Let's start with the easiest question, how do you feel?" Severus said to him trying to redirect the conversation elsewhere for the moment.

Tom was too smart for that ploy, "Apart from the customary results after the physical exertion, I am personally feeing better than before the ritual. However I know you are trying to avoid something. How are Harry and Hermione?"

"They are physically and mentally well. Harry did not suffer the fate of the last horcrux vessel so Luna's idea of the soul bond was the correct plan of action."

Tom looked into Severus' eyes and he didn't need Legillimency to know Snape was leaving something unsaid on purpose. However he felt fairly sure what that 'something' was.

"Harry was upset. Did he threaten to kill me?"

Severus shook his head, "Not quite, but he was extremely angry."

Tom sighed, "I should talk to him and …"

Severus interrupted him, "He is in his room and the only other person he will allow there is with him trying to get him to calm down."

Tom nodded, "I hope she can succeed."

The old Severus Snape – hated Hogwarts Potions Professor – reappeared momentarily, "If anyone can snap Potter out of a funk it is Granger. I've had to put up with their insufferable friendship for years and …" He burst out laughing, "I just can't do that old prick routine anymore. Come September my students won't recognize me anymore."

Tom smiled and added, "If all goes well then come September, there will be a number of changes starting at Hogwarts."

//Scene Break//

Harry looked at his familiar and his anger dissipated quickly. Ever since his eleventh birthday Hedwig had been there with him. She was there through all the times at the Dursleys when he needed someone to talk to. Harry was convinced that she understood what he said. Aside from her habit of reading over his shoulder, he also noticed that she responded to what he told her.

"Hedwig, I don't know what to feel right now." She tilted her head slightly and Harry took it as a sign to go on, "I met my Mum last night."

Hedwig froze, startled. She continued to stare at Harry.

"OK, it wasn't my Mum. It was a fragment of her soul that stabilized the horcrux in my head. We went through the ritual I told you about last night. It felt so real Hed." He paused.

Hedwig hooted softly and reached forward with her wing to touch his arm gently. He smiled slightly and continued, "She said she loved me. We talked for what felt like hours and she hugged me. I never knew how much I wanted that until I felt my Mum's arms around me. She even met Hermione and the two of them hit it off." His features tightened as he continued, "But Tom was there too. He ruined it. Said he was sorry. SORRY? He killed my parents and he's sorry? I'm so angry at him – even more than when he was Voldemort. I jut met my Mum and he took her away again…" Harry stopped short as his anger got the better of him again.

He was snapped out of his rage by an angry bark. He snapped at his familiar, "I am not being an idiot."

Hedwig fluttered up with her powerful wings until she in front of his face and slightly higher than his head. Hermione stood open mouthed as the snowy owl quickly beat her wings forward and smacked Harry several times on either side of his head before she landed on his lap.

"Hedwig, I'm not being an idiot! This is so not like the time in third year when I was angry with Hermione about the broom. Hedwig moved to fly up again causing Harry to give in, "OK, OK, maybe it is and I am being an idiot." Hedwig hooted in agreement and hopped back on the table to face him.

"But Tom is to blame for their death. How can I face him again?"

Hedwig shook her head. Harry scrunched his forehead, "What do you mean no? He killed them."

Hedwig opened and closed her eyes several times and leaned forward. When she opened her eyes again, Hedwig further convinced Hermione that she was an owl in a class by herself. The rapid eye movement had caused an extra sheen of moisture to develop which caused her eyes to twinkle and she managed to convey that she was looking over a pair of invisible glasses perched on her nose.

Harry took it in stride, "Dumbledore?" He looked like he was about to argue when Hedwig peered at him again with the twinkle. This caused him to pause and he sighed in defeat and frustration, "you're right Hed. I'll need to talk to Tom later but you are right. You always seem to know the right thing to say." His shoulders sagged and he shook his head slowly. His voice was barely above a whisper, "It still hurts though."

Hedwig hooted and flew up onto his shoulder. She cupped his head lovingly in her wing and he leaned his head slightly into her. "Can I tell you about my Mum? She's brilliant."

Hedwig hooted softly. "When I saw her and we recognized each other we hugged. Hedwig it was one of the best hugs I ever had, only Hermione's are in the same class."

At this point Hedwig turned her head toward the girl in question and blinked at her. Hermione took this s a signal to draw closer and open up her connection to him. She sat next to Harry on the opposite side that Hedwig currently occupied. Harry looked surprised at her being there and felt the rush of emotions through the bond as she wrapped him in a hug and said, "Like this?"

He smiled and wrapped his free arm around her. "Exactly. How long have you been here?"

"Hedwig and I arrived about the same time. She somehow knew that she had to talk to you first so she just gave me a look and I knew what she wanted me to do."

Harry chuckled, "Yeah, my Hedwig is like that. She knows me better than I know myself. I stopped thinking of her as an owl about 2 weeks after Hagrid got her for me. Ever since then she's been a friend and companion."

Hermione teased him, "I know, I'm actually kind of jealous."

Before Harry could reply Hedwig flew off his shoulder and landed on Hermione's. She proceeded to 'hug' Hermione's head in the same way she had done Harry's.

"I think Hed is telling you she loves us both and you don't have to be jealous."

Hedwig hooted in agreement. She then took off and landed back on the table in front of Harry. As she looked at him her eyes slowly closed.

Harry reached out and stroked her head. "Yes Hedwig, I feel better now. You can go get your beauty sleep."

Hedwig barked and nipped indignantly at his finger. "Hey, I didn't mean that you needed the sleep to be beautiful. You're always beautiful."

She hooted back and took flight back out the window to the owlry.

Hermione and Harry fell back on the bed in a tight hug. She kissed him passionately.

When they split apart for air she said, "You know, no one would ever believe us if we told them what just happened here."

"I know." He chuckled, "I've never told anyone this, but there was this one time where Hedwig…"

Hermione smiled and listened attentively to the story. Right now, Harry needed to talk and calm down after a long night.

//Scene Break//

Lucius Malfoy was close to sticking a fork into his right eye. Anything right now would be welcome to ease the pain of having to teach his 'new' son table manners. They had started with lunch yesterday and the lessons continued during dinner and into breakfast this morning. He sighed as he thought to himself, "at least he hasn't sprayed food bits on us like yesterday when he was trying to talk while chewing but – for Merlin's sake – whatever possessed him to think that a serving spoon and mixing bowl are appropriate to use for cereal in the morning.

He looked over at the boy again and felt revulsion as he saw the large spoon easily entering Ron's mouth. Lucius was at the point where he was deciding on whether to use the Imperius curse to force Ronald (it was definitely not the pedestrian Ron anymore) to learn how to eat properly or the Cruciatus curse to punish him when he did things wrong. He was leaning towards both.

Ron saw his new dad smiling. "I must be doing something right after those lessons yesterday," he thought, "Let's see, don't talk with food in your mouth. Check. Keep your elbows at your side. Check. Don't slurp your food and do place it completely in your mouth. Check." He thought this as his mouth completely engulfed the spoon. Once he was nearly done he picked up the bowl and noisily gulped the rest of the milk down. Putting down the bowl he let out a large loud belch and smiled – after all he had heard that was a compliment in some cultures. Hermione even said so.


Lunch was just finished and the third year Gryffindors were just packing up to head to their afternoon Potions class. Ron let a huge belch out that caused even the Slytherins to cringe across the hall. "WOW!" Ron exclaimed, "That was one of my best yet!"

Hermione had been raised in a proper English household and cringed. "He didn't even excuse himself!" she thought.

"Ronald!" she exclaimed, "You know there are some cultures in the world where that action would be considered a compliment. However, the English culture is not one of them."

"Wow Hermione," Ron said after wiping his mouth and nose on the sleeve of his robes, "I wonder which cultures they are and how I picked it up. Maybe the Egyptian or Romanian cultures are like that and I picked it up from Bill or Charlie. I'll have to write them and find out. Can you believe that some people have had the nerve to call it rude and said that I at least should have excused myself? Thanks Hermione!"

What Ron didn't see as he left the hall was Hermione repeatedly banging her head against the table until Harry stopped her and got her to go to Potions."

//End Flashback//

Lucius was nearly apoplectic at the sounds and resulting smell from the belch. He quickly revised his teaching methods. "Avada Kaderva is the only one that will work and make him presentable," he thought with a wry look on his face. The only thing that caused him to smile was, "as soon as there's a magical heir though …"

He mentally ran down the list of prospective mates. Pickings were slim indeed. Since he was wizard non grata in many English wizarding circles he realized he may need to go outside to the Far East or Eastern Europe to find a willing bride for his new son.

//Scene Break//

It was late morning by the time Charlie arrived at the Burrow. As he approached the door it opened and his sister came running out with a big grin on her face and her arms wide open yelling "CHAAAARRRRRRLIEEEEEE." He scooped his sister up and swung her around.

"Ginny, it's great to see you. Look at you! You're growing into a beautiful young woman!" He turned serious, "Now you let me know if any boys try to make you do anything you don't want to. We always need appetizers for the dragons." His face broke into a grin.

Ginny giggled and hugged her brother again. "Come on in. Mum's been anxiously waiting for you.

Molly watched from the window. She had been plotting with her daughter just how to great Charlie and get him on their side of this whole thing. Albus had suggested using Charlie as a spy to find out what Arthur and the rest of the boys were up to but they would refrain for the while on trusting him enough to make him part of the Master Plan. She smiled as she rubbed a bit of onion juice under her eyes – Ginny had completed act one, now it was Molly's turn.

When Charlie stepped in a sight greeted him – his mother was standing there with tears running down her face and bloodshot eyes. She quickly came forward and hugged him. He could feel her silent sobs.

"Mum, what's wrong? I got your note and came as fast as I could. There was a delay getting through customs since I work with dragons every day." When he got no answer he looked over his mother's shoulder at Ginny, 'Hey sis, where is everyone?"

This caused tears to run down Ginny's face and Molly started shaking even more. It took about 10 minutes before Molly was able to talk to Charlie.

"I … I … I'm sorry Charlie, it's just so good to hug one of my sons."

He chuckled, "Well, there are enough of us …" this caused the two women to start wailing again. It was another 10 minutes before they calmed down.

Molly detached herself from her son and blew her nose. "Charlie, let's go sit down in the kitchen. Once they were seated she took a deep breath and continued, "Someone is feeding your father potions that have caused him to abandon parts of his family." Inside she was smirking – in the literal sense this was true. St. Mungo's most likely had Arthur on a potions regimen to clear the potions her and Albus had given him our of his system.

Charlie looked shocked as she continued, "He divorced me and disowned Ginny and Ron. Except for the Burrow, which he let me keep, I'm practically destitute. I could not stand the thought of my daughter being at the mercies of strangers with now name to defend herself so I was able to adopt her. However I didn't have the means and now poor Ronald is Merlin knows where with no name. The rest of your brothers sided with your father. I have no idea if they have been subjected to potions or not." Throughout the explanation she had seen how his famous Weasley temper had been rising and his ears and face turned red.

"That's insane! Do you have any suspicion's who is poisoning them?"

"All I know is that it happened after Sirius Black's will reading and Harry Potter was the main beneficiary. He was cordial to your father and the Twins, but he was nasty to me Ginny and especially Ron. The timing seems to be to close for it to be a coincidence?"

Charlie turned to Ginny, "Things not going well with Harry? I thought you two were seeing each other." Molly had written to Charlie that Ginny and Harry were dating and the wedding was going to be on her fifteenth birthday.

Ginny just looked down, "It was going well until Hermione Granger got in the way."

Charlie gasped, "What? The mudblood? What does she have over a pureblood like you?"

Ginny and Molly secretly cheered inside as Ginny continued in an angry pout, "I think she's using Harry to get back at Ron and keep him from me." She paused and then said, "You don't think Hermione is behind all the potions do you?"

Molly thought for a moment, "I do recall she was asking me last summer about love potions and mind control potions."

Charlie was seething inside. "Mum, Ginny, I swear to you I will get to the bottom of this. I'm going to go over to Bill's place and get some answers."

Molly demonstrated the fine art of faking sincerity to her daughter with her next statement. "Charlie, this requires stealth and subtlety. If it is Hermione then she is quite brilliant and you have to be careful. Try and approach bill and see if you can find out what they do and how it may be connected with Harry. It's the only hope we have of getting this family back together."

Charlie thought is over and he reluctantly agreed. Molly offered him a late breakfast and when he was done he steeled himself and apparated away to visit his big brother.

//Scene Break//

It was an apprehensive group that gathered for a late breakfast/brunch that morning at Potter Manor. Tom and Severus arrived – the latter having managed a 2 hour kip – and Grangers along with everyone else who had held vigil during the night. All eyes looked to Tom, who appeared more human and less Voldemort following the previous night's activities. His eyes were losing their red colour and going back to the natural blue he had inherited from his father.

The Grangers had already filled the rest in on what had transpired. Tonks had hugged her wolf tightly as tears ran down his face upon hearing that Lily's soul had been used to anchor the horcrux and that Harry had been able to meet his exceptional mother – albeit all too briefly. Harry's initial reaction upon waking left everyone subdued and each person around the table kept glancing to the entryway to see if the young couple would join them.

The meal was a silent affair until they heard a throat clearing. Standing in the doorway was Hermione tightly holding a very exhausted-looking boyfriend. All heads turned to the couple and Hermione saw the subdued faces around the table.

She spoke up with a concerned voice, "Did anything happen?"

Tonks rolled her eyes, "You mean apart from what Tom and Severus have filled us in on?"

At this point Luna got up and gave Harry a friendly hug. She smiled as she said, "I don't feel the wrackspurt infestation anymore."

This broke the ice and there were a few smiles and chuckles. Harry even smiled and said, "Nope, for the first time I can remember they're gone." He turned to Tom, "I'm sure Severus told you how I felt when I woke up. To be honest with you, I was ready to kill you right there. That's why I had to leave immediately."

Tom nodded, "No one would have blamed you."

Harry continued, "No, not right then, but our new group of friends would have come to blame me when the purebloods destroyed our society. It took a certain girl," at this point he smiled at his girlfriend and she chuckled at the shared joke between them as he continued, "to beat it into my head that I have Dumbledore to blame for this just as much as he is to blame for the creation of Voldemort. I was reminded that I am friends with Tom Riddle and no longer have to worry about Voldemort."

He approached Tom and offered his hand, "Tom, I have seen some of the things you were subjected to and were compelled to do to yourself. Hermione made me see that even though last night was painful, it was a gift. I go to spend time with my Mum and I will treasure the experience for the rest of my life regardless of the circumstances. It was a healing experience for me in more ways than just getting rid of your soul fragment. I'm hoping we can still be friends and if not then willing allies."

Tom shook his hand and said, "Harry, ever since you opened my eyes to what is going on we have been willing allies. I feel that over time it will be a lasting friendship," and with that took his hand and shook it.

That broke the tension in the room and gave the morale of those assembled a boost that was sorely needed. Harry even volunteered to share the memory of meeting Lily with everyone since they might be able to glean more information. It would be done during the next gathering of the OE.

Hermione looked at Tom and asked him how he was feeling.

Tom responded, "I am feeling much better than I have in years. Now that Harry is safe and no longer has a connection with me I will accelerate the process of reintegrating the rest of the horcruxes." He became pensive, "I only wish…"

Narcissa looked at him. He looked concerned, "what is it you wish?"

"I wish your former husband had not been so careless with the diary. I'm not sure how whole I will become without the first fragment I severed from my soul."

That caused a pause through the assembled group. Would they be able to get the entire Tom Riddle back? What if they could not?

//Scene Break//

Deep inside one of the oldest castles in Great Britain still in everyday use, in a hidden room covered in runes, four chests lay undisturbed as they had for the better part of 1000 years. Each carried the crest and seal of one of the four founding houses of the school that was to this day still in operation in the castle.

One of the founders had been a powerful seer – the identity of the seer had been lost to the ravages of time, the frailty of human memory and the historical revisionism of a particular family. Nonetheless, while this seer never gave an actual prophecy, his/her glimpses into the near future had proven so accurate that when the glimpses of the far future started appearing they were taken seriously.

The four founders – all great friends whose bonds were forged in the heat of battle – decided that they would each leave something for their future heirs to assist them in a struggle that they knew nothing about save that their heirs would need to work together.

They each designed a set of wards that would only respond favourably to their particular descendant. This would force all four to come together willingly in order to claim their inheritance.

Rowena had the idea to enchant the castle as a guardian (although Salazar also added his own more idiosyncratic guardian). The role of the guardian would be to care for the heirs whenever possible and to improve upon itself over time. While the original guardian was more of an automaton it had developed a rudimentary sentience over the course of a millennium. As soon as a founder entered the school it could sense them but over the years the additional wards placed upon the castle by various Headmasters restricted the castle in what it could do. The current Headmaster was one of the worst. He specifically cast wards to dampen the affect of the Guardian – even though he did not know what it's purpose was, he bound it once he found out it would not answer to the Headmaster blindly. The Guardian was unable to resist as this Headmaster started drawing power from the castle to extend his lifespan.

That changed when a pair of the heirs showed up and then a third the next year. Its purpose to protect and assist the heirs began to override the additional wards and the castle started to slowly restrict the power drain of the Headmaster. All that was required for the guardian to server her purpose (she had taken on a female persona since many of the witches and wizards passing living there over the centuries referred to the castle as a 'she') was the inclusion of the fourth heir. He had been there a few decades before however the other heirs never were present at the same time.

The guardian even watched helplessly as the Slytherin heir damaged his soul. To pass into the chamber all of the heirs had to be there willingly and be complete and whole in mind, body and soul. The Guardian had also noticed the current Gryffindor heir had extra soul fragments that had to be cleansed in order to accept his inheritance.

While she was strengthening, the Guardian was still bound and would be until the heirs restored the ancient and proper wards. Her ability to help the heirs was limited but three short years ago she was able to save the Slytherin line.


Harry was dying and in a last-ditch effort he stabbed the basilisk fang into the diary. He collapsed as he saw the almost-corporeal Tom Riddle disappear and a blackness rise out of the diary.

While Fawkes was attending to Harry, the young exhausted and dying lad did not notice that the blackness did not disperse right away. The Guardian had recognized the soul fragment of her heir from all of those years ago and – using its vast repository of knowledge – modified the stone in the floor beneath the diary to become a horcrux vessel and absorb the soul fragment.

When Harry managed to look back at the diary there was no trace of Tom Riddle and he assumed that whatever was possessing the diary had been destroyed.

//End Flashback//

The guardian had watched over the soul fragment of the Slytherin heir for the time when he would come back and reclaim it. Another boost in the Guardian's strength last night signified that the heirs were coming together and getting stronger. It was only a matter of time.

A/N - In case anyone hasn't quite clued in by now, I hate Ron Weasley (or Ronald Malfoy in this story). Nothing good will come of him in any stories I write. The hardest part right now is figuring out who to mate him to.

I am writing chapters as I get the time and the muse. Both my stories really interest me and I even have another storyline forming in my brain in an uncontrolled manner. I keep having to beat it down so that I can concentrate on the two I'm still writing.

Some people ask about other characters like Hagrid, Dobby, Winky and the rest of the Teaching staff. Their appearances in the story will come in time (if at all) when it makes sense to me to have them in the storyline.

I hope you liked the resolution to the Harry hates Tom dilemma I left in the last chapter. I didn't want to write several chapters of mistrust and angst just to have them realize that they are stronger united than apart. That's where Dr. Hedwig came to me.