Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.
Note: Thanks for the reviews. I'm sorry for the lack of updates but I think that you all know I'm a junior in college and that means a lot of work if I want to graduate next year. I'll try to update when I can. Let's begin. This chapter takes place a week after the other one
School life resumed quickly as the students adapted to the new schedule. Potions had been cancelled due to the continued absence of Professor Snape and Professor Remus Lupin filled in for Professor Quirrell who had mysteriously disappeared. Speculation among the students were high as to where the missing professor had gone. On top of that Harry Potter had disappeared as well.
Only a handful of people at school knew where the Gryffindor was. The other students were speculating loudly and often. Especially during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today's breakfast was no exception as Remus drank his coffee and ate his toast at the teacher's table. He kept a wary eye on the students as some of them glanced up at him before ducking back down to whisper loudly to their friends. His hearing was sensitive due to his werewolf side but even he couldn't tell what they were saying because of the noise in the Great Hall. He decided to let them go.
"So the latest story is that I killed Quirrell because I wanted this job so badly." He grinned at Minerva as she dropped in the seat beside him.
"Then what do the students think happened to Severus?"
"They think he kidnapped Harry, fled the country and is currently living somewhere in the Caribbean. That is the latest version of the story." He passed the plate of bacon to her but she shook her head. He passed the teapot which she did accept.
"Students will make up anything, I suppose. He still refuses to come back until Quirrellmort has been dealt with?" Remus was the only one who was currently in contact with Severus. He had volunteered, partly to gain Severus' trust and partly because it was easier to have one person at Hogwarts stay in contact with Severus than many people. This was also done because of safety reasons. Remus found that Severus' paranoia was rubbing off on him. He hoped that he could outgrow that or at least gain a healthier sense of paranoia.
"With good reason. If something happens and we can't get rid of the Mort part of Quirrell then Harry and Severus are not safe at Hogwarts. Harry is Severus' first priority right now. I agree with him that something needs to be done about Quirrellmort. We can only keep him asleep for so long." He took another bite of his toast.
Minerva looked weary and she took a sip of her tea, sighing gratefully. "Yes, so far I have not been very successful in finding any method of getting rid of possession in any of the books I have read through. Some books suggest a host body to put the spirit into, which is an option I have not yet explored fully. Killing Quirrell is not an option, regardless of any mortal concerns, because You Know Who's soul will flee to another host body."
"But you are looking into a possible host body? It has to be a lower life form because otherwise he will simply control it and escape. We cannot allow that to happen."
"Tell me something I don't know, Remus." Minerva finished her tea and poured herself another cup. Remus surveyed the hall in the meantime.
"It looks like Harry's friends are getting anxious for news. It has been three days in a row that I've caught them outside Severus' office trying to break into it to gather news. It is a good thing that Severus has such strong wards or otherwise he would have come back to an office in disarray." He nodded at Hermione as she looked up at the Staff Table.
"Perhaps it would be best if I called them to my office to discuss any news we have of Harry. It would ease their mind and I'm sure that Harry would benefit from any letters from his friends. Not that we tell them everything of course but just enough that they can keep Harry up to date."
"I suppose that it can't hurt. But perhaps we need to remind them of Severus' temper, should he come back to find his office vandalized."
"Ah yes, Severus' temper, a dreadful sight to behold. Now perhaps we can talk of something a little bit differently than any dreadful news since I still want to get some enjoyment out of this day." Remus nodded at her. He could understand that she wanted to talk about anything else.
"Sirius' trial has begun. He was called to the stand a week ago. The trial is due to resume this week with witnesses but we don't know who yet. I've not been able to visit…" Remus nodded at the owl that dropped a letter neatly in his lap. He frowned at the Ministry's seal.
"That looks like an important letter that you have there, better open it quick." Minerva poured herself another cup of tea. Remus did as she suggested, his frown only deepening as he read the letter.
"The Wizengamot wants me to testify in Sirius' trail." Remus glanced up at Minerva as she held out her hand for the letter. He handed it over after a moment. It was something that he had thought could happen but he had never actually expected it to happen. He was called to court and to testify for or against Sirius, he didn't know. The Wizengamot would surely ask for his side of the story of what had happened the night that Peter had supposedly died or they would even want to know what had happened when they had found Peter.
It made him slightly nervous but he couldn't refuse. He was the only one who could tell the truth. Severus was in hiding and he wasn't going to come out just because the Wizengamot called. He owedit to Sirius to at least give his side of the story. Sirius deserved a fair trial, especially after the mockery of a trial that he had when Lily and James had died.
It had been a dark time for all of them and especially for Remus. He had been mad with grief and then to realize that Sirius had betrayed them all had been the final straw for him. It had taken all of his willpower not to give over to the wolf. He had to remind himself that he still had a cause to fight for. He had Harry to protect, even when he had not been allowed to take care of the boy; he still had a duty to him. And Harry had needed all the protection he could get.
"I suppose the correct protocol would be to send an owl back to tell them I will come." He fed the owl a piece of bacon. The owl hooted happily and nibbled on it, shuffling its feathers for a moment. It seemed to be waiting for something. Remus carefully petted it with a finger. He had no desire to be pecked.
"When the Wizengamot summons you there is no reason to send anything back. But if it makes you feel better, then do so." Minerva handed him the parchment back and Remus scribbled his answer on it before tying it to the owl's leg and sending it off with another piece of bacon.
He hoped that it would be alright and that he wouldn't get baited by the Wizengamot into revealing more about Sirius than he should.
Minerva glanced up from the notes she had taken from the books that she had found in the Restricted Section. Most of the information she needed was not in these books. There were darker rituals and spells that were not safe for students' eyes, even if they had been put in the Restricted Section.
She pressed her lips into a thin line at the thought of where those books could be. No doubt Albus would have some in his library but at the moment she wasn't very comfortable with asking for his help. Perhaps the Malfoys had some in their library. She would have to call on Lucius.
It may be a good to check on Severus. He's been out of the loop and I'm sure he'll appreciate any news that I can give him.
She found that she missed Severus' dry wit and his brilliance. He would have been able to help her with the Quirrellmort situation and would have figured out a solution by now. But he had other duties and she had to consent that Harry was a very important duty. Children had been a duty that she had never had to luxuary to experience. She adored teaching teenagers, even when they were unwilling to learn but she had never found the urge to settle down again after she had turned Dougal down.
She had adored him and had been willing to spend the rest of her life to be with him. He was a muggle and she had worked for the Ministry at the time. She could however not break the International Stature of Secrecy and throw away all of her ambitions for love. She had so many plans and even if she had adored Dougal she had decided to remain true to herself instead. She had never found love again but she hadn't minded that.
Minerva was pulled from her musings as a knock on the door came. She waved her wand at the parchments that had been strewn across her desk and packed them away. Nobody needed to see this.
She pushed her hair back into her usual tidy bun and cleared her throat before she called. "Enter."
She was not surprised when Hermione Granger opened the door, nor when the young witch was followed by Ronald Weasley. Apparently her letter had been delivered. She smiled at them and gestured for them to enter. Ronald closed the door behind him and together they came closer.
Minerva pointed at the two chairs that stood in front of her desk and said. "Mister Weasley and Miss Granger, you are not in trouble. I asked you to come here so I can give you news about Mr. Potter….
"You heard about Harry?"
"Is he okay?"
"Where is he?"
"We haven't heard anything about him and now Professor Snape is missing too…"
Minerva cleared her throat and smiled in satisfaction as both Gryffindors fell silent. Apparently she still had it. "Mr. Potter is fine and Professor Snape as well. If you would be so kind to let me finish then perhaps I can give you the information that you seek. I will only give you information that will not endanger Mr. Potter or Professor Snape so I will not tell you his whereabouts."
Ronald opened his mouth to protest but before he could say anything Hermione reached over to hit him on the arm. They shared a look between them and with a grumble Ronald finally sunk down lower in his chair but kept quiet.
"We promise, Professor."
"Very well then. As you may have been aware Professor Quirrell was injured during his duel with Professor Snape. This incident convinced Professor Snape that Hogwarts is not the safe place it once was and he decided to take Harry away to a safer place. And no Mr. Weasley I will still not reveal the location of them both. It isn't safe to give out that information. But rest assured that both are as well as can be expected…"
"But for how long will they be away? Cause Harry needs to study if he wants to pass his exams…"
Merlin saveme from overachieving students. I was once like that and it brings back a lot of fond memories.
"There will come a time Miss Granger that you will learn that there are more important aspects in life than passing one's exams. They are not until the end of the year and Harry has plenty of time to study before them, as do you. At the moment Harry's safety is a bigger concern than his academic results."
Minerva frowned at the girl because she could see that she wanted to ask what was more important. This time it was Ronald who nudged her and said. "We understand, Professor. Is there anything we can do for Harry?"
"I'm sending him his homework and I'm sure that the owl has some room for letters should you want to send Harry some." She smiled at them. Hermione seemed pleased by this even when she still looked like she was on the verge of wanting to ask something. Ronald had relaxed a little.
"And you really can't tell us what happened to Harry? I mean Hogwarts is the safest place in the world…"
"At the moment not for Harry Potter. Do not forget that there are still old followers of You Know Who that will want to harm Harry. You all know that Hogwarts is not the safe place it once was. Just a few weeks ago Peter Pettigrew was found posing as your rat. It escaped all of our attention that there was an unregistered Animagus right under our noses. Professor Snape felt it was in Harry's best interest to remove him as soon as possible to a safer location."
"But will he return?"
"I hope that he does but I do not know if Professor Snape will deem it safe enough."
"Even when he's here to watch over Harry?" Hermione fidgeted in her chair and Minerva favored the girl with a smile.
"Even then. But I think it was one of the reasons why he took Harry away because he had been injured by the duel…"
"Yeah, that is another question I have been meaning to ask you, Professor. What happened? I mean, it looked like something went wrong. Professor Quirrell was way too strong and he used spells that bordered on the dark. If my dad caught me using those he would snap my wand, no doubt. Hell, my mother would wash my mouth out with soap if I even thought of those spells." Ron's eyes were huge as he stared at her.
Ah so they have caught on that there was something going on. I think that more students may have been aware that Quirrell was not in charge during that duel but a different and much more sinister voice was driving him to try and kill Severus. I'm glad he did not succeed. I don't think that Harry would have been able to handle his guardian dying as well.
"Mr. Weasley I have no idea of what you are talking about. The duel was fought between two very capable and powerful wizards and despite precautions things can happen. Now I'm sure that you both have homework that needs to be finished and letters to write so I can send them off tonight."
Apparently her students knew a dismissal when they heard one because they both rose and told her good day before closing the door behind them. Minerva smiled in the privacy of her own office.
Harry should count himself lucky with friends like that. Now I hope that they don't try to get into trouble because knowing them both they have a knack for it and I do not have the time to save them out of it this time or to deal with any more surprises. This school year has been far too eventful already and it isn't even Christmas yet.
Harry was bored; there was no other word for it. He had explored the mansion, even tried to get inside some of the locked rooms until Snape caught him at it and shooed him along with a stern look He had not been allowed to explore the grounds. It wasn't as if somebody would snatch him up here anyway but Snape had been firm.
Staring at the books in the library he wasn't allowed to read and couldn't understand anyway, Harry sighed loudly. He laid his head on his crossed arms. He was bored. He'd never had nothing to do. At the Dursleys he always had to clean and if there was nothing to do then Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia would come up with something for Harry to do, no matter how pointless it was.
Even at Hogwarts he was never bored because there he could explore the castle, read a book, do homework or play a game of chess with Ron. There was always something to do.
He sighed again, earning himself a glare from Snape as the Professor looked up from the book he was reading.
"Uhm Severus, can I ask a question?"
"May you ask a question would be the correct phrase you're looking for."
Harry rolled his eyes before he said. "Okay, may I ask a question?"
"I believe you just did." Snape's smirk was visible above his book and Harry muttered to himself before he said.
"May I ask two more questions then?"
"You may, Harry."
"What happened to the Dursleys? Do they know that I'm not going back there this summer?"
"That is more than two questions but I suppose I shall answer them for you." Severus closed the book he was reading and laid it on the table besides his chair. The older wizard crossed his leg over the other as the sharp eyes regarded Harry. Harry kept silent. He knew how much Snape hated being interrupted and the Professor usually took the time to think of his answer before he gave it.
"After our visit I have contacted the authorities regarding your, well, shall we call it upbringing? We have left enough clues for them to draw their own conclusions and Ministry officials have been notified. The Ministry has a special department regarding magical children that grow up with Muggle parents. Research shows that children who grow up with Muggle guardians or parents have a higher chance of being abused than magical children who grow up with magical parents. This department keep an eye on things. But needless to say, you slipped through the net. I believe it is partly due to the fact that Dumbledore was listed as contact person. Dumbledore has always been a busy man who believes in the good of people and it blinds him to their faults." Snape's eyes lifted to meet Harry's and his guardian continued.
"I know that there is an investigation taking place and that they may be charged with neglect and abuse. If that happens there will be a trial. Should they be found guilty then it can mean incarceration and Dudley can possibly be taken into foster care if both Petunia and Vernon are put in jail. I have a contact at the Ministry that is keeping us up to date on the procedures but these take time. It has only been a few weeks since we took you out of there."
Harry frowned. That wasn't really what he had wanted to know. He eyed Snape for a long moment before he asked. "Have you or any of the other Professors visited the Dursleys?"
Snape glanced up from the book he had reopened. "No, I don't see a reason for that."
"Not to take revenge or anything?"
"No, visiting them is not worth the effort. There are other more subtle ways to get revenge. And no, I'll not tell you those. Let's just say that they will pay dearly for what they have done to you."
Harry knew it was the end of the conversation because Snape didn't look up at him again. He stared down at the table. He didn't know how to feel about this. He bore no love for the Dursleys, not after the way they had treated him. They were not his family anymore but he still didn't want to see them hurt. He didn't want Dudley to lose his parents.
"Is it for sure that Dudley will be taken into foster care?"
"Are you feeling pity for him?"
Harry was quick to shake his head no but Snape closed his book again and finally said. "Because if you do feel pity for him, regardless of what he has done to you, it shows a level of maturity that I do not find often in people your age. I'm not saying that he cannot be blamed for the way he threated and hurt you, but in part it is due to his upbringing and monkey sees makes monkey do. But this makes you the better man and for that I'm proud of you, Harry."
Feeling an unexpected burst of warmth in his chest, Harry hid his grin by bowing his head. He knew Snape was his mentor and guardian and with that came these sorts of things but whenever Snape said he was proud of Harry, it was still hard to believe.
He glanced up at the creaking of the chair. Snape had risen to his feet and crossed the room to sit at Harry's table. "Is it really that hard to believe that I would be proud of you?"
"Well you hardly ever give praise."
"I give praise when it is deserved and truthfully not everything that you do deserve praise. You know that I have high standards and you are doing really well all things considered and with everything that has happened you should know that I'm proud of you. I'll apply for the guardianship paper today with help from Lucius and Narcissa. The Ministry will need statements from various sources to make sure I'm capable of being your guardian."
"So there is a chance that they will turn you down? Cause I don't want any other guardian. They won't see me…"
"Calm down! The probation period went well and there is no reason for them to turn me down when I apply for a guardianship. They know my past, all of it. Lucius is quite a powerful ally to have in the face of the Ministry and I have Minerva's and Poppy's support as well. Let's just say at the moment the guardianship is the least of our worries. So you just focus on your homework and I shall worry about becoming your guardian." Snape ruffled his hair before he rose to his feet to go back to his chair.
"But I'm bored." The words spilled out before Harry could help himself. Snape turned back to stare at him and Harry could see the gleeful smirk on his guardian's face. Any hopes he had of actually investigating the grounds were lost in Snape's smirk and he groaned aloud.
Remus took a deep breath as he waited outside of courtroom 10. He paced the floor slightly, feeling nervous. Not that there was any cause for it but he couldn't help how he felt. He felt like his first day at Hogwarts. Like he didn't belong and that somebody would call him on it.
He would have to be careful not to reveal everything. They couldn't know that Sirius was an animagus as well or James. He would have to pick his words carefully. They couldn't use Veritaserum on him because it wouldn't work on a werewolf.
"Remus Lupin?" Remus turned around to find an elderly but energetic looking man approaching him. He was wearing the traditional robes of the Wizengamot but he held out his hand.
"I'm Stephen Griffin and I will present this trial. Thank you for coming."
"No problem. It is nice to see that Black is finally getting a fair trial. It wouldn't be good for the Ministry's image or that of the Wizengamot if an innocent man is incarcerated for a murder when the person who was supposed to be dead is still walking around. I know that those were hard times but it was no reason to skirt your duty and sentence people without any trial."
He continued to smile and Stephen grinned. "I'm glad that you're not afraid to tell the truth. It will make it easier when we call you to the stand. Seeing as Veritaserum is not going to work on you I will have to rely on good faith. Yes, I have done a thorough background check and you never really made it a secret that you are a werewolf. Not everybody may agree with me that I called you in as a witness but you're the only one that knew Pettigrew as well as Black and can give us a detailed account on what happened."
Remus nodded. He hoped he could answer their questions. But he wasn't going to tell secrets that were not his to tell. He wasn't going to reveal Sirius' secret or that from James. Those he would take to the grave.
Like a proper spy. He had to hide a grin at the thought.
"Shall we?" Stephen gestured with his hands towards the now open doors of courtroom 10. Remus nodded and fell into step beside the older man. He straightened his shoulders. He had chosen to wear his best robes, which was not saying much because this morning he had to patch up holes.
They paused outside the doors for another moment as Stephen said. "I'll call you to the stand when it is time for your testimony. I'll be the only one asking questions. You can wait in the stands until I call you forward."
Remus nodded and followed the man inside as the bell chimed that called everybody into the chamber. He chose a nearly empty bench on the other side of the Wizengamot. This gave him a good view of the room.
The entire Wizengamot was in session and all places were filled. The single chair that stood in the middle of the room was occupied. Remus gave Sirius a nod. The man looked saner now that his hair had been cut and his beard groomed. Not that Sirius had ever looked insane. The man may appear wild with a bushy beard and long hair but anybody who looked into the blue eyes could see just how sane Sirius was.
It was a testimony of strength that Sirius had never given into the insanity that Azkaban was known to bring out in people and which ran in his family. Sirius must have really believed that he was innocent else he couldn't have been this sane. Luckily for him he was proven right.
Remus focused when Stephen called the room to attention. Apparently he was the only witness called to the stand. Well considering that they couldn't really ask Ron Weasley to testify because nobody had noticed that the boy's rat was in fact an Animagus. This was hardly the fault of the Weasleys because with so many children pets weren't easy to come by. Nobody would notice that a rat had started living longer than its usual life span.
Remus glanced up when his name was called and Stephen gestured to the empty boot opposed the Wizengamot. He rose from his bench, brushing down his robes before taking place in the stand. He noticed that some of the Wizengamot members were muttering amongst themselves. One, a female with blond hair, Amelia Bones nodded at him.
He cleared his throat and nodded at Stephen, telling him that he was ready.
"Please state your full name and profession for the Wizengamot."
"Remus John Lupin, I'm currently employed as the Defense against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts. I'm substituting for Professor Quirrell. I also volunteer as a Potions Professor whenever Professor Snape need me in the laboratory. I'm also a werewolf but that is not by choice and neither is it a profession since sadly I do not get paid to turn into a raging beast every full moon."
"Very well, and if my records are correct you were bit when you were a child?"
"Yes, I was sadly."
"But despite that you were accepted into Hogwarts, correct? Because at that time they did not have the Wolfsbane Potions that could control you during a full moon."
"Yes, I was. I was lucky that I got in. Professor Dumbledore had just been elected as Headmaster and he paid my parents a visit to deliver my letter and tell them that special allowances were made for me. For example what is now commonly referred to as the Shrieking Shack was built especially for me and the Whomping Willow was planted because of me. This was to give me a safe place to turn every full moon. The Whomping Willow was not only to protect me from escaping but to protect any curious students to stumble upon me when I turned."
Remus saw no reason to lie. These were facts and he knew that Stephen would have done his research.
"And at Hogwarts that is where you met Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew?"
"Yes, I met them on the Hogwarts Express. We happened to be sorted into Gryffindor together with James Potter. I think that they warmed up to me instantly because we started hanging out, not just because we had the same classes. They were my best friends all throughout Hogwarts."
"Did you ever notice any rivalry between Pettigrew and Black?"
"They were boys, teenage boys; yes there was a certain rivalry. James and Sirius were popular and they knew it. They were handsome and smart and Pettigrew was less so. He ran with us but only because we were the only people he knew and who tolerated him. Sirius and James both had the arrogance of boys that had been given the world by their parents and expected that it would continue that way all through Hogwarts."
He glanced up at Sirius for a brief moment only to see the other looking away. Azkaban must have given Sirius plenty of time to think. It was foolish to think that he had matured a lot because truth be told, Sirius did not have the time to do that. Azkaban was a horrible place and if there was one thing that it brought out it was the nasty memories. Memories that had no business being remembered on a daily basis.
If Sirius got out then he may need years of therapy. But he hoped that Sirius did take the time to think about his behavior during his Hogwarts's years because a lot had changed and Severus was playing an important role in Harry's life and Remus knew that if Sirius wanted to be in that life he would have to accept Severus as Harry's guardian.
"And this fast friendship between the four of you continued all throughout Hogwarts?" Remus nodded.
"Yes, it did. They were my best friends."
"So you shared everything together, ate together, went to class together and slept in the same dorm room. I know from my own time at Hogwarts that it was what friends in the same house did. But then I have another question, if you shared this much, how did you manage to keep it hidden that you were away from your dorm for three nights a month?"
Remus smiled as he said. "I didn't. I never said I did. Yes, in the beginning I did keep it hidden or I tried to. But it didn't work. It is impossible to keep it hidden that you're gone three nights every time it is a full moon. At first I lied and told them that I had to go home but it didn't take them long to do the math. Like I said, Sirius and James were smart. They confronted me about it when I came back from my monthly trip and I told them the truth. I imagined that they would mock me with it but they never did. Instead our friendship became only tighter and stronger."
He took a deep breath. That moment had meant everything for him and his opinion about himself had changed. He hadn't believed that he was worth any friendship because his parents hadn't accepted him being a werewolf. But James, Sirius and even Peter had accepted him and they had even found a way to be with him during his transformations, not that he could tell them that.
"So they protected your secret?"
"Yes, they did. They never went with me to the Shrieking Shack. The teachers all knew I was a werewolf and there is not doubt that some of the students knew it too. If my friends could figure it out then there were others who could do the same."
"Very well. So you would say that you knew Sirius and Peter pretty well?"
"Yes, I would." Remus sat up a bit straighter. He glanced down at Sirius briefly. Sirius met his eyes head on.
"And you never noticed anything different in Peter's behavior?"
"No, I never did." Remus shook his head. He had never noticed anything, none of them had. They hadn't noticed that Peter had been taken by Voldemort. They had a spy in their midst and they had never expected it to be Peter. Peter who was afraid of his own shadow but who was a rat in more ways than one.
He had been beating himself up for weeks about that. If only he had tried harder with Peter, included him more in the group and being a better friend to him then perhaps they could have avoided this and James and Lily would still be alive. But it was no good. It hadn't been his decision and now he could only do the right thing. And that was to keep Sirius' secret and give him the testimony he deserved.
"He never confided in you or the others that he was an animagus?"
"No, Peter was always following us around and I counted him as a friend. But James and Sirius could be mean to him and I valued their friendship too much to truly stand up to them. Perhaps if I had Peter would have confided in us about being an animagus."
"Alright, now this concerns the night that James and Lily Potter died. I imagine that it can be difficult but please tell us about that period."
"Very well. James and Lily knew that they were hunted by Voldemort…" He ignored the flinches and the gasps. "So Professor Dumbledore thought it would be best that they go into hiding and use the Fidelius charm. At first they appointed Sirius as their secret keeper but apparently Sirius convinced them to pick Peter instead. Peter betrayed them which led to their death."
This generated more gasps than the use of Voldemort's name. Stephen leaned back in his chair as he said. "Thank you, Professor Lupin, that will be all."
Remus nodded and rose to go back to the bench. He had given them plenty to think about and that was what he wanted.
Harry stared at the letters in his hand before glancing back up at the owl that was flying back to Hogwarts. It had been one of the school owls and he had wondered what it had brought him. He thought it was a letter for Severus so it had surprised him when the owl had landed in front of him with a letter attached.
He opened the letter, grinning as he read the letter from his friends. Ron and Hermione had written to him. There were about a hundred questions in them, Hermione's influence no doubt and he wondered how he was even going to answer half of them.
He didn't know how to tell them anything at the moment. He didn't know how much they knew even though he doubted that anybody had told Ron and Hermione anything. They usually shared everything between the three of them. They had been his first friends and he didn't want to lie to them.
He sighed and folded the letter. He wanted to write back to them immediately but he had to ask what he could write. He didn't want to put his friends into danger. Perhaps they were better off not knowing…
He wondered if it was alright to disturb Severus. His guardian and Mr. Malfoy had locked themselves into Mr. Malfoy's big office. He didn't want to disturb them if it wasn't necessary.
"Harry, do you need something?" He glanced up at Narcissa. She smiled at him and he nodded. He shuffled his feet for a moment before asking.
"Yeah, I…Ron and Hermione sent me this letter because they want to know if I'm okay. I don't know what to tell them."
"Ah yes that might be hard. You would not want to tell them the truth. Perhaps you can tell them that you are fine and under protection right now? I doubt that I have to tell you not to reveal your location in the letters?"
"No, I know but then how did the owl find me? If Ron and Hermione didn't know where I was then the owl couldn't have found me, right?"
"Owls are trained with various spells that lets them find nearly anybody. Anybody that is not under a Fidelius charm that is. Owl training is a very specialized job. It takes years of training before a good level can be achieved. But you will learn more about that at Hogwarts during your third year when you start picking your classes for your professional career."
"But what if Severus won't allow me to go back to Hogwarts?" Harry didn't want to go to any other school.
Narcissa smiled at him and then gestured him towards the kitchen. Harry followed her, sitting down by the table. Narcissa sat down opposed him and waved her wand to summon parchment and a quill.
"Now, I suggest that you write your friends back. And tell them whatever you want to tell them without telling them everything. Think you can do that?"
Harry could try. It would certainly be a challenge. Hermione was the brightest witch of her age and if anybody could find clues then it was her. He would have to be incredibly careful. He didn't want to give everything away but he didn't want his friends to be in danger.
"Is everybody in danger at Hogwarts?" He glanced up at Narcissa. She smiled at him for a moment before she nodded.
"It all depends on whether they can move Quirrell to another place. They cannot let him wake up because You Know Who's spirit will take over. We cannot allow that to happen. There are places at Hogwarts that nobody can find. Your friends are not in any danger. We will not let anything happen to them, I promise. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley will not allow their children to be in danger."
Harry nodded though he wasn't sure if he was fully convinced. Not every adult cared about their children. He was lucky that both the Weasleys cared so much and the Malfoys. He could see it in all the ways they tried to protect their children. He knew Professor Snape cared about him too. The Professor had always protected him, even to go as far as to nearly getting killed.
Harry glanced up sharply at the odd creature standing in the kitchen. It was small; it came to about his shoulder with big ears and a wrinkled parchment like skin. He had to look twice at what it wore. It was a pillow case at least that's what it looked like. Its large eyes fixed on Harry before it turned to Narcissa and bowed, saying.
"Mistress, Professor McGonagall is fire calling. She is asking for permission to use your library."
Narcissa nodded at the creature and said. "Thank you, Dobby. Please tell her to come through into the kitchen."
The creature nodded and then disappeared with a pop. Harry turned wide eyes upon Narcissa.
"Dobby is our house elf. He's a servant and he is in service of our family. His family has been tied with ours for centuries. They wear pillow cases as a sign of servitude to a family. House elves do the chores and they have magic of their own that they can use. They are magical creatures, one of many."
Narcissa rose as the kitchen door opened. Harry barely had time to turn around when a shocked Scottish voice said. "Harry, what are you doing here?"
That is it for now. Slightly shorter than it normally is but this was all that my time allowed me to write. So I hope you liked it. Review please.
Next chapter: Minerva confronts Severus about his chosen action and the Potions Master can find himself involved in research project to find a solution for Quirrellmort. Sirius' trial is still underway but it has taken an unexpected turn because of Remus' revelations. And what exactly will Harry tell his friends as not only Hermione and Ron are worried but Draco as well? That and more in the next chapter.